Bourbon Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Bourbon Butter Pecan // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Some days can go by without me noticing what the date actually is. But August 8th and August 9th never go by without me knowing. These dates creep up every year with a solemn presence to signify a defining moment.

Twenty six years ago, on 8/8/88, was the last day that my father was alive. As most dads do, he was a man that carved out a significant spot in my life despite being present for only 8 years of my life. I wanted to be just like him…loud, smart, athletic, intuitive, mechanical, reckless, thoughtful, artistic, funny, and tenacious.

This year, instead of focusing on his death, I want to celebrate his life. I want to celebrate his last day,  August 8th. I want to put a positive spin on these dates instead of remembering them morosely and feeling as though these dates also signify the death of my childhood.

Bourbon Butter Pecan // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Bourbon Butter Pecan // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Sorry to put a downer on today’s parade, but I’m hoping to bring it quickly up with an Ice Cream party. A BOURBON Butter Pecan Ice Cream Party to be exact. Butter pecan ice cream was my father’s favorite flavor. We would take long summer drives to the local Braum’s ice cream store in Oklahoma and share a butter pecan mix. This flavor gives me INSTANT childhood love and gratification.

So what better way to improve on any ice cream party than with BOOOZY ice cream. I think my dad would have approved of the boozy bourbon addition…in fact I KNOW he would have doubly approved. He probably would have even drizzled more on top like a bourbon float…hooooyah! Come and get it. So grab a spoon and dig in. Raise your ice cream goblets and glasses to THE man, Jimmy “James” “Jim” Hinman!

Cheers to you, Jimmy Hinman, and the brilliant and quick-burning roman candle life that you had. You touched so many lives in the short amount of time that you were alive. I’m jealous of those that knew you longer than I did, but thankful for the time that I did have.  You are missed every minute. 

Bourbon Butter Pecan // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Bourbon Butter Pecan Ice Cream

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast pecans for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add butter and turn off heat. Stir until butter is melted and pecans are coated. Sprinkle salt over pecans. Remove buttered pecans to a plate and allow to cool. Once they are cooled, store pecans in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. Place a large sealable container in the freezer. The ice cream mixture will go in this container when it is ready.
  3. Combine cornstarch with a few tablespoons of milk in a medium to large bowl. Whisk together until the cornstarch is completely dissolved and there are no more clumps. Add the egg yolks and whisk mixture together. Set aside.
  4. Heat milk, cream, and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes just to a boil. Remove saucepan from heat. Ladle a little bit of the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly because you do not want to scramble the eggs. You are tempering the egg mixture. Add a few more ladles at a time of the milk mixture until the egg mixture is warmed and thoroughly combined. Now add the warmed egg mixture to the milk mixture in the sauce pan, whisking constantly for about 2 minutes. Do NOT allow to boil. The mixture will become thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (170 to 175°F ).
  5. Pour custard mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla and bourbon to taste. Place syran wrap on the surface of the custard in the bowl and allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  6. After the mixture is completely cool, process it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions until almost firm. Pour in the buttered pecans and allow to process in the ice cream maker for about 5 more minutes. Transfer the ice cream to the pre-frozen airtight container and store in the freezer. Prior to serving, remove from freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 5 minutes.

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Plum Sorbet

Plum Sorbet / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This week, I was the lucky recipient of a metric boat load of bite-sized cherry plums from a friend’s plum tree in her front yard!!!

So, what would YOU do with sacks and sacks of fresh tasty plums?  Well, besides pop them directly in your mouth…which happened a lot around here.

Plum Sorbet / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I decided to try something new….

Plum sorbet, ya’ll! Come and get it! It’s muggy and sticky outside. That means it is perfect weather for a tangy scoop of honey-sweetened Plum sorbet! And it’s dairy free!

You could easily replace the plums in this recipe with another in season fruit, like blueberries or strawberries or peaches! This is So delicious.

Plum Sorbet / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

These plums that I used were perfectly tart and the honey provided juuuuust enough sweet balance. Also, I added a splash or two or three of champagne in the sorbet! Booze it up! Champagne or white wine in the sorbet provide the finished product a bubbly tang and help with the scoopability! Boom Boom!

