Whole grain and almond pulp pancakes recipe

Photography By Erica Hampton

I am kicking myself for all the almond pulp I have thrown away in my lifetime.  It honestly makes me crazy to think of how much perfectly good raw, soaked, organic almond pulp I wasted because I didn’t know it would be amazing in banana bread or pancakes, among other things.   I make so much almond milk and the only things I used to be able to think to do with the leftover pulp was to add it to smoothies and stir it into oatmeal.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it just got boring after a bit.

wet ingredients

Then a light bulb went off in my head and I tried using the pulp (which is different from store-bought almond meal because it is wet) in banana bread and it was amazing!  Have you seen this recipe yet?  It’s was so delicious and after my first attempt baking with almond pulp, I assumed every cookie and cake recipe would turn out great.  Not the case.  I actually had a few failures using almond pulp.Continue reading

Vegan Queso Recipe

Vegan Queso | pamela salzman

My oldest daughter is a freshman in college, if you can believe it.  I totally cannot believe because I feel like I was just in college!  She’s going to school in Texas where she is enjoying a lot of (shocking, I’m sure) Tex-Mex food.  When we went to visit over Parents’ Weekend, our first meal was at Torchy’s Tacos and the first thing my daughter ordered was two quesos.

cook the vegetables

Normally my daughter is a pretty healthful eater, but I know she has a weakness for Sprinkles cupcakes and melted cheese, although let’s assume not in the same bite.  Not that “queso” is actually cheese, even though that’s exactly what it means in Spanish.  “Queso” in a Tex-Mex restaurant is basically doctored up melted Velveeta or a Land O’Lakes product called Extra Melt. Uh, that to me isn’t real cheese.  And even if it were real cheese, pasteurized cow dairy is not awesome for you.  Small amounts, ok.  Fermented or cultured, a little better.  Sheep or goat dairy, I’m in.

other ingredients for the queso

So I said to my daughter, “I can make a vegan version of this that I think is even better and won’t give you zits in the morning.”

“Whaaaat???  Since when?  You’ve been holding out on me!”

Maybe so.  In the meantime, I passed on the so called “queso.”

blend

I did teach this vegan queso-type dip in my classes last year, and I figured it would be perfect to share before the Super Bowl.  This recipe is actually a twist on my vegan mac and cheese recipe, jazzed up with jalapeño, black or pinto beans, and my new favorite product, Whole Foods organic frozen fire-roasted corn.  If you haven’t made the mac and cheese, I am in love with it.  Delicious and mostly veggies – no fake cheese, no nutritional yeast but still crazily resembles cheese sauce.  And this version is a Tex-Mex-healthy-not-cheese-party that I am in love with, too.

back into the pot

This vegan “queso” I have used on nachos for the kids, on baked potatoes with salsa, on breakfast tacos and on spaghetti squash.  Love it!  I will come clean and tell you I much prefer it with butter over Earth Balance.  If you absolutely cannot have butter, use the Earth Balance.  If you have a choice, use the butter.  I always use butter.  Because it’s better.  And then this isn’t vegan, but it’s cheese sauce made out of vegetables!!

add jalapeño, black beans and fire roasted corn

This queso can be made a day or two ahead and reheated.  It does not freeze well.  But you won’t need to freeze it because you’re going to eat it ALL!!  I don’t even care who wins the game on Sunday.  Just give me a super bowl of queso!

vegan queso | pamela salzman

vegan queso | pamela salzman

2.06.21 I am updating the recipe to reflect the fact that some salts may be “saltier” than others.  

5.0 from 2 reviews
Vegan Queso
Author: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1 cup (about 7 ounces) chopped Yukon gold potatoes (you can leave the peel on)
  • ¼ cup chopped carrots (about 1 small carrot)
  • ⅓ cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup raw cashews (soaked for 1-5 hours and drained if you your blender is weak)
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter (not vegan) or Miyoko's or organic Earth Balance (both vegan)*
  • 1½ - 2 teaspoons sea salt (use less if using vegan butter or if you've never made this before)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic, minced (about 1 medium clove)
  • ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional, but add it if you have it)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeds discarded, diced (about 3 Tablespoons)
  • ½ cup frozen fire-roasted corn, defrosted
  • ¾ cup cooked pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained if using canned
  • Accompaniments: tortilla chips, sweet potato chips, baked sweet potato wedges, baked fingerling potato halves
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, add the shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion and water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
  2. Place the cashews, butter, salt, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne in a blender or food processor. Add the softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender or food processor and process until perfectly smooth. Taste for salt and adjust seasoning if needed.
  3. Pour sauce back into pot, and add the jalapeno, corn, and beans. Warm over medium-low heat for 4-6 minutes. Can be made ahead and reheated.
Notes
*only use Earth Balance if you can’t or won’t tolerate butter. The dip turns out better with butter, in my opinion.

Cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe

cauliflower mashed potatoes | pamela salzman

My husband has no choice but to eat what I make every night because there are no other options and the man does not cook.  That said, if I’m being totally honest, I think he would rather eat lasagne and cheeseburgers over quinoa and brown rice bakes.  I do, however, think he appreciates how my cooking makes him feel, which is “not gross” and he has definitely come to like plant foods and veggies more and more.  But there are certain occasions when he just wants me to leave things be, like Thanksgiving.  Not to worry, I’m not starting to post Thanksgiving recipes yet.  We still have 6 1/2 weeks to go for that.  But who’s counting?

cook the cauliflower and potatoes together

When I suggested either eliminating regular mashed potatoes from the Thanksgiving menu or replacing them with cauliflower mashed potatoes, he stood up and exclaimed, “NOW you’re taking this too far!”  He may have even pointed his finger in the air, I can’t remember.  Ok, I got the message.  But, I haven’t made “Thanksgiving” mashed potatoes on any other day of the year since then, instead I have used this Cauliflower Mashed Potato recipe.  And guess what?  Everyone loves it!  They’re creamy, light and hardly taste at all like cauliflower.

fork tender

It’s not that mashed potatoes are so terrible for you.  I wouldn’t put them in the class of Twinkies and Diet Coke, for example.  But potatoes without the peel aren’t a 10/10 and all that half-an-half and butter make mashed potatoes a very rich, not necessarily super digestible, dish. But cauliflower puree made from just cauliflower doesn’t have the same body (too thin) as regular mashed potatoes and I’m not fooling anyone with that one.  A combo of cauliflower and potatoes is what my family and I like best and I love that it is definitely more healthful and arguably waaaay easier to make than regular mashed potatoes if you have a food processor or an immersion blender.

food processor works great here

I have been talking up cauliflower as the “new kale” for some time and truthfully, I think cauliflower is much more versatile than kale.  Last night I made cauliflower “steaks.”  I’ve used cold steamed cauliflower in smoothies.  There are recipes for cauliflower alfredo sauce, and so on.  The best part is that cauliflower is a rock star plant food rich in Vitamin C, folate, Vitamin K, fiber, antioxidants as well as several anti-cancer phyto-chemicals like sulforaphane and plant sterols such as indole-3-carbinol, which appears to function as an anti-estrogen agent.

smooth and creamy cauliflower mashed potatoe

I serve this the same way I would regular mashed potatoes, with poultry or beef or saucy roasted vegetables.  I also count this as a starch, even though it’s mostly cauliflower, and I would serve a green veggie on the side.  And if you want to make this up to two hours in advance, just keep it warm over a double boiler.  That’s also the trick I use for making mashed potatoes in advance on Thanksgiving.  Ooops.  I wrote the T-word again.  Plenty of time until then, I swear.  First post coming in 2 1/2 weeks!

cauliflower mashed potatoes

cauliflower mashed potatoes | pamela salzman

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium-large head of cauliflower, about 2 ¼ pounds, cut into florets (about 5 cups)
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (optional, but makes them taste better)
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt or to taste
Instructions
  1. Place cauliflower, potatoes and a big pinch of kosher salt in a large pot and add enough water to come just below the top of the vegetables.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower to a simmer.  Cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Drain cauliflower and potatoes and transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Add butter and salt and process until smooth.  Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

In the Veggie Kitchen: Fourth of July with Jenni Kayne and a Yogurt and Blueberry Tart Recipe

July 4th table setting

I once again had the pleasure of teaching the always stylish and gracious Jenni Kayne and her lovely friends a July 4th cooking class at her gorgeous home.  Although I teach at Jenni’s home every month, this was a special class in which we also partnered with The Chalkboard, one of my very favorite sites.  With Independence Day just around the corner, Jenni wanted to create the perfect holiday get-together that was festive, but relaxed.  My job was to come up with the deliciousness! July 4th menus

