Pumpkin Spice Season: Pumpkin Spice Cookies (GF/V/A)


Ford started High School this morning. Talk about making one feel old. It is really hard to wrap it around that he is in the 10th grade. And worse, is going to turn 16 in a few weeks. I spent Monday baking cookies, freezing up for his lunches. And realized something. It has been a long time since I used wheat flour. I still have a container on the counter, with maybe a pound in it. At this point, I am sure it is pretty stale. I gave away all my bags of flour to our neighbor this summer. If I can’t do it gluten-free/allergy-friendly, then it won’t be made.

I was very happy with the results of this tinkering. It is a soft cookie, more cake-like, than cookie. The boys loved them, especially Alistaire. Will Ford like them? Who knows. He gets all weird about pumpkin. Not sure why!


Pumpkin Spice Cookies


  • 1 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • ½ cup Tapioca Flour/Starch
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1½ cups pumpkin purée
  • ¼ cup olive or grapeseed oil
  • 2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract



Preheat oven to 375°, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Stir the brown rice flour through nutmeg together, sift through a fine mesh strainer into a large mixing bowl.

Whisk the pumpkin, oil and vanilla together, add to dry ingredients. Stir until mixed.

Use a 1 Tablespoon Disher to scoop and drop balls onto prepared baking sheets, 12 per tray.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until set on top. Let cool before moving to a rack.

Store tightly covered, freeze for longer term storage.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.



Buckwheat Chippers & Roaming In The Garden

I was inspired to make these for Alistaire, so he could have a snack to enjoy with us. Buckwheat is a gluten-free grain, although it is often produced on shared lines. Having said that, Alistaire needs to avoid wheat, rather than gluten outright. So for him it works, if it comes from a slightly contaminated line, he isn’t going to have major issues (where as from a line handling peanuts and tree nuts is an real issue). If you search though, you can source GF Buckwheat Groats and grind them, which I have, but was feeling lazy 😉


I really felt guilty after taking Walker and Ford to Top Pot for donuts in Issaquah, on Wednesday. Walker was in white flour heaven….


Like total carb-fat heaven 😉 I was the best mom evah at that point. Except for poor B, who didn’t get anything, while his 2 brothers wolfed down donuts. So I knew he needed a small batch treat he could have and enjoy. Although Walker ate 1/4 of the batch in the end!

Thanks mama!!

Walker cracks me up, his curiosity is wonderful at 3. My hopes that the garden I built would enthrall him has payed off. He loves to help and more so…loves to help eat. Right out of the garden. Nothing has made it into the house so far, outside of a few hidden berries for Dad. And Alistaire has come to realize at 17 months that the beds are full of good things as well, and now toddles right in behind his big brother. Our routine now is after baby’s nap, we all go outside and tend to the garden. Which means I weed, water and whatnot, then I pick all the choice bits and feed it to them. Hah. You think I get any? Not likely.


I moved my nasturtium baskets to the fence, I like them here and I think they will get more sun this way.


Walker will go through the garden with me every day, helping me pick (and duh, eat) whatever is deemed ready. Even Kale. Kale? This kid can’t be mine. Cracks me up.


Alistaire’s favorite is the tiny alpine blueberries. I save those for him.


OK, maybe I fibbed. I don’t share my Golden Raspberries well 😉


Walker in action, plucking blueberries –


And getting ready to enjoy….


After the berries are stripped, the green beans gone, it is time to hit the squash plants.




He eats them raw…lol!


Er, what was that about fibbing? I kind of told him that my Red Huckleberries are not good tasting 😉 That is MY secret stash of berries!


Oh wait, you want cookies? Er, I’ll get back to that…..


Since Alistaire can have coconut, I used coconut palm sugar and coconut oil. Due to his allergies I have had to leave almond milk behind (ugh!) and am using coconut milk or soy now in our cooking. Which feels odd, as I hadn’t bought soy milk in many years! So far Alistaire doesn’t have a soy allergy, thankfully, but neither has he had a lot of it.

