Category Archives: Sweets

A Wheat Allergy + Celebrating Passover

Growing up, Passover was a big deal.  It felt like my mom and dad prepared for weeks.  All the chametz (products containing wheat, grains, etc.) were taken out of the house, and new plates and utensils were brought in, along with Kosher for Passover foods and ingredients.  For 8 days, every holiday meal felt fancy and special because our Passover dishes were fine china from my Grandma Dora, complete with gold silverware (though they’ve now all changed).  However, now that we keep our house friendly for a wheat allergy (dairy and soy too), the preparations for Passover can feel different.  We still clean the kitchen and change dishes and silverware, but what I think about now is how will our son experience Passover.  What does the holiday mean for him when he doesn’t have a choice to be wheat free?  to be soy free?  For 8 days, those who celebrate Passover, and keep Kosher for it, they make a choice to go without wheat, soy, and other items, all to remember the story of the holiday.  But for us, the foods we eat at Passover are no different than during the rest of the year.  Last year, we didn’t eat anything that seemed like bread, and I think that helped convey the “difference” of the holiday.  Of course, there are special foods we eat on Passover like matza balls and gefilte fish, and that will certainly seem different; but as I am preparing for another year of the holiday, I’m still wondering if our son will grow up enjoying the holiday like I did. On the way to school this morning, he told me his Big News in circle time was that we started to get ready for Passover, and that he gets to see all his cousins later this week for a Seder (he is VERY excited about this latter part).  For a holiday that revolves SO much around food, it’s also a holiday with so many rituals & traditions, and it’s our family’s challenge to embrace those, so we can pass on a love of the holiday — when going without wheat and soy, right now, is not a choice.  It’s also a nice reminder how far I’ve come in my cooking for our allergies, because the only Passover items I bought this year are gluten-free matza,  Gefilte Fish (both cheapest at Whole Foods, by the way), and GF matza ball soup mix!  With that win, here are some of my favorite Passover friendly recipes.  Have a great holiday.  xo, Carolyn

Morrocan Style Quinoa


Mushroom and Leek Fritatta


Salmon Burgers


Slow Cooker Sweet & Sour Chicken


Skinnytaste Quick Teriyaki Chicken

(use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and it’s K for P) 

Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

Raw Vegan Cheesecake

(Thank you to Alexis for sharing this delicious dessert recipe with me. It is SO good and a family favorite.  Also great for a make-ahead dessert.  I’m going to try it nut-free and make with sunflower seeds instead of almonds.)Raw Chocolate Cheesecake | The Herb Diaries

Tate’s Chocolate Chip Cookies made Vegan + Gluten Free

Tate’s Chocolate Chip cookies are quite possibly the best cookies ever.  It’s been almost 5 years since I’ve had one, but I can still remember how buttery and crisp they tasted.  Many allergy friendly desserts leave much to be desired, and I’m constantly trying new recipes whenever I have a sweets craving.  This one from the Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook is the best recipe I’ve made yet.  Even with my adaptations it’s excellent.  I think because I used golden brown sugar instead of dark brown, they came out like more traditional cookies; but evenso they are SO good.  They taste buttery, albeit not crispy like original Tate’s cookies, and hit the spot!  The texture is good and it got the B seal of approval, who wanted to eat just cookies for dinner after I made them.  Feel free to swap out your traditional flour, eggs, and butter – I know they’ll still taste wonderful.


Best Vegan + GF Chocolate Chip Cookies

yields about 34 cookies

adapted from Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook


2 cups King Arthur all-purpose baking mix

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup vegan butter (2 sticks; I used the MELT buttery sticks)

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar (golden)

1 tsp water

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs via egg replacer, like Follow Your Heart

2 cups vegan chocolate chips (I used Equal Exchange allergy friendly brand)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugars.  Add the water and vanilla.  Mix the ingredients until they are just combined. Add the “eggs” and mix them lightly.  Stir in the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips, don’t overmix the dough.
  4. Drop the cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets using two tablespoons or an ice cream scoop.  Use 1 tablespoon if you want to make smaller cookies.  [I got about 9 cookies on each baking sheet, leaving plenty of room for them to spread].
  5. Bake them for 12-18 minutes until the edges and centers are browned.  15-18 minutes was the best timing for me, erring on the latter time helped them spread more to the size of traditional Tate’s cookies.  They won’t be thin and crisp like Tate’s cookies, but more fluffy like a Chip’s Ahoy or traditional chocolate chip cookie.
  6. Remove the cookies and cool on a wire rack.

Visiting Tate’s Bake Shop in 2012

No-Bake Tahini Cherry Bars

These no-bake bars are the perfect treat to hit the spot, when it’s hot outside, you want something sweet,  but also something wholesome.  Prep was really easy, and a child could easily help with the stirring parts.  I added mini chocolate chips on half, to make it more appealing to little ones, because I think it’s going to be hard to convince a toddler to eat a dessert with tahini, if they’ve never tried it before.  These are perfectly sweet, and the hit of salt, is just what they need to make them really good.  Now to think what else I can add in other than dried cherries…

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Ready for the freezer

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No-bake Tahini Cherry Bars

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A great summer sweet & wholesome treat

No-Bake Tahini Cherry Bars

adapted from One Part Plant

makes 8-24 bars depending on how you cut them


2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp pure maple syrup

1/3 cup tahini, stirred well

1 1/4 cups gluten-free rolled oats (not the instant/quick cooking kind)

pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup dried cherries

handful of Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (optional)


Line a 4×8 loaf pan with parchment paper.

On low heat, melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan.  Once melted, remove from heat immediately and stir in vanilla and syrup.  Stir in the tahini.  Once combined, add oats and salt.  Stir until all the oats are coated.  Stir in the cherries.

