Almond Flour Bread with Goat Cheese & Pickled Strawberry Preserves

I’m giving you two recipes today- a fabulous gluten-free, grain-free almond flour bread and an unexpected strawberry jam!

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The almond flour bread is a wonderful option whether or not you follow a gluten-free diet so I’m sure I’ll be making it quite often from here on out.  This bread is simple, customizable and completely satisfying.  A couple slices are a perfect snack and should keep hunger at bay all the way until lunch. Next, I’m thinking a savory option…some sun-dried tomatoes and herbs, maybe?  Be aware, this bread is quite dense and doesn’t taste like your traditional wheat bread.  But that’s ok…it’s fun to experiment right?

Recently, I have been making quite a few recipes from Tara O’Brady’s Seven Spoons cookbook and her pickled strawberry jam immediately caught my attention.  The flavor is superb and with the addition of spices like coriander, bay leaves and black peppercorns, it’s not quite like any jam I’ve tasted before. With strawberry season in full swing, I couldn’t wait to use the ones I had just picked up from the farmers’ market for this recipe.

Lightly toast the almond bread then layer the goat cheese and strawberry preserves and…that’s it!  And don’t forget the coffee!

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Honey-Lavender Rice Crispy Treats {with Raspberries!}

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So we have more rice crispy treats.  Because my last batch felt quite indulgent with the combination of peanut butter and chocolate, I wanted to make these just a bit lighter.  They still include chocolate because…why not?  However, it’s only drizzled over the top and the honey provides most of the sweetness.  This was my first time using lavender flowers and, to be honest, wasn’t sure how their flavor would incorporate with the rest of the ingredients.  I’m glad I included them because they pair really well with the honey and leave very subtle floral notes at the finish.  Plus there are the little bursts of dried raspberries to give them an extra punch of flavor. So what I’m saying is…make these now!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups crisp brown rice
  • ¾ – 1 cup dried raspberries
  • 1 tbs Maca powder (optional)
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ tsp food-grade lavender flowers
  • 2-3 oz good dark chocolate, melted
  • knob of coconut oil
  • dash of vanilla
  • pinch of salt

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the crisp brown rice, dried raspberries and Maca powder until combined. Set aside.

Warm the almond butter, honey, coconut oil and vanilla bean paste in a small sauce pan over medium heat and stir. Once combined, add in lavender flowers and stir together until fragrant- about 30 seconds or so.

Pour warmed honey-almond butter mixture over the crisp brown rice, dried raspberries and mac powder .  Using a rubber spatula, fold ingredients together until everything is coated.

Empty contents of bowl into a greased 8×8 pan and even everything out with a spatula.

Warm chopped chocolate with coconut oil, vanilla and salt in microwave for 30 second intervals {stirring at each one} until melted. Drizzle over top.  Refrigerate rice crispy treats for at least 30 minutes to harden before slicing.

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Chocolate-Chip Almond Butter Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

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Disclaimer: these are not breakfast cookies!  Even though they are loaded with two kinds of oats, slightly sweetened with pure maple syrup and chewy from almond butter, they are not meant for breakfast.  So don’t grab one as you pass the cookie jar at 8 a.m. Try not to eat the leftover bits and pieces from the half of a cookie your husband took on his way to work in the morning.  And finally, don’t eat them with your coffee or you may never actually eat a real breakfast again.  Contrary to what I just said, I have probably eaten at least two of these cookies for breakfast everyday since I made them a few days ago.  They’re just so darn good.

Now, I do not have Celiac disease nor do I strictly follow a gluten-free diet, but I do love experimenting with different flours in my baking.  You should see my pantry; it’s kind of obscene.  So, these cookies use a combination of sweet rice flour and buckwheat flour, both of which are necessary for the earthy flavor and delicate texture.  The quick-cooking oats give them some chew while the old-fashioned oats add some substance and the combination of maple syrup with almond butter just always seems to work together. Plus they are studded with chunks of chocolate and topped with flaky salt.  Always top your cookies with flaky salt.

I decided to wait until my husband ate about three of these before I told him they were both vegan and gluten-free…and he still kept eating them!  I will tell you that is a good sign because he doesn’t like me to change up a good thing like a simple chocolate chip cookie.

**Note: Sweet rice flour is more of a specialty flour that is not easily substituted.  It’s made from a variety of “sticky rice” that lends itself well to gluten-free baking due to its superb binding qualities and high starch content.**

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup sweet rice flour
  • ½ cup buckwheat flour
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats + an extra handful for the tops
  • ½ cup quick-cooking {baby} oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt {¼ tsp if almond butter is salted}
  • ½ tsp cardamom
    • I love this using this spice and it always adds a unique flavor, however feel free to leave it out if it’s not available
  • 1 cup smooth, unsalted almond butter
  • ¾ cup + 2 tbs 100% pure maple syrup
  • 6 tbs coconut oil, melted & cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups coarsly chopped bittersweet chocolate {I prefer 65-70%} + extra chunks for the tops
  • flaky sea salt, for the tops

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two to three baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sweet rice and buckwheat flours, old-fashioned and baby oats, baking soda and salt.  In another bowl, stir together almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined with a wooden spoon. Then stir vigorously for about 20 seconds to help create a chewier texture. Stir in the chocolate.

Form the dough in to 1 ½ inch balls and place at least 2 inches apart on baking sheets.  I topped each cookie with flaky salt, some oats and a chunk or two of chocolate.

Bake the cookies, rotating the pans from front to back after five minutes, until the cookies are puffed and slightly cracked on top, set around the sides, 10-12 minutes.  Cool on pan for at least five minutes, then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely. They will be soft and seem undone at first but will firm as they cool.

Will keep for about three days in an airtight container– if they last that long!

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{not changed a bit from The Bojon Gourmet}

Chocolate (Avocado) Mousse

This recipe was inspired by a fantastic dessert my husband and I shared with friends at a little restaurant called Magpie in Sacramento.  Over and over we had been hearing rave reviews about this eatery, so at nine months pregnant with an appetite as big as my stomach, we headed over there prepared to chow down.  I ordered their mac n’ cheese with Brussels sprouts which was decadent and delicious but the highlight of the meal was dessert. Or, more accurately, desserts. Our friend made the executive decision that we had to try and share all four desserts off the menu.  One of the desserts was a chocolate avocado mousse dusted with cinnamon that was by far my favorite.  What excited me even more was that it seemed easy enough to recreate myself.

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So, the mousse I have created includes all the healthy fats from the emerald green avocados with a light, natural sweetness from Medjool dates and 100% maple syrup.  No butter or sugar here!  I also incorporated a few warming spices such as cinnamon, cardamom with a hint of cayenne pepper and topped it off with flaked sea salt.  Perfect ending to a decadent meal.

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