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Friday, February 8, 2013

Gluten Free Goodies!

Happy Valentine’s Day (almost) my little cupids and crafters! I thought it might be fun to put together a little treat themed post to inspire your sweeter side. This post was inspired by my desire for cookies as they go so well with a cup of tea in the colder months (or the warmer months depending on your current season ;) and I know there are a lot of you out there that don’t eat gluten so if any of you have the ‘missing gluten blues’ you are in good company.

When it comes to the sweet treats you will find macaroons, meringues and a lot of other cookies are easy to make and don’t require regular flour.  There are also a number of gluten free cake and cookie mixes on the market as well. I know this is a terrible time to offer recipes for such things when we’re all still in our ‘New Year’s healthy’ mindset but what can I say, I’m a firm believer that alcohol and sugar, in moderation of course, are good for the human body. You can argue with me on this over a glass of wine and/or a plate of cookies, but I will win. I promise you that.

And on that note, here’s to the cookies and cakes, muffins and other sweets because they bring us cheer, and well, a girl can’t be perfect on her New Year’s resolution diet all the time! Besides, my sweetie has already confirmed that if you are consuming calories specifically for a blog post then those calories don’t count. So, I’m safe at least ;) If you upload photos of the treats you’ve made then it would stand to reason that those calories won’t count either. I don’t know this for sure, but it makes sense to me ;)

Happy baking and for any of you out there that are feeling down about a gluten free diet for 2013, keep your chin up! Gluten free cooking is super easy and the food is so good those little gluten eaters out there are sure to want your gluten free foods so go pre-heat that oven & get baking, we have some cooking magic to stir up!

Lindsay ;)

Recipes / Ideas for Gluten Free Goodies

Below you will find the original links to recipes I have tried, really like, and use regularly. You will also find variations on those original recipes to get your baked goods gluten free. Just a quick note in regards to my comments below-I picked up a small coffee grinder and use it to grind up ingredients such as whole fennel, gluten free oats and things of that nature in my baking. Along with almond flour, I really like the texture oats give to baked goods so below you will see where I have adding ‘ground gf oats’ and that is what I mean by that, though you may have some luck finding ground oat flour. I just purchase the oats whole so I can use them in things like Oatmeal Cookies, oatmeal for breakfast or foods of that nature and then just grind down what I need for my baking (p.s. do not try and grind your own brown rice in a coffee grinder, it burns the motor out :p). If you have a small mortar and pestle you can grind them that way or you can replace the ground gf oats with another flour in its place. I do not use my regular coffee grinder to grind these ingredients. I have heard cooks say you can just grind a little rice and it cleans out the grinder but I know my coffee won’t taste like fennel and my pizza won’t taste like coffee if I just go with a separate grinder for the baking. The choice is yours but I did want to mention it J

Macaroons: link: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/First-Place-Coconut-Macaroons
Comments: Follow the directions in the link above with the exceptions being that you replace the flour with 2 tbs. almond flour and 1 tsp. brown rice flour-you can substitute the flours for other flours such as a gluten free flour mix currently sold at most stores and the recipe is perfect.

Comments: I like this recipe and I have found it is also easy to modify in a number of ways. I of course substitute the flour for a gluten free flour mix, and I do so by mixing together 1.5 cups of almond flour, 1 cup of brown rice flour, ½ cup of ground gf oats, and if more flour is required, I will add a little more of one of these original flours such as brown rice flour. If you do not have brown rice flour you can substitute it for white rice flour I also will, depending on what ingredients I have available, substitute the 1 cup of oil for ½ cup of oil and ½ cup of apple sauce. I don’t like to add too much oil or butter to the mix and I have made it each way and it turns out better with less than the called for amount in my opinion.

You can also go with ½ a stick of softened butter (almost fully melted), ¼ cup of apple sauce and ¼ cup of milk or cream to balance the wet/ dry ratio of the recipe. These can easily be cooked as regular sized muffins or mini muffins and they taste great with a light glaze dribbled over the top, cream cheese frosting added, a crumb topping, a crumb topping and then a light glaze dribbled over the top, or no topping at all even. I have made this recipe all of those ways and it always turns out well. The trick to baking muffins is not to over stir the batter.

Gluten free cooking does in some cases dry a baked good out so I like to use a lot of almond flour for my sweet baked goods especially as it makes them light weight and sweeter. I like to go a tad more on the wet side with muffin mix to balance the gf flours that will use up the fluids in the mix while cooking. Modify the cooking time according to what sized muffin pan you are using and do keep in mind that gluten free muffins can easily turn out either too dry or too mushy, especially when using a squash filling such as zucchini or pumpkin. In order to counteract this, substituting the yoke on one last egg may help this, and going with smaller muffin pans or about 2 tbs. less per muffin per pan to help the middle of the muffins cooks more fully. If you find your muffins need a little more moisture, ¼ cup water and or apple sauce should help.

