Raw Sugar-free Cinnamon Cookies

I know that title seems like a bit of a joke, or maybe something you’re thinking “there’s simply no way those can taste good.” One day when I brought a batch of these to work, a co-worker sarcastically asked me “are they cookies made of cinnamon and air?” No, I know it seems strange, but I swear by these cookies. They’re healthy and have a great balance of sweet and salty. They’re served chilled and are perfect for hot summer days when you’re craving something sweet but don’t want something too heavy.



2 cups almond meal/flour

2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon shredded coconut flakes (skip if you don’t like the coconut flavor)

1 teaspoon China Cassia cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

zest from 1 lemon, juice from 1/2 of the lemon


In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut flakes, cinnamon, salt and lemon zest). Add the lemon juice, honey and butter, and mix in thoroughly, using your hands at the end to make sure it’s all incorporated together. Using your hands, shape about a tablespoons-worth of dough into a ball (or any shape you want!) and put onto a piece of wax or parchment paper on a plate. (Don’t worry if you don’t have special paper, just put them directly on a plate and be careful when you remove them.) Stick the plate in the freezer for about an hour to set. Store them in an airtight container in the freezer if you want them on the hard side and in the fridge if you’d like them softer. These area great on a hot day, and the lack of sugar and traditional flour makes them easy on your stomach. I love grabbing two of these for breakfast on busy mornings – they’re sweet but healthy and quite filling.

Healthy Banana Nutella Cookies

Most of us have been faced with the dilemma of dealing with a few rapidly ripening bananas and understand the tension between not wanting to waste good food while also not wanting to put overly soft, brown bananas on top of our morning cereal. After my partner and I both purchased a full bunch of bananas on the same day, I found myself staring down at half a dozen soft, spotted pieces of the yellow fruit and debating what I would bake to use them up. Bananas are wonderfully versatile in baking, as their soft consistency doesn’t create the worry of getting the fruit soft enough to be enjoyable (like apples), but aren’t so juicy that one must compensate for the extra liquid by adding other ingredients (like with blueberries). I quickly found a recipe for banana cookies in my recipe tin, copied down during the year of so I spent building out this tin’s collection as a college student. Since I had just purchased some hazelnut paste (basically unsweetened Nutella), I decided to incorporate it into the recipe. I added the claim of “healthy” to this recipe after modifying the original to include less sugar and more banana, as well as more oats. I find that with a little experimentation, one can always decrease the amount of sugar and increase the amount of redeeming ingredients, and luckily, I got it right on my first try with these cookies.


Healthy Banana Nutella Cookies


Continue reading

Warming Up For Winter: The Classic Hot Toddy



As the temperature begins to drop, it’s official. It’s time for bourbon. During the summer, the drink of choice definitely trends toward clear liquors, and clean flavors. Fruit and frosted glasses take center stage. But, as soon as the weather begins to turn drizzly, I find myself craving amber spirits and spices. It’s the season for mulled wine, hot buttered rum and, of course, my favorite winter warmer: the hot toddy.  This spiced drink is relaxing, invigorating, and somehow a mysterious cure all. Whether it’s at get together with friends, or just to sip by yourself on some blustery evening, this drink is always warming, and always a hit.

Continue reading

Who is your public relations director?

 Ocassionally we end up on a really nice roll of fun PR. In the current Greek Issue of Saveur magazine, we are recommended in their section called The Pantry, as a resource for our Aleppo pepper. They use it in this really great sounding recipe, roasted lamb with rosemary.  (Saveur's photo at left) We also had a nice mention in Food and Wine magazine this month, we are included in their list of five obsessed spice importers. This is one obsession we are okay with!  NBC Chicago did a piece on our cinnamon last week, running with a trace back the ingredients concept. While tasting one of Bill Kim's fantastic desserts, a Vietnamese Cinnamon caramel ice cream, at Urban Belly, they wanted to source his ingredients.  He very generously led them to our Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon. We can not wait to go and try this, by the way. Interesting how reporters sometimes know more about where are spices are ending up than we do! Last, but not least, we have made some wonderful connections via email correspondance with some really interesting food blog posters. I really want to thank Alice and Jared Zhao, who blog under eataduckimust,  for their sensational blog post about The Spice House, calling us a Chicago Landmark. Your photography is awesome, by the way. So, who does handle the PR? Continue reading