Double Life – Recipes: Chocolate Cupcakes and Dairy-Free Frosting

This is how I spent my day.


Making cupcakes for a baby shower.


At times, I felt like I was living a double life.  Here, I talk about all of our gluten, dairy, and peanut free recipes.  And, that is honestly how we eat at our household right now.  We feel good about it because we know that we are doing what is best for Ethan.  We are not sure if we will be able to incorporate those things into our diet again, but we do hope that we can enjoy some of the traditional sweets and baked goods again at some point.

However, my goal here is to show everyone that eating gluten, dairy, and peanut free can still be a good thing.  I want to show everyone the food that we are eating and enjoying on a daily basis.  Mostly, for now, I have stuck to the basics of healthy eating, and we have not experimented as much with desserts or breads.  But, when we have tried cookie recipes like this and this, it has been a success.

It was with much thought and consideration that I finally decided that I can incorporate my two lives, the one that bakes for people and the one who cooks for my kids, the things that are healthy for them right now.  The fact of the matter is that there is a large percentage of the population who can enjoy gluten, dairy, and peanuts without any health concerns.  And, for them, I will happily bake treats.

So, since I have already been baking for people here and there on the side, I decided to officially launch Summer Sweets Bakery.  It is still a work in progress, as is Cooking for My Kids.  But, I decided that true failure is really never attempting to follow your dreams.  And, in my dreams, I bake for people.  For now, most of what I bake does have gluten and dairy in it.  But, my other dream is that I will learn how to bake wonderful gluten and dairy free products, as well.

Yes, this is how I spent my day.


We did not eat the treats.  I happily made them for someone who is celebrating her first baby, someone who can eat gluten, dairy, and peanuts.

But, I will continue experimenting with wonderful gluten, dairy, and peanut free treats for those who cannot.  For me, as a mom, cooking for my kids is one of the things that makes me so happy.  Their health and happiness is my primary concern.  So, we will continue on this journey because it is what is best for Ethan right now.

Never fear, though…before I spent my day baking cupcakes for a baby shower, I made cupcakes for my kids.  There is no way that I was going to make them watch me make cupcakes all day long and not let them have a special treat.  And, Ethan was there all along the way, watching, testing, smiling.  They were all anxious to try the final product; Ethan just happened to be my assistant chef for the day.


The end result…


happy littles.  Gabriel said, “I cannot even tell that these are gluten free!”

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes


1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup brown rice flour (I used this brown rice flour.)

1 cup cocoa (I used Nestle Toll House 100% cocoa powder. From what I could research, it does not contain dairy.)

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup Spectrum Natural's organic butter flavored shortening

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups dairy-free buttermilk (I made mine by mixing 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 1 1/2 cups soy milk. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, and it will turn into dairy-free buttermilk.)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place cupcake liners into cupcake pan.
  3. Sift the three flours together.
  4. Add cocoa,baking powder, and baking soda to the flours and whisk together in a med. bowl.
  5. Beat the shortening until creamy.
  6. Slowly add the brown sugar and the granulated sugar; whip until fluffy.
  7. Add the eggs and the egg yolks one at a time.
  8. Add the vanilla.
  9. Turn the mixer to low and alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk.
  10. With an ice cream scoop, scoop one scoopful into each cupcake liner.
  11. Bake for 16 minutes.

Adapted from Gluten Free Mommy’s Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Dairy-Free Frosting

Dairy-Free Frosting

This frosted about 18 of the cupcakes, and I frosted them quite generously.


1/2 cup Spectrum Natural's organic butter flavored shortening

1 tsp vanilla

1 pound powdered sugar


  1. Beat together the shortening and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar, and continue to mix until creamy.

These cupcakes were a hit.  This was the first gluten and dairy free thing that I have baked that had absolutely no trace of the gluten free taste, to me.  In a taste test, I do not think that I would have been able to tell that these were gluten free.  They were really that good.

It was a great day…cupcakes for a mommy celebrating her first baby….and cupcakes for some littles who have been so patient and kind on this gluten, dairy, and peanut free journey.  I got to bake, I got to create, and I got to see smiles of warm appreciation.  That made me a very happy momma.

Reunions, Babies, and Chocolate Chip Cookies – Recipe: Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

We had an amazing weekend, so I took a few days off from updating our menu and posting recipes.  We had our annual reunion on Sean’s side of the family.  Honestly, I could not ask for a better extended family.  They have always welcomed me with open arms, and they love, love, love my children.  Anyone who loves my children has an extremely special place in my heart forever.

I am happy to report that Ethan and I remained gluten, dairy, and peanut free.  Summer, Gabriel, and Sean had a little bit of gluten here and there, but, overall, I thought that we ate really well.  The family did an amazing job of accommodating our new diet, and all of the bigger cousins were so helpful in making sure that Ethan stayed away from all of the foods that he cannot eat right now.  We all took turns cooking meals, and, I must say, we have some spectacular chefs in the family!

