Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

Growing up, our Christmas tradition was to get up incredibly early, open our presents as quickly as we could and spend the rest of the day playing with our toys and eating junk food.  Needless to say, by the end of the day I didn't feel so hot.  It's amazing what one night of no sleep followed by a day of junk food can do to how you feel.  When my oldest was born, I decided to start a new tradition. We started having breakfast before we opened presents.  And, miracle of miracles, I felt good all day long!
We traditionally have a big breakfast, pancakes or waffles, eggs, sausages, fruit and Orange Julius. It takes me about half an hour to cook, and then we eat before we open presents.  And amazingly enough, my kids actually sleep on Christmas Eve.  This morning, I woke up at about 7 am to the sounds of my teenager trying to wake up my youngest son so they could get me up and get to their presents.
Unfortunately, last night while cooking our Christmas Eve dinner, I slipped on a damp spot and hurt my knee, so I'm on crutches for Christmas.  Standing for 30 minutes while I made pancakes was definitely out!  So I decided to try something different this year.  While sitting and having a helper bring me stuff I mixed up a batch of very easy muffins and baked them last night so that this morning my teenager could make up the eggs and we could still have a nice Christmas breakfast.

Easy muffins:
2-3 very ripe bananas
3 T sugar
Beat together bananas and sugar until just lumpy
Beat in 2 eggs
add 1 1/2 cups milk and 1 cup baking mix. 
Beat until well combined, you will still have some small banana lumps.
You may need to add up to 1/2 cup more milk to reach desired consistency.  It should be thick enough to stay in a soft mound when dropped.
spoon into muffin cups and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

This took me about 5 minutes to mix up, and they were the best gluten free muffins I have had.  They rose well and did not fall and had a great texture.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gluten Free Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

One of the things I have been looking for is a good sugar cookie recipe.  I like a soft cookie, and we want to cut them out and frost them for Christmas.  The problem I have had with most of the recipes I have tried is the flavor, I just don't like the after taste you get with potato starch, and the texture you get when you make a GF cookie dry enough to roll out leaves much to be desired.  I have come up finally with a cookie I am happy with!

This recipe uses gluten free oat flour.  If you don't have GF oat flour available, you can make it using GF rolled oats, simply put them in the blender until they are a fine texture.  This will have a coarser texture than store bought oat flour but will work just fine in the recipe.

I converted this recipe from this gluten recipe I found online

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
½  cup butter

¾  cup sugar

2 egg

½  cup (4 ounces) sour cream

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/3  cup GF baking mix *See recipe

2/3 C oat flour

1/2  teaspoons baking soda


In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Add sour cream and vanilla. 

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. 

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 375

To make round cookies, use a cookie scoop and place dough balls on an oiled cookie sheet, then press them flat with a damp and until ¼- ½  inch thick.

If you want cut-out cookies: line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Lightly spray with Pam.  Scoop balls of dough onto the sheet and press them flat with a damp and until ¼- ½  inch thick.  Make sure they are at least 1 inch apart and slightly larger than the cookie cutter you are using.  For best results use simple cookie cutters, complex shapes will be difficult to get out of the cutter and loose definition when they rise.  Spray the cookie cutters with Pam and cut out the cookies.  Leave the cutter in place and remove the excess cookie dough with a butter knife.

Bake for 7-9 minutes.  Remove from oven and leave on cookie sheet for another 3 minutes.  Cool completely and frost as desired.

They browned more than a normal sugar cookie, probably because of the extra egg and the oats, but the cookies rose well, were soft and had a good flavor.  Santa will definitely be getting these at my house this year!

Gluten Free Baking Mix

I have been experimenting for a long time with a gluten free all purpose baking mix, and I've finally found one I like, so I'm going to share the recipe, because I've started using it as a base several things.  It works well for pancakes, and I made amazing muffins with it, I'm going to try banana bread and use it in my Christmas cookies as well.

Baking mix
4 cups sorghum flour
6 cups brown rice flour
3 cups tapioca starch
1 ½ cup potato starch
½ cup corn flour
5 Tablespoons baking powder
2 ½ Tablespoons salt
½ cup xanthan gum
¼ cup psyllium husk
1 cup sugar
Mix all ingredients together and store in an air tight container.

I will post recipes for muffins and other quick breads as I experiment with them, but in the mean time, use this mix in any quick bread recipe in place of the flour, leavening and salt.
Happy Baking!

Monday, December 10, 2012

No-Bake Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake, Gluten Free

I was reading recipes for different pies at Thanksgiving and found something called a Banoffee pie.  I have never had this pie, but it is basically chocolate cream pie with bananas, toffee, and caramel.  I decided to try it without the bananas using the chocolate cheesecake instead of the cream pie.
O my word it was yummy!  It is very rich, so cut small pieces and pace yourself :)
(printable recipe)
First make chocolate whipped cream as follows, scrape out of mixer and set aside while mixing the cake.