Buckwheat Chippers


  • ½ cup ground buckwheat flour
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar or preferred sweetener
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips (dairy and allergen free)
  • 3 Tbsp melted virgin coconut oil (or other acceptable oil)
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened non-dairy milk (used organic soy, use what you can/prefer)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350°, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, mix buckwheat flour, sugar and slat together, add in chocolate chips. Stir in coconut oil and vanilla, then work in milk, 1 Tablespoon at first, then remaining as needed (I needed all, it may depend on your buckwheat).

Drop into 8 balls on lined sheet with a 1 Tablespoon Disher. Gently press down with a fork to make hatch marks. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until set looking. Let cool on a cooling rack before enjoying. Best eaten same day as baking.

Makes 8 cookies.


Buckwheat Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies might be fattening, but they are pretty easy to make and who can resist a crunchy, buttery cookie? This takes a simple concept and gives it the deep flavor/color of buckwheat flour along with a sprinkling of chocolate.


Buckwheat Shortbread Cookies


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup Buckwheat Flour
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 sticks Earth Balance Buttery Stick (or 2 sticks butter), room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract


Whisk flours and salt together in a small bowl, set aside.

Add buttery stick (or butter) and sugar to a large mixing bowl, beat on medium-high speed of a hand mixer for about 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Reduce to lowest setting, add in flour mixture. Beat on low until combined (it will be crumbly). Add in vanilla extract and chocolate, beta on medium until dough comes together.

Knock out on a work surface, knead dough gently a few times till smooth.

Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper, transfer dough onto it. Roll out to about 12″ long with hands, wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to a day.

Preheat oven to 325°, place oven racks in top and bottom third positions. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Slice cookies about ¼” thick, placing half on each baking sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes, switch trays positions, bake for another 7 to 10 minutes (for 15 to 18 minutes total). Let cool, the cookies get crisp upon cooling.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for longer storage, shortbread cookies taste great frozen I might add…..

Makes about 40 cookies.


Lime Coconut Macaroons

Let me note…this is about as green as I am going to get. There isn’t any Irish in me……and I don’t like green!

The recipe was inspired by one in the current issue of Bon Appetit. I tried two variations of it, and found my version was considerably better in texture. I think most of it was the type of coconut used. The original recipe called for coconut shavings (coconut chips), which are large pieces of coconut. For me, this has all the texture of bark shavings when not used properly. While still tasty, they were a bit too chewy for my liking, it was too big for my liking. So I made a second batch, and tweaked it to my style. Those were perfect. The recipe had merit, although by the time I got done it was my own. And that is OK. I look at it as inspiration. It got me creative!

Note – these do contain egg whites, where as my last ones I published were vegan. There are many types of macaroons, this is a lighter version, in that they are airier. The egg is partly why.


In the photo above, the original version is in the far left row, using Bob’s Red Mill Flaked Coconut Unsweetened. The middle and right rows were made with shredded coconut. Trader Joe’s is carrying a lightly sweetened shredded coconut, which if you can get, stock up! It is nice in taste and texture, not like the nasty sweetened coconut sold in grocery stores. (Why so? Well, the secret to why the big brand name coconut being unnaturally moist is a nice helping of Propylene Glycol (Preserves Freshness), and Sodium Metabisulfite (Retains Coconut Whiteness) and another company adds cornstarch as well. You know how you need your coconut to be extra-white, right? Anyhow, use what you have on hand. As long as it doesn’t have ol’ PG in it that is.


Do weigh out your coconut, it is important. The original recipe said if you used the name-brand-sweetened coconut (the type with Glycol added) to use 14 ounces. I used 7 ounces of the Trader Joe’s, and 7 ounces of the Bob’s Red Mill flakes in the first batch. Both were the right amount.

Lime Coconut Macaroons


  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lime zest (see below)
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 7 ounces shredded coconut, unsweetened or lightly sweetened, all-natural


Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, place oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven, preheat oven to 325°.

