GF Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies with Dried Cranberries

I’m sorry.

This post is a day late, and the creative juices are just not a-flowin’. But I hope you’ll forgive me after you make these cookies. (I am so NOT sorry for sharing them!)

GF Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies with Dried Cranberries {memo2munch}

This is the second sighting of a gluten free recipe on memo2much (you can catch a glimpse of the other one here), although if I didn’t mention it you’d have no idea because almond flour is magically delicious and deserves that description more than Lucky Charms. Yeah. I mean, cookies. Come on.

GF Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies with Dried Cranberries {memo2munch}

Anyway, almond flour has zero gluten. I personally am not gluten free, but I’ve been curious about using almond flour for a while now. I figured I might as well go ahead and make the whole recipe gluten free!

And ALL NATURAL.

With MINIMAL SUGAR.

Yet still DELICIOUS.

WHY ARE THEY ALL GONE?!

Seriously, these cookies are perfectly sweet, tender, gooey, chocolatey, need I go on? They stay soft even after a couple of days, and the flavor combination is a gem.

GF Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies with Dried Cranberries {memo2munch}

Basically these cookies consist of my oatmeal toppings.

Almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon, cranberries.

Then I added chocolate chips, and I feel like I don’t need to explain why I did that.

GF Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies with Dried Cranberries {memo2munch}

Just look at them.

Just make them.

Just eat them.

You’re welcome. <3

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GF Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies with Dried Cranberries {memo2munch}

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cranberries

Makes 20 cookies

Ingredients
1 ¼ c. (142 g) almond flour/meal
¼ c. (45 g) mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life—they’re dairy, nut, and soy free!)
½ c. (60 g) dried cranberries
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1/3 c. (65 g) brown sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp. margarine, melted (I used Earth Balance)
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Method
In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, chocolate chips, cranberries, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg until it is uniform in color and doubled in volume.

Whisk in the margarine and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Use a one inch cookie scoop or a tablespoon to scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet. Leave about 1.5 inches between the cookies.

Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven. Use a spatula to gently flatten the cookies down a bit. Place back in oven and cook for another 2-5 minutes until cookies just begin to turn brown around the edges.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Honey Almond Squares + Update

HAPPY 2014!!!!

How crazy/exciting! I hope this year is everything you want it to be—but better—and that you take opportunities for all kinds of new experiences—especially those that scare you (within reason, of course! There’s putting yourself outside of your comfort zone, and then there’s putting yourself in a tank with sharks. Capisce?).

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I figured since it’s the New Year and all, I’d give you a lil’ update on what I’ve been up to PLUS a recipe (nomnomnom). But first can we talk about Google’s logo today? Wuuuut. I mean the numbers’ faces, gah.

Below is the first thing I ate in the year 2014, forever immortalized on the internet! (A very good thing, as now I have a chance of actually remembering…) I hadn’t eaten anything SINCE LAST YEAR UGH so this meal had to be supa yummy. French toast made with a fresh, crusty bread and some colorful berries. And tea, of course. We’re fancy in 2014.

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Last Sunday we had a DEEELICIOUS brunch at my grandparent’s house featuring various fish my cousin had flown in from New York, bagels another cousin brought from Chicago, a blintz soufflé made by my grandma, crackers and a fruit salad prepared by yet another cousin, and honey almond squares (for which you will get the recipe today) made by moi. Whew, what a MEAL! I’ll break it down a little.

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Are you drooling? I’m drooling.

The fish came from a very well-known New York establishment called Russ and Daughters. It also happens that 2014 is Russ and Daughter’s 100th anniversary! Russ and Daughters is renowned for the quality of its fish, and boy, do we know why! From top to bottom (in random order): Nova Lox, Smoked Whitefish, Kippered (baked) Salmon, and Sturgeon. Not pictured was also some pickled herring.

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The whitefish came whole, so here’s a little montage of my grandpa boning it! WARNING: full dead fish alert, not for the faint of heart!

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Since I had to try it all, I came in with a strategy: two bagel halves, two types of fish per bagel. So as to not be confused when one type of fish ended and the other began, I made sure that each bagel half had a white-ish fish and a type of salmon. It ended up kind of like a yin-yang type of thing. Mmmm!

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Now for the Honey Almond Squares, which came from a New York Times recipe. They weren’t something that I normally would have picked out on my own, but I’m so glad that my cousin David found it and emailed it to my grandparents because DANG are they good.

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They get even better over time, too. The flavors of almond, honey, and a whisper of orange really meld with each other and come to life in these little squares.

Please note the word “whisper” in that last sentence. I just love that. I can’t take credit for it, but I love it. I read it in an article a few weeks ago, and I really don’t want to tell you how much thought has gone in to finding the perfect time to use it. Let’s just appreciate it in this here first post of 2014!

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I really get that imagery though, you know? It’s like, I’m telling you what’s in them and I say “There’s definitely honey and almond,” and then I whisper as an afterthought, “and orange.” It’s not like “WOAH THERE’S ORANGE!!” but just as if it’s a bit of a surprise to find that orange flavor.

Yup, it’s January 1st and we’ve already established that I’m crazy. It’s cool. Really.

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These little squares are great, though! The crust is just the right thickness, and it’s soft, which is in perfect contrast to the crunch of the almonds. The honey gives the squares a magnificent sheen, and the overall effect is dazzling. They’re just as much a treat to look at as they are to eat!

Make sure the keep the squares tightly covered once they have cooled completely. It develops the flavor so much more and even improves the texture.

ENJOY!

