satsuma + rosemary pignoli nut cookies


it's about time i share a holiday cookie recipe.  and this one is a family favorite - a recipe that my mom and i make each year, and eat more than i'd like to admit.  when i was younger, a few days before christmas my dad would take me and my brother down to arthur avenue in the bronx, an old italian neighborhood that my dad grew up in.  we would visit some of the same butcher shops, grocers, and bakeries my dad frequented as a child, and we would purchase items for our christmas eve feast.  the ravioli came from borgatti's where mrs. borgatti, her husband, and grandchildren would roll fresh pasta and ravioli right in front of us.  then, it was off to mike's deli to pick up italian sausage (something i never ever ate), where i remember standing eye-to-eye with a case holding beef tongue, and pig snout, and being totally intrigued, while simultaneously being disgusted.  on our last stop, we would visit delallo's bakery and pick up a couple pounds of pignoli nut cookies and quaresimali (a super crunchy and chunky biscotti) because they were my parents' favorites.  

we stopped going to arthur avenue mostly because we just didn't eat the same way we used to. but my mom missed her pignoli nut cookies dearly, so we started baking them a few years back, along with some other favorite christmas cookies.  and as we did, they became a total favorite of mine as well.  this recipe is naturally gluten, grain and dairy-free, just by nature of how a traditional pignoli nut cookie is made.  the base consists of either almond and granulated sugar, or almond paste.  it's mixed with egg whites and confectioners' sugar, and topped with pignoli nuts (pine nuts).  they're crunchy, chewy, sweet, nutty, aromatic, and zesty all at the same time!  and they're a super easy to put together during this busy time of year.  

happy hanukkah!  and happy holiday season! xo



satsuma + rosemary pignoli nut cookies (gluten + dairy free)

| makes 64 bite size cookies or 32 large cookies |

recipe slightly adapted from Saveur

  • 2 cups blanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon satsuma zest (any citrus zest will work though)
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (depending on how strong you want it)
  • 1 cup organic confectioners' sugar, more for dusting
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup pignoli nuts


instructions

  • preheat oven to 300° and prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. set aside.
  • in  a food processor fitted with a metal S-blade, combine almonds and granulated sugar; pulse together for a couple of minutes until you have a fine almond meal.  add the zest, rosemary, egg whites, and confectioners' sugar and pulse until dough comes together.  transfer cookie dough to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round nozzle, (alternatively, you can use a large ziploc bag with a snipped corner) and pipe dough out making 1 or 2-inch cookies.  for bite size cookies, press 6-7 pine nuts into cookie; for large cookies press 10-12 pine nuts into cookies
  • bake, rotating cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back, halfway through cooking, until lightly golden, about 25 minutes (*note: if making bite size cookies, check them after 20 minutes for doneness.)
  • transfer to a rack, and let cool completely before dusting with confectioners' sugar and serving
  • cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days

enjoy!


holiday butternut bundt cake w/ crushed cranberries + apples


we woke up to our first snowfall the other morning, albeit a dusting; our plump christmas tree is up, decorated with ornaments we've collected throughout the years; lit with strands of twinkling lights, its base hidden under a burlap tree skirt i made years ago (a craft projects gone right!).  our winter vista is now official, as the trees across the way have lost the last of their leaves,  and we can squeak out a view of the top quarter of the empire state building once more.  the holidays are officially here, and even though it's felt like a merry season for the past few weeks, it's now in close sight.    



sometimes it feels like i don't know where to start with holiday dessert though, do i go with cake, make sheets and sheets of cookies, chocolate bars, peppermint bark..? (i know, really tough decisions here.)  this year i decided to settle on a simple bundt cake - one that incorporates a number of things i love about the idea of a typical fruitcake, but without the heavy glug of it.  in that spirit, i decided to go with a tried and true cake my nana would always make: her 1,2,3,4 bundt cake.  it was her no-fail, all-occasion cake that could be made plain or jazzed up with fruit, nuts, zest, etc. so, when i thought of the holidays, of love, of memories, of baking, i knew an updated version of my nana's cake in the form of a butternut bundt was in order.  it's flecked with crushed cranberries to cut through the sweetness, the batter mixed with grated ginger, chopped apples and toasted nuts for a subtle crunch, and topped with some powdered sugar for good (holiday) measure.   

if you missed last week's post, i'm guest blogging for Gardenista this month!  you can peep this holiday bundt cake recipe over on their site today!  and stay tuned, i've got two more posts coming up this month and i'm super pumped about them! 

