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Mondays to Sundays - Coconut Almond and Oat Waffles

Mondays to Sundays - Coconut Almond and Oat Waffles

Sundays have a symbolism. Probably different for different people but typically run along the lines of leisure, fun, family, connection, laid back, indulgent, happy.... you get the gist.

These waffles basically encapsulate all of those lovely feelings! So, you can essentially, insert a few minutes of Sunday into any day of your life!

Even better, they are completely gluten free and even the nittiest gluten lover will find little to be picky about it! Crisp on the outside and chewy in the center, they are lovely as Fall sets in...

Happy Sunday! :)

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{Gluten Free Baking} Almond Tarts with Peach and Cardamom Yogurt

Good Morning! How was your weekend? Did you get out for Fall walks and smiling at the glorious colors of the season? The leaves are just beginning their color dance. The park across from is showing visible signs of orange and pale yellowish green. I think by the time Halloween rolls around the leaves will match the hues of the pumpkins!

Meanwhile, I am happy for days like yesterday with crisp, clear skies, a warm sun and lots of exploring. In a quest to explore more of legendary Brooklyn, I poked through parts of Williamsburg aiming to go to Egg for brunch. The walk was lovely and I happened of several shops that caught my curiosity and I must return for a proper perusal. Egg itself was an odd experience. I had heard highly about and chose the place to finally try with a friend. But after an weird wait list schedule and a oddly managed process of having both empty tables and long lines, we left disappointed with the food. But, not to be dampened by that experience, Mast Brothers next door calmed us with lovely truffles and brownies. Much recommended. Mast Brothers like Dandelion Chocolates of SF, perform their entire process from bean to bar on premises. They offer tours within the facility every day. I was too late for the one yesterday but plan to go back.

Mast Brothers
Diner

From there, it was on Lower East Side again. I did say it was my favorite place to go! This time it was far East to Tompkins Park. There were hockey league games on,which, were fun to watch, strolls, chats. brief stop at The Bowery Hotel and then a leisurely tea in the garden of

The Standard Hotel

. Both places are fab watering holes and on opposite ends of the spectrum. The Bowery is old school, vaulted ceiling, Victorian decor. The Standard is chic, contemporary and garden is distinctly Alice in the Wonderland with pink and green wrought iron tables and astro turf but lined with real glorious hedge plants. A good old ramble for the day indeed!

Ok, well, let's talk about the recipe for today. Tarts were my favorite until the whole gluten avoidance through it into a loop. Lately, I have decided that I cannot let tis gluten this hold me hostage and I must find ways around it. On which topic, btw, Shauna of Glutenfree Girl is running a Kickstarter to fund selling her gluten free flour blends. Such a great idea to do that and you know it is carefully unprocessed and tested to work great!

Gluten free Almond and Peach Tarts
Gluten free Almond and Peach Tarts

Anyway, back to my experiments, my only constraint was that I did not want to use xanthum gum. I have list for why not but it is irrelevant. I just did not. I wanted to use something less processed essentially, be it corn or any other grain. I of course use psyllium a lot and lately, I have discovered the greatness of potato starch. If you are starting with gluten free baking, I recommend this post about gluten replacers.

For the flour, there are a variety, but not all taste good. In fact from trial and error, I realized some taste really awful! Bean and rice flours are the most difficult to work with. Rice leaves a papery dry texture in my mouth. I have yet to try sweet sticky rice flour and that will be next. So far, my best work on baking has been with nut flours, ground corn, chickpea, oat and millet flours. Almonds of course are a staple and there are umpteen baking recipes using ground almonds.

Gluten free Almond and Peach Tarts

But, have you noticed, nuts are expensive! The other day, I was musing that gluten free life is a tad pricey and then realize with a smack that it was a brilliant way to moderate consumption! I mean, I really do not need to have cake or sweet tarts everyday. Yes, with wheat I could afford to do that but I neither ate them nor was it good for me. So, these days, I am lot more considerate of what I bake. This is also the reason, I am trying to find worktables with cheaper and more easily accessible flours. For example Teff is supposed to be fantastic but at $8 a pound, I cannot afford to eat it regularly. On the other hand, rice flour is really cheap and if I can work a way around its dryness, I think I will be very very happy!

Anyway, in one of those moments of worthiness, I made this almond tarts. Also, this was a recycling of the pulp I get out of making almond milk. This way, I get twice the value for the quantity of almonds. The milk and a baked product. Make the pulp into the flour is easy but slightly tedious. You have to dry the pulp in a low oven for a few hours until crusty and then process to a dust. The dust does not taste much like almonds but when baked has all the lovely elements of almonds.

