Raspberry Sweetheart Cookies

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! 

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Whether you have a honey to celebrate with or not, you need these cookies in your life.

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I consider them one of those special “once a year” treats. 

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Of course, they go well with anything. What cookie doesn’t? After any meal, with a cup of tea or coffee, or as your afternoon treat.

You’re worth it! 

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And as always with my recipes, they are not complicated to make. I like simple, delicious, beautiful food. It should taste as wonderful as it looks and be satisfying all around. 

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You won’t be disappointed. 

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Happy Valentine’s Day! xo

Raspberry Sweetheart Cookies

*Dough will need to be chilled before baking

2/3 Cup Dairy Free Butter ( I use soy free Earth Balance)

2/3 cup Vegetable Shortening ( I use Spectrum)

4 cups of Mama’s Almond Blend All Purpose Gluten Free Flour plus more for rolling (In your local gluten free isle or online. I cannot rave enough about this flour!)

2 Eggs

1 1/2 Cups of Sugar (White or Coconut…coconut will make your cookies brown)

2 Tbsps. of Almond Milk (Could also use rice, coconut, or hemp.)

2 tsp. of Double Acting Baking Powder

1 1/2 tsp. of Xanthan Gum

2 tsp. of Pure Vanilla

1/2 tsp. of Sea Salt

Raspberry Jelly

Powdered Sugar Frosting (Powdered sugar, dairy free butter, pure almond extract, and a tiny bit of water or milk)

Beat butter and shortening in mixer until light and fluffy. Add about half the flour, the eggs, sugar, milk, baking powder, xanthan gum, vanilla, and salt. Beat until thoroughly combined and beat in remaining flour. Divide dough in half and place on plastic wrap. Press into discs, cover completely, and chill for at least 2 hours. This dough will last in the fridge for several days and I also like to wrap it well and freeze it to have on hand. It will last for months in the freezer. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

After the dough has chilled remove one disc out of the fridge at a time. Flour your surface and roll out. Cut into shapes of your liking and place them on parchment covered baking sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the edges are just slightly beginning to turn golden. 

Cool completely. Add about 1 teaspoon of jelly to each cookie and top with another cookie. Drizzle with powdered sugar frosting. 

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Cherry Chocolate Crisps

5 Comments

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Cherry Chocolate Crisps

*Makes about 26

10 oz Bag of Enjoy Life Miniature Chocolate Chips (dairy free)

3/4 Cup of Tart Dried Cherries

1 Cup of Gluten Free Rice Chex Cereal

Mini Candy Cups

Melt the chocolate and stir in the dried cherries. Fold in the cereal and drop by teaspoon into miniature paper cups.  Allow to set. Store at room temperature. 

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Pretty In Pink ~ Lemon Lime Cakes with Coconut Frosting

19 Comments

Yep, that day is here.

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Love it or dread it, it’s pretty much a national holiday.

For those of you who dread it, this is for you, courtesy of my friend Julie on Facebook. Ha!

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Thankfully, I’ve never had reason to dread it. Tony and I have been together for 24 years and who really cares about Valentine’s Day prior to those years? It’s the 24 that count and he’s made all of them special in his own way.

This morning he surprised me with three gorgeous, pink Lillies. I oohed and ahhed over them; I love to get flowers!

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Then he said, “Wait!” and he ran down to the basement.

He came up the stairs with a huge, beautiful, white lily plant. He knew I was sad because I had to leave all of my beautiful plants behind when we moved to New Hampshire. They wouldn’t have survived the moving company and it was too cramped in the trailer.

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He asked the florist to put it in a pretty basket because he knows I love baskets.

He’s thoughtful like that.

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Aren’t I lucky?

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Then, he ran off to Brooklyn. Thankful he has a job in today’s world, I’m certainly not complaining.

He’ll be back tomorrow and we’ll celebrate again this weekend. Having him for 23 other Valentine’s Days makes it easier to just appreciate what we have right now. There’s no heart break if it isn’t a perfect day where we spend every moment together, because we can make any day, Valentine’s Day.

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Happy Valentine’s Day (or Vodka day) whatever suits you.

A little love from me to YOU.

I made you special little cakes to say Thank You.

I’m thankful for you and thankful that you like my little blog. I’m thankful that you’re willing to consider looking at recipes that are gluten free and dairy free. And very thankful that you don’t mind when I veer off every now and then and turn it into a travel blog, a birding blog, or a “this is what I’m doing today” blog.

I’m almost to 68,000 views. That couldn’t have happened without YOU.

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I’m not much of a frosting girl, it’s the cake that interests me. And as you can see, I’m not much of a froster, either.

So please, if  you choose to make these, get creative and frost however you like, and don’t watch an hour of YouTube videos trying to learn how to frost a cupcake to look like a rose or the form of cupid or a ridiculous circus animal. Those people who can do that have special powers that normal people aren’t privy to. Just do it any way you like it, or any way it comes out of the tip like I did, or dip it or spread it with a spoon… and don’t fret.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ~ Mother Theresa

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Lemon Lime Cakes with Coconut Frosting

*This recipe was adapted from Gluten Free Mama’s White Cake recipe.

1 1/2 Cups Mama’s Gluten Free Almond Flour Blend

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt

3/4 teaspoon Xanthan gum

1/2 Cup Earth Balance Soy Free Butter

1 Cup Sugar

1 teaspoon Pure Lemon Extract

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

4 Egg Whites

2/3 Cup Buttermilk (Almond milk with 1/4 lemon & 1/4 lime juice)

2 Lemons (zested)

1 Lime (zested)

Frosting:

Dairy Free Butter

Powdered Sugar

Coconut Extract

Food Coloring

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pur the almond milk into a measuring cup and cut 1 lemon and lime (after zesting) into quarters. Squeeze a quarter of each into the almond milk and set aside. Fill muffin pan with liners or use cupcake cups and place on baking sheet. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum and whisk together. Set aside

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Running on low speed add 1 egg white at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat on high for 30 seconds. Add the zest from both lemons and the lime. Add the lemon extract and vanilla extract. On low, alternate adding flour and buttermilk until both are mixed into batter.

