Fresh Raspberry Crumb Bars

Fresh fruit bars in the middle of winter? You betcha ! You can always find fresh berries in your local grocery store. Opt for organic if you can. This recipe will work with blueberries, blackberries, even strawberries. Just use the same fruit flavored jam along with whatever fruit you choose. I went with raspberries because I had both the jam and some fresh berries on hand.

You can also switch up the batter itself. Why not try chops almonds instead of walnuts and add 1/4 tsp of pure almond extract to the batter? Or chopped pecans and a teaspoon of ground many ideas !

Chocolate Banana Marble Bread

Banana bread has to be one of the most popular and well-loved snacks around. I have shared a few recipes on this site for various types of banana bread but I have to say, this one may be my fave yet. Who wouldn't love rich chocolate and banana batter swirled together into one incredible loaf?

Though this loaf doesn't rise as high as the other banana breads I have made in the past, I was amazed at its fine crumb and velvety texture. This baby is far from dense or dry. It is heavenly sliced up plain or smeared with some cream cheese. Personally I love mine with butter while it is still warm from the oven.

Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream

I only wish I had taken better pictures of these lovely pink frosted cupcakes but I simply didn't have the proper lighting or the proper time! All that said, I hope this pic I do have helps peak your interest. These gorgeous little treats are lemon yogurt cupcakes topped with swirls of fresh strawberry meringue frosting. The cupcake itself is moist, tender, not too lemony and pairs perfectly with the silky smooth berry filled buttercream.

Truth be told, these do take time to make, especially the frosting, but they are worth it. I have made swiss meringue buttercream before but never with pureed fruit so this was a learning experience. I was very worried that adding the fruit would somehow cause the frosting to separate but it didn't. It came together wonderfully and it was beyond smooth, fresh tasting, buttery and just down right perfect.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Donuts

These are truly incredible. Gluten-free, low carb and delicious! Little did I know that today was also National Peanut Butter Day in the USA so this recipe also has perfect timing.

My daughter is a chocolate and peanut butter fanatic. My son is on a gluten-free diet and I try to follow a low carb eating plan so these are truly a miracle for all of us wrapped up in one sweet and tasty treat.

Blondie Cupcakes

This weekend I added a new cookbook to my repertoire: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes. I am almost embarrassed to say that I never owned a copy until now. From what I hear from fellow bloggers and foodies, this is the book to own.

Wonderful glossy photos, great recipes and fabulous decorating tips fill this book from from to back. One glance and I fell in love.

Of course initially I was tempted to dive right in and make a more glamorous cupcake - like a split Boston Cream Pie cupcake but time was not on my side. I needed something that didn't require a lot of presentation work - no time for fancy piping yesterday. Plus, I wanted something portable for school lunch boxes and dolled up cupcakes just don't transport well. Then I spotted Martha's recipe for Blondie Cupcakes. No need to frost these, easy to make, a family favorite and I had all the ingredients handy and pretty much ready to go.

Apple Cinnamon Bread

Want to jazz up a simple quick bread? Add a few layers of cinnamon and sugar! You can pretty much do this to most quick breads but the ones that come to mind right away are pumpkin, vanilla, banana and applesauce.

All I did was take one of my fave recipes for Applesauce Cinnamon Quick Bread and changed it up a bit so there would be a layer or two of sweet cinnamon hidden within the bread. It adds lovely texture and amazing taste.

In this recipe you can use either chunky or smooth applesauce but whatever you do , please make sure it is sugar free. For the brown sugar/cinnamon layers go with dark brown sugar and stick with golden brown sugar in the batter.

Again, another easy recipe where you don't need to dust off any appliances to whip up a delicious batter; just a few bowls and a wooden spoon is all you need.

This treat is especially lovely served warm on a cold winter day with a cup of tea. For the kids, a slice is a well-received lunch box treat. Granted, it is not gluten-free but for those who have no sensitivities, you will love this bread !

