Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Classic Gluten Free Stuffing

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Here's a Thanksgiving recipe for those who appreciate a traditional stuffing, and the rolls I featured on here a few days ago :).  It's based on this recipe and it's a very forgiving one.  You can easily make this your own by adding or removing your favorite ingredients.  I really like apples and cranberries, so I threw them in. But if you prefer a more savory stuffing, just make it with the celery and onion.  Sausage would be a nice addition, too.  I'd say the most important ingredient here is...butter!  Of course.  This recipe doubles nicely but please, please be sure you make sure to double the butter (at least).  The more butter, the better!

Classic Gluten Free Stuffing
Makes enough for 5 hungry folks
2 cups crumbled gluten-free rolls
2 cups crubled gluten-free corn bread
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
1/2 cup finely diced celery
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 finely chopped fuji apple, no skin (I also added 1/2 cup cranberries)
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning

Preheat oven to 350

Crumble up the corn bread and biscuits, set aside in a greased oven safe platter (9 by 12) .  Toast the bread crumbs in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove then raise temperature to 375.

Sautee the celery and onion in the butter.  Then add all the spices, include the salt and pepper.  Lastly, stir in the chicken broth.  Cook on low for 5 minutes.

Pour seasonings and broth mixture over the bread crumbs in the pan.

Bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes on middle rack, until top is golden brown (or as toasted as you'd like it).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gluten-Free Holiday Dinner Rolls

It's a little over a week before Thanksgiving.  Now's the time to search for reliable gluten-free holiday recipes.  Only issue is, they're not always easy to come across!  Honestly, this recipe is reliable. I've made these rolls about 6 times already.  If you're worried about your non gluten-free friends disapproving, fear not.  I baked them again last night to accompany a tasty butternut squash soup, and my husband (who is usually on the paleo diet) broke his diet yesterday and ate 3 of these in under 10 minutes!

Yes, this recipe calls for quite a few different flours, but that's the secret.  The combination works perfectly to create a moist dinner roll that isn't heavy and dry, like some gluten-free baked goods can be.   I've tried substituting things here and there, and the only thing that really works is using teff flour in place of almond meal.

I've discovered that using too much sorghum flour produces a funny after taste. Using too much almond meal (or rice flour) creates a gritty texture.  Too much potato starch and you've got a really heavy roll, that probably won't roll ;).  Too much starch, actually, also creates a heavy roll, which is why I don't use both tapioca starch and potato starch here.  I've also tried using just flax seed in place of xanthan, but the dough doesn't rise as nicely and the texture is sticky.  Can you tell that my kitchen doubles as a chem lab?  Baking gluten-free really does make me feel like a mad scientist sometimes.  Throw a rambunctious toddler and a 3 month old who won't nap into the mix, and you can add emphasis to the mad part ;).  It gets pretty crazy.  But that's half the fun ;).

Next...a traditional gluten-free stuffing that uses these rolls.

OH, and if you're feeling really carby, double this recipe and use half the dough to make cinnamon rolls!  Totally works (I tried it).  Actually, I first got the idea to use corn flour for these rolls after trying The Gluten-Free Girl's cinnamon rolls (yum!).

(Large) Bowl 1:
1 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup corn flour
1 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp sea salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
3 whole eggs
3 Tbsp olive oil butter (you can substitute all oil if making casein-free; I've tried it, it works!)

(Small) Bowl 2:
1/4 cup and 1/8 cup warm water (microwave for 30 seconds)
1/2 cup warm apple cider or cloudy apple juice
2 1/4 tsp yeast (fast acting)
3 tablespoons sugar

For topping:
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 tablespoon honey
sprinkle of bob's rice cereal or gf oatmeal

Start off by combining everything dry.  Stir well.  THEN create a well in the middle of the flour where you can add the rest of the wet ingredients listed under "Bowl 1".  Set aside.  In a smaller bowl, combine the apple cider, sugar and warm water.  Add the yeast, let sit for 5 minutes.  Lastly, combine everything together, fold together until uniform.

