quite possibly the worlds best GF double chocolate muffins

That's a title you really have to be able to back up isn't it?
It's true though, these gluten free muffins are good.  So good in fact, on the few people I tested these on
no one even knew they were gluten free!
I asked them:
does it taste like there is a missing ingredient(s)?
no, it tastes like that "death by chocolate" cake!
Well, that's a good sign right?
Granted gluten free a couple years ago meant hard, dry, and tasteless.
Now it's come a long and more
flavorful way, thank goodness with the popular use of almond meal, coconut flour, rice flour, etc...
I get so many requests for more gluten free creations; I promise to try my best and do more this fall and
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Now you can have your chocolate muffin for breakfast and no crash and burn a half hour later.
I was only to come up with 11 muffins, not 12, only 11.
You need to fill these pretty much to the top as they don't rise that much--just a little.
If you can, please use a high quality chocolate, as they have a higher cacao and give a deeper
and richer chocolate flavor.
Seriously these are really good.  Really moist and full of chocolate flavor.

Gluten free double chocolate muffins
from vanillasugarblog.com

1 ½  cups almond meal
3 oversized TB unsweetened good quality cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
1 ts gluten free baking powder
½  ts of espresso powder (I also used a Starbucks Via)
giant pinch of salt
8 TB unsalted butter, room temp
2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk, room temp
1 ts vanilla extract
½ cup heavy cream, not too cold
½ cup high quality semisweet chocolate chips
a couple handfuls of high quality milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line regular muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Make sure to spray the actual cupcake liners with non-stick spray as the almond meal sticks to everything when baked!
In a large bowl, combine almond meal, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, espresso powder and baking powder. Stir and then add in the softened butter, and mix to well combined; lumps ok as long as they are small.
In a small bowl or large measuring cup, mix the eggs, vanilla extract, and heavy cream until well mixed.  Add this to the dry mixture and mix well; lumps ok.
Spoon into 11 of the cupcake tins; I was only able to get 11 not 12.
These bake up fast, so bake them for 15 – 20 minutes.
Please check them at the 13 minute mark to see how far along they are.
Mine were done at the 15 minute mark.

You will know they are done by puffy tops and the jiggle in the middle is “almost” gone.


white peach crumb tart

I hope you've taken advantage of the wonderful bounty of white peaches this summer.
If you haven't they are so good.  To me, a white peach is far more "peachier" than a regular
orange/yellow peach.
They are so fragrant; a true smell of summer.
I love their smell so much that when I get a fresh batch of them, I place a few in a bowl, right next to my night stand so I can smell them while I sleep at night.
Try it, it's wonderful, the peach smell mixing with the summer winds blowing in through the window?
A summer memory you will never forget.
If you want a really flaky crust, work that dough as little as possible, just mix the dry ingredients
with the butter until just combined, wrap up in plastic wrap and let it rest at least five hours or
better yet overnight.
I like to roll it out while it's still in the plastic wrap until I have to unwrap it and finish up the edges.
Those edges are just like a crispy croissant.  Heavenly!
If you don't have a 8 or 9 inch tart pan, I'm fairly certain this would make a perfect galette.
Just make sure your edges are nice and sealed, and you bake it on parchment paper on a
cookie sheet/pan.

white peach crumb tart
base recipe from pastry studio
(please see my notes in the recipe in parenthesis)

pastry dough
1 cup flour
1 TB sugar
1/8 ts salt
6 TB very cold butter
1/4 cup very cold water

crumb topping
¾  cup flour                        
2 TB dark brown sugar                     
pinch salt                
6 TB butter, melted                        

2 large white peaches (or 3 small ones or 3 small regular peaches)
juice of one lemon
about 1 TB cornstarch (didn’t measure, just lightly dusted the peaches)

cook notes:
This base recipe is from pastry studio. 
I’ve left her instructions for you to use or you can use my instructions which are in parenthesis.
To prepare the pastry dough, place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process to combine. 
(I used my hands and a fork)
Cut the cold butter into 1/2” pieces, add to the flour mixture and process for 5 seconds.  Add the water and pulse about 15 times.
(I just mixed with the fork until just combined).
The dough will not look like a smooth dough but should look lumpy like cottage cheese.  Gather the dough and place on a piece of plastic wrap. 
While the dough is wrapped, form it into a large square if you can or whatever size tart pan you are using.
Chill the dough at least 30 minutes or overnight.
(I swear by chilling my dough for at least 5 hours or overnight).
Lastly, as soon as you get dough ready in pan, place in fridge again--always keep this dough cold!