If you have seen some of the classes I have done at Jenni’s before, you know that every detail is so beautiful and perfect, you want to go recreate the whole thing on your own.  One of the best parts of Jenni’s Rip + Tan blog is that she generously provides sources for everything, from table linens to straws to jars.  What I just loved about the décor is that it was in the spirit of the holiday, but still beautiful and understated, without going overboard.  Please check out Rip + Tan for more photos and details about the decor. napkins   buffet table   Chic water dispenser

This year, I made five recipes that I think are easy, seasonal, healthful and perfect for summer entertaining.  We started with some delicious vegan beet and black bean burgers which I will be teaching in my classes this summer.  I love salads at this time of year and especially for entertaining since most of the ingredients can be prepped in advance.  At Jenni’s I whipped up a charred corn salad, a vegetarian antipasto chopped salad, and an arugula and farro salad with peaches.  All so yummy and healthy and I will post them all before July 4th!  For dessert, you will love this yogurt and blueberry tart in a graham cracker crust, which I am sharing today.

making the crust

Have you ever tried straining Greek yogurt overnight?  It comes out with a texture like cream cheese!  No joke!  I stirred in a little Grade A maple syrup and some vanilla beans (although you could definitely use vanilla extract) and the result is a super thick and creamy, spreadable yogurt for a delicious tart filling.  This tart is lightly sweet, which I love, and I think it would equally welcome for brunch as it is for a dessert. strained Greek yogurt   strained yogurt with vanilla and maple syrup remove vanilla seeds from pod tart ready for some blueberry sauce

Since I am beyond crazy for the fresh blueberry sauce I posted last year, I poured that on top for the perfect finish.  Of course you can do something more red, white and blue by topping the tart with fresh raspberries and blueberries.  These berry tarts from Martha Stewart look darling and can give you some inspiration for using fresh fruit.  Or you can use any type of fresh fruit sauce like peaches, cherries, or citrus in the winter.  So many delicious ways to enjoy this!

love this blueberry sauce Yogurt and Blueberry Tart   yogurt and blueberry tart

 

 

Yogurt and Blueberry Tart
Author: 
Serves: makes one 9-inch tart which serves about 8 people
 
Ingredients
  • For the Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 9 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces (click here for my recipe for homemade graham crackers. The recipe is gluten-free adaptable.)
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut sugar or cane sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the Filling:
  • 3 cups Greek-style full- fat yogurt, strained 4 hours or overnight*
  • 2 Tablespoons Grade A maple syrup, raw honey or cane sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (use the pod to flavor sugar or discard)
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries for garnish or blueberry sauce (recipe below)
Instructions
  1. To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend graham crackers, sugar and salt in a food processor until graham crackers are finely ground. Add butter and vanilla; process until moist crumbs form. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and sides of a 9-inch round tart pan, springform pan or pie plate. Bake crust until deep golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the strained yogurt with the maple syrup and the scraped beans from the vanilla bean. Spread the yogurt mixture in the crust and smooth the top. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for a few hours.
  3. Garnish with fresh blueberries or pour blueberry sauce over the top. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, however crust will be soft the next day
Notes
I have tried this recipe with alternative yogurts, such as coconut, but they will not strain to the same thick, cream cheese-like consistency as the Greek yogurt.

*To strain yogurt: place a thin, clean tea towel/flour sack towel or a double layer of cheesecloth inside a colander. Place the yogurt in the tea towel and wrap up to cover the yogurt.  Place the colander in a large bowl or on top of a plate to catch any drips and place in fridge overnight.

FRESH BLUEBERRY SAUCE

make 1 1/4 cups of sauce

 

1 ½ – 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder (depending on how thick you want it)

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 pint blueberries

3 Tablespoons Grade A maple syrup

3 Tablespoons water

 

 

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the arrowroot in the lemon juice until dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Place the blueberries, maple syrup and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes.
  3. Add the arrowroot and lemon juice mixture and stir to combine. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes until blueberries are very soft and sauce has thickened.
  4. Serve warm over pancakes or ice cream or refrigerate up to 5 days for later use.

 

Baked Cinnamon Cake Doughnuts Recipe (gluten-free adaptable!)

baked cinnamon cake doughnuts | pamela salzman

I love teaching people how to cook and I love working with food, but one business I don’t see myself in is the restaurant business.  That just seems like waaaaaay too much work!  But if I did open a restaurant, I would have a little casual breakfast and lunch place called “He Said, She Said.”  The menu would be split down the middle with dude food on one side and lady food on the other.