Get a bowl of warm water, set this aside.  Line a cookie sheet or casserole dish, coat with butter.  Now begin shaping the rolls, using water (or melted butter, yummy) to wet your hands before and between shaping the balls of dough (this works better than flour, helps the rolls turn golden).

Use a pastry brush to brush with melted butter/honey (you can also use maple syrup), then sprinkle with cereal (also tasty left alone without the cereal).

Let rise half an hour in preheated 200 degree oven (the oven should be off while they're rising though :).

Finally, bake for 20-25 minutes at 375, no preheating, just turn the oven on while they're still in there after rising.

Makes 16-20 rolls.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spicy, Soft and Chewy Gluten-Free Ginger Cookies

...And there's not a drop (or sprinkle?) of xanthan gum in this recipe, folks!  So if you want to make your gluten-free friend a special cookie this coming holiday season, you don't have to spend $12 on a bag of xanthan gum that you'll never use again (...let's avoid having it spill all over your pantry floor or cupboards, like it always seems to do in mine)!

I'm still experimenting with xanthan gum-free recipes, and I've found that making gluten-free bread without xanthan gum is pretty challenging.  It seems the dough doesn't want to rise as nicely.  But if you want to make a light pie crust or batch of cookies, all you need is a teaspoon or two of cold milled ground flaxseeds.  I heard about this baking secret from the gluten-free girl. (If you can make delicious gluten-free bread with flax, lemme know!)

Ok.  So maybe it isn't a secret.  I think I'm just a little behind, as with most things :).  And this is why I'm getting getting an early start on the holiday baking.

I can't wait to do a cookie exchange!  Only thing is, I think I might be the only one bringing a batch of gluten-free cookies.  But at least I'll be able to fool their taste buds into thinking that the chewiness is from gluten!

These Big Soft Ginger Cookies looked good.  But one thing I've learned from All-Recipes' recipes is that their members usually give THEIR OWN versions of the cookie/dessert 4 or 5 stars, but they seem to offer quite a few critiques of the original recipe.  So I read the tips and tweaked away, all the while remembering that I'd be working on a gluten-free version.

When using gums like xanthan and guar (What weird names.  Still feel like I'm speaking some sort of green-eyed alien language when saying them), more liquids are required.  I usually throw in a few extra eggs, or a bit more milk/water/etc.  But this time we're using ground flax mixed with a bit of hot water.  The result?  A cookie that isn't heavy.  Instead, it's soft, chewy, and even spicy.

That's how I like my ginger cookies, with a kick.  2 1/2 tsps of ginger did the trick for me.

Now that I've got you thinking about holiday baking, what Christmas cookie do you want to see gluten free?  Email me your requests starting.... now!

I can't seem to get my hands off of that Better Homes and Garden Magazine with all the pretty festive cookies on the cover.  But it's $10!  Guess what?  You can find those recipes by googling "Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies".  First link, promise!  I'll be making a few of 'em.  Don't they look good?!

Spicy, Soft, and Chewy Gluten Free Ginger Cookies
Makes about 16 medium ginger cookies

Bowl 1
3/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup teff flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt

Bowl 2
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
combine 2 tsp ground flax with 2 tsp boiling water (in another small bowl)
3 TBSP olive oil butter
3 TBSP non hydrogenated shortening
2 TBSP molasses

1/8 cup sugar for rolling cookies in...

Preheat oven to 350

Mix together all the dry ingredients in one big bowl.  In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients (I know sugar isn't wet, but you know :). And in yet another small bowl, stir together the flax and water. Then work everything together in the biggest bowl, don't be afraid to get your hands dirty.

Roll the cookies into little balls, then roll them in the extra 1/8 cup of sugar you set aside.  Place them on a cookie sheet about an inch apart on a greased cookie sheet, and flatten them a tad with your fingers (they will spread, but don't leave them as brown balls.  Doesn't look pretty on the cookie sheet this way, and won't cook evenly either. :)

Bake for 9- 10 minutes in your preheated 350 degree oven.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cranberry Pecan Maple Bars

Merry Christmas!

