mom and grandmaI can’t help it.  As soon as there’s even a whisper of a gathering my mind starts planning the menu.  Do you remember the rehearsal dinner post when my son got married???  As a child some of my happiest memories were not just growing up with a big extended Sicilian family but of actually feeling like a meatball when the meal was over and I rolled away from the table. Thanks to my mother and grandmother, life centered around food not only then…but now.

It should come as no surprise that when a few of my friends started talking about an upcoming birthday party I kicked into action.  I actually have a past life with cakes. For my daughter’s first communion cake I created a two tiered pillar design.  A little extreme for an eight year old but I couldn’t help it.


Maggie on her birth-day.  Yes I know she couldn't eat the cupcake....but her mom could!  :)

Maggie on her birth-day. Yes I know she couldn’t eat the cupcake….but her mom could! :)

When my newest grandbaby, Maggie, was born I showed up at the hospital with a fancy cupcake in hand.  It was after all her “birth”-day.

This particular birthday party, however, posed a problem for me.  Of the six women gathering a full half of us were gluten free.  On top of that one of the birthday girls was both gluten and dairy free. Even with a creative cake past that included dark chocolate raspberry filled dreams  and wedding cakes, I lost my confidence under the cloud of gluten-free-dairy-free and began looking for a bakery.

Happily, here in Rochester, there was a little bakery named Donna Marie’s that could produce just such a cake but it came at no small price.

Arriving with cake in hand I spied another dessert on the table that my friend, Amy, had actually baked herself.  It was the most beautiful berry tart I’d ever seen.  “I experimented,” she said with a lighthearted laugh, “it’s got a gluten-free-dairy-free crust.”

gf bakeryThe cake went into the fridge for the celebration the next evening and we gathered around the table for afternoon tea and tart savoring every bite.  I quizzed Amy hard on her ingredients more than once.  She gave me the basics but no real proportions.  She hadn’t really measured.  I was in awe of her chutzpah.

The lemon cake I’d brought was no slouch but as I drove home I realized I’d been defeated by the unknown before I’d ever gotten out of the gate.  While I was grateful for the little bakery that had come to my rescue I didn’t want to be beholden to it every time a gluten-free or gluten-free-dairy-free friend came to visit. 

I needed something reliable and I wanted to be self-sufficient. I also needed something simple with ingredients I could readily identify.  Frankly, recipes I looked at included a list of things like xanthum gum which didn’t fit my bill.  I went over what I could remember of Amy’s loosely given measurements, tuned in some classic rock from the 70s and 80s, and got to work.

Since cookies are more of an every day necessity at our little farmette that’s where I started my experimenting.  After 3 batches for Darrell and me plus a test drive on a visiting gluten-free friend, I’m happy to say that I’ve arrived at a recipe that I love.  It’s a hearty little cookie that is a testament to my need to feed regardless of dietary restrictions.

The perk of cookies over cake.  They're portable!  I gobbled down more than a few at my desk while grading papers!

The perk of cookies over cake. They’re portable! I gobbled down more than a few at my desk while grading papers!

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do and, whether you’re gluten free or not, I may have a batch waiting if you drop by for a visit!

Hope to see you around the bread bowl one day!


Gluten-Free-Dairy-Free-Jam-Filled Cookies


1 1/2 cups oat flour

1 1/2 cups almond flour (get the finely ground if you can)

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 tsp salt

For filling and assembly:

1 egg, lightly beaten with a little water

3-4 Tablespoons of a jam of your choice (We use our own tart raspberry but you could easily substitute in an all fruit or other favorite jam.  Think apricot.  Think fig.)

*confectionary sugar and lemon juice if you want a glaze.


Mix the oat flour, almond meal, and salt in a medium sized bowl.  Add in the coconut oil and syrup.  Using a fork, mix well.

gf2gf1Flatten into a rectangle and allow it to rest in the fridge, wrapped, for about 15 minutes.

IMG_5819Divide the dough in half.  Dust both sides of the half you’re working as well as the area where you’ll be rolling out the dough generously with oat flour.

Roll to about 1/8 inch thickness (remember each cookie will have a top and bottom)  Cut out rounds.  (I used a 2 1/4 inch biscuit cutter)

IMG_5996Use a spatula to carefully move each round to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Repeat process with the other half of the dough. Brush each round on the parchment with some of the egg wash then place 1/2 teaspoon jam in the center (resist the temptation to overfill!)  I usually do 4 at a time.

IMG_5997gf razTake another round, brush it with the wash and then carefully place it over the jam egg-wash down.  (egg wash to egg wash) Slightly dome the center so you’re laying the edges together rather than laying the top directly on the jam and smushing it.

Don't worry about a little break in the top as pictured here.

Don’t worry about a little break in the top as pictured here.

Gently press edges down and finish sealing by gently forking the edge.  Put a small slit in the top of each cookie and finish off with a last light brushing of egg wash.

IMG_6009Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.  Using spatula remove to cooling rack.  If desired, stir lemon juice into about 1/2 cup confectioners sugar until glaze consistency and drizzle over cookies.

IMG_6012Another gluten free dairy free recipe that we have as a staple on our bread-baking loop is the Cashew Butter Bread.  It’s no my recipe but it’s too YUMMY not to include!



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