Home » ginger

Tag: ginger

ginger whiskey 1-apple crisp | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes.com

Ginger & Whiskey 1-Apple Crisp

I love pumpkin and pumpkin-spice everything. But for me, the real star of fall is the apple. Sure, you can get apples year round, but they are at their best right from the orchard in the fall here in the Midwest.

Sweet and tangy. Crisp and juicy. I mean, what’s not to like?

Throw in a trip to the orchard with some of your friends to pick some of your own, and apples are pretty much the best ever.

frannycakes and friends went apple picking

I can’t resist a bag full of my favorite fruit – my willpower is so poor that I came home with 10 pounds of Pink Lady apples. You know, to feed the gnomes I have hidden in the closet.

With a kitchen that is too small to make and can apple sauce or apple pie filling and a decidedly smaller number of gnomes to eat my food than I had thought, I had to get creative with how I used up those apples. One of my favorite easy desserts is apple crisp. I can whip one up without a recipe and can make it in any size from single serve to crowd-sized.

This time, I wanted to do something special. (And I wanted to do it in a way that didn’t involve a dessert for a crowd).

So, dear reader, meet my Ginger & Whiskey 1-Apple Crisp.

ginger whiskey 1-apple crisp | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes.com

The whiskey is millet whiskey* from a local distillery along with some fresh ginger to spice things up.

Koval Millet Whiskey found at the Green City Market

To make this truly gluten-free, you need to make sure your oats are certified. Gluten-free oats are available from a variety of sources – recently I found some from Chex at the local super market, but they are available from Bob’s Red Mill as well. You could also use quinoa flakes if you are allergic to oats.

gluten-free apple crisp ingredients

Ginger & Whiskey 1-Apple Crisp
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 2 servings
Gluten-free oats are crucial to make sure that this dish is safe for gluten-free diets. The measurements here don’t need to be too precise. I make apple crisp regularly by measuring in handfuls – so no stressing about being perfect.
  • 1 large apple (or 2 small apples), tart baking apples such as Pink Ladies or Granny Smith are ideal, but any apple will work
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey*
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter, very soft or melted
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Slice apple into even slices – I leave the skin on, but you can peel the apples if you want.
  3. In an oven-safe bowl or 5-6inch baking dish, toss the apple, the whiskey and half the ginger.
  4. If your butter is fresh from the fridge, go ahead and put it in the microwave for 20 seconds. It’s ok if it melts.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ginger, butter, oats, brown sugar and salt. I use my hands to mush it together.
  6. Crumble the topping over the apple slices in your bowl or baking dish.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the topping is golden brown.
*Gluten does not survive distillation, so any high-quality whiskey without added colors or flavors should be safe for someone on a gluten-free diet. To be extra sure, I used a Millet Whiskey from Koval Distillery, a local Chicago company whose whiskey is available online.


*Gluten doesn’t survive distillation, so any whiskey that doesn’t have added colors or flavors should be safe on a gluten-free diet. It’s proven science. However, some people are sensitive to other parts of the grain that do survive distillation, so please don’t use it if it bothers you. The millet whiskey I used can be found online and through high-end liquor stores.  You can always leave out the whiskey or replace it with a dark or spiced rum.

This is not a sponsored post, and I did not receive any free items to cook with. Koval is a distillery that happens to be in my neighborhood and they make an awesome whiskey from Millet. The Chex Gluten-free Oats were the ones I just happened to have in my pantry.

NaBloPoMo November 2014

gingered apricot almond chia pudding | gluten free, dairy free, vegan | from frannycakes

Gingered Apricot & Almond Chia Breakfast Parfait

gingered apricot almond chia pudding | gluten free, dairy free, vegan | from frannycakes
I am the opposite of a morning person and I have the Starbucks habit to prove it. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.

And we all know my penchant for fruity pebbles. And gluten-free doughnuts. And Iced Dirty Soy Chais (my favorite barista calls it a dirty hippie). And, while I don’t suffer from sad desk lunches, I definitely eat sad desk breakfast. A bowl of cereal or granola at my desk while I try to get through my second (or third) cup of coffee.

Those might be some terrible morning habits. Talk about a double crash at 10am. You can do better than that. I can do better than that. Let’s make a pact. Real breakfast.

But we can pretend that it is something else. Like a parfait. A superfood power parfait. I think I could definitely live like this. Plus, the chia seeds give me omega-3s. The ginger is anti-inflammatory. Healthy fats in the almonds help fuel your brain.

Here’s to (almost) desert for breakfast. And for getting the morning started right.

