Orange, Saffron, and Olive Oil Shortbread Cookies {Gluten and Grain free}

I’m afraid my Instagram account isn’t so good for my blog.

It’s way too easy to take one pic, hashtag the life out of it, and post it…all on one little gadget.

Life has been busy, too, but I really have no legitimate excuse for not posting for…well, however long it’s been. Too long.

We were invited to a friend’s house last night for pizza and sundaes and a movie. It wasn’t just any pizza and sundaes though – it was cheese pizza with a delicious gluten free crust and sundaes with homemade berry ice cream, bananas, and homemade honey salted caramel sauce! Jealous yet?

I experimented with some shortbread cookies to go along with the sundaes. The challenge was that they had to be nut, wheat, and refined sugars free. Bring it on!

If you’ve read my blog for long, you know I gravitate toward orange and almond, or orange and ginger, or orange and cardamom flavor combinations. Those are all SO good, but I had to do something else this time. I decided to pull out the saffron my sis-in-law gave me years ago. (Does saffron go bad??? Don’t tell me if it does.)

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I kept with the orange, though half way through I wished I had gone with grapefruit instead. And, of course, I went with my favorite natural sweetener – dates!

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Orange, Saffron, and Olive Oil Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 c. dates, pitted
  • 1 c. coconut flour
  • 2 t. organic orange peel
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • juice of one orange
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 to 1/4 t. saffron (I used 1/4 but my saffron might be a little weak. :)

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine dates, coconut flour, orange peel, butter and salt and pulse until mixture is well combined and fine textured. Add remaining ingredients and pulse again. My dough never formed a ball, but looked like this…

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However, it pinches together readily. Make one inch round balls and roll or press flat onto parchment paper.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden around the edges.

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They soften as they sit and, if you’re like me, you like them a bit crunchy, so place them in a warm oven just before serving.

And the movie? Well, it was Frozen, ’cause my little friends keep telling me about it and I had to see it for myself.  Aren’t you glad it’s summer? :)

Drying Your Own Citrus Peel

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I love citrus – the scent, the taste, the look…

It makes me think of summer days and fresh squeezed lemonade. A constant inspiration in the kitchen, no matter the season, citrus works wonders in sweet and sour dishes alike.

Did you know that lemon peel contains 5 -10 times more vitamins than the juice does? That’s not the only benefit to eating the peels of lemon! It also reduces oxidation stress levels and helps fight cancers. You can read more about that here on the Health Extremist.

I use zest of lemon, orange, and lime in many different recipes, but one thing that concerns me is the wax and pesticide residue on the outside of the fruits. I don’t mind using non-organic citrus for juice, but the peels make me wary.

Organic citrus is rather hard to find around here though, so whenever I can get it, I try to make the most of it by peeling and drying the zest. It’s cheap and easy and the resulting product is fragrant with a powerful citrus flavor. The real benefit is having a handy jar of it around whenever you want to throw some citrus zing into a last-minute recipe.

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I use a lemon zester like this one for long ribbon-like peel, but if you prefer your zest smaller, a Microplane grater works fabulously as well. I love the one I have!

Simply zest the citrus fruit over parchment paper, spread it out in one layer and let dry for about 2 days on the counter.

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Store it in an air tight glass jar, you know that spice jar of ginger you just finished off? Perfect!

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Sometimes the drying process does strange things to lemon peel…

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Orange, lime, and lemon zest, just waiting to be used…

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What is your favorite recipe calling for citrus peel?

I’ll be sharing one of mine in the next post or two along with a giveaway featuring Slickepott‘s new caramel sauce! You’re going to LOVE it, so be sure to follow my blog in order to not miss out on more citrus-y, caramel-y deliciousness!

Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Honey Caramel Sauce

We’ve been having some crazy weather here in Oklahoma. Tornadoes, thunder storms, rain, and more rain. Last evening, however, the sun split the clouds in two and the wind blew them away to the east.

Today is gorgeous. One of those days I always want to bottle up and save forever like an expensive flask of Italian wine – just to know I’ve got a nice day to uncork anytime I want. (Argh! I’m such a control freak! :)

I’ve been out doing yard work – mowing, weed-eating, and weeding the strawberry patch, soaking it all in – never getting enough. After the work is over, I’m going to finish off the mint ice cream I made last night.

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If you’ve never tried fresh mint (yep, the green stuff that grows like crazy! ) ice cream then you are in for a treat!

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Our mint comes back every year and tends to wind it’s way into the cracks and crevices of the green house, along with the Bermuda grass that is SO hard to control. I think mint and Bermuda are best friends…or at least closely related. They have the same behavioral patterns anyway.

IMG_9731At least mint tastes good!

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Anyways, you’ll need about one cup of mint leaves for this recipe…

  • 2 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 1 1/2 c. cream
  • 1/4 c. raw honey or 1/2 c. sugar (or more to taste). If you don’t care for a slight honey flavor in your mint ice cream, go with the sugar. My personal preference is sugar in this recipe, but then it’s not as healthy that way.
  • 1 c. mint leaves
  • pinch of sea salt

Combine everything together in to the blender and blend away.

IMG_9762Line a bowl with a large tea towel and pour the blended mixture in, making sure there’s plenty of towel left hanging over the edge.

IMG_9767Gather up the corners and let the liquid drain into the bowl. Be sure to squeeze out the very last drops of minty flavor. It will be a bit brown toward the end.

It’s ready to churn. I use a 4 quart Cuisinart – the kind that has the frozen bowl. Very handy for small amounts.

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Oh yum! Using the suggested honey amount in this recipe makes it just barely sweet, which is perfect for drizzling on some caramel sauce made with honey!

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You’ll find that recipe here @ CDKitchen.

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And there you have it…the perfect sunny day dessert.

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Top with strawberries if you like…

Or shave some dark chocolate over the top.

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What variation do you have in mind?