White-Chocolate and Strawberry Summer Cookies

Although the start of the school year and the fall is 100% my favorite time of the year, I was instantly sad when I realized that there was only a month left of summer vacation. This means only a month left until no more beach volleyball, no more days of simply relaxing, and most of all no more lemony, fruity, or bright-tasting recipes :(. Upon realizing how close the end of the summer was (September 22) I realized that I wanted to take full advantage of this beautiful time of the year. I’m traveling to Scandinavia for two weeks with my family and cannot wait to spent my days hiking and exploring a part of the world that seems so mysterious. We are going to go into viking ships, bike around Copenhagen, hike to a beautiful view of Oslo, go kayaking in Bergen etc. We leave in 2 days and I am becoming INSANELY excited!!! Although it is cooler in Scandinavia than in New York, I know that the two weeks there are going to be the most memorable and (luckily) long (only 7ish hours of darkness a day!) days of my life.

I decided that for the next 6 days and the 2 weeks following our trip, that I am also going to take advantage of summer at home. I plan on having picnics in Central Parks, sitting on my family’s secret rock that juts out over the hudson river to watch the sunset, playing volleyball on the nearby courts, visiting the MOMA, going on walks with friends etc. Most of all, I plan on cooking and baking the summery-ist (yes I make up my own words) recipes of the year. Starting off with the best cookies that Ive ever made doesn’t seem like a bad place to start :)!!!

These summer cookies are the most unique and mouth watering cookies that have ever come out of my oven. You wouldn’t expect cream cheese, white chocolate, and strawberry to go well, but, honestly, they couldn’t have gone better together. ENJOY!

INGREDIANTS

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter-softened

4 oz cream cheese-softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1-2 tablespoon flour

5 oz white chocolate-chopped

sanding sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line pans with parchment paper.
  2. Pour fresh lemon juice over chopped strawberries, drain them after a few minutes.
  3. Whisk together 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
  4. Beat butter with sugar and cream cheese until it’s light and fluffy.
  5. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
  6. Gradually add flour mixture and mix until it’s well combined.
  7. Stir in chopped white chocolate.
  8. Sprinkle strawberries with 1-2 tablespoon flour, toss them until all strawberries are coated with thin layer of flour and then stir them really gently in the batter.
  9. Drop heaping tablespoon of batter onto pan leaving an inch space between.
  10. Set the cookies in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes before baking.
  11. Sprinkle the cookies with sanding sugar if you want, but do not overdo it because they are sweet enough.
  12. Bake for 13-15 minutes( until the edges become golden brown).
  13. Let them cool a few minutes in the pan than transfer them to a wire racks to cool completely.

Love,

Ally

Vegan Quinoa and Roasted Veggie Bowl

Another week, another vegan recipe!… So I was faced with a dilemma when making this recipe. I eat pretty much every food on the planet that I am not allergic to except jelly, soy butter, sesame butter or almond butter. Looking at the obvious, I’m sure that as a kid I developed a subconscious fear of anything related to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the classic lunch that all of my classmates growing would eat at lunch.

 If someone around me ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich I would actually have to move to a table away from my friends and often eat on a bench outside of the cafeteria. Actually, for a long time I simply wouldn’t touch sandwich bread because I convinced myself that I absolutely hated sandwiches.Flash forward to 8 year later and I still cannot touch jelly or any peanut-butter substitute. This is not out of stubbornness, I have repeatedly tried, over and over again, to eat both and every time sat at the table with a terrible taste in my mouth, having lost my appetite.

When I came across this recipe on minimalist baker, I immediately knew that I HAD to make it for dinner that night. It was a beautiful and clean recipe with my favorite starches and my favorite vegetables. It wasn’t until I tasted my first bite of plain tahini that I realized that it had the exact same taste as sesame-butter. Immediately feeling nauseous and convinced that I had just created the worst dish in the world, I served this dish to my parents with an apologetic grimace on my face.

My dad took his first bite, which was covered in the tahini sauce, and smiled. She said that the sauce was incredible and that she was amazed by the way that the subtly sweet flavors of the vegetable contrasted the flavor of the tahini sauce.

