Friday, 8 December 2017

Love with Food Holiday Boxes



Love with Food is partnering with MasterChef winner Christine Ha to bring you a healthy, delicious box of hand picked snacks delivered right to your door, all while fighting childhood hunger. The gluten free version of these boxes are packed with healthy gluten free goodies. You can buy the box as a 1 time order or get a subscription that is delivered monthly. They would make a great Christmas gift for your gluten free loved ones, or a little something healthy for yourself after all the indulgence of the holidays! For each gluten free December box purchased, 2 meals will be donated to a child in need (through a food bank).


I recieved a box to sample and share on this blog. It contained a surprising amount of goodies and lots of them I have never tried before or even seen in stores. The box was so packed full it could barely close. I love trying new things so I was really excited to dive in and start taste testing. Some things I really enjoyed, while others were interesting but not something I'd buy in the future. Either way, it was so fun to open it up and see what kinds of goodies I had. There were 13 items total including savoury snacks, energy bars, fruit snacks and granola.


It really would make a great gift for the person in your life who likes to try new things. It's so fun to get a surprise box of snacks delivered right to your house! You can choose a box full of gluten free treats or there's also a tasting box and a deluxe box if you don't need it to be gluten free. 


The deluxe and gluten free boxes can be shipped worldwide for a fee of $3.99 per month. Shipping is free for boxes delivered in the US. If you would like to purchase a box or a subscription go to lovewithfood.com 




Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Chickpea Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies


I've always found cookies and bread to be the most challenging things to make gluten free. It's mostly a texture thing; always too gritty, crumbly, dry, dense or just not anything like you remember! 
I come back to this problem every year at Christmas. I have a few go to cookies that are pretty decent, but I've never been able to make a basic chocolate chip cookie that compares in any way to the traditional version. 


But everyone wants cookies at Christmas, so I keep trying, and this year I have made a new discovery: Chickpea Flour!! I don't know why I haven't figured this out before. I've used flour blends that contain various bean flours, but I've never made anything with just straight up Chickpea Flour. It works amazing for cookies! These are hands down the best gluten free chocolate chip cookies I've ever made. They are chewy, crispy around the edges and actually hold together. Plus, chickpea flour is quite affordable for a gluten free flour. A 2 pound bag (907g) costs $3.70 at my Superstore (pictured below). I believe a few other brands sell it too, including Bobs Red Mill (450g for $3.50-$4) on Amazon.ca and Well.ca. And as an added bonus, chickpea flour is super healthy - full of fibre and protein. 


This is my third batch in the last month and I've finally managed to snap some pictures so I can share the recipe with you :) I've also made amazing biscotti with chickpea flour and will be testing it in a few more cookie recipes this month, so stay tuned for more chickpea flour cookies! 


I find it helps a lot to refrigerate the dough for at least an hour before baking. The cookies don't spread out as much that way. And FYI, raw chickpea flour tastes awful, so don't freak out if you hate the raw dough. The bitter taste disappears when the flour is cooked.


makes 2 dozen small-medium cookies
Ingredients 

1 1/2 cups Chickpea Flour
1/4 cup White Sugar
1/4 cup packed Brown Sugar 
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
2/3 cup Chocolate Chips (more if you want)

Directions

Cream butter and sugar. 
Beat in egg and vanilla.
Add remaining ingredients except chocolate chips and stir the top layer a bit, then mix to thoroughly combine everything.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. Press down slightly.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned.
Let cool on the baking sheet. 
Store in an airtight container on the countertop or freeze for later.
 
Cream butter and sugar
Beat in egg and vanilla
Mix in remaining dry ingredient and stir in chocolate chips 
Refrigerate and roll into balls. Press down slightly 
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes







Sunday, 26 November 2017

Turtle Pretzels


My sister-in-law introduced me to these a couple Christmas's ago and I instantly fell in love. They are the perfect combination of salty, crunchy and sweet. And they're so easy to make! She made a special version for me using gluten free pretzels. It's really nice to be able to eat a gluten free variety of what everyone else has.

For such an easy dessert, these taste amazing! This is a great treat to make I f you're not much of a baker. Just assemble, warm in the oven and press down with a pecan while the chocolate is still soft. These turtle pretzels have become a staple Christmas cookie in our house! 

