Sesame Oat Cookies (Wheat Free)

Along the Silk Road there are various adaptations of sesame cookies with each country preparing its own signature version. In China, sesame cookies are made into a ball with a red bean paste. In Greece, they are called Koulourakia and are shaped into ovals and the cookie dough is softer and oilier than most other recipes. This version intermingles both the eastern origin of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and raisins with the modern agricultural crop of oats readily cultivated in the west. These cookies are delicately spiced with cinnamon and allspice lingering in the background, however their presence is welcoming. Such a simple cookie to prepare, with a delightful crunch that is so unique.

Serves 20


1/3 cup tahini (Sesame Paste)
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
½ cup apple sauce
1/3 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds, raw

1/4-cup dark raisins


       1       Preheat oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with waxed paper.

      2      In a bowl, whisk the tahini, honey, egg, cinnamon, allspice and salt.

      3      Stir in the oats, applesauce, sesame seeds, and raisins and mix until well blended.

      4      With a teaspoon, drop large dollops onto baking sheet.  Arrange 2 inches apart and bake for about 18 minutes or until firm and light brown.  Cool completely in rack before storing. 

Cranberry Coconut Munchies (Gluten Free)

I am in need of warmth. Winter in the Northeast has been relentlessly cold. Yes, I know I should not complain, considering world events and natural disasters that have taken place recently. In truth, I am very grateful for all that I have, and have learned to create pleasant substitutions for things that I miss. 

So what foods do you associate with warmth? If I had a magic wand, I would wave away and magically appear in the tropics, slurping away on a straw with a giant coconut in hand. Nothing like coconut to quench your thirst.
Since I am not a fairy princess- much to my dismay, I figured let me bake something that will induce the feeling of warmth. Cranberry coconut munchies, adapted from the eclectic Vegetarian cookbook by Nicola Graimes, is just that. I love recipes that combine ingredients from different regions that just work. These cookies are a mix of the traditional American cranberries with the tropical coconut. It’s amazing how these two ingredients come together to form an alchemy in taste- like they were meant to be together.
These coconut cookies speckled with orange zest and cranberries have a tart-sweet crunch lending to an exotic flavor. Such a simple dessert, that is ready in no time for afternoon tea or coffee.  Can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week.

Serves 20


2 egg whites

½ cup confectioner’s sugar

1 cup almond meal

1 cup dried unsweetened coconut

Zest of 1 small orange

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped

1   Preheat oven to 300°F. Line 2 baking sheets with wax paper.
2   In a medium size bowl, with an electric mixer beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. This should take a few minutes.
3   With a spatula, fold the sugar, almond meal, coconut, orange zest, vanilla extract, almond extract into egg whites to form a sticky dough. Then gently fold in the cranberries.
4   Place heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown at the top.
5   Cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack until completely cool.

Mango and Coconut Cake (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Right about now I could use some tropical weather as winter just does not seem to end here in the Northeast. Looking for sun light amidst this haze, I was inspired to make a tropical dessert from coconut and mango.

When I think of mango and coconut, I am transported to Thailand- they are famous for their mango and coconut sticky rice. While I do love that dessert, because mangos are one of my favorite fruits, I thought why not put the two tropical ingredients together and make a cake?

Although mangos are not in season yet, Trader Joe’s sells mangos in their frozen section which are imported from India. I bought a bag, defrosted it and pureed it which serves as the fruity sweetener in this cake.

This low fat cake with tons of flavor has a spongelike cake consistency that is moist with pieces of mango interspersed adding a sweet surprise to every bite. This cake was inspired from The Witchy Kitchen’s Mango and Coconut cake, however I have made it gluten free.


3/4 cup Oat Flour
3/4 cup Coconut Flour
2/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/8 Tsp. Salt
2 Ripe Mangos, pureed
3/4 Cup Almond Milk or Soy Milk
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
3/4 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
Flaked Coconut for topping

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a round baking pan.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix thoroughly and create a well in the center. Place the almond milk, oil, mango, and vanilla in the well and mix gently till homogeneous. Pour into prepared baking pan and top with coconut. Bake for 27-30 min.

The Best Chocolate Cake Ever (Gluten Free)

This is not one of those multi layered frosted cakes… I don’t have the patience to make a day of baking a cake. I know that when it comes to chocolate cake, many people would disagree with that since most of the fun in baking a chocolate cake is tasting and licking away the batter and frosting. That would send me into a serious sugar high. No, this cake is not a whole day affair, but the taste is like it came from a gourmet patisserie.

This chocolate cake, is a moist, chocolaty no fuss cake that is soft, fluffy and GLUTEN FREE. You could also make it vegan with an egg replacer, but I did use two eggs for this cake. You will have to refrigerate the batter for at least 30 minutes before baking to improve its texture.

When baked, you can store this cake in the fridge, as it keeps well, however I like to warm it up before I eat into it again. As a cold cake it takes on more of a truffle texture, warming it up brings it back to a moist and bouncy cake.

Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Basic Chocolate Cake recipe.


1 cup brown rice flour

         1 cup sorghum flour
         1/2 cup coconut flour 

3/4 cup non-alkaline cocoa powder (I use Trader Joes)
1 tablespoon baking powder (look for non-aluminum type)
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup barely melted vegan butter (Earth’s Balance)
1 cup real maple syrup, room temperature
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup coconut milk, room temperature
4 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, shaved or finely chopped
  1. Grease an 8×8 square cake pan.
  2. Sift the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the melted butter and maple syrup until it looks like caramel.
  3. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and then the coconut milk. Pour the maple syrup mixture over the flour mixture and stir until barely combined. 
  4. Add the chocolate and stir until everything comes together and is no longer dusty looking – avoid over-mixing.
  5. Refrigerate batter for up to 30 minutes, but no longer than 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 325F degrees with a rack in the middle. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 30 – 40 minutes. 
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Orange Almond Cake (Vegan, Gluten Free)

This is the most amazing and simple fool- proof cake that never fails. You can use lemons instead, but make sure it has the same weight as the oranges. A little note about this cake, you have to like the flavor of marmalade, since this has a tinge of bitterness to it because it’s made with the pith and rind. That is why I added as an option bittersweet chocolate chips to add in the batter for more sweetness, if you prefer, however I like it the way that it is. If trying this out, please leave your comments. Especially delightful when served with vanilla ice cream, yoghurt or crème fraiche.

3 large oranges

2 cups brown sugar

½ cup soymilk

2 cups almond meal

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)

Serves 10


1 Bring a pot of water to boil, add the oranges, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
2 Strain off the water, and let the oranges cool.
3 In the meantime, food process the sugar and soymilk until dissolved and pour into large bowl.
4 When oranges are cool. Cut in half and de-seed them and put the oranges with peel and pith into the food processor until reasonably smooth.
5 Pour the pulp into the sugar and soymilk mixture. Then add the almond meal, baking powder and chocolate chips (optional) gently mix together.
6 Spray cooking spray into 9X11 baking dish. Bake at 375F for 1 hour.
7 Leave the cake to stand for 10 minutes, then turn it out on a cooling rack and allow cooling for an hour.