Wait. This would be great as a Champagne Float! What? Yes please! If that is not a thing, it should be. Tip that pinky up, honey. Put your fancy hats on and get a big ol’ scoop of Plum Sorbet! Cheers!

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Plum Sorbet

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 cups sliced plums, pits removed
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup champagne or white wine (or water)
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processors. Purée until the mixture becomes smooth. Pour the plum puree through a fine mesh sieve to catch large pieces of skin. Place mixture into refrigerator for 30 minutes (or overnight) to chill.
  2. Place the plum purée into the bowl of a chilled ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It will take about 25 to 30 minutes. While the mixture is churning away, place a glass container into the freezer that will be big enough to place the processed sorbet into. After the sorbet is finished, either serve immediately or place into the air tight pre-chilled container and freeze for at least 2 hours to firm up.  The wine will help keep the sorbet from getting icy and will assist with scoopability if serving at a later time. Allow to sit out at room temperature for about 5 minutes after removing from the freezer, then scoop away!

Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie

Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Are you ready for a pie that is great to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, late lunch…or would that be linner? Go with it. Let’s chow down on the best that the season has to offer: strawberries and rhubarb.

My rhubarb plant is growing like a banshee in my yard. If you can plant a rhubarb plant, do it. They come back year after year after year, giving you stalks of tart goodness. My variety is green, which is quite a bit tarter (is that a word) than the red variety. But I dig it combined with strawberries, peaches, blackberries…whatever.

Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Let’s make a PIE! A Breakfast PIE! Ya…you heard me! No judging here.

The crust has lemon zest, almond flour, coconut palm sugar, an egg, and butter. Love the citrusy burst that the lemon provides. After mixing up the crust, we are going to reserve part of the crust for the crumble top. Super easy peasy.

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The filling of this cream pie is adapted from Joy the Baker’s Cherry Pie Bars, which contains a custard created from greek yogurt, eggs, and lemon.  So this pie has some protein power too! Breakfast plus. Oh and instead of using all purpose flour (like the original recipe), I chose to stabilize the custard with arrowroot powder. Low carb plus! (Note: cornstarch could be used as well if you do not have any issues with corn grains.)

Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This pie has been the best thing about my mornings…and evenings…and lunches. Dallop with an extra scoop of greek yogurt if you want. Cheers to summer freshness.

Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

A few notes about this pie:

1. The coconut palm sugar is processed in a food processor for 1 to 2 minutes to make a fine sugar powder. This helps with dispersing it throughout the crust and crumble. If you do not have coconut palm sugar, you could like swap out for another sweetener like honey or maple syrup, however I have not tried this and it will change the consistency of your crust given that honey is a liquid.

2. I used fresh fruit. If using frozen, be sure to thaw and drain it thoroughly or else you’ll have a soggy goop. TRUST ME. I did it. Tastes great, but looks less appetizing.

3. To make this completely grain free, replace the oats with your favorite chopped nut such as walnuts or pecans.

 

Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Crust Ingredients

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1/2 Cup greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut palm sugar (maple syrup or honey)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1 Cup diced rhubarb
  • 1 pint strawberries, halved

Topping

  • 1/2 Cup gluten free oats

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8″X8″ pan or 9″ pie plate with butter and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, process the palm sugar for 1 to 2 minutes until it becomes a fine powder. Add almond flour, salt, and lemon zest. Pulse to combine. Add diced butter to food processor and pulse until combined and appears to be sandy texture. Add egg to food processor and process until mixture forms a type of “dough” ball, the consistency of cookie dough. Reserve 1/4 cup of dough and set aside. Take remaining crust dough and spread along the bottom of the prepared pie pan or baking dish. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, combine all filling ingredients except rhubarb and strawberries in a medium bowl. Mix well. Add rhubarb and halved strawberries to yogurt mixture. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of the food processor, use reserved 1/4 cup crust dough and combine with 1/2 cup gluten free oats. Pulse the food processor a few times until the oats and the dough are combined to form a crumble topping.
  5. When the crust is finished pre baking, pour the yogurt topped strawberries and rhubarb into the pie crust. Evenly disperse the yogurt mixture and fruit into the pan. Sprinkle oat crumble over the top of the pie evenly. Place the pie back into the oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Oat crumble will be golden brown and center of pie will be firm. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Serve either warmed or cooled. Refrigerate leftovers.
Notes:

1. Recipe adapted and inspired from Joy The Baker’s Cherry Pie Bars.

2. Recipe can be made grain free by replacing the gluten free oats with walnuts or pecans. The greek yogurt can be replaced with 1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk.

