Z’s Cup of Tea Recipes May Lead to Delicious Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Oven S’mores

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

For this month’s Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger event—originated by the adorable gluten-free community builder, Sea of Book of Yum—I adopted Zoe. Do you know Zoe of Z’s Cup of Tea? I first learned about her when my friend, Amy of Simply Sugar & Gluten Free, featured Zoe and her Mini Black Raspberry and White Chocolate Crepe Cakes. I know … you want to adopt her now, too, don’t you? I understand! I oohed and ahhed over those beautiful, “purple,” filled crepe cakes and was reading how Amy had met Zoe through Go Ahead Honey when I read that Zoe was a teenager. I was so intrigued by her lovely recipe and the fact that Zoe was a teenager that I had to head over to Z’s Cup of Tea immediately. Now I’m having a cup of tea with Zoe as often as I can—virtually, anyway (for now!). Zoe is charming and delightful. She’s a wonderful, creative cook who makes fantastic recipes, especially baked goods. Her recipes usually focus on and fit the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and she tells you why here. That makes all her recipes on her blog gluten free. Zoe’s also a beautiful writer. Her knowledge and skills go far beyond her years. Zoe actually started her first blog, a literary one, even earlier, a few years ago when she was barely a teenager. It was a post of Zoe’s and chatting with her via email that inspired me to purchase Julia Child’s My Life in France—the one with the photos, the only one to buy per Zoe’s advice. It’s still in my “to read” stack, but I’m greatly looking forward to it, thanks to Zoe!

Now to Zoe’s recipes with a little meandering along the way. Eons ago, I saw Martha Stewart make marshmallows on Oprah. Oprah expressed incredulity that Martha would make her own marshmallows. Why, she asked? Then she ate one on national television and seemed to have one of her O moments, and better yet implied that anyone could have an “O” moment by eating homemade marshmallows … if you know what I mean. I’m sure I rolled my eyes and said something like Maxine would say. You know Maxine, don’t you? She’s the cartoon character shown on the right who dishes out her own brand of sarcastic, curmudgeonly wisdom and humor. (Maxine was created by John Wagner for Hallmark’s Shoebox Greeting line and has remained hugely popular for many years.) One of my favorite emails that periodically makes the rounds is “Martha’s Way Versus Maxine’s Way.” It always makes me chuckle, even though I’ve read it a hundred times. Here’s the first part:

Martha:Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.”

Maxine: “Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Pete’s sake! You are probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it, anyway!”

See what I mean … funny stuff. You can see the complete Martha vs Maxine email here.

What does that all have to do with Zoe? Well, Zoe has two great marshmallow recipes on her blog. Both are refined sugar free. First, Zoe made marshmallows using agave nectar and the last time, she used honey as her sweetener. (You know I’m all about the honey love.) Even though I scoffed at making my own marshmallows years ago, since I’ve gone gluten free, I’ve been reading labels like all of you. While most, if not all, packaged marshmallows are gluten free, they also contain other ingredients you might be avoiding.

Here’s what is in Kraft marshmallows.

Ingredients: Corn Syrup, Sugar, Dextrose, Modified Corn Starch, Water, Gelatin, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (Whipping Aid), Artificial Flavor, Artificial Color (Blue 1)

Here’s what is in Campfire marshmallows.

Corn Syrup, Sugar, Modified Food Starch (Corn), Dextrose, Water, Gelatin, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate and Blue 1.

I tell you, reading labels is not for the faint of heart. Zoe’s recipes call for gelatin, water, agave or honey, salt, and vanilla extract. Period.

I’m pretty sure that the ones Martha made on Oprah so long ago contained corn syrup. And, Zoe actually had an early marshmallow making “disaster” using corn syrup, which you can read about here. Incidentally, as part of her recipe index, Zoe has a category for “Disasters.” I love that!

