I know, I know, I’m really late to the party, but I’ve come with some super quick and easy dessert that are a chocolate-lovers dream and allergen-free, so nobody is left out! More on the whimsy side rather than the ‘hey it’s Halloween and I’m going all out!’ kind of dessert, but the rich, creamy chocolate will have you forget my lackluster efforts with some white chocolate bark for good measure and to keep this yin-yang in our chocolate universe. This is chocolate heaven, my friends – Halloween or otherwise.
The past few weeks have been pretty much about recipe testing without the use of grains, now that we are giving a grain-free diet a try, in addition to gluten, dairy, soy and some other foods free. It’s like starting all over again, reminding me of all the recipe testing in hopes to replace all the pantry staples we have clung on to, eight years ago.
With the wide array of apples at the market now I couldn’t wait to make this recipe again.
Last year I made this recipe as baked doughnuts for Chanukah (twice in one week for obvious reasons), and a similar recipe to this one for the back-to-school apple pie cupcake. Fall is my favorite season for baking. I’m a sucker for the aroma of apples and spices lingering in the air, that and pumpkin spice, and gingerbread and … never mind … I just love this season. Time to get this warm and cozy baking season started — fall season has arrived!
And just like that, summer came and went, and we jumped into back-to-school mode. Michael and Ely were excited to go to their ‘big’ middle school. My teenage sophomore was somewhat excited but now especially thrilled joining the yearbook committee and being elected president of the tech club (he’s a pretty tech savvy dude and definitely didn’t get that from his mother). We eased into the routine nicely until Michael’s school nurse called to tell me he has rashes all over his body… exactly at the point I was about to add the flour blend to my pumpkin spice muffin batter (so good and coming to the blog SOON) as one does when one is itching for pumpkin spice. Panic!
Coming from a heritage stemming from the southern part of Russia, the cultural traditions set on my family’s table have always been similar to the foods of the Middle East – especially Israeli and Persian food. Halvah was one of them; my favorite Middle Eastern confection. My late grandmother would keep plenty of halvah, individually wrapped Russian chocolates, sesame seed candies, and sweet meringues in a big crystal bowl ready for the picking. That and hot mint tea was the final part of most family meal gatherings.
Zucchini usually makes its’ way into my pasta meals, fritters, or simply grilled throughout the year being that it’s so readily available, but when peak season arrives (July-August), when it’s most tender and sweeter than ever I can’t think of anything better than zucchini bread. Nothing better.
Growing up, my mother would often serve big bowls of porridge with plenty of sugar on top. Even during the summer in the Catskills, but with heaping spoons of freshly picked blueberries – my favorite way. In Russian, we call it mannaya kasha, which is basically wheat semolina based Cream of Wheat, made with milk. Not exactly a breakfast of champions. What did I know, I thought it was normal to get bloated and feel the need to pass out soon after. Needless to say, this is a better porridge option without the belly-aching, sugar-crashing side effects … what I like to call the ‘new and improved’ version of breakfast porridge. A whole lot healthier and I must say, a whole lotta DELICIOUS.
My dear poke bowl aficionados are likely wondering how watermelon has anything to do with this traditional Hawaiian staple, where the heck I am hiding the ahi tuna, and hello, no bowl.
I realize you need bowls for poke bowls. But my bowls were still in the dishwasher from our oh so very delicious ice cream sundaes the night before (have you tried the cashew flavors yet? Chocolate Cookies N Cream is my favorite!!) and it was NOT going to stop me from making this the next day.
The month of June snuck up on me quick and the days seem to speed by before my eyes. School’s out and a break from the crazy school morning rush and the end of my being the annoying homework monitor, the cue that summer has begun. Michael and Ely (who go to different schools) had class parties, end-of-the-year school picnics, and culmination all last week, along with visits to a holistic doctor and an acupuncturist for the first time. Needless to say, it has been an overwhelming and exciting month so far, with many emotions and information to process.
When I first made this I was looking to create an egg-free (vegan) banana bread in addition to gluten free to serve to our plant-based friend who was coming for brunch. I played around with a Williams-Sonoma recipe and viola, after two tweaked versions (theirs is not gf, df) I was thrilled with the results. I have made it many different ways over the years and it always comes through whatever the occasion may be – school snack, entertaining, gifting, teachers, etc. – my go-to loaf for sure.