Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Cuban Lunch


Cuban Lunch (Gluten Free)
A lady from my small group provided me with this recipe. She served them at one of our study nights and everyone went crazy for them. I knew I had to get the recipe. The best part is, they're naturally gluten free! They are also crazy easy to make. You only need 4 ingredients.
Apparently the name comes from an old chocolate bar that was made of similar ingredients (must be before my time), so I'm glad I can still enjoy the flavours of that candy bar in a homemade form. Most people fill mini muffin papers with the mixture, but I couldn't find any so I just dropped spoonfuls on parchment paper. I think I like this method better because you can make them much smaller and they fit tighter in a container.


Don't be afraid of the potato chips in this recipe. Unless you're afraid of the fat content... then go ahead and be very afraid. The salty crunchy texture pairs perfectly with the sweet chocolate and peanuts. People are usually surprised when they find out there's potato chips in these little chocolates because you really can't taste them at all.

So you can all thank Sue for this delicious and easy recipe :)

(makes probably like 30 but it all depends on the size. Recipe can be easily halved, doubled, tripled or multiplied by 1.683 if you really want. Just add equal amounts of everything!)
Ingredients

1 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (or milk chocolate)
1 cup Butterscotch Chips
1 cup Ripple Potato Chips (crunch them up a bit)
1 cup Peanuts (salted or plain, whatever you have) - I broke all of mine into halves

Directions

On med-low heat, melt chocolate and butterscotch chips in a medium sized pot, stirring constantly.
Once completely melted, remove from heat and stir in potato chips and peanuts.
Drop teaspoons of mixture on to parchment paper or into mini muffin papers.
Let cool at room temperature until firm.
Keep frozen in an airtight container.
place chocolate and butterscotch chips in medium pot
melt chips over med-low heat, stirring constantly
once completely melted, remove from heat
add peanuts and potato chips
mix so everything is coated in chocolate
spoon on to parchment paper
let sit at room temperature until firm
store in an airtight container in the freezer (next to the rest of your gf Christmas baking)

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Sugar Cookies



gluten free sugar cookies
This recipe is very similar to my pie crust recipe. The only difference is more sugar and part of the rice flour is substituted for tapioca starch. The tapioca starch isn't necessary, but I think it helps with the texture.

To avoid crumbling cookies, make them small and fairly thick. It also helps to use shapes that don't have small parts that stick out and can easily break off (like snow flakes or candy canes... mine broke). Christmas Trees, snow men or bells would probably work well.


some of my intact cookies... i had to icing-glue the candy cane back together
These cookies freeze nicely and are fun to decorate. I use a simple icing made from powdered sugar, milk and food colouring, but you can get fancy and do the royal icing thing.

(makes 30 to 40 cookies depending on the size)
Ingredients1 cup Rice Flour
1/2 cup Tapioca Starch (or 1/2 cup rice flour)
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp Guar Gum (or 1 tsp Xanthan Gum)
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup cold Margarine
1/2 - 3/4 cup Sugar (based on your preferences)
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract


Directions

Mix together flour, starch, tartar, baking powder, guar gum, and salt.
Cut in margarine until it's small pea sized.
Beat sugar, egg and vanilla separately. Add to dry ingredients.
Mix dough until it forms a clump (use your hands)
Roll onto rice floured counter and cut into cookie shapes (smaller is better).
Bake on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet at 350 for around 8 minutes or until just starting to brown on the bottom.
If you have trouble removing from pan after, wait until cookies are completely cool to remove.
Decorate with icing of your choice.

I use powdered sugar mixed with a little bit of milk and food colouring. You can dip the top of the cookies in the icing or use a little paint brush or knife/spoon to apply.

cut in butter and add wet ingredients to dry


roll out dough on floured surface

rolled out

cut out (maybe leave out the candy cane...)
place on greased cookie sheet

after baking

candy cane fail... it kind of exploded

decorate with icing

The gingerbread men and candy canes didn't hold their shape well. Probably because they were too big and had skinny parts that are easy to break off. You can see that the leg of the man is breaking in this picture. I glued it back together with icing, which worked fine, but it is much easier if you use smaller cookie cutters.

Next time I will try using parchment paper to line the cookie sheet to help with the breakage.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Butter Tart Bars


gluten free butter tart bars
Everyone seems to have their favorite Christmas treat... the one thing the holidays just wouldn't be complete without. For my husband it is shortbread, my brother in law needs his sugar cookies, I have a weakness for caramel corn, and my dad craves his butter tarts. I have to admit, they are definitely one of my favorites as well. Thankfully for us celiacs and gluten avoiding Christmas tree huggers everywhere, my mom has developped a great gluten free version... in the form of bars. Let's face it, no one really has the time or energy to make those little individual butter tarts anyway, especially in December. The butter tart bar version is much faster and easier to make (especially if you're working with finicky - aka crumbly - gf flours).


