July 2017: Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies


So…. I had never heard of this place and I’ve even been to New York City before (only once though). I obviously didn’t do my research before that trip because this is a place that I would have 100% visited prior to going gluten free so I could partake in all the beautiful cookies and baked goods that they make.

Recently, someone that I follow on Instagram (@sara_ourbestbites) took her family to the big apple and this was a must on their “to do” list.  She posted all of the cookies that they purchased and I have to say folks, it made me drool.  These cookies are extremely large and soft.  It’s almost like they wanted the middle to be cookie dough…. but not.  It’s super hard to explain but I do know that they try to intentionally under bake them so the center is gooey.

Levain Bakery was created by two women who ran a lot and need extra calories to keep them going (SAY WHAT!?!?!?!).  So they set out to create the greatest chocolate chip cookie ever.  Once they did they said, “heck we should open a bakery and sell these guys!” and the rest was history.  You can visit their site at levainbakery.com and order their gluten filled versions that will be shipped directly to your door.



Of course when I saw these delicious, ooey – gooey cookies on Instagram I just had to figure out how to make them gluten free.  I mean, why do we have to miss out? I have to say, it actually was pretty easy to find a recipe to convert.  Regulating my oven on the other hand wasn’t so great but more about that later.

Of course Levain doesn’t publish their recipe online though if you go to YouTube you can find a video of the owners making a batch (which is sort of helpful and a lot entertaining).  They show all of the ingredients but do not go into detail.  That left me to my pal Pinterest.



I fired up my trusty sidekick, Pinterest, and started searching for Levain copy cat cookie recipes.  There were a ton out there and they covered the flavor gamut (OMG = dark chocolate peanut butter chip!!!) but I wanted to stick to the original chocolate chip walnut. Of course every recipe I found was full of gluten but that’s ok,  I just need a tiny bit of a starting point in order to convert the recipe over to a gluten free one.

I settled on a recipe from the blog A Bountiful Kitchen.  This lady seemed just as excited as I was into recreating these buddies and her original recipe contains tons of details & tips that you must go read before starting: A Bountiful Kitchen Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

The best tip on the blog noted above is that if you want to sub out the walnuts you must replace it with something else or the recipe WILL flop.  I only tested it with the walnuts included in the recipe so if you decide to take them out… you are on your own – please try her tips to make it work.  I will not be responsible for how they turn out.  I’m glad we had this talk.

One last thing before we jump into the recipe…. these cookies are GIGANTIC.  They are meant to be that way.  The hand model in the picture below on the left is my lovely twelve year old daughter. Granted she does have small-ish hands but seriously, HUGE cookies are coming your way if you decide to make this recipe!  I put a picture of my not so small hand (on the right) with a cookie in it next to her picture so you can at least get a gist of the size of these things….  You will not be disappointed if you make some and you can probably feed your entire neighborhood with one batch!


Adapted from the recipe on the blog A Bountiful Kitchen.


  • 1 cup butter cut into tablespoons (I always use salted!!)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 385g gluten free flour*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 cups walnut halves coarse chopped (I like them a bit smaller than halves)
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips


*I used cup4cup for this recipe because it is more like cake flour than other gluten free flours.


  1. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees and set rack in middle of oven.
  2. Place butter into bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment turn it on low.
  3. Add the sugars and beat butter until smooth on medium speed. Mix until the butter pieces are completely blended with the sugar and is no longer visible in pieces.
  4. Add the eggs and beat on medium just until incorporated with butter and sugars.
  5. Turn the mixer off. Add the gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix the dry ingredients on low until everything is mixed together.
  6. Pour the walnuts into the batter all at once. Mix them in on low (alternative is to hand mix these in).
  7. Pour the chocolate chips into the batter and mix them in on low (alternative is the hand mix these in.)
  8. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Use your hands to shape cookies. Do not use a cookie or ice cream scoop. The cookies are meant to be roughly shaped. Do not flatten the dough.  I also place a few extra chocolate chips on the top so that it looks good and I say more chocolate chips the better!
  9. Bake 4 cookies per pan, for 10 minutes or so…. **
  10. The cookies are done when the top is a bit golden and the bottom is also golden.
  11. Do not over bake. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

