Mexican Brownies (Gluten-free, Paleo)
These brownies are SO good! Rich and fudgy in the middle and irresistibly crunchy around the edges–I can’t stop thinking about them. Their flavor is enhanced by a dose of a cinnamon and a hint of cayenne pepper, but you can totally leave those out if you want a more classic brownie.
I made a big pan of these (doubled the below recipe) for the first meeting of my school’s Spanish Club, and they were a huge hit! The meeting was at ten am, but nobody complained about being served brownies for breakfast. I made them again day before yesterday in these Christmas molds, and I was going to give them as gifts . . . but we ate them all. Restraint is futile when faced with Mexican brownies, especially if they are shaped like Christmas trees.
These brownies don’t taste gluten-free to me at all! The original recipe called for a relatively small amount of flour, so I knew it would be a great candidate for using my paleo flour blend. If you don’t have the flour blend on hand, I’ve also provided measurements for each individual type of flour. The ratio is slightly different from that of the flour blend for ease of measurement, but I have made the brownies both ways and did not notice a difference in taste or texture.
If you’re looking for a last-minute edible gift, why not whip up a batch of these Mexican brownies? Just make sure to give them away quickly before you break down and eat them all. Or, go ahead and make them for yourself for breakfast! ¡Feliz navidad a todos!
Cranberry Chocolate Truffles (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-free)
Cranberry Maple Syrup & Cran-Maple Compote (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-free)
You heard it here: cranberry is the new pumpkin! I am pretty much ready to put these little red super-berries in everything I make from now until Christmas. I love the depth the tart flavor of cranberries adds to desserts, and they’re great in savory dishes, too.
This recipe is so easy–just two ingredients, and you end up with two delicious and giftable condiments. The cranberry maple syrup would be great on pancakes, but I’m also thinking about incorporating it into a festive cocktail. I’ve already used it as the base for another dessert (involving chocolate) that would make a great gift, so stay tuned! If you want to be really prepared, make a batch of this now and just stash it in your fridge. I promise you won’t be sorry you did!
The cranberry compote is also delicious, and less sweet than the syrup for those of you who don’t want to get a toothache. I used some to make a parfait with yogurt and pecans this morning, and it was amazing. (Holiday parfait–it’s a thing! A delicious thing that rhymes!) You could also spread the compote on toast or even serve it with pork chops.
I had so much fun watching and listening to the cranberries pop while I was making this recipe. It’s more subtle than popcorn, but still great. I tried to make a video of it to post on Instagram, but it turns out I don’t know how to do that. Anyway, it made me think of the song “Get It Poppin’” (warning: explicit lyrics) from ten years ago–it’s a completely ridiculous Fat Joe song where he asks the ladies what they’re gon’ do, and they say “I’ma get-get-get it poppin!” over and over again. So, yes … that song has been stuck in my head since I made this. Still totally worth it, though!
A Calculated Gift Guide: Make a Difference with 10 Presents Under $50
Ever since my first graders voted last year to name our class the cheetahs, I’ve been keeping up with conservation efforts to save the marvelous cats. You can help cheetahs by sponsoring a livestock guarding dog in the name of someone on your list. The Cheetah Conservation Fund‘s unique project raises and trains Anatolian shepherds to protect local farmers’ herds, thus reducing the number of cheetahs that are killed by farmers to save their livestock. Donations start at $10, and you can download a personalized sponsorship certificate and a picture of one of the dogs.
Cranberry Orange Tart (Paleo, Gluten-free, Dairy-free)
Baked Eggs in Squash Rings (Paleo, Gluten-free)
Salted Pepita Chocolate Bark (Great Gift Idea!)
Quick Curried Pumpkin Soup
I’m on a really big soup kick right now. It’s so comforting to sit down with a bowl of soup on a chilly fall day, especially a soup that’s both kinds of hot: warm and a little spicy. The only problem with soup is that it sometimes takes a while to make. Not this one, though. You can have this soup on the table in less than 15 minutes! It’s a deliciously creamy, warmly spiced fall soup that has a depth of flavor not usually achieved in super fast recipes. If you have a well-stocked pantry, you can whip up this soup at a moment’s notice. It’s great for lunch when paired with a big salad, and would also make a great Thanksgiving starter!
I used homemade chicken stock made from a rotisserie chicken for this soup. It was my first time making chicken stock, and I’m so glad I took the time to do it! It made the whole house smell wonderful, and I felt like I was being really frugal. I froze some of the stock in an ice cube tray, so now I have a bag of homemade stock cubes to use to make sauces and other recipes. This recipe will also work with store-bought stock, though–the real flavor star here is the curry paste.
To make the soup vegan or vegetarian, just omit the fish sauce or use a splash of coconut aminos instead. The soup will still be nice and flavorful with just the curry paste, stock, and pumpkin. You can even omit the sunbutter or almond butter if you’re out, but it adds a nice richness to the soup.
Caramelized Shallots (Paleo, Gluten-free, Vegetarian)
Mocha Mexicano & A Giveaway (Paleo, Gluten-free, Vegan)
This mocha mexicano is full of warm spices, and packs a subtle punch thanks to a little cayenne pepper. It’s inspired by ingredients from Rodelle Vanilla and Taza‘s Fire Puncher chocolate.
This summer, my vegan & paleo strawberry ice cream was a runner-up in Rodelle Vanilla‘s Great American Ice Cream Contest, and the prize was a basket of Rodelle Baking Goodies. I asked the wonderful folks at Rodelle if they would include a few extra goodies for you all, and they said yes! I picked up a couple of other treats over at Taza Chocolate yesterday, and am beyond excited to bring you a vanilla and chocolate giveaway.
One winner will receive a prize basket including:
- Two whole Madagascar Vanilla Beans from Rodelle
- A 6-ounce bottle of Rodelle Pure Madagascar Vanilla Extract
- A 2-ounce bottle of Rodelle Organic Chocolate Extract
- A 2-ounce bottle of Rodelle Anise Extract
- Two discs of Taza Chocolate’s Organic Fire Puncher 70% Dark Chocolate Mexicano (2.7 ounces)
- A bag of Taza’s Organic 55% Dark Chocolate Covered Cacao Nibs (2 ounces)
- A recipe card for Molten Spiced Chocolate cake and a Direct Trade pamphlet from Taza