I really couldn't let Christmas pass without posting our recipe for this sweet, delicious, raisin studded square:)

(makes 8x8 pan)

Ingredients

1 cup gf pie crust dough (recipe here)

1/3 cup Butter or Margerine
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Milk or Cream
1/2 cup Raisins (you could substitute pecans)
1 Egg, beaten
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions

Crust

Grease an 8x8 baking dish.
Press the pie crust dough into the dish so that it comes up the sides 3/4 inch.
Bake for 6-8 minutes at 350, until barely firm but not brown.
(if you made the whole crust recipe and have leftover dough, use it for small sugar cookies or freeze for future use)


crust before baking

crust after baking
Filling

Melt butter or margarine in a saucepan.
Mix vanilla, egg, milk and brown sugar and add to sauce pan, stirring constantly.
Add raisins to pan.
Bring to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Pour into prepared crust.
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until crust begins to brown.
Let cool for 20 minutes, then cut into small squares.
Let cool completely and remove from the baking pan.
Freeze to keep fresh (separating layers with parchment paper). Let thaw at room temperature to eat.

melt the margarine

mix other ingredients separately

add to the melted margarine

add raisins and boil for 1 minute

pour into prepared crust

after baking

cool for 20 minute and cut into squares



Monday, 12 December 2011

Almond Biscotti



gluten free biscotti
I've been wanting to try gluten free biscotti for awhile now, but I couldn't seem to find a recipe that I liked. I took a chance and decided to develop a recipe on my own with a little input from various internet recipes, both traditional and gluten free. The biscotti turned out delicious, but a bit crumbly. Not all of the pieces stuck together (well like half did), so I had a lot of little biscotti chunks by the end of it. I considered leaving this recipe off the blog until I could perfect it, but everyone who tried the biscotti really liked it and said I should post it, so here you go.


Just for the record, next time I try it I will make a few changes. I think it might help the pieces stick together if the loaves aren't completely cooled before you slice it. Another egg or some extra guar/xanthan gum might help it keep it's shape too. Or maybe thicker slices is the answer I'm looking for. When I make it again I will report back!

I usually avoid recipes with almond flour because it's so expensive, but I thought I would splurge a little for this biscotti. This recipe uses 1/2 cup of almond meal (almonds ground in a coffee grinder) and 1/2 cup of chopped almonds. I think next time I make biscotti I might try replacing hazelnuts for the almonds.

making almond flour in the coffee grinder
You could definitely alter this recipe with your own add ins. A popular Christmas biscotti includes red cranberries and green pistachios. You could also drizzle dark or white chocolate over the cookies. The possibilities are endless!

some of my more intact cookies
I'm not exactly sure how many cookies this recipe makes because so many of them broke. Probably close to 30 depending on the width of your slices.

Ingredients

1/2 cup Ground Almonds/Almond Flour/Almond Meal (I just ground whole almonds in the coffee grinder)
1 1/2 cups All Purpose GF Flour Blend
1 tsp Guar Gum (or 3/4 tsp Xanthan Gum)
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 cups Sugar
2 Eggs (next time I would try 3 eggs)
1/4 cup Margarine softened
1 tsp Vanilla Extract (or Almond Extract)
1/2 cup Chopped Almonds

Directions

Cream together sugar and margarine.
Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Grind almonds in your coffee grinder and sift out large pieces. (or use almond meal/flour)
Add flour, almond meal, salt, guar gum, and baking powder.
Mix until it forms a dough, then mix in chopped almonds.
Scoop dough onto greased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet in two equal portions.
Grease hands and pat the dough into 2 logs about 3/4" high, 3 1/2" wide, and 7" long.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Let cool on sheet for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.
Once completely cooled, cut into 1/2" slices.
Bake slices at 350 for 10 minutes per side. Let cool on sheet.

homemade almond meal

adding the almonds into the batter

scoop dough onto cookie sheet and form into logs

bake until loaves start to brown

slice into 1/2" pieces... a little crumbly

bake for 10 mins on each side

they will brown and get a little crispy

I like to dip them in tea or hot chocolate

These cookies aren't quite as chip-a-tooth crispy as regular biscotti, so dipping them in tea is optional!



Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Shortbread Cookies


gluten free shortbread cookies
It's that time of year again... when you allow yourself to bake with real butter... and lots of it! At first I was planning to make this recipe with margarine (since that's what I had), but my mom adamantly informed me that shortbread is made with REAL BUTTER, and anything less is sacrilege. It's Christmas after all, right? But what if I would rather not gain ten pounds over the holidays? Apparently buttlerless shortbread cookies are not an option. And I'm not sure that eating less of them is an option either... these things seem to call your name from the freezer.

tea time
These light (and no, not in the fat content sense), buttery, sweet little wafers will melt in your mouth. Plus, shortbread is perfect for making gluten free because it's supposed to be a little crumbly. I don't even bother making wheat shortbread cookies anymore because everyone likes these just as much, if not more. Shortbread is my husband's favourite Christmas treat, and he is just as happy with these GF ones instead.


These cookies are really easy to make and keep very well in the freezer (next to the fudge... oh dear). I often just eat them frozen. You can also just let them thaw at room temperature, but I'm not sure how they would hold up in the microwave. I use rice flour, corn starch and tapioca starch, but they can also be made without the tapioca starch (see alterations in recipe). Some people do fancy things to shortbread like dipping them in chocolate. We like them plain, but if you're gifting these cookies, chocolate might be a nice touch.

freeze in a festive tin

Indulge with me in buttery goodness this Christmas season!

(makes 30-40 cookies)
Ingredients

1 cup Butter, Softened
1/2 cup Icing Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup White Rice Flour
1/2 cup Corn Starch
1/2 cup Tapicoa Starch (or another 1/2 cup Cornstarch)

Directions
(note: I have also been told that these cookies work well with a cookie press)

Whip or beat butter until smooth.
Add icing sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
Sift together corn starch, tapioca starch, and rice flour. Slowly incorporate into mixture.
Roll batter into 1" balls and place on a cookie sheet with 2" between them. (Dough will be soft but shouldn't stick to your hands because of the butter)
Flatten balls with a fork dipped in icing sugar.
Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown slightly.
Let cool completely on baking sheet before moving them. Otherwise they might crumble.
Store in airtight container on the counter for 1 week or freeze for up to a few months.

butter

butter and icing sugar

with starches and flour added

balls of dough waiting to be pressed
cookies before baking

after baking


remove from pan only after completely cooled