 

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INGREDIANTS

VEGETABLES

8 whole carrots, peeled and quartered (large pieces halved)

2 cups quartered baby yellow potatoes

2 Tbsp maple syrup, divided

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

Healthy pinch each sea salt + black pepper

1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (or dried)

3 cups halved Brussels sprouts

1 cup squash or zucchini cut into 1 inch pieces (OPTIONAL)

QUINOA

1 cup white quinoa, well rinsed + drained

1 3/4 cups water

Pinch sea salt

Tahini Sauce

1/2 cup (120 g ) tahini

1 lemon, juiced (~3 Tbsp or 45 ml)

2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) maple syrup

GARNISH with basil, parsley etc.

 

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the carrots and potatoes (and squash or zucchini) to the sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Toss to combine and bake for 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, for the quinoa, heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add rinsed quinoa to lightly sautée before adding water to evaporate leftover moisture and bring out a nutty flavor.
  4. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
  5. Cook for 18-22 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Then open lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Tilt the lid, remove from the heat, and set aside.
  6. When the veggies are at the 12-minute mark, remove pan from the oven and add the Brussels sprouts. Top with remaining 1 Tbsp oil, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, and another pinch each salt and pepper. Loosely toss to combine.
  7. Return pan to oven and roast for 10-12 minutes more or until Brussels sprouts are golden brown and the carrots and potatoes are fork tender. (This ensures that the potatoes and carrots are cooked through and the Brussels don’t get too soft.)
  8. Prepare the Tahini Sauce by adding tahini, lemon juice, and maple syrup to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Add 2 Tbsp (30 ml) warm water at a time and whisk until thick but pourable. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness or lemon juice for acidity.
  9. To serve, divide quinoa and vegetables between serving bowls and top with a generous drizzle of tahini sauce. Top with garnish of choice, such as pomegranate arils or fresh herbs.

Love,

Ally

 

 

(Minimalist Baker https://minimalistbaker.com/roasted-vegetable-quinoa-harvest-bowls/)

Vegan Summer Corn Soup

Living in such a large and skyscraper-orientated city, I have begun to slowly develop a distorted definition of what it means to be in nature. When I lived in California, being in genuine nature would consist of hiking up to field on a hill, surrounded by bugs and trees, where the closest thing to the rest of the modern world was the cell tower a few hills away. Now, my view of “being in nature” consists of running through the concrete-laden, streetlight-lit riverside park. Here, beautiful buildings tower over you, obstructing the sun from your eyes.
So, I spent the last two weeks in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins, taking a class on laboratory studies (fun fact: we chose a plant from a garden and extracted its DNA and did some more complicated stuff and then sent it in for sequencing— also relates to nature 🙂  ).
After the class ended, I was able to spend a couple of days at a childhood friend’s aunt and uncle’s house in Baltimore. My friend, who lives in California, was spending the summer working in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins hospital and lived with her aunt and uncle. Going to this house completely altered my distorted view of what it meant to live naturally. We spent a couple days canoeing around their mini-lake, going on jogs in their backyard, which also happened to be the woods, and cooking meals with veggies picked directly from their garden. We made a delicious casserole with potatoes and basil that we had picked 30 minutes before cooking. The dish was not only incredible but was the freshest-tasting dish that I had eaten since I moved to New York City.
When I got home I decided that I wanted to try to cook more plant-based and natural recipes. While I can’t build a garden on my roof, I can cook using ingredients that were grown in soil. I found this plant-based recipe soon after getting back and quickly got cooking.
Like the casserole, this dish tasted so fresh and didn’t taste anything close to artificial or creamy. When taking a bite of this dish, it was evident that no ingredient in this dish was created directly from a factory. So delicious and so fresh. ENJOY!
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INGREDIENTS:

2-3 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 large white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 small red potatoes quartered (peeling, optional)

Sea salt and ground black pepper

3 ears corn (or 1.5 cans), kernels sliced off

2 cups low sodium veggie broth

2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk

2-3 green onions, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute olive oil, onion, and garlic and for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add potato to the pan, season with a little salt and pepper, and cover to steam for 4-5 minutes.
  3. After steaming, add most of the corn, reserving a few tablespoons for garnish, and stir.
  4. Add broth and almond milk, cover, and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Cook until the potatoes are soft and slide off of a knife when pierced – about 5 minutes.
  6. Add 3/4 of the soup to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth.
  7. Transfer soup back to the saucepan and bring back to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Cook for at least 10 minutes to let thicken. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it will be.
  8. To serve, top with chopped green onion, remaining fresh (or lightly sauteed) corn, and black pepper. Add a sprinkle of paprika for color.

