Tag Archives: dessert

Cookies Desserts Gluten-Free

Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies

Valentine’s Day is on Sunday! Travis and I never typically go out to eat on the actual day because we try to avoid the restaurant madness (and fixed-price menus!). So Travis and I have plans to go out on Saturday night instead, and then we’ll likely stay at home and cook together on Sunday night.

Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies -- www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Every year I like to bake something for Valentine’s Day, but baking for Travis can be tricky because he only likes cookies (or chocolate-covered strawberriesand he only will eat cookies that are either gluten-free or made with whole wheat flour. I have a healthy, healthy guy on my hands, friends!

Travis was away this past weekend, so I spent some time in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes. Meringue cookies are gluten-free by nature, so I decided to make dark chocolate meringue cookies. Boy, did they turn out well!

Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies -- www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Whether or not you have a special Valentine in your life, you have to try these cookies. All you need is six simple ingredients, all of which I already had in my pantry and fridge and I’m sure you do, too!

Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies -- www.littlechefbigappetite.com

One important piece of advice: don’t microwave the chocolate. The best way to melt chocolate for baking is with a double boiler.

If you don’t have one, they are incredibly easy to make at home using existing kitchen equipment.

Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies -- www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Hope you guys love these delicious chocolatey cookies and Happy (early) Valentine’s Day!


What do you have planned for Valentine’s Day (or weekend)? Do you prefer to go out to eat or stay at home?


Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 16-18 cookies
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
  • pinch salt
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 6 oz. 50-60% cacao dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries, separated and not stuck together
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer (fitted with a whisk) to beat the egg whites, vanilla, lemon juice and salt until foamy. Slowly add in the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in the melted chocolate and cherries (Make sure none of the dried cherries are in clumps).
  3. Scrape the batter into a one gallon plastic bag. Cut a one half-inch hole in one corner of the bag. Pipe cookies into 2 inch rounds on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch of space in between each cookie.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the outside of the cookies is set and dry. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheets, about 15 minutes. Use a spatula to remove the cookies from the baking sheet and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans

Well friends, I had fun travel plans scheduled for this upcoming weekend, but I think they might be foiled by the ridiculous blizzard that’s about to hit the east coast.

Tomorrow morning, I am supposed to fly to Washington DC to visit my BFF Emily, who is getting married in 9 short months! The plan was to do some wedding dress shopping and snuggle up on the couch with a good bottle of wine and catch up all weekend long. Now I am worried that all this snow will mean my flight will be cancelled, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can get out of LA tomorrow!


Anyway, if you happen to be stuck inside all weekend from the snow, I’ve got a delicious baking project for you!

Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I found a recipe for Whole Grain Blondies from Cooking Light, and after a couple of tweaks, I finally perfected them and made them my own.

These blondies are buttery and sweet, just like a traditional blondie recipe, but this recipe calls for whole wheat flour and waaaaaay less butter than usual.

Dear 2016 Resolutions, you’re welcome.

Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

If pecans aren’t your thing, I think mini chocolate chips would be DELISH. Travis requested that I try that next time.

Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.comWhole Wheat Blondies with Pecans Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com


Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 16
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 16 toasted pecan halves (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 inch square pan with unsalted butter or cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, warm the oil, butter and brown sugar. Cook until the butter is melted, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl. Add the vanilla extract and eggs to the sugar mixture. Stir to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture and the chopped pecans to the sugar mixture and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Arrange the pecan halves in 4x4 rows (as seen in the photos).
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-24 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack (at least 30 minutes) and then cut into 16 squares.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com


Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Listen here.  This weekend is a very important weekend. You know why? A lot, a lot, a lot of families will be spending time together this weekend. Super important.

I’m going home tomorrow and can’t wait. I know that the second I get into the car my mom will offer me a variety snacks that she packed for the ride and then when I walk inside my house she’ll be ready to feed me all of my favorite foods. I love you Mom. You get me. You understand that I get totally cranky if I don’t eat. Therefore, you do everything you possibly can to avoid all crankiness.  21 years. I think we’ve nailed it.

I hope you’re spending time with your family this weekend. If not, I hope you call. Or send your mom flowers. She’ll love it. Really.

Or at the very least play a family member in Words with Friends. This completely counts as healthy communication. It also keeps my confidence at an all time high. You see, my brother is totally the favorite child, but hey at least I’m the one #winning in WWF:

Okay, but really I hope you eat some amazing food this weekend. Food at home always tastes better, doesn’t it?