I kept the filling simple. I found a shop selling sheep yogurt which works better for my system than cow dairy and also it has slight nutty note to it. It goes well with cardamom and the almond crust. Topped with season's last peaches, it was a divine treat!

Baked Almond Tarts shells and filling
Gluten free Almond and Peach Tarts

Almond Tarts with Peach and Cardamom Yogurt

For the crust:

1 cup almond meal

1 yolk + 1/2 egg white

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 T honey

1 tsp psyllium, ground

1/4 tsp salt

4 T butter, melted

2 T almond milk

1 tsp ground cardamom

For the filling:

1/2 cup sheep yogurt

2 T honey

2 cardamom pods, crushed

2 ripe peaches, sliced

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix all the ingredients together. It will form a crumbly mixture.

Press into two four inch tart molds. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and it holds together as a shell.

Remove from molds and cool completely.

Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, honey and ground cardamom. Divide the yogurt mixture between the two shells and arrange the peach slices on top. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Before serving, drizzle with more honey if desired and top with crushed almonds.


As Black as Brown can be

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Brownie

Have you seen black chocolate? Even the darkest of chocolates is a deep, very deep brown, the color of my eyes. Yet, when you bake it, it can come close to a blackness unsuspected. And, that is the deep richness that I can fall in love with again and again.

But, even more than that, I have an amorous desire for brownies. My knees go weak at the sight of them. It is pure lust, unadulterated. I love the melty, fudginess of it and the sheer decadence and naughtiness they represent.

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Brownie

Whenever, I make brownies, I tweak things to enhance just those qualities, without adding more butter or fat. I have found that using nut flours intensifies the density and hence the allure of the brownie. Recently, I have been cohorting with them a little more than usual with the excuse of concocting recipes to use the almond pulp that I get as a consequence of making almond milk. One of the best ways, I have found is using it in granola. I will put up a recipe for that later. Another is making these brownies!

You may wonder what the hoopla is about. Not only are these intensely rich, chocolately and fudge like, they are also insanely moist and stay that way for at least 3 days. I don't know if they stay longer because they don't last longer here. Typical brownies start becoming crusty and stale losing that soft dense center as early as the second day. That makes it a bit hard to make in bulk. These on the other hand, you can make in bulk and freeze for later, whenever the urge strikes!

The secret to the moistness is almond pulp.

GF Double Chocolate Brownie
DSC_0586-1

Unlike the flour, the pulp has an inherent moistness because I don't dry it out after squeezing out the milk. Baking the batter does not dry out the pulp sufficiently while the pulp itself is not too wet to make the brownie soggy. It simply lends more denseness to it. Finally, streaking through the batter with peanut butter and walnuts, I think I make a good case for 'healthy' fats!

Btw, a note here; Almonds are my favorite nuts. So, you can see why I am so excited about this recipe!

That's it. The unpretentiously awesome brownie that is blacker than the deepest brown from the double chocolate dose and stickier than night from the almond pulp!

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Brownies

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Brownie

1-1/4 cup almond pulp, liquid squeezed out as much as possible

1/2 cup raw sugar

1/4 cup peanut butter

6 T butter

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate, such as Valhorna

1 egg

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

handful of walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.

Over a double boiler, melt the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and chocolate to a smooth liquid mixture. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the egg to make a pudding. You have to be quick with the whisking to avoid scrambling the egg.

To this pudding, add the almond paste, salt, baking soda and half the peanut butter. Whisk to mix. Add half the walnuts and fold into mixture. Batter will be quite wet.

Pour batter into a prepared pan and bang on counter to release any air bubbles.

Streak the remaining peanut butter through the batter, sprinkle the remaining nuts on top and press down gently.

Bake for 30 minutes, until crusty on top and yet soft and springy to touch.

Cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. This is important. Unlike dry flour, the wetness of the pulp needs a bit more resting time to hold shape.

Don't rush it. Patience is rewarded.

une torte amande

Almond torte

Continuing on

my last post

on the

second pantry

, I have been musing on why I have all this extra padding. The interesting thing is that my pantry is usually filled with finished photos and filed recipes. The missing link is getting them posted. Procrastination sets in at this step. I have a boatload of enthusiasm to cook, shoot, process and file. Then, I stop and willfully allow myself to be distracted...