You need a doughnut pan!

I’ve seen plenty of women eat just as much as a man and I am one of them.  BUT it’s the food choices that men and women make that I find so interesting, and different.  My husband and I are the perfect example.  We have been married for almost 19 years and I don’t think we’ve ever ordered the same thing in a restaurant.  And I can usually predict what he will get!

put the batter in a ziploc bag and snip the corner

squeeze the batter out of the cut ziploc bag

I tend to graviate towards salads, vegetable-based dishes, lentils, beans, and ethnic foods and away from things that are fried, greasy and heavily sauced.  He, on the other hand, will order anything with melted cheese and/or lots of tomato sauce plus a side of fries or onion rings.  My husband is a meat-guy too, and doesn’t think about how he’s going to get his veggies at every meal.

they're done if they spring back when you spree on them

Since I do all the cooking in our house, I tend to make what I like.  However, when it’s my husband’s birthday or Father’s Day, I will think about his favorites and go that direction.  Father’s Day is coming up, on Sunday, June 15th to be exact.  And even though I would prefer a veggie frittata or a yogurt and homemade granola parfait, I know my husband would be THRILLED if I bought him doughnuts.  But since doughnuts are probably one of the worst possible foods you can eat, there is no way in the world that I would ever give them to someone with whom I would like to grow old.  I hate to be a party pooper, but doughnuts are completely non-nutritive, full of empty calories, high in simple carbohydrates which spike your blood sugar and are deep fried in the most damaged pro-inflammatory fat EVER.  So not good.

they are more golden on the part that's in the pan

I will, however, make baked doughnuts with some higher quality (but I didn’t say healthful) ingredients.  They still taste delicious and won’t put anyone in a sugar coma afterwards!  Yippee!  I am giving you plenty of time to order this doughnut pan because unfortunately you can’t make doughnuts without a doughnut pan.  I like this one the best because it is coated with silicone for a nonstick finish that doesn’t leach like toxic PFTE’s and PFOA’s.  You can also scoop the batter with an mini ice cream scoop into mini muffin pans for doughnut holes.

dipping in cinnamon-sugar

I recommend making these the day you want to eat them and I am partial to serving these alongside a hearty, high fiber and high protein breakfast and not alone because even though they are significantly better for you than traditional doughnuts, they’re not health food!  I kept these pretty simple with a cinnamon-sugar topping, but if you really wanted to throw in the towel, you could go for a glaze instead.  Fun!

baked cinnamon cake doughnuts | pamela salzman

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Baked Cinnamon Cake Doughnuts
Author: 
Serves: makes 6 doughnuts or 20 doughnut "holes"
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup whole milk or milk substitute, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour*
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour or white spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (do not omit – this is the secret ingredient of all cake doughnuts!)
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted + extra butter for greasing the pan
  • ¼ cup cane sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Topping:
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or less cinnamon for a more “authentic” ratio)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease the wells of the doughnut pan with some butter.
  2. In a glass measuring cup, mix together milk and vinegar and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 5 minutes to curdle.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, honey, egg, vanilla and curdled milk.
  5. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients, taking care not to overmix.
  6. Spoon batter evenly into wells of the doughnut pan, filling only ⅔ full.* If filled too high, there won’t be any doughnut holes. Another way to fill the wells is by transferring the batter to a quart-size Ziploc bag and snipping one corner ½inch and piping the batter into the wells. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until doughnuts spring back when pressed lightly. Allow to cool 5 minutes before turning doughnuts onto a cooling rack.
  7. While the doughnuts are still warm, combine the 2 Tablespoons cane sugar with the teaspoon of cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Brush the tops (or bottoms) of the doughnuts with melted butter and dip into the cinnamon–sugar mixture so that it sticks. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
Notes
*Or substitute a total of 1 cup King Arthur Multi-purpose Gluten-free Flour and ½ teaspoon xanthan gum for the white and wheat flours

**Or bake in a greased mini-muffin pan for doughnut holes.

 

 

 