For the crumb topping, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. 
Add in the melted butter and stir till combined and you are able to form large clumps.  Set aside.
Slice the peaches in long thin strips.  
Place the slices in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice. 
(I then dusted them with cornstarch, I did not use any extra sugar as the white peaches are really sweet when ripe).
Combine the sugar and cornstarch and toss with the fruit to distribute evenly.
(Definitely toss, don’t use a spatula or spoon as you don’t want the fruit to bruise).

When you’re ready to roll out the dough, remove from the refrigerator and rest on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper or work surface for a few minutes so it can soften just a bit to prevent cracking. 
(I didn’t roll it out on flour, I just used my hands and a floured rolling pin to further shape it into a square for my tart pan).
Roll the dough out to about a 12" square and 1/8" thickness, gently lifting and moving the dough after each roll and keeping it lightly floured as needed. 
(I just placed rolled dough into non-stick sprayed 8 or 9 inch tart pan, then using my fingers pushed the dough into the edges—very carefully!
Then I placed it back in fridge).
When you have the desired size, brush off any excess flour. 
Fold it in half and then again in half. 
Center the folded corner of the dough in a 9" square tart pan. 
Unfold it and work it into the corners, leaving an overhang on all four sides. 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
When the oven is ready, fill the tart shell with the fruit. 
Sprinkle with the crumb topping. 
Fold the sides over to form a border. 
(I didn’t have any extra dough with which to create a border).
Brush the border of the dough with melted butter and dust with a light sprinkle of sugar. 
(I placed my tart on a parchment lined baking sheet in case there was leakage.

Bake until the dough and topping are browned and the fruit is bubbling, about 40 – 50 minutes. 
(My tart was done at the 35-40 minute mark).

Place on a wire rack to cool.


cookie butter protein bars

OK so I've gone cray cray with the cookie butter.
BUT...I had to see if the protein bar would....well.  cookie butter!
And it did.
They came out great!
If cookie butter isn't your thing and you want a "healthier" version of a protein bar then just sub in
almond butter or peanut butter.
I've made these protein bars with peanut butter before and it's a really good "base" recipe
easy for add in's, other nut butters, etc...
Super easy to make, literally one bowl easy, and the molding part is fairly easy too.
My apologies for crappy photos. Protein bars are...well...not exactly pretty; tasty though!
I think protein bars become "pretty" with all that fancy packaging.
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This recipe is a great base for any kind of add in's: you can experiment with various nut butters,
add in raisins, nuts, coconut, give it a drizzle of chocolate on top, etc...
If you don't want chocolate, then omit the cocoa powder.

cookie butter protein bars

4 ounces whey protein isolate powder (plain)
3 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of coconut milk
1 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
small pinch of salt
hefty pinch of cinnamon
½ cup cookie butter
1 ripe banana

chopped peanuts, optional, for decorating the tops
you could also add in raisins or other nuts

cook notes: 
make sure to use a plain protein powder; not sure how flavored would taste.  This recipe is a great base for any kind of add in's: you can experiment with various nut butters,
add in raisins, nuts, coconut, give it a drizzle of chocolate on top, etc...
If you don't want chocolate, then omit the cocoa powder.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. 
If you feel confident, go ahead and mold them into squares. 
If dough is too loose for you then cover dough and place in fridge to firm up for about 15-30 minutes.
You should get about 8 -10 squares/rectangles.
Place on parchment lined baking sheet about ½ apart (the bars don’t spread when baking).
Bake about 15-20 minutes.
You’ll know when they are done when the bars are slightly firm to the touch.
Don’t look for browned edges—it won’t happen.

You should get about 8-10 squares/rectangles; depending on how you shaped them.


friday links

Happy Friday!

