Gluten-free and vegan chocolate covered oreos

Happiest of happy Halloweens! I hope your day is filled with fun-sized milky ways, plastic pumpkins, and face paint.

It's been a good week. Last Monday night I was fortunate enough to participate in a creative non-fiction writing exercise with the Ziji Collective. The experience was like tossing scarves into the wind on an autumn day; simultaneously cozy and freeing.

The exercise was to simply write out "I remember _______." They were truths, and often short little stories. For example:

I remember wanting to read the famous sex scene in Judy Blume's Forever, but not being able to because the book wasn't allowed in my middle school library. 

I remember entering a chat room for the first time. 

I remember when my high school history teacher threw a baby doll off the porch of our trailer-classroom in order to demonstrate what happened to unfit, Spartan babies. 

We took turns reading from a book of "I remembers" and then sharing our own. What came across was a sense of connection; many of us had eyeballed the weird looking old guy on the bus or re-visited a sex scene in some piece of fiction. We had once felt cool, and then stupid, and then cool once again, and then confused. 

As Halloween approaches, I'm sure we all have many "I remembers." This holiday is the launch pad into the fall season. It's when the walk home from school felt somewhat spookier and you sorted you candy for an elementary school activity. It's a party where they've somehow made hotdogs into sexy costumes and cupcakes with lime green frosting. 

In LA, we had our first lick of Fall yesterday. While I was babysitting, Dylan and I went on a walk, and we had to put on our long sleeves for the journey out into the surprisingly crisp weather of the Santa Monica late afternoon. His family is having a Halloween party tomorrow night, so we also made chocolate covered "oreos" for celebration munchies. Quotes are necessary because these oreos were of the gluten and dairy free variety so that mom could enjoy some as well. Halloween snacks are far more fun when everyone dive right in. (I remember how sad I was when it was the era of braces and I sat looking longingly at a plate of candy apples.)

Because everything was so damn precious, I had to take pictures. 

"Do you always take pictures when you bake things?" Dylan asked me.

"For the most part," I said. The shutter clicked. Dylan, ever curious, pulled out his dad's camera (a big fancy thing) and started to follow suit.  We had a nice time. 

Gluten and dairy-free chocolate covered oreos

One pack of gluten/dairy-free oreos (Newman's Own makes a good one.)

2 cups of dairy-free chocolate chips (I use Mini-Chips. They melt easier, too.) 

3 tablespoons coconut oil 

Decorative tasties! Sprinkles, frosting, whatever your heart desire. (optional, but not really)

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double-boiler or in the microwave. If microwaving, cook in 30 minutes blast until fully melted, stirring in between. 

Lay out a piece of wax or parchment paper over a baking sheet. Using a pair of tongs, dip the cookies into the chocolate, fully coating each side,  and place onto the parchment paper.

If using sprinkles, start to decorate the oreos. If not, place them into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Make or prep your frosting. I used this buttercream recipe and added orange food coloring for a spOOOOOOOky result! 

 

I think we'll remember that afternoon.  Enjoy your treats, friends! I'll be romping around as Aladdin Sane tonight, so keep your eye out for some sparkles. 

-stay cozy

gluten-free chocolate and cinnamon scones

There's a fine line between sick days and playing hooky, and I like to walk it. 

In the outstanding cinema experience that is Space Jam, there is a moment where Daffy Duck gets hit in the face with a basketball and begins to see swirling, cartoon stars. In this snapshot of hilarity, he spins, and cries, "But Mommy, I don't want to go to school today; I want to stay home and bake cookies with you."

Ah, yes, Daffy.  I also longed to stay at home and bake cookies with my mother. It was fun. We would both wear aprons and powder our hands with all-purpose flour. Scents of cinnamon and vanilla would waft through the kitchen, and I was thankful for the oven light that allowed me to constantly check in on our creations. And even though sometimes  I was not-faking-it-even-a-little-bit-but-actually-sick,  I still thought it fun to take the day off and spend some quality time learning about the relationship goin' on between milk and cookies. 

Dylan and I share a softness for sick days. He is almost nine and I am almost 24, and we both also have a softness for Junie B. Jones. 

"Don't you just LOVE getting sick?!" He asked me one day. "You get to stay in your pajamas, you get to watch TV, you get to eat your favorite foods...."

Dylan and Daffy are correct. Staying home from school on a day that doesn't start with S is a real treat. And lucky for Dylan, he gets one of those days. It's called, "Random Thursday the 25th When The Santa Monica School System Gives Kids The Day Off."

For us, this day meant all sorts of good things. We went to the Peterson Car Museum. (Which was AWESOME by the way. I got to see some of the first ever RVs and my heart sort of completely melted all over the floor.) And then we decided to bake things.