Whipped cream
·         2 cup heavy whipping cream
·         1/2 cup sugar
·         2 teaspoons vanilla
·         ¼ cup cocoa powder
·         1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (knox)
·         4 teaspoons water
Stir the gelatin and the water together and let set until thickened.
Add the cream and sugar and cocoa powder to the mixer and turn on to low speed.
Put the gelatin mixture in the microwave and cook for 15-25 seconds, stirring every 5 seconds.  Cook it until it is clear.
With the mixer running, when the cream has started to thicken but is not quite done, slowly spoon the gelatin mixture into the cream.
Add the vanilla and mix until firm peaks form.  Make sure you do not over mix, it will turn into butter.
  • 1 cup crushed gluten free cookie or graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 3 T Butter, Melted
  • 16 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Softened
  • 3-¾ ounces, weight Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 bag Heath toffee bits
  • 1 can dulce de leche
  Preparation Instructions
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together cookie crumbs, cocoa powder and butter. Stir until all combined. Press firmly onto the bottom of a spring form pan. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese for 1 minute, until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat again. Add vanilla extract and mix again.

I found Nestle Dulce de Leche at wal-mart, but if you can't find it, you can make it with sweetened condensed milk following these directions.  When I have made it, I use my canning pot and make several at once.

Melt chocolate in the microwave for 1-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Let cool slightly. With your mixer on low speed, add the chocolate into the cream cheese mixture, pouring slowly.  Add half the bag of heath bits.  Fold in about 2/3 of the chocolate whipped cream.

Melt the Dulce de leche in the microwave for 60-90 seconds.  Spread half the Dulce de Leche in the bottom of the crust.  Spread the filling in the crust. Top with remaining Dulce de Leche, reserving 2 tablespoons to garnish the cake.

Sprinkle with all but ¼ cup toffee bits.  Spread remaining chocolate whipped cream and garnish with remaining toffee bits and Dulce de Leche.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
When the cheesecake is set, run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen from the pan. Open the latch and release the cheesecake.
It freezes very well, simply wrap in plastic and freeze

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gluten Free Focaccia Bread with Garlic and Parmesan

The Ratio Rally challenge for this month is Focaccia Bread.  I never had this kind of bread before I went gluten free so I wasn’t sure what it should taste like.  I decided to do a little research on traditional Focaccia bread.  I found out that it is usually made with a biga, which is a mild sourdough starter used in Italy.  I found this article helpful in understanding the basics of how to make Focaccia, and what it should taste like, though I found that a couple of the tips did not apply well to gluten free dough.  I also had never made sourdough because for some reason, sourdough always made me sick when I was eating gluten so I have never been that attached to it.  I found I really like this mild sourdough flavor and texture, and it really wasn’t hard to make at all!

The information I found says that Focaccia should be very wet dough, my normal gluten free doughs have between 100 and 110% hydration (the ratio of liquid to flour) so I decided to try 120% for this recipe.  I weighed using grams as this is more precise.  I used to always avoid weighing out ingredients because it took so much longer to weigh each individual ingredient, but I’ve learned a little trick that makes it much faster.  I place my mixing bowl on the scale and turn it on.  I start with the first ingredient and weigh out the correct amount, and then if the math is easy I just keep adding ingredients.  It you are worried about messing up the math, simply push the zero or tare button on the scale between each item.  This was just as fast as measuring with cups and spoons.

First make the biga:

180 g warm water
3g dry active yeast
75 g sorghum flour
125 g brown rice flour
50 g tapioca flour
25 g potato flour
25 g corn flour
5 g xanthan gum

Dissolve the yeast in the water and set aside.  Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl and blend well.  Stir about one third of the flour blend into the water/yeast mixture, until it has the consistency of a thick cake batter.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set in a warm place to proof for at least 3 hours.  Add 5 g baking powder to the flour mix.  Cover the remaining flour and set aside.

Make the bread:

140 G Water
40 g oil
5 g psyllium husk
5 g salt

Stir together and let rest for at least 10 minutes.   The psyllium will absorb a great deal of the moisture and will look like a thin jelly.
Pour the biga, the water and psyllium mixture and the remaining flour into the bowl of your mixer.  Blend the dough on low speed until combined then turn the speed up to high and mix for 3-4 minutes.
The dough will feel somewhat elastic, this is from the psyllium.  Spread it out in a well oiled rectangular cake pan.  Top with olive oil, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic, onion, whatever sounds good!  Push dents into the dough to the bottom of the pan using your fingers to give it the classic dimpled uneven look…
Cover with a damp towel and set in a warm place to rise.  This dough will rise quickly; it should double in 30 minutes.  Heat the oven to 375 and bake for 30-40 minutes.  Allow the bread to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.  

Garlic Parmesan topping: 
Stir together and sprinkle on baked bread

2 tablespoons dry parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend

A couple notes on this bread- it is very easy to over-rise this bread since it rises so quickly.  If it is risen too much, it will shrink during baking.  I found that the bread did not brown very much, probably because there is not sugar or egg. I sprinkled a small amount of the Parmesan topping on the bread before baking to help it brown.

For other great recipies, check out all the other Ratio Rally Participants:
Here’s the entire list of creations for this month:
Heather | Discovering the Extraordinary    Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia Bread                                    Morri | Meals with Morri made Sweet Cinnamon Raisin Focaccia Bread
mary fran | frannycakes made Gluten Free Sage Foccacia
~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R) made Focaccia Bread
Silvana | Silvana’s Kitchen made Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Focaccia
TR | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies made Gluten Free Cheesy Herb Focaccia
Shauna | Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef made Gluten Free Cherry and Almond Focaccia