espresso chocolate chip cookies

Happy new year! This January marks two years since I gave up eating gluten, and my baking life hasn’t really been the same since. There have been a few successes, most notably this cornmeal almond cake, some brownies, and a few other things here and there, but for the most part my forays into gluten-free baking have been far from successful. Sunken loaves of banana bread, and several dozen variations of cookies which began with a lot of hope and twelve spoonfuls of dough on the cookie sheet, yet somehow always became one thin, crumbly mess. I know there are gluten-free baking mixes out there, but I haven’t found one that works for me- either it contains dairy (off limits), has a grainy texture, or still leads to the aforementioned pancake cookie.

And then, about a month ago, one of my co-workers at Williams-Sonoma gave me the recipe for gluten-free cinnamon swirl raisin bread from The How Can it Be Gluten Free Cookbook (America’s Test Kitchen). The bread was a huge success – (I’m still enjoying slices from the freezer) – but what was equally exciting was the leftover gluten-free flour mix I had ready to go in the pantry. I’ve been baking quite a bit using that blend since then, and the cookies are finally turning out! The recipe below is adapted only to make these cookies gluten- and dairy-free, but otherwise comes straight from Aida Mollenkamp’s Keys to the Kitchen.




Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup Earth Balance (soy-free), at room temperature

1 egg, at room temperature

3/8 cup cane sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 tsp. vanilla

142 g. America’s Test Kitchen gluten-free flour blend (you can find the recipe here)

1 tsp. salt

10g ground espresso / coffee

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and coffee. Set aside. In a larger bowl, combine the butter and two sugars. Beat with a hand mixer on high for 3 minutes, until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for one minute. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir until incorporated.

Line two baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat sheet, and drop by the Tablespoonful onto the sheets. You should get about 12 per sheet and 24 cookies total. Bake one sheet at a time for roughly 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are set. Let cool completely before removing the cookies from the sheet, and store at room temperature in an air-tight container. cookies_05








three favorite recipes // august 2014

Rice Noodle Salad with Nuoc Cham | Inspired by Epicurious

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If I could I would eat a variation of this every day. This salad has all of the same elements and flavors as my favorite lunch in San Francisco- spring rolls from Out the Door

Summer Peach Crisp | The Year In Food

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I have made this recipe over and over again since Kimberley’s cookbook was released earlier this summer. It’s so delicious (and gluten free)! I highly recommend picking up a copy of Vibrant Food.

Fresh Corn Soup | Inspired by David Lebovitz, Sprouted Kitchen & Food52

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThe first corn soup that really caught my attention was this one from Sprouted Kitchen. I made it on a whim for a dinner party three years ago, and it’s the basis of this recipe that I have followed many times since. Whenever you cut corn off the cob (in the summertime), save the cobs in the refrigerator until you are ready to make stock. When you do, cover them with salted water in the pot and simmer for several hours. The drained stock that results will add an extra depth of flavor to the soup that is more than worth the minimal effort.

I few variations I recommend: adding more heat with some roasted poblanos, texture (like David Lebovitz’ recipe here), or serving the soup as a base with a variety of toppings – roasted veggies, salsa & avocado (like pictured above), or even pork shoulder.

chocolate chip meringues


One of my favorite parts of having lived in several different cities is the opportunity it has given me to explore each place through food. It’s unofficially become my technique for tackling a new home: make a list of coffee shops, book stores, and restaurants by neighborhood, and slowly wind my way through. I not only learn public transportation routes in the process, but usually get to meet some really great people along the way, too.

Even though I’m not actively thinking about these places in other cities (most of the time), when my friends or family members are planning a trip to Boston, driving through Chicago, or flying out to visit Jon and I in San Francisco, I have the opportunity to share some of my ideas. These may not be the top restaurants in your mind, but at them I found the cups of coffee and slices of peanut butter toast that helped each city feel like home.

