Gluten-free Jaffa Cakes with Lemon


Jaffa cakes I have known in Ireland. The first year I came to live here I discovered them one day on the shelf of my favorite store. And they ended up in my shopping trolley/cart. Back in the car I opened them immediately and after the first bite I knew: I have a new favorite cookie. They soon became my absolute comfort food.

Then years later I found out that I was highly gluten intolerant. No Jaffa cakes anymore. And I missed them like I (still) miss pizza. BUT: the good news is that all can have a healthier version. And that’s why I finally made some paleo friendly Jaffa cakes.


I found the recipe on Nadia’s Healthy Kitchen. But like always I made my own version. Mine has half of the sweetener, I used hazelnut meal instead of the almond flour. With ghee, I give the cookie base a richer flavor and because of the hazelnut meal I used hazelnut milk.

I did a second version with a sponge cake base. I like both versions, though they are very different. The sponge cake is more like the original Jaffa cakes with a light cookie base.

I like oranges very much in winter and the orange season is soon beginning, but this time I wanted to try with lemon. So I made a lemon marmalade, also with only half of the sweetener (I used raw honey) of what her recipe recalls. The chocolate chips for coating I mixed with just enough coconut oil to make the chocolate a little more fluid, this way it is easier to cover the little cookies or cakes.

I gave some to a friend to try and he liked them very much, even the sweetness, and he is not paleo at all.


BTW: Jaffa cakes were invented by McVitie and Price (British snack food brand) in 1927. A sponge cake with a layer of orange flavored jam and the upper part coated with chocolate. The name Jaffa refers to the Jaffa oranges. As ‘special edition’ there are Jaffa cakes with lemon or lime, strawberry or blackcurrant jam. I tried the blackcurrant and lime/lemon ones and liked them, too. Strawberry I am sure I would not like that much as the fruit for me should be more ‘bitter’. That makes it so good with the chocolate.

GF/DF Jaffa Cakes
Jaffa Cakes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
18 cookies 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 cookies 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
GF/DF Jaffa Cakes
Jaffa Cakes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
18 cookies 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 cookies 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
For the marmalade:
For the coating:
For the sponge cake version:
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Start with the marmalade. Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and stir well. Now heat the liquid until it starts to cook. Switch of the heat and let the marmalade cool to become jelly.
  2. Now preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  3. For the cookie base: In a bowl add all the 4 dry ingredients and mix them. Now add all the wet ingredients one after the other and stir well. The batter should be creamy.
  4. For the sponge cake: Divide the eggs and with the pinch of salt whip the egg whites until they are stiff. Mix in another bowl the yolks with the water, honey and flour and fold the batter into the egg whites.
  5. For both kinds of batter proceed as follows: Grease a muffin tin and fill in every muffin form one tablespoon of batter, just half a centimeter/0.2 inch high.
  6. Bake the Jaffa cookies base for 10 minutes. Take them out of the oven and out of the muffin tin and let them cool out well.
  7. With a teaspoon put a layer of the lemon marmalade on all the cookie bases. In a small sauce pan and at bain-marie melt the chocolate with the coconut oil. With the help of a teaspoon scoop some chocolate on every Jaffa cake and let the chocolate shell get hard in the fridge.
  8. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Try the marmalade with Jaffa oranges (or others). Be careful with the sweetener, oranges naturally are sweet. I would omit any additional sweetness.

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Etruscan Castle Town in Val di Merse/Tuscany


Murlo – like the hot springs of Petriolo and the Cistercian abbey of San Galgano – is located in the Val di Merse (Merse valley). In one of those super tiny Medieval walled or fortified cities that are so charming. You can find many of them in the regions of Tuscany, Umbria, Marche and Emilia-Romagna. One is nicer than the other.

On our way to the hot springs of Petriolo we had a short stop at Murlo. It is situated on a little hill which gives a great overview of the surrounding countryside. The little castle town is completely walled and has just a few houses inside the wall. Well, the wall is formed by houses and inside there is a big open space with 4 or 5 buildings, which form a kind of two piazzas.

Historically there were already the Etruscans living on this hill. In fact, you can find a very nice and interesting Etruscan museum within the walls. It seems so that the inhabitants are direct descendants from the Etruscans (how cool is that?). For the rest, history is not that interesting as it was first mentioned in 1055 under Henry III and had no greater relevancy. In the 19th century for a while there was some mining for lignite. Today it has received the orange flag as recognition for excellency in tourism, hospitality and environment.


The flag is well-earned in my eyes as it is extremely clean, the residents are very friendly, there are nice little B&Bs and restaurants and the museum is a good source for Etruscan history. Also, there are events during the year (mainly in summer).

