‘paleo baking’ (and a cookie recipe) with elizabeth barbone

copyright Elizabeth BarboneHER PROFESSORS at the Culinary Institute of America wondered aloud: Why would Elizabeth Barbone, born with severe food allergies, want to train as a professional chef, working with ingredients she couldn’t eat? To Elizabeth, the answer was obvious: so that she could create smart, satisfying and delicious recipes for herself and others facing such challenges.

Mission accomplished, I can say after sampling the result—especially a four-ingredient cookie of almond flour, maple syrup, baking powder and vanilla extract that took about 3 minutes to prep (recipe below, plus a recipe for homemade baking powder, since commercial brands generally contain grain, I learned).

I don’t have to follow a restricted diet, but the widening shelf of ingredients at the local food coop like almond and coconut flours (not to mention all the other-than-wheat grain flours, and ones from beans and such) has caught my attention. Out of curiosity, I went to a book signing and baking demonstration by Elizabeth at Hillsdale Home Chef, a nearby cooking store with classes, in the Hudson Valley (NY)-Berkshires (MA) region.

Elizabeth was talking about her new book “World’s Easiest Paleo Baking”—meaning not just gluten-free (the subject of two previous cookbooks) but also grain-free, dairy-free and with no refined sugars.

I’m now officially fascinated, and going back February 6 for a full workshop on baking without gluten.

Meantime, I asked Elizabeth if I could share her recipe for those cookies—and bought an extra signed copy of the latest book to share. Besides cookies, cakes and pies, there is also a savory chapter, including things like focaccia, naan and tortillas, plus pizza dough and even pasta.

Again: fascinating. Which is why I also invited Elizabeth to tape a radio show soon together, so I can learn more. Details to come!

elizabeth barbone paleo book

more about elizabeth barbone

world’s easiest cookies

copyright Elizabeth Barbone(from Elizabeth Barbone’s “World’s Easiest Paleo Baking,” copyright Elizabeth Barbone)

active time: 5 minutes
bake time: 12 minutes per pan
yield: 16 cookies


  • 170 grams (1 1/2 cups) finely ground almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, homemade (see recipe below) or grain-free
  • 100 grams (1/3 cup) dark maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the almond flour and baking powder together in a medium mixing bowl. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir until a sticky dough holds together.

Drop dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. For crisp cookies, press down the dough lightly with the at bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup. (If the glass sticks to the dough, lightly wet bottom of the glass.) For softer cookies, don’t press down the dough.

Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Allow the baking sheet to cool, and repeat with the remaining dough.

grain-free baking powder

MOST COMMERCIAL baking powders contain a grain-based starch. Thankfully it’s easy to make your own!

active time: 2 minutes
yield: about 6 tablespoons

  • 1/4 cup cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca starch

Whisk the cream of tartar, baking soda, and tapioca starch together in a small bowl.

Store in the pantry in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

enter to win the ‘paleo baking’ book

Paleo_Postcard_03.inddI BOUGHT AN EXTRA signed copy of Elizabeth Barbone’s new “World’s Easiest Paleo Baking” to share with one lucky reader. All you have to do to enter is answer this question in the comments box at the very bottom of the page (scroll down, after the last reader comment).

What ingredients do you steer around, or heavy up on, in designing your home cuisine and own diet?

Me? I’m a vegetarian for about 40 years, eating a couple of eggs each week and a little dairy, mostly from goat milk. My primary interest is in whole food, and knowing the source of all my ingredients. In my 20s I practiced macrobiotics for more than five years, which stresses two ideas that are in vogue today: eating local, and in season.

No answer, or feeling shy? Just say something like, “Count me in” and I will, but a reply is even better. I’ll pick a winner at random after entries close at midnight Thursday, January 28, 2016. Good luck to all.

  1. susan herrman says:

    I am gluten free and work hard at maintaining a clean eating plan. I do love to bake so would most enjoy a copy of this book :)

  2. Kathy Kent says:

    Really trying to avoid the refined sugars – when I am strong and keep them out of my diet I just feel better. Thanks for the opportunity!

