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It’s a Dog-Eat-Dog Cake

6 Mar

There is a enough room in my feline-philic heart for exactly 5 dogs: Bailey, Blue, Ryley, Murphy, and Cosmo. And though I love each of them with the exact same amount of reluctance (seriously — what is with the licking?), Cosmo is the only one small enough to let me treat him kind of like a cat, and so he gets some shine today.


Don’t be fooled by Cosmo’s less-than-Mastiff stature: he’s smart, sassy, and commands an impressive following on Instagram.  ChampagneOnlyKef and CafeKef throw him a party every year with the best birthday treat a boy could bark for: cake that is safe for both dogs and people AND is gluten free. If St. Matthew had to rewrite the Beatitudes for today’s world, it would go something like, “Blessed is the smallest dog in Chef Kefi’s favor: for he will get a social-media presence AND a blog post written about his 11th birthday.” With a promise like that one, who really needs to inherit the earth?

Before a lightning bolt strikes me down,  I better tell you about the recipe. This cake is safe for both dogs and humans, is refined-sugar-free AND can easily be made without gluten … just the thing you never knew you needed. CafeKef says the homemade version below (original recipe here) is one dogs LOVE and that humans “won’t mind” — she also suggests this canine cake mix that comes with its own frosting. Cosmo had no problem cleaning his plate with either version!

Doggie Birthday Cake



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a bundt or cake pan.
  2. Combine the egg, peanut butter, oil, vanilla, and honey, if desired, in a large bowl; blend well. Stir in the carrots and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour and baking soda and fold into the carrot mixture. Spoon cake batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes; then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Mincemeat Cookies–An Awesome Misnomer

8 Dec

You are reading the words of a free woman– another quarter of NP school is in my rear view and now it’s just an easy ride into the season of 10 million Christmas cookies in preparation for the GANZA. I’ve been whipping up cookie dough like it’s my job this week, including some old favorites (these highbrow gingerbread cookies and Greece’s most valuable contribution to civilization) as well as some Kefi cookie collective newbies, like today’s not-totally-appropriately named mincemeat cookie.

A friend I run with told me about these Polish cookies that “taste like Christmas in each bite” and that traditionally contained meat but are now just a wonderful collection of fat and fruit. Um, yes please. Back in ye olde days beef lard (or chunks!) apparently seemed like something we needed in cookies–for the record, if I ever go back to eating meat again, I’m starting with beef cookies. From what I can tell, when people today say “mincemeat,” they mean “jarred jam-like substance comprised of dried fruits, spices, and liquor.” Most recipes I found called for the store-bought kind, but since you literally just throw stuff in a sauce pan and let it simmer, I figured I would make my own.

I found a vegetarian version and doctored it up (original here), then added it to a recipe for the cookie itself (original here). They aren’t the prettiest cookies–y’all already know I’m here for palate-pleasing, not presentation–but MrKef was ALL about them, and my test tray disappeared faster than I could take a halfway decent picture (#parforthecourse).


I managed to get one bite in before he could eat them all, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I had, in fact, bitten into Christmas. They’re slightly crunchy on the outside and ever-so-slightly cakey on the inside–the perfect drop cookie, if you ask me. Add to the equation that they are super-easy to make and you get a big endorsement from me on this one.

Mincemeat Cookies


–For the Mincemeat

  • 4 TBS butter
  • 1 c apple juice
  • 1 c raisin
  • 1/2 c dried currant (which from what I could tell were just raisins, but who am I to mince words with mincemeat ingredients? Har har)
  • 5 oz  dried berries/cherries mix (I found a Safeway brand, sub with just dried cherries)
  • 1/2 c Craisins (I used the 50% less sugar ones, you do you)
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime + 1/8 c MORE lime juice
  • 1/4c Godiva liquor
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-4 TBS rum (optional)

For the Cookie

  • 1/2 c softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c softened vegetable shortening
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 c packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c prepared mincemeat
  • 3.25 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  1. To make the mincemeat, put all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce to simmer and cook down for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in 2-4 TBS rum (optional–but I surely did it.) Allow to cool completely, before baking cookie dough–even better if you can let it sit overnight.
  2. To make the cookies– Preheat oven to 375. Using an electric mixer (with dough hook attachment if you have it), cream together the butter, shortening, and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, beat for about 3 minutes. Add the mincemeat by hand, mixing with rubber spatula until mincemeat is distributed pretty evenly throughout the batter.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and spices. Add one third of the flour to the batter, mix by hand until just combine. Repeat twice more until all the flour is gone.
  4. Drop about 2 TBS of batter onto a parchment- or silicon-lined cookie sheet, keeping 2-3 inches between cookies so they can spread out and become wonderful. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until just golden brown. Cool for at least 20 minutes before serving, even better if served the next day.

Delicious GF Gingerbread Cookies With a Few Bizarre Secret Ingredients

22 Dec

It’s another one of those days where I have about 15 seconds before I’m 15 minutes late to something, so here’s the quick and dirty: QueijoKef sent me the most intriguing recipe last week– gingerbread made with matcha, chestnut flour, and avocado.  I am a known sucker for weird ingredients I will never use again (nutritional yeast, anyone?),  but even I gave pause to chestnut flour when I couldn’t find it at Whole Foods. My curiosity got the better of me, though, and so I ordered the damn chestnut flour from Amazon (not even Prime-eligible… quelle horreur!)

After I pondered how humanity ever survived without two-day shipping, I got right down to work. These cookies are easy and they are AWESOME–the sweet rice flour makes them crispy on the outside, the chestnut flour provides a soft, earthy inside, and the ginger flavor is very much star of the show. QueijoKef received a BlueApron-style package from me over the weekend and she’ll provide us feedback from her independent review, I’m sure.

Once I saw the beautiful green color, I had great ambitions to use the cookie-shaping press WokeUpLikeDisKef gave me for Christmas last year to shape the cookies into wreaths and Christmas trees, but (per usual) my impatience won out and I just pressed the damn things into discs. Also per usual, I also didn’t bother to take a nice picture. Luckily, the good people who created this wonderful recipe did:


Since I’ve already described their amazing cookies and shared their pretty photo, I might as well just send you right over to their Web site to get their recipe, shouldn’t I? You can find these amazing little green devils right here.

Tomorrow: 20-minute gingerbread cookies you probably already have all the ingredients for.

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