Monthly Archives: February 2011

Good News! It’s a Very Lemon Tart, Gluten Free



Captain Awesome grew up in a family we affectionately refer to as the  Lemon Loving clan.  He and his parents love lemon tart more than chocolate.  Yes, indeed, gasp.  But true.  So recently, after we carted some pretty Meyer lemons home from the market, I thought I would make him a very lemon tart.

Three many tarts later I finally have it.  The first one was a candidate for  baking wreck of the week.  A little too much cornstarch and the lemon filling was smooshy bitter.  The second one was better, but the crust was rather like chewing crust-jerky.  And the filling was still bitter and slightly chewy.  Not what you want in a lemon tart.  Too much pith and brimstone.

The third time was the charm.  This one is so perfect I want to bronze it.  Half the tart is still in the refrigerator but I know it won’t last the day because Captain Awesome already had a piece for breakfast. Continue reading

Ask Essie:Making GF Recipes Not GF and AP Flour in GF Cake-Bad?


Judy asks how to convert a recipe from gluten free to not gluten free?

Well, Judy – we in the gluten free baking/cooking world don’t often hear that question.  Usually people want to know how to convert a favorite recipe to gluten free.

Convert the amount of GF flour listed in the recipe to the same using AP flour. However, flours vary in weight – sometimes tremendously.  One cup of AP flour will not weigh the same as one cup of any type of gluten free flour.

Your best bet is to look for recipes that list dry ingredients in  grams or ounces as a measure.   A small digital scale is a great investment for the kitchen. Continue reading

Flourless and Gluten Free Double Shot Espresso Cookies


I like chocolate.  I like chocolate cookies.  I especially like chewy chocolate cookies.

This recipe is inspired in part by Francois Payard’s Flourless Chocolate Cookies and a top-dog-secret recipe from the pastry chef at The Beverly Peninsula Hotel who gave us the recipe after we begged (literally) for months – a long time ago.

Even then, the recipe was faxed to us exactly as they use it in a hotel kitchen which feeds hundreds daily.  That meant my choice was to either make enough for the entire apartment complex or work on my math skills to convert it to a tiny kitchen recipe.  Since I didn’t have 85 pounds of cocoa in the cupboard, I had to break out the abacus. Continue reading

Baking Wreck: The GF Croissant that Wasn’t


Photobucket19 hours of labor later

They look quite like about-to-be croissants in this photo.

Those three in the back were set to become little pain au chocolat.  It took over 19 hours to make them that pretty.  First there was the top dog secret dough prep by Captain Awesome.  Then came the chilling, then the folding, then the chilling.  That included making sure the marble board was ice cold for each turning so the result is a zillion layers folded in loaded with good unsalted butter.  They were left to rise, slowly overnight, ready to bake in the wee hours of the morning.

Captain Awesome is on a mission to create a gluten free puff pastry and croissant that reminds him of Paris.  These little pastries came out of the oven looking like perfect little gluten free imitations of a French croissant.  Small, crispy, flaky on the outside and the smell would have made you swoon with lust.  For croissants, that is. Continue reading

Love The Dog You’re With: Apple Oat Molasses Cookies



Since the day is about love, it would be nice to remember those that provide the actual unconditional love and gift them with something tasty and easy to make.

Lulu and Phoebe make my life better not only because they provide hours of amusement and companionship, but because they remind me of why the little things should count the most.  Who hasn’t arrived home from the mailbox (one minute away) or work (more hours than is reasonable) only to be greeted exactly like you are a rock star.  Tails wagging, or in L&P’s case, rear ends wiggling, and kisses let you know how much they appreciate your arrival home.  A rocking party. Continue reading

Little Valentine, Big Flavor Cocoa Cupcake, Gluten Free




During the stone age years of our marriage, Valentine Days were spent trying to create the perfect romantic day.  Now we call them fodder for amusing blog posts.

  • There was the embarrassing Joan Walsh Anglund year (look it up).
  • There was the year of the trail of chocolate boxes, empty aside from clever notes on where to go next, eventually leading to a hotel 45 miles away in the middle of a blizzard.
  • There was the year we learned to make a soufflé and never read the directions all the way to end to know you couldn’t wait 20 minutes to bring it to the table.
  • There was another year when someone couldn’t figure out which size Godiva heart box I wanted so he bought them all and we ate chocolate until way past Easter.
  • There was the year we went out to dinner at a place that charged just slightly less than the French Laundry and thought it was the French Laundry.  It was not.
  • And then there was the year when roses were too expensive so I got a blender instead, which if you are Captain Awesome, makes perfect sense.

As the years moved on, we settled for making Valentine’s Day all about the food, and not food from a restaurant.  Who needed to dine with 80 other strangers and eat stuff that was over the top in looks and ordinary in taste? Continue reading

Mom’s Brownies, Gluten Free and Valentine Easy


Mom baked tons of goodies, but none more frequently than her brownies.  She was the entire welcome wagon for the growing neighborhood back in the mid 1950’s and would bring a plate of brownies to every new family.  We loved when she made brownies because the crisp edges had to be carved off before being given away.  Though the pan was square and she hacked off an edge for each of us, we still managed to fight over them.

adabrownieEThankfully, the recipe made its way into print in the 1964 Syracuse Hadassah Cookbook, and was called Ada’s Brownies – a riff on Ate a Brownie (my dad’s odd sense of humor).   Otherwise, none of us would have ever known what went into her recipe  because she never bothered to write them down.  The book is long out of print, but I still have a copy tucked away. Continue reading