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5 gluten-free/food magazines I’m loving right now

I have a problem. Well, maybe it isn’t so much a problem as it is a deep love. You see, to me, words on a printed page are special. They’re not fleeting like the words on a screen – words that are quickly replaced by newer, shinier versions of themselves. Magazines are for perusing, without the heft of a book and with the promise of even more content on the way. (Oh yeah, and each new issue feels like a little surprise.

Right now, I am falling in love with the artisan/luxe feeling food magazines where the designs of the page are as important as the words and images.

Jamie Magazine ($9.95/issue or $122/year, iPad version available)


Jamie Oliver’s magazine has been a favorite of mine since I discovered it on a shelf at a Barnes & Nobel several years ago and was one of the first magazines I ever bought where the pages were a higher quality paper rather than the flimsy glossy pages of most other magazines. And while the content in this magazine isn’t gluten-free specific, the majority of the recipes are usually gluten-free or easily adaptable. As a bonus, this magazine is from the UK, so there are weight measurements for all the recipes which makes conversions and adaptations of baked goods to be gluten-free easy. The best part of this magazine, however are the ideas for simple weeknight meals. Even though I love to cook, during the week life makes spending an hour making dinner feel like an onerous undertaking and the ideas for quick, simple & delicious meals are always appreciated.

GFF Magazine, $15/issue or $50/year (plus shipping, digital versions available)


This magazine is brand new on the scene with only 2 issues under its belt, but it is quickly becoming a favorite read each month. The aesthetics of the magazine are those of a high-end food publication and all the food just happens to be gluten-free. Fans of magazines like Kinfolk, Sweet Paul and Lucky Peach will find this magazine feels like a member of that high-end food club with content that just happens to be gluten-free. There’s not a single recipe that wouldn’t be a hit with a gluten-full crowd. I love that this magazine is just about the food, in the crowded gluten-free magazine space that makes this magazine stand out. The subscriber version of the latest magazine looks so good on my coffee table, I am seriously considering buying a print of it to go in my kitchen. Plus, it is a small business run by a couple of uber talented women. What’s not to love?

Cherry Bombe, $20/issue or $38/year


Another high-end magazine I am currently loving- this one is about women in food. Again, the magazine is printed on high-end paper and almost feels like a book. It is published twice a year and the pages are filled with women doing amazing things in food. I don’t remember quite when I discovered this, but it was after the second issue came out. Because it is published twice a year, the magazine is the longest on the list (which more than justifies its premium price tag). This magazine hits all the right notes when talking about women in food and is significantly less blogger-centric than “Where Women Cook”.

Allergic Living, 19.99/year


Ok, before I go any farther, I have a vested interest in this magazine succeeding because they are the first publication to publish my writing since high school. My article on food allergies & dating is going to be in their spring 2015 issue, so go on and subscribe. Now that that is out of the way, we can get on to the goods. This magazine covers a whole spectrum of food allergy concerns, which I appreciate as a food allergy sufferer. There are articles on treatments, issues and advocacy as well as recipes. There is a little more family-oriented content here, but I learn something new from each issue I read.

Gluten-Free & More (formerly Living Without), $8/issue or $23/year


This was the first magazine I read when I went gluten-free and has been a staple in my house for years. Gluten-free diets and living with Celiac disease are the main focus of the magazine, but there is a lot of food allergy content as well. The content does feel a bit more geared towards families, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an enjoyable and informative read. They rebranded recently from Living Without to Gluten-Free and More, which is a more descriptive title (and also not something that could be thought of as negative).

What is your favorite gluten-free or food-centric magazine? (I want to know if I am missing any must-reads!)


gluten-free chicken tikka masala recipe from frannycakes

Homemade take-out: Chicken Tikka Masala

I am regularly told by friends that they are impressed that I cook myself dinner every night. And every time someone brings it up, I am still surprised. If you don’t make yourself dinner, how do you eat?

