Gluten Free Blueberry Scones

I’ve been asked many times on my etsy shop if I could make this or that item gluten free, but the two most popular items I’ve been asked about, were gluten free scones and gluten free madeleines. It took me a long time to build up the will to make these two items celiac friendly, and I thought I had to wait at least until September to try them since we’ve had such a long heat wave, that just the thought of turning the oven on put me to sweat… hehe

But last Thursday, the weather went completely nuts and just sent us a fall day in the middle of July… lower 60’s in the middle of summer, so it was the first thought, make celiac friendly goodies and so I did, I made them both with a very happy ending I think… either one didn’t make it to the next day, so I take that as a success… 😉
Gluten free blueberry scones
Gluten Free Blueberry Scones

1 3/4 cups Gluten Free Multi purpose Flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (don’t forget this, it will hold the scones together)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon gluten free vanilla extract
1 stick cold butter cut into small pieces
1/2 cup dried blueberries
2 large eggs
1/3 cup chilled buttermilk
Mix all dry ingredients and using a fork work in the butter until the mixture is crumbly and resembles cornmeal, I did it with my hands so I refrigerated the mix for about 10-15 minutes to get the butter cold again 😉 add dried blueberries.
In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract until well combined and add to dry ingredients and stir until well blended
Dough should be cohesive and pretty sticky.
gluten free blueberry scones with Double Devon Cream
on a well floured surface and with well floured hands, form the dough into a log-like shape, or round shape and cut to give desired shape.

Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes, until the rise high and turn nice deep golden brown.
I really like my scones the traditional way, still warm and with a dollop of clotted cream which I prefer to call Double Devon Cream that you can buy here.
You would never know these are gluten free, pair with a nice cup of English Tea and enjoy your afternoon tea to the max 😉
gluten free blueberry scone

Fresh Fig Ice Cream

Here it is! Fresh California Figs Ice Cream. We got an ice cream maker last year, and since the summer started, I basically make sorbets or ice cream every single week: rum raisin, mango, banana, pineapple… Dangerous! hehe

fresh fig ice cream

and since I had bought so many figs the other day, I had to do something with them, and what’s better than ice cream during this insanely long heat wave we are going through…

fig icecream 2

I always say that I don’t like anything sweet too sweet, and ice cream is no different, so since these figs were super ripe and sweet, I didn’t add any sugar at all, I thought that I could always add a little honey or maple syrup over it, but I really didn’t have to, it was just the right sweetness for me! 😉

fig icecream close up

This is what you’ll need:
1 lb fresh ripe figs
1 cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
Cut the figs in quarters, stems removed and in a heavy bottomed sauce pan cook them with the water for about 8-10 minutes until it reaches marmalade consistency, using a wooden spoon make the fig pieces smaller by stirring it. If mixture is not sweet enough for you, add desired sugar at this point, a tablespoon at a time until you get the desired sweetness.
Place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or until completely chilled. Pour mixture into a blender, add chilled cream and blend until you get a fine puree, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time if too thick.
Pour in ice cream maker churn depending on the brand for about 10 minutes. Pour in plastic or ice cream container and place in freezer to harden thoroughly.
Delicious topped with chopped almonds and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup…

fig icecream bowls

Enjoy!

Cherry-Lime Beer Bread

Sweet delicious cherries, tangy limes and ice cold beer… They all scream summer time to me, that’s why I decided to put them all together in this super quick and easy recipe, that BTW is google’s number one recipe for beer bread, and so far I have to agree with them.

cherry-lime beer bread

You can change it in so many ways, I mean… The sky is the limit, last month during our vacation to Spain, I made one beer bread for my family adding coarsely chopped dark chocolate and hazelnuts, and it was a total hit… It was not even cool yet and we were eating it like there was no tomorrow… hehe.

cherry-lime beer bread

I’ve made other variations, like white chocolate macadamia, cranberry pistachio, milk chocolate and coconut… And even a bunch of savory ones like sharp cheddar cheese and fresh thyme, parmesan and sun dried tomato to mention a couple, whatever floats your boat basically.

cherry-lime beer bread

These are the ingredients you’ll need to make one loaf:

3 cups shifted (shifting not optional) all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 (12 ounce) can of beer. For this specific recipe I used Sam Adam’s Cherry Wheat
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups fresh pitted cherries cut in halves or quarters
The zest of one lime
cherry-lime beer bread
Mix all the dry ingredients, mix with the beer. Pour into loaf pan, I like to line mine with parchment paper, it comes out easier I think, but  all means feel free to use a greased loaf pan. For this one I used these cute wax loaf paper liners… cute!