Use a Microplane zester to zest about 2 limes (preferably organic and rinsed well). Save limes to juice for other projects.

Whisk egg whites and sugar in a large mixing bowl until just frothy (it can be hard to tell with the caramel color of the sugar, stop and you can see it is frothy when it settles).

Add in lime zest and salt, whisk in. Fold in coconut.

Drop rounded Tablespoons of coconut on the parchment paper.

Bake for 8 minutes, then flip the trays, bake for another 10 to 14 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove and let cool on baking sheets. Once cool, transfer to an airtight container for storage.


We got 24 with the large chips, 18 with shredded coconut.


Don’t eat until fully cooled. In fact, they taste better the next day. They get a sticky, lightly sweet mellowing.


PS: Exciting news: a giveaway will be starting tomorrow! Want a sneak peek?

Gift Baskets 004R1

Vegan Comfort Food: PB Creme Oreos

While Oreos may be vegan in the US, it doesn’t mean one should be munching away on them crazily…it was something that caused Kirk to have an involuntary twitch when I attended Vida Vegan con if 2010. That so many of the attendees bragged about how they were vegan and how much they loved Oreos, thus it was OK to indulge. The fact that they are made of crap ingredients didn’t seem to register. Don’t get me wrong…there is something about them for sheer junk food feasting. Like on a 11 hour drive from Utah to Washington. Bought at a sketchy truck stop.

But…does one need high fructose corn syrup? Hydrogenated rapeseed oil? Artificial flavoring? Why, when you can make a (small) batch up, that is fresh and full of quality ingredients. I adapted Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe. OK, I know they don’t taste quite like the real thing. But I can tell you I’d rather indulge with these. The taste is clean and delicious. And I can tell you that keeping children out of them is nearly impossible!


Walker helped me roll the cookies out (And eat the dough scraps…the dough being vegan has its advantages!)


And well, duh, they are not diet food. But hey, who said dessert has to be healthy? Although my ingredient list is more appetizing than this, from Nabisco’s website:



PB Oreos


Cookies –

  • ¾ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp maple sugar or coconut sugar
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup organic coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond or coconut work well)
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Filling –

  • ½ cup natural peanut butter, chunky or smooth
  • ½ cup Creamed Coconut, finely grated (see notes) or coconut butter
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, preferably organic
  • Pinch fine sea salt (see below)


Whisk first 5 ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk wet ingredients together in a small bowl, add to dry and work into a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300°, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place the chilled dough between two layers of plastic wrap, roll out thinly, the dough will be a bit sticky. Cut circles out with a cookie cutter (see notes), place on prepared baking sheets, using an offset spatula if needed. Roll out the scraps until you are out. Bake for 14 minutes, the longer baked, the crisper they will be after cooling. The cookies will look a little under done when removing. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.


Makes about 18 cookies when using a 2½” biscuit cutter, which is the smallest I have. These are large cookies. Should you own, say, a 1″ cookie cutter, you will get normal sized cookies 😉 Then when baking, check at 11 minutes for being done.

Filling –

Mix the peanut butter and creamed coconut together with a stiff spoon, until smooth, working in the vanilla, and then the powdered sugar. If your peanut butter is not salted, add a pinch or to taste, of fine sea salt.

When cookies are cooled, drop a Tablespoon or so of filling one 9 cookies, top with a second cookie and gently press.

Chill cookies to set filling. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Makes 9 filled cookies, or well, depending on size of the cookies….a very happy toddler –



Creamed coconut comes in a bar, that well, looks kind of like soap. This is the brand I use: Let’s Do Organic Creamed Coconut. There are other brands, I haven’t tried them though. I have found Amazon is the cheapest source of it, but many natural food stores carry it (Whole Foods does). Do look at the dates though, I once got a bar that was a year past its date in a store!


The best (and easiest) way of handling it is to strip off the plastic wrap when it is solid (if your house is warm you can chill it first. Put a box grater on a large rimmed plate and finely grate it, starting with the softer white end (which is mostly oil), the tan section will take hand strength to grate, it goes fast though.. Once grated, transfer to a pint mason jar and store in your cupboard. What you have is essentially coconut butter at this point. But best of all? Since you grated it, it is ready to use. No melting jars in a pot of warm water to scoop out hard-as-rock butter to measure.