**This is where it gets interesting for me because the blog recipe I used to convert over to gluten free had instructions for regular ovens and convection ovens.  I have a convection oven (I’m pretty sure anyway) but when I baked them at the lower time period noted in the original blog recipe – they were not done.  When I baked them at the longer time, they definitely were a lot browner and less gooey, so I stuck with 10 minutes.  I also tried to chill some of the dough before baking and I didn’t really see that it made any difference in this recipe.




June 2017: Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars


So June should be all about strawberries & cream or ice cream or something cool and refreshing but nope – I have chocolate and peanut butter on the brain. Don’t ask.

Though it is not a typical treat for this time of year, the cravings actually came in handy because this is a NO BAKE recipe (YAY!).  I mean who wants to turn on the oven in our sweltering heat – which by the way is already in the 90’s with lots of humidity (BOO!) in good ‘ol Minnie-soh-tah. So this was a total win for me.

As you can see by the picture below, these bars have a super creamy chocolate top and then the main bar part is a super pleasant crunchy but not hard peanut butter bar. It actually is a total oxymoron because it’s soft and crunchy all at the same time – they are the BEST!


It also was easy enough that my daughter could help which was also nice because she is becoming very interested in the kitchen and learning how to cook and bake is a life long skill that everyone can use to their advantage.  Thank you to the Food Network for sparking this in her!!


Well, one night while I was surfing Pinterest desperately trying to find gluten free chocolate peanut butter bars this recipe popped up from The Girl Who Ate Everything blog.  It definitely was not gluten free but it was quick and easy so score – I pinned it to my 2017 conversion board.

After a quick glance further at the ingredients I knew that this one would be very easy to convert.  The only items not gluten free where the pretzels and Ritz crackers.


If you follow me on Facebook at The Sasse Chronicles you have seen that recently I shared that Lance came out with a full size gluten free Ritz type cracker!! ALLELUIA!

They taste absolutely as close to a Ritz cracker that we are ever going to get gluten free because I tried to make some from scratch and they were a complete and utter fail.  I was so happy to see these guys on the shelves recently.

A note about the recipe:  Please crush the crackers FIRST before you measure them. I used a mini food processor so I didn’t have to dirty the big one. Worked great!

AND….. I apologize for this crappy picture. I actually searched online for an official pic but could not find one.  These crackers are that new!  I found them at my local Target store.



The other non-gluten free item was the pretzels. Now, there are sooooo many wonderful gluten free pretzel options on the market today from Snyder, Glutino, and Aldi but we had these little guys laying around needing to be used so I crushed these babies up and they worked out great!

I also crushed these guys using the mini food processor before I measured them for the recipe.



Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars

Adapted from this recipe on the blog by The Girl Who Ate Everything


For the Bars:

  • 3/4 Cup (1 1/2 sticks) softened butter
  • 1 Cup crushed gluten free pretzels
  • 1 Cup crushed gluten free Lance baked original crackers
  • 1 1/2 Cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 Cup crunchy peanut butter

For the Chocolate Topping:

  • 1/4 Cup of Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 1/2 Cup of Chocolate Chips


  1. Line a 9×13 baking dish with aluminum foil very carefully so that all of it is covered and some hang over the sides. I used two sheets to accomplish this.
  2. In medium bowl combine melted butter, crushed gluten free pretzels, crushed gluten free Lance Original crackers, powdered sugar, and crunchy peanut butter.
  3. Press bar mixture into the bottom of the foil lined baking dish. (It will look like it will no way cover the entire bottom and still be a bar – but it does!!!)
  4. In a small bowl, melt chocolate chips and ¼ cup peanut butter in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Stirring in between intervals so the chocolate does not seize.
  5. Once the chocolate/peanut butter mixture is ready, pour over the bar layer in the pan and spread evenly.
  6. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chocolate has set before cutting into squares.