Mediterranean Fish Stew Recipe

Mediterranean Fish Stew | Pamela Salzman

I had some friends over for dinner recently on a Friday and remembered that it is Lent.  Lent starts about 40 days before Easter on Ash Wednesday and ends the day before Easter.  It is a very holy time for many Christians and I remembered observing as a child.  Traditionally no meat is eaten on Fridays, but fish is acceptable.  During Lent, many observers also give up something pleasurable or something that might be a challenge to go without.  When I was much younger, I asked my mother if I could give up beef or chicken (which I didn’t like) or going to CCD classes (which I really didn’t like.)   And she always instructed me that I was missing the point.  If I needed some ideas, my mother suggested perhaps my sisters and I could give up bickering with each other.  I understand my mother so much more now.

chopped onion, bay leaf and turmeric

parsley, thyme, crushed red pepper

Whether you observe Lent or not, I think you should make this absolutely delicious fish stew.  My family doesn’t love fish as much as I do, although they never complain when I make it.  There are certainly recipes they like more than others, like fish tacos (and who can blame them?) or poached salmon (“because it doesn’t taste fishy.”)  This fish stew was a hit when I made it because all the fish is mixed with other stuff, Mr. Picky explained.  Whatever works!

sliced fennel

wild halibut

This stew is brothy like a soup, but full of all sorts of chunkiness like a stew and you can easily make a meal out of it with a piece of crusty bread.  So I’ll call it a stew.   When I put this together the first time, I was thinking more bouillabaisse, the classic French seafood soup, and less cioppino, the zesty Italian tomato fish stew.   Either way I think this is the perfect light, but warming dinner.  It also cooks in a very short amount of time, so you’ll have it on the table in less than half an hour.  You can also adjust the amount of fish in the recipe without adjusting any other ingredient.  If you want lots of fish because this is your main course, then add another 3/4 pound.  If you’d like to use a mix of seafood, such as shrimp, scallops or mussels, those would all work well too.  The only thing I would advise is NOT to skip the butter.  If you have to go dairy-free, use Earth Balance.  I tried this with all olive oil and surprisingly it wasn’t nearly as good.  In fact, in my next life I’m going to double the butter.    And if you live where the temperature has been freezing since Thanksgiving and you’ve more snow storms than the previous 10 years combined, I give you permission to use as much butter and wine as you want in this recipe.  You’ve earned it!

Mediterranean fish stew | pamela salzman

5.0 from 3 reviews
Mediterranean Fish Stew Recipe
Author: 
Serves: 4 (multiply everything by 1½ to serve 6)
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter or organic Earth Balance
  • 1 Tablespoon unrefined, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, halved and chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • ⅔ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
  • ¾ pound of fresh tomatoes, chopped (peeled and seeded, if desired) or 14-ounce container of chopped tomatoes, drained (I like Bionaturae in glass jars.)
  • ½ pound Yukon Gold or other boiling potatoes, peeled if you like and diced
  • 10 ounces (1 ¼ cups) of fish stock (or even chicken stock or vegetable stock)
  • 1 cup dry white wine (like Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or Sauvignon blanc)
  • 1 ¼ pounds fish fillets (use halibut, cod, sole, red snapper, sea bass), cut into 2-inch pieces (or use more fish and fewer vegetables)
Instructions
  1. Heat butter and olive oil in a heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, garlic, fennel and carrots and sauté for about 6 minutes, until tender.
  2. Add half the parsley, bay leaf, thyme, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and turmeric. Gently cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and stir to combine.
  3. Add potatoes, stock and white wine. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook, covered until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add fish and cook another 5 minutes uncovered or until fish is cooked through. (If you decide to use mussels or small clams, simmer with the pot covered until they open.) Add more salt to taste, if desired. Ladle into bowls and serve. Garnish with reserved parsley. Nice with a piece of toasted baguette rubbed with garlic.
Notes
I buy fish stock from the freezer case in the seafood department at my local Whole Foods.  I have also tried a a good stock by Stock Options which I found in the freezer section at Whole Foods.

