Hi, I'm Kim

Hi, I’m Kim Christensen, M.Om., Dipl.OM, L.Ac. I’m a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and owner of Constellation Acupuncture & Healing Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Back before going to school and becoming a healthcare practitioner, Affairs of Living was my creative outlet while healing from chronic health issues. These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.

Want to stay up to date? Check out my new website www.constellationacu.com.

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

Entries in Recipes: Desserts & Sweets (51)


36 Hour Mesquite Carob Chip Cookie & Homemade Carob Chips (gluten-free, egg-free)

This is an adaptation of  Gluten Free Girl Shauna James' adaptation of the infamous David Leite's 36-Hour Chocolate Chip cookies. Why 36 hour?  Because the dough needs to rest for at least 36 hours before baking!


I do have to point out that this recipe is a departure from my usual avoidance of starch, binders, and lots of sweetener.  Why?  Because I baked these for my birthday.  I shared these with friends with family. These were for a special occasion.  And I wanted a real cookie, damn it.  So I was willing to do what it takes to get that light, buttery, sweet, crispy on the outside chewy on the inside cookie of my dreams.  Even if that means using a bunch of starch, some guar gum, and more than my usual amount of sweetener.  The original recipe called for making HUGE monster cookies, and since I wanted a smaller portion size and wanted to share these with lots of friends, I opted for a more petite cookie.  But don't be fooled - this petite cookie is wonderfully satisfying.  I made a number of other alterations from Shauna's recipe.  Since I'm allergic to potato, and wanted a little extra spicy flavor, I substituted arrowroot starch and mesquite flour for potato starch.  Instead of eggs, I used gelatin as a substitute, which I'd never tried before and am really happy with.  Instead of butter, I used a mix of ghee and Spectrum shortening.  Agave nectar took the place of white and brown sugar, and I used about half as much sweetener as the original recipe called for overall.  And finally, instead of chocolate chips, I used my homemade carob chips, adapted from Sally Fallon's "Nourishing Traditions".


Assembling these cookies took all night.  I melted together the coconut oil and carob powder for my carob chips, and while they chilled, ran to the co-op to get more arrowroot flour, since I needed it for the cookie dough and to make another batch of my homemade corn-free baking powder (equal parts cream of tartar, baking soda, and arrowroot).  Once I got back I spent time sifting all the flours, making my new batch of baking powder, and making my gelatin "eggs".  I creamed the butter and agave, mixed in my "eggs" and then lovingly and slowly sifted the flours into the butter agave mixture.  Finally, I chopped my cooled carob bar into chips, and gently stirred them in.  Lots of dirty bowls, spoons, and measuring cups later, I had a very promising looking dough.  It lovely light brown color, with a substantial, yet light, texture.  It smelled lovely; the fragrant nutty sweetness of ghee mixed with the chocolate-coffee-cinnamon smell of the mesquite flour was intoxicating.  I greedily licked the beaters. The flavor was caramelly and buttery, with the perfect mix of sweet and salty.  Wow.  It seemed impossible, but I had made cookie dough that would totally pass for "real" cookie dough.  I've always been a dough eater, and I had to practice serious restraint so as not to eat WAY to much dough...


Then, per the recipe, I covered the dough, and put it to rest in my fridge.  My dough rested for a whopping 48 hours. Apparently, allowing the dough to rest makes it flavor through, and creates a drier dough, leading to a better cookie.  Patience, darling, patience.  Good things come to those who wait.  

Finally the time came to bake, the eve of my birthday.  And so, bake I did.  I scooped out balls of dough onto the baking sheet, and hoped for the best.  Sadly, I lost my photos of the dough and my overall process, and somehow only ended up with the single photo I've included on this post.  You'll notice that the cookies spread out like real cookies - amazing!  They smelled like real cookies.  As the intoxicating aroma of fresh cookie filled every nook and cranny of my apartment, I realized that a smell like this hadn't come from my oven in quite some time.  I couldn't help but eat a warm one.  Yum.  Cooled, it was even better.  

Is this like the cookie you remember from your childhood?  No, probably not.  Because it isn't that cookie.  But it is darn good.  MY friends loved them.  My family loved them.  I loved them. They were soft, a little cakey, with crisp edges and a chewy center.   Sitting outside at the park, sharing a picnic blanket with my friends, I dipped my special cookies in a cold glass of rice milk and it was the best birthday ever.  At the end of the evening, my cookies were more popular than the all-natural, super tasty store-bought cookies I had also provided for unadventurous gluten eaters - my friends loved the rich nutty flavor from the ghee, the chunks of carob chips, and the the spicy cinnamon flavor of the mesquite flour.  I loved that they loved my cookies.  I had some leftover to share with my parents when they came up for the weekend, and they loved them too, which says a lot, because they are both quite discerning when it comes to cookies.  Try these out, I think you'll be happy!