We had a baby shower for my dear sister-in-law on Saturday night, and I was responsible for the dessert bar.  I so enjoyed every moment of baking the treats and sharing them with the family.  Sean was my sampler because I vowed not to eat any of the foods that Ethan cannot eat.  When I explained that to Ethan, he put his hand on my head to see how I was feeling.  Since I told him that the food might be making him sick, he was checking to see if I am sick, too.  Bless his sweet little heart!


Anyway, I did not want Ethan to miss out on any of the fun, so I made him some special chocolate chip cookies.  Gluten Free Girl and the Chef are quite amazing, and the cookies that they created were spectacular.  I made them plain the first night, and the second night, I made them into little cookies cups and put dairy free frosting in them.  Ethan really liked that!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 cup sorghum flour

1 cup tapioca starch

1 cup potato starch

1 cup millet flour

1 tablespoon of flax seed)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 cups Spectrum Naturals Organic Shortening

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

16 ounces Enjoy Life Foods Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips


  1. Mix the flours, flax seed, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
  2. Put the shortening and the sugars into a stand mixer. Using a paddle attachment, mix them well, until they are just combined, and then 1 minute more.
  3. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  4. Pour in the vanilla extract and mix for a beat.
  5. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter, about 1/2 cup at a time, and then mix.
  6. When the all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, add the chocolate chips and mix for just a moment.
  7. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and put it in your refrigerator.
  8. After the 36 hours, preheat the oven to 350°.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat.
  10. Scoop generous balls of dough from the bowl. Place 6 of them onto the baking sheet.
  11. Bake the cookies about 18 minutes, or until the tops have turned golden brown. The middles should still be somewhat soft, however.
  12. Take the baking sheet out of the oven. Allow the baking sheet to sit on the counter for 10 minutes.
  13. Transfer the cooling cookies onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool for a few more moments.

These cookies were truly delicious.  Ethan loved them, especially with the dairy free frosting.

It was a wonderful weekend – food, family, and fun.  Who can ask for anything else?!

Recipe – Gluten-Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lazy days and chocolate chip cookies go great together.  Sean returned to work today, and the kids and I decided to take it easy.  We have two more days at home, and then we have a weekend family get together.  Today was a good lazy day, one that required pajamas, movies, popcorn, and chocolate chip cookies.

I love to bake, which is quite funny because I was a terrible baker when Sean and I got married.  My mother has always made everything that she bakes look and taste delicious.  When my bread, cookies, and pies started looking and tasting even close to hers, I felt like I had accomplished my baking goals.  And, I had, until I received Ethan’s food sensitivity test results.  Then, I knew that I had only just begun.

The other night, I took out my first batch of gluten free chocolate chip cookies, and Sean said, “Do you kind of feel like you are starting over?”  Yes, I do.  Yep, the cookies were flat and ugly.  They tasted really good, but they were certainly not presentable, not in the very least.  It does feel like I am starting over, in a way, but this time I feel more equipped to know where to begin.  And, I have good recipes to follow.  It is just a matter of substituting things here and there and discover what all mixes well together.

Ethan is my little baking assistant, especially when it comes to sweets.  He has a major sweet tooth, just like his momma.  So, I knew that I had to start finding or creating good recipes as quickly as possible because I really did not want him to feel like he was having to give up everything.  So, I have been practicing, experimenting, and taste-testing.  Ethan must have known that these would be THE cookies.  He anxiously awaited tasting them cookies, going so far as to watch them in the oven until his legs got tired, and then he just squatted and watched them from the floor.

Recipe: Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Alton Brown’s The Chewy Gluten Free

Gluten-Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies were adapted from Alton Brown's The Chewy Gluten Free.


1 cup organic shortening

2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon Authentic Foods brown rice flour

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

2 Tablespoons tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup dairy and nut free chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the shortening with the sugars.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing until combined.
  4. In separate bowl, mix together the brown rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, salt, and baking soda.
  5. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the egg mixture.
  6. Add the chocolate chips.
  7. Shape the cookie dough into balls (I used a cookie scoop).
  8. Place them on the prepared cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 13-14 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pans. If your family has more patience than mine, you can remove them from the pans to a wire rack to finish cooking. My family, however, devoured the cookies straight from the pan, only leaving a few for me to photograph.

These cookies were a hit.  Gabriel said, “These are the best cookies I have ever had.”  High praise from my little food critic.  I do not think that I would call them the best cookies that I have ever had, but, for gluten free, I think that they are really, truly good.  And, I am beyond happy that my children are still standing together with this gluten, dairy, and nut free journey that we are on.  It makes me want to try hard, cook even more, and continue to persevere.  Because, seeing their smiling, appreciative faces is all that this momma needs to bring a smile to her face on this lazy, peaceful day.

Oh, and I almost forgot…today’s menu…

  • Breakfast – Cereal and rice milk or granola, apples, bananas, and cashew butter
  • Lunch – Noodle soup
  • Dinner – Grilled chicken, homemade baked fries, mixed vegetables, fruit
  • Snack – Popcorn and juice