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Happy New Year All! I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve! We spent the night in Woodlawn, NY with some great friends, good food, and a great 80s band, complete with costume changes and heavy eye liner!

White Wedding Band – awesome 80s cover band, had the whole place dancing away with Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, U2, Bon Jovi, and every other great 80s song in between. Thanks to Ash & Ryan for having us over, it was great way to start 2012!

The last day of 2011 started off great with some yummy brunch for the almost-birthday boy

2 fried eggs with swiss for the lad and cereal for the lassSpecial K, TJ's brown sugar shredded wheat, trail mix, and frozen fruit

We stopped by a new wine and beer outlet that just opened up near us, the prices were much better than the local liquor stores and the selection was out of this world. Anywhere with wine and liquor tastings and free cheese and cookies is a WIN in my book!

I finished off 2011 baking, of course, but trying something I had never done before, gluten-free! One of our friends that we were visiting for NYE is gluten intolerant and I was just about to whip up some cookies when I remembered. So I decided, hey let’s give this gluten-free thing a try.

Gluten Free Honey Almond Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole almonds, toasted (see Tip)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature (see Tip), separated
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Topping

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (see Tip)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast whole almonds for about 9 minutes, stirring once.
  2. Process whole almonds in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Beat 4 egg yolks, 1/2 cup honey, vanilla, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer (or wooden spoon if you don’t have the luxury of electrics!) on medium speed until well combined. Add the ground almonds and stir until combined.
  3. Beat 4 egg whites in another large bowl with the electric mixer (use clean beaters on a hand-held mixer or the whisk attachment on a stand mixer) on medium speed until very foamy, white and doubled in volume, 1 to 2 minutes. If using a fork, beat until same details, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the nut mixture until just combined. Scrape the batter into the muffin cups.
  4. Bake the muffins until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes or XX minutes if you cut the recipe in half. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  5. Cool muffins on wire rack. To serve, drizzle the top of the cake with honey and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Tip: To toast whole almonds, spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring once, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes. To toast sliced almonds, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Note: Eggs must be at room temperature for the proteins to unwind enough to support the cake’s crumb. Either set the eggs out on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge them in their shells in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes before using.

Nutrition: 200 calories; 14 g fat ( 1 g sat , 8 g mono ); 85 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrates; 8 g protein; 3 g fiber; 208 mg sodium; 54 mg potassium.

roast the almonds

separate the yolks

my electric mixer - a fork

mix in almonds then gradually the egg whites, fold together

i cut the recipe in half, didn't make too many!

The muffins were pretty good, definitely would be good with a little of the topping (and some flour haha!) but I was proud they came out edible. Hope my friend likes them!

Today we’re celebrating the lad’s birthday with some presents, movies, and dinner with the rents later on.

Happy New Year everyone!

Does anyone ever make gluten-free desserts even if they’re not gluten intolerant? Any good recipes to try?

What are your plans for the first day of 2012? A nap! Right. Now.

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