NOTES: When ready to cut the bars, simply lift the entire bar out of the pan by the edges of the tin foil.  You can then proceed to cut the bars into desired pieces.  They are good both cold and room temp!



May 2017: Cherry Chip Cake with Russian Piping Tips


This month, was definitely a FAIL.  I followed the recipe but I think I forgot some of my mainstay gluten free baking tips and the cake did not turn out.  It was dense folks – like super dense.

Even my son said, “Mom, this cake is hard – but the frosting is AWESOME!”


First off, I was being super silly and thinking that I could replace gluten free flour with regular flour on a 1:1 basis. Nope- not the case folks.

I also used a really high starch content flour and made cake flour out of it (added MORE starch). I think this is really what made it fail.

Lastly, I didn’t whip the batter enough. Normally, with gluten free products you need to whip that batter a TON with a kitchen aid mixer to activate the xanthan gum or guar gum and I didn’t do this.

From a non-gluten free stand point, I didn’t follow the recipe and didn’t use  8inch round baking pans because I do not have them – I used 9inch rounds.  I’m not sure if this was an issue but it was different from the recipe.




Well as my son mentioned earlier – the frosting was pretty awesome.

I made this super easy chocolate buttercream for the filling because it is easy and no fuss – PLUS – it tastes really great.

I also used my simple buttercream recipe for the outside and the flowers.



Yep. I got these new Russian flower tips.  These tips are supposed to create perfect flowers (roses, tulips, etc..) with one squeeze and a twist.  It is tougher than it looks folks and that was after several hours watching it being done on YouTube.

The first try was an epic fail because my frostings were way too loose. I like to use cream and make super fluffy and yummy frosting. Well you need the complete opposite in order to make these flowers (Note to self: use stiff frosting for flowers).  I did not want to add anymore powdered sugar because then it gets just really too sweet for me.  So to solve this I put the frosting in the fridge to firm up a bit and I did get some nice flowers but not exactly what I was looking for.  They almost looked more like a rubber stamped image then a flower.

Lastly, I waited until too late in the day and my lighting was bad. I also decided to fiddle around with my camera and I don’t think that worked out for me either. I’m not posting any of those pics – because they are B-A-D. Ugh.



Yes, she did. Oh boy. Honestly a lot more could have gone wrong than what did but in the end, a heck of a lot really went wrong this month. You know what though? That’s ok.

These days on social media all you see and hear about is how great everyone’s lives are going – blah, blah, blah.  The reality is, is that not everything is perfect and not everything turns out the first time around – AND THAT’S OK!!!

Failure to me is an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and to have the resiliency to try again and move forward.  So it’s all good…..

P.S. It was also my husband’s birthday cake – thankfully he doesn’t eat cake so I didn’t get any unsolicited feedback from him about this… LOL!

P.P.S. Also if you are interested here is the link to the original recipe I tried to convert. I feel like I have to give it one more try.. so stay tuned!

April 2017: Ninja Party!


It’s the very  last day of April and I’m just getting this blog post together!  It’s been a whirlwind month for us with cheer tryouts, our 15th anniversary with a trip to New Orleans and of course our little guy turned 8!  Eight is GREAT!


So I’m one of those nerdy Mom’s who likes to throw parties with a “theme”. I mean it makes things so much easier to throw it all together if you have a cohesive ending in sight.

I asked the little guy to come up with what he wanted this year and I think he said ‘qixels’ which is a bunch of these little square plastic things that fuse together with water.  It reminded me too much of his lego party so I said, “pick again.’