Let's get started

*adapted source recipe, Cinnamon Applesauce Bread, McCormick


Cinnamon Layers
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil


PREHEAT oven to 350F
SPRAY a large loaf pan with baking spray (preferably the kind with added flour)

IN SMALL BOWL combine Cinnamon Layers ingredients and set aside

IN LARGE BOWL, whisk together first 3 Batter ingredients
IN MEDIUM BOWL, whisk together remaining ingredients
FOLD WET INGREDIENTS into dry ingredients blending just until combined
POUR 1/3 of batter into loaf pan and smooth top
SPRINKLE with 1/3 cinnamon layer mix
CONTINUE with 1/3 batter and 1/3 cinnamon layer mix
TOP final 1/3 of batter with remaining cinnamon layer mix
BAKE 50-55 MINUTES or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean


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One Artsy Mama

Tidy Mom

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies

Finally, an amazing gluten-free brownie recipe that comes together in one bowl, no mixer required, and has only a few key ingredients! No need to mash up black beans or add baby food prunes to this recipe. No weird blend of various gluten-free flours either and that means no funky aftertaste. This recipe uses almond flour as its base and then a few other ingredients we all have in our pantry. If you have a really good quality dark cocoa powder then have that handy; the better the cocoa powder, the better the brownie - guaranteed!

Now be forewarned, the batter is really thick. In fact when I was mixing it I kept checking the source recipe to ensure I didn't omit any liquids by mistake but I didn't. Then I read the little note in the recipe that said "batter will be thick". They weren't joking. First you need to really stir the batter well to get everything incorporated. I just kept folding with a rubber spatula and that worked very well. Then you need to be careful when you add the batter to the prepared pan. It is hard to move it around once added because it is very sticky so I recommend dolloping scoopfuls evenly throughout the pan then smooth it all over on top with buttered fingertips.

These bake up in 40 minutes and you need to be careful not to overbake or they will get very crusty on the edges and dry out in the insides. Once a knife inserted in the center comes out relatively clean then they are done. Also, don't let them rest in the pan long because you want to stop the baking process once they are out of the oven. Just lift them out gently by holding onto the sides of the parchment paper and place them on a cooling rack. My last tip for you is this - don't cut them (or any brownie for that matter) until they are cool. The reason behind this is that cutting a brownie while warm and then letting it come to room temperature will result in very dry sides rather than that dense gooey texture we love in a brownie.

So if you are ready, let's get baking!

* adapted source recipe: Guilt-Free Brownies, Chatelaine Magazine


8" square baking pan lined with parchment paper so there is 2-3 inch overhang of paper on all 4 sides

2 1/2 cups icing (powdered) sugar
2 cups almond flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder - I used Valrhona
1/8 tsp salt
4 egg whites
2 tsp pure vanilla extract


PREHEAT oven to 350F
IN LARGE BOWL, whisk together first 4 ingredients
ADD egg whites and vanilla extract
FOLD well to combine all ingredients
DOLLOP batter evenly into prepared pan and smooth top
BAKE 40 minutes
REMOVE from oven and immediately remove brownies; transfer to cooling rack
LET cool completely before cutting into bars


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Donuts AND Muffins? Oh Yeah !

I decided to combine this post and share with you two recently tested recipes that both turned out great. Both are cakey, rich and delicious. Both recipes deliver.

Sick kids = comfort food. Sure, chicken soup, grilled cheese....all of that comes to mind. But what about sick kids with a sweet tooth? That is where these two recipes come into play.

When I think of comfort food I think of cinnamon, apples, chocolate and peanut butter. No, not all combined together but rather paired up.

So with a household now coming down with some kind of winter virus, it was time to haul out the muffin tin and donut pan. First I started off with an apple cinnamon donut recipe that I found on Barbara Bakes. I love baked donuts not just for the sake that they are healthier but rather it keeps me away from hot oil; safety first !

These donuts are super moist and overflowing with apple flavor. I mean it - they contain apple cider, dried apple and applesauce. A triple dose of the good stuff!

I did adhere to Barbara's original recipe and only changed one thing - I dipped the tops of the still warm baked donuts in melted butter before dipping them into the cinnamon sugar mix. Amazing.

Barbara wasn't sure if these would be still good the next day though she seemed pretty confident they would be. Let me confirm that YES, they are amazing the next day. These do have more of a muffin texture to them and in fact you could bake them in muffin tins if you don't have a donut pan but whatever you do, make a batch !

RECIPE: Baked Apple Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Next I whipped up 12 rich chocolate and peanut butter chip muffins. I used the chocolate muffin recipe from the HummingBird Bakery cookbook (also posted here on Lemon Drop) but changed it up slightly. I used Valrhona cocoa powder and 4 ounces of Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips. The final step is to fold in 1 cup of Reese peanut butter baking chips. That's it! You can take a lovely dark chocolate muffin recipe and really change it up by adding one simple ingredient at the end: Peanut Butter Baking Chips. How easy is that?