i hope the holiday season is bringing you joy, love, and warmth. xo


roasted golden beet + shallot dip (+ a way better snacks giveaway!)


i don't know about you, but i have fond memories of sitting around my childhood living room table eating potato chips full of knorr's leek dip.  sometimes we would have this dip on special occasions, but always, always as an appetizer before our christmas meal.  this was a big deal in our house because on most days our cupboard was packed with no-name organic juice, unsweetened applesauce, or something like no salt tortilla chips.   so, between the presents and food, christmas day was the best thing in the world to a 10 year-old lindsey.  and just because i've got older and bit more responsible, it doesn't mean i've given up the christmas dip tradition.  

usually it's heidi's mung bean hummus; an old stand-by, one that i've made million times and one that everyone enjoys.  but when the awesome folks at Way Better Snacks asked me come up with a dip recipe i knew i had to switch up my dip game.  first, of all, i cannot explain my happiness when i received an email asking to partner in their 12 Days of Holiday Snacking project.  if you're not familiar with Way Better, they're a super lovely company that produces some of the best sprouted, snack-y products that are out there; all with a consciousness of simple ingredients, whole grains, and bonus, all of their tortilla chip products are certified gluten-free.  

with the idea of a whole grain tortilla chip in mind, i wanted a dip with some roasted, creamy veg, along with a good helping of roasted shallots - basically because i love the combination of the two.  what i love about this dip is that it's tahini-based, so it lends a thinner and creamier quality, as opposed to its cousin, hummus.  the beets add some sweetness and volume here along with a velvety texture  - super duper lush, y'all - while the shallots and cumin balance out the beets' earthiness.  so, basically this is what my holiday table will look like, tons of Way Betters and a heap of this dip!  hope your holiday season is off to a good start! xo

*to enter the giveaway!!! leave a comment sharing your favorite holiday food-tradition, either as a child, or currently.  this contest is only open to US residents only - sorry international pals :(  - and closes saturday, december 13th at 6pm.  the winner will be chosen at random and will receive a sample box full of Way Better Snacks! it's a good one, folks!



roasted golden beet and shallot dip (v + gf)

| makes roughly 2 cups |

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 golden beets, washed and ends trimmed
  • 4 shallots, tops trimmed 
  • 1 cup tahini paste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon minced thyme
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup water
  • toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • chopped parsley, for garnish
  • 1 bag Way Better Snacks 


instructions

  • preheat oven to 400°.  place trimmed beets and shallots in a foil packet and drizzle with olive oil to coat.  cook in oven for 45-60 minutes, until tender (depending on the size of your shallots they may cook faster than the beets, check them after 40 minutes and remove if tender).  set aside to cool.   slip skins off of beets, and roughly chop and place in a food processor fitted with an s-blade.  squish the shallots out of their skins (similar to how you would with garlic) and add to the food processor 
  • add the tahini, lemon juice, salt, cumin, thyme, and pepper, pulse to combine.  drizzle water in a little at a time until you have reached a smooth consistency.  taste and adjust seasoning
  • transfer to a shallow serving bowl, cover and let dip rest in the fridge until ready to serve. (the dip develops more flavor after it rests in the refrigerator, so i would suggest making this the day before, or the morning of.)
  • remove from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to serving.  garnish with sesame seeds, chopped parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil; serve with your favorite flavor of Way Better Snacks! 

enjoy!


an easy-peasy weeknight holiday party!


while i'm not really one for throwing parties, i'm usually my friends' helper when they have shindigs of their own.  the pressure, the lack of time, and the not-knowing-where-to-start all make me too apprehensive to dip my toe in the party-planning world.  but now, as a married lady, i feel the desire to have friends over to our home, share food and drink, laughs and hugs, and be in the company of people we love.  

however, i have yet to invite enough people over for it to count as a real party (our apartment is a bit snug), but random get-togethers have occurred, and when they do i basically freak out about every little detail (which totally ends up not mattering at all!).  so when i decided to take on the role as a planner for a weeknight holiday party, i thought i was totally in over my head.  how does one realistically get off of work and then have time to put a party together!?  



as i dissected this idea, i came up with a solution: weeknight parties are for appetizers and booze, and that's about it!  taking on the challenge of making a meal was not going to happen, so i bought some pre-cut and pre-made items, paired them with goods in my pantry, strung up some twinkling lights, struck a match to some tea lights, and threw some pretty stems in vase!  basically a holiday party in a pinch.

each friday for the month of december, i'll be over on Gardenista sharing various holiday goods. for today, i'm sharing this weeknight holiday party menu, with some tips and step-by-step instructions on how to prepare each appetizer, along with a super fizzy (and boozy) festive punch!

