Today I have the honor of spending some much needed time with my childhood/forever friend Candice and her wonderful family. I grew up walking to her house after school, devouring her pantry, taking family trips with her and just flat-out laughing non-stop. We were always so silly together. Our mom’s loved to watch us dance and act a fool weekend after weekend and we loved the attention.

Recently her little sister found out she has a gluten intolerance and my Pops was planning on making his famous pizza for  our little New Years get together (homemade dough and sauce…so deadly). I immediately felt her pain, the all-too-common, “Ugh, what the beep am I suppose to eat?!!???!!?”

I teach a gluten/dairy/soy free cooking class once a month at Loma Linda University so I often hear about the desperation people experience when visiting friends, eating at restaurants or just preparing their own meals with their new lifestyle. Since I cook mostly gluten-free it was an absolute joy to be able to make her tasty items I knew she could take home and re-create with ease.

So, tonight I am making her a gluten-free pizza crust from The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam  that she can add her favorite toppings to. It is SO easy, but I will add the recipe a little later.

I also wanted to make her some sweet treats. I made Grain-Free Cheesecake Swirl Brownies last night so I could serve them cold like cheesecake and today I made Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies that are just to die for!

Enjoy Friends and I wish you a blessed and adventurous New Year!

Grain-Free Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

1 cup almond butter

2 pastured eggs

1/3 cup cocoa powder

½ cup canned coconut milk (full fat)

½ cup coconut crystals (I always use a little less sweetner than what a recipe calls for)

¼ tsp sea salt

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Cheesecake Players:

8 oz cream cheese (or make your own)

1 egg

1/3 cup coconut crystals (again, feel free to use less)

2 tsp vanilla extract*

Set you oven to 350.

In a food processor or large bowl, mix together all the brownie ingredients until well combine. Pour the mix into a greased 9×9 glass baking dish.

Clean whatever you used to do the brownie mix then add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until well combined.

Dollop the cream cheese mix on top of the brownie batter. Using a knife, swirl the cheesecake batter into the brownie batter. This would be a great step to let the kiddos join in on.

Bake for about 35 minutes or until the top has started to crack. Serve chilled, just like cheesecake and ENJOY!

*Feel free to remove the vanilla and add your favorite extract flavor to the cheesecake batter; mint, almond, orange, coffee, coconut, etc.

Try adding some fresh berries to add color and texture. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Alond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 ½ cups blanched almond flour

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp baking soda

½ cup coconut oil

½ cup honey (I usually use about ¼ cup so the cookies almost have a sweet and salty taste)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

½ cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchement paper (for easy cleaning).

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, honey and vanilla extract. Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Fold in the chocolate, then refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes.

About halfway through putting the dough on the cookie sheet, I added chopped walnuts and shredded coconut.

Spoon the dough 1 heaping tablespoon at a time onto the baking sheet and press down lightly to flatten, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.

Into the oven they go!

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Let cook then devour.

Enjoy with a big glass of raw milk!