Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – Dairy/Soy/Wheat Free


It is hard for me to resist these little beauties.  Really hard.  They are so so good I have to put them out of sight or else I find an excuse to grab another one.  It seems I can have a little bit of dairy free chocolate in my diet, just a little, so I have to practice some major self-control when I go into the kitchen.  When I eat these cookies I don’t find myself thinking about what they are missing (butter) like I do with a lot of non-dairy sweets.  I do find myself delighted that something so delicious is so healthy, for a dessert item.  Although they are not a health food, these cookies aren’t full of fat, processed sugar or white flour.

And I’m not the only one who likes them.  These cookies even passed the “Non-Dieter” test.  I pulled out my Tupperware container full of these cookies at our Mothers Day BBQ.  The cookies were a hit and I got several requests for the recipe.  That says a lot people!  It is hard to pull off a good butter-free-chocolate-chip-cookie-like food but this one does it.

I found the basic recipe for this cookie when looking through a collection of Paleo diet recipes.  If you haven’t heard of the Paleo diet, it is also known as the caveman diet.  I’ve just recently learned of it and from what I understand, people on this diet try to eat as a caveman would, eating fruits, vegetables, meats and avoiding processed sugar, all grains, dairy and soy.  Almond flour is used in place of regular white flour in baked goods.  I’m not trying to follow a Paleo diet, just happen to almost be on it anyway with the food limitations we have, but finding a large collection of new dairy/soy free recipes has been great.

While perusing some Paleo recipes, I found a recipe for almond butter cookies in an article on “How to Have a Paleo Cheat Day.”  (There are a few other good looking recipes I haven’t tried yet.)  I didn’t have almond butter but I had some natural peanut butter and so I made them as Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.   So if you can’t use peanut butter,  try using  almond butter.

PS- Usually I’m a batter person.  I taste batters to check the flavors and I like the batters for cookies/cake more than the end result.  This was the total opposite.  I really didn’t like the batter at all.  While the first batch cooked I was betting I would have to throw the whole experiment away.  So glad I didn’t!!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


2 cups Almond Flour

1/2 cup peanut butter – I used a natural peanut butter that was a bit chunky or use almond butter if you don’t do peanuts

2 eggs

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 tsp salt – If your peanut butter has no salt in it I would bump this up to 3/4 tsp.

2 cups Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips or other dairy/soy free chocolate chips


Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Scoop out tablespoons of dough and roll into balls.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake 8-12 min at 375 degrees F.


Manischewitz Marble Cake

Just wanted to do a quick review while Colin is napping.  I made a box of the Manischewitz Marble Cake mix, just the regular variety, not the extra moist which contains carrageenan.  I just put the chocolate batter in one part so I could eat the non-chocolate side.  Oh my goodness! It is moist and delicious and tastes like cake!  (If you’ve been following my blog, you know finding dairy/soy free cake mix that tastes good is quite a challenge!)   It contains wheat and potato starch.  The whole list is here:  You just need eggs and water to make the batter.

This stuff is expensive.  $5 for a teeny tiny pan, but I still went out and bought 4 more boxes of it.  My hope is that I will be able use it for Colin’s birthday or other dessert laden holidays if potato is a success.  If nothing else, I will eat it. I’m debating trying to make it into tiny cupcakes to see if it works in cupcake form.

It is my understanding that like Easter candy, these box mixes are only around right now for Passover.  I would highly recommend checking them out before they are gone! – click on individual products to get ingredient lists!

-And I swear I’m not affiliated with Manischewitz in any way, just very excited to find something fast and easy that tastes like real cake!





The Secret To Better Frosting

I just have a moment to write while my kiddos finish up their naps, but I wanted to get this out before you start planning your holiday goodies and shopping lists.    I discovered the secret to making better frosting- dairy or dairy free:  Powdered Sugar that is 100% cane sugar.   No beet sugar!  This may be known to a lot of you already but it was a HUGE revelation for me.

