Category Archives: Baking

Simply Organics Cocoa Cayenne Cupcake Mix

Gluten-Free Cocoa Cayenne Cupcake Mix is fast and to prepare. All you have to do is add 2 eggs, water and 1 tablespoon of butter (optional). The mix is also vegan and they provide you with a vegan recipe too. This was great because I was having a Welcome home party for my friend Becca, who just returned from 7 weeks in India and is a vegan. I didn’t follow the vegan recipe; I substituted the eggs for one small banana and omitted the butter. I also made a cake instead of cupcakes. All the reviews I saw said the cupcakes are slightly dry. My cake was just actually a bit moist, but drier the next day, so I suggest eating the cake – or cupcakes – on the same day you bake.

The mix is spicy, which is nice but you can barely taste the cocoa. The cayenne adds a great kick but not completely overpowers the cake, yet the sweetness from the cocoa is missing. I used a vegan vanilla frosting on top, which gave it a little more sweetness and toned down the cayenne. Everyone loved it. I have a low tolerance for spicy foods and flavors but with the sweetness from the frosting it was delicious.

I also reduced the cooking time to 22 minutes, which I think helped with the dryness issue everyone seemed to be experiencing.

Simply Organics offers a wide variety of gluten free baking mixes, dips, sauces, gravies spices and seasonings.


Yellow Cake

Today is my boyfriends’ birthday and I wanted to buy him a cupcake or small treat but I could not find a single, not pre-packaged pack of 4, gluten free cupcakes. There are no gluten free bakeries around me, unfortunately. So any bakers in Brookline reading this, please start offering gluten free desserts in your bakeries or stores! He isn’t on a gluten free diet but he doesn’t really like sweets and I knew he was going to offer to split it with me. So I decided to make my own cake. This was my first attempt at making a gluten free cake from scratch and it came out pretty good! For my cake I cut the recipe in half to make a small cake. The only recommendation I have from the recipe below (which I adapted from Aruthur’s) is to add a little more sugar, the cake is not that sweet. BUT it is still very tasty and not overly sweet like those premade cakes you buy in grocery stores that taste like an entire box of sugar was dumbed into it.  
Why is my cake green? I tried to write “26” on it but my cake decorating skills are very below average and it came out horrible. Not being able to wipe if off completely I just put a layer of green frosting on the whole cake and added coconut flakes to the top (he really likes coconut)
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (I like to use Bob’s Red Mill)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup milk
1.     Preheat oven to 350F. I set my temperature to 325F and it came out nice and golden.
2.     In a large mixing bowl cream together the sugar and the butter until it is smooth.
3.     Beat in the eggs using an electric beater or a whisk. Add in the vanilla extract and milk and mix well.
4.     Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl to mix together. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix well.
5.     Bake 30 – 40 minutes. mine was in for just under 35 minutes.
6.     Let cool before you frost. I used Pillsbury Whipped Supreme Fluffy White. Pillsbury labels their frosting gluten free now!

Mini Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are delicious. I used an old oatmeal raisin recipe I had gotten from the top of a Quaker Oats container and made a few changes. I always add more vanilla extract and cinnamon to recipes when I bake, and I love using bananas. Replacing some of the butter with bananas gives the cookies just a hint of banana flavor, while reducing the amount of fat (not a bad trade off). Replacing butter with bananas doesn’t always work in cookies (be ware!) but if you replace only a little, sometimes you get amazing results, just like these cookies below. I say this with a little hesitation because I know not everyone will think these are amazing. For one, they are very small, which means you can have two or three 🙂 and I know there are hundreds of delicious cookie recipes out there I have yet to make, but for now these are still one of my all time favorite cookies.

I also used mini chocolate chips for the first time, and I think I like this so much better. The chocolate chips are more evenly spread out throughout the cookies.

The outsides are nice and crispy and the insides are soft and chewy, just the way I like them. 

Recipe: (makes 24 mini cookies)

3 Tablespoons butter, softened
½ small banana
½ cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ cups Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter, banana, and sugars on medium speed until creamy.
3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.

4. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, and cinnamon; mix well.
5. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; mix well.
6. Add in oats and mini chocolate chips; mix well.
7. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
8. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown.
9. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet then transfer to wire rack. Cool completely.

Black Bean Brownies

I know what you are thinking, black bean brownies, what the heck?! But before you pass this up, let me tell you that they are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The brownies pack in so much flavor, dense chocolate, a hint of coffee, and have a super smooth fudge like texture. If you didn’t know they were made with black beans I don’t think you’d ever be able to tell.
What inspired me to make these? Well they had no flour for one. And two, I was just so curious how a black bean brownie could have such great reviews. I saw this recipe advertised at Whole Foods, and it is originally from the cookbook Baking with Agave Nectar.
My advice would be to add more walnuts. One cup is not enough; it seems too scarce. Also, you can definitely taste the coffee flavor (others told me it wasn’t as strong as I thought). So if you are not a coffee love, I would reduce the amount of coffee by half. I also used 2½ cups of black beans (not on purpose) but they came out just fine!
Black Bean Brownie Recipe 

     4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
     1 cup unsalted butter
     2 cups canned black beans, drained
     1 cup walnuts, chopped
     1 tablespoon vanilla extract
     ¼ cup granulated instant coffee
     ¼ teaspoon sea salt
     4 large eggs
     1½ cups light agave nectar

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. 
  • Line a 9in x 13in baking pan with parchment paper and lightly oil with canola oil spary. 
  • Melt the chocolate and butter togehter in the microwave for 1½ to 2 minutes. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely. 
  • Place the beans, ½ cup of the walnuts, vanilla extract, and a couple spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into a food processor. Blend until thick and smooth. Set aside.
  •  In a large bowl, mix together the remaining walnuts, melted chocolate mixture, instant coffee, and salt. Combine with pureed bean mixture. 
  •  In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the agave nectar and beat well.  
  •  Reserving about ½ cup of the egg mixture, mix egg mixture and bean mixture together, then pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture again until light and fluffy. Drizzle over the brownie batter and use a knife or toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect. 
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (38 minutes for me!), until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. (They will be soft until refrigerated.)