Gluten-free fudgy brownies recipe (refined sugar-free)

gluten-free fudge brownies | pamela salzman

Have you ever noticed that the best food images are usually of desserts?  Every time I go on Tastespotting, it seems like half the photos are sweets.  The irony is that I think desserts are the easiest things to make look and taste good.  Throw together some sugar, butter and chocolate and it’s probably going to be delicious.  Ok fine, I’m simplifying a bit, but I think I’ve tried more new dessert recipes with success than savory.  Anything with the word “crisp,” “cobbler,” “crumble,” or “buckle” is going to be great.  But chicken recipes don’t always provide the same guarantees, don’t you agree?

soak the dates

puree the dates and the soaking liquid

I also feel that way about dessert recipes using unrefined ingredients, especially in the sweetener department.  Show me a chocolate cake using maple syrup and whole grain flour and you have my attention!  It’s not so easy.

brush a little melted butter inside the pan

melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water

I recently made Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies for a large group meeting because they are perfect and it’s what everyone expects out of a brownie — that fudgy flavor and the flaky, crackly top.  (Although how in the world she only gets 20 brownies out of a 12 x 18 pan is a mystery.  I think I got close to 50.)  Unfortunately, I can’t duplicate that texture with honey, coconut sugar or stevia.  I am really committed to using ingredients that are less inflammatory and lower on the glycemic index than white flour and white sugar.  Of course, like I ALWAYS say in my classes, that doesn’t mean higher quality sweeteners are “good” for you or even health supportive.  Your body is just less offended by them.  You should still consume desserts in moderation whether they are made with honey or with sugar.

add in the dry ingredients

My kids and my husband are always the best judges of my cooking because they are brutally honest and they still have a taste for junk.  (People who eat health food 24/7 are much easier to please!)  But what I’ve learned to do is just call it like it is — no sneaky business, no tricky semantics.  These brownies aren’t like Ina’s, but you know what?  They would satisfy any chocoholic’s craving any day.  They’re super moist and fudgy with a rich chocolate flavor.  But they’re sweetened with my two favorite sweeteners, dates and coconut sugar.  I am very sensitive to refined sugars and these brownies don’t affect me at all!  Plus, they’re made with gluten-free oat flour.  Double awesome.  But if you like cake-y brownies, sorry.  This recipe is not what you’ve been waiting for.

ready to bake

I ate one of these brownies warm right out of the pan with some sliced strawberries to cut the sweetness a bit and thought it was fabulous.  Although I wouldn’t argue with you if you wanted to top one with some ice cream.  After a day or two, I pop any extras into the fridge and they are absolutely divine cold.  I taught these brownies in a class last year and I remember making sure I gave all of them away before every class ended because I didn’t want to be left alone with them!  But what you all want to know is — does Mr. Picky like these?  TOTALLY!  In fact, I told him these were gluten-free brownies with dates and he said, “I don’t even care!”

gluten-free fudgy brownies

I think these are best cut into small bites.  And if you have a mini-muffin pan, that would be a great way to go, too.  With Valentine’s Day coming up, these fudgy brownies are perfect for all of your sweethearts!

gluten-free fudge brownies | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Gluten-Free Fudgy Brownies
Author: 
Serves: makes an 8 x 8-inch pan
 
Ingredients
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter or unrefined coconut oil (does infuse a hint of coconut)
  • 8 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 10 pitted dates (buy the moistest ones you can find), about 1 cup
  • ½ cup hot water
  • ¾ cup coconut palm sugar (or cane sugar)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup GF oat flour
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon instant coffee powder (optional, but makes the brownies taste more chocolate-y)
Instructions
  1. Place butter in a large heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water; dip a pastry brush in the melted butter and use it to grease the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8-inch baking pan. Add the chocolate to the melted butter and stir frequently until chocolate is melted. Remove bowl from heat; let cool about 10 minutes.
  2. Place the dates and the hot water in a medium the bowl and allow to soak for at least 10 minutes while you prepare everything else.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on two sides. Set aside.
  4. Transfer the dates and water to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until a smooth paste forms. Add the palm sugar and process until smooth. Alternately you can do this in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment. However, the food processor will make the date paste much smoother.
  5. Add the date-sugar mixture to the butter and chocolate mixture and blend well. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in vanilla.
  6. Stir in flour, salt, baking powder and instant coffee powder until just combined.
  7. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs, but not wet. Do not overbake! Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. They taste best if they have been allowed to sit at least an hour.
  8. Run a knife or offset spatula around the edges of the pan. Pull on the edges of the parchment to lift brownies out of pan. Transfer to a cutting board; cut into 2-inch squares.
Notes
You can fold in ½ cup chopped or halved walnuts and/or ½ cup chocolate chips after the flour.

Gingerbread biscotti recipe (gluten-free version, too!)

