Baking For Others

Cappuccino Marshmallows

Posted by on Friday Feb 20th, 2015

Natalie of Good Girl Style joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find elements, just sugary air fluff, aka marshmallow ingredients. Want even more gf desserts? Check out Natalie’s Lemon Pudding.

Cappuccino is such a delight this time of year. Frothy, fluffy, and satisfying, it’s made even more appealing with the addition of these cappuccino marshmallows, which are also frothy and fluffy as well as satisfyingly sweet. The sweet, coffee-y pillows pair equally well with a coffee drink as they do hot chocolate, or as a treat popped in the mouth as you walk by the kitchen. They are sure to go fast!

Imagine a cookie. Okay, now imagine a brownie. Which one do you want? If you answered one of each, then this recipe is for you.

In high school, when my sister Kate and I baked a lot, the cookie-brownie debate extended beyond what we felt like eating. It was more about what we were in the mood to bake. Cookies promised a little more of an activity–you had to cream the butter, choose the mix-ins, and roll ball after heaping-tablespoon-sized ball to place on cookie sheets. They baked quickly, however, and didn’t require much rest time in between baking and downing that first bite. Brownies came together miraculously quickly but baked for longer, and, technically at least, needed to cool some before becoming sliceable into neat squares. Back then, I wish we’d thought of this hybrid: if you’d like to make both cookie and brownie, this chocolate & peanut butter recipe is for you as well.

The chocolate chip cookie is the classic recipe, rich in brown sugar and chocolate chips. Instead of making cookies, you press all the dough into a pan and par-bake. This is the first layer.

The second layer, the brownies, almost acts like an icing–a peanut butter-studded icing. I poured rich, creamy REESE’S Peanut Butter Chips right into the brownie batter. The chips, to me, look like the yin to the cookie layer’s chocolate chip yang.

Before I give you the recipe–which was a huge hit with peanut butter lovers, chocolate lovers, cookie lovers, and bar cookie lovers–I wanted to share a note about Hershey and the company’s support of Dr. Mark Manary’s Project Peanut Butter. In Ghana, which maintains big peanut and cocoa production, malnutrition persists among children. Project Peanut Butter’s goal, therefore, is to distribute packets of nutrient-packed Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods. The core ingredient in the packets is the peanut; they also contain the vitamins needed to help kids survive malnourishment. Founded in Malawi in 2004, the project has been recognized by the United Nations, World Health Organization, and World Food Program as the standard of in-home care for malnutrition.

Then, in 2012, with funding from The Hershey Company, Project Peanut Butter announced an expansion into Ghana, where not only did it plan to distribute the remedies but to source the peanuts and produce the packets too. Over the summer, PPB’s Ghana team began test runs of the local factory they’d built along with Hershey’s manufacturing expertise, and hopes to feed two-thirds of Ghana’s hungry kids.  You can get updates about the Ghana project here.

Thanks for reading!

This post is sponsored by The Hershey Company. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep Big Girls, Small Kitchen delicious!

Natalie of Good Girl Style joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just lemons, lemons, and more lemons.  Want even more gf desserts? Check out Natalie’s Baked Apples

To paraphrase the French philosopher Albert Camus, “in the depths of winter, I learned there was an invincible summer at the grocery store.” Well, that “summer” turns out to be lemons, deliciously in season in the frozen winter months, somehow a harbinger of all things spring.

This lemony dessert blends the comforting, wintry nature of a home-cooked pudding with the ethereal sunshine of lemon, topped with vanilla whipped cream and a cheerful candied lemon slice.

Natalie of Good Girl Style joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just fruit, yogurt, and honey.  Want even more low-impact desserts? Check out Natalie’s Baked Apples

It’s time for some sunshine. This citrus and honey-infused recipe is a light and bright mix of flavors, like sunshine on a platter.

The pomegranates give a nice pop of crunch and bright red color. (Don’t be intimidated by a pomegranate, just score around the middle, pop it open, and break the sections apart a little. Then turn each half over into the palm of your hand and hit the back of the fruit with a wooden spoon over a bowl. The seeds will fall into your hand and into the bowl. That’s all there is to it!) Citrus, pomegranates, and honey have so many delicious vitamins and healing properties to help you fight off cold season and keep your healthy New Year’s resolutions. Plus, this is delicious with crispy bits of caramelized sugar right on top.

