About Me

Hi! I’m Nicole, the writer and recipe developer behind Cucina Nicolina. I’ve been writing on this site in one form or another since 2006. I publish naturally gluten-free baking recipes made with wholesome ingredients and without added gums (learn why).

I am a writer and recipe developer who lives in Sonoma County in a little yellow house nestled among redwood trees, apple orchards, and vineyards. Once upon a time, I lived in other places, including Washington, DC, San Francisco, Casablanca, Riyadh, and Sydney. We’re happy to now call Northern California home.

I love coffee, hanging laundry on the line, going for a run, the Mediterranean, spending a day at the coast, Australia, and really good hummus. If you’re asking, my favorite gluten-free flour is oat flour but I love experimenting with all sorts of naturally gluten-free flours. Learn more about gluten-free flours.

I’ve written for many publications over the years, including the New York Times, NPR Online, San Francisco Chronicle, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and more. My cookbook, Flourless., was published in 2014. It is, as you might expect, an entirely gluten-free dessert cookbook!

You can read my writing clips for more examples of my writing work.

Why Gluten-Free?

I started baking gluten-free back in 2012 when my then-sister-in-law, a baker and cook, went gluten-free. Through our conversations and gluten-free recipe testing, the idea for my cookbook Flourless: Recipes for Naturally Gluten-Free Desserts was born. That book was published in 2014 by Chronicle Books.

I had always baked a lot, and baking gluten-free was a natural extension of my baking endeavors. My main objective then, as now, was to create desserts that were so good you would never notice any lack of gluten. Combining gluten-free flours to make delicious results or creating recipes that never called for gluten in the first place was a fun and interesting challenge.

I transitioned to a gluten-free diet myself in 2021 after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. Gluten-free seems to agree with my treatment of this condition, and since I ate a lot of gluten-free food anyway, it was pretty easy to eat gluten-free exclusively. Now the majority of my baking efforts are gluten-free, and we all enjoy them!

Why Cucina Nicolina

No, I’m not Italian! The name came up when we were tossing around ideas for a food blog, and the idea stuck. I love the warm, inviting feel of “Cucina” — it brings to mind a cozy kitchen where the scents of homemade bread baking and a chocolate cake mingle comfortably, and where all are welcome. I hope that my site carries out that feeling, too.

What Kind of Recipes Will You Find on My Site

At Cucina Nicolina, all recipes are developed using naturally gluten-free flours and are often reflective of the season. My general baking philosophy is simple is best. As in my cookbook, recipes call for wholesome and whole-food ingredients. I love using unrefined sweeteners so those will pop up a lot, but regular sugar is perfectly fine to use as well. In general, you won’t find anything hard to pronounce or hard to find.

I’ll always include substitution options in recipes so you can make these recipes dairy-free as well as gluten-free. And if you need to swap out one flour for another, no problem. I’ll give options for those as well.

Most of the recipes on this site will be for sweet bakes, but I also have a section that includes my favorite gluten-free savory dishes. I’m a vegetarian, so all of these are without meat! And I have kept a selection of my tried-and-true recipes that call for wheat flour — these are my favorite non-gluten-free recipes that I make on request for my girls or for nostalgia’s sake, as I have baked with non-gluten-free flours for many years. You can view the recipe index for all recipes here.

My intention is that Cucina Nicolina will serve as a soft landing place for your gluten-free baking journey. I aim to take the guesswork out of gluten-free! Get in touch anytime with questions, tips, or for general chat. I’m so happy to have you here.