If you picked this week and next week as your vacation to cape cod, boy are you in luck.
Our weather has been perfect; sun and low humidity.
But the traffic is unreal too.  There was traffic on a thursday, 3 miles backup on sagamore bridge.
Ice cream stands on the cape are doing a great business.
(this is from Twin Acres Ice Cream, Sandwich, MA)
Town Neck Beach, Sandwich, MA. In the distance, a barge entering the cape cod canal
I love summer.
If I ever remodel the house.....
I wanted to try these, but $6.00?  Wow, pricey.
Last week I posted a pic on twitter of this new salad creation I found at Whole Foods.
From the salad bar at Whole Foods, a scoop of the new Mediterranean salad, with some feta cheese,
some raisins, and nuts.  So good.
Finally one that tastes good, all natural, AND is sugar free.  Found Grady's Cold Brew at Whole Foods
in the milk aisle.
The organic white peaches are at Whole Foods and look amazing and huge. Time for peach pie.
My latest craving....(from trader joe's).
Cape Cod finally has a Chipotle!  I am so happy!  Love their food.
Have you tried these?  The bottom of the bag is the best part, all those salted rosemary bits!
Loved these!
Yes, they are good! And addictive.
It's ok.
I hope they make an unsweetened version!
Finding this KT Tape has been life changing for me.
With my bad knees, I need lots of support when I workout and stand in the kitchen for a long time.
This supportive athletic tape truly works.
I was very skeptical, but after learning how to apply it correctly, I am hooked!
And it's waterproof, I've already tested in the ocean and the pool!
Best find in months.

Around the web:
10 causes of fibromyalgia you and your doc don't know
improve your performance with better sleep; good tips!
a great summary/info of protein
sour cream-peach pie--it doesn't get any better than this!
roasted strawberry cheesecake ice cream, never roasted my strawberries, but I will now.
want to make your own ricotta cheese?
deepak chopra breaks down meditation: what it is and why you need it
yoga poses for metabolism; isn't pretty much all yoga poses great for metabolism?
adrenal fatigue: the signs
nerve damage and its relation to fibromyalgia
funfetti ice cream sandwiches
wonderful tutorial on how to make royal icing flowers
ever wanted to make a spherical cake?
and now we have "eye yoga"!
for my boston peeps--Kelly's Roast Beef rap song! (wicked awesome yo!)
carnival style fish sticks! (bookmarked!)
grilled tomato relish
peaches & cream cake (love super easy)
the island where people forget to die (wonderful story from NYT)
chocolate-marshmallow cookies (super easy)
the richards family making wonderful progress after the boston bombings (may God bless you)
new video footage of 2011 japan tsunami shows how quickly it happened
massachusetts evacuated to prevent any contact with tom brady's knee!  LOL!
what you need to know about Facebook's newsfeed algorithm (annoying)
a great write up on "getting around gluten" from harvard gazette
stereotypical feet photos of "I'm on vacation" (in case you needed more feet photos)
Disney fan? You're going to love this DisneyLand whirlwind tour --make sure your HD is on!

Have a wonderful weekend!


crunchy peanut-curry broccoli salad

I eat the broccoli salad from Whole Foods in mass quantities.
It's gross really how much of it I eat and never tire of it.
I should make more of my own, and I do, but I get horribly lazy sometimes.
On a whim, while eating said Whole Foods broccoli salad, I decided to add a nice heaping
tablespoon (or 2) of curry powder.
Oh man was that good.
Then realized it needed peanut butter, then it needed coconut milk....ok you get the idea.
If you are like me, who craves and loves that thai peanut sauce on a daily basis,
then this peanut-curry broccoli salad is for you.
I promise you this will be your new go-to broccoli salad.
The curry flavors, the crunch of the broccoli, the sweetness of the raisins.....
I used cashews for an extra crunch and depth of flavor, use whatever you wish.
But I do recommend using the raisins and carrots as a base, then add in: peanuts, nuts, sesame
sticks, onions, other veggies...endless possibilities really.
Does it get soggy overnight?  A little. I used raw broccoli so it wasn't that soggy.
Read the cook notes for more info stuff.
Baker hindsight is 20/20: so I would also add in a touch of red pepper flakes.
No golden syrup? Use honey.