Love,

Ally

 

Recipe from the minimalist baker (my favorite!!)

Gluten-Free Lemon Pie

As I mentioned in my last post, we recently bought a bunch of bags of gluten-free pie crust. My gluten-free mom was ecstatic when they came in the mail, and I have been working on a bunch of gluten-free pies, quiche etc. for the past couple of weeks.

Also….. SUMMER!! I had my last day of junior year last week and am so excited for the best summer to come. I have a bunch of classes, volleyball camps, and working with an organization called DOROT (check out their adult, child, and teen volunteering programs dorotusa.org, their work is incredible). Nevertheless, I am 100% surely going to have more time to cook, bake, and work on my blog.

In the spirit of summer, I decided to make a gluten-free lemon (non-meringue [ew]) pie. I have a tendency to only cook fruit dishes in the summer, so I knew that the best way to celebrate the beginning of the season was cook a lemon dish! I decided that I wanted to make the recipe more unique and added a layer of lemon curd on the top of the pie.

This pie is basically a giant lemon bar that tastes even more delicious. The smooth texture of the pie goes perfectly with the very sweet taste; you need to have a strong sweet tooth to enjoy this dish.

ENJOY!!

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Ingredients

Gluten-Free Pie Crust
1 1/4 cups Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour 
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 large egg
2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar
Lemon Base
3 egg yolks 
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water 
3 tablespoons butter or margarine 
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 drops yellow food color, if desired
Lemon Curd Topping
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons of lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
6 tablespoons of butter cut into very small squares

Directions

  1. Whisk together the flour or flour blend, sugar, xanthan gum, and salt.
  2. Cut the cold butter into pats, then work the pats into the flour mixture until it’s crumbly, with some larger, pea-sized chunks of butter remaining.
  3. Whisk the egg and vinegar or lemon juice together until very foamy. Mix into the dry ingredients. Stir until the mixture holds together, adding 1 to 3 additional tablespoons cold water if necessary.
  4. Shape into a ball and chill for an hour (up to overnight). Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 475 and lightly grease a 9″ pie pan
  6. Roll out on a piece of plastic wrap, on a silicone rolling mat, or in a pie bag that’s been heavily sprinkled with gluten-free flour or flour blend. Invert the crust into the prepared pie pan.
  7. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the crust is light brown color.
  8. When the crust is done remove from over and lower oven heat to 400 .
  9. While the crust is cooking beat egg yolks together with a fork.
  10. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch; gradually stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.
  11. Immediately stir at least half of hot mixture into egg yolks; stir back into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir 2 minutes; remove from heat.
  12. Stir in butter, lemon peel, lemon juice and food color.
  13. Pour into pie crust. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until the surface of the pie is not longer wet.
  14. Cool away from draft for around 30 minutes.
  15. While the pie is cooling make the lemon curd. 
    1. Whisk the juice, eggs, and sugar together in a saucepan. Mix in the butter over low heat. CONTINUE TO WHISK, if the eggs become overheated they will cook on their own. 
    2. Whisk for around six minutes or until the curd is thick and the lines of the whisk hold. It will be done when the first bubbles appear.
    3. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Immediately cover and cool for 15 minutes
  16. After 15 minutes, spread the still-warm curd over the top of the lemon pie.
  17. Let sit for another hour and then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Love,

Ally

 

 

 

100% Homemade Spinach Quiche

A few weeks ago my mom, who is gluten free and had been craving quiche for months, ordered five bags of gluten-free pie crust mix online. When it came in the mail, she was so excited to have quiche for the first time in five years, that I knew I had to get cooking right away. So, I spent the entire next Saturday making her two quiches and a lemon pie with gluten free crust.