I mean, there are nights when I make toast and pile it high with whatever I can rustle up, then I call it a tartine and pretend it is extra fancy. Or I roast some veg and put it on top of leftover rice or quinoa and call it a “whole grain bowl”. What I am really saying is that not every night is a big production – it just feels better to say I made something like that then when I cave and pull out a box of gluten-free macaroni and cheese.

gf chicken tikka masala for #singleladysupper

But some days, I do go all out. I make a dish with multiple parts that I want seconds (or even thirds) of. Like Chicken Tikka Masala – the non-Indian Indian dish that everyone loves (my last roommate Helen informed me it was a Scottish invention).

gluten-free chicken tikka masala for #singleladysupper

This creamy, spicy tomato dish is always a hit when I make it – even if it isn’t the most resolution-friendly dinner. (You can always balance it with a big salad or some extra kale in your smoothie). This isn’t an old family recipe or something that tastes like childhood. It is simply a good dish that despite its multiple parts is actually pretty easy to put together – easy enough to make after a full day of work.

gluten-free chicken tikka masala recipe from frannycakes

Gluten-Free Chicken Tikka Masala
Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 4 servings
Chicken Tikka Masala is one of my favorite dishes (even if it isn’t totally authentic). Because I don’t have an old family recipe for this treat, I have adapted one by [url href=”http://www.foodnetwork.com/chefs/aarti-sequeira.html”]Aarti Sequeira from Food Network[/url] For best results, marinate the chicken starting the night before. If you decide at 6pm that this is what you want for dinner, you can get away with only marinating the chicken for half an hour,
  • For the chicken
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger*
  • 3 cloves garlic put through a garlic press or finely minced*
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, poked with a fork, and cut into large bite-sized chunks
  • For the sauce
  • Sauce:
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cloves garlic*
  • 2-inch thumb ginger peeled and minced*
  • 2 serrano peppers, minced and seeds removed (if you like your food spicy, you can leave the seeds in)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (or 2 14-ounce cans)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • Oil, for grilling
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Minced fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Cooked basmati rice
Marinate the chicken
  1. You are going to whisk together the yogurt, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper into a smooth sauce. Add the chicken to the mix and seal in a large ziploc or plastic container. Leave in the fridge overnight or at least 30 minutes before starting the sauce.
Make the sauce
  1. (If you need to make rice, I start it in a rice cooker before I make the sauce.)
  2. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter.
  3. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic, ginger and serrano peppers. Saute until lightly browned around the edges.
  4. Next, add the tomato paste to the skillet. Cook it until it starts to darken in color (about 3 minutes).
  5. Add the garam masala and the paprika and saute to draw out the flavors from the spices.
  6. Once they get aromatic (about a minute), add the tomatoes, salt, and 1 cup of water.
  7. Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. Cook until the sauce has thickened a bit, about 20 minutes.
Cook the chicken
  1. While the sauce simmers, heat a grill pan or cast iron griddle. Once it is hot, lightly brush it with oil.
  2. Place your chicken pieces on the grill – but make sure you shake of some of the excess marinade (too much gets a little messy)
  3. Cook the chicken until it starts to char -about 2 minutes on each side. The chicken will be purposefully undercooked because it finishes cooking in the sauce.
Finish the dish
  1. The sauce is currently a bit chunky, and we want a smooth, dreamy sauce. If you are using a deep enough skillet and have an immersion blender, feel free to use it. If not, pour your sauce into a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
  2. Pour your sauce back into the skillet and bring it back to a boil.
  3. Add the chicken, bring the sauce down to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cream.
  5. Serve over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.
*I like to keep garlic and ginger pastes in my kitchen for occasions such as the desire to make this dish. You can find them in squeeze tubes in the produce section, and most often, I buy the ones from [url href=”http://www.gourmetgarden.com/en”]Gourmet Garden[/url]



gingered raspberry pavlova | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes.com

Gingered Raspberry Pavlova

Sometimes the classics really are the best.