 'tis the season, friends! xo


gluten-free artisan bread in 5 minutes a day: seeded 100% whole grain gf bread


did i ever tell you all that when i was growing up friends would call me pizza-bagel?  perhaps it was because i loved eating pizza and bagels, maybe it was because i actually loved putting pizza toppings on my bagels.  but i think it was mostly because i was part italian and part jewish, and that's how people would lovingly refer to me.  i guess i defined myself by that in a way, and also took on the food stereotype of what it meant to be both jewish and italian growing up in new york.  bagels were eaten, almost ritualistically each and every morning - and the bagels were so good, you didn't even think about skipping out on them for cereal.  every sunday was pizza night, where my dad would stretch out some dough, whip up a batch of my italian grandmother's tomato sauce (seasoned with manischewitz instead of regular red wine, naturally), and top it with slices of fresh mozzarella.  there was always pasta and ravioli, bialys, and round casa bread from the bakery where my dad grew up in the bronx.  

those memories are all but distant; as i grew up and learned that a steady diet of carb-y white flour was not exactly the most nutritiously sound.  fast forward a few years and i had discovered a gluten intolerance; so, my bagel every-once-in-a-blue, was a bagel no more. and while there are plenty of gluten-free bagels in the stores, i never liked, nor understood, half the the ingredients on the back of the package.  so, when was asked if i wanted a copy of gluten-free artisan bread in five minutes a day, (basically an opportunity to make my dream breads from scratch) i emphatically said yes!  

the book is somewhat of a dream to someone who longs for homemade, freshly baked gluten-free goods. but the book encompasses so many recipes i never would have thought were possible: from every day boule loaves, to baguette, challah (!) and rye bread (!). there's also a lovely pizza and focaccia dough recipe that i cannot wait to make; and recipes for bagels and bialys are obviously getting made asap.  however, first up was this seeded 100% whole grain loaf.  the recipe yields quite a bit of bread dough, so i wanted it to be a wholesome loaf i could eat on the day-to-day. each loaf i made was enjoyed at different times of the day, all with different accompaniments, and it even made an appearance at a pre-thanksgiving dinner with my folks where we sopped up some good olive oil with it.  i am so looking forward to baking more from this book, as it's already changed my entire gluten-free bread baking game!  perhaps it will change yours too!

a couple of links to include :) my recipe for cacao nib coconut macaroons is featured over on People.com in a really rad holiday cookie countdown!  and i have a couple of interviews: one over on get the gloss, and another on lucca magazine, if you're so inclined :)  hope you're having a good start to december!!! xo



seeded 100% whole grain loaf (gluten + dairy-free)

below i indicate "mixture #2", this refers to the two gluten-free all-purpose flour mixtures that the book provides recipes for.  mixture #2 is merely the whole grain flour mixture, whereas mixture #1 is not a whole grain-based mix.

From Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day 

ingredients

  • 6 1/2 cups mixture #2 100% whole grain gluten-free flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon granulated yeast
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 large eggs
  • cornmeal, for pizza peel


instructions

mixing and storing the dough

  • whisk together the flours, grains, seeds, yeast, and salt in a 5-to-6 quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container
  • add the water, honey, and eggs, and mix with a spoon.  cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises, approximately 2 hours
  • the dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold.  refrigerate it in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days.  Or freeze for up to 4 weeks in 1-pound portions and thaw in the refrigerator overnight before use

on baking day

  • pull off a 1-pound (grapefruit size) piece of dough.  place it on a pizza peel (i used a wooden cutting board) prepared with a good amount of cornmeal.  quickly shape it into a ball and smooth the surface pressing and smoothing with wet fingers.  cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 60 minutes
  • about 20 minutes into the resting period, preheat a baking stone near the middle of the oven to 450°F, with an empty metal broiler tray on any shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread
  • after the bread is rested, make 1/2-inch-deep slashes with a wet serrated bread knife, in a cross pattern.  slide loaf onto the hot stone. pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the boiler tray, and quickly close the oven door.  bake for 45 minutes, or until richly browned and firm.  smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in resting and baking time
  • allow loaf to cool on a rack before eating

enjoy!