When scouring the internet for recipes, I found a quiche recipe online with steller reviews and decided to get cooking. The recipe called for an entire half-cup of butter, and before I realized the amount of butter 1/2 a cup was, I had already put it in the quiche. Unfortunately the quiche came out a little too buttery and wet for my mom’s taste, so I knew that I would have to try again. On the second try, I only added two tablespoons of butter, used fresh spinach, and added a little bit more salt and was pleased to find that the quiche tasted perfect! I would highly reccomend using as many fresh ingrediants as possible. The fresher the better!!!

ENJOY! oh… and here are a couple link to some good gluten free pie crusts…

1. https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Rabbit-Gluten-Pastry-16-4-Ounce/dp/B007SM715K/ref=sr_1_8_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1496112570&sr=8-8&keywords=gluten%2Bfree%2Bpie%2Bcrust%2Bmix&th=1

2. https://www.amazon.com/Glutino-Gluten-Free-Pantry-16-Ounce/dp/B000EVIDVI/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1496112617&sr=8-3&keywords=gluten+free+pie+crust+mix

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
    • I would reccomend substituting for 10oz of microwaved fresh spinach for fresher ingredients.
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 (6 ounce) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled
  • 8 ounce shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
    • For a recipe for a pie crust see below.
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk (skim milk for low-fat option))
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion in butter until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in spinach, mushrooms, feta and 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into pie crust.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry shell, allowing egg mixture to thoroughly combine with spinach mixture.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with remaining Cheddar cheese, and bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until set in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

 

Non-Gluten Free Pie Crust Recipe (NyTimes Cooking Recipe)

  • 145 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter (1/4 pound), cut in 1/8-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

Directions

  1. Put flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor. Add butter and quickly cut it into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  2. Add ice water and mix briefly, about 30 seconds, to form a soft dough. Remove dough, shape into a thick disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Bring to cool room temperature before rolling.
  3. To roll, lightly flour dough and counter. Roll out gradually, periodically letting dough rest for a moment before continuing. This makes rolling easier and will keep dough from shrinking back during baking.
  4. Roll dough to a thin round approximately 13 inches in diameter, then trim to make a 12-inch circle (refrigerate and save trimmings for patching). Lay dough loosely into a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom, letting it relax a bit. Fold overlap back inside to make a double thickness, then press firmly against the pan so the finished edge is slightly higher than the pan. Refrigerate or freeze for an hour before pre-baking.

Love,

Ally

Gluten-Free Coconut Chia Macaroons

Sorry for the long absence, I decided to take a short break from this blog for the last few months because of my busy schedule. My volleyball practices ended a few weeks ago and, because I used to always cook for my team, I have a variety of recipes waiting to be posted!!! Since practices and tournaments are over and a class that I was taking at John Jay College has ended, I should have a little bit more time to post. Hopefully after finals and the project based assessments/PBAs (my public schools opts out of standardized testing and instead tests knowledge through difficult essays, projects and presentations) I will be able to resume my weekly postings!!

I recently saved up to buy lighting equipment and I am hoping to slowly improve the quality of my foodography over the next months. I’m looking forward to “revamping” my website this summer! Much more to come!!!

I decided to repost these macaroons with a new and improved recipe and photos. This recipe is extremely simple, perfect for a snack on a cool spring day, and absolutely delicious. A lot of sweet desserts can often have an artificial and non-natural taste to them. I love how these macaroons lacks all of those qualities and always seem to taste natural and delicious. Definitely a healthier (and gluten free) alternative to cookies!!

ENJOY!

 

 

 

INGREDIANTS:

1/2 cup softened butter

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup sifted coconut flour (Specifically Trader joe’s)

2 cups Shredded Sweetened Coconut

1 tablespoon of Chia Seeds

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease a baking sheet
  2. Lightly blend the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla together. Stir in the coconut flour, shredded coconut and the chia seeds.
  3. The mixture shouldn’t be wet, like a batter. If the mixture is not dry, add additional flour.
  4. Drop tablespoon sized scoops (using a tablespoon or a cookie scoop) onto the baking sheet. The macaroons don’t expand, so don’t worry about placing them close together.
  5. Bake for 12-15 Minutes or until golden brown. The coconut flakes protruding from the macaroons will be significantly darker (see image above). Immediately transfer to a cooling rack and let sit until cool.