Pride & Prejudice. Chanel No. 5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Roast Chicken. The Beatles. Tootsie Rolls.

White Christmas. Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Macarons.

Ballet flats. Herbes de Provence. Berries and cream.

Classics. Things that never truly go out of style. Flavors that just work.

gingered raspberry pavlova | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes.com

Friends, meet the Pavlova.

The Pavlova is a dessert that was invented in the 1920’s to honor famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova in New Zealand. The meringue is crispy on the outside and fluffy like a marshmallow on the inside. Traditionally it is topped with cream and fresh fruit – making it a blank canvas ready to be explored.

If you’ve never made one of these classics for yourself, you should add it to your list.

gingered raspberry pavlova | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes.com

Let’s be real. It’s the gingers that have the most fun.

So it would make sense that a little bit of ginger could spice up this classic. It might seem a little fussy, but it is really pretty simple to make and once you get all the components together, you have an impressive dessert.

Gingered Raspberry Pavlova
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 20 mins
Serves: 6 servings
The meringue base and coulis can be made several days in advance and the cream whipped shortly before assembly. The moisture from the whipped cream and the coulis will be absorbed by the merengue and the mix of soft and crunchy textures will be lost.
  • For the meringue base
  • 150 grams egg whites (this is about 5 large whites)
  • 300 grams (1 1/2 cups) sugar, preferably super fine
  • For the coulis
  • 2 6-ounce packages fresh raspberries (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup [url href=”http://frannycakes.com/recipes/baking-basics-simple-syrup” title=”Baking Basics: Simple Syrup”]Simple Syrup[/url]
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon tapioca starch, arrowroot or cornstarch
  • For the whipped cream
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • To finish it off
  • 1 6-ounce package (about 1 cup) fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Make the meringue
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and if it will help, trace a 9″ circle and then turn it over so the marked side is down – you should still be able to see the line through the paper.
  2. In a very clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (I wipe mine out with a wee bit of vinegar or lemon juice to make sure there is no grease or oil residue), add the egg whites.
  3. Starting on low and slowly raising the speed when bubbles cover the surface, raise the speed to high and beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  4. Add the sugar slowly – about 1 tablespoon at a time, making sure that you get back to stiff peaks after each addition.
  5. Dab a small amount of merengue under each corner of the parchment to hold it in place on the sheet.
  6. Scoop your merengue mixture into the circle and use an offset spatula to create a slight well.
  7. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The merengue is done when it lifts away from the parchment easily. Place on a wire rack to cool.
Make the coulis
  1. In a medium sauce pan, combine the raspberries, simple syrup, lemon juice and fresh ginger. Over medium heat, bring the ingredients to a boil and cook until the raspberries soften.
  2. Sprinkle the starch over 1 tablespoon of water and stir to remove any lumps. Add this to the raspberry mixture and cook the sauce until it starts to thicken (about 3-5 minutes).
  3. Strain the coulis through a fine-mesh sieve and allow to cool.
Whip the cream
  1. Either by hand, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream and tablespoon of sugar until soft peaks form.
Assemble the pavlova
  1. Immediately before serving, spread the whipped cream over the top of the merengue.
  2. Gently pour the coulis over the top.
  3. Sprinkle with the fresh raspberries and sliced almonds and serve immediately.

NaBloPoMo November 2014

jellied cranberries | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes

Jellied Cranberries

This might get me in trouble, but I could do without the turkey on Thanksgiving.

It’s not that I don’t like turkey, quite the opposite actually. But it takes up valuable space on my Thanksgiving plate that can be used for something better. Like apple & sage gluten-free stuffing. Or my mom’s famous white jello (she won’t give me the recipe for that one no matter how many times I ask). Or mashed potatoes. Or cranberry sauce.

jellied cranberry sauce | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes

Oh sweet cranberries.

Not cranberry chutney. Not cranberry relish. Those are too tart. Sophisticated even. What I want on my plate is cranberry sauce. The one that reminds me of my childhood and cranberries out of a can that you could slice.

