Sugar Free Pecan Sandies with Brown Butter

Of all the recipes made with nut flours these days, many are a poor shadow of the wheat flour recipes they mean to replace. Not this! Pecan sandies are all about nuts in the first place, and this crunchy salty-sweet cookie is a natural and delicious sugar-free, gluten-free treat.

Replacing flour is a tough game! I’ve been on a low-carb and gluten-free diet since 2015, and have tried countless recipes which try to imitate the texture of flour and gluten using nut and coconut flours, along with rice flours and other substitutes. While I admire these attempts, most of these recipes simply remind me what I’m missing, highlighting with each bite the gap between these imitations and the real thing! Meanwhile, the few gluten-free innovations which really do impress on taste and texture (Mod Pizza’s cauliflower crust I’m talking to you) do so with so many carbs (87 grams!) that they can’t be a regular part of my diet.

Sugar Free Keto Pecan Sandies

So my advice is to stop trying to recreate all-purpose flour centric recipes, and instead bake something naturally suited to these ingredients. With the browned butter flavors and the light shortbread-style crunch you truly won’t feel like you’re missing out at all, compared to the real deal. All this recipe takes is a little planning to allow time for the nuts to roast and cool, for browned butter to cool, and for the finished cookies to cool at the end. Good things come to low-carb bakers who wait!

Besides the browned butter, the other secret ingredient is PureCane TM sweetener, a natural sugar-free sweetener which tastes remarkably identical to white and brown sugar, made from fermented sugar cane.

I’ve worked to perfect this recipe over the last year along with my family, and would love to hear your feedback, both from the low-carb and gluten-free crowd, and anyone else as well.

Posted in Uncategorized

How to make Whomp ‘Ems and Sticks – Campfire Biscuits!

Overheard: “This is a game changer. Womp ‘Ems are a camping game changer.”

There’s an exciting way to mix up your campfire routine, and we at Spinning Cook are amazed how few people know about it, and how wild they feel about it after their first experience. 

Finished and filled Womp 'Em

A finished Womp ‘Em with cherry pie filling.

The concept of cooking biscuits over the campfire has been around for ages, whether in a pan, using a reflective oven, or twisted around a skewer or stick. Womp ‘Ems take this to the next level by evenly toasting a biscuit which is shaped around a 1-1/4 inch dowel, then adding sweet or savory fillings. The sticks are quite easy to make at home, with instructions below! Womp ‘Ems are especially fun at multi-family camping trips, and may become a summer tradition as they certainly have for us.

To make Womp ‘Ems you’ll need a fire, a stick, uncooked biscuit dough, and fillings of your choice.

Womp Em getting started

Start by placing a biscuit on the wide dowel end of the stick.

Womp 'Em ready for roasting

Squeeze (don’t stretch) the biscuit to cover much of the wide dowel, at an even thickness.

Making Womp 'Ems (Ultimate Campfire Biscuits)
Cuisine: Camping
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 Womp 'Ems
  • One campfire which has died down to hot coals, allowing for easy roasting
  • One or more Womp 'Em sticks (as many as four can be used around a single campfire)
  • One roll of 8 uncooked biscuits (Pillsbury Grands Buttermilk Biscuits or Annie's Organic Flaky Biscuits)
  • Sweet or savory fillings (our favorites are various pie fillings with whipped cream as a dessert, or scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon/ham/sausage as breakfast)
  1. Place one uncooked biscuit on the wide end of the Womp 'Em stick. With clean hands or wearing kitchen gloves, press the biscuit into end of the stick, and then gradually squeeze it down the length of the wide stick. Squeezing tends to work better than pulling or stretching, and the end result should be an even thickness of dough extending most of the length of the wide dowel portion, about 4 inches of biscuit.
  2. Hold the stick out over the fire, rotating the biscuit regularly at a safe distance from the coals until it turns golden brown and is no longer gooey inside and out.
  3. When you think it's finished cooking, use a hot pad to gently grab the biscuit, and gently try pulling it off of the stick. If gooey biscuit dough still clings to the stick then put it back in place and continue roasting until it slides off cleanly.
  4. Allow the cooked biscuit to cool at least partially before eating. Once cool, invert it so the hole is facing up, and add fillings in layers according to your taste. Enjoy!