Love,

Ally!!

S’more Bars

Oddly enough, when asking my volleyball team for ideas about what to bake, the first thing mentioned was “S’more Cookies”. Not being a lover of marshmallows and never having had a s’more cookie or brownie, I immediatly dismissed the idea in my mind. On the way home from practice, in a cab with a couple girls on my team, I look up recipes for S’mores cookies. Nothing too interesting came up, but the pictures I saw look sooooo good. So I decided that I would make up a recipe for S’mores cookies on my own. After a little deliberation, I decided that S’mores brownies would probably work better. I looked up a recipe for S’mores bars and came across a recipe that looked delicious. I loosely followed this recipe, adding and subtracting a bunch of ingredients I brought these bars on Sunday and my team LOVED them. My coach ever said that he was willing to buy me the ingredients if I would make them for him again. Its like a campfire, smokey, chocolatey s’more, but even tastier. These are definitely my new go-to bar recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1cup butter, softened

3cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1cups flour

3cup graham cracker crumbs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1teaspoon salt

16 oz milk chocolate chocolate chips (of 4 large hershey bars)

3 cups miniature marshmallows

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan.
  2. Beat butter and sugar together until well blended in a large bowl. Add egg and vanilla; beat well.
  3. In another bowl stir together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture, beating until blended.
  4. Press half the dough into the prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes.
  5. Spread the chocolate chips over the baked layer. Sprinkle with marshmallows. Scatter remaining dough over the marshmallows, forming a top layer.
  6. Bake 10- 15 minutes or until just lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting.

Love,

Ally

 

 

http://www.food.com/recipe/smores-bars-169114#activity-feed

Gluten-Free Challah

I have so many memories of sitting on the counter in our California kitchen, face and hands covered in flour. In front of me lay three balls of dough. I would grab a ball of dough and roll it between my hands until it formed a small and wide rope. I would then grab each end of the rope with one of my tiny hands and swing the rope in circles, like the way a jump rope swings. After the rope was long enough, I would move on to the next ball. After all the balls were rolled out into even ropes, I would attach them together at one side and begin to brain. I don’t remember ever learning how to braid challah, only knowing how to do it. Once the three ropes were perfectly braided together, I would use “the egg brush” to coat the top of the challah with egg. I would place the braided dough in the oven and 20 minutes later my mom would pull out a perfect loaf of gorgeous challah.

As a got older, we started making challah less and less. Four years ago, my mom went gluten-free, completely stopping our, although rare, challah-making tradition. Since today is Friday and I had the day off of school, I decided that I REALLY wanted to make some challah. On my way home from an orientation for a college course I am taking  at John Jay College, I stopped by gristedes to buy ingredients for a different recipe I was planning on making, and ran into some gluten-free yeast. I quickly grabbed the yeast (I obviously didn’t steal it) and ran home to make gluten-free challah. Since I was expecting the challah to come out tasteless and dry, I was ecstatic to find that I LOVEDDDDD it!

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INGREDIANTS

1/3 cup+ warm water

1 package rapid rise gf yeast

1 tsp. granulated cane sugar

1 cup full-fat coconut milk

1 tablespoon + 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

5 large egg yolks at room temperature (slightly mixed)

1/3 cup canola oil, coconut oil (warmed to liquid) or extra virgin olive oil

4 Tbs. honey, agave nectar or molasses

4 cups all purpose gluten-free flour

3 Tbs. + 2 tsp. granulated cane sugar

1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. gluten-free baking powder

1 large egg, mixed

chia seeds, sprinkles, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, chocolate chips etc.

DIRECITONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200º F, then turn it off and leave the oven door closed. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar to proof the yeast; set aside. It should take around five minutes to bubble/proof. If no change is seen by then, through it out and start again with new yeast, sugar and water.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, egg yolks, oil and honey together until completely combined.
  4. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt baking soda and baking power in a separate bowl.
  5. Stir in the proofed water/yeast mixture into the bowl of the stand mixture. Then, gradually stir in the dry ingredients until fully integrated, adding more warm water by the tablespoon as needed to get the dough soft and so that the dough is not tight or stiff, then mix 1-2 minutes more on medium speed.
  6. Once the dough is combined, divide it in half and divide each half into three equally-sized balls. The dough will be sticky, so use extra gluten-free flour on your hands and rolling surface. Roll each ball out into an 18-inch coil or log on a clean, flat surface dusted lightly with Flour.
  7. Pinch together one end of each coil, possibly wetting them slightly with water to help them join together at the top if necessary. Braid the three coils together, pinching together at the end.
  8. Gently transfer it to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat for the second set of three balls.
  9. In a small bowl, mix the extra egg together and brush over each loaf well, coating the entire top surface. Sprinkle the seeds or any toppings at this point, then place the tray (covering the loaves with wax paper sprayed with cooking oil) into the preheated oven for approximately 20 – 30 minutes. (Don’t expect the bread to rise much at this stage).
  10. Once risen slightly, place the uncovered tray in an oven preheated to 350º F (static) or 325º F (convection) for 20 minutes. Remove to cool on a wire rack.

Thanks,

Ally

Original recipe credit to GFJules [fun fact: my mom also goes by jules and is gluten free! How weird]

Double Chocolate Cookies

There is not much to write about these chocolate cookies besides…. YUMMM. To my delight, the east coast was hit with a huge snowstorm a few weeks ago. As a result, the majority of the public and private schools in the area got the whole day off!! I was able to sleep in, wear sweat pants all day, and finally find time to bake. I decided that I would bake some cookies for my volleyball practice that I had that night.  I was so excited for my team to enjoy them after the grilling practice that was sure to come, only to find out an hour later that practice was cancelled. I promised my team that I would bring them to our next practice, but woke up late and forgot them in my scramble to get out the door. Since my team wasn’t able to try these cookies, they are patiently awaiting my promised batch this weekend.
These typical chocolate cookies are somehow the perfect combination between soft and gooey and crunchy. The chocolate flavor, while prominent, is so mouthwatering, and its almost impossible not to go for seconds. I threw in a few white-chocolate chips and used dark-chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet. Although small, this change somehow allowed the a unique taste. As a plus, my entire house smelled of chocolate for days 🙂 . ENJOY!

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INGREDIANTS

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or chocolate chips of your choice: white, dark, butterscotch will all work)

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs on medium for 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture in three groups, blending well after each. Beat until well blended
  4. Mix in the chocolate chips and place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for ten minutes to let it chill slightly.
  5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. For a less rounded cookie, press the cookie dough balls down slightly.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or just until set. The cookies will appear very gooey, but will harden as they cool. Cool slightly on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
  7. Enjoy with a glass of milk and a snowy day!

Love,

Ally Hodder

Lemon Bars with Smooth Lemon Glaze

The moments in which I LOVE the summer the most seems to always be in the middle of the winter. Although drinking hot drinks, wearing cute boots and cozying up to watch a movie may sound fun from afar, by the time February rolls around all I want to do is lay on a beach somewhere sipping on an iced tea. As this winter has progressed, my desire to cook and bake winter dishes has slowly decreased and I’ve evidently begun to make fruity and sweet dishes once again.

On that note, I decided I wanted to make something summery and lemony. I ultimately decided to bake lemon bars with a twist. I made a sweet lemon glaze and spread it over the top of the lemon bars, adding a unique touch. Since lemon bars are already so sweet, adding the glaze didn’t change the level of tartness, but did make the flavor of the actual lemon bar more smooth and flavorful.

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Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 lemons, juiced

Glaze

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons lemon zest

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 inch pan.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden.
  4. While the crust is baking, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. When the crust is done, pour evenly over the top.
  5. Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven. The bars will continue to firm as they cool. Let cook in the pan and then cup into squares.
  6. To make the glaze, whisk the confectioners sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice together until smooth.
  7. Pour the glaze over the top of each lemon bar square. Cover the bars fully with the glaze as a top layer.
  8. Enjoy!!!

Love,

Ally