36 Hour Mesquite Carob Chip Cookie

adapted from Gluten-Free Girl's adaptation of David Leite's chocolate chip cookie recipe
yield: approx 48 3 inch cookies
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 cup amaranth flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 3/4 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 cup mesquite flour
  • 1 tablespoon guar gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons corn-free baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 c ghee, room temperature
  • 1/4 c Spectrum shortening
  • 3/4 c agave nectar
  • 2 T gelatin + 2 T cold water + 4 T boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c carob chips (or chocolate chips) - see recipe below
  • sea salt
  1. Sift each of the four flours, individually, into a medium-sized bowl. Add the guar gum, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk vigorously to mix and introduce air and make light.  Set aside.
  2. Dissolve 2 T gelatin in 2 T of very cold water, and stir.  Add 4 T of boiling water, and stir until gelatin has dissolved.  Cool in freezer until room temperature and slightly thickened, about 10-15 minutes.  Then whisk vigorously until light and frothy.
  3. While gelatin cools, put the soft butter and agave into a stand mixer and cream.  Mix well, until just combined.  After frothing your gelatin, immediately add half of it to the butter/agave mixture, mix, then add the other half. Pour in the vanilla extract and mix for a beat or two.
  4. Finishing the cookie dough. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter, about 1/2 cup at a time, and then mix. When the all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, gently fold in the carob chips.

  1. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, pressing plastic firmly on the surface of the dough. 
  2. Put it in the fridge, and let sit for at least 36 hours.  According to David's recipe, it can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.  
  1. Pull the dough from the refrigerator, and uncover it.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. 
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat.

BAKE! >>> 
  1. Scoop onto baking sheet by the heaping tablespoon.  Sprinkle with sea salt.
  2. Bake the cookies about 11-13 minutes, or until slightly brown on the edges, but still soft in the middle.  These cookies are better slightly underbaked than overbaked, so don't let bake too long!
  3. Allow the baking sheet to sit on the counter for a few minutes. Then transfer cookies onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.  Will keep for 3-4 days if tightly covered; freeze leftovers or later!


Homemade Carob Chips

yield: about 2 c of chips


  • 1 1/4 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1 c carob flour
  • 2 T agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract/flavoring (gluten free)


Whisk all ingredients together until well mixed and smooth. Line a small pan with parchment, plastic wrap, or wax paper, and pour in oil mixture. Place in refrigerator to cool. Once solid, chop into chips of desired size, and store in jar in a cool place until ready to use.



Carob Chip Mint Surprise Cookies (gluten free, vegan, egg free, dairy free)

This is an adaptation of an adaptation of my mom's Mint Surprise Cookies.  A perennial favorite at holiday time, Mint Surprise Cookies are my dad's favorite cookie.  Actually, I think the original recipe came from my Great Grandma Volp, my dad's grandma.  The mint surprise cookie is a soft, chewy dough with a chocolate mint wafer tucked gracefully into the middle and a walnut pressed on top, so when you bite into it, you get a tasty "SURPRISE" of minty chocolate under a toasty walnut.  Those cookies make me think of my childhood Christmases.  In recent years, my mom has started using that same dough but mixing chunked up chocolate mint wafers and ground walnuts into the dough, resulting in a kind of nutty mint chocolate chunk cookie.  I smelled them when I helped assemble the cookie tray this last Christmas for our family dinner, and they looked amazing.  But I did not eat them - alas, the original Mint Surprise Cookie is made with wheat, sugar, egg, butter, and those darn walnuts.  Humph.  Yeah, I could swing the butter in a pinch, but the rest of it?  Not so much anymore.  

I decided to make the chocolate chunk version of the Mint Surprise Cookie that my mom has been making lately, but without the walnuts.  So really, there isn't too much of a "surprise" with the cookie after all, but I decided to keep the name, in the spirit of old time's sake.  If one were to make carob wafers instead of chips, one could definitely do a "surprise" version, something I may try soon!  The true surprise version uses a whole different cookie assembly technique, and I'd be curious to see how this dough would handle it.  Maybe I'll do that for my birthday instead of a cake.

