Friday, November 11, 2011

Peppermint Fudge Brownies

Peppermint Fudge Brownies
makes 14-18

2/3 cup fine brown rice flour (Bob's Red Mill. I've found that other brands are too grainy.)

2/3 cup tapioca starch (also Bob's)

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

4 large eggs, at room temp

1 1/2 sticks melted unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

3/4 cups heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

For the topping:

14 peppermint Ghirardelli peppermint bark squares*

1-1 1/2 cups peppermint candies, chopped (I actually found these already chopped up in the baking aisle @ HEB.)

*I don't believe they have gluten. I haven't had problems with them.


In a large bowl, cream sugar with eggs and melted butter. Stir in cocoa; mix in vanilla extract and heavy cream.

Mix together flours, xanthan gum, and salt in a medium bowl.

Melt chocolate chips, then slowly stir them in with wet ingredients.

Slowly mix in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, mix well.

Pour brownie batter into a greased 3 quart baking dish.

Break up Ghirardelli chocolate mints. Arrange over the brownie batter.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree on the middle rack for 30 MINUTES.

Sprinkle over a cup of chopped peppermint candies. BAKE 10 MORE MINUTES on middle rack.

Allow to cool completely before slicing brownies (otherwise it'll be messy :).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mini Gluten-free Pumpkin Salted Caramel Turnovers (aka Pumpkin Cajeta Empanadas)

I'm already thinking about which Christmas CD I'm going to start listening to first, come October 31st. (Technically, it's not a CD. It's a download or one of the many holiday mixes on itunes, but I can't bring myself to stop saying CD. :P) I figure, if Costco has their Christmas stuff up, then I'm already behind!

Holiday menu plans are already in the works. I'm actually considering making these empanadas instead of pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. They travel a lot easier and there's no slicing required. (I still don't own a pie/cake cutter.)

What will be on your holiday menu this year?

My husband's been taking sweets to work every Friday, because Friday is his official "cheat day," it's also my baking day. (Well, some of the work usually begins on Thursday.) It was tough to share these ;), but they were a hit. A few folks already asked for the recipe. Here I am posting it almost a week later (sorry!). I'm happy to report that I left the few leftover turnovers/empanadas out overnight/uncovered and they weren't stale, stiff, or dry.

Flakey and good, with a pumpkiny center that was still moist.

I think this is my favorite dessert so far.

This recipe makes about 24, unless you make them huge. (The photo above depicts a huge one that I baked for the hubby and I so we could eat it with ice cream on top!) You'll have about half the filling left after. Tips for what to do with it? Mix it with a few scoops of vanilla ice cream for a pumpkin caramel milk shake. Or add a few tablespoons of heavy cream to it, heat it briefly, then mix everything to enjoy it as a pumpkin caramel pudding :).

The filling is thicker than pumpkin pie filling, almost custardy. I made it that way so that it wouldn't sneak out of the pastry during the baking process. It worked perfectly!

To make the dough, view this danish recipe but use 1/4 cup almond meal instead of 1/4 cup potato starch.

Also, I really like how this video explains how to roll out the dough. I rolled out the dough (and butter dough ball :) like this. I didn't understand a word, but it's a great video tutorial, still :P.

Then....use a small glass with about a 3 inch diameter to make the circles. Flatten them out a bit, add about 3/4 TBSP of filling on half the circle, then fold over and pinch the sides closed or seal with a fork. Using a pastry brush, brush the pastries with cinnamon butter. To make the cinnamon butter I used 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter mixed with 1/4 tsp cinnamon and sugar to taste for every 8 pastries, and I brushed them right before baking (it's better to do it a little at a time like this because it will harden as it cools). Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment, on the middle rack, in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 16 minutes.

Pumpkin Caramel Filling:
1 can pumpkin
1 13.4 ounce can of Nestle's dulce de leche (this one)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt

Combine pumpkin and dulce de leche in a sauce pan over low heat. While constantly stirring, cook on medium-low until the dulce de leche is completely melted into the pumpkin; stir in pumpkin pie spice. Set aside and allow to cool for a few minutes, very slowly sprinkle in the corn starch while stirring (too quickly and it'll get lumpy). Raise heat to medium and reduce while continually stirring for 5 minutes. Set aside, stir in heavy cream and coarse salt.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gluten-free Pecan Pie

If I had to choose one dessert that reminds me most of the Lone Star State, it'd be pecan pie. Unlike a lot of pies that require cooling before eating, pecan pie is delicious right out of the oven with ice cream (especially if you've got vanilla ice cream nearby).

Gooey, warm, molassesy, nutty... Molassesy? That's how I'd describe this pie. I used two somewhat different ingredients for the filling. Instead of using light brown sugar, I used dark brown sugar (more molasses). Instead of using regular corn syrup, I used dark corn syrup.

