Lately I've been stuck in a rut. Before my food allergies were discovered, I would look at recipes from all over the world wide web and feverishly write any recipe that caused my salivary glands to spring into action. Most of those recipes were filled with ingredients that I already had on hand. Sometimes I would find a gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, or sugar-free recipe that would cause the same reaction. Once I had to go gluten-free (and mostly vegetarian), those recipes didn't appeal much to me anymore.
The other day all I could think about was a big, juicy, grilled hamburger. I wanted it all. The bun, the meat, and the mayonnaise. All of which are big no-no's. But I didn't care. I wanted it and I wanted it yesterday.
Then I touched the hamburger. That's all it took. Just touching the raw meat made my body go into an inflammatory response that caused my fingers to swell, head to ache, and joints to start hurting.
It took 2 entire days for the pain to go away.
It took another 2 for me to stop feeling sorry for myself.
Then something wonderful happened. I realized that I'm not the only one who deals with food allergies. I'm not the only one who feels sad about the things I can no longer have. And I'm not the only one who is having to learn to cook in a whole new way. There are many others. And they have written cookbooks. Beautiful cookbooks. Cookbooks that kick my glands into overdrive. And sometimes, someone else wins one of these cookbooks at a women's luncheon and allows one of the loser's to take her cookbook home so she doesn't feel like such a loser anymore. And sometimes that loser finds a recipe that causes her to jump out of her rut and get excited about cooking again.
And because it's chocolate, life has never been sweeter.
(adapted from The Gluten, Wheat, and Dairy-free Cookbook)
12 Tb. unsalted butter
11 oz. good-quality bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao)
2 t. instant espresso powder
2 t. vanilla extract
2 cups almond meal
1-1/2 c. organic sugar
8 eggs, separated
confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder, to decorate (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 11 x 13 glass pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter have melted and are smooth.
Carefully remove the bowl from the heat. Let cool slightly; stir in coffee and vanilla extract.
Add the almond meal and sugar. Mix well until combined.
Lightly beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl; stir into the chocolate mixture.
Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until they form stiff peaks.
|Make sure the stool is large enough to accommodate 2 granddaughters.|
Gently fold a large spoonful of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder until completely incorporated.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until risen and firm on the top but still slightly gooey in the center. Let cool in the pan, then invert onto a cookie sheet or platter, and remove the parchment paper. Dust with confectioner's sugar and baking cocoa if desired.