Pour over melted butter and bake in a 375 F preheated oven for about an hour or until a super nice, crunchy, buttery and golden crust is formed.
Remove from pan, and cool for at least 15 minutes, if you can that is… hehe.
cherry-lime beer bread
For me this bread is better enjoyed the same day you bake it, (I like mine warm) but it will come back to life the day after if toasted in a toaster oven… Which in our home it rarely happens, we usually eat the whole thing the same day 🙂

Fresh Grilled Figs with French Vanilla Yogurt and Honey-Frangelico Liqueur Syrup

It’s fig season! Thank Goodness now they seem to be more affordable, because figs are one of my favorite fruits… They bring me so many childhood memories… hot long summer days… my Grandma’s house ancient, knotted, twisted fig tree produced the biggest sweetest figs ever! We also had another fig tree at my father’s garden, so when fig season came, they were all over the place… If I close my eyes I can still see my father bringing them home by the bucket!

Fresh California Figs

Since now is BBQ season, (among other things I made fig ice cream with some of them, I’ll post the recipe in the next few days…) I decided to grill some of them, and let me tell you I was not disappointed. They were not too sweet since I used plain unsweetened creamy Greek Yogurt… a perfect match!

Fresh California Figs

Here is what you’ll need:
4 Fresh Figs
Oil or cooking spray
1 Plain Unsweetened Greek Yogurt
1 vanilla bean split, seed scraped off
2 tablespoons Honey
1 tablespoons Frangelico Liqueur (Hazelnut, you can also try Amaretto)

Hazelnut cookies crumbled up (use Amaretti cookies if using Amaretto Liqueur)

Grilled Figs with Greek Yogurt

You only have to cut them in half, brush them or spray them with oil (I used organic coconut oil spray) and place them on a hot grill or grill pan. It’s very important that you don’t remove them until they become loose on their own, if you try to remove while they’re stuck to the grill, you’ll remove those lovely grill marks, and you’ll end up with a messy, sticky and not pretty looking fig, simply try to lift them up super lightly and remove them ONLY when they become totally loose.

Fresh Grilled Figs with Greek Yogurt

For the yogurt, I used plain Greek yogurt, split a fresh French vanilla bean, added the lovely, tinny, sweet seeds and mixed it all together, placed it in a round mold and froze it for about half hour, until I was able to release it while it still held the round shape and placed the yogurt in the middle of a deep dish.

Fresh Figs Grilled with Greek Yogurt

Placed grilled figs around.

For the simple sweet syrup I mixed two tablespoons of honey and one tablespoon of Frangelico (Hazelnut Liqueur) poured over the final dish and added Hazelnut cookie crumbs to give it some crunch…

Fresh Grilled Figs with Greek Yogurt

They get caramelized and smoky and sweet… the flavor is just insanely good… and then the freshness and silkiness of the Greek Yogurt was a perfect pairing, my mouth is watering as I’m typing… hehe.
I devoured them! LOL.

If you never tried fresh figs before… give them a try, You’ll fall in love right away.

Easy French Macarons

Finally I took the jump!!! Yes! and the results were pretty good I must admit… I love french macarons… they are delicious, so delicate, crunchy, chewy… but I’ve always been intimidated by them… always thought they were to difficult to make, too complicated… I don’t know… so whenever I wanted to enjoy them, I had no choice but to buy them. But giving them a try and making them has always been like a pending subject in the back of my mind. So finally after surfing the net for a simple french macaron recipe to start with I decided to go with Elle’s recipe, and then added my own twist to them 😉

