SPOOKY SPIDER WEB BROWNIES

I’ve been gluten-free now for over four years, this fall. At this point, very few things sort still give that sting of, “oh, I WISH I could have that.” Aside from living in New Mexico and being a former burritos lover, with no redemption in sight for burritos to eat at fabulous restaurants, I’m okay. It’s our life and it’s okay. Aside from the yearning for cinnamon rolls, which I have yet to even try to attempt, most the time I can make whatever I’m missing.

However, my favorite coffee shop (only coffee shop) Bad Ass Coffee has these cream cheese brownies that are on my left at the register. I usually am fine in a coffee shop full of pastries. To my right, they have an entire case of pastries I can’t have and have learned to ignore- including luscious looking cinnamon rolls. However, these brownies, along with a few others are to the left, just under the pens. They are there staring at me every time I’m in, and it’s gotten to the point, I JUST WANT ONE! Yeah, it’s a silly little brownie, but it’s been four years since I’ve had a cream cheese brownie, and because they’ve always sounded and looked so complicated and daunting, I’ve always felt like I”m eating a super special treat.

Combine that craving with my children’s love of all things Halloween, (which I fail to understand in my four-year old who is afraid of anything scary and bad guys) and you’ve got one determined mom who decided it was time to brave the seeming daunting brownie treat. After scouring the internet for recipes, I discovered these aren’t daunting at all. Furthermore, the proportions are the same in almost any site I looked at. I didn’t end up following a single site exactly, I went with what I thought sounded good. Some use 8oz of cream cheese and make a true layered brownie, others use 4 oz of cream cheese to make more of a marbled brownie. In the end, after reading about 10 recipes online, I went with the common proportions and am pretty pleased with the results. I also went boxed, even though yes, there are plenty of from scratch recipes (all gluten of course). These are so easy, you’re going to love them! And they look really cool! I did discover a few tricks while reading though all the sites, several of which suggest you line the pan. It’s brilliant. I’m a chewy, slightly under-baked brownie person, so they usually stick to the pan. With your pretty web, you don’t want them to stick. Also, they cut so perfectly when you line the pan, it’s one of those brilliant, why have I been baking brownies for 20 years without figuring this out??? moments. This is also a great way for sweet meaning gluten friends to make you a treat without accidentally contaminating you. (so feel free to share that tip with them!)

Without further ado, here is the method for your Spooky Spider web brownies. Have fun! (For those hoping for a Diary Free version, I don’t have one, but you might try playing with the recipe I found online when someone asked on my Facebook page (Dairy Free Cream Cheese Brownies)

Spider Web Brownies

I used a mix that uses an 8×8 or 9×9 pan. I wanted them thick, and I wanted a square to make the web. The web would look fun in a 9×13, especially if you put it a bit off-center. You may have to adjust your cream cheese topping. It depends how thick you want the cream cheese layer.
Equipment
foil
preferred oil or spray to grease
Pampered Chef Pastry Tool, Pastry Bag, or cupcake/pancake pen
Bamboo skewer

Ingredidents
*1 box brownie mix (I used King Arthur Gluten Free Brownie mix)
*ingredients according to package
*substitutes for ingredients if you wish instead of water in this batch, I used Kaluha. You could also use espresso and then put Irish Cream in your Cream cheese. I rarely use the water anymore, I use something to bring a flavor in.
Cream Cheese Layer
*8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
*1 egg beaten (room temperature -to help bring the egg to temp, i place it in a cup on my stove as the oven preheats, then crack and beat to add)
*1/3 c sugar (several sites use 1/4 cup if you’d like to reduce your sugar)
*1 tsp gluten-free vanilla (or gluten-free liqueur of your choice)

Prep
* Spray your foil that’s big enough to line your 8×8 pan plus provide you handles for removal. I used coconut oil spray. I used one sheet instead of crossing two over even though the foil only goes 1/2 up the sides. Because the brownies shrink away from the side they won’t stick to your pan, so, no need to waste foil. Then place it in the pan. I sprayed first because I don’t usually spray my pans due to spray making them sticky. Since the foil only goes 1/2 up, I wanted to make sure it the spray didn’t touch the pan.

* Get your pastry bag (less recommended as it might get hard to get the batter into it.) Pampered Chef tool or Cupcake pen assembled. Choose the widest tip
* Make your brownies according to directions on the package. Spread into the pan reserving about 1/3 cup of brownie mix. Because we are making a web and because we are using a tool that will be more precise, you won’t need to reserve as much as you might be used to.