These cookies make me reasonably satisfied. They aren't as super soft and chewy like the original, but have a great texture all their own - a little crisp on the outside, moist and crumbly and cakey on the inside, studded by chunks of home-made mint carob chips. If you tolerate store-purchased carob chips, go ahead and use those - or try making your own (EASY!) with the recipe below.  Instead of leaving the dough plain and relying solely on the carob chips for rich minty goodness, I added a little carob powder and mint extract to the dough too.   I used a mix of rice flours and little garbanzo bean flour for body and texture.  But don't worry, the flavor isn't too beany like some bean flour baked goods.  They are minty, rich, and lightly sweet.  I ate a couple - okay, I ate four - with a glass of rice milk and it reminded me of being a kid again.  Granted, my taste buds are so far removed from "normal"cookies that it doesn't take much to please me.

I'm curious to see how they hold up over a day or so, and if they dry out really quickly.  I'm going to try freezing a few to see how well they thaw.  And the rest I may take to work - gulp! I haven't brought any GF vegan baked goods to my coworkers yet.  I'll be sure to post the feedback and the updates on how these hold up overnight.

No added super nutrition here, sorry folks.  These are full of fat and calories and all that stuff that keeps meat on our bones when our diet consists mostly of vegetables. 

Carob Mint Chip Surprise Cookies

yield: 2 dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 2 tablespoons roasted carob flour
  • 1 tsp corn-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Spectrum Organic palm oil shortening
  • 1/3 cup fruit puree (I used pureed peach)
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1 tsp Simply Organic peppermint flavor (gluten and alcohol free!)
  • 1/4 cup + 2-4 tablespoon rice milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 3/4 cup carob chips (store bought or homemade, see recipe below)
  • optional: 1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 375º and prepare a baking sheet (I used parchment).
In medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk ingredients briskly to add air and make fluffy.
In large bowl, cream shortening on high with a mixer.  Gradually add fruit puree, agave, peppermint flavor, and 1/4 c of rice milk.  Mix until smooth and well incorporated.  
Gradually add dry ingredients to wet.  Gradually add additional rice milk to reach a good dough consistency.
Fold in carob chips and walnuts, if using.
Spoon by the tablespoon onto prepared baking sheet, and flatten slightly with a fork. The cookies do not spread very much. 
Bake 12 minutes at 375º, one batch at a time.  Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.  

Homemade Mint Carob Chips

adapted from Sally Fallon's "Nourishing Traditions"
yield: approx 1 - 1 1/2 c chips
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/2 c roasted carob flour
  • 1 T agave syrup
  • 1-2 t peppermint flavor, to taste 
Melt coconut oil, and mix in flour, agave, and peppermint flavor. 
Line small pan with wax paper or saran wrap, and pour in oil mixture. 
Cool in refrigerator until solid.  Remove from pan, and cut into chips of desired size.
Store in a cool place in a jar until ready to use.


Update! Feedback from my coworkers. 

So, I took the cookies to work the next day and fed them to my coworkers. All the cookies got eaten by noon, which I saw as a good sign. Overall, the feedback was positive, which I felt great about - I was a little self-conscious to bring in my gluten-free vegan cookies to a photo studio full of excellent bakers, food snobs, and wheat eaters (save two people who also eat gluten-free).  But everyone is pretty supportive and understanding of my dietary requirements, so I knew I'd get good feedback.  Many improvements were suggested.  Here are some of the comments and overall feedback.

  1. A little dry - and I agree.  After the cookies sat overnight, they dried out, as gluten free items often do.  
  2. Nice minty aroma, but lacking a depth of flavor.
  3. Too minty.
  4. Not minty enough.
  5. One of my GF coworkers HATES bean flours and was surprised there was bean flour in this cookie, because she couldn't taste it!
  6. The cookie needs something else - the cookie too much of the same flavor.  To this point, I do agree - I think I went overboard adding mint to the cookie dough and the chip, and the mint flavor is a little overwhelming - the cookie might have more complexity if the cookie dough wasn't minty and just the chips were.
  7. Cookie could be chewier/moister in the middle, but overall it had a good crumb.
  8. Add more fruit puree, or try adding banana or egg whites to get a more chewy, lighter texture (I can't eat banana or egg whites, but this would be a great suggestion if I could).
  9. Try a mixture of shortening and oil instead of all shortening.
  10. Use the basic flour mixture but try a totally different cookie, maybe using dried fruit, nuts/seeds, or grated carrot/beet/zucchini/etc to add texture and depth.  I was thinking this myself - the overall rice and garbanzo mix made a good cookie flour base.
  11. Flavor would be better made like a crispy, "Thin Mint" type cookie rather than this type of cookie.
I put a few in the freezer.  They are pretty darn good eaten frozen and just thawed slightly, and woudl make a very tasty ice cream sandwich.  But unfortunately, they don't thaw out completely exceptionally well - they get a little too dry.
So, the final verdict?  This cookie is very tasty fresh from the oven or eaten the same day.  The next day it gets a little dry.  I'd cut the mint from the dough, but keep it in the chips.  If you want to freeze cookies for later, try freezing the dough and then baking fresh after removing. And stay tuned for more cookie experiments using this same basic mix!  I'd like to try a cookie that uses plumped goji berries and rice flakes, kind of like an oatmeal raisin cookie...