A dish that balances sweet and tart. A dish with texture that isn’t crunchy. Something that reminds me of all the Thanksgivings growing up, but doesn’t contain any additives or high-fructose something or other. Cranberries with seasonal spices to perk them up and just enough sugar to temper their tart bite.

Let’s jelly these babies

Gelatin gives the sauce shape and structure, whole cranberries give it texture and some spices and apple cider bring back those childhood memories.

gluten-free cranberry sauce | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes

Jellied Cranberries
Recipe Type: Side
Cuisine: American
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 6-8 servings
This recipe is adapted from Stephanie Izard’s Canned Cranberry Sauce recipe. It has a similar consistency to the sauce I remember from my childhood, but there is balance between the sweetness and the natural tartness of the fruit – rather than the all-sweet store-bought kind.
  • 680 grams (1 ½ pounds/ 2 12-ounce bags) fresh cranberries
  • 450 grams (2 1/4 cups) sugar
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 ½ tsp (1 packet) gelatin powder
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. In a small pot add cranberries, sugar, cider vinegar, cardamom, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Over medium heat, cook it until cranberries have burst and mix is fully combined, about 10
  3. minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. While the cooked cranberries cool, sprinkle the gelatin over the apple cider in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. When the 5 minutes is up, add the cider mixture to the cranberries and stir well.
  6. Pour into an 8×8 dish (I used a clear pyrex) and let sit in the fridge for at least 5 hours before serving.


Baking Basics: Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is one of those things that I keep around the house at all times because of just how handy it can be.

I used to just make it as I needed it – and avoided recipes that called for it. But then I was watching a Rick Bayless cooking demo and he talked about how great it is to have simple syrup on hand for making cocktails was. If it’s already made, you can whip yourself up a cocktail that is just a wee bit fancier than whiskey and Coke or your gin and tonic.

Its usefulness extends outside of just cocktails. You can brush sponge cake layers with it to keep them moist and help seal in crumbs. If you want to sweeten iced tea or iced coffee simple syrup dissolves more easily than sugar.

You can even flavor your syrup by adding ingredients like herbs, ginger or citrus peels to the hot syrup and straining them out once it cools.

simple syrup

Baking Basics: Simple Syrup
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 1 cup
Simple syrup can be made plain, or you can add flavors like herbs or ginger by steeping those ingredients in the hot syrup and then straining the liquid once it cools.
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Combine water and sugar in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and liquid becomes clear.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and then remove from heat and let cool.


Gluten-Free Cassoulet

Single Lady Supper: Gluten-Free Beef Cassoulet

It’s no secret that my baking chops beat out my cooking skills in just about every way. From the flavors I prefer to the certainty and precision that a cake requires, baking is something that I just sort of get. Although that probably has more to do with the fact that I would rather eat a cupcake than a steak.

It’s too bad you can’t live on cupcakes.

Gluten-Free Cassoulet

But that’s why there are things like stew. Or in this case, cassoulet – which really is just a specific type of stew that includes white beans and usually pork or duck.

You see, you don’t really need a recipe for stew (or cassoulet). You just need to know what order to cook the ingredients. And you need to let it be.

You start with a dutch oven and get it nice and hot.

You cook some bacon or sausage to get things going.

You sear your meat.

You sauté your aromatics.

You deglaze.

You add your other ingredients and get them all cooking.

You top it off with some herbs, cover it, put ‘er in the oven…

And you wait.

You don’t rush. You don’t stir the pot. You don’t increase the heat.

You let your kitchen warm up and fill your house with the scent of a hearty dinner.

You congratulate yourself for a grown-up dinner that is healthy, hearty and perfect for this unseasonably cold weather that has come our way.