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Honey Almond Squares
(The New York Times)

Ingredients

Pastry
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. almond meal (see note)
3 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. margarine, chilled and cut into cubes
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Topping
4 T. margarine
1 cup sliced almonds
1/3 c. candied orange or lemon peel, cut into tiny cubes
1/3 c. sugar
2 T. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

*Note: If you don’t have almond meal on hand, you can finely grind some sliced or whole almonds in a food processor.

Method
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line an 8 or 9-inch-square baking pan with parchment, letting it hang over the sides for easier removal later.
2. Prepare the pastry: In a food processor, combine flour, almond meal, sugar and salt. Pulse to blend. Add the margarine and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg yolk, vanilla, and one tablespoon of water. Pulse to incorporate. add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of water through the feed tube, tablespoon by tablespoon, pulsing until just before the pastry forms a ball. You may not need all the water. I only needed 1 tablespoon.
3. Turn the dough out into the prepared baking pan. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place in the oven on the center rack and bake until the pastry begins the brown around the edges, 12-15 minutes.
4. Prepare the topping: In a saucepan, melt the margarine over low heat. Add the almonds, candied peel, sugar, honey, and vanilla extract. Heat just until the ingredients are incorporated.
5. Remove the pan from heat and spread the almond-honey mixture evenly over the pastry. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the topping is a deep gold 12-15 minutes. Once it has cooled, remove from the pan and cut into 25 squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Blueberry Peach Streusel Bars

Consider these blueberry peach streusel bars.

I don’t exactly know what that means, but an old menu on display in the Art Institute of Chicago suggested people “consider the oyster,” and I figured I’d give it a go. More on that later. Let’s talk about freezers.

Freezers are so handy! (I’m going somewhere with this I promise.) This time of year, we even have an additional, complementary freezer right outside. Thanks, December! That reminds me, I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday, full of family, friends, and good food.

Back to freezers.

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If you can feel an ice cream craving in the future and want to be prepared for it, and/or if you want things in the winter that you can only get locally in the summer: freezers have got ya covered.

You know what that means…

BERRIES AND STONE FRUIT IN THE WINTER YAAAAAY!

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Of course, fruit encased in ice will never rival the real deal, sun-ripened and fresh-picked, but hey, baked into streusel bars who’s going to be able to tell? You also have recipes like blueberry sweet rolls that actually require frozen blueberries, so that works out quite well.

If you’re still not big on using yeast—although if I can make the sweet rolls, so can you!—then these bars are the perfect alternative.

Deliciously sweet with just the right amount of crisp crust and streusel to balance out the juicy, fruity, filling. And blueberries and peaches are truly THE combination for fruit fillings. Seriously, if I’m combining fruits with something other than chocolate, blueberries and peaches would be right at the top of the list.

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PLUS these even have the family stamp of approval (which is suuuuuper!). I made them the day before we left for my grandparent’s house, and we had them as dessert after dinner. On Christmas, actually. I know what you’re thinking. Why did we not have Chinese food?!? We Jews like to switch things up occasionally. Instead we had a delicious meal prepared by my grandparents, and let me tell you, that beats Chinese any day. (We did have Chinese yesterday for dinner… We just couldn’t stay away!)

It is while I sit here writing this post, though, that we encounter a slight problem. See, I could tell you a thousand times that these bars are delicious. I could reinforce that my family thought these were delicious, and I could describe the flavors over and over again. But if the pictures aren’t exciting, then when you “consider these blueberry peach streusel bars,” you just won’t be convinced to make them. That’s the way it works with food—I know!

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Luckily I have apprehended some useful tips on this matter! We spent the day yesterday in Chicago and visited the “Art and Appetite” exhibit at the Art Institute. Oh, man, don’t go in there hungry. It doesn’t work like the wall in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Really, it was a great exhibit, and I encourage everyone to go!

Nothing like a bajillion rooms adorned with paintings of food to inspire a curious cook pretending she knows how to use a camera.

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If I had it to do over again, I might have added several spoons to the photos to emphasize that these bars are a treat to share with many.

I probably should have stationed the bars in close proximity to some dining room furniture with game caught from a hunt carved into the drawer handles, you know, just to casually symbolize man’s “mastery” over nature.

It undoubtedly would have been a good idea to include a glass of wine right splat in the center of the picture to show temperance, and some blueberries artfully tumbling out of the freezer bag would have been a nice touch.

While it’s too late to incorporate these new tips into this post’s photos, at least I have them for next time. And for the record, I will NOT be attempting to paint anything!

If you enjoyed this post, please “consider” clicking the gray follow button on the left side of the screen, or at the bottom of the page, to receive email updates about new posts. Thanks for reading!

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Blueberry Peach Streusel Bars
(Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Ingredients
Filling
3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (not thawed)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup thinly sliced peach, peeled, fresh or frozen

Crust + Topping
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole rolled oats (or quick oats)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 Tablespoons margarine, melted

Instructions
1. Make the filling first by combining the blueberries, sugar, and orange juice into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute, then whisk for 1 minute. Mix the cornstarch with 3-4 teaspoons of warm water, until it resembles milk (if you don’t mix with water, you will have white chunks in the filling). Add the watered down cornstarch to the blueberry mixture. Simmer on low heat for 3-4 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool. I poured mine into a bowl and refrigerated it until I was ready to use it.
2. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Line 8×8 or 9×9 square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Set aside. Combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Toss with a large spoon. Add the melted margarine and mix until the mixture is crumbly. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Press so that the crust is tight and even. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, which will allow it to set.
3. Remove crust from the oven after 10 minutes and spread the blueberry filling on top. Top with the peeled and sliced peach, as shown in the photo above. Top with the remaining oat crumble.
4. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the topping it lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours before cutting into squares. The bars will not cut if you do not chill them for 3+ hours.