Paying attention?  Just checking :).  I'd be impressed if you were.  Seeing it's been MONTHS since I've blogged.  Easter, actually.

I digress...

I might as well be wishing you a Merry Christmas; I'm already baking for the holiday season and listening to Christmas music.  In fact, I listened to Nat King Cole's version of Jingle Bells about 20 times earlier today.  Not because I'M obsessed.  My two year old is.  "Again!",  she cried.  And AGAIN it played.  (I also don't know how to disable the replay feature on my iPhone.  Why is my iPhone set to replay?  Because a certain 11 pound someone falls asleep to the "White Noise" track.  See photo below to find out who this someone is. :)

We cheated and had a semi-Thanksgiving dinner last week, too.

In my yard, the scarecrow wears a scarf and a Santa hat, while the snowman's got a pumpkin head (not really, but  I've considered giving him a much needed make-over).  Around here, We celebrate all the holidays together!  Why not?

But you're here for the food, right?

Back to the holiday baking topic.  I've been experimenting with two recipes, one for biscuits and the other for pumpkin bread pudding (which uses the leftover biscuits).

...Also been working on a stuffing recipe that's been tested out on a few folks already.  They survived the test!  That means it'll be on here soon.  I posted a stuffing recipe a few years back, but it's my family's colorful version, which includes all kinds of fruits and nuts--a reflection of the actual family, perhaps? ;)  Kidding!

Anyhow, last year my sister-in-law was on a quest to find the perfect stuffing recipe, the kind she grew up eating at her grandma's every holiday season.  She found the recipe!  Only thing is, it wasn't/isn't gluten free.  So I took that recipe and gave it a gluten-free make over. Because her gluten-filled version smelled so good, I couldn't resist.  The recipe called for Pillsbury Biscuits.  Man, those are good and how I miss their buttery sweetness!  Well, I think I might've found their gluten-free counterpart... stay tuned for the recipe.  I promise I'll post it before Christmas 2013 ;).

Stuffing... that reminds me.  I stopped feeling like a stuffed turkey around midnight on August 16, 2012.  Why?  Because my sweet and delicious Juliette Vera was born on that very day.  Here she is.  Don't you just want to gobble, gobble her up?!  :D

Now, here's a treat that reminds me of Boston.  My old home.  Since we're in Texas now, I made sure to throw in a few pecans.

Base of Bars:
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 tsp guar gum
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries

Crunchy Topping:

1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt

Frosting Drizzle:
powdered sugar
tablespoon of maple syrup
1 tablespoon water
2 1/2 tablespoons cream cheese

It's a long recipe, so let's keep the instructions simple (Is that's possible in the gluten-free world of baking? ;)

Preheat oven to 350

Mix the "Base" ingredients together, starting with all the dry ingredients.  Put the wet ingredients in another bowl, then stir to combine.

Next, prepare the "Topping" by first melting the butter with the pecans, then adding the rest of the ingredients.  Cook on low until this thickens.

Grease an 8 by 11 inch pan, then pour the "Base" in.  Next, evenly layer the topping!

Work on the "Sauce". Just throw everything together in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it all together for 30 sec increments while taking stirring breaks, until everything is nice and gooey.

Lastly, pour that over the topping and bake it for 25 minutes at 350 on the middle rack.

Lastly (I mean it this time ;), when everything is cooled, prepare the frosting glaze and drizzle it over the bars.  I don't measure this part.  It should be like a thick glaze in texture.  First add the cream cheese, water, and maple syrup, then add enough powdered sugar to give it the desired consistency.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies
Makes about 20

1 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup almond meal
3/4 tsp orange peel, dried
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp xanthan gum

1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 tablespoons softened butter
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
1 tablespoon cold water

1. Start by combining all of the dry ingredients, from the rice four to the xanthan gum. Mix well.

2. Next, cream together all the wet ingredients. Use a mixer, you really want that butter broken down.

3. In 1/2 cup intervals, start adding the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients. This is a good time to use the mixer again. It's important to get the butter evenly distributed throughout the flour mixture so you don't get bubbles in your cookies when they bake :). Continue this process until all the ingredients are combined.