3. Cooking times may vary based on altitude and types of ovens.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons (Grain Free)

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Sorry for the long delay in between posts. Recently life has been tough at times but life also has been very good. When I am going through a roller coaster of emotions and dead lines and choices and what not, I consume chocolate and peanut butter. Doctors orders.

But when life is good…I also eat chocolate and peanut butter.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

The combination sends warm fuzzies through my body. It’s a choco-pb hug for my soul. I get my best soul hugs from those crack-like addictive Reese’s PB eggs that spring forth from every corner around this time of year. I can stay away from Reese’s (nearly) the rest of the year, but throw them in an egg shape! Holy frijoles, I can’t stop. My eyes pop out of my head all googley and I froth at the mouth and I protect them like a squirrel, hiding my Reese’s eggs in weird and unassuming places.

These cookies are the wonderful love child of two of my favorite cookies: No bake cookies + macaroons. Whoa. Whoa.

Let this happen.

Make them egg shaped. They are better for you than those other choco-pb eggs and just as addictive.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It will make you love life even when there are a few major down moments.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons (Grain Free and Diary Free)

Adapted from Against All Grain

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons natural creamy unsweetened peanut butter*
  • 1 egg white
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Place a piece of parchment paper onto a rimmed baking sheet. Set the baking sheet aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the coconut, honey, cacao powder, peanut butter, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Place egg white and another pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Using a whisk or electric beaters, beat the egg white for about 2 minutes until soft peaks form. Combine meringue with other ingredients in the large bowl.
  4. Using a melon baller, scoop out cookies and place them onto the parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 1 hour on a wire cooling wrack.

*Note – To make these Paleo friendly, use either almond butter or sunflower seed butter in place of the peanut butter. 

Grain Free Samoa Bars

Grain Free Samoa Bars

It’s Girl Scout cookie season. People are walking around with goofy grins, Do-Si-Do crumbs on their shirts, stupid Thin-Min-covered fingers, Tagalong-scented breath, and boxes of Samoas stuffed in their sock drawers so that no one else will get THEIR cookies. Or is this just me?

And who came up with those names anyways? Do-Si-Do? Tagalong? What is a Samoa even?

Grain Free Samoa Bars

But in reality I’m jealous. Seethingly jealous. I can’t have any of them. I just stare with dark, wide-eyed, frothing and foaming desire.

But this year, the ol’ Girl Scouts gave the gluten-free crowd a consolation prize and came out with a GF cookie. I was pumped, until I found out it was a shortbread. Womp womp. Really? Shortbread?  That all you got? No badge for you! Get back in the kitchen. TRY AGAIN.

Grain Free Samoa Bars

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Never fear. After being challenged by a friend that Grain Free Samoas would not be good, I woke up on Saturday morning with a mission. A cookie mission.

These cookies deserve a badge! A medal! An Oscar, even! They make you THINK they are the real deal, but alas…they have no wheat, no grains, no processed sugar. Ya…SUCK IT TRABECK!

Grain Free Samoa Bars

Instead of making single cookie-disks, I opted for bars. Because seriously, these puppies disappear so quickly into your mouth that cutting out little stupid tire shaped cookies is not worth it. Lets save time. Let’s make bars! The shortbread crust is perfect and crisp. I saved even more time by not dipping each bar in chocolate and instead spread the chocolate layer between the shortbread crust and the caramel coconut layer. The caramel coconut layer is a delicious concoction of honey and a smidge of molasses that has been cooked down to an amber-caramel-heavenly syrup.

These do take a bit of time to make each part. But the wait and work is WELL worth it. So make a batch, hide several (because they will go fast if you share them), turn on the Oscars, grab a yummy Samoa bar, and do your best Matthew McConaughey impersonation….”alright, alright, alright”.