Ack! Corn syrup? I'll be honest. I've tried pecan pies without it and I personally find that it adds something to the texture of the filling. I tried the filling in this pie recipe and liked it, but wanted to go a little darker. I like dark chocolate and I like dark pecan pies. If you like toffee and molasses, you'll enjoy the warmer flavors in this pecan pie. Even gluten eaters gave it two thumbs (or forks) up! :) Actually, my husband gave it two spoons up because he likes to eat pie with a spoon.

Say a little prayer for Texas as you devour your next slice of pecan pie. It's a little more than hot out here, especially with all these fires! Maybe if we all do a rain dance together this drought will come to an end!

For the pie crust:
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons shortening, cubed
4 tablespoons cold butter, cold and cubed

Combine all dry ingredients. Next add the vanilla, butter and shortening. Time to get your hands dirty! Fold everything in. Then add the water towards the end. Shape dough into a ball. You can chill it or work with it as is. I like to roll it between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Because gluten-free dough isn't as elastic, don't roll out the pie dough too thin. Instead, roll it out up to 1/2 inch thick. Then place it in a greased pie pan. From there I do the repairs. This dough is resilient so you can easily shape it or pull off a piece here and there if there are areas that need more dough. Think of yourself as an artist working with clay :).

Pecan Pie Filling:
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon water
3 teaspoons corn starch
3 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2-3/4 cups pecans

This is the easy part! Slowly melt the butter in a pan. Mix the corn starch and water together in a small cup/bowl. Add the brown sugar to the melted butter--stir well. Next, add the corn starch, then stir in the corn syrup and everything but the eggs and pecans. Move it away from the flame. Allow it to cool for just a minute. Mix eggs together in a bowl and slowly pour the eggs in with the rest of the melted filling, then mix in the pecans.

Pour the filling into the pie. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven, covered with the pie crust protector and aluminum foil (or just foil). Bake with coverings for 45 minutes. Then remove all the aluminum/pie crust cover and bake 10-15 more minutes, or until slightly browned on edges. Allow the pie cool for just a bit when it's done so that it sets.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Maple Butter Balls

I think I just heard a pin drop, or maybe that was the tiny cry of an enraged sugar ant protesting my absence from the kitchen. He's on strike because the countertops have been free of cookie, cake, pie, and pastry crumbs for much too long.

That's changing, though. These toasty summer days here in Texas aren't keeping me away any longer. We've said goodbye to our old place in Boston, and now we're settled in our new home here in the Lone Star State--this oven's still too shiny, not enough charred pie filling stuck to the bottom just yet, but we'll change that soon enough.

I've actually started baking already (still, that was a month ago, too long!). Made a pecan pie a few times. Baked a batch of maple multigrain rolls, even. But, of course, I didn't photograph the evidence!

I better have a good excuse for this nonsense!

Though it's been quiet around here, life has been anything but boring. We've had a few adventures, including moving across the country after graduating from law school (my hubby, not me :), learning how to function while waking about 5 times a night (we've got us a night owl ;), also learning how to squeeze in a bazillion chores while also working from home during naptime. Life is full! I feel very blessed. I've missed you all dearly, though!

Can you believe I baked these cookies on March 29th! Talk about a stale recipe! I made them right after we went maple sugaring. Though I will miss Northeastern foodie adventures like that one, I will definitely miss them a little less when I'm not having to shovel snow December-March :D!

If I had to choose a favorite flavor, maple would be it! I've always found that baking with maple gives desserts a buttery kind of sweetness that reminds me of fall.

Maple Butter Balls
1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour (I think Bob's has the best texture)
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup white rice flour
3 1/2 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons grade b maple syrup
3 tablespoons maple sugar, for rolling and more for sprinkling after

Makes about 24 balls
I like to mix up all the flours in a large bowl with the salt. Then in another smaller bowl, I add the wet ingredients, including the maple syrup and the sugar. The Maple sugar is for sprinkling on top of the cookies.

Bake on a greased cookie sheet (you don't have to space them apart too much) in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 13 minutes, sugar will be a bit browned on top when they're done.

They'll be a little soft right when you take them out, so let them cool on the baking sheet for about 7 minutes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gluten-free Croissants

Guess who?


little ones...

A letter from the croissants:
"We're finally here! Tasty right out of the oven, warm and buttery. 2 sticks of butter for just 14 of us, so you better believe we're buttery-delicious! You'll love the sweet aroma we give off while we're baking! We taste similar to those Pillsbury ones, except we're
homemade and gluten-free. (Shhh! Don't let our baker know that we told on her--she used to eat those a few years ago, before saying goodbye to gluten!)"