Well, we were both stumped for a while and then I realized that this year he has really gotten into Tae Kwon Do.  He is currently on his green belt and loving it. I mentioned this theme to him and he was onboard 100%!


With the theme in hand, I immediately opened up Pinterest and started to search for Tae Kwon Do parties.  I quickly learned that there was more posts around Ninjas and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when it came to this type of theme.  That’s ok though – I’m adaptable!!

I pinned a bunch of stuff to get the creative juices going and this, my friends, is what unfolded…..


To keep with the theme and just because it was so dang cool we had it at Conquer Ninja Warrior.  It’s pretty much a training facility for those athletic types who want to try their luck at the new phenome TV program called American Ninja Warrior.  If you haven’t seen this show it’s totally worth watching.  It is an awesome obstacle course which requires speed, balance, strength, and a lot of skill.

The facility we went to also throws kid parties I’m assuming to keep the lights on!!!Everyone had a good time!


We always do a separate family party and this is where the theme gets kicked into high gear.  I found these really great invitations and thank you notes that were Ninja inspired and ultimately, they were just really cool. I used them for both parties actually since it all worked so well together.



Sometimes I go all out on decorations but since this was a busy month both at work and with our activities schedule, I just pulled out a few pretty standard ones.

I made a birthday banner by finding an Asian letter set on Pinterest and copying it to scale (FREE HAND!!!) onto the white banner squares with a black sharpie.  I then cut black and red squares out of cardstock to mount them on.  I found a thick ribbon that I could use to staple the card stock onto so it looked like a sort of old fashioned Asian banner.  The banner idea came right from Pinterest and I made it my own adding my visual and artistic flare.

I also made an “8 is Great” sign with the same letter set and made some origami ninja stars.  I stopped after six because these origami stars were very difficult to make and for some reason it didn’t dawn on me to make eight.  They also didn’t make a picture. *sigh* Mom brain – what do I say?

We hung large white lanterns (on sale from target from a while ago) and small black & red lanterns (from amazon) from the lights over the island where the buffet was and over the table in the kitchen.  I purchased ninja theme table cloths from the same place that I got the invitations/thank you notes.

Lastly, we had ninja plates and napkins.  Also from the same place that got all our money for the rest of the ninja loot.  I love to be coordinated like this.  Yes, I’m weird.


Normally, this is an area where I just cannot get it together.  I mean some people have little signs all made up with cool names and things.  I think I was on my “A” game only once in order to do that. Once.

So this year, two things happened:  The Candy Sushi & the Ninja Sword Fruit Kebabs. I got a picture of one of these things. Mom brain, again? 40’s fog? who knows….


The candy sushi was super easy to make.  I purchased gluten free pre-made rice krispie bars from Aldi.  They are amazingly naturally gluten free because they do not use barley malt in their rice cereal!! YAHOO!  We cut each bar in half after unwrapping them.

The next step is to open SEVERAL boxes of Swedish fish – not knowing that you would never in a million years use them all.   You place one fish on each of the bars.

Lastly, you unroll sticky gooey fruit roll ups – no wonder dentists hate this stuff – it is sooo sticky! I cut them into strips so that they would wrap around the fish and the bar and adhere on the underside. I did pull them a bit so they would stretch and keep it all together nice and tight.

Amazingly, the kids really enjoyed helping with this part – they thought it was super fun and of course devoured about 2lbs of left over Swedish fish!


I had to leave this fabulous cake to the end. It really was a masterpiece and I really am enjoying baking and decorating gluten free cakes more and more each year.

Of course I found this design on Pinterest and thought – “YES. This one I can handle.” – because let me tell you, there are Ninja cake masterpieces out there that really must require a cake ninja to create….. way outta my league…. sheesh.

This design is basically a Tae Kwon Do robe with a black belt.  I made a 9×13 gluten free & vegan marble cake (recipes from Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats). I let it cool and then I cut it in half so I could fill it with buttercream.