In the past year I’ve made a lot of different dairy free frostings trying to find something similar to buttercream icing.  The results of these frosting experiments haven’t always been super smooth and I chalked it up to using various butter substitutes.  I figured the new ingredients were messing up the texture and accepted it for what it was.  More recently though I thought the frosting was even more grainy than normal.  I googled it and found a post somewhere explaining that grainy frosting is usually due to cheap powdered sugar that has been made with beet sugar instead of cane sugar.   I jumped up and looked at the generic powdered sugar that I have always used.  It just said sugar and cornstarch.  I looked at the bag of the brand name powdered sugar when I went to the store and it said “Pure Cane Sugar- No Beet Sugar.”  (So I guess the sugar people already knew it made a difference).

I made some frosting with the new 100% cane sugar powdered sugar and oh my goodness!  It was sooo smooth, like whipped cream compared to the stuff I’d been eating.  I had no idea the difference it could make!  It makes the dairy free frosting recipe I use SOO much better.   I couldn’t stop eating it out of the bowl.  I will NEVER buy the generic kind again for using in a recipe!


Puffy Sugared Cookies

It was really tough this summer to get to the computer.  Now that Hannah is back in preschool, I have a little more time to get pictures off of my camera and get back to my recipe blogging.  My “free” mornings aren’t all that free since I’m chasing Colin around, but when he naps I can get a few minutes of work done.

The recipe I’m sharing today is the go-to cookie in my house when I want to make a cookie I can eat. I probably make these once a month since everyone in the house likes them.  They are dairy and soy free without needing any expensive butter substitutes.  The recipe is Betty Crocker’s Stir-and-Drop Sugar Cookies.  I’ve named my post “Puffy Sugared Cookies” to give you an idea of the texture of these cookies.  Although Betty Crocker calls them sugar cookies, they aren’t the dense flat ones you put frosting on.  When I make them they come out lighter, puffy and rounded on top.  The cookie itself isnt’ very sweet, it’s the sugar pressed into the top that really makes the cookie. (So don’t skip that step!)

I’ve used regular granulated sugar to decorate the cookies, coloring it first with a drop of food coloring (see below), and I’ve also used sanding sugar, which is a slightly coarser sugar.   In the picture above the yellow cookie is has regular sugar on it and the pink cookie has the decorating sugar.  Although both tasted great, I prefer the look and crunch of the coarser sugar.

Puffy Sugared Cookies


3/4 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup neutral tasting oil, like canola oil

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

Additional sugar for tops of cookies- I like coarse sugar- the colored types meant for decorating


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and oil.  Then add the baking powder, vanilla, salt, eggs, and flour, mixing between each addition.  The batter will be runny/gooey compared to most cookie batters.

Drop teaspoons of batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  I find a disher is very helpful.

Pour the sanding sugar/colored sugar you want to use onto a small plate.  Press a glass very lightly onto a cookie to grease the bottom of the glass, then press into the colored sugar.  Place the glass on the cookie again to deposit the sugar on the top of the cookie.  You don’t need to flatten the cookie, you are just pressing enough to sugar the top.  If the sugar is not sticking to the glass, try wetting the bottom of the glass very slightly with water.  Repeat the sugaring process for all of the cookies.  Bake the cookies 8-10 minutes and enjoy!

* To make your own colored sugar, place a few tablespoons of granulated sugar in a small bowl.  Add one drop of food coloring.  Stir with a spoon.  At first the coloring will ball up and it will look like it won’t combine but keep stirring and mashing the food coloring with the back of the spoon. In a few minutes you will have uniformly colored sugar.

Grilled Banana Delight

Recently my husband and I saw a Food Network special where lots of hosts were grilling and making summery dishes.  A dessert by Bobby Flay featuring grilled bananas caught our eye. We grill at least once a week and I thought it would be great to put the leftover heat of the charcoal to use making dessert.  I was also excited to try this dessert because I saw a good opportunity to use my new coconut whipped cream.

To prepare the bananas for grilling, Bobby Flay did not peel them which is important because the peel gives the banana some support on the grill. He cut them lengthwise so he had two long banana halves.  He brushed both sides with a little oil and grilled them for a few minutes on each side.   Grilling the bananas caramelizes the sugars on the surface of the bananas and makes them hot, which I think brings a new dimension to the fruit.

Bobby finished the bananas with some creme fraiche and maple syrup but I used my homemade coconut whipped cream and sprinkled on an assortment of berries.  Woohoo buddy!   Although the whipped cream lost its volume as it hit the heat, the warm bananas and cool coconut cream were a lovely tropical combination.  It was a perfect summer evening dessert.  What’s more is that in the scheme of desserts, this one isn’t too bad for you.

