baking cookbookery gluten-free sweets

Salted Lavender Shortbread from ‘flourless.’

18 August 2014


[At Omnivore, August 2014.]

What I learned yesterday: book release parties are fun. Even when you, oops, don’t realize you have to share a few words about your project until about 10 minutes before doing so. My California community came out to support me and it was sweet. S weathered all the socializing like a champ, I met John and Jeff, the photographer and food stylist who helped make the images in flourless. so stunning, and if we sold out of books within minutes well, that’s just an excuse for going back right?

(But seriously: it was just such a lovely afternoon. Old friends and new friends and family and a bit of bubbly and homemade naturally gluten-free treats make for a pretty stellar few hours.)

We got a couple of pizzas from my beloved Little Star to take home and I can’t deny I still get a physical pain going through my old neighborhood. San Francisco is not a city without its problems but for all that it’s a one-in-a-million town and I truly loved living there (and wasn’t ready to leave). Life is life, I guess. Meanwhile we go back to Morocco next week and I am successfully trying not to think about it too much. After all there are apples to chew on (S) and make into crumble (me) and miles to run outside on the back roads of Sebastopol and parks to visit and vegan donuts to eat from the Whole Foods in town. One thing you learn when you live in a developing country is to never take what seems to be basic American stuff – parks, trees, green space – for granted. And so we will plan trips back ever more frequently to remind ourselves of the goodness that is here.

Anyway — there are have been some very nice things said about flourless. in the past week, along with a few recipes:

Kasey at Turntable Kitchen shared the double chocolate brownies recipe from the book, along with some very thoughtful words about things we all struggle with from time to time.

Melissa at The Faux Martha combined two puddings in flourless. to make chocolate-butterscotch pudding – genius!

Sarah at Casa Yellow made my five-ingredient lemon-honey macaroons (and drizzled chocolate across their tops – yum).

… and the San Jose Mercury News did a nice little piece on the book with three (!) recipes included. I highly recommend the maple cornmeal cake.

For my part, today I want to share one of my favorite recipes from flourless. — or rather, a recipe I adapted a bit because clearly I can’t stop myself from fiddling around with recipes even when they’re my own. Saturday night when I was baking off some recipes to bring with me to the book party (angel food ‘cake bites’ with blueberries, oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, lemon-honey macaroons, and shortbread) I slipped out into my parents’ yard and grabbed some lavender growing by the side of the house. I felt like it would fit into the cookie just right – and it did (in the cookbook I call for dried rosemary, which is lovely, and come to think of it dried thyme might be nice too). Cooking with lavender has long been a penchant of mine and when in California with access to it I can’t help myself (same goes for organic cheddar cheese, corn tortillas, half and half, CHARD, asparagus, etc.). The lavender flavor here is more of a ‘hint o’ lavender’; it’s certainly not at all soapy but imparts a slightly floral fragrance that’s uniquely its own.

I will note that these shortbread cookies are not the white flour Walkers shortbread you may be accustomed to – and that’s a good thing. They’re dense and nutty from the ground oats and hazelnuts and rich with butter, as all good shortbread should be. And they’re not too sweet – one of the points I touched on yesterday was that while the recipes in flourless. definitely aren’t sugar-free (although a few do call for alternate sweeteners) nor is it a ‘health food’ cookbook, my own taste run toward the not overly sweet and I think the recipes in the book reflect that. These cookies, for example, call for a 1/2 cup of sugar and you might even be able to get away with less if you’d like to experiment.

My great friend and recipe tester Lesli said these were her favorites of the ones she tried from flourless.; I so hope you enjoy them too.

  • Chiles, Garlic, Anchovies Put to the Test, Plus a Few New Books 21 August 2014 at 1:21 pm

    […] sold out! Fortunately, I did get to taste some of the recipes, like this nutty and sweet salted lavender shortbread, a spin on a recipe in the […]

  • Stefanie 20 August 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Congratulations Nicole! My copy of Flourless just arrived in the mail and it is so beautiful. I can’t wait to devour it from cover to cover. I was so happy to see many of my long-time favorites from your blog collection now done as gluten free. Can I call in ‘sick’ to work for the rest of the week to bake some of your creative treats?!?!?

  • Helen 18 August 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Lovely post….lovely book party…..and lovely cookbook.