Gingered Apricot & Almond Chia Breakfast Parfait
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 5 mins
Serves: 2
I might be hooked on this chia pudding business.
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 35 grams (1/4 cup) chopped, dried apricots
  • A handful of dried apricots and roughly chopped or slivered almonds to garnish
  1. Whisk together the almond milk, almond butter, agave, ginger and salt so that it is smooth.
  2. Stir in the chia seeds and dried apricots. Chill for about 2 hours, shaking every half hour or so to make sure the chia seeds don’t clump together.
  3. Top with dried apricots and almonds to serve.


Gluten-Free Chicken Tikka Masala

If you were to look at my text messages, emails or the nicknames assigned to people in GChat, you might think that half the people I know don’t have actual names. Or that I have friends who fancy themselves celebrities on a mission to have the cleverest of names. Maybe you would think I was a secret agent (actually, it would be pretty cool if you thought that). Read more

glutenfree lemon ginger blondies by frannycakes

The curious incident of music in the summertime

What do you do when life hands you a whole bag of lemons? (Really, this is not some thinly veiled metaphor for bad days, horrible dates or other woes, it is truly about an excess of lemons). You bake.

When it hands you the metaphorical sort, you stop, gather up some friends and look towards your center.

gluten-free lemon blondies

The second city is my center. My happy refuge. Home.

You see, Chicago is a magic sort of place. The air here is always humming with energy to a bluesy tune. Moving forward at a pace just this side of hectic.

Summer in this city is special. I fill my weekends with neighborhood festivals and nights just a little too late on a friend’s patio. And it is the time of year when you can gather up some friends and head to the park for a concert.

You have to make sure that you come armed with wine, plastic cups and munchies (like the blondies at the bottom of this post – they travel well). And maybe some SPF 80 to keep your pale skin safe from the setting sun.

You’ve gotta roll with the rhythm of the season.

music in millenium park

Chicago has quite the rhythm.

I gathered up some new friends (the metaphorical lemonade from last year’s life-lemons), and dragged them out to play on a school night. We listened while my friend Pete and his band played music that hung on the breeze. We giggled while catching up on the unending exploits from lives that fall somewhere on the spectrum of bonkers and ridiculous.

There was talk of boys and work. New beginnings and broken hearts. And most importantly, shoes.

If I can give you some life advice, it would be to talk about shoes with the girls you don’t know when at a spy-themed birthday party for the guy you are sort of seeing and don’t know any of his friends. While it will probably never work with you and that dude (he will dump you over a pair of shoes), you might just find someone you can talk into splitting a bottle of wine with while soaking up a concert in the park.

That is some excellent metaphorical lemonade.

Now back to that bag of actual lemons. Since you have leftovers hanging out from the bag of lemons you bought to make gluten-free lemon raspberry cupcakes, you need to make something that is equal parts lemon and summer delight.

Enter some chewy lemon bars dotted with crystallized ginger. Oh yes, I think that you will win the next party you bring these to (and yes, there is such a thing as winning a party and these will help you do exactly that)


glutenfree lemon ginger blondies by frannycakes

The curious incident of music in the summertime

Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 18
These lemon bars are chewy, tart and have a kick of spice from the ginger.
  • 210 grams (1 1/2 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour*
  • 1/4 tsp xantham gum**
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick (4oz / 113g) butter, softened300 g (1 1/2 cups) sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh (60 mL) lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp lemon zest
  • 75 g (1/2 cup) ginger chips (chopped crystalized ginger)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 Celsius).
  2. Grease & flour a 9×13″ pan.
  3. Whisk together the gluten-free flour, xantham gum (if using), salt and baking powder.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
  5. Scrape down the sides and add the lemon juice and one egg. Beat until combined. Scrape down the sides and add 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and eggs until you have incorporated all of it.
  6. Scrape down the sides and stir in the lemon zest and ginger chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Let cool. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
*I tested this recipe using Cup4Cup gluten-free all purpose flour. Other brands that I am confident would work well are Jules Nearly Normal and Better Batter. Baking mixes such as Pamela’s will not. **If you are using a blend that includes xantham gum, there is no need to add it again.


hot ginger apple rum punch

Friendsgiving & an epic punch

friendsgiving 2012

My friends have this tradition, that I had no idea was a thing that lots of people do until this year, called Friendsgiving.

It is a pretty simple concept: you gather up your friends, have people to sign up to bring things, eat food, play games and celebrate. You celebrate being thankful with the people who, while they aren’t family, are some of your favorite people on the planet.

There is something about turkey, stuffing, and pie that brings people together. And get together we did. My group of friends sounds like it could be the punch line to a joke: What do you get when you gather a handful of technology consultants, a lawyer, a designer, a medical technician, a lobbyist, a medical researcher, a couple of teachers, a Groupon employee…

You get 23 people. A mix of people from two groups of friends that merged together when a couple of straight guys traded numbers in the bathroom at Wrigley Field. And have been friends ever since. (And next fall the two halves will be united by a marriage. Let’s call it fate).