circus french macarons

Easy French Macarons
(makes 16)
3 egg whites
1 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup finely ground almonds
Directions
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat
Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until whites are foamy; beat in the white sugar and continue beating until egg whites are glossy, fluffy and hold soft peaks. Sift confectioner’s sugar and ground almonds in a separate bowl and quickly fold the almond mixture into the egg whites, about 30 strokes.
Here is where I changed the recipe, I made different flavors as you can see in the picks, so I took small amounts of batter and added the natural food colorings and different flavors (matcha green tea, orange, coffee, raspberry extracts, etc…) Be very careful when incorporating the coloring and extracts since you don’t want the batter to loose its volume. Fold them carefully until incorporated.
Spoon small amounts of batter into a plastic bag with a small corner cut off and pipe test a disk of batter, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, onto prepared baking sheet. If the disk of batter holds a peak, instead of flattening immediately, gently fold the batter a few more times and retest.
When batter is mixed enough to flatten immediately into an even disk, spoon into pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheet in rounds, leaving space between the disks. Let the piped cookies stand out at room temperature until they form a hard skin on top, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 285 degrees F (140 degrees C).
Bake cookies until set but not browned, about 10 minutes; let cookies cool completely before filling.

circus french macarons

Basic Macaron Buttercream Filling
1 stick of softened butter
5 oz of powdered sugar, add a little more sugar if it’s too runny
1/8 teaspoon of the desired flavoring (vanilla, almond, orange, pistachio, coffee…)
Stir all of these ingredients until you have a light and taste buttercream. Then add the desired food coloring for each flavor.
For some of mine I used raspberry jam and  nutella, since I was making a bunch of different flavors I wanted to make some of them simple 🙂
I wanted to introduce my son to different flavors like matcha, so I decided to make these and top them with these cute Circus cupcake toppers and I sure worked… He devoured them! Hehe.
circus french macarons

Spicy Vanilla Chai Latte

This is a simple yet amazing recipe, I mean… who doesn’t like Chai? hehe. Well… you don’t have to run to Starbucks anymore you can make this insanely delicious drink in a matter of minutes, although there’re a few ingredients that you must have at hand.
Spicy Vanilla Chai Mix
 
10 teaspoons of black tea leaves
1 vanilla bean seeds scraped (or vanilla extract)
3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 star anise seeds
1 teaspoon ginger powder
a few black peppercorns (you can skip this, but I really love the spice they add)
1/8 ground ground clove
Store all these ingredients in an air tight container to keep at hand.
Image
Spicy Vanilla Chai Latte
I like to use my french coffee press to make this recipe, it just makes everything so easy.
3 teaspoons Spicy Vanilla Chai Mix
3/4 cup boiled water
1/4 milk
Spicy Vanilla Chai Latte
Put the Chai Mix in the French press carafe, add the boiling water and let steep for 3-4 minutes. Heat the milk and froth it if desired. Pour strained chai tea into milk and sweeten to taste.
I topped my with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of ground nutmeg… mmmm!
Enjoy!
Spicy Vanilla Chai Latte

Simple Lavender Banana Nut Bread

We are in summer full force… hot and humid, so I had a bunch of bananas and they went super ripe on me in no time, so I had to figure out different ways of using them, and use them quick. First I made Banana Sorbet, that turned out super refreshing and sweet… I’ll be posting that recipe soon!
With the other ones I made this super flowery Lavender Banana Nut Bread. My two huge lavender bushes are filled with tons of lavender buds, so I decided to incorporate them in this super easy recipe.
 lavender banana nut
Banana Bread
(Makes 1 loaf)
 
Preheat your oven to 350 F
5 tablespoons of softened butter
2 eggs
2 very ripe bananas
2/3 cup of sugar, I only used 1/3 because the bananas were super sweet and we don’t like ours too sweet.
Using a fork, squish the banana and mix all the above ingredients together.
In another bowl combine these dry ingredients:
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon lavender buds (in my case fresh, but if you have dried or culinary lavender oil, go for it)
Combine the wet and dry ingredients just until they are blended together. I also added a handful of chopped pecans but by all means add any other nuts that you like.
Pour the batter into a greased or parchment paper lined baking pan until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Bake for about 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool for 5 to 10 minutes and remove from the pan to cool.

As you can see in the pics, I had my piece with green tea infused with fresh lavender buds… insanely good!

lavender banana nut bread
I went a little overboard with the lavender… LOL! I even infused the creme fraiche that I spread over my slice… It was simply lavender heaven on a plate.
banana bread slice
Give it a try, You won’t regret it, I promise! 😉