After that I frosted the cake with white buttercream for the uniform shirt.  The day before I made homemade marshmallow fondant (because the other stuff that you can purchase is soooo gross and I refuse to eat it – the marshmallow kind is very yummy and edible).  I dyed some of it red and some of it black while leaving most of it white.

From here I molded the collar of the uniform shirt and the black belt in the same fashion – carefully placing them on the cake, pressing them into the buttercream so they would stick.  I put a all triangle of black inside the collar so you could tell the depth of it.  Lastly, I molded a team symbol for the tunic. This not any team symbol that I know of – I just made that bad boy up – a red circle and a hand made ninja star molded out of black.


I’m not the best piper so I had my daughter assist by cutting out ‘Happy Birthday’ from red fondant and we put that on the side of the cake so it didn’t detract from the overall uniform look.


It was a yummy cake and it actually was a lot easier to make then I thought.



March 2017: Gluten Free Lemonade Cookies


Right now in MN we are in full swing Girl Scout Cookie season and we are a girl scouting family.  We’ve had stacks of cases of all kinds of cookies in our entry way since mid-February.

Usually this isn’t a big deal, because my son really isn’t into cookies (yay!).  I am into the cookies though and sometimes it’s hard to not just saunter over to the stash and open a box of your favorite kind.  This year, I’ve been pretty darn decent about it but my son came up to me one day and said, “Mom, I want a lemonade.”  Of course I knew he wasn’t talking about a cool drink but the yellow lemony girl scout cookie.

I told him “sure! no problem!” I knew my very favorite blogger, Nicole Hunn, over at gluten free on a shoestring has a recipe for gluten free lemonades. I’ve never actually  made them and they look gorgeous.

It wasn’t what I was looking for though, so I needed to start thinking about what I did want out of this cookie.


Above Photo: Lemonade Girl Scout Cookie from ABC Bakers


I love soft sugar cookies with fluffy frosting.  They are my favorite and we make them every Christmas and sometimes other times of the year just for fun.  They are just like those cookies in every grocery store that are just so wonderful and full of sugary goodness.

Again, Nicole (the goddess of gluten free baking) on her gluten free blog has the perfect recipe for this classic sugar cookie.  I’ve made it a bunch of times, it always turns out, and it’s delicious.

Then the wheels started turning.  How can I turn THIS sugar cookie into a lemony dream come true?


Basically, what I did was I took both of the recipes listed above and merged them into heavenly goodness that just melts in your mouth but gives you that intense lemon flavor.  I equate the final cookie to a lemon bar in a cookie.  It was awesome.

I actually think that the cookie just alone is a great lemon cookie.  I had one a few minutes out of the oven and I can’t even describe the fantastic moment that was.  It was warm and lemony. It’s not a gooey cookie but it was so delightful.

The lemon frosting could probably also be used for another recipe in which you need lemon frosting. It’s that good.  Both of my kids took shots of the lemon frosting straight from the piping bag (after I was done with the cookies of course) into their mouths (and yes – we are weird like that).

The only significant difference was that I used True Lemon’s Lemonade packets and not the granular lemon packets.  I mean I was making “lemonades” right? It seemed appropriate.



Now the kids, had different reactions to the cookies – I’ve created culinary monsters people, I really have.

My gluten free kid: He said the cookies were good but maybe I could leave the lemon out of the cookie part and just leave the lemon in the frosting.  He ate the whole thing anyway.

My non-gluten free kid: She said it was just way too lemony.  She didn’t like the cookie or the frosting really. It was just too strong for her but she finished her half of a cookie as well.

My neighbors and the friends that I gave the cookies to said they were good and personally, I really thought they were super awesome. Then again, I really love lemon flavored things and I like it to really taste like lemon. I don’t want a yellow baked item that says it’s lemon because of the color and then you taste it and it’s not even close to tasting like lemons.

My husband took the remaining cookies to work and he said they were gone in a flash!