BASIC CHOCOLATE MUFFIN RECIPE: Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Muffins


Gluten-Free Chocolate Mint Cookies

I absolutely love the flavor of mint and chocolate combined into a sweet baked treat. So do my kids. As we are trying to stay with gluten-free goodies for the most part, I sat around contemplating recipe ideas for a great choco-mint cookie. And here it is !

The chocolate goodness comes from two 100 gram dark chocolate Lindt bars and the mint flavor is derived from gluten-free mint baking chips. Andes carries a variety that works well.

I used Authentic's Gluten-Free Classical blend flour but any pre-mixed GF flour blend that has a combo of brown rice, tapioca starch/flour and potato starch will do. Please do not use flours with any other additions - this includes xantham gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, etc.

These cookies are easy to prepare and bake up with a lovely crispy exterior and chewy, soft interior. They keep for days in a sealed container at room temperature and are great lunchbox snacks.



6 tablespoons gluten-free flour mix
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon xantham gum
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
200 grams Lindt dark chocolate, broken up into bite-sized pieces
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or regular sugar if you prefer)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup mint baking chips


PREHEAT oven to 325F
LINE 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper

IN LARGE BOWL, whisk together first 4 ingredients and set aside
IN DOUBLE BOILER, Lindt chocolate, unsweetened chocolate and butter, set aside to cool slightly
IN BOWL OF STAND MIXER, fitted with paddle attachment, cream eggs, butter, sugar and vanilla for 5 minutes on HIGH speed
FOLD in melted chocolate mixture
STIR in flour mixture and baking chips
COMBINE thoroughly

PLACE tablespoonful size amounts of dough onto prepared cookie sheets leaving 1/2 inch space between each cookie
BAKE 8 minutes
LET COOL on cookie sheets resting on cooling racks completely before transferring to serving platter


Banana Toffee Cake

A great gluten-free recipe that is sure to please many! This cake is loaded with bananas (4 in fact) and studded throughout with toffee bits. It does take awhile to bake but patience is a virtue, right?

The combination of toffee, cinnamon and banana make this cake nothing short of amazing. And trust me, you will never even know it is gluten-free. Gone are the days of chalky gluten-free desserts. With the right ingredients you can make this gluten-free cake that will beat out a regular flour-based variety any day of the week.

Frosted or unfrosted is up to you. I left the finished product unfrosted so it is easy to slice and take with you as a portable snack. If you want to frost then I recommend a cinnamon buttercream or a cream cheese frosting.

The gluten-free flour I used is Authentic's GF Classical Blend . If you don't have this blend handy, then feel free to use Cybele Pascal's recipe for an amazing blended flour as follows:

  • 4 cups superfine brown rice flour ( Authentic Brand is best)
  • 1 1/3 cups potato starch
  • 2/3 cup tapioca flour/starch

You will need 3 cups of the blended flour mix for this recipe.

I baked this cake in a 10" round cake pan and I recommend you do the same. It makes the perfect sized cake that slices wonderfully and remains super moist once sliced.

To obtain the smooth finish seen above, simply flip the cake upside down after it has cooled. Perfection.

Note: I used Heath Toffee Bits in the recipe. They were exactly what I was looking for but if you just want toffee bits without added chocolate then Skor baking bits would be a good choice.

*adapted source recipe - Banana Cake, The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook, Cybele Pascal


3 cups Gluten-Free Flour Mix (see above)
3/4 teaspoon Xantham gum
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup toffee bits
3/4 cup buttermilk
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening ( I used Crisco)
1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste


PREHEAT oven to 350F
SPRAY a 10" deep sided cake pan with oil and line base with parchment paper

IN LARGE BOWL, whisk together first 6 ingredients
ADD toffee bits and stir , set aside
IN BOWL OF STAND MIXER, fitted with paddle attachment, cream shortening on HIGH speed for 2 minutes
ADD brown sugar and beat 2-3 minutes on HIGH speed scraping down sides when needed
ADD in eggs, one a time, blending well after each addition
STIR in vanilla extract
ADD dry ingredients, bananas and buttermilk in three batches alternating between flour, bananas and milk
BLEND until just combined
POUR batter into pan
BAKE 40 minutes
COVER top of cake with foil and bake another 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
REMOVE from oven and let cake cool in pan on top of a cooling rack
WHEN completely cooled, invert cake onto cake platter
SLICE and serve