Posts by tag: fruit

  • Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tart {Gluten-Free}

Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tart {Gluten-Free}

Posted on October 19, 2016

Disclosure: I’m so happy to be able to give you all a peek into Alternative Baker by Alanna Taylor-Tobin. Thanks for letting me share this beautiful cookbook with you!

Little known fact about me: I spent almost 2 years cooking and baking exclusively gluten-free.

This was back in my California days. And it wasn’t for my own benefit. But for a man that I was with at the time. I was determined to be the “good girlfriend” and make him all the things that he had enjoyed in his younger years, but had to forgo since excluding gluten from his diet. So with the help of the internet and the local hippie-dippy market (which at the time was the best place to find gluten-free products), I armed myself with a pantry full of alternative flours and got to work. I spent endless hours in the kitchen. And we indulged ourselves in all my creations.

But those days are very far away now. That man is gone. And with his exit, so went the dozen bags of flours that had taken up residency in my kitchen. I returned to my usual baking ways (albeit for the occasional use of almond or hazelnut flour in a recipe). And eventually, all the other parts of my life returned to normal as well.

Truth be told, I did enjoy my walk on the gluten-free side of life. Sure, gluten-free baking can intimidating at times. But it can also open up a brand new world of flavors and textures. And recently, I’ve found myself kind of missing that. So with a copy of Alanna Taylor-Tobin’s new cookbook, Alternative Baker, firmly in my hands, I’m taking the plunge again.

Alternative Baker by Alanna Taylor-Tobin |

Alanna is one of the sweetest blogging friends that I have. She is soft-spoken, silly, genuine and humble. And I knew I would love her before I even met her in person. Oh and let’s not forget to mention how amazingly talented she is in the kitchen and behind the camera. Like, I want to cry when I look at her beautiful cookbook and blog. It’s just too lovely to even process sometimes.

Boss Babes Fest MSP Retreat |

I knew right away when I spotted her recipe for this Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tart that it would be the first thing I would make from Alternative Baker. I’m a big fan of pecan pie, but sometimes it can be too cloyingly sweet, even for me. Alanna’s recipe, however, hits just the right balance of tart and sweet. With enough chocolate to keep any chocoholic very satisfied. The gluten-free tart dough comes together easily enough. And Alanna gives lots of tips and tricks so you’ll be sure to nail it on your first attempt. This is definitely one dessert to put on your Holiday baking list!

Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tart {Gluten-Free} |

Check out Alanna’s adorable trailer of her cookbook on over on her blog. And pick up a copy of Alternative Baker today!



Reprinted with minimal adaptations from Alternative Baker. Copyright © 2016, Alanna Taylor-Tobin.

Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tart {Gluten-Free}

Serves 10-12

Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tart {Gluten-Free}


  • For the Tart Dough
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup sweet white rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 plus 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • For the Filling
  • 1 cup raw pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons sweet white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, halved


  1. Prepare the tart dough. Position a rack in the center of your oven and pre-heat it to 375 degrees. Place a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom on a rimmed baking sheet and set it aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the cocoa powder, almond flour, rice flour, tapioca flour, sugar and salt until well combined. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and drizzle with the vanilla extract. Then turn your mixer to medium-low and run it until the dough comes together in clumps and the butter is worked through, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Dump the crumbs into your tart pan and use your hands to press the dough evenly into the pan, starting with the sides and then moving to the bottom, keeping the edges square. The dough will be about 1/4-inch thick. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with the tines of a fork. Then transfer the pan to your freezer to chill the dough until firm, about 15-30 minutes.
  4. Once chilled, transfer the pan to your pre-heated oven and bake until the crust is firm to the touch, about 18-22 minutes. Remove the pan the from the oven and while the crust is still hot, use the back of a spoon to press down firmly but gently on the bottom and sides of the crust to help it hold together. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the filling. Lower your oven temperature to 325 degrees and position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
  6. Spread the pecans out onto a small rimmed baking sheet and toast them in your pre-heated oven until fragrant, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the pecans from the oven and set them aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, use your fingers to break the pecan halves up into smaller pieces.
  7. In a large bowl, whisk together the rice flour, brown sugar and salt. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Then whisk in the maple syrup and vanilla extract, being careful not to over work the filling. Whisk in the melted butter. Fold in the toasted pecans.
  8. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the bottom of your prepared crust. Top with the cranberry halves. Then pour the filling over top, distributing it evenly. Transfer the tart to your pre-heated oven and bake until the sides are gently puffed and the center is still slightly wobbly, about 20-30 minutes.
  9. Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
  10. The tart is best when enjoyed the day of baking. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Kale and Quinoa Salad Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Apples and Pecans

Kale and Quinoa Salad Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Apples and Pecans

Posted on October 6, 2016

We are just cruising right along through the first week of October. Seriously, how do the days go by so quickly? Ugh.