* with a hand mixer (my Kitchenaid Stand mixer wouldn’t get the lumps out) whip your cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla (or other flavoring) together. Once the cream cheese is free of lumps add your beaten egg and mix on low-med until just incorporated.

* Smooth your cream cheese mixture over the brownie mixture trying to completely cover it

* Take the reserved brownie mix and put it into your prepared tool. I used the Pampered Chef Icing tool and filled it only about 1/4 the way. I used a wide tip, but you could also use the filling tool if you wanted a more refined line.
* Starting with the middle draw circles on the cream cheese mixture. Leave 1 inch as much as possible around the edge. The brownie mix will spread, so it depends on how you want your web to look.

* take a bamboo skewer and begin from the center drawing lines out. If you used a hollow circle in the center, you may wish to start at the edges of the pan and bring the web in.
* go around the pan until you’ve created a spider web


If you want a more solid middle, you can add another dollop of batter in the middle at the end, like I did here. If you want it to have more defined lines, don’t add the dollop.

Bake at 325-350 (according to brownie mix instructions) for 30-35 minutes. With mine, they took approx 30-35 minutes at around 335. A lot of recipes recommend the 325, most baked goods are at 350. With the cream cheese, you are dealing with it browning too quickly or underdone brownies. because you want the brownies to cook, I think your best bet will be to go with the brownie instructions and keep an eye on the cream cheese layer.

Once brownies are set and only slight crumb or nothing comes out on your tester, remove and let cool completely (yeah, that’s important in this recipe or the cream cheese won’t set). Once they’ve set up about 10-15 minutes, you can remove brownies using the foil from the pan and put them on a cooling rack.

Cut and enjoy! Happy Halloween!

Thanks always for reading! Oh by the way, my new favorite blog to read is Nicole Hunn’s GlutenFree on a Shoestring She’s not only funny to read, but she’s putting up some incredibly cute recipes for Halloween.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Caramel Apple Frosting

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

I’ve taken a bit of break from blogging, mainly to do lots of cooking for my family. A few weeks ago, I had the most amazing gluten-free pumpkin cupcake and it made me realize how much I forgot I enjoy a pumpkin spice bread. Like many people, it’s one of those fall favorites, and while I post this one AFTER Halloween, it will carry perfectly into Thanksgiving. In fact, it might just be the perfect thanksgiving treat for those who have decided pumpkin pie is a passe, or just want to do something a bit different. Of course, I decided rather than ever trying to re-replicate a gluten recipe, I wanted to make it so much better than an original recipe that the gluten eaters would simply be jealous. After all, what better way to prove Gluten-free is not the end of the world?

In this version, (thanks to a few tips from Jules at Jules GlutenFree Flour) I use instant pudding which gives you a more moist, rich, and dense cake, perfect for that almost pumpkin pie in a cupcake wrapper treat. I used and abused one of Jules recipes (the starting point of the recipe came from her Blueberry Muffins recipe in her e-book The Bakers Dozen.) One of the most important ingredients to this recipe is freshly grated nutmeg. It is the pixie dust of the frosting. Without it, it’s not the same. Make sure, you have nutmeg and a microplane for this recipe, it’s well worth it. (Besides, I’ll be posting another recipe that needs fresh grated nutmeg, and it’s fantastic on Egg Nog!) I also used a touch of apple cider in the recipe and in the frosting. It gave it a touch of sweetness and the hint of fall. Adjust the clove and cinnamon if you use a spiced apple cider. Although the Five Spice is not necessary, it gives depth to the flavor. I used it in my last two test batches and it added subtle character to the cupcakes. You could reduce the cinnamon if you find the 5 Spice strong.

Spiced Apple Cider

Cupcake Ingredients
*1/2 Cup Butter or nondairy alternative
*2/3 Cup Brown sugar
*2 Large Eggs
*1 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract
*1/4 Cup Apple Cider
*1/2 Cup Yogurt or sour cream (I used vanilla goat yogurt. SO-Delicous Coconut worked well too.)
*1 Can Pumpkin (100% Pumpkin)
*1 1/2 cups Jules GlutenFree All Purpose Flour (or other flour blend that you enjoy and works like flour -add xantham gum as needed)
*2 tsp Baking Soda
*2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
*1/2 tsp salt
*3 Tablespoons flaxseed meal (in Jules recipes the flaxseed is optional; here it’s needed. Also, toast if you wish to give a more roasted flavor)
*Package GlutenFree Instant Pudding (I used White Chocolate JELL-O brand, which Jules Shepard uses often and has researched KRAFT)
*2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
*1 – 1 1/2 tsp Clove (I like a lot of clove)
*1/2 tsp cardamom
*3/4 tsp 5 spice (optional)
*1/2 tsp lemon peel
*1/2 tsp Allspice
*few grates of nutmeg

Directions
Preheat oven to 350F (static) or 325F (convection)

Line 24 regular size muffin cups and set aside. (I did use a stand mixer for this because it helps to put in the flour a bit at a time)

Prepare the dry ingredients by sifting and then whisking together the Flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices, flaxseed, and pudding mix. Set aside

Cream the butter and sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

Mix in the yogurt and pumpkin until well blended.

Lower speed on the mixer and add flour mixture by 1 cup increments. Scrape sides if you need to (I used the shield and put it through the slot.)
Mix until incorporated. This is a thick mixture. It will not be runny like most muffins.

Scoop into muffin pans. I used about 3 oz cookie scoop. (Pampered Chef makes them, ice cream scoops work. Because the mixture is thick, a scoop with a release works well).

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until they don’t push through or wiggle when you poke them. These don’t test well with a cake tester or knife. If you use them, you actually want a little bit on your tester because it’s more of a moist very dense cake that’s almost between a custard and a pound cake. I baked until they were firm, but didn’t bounce back like traditional cake will when it’s done. Poke gently because it will leave a small indentation, but does eventually disappear.

Cool in the tins if you can for about 10 min before turning out. When cool frost with Caramel Apple Frosting (BELOW) and scrape nutmeg on them to garnish

Caramel Apple Frosting
If you can’t have the diary that comes in caramel, I’d suggest a maple flavored buttercream for these cupcakes. I tested it with both, and the maple was excellent, but I enjoyed the caramel more. For my Caramel, I buy it from Chocoley because of the high quality. They also run excellent specials. I adapted a Caramel Buttercream recipe from Wilton.

Ingredients
*4oz by weight caramel
*1 1/2 fl oz heavy cream or evaporated milk (I’m guessing the evaporated milk will give a richer flavor. That is Chocoley’s suggestion for their caramel sauce recipe; I had cream open, so figured I’d use that instead of opening a can of evaporated milk too. If you forgo the apple cider, just use 2-3 oz evaporated milk or heavy cream)
*1 1/2 fl oz apple cider
*1/3 cup shortening
*1/3 cup butter softened
*4 cups powdered sugar
*1 tsp vanilla extract (gf)_or you can use more cider

Step 1
Make the Caramel
Melt the caramel in a double boiler with the cream or milk and apple cider. Whisk often (I covered it to help it melt down more quickly). Transfer to a bowl and let cool. I used the fridge to make more cool quickly. The caramel MUST be completely cooled. If you happen to have a GlutenFree caramel sauce you trust, measure out about 3/4 cup for the frosting.

Step 2
Cream shortening and butter with electric mixer until fluffy. Add the caramel and beat again. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Once all the sugar has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium high and let beat for 3-4 minutes. Slow mixer down for one minute or so until light and fluffy. If icing appears dry, add a bit more apple cider or milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Pipe onto the cupcakes and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. ENJOY. These can store 2-3 days and still taste fantastic. (I have not tested refrigeration or freezing, if you do, please leave a comment).

If you feel like having fun, these also make great whoopie pies. Just bake a shorter time. Perhaps 12-15 minutes.

Guest Post: Confessions of a Starch-a-holic

GF Chef Bennett at OCKey with Salmon

I am pleased to share a post from my guest, Chef Michael Bennett, author of 3 cookbooks, blogger, and chef at Bimini Boatyard in Fort Lauderdale.

GF Chef Bennett also lived in the Caribbean for four years, his newest book, “Culture of Cuisine” is coming soon and he has re-released “In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks” to be 100% GlutenFree. Chef Bennett offers up two recipes from his cookbook as well as some net gluten-free food tips. His cookbooks contain in-laid QR codes(Quick Response codes) for people to use their smartphones to link to websites to buy GF products and to find interesting information about other terms, techniques or curiosities. Isn’t that awesome?

What interests me about him is his love for the Caribbean and I’m so excited to learn more about him and check out his books. I got married in Jamaica 10 years ago, and it’s an amazing place, especially the non-tourist regions. Once you get into the mountains, you end up with food that’s savory, different, fun.

View from the Hotel Chef Bennett worked in St. Croix - there's a job for ya!

