Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe- for the “Wheat Criminal”

Flourless Chocolate Cake I made and photographed.

Thank heavens chocolate is wheat free.  I’ve been wheat free for about 2 years now and the most difficult part of being wheat free is trying to explain to people you don’t eat wheat.  Anyone who has food allergies can attest to the common responses to our polite “No thank-you.”, when offered food containing one of the offending ingredients.

Somehow the conversation takes a wild twist and you find yourself apologizing for not accepting their food offering.  For me personally, wheat is not my friend and trying to explain why it’s not my friend is annoying and honestly none of anyone’s business.

At first I was embarrased and would politely say,
“No thank-you,  I’m sorry but I’m allergic to wheat.”

Responses include but not limited to:

The wide-eyed look of horror which is normally followed by a suspicious glance, a patronizing eye roll or an insidious smile to a third party …..All of which leaves you feeling like a criminal.  Then without fail the “Wheat Inquisition” begins.

“So what do you mean “allergic” to wheat?” said with an emphasis on allergic.

“How do you know that?” said with a sideways glance.

“What will happen to you if you eat wheat?” accompanied by a furrowed brow.

“Well, this is white pasta not wheat.” said by the ignorant innocent.

“So you can’t eat wheat bread and wheat pasta, OK I get it” said matter-of-factly like the above.^

“How can that be you’ve always eaten wheat before?” said with one raised eye brow.

“Since when?” said in an accusatory tone.

Yada, yada, yada, it’s an endless gamut of questions.  Questions I’d rather not answer and quite frankly border on rude and intrusive.

When someone politely says, “No thank-you” to your offer of food,

PLEASE resist the urge to interrogate or become offended by the refusal.

It’s not an insult or a personal attack on you.

 It’s simply, their decision to choose what they eat.

Wow I am set free….wheat free! 

Oddly enough flourless chocolate cake did not start out life as a ‘gluten-free’ option, rather it’s a gourmet recipe served by many a famous chef.  I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website.[1]

Homemade Double Boiler

Homemade Double Boiler



The only change I made to the recipe is to use a double boiler….my preference for melting chocolate and  ganache.




Flourless  Chocolate Cake Recipe
And Gluten Free for the “Wheat Criminal” 

Ingredients List


1 cup- semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons)- unsalted butter

3/4 cup- granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon -salt

1 to 2 teaspoons- espresso powder, optional

1 teaspoon- vanilla extract, optional

3 large eggs

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-process cocoa preferred


1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan; cut a piece of parchment or waxed paper to fit, grease it, and lay it in the bottom of the pan.

To make the cake: Put the chocolate and butter in double boiler and heat until the butter is melted and the chips are soft. Stir until the chips melt, reheating briefly if necessary.. Transfer the melted chocolate/butter to a mixing bowl.

 Stir in: the sugar, salt, espresso powder, and vanilla. Espresso enhances chocolate’s flavor much as vanilla does; using 1 teaspoon will simply enhance the flavor, while 2 teaspoons will lend a hint of mocha to the cake.

Add: the eggs, beating briefly until smooth. Add the cocoa powder, and mix just to combine. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 25 minutes; the top will have formed a thin crust, and it should register at least 200°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into its center. Remove it from the oven, and cool it in the pan for 5 minutes.

Loosen the edges of the pan with a table knife or nylon spreader, and turn it out onto a serving plate. The top will now be on the bottom; that’s fine. Also, the edges will crumble a bit, which is also fine. Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze: Combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is very hot, but not simmering. Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is completely smooth.

Spoon the glaze over the cake, spreading it to drip over the sides a bit. Allow the glaze to set for several hours before serving the cake.   Yield: 8″ cake, 8 to 12 servings.

Multitasking….Productive or Disruptive?

Here I sit writing to you in the middle of a multitasking week from Hell.  Not to long ago I took great pride in my skills as a ‘multi-tasker’.  In fact I used to refer to  myself as the quintessential “Queen of Multitasking”.  Those days are over!  I don’t think anyone is a good multi-tasker.

Funny thing is I’m not alone in my conclusions.  Earl Miller, a Picower professor of neuroscience at MIT, says……..

………”People can’t multitask very well, and when people say they can, they’re deluding themselves,” and “The brain is very good at deluding itself.”[i]

Science will always set you free!!!  According to Earl if we  pride ourselves on our multitasking skills  we are “delusional”.

 Earl goes on to explain,  “Our minds are incapable of “doing” two things at once”.

Seems to me what some of us are proficient at is stop & switch.  This stop & switch action creates the illusion of multitasking which scientists refer to as “delusion”.

Ironically Earl and I are not related…..at least not to my knowledge.  But once I read the above quotes about multi-tasking research our kinship of mind was solidified.