crunchy peanut-curry broccoli salad
print recipe

I used a 12-14 ounce bag of broccoli heads, raw
1/4 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup of cashews (or other nuts)

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1-2 ts apple cider vinegar
1-2 TB golden syrup (or pure/raw honey)
2 TB curry powder or Madras curry
1/4 cup (might need more) coconut milk
a couple dashes of hot sauce
salt & pepper to taste

cook notes:
I used raw broccoli, it just has a better crunch, and can hold up to the sauce much better.
If you prefer to cook your broccoli first, then go ahead, but please make sure to drain
the broccoli really well.
This salad will taste awful with extra water in it.
I made my sauce very thick, if you want it thinner just add in more coconut milk.
I highly suggest adding a pinch or three of red pepper flakes to this.
I love the taste of curry so I added in 2 TB, you can easily use just 1 TB.

for the sauce:
Mix all ingredients in sauce in a bowl, stir well, give it a taste-test and see what it needs.
Cover and let it chill/set up in fridge at least an hour or two.
When ready to assemble, in a large bowl mix the broccoli, shredded carrots, and raisins, add in the sauce a little bit at a time.  You might not need all the sauce, so use a little at a time.
A little goes a long way!

Makes about 4 cups; enough for 4 people as a side dish.


jam filled mini butter tarts

In my other job, I am blessed to have such sweet clients, that not only tip me well, but also leave little food gifts.  It's nice to have foodies as clients.
I know that making jam and jellies is work, a food art I have yet to delve into.
With all the summer produce around making my own spicy bread & butter pickles is something
I would love to try my hand at.
Recently one of my clients gave me some homemade peach jam.
Is there anything better than fresh peach or apricot jam?  Sure, it's raspberry or blueberry.  Ha.
Wanting to use this peach jam on a fresh croissant or toasted english muffin, I opted for using it in cookie form.
A nice slightly salty buttery cookie base filled with a dollop of peach jam.
Mmm. Heavenly.
So this is a "take" on the butter tart on a tad more salty--the yearning for sweet & salty never goes far away from my creativity.
These are good, easy to make too since there is no rolling of the cookie dough, cutting out shapes, etc..
Be warned though, they are very addictive because they are so small and bite-size.
I think homemade apricot jam would be so good in these!
Oh and maybe beach plum jelly?
If the dough gets too soft after placing in tins, put it back in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up
before baking.

jam filled mini butter tarts

2 cups all purpose flour
1 ts baking powder
½ TB sea salt
2/3 cup white sugar
16 TB butter, room temp
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1 and ¼ ts pure vanilla extract

fruit filling:
use jam of your choice (peach, raspberry, apricot, etc…)

Cook Notes:  I used mini muffin tins and got about 42-48 cookies.  If you don’t want to do muffin tins then you could do them as flat cookies making sure to make indentations in the middle of the raw cookie to place the jam.
Keep in mind you want to keep the dough fairly cold. So if after placing dough into tins, you might want to pop it back in the fridge to firm up again; We want these to bake up fairly crisp around the edges.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. 
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until well mixed. Add in half the dry mixture to the wet and mix, then add in the other half and mix again until all combined.  Put dough in plastic wrap, cover up well and let sit in fridge at least 6 hours or overnight.  I kept mine in for 3 days and it was fine.

Using a mini muffin tin, spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Then scoop out a dough ball about 2 inches thick/round, press into muffin tin, making sure to get the edges good.  Then using your thumb, gently make a well in the middle to place a dollup of jam.  Make sure you don’t leave any open spaces at the bottom or jam will leak out.
Using a small spoon, fill the centers with about a teaspoon or of jam.
Try not to overfill with jam.
If y our kitchen runs hot or it’s the middle of summer, pop these back in the fridge for a few minutes to chill up.  We want these to bake up fairly crisp around the edges.
Bake 18-23 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
I let these cool (about 2 hours) in the muffin tins until they set up enough to be removed.
They will be very soft when they come out of the oven, so don’t try and remove them.

Using the mini muffin tins I got about 42-48 tarts.


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