Makes 30 pieces
Ingredients

30 Gluten Free Pretzels - knotted or square shaped (I used 1 small package of Glutino pretzels)
30 Rolos
30 Pecan Halves 


Directions 

Lay out your pretzels on a parchment lined baking tray. 1 small package should contain roughly 30 pieces.
Unwrap Rolos and place one on each pretzel.
Bake at 300 degrees for around 4 minutes.
Working quickly, press 1 pecan half onto each softened Rolo. 
Let cool in the fridge and store in an airtight container on the counter. 
You can also freeze these for a couple months if you want to make them in advance. 

Lay out pretzels and top with Rolos 

Bake at 300 for 4 minutes

Press down with pecans and let cool

Sorry for the poor photos.
It looks like I need to make this recipe again and take some better pictures!

Friday, 24 November 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (flourless)


This is a decadent take on the classic flourless peanut butter cookies. The addition of cocoa powder really takes them to the next level! If you want to go over the top (in the spirit of Christmas, of course) you can add in chocolate or butterscotch chips. 


If you're looking for a gluten free cookie recipe that doesn't use any special ingredients this is a great one. Just make sure you use a new jar of peanut butter with no toast crumbs!

The fork press design is an easy way to let people know these cookies contain peanuts. It's nice to be conscious of all allergies, not just gluten ;) 

Happy gluten free Christmas baking everyone!

Makes 24 small cookies
Ingredients

1 cup Peanut Butter (natural peanut butter doesn't work. You need to use the basic, shelf stable kind)
1 Egg
1 cup packed Brown Sugar 
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Baking Soda
6 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

You can add in 1/2 cup chocolate or butterscotch chips if you want to make the cookies even more decadent.

Directions

Beat together the peanut butter, egg, vanilla and brown sugar until smooth.
Sift in cocoa powder and baking soda and mix until smooth.
Roll into 1-1 1/2 inch balls and press down with a fork to make the pattern shown in photos. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. 
Let cool before removing from pan.

Beat together peanut butter, egg, vanilla and brown sugar.

Sift in Cocoa powder and baking soda.

Roll into balls.

Press down with a fork.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. 

Enjoy!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Qualifirst Review: Chestnut Purée, Maple Sugar

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Qualifirst Foods

Part 3, and final, part of my Qualifirst review is for their Chestnut Purée from France and Crystallized Maple Syrup from Quebec. I had never worked with either of these ingredients, but I love trying new foods and recipes so I was excited to test them out!

Qualifirst Maple Sugar and Chestnut Purée 


Of course I had to taste the little maple nuggets right away. I love maple syrup, and these tasted just like that, only in solid form. I tried them with walnuts on my morning oatmeal (delish!) but I wasn't exactly sure how to incorporate them into a recipe. I thought they would be great sprinkled on my GF shortbread cookies just before baking or used in a crumble for a coffee cake. In the end I decided to use them in my Maple Chestnut Cheesecake Mousse. They added a delicious sweet crunch and balanced out the earthiness of the chestnut purée. 

Maple sugar and walnuts on oatmeal 

Maple Chestnut Cheesecake Mousse


This is something I really haven't worked with or even tried before. I expected the purée to be kind of pumpkin like in consistency but it was way more dense. Almost the texture of smooth mashed potatoes that have been sitting in the fridge over night. The flavour is nutty and earthy, but not too intense. I found that it had to be whisked pretty vigorously to break it up and mix it with other ingredients. I used it to make a Maple Chestnut Cheesecake Mousse and it was amazing. The textures and flavours of chestnut were perfectly balanced by the creamy cream cheese, sweet maple and airy whipped cream. I only used 2/3 cup of the purée for a mousse that fed 6 people, so I need to think of some more ways to use it up! Pinterest, here I come. 

For the rest of my Qualifirst Review check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Disclaimer: Samples were provided to me free of charge. All opinions are my own. 