Grain Free Samoa Bars

Grain Free Samoa Bars

Makes 16 small bars

Shortbread Crust Ingredients (inspired by Deliciously Organic)

  • 1 1/2 Cup almond flour (such as Honeyville)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

Chocolate Layer

  • 1 Cup semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped

Coconut Caramel Topping (adapted from Against All Grains)

  • 1/2 Cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Cup coconut milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Cups unsweetened shredded coconut

Chocolate Drizzle

  • 1/2 Cup semisweet or dark chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place parchment paper in the bottom of an 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Combine crust ingredients in a medium bowl until just combined. The mixture will be crumbly. Press the crust evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake on the middle rack of the oven at 350 for 15 minutes or until light golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, place the unsweetened coconut on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer. Place on the top rack to toast. Toast the coconut for about 5 to 7 minutes, keeping an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn. Remove the toasted coconut from oven when golden brown and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  4. After the crust is finished baking, pull the crust from the oven. Turn the oven off. Sprinkle 1 cup of chopped chocolate onto the warm crust. Place back into the warm oven for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a rubber spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly over the shortbread crust. Set on a wire rack and allow to cool. Place in refrigerator after cooled.
  5. For the caramel sauce, place honey and molasses in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low bubbling boil for about 7 minutes, swirling frequently to caramelize evenly. Remove from heat and stir in butter, coconut milk, and salt until smooth and completely combined. Stir in toasted coconut.
  6. Remove cooled shortbread crust from the refrigerator. Spread the coconut caramel mixture on top of the chocolate covered crust.
  7. Microwave remaining chocolate in a microwave safe dish for about 2 to 3 minutes, in 30 second intervals, stirring in between intervals. Once the chocolate is completely melted, drizzle the chocolate (using a spoon or fork) over the Samoa bars. Cool bars completely in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  8. Use parchment paper to pull out the bars from the baking dish. Place on a cutting board and cut into 12 to 16 bars. Place bar in hand and shove into mouth. Mmmmm. 🙂

Lemony Coconut Tapioca Pudding

Lemony Tapioca Pudding / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I am in need of a vacation. It’s mid February and the skies are dismal and the temperatures are even more dismal.

So I have decided to create a vacation atmosphere in my home. Cozy, comfy, and relaxing. I curl up with a great record, a cozy blanket, and something creamy….like pudding. This tapioca pudding has the bright flavor of lemon. It reminds me of a random warm day in the 50s or 60s that comes along in the middle of winter and makes you want to run wild outside after having been locked inside from snow mounds and drifts of snow. Actually, at this point, I would go running around outside like a lunatic if it hit 40 degrees outside. I’ve got my bongos ready…I think it might hit 42 today. YES.

Lemony Tapioca Pudding / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

So like I was saying. Lemons. Nothing is more refreshing and spring-like in flavor like lemons. This tapioca pudding has what every dismal winter day needs…a ray of sunshine and a warm breeze. But combine that with creamy tapioca pudding and you have comfort in a bowl.

Lemony Tapioca Pudding / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

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I prefer to use small pearl tapioca, fresh honey, and a mixture of coconut milk and 2 percent milk. But for a completely dairy free version, by all means, use combination of other dairy free milks.

Lemony Coconut Tapioca Pudding

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of coconut milk (or half coconut milk and half 2% milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup small pearl tapioca or granulated tapioca (I used this type)
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten free vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • toasted coconut (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine coconut milk, salt, tapioca pearls, egg yolk, and honey in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer while stirring frequently.  Turn heat down and allow to simmer softly for 20 minutes, stir frequently and make sure the bottom does not burn.  The tapioca will begin to thicken quickly at the end.
  2. Once the tapioca mixture is thick like gravy, remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest. Portion out 1/2 cup servings into separate pudding cups. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Serve alone or with extra lemon zest and/or toasted coconut on top.

Lemony Tapioca Pudding / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Grain Free Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes (Paleo Friendly, Diary Free, Grain Free) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I tend to have issues with making big decisions. I freeze when provided with too many choices. I try to logically narrow down the choices. I over think it. I marinate and choke over it.

I do this with nearly e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Cars. Houses. Jobs. Kids. Men. Shoes. Food. Does this come with a picture menu?

Apples at the store…. Pink lady? Gala? Fuji? Granny smith? wait..what do Rome apples taste like? or Empire? crap… or do I like Jonathon? no…wait… golden delicious are on sale… sold.