You get an epic feast.

You get beer pong and dance offs.

You get laughs.

You see how damned lucky you are. Just how much you have to be thankful for.


Because one of them insists that the next time I need to use an epi-pen, it is going to be his job. Because one of them shares your shoe size and love of footwear. Because one of them gets endlessly harassed about that one party 5 years ago… Because one of them loves to bake almost as much as me.

Because who else is going to listen to your stories of gentleman callers? Or tease you about being a robot? Or remind you just how crazy it is to change from a pair of 5″ stilettos to a pair of 3.5″ pumps because your feet hurt and you need sensible shoes?

Just them. My pretty awesome friends.

It was an amazing evening. I had a blast.

But in the preparations, there was just one problem. All these people know I write a food blog. And they are expecting something amazing.

So, I had to open with a bang. Show off during dinner and still have a stand-out dessert.

I made Hot Ginger Apple Rum Punch, Parsnip, Apple & Sage stuffing, Mushroom Stuffing and Cranberry Upside down cake. in 3.5 hours. Because I am a show-off. And I wanted to make sure that there was enough food there that I wasn’t stuck with turkey and plain mashed potatoes.

I will get the rest of those items posted here sometime soon, but the first recipe I want to share with you is the one for the punch (it was the most requested recipe at the party). It was my opening bang, A gallon was gone in half an hour, and it might just be my new signature drink.

hot ginger apple rum punch

Hot Ginger Apple Rum Punch

Recipe Type: Drinks
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 12
  • 10 ounces (300 grams) of ginger (a piece about the size of a woman’s palm), washed
  • 10 1/2 cups (2L) water
  • Juice from 6 large lemons
  • 6 1/2 cups (1.5L) Fresh apple cider (cloudy apple juice, NOT spiced cider)
  • 2 cups (480 mL) dark rum*
  • ~1/4 cup (35 mL) honey,
  1. Slice the ginger with the skin on and add to a large pot with the water.
  2. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Strain the water through a sieve and return to the pot. Discard the ginger.
  4. Add the lemon juice, apple cider and honey. (I dont measure it, just hold it above the pot, squeeze and circle around the pot 4 times).
  5. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes. You want to get your punch good and hot. Taste it. It should only be slightly sweet. If it is too tart, go ahead and add a smidge more honey.
  6. Remove from the heat and either add the rum (and apple spirits, if using). Place in a punch bowl (or cool looking jug for transport to a party). Serve as promptly as possible, to keep the alcohol from evaporating and the punch from getting cold.
  7. You could also divide up the spirits into 12 glasses and top with even amounts of the apple, lemon, ginger mixture if you want to do individual servings.

*You can also replace half of the rum with an apple spirit such as Apple Jack or Calvados – I used Apple Jack when I served this to my friends.


Spice up your life! (A recipe for gluten-free spiced brownies)

It is really easy to get stuck in a routine.

Wake up. Get coffee. Get on the train. Read 30 pages in a novel. Walk a few blocks. Finish coffee. Get to the office. Pour another cup of coffee. Answer emails. Do design-y stuff. Walk a few blocks. Get on the train. Catch up on twitter. Go home. Eat dinner. Do blog-y stuff. Go to bed.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Routine is comfortable, familiar. Known.

I have to say, I like my little routine. I read 9 novels this summer and I only read while on the train. Ok, I might have developed an unhealthy dependence on coffee. (Blame Mammacakes. I started sneaking sips of her coffee when I was 4 and she would leave a mug on the table). But the routine is mine.

But it is just that. A routine. Like a treadmill (the world’s most torturous piece of gym equipment).

Sometimes, you just have to do this:

(Yes. Really. A Spice Girls video.)

Maybe that means ordering a latte when you normally order a chai.

Maybe that means just going for it , whatever it happens to be. A new job. A date . A new cooking technique. Ordering something other than the usual.

A good friend told me that I need to just take a day and go for it. Do something I normally wouldn’t. Have fun just because I can. Shake things up to see where the pieces fall. Not a calculated risk. No weighing pros and cons. Just making things happen.

So, here’s to spicing things up.

Let’s start by spicing up some chocolate decadance.

gluten free mexican spiced brownies

At my super fabulous day job (yes, I am going to keep rubbing in how much I love it), we do fun things. Like brewing (gluten-free) beer and taco potlucks.

Last week, we had one of those potlucks. And I forgot to sign up. Because, really, would you expect me to bring anything other than dessert?

A concerned coworker asked if I was going to participate. Of course I was going to. I asked him what he wanted. His answer? Mexican Spiced Brownies.

It was the perfect excuse to make a new variation on one of my favorite treats (I even have my go-to gluten-free brownie recipe memorized) .

