My dad turned 50 this year, which is funny, because he sometimes acts like he’s 15. He is a total man-child, but not in the sense that he’s immature and gross and needy, but rather because he is adorable like an actual child even though he is really a grown man. He giggles – actually giggles like a 5-year-old – a lot and it’s one of my favorite things about him.
Given that it was the big 5-0, I wanted to make an extra special cake, but my dad, though he has a sweet tooth, isn’t crazy about super sweet cakes. I instantly thought of childhood trips to China and the amazingly light and barely sweet birthday cakes that they sell in bakeries over there. Cue Google, and this cake was born. It’s not exactly the same as the cakes I had in the homeland, but it’s similar and taste enough in its own right to warrant a spot on my list of favorites.
I love gluten. I really, really love it. If gluten were a band, I would be its groupie and follow it around on tours and buy all of its CDs and get its name tattooed to my ass. That’s how much I love gluten.
But these gluten-free cupcakes…I would happily cheat on gluten with these babies. They use almond flour only, which is unique because almond flour is typically a secondary flour that’s used in conjunction with brown rice flour or other bean flours. Using almond flour really helps keep the flavor and texture similar to a regular cupcake, so you can’t even tell that it’s gluten free. There’s also no xanthan or guar gum, so no need to hunt around for specialty ingredients – at the same time, because these ingredients are omitted, these cupcakes don’t bake up quite as high as typical cupcakes would. Either way, they’re still delicious, and would make a great birthday treat for gluten-intolerants and gluten-lovers alike.
The chocolate muffin is the little black dress of the baking world. You can dress it up with frosting for a cupcake or you can dress it down and have it for breakfast with coffee. And like the little black dress, every baker needs a great chocolate muffin recipe – this one is my new favorite.
Hummus is ridiculously easy to make. So much so that it’s embarrassing how frequently I buy store-bought brands. I think it’s because store-bought brands don’t taste terrible, and in fact, actually taste pretty good for the most part. Sabra is definitely one of my favorites – their roasted pine nut hummus is the best. But I’m trying to make an effort to eat homemade as often as possible, which is where this recipe comes in.
Ohio has some pretty great things – Grandpa’s Cheese Barn, the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad, Meadowlark Restaurant, and Buckeyes. I’m not talking about the tree, or the football team, I’m talking about the candy. Buckeye candies aren’t anything extraordinary – they’re basically a Reese’s with more peanut butter – but they’re still pretty delicious and adorable.
Comfort food at it’s finest: banana muffins.
To sum up these muffins: “they’re like big bready Gushers.” Except better, because they don’t all stick together into a big lump like Gushers. They’re a great breakfast muffin – the raspberry jam is a nice little surprise and adds some sweetness to an otherwise plain muffin.
These were the first muffins I made from the book, and I forgot to take pictures, but they were adorable and you’ll just have to take my word for it.
These marshmallows. THESE MARSHMALLOWS.
Okay, back up. So after I made those vanilla marshmallows, I got really excited and bought the book. It’s incredible and I highly recommend it, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t usually buy specialty cookbooks. I’m already planning March (Marshmallow) Madness, mainly because the book has a blank bracket for you to fill out, so this is totally going to be a thing.
Back to these marshmallows. They are crazy addictive, as in, I’m going to force myself to bring these in to work tomorrow so that I don’t eat them all.