Recipe adapted from Gluten Free on a Shoestring’s Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies and Gluten Free Lemonades Girl Scout Cookies Copy Cat Recipes



  • 2 Cups (280g) gluten free flour with xanthan gum included (I used Cup4Cup)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (if not in the flour blend)
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (22 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg (room temp)
  • 8 teaspoons butter (softened at room temp)
  • juice of one small lemon
  • zest of one small lemon
  • 3 packets of True Lemon’s Lemonade


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix the butter, egg, lemon juice & zest, and packets of lemonade in your stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix well.
  5. The dough will be very soft and moist.
  6. On a floured surface, roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin until it is 1/3 inches thick.
  7. Use desired round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies.
  8. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet that has been covered with unbleached parchment paper.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes or until the cookies are turning slightly brown.
  10. Cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet upon coming out of the oven.
  11. Cool completely on a wire rack.




  • 8 Tablespoons of softened butter
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 packets of True Lemon’s Lemonade
  • juice of one small lemon
  • zest of one small lemon
  • 2 1/2 Cups of powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons meringue powder


  1. Mix all the butter, salt, lemonade, and the lemon juice & zest together in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar & meringue powder.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Add the heavy cream and let the mixer whip the frosting.



  1. Put the frosting into a piping bag that has a large circular tip.
  2. Pipe the frosting on the cooled sugar cookies in a circular fashion.
  3. With a wet finger or small knife, smooth out the piping lines.
  4. Add decorations to the top if desired(I used large coarse sugar).


February 2017: Cherry Kiss Brownie Bites


I had lots of ideas for the February dessert.  There are just so many options when you have a holiday like Valentine’s day to work with!

I mean it’s the month of L-O-V-E! This means lots of red food coloring, pink sprinkles, and edible heart confetti and glitter by the truck loads!

Even with this plethora of bakery magic, I settled on this quick treat because I had these cherry cordial kisses that I wanted to incorporate into a dessert and it had to have chocolate because come on – Valentine’s day!


Now, these kisses are a Christmas Holiday treat from Hershey’s that I got at Target (because if it ain’t at Target, you don’t need it – HA!).  You actually cannot find them now which I think is a total marketing flop on their end.

I do not associate cherry cordials with Christmas. I associate them with Valentine’s day.  Heck we even have a local candy manufacturer (you read that right, it’s within miles – BAM!) that puts them on special for Mother’s day.  So just having them available for the Christmas holidays is a total snafu on Hershey’s part.

One good thing for me is that I got some on clearance – so YAY ME! The other good thing is that you do not need these in order to make the brownie bites. You can make them without OR you can sub some other kind of kiss that you like. I bet the caramel ones (since they are also gooey) would work out really well here!



I’ve made these gluten free Nutella brownie bites from the Gluten Free Canteen for years now.  They are always a big hit, but I wasn’t sure how the whole hazelnut flavor would go with the cherry so I wanted to make them just plain chocolate but what would I replace the Nutella with?

Then it hit me like a load of bricks: HOT FUDGE.  I had recently purchased this dark chocolate hot fudge hoping it was like the cocoa fudge sauce from the Dairy Queen but it 100% wasn’t even close.  In fact, I didn’t even care for it much and I kind of wanted to get rid of it.  So I subbed that for the Nutella, used gluten free oat flour that I made myself and added some baking soda……..

AND – it worked like a CHARM!



So I may have made some confusing comments up above.  You read it correctly that I used ground gluten free oats as the flour -this contains no gums or anything.  I simply took some certified gluten free oats and threw them in my mini food processor.  I processed those babies until they were a fine flour (as fine as oats can be).

I also used no sugar!  The hot fudge has plenty of sugar and stuff to make these a decadent and sweet treat.  So no extra sugar needed! YAHOO!

Since Nutella is a bit thicker than the hot fudge, I thought I should use something to give the brownies a little rise so I solved that with the baking powder.