How to make Womp ‘Em Sticks (makes eight)

You will need:
Eight 3/8-inch diameter dowels for the handles (use one full-length dowel per Womp ’em stick)
One 1.25-inch diameter, 48-inch long dowel for the roasting ends
A saw (mitre saw works best) for cutting the wide dowel into sections
Two pieces of sandpaper, 60- and 100-grit
3/8 inch drill
Wood glue
Cooking spray or vegetable oil
  1. Cut the wide dowel into 6-inch sections. Sand each piece lightly to remove any sharp edges or rough spots, with the coarse 60-grit paper and then the 100-grit. 
  2. Carefully drill into one end of each section of wide dowel, drilling to a depth of 1-1/2 inches. Add a pea-sized amount of wood glue, and insert the 3/8 inch dowel, turning to cover the surface and wiping off any excess. Now wipe the stick clean with a damp cloth to remove any sawdust, and allow the glue to dry fully.
  3. Before first use, treat the wide dowel end with some cooking spray (Pam) or vegetable oil on a paper towel. 

Have you tried Womp ‘Ems, and why do you think they’re so popular? Have a great summer, everyone!

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, DIY, Kid Friendly

Frozen Pizza Song: Key to Surviving World Chaos (Really)

Lying in a pool of Piña Colada wearing a wetsuit and diving mask, Will Forte’s character Tandy Miller (“The Last Man On Earth”) leads the other survivors in song as the microwave counts down: “Frozen pizza, frozen frozen pizza…” Years after a virus wiped nearly every person and animal from the planet, this misfit crew have discovered a fully self-sustaining building, with electricity and running water, complete with refrigeration, ice, blenders, and still-viable pizza (watch the clip, or the episode).

With so many losses and great unknowns, these characters center themselves around the simple joys of food and friends. Are we remembering to do that?

Last week with the country navigating through the chaos of an unexpected election result, my wife and I did the rational thing: escaped with the kids to a waterpark, on a trip which was planned months ago but in retrospect was very well-timed. With my phone unplugged and twitter disconnected…we laughed, we splashed, we joked, we sang, we smiled and relished a deep, pure, unspoilable family joy. Joy had not been the prevailing emotion before that point.

I find it easy to complicate, overthink, and obsess on dynamics over which I have no control. Tandy Miller does not have this problem, as he’s quite skilled at keeping things basic and fun. While this show is not appropriate for children, the frozen pizza song certainly is. My kids have learned it and they know the story line and what that song represents: in any circumstance, be ready to find your frozen pizza moment, and protect the joy that it gives you.

Deep dish pizza slice

Lou Malnati’s pizza in Portland!

In related news, 24 frozen deep dish pizzas just arrived from Chicago as part of a mega-order I placed to celebrate the Cubs winning the World Series. As much as I’d like to eat them all, they are mostly for friends wishing to savor this moment, enjoy that great city and its pie, and minimize shipping costs through sharing a large order. Shocking election results can’t change the Cubs’ championship, nor can it change the narrow loss by my other-hometown Cleveland Indians in one of the most epic World Series finishes in history. Life is complicated…being from both cities I enjoyed AMAZING baseball and am just going to focus on the pizza at this point, and savor the memories. As a family I hope we keep singing that goofy song for years, channeling Will Forte as an odd sort of spiritual guide.

Deep Dish Frozen Pizza

Gooey cheese, flaky crust, delicious tomatoes…and the Cubs have won the World Series. I must be dreaming.

The next four years will unfortunately highlight our divisions as a nation. Food (even frozen pizza) can be an amazing common ground, a common denominator which can be intensely shared, whether enjoying foods we’ve jointly loved for years, or learning new cuisines and cultures. Our friends LOVED cooking up their Lou Malnati’s pizzas, and it was a joy to hear how much it meant to them. I hope you’ll not only engage in self-care but share experiences with others, looking into people’s eyes not just at headlines and demographics. Get with your tribe, engage with others who aren’t in your usual circle, indulge a little, and throw in a little poorly-pitched group singing. We’ll all chew through this together.

NOTE: I haven’t posted in a while, and am considering getting back into a rhythm. If you’d like to see more posts, recipes, cooking demo’s, etc, please let me know and I may reach out to get more focused on what would be of most interest.

Posted in Family, Food Politics, Parenting, Philosophies, Sports Recipes

Brown Butter Popcorn: Must-See Live TV Edition

One of my earliest and simplest recipes published on the blog is still one of my very favorites. When I booked a show to demo my Brown Butter Popcorn recipe on AM Northwest this week (in a penguin suit no less, video below), I decided it was time to re-photograph and refresh this old hit (original post, circa 2011).

