Yumolicious GF Harvest Muffins

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Chow Down: Yumolicious GF Harvest Muffins! Have you discovered the silky taste of almond butter lately? I recently came across a gourmet item that enhanced the almond butter with cinnamon and chia seeds. Because it works with this muffin recipe, I went ahead and used it. Obviously, if chia seeds are not your thing, no worries. The butternut squash is the star attraction, in my opinion. It has a natural sweet flavor that surpasses the pumpkin patch variety that is more common. Since I recently made a batch of glazed pears, they were added to the “harvest”, but you can certainly substitute with a delicious apple instead. If I haven’t piqued your interest by now, let me further add the fact that these yumolicious muffins are gluten-free. See? It works. You learn something new everyday.

YUMOLICIOUS GF HARVEST MUFFINS

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butternut squash purée

1 cup almond butter

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 pear, finely chopped

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 tablespoon almond flour

2-3 tablespoons old fashioned oats

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°. Use muffin cup liners for 12 muffins. Line the muffin tin; set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine butternut squash purée, almond butter, maple syrup, beaten egg, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix well. Fold in the chopped pears. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. For the topping, mix brown sugar, softened butter, almond flour, and old fashioned oats. Mixture will be crumbly. Sprinkle each muffin with streusel topping. Top with sunflower seeds. Bake 30-35 minutes or until muffins pull away from paper liner. Watch carefully.

Frozen Strawberry Yogurt Bark

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Foodstuff Redefined: Frozen Strawberry Yogurt Bark! When my stepdaughter, Brandi, passed along this healthy summer frozen yogurt idea, I just had to give it a try. One bite and my mouth did a “Happy Dance”!With a plain non-fat yogurt base, practically any fruit can be used. Think about it: raspberries, peaches, blueberries, or bananas. Choose sprinkles or nuts for added crunch, like I have here. The possibilities are endless. Frozen Strawberry Yogurt Bark is cold, it’s refreshing, and it disappears before you know it. Just beware of the eager-eater. You may be witness to a brain-freeze!

FROZEN STRAWBERRY YOGURT BARK

Ingredients:

2 cups Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons natural honey

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup white chocolate chips

2 tablespoons crushed pistachios, separated

5 fresh strawberries, stems removed and sliced

2-3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

1 teaspoon toasted coconut

Instructions:

In a large bowl, combine Greek yogurt, natural honey, and almond extract. Mix well. Fold in white chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon crushed pistachios. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spread the yogurt mixture evenly to keep the bark 1/2″ thick. Arrange the strawberry slices on top. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, the toasted coconut, and remaining crushed pistachios. Place baking sheet in the freezer 4 hours or overnight. Remove frozen strawberry bark and break into pieces. Store in a covered container in the freezer.

Moroccan Stuffed Dates

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Sunshine Eats: Moroccan Stuffed Dates! The next time you throw together a Charcuterie Board, surprise everyone with an elegant delicacy of royal ancestors. Their natural sweet flavor and crunchy texture make pitted dates ideal for snacking. And who doesn’t love finger-food? When stuffed with an amazing almond paste, and a sprinkling of rose water, a superior appetizer is born. Impress yourself by turning ordinary into absolutely delicious.

MOROCCAN STUFFED DATES

Ingredients:

8 ounces pitted dates

3/4 cup natural almonds

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

dash of cinnamon

1 teaspoon rose water

1 teaspoon almond extract

1-2 teaspoons water

12-16 walnut halves

Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Instructions:

Pulse almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Add powdered sugar and cinnamon; mix well. Add rose water, almond extract, and one teaspoon of water. Pulse until mixture becomes a paste, adding another teaspoon of water if necessary. Fill each date with the almond mixture, using a demitasse spoon. You want the paste to form a slight bulge over the top of the slit. Repeat until all dates are filled. Place the stuffed dates on a serving platter. Garnish with a walnut half and a dusting of powdered sugar.

Quasi Cherry Almond Macaroon Slab Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Quasi Cherry Almond Macaroon Slab Pie! Now that’s a mouthful. But truth-be-told when you’re talking about a dessert with mounds of plump cherry clusters, flaked coconut, and sliced nuts…well, nothing else will do. By transforming it all into a slab pie, portions become more manageable over traditional sliced servings. The crust is still flaky, even if there is less of it. Focus instead on a sweet treat with a single shot of Italian espresso or scoop of ice cream. It’s a perfect balance for the taste buds.

QUASI CHERRY ALMOND MACAROON SLAB PIE

Ingredients:

1 prepared pie crust

Ingredients for filling:

21-ounce can cherry pie filling

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Ingredients for topping:

1 cup coconut, shredded

1/2 cup almonds, sliced

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

1 egg, beaten

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Roll the prepared pie crust to fit the baking sheet. Trim the dough to only fit the bottom of the pan. If necessary, use the extra dough pieces to fill in the corners. Pinch to seal. In a large bowl, combine the cherry pie filling, cinnamon, sea salt, and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. Spoon the filling onto the pie crust. Spread in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, for the topping, fill a mixing bowl with the shredded coconut, sliced almonds, sugar, sea salt, milk, melted butter, almond extract, coconut extract, and beaten egg. Remove the slab pie from the oven. Spread macaroon topping over all. Return slab pie to oven, bake 25 minutes longer, or until bubbly and golden brown. Cut into slices. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.

Flaky Strawberry Turnovers

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Table Food: Flaky Strawberry Turnovers! Let the experts do what they do best, I always say. That’s the reason I begin with a prepared puff pastry easily found in the freezer section of the grocery store. The flaky light dough is filled with yummy butter and then repeatedly folded and rolled before baking. For you, my peeps, it simply involves thawing at room temperature for about 45 minutes. Pure genius, if you ask me, making the rest of the recipe is a walk in the park.