We parked outside the walls and had a walk inside the little castle or borgo. We didn’t stay too long as we were on the way to the hot springs, but there were two tourist buses coming up when we left. We were lucky because we were nearly alone in the place during our stay.

I recommend stopping by for a short look and walk or even better for a nice little lunch break and a walk through the museum. Nearby there are also a lot of little churches to visit.

☆☆☆☆ ☆ ☆☆☆☆

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Murlo, Tuscany,/Italy:

For further information:
About Murlo


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Thermal Bathing at the Terme di Petriolo in Tuscany


Sight-seeing is a great thing when you are in a historical place, but you also need to do some different stuff. That’s why I thought it would be a great idea to visit one of the free baths in Tuscany. The nearest and easiest to combine with Pienza or San Galgano was the Terme di Petriolo.

The bath is situated at the river Farma, just a 20 minutes drive out of Siena and around 80 km/50 miles south of Florence in the Merse Valley. In the same valley you find San Galgano and Murlo, places I visited as well. The place is immersed in a forest with an opening to the river. Parking is possible along the narrow road.


Historically the thermal water was already known by the Etruscan civilization. Romans continued to come here and cure many kinds of health problems. Cicerone was here for example. But also later popes and the Medici and Gonzaga families knew how to feel better just lying in the more than 43°C/110°F hot water that is coming out between the rocks.

In the 13th century the establishment was rebuilt and came under the administration of Siena. That was the time they built a fortress to assure the health-seeking patients a secure stay. In the 15th century they constructed the first bridge over the river (today there are two: a narrow road and very high and a little further the highway). Pope Pius II was one of the most famous visitors here. The water is great for skin, respiration and the joints.

Today there is a modern thermal bath construction with modern facilities.


We were in the middle of the wild at the river, right outside the modern establishment. Here are some man-made ‘bath-tubs’ right in the river, where the hot water is collected and not flowing immediately into the river. You can sit in the hot water tubs, but also in the river itself (it was not deep at all). I was sitting for a long while under a hot waterfall.. so great and relaxing! It is a quiet, all but crowded place, perfect to relax, inhale some sulfur and getting a waterfall massage while sunbathing, too. For us it was a great break in a scheduled sight-seeing day.


Terme di Petriolo, Tuscany/Italy:

For further information:
Hot Springs in Tuscany


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Photos of San Galgano in Tuscany


One of the most intriguing places in Tuscany is for sure San Galgano. I have been there 4 years ago, sleeping in the car, so I could see the sunrise over the old abbey without a roof.

I came back this year mainly to show it to a friend of mine who was with me in Tuscany for a week – and her very first time. The place is in my eyes a must-see. The abbey today stands in the middle of a field and looks really amazing.

As I already wrote an article about the Abbey of San Galgano and the Chapel of Montesiepi, I just let you see some more pictures I took this time. I think they are too beautiful to just forget them in a folder. That following weekend there was a rock concert in the old walls, I can only imagine the acoustic…

☆☆☆☆ ☆ ☆☆☆☆

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☆☆☆☆ ☆ ☆☆☆☆

☆☆☆☆ ☆ ☆☆☆☆


San Galgano, Chiusdino/Siena, Italy:

For further information:
Abbey of San Galgano


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Living in a Cocoon – Walled Buonconvento


Buonconvento – from the Latin expression for ‘place of good luck’ – is located between Siena and Pienza. We ‘discovered’ the place when we were going from the Thermal Bath of Petriolo to Pienza. A little walled city, medieval and very calm.


We were looking for a place to have lunch and my friend wanted again melon with prosciutto, a very refreshing antipasto you can find everywhere in the summer time.

We stopped and parked the car right outside the walls. We walked in from a side opening which seemed to me not the original one. In fact, the main entrance is on the north side, called Siena Gate. The once second on the south side, the Rome Gate, was destroyed by the Germans after the Second World War.

The place is for sure older but mentioned for the first time in 1100. The most important event was 200 years later when Henry VII died after a visit here on the 24th of August. He was poisoned with arsenic he was administered for a disease called Anthrax.

The walls were built between 1371 and 1383. Until 1559 the walled town was part of Siena, before it was integrated to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and then 1861 to Italy.


Today it has a main road with a lot of little restaurants and shops. We had a perfect lunch with prosciutto and melon and later a nice ice-cream as well. I highly recommend a walk around the walls as there are more little shops ​to see.

The church of Santii Pietro e Paolo has a very interesting glass window and frescoes of the early 15th century. The bell-tower from the early 18th century shows the family coat of arms of the high families of the town and surroundings.

Outside the town center we saw a lot of villas and castles, most of them on private property, but nonetheless very beautiful to view through the gates.

☆☆☆☆ ☆ ☆☆☆☆


Buonconvento, Tuscany,/Italy:

For further information:
About Buonconvento


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