Ok, it hit me. The tedious part of blogging. Writing a post when you have little to say. The thing is, I understand practice makes perfect. I remember Diane Jacob's comment somewhere in her book that writing is just doing it every day and getting better. But, I really can't do that. I realise I don't enjoy that. I need inspiration to pen. And then, I can write some really good stuff... straight from the heart. But it has to be heartfelt or the pen runs dry...

DSC_0053 (2)

There you have it. The reason for my pantry. I don't enjoy the routine of words for the sake of using them. And, since it seems that the food blogging world expects text accompanying recipes, I continue to mope about and think of other things that really need to get done right then just as I open the post editor and stare at it for 5 minutes without inspiration ;)

So... the only solution to this is.. I am going to break with the 'norm'. I am going to go ahead and just post photos and recipes when I don't have a whole to lot of words to serenade them with. I am going to be very focused on this cleansing! It is important... to me! :) I promise, the recipes will be worth it :)

For today, I leave you with a gluten free and entirely vegan almond torte which is rich, delicious and guiltless indulgence. Oh and it is a one pot mixer.

Almond Torte

Torte Collage

{makes two 5 inch tortes.

you can serve this as individual tortes or stack them with filling and make a small layer cake}

115 g ground almonds

35 g oat flour

35 g raw sugar

1 T honey

1.5 T orange marmalade

2 tso olive oil

3/4 tsp baking powder

Mix all the ingredients together. Pour into one ceramic tart pan or divide between two five inch molds.

Bake in a oven, pre-heated to 350F, for 40 mins until the top is crackly and browned.

Cool on rack completely.

I frosted with some chocolate ganache and honeyed mascarpone with chocolate shavings.

Solace....

Almond Croissant



I have a gift. Not talent, gift.

I can create magic in the kitchen. No, there is no need for modesty. It isn't about me. It is OF me. It is about the generations of spectacular home cooks I inherit from. I take pride and am thankful for that gift.

Because without it, I would sink into the depths of unspeakable abyss...



Chocolate Croissant


When my life insists on turning tables on me, I know I can still trust my hands. They are small, yet, they are strong.

I take solace in them. In knowing that I can walk into my kitchen, take out the flour, butter, sugar, eggs, turn my oven on, and they won't fail me... even when all else does...



Almond-&-chocolate-croissan


So I bake. I knead. I whisk. I cook. I live in the moment. I forget. I come alive.

This weekend... I smiled...

Croissants, meringues, steamed buns, pickled pork belly, semifreddo, custard, baked pears, savory pull apart bread... yes...all in one weekend.



croissant flaky


And, so I will... until I no longer can... Because I owe it to my gift.


For the recipe..
Almond Croissants

Croissant dough (Recipe below)
6 oz Almond paste (odense)
1/2 cup almonds, slivered or finely shaved
1 egg yolk + 2 T milk for egg wash

Divide the croissant dough into two. Refrigerate one piece while working on the other. Roll out the dough into a 6 inch wide rectangle of about 1/4 inch thickness. (Adjust the length in accordance to these dimensions)

Starting at one corner cut triangles of the dough. Sprinkle the almond paste evenly over the dough. Gently roll each triangle inward starting from wide base, wrapping the tip gently. Brush with egg wash to seal. Crimp the edges and turn inwards to form crescents. Sprinkle the almond shavings all over.

Place the crescents on a tray atleast 2 inches apart, in a warm (NOT hot) place, to rise for about 15 minutes while the oven preheats to 350F (180C). Bake for 20 minutes until the crust is deep golden brown and the almond aroma overwhelms you!

Cool for 30 seconds and devour!!! :)

For the chocolate version, replace with slabs of dark, oh very rich, dark, chocolate on the wider edge of the triangle or as I did, roll as rectangles.



Croissant Dough
(adapted from
Delicious Days)

250 g flour
175 g butter
25 g granulated sugar
2 T canola oil
1.5 tsp salt
1 egg
17 g active dry yeast
100 ml warm (110F) milk

Between two sheets of plastic wrap, gently roll the butter into an approximate square, about 1/2 inch thickness. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk with a teaspoon of sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes until foamy. Sift the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the center. Add the egg, oil and yeast mixture and mix. Knead just enough to make the dough. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to twice the length of the butter block.

Place the cold butter slab, just off one edge of the dough and fold the dough over. Crimp the edges over the butter. Roll out the dough into a rectangle of 1/4 inch thickness. Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter.

Wrap in foil and refrigerate for atleast 45 minutes. Remove onto a floured surface, roll into rectangle and fold as a letter. Repeat this process atleast once more. Let the dough sit in the fridge overnight.
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Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK