Blog | Rachel Begun, MS, RD | Page 2

Cherry Almond or Cherry Chocolate Walnut Blondies?


(Disclosure:  I received free samples of fresh sweet cherries from Northwest Cherry Growers. I was not paid to write this post, develop these recipes, or promote cherries)

Life is like a bowl of cherries…


…especially when you receive a box of delicious, perfectly ripe, in-season cherries from the Northwest Cherry Growers.  Thank you!!

So, after several days eating them straight from the stem for my afternoon snack, I thought “what should I make with these sweet, red beauties?”

For some reason, cherry blondies overwhelmingly came to mind.

So, I have two recipe varieties to share with you that are both gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free and refined sugar-free.  And yes, both recipes are crazy delicious.

The question is…do you prefer cherry almond or cherry chocolate walnut blondies?!!!!

It’s a hard decision.  You may have to make both recipes to decide for yourself.


Cherry Almond Blondies

Cooking spray
1 1/4 cup almond flour*
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup almond oil
1/8-1/4 cup honey (depending on how sweet you want them)
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup pitted, quartered fresh cherries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl until well mixed.
  3. Whisk the eggs until lightly beaten.  Add the almond oil, honey and almond extract to the egg mixture and whisk until well combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until a batter forms.  It will be a thick batter.
  5. Add in the quartered cherries and chopped almonds and stir until well mixed.
  6. Pour the batter into the baking pan and use your fingers to create a uniform thickness throughout.
  7. Bake in the oven until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean from the center, approximately 20-22 minutes.
  8. Let cool before cutting.

Cherry Chocolate Walnut Blondies

Cooking spray
1 1/4 cup almond flour*
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup almond oil
1/8-1/4 cup honey (depending on how sweet you want them)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pitted, quartered fresh cherries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (or dark chocolate chips)

  1. Follow directions from Cherry Almond Blondies recipe, replacing vanilla extract for almond extract, chopped walnuts for chopped almonds, and adding in the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips.

* I used natural almond flour, because that’s what I had in the house.  Natural almond flour is flecked with the skin so is a dark brown.  Blanched almond flour, however, is a creamy white and will produce a lighter color for the baked end product.  Both produce a delicious end result.


What add-ins do you like with your cherry blondies?  Please share in the comment box below!

Arugula, Apple and Candied Almond Salad


One of my culinary school instructors gave me great advice: get inspiration for recipe development from your favorite restaurants dishes.

That’s what I did for this recipe.  The North End at 4580 is a gem of a neighborhood restaurant in North Boulder.  I eat there at least once a week with Darren and sometimes more if meeting a friend for lunch or after-work drinks.  The food and service is consistently great.  Their Arugula and Pear Salad, which I’ve ordered countless times, inspired this recipe. I usually order it with lobster or salmon, but it can also be paired with grilled chicken, scallops, steak or even a burger.

My timing for replicating and documenting this recipe is impeccable, as they’ve just taken it off the menu, probably because pears are no longer in season.  Apples aren’t either, but I still wanted to share the recipe with you because the fruit used can easily be tailored to the season.

Arugula is in season right now. It’s peppery bite is a perfect match for sweet apples and candied almonds as well as the tart lemony dressing.  For summer, I recommend replacing the apples with grilled peaches or cherries, as these stone fruits pair well with almonds.

Arugula, Apple and Candied Almond Salad

1 cup almonds
1/8 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. coconut or maple sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. shallots, chopped
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. honey
3 cups arugula
1/2 cup thinly sliced apple (sweet, crisp variety is best)*
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, half moon slice

  1. Warm a cast iron skillet on medium heat.  Add the almonds and toast until lightly browned and slightly fragrant.  Add the maple syrup and stir until the almonds are well coated.
  2. Transfer the maple almonds to a foil-lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle sugar over almonds evenly.  Freeze until the almonds have become crisp and crystallized with the sugar.  Set aside.
  3. Make the dressing by combining the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, shallots, sea salt, pepper and honey in a blender until smooth.
  4. In a serving bowl, toss the arugula with enough of the dressing to coat the leaves.
  5. Layer the dressed arugula with the apple slices, sliced onions and the candied almonds.

*  In summer, replace apples with same amount of either grilled peaches or cherries

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