  3. Loni says:

    I loved Michael Pollan’s book on eating real food not chemicals or artificial ingredients, mostly green, not too much. It made me look at ingredients and think about what food really was.

  4. Roger Goldmann says:

    I recently decided to try a gluten free diet. I have spoken with friends that have been gluten free for 3 years and they notice a marked difference in their overall health. I need guidance since all my life I have been on a gluten diet and the task of changing over right now seems overwhelming.

    1. Betsy Naselli says:

      Roger- there are loads of online resources for the gluten -free lifestyle; blogs with recipes, pinterest boards and websites. Once you start investigating online you will feel more supported in your decision and have more guidance about what changes to make and what to substitute for your old glutinous favorites.

  5. Betsy Naselli says:

    my own diet mirrors your own in a major way: vegetarian 42 years, some local eggs and judiciously sourced cheeses- primarily goat and sheep’s. I have also embraced, for some spans of my life, vegan, macro and raw. Most recently I have been gluten-free for over two years. I convinced my spouse to try a gluten-free diet about 15 months ago to see if it would help with rapidly declining cognitive ability- and it has!!! So, we are zealous about the gluten-free lifestyle, but so often the recipes have dairy and he hates butter so baking is a challenge. I would love this book to add more options to my repertoire!!

  6. Jill Beringer says:

    Two of my children have Crohn’s so I am looking for ways to avoid gluten- sometimes a sensitivity with Crohn’s- and ways to cook healthier, with less sugar too.

  7. JCB says:

    I just made these cookies today and they are delicious. Because I care about the environment as well as my health, I am vegan SOS (no processed sugar, oil or salt) so most cookies and desserts are off limits. Usually we have fresh fruit, chia pudding made with almond milk or frozen banana “ice cream” for dessert.

  8. JCB says:

    I made these cookies today and they are delicious. Because I care about the environment as well as my health, I am vegan SOS (no processed sugar, oil or salt). Our desserts have been mostly limited to fresh fruit, chia pudding made with almond milk or frozen banana “ice cream”.

  9. Dixie says:

    Once I gave up dairy milk, it has opened a new world of discovery – mainly coconut, almond, and cashew milk – even attempted making my own to further control sugars and fats although still a learning journey.

  10. Vickie says:

    I’ve been eating gluten free for 2 1/2 years and find that it is well worth the effort for me. I love to bake so her cookbook would be a treat!

  11. Kathy Martin says:

    I’ve found that avoiding gluten helps to cut back on inflammation. I’m trying to eat gluten free, but would love this cookbook for more inspiration. Thanks for the information and the recipe.

  12. Linda says:

    I mostly steer around the grocery store as much as possible, getting as much of our food as I can from local sources, including pasture-raised eggs and dairy. What I can’t grow or buy from local, sustainable farmers is still almost never ready-made/processed stuff and almost always organic.

    Definitely going to give those cookies a try.

  13. Carol J. Ackerman says:

    My daughter is gluten free and I am cutting out white breads and treats. Thanks for letting me know about this book.

  14. Laura says:

    Would LOVE a copy of this book! I’ve eaten Muffin Revolution brand in Oakland, CA – and they were fabulous. Trying to eat more healthy and clean.

  15. Cheri says:

    When I eliminated wheat, my adult acne cleared up completely and my migraines disappeared for nine months (though the headaches eventually came back as I got older). I also avoid soy, corn, peanuts, and pork; minimize grains, sugars, and dairy; and choose organic, whole, and unprocessed almost always, and local as much as possible. I do most of my own cooking so that I know what I am eating, and I look forward to trying this book’s recipes. I have been making my own baking powder for a couple of years, though I use just a 2-to-1 cream of tartar to baking soda ratio and that seems to work okay in my baking.

  16. Tina Knezevic says:

    For 2016 I promised myself to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, fish, turkey and lean pork and eating less meat and processed meats. When I bake I utilize Stevia rather than sugar. Healthy eating is the way to go! Just keep swimming and I will ultimately reach my goal. Would love to win this fabulous book!

  17. Peggy Dombeck says:

    I have no gluten issues that I am aware of, but who knows! It would be wonderful to try these recipes to see if there is a difference. Thanks for the opportunity.

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