Gluten-Free Cassoulet

This recipe makes a small batch of stew. It fed me for one dinner and two lunches, although I did add some cooked sorghum to stretch it when I brought it in for lunch. If you want to make this for a family, simply double just about everything. If you hate cannellini beans, use chickpeas. If you hate rosemary, use tarragon. No red wine? Give up and make macaroni and cheese and then get your butt to the store. Just use stock. No dutch oven? Cook your meat in a skillet, but once you deglaze it, add all your ingredients to an oven-safe dish.

The rules for dishes like cassoulet (and any stew for that matter) aren’t quite as rigid as those for something like a macaron. So go ahead and make one – I promise it is worth the wait.

Gluten-Free Beef Cassoulet
Recipe Type: Stew
Cuisine: French
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 15 mins
Serves: 2-4 servings
The trick to a great stew is caramelizing the meat and deglazing the pan before letting that baby cook for a few hours. Cassoulet is traditionally made with pork and sausage for the meat, but I went with ingredients that I had on hand. We can call it traditional-ish.
  • 1/2 lb beef (most stores sell packages labeled for stew already diced, but any tougher cut of beef will work)
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (an all purpose blend, corn starch, sorghum or potato starch would be best)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 slices of bacon
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (about half a can)
  • 1 cup cannellini beans (about half a can)
  • Assorted fresh herbs for a bouquet garni – I used Thyme, rosemary, parsley and a bay leaf tied with cotton string
  • 1 cup red wine
  • Enough stock or water to cover the meat and other ingredients
  • Salt & pepper to taste (How much salt you need will be determined by what liquid you use and if it already contains salt. Start with a generous pinch if you use water or salt-free broth)
  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Toss your beef with the flour and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Prep your other ingredients: chop your bacon into 1/2″ pieces, dice your beef into 2″ cubes, mince your garlic and peel and dice your onion.
  4. Tie your herbs together into a bouquet
  5. Add the olive oil to a small dutch oven over medium heat and cook the bacon until it is crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  6. Brown the beef on all sides. You don’t need to cook it through (in fact you don’t want to), you just want to caramelize the outside of the meat.
  7. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.
  8. Sautee your garlic and onions until the onions become translucent.
  9. Pour the red wine into the pan to deglaze all those lovely bits of meat clinging to the bottom of the pan.
  10. Add the beef and bacon back to the pan along with the carrot, tomatoes and cannellini beans.
  11. Pour in the stock until the ingredients are covered and bring to a boil.
  12. Add the bouquet garni and cover the dutch oven.
  13. Place it in the oven and cook for 2 hours.


NaBloPoMo November 2014

gluten-free apple streusel muffins | a recipe from frannycakes

Gluten-free Chai Apple Streusel Muffins

I haven’t gotten to do a whole lot of baking lately. There’s been so much to do at work and so many trips to the hospital that I was starting to fear that I was losing my baking mojo.

That would have been a terrible thing. Because baking just makes sense. It makes my world make sense.

gluten-free apple streusel muffins | a recipe from frannycakes

When life goes sideways, baking keeps the world in order. Combining flours and sugars with butter and eggs will almost always fix a bad day. They react in predictable, knowable ways. Whisking the liquids before adding them to the dry ingredients will turn out a tender muffin.

gluten-free apple streusel muffins | a recipe from frannycakes

And muffins are an excuse for a sweet treat at breakfast. Add in chai spices and a streusel topping and you have a winning breakfast.

You don’t need to bring out the mixer. Just a few bowls and 15 minutes. These are great warm and fresh from the oven, but if you can resist and save a few, they last for a couple days in a sealed container at room temperature.

