white and dark clusters

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

I think the only rea­son my chil­dren make candy with me is the reward of lick­ing the choco­late drenched spat­u­las. It’s a good deal for every­one, actu­ally. While mak­ing my tra­di­tional bark that my hus­band hands out at work each year, I came up with this lit­tle treat. It’s lovely to look at, but the taste is one of those really per­fect bal­ances of savory and sweet with the sur­prise of cin­na­mon. I’m always encour­ag­ing peo­ple to mess around with recipes, but really, try this one just the way it is — divine.

The key is using roasted, salted almonds. Odd as it may seem, salt is the per­fect counter mea­sure to choco­late. It makes it taste full and bal­anced. It pro­vides that qual­ity that makes you want another piece. My only advice — make extra!

Prep time: 10 min­utes:
Total time: 2 hours
Yield: as much as you want
Spe­cial equip­ment: sheet pan and parch­ment paper

I’m giv­ing gen­eral mea­sure­ments here, because you can pro­duce as much as you want, with just a few guidelines:

about 8 ounces dark choco­late (I use the 72% dark choco­late block from Trader Joe’s), chopped
about 12 ounces white choco­late (I used Trader Joe’s white choco­late chips)
about 1 c. roasted, salted almonds

  1. Arrange parch­ment upon sheet pan.
  2. Place almonds atop pan in groups of four.
  3. Melt white choco­late over dou­ble boiler, tem­per­ing it.
  4. Using a table spoon mea­sure­ment, (or a soup spoon), drop white choco­late onto almond clus­ter and wait until it sets about 45 minutes.
  5. Melt dark choco­late over dou­ble boiler, tem­per­ing it.
  6. Using a table spoon mea­sure­ment, (or a soup spoon), drop slightly less amount of dark choco­late onto almond clus­ter, so that the choco­late drapes over the white choco­late but doesn’t obscure it.
  7. After 10 min­utes, dust the clus­ters with cin­na­mon. Allow clus­ters to set fur­ther another 45 minutes.

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goat cheese christmas log

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

I was try­ing to come up with some­thing fes­tive for a client’s hol­i­day party when I spied scal­lions and fresh cran­ber­ries in the fridge. Here’s the result — a lus­cious goat cheese log with scal­lions and orange spiced dried cran­ber­ries. Deli­cious and so pretty for Christ­mas. The creami­ness of the cheese pairs per­fectly with the crunch of an almond or rice cracker. Wash it down with a Cham­pagne Cos­mopoli­tan Cock­tail and you’ve got a party!

Prep time: 10 min­utes
Total time: 30 min­utes
Yield: 1 log that serves 8 as an appe­tizer

1 10.5 oz. log of room tem­per­a­ture goat cheese
1/2 c. dried cran­ber­ries (Trader Joe’s sells amaz­ing orange fla­vored ones*)
1/4 c. finely chopped scallions

  1. Soak the cran­ber­ries in boil­ing water for 5 min­utes to soften. Drain and finely chop.
  2. Upon a long piece of plas­tic wrap, spread the cran­ber­ries and scal­lions into a rec­tan­gu­lar shape no longer that the log.
  3. Roll log in mix­ture, press­ing so the ingre­di­ents adhere.
  4. Roll log tightly in plas­tic wrap, twist­ing the ends firmly so that it looks like a fat, lit­tle sausage.
  5. Refrig­er­ate until needed. Remove 20 min­utes before serv­ing. Goat cheese thats too cold will crum­ble and you want this creamy.

*If you can’t find orange-infused cran­ber­ries, use reg­u­lar cran­ber­ries and 1/2 tsp. orange zest.

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thanksgiving countdown — cranberry relish

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

Whether you’re prepar­ing for an inti­mate meal or are expect­ing a house full, if you’re host­ing Thanks­giv­ing this year, there are plenty of things you can do ahead of time. In fact, there are a few items that taste bet­ter done in advance. My cran­berry rel­ish is one of them. I make my rel­ish at least a week in advance so that all the fla­vors can develop. It’s just like mak­ing refrig­er­a­tor jam. Super easy, super quick and do-ahead.

You can add any­thing you like to this rel­ish — raisins, nuts, chopped apples. My fam­ily likes it the way my grand­mother and mom made it. Set it into an sealed glass con­tainer and you’ve taken one thing off your list.

This year I used organic cran­ber­ries which tend to come in 8 ounce pack­ages instead of the stan­dard 12 ounce. Here’s a recipe using 8 ounces of cran­ber­ries.