FLAKY STRAWBERRY TURNOVERS

Ingredients:

1 sheet puff pastry, prepared

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

3/4 cup strawberries, chopped

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

1 egg white, beaten

For the glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon milk

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Unroll thawed puff pastry. Cut into four squares. Set aside. In a bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar and almond extract. Mix well. In another bowl, combine chopped strawberries, sugar, and cornstarch. Gently toss until coated. Spread the cream cheese onto the squares of dough, keeping it towards one corner, forming a diagonal. Spoon strawberries over cream cheese. Gently fold the corner over the mixture. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Brush each turnover with beaten egg white. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar, milk, and almond extract. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over strawberry turnovers.

Lemon Poppyseed Mini Bundt Cake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Lemon Poppyseed Mini Bundt Cake! So, apparently mini bundt cakes have been the rage for some time now with quaint little bakeries and countless molds popping up everywhere. My friend, Nancy, was kind enough to gift me with a cute little ceramic mold. I began looking at recipes and couldn’t believe all the variations out there. Choosing the first one came easily with almonds, lemon, and poppyseed ingredients, especially with a lemony sweet-tart glaze. But wait, you utter. You’ve heard me say my husband simply does not like lemon baked goods. I know, but there’s a method to my madness. You see, lemon poppyseed is one of those combinations that can be eaten as dessert or breakfast. Need I say more? Every little bundt helps.

LEMON POPPYSEED MINI BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1 tablespoon poppyseeds

1/4 cup almonds, sliced

Sliced almonds, for garnish

Ingredients for Lemon Glaze:

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons lemon zest

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a mini bundt pan and 6-mold muffin tin with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Mix well; set aside. Using a mixer on Low speed, cream together the softened butter, vegetable oil, sugar, egg, buttermilk, almond extract, and lemon extract. Mix for about one minute. Slowly add flour mixture, poppyseeds, and sliced almonds just until combined. Divide the batter between the mini bundt pan and muffin tin, filling batter to the top. If desired, sprinkle additional sliced almonds over top before baking. Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 375° and bake 15 minutes longer. The tops will be golden brown. Cake is ready when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and allow cakes to cool another 10 minutes. Drizzle lemon glaze over cakes, if desired.

Dark Chocolate Mug Cake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Dark Chocolate Mug Cake! The first thing I want to tell you about this recipe is coconut flour can make a cake drier than all-purpose flour. True, it does make it a gluten-free alternative AND an excuse to add a scoop of ice cream, which I did. I would call the texture very dense, but my husband was painfully honest and used the word “dry”. I believe adding an extra egg white might alleviate that problem, but who knows? Perhaps you’ll try it and get back to me. The gist of the story is, when you’re really craving something sweet and don’t want to put a lot of time into it, this is a “piece of cake”. Two minutes in the microwave and you’ve got it. Just add fresh strawberries, sliced almonds, and a wicked scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. You can blame me.

DARK CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 large egg, room temperature

Powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Fresh strawberries, for garnish

Sliced almonds, for garnish

Instructions:

Rub the inside of a microwave-safe coffee mug with butter. Set aside. In a bowl, combine coconut flour, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, almond extract, and a large egg. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared mug. Microwave on High for 1-2 minutes. Carefully remove the mug and let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Add fresh strawberries and sliced almonds, for garnish.

Zabaglione Parfait

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Zabaglione Parfait! That’s Italian. In English it translates to a decadent light custard, bordering on mousse, whipped into a parfait of romance-in-a-glass. Add fruit, toasted coconut, and a smidgen of nutmeg for a dessert that will have everyone exclaiming, “That’s Amoré!”

ZABAGLIONE PARFAIT

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream, whipped 3-5 minutes

3 egg yolks, beaten

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon lemon citrus peel, granulated

1 pinch nutmeg

2 drops almond extract

1/4 cup sweet vermouth, or almond liqueur

1/4 cup raspberry preserves

Fresh raspberries

French Vanilla Wafer Rolls

Toasted coconut

Instructions:

In a chilled bowl, beat heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use. In the bottom of a double boiler, bring water to a simmer and reduce heat to low. In the top of the double boiler, place eggs and sugar. Add granulated lemon citrus peel, nutmeg, and almond extract. Pour in sweet vermouth or amaretto liqueur. Whisk the custard mixture to create a light, fluffy consistency. Do not allow the water to boil. Continue whisking for 10 minutes, until the custard triples in volume. It will turn pale and frothy. The custard will be slightly thickened when ready. Set aside for 15 minutes. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled custard, reserving a portion for a garnish. The texture will appear like mousse. Place a dollop of raspberry preserves into the bottom of each parfait glass. Next, divide the custard equally between the parfait glasses. Top with fresh raspberries. Sprinkle on toasted coconut. Finish with a dab of whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Dish up with a French vanilla wafer roll for nibbling.

Rich Ricotta Cannoli

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Sweet Celebrations: Rich Ricotta Cannoli! For those of you like me, who can’t run down to the Italian bakery, try this recipe on for size. It’s perfect for the holidays and won’t leave you wringing your hands for something gourmet. By splurging on store bought cannoli shells, you can focus on the delectable filling instead. The results are astounding! Applause, applause!

RICH RICOTTA CANNOLI

Ingredients:

15 ounces ricotta cheese, whole milk

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

12 miniature cannoli shells, ready-to-fill

Powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer on low speed, whisk the ricotta cheese and almond extract until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar and nutmeg. Mix well. Refrigerate for one hour. To fill the cannoli shells, pipe the ricotta mixture into both ends of the shell, allowing the cream to fill the center. Garnish with mini chocolate chips. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately. Prepared cannoli may be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container up to three days.