"We're cute and little, and still tasty next morning--no bed head, promise! We just need to warm up to the idea of being eaten the day after baking (that is, if we're still around), so stick us in the micro for 15 seconds and we'll be as good as new. Top us off with fresh strawberry or blueberry jam. We've heard that we're also pretty tasty with cranberry sauce (think Thanksgiving
or Christmas dinner, or even Valentine's Dinner!). Speaking of Valentine's, I bet we'd be delicious with a chocolatey filling!"

"Oh, and if there's a stranger living in your house who's on an anti-carb kick, you can make one extra little for them. See our wittle brother below? He's kinda camera shy--tried to disguise himself in rice flour while we were getting ready for the big photo shoot!"

Gluten-Free Croissants (makes 12-14 little ones)

Bowl 1:
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp sea salt
keep on the side:
2 sticks of cold butter
Bowl 2:
1 tbsp sugar
4 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
Bowl 3:
2 large egg yolks (keep egg whites for egg wash)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup reserved white rice flour (just use it as you need it, don't use it all at once!)

Mix together ingredients from bowl one. Set aside.

In bowl 2, combine sugar and yeast, then add warm water; set aside and allow to proof (should become foamy on top), for about 10 minutes.

Keep on the side:
2 sticks of cold butter

Combine all ingredients in third bowl, set aside.

Now combine the ingredients from the third bowl into the large first bowl (with the flours!). Don't add yeast yet!

Cut up the cold butter into cubes (basically follow the lines on the butter wrapper, then cut them in half, after that so they're in half tablespoon amounts).

Wash your hands, then start adding the butter in, a little at a time. Work the dough with your hands until you've added all the butter. It's ok if there are lumps of butter still.

Now slowly pour in the yeast. Continue working the dough with your hands. Wash your hands. Now shape the dough into a ball, sprinkle the outside of the ball of dough with rice flour, but not all of the reserved rice flour (just so the surface is lightly coated).

Divide the dough in half. Work with half the dough at a time. Set the other half aside and cover with a clean cloth.

Roll the dough into a rectangle, then use a pizza cutter or knife to even out all the edges so it's a clean rectangle. Now you're going to cut out and shape croissants with a knife (like the tutorial) or a pizza cutter. Note: Don't pull the croissants, just roll them. Gluten-free dough isn't as elastic!

Follow this tutorial for how to cut croissants--but don't pull the dough like she does :):

Let rise for 1 hour, covered with a clean cloth, and kept in a dark warm area. Use pastry brush to lightly brush on egg wash.

You'll end up with 14 croissants. Bake them in a preheated 350 degree oven for 14-16 minutes.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Product Review: Kinnikinnick Cookies and Donuts!

If there's one gluten-free food I'm really skeptical of, it's frozen gluten-free donuts. That just sounds like a disappointment.

But disappointed is far from how I felt after taking a bit out of Kinnikinnick's Chocolate Dipped Donuts and their special Cinnamon-Apple Donuts--they were deeelicious!!!

They contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I'd sample their Cinnamon-Apple Donuts. I said yes, because I was already a fan of their gluten-free graham crackers. Plus, if there's one thing I learned in college, it's this: If food is free, eat it (well, most of the time). I'm so glad I accepted their offer! They were even nice enough to send over their chocolate covered donuts, a box of their chocolate creme cookies, and gluten-free panko bread crumbs. The chocolate creme cookies were also a hit--I even shared some with my non-gf eating friends this weekend and they enjoyed them too. I've yet to try the bread crumbs, but I'll certainly be using them in the near future.

The only problem with the donuts and the cookies? They're addicting. I just got a root canal, the last thing I need is more sugary desserts. Seriously, though, each bite convinced me that the $2500 root canal and crown weren't that bad. ;)

I will be buying the donuts again! I can see why they suggest buying the Cinnamon-Apple ones for your sweetie this Valentine's. It's easy to find tasty gluten-free chocolate, but donuts? Good GF donuts are a rarity. Thanks Kinnikinnick for making tasty ones!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gluten-free Wonton Soup (or Ravioli :)

Are you all staying warm these days? That seems to be a struggle for us here on the East Coast, as we keep getting hit with one snowstorm after the other. Now I've got a sick little one and a craving for soup. But not just any soup...wonton soup!

Wontons: little magic bundles of porky deliciousness (except, these here are more Texas-sized). Who knew that getting pork filling to taste restaurant-good could be soo easy? But only thanks to a certain tasty recipe that provided the inspiration for this cooking adventure.

I've been craving wonton soup for months now, no--probably more like years (you GF folks know how it is to have an unsatisfied craving for ages!). I finally gave in and decided to experiment. Here are the results of my first experiment...

What I learned:
We're not going to have as much elasticity using gf flour to make wonton wrappers as we would using all purpose flour. Surprise! ;) But why should we let that stop us from experimenting?!

