Molasses Cookies (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

Who doesn't love a molasses cookie in December?  To me, they are the perfect christmas cookie.  I worked on a recipe over the weekend that whether you're aip, paleo or not you will enjoy.  These are very well balanced cookies - not too sweet, soft and chewy with a hint of spice.  Perfect for leaving out for santa or dipping in a cool glass of coconut milk.  

Makes 16 cookies. 

AIP Molasses Cookies

1.5 cups cassava flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup palm/coconut shortening

1/8 cup coconut sugar - optional

1 gelatin egg (1 tablespoon gelatin bloomed in 1 tablespoon water, whisked with 1 tablespoon boiling water)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Set aside. 

In a mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt.  Add molasses, shortening and gelatin egg.  Use an electric hand or stand mixer until it looks like cookie dough - it takes a couple minutes.  Use a tablespoon to portion, form balls and roll lightly in coconut sugar if you like.  

Use either cookie shaping techniques:

1. For smooth, flat cookies - Place dough ball on prepared cookie sheet, press with bottom of mason jar to flatten.  Bake 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.  These cookies will be smooth, flat discs.

2. Or for rustic, crinkled cookies - Place dough ball on prepared cookie sheet, bake 15 minutes, remove from oven and flatten cookies.  Let cool.  

Marbled Pumpkin + Cardamom Cheesecake

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Cheesecake making requires a bit more attention to detail and patience than most cakes.  When making a cheesecake you are part cook and part baby sitter but it's worth it, no?   

Here are a couple tips on cheesecake making.  Mostly, we are trying to avoid cracking, a common problem. 

First, make sure the cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature.  Otherwise, your filling could be lumpy and lumps can lead to cracking.  The eggs and wrapped cream cheese can be quickly brought to room temperature by placing them in a bowl of very warm tap water for 15 minutes.   

When mixing the filling we want to whip the least amount of air in as possible so use a low speed.  Eggs hold air, so add those towards the end.  

Use a water bath when baking and bake at a low temperature.  Baking times can vary  start checking it around the 40 minute mark.  The cake should be very lightly golden at the edges and almost set with a moist, wiggly center.  

As the cake cools it will want to pull away from the edges so run a knife around the edge before cooling to help loosen it up.  Also, it's going to need to cool as slowly as possible.  Cool in the water bath and then out on the bath on a rack for about an hour.  It will then need to go in the fridge to finnish setting for at least 6 hours.   

When cutting the chilled cheesecake use a large knife and wipe clean in between cuts.   

Pumpkin + Cardamom Marbled Cheesecake

for the crust

1 1/2 graham cracker crumbs, (about 10 full sized cracker/ 1 wrapped package) 

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

pinch salt

4 tablespoons butter, melted

for the filling

2 8oz packages cream cheese, not low fat, at room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 eggs, at room temperature 

1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8 or 9 inch springform pan.  Combine graham crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter.  Press into pan to form the crust.  Bake 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.  Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.  

Cream the cream cheese at a low speed until very smooth.  Add sugar, salt, flour, vanilla and lemon juice.  Continue mixing until evenly combined.  Add eggs and mix until just combined.  Divide filling in half into two bowls.  In the one bowl, mix pumpkin puree, cinnamon and nutmeg.   In the other bowl, mix in cardamom.  

Grease the sides of the crust pan again if needed.  Tilt the pan slightly to one side and pour in pumpkin filling.  Pour cardamom filling into the other side of the pan, strategically tilting the pan as needed.  Use a small spoon or butter knife to marble the two fillings together. Place spring form pan in a larger pan or baking dish.  Fill with warm water to an inch below the top of the spring form pan.

Bake 40-60 minutes at 325 degrees until center is just set but wiggly and moist.  Remove from oven, run a knife around the edge of cake to loosen from pan and cool in bath 10 minutes.  Remove from bath and cool on a rack about an hour.  Transfer to fridge and chill at least 6 hours or overnight.  Pan sides can be removed before chilling if you prefer.