Lastly, I do not like regular eggs for this recipe – nor do I like them in the Nutella brownie bites either.  I prefer to use egg substitute which I agree is not the best but it really creates more of a brownie feel and crumb to these bites.



You can make these brownie bites with the kisses directly on the brownie bite like this:


OR you can do them up with any color frosting of your choice. I chose pink of course because it’s pink-a-licious and it’s VALENTINE’S DAY!!



Cherry Kiss Brownie Bites

adapted from the Gluten Free Canteen Nutella Brownie Bites recipe

Brownie Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces of Hot Fudge sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons of Egg Substitute (I use egg beaters)
  • 4 Tablespoons ground oat flour
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Hershey’s Cherry Cordial Kisses (or any other kisses)

*Please ensure all ingredients are gluten free!

Brownie Bite Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients really well either by hand or with a mixer.
  3. Spray 12 mini muffin tin with gluten free cooking spray.
  4. Using a small cookie scoop, distribute the batter amongst the 12 mini muffin wells.
  5. Bake the muffins for 11-12 minutes.
  6. NO FROSTING OPTION: Place kisses into brownies.  Make sure to push them down a bit.
  7. Let them cool completely.
  8. Run a dull knife around the edges and pop out of the tin. Cool further on a wire wrack.

Buttercream Frosting Recipe (1/2 Batch)

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened to room temp
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (or less to taste) vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2-4 Tablespoons of Heavy Cream (do not use milk – trust me)
  • food coloring of choice

Frosting & Assembly Instructions:

  1. Put softened butter in the bowl of your mixer
  2. Using the paddle attachment, start whipping the butter.
  3. Put in the pinch of salt and the vanilla
  4. Carefully incorporate the powdered sugar on low
  5. Add at least 2 Tablespoons of the heavy cream
  6. Once it is mixed together turn the mixer to med-high to high and let it rip.
  7. Check it often to see if it is the consistency you want and also to ensure it is getting nice and fluffy.
  8. Put completed frosting into a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice. I used a large star tip for mine.
  9. Pipe onto completely cooled brownie bites and add a Hershey kiss to the top, pressing down slightly!



Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

January 2017: Almond Cream Cake


Ok!  After many weeks of pinning gluteny  filled wheat based cakes to my “2017 gf cake bake” transformation board on Pinterest, I was 100% sure that January was going to feature the champagne cake.

ONE: I’ve never had it and it sounds delicious because come on – champagne is delicious!

TWO: It’s January, the brand spanking new year (!), and we are supposed to celebrate like *rah* – *rah* and all that.

But I wasn’t feeling it. Not in the tiniest of bits was I feeling like the champagne cake.  Nope. Not at all. So I switched gears.


I could not take my eyes or my mind off of this Almond Cream Cake that I found from the blog: Tastes of Lizzy T’s.

It looked fluffy in all the right ways and that frosting looked divine but mostly, I just really, really love almond flavored stuff.  At least most almond flavored stuff so this was it. I made my decision and man on man, I’m so glad I did because it was the greatest white cake I’ve ever had. Period. End of Story. Amen.


It is a beautiful work of art if I do say so myself. The entire family loved it and so did the family that got the other half of it!!  They keep teasing me that they can’t wait until I open up my own gluten free food truck or bakery. HA!



I, of course, used the recipe from “Tastes of Lizzy T’s” and converted it into a gluten free one.  How did I do that? Well after scanning the recipe, it was clear that the only gluten filled item was the cake flour.  No problem-o. I know how to convert gluten free flour into cake flour from this awesome page all about gluten free flours on the Gluten Free on a Shoestring blog: GLUTEN FREE FLOUR RECIPES

If you scroll all the way to the very end it states that cake flour is 82% all purpose gluten free flour (one that already has xanthan gum in it please) and 18% corn starch.