The good thing about this wonton dough recipe is that it's quite forgiving. I tried making the wonton wrappers (or squares) as thin as possible, and ended up with a few holes. Patching them up was fairly easy. Just use an extra bit of dough, if necessary. Keep a glass of water on the side to dip your index fingers in, so that you can use the water to "glue" the patch on. Smooth out the surface with more water. There were a few that didn't tear because I made 'em thick, but they ended up being thicker than I would've liked.

This dough is also pretty sturdy, because the wontons didn't fall apart after getting into some hot water (or chicken broth) with a few chopped green onions :). This particular recipe makes enough for 12 whole wontons, but the wonton filling (meatball) recipe makes enough for about 24.

When experimenting, I like to start off with small batches. You can just double the dough recipe if you like, or throw in a few meatballs without wrappers. They also won't dissolve in the soup :).

I think this recipe would make tasty homemade ravioli--give it a try and let me know how it works out for you!

I've also been experimenting with croissants! Yes, so far I've made them twice. Stay tuned for a croissant post in the very near future. (As in, not months from now. I promise to keep my resolution ;).

Finally...the recipe and a quick photo tutorial. Because of the elasticity issue, I decided to fold these more like ravioli than traditional wontons. :)

Wonton Wrappers, makes 12 complete:
2 tsp potato flour (not potato starch!)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
1 large egg
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup and reserved 2 tablespoons cold water

about 1/4 cup more white rice flour reserved, for rolling out wontons

Mixing instructions-create the flour blend first, then add the salt and xanthan gum. Mix well. Add the egg and water (2tbsp last). I divided the dough into smaller portions and covered the portions I wasn't using with a towel. You can either roll out with a rolling pin or use your hands (I found it easier to use my hands--like making tortillas). Then cut out individual squares (about 4 inches) with a pizza cutter; I filled each wonton with about 1.5-2 tsps of meat.

Wonton filling (ground pork):
1/2 pound ground lean pork
1 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp dried onion
1/2 tsp garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Combine all ingredients, mix well.

Throw the wontons into a pot filled with 32 ounces of lightly boiling chicken broth. Add 1 tsp onion powder, and 1 tsp garlic powder. I also added 2 chopped green onions and a package of my favorite stir fry veggies (not traditional, but hearty :). I added the veggies at the very end, once the wontons were cooked (they should be firm, meatballs shouldn't be pink).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cloudy with a Chance of...Molasses rolls?

Hi there , Folks!

I know, it's been ages! I'm a little nervous typing right now, because I feel like I actually have an audience! Believe me, this is definitely a good thing. I'm pleasantly surprised that you folks have subscribed. I'm not gonna list how many feedburner subscribers I have, because I'm sure some of you blogging pros will laugh at my excitement. Oddly, that's part of the reason why I don't blog as much these days, because I'm being watched :D!

I started this blog typing as if someone was reading, because isn't that how blogging works? At first, you tell yourself that the comments aren't there because imaginary blogging friends only have imaginary fingers, of course! Then, the adrenaline rush hits after the first couple of comments start rolling in; then you post a million times a day…and then?

Well, now you folks are saying things, and actually reading! Oh, the anxiety. I feel like you people are watching me now. I have a bit of stage fright, and I just use my 8 month old as my excuse for not posting ;). What if I forget to type in an ingredient when I input the recipe? What if the photos of my molasses rolls resemble meatballs instead of…molasses rolls. You all will kindly let me know, right? Right?!

In all honesty, I'm very thankful for you all! Thankful from the bottom of my carbohydrate-addicted heart! Thank you for giving me an excuse to bake gluten-free treats, especially now that my husband is on the paleo diet! Seriously, the guy is married to a woman with a blog called "Flour Arrangements" and he vowed to stop eating carbs in 2011! Meanwhile, my resolution is to post more on here! I guess opposites really do attract ;).

Enjoy these molasses rolls; I promise, despite the photos, they don't taste anything like meatballs! Actually, they don't taste much like molasses either, it's a very subtle molasses/spiced taste. Store them in an air-tight container, then warm 'em up in the micro for 15 seconds to enjoy them warm and soft after they've lost their "fresh outta the oven" texture.

Molasses Rolls (Makes 8)

Dry Mixture:
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
4 tablespoons low-fat dried milk powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp sea salt
Yeast Mixture:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 cup warm water (let rise until it just starts to foam on top--about 10 minutes)
Other wet mixture:
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons molasses

Combine all dry ingredients together, mix well.

In another small bowl, combine the water and sugar, then add yeast. Let it sit for about 8 minutes, or until foam just begins to form on top (proofing starts).

Next, combine the wet ingredients in another small bowl.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry bowl. Then fold in the yeast mixture.

Let rise in a warm, dark area for about an hour.

Shape dough into individual rolls, about 8. Bake in a pre-greased cake or pie pan.

Preheat oven to 350 and bake rolls for about 22-25 minutes.

Store in air-tight container for up to 3 days (don't require refrigeration).