Sweet treats

    Pumpkin cakes
    Pumpkin spice cookies

    I grew up baking in my mother’s kitchen. One of my favourite memories from my childhood was returning home from school to the smell of freshly-baked cookies. To this day, Mom bakes her version of these classic soft and chewy, cake-textured, pumpkin spice cookies. I have tried and tested a gluten-free take on her original, and I’m delighted to share it with you now – a ‘you-wouldn’t-know-it’s-good-for-you’ version that mimics Mum’s original recipe. A quick note about flour: these days my general preference is to avoid grains, which means baking primarily with almond and coconut flour. But it’s hard to get baked goods to taste as close to the original when using these substitutes. So, in this recipe I’ve used a combination of buckwheat, millet, sorghum and potato flour. And finally, I’m commonly asked if I really eat cookies or if I just bake and serve them. YES, of course I eat cookies. Just not every day. Enjoy these spiced goodies as a treat and be careful not to eat more than a few in a go (you’ll be tempted!).


    Dry ingredients:

    • cup buckwheat flour
    • cup millet flour
    • ½ cup sorghum flour
    • ½ cup tapioca starch or potato flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1½ tsps baking powder
    • ½ tsp sea salt
    • Scant tsp xanthan gum
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

    Wet ingredients:

    • 1 cup pureed fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin
    • ¾ cup butter or coconut oil
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • ½ cup maple syrup


    • ½ cup chopped pecans
    • ½ cup dried cranberries
    • Whole pecans for topping
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 177 degrees Celcius.
    2. Whisk the dry ingredients. Separately, beat the wet ingredients and add them to the dry ingredients.
    3. Roll the cookies into small bite size balls and place them on a greased cookie sheet.
    4. Press one whole pecan on top of each cookie.
    5. Pop them in the oven and bake for 10-20 minutes or until the cookies set. The absolute KEY to success here is not to over bake these or they will be dry.

    Feel free to omit the pecans and cranberries – I sometimes omit both. You can add slightly more or less maple syrup to adjust to your desired sweetness.

    Bananan bread

    Amazing gluten-free banana bread

    Gooey, flavourful, light and satisfying. Need I say more? The original inspiration for this recipe came from one of my visits to Canyon Ranch. They serve their version of this bread every morning at their rocking breakfast buffet (I don’t recommend eating this daily, it’s extremely hard to resist). Here is my spiced up gluten-free version that we make over and over again. Sprinkle some granola or nuts on top for added crunch. This bread is a staple in our house for breakfast on Saturday mornings and when there’s the rare leftover, I serve it as an after school snack with almond milk. Bake away.

    Preparation time: 15 minutes
    Cooking time: 45 minutes
    Total time: 1 hour


    Wet ingredients:

    • cup canola oil
    • ½ cup agave syrup
    • 1 egg
    • ¾ cup mashed banana
    • 3 tbsp apple sauce
    • 1 tsp vanilla

    Dry ingredients:

    • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose gluten free flour
    • ¼ tsp cinnamon
    • 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
    1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius or 355 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Grease an 8 x 4 x 3 inch loaf pan or muffin tins.
    3. Mix the wet ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
    4. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients and then combine.
    5. Bake the loaf for 35-45 minutes or, if you are making muffins, for 15-20 minutes.
    6. Check regularly and remove when the centre is set and very slightly brown on the edges.

    Do NOT over bake.


    Raw cinnamon doughnut holes

    I grew up on Entenmanns Donut Holes Pop’ems. I even Googled them for inspiration when creating this recipe, salivating at the images on my screen until I scrolled down to the list of ingredients: sugar, wheat flour, palm oil, soybean oil, corn starch, corn syrup solids and all sorts of unpronounceable additives. My stomach began churning at the thought of all those gut-growing, health-destroying and immune system repressing ingredients. So, I set myself a goal: create scrumptious, cinnamon doughnut holes which are so ridiculously good you’ll never want to reach for those unhealthy bad boys again. Dare I say it? I think I did it – Voila. Presenting my healthier, raw cinnamon doughnut holes to make your heart happy — and your health even more so. You will need a dehydrator for these. Sorry, but it’s the only way to achieve the depth of flavour!

    • 1-1/2 cups cashews, dehydrated
    • ½ cup pecans, dehydrated
    • ¼ cup shredded coconut
    • ½ tsp sea salt
    • 5 dates, pitted
    • ¼ cup maple syrup
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    1. In a food processor combine the nuts and shredded coconut. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend them altogether
    2. Roll the mixture into balls.
    3. Coat each ball with cinnamon sugar.
    4. Dehydrate for 12 hours.

    These recipes plus more tips and tricks for living well can be found at


    Subscribe to our newsletter!

    Stay up-to-date with all the latest news, views and giveaways in Hong Kong