Hanukkah Harry’s Favorite Fixes: Kale Quinoa Bites & Amazing Apple Cake (Gluten-Free)



Happy Hanukkah to all of our friends who celebrate the Festival of Lights! Hanukkah Harry (and Harriet) have been well fed with delicious treats left under the menorah and appropriate, festive beverages (IPA for dad, Rioja for mama).


The littlest guy in our clan was happy to lend Hanukkah Harry a hand and help with shopping. Each munchkin receives one small gift each night, and Gideon picks out perfect presents for his siblings.


All three kids (and Hanukkah Harry) love mama’s gluten-free apple cake with pecans, toasted pecans and chocolate chips. Hints of warm spices, floral orange and robust, sweet vanilla complement the tart apples.


Naomi’s favorite part of the seasonal treat is the lightly toasted pecans from her dad’s home state of Georgia. Once you’ve had a Georgia pecan, you’re ruined, and no commercial pecan will suffice.


Plus, the crunch of the nuts is an ideal counterpoint to the oh-so-moist, soft sponge.

Mama first began making an apple cake with nuts and chocolate after her dear, lovely friend Susan served a version to her in November of 2009.


Since them, the spirit of that cake (now lightened-up, altered slightly and made gluten-free) has become intertwined in our fun family festivities.


Another wonderful treat to accompany menorah lighting, gift-wrapping – or to serve as a bite-sized appetizer at holiday parties – are our family’s kale quinoa bites.

Sweet roasted red pepper, hearty kale and rich, mature Irish cheddar pare harmoniously with nutty quinoa and rich eggs. The outside is crisp and the inside is moist; it’s a perfect bite.


Revision: it’s a perfect bite when paired with a glass of oaky, smooth chardonnay. The well-bodied, slightly sweet wine stands of to the pungent, aged cheese and mellows out the tart, sturdy kale.

IMG_1077True story: Gideon ate four quinoa muffins and did not leave a trace of crumbs… Other than the standard residual floor sprinkling. Par for the course.


He would have devoured a few more but wisely opted to save room for cake. Smart baby.

IMG_1067We enjoy these savory mini-muffins either warm or at room temperature. If Hanukkah Harry doesn’t require additional hors-d’oeuvres, they are delicious for breakfast- or lunch with a steaming bowl of bean soup.

Asher loves these nuggets of vegetable goodness! We first made the bites at brunch back in New Mexico for Asher’s BFF Steele, Gideon’s favorite baby pal Gunnar and my fun, amazing friend Emily.


Whip up some scrumptious gluten-free goodies this holiday season, and share them generously with Hanukkah Harry (or Harriet) and those you love. Happy Hanukkah!


Kale Quinoa Bites (Gluten-Free)

Yield: About 3 dozen bites


6 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature
2 cups baby kale, roughly chopped
2 roasted red peppers (homemade or canned), dried well and chopped into small pieces
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded Irish cheddar
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon fine Iodized sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus additional to grate over bites
nonstick coconut oil cooking spray
  • Preheat the oven to 400•F. Spray two mini muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the quinoa, kale, shallot, cheddar, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper until well-combined.
  • Use a small melon ball scoop to fill each muffin cup completely, about 36 cups total. Pat down each cup.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 8-12 minutes. Allow to cook completely, then transfer to a serving tray.
  • Crack black pepper over the quinoa bites. Serve at room temperature.

Amazing Apple Cake (Gluten-Free)

Yield: About 16 pieces


4 granny smith or other tart apples, cored and chopped into small, even pieces
1/3 cup roasted, chopped pecans, plus an additional 3 T to sprinkle on top
1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1 box gluten-free yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)
2/3 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed or store-bought, room temperature
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1/4 cup applesauce, homemade or store-bought
3 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon each: freshly grated or ground nutmeg and cinnamon, plus addition for garnish
nonstick coconut oil cooking spray
  • Heat the oven to 350•F. Spray a 9×13-inch glass pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, toss the apples, pecans and dark chocolate with the cake mix.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk in the orange juice, coconut oil, apple sauce, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon and vanilla.
  • Fold the orange juice mixture into the apple mixture with a rubber spatula, and mix until well combined.
  • Pour the mixture in to the prepared glass pan, evenly distributing the batter. Even out the top of the cake.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top of the cake is a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow cake to cool completely on a wire rack. Serve pieces with freshly grated cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired… Hanukkah Harry prefers a big scoop or two of vanilla bean ice-cream.

shannaward.com (2013-2015). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.



10 thoughts on “Hanukkah Harry’s Favorite Fixes: Kale Quinoa Bites & Amazing Apple Cake (Gluten-Free)

  1. Love this post Shanna. Family traditions are definitely to be treasured; great to see that your little ones are becoming well acquainted with family recipes (and veggie-filled ones to boot!). Your apple cake looks DIVINE. I definitely must give it a try! And… I’ve never had a Georgia pecan. Must change that! Happy Hannukah and merry festive season xxx

  2. I myself am not a huge pecan fan but the boys love them. We have local South Carolina ones though…I can’t vouch for them being better than Georgia pecans but I’m sure the boys will say they are! The quinoa bites look delicious as well. Always fun to have good bite sized foods. Happy Hanukkah!

  3. I especially love these lovely kale quinoa bites! I am going to make them as a lovely appetizer at Christmas,..ooh yes! They look superb!
    That yummy looking apple cake looks fantastic too! I am going to try out that one too, of course! xxxx

  4. Lovely recipes; great for the holidays, especially the quinoa bites. And the children are so adorable. I can’t believe how much they’re grown. How time flies. Happy Hanukkah to you and your family, Shanna. Best wishes for the year 2016.

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