Spelt Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies (wheat free)

These are some of my favorite cookies on the planet.  Slightly sweet, chewy, and dense, with just a hint of banana and gooey chocolate, these cookies even win over people that don't really like bananas.  Like me.  But, let me make this clear: these bad boys are not vegan, they are not gluten free, they are not sugar free. These cookies are full of sugar, butter, spelt, oats, egg, and chocolate chips.  

Needless to say, I haven't eaten them in a very long time.  

Someday, I will make a gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan adaptation, but right now I am avoiding both bananas and oats, since it turns out I have a mild allergy to them. In a few months I'll try reintroducing them and see if I have any reactions, but in the meantime, no banana cookies for me.   

I think it would actually be quite simple to adapt this recipe to be gluten free, vegan, sugar free, or all three. GF oat flour, or another GF flour or flour mix, could be used instead of spelt flour. GF oats could be used, or you could try substituting quinoa flakes or poha (pressed rice flakes). Instead of egg, try your favorite egg substitute, or maybe add another banana. Instead of brown sugar, try using a tolerated sweetener, making the proper adjustments if using a liquid like honey or agave. Instead of butter, try using coconut oil or more shortening. Use your favorite allergen-free chocolate or carob chips to finish it off, and if desired, some chopped nuts. I've been experimenting with making my own carob chips, and those would be pretty killer in this recipe. Most commercial carob chips are grain-sweetened (bummer) or contain sugar, and usually also have soy lecithin (bummer #2). So I tried Sally Fallon's recipe for making them from scratch using carob flour and coconut oil, and sweetened them with xylitol. They are great, and worked really well in a recent quinoa cookie experiment! I'll post that recipe soon.

So, my dear GF and vegan readers, I issue you an adaptation challenge: go forth!  Adapt!  It is well worth a shot, because these cookies rock. Let me know if you try it, and please share your adaptations and experiments!

As a side note, I love the banana ripening chart photo.  I found it here; I didn't know that websites existed for produce postharvest technology.  Amazing.  I love the internet.  Anyway, the optimum banana ripeness for this recipe is demonstrated by banana number 7 in the image above. Happy baking!

Spelt Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 1/2 c + 1 c spelt flour (or oat, barley, whole wheat, GF flour of choice, or mix, but I always used spelt)
  • 1/2 c loosely packed brown sugar (about 1/4 c packed)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 c butter/shortening (mix of half and half is good)
  • 1 happy egg
  • 1 c mashed ripe banana (about 2 whole bananas)
  • 1 3/4 c rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 c chocolate chips
  • 2-3 T honey, as desired
  • optional: 1/2 c chopped nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350*.  Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment.
  2. In a bowl, mix together 1 1/2 c flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter/shortening with sugar.  Add egg,  banana, and honey, and mix again until well blended.  
  4. Gradually mix in dry ingredients, then add oats.  Add in up to 1 cup of the additional reserved flour to achieve a dough consistency.  Fold in chocolate chips and optional nuts.
  5. Spoon onto baking sheet.  Bake at 350* for 13-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven.
  6. Let cool for a minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to rack to finish cooling.



Hot Cocoa or Carob Drink (vegan, sugar free, fat free)


I love European drinking chocolate, a thick and sinfully rich version of hot chocolate that kicks Swiss Miss in the ass.  It is dark and flavorful, just a little sweet, and oh so creamy. But, it is made with lots of dairy and is sweetened with sugar.  Hmn.  A substitute was needed.  Tonight.  So, here it is.  This is a sugar free, dairy free, fat free, half-ass version that at least starts to satisfy my longing for a proper cup of chocolat chaud.  
Hey, sometimes you just have to take what you can get.   
Since rice milk doesn't really thicken the way milk does, I thickened my hot chocolate with a bit of sweet rice flour (yup, still housesitting, and still using the mystical sweet rice flour I found in the pantry).  I sweetened it with bit of stevia, added a dash of cardamom (my favorite), and drank it with a smile.  Satisfying!  Tasty!  Just slightly sweet!  Yum!  
As I took spoonfuls of my hot chocolate, I wanted a biscotti for dipping.  Hmn.  Maybe that's next on the list of gluten free things to make.    Biscotti are totally dry.  Gluten free baked goods are often way too dry.  Perhaps it could be a match made in heaven.  Time to convert my old biscotti recipes to gluten free versions, I think.  Stay tuned!  In the meantime, enjoy a cup of chocolate.  Don't want the acid, oxalates, or caffeine?  No worries, use carob.  Truth be told, I almost like carob more than cocoa, because it is naturally sweet.  Hot carob drinks kind of rock.

