Double Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Puddle Cookies

I totally missed the boat on a Thanksgiving post, guys. It’s hard to celebrate being so far away and all, although I did manage to get a big group of travelers in on a potluck dinner. My Thanksgiving this year consisted of a random assortment of dishes, from vegetable curry to bruschetta to mango dumplings. Everything was delicious, but the only traditionally Thanksgiving food was the stuffing I made. Which was delicious, and which may get a write-up this time next year, but I wasn’t quite on top of things enough to get it up before the holiday. I’ll do better for Christmas.

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So instead, some more cookies. More gluten-free cookies, even! I’m still pretty busy and worn out with work, so this is another good quick recipe. Hopefully next week I’ll be back up to my usual tricks, making unnecessarily involved desserts for all my lovely new friends here in Australia. This week, though, you only need seven ingredients and about half an hour of your time.

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And these are so good. Chewy and rich, with a smooth, slightly crunchy surface like a meringue. More crunch from the macadamia nuts, and plenty of deep, intense sweetness from the dark chocolate. They are one of my favorite gluten-free recipes and definitely a good one to have in your arsenal.

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Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten-Free)

I can’t say I’m wholly sold on this whole “Australia” thing, but I will say this – it is so sunny and warm and beautiful. A little too windy down on the beach, maybe, but after a childhood spent on Northern California beaches (where you always need a sweatshirt and the water is so cold it hurts your bones), I can’t really complain about that either. And it’s only getting hotter and more summery.

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 (Okay, that photo’s actually from up near Cairns because I haven’t shot much of Byron Bay yet, but you get the idea.)

I don’t mean to brag (I totally mean to brag), I’m just trying to explain how busy I have been at work lately. The tourists are starting to flock to Byron Bay, and everyday the little cafe I work at is packed out from about 9:30 am until sometime in the early-mid afternoon. Between the ever-busier days and some abrupt staffing changes, I have been pulling some long weeks. So the last time I went to bake, I just wanted something quick and easy and mindless. That’s what these cookies are for. The gluten-free thing is a nice bonus, but mostly they’re just so wonderfully simple. Not in a gross microwave-cake-in-a-mug (do you guys remember that fad?), just in a delicious, sometimes-you-only-need-three-ingredients way.

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And then if you’re like me, you make it all a bit complicated and coat everything in chocolate. But that’s optional.

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Vegan Hippie Cookies

I know what you’re thinking – more vegan baking? Already? Don’t worry, as soon as I finish this post I’m going downstairs for some more traditional lacto-ovo-vegetarian baking, but yes. I made some vegan cookies. And they were amazing, although weirdly my new coworkers here in Australia did not eat all of them. I brought a whole box and only about half went. Quite a change from bringing literally 100+ cookies into work and having people tell me I hadn’t made enough. I’m a little relieved, to be honest.

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These are not actually all that outrageous. I still used refined sugar and wheat flour, because at the end of the day I just love my chocolate chip cookie recipe too much as it is. So if, like me, you’re more of a health fan than a health freak, or if, like me, you just have a couple vegan friends and you want to give them some cookies, this is perfect. And they taste amazing. The cacao nibs (broken-up bits of raw cacao beans, and definitely part of what makes these hippie cookies) add a nice intensity of flavor and a bit of crunch. And the coconut butter adds just the right amount of coconut flavor – it’s not overwhelming, but it’s there. Equally important is the texture, which is not all that different from your standard chocolate chip cookie, though perhaps a bit softer.

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Strawberry & Dark Chocolate Muffins

Hello again! I’ve really dropped the ball on my Halloween baking this year – I had grand intentions of skull cookies, which I will still probably bake this week, but I obviously didn’t get anything done in time for this blog. So it goes. I’ve had a very busy weekend – it was my 25th birthday, so lots of socializing and eating and drinking. A friend of mine even baked me cupcakes from this blog! Such a great birthday present. But I didn’t want to neglect you guys, so here’s a slightly older recipe for you.

berries

I’m not usually a huge fan of baking with fruit. A bit of orange zest here and there, sure. Apple pie, definitely. But most of the time I’d really rather have the fruit by itself than waste it in baked goods. However, over the past few months I’ve become inordinately fond of berry and chocolate muffins. And so, when I got to Byron Bay and strawberries were unbelievably cheap, I thought I’d try my hand at making some myself.

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