Fudgy bits of chocolate heaven, with a kick. They were such a hit at the potluck, all I got was that little corner of a brownie. I blame [my coworker] Shellie. (She swears that ice cream eaten with the brownies makes them even better).

gluten free mexican spice brownies being eaten

Gluten-Free Mexican Spiced Brownies
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 16
Oh baby. Decadent, fudgy brownies with a kick. Please and thank you.
  • 310 grams (11 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 230 grams (8 ounces/ 2 sticks) butter, chopped in 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 grams (2 tablespoons) cocoa powder
  • 300 grams (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 110 grams (1/2 cup) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 150 grams (1 1/4 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour like Cup4Cup*
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (spicy if you have it)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 grams (1/2 teaspoon) fresh, finely grated ginger
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium pot over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate and salt.
  3. Once melted, remove the pot from the stove and stir in the vanilla, cocoa powder and sugars.
  4. In a sperate bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, cinnamon, ginger, chipotle and paprika.
  5. Add the eggs to the melted chocolate mixture in 2 groups, stirring to incorporate. As soon as the eggs are mixed in, add the flour in 2 groups.
  6. Be careful not to over-mix the batter. You want to incorporate as little air as possible into the batter or else you will end up with a brownie that is less chewy and more cake like.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. They are better a little under done than to be over cooked.

I use Cup4Cup flour or Jules’ Nearly Normal Flour when I use all-purpose flour. If you want to make your own bend for this recipe, use 10 grams ground flax meal, 40 grams sorghum flour, 20 grams brown rice flour, 20 grams white rice flour, 30 grams tapioca starch, 30 grams sweet white rice flour


This post is linked to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesday


gluten free ginger syrup ginger ale

A cocktail for that heartbreak

I try to keep this blog all about the food. But today is one of those days where I cannot ignore real life. Most days real life is designing websites and working with cool people. It is brewing beer with coworkers and grabbing drinks with friends.

Today’s real life was filled with heart break. Blondie ended our 3 and a half year relationship. I am going to go to bed for the first time in almost 4 years without talking to him before I go to sleep. We will hopefully be friends. But today I can’t be. Today, I need to be sad. In real life and blog life. (side note –  please do not bash Blondie or tell him what he is missing, he is still a good person with a big heart and a smile that can light up a room. Just because our time together is over doesn’t mean he deserves any ill-wishes).

I am trying to “smile because it happend, not cry because it’s over”. But I think that is going to take time. Right now, I need to escape. I need to escape to where I have control and no one can make me sad. I need to take some time in the kitchen.

When I am in the kitchen, my brain quiets, the world slips away. The hum of old faithful is hypnotizing. The motions of baking are calming. When my world starts to crumble, I can find refuge in my kitchen. Worries and stress melt away. There are no clients to please or deadlines to hit. There are no time budgets to watch.

It is just me, old faithful and some kitchen magic.

I just hope there is enough magic in the kitchen in the coming days. I have never had to cook away a broken heart before.

People have suggested wine and chocolate. But I know I just need a hug and a bourbon. Ok, I need an endless supply of hugs, someone to squeeze my hand and tell me that I can conquer this too, and an endless supply of homemade ginger ale to go with my bourbon.

gluten free ginger syrup ginger ale

You also might notice that this is not mexican fruit salad and grilled fish. I felt the need to live on ice cream. (Project info is after the recipe).

Homemade ginger ale with a kick
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Beverage
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 2 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 32 mins
Serves: 8
Ginger ale is probably my all time favorite soda. It is spicy, not too sweet and goes well with bourbon. This version calls for a little extra kick to give it that special something extra. It is best served with a squeeze of lime. Adapted from Joy the Baker.
  • 250 grams (2 cups) coarsely chopped ginger You don’t need to peel it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 400 grams (2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 6 cups (1 1/2 Liters) water
  1. Place ginger into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times. You want to get maximum surface area.
  2. In a medium to large sauce pot, combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Once the sugar is dissolved, let the pot boil away, uncovered and undisturbed for about an hour and a half. You want to have about 2 cups of liquid.
  4. Once the syrup has reduced by half, strain out the ginger by pouring the syrup through a fine strainer.
  5. To use this to make soda, add 2-4 tablespoons to 12 ounces of sparkling water (I used my soda stream to make it). Finish with a slice of lime and, if you are in need of a cocktail, a shot of bourbon.
WordPress Recipe Plugin and Microformatting by EasyRecipe

This post is part of the Food Matters Project, a cooking collaboration from a wide range of food bloggers. Each week, I will cook a recipe from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, which places an emphasis on mindful and sustainable eating. Follow along with us! My posts for this project can be found here. This month’s host is Sarah who posted the original recipe and you can see all the other brilliant salsas on this week’s roundup (check the comments).