The brownies take a while to settle. Let cool completely in the pan before attempting to cut them. If you try to cut them before they have cooled completely they will fall apart. I would suggest putting them in the fridge before trying to cut them at all.
At first I didn’t think the brownies were done because they were gooey and not holding together. This is normal. After refrigerating over night the brownies held together perfectly and tasted even better than they did straight out of the oven.
My Dad loved these brownies, and they were a hit with my coworkers. Next time I make them I am going to use a round cake dish and cut them into cake-like pieces and serve with a chocolate ganache frosting. Again I can not take credit for this, it was my bosses idea, but it’s a great idea!

Banana Muffins

 These delicious banana muffins are easy to make.

I always buy more bananas than I can eat before they go bad, but sometimes I do this on purpose so it gives me an excuse to cook. Banana breads and muffins are two of my most favorite things to bake and eat.

I did some plain, some with walnuts and some with raisins. The muffins came out so moist despite the fact there is less sugar and butter than normally called for in a muffin recipe.

Sometimes I have a hard time with muffins sticking to the sides of the muffin cups, but these ones came out perfectly. I brought them to work and they were gone within the hour. Luckily I was smart enough to save a couple for myself at home. 🙂


1 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 small-medium sized mashed bananas
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar (I would guess regular brown sugar works fine too)
1 egg
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon water (or milk)

1/2 cup raisins, chocolate chips or walnuts (optional)

* These muffins are plenty sweet for me, but if you are used to sweeter breakfast foods than you might want to add a little more sugar. The original recipe calls for 3 bananas, 1/3 butter and 3/4 cup total sugar. I reduced the amount of butter and sugar and added two more bananas. Still plenty sweet and very moist.


             1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
             2. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers. 
                I suggest using muffin papers. Much easier and less messy cleanup. 
             3. In a large bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg.

4. In a separate bowl beat with an electric mixer, or by hand, the mashed bananas, 
melted butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla extract.

5. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir until mixed will.

6. Add any additional ingredients (raisins, walnuts, etc.) 
7. Spoon into muffin pan and bake for 18-20 minutes.

I tried to add a crumb topping (cinnamon and sugar) to a few of the muffins but it did not crystallize like I wanted it to. Maybe if I had added a little butter or water it would have helped? 


I love hearing your comments and feed back (and typo corrections!) So if you ever try any of my recipes, please let me know what you think! Even if you make your own slight variations I’d love to hear how yours come out. ~ thanks, Jess.

Banana Bread

I had a few very ripe bananas in my kitchen and decided to make banana bread this afternoon.

This banana bread is very tasty and so moist, no one will even know it’s gluten free!  The flavor and texture are both excellent I really think you will enjoy this recipe!
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup butter
2 eggs
¼ cup water
1 cup mashed bananas
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup chocolate chips, raisins or walnuts (optional)
For this recipe I used a little more than 1 cup bananas and I added an extra teaspoon of cinnamon. 
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Grease one 9x5x3 inch load pan.
3. In a medium bowl, beat the sugars and butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs, water, banana, vanilla and almond extract.
4.  In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add this mixture to the wet mixture.
5. If you are using chocolate chips or nuts mix those in and then pour into loaf pan.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes. You may need a little more time but I hate when my breads are too dry so. I would check it at 30 minutes, as every oven is different
7. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. 
I usually add nuts or chocolate chips to my banana bread but I wasn’t in the mood today. It’s almost Valentine’s Day so I am trying to hold off on eating too much chocolate until Tuesday.

Low Fat Gluten Free Banana Bread

I had a few bananas in my fridge that were begining to turn brown so I decided to make my favorite, gluten free banana bread. I love this recipe and I always sprinkle a little extra cinnamon and nutmeg on the top before I put the bread in the oven. This recipe calls for half of the sugar and fat used in most banana bread recipes I have made before. But it is still moist and sweet, no one would even know the difference! For extra sweetness add chocolate chips and if you like a crunch add nuts! Sometimes I even add both, I make half a loaf with chocolate chips for my mom and half with walnuts, which I love. Sometimes I substitute the chocolate chips and walnuts for raisins.


• 1 cup brown rice flour
• 1/3 cup tapioca flour
• 2 Tablespoons flax seeds
• 3 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp nutmeg
• 1 tsp ginger
• 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 3 over-ripe bananas (should equal at least 1 1/2 cup of mashed banana)
• 1/4 c sugar
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips (optional)
• 1/3 cup melted butter
• 2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Grease a medium sized bread pan

Mix together all the dry ingredients except for sugar

Add the chopped nuts or chocolate chips if you are using them.

Mix the wet ingredients, including the bananas and the sugar. Use a food processor or electric mixer, which I use and it works just fine. If you don’t have one of those, mash the bananas, then whisk in the other wet ingredients

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix lightly with just a few strokes

Pour the mixture evenly into the greased bread pan. I always sprinkle a little extra cinnamon and nutmeg on top before I place it in the oven

Bake for 40 min, middle of the oven, until browned & a toothpick comes out clean. The first time I baked it for 45 minutes and it came out a little drier than I would have liked. I reduced the cooking time by 5 minutes and the bread was a little bit more moist. Another way to mositen the mixture if you do not have enough bananas is to add a little bit of water to the wet ingredients.

Cool on a rack in the pan for 5 minutes, then take it out of the pan and let it cool on a cooling rack. I love to eat this when it is still warm with just a tad of butter!