Gingerbread Biscotti | Pamela Salzman

Gingerbread Biscotti | Pamela Salzman

I have been offered A LOT of biscotti in my life.  When everyone you are related to is Italian, biscotti appear more often than Oreos.  They’re called “biscotti” because they literally translate to “twice baked.”  You bake them in logs first, then you slice up the logs and bake them again. They have this tell-tale shape you see here and they are a bit dry and crunchy and not overly sweet.  There are infinite flavor combinations ranging from lemon to almond to chocolate chip to raisin to you name it.  I remember my parents and all the other grown-ups dunking them in espresso or, if they were really feeling festive, dipping the cookies in a sweet Italian liqueur called Vin Santo.

dry ingredients

chopping crystallized ginger

Now that sounds dreamy to me for sure, but when I was a kid, all I wanted was a normal chocolate chip cookie for goodness sake!  Or one with M&M’s or some other junk.  I’m all grown-up now and I much prefer homemade cookies, especially ones that don’t contain M&M’s and lots of sugar.  Even though I try not to indulge in sweets very often, I do like to bake cookies for the holidays.  My favorite holiday “flavor” is gingerbread.  Every year in my December classes I teach some sort of gingerbread dessert, two of which have been posted on my site.  These gingerbread biscotti might very well be my favorite so far!  One of my complaints about the biscotti of my youth is that they were B-O-R-I-N-G.  What kid gets excited about orange zest in a cookie or fennel seed?  Yaaaaawwwwnnnn.  That’s not a dessert.  But gingerbread biscotti are something else.  These pack a spicy punch from both crystallized ginger and powered ginger and a double crunch from the whole almonds.  Even Mr. Picky loves these.  He just walked by the computer and said, “isn’t it about time we make those gingerbread biscotti again?”  I absolutely swear he just said that!

bake the logs first

slice the baked logs

Biscotti are fantastic to make for the holidays because they last a good long time (a week or more?) without getting stale, so they’re perfect for gift-giving!  If you need to accommodate gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan folks, read through both recipes because there are options.  If you’re not sure how to do this, please leave me a comment below and I will help you out.  I’ll tell you the truth — I like the gluten-free biscotti better than the wheat flour ones.  I think they’re lighter and crispier, although both have that great gingerbread flavor.  I love the extra boost from crystallized ginger, but if you can’t find it, don’t worry about it.  And if you’re feeling extra naughty, you can go right ahead and dip these cuties in some melted white chocolate and let them harden before you store them or wrap them up.  Are you feeling the holiday spirit now??

gingerbread biscotti | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Gingerbread Biscotti
Author: 
Serves: makes about 24
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil or room temperature unsalted butter
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • ½ cup muscovado or firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs or ½ cup unsweetened smooth applesauce
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup whole raw almonds or chopped, if desired
  • ½ cup crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Beat coconut oil and sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and creamy.  Beat in eggs, combine well.
  2. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended.  Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger.
  3. Divide dough in half.  Using floured hands, shape each portion into a log 3-inches wide and 1-inch high.  Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 25 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet; remove to a wire rack, and set aside until cool to the touch.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  5. Cut each log crosswise into ½-inch slices with a serrated knife. Place slices on the same parchment-lined cookie sheet.  If you want long cookies, cut on the diagonal.
  6. Bake 7-8 minutes; turn cookies over, and bake 7-8 more minutes.  If you cut them thick, you will probably have to bake them a little longer.  Cool completely on wire racks.

gluten-free gingerbread biscotti

makes about 24

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup cane sugar

½ cup muscovado or firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs or ½ cup unsweetened smooth applesauce

½ cup almond flour

¼ cup sorghum flour

¼ cup tapioca flour

¼ cup potato starch

¼ cup sweet rice flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 cup whole raw almonds or chopped, if desired

½ cup crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and creamy.  Beat in eggs, combine well.
  2. Sift all dry ingredients together and add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended.  Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger.
  3. Dough will be very sticky so you can refrigerate it for 15-20 minutes and/or flour your hands while you split the dough into two logs, about 1 inch high and 2 inches wide.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on the edges and just slightly soft in the middle.  Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet and remove to a wire rack.  Set aside until cool to the touch, about 30 minutes.
  5. Cut each log crosswise into half-inch slices with a serrated knife.  Place slices on the same parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake 15-20 minutes until golden.  Cool completely on wire racks.