Fill liners 1/4 inch from top. Bake for 25-29 minutes (I use convection), or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

11 Comments

I have to admit, I love Valentine’s Day. I love to bake and give gifts in cute little packages, I love the colors, I love the decorations, I love…LOVE. Kind of gross to some people, I know. But, there you have it. I’m a sap.

I made several goodies to give as gifts this year. I’m sure you’ve noticed, because your inbox is probably now packed with the recipes which I posted separately…

All of the goodies were new except for these Raspberry Pie Dough Cookies, which I’m pretty sure are the absolute best cookie on the planet. You can find the recipe HERE.

I spent all of yesterday and most of this morning in the kitchen baking, making candy, and wrapping everything up in fun little packages.

You can find the Orange & Sea Salt Chocolates HERE. And the Peanut Butter, Pretzel, & Cherry Chocolate Clusters HERE.

You can find the Clementine Buttercream Cupcakes HERE.

And of course these are the famous pie dough cookies…seriously, I know I have an unhealthy love affair with pie dough, but these really are the best cookies ever.

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, whether it was spent with a special lover or just with people you care about. And I certainly hope you celebrated with a bit of something sweet!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hugs and Kisses to You

~ April

Peanut Butter, Pretzel, & Cherry Chocolate Clusters

4 Comments

Peanut Butter, Pretzel, & Cherry Chocolate Clusters

16 oz Dairy Free Semi-Sweet Chocolate

About 1 Cup Crushed Gluten Free Pretzels

1/2 Jar Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter

Dried Cherries (about 1/4 of a bag)

Paper Candy Cups

Line up the candy cups on a baking sheet. The baking sheet will be helpful when moving them outside or to your fridge to set.

Melt chocolate on medium low in a double boiler or fill a medium pan 1/3 with water and set a glass bowl on top. Once chocolate has melted completely, stir in peanut butter but not too much. You want it to be swirled throughout the chocolate. Gently fold in crushed pretzels, folding only until incorporated.

With a small spoon, fill candy cups just below the edge, about 3/4. Top with three cherries each.

Refrigerate chocolates for 20 minutes or until completely set up. Don’t leave them too long or the oils will separate and the chocolate will become cloudy.

Clementine Buttercream Cupcakes

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In case you haven’t noticed, now that I’ve figured out that I can make dairy free buttercream…I’m hooked. The options are endless and I plan on exercising all of them! (Enter maniacal laugh here.)

So bear with me, I’m sure to run across something else soon that will grab my attention and I’ll be off on that for a while. Like, I don’t know, maybe the perfect dairy free and gluten-free macaroni and cheese, maybe cheesecake, possibly even dairy free and gluten-free puff pastry. One can only dream…

Clementine Buttercream Cupcakes

1 15oz. Box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix

1/2 Cup Dairy Free Butter

2/3 Cup Water

3 Eggs

2 teaspoon Pure Orange Extract

Rind of  3 Clementines

3/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter

3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

2 teaspoons Pure Orange Extract

Rind of 2 Clementines

2 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Creamer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees for conventional 325 degrees for convection (I use convection)

For The Cake Batter:

Cream butter in a mixer on medium, scraping down once, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium, add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add the cake mix, 2 teaspoons extract, rind of 3 clementines, and water. Mix on low for 30 seconds, scrape down bowl. Mix on medium for 2 minutes, scraping bowl at the 1 minute mark.

Line 12 muffin tins with paper and fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 19 minutes (convection)  or until the middles are just done. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting on wire rack.

For The Buttercream:

Cream butter in a mixer on medium, scraping down sides once, until light and fluffy. Turn off mixer and add the powdered sugar, salt, rind of 2 clementines, and 2 teaspoons extract. Mix until it comes together, it will be lumpy.

Slowly add the creamer 1 teaspoon at a time while the mixer is on medium. Once all of the creamer has been added, mix for 1 minute.

Frost or pipe.

I piped mine, sprinkled with yellow sugar and topped with an orange chocolate that I made with leftover chocolate from my Orange & Sea Salt Chocolates recipe.

Orange & Sea Salt Chocolates

10 Comments

Orange & Sea Salt Chocolates

16 oz. Dairy Free Semi-Sweet Chocolate (I use Baker’s, you can also use a high quality dark chocolate 70% or so)

2 teaspoons Pure Orange Extract

Sea Salt

Chocolate Molds

Lay out the chocolate molds and sprinkle 2-3 pieces of sea salt in each one.

Melt chocolate on medium low in a double boiler or heat water in 1/3 of a medium pan and place a glass bowl on top of the pan. Once chocolate is melted, leave on the heat and quickly stir in the extract, 1 teaspoon at a time stirring constantly. It will look like it is starting to seize a bit on the sides, continue to stir constantly and quickly and it will come back together.

Spoon chocolate (it will be hot!) into a piping bag fitted with a thin tip and pipe chocolate into molds, do not overfill. Tap each mold sheet lightly on the counter once it is filled to settle the chocolate.

Allow to set up completely before removing. (I set mine outside on our deck for 20 minutes.)

The salt will leave little divots in the chocolate, but don’t worry about it, it adds character and as soon as people taste them they won’t be thinking about what they look like.

I used the leftover chocolate to make decorative hearts for my Clementine Buttercream Cupcakes by piping chocolate hearts onto waxed paper.