I have a thing for S’mores, particularly Cookie S’mores that have become a favorite of gfe family and friends. So when I saw two lines and a small photo in our local newspaper on making Oven S’more Treats using crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows, I came up with a plan to make Zoe’s marshmallow recipe and create this simple appealing treats. Making S’mores would not only be a tasty task, but it would also elicit thoughts of warmer weather and camping fun. However, when I went grocery shopping in town, no “good” gluten-free crackers were to be found. So I formulated a new plan, I’d execute a slight tweak to my Cookie S’mores. A cookie on the bottom, a square of chocolate on top, and then a marshmallow. Simple, bite-sized, and delicious.

Zoe had the perfect cookie recipe for the project—Spur of the Moment Chocolate Cookies. Made from almond flour, gluten-free flour/starches, cocoa, applesauce, egg, coconut milk, and honey, she said these cookies were not too sweet. “Not too sweet” cookies are the perfect kind for topping with chocolate and marshmallows. (Or drinking with a cup of tea for that matter.)

But then other things intervened and my plans for making marshmallows had to be shelved for a while. So,  while I hate to admit it, I did use some store-bought marshmallows for this project. My sister had given Mr. GFE a wrought-iron marshmallow tree for Christmas. I kid you not. See photo, but it doesn’t fully show this unique gift. My sister is a bit germ phobic. Her thinking: Why use a yucky natural stick or branch when you can use a reusable and washable (key word!) marshmallow “tree”? Again, the photo doesn’t really do this marshmallow tree justice. It’s 43 inches long and probably can easily hold the bag of Campfire marshmallows that also came with the gift. It’s quite the novelty and will no doubt get used by those who join us this summer for our camping adventures.

So, back to Zoe and the S’more project … I made her Spur of the Moment Chocolate Cookies and they came out great. I forgot to pack down the almond flour when measuring (which is important for almond flour) so I did add some more to produce a thick enough batter. I also cut back on the honey because of how the cookies would be used. (I found I even liked them plain with less honey though.) Well, the project didn’t go exactly as shown in the newspaper. I tried two methods. First, I placed the square of chocolate on each cookie (Ghirardelli’s Intense Dark Chocolate Twilight Delight  72% Cacao) right as it came out of the oven and also topped it with the marshmallow. The chocolate melted too much to put back in the oven, even after I placed the baking sheet on the screened porch to cool some. The second time around, I let the cookies cool and then topped them with the chocolate and marshmallow before placing them back in the oven. The results weren’t much different. This oven method really doesn’t lend itself to the marshmallows cooking enough in my opinion.

I think Zoe’s homemade marshmallows would actually solve that problem as they are flat and rectangular and would cover the chocolate as they melted/warmed up in the oven for more of a true S’more effect. But, until then, I’m thinking I should put this particular version of Oven S’mores in Zoe’s “Disasters” category. Although I admit that they are delicious … very messy in the making and not as intended, but still delicious. The lack of  complete success has nothing to do with Zoe though. The recipe of Zoe’s was great.

Also on my list of Zoe’s recipe to make are: hot chocolate (love the Calvin & Hobbes intro to this post!), butterscotch pudding (adapted from Melanie of The Grecian Garden), and Cinnamon Coffee Bars, which she adapted from Kim (Cook IT Allergy Free) (and Kim’s iPhone/iPad/iPod app by the same name).

Finally, there have been two previous adoptions of Zoe that you’ll want to read. Linda (The Gluten-Free Homemaker) adopted Zoe last fall. She made another of Zoe’s recipe with a Martha connection, Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes. Check that out here. Maggie (She Let Them Eat Cake) also adopted Zoe a few months back. She made Zoe’s Mango Banana Popsicles. Even in this cold weather, those sound really good! 

So, in summary, I loved Zoe’s cookies, am still dreaming of her marshmallows and a few other recipes, and will keep following her blog faithfully as she, her recipes, and her writing are all fabulous and make me happy. Head on over to Zoe’s to share a cup of tea, a cookie, a marshmallow, and more!

Not just gf, but gfe!

