Friday, January 10, 2014

Homemade Gluten Free Biscotti

This year, I wanted to create "Baby It's Cold Outside" themed gift baskets for my family- my thought was everyone could enjoy an evening indoors with all they would need to relax.

My little Ms helped to create the homemade GF dog biscuits & stuffed bones for their canine cousins...

...and I began making "candy cane" peppermint foot soaks,

...and then hot chocolate sticks with homemade marshmallows & ganache:)

I also chose to make biscotti to accompany the hot chocolate sticks...


...and ssshhh, they're gluten free!
 FYI, they're so good, "Ricky" couldn't even tell as he was scarfing one down:)

Gluten Free Almond Biscotti- adapted from Cooks Illustrated


  • 1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) whole almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) gluten free flour (I used Namaste)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 large white beaten with pinch salt
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract  
  • Vegetable oil spray  

The almonds will continue to toast while the biscotti bake, so toast the nuts only until they are just fragrant. 

(I also made these with 2 tsp vanilla, omitting the almond extract- delish!)


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Using ruler and pencil, draw two 8 by 3-inch rectangles, spaced 4 inches apart, on piece of parchment paper. Grease baking sheet and place parchment on it, ink side down.
2. Pulse 1 cup almonds in food processor until coarsely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses; transfer to bowl and set aside. Process remaining 1/4 cup almonds in food processor until finely ground, about 45 seconds. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; process to combine, about 15 seconds. Transfer flour mixture to second bowl. Process 2 eggs in now empty food processor until lightened in color and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. With processor running, slowly add sugar until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Add melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla and process until combined, about 10 seconds. Transfer egg mixture to medium bowl. Sprinkle half of flour mixture over egg mixture and, using spatula, gently fold until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and chopped almonds and gently fold until just combined.
3. Divide batter in half. Using floured hands, form each half into 8 by 3-inch rectangle, using lines on parchment as guide. Spray each loaf lightly with oil spray. Using rubber spatula lightly coated with oil spray, smooth tops and sides of rectangles. Gently brush tops of loaves with egg white wash. Bake until loaves are golden and just beginning to crack on top, 25 to 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.
4. Let loaves cool on baking sheet for 30 minutes. Transfer loaves to cutting board. Using serrated knife, slice each loaf on slight bias into approx 1/2-inch-thick slices. Lay slices, cut side down, about 1/4 inch apart on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 35-45 minutes, flipping slices halfway through baking. Let cool completely before serving.

 Biscotti can be stored in airtight container for up to 1 month.

(Ribbon & tags from Stampin' Up!)

These are my new fave GF treat & since they're not too sweet & contain no gluten, they're virtually guilt free!


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Homemade Hot Chocolate Sticks

Confession: once again in my frenzy to complete this project, I neglected to take pictures so please bear with me and enjoy some that inspired me, taken by "professionals":)

To create my hot chocolate sticks,

Then I proceeded to make the ganache...mmmm.

I opted to make the ganache with bar chocolate vs chips for a superior texture but supposedly the chips work fine:)

I followed this tutorial, tweaked from the King Arthur Flour Company and it was lush!

Marshmallows & ganache complete, it was time to assemble...

This pic isn't mine, but looks just like my creations:)

And since I didn't have time to snap pictures, you can imagine I didn't have time to package each hot chocolate stick I grouped mine in bags of six:)

I loved this project and wasn't stressed to the limit achieving completion either!
I made the marshmallows & ganache simultaneously once my little Ms were in bed as both recipes involved "resting overnight"- perfect!
I then assembled & packaged the morning of Christmas Eve:)

So glad I took the time to try something new and I heard they tasted great- happy Mama:)

Next up: homemade biscotti, including a gluten free version!

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Homemade Marshmallows

If you're on Pinterest at all, you've no doubt seen these:

Hot Chocolate Sticks!

I fell in love with these and since I'm not able to indulge in these while nursing Baby M, I settled for making them for my family to enjoy:)

The first step was deciding to make the marshmallows vs buying them & then deciding on a recipe...


 ...I chose this one, adapted from an Alton Brown recipe, as the tutorial is great with preferred pics...

...and they came out well despite the fact that I cooked them a bit longer than necessary due to my candy thermometer being off:/

Note to self: calibrate candy thermometer BEFORE baking!

Glossy & was a pretty sight...

...until my kitchen was covered in powdered sugar- the above pic is after I cleaned the counters! 

(Insert Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas")... if you can't have the real thing, make marshmallows!

Here's the complete tutorial that I followed:)

Stay tuned for part 2 of my homemade hot chocolate sticks:)


Friday, January 3, 2014

Peppermint Foot Soak

Now that I shared our homemade canine treats & toys, here's one of the people gifts:

Peppermint Foot Soak

This is a great all natural beginner project using essential oils.

1 cup epsom salt
1 cup Himalayan pink sea salt
10-15 drops peppermint essential oil (therapeutic grade)

Add the essential oil to the epsom salt in a glass bowl and mix well.  Layer the epsom salt and then Himalayan salt in jars to create a candy cane effect:) 

I chose to follow this recipe, gathered my supplies...

I found the jars at the $ Store & they held approx 1 1/2 cups.

...and layered in jars:)

I found the Himalayan pink salt at Sprouts in the bulk section.

With Baby M's arrival, (more to come!) I ran out of time to make uber cute tags, thus my cheesy print outs pasted to a random sheet of red card stock...sigh...just thankful they got finished!!!

I heart the peppermint sticks & white sweater trim:)

Up next, homemade hot chocolate sticks & marshmallows!!!

Thanks for stopping by,