I know that nuts really aren’t a seasonal food, but I still tend to associate different types with different seasons. Pecans and hazelnuts work their way into my holiday recipes at Thanksgiving and Christmas, while pine nuts tend to show up in the warmer months as I whip up batches of pesto and pasta salad with summer’s bounty. Walnuts and almonds are my go-to snacking nuts any time of the year. And pistachios? Well, to me, those just sing spring.
Usually I enjoy pistachios more in savory dishes than sweet. Their buttery texture and snappy crunch offer a lovely addition to salads of many kinds or platters of roasted vegetables dressed simply in lemon juice and olive oil. One of the pricier nuts on the market, I reserve pistachios for spare but savored use in only a handful of recipes. And yet, for the past few weeks on my trips to the grocery store I’ve eyed the pistachios every time, dreaming up some fancy way I could use them. Nothing came to me. Then, at least.
Last week when I was on my way to check out my groceries, I paused in the Whole Foods bakery section to peer into the glass case and feast my eyes upon all of the beautiful spring desserts. Three-layer carrot cakes, lemon curd tartlets, tiramisu, chocolate cupcakes, lattice-topped pies. And on the top shelf, tucked away in a corner as if they were too shy to take center stage, a cluster of tiny two-bite cakes almost too cute to imagine eating. Almost.
If I could have, I would have bought a few of those little cakes on the spot and eaten them right then and there in front of the bakery case. But, cute as they were, the wheat flour and refined sugar in them simply wouldn’t do. While I’ll occasionally—rarely is a better word—make a treat or two with granulated white sugar, I avoid gluten completely. My body gets very upset if I don’t! But with the two-bite cake theme whirling in my head, I left the grocery store that day with the goal in mind to come up with a gluten-free, white sugar-free alternative that was tasty and, if I was lucky, just as cute as those little cakes in the case.
The two-bite cakes I came up with not only turned out adorable; they also gave me the prime opportunity to use luxurious pistachios in a new and different way. As you may already know if you’ve been around this blog for a while, I don’t like my “sweets” to be super sweet. In this recipe the actual cake batter is sweetened only subtly with a bit of honey. The real burst of sweetness comes from the chocolate. If you prefer a sweeter sweet, feel free to try bumping up the honey to your liking.
I can’t think of a better way to welcome the spring season than by popping down a few of these tasty morsels and heading outside for some sunshine. If you’re looking for more gluten-free, guilt-free treats to try this spring, check out “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free” hosted by Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. Celebrate the season with delicious, guiltless pleasures!
1/2 cup raw shelled pistchios, chopped
1 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted, plus extra for greasing the pan
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Grease 16 cups of a mini-muffin tin with coconut oil and set aside.
In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, grind 1/4 cup pistachios to a fine powder. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add almond flour, millet flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine.
Separately whisk together coconut oil, honey and eggs in a small bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Fold in remaining 1/4 cup chopped pistachios and chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into the greased muffin tin. Bake cakes for 15-18 minutes until deeply golden brown. Cool completely before removing from pan. (For easy removal, run a sharp knife around the edges of each cake and gently lift out of pan.)
Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.