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38 Responses to “Z’s Cup of Tea Recipes May Lead to Delicious Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Oven S’mores”

  1. misskittyinthecity on February 8th, 2011 3:49 pm

    What a great post! I am a great zscupoftea fan and admire the scope of what she does for her years. I am not a gluten free person by necessity but more and more I think of doing it full time for health reasons with my thyroid. I love your site and your humor and think it is so cool that all you bloggers link each other and support each other. Wishing you continued success ;)

    • Shirley on February 9th, 2011 7:51 am

      Hi misskittyinthecity–Welcome to gfe! :-) I’ve seen your comments over at Zoe’s. I think you have a special connection with Zoe ;-) but I know you sincerely love her recipes, posts, and “wise beyond her years” knowledge. She’s a gem for sure! Going gluten free can indeed be a big help to thyroid issues. Thanks for the kind words on gfe! Bloggers have great connections in general, but especially those of us who are gluten free. United, we are stronger and better at spreading awarenessa and making gluten-free lives easier than if we were alone. ;-)

      Thanks again!

  2. Tia on February 8th, 2011 4:26 pm

    I love Zoe, too! I don’t comment enough, I’m afraid. But I always love reading her posts. I have a feeling her marshmallows would work much better for the cookies. It takes for ever to get those other marshmallows to melt holding them over a fire, for goodness sakes.

    Speaking of, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate?!?!?!? (I had to copy and paste that because Lord knows I couldn’t remember how to spell that by the time I scrolled back down to write it.) Whipping Aid? I thought whipping aids were my wire whisk or beater. Since when can you pour something in and it’s whipped? UGH!

    And, even though they did not turn out how you wanted, I thought your cookies looked beautiful. I think I will have to go check out Zoe’s cookie recipe, though. You know I love anything with almond flour. And that part looked perfect.

    You did a great job, as always. Now, I must get to work. Started late today due to illness. Mine this time. When do these toddlers stop getting sick, and me sick in return?


    • Shirley on February 9th, 2011 8:01 am

      Hey Tia–I really hope that your hearty, healthy slow cooker soup did the trick and healed you overnight!

      Glad you agree that Zoe’s marshmallows would have worked much better. I must admit that after I moved this to a plate and left them, they were pretty darned good though … in taste and looks. Mr. GFE quite enjoyed them. :-)

      When we really start looking at ingredients, it’s just mind boggling. I think that whipping aid should be grouped with the Polysorbate 60 that’s in Cool Whip and also prophylactic and related aids (no kidding). When we look at these ingredients a little closer, it’s a real incentive to Eat Real Food (ERF) as Mark Bittman just said in his latest piece.


  3. Lael Hazan @educatedpalate on February 8th, 2011 8:06 pm

    What a marvelous post! I’m looking forward to “virtually” meeting Z’s cup of tea, thanks for the intro. I too LOVE Maxine. So funny and real. In addition, my husband and older daughter do not like marsh mellows. Perhaps the homemade one’s will allow our family to indulge in smores! Thank you.

    • Shirley on February 9th, 2011 8:04 am

      Thank you, Lael. It’s so nice to have you as a gfe cheerleader! :-) While I’m not sure that all the emails that go out about Maxine are from the originator (including the one I shared), I do love them. “Funny and real” indeed! I have a low tolerance for the opposite. ;-) When I moved these to a plate, they actually looked pretty lovely and we enjoyed one last night. Decadently satisfying. :-)

      Thanks again! Hugs,

  4. Ricki on February 8th, 2011 8:57 pm

    You do the BEST adoptions, Shirley! :) Love Z’s Cup of Tea, too. And those marshmallows sound great (as do the cookies, of course). Love that “marshmallow tree”–how cool! Can you believe that I have never eaten a s’more? But of course, now I want to. With homemade marshmallows. (Looking forward to that O moment!). :D

    • Shirley on February 9th, 2011 8:08 am

      Oh, Ricki, now you’re making me blush … but thank you! Nothing excites me more than sharing other great gluten-free bloggers. So glad you agree on Zoe and her Z’s Cup of Tea blog. It seems that your fellow Canadians start out blogging super early. So skilled and poised, etc. at such young ages. I admire them so. No, I can’t believe you’ve never eaten a s’more! I’m seeing some DDD versions of marshmallows and s’mores in the future. And, who doesn’t want an O moment? Though I guess I really should have said “the big O.” ;-)


  5. Beth on February 9th, 2011 10:10 am

    Those s’mores look AMAZING!! Oh, I can’t remember the last time I had s’mores. Brings back so many camping memories! Love your presentation on the heart. So sweet!

    • Shirley on February 11th, 2011 8:23 pm

      Hi Beth–They really did turn out great in the end. I should probably go back and update my post because I think it’s a disservice to actually call them a disaster. ;-) FYI–They taste different because there are no graham crackers, but the concept of cookie s’mores is great and delish. Thanks for the feedback on the heart photo! I love those little paper doilies … always have. :-)


  6. Kim - Cook It Allergy Free on February 9th, 2011 12:42 pm

    Shirley, I agree with Ricki. You do the best adoptions EVER!! What a great post, my friend! I have only tried to make marshmallows one time, and I am pretty sure I will not be trying to do them any time soon again. That was one big sticky mess. And…I have recently found the best homemade marshmallows that I have ever had in my life at our local Artisanal ice cream shop – Sweet Republic (which incidentally is one of the top 10 ice cream shops in the US, according to Food Network and a bunch of foodie magazines).
    And, you know how I have a deep affection for S’mores! This is now making me want to make these NOW!!! Will have to try these this weekend as a Valentine’s Day treat (using my Sweet Republic marshmallows).

    • Shirley on February 12th, 2011 12:15 am

      Hey Kim–You’re a dear—thank you! :-) Adoptions are such fun. Having lovely bloggers like Zoe to choose from makes them extra special! You have the coolest offerings in your area. Next time I visit we’re gong to Sweet Republic. ;-) Have fun creating with those marshmallows and happy Valentine’s Day!


  7. Alisa Fleming on February 9th, 2011 5:52 pm

    I really want to make homemade marshmallows, but know they would be the death of me (or my waistline). Homemade ones are just so much better.

    • Shirley on February 12th, 2011 12:17 am

      Alisa–I love the idea of homemade marshmallows with no yucky ingredients and delicious taste and texture! The only way I know to make them and ensure waistline protection is making them for a crowd … like my support group. ;-) So maybe one day …


  8. Mary on February 9th, 2011 7:31 pm

    Hi Shirley;
    I love your post…and I love the “adopt a gluten free blogger” event. I might be a little late in learning about it, but I’ll be sure to follow next time (I see it’s now closed).

    I’ll be checking out Z’s cup of tea, she sounds like a delightful find.


    • Shirley on February 12th, 2011 12:19 am

      Hi Mary–Thanks! The adoption event is a fantastic one. I hope you can join in next month. :-) Zoe is a doll. I know you’ll love everything she shares at Z’s Cup of Tea.


  9. Maggie on February 9th, 2011 8:40 pm

    I want one of those marshmallow trees! I love it. What a genius idea :) Your smore cookies look amazing Shirley, I think they’re pretty genius too! I adore Zoe. She’s such a cool girl. Can you believe the marshmallows are still on my to-make list? I’m afraid!

    • Shirley on February 12th, 2011 12:21 am

      Hi Maggie–You and I should start a Z’s Cup of Tea fan club—love her! And, we’re also in that same “afraid to make marshmallows” club … wonder how many members there are? I’m sure we’re being silly. ;-) One day. These s’more cookies actually turned out well in the end. :-)


  10. Zoe on February 9th, 2011 11:28 pm

    Hey Shirley, just wanted to say thank you! I loved reading your post. About the almond flour: I don’t usually pack it down when I measure, but I’d be curious to see how packing it down would affect the cookie batter when I make those cookies again.

    By the way, I’m thinking of doing a marshmallow tutorial at some point in the future with lots of pictures, so look forward to that!

    Thanks so much, Shirley! :)

    • Shirley on February 12th, 2011 12:24 am

      Hi Zoe–It was totally my pleasure, dear! So glad you enjoyed my adoption post and sorry I didn’t get to make those marshmallows. A tutorial would be great!

      I know many pack down their almond flour. The batter was too thin for me with measurements and adding more almond flour to equate the amount as if I’d packed it down worked perfectly. Delish cookies that worked great for this s’more concept!


