Grain-Free Fig & Almond Linzer Cookies

Grain-free linzer cookies

A year ago I was wandering through Austria & Germany, riding up gondolas and getting lost in forests thicker than any forest seen in Colorado. Each mountain top was dotted with a unique restaurant or bar. Just last night I was going back through old photos, wishing I could teleport back. Since that wasn't an option, I started cooking instead. 😉 

Grain-Free Fig & Almond Linzer Cookies
Grain-Free Fig & Almond Linzer Cookies
Dolomites

Linzer Cookies are a classic Austria dessert, so it feels appropriate to make these cookies now, as I swim in nostalgia. The cooler weather just serves as an excuse to turn on the oven again. As you assemble these cookies, you can imagine you are deep in a valley in Austria again, maybe in a small cottage with gingerbread trim and a wood burning stove in the corner. 

The Linzer Cookies are stuffed with figs, because I had a special bag of Smyrna Figs from Made in Nature (which I love because they are the softest, juiciest dried figs I've ever had, and they're unsulfured). All week I've been sprinkling them on various meals-- cheese plates, Harissa roasted eggplant- refraining from putting the whole bag in my desk snack drawer and eating them all straight, which is what I usually do with dried figs. When these cookies were plated, the wait was worth it. ❤️

Grain-Free Fig & Almond Linzer Cookies
Grain-Free Fig & Almond Linzer Cookies

Grain-Free Fig & Almond Linzer Cookies

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Almonds and figs pair perfectly!

Yields: 12   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup figs
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Place the figs in a bowl, and pour water over top to soak them.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and baking soda. Whisk until incorporated. Add the melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla, and stir until a uniform dough forms. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in fridge for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°F. After dough has chilled, remove from fridge. Cut out a piece of parchment paper and roll dough out with a rolling pin on parchment to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut cookies out as desired and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 9 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool.
  4. While cookies cool, make fig filling: drain water, and place figs in high powdered blender and puree into a thick jam-like mixture, scraping sides of blender as needed to get a consistent texture.
  5. Spread fig jam on a cookie, and top with a second cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat until cookies are used up.

Harissa Roasted Eggplant with Yogurt Sauce & Tomatoes

Harissa eggplant with yogurt sauce & tomatoes

A jar of harissa sits in my fridge, leftover from this roasted cauliflower

Every time I open the fridge it stares back at me, potential waiting to happen. Smothered on chicken? Stirred into baba ganoush? Smeared on eggplants, and roasted to a crisp? 

Harissa eggplant with yogurt sauce & tomatoes

You mull over these ideas enough and you just have to make moves. Next thing you know, I’m buying eggplants and dicing tomatoes. I’m straining yogurt into lebneh, and toasting pine nuts. 

Harissa eggplant with yogurt sauce & tomatoes

Having a jar of an unfamiliar ingredient in the fridge is a muse— it keeps the imagination wandering. I know harissa has been “trending” for a while now, and I’m a bit late to the show, but in my own pace I’m discovering it’s marvels… 

Harissa Roasted Eggplant with Lebneh and Cherry Tomatoes

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Eggplant is roasted with harissa and then topped with cool lebneh and fresh tomatoes.

Serves: 2   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 2 baby small to medium eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup harissa paste, depending on preference
  • 1/4 cup lebneh (or make your own: 1/2 cup greek yogurt + cheesecloth)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 dried figs, diced
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. If you are making your own lebneh: scoop yogurt into cheese cloth and place over bowl. Allow to sit for 30 minutes (or while you prepare the rest of the dish), until whey liquid has seeped out and yogurt is thick and creamy. If you are using store bought, skip to step 2.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Half eggplant, and then use a knife to score flesh in a grid pattern. In a small bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil and harissa (we use 1/4 cup because we like our food hot, hot, hot. Use less if you like your food just mellowly spiced). Brush mixture over eggplants, getting the sauce into the crevasses you created when scoring. Place on baking sheet, and then in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, until the eggplants puff, their skin in brown and wrinkled, and they are softened through. Set aside to cool, and then place on serving dishes.
  3. Scoop a dollop of lebneh over each half of the eggplant.
  4. Halve the cherry tomatoes, and dice the cucumber. Sprinkle over top of the eggplant. Lastly, sprinkle figs and pine nuts and season with salt & pepper. Serve hot.

The Paleo Kids Cookbook Review: Grain-Free Pasta and more!

Paleo Pasta (Cassava Flour)

I try not to get too ambitious with post-gym meals. Usually ambitious meals involve more time which means we have to eat even later (as it is, getting home after going to the gym in the evening puts us at a late meal time). But sometimes, inspiration strikes and you just can't shake it. That's what happened when the Paleo Kids Cookbook by Jennifer of Predominantly Paleo came in the mail. (The same thing happened when her last book arrived in my mail box, and I decided to make my first ever Babka. I'm beginning to notice a pattern...)

Every time I get my hands on a new cookbook I do the same thing: I go through each page, and tagging recipes I really want to make with little scraps of paper as bookmarks. You know it's a good cookbook when you get to the end and there are so many bookmarks you can't even find what you're looking for! 

Paleo Pasta (Cassava Flour)

I immediately tagged this recipe, because even though I have never made any type of homemade pasta before, Jennifer's recipe made it look easy-- just the intro to pasta making I needed. 4 ingredients plus water for boiling the pasta once it's made? Better yet, I already have all of the ingredients? Let's do this thing! 

Paleo Pasta (Cassava Flour)

I paired the pasta with a homemade bolognese sauce, and steamed some zucchini and summer squash as a side. This meal was totally worth the effort, and I had fun making it too. 

The next morning, I made Jennifer's applesauce from the same cookbook, and was wowed again, even with something as simple as applesauce! This one's a keeper. (Applesauce pic below the recipe!)

Homemade Grain-Free Pasta

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Cassava flour serves in place of flour in this homemade classic pasta recipe from The Paleo Kids Cookbook.

Serves: 2   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup cassava flour (not tapioca starch)
  • 2-3 pastured eggs
  • 3-4 tablespoons cooking fat (olive oil, avocado oil, ghee)
  • 1/2 teaspoon or more sea salt
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon psyllium husk (NOTE: I did not use this, as it was marked optional, and still had great success!)

Directions:

  1. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil on the stovetop over high heat (add a pinch of salt in desired)
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Using your hands, knead into a ball of dough. It should feel dense and glutinous once combined thoroughly. Use a bit of cassava flour to lightly dust an area to roll out your ball of dough. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to desired thickness. Using a pizza cutter or straight-edged knife, slide your noodles as fat or thin as you like. Transfer them to the boiling water and let them cook until they float, just a few minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the water and transfer them to a strainer. Serve with desired sauce.
  3. I served these noodles with a basic homemade bolognese sauce and it was delicious! Jennifer also includes instructions on how to shape macaroni noodles if desired.

Paleo Applesauce