As I've mentioned before, Dylan's mom has a gluten and dairy intolerance. And though both Dylan and Weston are free to consume as much yeasty cheesy goodness as their young hearts desire, they're sensitive to the fact that she can't. So when it comes time to fill the house with sugar and spice and everything nice, we go for the GF option.

And while cookies are the stereotypical "hooky" food, we were feeling adventures. We were feeling English. We were feeling LIKE SCONES.

Namely, chocolate cinnamon scones.

These are savory and indulgent. They're not as sweet as cookies; they're sort of like biscuits studded with the occasional drop of chocolate. We dusted half with cinnamon sugar and half with maple glaze. Both were wonderful, and I highly recommend them with tea or coffee.  They aren't sweet enough for small children, but I think they would work well for adult tea parties. Or adult hooky days. 

gluten-free chocolate cinnamon scones

scones

1  cups almond flour

3/4 potato flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup carob chips

2 large eggs

1/3 cup cold plain almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cinnamon and sugar blend

maple glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons melted vegan butter

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon almond milk 

Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil or line with parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, chia seeds, and salt.  Add the coconut oil. Using your hands, blend the ingredients together. Pour in the chocolate chips and mix them into the rest of the bater. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla until light and frothy.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together until completely combined.

Drop the dough by the 1/3 cupful onto the baking sheet.  If using cinnamon sugar dusting, sprinkle the mixture on top of the scones. Allow them to rest for 15 minutes. 

If using the glaze, whisk the powdered sugar, vegan butter, maple syrup, and almond milk in a mixing bowl. Set aside. 

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until nice and toasty.  Allow to cool before adding the glaze.

Place the scones on top of a piece of parchment paper.  Using the whisk, lightly drizzle the scones with the glaze. 

You can eat them now!!

This recipe was adapted from Spoon With Me, which is probably one of the most adorable blog titles I've ever heard. 

Happy Friday, friends. I'm spending my weekend on all sorts of lovely adventures that I can't wait to share with you...I won't get specific yet, but the words "desert camping" and "vegetarian hobo packets" and  "please bring costumes" were all included in the same event description. And there's gonna be a drum circle. And yellow cake. 

-stay cozy 

Gluten free s'mores blondies

It's S'more Season!!! This is something I've just made up, so technically any month will do, but August seems rather appropriate. We're entering the time of year where summer starts to fade (not yet though), and so the amount of camping trips and outdoor bonfires hike on upward.  I made an insane amount of s'mores the month before I went off to college; my high school friends and I would drive out to camp off Route 7 in Virginia, where we could stay up as late as we wanted and come home well after the sun rose.  We simultaneously felt very young and very grown up. 

Our s'mores mostly consisted of the traditional honey graham cracker, Hershey's chocolate bar, and large marshmallow, though we would occasionally get crafty and sub out the grahams for two Keebler Elf Fudge Striped Cookies. They were amazing, and perfect for the last moments of freedom before we all bounced off to our respective universities. 

Wes and Dylan might not be heading to college, but they are well on their way to kindergarden and the 3rd grade! S'mores were definitely in order. 

Their mom, Cathy, is gluten and dairy free, and so her treats tend to be a bit harder to find recipes for. Luckily, Food 52 offers an amazing recipe for gluten-free blondies. We made two versions: one with chocolate chunks and marshmallows (so not REALLY all the way dairy free...) and one with dried blueberries and dried cranberries.  I"m sure they would work well with a variety of other dried fruits/chocolates/nuts as well, but the point is: they were YUMMY. 

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I also love love love getting this little guy in the kitchen. He spent all morning in his hockey gear, and then promptly swapped into an apron. (Even at five, the process is oh-so-important!) I fed him pieces of chocolate as he stirred, and fell all the more in love. 

S'mores Gluten and Dairy Free Blondies

Inspired by Food 52 Blondie Recipe

1 cup coconut oil or buttery substitute, melted

2 cups light brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tablespoons vanilla

1 1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup chocolate chunks (or carob chips, to keep dairy-free)

1/2 cup marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare a 9x13 pan with parchment or foil. If using foil, be sure to grease. Let the eggs and oil/fat reach room temp before using. 

Mix the butter and brown sugar with a whisk until they reach a caramel-y color and smooth consistency.  Add the eggs one at a time, thoroughly incorporating as you go. Add the vanilla and stir.

Blend the flours together and stir in. Once combined, add the desired mix-ins and fold into the batter. Once everything is evenly distributed, spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the tops are a golden brown. 

Let cool in pans, and then place in the fridge before cutting into squares.

P.S. my awesome friend Maddie is unleashing her self-written music and it's beautiful! I'm really proud of her. 

-stay cozy