This cake is perfect for Easter. I wooooooooouldn’t suggest bringing it to a Passover seder. Don’t worry guys – I got the Matzah and Passover-friendly recipes coming this week.

I made this carrot cake for Emily’s birthday. We spent awhile looking through one of my new favorite cookbooks.  It is called Flour – written by the amazing Joanne Chang from Flour Bakery in Boston.  Her Carrot Cake recipe is to die for.  Absolute perfection.

And I will note that I made this cake KitchenAid Mixer-free in my tiny college kitchen and it turned out perfectly.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Carrot Cake Fact: Do not use pre-cut carrot strips.  They are too thick for baked goods and don’t cook down as well as carrots your shred yourself. The point is to disguise the carrots, right?

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Here’s the birthday girl on her big 2-2:

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite


Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Carrot Cake
  • 1 cup (220 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) canola oil
  • 3T nonfat buttermilk
  • ⅓t vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2T (160 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½t baking powder
  • ½t baking soda
  • ½t salt
  • ½ cinnamon
  • 2 cups (260 grams) tightly packed shredded carrots
  • ½ cup (80 grams) raisins
  • ½ cup (50 grams) walnuts, toasted and chopped
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, left at room temperature for at least 4 hours
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups (230 grams) confectioners’ sugar
Carrot Cake
  1. Position a rack in the center of your oven.  Preheat to 350 degrees.  Butter an flour and 8-inch cake pan.  (For very easy removal, cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and your cake will come out from the pan perfectly).
  2. Using a stand or handheld mixer beat the eggs and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes (longer if mixing by hand), until the mixture is light and thick.  In a separate bowl mix together the oil, buttermilk and vanilla.  On low-speed add the oil mixture to the egg and sugar mixture.
  3. In another bowl sift together the flour, baking power, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.  When most of the flour mixture has been incorporated at the carrots, raisins and walnuts.  Fold until the mixture is well-combined, although be careful not to overmix.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour (slightly less for cupcakes) or until the top is golden brown and springs back when you press into the middle with your finger.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack in the pan.
  1. Beat all three ingredients until well combined.  This should make about 3 1/2 cups - I had extra. Cover the frosting and place it in the fridge for a few hours.  This allows it to firm up before frosting the cake.
  1. Slice the cake in half: If you have a lazy Susan it makes this VERY easy, but if not, you’ll be okay, too.  Using a serrated knife, working your way evenly around the cake, score around the perimeter, cutting about one inch into the cake.  Once the cake has been scored, insert the knife into a grove and using a sawing motion, start to cut the cake, turning the lazy Susan (or the cake plate) as you saw. This should give you an even split down the middle.
  2. Once the cake is split, spread one layer of frosting on the cut side of one half and place the top layer (cut side down) on top of the frosting.  Then, using a spatula spread about one cup of the frosting on the top and sides of the cake.  This is the “crumb coat” and will prevent tiny crumbs from peeking through the frosting.  Then, spread the remaining frosting on the tops and bottom of the cake, ensuring you’re getting an even layer all around.
  3. Make sure to store the cake in the refrigerator when you’re not enjoying it!


Cookies Desserts

Salted Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sweet and Salty— who doesn’t love this combination? Chocolate covered pretzels anyone? Peanut butter and Jelly? Mmmm!

So what about sprinkling some sea salt on top of delicious cookies? Yeah?


When I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it! What makes these cookies special is the addition of sprinkled sea salt right before they go in the oven.  But what makes them REALLY special is that they aren’t terrible for you, either! They call for all whole-wheat flour (no all-purpose), only brown sugar (no white granulated) and only one stick of butter. Can’t complain there!

Okay, now you really want to make my delicious healthy cookies don’t you?

Well good.

They are totally easy, so keep reading.


Salted Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1 dozen
  • ½ c. (1 stick) butter - at room temperature
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • ½ c. maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1½ c. whole wheat flour
  • 1½ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Sea Salt (for sprinkling)
  1. Set the oven at 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl cream the butter, brown sugar, and syrup. Make sure it is thoroughly blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  3. Blend in the oats, flour, chocolate chips, and walnuts.
  4. Spoon the dough into scoops of about one tablespoon onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt.
  5. Bake for about 13-15 minutes until the edges start to brown. (I like them slightly gooey so I took them out on the early side.)