Maple Chestnut Cheesecake Mousse


This recipe is inspired by some of the gourmet ingredients I recieved from Qualifirst to review. Namely, the chestnut purée and the maple sugar; both ingredients I had never used before. I thought long and hard about what to make with these ingredients. I turned to google and pinterest, hoping to find something that was gluten free, delicious and didn't require too many difficult techniques. I found chocolate chestnut mousse, pavlova cake, chestnut cheesecake and more, great inspiration but not exactly what I was looking for. I finally realized I would need to create my own recipe. Combining aspects of many recipes I found, I came up with a Maple Chestnut Cheesecake Mousse.


I served it to my family for our Mother's Day dessert and I was surprised at how good it was! I've never had anything like it. It was so much better than the sum of its parts (I think chestnut tastes kinda weird on its own). It's no bake, comes together in 20 mins or less and best of all, naturally gluten free. Everyone adored it! I hope you do too.


*If you can only find sweetened chestnut purée, omit some of the sugar in the recipe. 

Makes 6 good sized servings
Ingredients 

1 1/4 cup Heavy Cream 
     1/4 cup Icing Sugar 
     1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2/3 cup Chestnut Purée (unsweetened)
1/4 cup Maple Syrup (can sub any other natural liquid sweetener- honey, agave, etc)
1/4 cup Icing Sugar (can be omitted or reduced for less sweetness)
1 tsp Maple Extract
1 block Cream Cheese at (or close to) room temp
3 Tbsp Maple Sugar (can substitute other toppings - cookie crumble, skor bits, etc) 

Directions

*Use mixer or hand mixer.
Whip cream, 1/4 cup icing sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks. Set aside in a separate bowl. 
Beat chestnut purée for 20 seconds to break it up.
Add maple syrup, 1/4 cup icing sugar and extract and beat until smooth.
Add in cream cheese and beat until smooth (a couple minutes).
With a rubber spatula, carefully fold in all but roughly 1/2 cup whipped cream into chestnut mixture. 
Spoon mousse into ramekins or cups. Garnish with remaining whipped cream and sprinkle 1/2 Tbsp maple sugar on each serving.
Serve immediately or let chill in fridge for a couple hours before serving.  

Whip cream to stiff peaks

Beat chestnut purée 20 seconds

Add in syrup, maple extract and icing sugar, beat until smooth

Beat in room temp cream cheese until smooth

Fold in whipped cream (reserve 1/2 cup for garnish)

Gently fold until completely combined

Spoon into ramekins or cups and garnish


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Qualifirst Review: Sun-dried Blueberries, Sun-dried Cranberries,Lavender Honey

Qualifirst Products 

The second part of my Qualifirst review includes 2 more sun-dried fruits and a beautiful French lavender blossom honey. All of these ingredients are amazing on their own, so I didn't do anything too complex with them. I simply paired them with foods I thought would compliment their flavours.

Sun-dried Blueberries and Cranberries

Lavender Blossom Honey

I am not a honey connoisseur in any way. I usually buy the cheapest stuff and spread it on toast or use it to sweeten tea. I was amazed at how different this lavender honey tasted compared to my regular store brand. There is a distinct, yet delicate, floral after-note that imparts a kind of tea-party-in-the-garden sentiment. I felt that these flavours would be lost in any kind of baking, so I simply used it as a topping for my cornbread muffins. It would also be amazing on scones or any other tea party appropriate treat. I find myself going back over and over again for just one more taste of that charming flowery nectar.

Lavender Honey on GF Cornbread Muffins 

There is an amazing amount of flavour packed into these tiny nuggets. They are deeply sweet and bursting with blueberry flavour. I added them to a maple walnut granola and they provided the perfect compliment; sweet and chewy, nutty and crunchy. Of course they are also delicious eaten straight up. My 2 year old discovered them and now calls them bucket raisins. He is no longer interested in regular raisins. Haha!

Maple Walnut Granola with Sun-dried Blueberries 

These are not your every day craisins. They are whole and plump and tart. I baked them into my lemon poppyseed muffins, in place of craisins. It's almost tastes like I added sweet fresh cranberries, not dried. The burst of fruity flavour is a welcome addition to my afternoon coffee treat! 

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with Sun-dried Cranberries 

Disclaimer: I was provided these samples free of charge. All opinions are my own.