4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Walker was batting his eyes at me this afternoon so I indulged him with a small batch of cookies. Gluten-free, vegan, plant-based and really, really tasty.

I took Brandi’s recipe from her blog, The Healthy Flavor. Mine was a bit more rustic than hers, but I am sure just as delicious. And don’t feel they need to be made with peanut butter. Use what you like! Maple sugar can be hard to find, although Trader Joe’s has kept carrying it this year, and I keep stocking up!


And…the “raw” cookie dough is just as good to eat. Heck, I’d call them “energy balls” and eat them….Walker and Ford loved the cookies, and were happy to get a quick treat.


Peanut Butter Cookies


  • 1 cup ground almonds (see below)
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter (used chunky, lightly salted)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • Maple sugar



Preheat oven to 375°, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To grin almonds, add cold (or frozen) to a food processor bowl, run on high till finely ground, scraping often. Measure and add to a mixing bowl, add in peanut butter and maple syrup, mix with a spoon.

Make balls with a 1 Tablespoon Disher (scoop). Spread a Tablespoon or so of maple sugar on a rimmed plate, roll balls in it, till coated, adding more sugar as needed.

Place on baking sheet, make hatch marks with a fork, gently pressing down.

Bake for 10 minutes, let cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Delicious when still warm as well…..

Makes about 16 cookies.


My Mother’s Kitchen: Hamantaschen Cookies

Holidays don’t mean too much to me, we didn’t celebrate them when I was growing up. My Mom and I did though often bake and cook together, as she liked to make things for us and her family, and holidays were usually when ingredients were on sale. I don’t have a lot of family left now. Out of the 4 grandkids of my Grandmother, I was the only one to have kids, and only 2 of her kids had kids (My Mom and my Uncle). So many of my family have passed on. So holidays are still Meh to me. In the end, it is just Kirk, I, the kids and my brother. Still, I enjoy the creativity part of the holidays. And I know the guys appreciate it.

Most years my Mom and I would make Hamantaschen Cookies together. She would mix up the dough with a heavy wooden spoon, let it chill, then roll the dough out. Ours were never perfect, different sizes and thickness, some with too much jam, oozing out. It had been a long time since I had one, I don’t think we had made them since I got out of high school. My mind got to thinking about them and I tried recreating her recipe, based on long-ago memories of what she used. I saw a recipe in issue 153 of Saveur Magazine that came this month, you can see them on the top row of photos on the cover. The recipe looked closer to hers than any I had seen before. And yes, I know they are not a “Christmas Cookie” but hey, it should be!


They were tasty, but I knew it wasn’t exact to what she made. Still, I was happy with the cookies. They were what I was craving, a soft pastry style cookie with a sweet filling. Yes, I know…a traditional would use prune or poppy-seed filling. We honestly rarely did, often it was homemade blackberry jam or what we had on hand.



Use the best ingredients you have. This meant organic butter, cream cheese and handmade jam.


Hamantaschen Cookies (As Adapted)


  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened, preferably organic
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened, preferably organic
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, preferably organic
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ cup preserves or jam, used Peach
  • 1 egg white, beaten, preferably organic


Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, cut to fit.

Add the butter, cream cheese, sugar and salt to a large mixing bowl, beat until fluffy, add in vanilla.

Add in flour, beat in till mixed.

Form dough into a thin disk on a piece of plastic wrap, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Liberally flour a work surface, roll dough out to a 3/16th thickness, cut out circles with a 2½” cookie or biscuit cutter. Roll out scraps till you have used up dough.

Place 12 rounds on each baking sheet. Place about ½ tsp jam in the center of each round.

Brush edges with egg white, then fold in edges to form a triangular package, leaving a small opening in the center.