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes (Paleo Friendly, Diary Free, Grain Free) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Sometimes I want cake. Other times I want something more creamy…pudding? Ugh… decisions. So here is where this cake is a winner on all fronts in my mind. It gives me the best of both worlds. This cake is the amazing love child between the most airy cake and the creamiest lemon curd-like pudding. I get pudding AND cake all in one bite. I get sweet AND tart all at once. I made these little Meyer lemon pudding cakes in two small 6-ounce ramekins and 1 larger gratin dish.

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes (Paleo Friendly, Diary Free, Grain Free) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

There is one tiny problem: trying to not devour the whole cake at once. They taste like sunshine bursting through a cold blustery day and warming you to the bone. Meyer lemons have a thinner rind, are slightly orangish in color, and are a bit sweeter than their bright yellow typical lemon counterparts. The first bite of these Meyer lemon pudding cakes was like capturing childhood in tiny ramekins. Cabin fever shmabin fever! These Meyer lemon pudding cakes will make you forget the dull skies that loom.

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes (Paleo Friendly, Diary Free, Grain Free) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I loosely based my recipe on a Food and Wine recipe. To make this recipe grain free and dairy free (paleo friendly), I used coconut oil instead of butter, palm sugar instead of white sugar, almond milk instead of dairy milk, and a combination of almond flour/coconut flour in place of AP flour.  The cakes have a carmel-like color which I attribute to the dark coconut palm sugar.  Despite the caramel and faint yellow color of the pudding, these lil’ cuties are ridiculously good and will surely perk you up from any winter blues that you may be experiencing.  Cheers.

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes (Paleo Friendly, Diary Free, Grain Free) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Grain Free Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake

Adapted from Food and Wine

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (or grass fed butter), at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 3 large eggs, yolks separated from whites in separate bowls
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (such as coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Meyer lemon zest (plus extra for serving)
  • 1/3 cup almond flour (such as Honeyville)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional Toppings: lemon zest, powdered sugar, coconut whip, or greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly butter six 6-ounce individual ramekins or a 9-inch pie dish. Set  the dishes inside a larger roasting pan and bring a kettle of water to a boil to create a bain-marie to evenly cook the pudding cakes.
  2. In another bowl, whisk the coconut oil (or butter) and palm sugar until creamed. Add one egg yolk at a time until combined. Gently whisk in the almond milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest until well combined. Stir in the almond flour and coconut flour and whisk until smooth.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt until  stiff and soft peaks form. Gently fold in half of the beaten egg whites into the cake batter using a rubber spatula to lighten it. Carefully fold in the remaining egg whites. The batter should be light and fluffy at this point and will not resemble normal cake batter.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking dishes. Since this cake will not rise, fill the dishes to the top if necessary.  Place the baking dishes into the larger roasting pan. Pour the boiling water from the kettle (step 1) into the roasting pan so that the water comes halfway up the outside of the ramekins or pie dish.  You can also fill the roasting pan with water while it is in the oven to keep from splashing water into the filled ramekins.
  5. Bake until the cake is puffed and golden, 50 to 60 minutes for a single pie dish, or 30 to 35 minutes for 6 small cakes. The top will become golden and the middle of the cake will barely jiggle when shaken. Pull out of the oven and allow to cool for 20 to 30 minutes on a wire rack. Serve the cake warm and fresh from the oven sprinkled with extra lemon zest.

Grain Free Cranberry Banana Bread Muffins

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Christmas is approaching quickly and I am hosting! Pray for me. I’ve already caught a dishtowel on fire and burned my butcher block.  I will soon have a house filled with kids, love, hugs, ham, chocolate, pie, fudge, nuts, cheeselogs, stockings, egg nog, and so much more. Mmmmmm.

I’m trying to bake a few things ahead of time to prepare for the coming family. I whipped up this batch of muffins this week and have placed them in the freezer ready to be pulled out and rewarmed at a moments notice. Gotta love short cuts.

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

AAAAnd, you gotta love bursts of cranberries in these muffins. Well, everyone except my husband…dat’s weeeahd. But’s he’s weird anyways people. I mean, who puts their shoes in the freezer? Anyone? ya…him.

And who’s favorite christmas movie is Die Hard? Him! Well…and likely most dudes.