4. Divide the dough in half, now freeze it for about 45 minutes. Sounds crazy, but this makes it easy to work with! You want it fairly solid and very cold.

5. Get some foil or parchment paper out, lay out enough to bake half the cookies on. GENEROUSLY dust this work surface with rice flour. I mean, really cover the parchment paper or foil, on the counter, with rice flour. This will prevent sticking and won't make the cookies taste bad--believe me, I did it :).

6. Using only half of the dough (leave the rest in the freezer until you're ready to work with it), shape it into a disc. Now dust the top and bottom with rice flour before placing it on the foil/parchment. Roll out the dough with a flour-dusted rolling pin, not too thin. Now have fun with the cookie cutters! You can leave the cookies on the sheet of foil, don't worry about the flour underneath the cookies--it'll help them to not stick when you try to remove them. Leave about 1/4 of an inch between each cookie, they don't spread much.

7. Preheat your oven to 350 and bake the cookies on the middle rack for about 12-14 minutes.

8. After they cool for about 30 minutes, you can decorate them with royal icing. I used this recipe. I doubled it and added a little less water.

Happy Easter Weekend! Please forgive my absence over these last few months! I have a good excuse. I'll let the photo at the bottom of this post explain everything ;).

Sugar cookies remind me of childhood. So simple, usually, but so yummy and sweet. I wish I could bottle the scent. But making them gluten-free, and photo-worthy, wasn't such a simple task...

Some important things to keep in mind when making these cookies and preparing the dough: The key is working with cold dough! I think that's the case with most buttery cookies, but it is absolutely essential here. Also, don't be afraid to get crazy with the rice flour. When I say sprinkle generously with flour, I actually mean pour the stuff all over your work surface so that these little guys don't stick! Oh yes, and let the cookies cool before you frost them.

The great thing about this particular Royal Icing Recipe is that it's pretty forgiving and doesn't harden as quickly as I expected it to. Not that I know much about royal icing, this is the first time I've actually decorated sugar cookies with it! I made mine a little thicker than Martha's recipe, but that's because I used liquid food coloring; I've heard that you should actually use gels? Anyone have any good frosting other tips to pass along? I think keeping the frosting covered with a moist cloth or in an air-tight pastry bag also helped. I was even able to stick the leftovers in the fridge and finish decorating the rest of the cookies the next day...

But don't let that photo fool you! Most of the cookies didn't look like that :). I don't even want to talk about how much time I spent on those three cookies for that one photo; let's just say, I don't think Martha would've approved of the others. But who cares! The best part of this experience was getting to decorate them alongside my two pals, the hubby and Mirabel. Of course, when I handed Mirabel a small baby spoon loaded with lavender-colored frosting, and a cookie to decorate, she decided that the spoon of frosting belonged in her mouth instead of on the cookie. She ate the cookie second, then she proceeded to take one bite out of every other cookie I gave her to decorate. But when you're not quite two (or 28), that's how cookies are supposed to be enjoyed, right ;)?

Have fun baking and decorating these cookies with your loved ones this Easter weekend. And if you can't get around to making them until Christmas time, don't worry...who am I to judge? My initial plan was to make them around Christmas, but I was a little tired at that point in the pregnancy... And that's the obvious give-away, but below is the photo I promised, anyway :). Here are my TWO little girls. Juliette will be here this August (25th), just in time to start thinking about decorating Halloween cookies! Hopefully Mirabel will share the frosting with her!

...And if I owe you an email, you'll hear from me shortly :). Thanks!