Gluten-Free Chai Apple Streusel Muffins
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 12 muffins
  • Streusel Topping
  • 70 grams (1/2 cup) gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 105 grams (1/2 cup lightly packed) brown sugar
  • 70 grams (5 tablespoons) cold butter
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) sliced almonds (optional)
  • Muffins
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch dice
  • 280 + 10 grams (2 cups + 1 tablespoon) gluten-free all purpose flour*, divided
  • 70 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 70 grams (1/3 cup lightly packed) brown sugar
  • 10 grams (1 tablespoon) baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 212 grams (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup strong chai tea, cooled**
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a standard muffin tin with papers or grease and flour the wells.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the diced apple with the tablespoon (10 grams) of gluten-free flour. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and brown sugar. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry blender (or pulse all the ingredients in a food processor). It will look like slightly clumpy sand. Mix in the almonds if using and then place in the fridge.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, spices and salt, making sure to remove lumps from the brown sugar.
  5. In a second bowl, whisk together the egg, butter, chai and vanilla. Stir the liquids into the flour mixture until well combined. Stir in the apple pieces.
  6. Divide the batter between the wells. Remove the streusel from the fridge and top each muffin.
  7. Place the muffins in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until cooked through.
*This recipe uses a gluten-free all purpose blend such as Cup4Cup or GF Jules that already includes xantham gum. If your blend does not already contain this, add 1/2 teaspoon.[br]**You could use plain black tea here, but I would increase the spices in the cake by adding some granulated ginger and possibly allspice.


In my gluten-free pantry: Spices

in my gluten-free pantry

When I talk to my friends about cooking, inevitably they talk about how much work it is to cook for themselves. And then they talk about how they have to follow a recipe to end up with food that tastes good reliably…which then ends with them complaining about how they never have the right spices on hand. I think that by keep a basic inventory of spices, you open up a world of flavor. You’ll be ready to handle just about any recipe and you will have more building blocks for delicious dinners.

Herbs vs. Spices

Even though they are mixed together at the grocery store, herbs and spices are different. Herbs are the leafy parts of the plant (think basil and sage) whereas spices are from just about any other part including roots and seeds. Here, I am focusing on spices – when it comes to herbs, I try to use fresh over dried whenever possible.


I am not usually one who goes for a lot of heat, but I think it is a great way to layer flavor. I like to keep a couple different chili powders on hand, rather than just generic chili powder because each pepper has its own unique flavor.

  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Ancho Chili Powder
  • Chipotle

There are other great spices for savory cooking that I couldn’t live without

  • Paprika
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Ground Mustard
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Coriander


Spices aren’t just for chili and stew – they add flavor in sweet applications as well. Pumpkin spice might be the most common application of these flavors in sweets, but they can power up everything from pie to cake. From pudding to muffins. Try adding a few cardamom pods in with your coffee next time you brew it – you can thank me later.

  • Cardamom (pods & powder)
  • Star Anise (whole)
  • Nutmeg (whole – it is so much better when you grate it yourself)
  • Cinnamon
  • Allspice
  • Cloves
  • Lemon Peel
  • Lavender
  • Ground Ginger

Mixes / Blends

I don’t keep too many pre-mixed blends around, simply because I like to mix and match depending on my mood and always using the same flavors would get boring to me. That said, there are a few blends that I keep around.

  • Curry Powder
  • Garam Masala
  • Herbes de Provence (Ok, this is technically herbs and not spices, this is the most traditional blend I keep in my pantry).

What are your favorite spices?

gluten-free pb&j whoopie pies | a recipe from frannycakes.com

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter & Jelly Whoopie Pies

Friends are good for a lot of things. Answering the phone when you need someone to talk to about your latest roommate troubles. Volunteering to drink a bottle of wine and “help” with your website. Enabling you to eat that pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Challenging you to make a creative peanut butter & jelly themed birthday treat…for the second year in a row.

And since our friendship was based on a mutual love of an obscure 1-hit wonder girl group (because how else do you know that your friendship is built to last?), I had to come up with something.

After some thought (and brain racking), I thought some peanut butter & jelly whoopie pies would do the trick. Peanut butter cake filled with peanut butter butter cream and jelly. It was just the kind of treat that my friend wanted.