Prep time: 5 min­utes
Total time: 15 min­utes
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

1 8 oz pack­age fresh cran­ber­ries, rinsed and picked over
2/3 c. sugar
3/4 c. orange juice
tiny pinch of salt
1 cin­na­mon stick

  1. Place all ingre­di­ents into saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Sim­mer for about 10 min­utes, until most of the cran­ber­ries have popped. Cool and refrig­er­ate. Remove cin­na­mon stick prior to serving.

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chocolate dipped macaroons

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

I really think mac­a­roons are the poster child for gluten-free treats. Plus, you’ve got to love a “cookie” that dates back to 16th cen­tury Italy. Over the years, Ital­ian Jews adopted the recipe due to a lack of leav­en­ing (no flour). Over the next cen­turies, the recipe under­went a few cul­tural iterations.

Here in the states, we asso­ciate mac­a­roons with shred­ded coconut, but really they first orig­i­nated with an almond base. In fact, the mul­ti­col­ored French vari­ety, mac­aron, is still made with almonds. Grad­u­ally, Amer­i­cans replaced the almond base entirely for shred­ded coconut and in many cases, added a dip in chocolate.

Even though the mod­ern recipe is very much the same, I find each fam­ily has their own secrets. My grand­mother height­ened her egg whites with a dash of cream of tar­tar and I’m fairly cer­tain she slightly toasted the coconut before fold­ing it into the stiff egg whites. Go dig for your fam­ily recipe and if you come up short, try these.

I made bite sized mac­a­roons with the assis­tance of my mini ice cream scooper, but they can be made into a loftier spec­i­men by sim­ply drop­ping them with a soup spoon. I tried agave with this recipe and didn’t like the spongy tex­ture. I try not to eat a ton of sugar, but every once in a while when we do, I don’t mess with tradition.

Prep time: 15 min­utes
Total time: 30–35 min­utes
Yield: 34 small cook­ies
Spe­cial equip­ment: parch­ment paper,  mini ice cream scooper (optional) 3 cookie sheets, stand mixer or hand mixer, double-boiler (optional)

4 large egg whites
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
3 c. unsweet­ened shred­ded coconut, plus 3 T set aside
1 c. semi-sweet choco­late chips (I use Trader Joe’s) optional

  1. Pre­heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line cookie sheets with parch­ment paper.
  3. Com­bine egg whites, sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until glossy and stiff peaks form.
  4. Gen­tly fold coconut into egg white mix­ture until evenly combined.
  5. Drop scoops of mix­ture atop parch­ment paper lined bak­ing sheets with mini ice cream scooper or spoon.
  6. Bake for 10–15 min­utes until just golden.
  7. Remove to cool­ing rack for 30 min­utes until com­pletely cool.
  8. Melt choco­late over dou­ble boiler, (or very care­fully over low­est heat) stir­ring con­stantly until smooth.
  9. Remove from heat and dip mac­a­roons. Before the choco­late sets, sprin­kle with reserved shred­ded coconut. Cool and eat.



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banana berry scones

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

Okay, admit­tedly I’m on a bit of a scone kick. I can’t help myself with my recent dis­cov­ery of Lucy’s amaz­ing almond flour and all the fresh, organic berries South­ern Cal­i­for­nia has to offer.

A note about Lucy’s and other small busi­nesses. No, it won’t arrive two days later by drone, but you can be happy you are patron­iz­ing a small busi­ness. The flour is extremely well processed and is lighter and rises bet­ter than any­thing else I’ve found out there. Thanks to my friend Erika for intro­duc­ing me to it. Inci­den­tally, after a phone call to place my order, I got my deliv­ery three days later.

These freeze beau­ti­fully, but like most baked goods, are best five min­utes out of the oven. Slather with but­ter or jam, or just eat on their own for a quick and easy break­fast or a nutri­tious after­noon snack.

Prep time: 10 min­utes
Total time: 30 min­utes
Yield: 15 muffins
Spe­cial equip­ment: ice cream scooper and parch­ment paper (if desired)

4 c. almond flour
1 1/2 tsp. bak­ing soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs (I use 3 extra large or 4 large)
1/3 c. agave, honey or maple syrup
1 large, very ripe banana, mashed
1/3 c. fresh blue­ber­ries
1/3 c. fresh rasp­ber­ries
1/3 c. fresh straw­ber­ries, trimmed and sliced into pieces the size of blueberries

  1. Pre­heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix almond flour, bak­ing soda and salt together.
  3. In a sep­a­rate bowl, whisk eggs and agave until thor­oughly combined.
  4. Add wet ingre­di­ents to dry and mix.
  5. Add mashed banana and mix.
  6. Fold fresh berries into bat­ter by hand until combined.
  7. With ice cream scooper, place scoop onto parch­ment paper lined (or oiled) bak­ing sheets.
  8. Bake for 18–20 min­utes or until a tooth­pick comes out clean.

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