Grilled Banana Delight

Adapted from Food Network


2 bananas -unpeeled

Canola or other neutral oil

Coconut whipped cream

1 cup fresh berries – raspberries, blueberries, blackberries -whatever you like


Preheat grill or use leftover heat after grilling your dinner.  Make sure the grill grates are clean.  Slice each banana lengthwise.  Brush both sides of the banana halves lightly with oil.  Grill bananas cut side down for 2 minutes.  Turn the over and grill another 2 minutes or so.  Remove bananas from their peels and cut each half in the middle – giving you four banana pieces. Place the bananas on a serving plate and top generously with coconut whipped cream.  Sprinkle with fresh berries and serve immediately.

Angel Food Cake

One of Hannah’s favorite desserts is “strawberry shortcake”.  Really what I make is angel food cake torn into pieces, strawberries sliced over the top, a splash of milk to moisten and sometimes a tiny dollop of whipped cream.  This is how I ate is as a child and I’ve got Hannah hooked on it.  I’ve been buying some store-bought angel food cakes and although they say they are free of any offending ingredients, Colin has repeatedly gotten fussy after I eat them.  My guess is that it is due to contamination on the baking line and so I decided to try my hand at making my own.

I’m not a huge fan of angel food cake.  It usually is too airy and lacking in flavor.  Some I’ve eaten have almost had a bite or metallic taste so it is usually a dessert I would pass on.  However, after making my own I am happy to say that homemade angel food cake is very different from the box or store kind and much much better. Mine was more dense, but in a good way,  and actually tasted like something.  My husband and I were so surprised eating it.  He feels the same way about the typical angel food cake as I do and he really loved the one I made.

To make the cake I followed this recipe.  The only change I made was using a bundt pan (ungreased) instead of a tube pan, since I don’t own one.  For the egg whites I used egg whites from a carton since I had them on hand and it made the prep time really fast.  I let the egg whites beat in the stand mixer while I put the rest of the ingredients together.  My only tip would be to make sure to beat your egg whites long enough.  They need to form stiff peaks to create the volume in the cake.  As soon as the cake came out of the oven I turned it over on top of a beer bottle and let it cool completely.  I ran a knife down the sides and along the inside edge and it came out easily.

This would be great with some blueberries, strawberries and coconut whipped cream this week for the Fourth of July!

For my USA readers- have a happy and safe Fourth of July.  Try to stay cool!

Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream

Continuing with my coconut milk successes, I decided to try my hand again at making a dairy free ice cream.  It has been a while since I had a milk substitute I could use, so I was really excited to get back into the ice cream making.  I found a recipe at Whole Foods for coconut ice cream and decided to give it a go.

This recipe uses eggs and for a custard-like ice cream, I thought it was very simple to make.  The eggs and sugar get whipped by hand, the coconut milk gets poured in, all of that gets heated and vanilla goes in.  Not too tricky.  I had vanilla beans on hand so I decided to add some vanilla bean to the recipe for both the flavor and the little vanilla bean specks.  You could definitely just use real vanilla extract if you don’t have access to vanilla beans.  I also used a bit more sugar than the original recipe.  I tasted the original ice cream batter and decided I wanted something a little sweeter.

The ice cream that resulted was just as good as the coconut ice creams from the store.  Really I thought it was even better since the eggs make for a smooth ice cream and no weird textures.  The vanilla extract and bean create great flavor so you don’t taste just coconut.  That was important to me since I get tired of plain old coconut flavor in everything.   I actually put this ice cream out at a party I had, warning everyone that it was my dairy free ice cream, and I got really positive reviews.  Several people asked for seconds!

I can’t wait to make it again and to try adding fruit to create new flavors.

Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream


4 egg yolks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1  (13.5 oz) can regular coconut milk

1 (13.5 oz) can light coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 2 teaspoons if omitting the vanilla bean)

1 vanilla bean


In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to whip the egg yolks and sugar quickly  for 2 minutes.  The yolks should turn a pale yellow color. Pour in both the regular and light coconut milks.  Whisk again to combine thoroughly.   Pour the mixture into a medium pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the thickened mixture coats the back of a spoon or the temperature reaches 160 degrees F.  Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.  Slit the vanilla bean down the middle with a sharp knife.  Scrape out all the vanilla seeds from both sides of the bean and add them to the ice cream mix.  Whisk lightly to break up any vanilla seed clumps.   Let the ice cream mix cool slightly and then chill thoroughly in the refrigerator before processing in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.  (Mine takes about 25 minutes in our Cuisinart ice cream maker.)

Dreamy Strawberry Rice Milk Ice Cream

Usually I only make ice cream for birthday celebrations in our house, but after a few weeks of living dairy free, I began to crave the stuff.   I was literally dreaming about eating ice cream. Spoonfuls and spoonfuls of delicious forbidden ice cream.  I searched the Web for recipes that used rice milk but couldn’t  find exactly what I needed.  I found several for soy ice creams, but soy was also on our “No Eat List.”   I began trying to piece together recipes and ice cream making techniques to come up with something both delicious and safe for us to eat.

To make a good rice milk ice cream I had several challenges to overcome.  First, rice milk does not contain the fat that real cream has.  That fat creates the smoothness on your tongue and helps it from becoming a hard block of ice in the freezer.  I decided to make a custard based ice cream (uses eggs yolks) to compensate for the lack of fat in the rice milk and hopefully make for a richer mouth feel.  Also I didn’t want the ice cream to taste just  like frozen rice milk.  My taste buds needed something new.   I had a bag of frozen strawberries in the freezer leftover from our trips to strawberry fields in the summer and decided to put them to use.

After assembling the custard I poured the mix into my electric Cusinart ice cream maker and let it churn away.  I’ll admit I couldn’t wait for the machine to finish.  When it reached a thick soft serve consistency and started rolling up near the opening at the top of the machine,  my spoon went in for a quick bite.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Smooth, sweet and full of lovely strawberry flavor.  Ohhhh so good!  I think ice cream is its best right out of the churn but this ice cream froze well too.  Granted it didn’t stay as soft as commercial ice cream  but it didn’t turn into an ice block either.

Unfortunately very shortly after this ice cream success we began to suspect rice as one of Colin’s food triggers.  No more rice milk for me.  So until we are sure about rice being safe  or he hopefully grows out of this, I’ll keep this recipe filed away to make some day in the future.  Until then, I’ll have to share a scoop with the sandman.

Strawberry Rice Milk Ice Cream


2 cups rice milk- I used Rice Dream Vanilla

1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or corn starch

5 large egg yolks

2/3 cup granulated white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup strawberries fresh or frozen (defrosted)


Pour 1 ¾ cups rice milk into a medium sauce pot and heat over medium- high until it begins to simmer.  In a small bowl thoroughly mix the remaining ¼ cup rice milk with the arrowroot starch or cornstarch.  Stir the arrowroot mixture into the simmering rice milk.  Cook for a few minutes until the rice milk has slightly thickened.  Keep the milk at a low simmer so it is ready for the next step.

Meanwhile  in a bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.  I used a wire whisk and beat it like crazy for about two minutes.  A stand mixer would also work for this step and would save your arms.   Now slowly pour the hot thickened rice milk into the whipped egg yolk mixture a few tablespoons at a time, making sure you keep whisking constantly so the eggs don’t curdle.  As the egg mixture warms up you can increase the amount of hot rice milk you are adding in and continue until all the rice milk is incorporated into the egg mixture.  The reason for the slow mixing process is you don’t want to make scrambled eggs by heating the eggs too fast.  However,  if any small lumps do form,  you can strain the mixture at the end.

Place the egg and milk mixture back in the pot and cook on medium, stirring constantly until the custard thickens enough that it coats the back of a spoon (170 degrees F).  I do check mine with a thermometer to make sure the eggs are cooked.

Immediately take the custard off the heat but continue to stir it for a few minutes so it does not overcook.  If you have lumps in the custard now is the time to pour the mixture through a strainer.  If you don’t see any lumps, no need to strain.  Now stir in the vanilla extract and the strawberry sauce (puree). I let it cool and then put it in a ziplock bag and chill thoroughly.   Once it is cold you are ready to process it in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once made, transfer the ice cream to a chilled container and store in the freezer.