I typed out a list for Boston earlier today (my sister is going there next month), and while I was working my way through the South End and Cambridge, Flour Bakery came to mind.  There’s a lot on the menu to love – the roasted chicken sandwich “as salad” for one – but my favorite is their meringue. There’s two varieties – almond, and chocolate – crunchy on the exterior and chewy inside, flecked with bits of toasted sliced almonds and shaved dark chocolate respectively. After I adding the Massachusetts Ave. location to my sisters’ list, I decided to make some chocolate chip meringues at home.

Since I don’t yet own the Flour cookbook, I decided to use a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which you can find here.  If you’d like to know some of my other favorite places, just ask and I would be more than happy to share!  Until next time, Boston.





all celebrations


there is a lot for me to be thankful for already this year.

that said, 2012 was a pretty big one for me – and without even taking the first half of it into account (when some of the biggest and happiest events took place) – the six months that have passed since I moved out to san francisco have been a little bit of everything. I’ve been conference planning, job hunting, exploring the city & learning new bus routes, cooking a lot, working for a small chocolate company, meeting lots of very talented people, making new friends, recovering from injuries, and cooking some more. even though jon has called this apartment home for over two years now, I am starting to feel like it’s my home now, too.

I’m glad that at the beginning of 2013, when somehow everything feels like it’s starting again, that I am feeling settled in my place. I have been a little absent here, I realize, but I’ve been doing some brainstorming and a bit of changing things around, and I’m excited for those little changes. web designer I am not, but when I look back to when I started writing a few years ago, I am happy with the progress on this blog and hope to continuously improve. other than general layout, i’ve added a recipe page as a way to catalogue my cooking experiments (see below “about”). Rest assured – even though my posts have been sporadic, I definitely have not stopped cooking, and am looking forward to sharing some of my new favorites here in the coming weeks and months.


on the topic of new favorites, this recipe definitely is high on the list of desserts – from bon appetit’s march 2012 issue. It’s actually a vegan cake (great for me), and has such intense chocolate flavor (while being incredibly light & moist, somehow – even better). it’s amazing, every time. it also halves really nicely, and goes well with a variety of frostings, or on it’s own.

for jon’s birthday last year, I made (dairy free, soy free) peanut butter buttercream to go on top. here’s to 2013, and all sorts of celebrations to come!

chocolate cake (slightly adapted from bon appetit)

*see note for making a layer cake!

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 t. kosher salt

1 t. baking soda

1/4 cup vegetable oil (plus 1 T. to grease the pan)

1 t. vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate

*I doubled the recipe & used a 9” round and 4” round cake pan to make a layered cake. baking times – for the 4” cake at 350 – roughly 20-25 minutes, rotating half-way through. for the 9” cake, plan on around 30-35 minutes. watch carefully, you don’t want to overcook this one & make it dry.

Preheat the oven to 350, and coat the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8 x 2 pan with the oil, then line the bottom with parchment paper. whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda together in a bowl. add the oil, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cup water, whisk till smooth. fold in chopped chocolate. scrape into the pan, and bake until tester come out clean when inserted into the center – roughly 35 minutes. let sit until the pan is cool enough to touch, and carefully invert the cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely.


peanut butter buttercream

(*bon appetit’s version is lighter than traditional buttercream & is great on this cake, but for jon’s birthday cake, I went for something a little different)

2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (non-natural peanut butter works better here)

8 T. (1 cup) soy-free earth balance, at room temperature

3/4 cup confectioners sugar

1 t. vanilla

1-2 T. almond milk (if needed)

in a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, vanilla and earth balance and beat until well incorporated, 1-2 minutes. with the beater on slow, add in the confectioners sugar in 1/4 cup increments, beat after each addition. if the frosting looks a little dry (will depend in part on the peanut butter you use), add 1 – 2 tablespoons of almond milk to make it smooth & creamy.

once the cake has cooled completely, carefully lift it to a plate or serving tray, and frost the sides and top with the buttercream. (you may not need all of the frosting). finish the cake with chocolate shavings.