Like many other bloggers I’ve considered refreshing early recipes with my improved skills and knowledge. Food blogging involves many varied activities which professional media outlets and studios typically handle as a team of specialists. So very few of us bloggers start this journey as all-around pros. Confession: When I published my very first recipe on the blog, I was so accustomed to the newspaper photographing recipes for me, that I almost forgot the photo entirely. After tasting versions to perfect the instructions, I had almost no finished food left to photograph. Fail.

Brown Butter Popcorn Cups Landscape

I bought these slanted serving cups awhile back, not quite knowing what I’d serve in them. Perfect for popcorn!

So I’ve taken these new photos which seem to me like a vast improvement over the original, do you agree? Should I leave the original post as-is, or insert these there instead? I’m leaning towards the latter.

Brown Butter Popcorn

It’s hard to make brown butter visually pop out of a popcorn photo, especially with brown bits of the kernels creating a sort of blended camouflage. This tear-shaped dish gave me a chance to let the butter run away a little ways on its own. Pinterest fans: Portrait images pin the best – use this one!

For those of you who tuned in for the show or watched it afterwards, thanks for being a part of this. Thanks to AM Northwest for having me on, and to Mr. Formal, a great long-running local business who provided my promo tuxedo rental for the show so I could celebrate Oscars season in red-carpet style. Question: what other recipes (mine or otherwise) do you think would make for good TV in the future?


Posted in Kid Friendly, Recipes, Science, Snacks

Seattle Seahawks Fan Recipe: Miso-Rubbed Salmon with Sriracha Aioli

A dominant team deserves a dominant tailgating or couchgating recipe: one that is easy, delicious, and true to the team and city. To celebrate the Great Northwest I’ve been thinking like an actual sea hawk, which is technically an osprey. A true feast for this creature is fresh wild salmon. What osprey generally don’t know is that salmon is especially amazing when flavored with Miso.

Miso Salmon with Sriracha Aioli

The Sriracha Aioli lets your guests add as much spice as they like, and comes together quickly with three simple ingredients.


With very few ingredients and steps, this recipe is great for any fan whether you are tailgating (on the grill) or in your home kitchen.

Go ‘hawks!! And if the game seems a little closer than it needs to be in the 4th quarter, just take my advice:





Crushing Miso Soup Mix With Rolling Pin

Crushing the larger bits of a Miso soup mix creates a complex and flavorful rub from just one ingredient!

Seattle Seahawks Fan Favorite: Miso-Rubbed Salmon Recipe with Sriracha Aioli
4.0 from 1 reviews
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Simple ingredients and quick preparation make this perfect for game day. Make sure your "12th man" crew is well-fed, whether you're tailgating outside of CenturyLink field, or cheering from your living room.
  • For the sauce:
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Sriracha sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • For the salmon:
  • 2 pounds fresh Salmon fillets, with or without the skin
  • one (1 ounce) packet miso soup mix
  1. Prepare the sauce by whisking together the mayonnaise, Sriracha sauce, and onion powder in a medium bowl.
  2. Crush the contents of the soup packet so that all large chunks are broken down as small as the dehydrated spices. This can be done while it's still in the bag, poking a hole to release the air, then pressing a rolling it against a flat surface with a rolling pin or beer bottle. Alternatively you can pour it out on a cutting board and flatten it with a rolling board. Spread the soup mix out on a plate.
  3. Lay the filet out on a cutting board, and slice it into portion-sized strips, about 1-1/2 inches wide. Press each piece of salmon onto the soup mix, coating the flesh side and the sides. If one side still has skin, I recommend leaving it on during cooking but it is up to you.
  4. To cook on a grill: Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium hot. Brush the grates with oil, then grill the salmon seasoned-side-down for 2 minutes, until there are clear grill marks. Flip the pieces over and continue grilling until just cooked through, about 2-4 minutes more depending on thickness.
  5. To cook on the stovetop: Heat a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, until the oil is shimmering but not smoking. Add the fish seasoned-side down, and cook until golden-brown, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the fish over with a spatula, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 2-4 minutes more.
  6. To cook in the oven: Preheat the broiler on low. Place the salmon pieces seasoned-side-up on a broiler pan or baking sheet. Place the pan or sheet on the top rack of the oven under the broiler, with the door ajar. Broil the salmon while watching it carefully, until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the broil function, setting the oven instead to Bake at 375 degrees, and move the pan or sheet down to the lower part of the oven. Continue until the fish is just cooked through.


Posted in Fast, Recipes, Sports Recipes


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