So, turn up your girl power pop playlist and get to baking.

gluten-free pb&j whoopie pies | a recipe from frannycakes.com


Gluten-free PB & J Whoopie Pies
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 24
  • for the cake
  • 315 grams (2¼ cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour*
  • 1 gram (1 teaspoon) xanthan gum**
  • 10 grams (2 teaspoons) baking powder
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 3 grams (½ teaspoon) salt
  • 205 grams (3/4 cup) smooth peanut butter
  • 85 grams (6 tablespoons or ¾ stick) butter, softened
  • 100 grams (½ cup) granulated sugar
  • 110 grams (½ cup firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (265 ml) buttermilk
  • for the filling
  • 170 grams (1½ sticks) butter, softened
  • 65-130 grams (1/4-½ cup) smooth peanut butter
  • 675-900 grams (6-8 cups) confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (118 mls) milk
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ pint jar of your favorite jam or preserves
Make the cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 C). Position one rack in the center and one in the top third of the oven. Grease 2 whoopie pie pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum (if using), baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the peanut butter, butter, sugar and brown sugar for 3-5 minutes. You want the mixture to be light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute on medium and scraping down the sides of the bowl before each addition.
  5. Add half the flour mixture and mix on low speed and slowly add the buttermilk.
  6. Scrape down the sides and add the rest of the flour mixture until the batter just starts to come together. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish stirring with a spatula.
  7. Use a spring loaded ice cream scoop or spoon to add batter to each “well” of the pan.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes – they are done when they are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Make the peanut butter buttercream
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the butter, 65 grams (1/4 cup) of the peanut butter, 450 grams (4 cups) of the sugar, the milk and the vanilla.
  2. Beat on medium for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Gradually add the remaining sugar 1 cup (115 grams) at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition.
  4. When the frosting is firm enough to pipe, stop adding sugar and add the salt. If the frosting is too firm or not peanut butter-y enough you can add more peanut butter. I used ¼ cup and nearly the full amount of powdered sugar. Your results will depend on the humidity, the type of peanut butter and how soft your butter was.
  1. Pipe a ring of frosting around the flat side of half the cakes, leaving the center empty.
  2. Fill the center with a dollop of jam and top with one of the cake pieces without frosting on it.


NaBloPoMo November 2014

In my gluten-free pantry: gluten-free flour blends

in my gluten-free pantry

In the time since I have gone gluten-free, commercially available gluten-free flour blends have changed dramatically. 8 years ago, you could barely find bean-y, gritty blends that, although labeled “all-purpose”, were anything but. Some times I still blend my own flours, I find it simpler to use a blend that behaves the same way each and every time I use it.

C4C – $19.95/ 3lb bag

This is the flour blend that I use most often because it provides consistent results and is readily available from local Williams-Sonoma stores. This blend includes both milk powder and xantham gum. The milk powder promotes browning similar to regular flour and the already included xantham gum makes one less ingredient that you have to keep on your shelf. This blend was developed by Lena Kwak under the supervision of world-famous chef Thomas Keller.

How I’m spending my Friday night. #miseenplace #baking

A photo posted by Mary Fran Wiley (@frannycakes) on Oct 10, 2014 at 7:54pm PDT

GF Jules Flour – $19.95 / 4.5lb bag

Jules made the first AP blend that I could get consistent, delicious results from. Her blend in non-GMO and vegan (no milk powder here) and is made in a facility that is top-8 allergen free. On top of that, Jules is one pretty awesome lady.

King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free AP Blend – $7.95/ 1.5lb bag

This flour is the easiest to get – all the grocery stores in my area carry it and it is available from a variety of national retailers including Whole Foods. This blend comes free of gums so you can adjust the amount used on a per-recipe basis (or leave them out and use an alternative such as psyllium husks.

Other blends

The market is full of exciting new products, including use-specific blends from Karen at Blackbird Bakery or a kickstarter-backed blend from Gluten-Free Girl. it is a different market than what existed when I first went gluten-free and the options out there are incredible and growing.

What’s your favorite gluten-free flour blend?

NaBloPoMo November 2014