Now I had purchased 25lbs – yep you read that right – of Cup4Cup gluten free flour in December in order to get myself ready for this 2017 challenge.  I haven’t used it much but when I have used it, I really liked the results.  I also use Better Batter gluten free flour on a regular basis and always have fantastic results with that but alas I wanted to mix things up here.

Anywho, Cup4Cup is really a bit starchy already so I thought, cripes, now I’m going to add more starch to make it cake flour – how will that work? Yep, Jen, just do it already. So I took the plunge and it turned out great!!!

Here’s how I converted the recipe from the blog:

  • The recipe calls for 3 cups of cake flour
  • For gluten free baking I like to use 140g for 1 Cup of GF flour
    • weighing gluten free flour makes for more reliable baking as GF flours can settle and even scooping them into a measuring cup can result in way more or less flour then you need.
  • Here’s where the calculations come in:
    • 3*140g = 420g of flour
    • 84% of 420g = 352.8 g of GF flour (with xanthan gum in it)
    • 18% of 420g = 75.6 g of corn starch
  • I used my handy dandy kitchen scale to measure all of this out exactly.

Full recipe and instructions below.


The frosting that was used on this was that good ‘ol flour and butter mixture that I’ve just never really gotten behind but you know what? I am super sick of just making buttercream. I mean really, how can you be sick of buttercream. It’s so awesome but I was and I wanted to learn new things.

The recipe on “Taste of Lizzy T’s” was not something I wanted to tangle with on this particular day, so I scooted over to “Gluten Free on a Shoestring” because I knew that she already re-made this recipe into a gluten version.  Here is the link to “The BEST Vanilla Frosting” recipe that I used in place of the one on the original recipe.

I followed the recipe to the T and am very familiar with Nicole’s recipes and instructions.  It turned out exactly like she said it would and it spread nicely and piped nicely.  I just wasn’t too crazy for the taste.

Now I did swap out the “Vanilla” for Almond extract since this was the almond cake and the original recipe did that as well. But it was just too buttery for me. I want my frosting to mask the fact that I’m basically eating sugar and butter on a cake.  This did not do it for me. So you win some and lose some I guess.

The good news? It tasted way better ON the actual cake then it did alone. So overall I guess you can call it a WIN.




Almond Cream Cake (Adapted from Taste of Lizzy T’s)

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 420g GF cake flour which consists of
    • 352.8 g of GF flour with xanthan gum in it
    • 75.6 g of corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk (any milk will do except nonfat)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup egg whites plus 3 tablespoons (I used them out of the carton – worked great)


  1. Using a stand mixer, place the softened butter in and cream the butter for about 2 minutes (using the beater blade attachment until it is white in appearance).
  2. Add the sugar to the butter and beat until fluffy (about another 1-2 minutes).
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  4. In a liquid measuring cup (or another bowl), combine the milk and almond extract.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture alternately with the milk.
  6. Set this mixture aside while you beat the egg whites.
  7. Using your stand mixer again with a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until they are stiff and form peaks. This may take a minute or two.
  8. Add the stiffly beaten eggs to the cake batter. Fold the egg whites in gently. Do not overmix at this point. If you do, your cake will become more dense.
  9. Grease two  9″ round cake pans and cut parchment paper to line the bottom. Pour the cake batter equally into the prepared cake pans.
  10. Bake the cakes at 350 degrees for 25-27 minutes or until the top bounces back when you touch it and a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
  11. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges and remove them from the pans to a wire rack, allowing them to cool completely.
  12. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting.

For the Frosting

  1. The frosting recipe I used was: Gluten Free on a Shoestrings Best Vanilla Frosting Ever with the vanilla extract swapped out for almond extract.
  2. Frost cake as desired.
    • I frosted the middle layer first and then frosted the outside.
  3. Gently press sliced almonds around the sides/edges of the frosted layer cake.
  4. Pipe decorative border and other decorations as desired with remaining frosting.