Archive for April, 2008

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Gluten-Free Chocolate Coconut Muffins

Home of What’s Cooking WednesdayI recently came across a great looking recipe for a gluten-free chocolate cake in one of my favorite Italian magazines. I told my mom I was going to try it for a What’s Cooking Wednesday and her immediate reaction was “Why?”

You see, I’m not allergic to gluten; perhaps you could tell from the amount of pasta recipes on here?

As I told my mom, though, I do have friends (and blog readers!) who have Celiac Disease. And let’s be honest: I’m getting plenty of white refined flour in my diet as it is.

Plus today is my sister-in-law’s birthday–a perfect time for some baking.

Happy Birthday N!

So I went to the store and picked up almond flour as listed in the recipe. Next to it on the shelf was coconut flour. Hmmm….

Yes, I came home with two fancy flours. Then I looked closer at the recipe. Six eggs! Goodness that’s a lot. Especially since P had just eaten two of the six I had in the fridge–and the hens wouldn’t be laying any more that day.

So I started looking around the Internet for other gluten-free chocolate cake recipes. I quickly found out that lots of eggs are quite common in gluten-free cake recipes–this one has 10! The cake looks fabulous, but I’m guessing anything with 10 eggs is going to be a little much for just P and me (especially when one of us will only eat sweets when force fed).

Then I found this recipe for Flourless Chocolate Muffins, played around with it, and came up with these:

Gluten-free chocolate coconut muffins on Flickr

Now I don’t mean to toot my own corno, but oh these are *so* good.

The coconut adds great texture, and they are just as moist as The Moistest Chocolate Cake in the World (probably because I borrowed the idea of using coffee in the batter).

I will definitely make these again. And again. And you guessed it–yet again.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Coconut Muffins
[makes 6 large or 12 normal size muffins]

Gluten-free chocolate coconut muffin on Flickr 3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup almond flour
2/3 cup coconut flour
6 tbl unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbl vegetable oil
1 tsp baking powder*
2 tsp vanilla*
1/4 (measuring) cup or one small espresso cup of brewed espresso

[*For those in Italy, note that I used one bustina of lievito per dolci in place of baking powder and vanilla.]

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.

2. Grease 6 large muffin cups, or 12 normal muffin cups.

3. In large mixing bowl, beat together eggs and sugar with electric mixer.

4. Add vegetable oil and mix well.

5. Stir in almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa, vanilla, baking powder, and espresso, and mix gently. I did this with a silicone spatula, something like this.

6. Pour into muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, between 25-35 minutes. (Mine took about 30 minutes.)

Gluten-free chocolate coconut muffins on Flickr

With a little dab of marshmallow/fluff, these reminded me so much of my beloved Mallo Cups . . . anyone else love them? Yes, I have a huge sweet tooth, why do you ask?

Buon appetito!

she walks in beauty,
my mother

Wild purple poppy on Flickr

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

~ Lord Byron

Inside a wild purple poppy on Flickr

Thank you, Mom, for teaching me grace, kindness, and, above all, love.

Happy Birthday! Can’t wait to see you!

Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Sicily

I loved Palermo so much I can’t possibly sum it all up in one, two, or even three posts. So for the next several Mondays, I’m going to share travel tales from Palermo . . .

Palermondays are here!

Now you may remember that before Cherrye and I set off for our trip to Sicily, I mentioned wanting to visit the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. Well we did!

Teatro Massimo, Palermo, Sicily on Flickr

This magnificent opera house opened in 1897 in part to provide national unity for the newly formed country of Italy; remember the Risorgimento and unification of Italy only occurred in the 19th century.

Teatro Massimo, Palermo, Sicily on Flickr

As the largest opera house in Italy and the third largest in all of Europe, Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele seats 1,350 and features 7 tiers of boxes around an inclined stage, all in the shape of a horseshoe.

Teatro Massimo, Palermo, Sicily on Flickr

The opera house was built by the architect Giovanni Battista Filippo Basile, paying homage to classic Sicilian architecture; the exterior is reminiscent of the ancient Greek temples of Selinunte and Agrigento.

Teatro Massimo, Palermo, Sicily on Flickr

Take a virtual tour of Teatro Massimo here.

Teatro Massimo, Palermo, Sicily on Flickr

Don’t forget to come back next week for another Palermonday!

Happy Liberation Day Italia!

Today is one of Italy’s biggest holidays: la Festa della Liberazione or Liberation Day, celebrating the country’s liberation from fascism thanks to Allied troops at the end of World War II.

Read on...

love thursday: lemon love

I’m celebrating lemon love this week.

Although this wonderful citrus fruit grows year round here, lemons still say l’estate to me. I *love* an ice cold glass of homemade lemonade; P prefers lemon slices sprinkled with salt.

As much as I love to enjoy lemons, though, I couldn’t split up this adorable pair:

Limoni love on Flickr

Even though I know that more are on their way.

Lemon blossoms on Flickr

What’s your favorite way to enjoy a lemon?

Happy Love Thursday everyone!

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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