Chocolate Chip Cookies: I think everyone knows this recipe but I will give it to you anyway just in case. We all need a good chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Ingredients: 2.5 cups gluten free flour mix (consisting of some or all of these gf flours-almond flour, gf flour baking mix, ground gf oats, white or brown rice flour), 2 eggs, 1.5 cups brown sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 stick of softened butter, a dash of cinnamon, 1 tsp. baking powder, chocolate chips, *optional-1 cup chopped walnuts.

Instructions: Mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl soften the butter if needed and add the brown sugar and stir until well mixed. Add the vanilla and the eggs and mix. Slowly add the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir. Add the chocolate chips and, if desired, chopped walnuts. Chill the dough for 1 hour, pre-heat oven to 350 and butter the baking dish. Cook for 12 minutes and check to see if finished. If more time is needed then keep a close eye, they probably won’t require more than a few additional minutes before they are finished. Remove from the oven, let cool.

Cake Pops: Woot! I happen to have a new cake pop pan and since I am currently working on a number of recipes for gluten free party treats right now, making these was the perfect excuse! I have tried and would recommend a gluten free cake mix, not bad at all, and the cake pops turned out so good! You can also grab a cake mix recipe online quite easily as well if you do not want to go with a store bought mix. I used a cake pop pan and followed the instructions that came with except that it did say to go with a cooking spray and I didn’t have any on hand so I just greased the top and bottom of the pan with butter and was really careful to have it greased as evenly as possible. If you have cooking spray, it is probably preferable.

I picked up the sticks and little baggies as I knew I was going to want to wrap these up and share them. I also managed to find cookies and cream flavored sprinkles! I know what you’re thinking, these totally have to have gluten in them right? No! I read the ingredients and unless they’re wrong, it says they used corn flour for the flour ingredients so I did buy them and sprinkle cookies and cream bits on top of my newly frosted cake pops and they are fantastic! *note on the pan style-If you do not have a pan for these then you can use a mini muffin pan, and then while the little muffins are still cooling drop them out onto a baking sheet and try rolling them out a little bit so they are round in shape. If you need to dust the pan with a powdered sugar it may help if the muffins seem like they’re going to stick to the pan.

The instructions from my cake pop pan said the best way to get the sticks to stay inside the cake pop is to melt chocolate wafers (I usually use chocolate chips if I have those on hand/ only melt a little bit of the chocolate at a time or it starts to get gunky as it cools), dunk the end of the stick into the hot chocolate and then into the cake pop itself. Let cool. Then melt about 1/3 of the container of the frosting in the microwave just a little-melt and check/ stir the frosting and do this until it is not super thin but slightly melted. Take a cake pop by the stick and dunk it into the frosting. Turn the cake pop slightly to stop the frosting from dribbling too much and again place on the waxed paper. At this time you can determine if you need to warm the frosting a little more or let cool slightly. You want it so the frosting drips off, adding a nice thin layer of frosting to the cake pop.

Sprinkle the cake pops with the sprinkles once they have been frosted. I have found it is helpful to frost a few at a time and then put the bowl of frosting aside and then pick each frosted cake pop up with a spoon to hold up the bottom of each, sprinkle, and then lay each in a shallow bed of the sprinkles. That way you get the sprinkles and the bottom of each cake pop shows sprinkles, not an area where frosting is missing. I like my cake pops to be yummy and look good too, what can I say?! ;) I found those cookies and cream sprinkles by Wilton, the candy company, they were selling them at Joanns in the baking area of their store if you are searching for your own. You can also add melted chocolate or peanut butter over the tops once the frosting has been added.

 (Gluten Free) Rice Krispy Treats: They just added gluten free rice krispies cereal so all you have to do is substitute the regular cereal with the brown rice type and you’re all set! You’re going to want the gluten free rice krispies cereal for gluten free safety though because the malt in the original cereal contains gluten. The ingredients and directions may very well be on the box but if not then you are going to want 2 cups mini marshmallows, 2 cups of cereal, 4 tbs. butter and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Melt the butter and marshmallows on low heat in a sauce pan. Once mixed and melted add the vanilla and stir. Add the cereal and stir and then put in a buttered baking dish, chill in the fridge at least 20 minutes and you’re all set. Once they have cooled you can also cut them into squares or round balls and put on candy or popsicle sticks, lay out over sheet of wax paper and dribble melted chocolate, sprinkles and any other super yummy extras over them, gift wrap and then you have fabulous little treats for the holidays.

Happy Baking/ Snacking ;)

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