The measurements below are totally approximates, you know how I cook. If it seems to thin, add more flour. If it seems to thick, add more rice milk. Want it more cocoa-y or carob-y? Add more. You get the idea.  I'm going to keep working on this recipe - there must be a way to make it thicker and richer.
If only I could find vegan, gluten free, corn free, soy free, sugar free marshmallows to drop in my hot cocoa.  It seems like an impossibility; anyone know of any?  : )  Maybe I'll try to figure that out, it could be my claim to fame and riches.

HOT COCOA OR CAROB DRINK (vegan, sugar free, fat free)
serves 1

1 c unsweetened rice milk (or soy, almond, hazelnut, etc)

1-2 Tbsp cocoa powder or carob powder
1 1/2 tsp arrowroot starch or 1 Tbsp sweet rice flour (I prefer arrowroot, it dissolves and thickens better)
stevia to taste (or use agave if you want)
optional: 1/2-1 Tbsp coconut oil (it adds great flavor and body)
optional: dash cardamom, ginger, or cinnamon
  1. Dilute the sweet rice flour or arrowroot starch in liquid.  If using sweet rice flour, dilute in 1/4 c of rice milk.  If using arrowroot, dissolve in 1-2 T of rice milk.
  2. In small saucepan, whisk together the remaining rice milk, coconut oil, and cocoa/carob powder. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring a few times to mix in the coconut oil as it melts.
  3. Reduce to a simmer, and add diluted flour/starch/milk mixture.  Whisk together and let simmer for a few minutes to thicken.
  4. Add stevia/agave and optional spices to taste.
  5. Pour into a small cup, and let cool to drinking temperature.  It will thicken slightly as it cools.  
  6. Enjoy on its own or with your favorite gluten free cookies or baked goods.  Serve with a spoon and savor it slowly.



Rich Coconut Carob Spread (vegan, raw, gluten free)

Holy yum. That's all I have to say. Rich and creamy, this spread is about as close to chocolate sauce as I can imagine. Better maybe even. It is totally luscious, vegan, gluten free, and can even be made raw. Holy smokes. Eat it on anything from rice cakes to fresh fruit, blob it into a protein shake, or spoon it right out of the jar. It would make a killer frosting/glaze on a cake, or as filling between two little cookies.

It hardens when cool, so I would not recommend keeping this in the fridge. At room temperature, it is almost like a thick, slightly crumbly fudge. For smooth, spreadable enjoyment, warm jar slightly to desired consistency, or, if you aren't worried about keeping it raw, throw a blob in the microwave.

RICH COCONUT CAROB SPREAD (vegan, raw, gluten free)

yield: approx 3/4 c

1/2 c raw coconut butter (I like this one from Artisana)
3 T virgin coconut oil
2-3 T raw carob flour (I prefer using toasted carob, but I'm not a raw foodie!)
optional: 1/2-1 T raw agave nectar

  1. Set up a double boiler. If you have one, great! If you don't, find a heat-safe bowl that sits atop a saucepan. Fill the saucepan with 1-2 inches of water, then place the bowl on top of the saucepan. The bowl should not touch the water. Bring the water up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Place coconut butter and coconut oil in warm boil, and heat until it softens just enough to mash. Stir in carob flour and agave, and stir until well mixed.
  3. Remove bowl from heat, and give it a final stir or two until velvety smooth. Transfer mixture into clean glass jar, and store at room temperature. It will harden when it cools; you may want to warm the jar slightly to use.

FUDGE VARIATION: This makes a tasty fudge! Pour warm coconut mixture into a small pan that has been greased lightly with coconut oil, or lined with parchment. If desired, sprinkle with chopped nuts, finely shredded coconut, or ground goji berries. Let cool and harden, then slice into small squares. Or, if you want small candy shapes, pour warm mixture into neoprene candy molds or neoprene ice cube trays. Let cool, and remove from molds. Serve the fudge at room temperature. Totally decadent! Store in a cool place; if it gets warm, it will start to melt.