military family life is an interesting one.
there are times of insane busyness. moving and changes and schedules.
things being boxed and upheaved. move-mode.
but then there are the still and quiet moments. which i love. once you get everything unboxed. in place. hung on the walls.
until it’s too quiet.
yes, there is always the pitter-patter (or pounding) of little feet at my house. always the constant chatter of tiny voices. always littles to feed and teach and tend to. but i have found at times this military moving life can be immensely isolating.
making friends is like cupping water in your hands. it only stays for a while before it trickles through your fingers. on the next move, you dip your cupped hands in again, but gravity drains away once more. it’s just a matter of time.
i’m forever grateful for the gems of friendships i’ve taken with me from each home. not to mention the ease of social media in keeping an eye on those families and their growing crews. but easy coffees and playdates and simple day-to-day interactions that fully form and foster a friendship are over.
this is why i love baking things for coffee dates. baked goods are my love language. and my way of feeding and nurturing friends and friendships, new and old. they are my olive branches in gluten-free flour form to extend to those i’m hoping will become dear and those who have already settled in nicely.
i served these pretty little grain-free strawberry cream cheese tarts with a few cups of coffee last week to a friend we’ll be leaving soon. and one i am grateful for.
while there’s always sadness in leaving friends, i know the time and the energy will come to dip in once again to find more lovely souls to serve something sweet.
Pretty Little Grain-Free Strawberry Cream Cheese Tarts
Yield 9 tarts
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2/3 cup arrowroot starch
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (such as Spectrum)
- 1/4 cup water
- Cooking spray
- Turbinado sugar
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- For Filling, combine cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla paste. Set aside.
- For Tarts, combine almond flour, arrowroot starch, sugar, salt, xanthan gum, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add shortening and cut in until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water to form a dough.
- Transfer dough to a surface lightly sprinkled with arrowroot starch. Roll dough out to a square, about 1/4-inch thick.
- Cut dough into thirds horizontally and vertically to yield 9 smaller squares.
- Working with one square at a time, make a slit with a knife about 1/4-inch in from the edge down each side, leaving opposite corners intact. Fold outer edge across dough to form a frame. Repeat with the other outer edge cut. (See video for visual.)
- Repeat with remaining squares.
- Place about a tablespoon of filling in the center of each square. Top with slices of strawberry. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Spray each tart with a quick squirt of cooking spray. Sprinkle with a bit of turbinado sugar, if desired.
- Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool.
- Combine Frosting ingredients to make a thick frosting. Place in a ziptop bag and snip corner to drizzle evenly over tarts.