Ok ok ok…I love Die Hard too, but what about Jingle All the Way? Most people’s fave holiday movies are Home Alone and Christmas Story. But Sinbad and Arnold give the fabulous gift of I-haven’t-bought-anything-for-anyone-yet-so-I-will-buy-a-not-so-meaningful-but-expensive-Christmas-gift-on-Christmas-Eve-style Christmas spirit. Check it out. And don’t you dare go buy Christmas gifts ON Christmas Eve! Learn a lesson from Arnold, people. Or else you will end up driving around town, being robbed by washed up Santa’s, threatening a radio show host, and trying to steal presents from under other people’s trees. But then you end up dressed like a superhero at the end, so I guess it’s all worth it. But I digress….

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

If you haven’t gotten gifts at this point in the game, don’t do it. It’s a fart in the wind, friends. Make these muffins instead. Put them in a pretty box, tie some kitchen twine around them, and write a thoughtful note. When you present these to others, they’ll eat them and say “wow, that was so thoughtful and so delicious” in the voice of Ma Brady.

Now, isn’t this so much better than fighting the crowds and buying a crappy import mug with two year old hot cocoa mix and crouton-like marshmallows?

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Back to these awesome muffins that you are making for “the ones that you love”, remember?!?

These muffins come together just using the food processor! It’s easy! No need to dirty multiple bowls. I adapted a recipe from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grains cookbook (best grain-free cookbook around, folks), swapping out the almond flour for tapioca flour for a nut free muffin version. I also added fresh cranberries for a fleck of holiday red and a punch of perfect tartness.

Oh Oh OH…AAAAND, even thought these muffins contain NO oil, they are uber moist. So there…you just made tasty AND healthy holiday treats for people and didn’t have to punch someone in the face at the store on Christmas Eve. You are a good person. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy a muffin. Because, of course you made a double batch so that you could keep some for yourself. We aren’t heathens around here. Sheesh.

I hope you have a happy Christmas and a merry New Year.  Muah!

Paris 2013

Paleo Cranberry Banana Bread Muffins

Adapted from Against All Grains

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sifted coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (such as coconut milk or almond milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin liners and set aside.
  2. Add the cider vinegar to the coconut milk and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
  3. In a food processor or blender, add bananas, eggs, honey and vanilla extract. Process for 1 to 2 minutes until eggs are frothy. Add coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of the food processor with the frothy egg mixture. Blend/process until well combined.  Add the vinegar/coconut milk mixture to the batter and process for an additional 30 seconds until well mixed.
  4. Add the washed fresh cranberries and whole walnuts. Pulse the mixture a few times (do not over process or the cranberries will be too chopped) to distribute the cranberries and walnuts throughout the batter.
  5. Spoon 1/4 cup of muffin batter into prepared muffin liners. This recipe makes 12 muffins.
  6. Place the muffin tin in the preheated oven. Bake the muffins at 325 F for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top of the muffins are light golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from muffin tin and allow to cool further on a wire rack. If freezing, allow to cool completely before placing in a ziplock freeze bag or container. Microwave or reheat in oven to thaw. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in refrigerator and/or freezer.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Candied Hazelnuts

Grain Free Chocolate Flourless Cake

We moved to Kansas City nearly five years ago. FIVE years. what?

When we moved here, we knew no one. It was just me, Kiley, and our furry son Guinness. My aunt and uncle live within an hour from KC, which helped the transition of moving away from my family in Oklahoma. Our first winter was long and cold. Ice crystals formed on the INSIDE of the windows in our drafty rent house. Kiley and I sat around in matching blue Snuggies hoping that our fingers would thaw out eventually.

Grain Free Chocolate Flourless Cake

Trying to make friends as you get older is a funny and actually hard thing. It’s like dating all over again. But we don’t have college as a buffer. I found myself trying to pick up strangers in the grocery store… “So…you like avocados too? Ya…. Want to be friends?”

I didn’t know how to make friends. I’m awkward. I’m an engineer. I suck at small talk. My cousin gave me pointers on making friends…I kid you not.

Grain Free Chocolate Flourless Cake

Grain Free Chocolate Flourless Cake

Join a club. Go to a class. Ya. Ok… I knew I could do it, right? I’m friendly. I like people. Right?