Pour mixture into loaf pan and spread evenly.  If desired, sprinkle on chocolate chips, lightly pressing them in with your fingers.

Put in freezer for at least 45 minutes.  Cut and serve immediately. Store any leftovers, covered, in the freezer.

“Healthy” Cookie Butter

Though I’ve yet to try the Cookie Butter some friends have raved about at Trader Joes, when I saw this recipe, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make it myself and enjoy a somewhat healthier version.  You probably wouldn’t believe me that the base is made from garbanzo beans, but they are!  This tastes like cookie dough, and has the texture of hummus.  My favorite part of this recipe is that it tastes great even without the chocolate chips, and because it has Sunbutter in it, it tastes similar enough in a PB&J – a great sub for Sunbutter, with added protein!

Vegan Cookie Butter

adapted from this recipe

Makes about 16 servings (2 tbsp = 1 serving)


1 15oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp. sunflower seed butter

2 tbsp. honey

1/4 cup coconut milk* (or other non-dairy, would prob also work with any milk)

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. baking soda

1 tbsp. – 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips** (optional; I use less for kids, more for adults)


  1. In a small food processor, combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips, and blend until smooth.
  2. If adding chocolate chips, remove mixture from food processor and put in a small bowl.  Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


*We like So Delicious Coconut Milk that comes in a box

**We like Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips

Sweet Monday: Ruby Red Grapefruit Cookies

A friend brought over some Ruby Red Grapefruit Cookies and I just had to share.  Although I’m generally not a fan of grapefruit, this recipe knocks it out of the park!  Here’s the recipe my friend used, and a picture of them.  They are delicious and would be a big hit the next time you need to bring cookies somewhere!  Happy Monday.

Ruby Red Grapefruit Cookies
picture from Homesick Texan

Happy Halloween + Sandy + Giving

This is what my mom made for us in her free time this week (below).  She continues to be a source of endless energy, inspiration, creativity, and unconditional love – and for that I am incredibly grateful.  Speaking of which, I am grateful for so many other things this week and can’t help but think of those in the Northeast.  I remember vividly the 1994 Northridge earthquake – being in our family friend’s house for two weeks, while we cleaned up the aftermath at our house.  It’s not an easy time, and as human nature often proves, we are strong survivors, making the best out of not-so-great situations.  If you are able, remember to give what you can the the American Red Cross, to help those in need.

Mom’s Halloween Treats

Almond Butter + Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last night Scott wanted me to make him brownies, because along with an ice cream sundae, he could always go for some brownies.  As we were glued to the TV, watching coverage of Sandy on the East Coast, we looked up recipes I could make from scratch.  But, with the realization “we don’t have any butter in the house,” our search quickly turned to a quest for another sort of chocolate-y baked good.  I remembered there were some dairy-free cookies I’d pinned in the past month, and after showing Scott the picture of these bad boys, he was all in.  To be honest, I hadn’t looked past the picture myself and was surprised to find not only did we readily have all the ingredients in the house, but the recipe is completely dairy and gluten-free (double score for me).  They were super easy to make and turned out almost like a meringue, with almond-butter and chocolate chips.  Like the original recipe description states, “it’s hard to eat just one.”

Almond Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from recipe by Nicole Spiridakis via NPR

1 cup crunchy almond butter
1/2 cup turbinado raw sugar (we didn’t have white granulated available)
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 (scant) cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.

Combine almond butter and sugars.  Mix well.  Add egg, syrup, vanilla, baking soda, and cinnamon.  After combined, stir in almonds and chocolate chips.

Using a small spoon, take the dough and make cookies to about the size of a walnut. (If using an ice cream scoop, 1 scoop equals 2 cookies.) Place on sheet an inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top. Let cool for 5 minutes. Note – They might be soft when taken out of the oven but will firm upon cooling.

Almond Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Some notes

  • We didn’t have granulated white sugar, and used turbinado raw sugar instead.
  • We added 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon.
  • We used traditional crunchy almond butter, but per the recipe, any nut butter will work.
  • We both agreed we could barely taste the almonds, but I think they might be in this one for the overall texture.
  • The recipe yielded us 30 cookies.
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Weekend (Gluten-Free) Baking with Aran Goyoaga

Two blogs I’ve read through this week have both included some seemingly delicious (and gluten-free) recipes from a new cookbook by Aran Goyoaga.  Heads up the description that goes with the Everything Cookies, will probably evoke some tears – especially if, like us, you watched this week’s Parenthood episode.  P.S. Can you help me think of a reason to make the Apple, Almond and Olive Oil cake?  Have a good weekend!

(source – Design Sponge)

Everything Cookies
(source – Sprouted Kitchen)

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Sweet Tuesday

For those who celebrate, here’s to an easy and meaningful day tomorrow.  And, be sure to eat something sweet tonight, for a sweet new year!  As I’ve mentioned before, in my family, we’re always finding some excuse to have a sweet year (year-round!) – Robin’s lemon bars below are no exception!  Thanks, Robin!

Here’s to a Sweet New Year!

Baking on Monday

I’ve taken a break from blogging, but luckily not from cooking.  I was craving something sweet a few Saturdays ago, and made another attempt at the Chocolate-Spiked Oatmeal Cookies.  Turns out baking them for 9-10 minutes is perfect.  The consistency was great (although I liked them before too) and this batch even got the seal of approval from family and friends alike!  My next experiment will be to make granola bars as delicious as Farmshop.  I hope I achieve their perfectly balanced recipe – so hearty but not overpowered by what tastes like the peanut butter and honey holding it all together.  What are you baking  and making these days?

Watching Chocolate-Spiked Oatmeal Cookies Bake Away

Farmshop Granola Bar