This dish, while sweet enough to be dessert (obviously!), is also a worth addition to any brunch table. You might then use up extra citrus rind in candied grapefruit, and the extra juice for cocktails. The French technique of “supremeing” the fruit makes beautiful slices without the pesky membrane. Once you get the hang of the technique, you might find yourself making these fancy citrus slices for everyday eating, too. Finally, the sauce is a perfectly creamy balance to the citrus, while the honey flavor adds sweetness.

Chocolate-Dipped Candy Cane Meringues

Posted by on Monday Dec 22nd, 2014

Natalie of Good Girl Style joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just egg whites, peppermint extract, and chocolate.  Want even more peppermint? Don’t miss Natalie’s recent recipe for Peppermint Snowballs

These cookies use four ingredients and, with just those four, magically transform into Christmas–cookie-ified. Aside from being a festive addition to any holiday cookie exchange or dessert table, these are light as air and a welcome breathe of fresh air this time of year. Package them up in clear cellophane and they are a delightful gift. Since they’re light as air, though, the cookies are fragile and the tips are prone to breaking off or being crushed. Keep them well-protected in a single layer in an air-tight container for storage, so moisture doesn’t make them sticky.

Fair warning that this mixture is very sticky, so get everything prepared ahead of time. The circles on parchment paper are optional, but will help the cookies turn out a uniform size–and get you your full 30-cookie yield. A spice jar lid or even a roll of washi tape will make the right size circle stencil. A piping bag and tip are optional; a corner cut off a Ziploc bag will work well, too, and you can either swirl the mixture to create the shape or press down for one big “kiss.” The gel food coloring is also optional, so feel free to make the kisses snowy white or green-striped if you prefer.

Peppermint Snowballs

Posted by on Monday Dec 15th, 2014

Natalie of Good Girl Style joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just ice cream, peppermint, and coconut. Today’s wintry dessert is dressy and fun: snowballs! Don’t miss Natalie’s recent recipe for cashew-cranberry turtles, which make a sweet Christmas gift.

I love Christmas traditions, both old and new. These peppermint ice cream snowballs are a tradition for my boyfriend’s family on Christmas Eve, and one I am more than happy to adopt! I’m a huge fan of peppermint ice cream with hot fudge; it just tastes like Christmas. Add in some coconut “snow” to make things even more festive and who could resist? Combined with the fact that these are probably the easiest dessert you’ll make all holiday season, there’s really no reason not to get the ice cream scoop out right now.

You’re going to want to get a little bit hands-on to make these. I’d recommend lining the counter with some waxed paper to help you work. Use a scoop to gather the ice cream, then use your hands to shape, working quickly to minimize melting. Covering the ice cream in coconut helps the scoops become more stable. Serve in a pool of hot fudge and/or pour it over the top. Old-fashioned ribbon candies make a beautiful accompaniment (available at most grocery stores), but crushed candy canes will look lovely, too.

Baked Apples

Posted by on Monday Nov 17th, 2014

Natalie of Good Girl Style joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just fruit, spices, and brown sugar. This Thanksgiving, be sure that gluten-free eaters have a delicious, not-too-decadent choice on the dessert table with today’s baked apples. Another option? Maple Crème Brûlée.

Oh, the goodness of apple season. All of the spices that smell like home melt into butter and brown sugar inside sweet yet tart apples. There couldn’t be a more comforting scent or taste, I don’t think. These baked apples are a healthier alternative to apple pie (no crust!) and are so much easier to put together. If you have a last-minute guest coming over, you most likely have all of the ingredients to make this tasty and cozy dessert. And then there’s the added bonus of a house that smells like autumn embodied.

You’ll want to look for firm apples that hold up well to baking, such as Macintosh. Soft apples that are good for eating, such as Red Delicious, won’t be firm enough to withstand baking alone. Be sure not to core the apples all the way through, as you want the bottom intact to hold onto all of the melting sugar and butter goodness. These are best served fresh from the oven with a large serving of vanilla ice cream. If you only need to serve two, this recipe can be easily halved.