So I went to a gardening class, a cooking class, canning and preserving classes, knitting classes. Basically I met every 70 year old in KC. I planted sweet potatoes with all of them too. They are awesome (the sweet potatoes and my grannies), but they don’t make great “couple” friends. And they eat dinner at 4pm. I eat at 5pm people…who eats at 4pm and at a buffet. I do NOT do buffets. They have jello surprise. *Shudder*

Candied Hazelnuts

Grain Free Chocolate Flourless Cake Needless to say, after five years I feel incredibly lucky to have developed quite a family of friends. Friends that feel as though we known each other for ever. Friends that feel more like family ever day. Friends that all wear blue on the same day by accident to have a great joint birthday celebration for my girlfriend Tessa and my husband.

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And just like my 70 year BFFs taught me, you always have to make birthdays special. My grandma taught me well and that’s why I always like to make a fabulous birthday cake for anyone on their special day! This Flourless Chocolate Cake was adapted from the ever inspiring and talented Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen.  I tweaked a few things, added a pinch of cayenne and also topped with addictive candied hazelnuts. This cake has a wow factor that will impress anyone. So consider whipping this up for anyone that is special in your life that you want to just say….

“I’m so thankful that you are alive. This world is a better place because of you…so let’s have CAKE.”

Grain Free Chocolate Flourless Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Candied Hazelnuts

(adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)

Cake Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted grass-fed butter
  • 5 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate (I used 70% cocoa), diced into pieces
  • 4 large eggs, separated (at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne (optional)
  • candied hazelnuts for topping (see recipe below)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8-inch round springform pan with a circle of parchment paper and generously butter the sides of the pan. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, brown the butter by melting it and stirring frequently. Allow the butter to continue to cook and foam. Brown bits will begin to form at the bottom of the saucepan after about 3 minutes. Remove the saucepan with the browned butter from the heat and add the chocolate pieces. Stir until the chocolate is entirely melted. To cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature, transfer the melted chocolate mixture to a heat resistant bowl (glass is best) and nest it in a larger bowl of cold or ice water. Be careful to not allow the cooling water to get into the melted chocolate. Stir the cooling chocolate frequently so that it cools evenly.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the room temperature egg yolks, maple syrup, and vanilla together until the mixture becomes thick. Slowly mix in the chocolate mixture, cinnamon, and cayenne to the egg yolk mixture until it becomes extremely thick.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixture, beat the four egg whites and salt until firm peaks form. Gently stir in one third of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture until evenly combined. Gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture and try to keep the batter as light as possible.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven in the middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top has formed a thin domed crust. To test, stick a skewer in the middle of the cake and it will come out clean when done. Cool for five minutes and then invert the cake onto a serving plate. Sprinkle with crushed candied hazelnuts.

Candied Hazelnuts

(Note – can be made up to 1 day ahead of time and stored in an airtight container)

  • 1/3 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar or evaporated cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • pinch flaky sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread the hazelnuts onto a baking sheet and toast them for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to allow for even toasting. Remove the hazelnuts from the oven and allow to cool. Remove the skins by rubbing the nuts in a dry dish towel or between the palms of your hands.
  2. Place parchment paper over a plate and have a set of small tongs ready to be used. In a small heavy saucepan, cook the sugar and water (do not stir) over medium heat until the sugar melts and turns a caramel color (about 3 to 5 minutes). Add the sea salt and hazelnuts. Stir and allow the caramel to coat the hazelnuts. Turn the heat off. Remove the hazelnuts one by one with the tongs and place them onto the parchment paper, making sure that they do not touch each other. Cool the nuts completely (or place in the fridge). Once cooled, the nuts will easily fall off of the parchment paper.
  3. To break into pieces, place the candied hazelnuts into a ziplock bag and seal. Use the bottom of a glass or a hammer, and smash them (don’t pulverize) into large chunks. Keep in an airtight container until ready to use.

Grain Free Pumpkin Apple Coffee Cake

Pumpkin and Apple Coffee Cake - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It’s fall and we all know what that means. It is comfy time.

It is sweater time!

It is jeans time!

It is WOOL SOCKS time!!!!!

It is pumpkin time!