Refrigerate cookies for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°, bake one sheet at a time, for about 15 minutes, and cookies are lightly browned. Let cool to firm up, transfer to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

And….I did find her recipe. In the back of my mind I could see a small hardcover cookbook she kept, through all our moves, tucked in with the cookbooks. The publishing house has brought the books back to life, in Kindle format on Amazon. For $2.99 I picked up Simple Jewish Cookery (Peter Pauper Press Vintage Editions).


And inside it sat “her” recipe. This will be made. And I’ll do it the ‘right way’ and make the filling. And wonder how my Mom had so much patience when she cooked. And I smiled a bit as I realized I had also found her Borscht recipe as well. $2.99 well spent.


Three Nifty-Giftys in Jars (With Recipes)

I was feeling inspired so made up a few gifts to hand out, accompanied by jars of jams and butters I had made this summer. Having wandered by Whole Foods “Gifts From the Kitchen” I tried a few out. What is neat is each recipe has a printable gift tag with baking directions. The mixes are designed to fit in a 1 quart mason jar (wide mouth works best). Click on the title of each recipe to see the Whole Foods recipe, plus to get access to the tag. Two cookies and a savory quick bread (to counter act all that sugar!)

And yes, these are not health food. They are tasty though….


For a vegan cookie, use melted Earth Balance Buttery Stick (or favorite vegan margarine) and 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp water for the egg.

Gingersnap Cookie Mix


  • 1¼ cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1¾ tsp ground ginger
  • 1¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves

Also –

  • 1½ sticks (12 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg



Add the brown sugar to a clean 1 quart (wide-mouth) mason jar. Press down firmly to pack (a potato masher helps). Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together, pour over sugar (a canning funnel helps), rap jar gently on counter to settle. Sprinkle ginger, cinnamon and cloves on top, seal jar. Decorate as desired and tie a gift tag on.

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350°, line tow baking sheets with parchment paper. Add the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Add butter and eggs, beating in with a hand mixer.

Make balls, a 1 Tablespoon Disher helps, rolling hands to compact. Bake 12 to a sheet, for about 14 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes 1 quart jar to give away, and about 3 dozen cookies.


For a vegan cookie, use melted Earth Balance Buttery Stick (or favorite vegan margarine), vegan-friendly chocolate chips and 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp water for the egg.

Oatmeal Cookie Mix


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¾ cup Dried Cranberries
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Also –

  • 1 stick + 2 Tbsp (10 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg



Whisk flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Pour into a clean 1 quart mason jar (wide-mouth), using a canning funnel. Rap jar gently to settle the flour.

Add remaining mix ingredients in layers, pressing down after each layer (a potato masher helps). Seal jar and decorate as desired, attaching a gift tag.

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350°, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Add the dry mix to a large mixing bowl, beat butter and egg in with a hand mixer.

Drop by Tablespoon balls on the sheets. Bake until the cookies are lightly golden, 10 to 14 minutes.

Make 1 quart jar, and about 2 dozen cookies.


This savory quick bread can be made vegan easily. Use an unsweetened almond, rice or soy milk for the dairy milk. I made my loaf with unsweetened almond milk and palm sugar.

Walnut-Rosemary Oat Quick Bread


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1½ tsp dried crumbled rosemary
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup quick-cooking oats
  • ¾ cup walnuts, finely chopped

Also –

  • 1½ cups milk (dairy or unsweetened non-dairy)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil



Whisk the all-purpose flour, sugar, rosemary, baking powder, baking soda. salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add to a clean 1 quart mason jar (wide-mouth) using a canning funnel. Rap jar gently to settle flour, add whole wheat flour, oats and walnuts to the jar in layers, pressing down after each addition (a potato masher helps).

Seal jar, decorate as desired and attach a gift tag.

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350°, oil a 9×5 bread pan and lightly flour it (shaking out excess).

Add dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl, stir in milk and oil. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 50 ,minutes, until browned on top and a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes, turn out on a cooling rack. Let cool fully before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf, store leftovers in a bread bag.


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