Earl Miller, Professor of Neuroscience

Gina Miller, aka Multi-tasker

multitasking clown

In order to perfect the ole stop & switch you have to be SUPER organized, know your limits and be capable of delegating.   IME (in my experience) the majority of self proclaimed multi-taskers are also micro-managers.

Now introduce a micro-managing-self proclaimed multi-tasking wizard-egomaniac type  into  the mix and sit back and watch the proverbial manure hit the fan.   Welcome to my aforementioned  work week from Hell .

Especially if the said MMSPMTWE type ^ is not organized and thinks he/she is capable of doing everything better than everyone else on the team or planet and finds it necessary to blow up your VM, text messages and emails with all their nit picking edits and suggestions!

Aaaah, I feel better now.  


Lucky for me I’m super organized which allows me to “Stop & Switch” rather quickly.  Those who know me can attest to how often they hear me say, “Wait one minute please I can only work on one thing at a time”.

And if I’m in the  “creative zone” you may not even receive an acknowledgement that I heard you, because my brain shuts down the outside world  to allow me to focus on the task at hand.

Great news…..I am normal.  Neuroscience backs this phenomena up with MRI scans of the brain taken while subjects switch from one task to another.[i]

So the answer for me is clear…multitasking is DISRUPTIVE!  

What do you think?

Zen Soup

Everyone must remember the Seinfeld episode with the Soup Nazi.  People line up outside the café waiting for it to open.  The line of patrons wrap around the block each person filled with anticipation and excitement for the opportunity to taste one of the soup masterpieces.  Once the coveted soup is tasted they are transported to “Soup Nirvana”. 


There is a lot of truth in the Soup Nazi’s Soup Nirvana.  Certain food as well as homemade soups can create feelings of euphoria and chase away the blues or ills plaguing one’s body and soul.  You might ask yourself, “Why can’t I get this feeling from a can Campbell’s?

The answer is both easy and complex.  Now I’m no Sheldon Cooper but this next component has to do with quantum physics.  Vibration is the answer.  I’ll attempt a simplistic QP food lesson (of which Sheldon would be horrified).  We all know everything is made of molecules.  Multiple molecules vibrate energy to create a whole.  The specifics of the whole vary in vibration frequency, intensity and pattern thereby creating its own unique vibration identity.

Enter please Maya E Nahra, RD, LD who explains this theory  of food vibration in more detail.   If you are a nerd like me this may interest you.  For the rest of you non-nerds skip to the next paragraph.
Click here:  The Vibration of Food by Maya E Nahra, RD, LD

Okay so here’s a real world example.
The chicken soup your Grandmother made for you when you were sick was filled with love and healing intentions.(high frequency)  Grandma made her soup from scratch using fresh garlic, celery, onions and carrots all of which vibrate at a higher rate than their freeze dried or processed counterparts of let’s say Campbell’s with low rate ingredients and intentions.

chicken at market2

That’s why Grandma’s soup not only tasted    good, it also made you feel better.When you  are sick your body vibrates at a low rate.    Grandma’s soup is a high frequency soup filled  with love and healing vibes and quality  ingredients which raise your vibration.  Raise  your vibration and you feel better.

Grandma cooks for altruistic reasons which  make her a miracle worker!
(or quasi Quantum  Physicist)
Back to the Soup Nazi……. The Soup Nazi loved his recipes and loved to cook. (high frequency)  We all know a good chef only uses high quality fresh ingredients. (high frequency)  The Soup Nazi set high standards for all his finished soups and his customers. (high frequency)  Add up all the high frequency ingredients, intentions and standards and the end result is high frequency Soup Nirvana!

Truly successful chefs are altruistic by nature.  They cook for the love of creation and the pleasing of others.  Not for fame and fortune.  Fame and fortune are the rewards not the intended goal.  When greed is the motivation the end result is a low vibration.


Do what you love and the money will come.

Me and Dedi

Q: What does all this have to do with you and soup?

A: When you love to cook with quality ingredients for people you love or like with the good intentions of nourishing, healing, entertaining or educating you are creating a pot of Zen Soup.


Treeless Christmas


“What?  No Christmas tree?  Really?”, coupled with the look of horror and sympathy was the common response after revealing my skipping of the Christmas tree.  Yes I chose to skip dragging the tree up from the basement storage, the tangle and wrangling of lights, the moving of furniture, the hoisting down of totes full of decorations from storage, the ironing of the tree skirt, fussing with the angel tree topper and searching for the hooks to hang mismatched bulbs. All these holiday delights not to be included on my Christmas list.  Hard to believe right?

I have to tell you it was a surprise to me as well.  Now it’s not because I dislike Christmas,  au contraire I absolutely love the holidays.  Last year Christmas just kind of snuck up on me. My son was going to visit his in-laws in Michigan, my daughter planned her visit weeks earlier to avoid the Christmas travel and my step sons weren’t coming home from NC with our grand kids.  So why go to all the trouble just for me and my husband Terry and our two Yorkies?