  11. InTolerantChef on February 10th, 2011 5:51 am

    Oooh, I want some of those, and one of those marshmallow trees too! So cute and delicious, yumm…

    • Shirley on February 12th, 2011 12:26 am

      Hi InTolerantChef!–Everyone is digging the marshmallow tree! ;-) These cookie s’mores are great treats … make some. :-)


  12. Melanie on February 10th, 2011 2:09 pm

    Great Post Shirley! You are such a genuine and encouraging person and I love Zoe’s recipes as much as you! I am going to try these soon as S’mores are my favorite dessert. Thanks for including a link to my blog! :)

    • Shirley on February 12th, 2011 12:29 am

      Hey Melanie–Nice to see you and thank you so much for those very kind words! I greatly appreciate them. I know you’re a Zoe fan! :-) Cookie S’mores taste a little different than traditional ones because there’s no graham cracker flavor, but I think you’ll love them. ;-) Happy to link up … still thinking about your butterscotch concoction!


  13. Debi on February 10th, 2011 9:10 pm

    The s’mores look wonderful, but you reminded me of that adoption Amy did and how I so wanted to make those Black Raspberry Mini Crepes! What a difficult decision. Brittany’s chocolate cake or Black Raspberry Mini Crepes for Valentine’s Day? lol What a decision to make!

    • Shirley on February 12th, 2011 12:30 am

      Hey Debi–Somehow I think you’ll find a way to fit them both in soon! ;-) And, others think we gf folks have it so hard … LOL Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, dear. :-)


  14. J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) on February 11th, 2011 11:56 am

    Oh my, those S’mores look heavenly!

    Love the heart doilies :)

    • Shirley on February 12th, 2011 12:32 am

      Hi Jenn–Welcome to gfe! :-) I called these a disaster, but in the end, they were heavenly! I’m weak for heart doilies. Just brought out my complete stash today. ;-) Glad you love them, too!


  15. Linda on February 12th, 2011 4:11 pm

    I agree with the other who said that you do a great adoption post. Zoe just seems to be so adoptable! I will definitely be taking a look at her marshmallow recipe.

    As for the marshmallow tree, I’m interested in knowing how well it actually works with multiple marshmallows on it. It sounds like a fun gift for a camper. We have some nice wooden marshmallow sticks that have to be soaked before use. They work well. Have a great weekend!

    • Shirley on February 13th, 2011 9:41 am

      Hi Linda–Yes, great point … Zoe is so adoptable! And, she just said she’s coming out with another marshmallow recipe. Soon she’ll have us all making our own marshamallows. ;-)

      I don’t think Mr. GFE and I will be trying the marshmallow tree fully loaded for ourselves, but one of our younger camping friends will be totally game! Interesting on the wooden marshmallow sticks that you soak before using. I’ve never heard of those before. We only roast marshmallows there when the younger generation visits, but it’s a required activity and always a lot of fun then. :-)

      Hope you’re having a good weekend, too, Linda! Hugs,

  16. Sea on February 20th, 2011 12:31 am

    What a wonderful adoption post! I enjoyed every bit of it, from Maxine to Marshmallow trees, to the food adventure.

    I have an idea for your smore success… A creme brulee torch directly applied to the marshmallow. Works for creme brulee!

    I’ve only had smores once, and I used Rebecca Reilly’s gluten-free graham cracker recipe. I love that recipe. BUT the smores were way, way, way too sweet for me. I used cheap hershey’s chocolate and store marshmallows and WOW. Way too much of a sugar high.

    The DH got into making marshmallows some time back. He made some lovelies, but I really wanted a recipe that was vegetarian. We were never able to make them successfully without the gelatin, alas.

    Anyways, good times. I enjoyed your post and story! Those smores look delightful.

  17. Angie Halten on March 7th, 2011 9:44 pm

    Ok…these look way too yummy and delicious to eat just one! My kids will love these, the more messy they are, the better…at least that’s what they say!


    • Shirley on March 8th, 2011 12:08 am

      Hey Angie!–Kids say “messy” and sophisticated mom say “ooey gooey.” ;-) Either way, these are delicious … and additive—warning!

      Enjoy! :-)


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