So what are your thoughts about Halloween? Personally, I find the entire month of October rather terrifying. I’m a big scaredy-cat when it comes to all things associated with ghosts, zombies, clowns, etc. In fact, I can’t even stand to watch the previews for Halloween movies, let alone sit through an entire 2 hour horror film. The hairs on the back of my neck are standing up just thinking about it. Eeeek!

Probably the only thing I like about Halloween is all the candy. Just being honest.

Anyways, let’s talk about something less scary. Like kale. And mushrooms. And quinoa. And all sorts of other yummy vegetarian things.

Kale and Quinoa Salad Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Apple Cider Dressing |

So, I was looking at the recipes that I’ve been making lately and a common theme emerged: everything seemed rather orange. From squash to sweet potatoes to carrots. It was all similarly hued.

Orange is actually one of my favorite colors. But it still all seemed a bit too much. So I got motivated to make something green (or at least partially green). And hence, the recipe for these Kale and Quinoa Salad Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Apples and Pecans was born.

Stuffed mushrooms seem like they would generally be a healthy choice. But often times they are not. That’s because they tend to get loaded up with cheese, breadcrumbs and butter. Which are all delicious things, of course. But not always the best for you or your waistline. So I try to keep my stuffed mushrooms on the lighter side by filling them with seasonal salads.

Kale and Quinoa Salad Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Apple Cider Dressing |

This salad of apples, pecan, baby kale and quinoa is pretty gosh darn good all on it’s own. And you could certainly serve it as is. But I think it’s even better when paired with these roasted mushrooms. The contrast of flavors and textures is spot on.

I like to buy baby kale leaves, because they are really tender. But if you can’t find them, just thinly slice some regular (grown up?) kale leaves into thin ribbons. Easy peasy.

Oh and I almost forgot that it’s 30 Minute Thursday! Scroll down below the recipe to find links to some other great dishes that can all be made in 30 minutes or less. There ain’t nothing scary about that!



Kale and Quinoa Salad Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Apples and Pecans

Yield: Makes 6 mushrooms

Kale and Quinoa Salad Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Apples and Pecans


  • For the Stuffed Mushrooms
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 6 Portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby kale leaves
  • 1 small red apple, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 cup pecans

  • For the Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons fresh apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the quinoa and turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook the quinoa until all the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and then cover the saucepan and let the quinoa steam for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and then place a baking rack over top. Remove and discard the stems from the Portobello mushrooms. Using a spoon, scrape out and discard the gills. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel. Then brush both sides with the extra-virgin olive oil. Place the mushrooms on the baking rack gill side down. Then season the tops with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Transfer to your pre-heated oven and bake for about 18-20 minutes. The mushrooms should be soft, but still firm enough to hold their shape. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Add the cooked quinoa, kale, chopped apple and pecans to a large bowl. Pour the dressing over top and toss gently until everything is well coated. Flip the mushrooms over so the gill side is facing up. Then fill each mushroom with some of the salad mixture. Serve immediately.


Turkey, Apple and Brie Panini by Pumpkin ‘N Spice

5 Ingredient One Pot Pasta with Chicken Sausage by Kristine’s Kitchen

Cheeseburger Macaroni: 30 Minute Thursday by My Kitchen Craze

Mediterranean Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner by Sweet Peas & Saffron

One Pot Turkey Mushroom Tortellini by Bake.Eat.Repeat

One Pot Teriyaki Chicken Zoodles by Life Made Sweeter

One-Pot Basil Sausage Caprese Pasta by Whole and Heavenly Oven

One Pot Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Bacon Pasta by Savory Nothings

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