We really did not miss the Christmas tree. Seriously, I felt like a huge weight of obligation was removed from my shoulders.  The whole experience was quite liberating actually. Oh I pulled out my Christmas table runners and filled a trifle glass dish with glittery bulbs and set the nativity scene up and hung my Christmas cards as they arrived.  I’m not a total Scrooge!  Honestly I did not miss the Christmas tree but a I felt guilty for not missing it.

Christmas clean up was a breeze.  Lickity split Christmas 2012 was packed away in 10 minutes.  No tinsel or pine needles to vacuum up for months after either.    The only difference not having a Christmas made was I had one less thing to do at the holidays.  For this I was thankful.


Fast-forward Christmas 2013.

I had no intention of putting up a Christmas tree.  Last year was so enjoyable without the added clutter and work I wanted a repeat. While embracing a less work for Gina attitude, low and behold the season became even easier.  This year my son and his wife invited us to spend Christmas Eve at their house, breaking from the 25 year tradition of celebrating Christmas Eve at our house.

My son was worried I’d be upset at the change in tradition.  Without a moment of hesitation I accepted and volunteered to bring a green salad. The thought of spending the day with our precious 9 month old granddaughter was the best Christmas gift I could ask for.

I’m still reeling from my Christmas break. No tree, no mad rush to prepare for guests, no big dinner, no cookies to bake, no table to set and no dishes to wash. All I had to do was show up and enjoy my granddaughter, Kendall.

Then the epiphany hit me.  This is how my mother in law, Norma must of felt when I asked permission to hold my first family Thanksgiving meal back in 1980.  Norma’s smile and laughter was the highlight of my day that year.  Remembering how her normal holiday look of exhaustion was transformed to joy and relief as I stepped into her shoes and accepted the Thanksgiving Day baton of hostess is a priceless memory.

I was feeling the same relief Norma felt 30 years ago.  I finally gave myself permission to stop the “perfect picture” of Christmas etched in my mind. Deciding to give up all the expectations and the anxiety of a “Picture Perfect Christmas” along with the regret the day after wondering if I had done enough was a gift.  Instead I experienced a truly joyous holiday.

The joy of watching my son and his new wife and daughter hold their first Christmas dinner.  The pride I felt is inexplicable. My son Mark is a fabulous host and his wife Rose prepared a fabulous meal.   The table was impeccably set and their home was beautiful. In the corner was a 2 foot potted evergreen with a single ornament, a commemoration of Kendall’s first Christmas.  And of course Kendall was the star of my picture perfect day.

What will 2014 bring?  No one knows but whatever it is I am certain there will be joy.

Traditional Anise Pizzelle Recipe

This recipe was given to me years ago by one of my salon customers. She said it came from a dear Italian friend of hers, the dear Italian friend said the recipe was handed down to her from her mother, her mother said the recipe was shared  verbally through the generations dating back to their Italian immigrant.  Did you follow the recipe train?

No real directions or specifics came with the recipe…just the ingredients….with a note to use your judgement on how much flour to add.   Apparently, Mama made it from memory and never measured.  Some where through the generations someone  struck ingredients & measurements to paper and here you have it.

Mama says,  “Delizioso!”

Pizzelle assembly line.

Pizzelle assembly line.

I use an electric non-stick VillaWare Prima Pizzelle Baker…it’s an oldie but goodie.  

Preheat pizzelle iron and brush lightly with oil.


2 Cups Sugar

1 Cup Oil (virgin cold pressed olive or sunflower oil)

6 Eggs slightly beaten

2 Tablespoon Orange zest (I use fresh zest)

1 Tablespoon Lemon zest (fresh is always best)

2 1/2 Tablespoon Anise extract (I use Anisette from liquor store)

3 Tablespoon Anise Seed

5 1/2 Cups Unbleached flour

6 Teaspoon Baking powder

This is a great job for the Kitchenaid stand mixer if you have one…… other wise  do as Mama did back in the day and grab a good old fashion large wooden spoon.  Be prepared to put in some  elbow grease.

1. Cream/mix together sugar and oil.

2. Add the 6 eggs and mix till creamy.

3. Stir/mix in orange zest, lemon zest, anise extract and anise seed.

4. Mix together flour and baking powder then add to wet mixture one cup at a time.  Mixture should be moist and somewhat sticky but not goey sticky.

5. Using a cookie scoop pre-make 2 balls for the iron and load onto iron and lock the handle.  Watch for the steam to subside about 1-2 minutes max.  You’ll need to experiment with scoop size depending on size of your iron and length of time left in the iron.

Keep a silicone basting brush handy to re-oil plates from time to time.  The bristle type melt or you can use a piece of waded up paper towel dipped but watch your fingers!

*Please Note-Some people like their pizzelles  crisp and others like myself like them on the softer side it’s all a matter of preference. There’s no right or wrong here you are the cookie maker.