But first, before I roll into pumpkin flavored everything….I have to tell you about my big accomplishment. This weekend I went on a fall cleaning and organizing mission. This is monumental, people. I peeled everything out of all of our closets and was ready for a massive PURGE. Usually when I do a “purge” I just sit around staring at old memorabilia and becoming even more attached to the T-shirts that I bought 15 years ago but haven’t worn in 10 years. But seriously, folks…how can you get rid of a shirt that says “Not everything is flat in Kansas“!!?!?! I know! Precious. My point exactly.

Man, you guys just get me.

So this weekend’s purge was different. I properly purged. (No, don’t worry I didn’t get rid of that awesome T-shirt.) But I DID manage to organize everything in our closets (a.k.a shove-crap-wherever-it-would-fit space) and get rid of:

  • Other not-so-cool shirts,
  • Expired medicine (goodbye Benedryl from 1990),
  • Stained things (note to self – QUIT buying white things…ketchup loves it too much),
  • Single socks that have permanently lost their partner (let’s have a moment of silence for all of the poor sock widows), and
  • A metric boat load of half-marathon race packets with sample bottles of weird things, etc.

As I stuffed and crammed these unwanted and unnecessary items into either goodwill sacks or the trash, I wondered why have I held on to this crap for so long? Holding onto stuff is an interesting thing. I put a big importance on odd things, but seriously not EVERYTHING has to be a gem, does it? At this rate I will need to get a separate storage unit just to store my “awe remember when…” items.

But now I feel fabulous and comfy. I’m wearing my comfy old T-shirt and a pair of wool socks that I lost. My closet is clean, stacked, organized, and comfy. Everything is just…comfy.

Comfy like the fall weather blowing around the leaves outside.

Comfy like old love letters from my husband that I found in a shoe box at the back of my closet.

Comfy like my favorite broken-in sweatshirt that I found crammed underneath a suitcase (okay, so I didn’t purge EVERYTHING…baby steps, people).

Comfy like nearly anything pumpkin flavored!

Pumpkin and Apple Coffee Cake - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

We all get bitten by the pumpkin bug every year! I have held off for quite a bit, but now it is on like a pumpkin thong. Hrmmm….wait. Bad idea. A pumpkin thong would NOT be comfy. Scratch that…

Just make this pumpkin apple coffee cake instead. I promise that the scent of it will make you swoon. You will want to wrap up with a comfy blanket, have a warm cup of coffee, and grab a big square of this warm coffee cake.

This coffee cake recipe is adapted from my Pumpkin and Apple Almond Flour Muffins and the Peach Streusel Topped Coffee Cake recipe featured in the fabulous Against All Grain Cookbook. It is moist and light with warm spices to fill your belly.  I whipped this up for a football brunch watch party last weekend. My house smelled SO good while it baked and for days afterwards.  I definitely think I will make this again for the holidays (or tomorrow).

Pumpkin and Apple Coffee Cake - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Note – To make this recipe, I used Honeyville blanched almond flour. I prefer this brand because it makes baked goods lighter and flufflier than almond meal. I have not tried this recipe with other brands or with almond meal. If you try it with another brand or almond meal, please let me know how it turned out. This coffee cake takes nearly an hour to bake. If you need something that cooks in less time, try my delicious Pumpkin and Apple Almond Flour muffin recipe.

Pumpkin and Apple Coffee Cake - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Pumpkin Apple Coffee Cake (Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo-Friendly)

Coffee Cake Ingredients

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour (I use Honeyville)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tablespoon coconut oil (or grass-fed butter), melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 medium apples (dice one and thinly slice the other)
  • Streusel topping (recipe below)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a 9X9 inch square pan or 9-inch round springform cake pan with coconut oil. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (flours, salt, baking soda, and spices) with a whisk. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor, mix the eggs and the maple syrup on medium speed until eggs become frothy (about 2 minutes). Add remaining wet ingredients (pumpkin, applesauce, oil, vanilla). Mix until all ingredients are combined. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Stir in diced apples (about 1 cup). Spread mixture into the prepared pan. Place thin apple sliced on top. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over the top.
  4. Place pan on middle rack of the preheated oven. Cook at 325 F for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Streusel Topping (adapted from Against All Grain Cookbook)

  • 1/3 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the streusel ingredients into the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse a few times until the nuts are chopped finely and the streusel comes together.
  2. Sprinkle ingredients onto the coffee cake or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 1 day.