View from the Hotel Chef Bennett worked in St. Croix

You can find more about Chef Bennett at FoodBrats and purchase his books:
“Underneath a Cloudless Sky” ISBN: 978-0-615-328775-1
In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks
and coming soon: “Culture of Cuisine” ISBN: 978-145-078300-2
on Amazon or his website: FoodBrats

If you like what you read, he has a site on Examiner as well: http://www.examiner.com/cooking-in-miami/michael-bennett

So, without further ado, please enjoy gluten-free Chef Bennet’s article “Confessions of a Starch-a-holic” and a couple scrumptions recipes.

Recipe is from this book "In the Land of Misfits, Pirates, and Cooks"


Confessions of a Starch-a-holic
— GF Chef Michael Bennett:
I sometimes feel like I am in a multi-step rehab program. Why I have changed to gluten free recipes is one of simplicity. I was a Starch-a-holic for most of my life; my new recipe testing for my cookbook “In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks” brought me to a realization that this could be as good for me as it was easy to perfect.

Living with teenage girls has brought a lot of dining fads to our household. After my daughter insisted we turn vegan and, after living the lifestyle for a little while, I felt generally better overall. I also found that my years of living with acid reflux was caused by eating red meat. It never hurts to try new things in your life!

My new emphasis on dining healthier now comes from the daily barrage of requests by guests at my current post as the chef of Bimini Boatyard (on 17th Street Cswy. in Fort Lauderdale). Starting about a year and a half ago, I was getting requests from my guests querying whether or not my menu recipes were gluten free and because I developed a majority of the menu cooking over a wood fire grill, my answer was “yes of course”.

Since the 1990′s, all of my new recipes have been based on heart-healthy Spa Cuisine inspired yet, I never planned on creating a gluten free menu. It naturally coexists when you cook with all natural ingredients, and use a wood-fire grill.

Starting with food in their most basic form and adding very little in the way of fillers led to produce a gluten-free diet. I have found that when you start off with raw foods, not pre-packaged foods from the marketplace, you control the final outcome of your dinner.

Planning for family meals seems simple if you are looking to cook gluten-free. Stay away from fillers and (sauce) thickeners. Check labels on the things you buy – which save cooking steps in your kitchen. Most times fillers are hidden in the prepared food products. An example is occasionally an inferior soy sauce is brewed with wheat to counteract the harshness of soybeans that are processed in a quick fermentation process by the manufacturer.

Naturally, if you buy a convenience product: frozen entrée, pre-cooked and ready to warm and serve, it might have been gelled or cooked with an addition of gluten-rich thickener; or paired with another food product that has gluten. Check labels on canned and jarred foods, gluten hides in the simplest of places. Your favorite ice cream is sometimes even made with an addition of flour used in the ice cream base as a thickener for the frozen treat.

Rather than buying out of the prepared food aisles, go straight to the produce and fresh fish aisle.

Here is a recipe to help you on your way to a tasty gluten-free dinner:

Charoltte Amalie Wahoo


CHAROLETTE AMAILE WAHOO
SERVES: 6
SIMPLY ELEGANT AND ITS DEPTH IN TASTE EQUALS THAT OF THE PORT FOR WHICH IT IS NAMED. THE RECIPE IS IN TWO STEPS. THE SAUCE, SIMPLY MADE IN A FOOD PROCESSOR, CAN BE MADE DAYS AHEAD OF TIME AND KEPT IN THE REFRIGERATOR UNTIL YOU WANT TO USE IT.

INGREDIENTS:
3 LBS. WAHOO, EVENLY DIVIDED INTO 6 PORTIONS
1/2 CUP CARAMEL MOP, SEE RECIPE BELOW
AS NEEDED SALT AND WHITE PEPPER, 5:1 RATIO-MIXED
2 TBS. THAI PEANUT SAUCE DRY MIX, FOUND IN ASIAN MARKETS
1 CUP PLANTAIN CHIPS, FOUND IN LATINO GROCERY MARKETS
AS NEEDED OIL
3 CUP YUCCA PIECES, 1/2 INCH CHOPPED, BLANCHED IN BOILING SALTED WATER, DRAIN
1 EACH RED BELL PEPPER, ROASTED AND CHOPPED ROUGHLY
1 EACH SHALLOT, CHOPPED
2 EACH GARLIC KERNELS, FINELY CHOPPED
2 BUNCH PENCIL ASPARAGUS, BLANCHED IN SALTED WATER

DIRECTIONS:
DUST THE WAHOO WITH A LITTLE OF THE SALT AND PEPPER MIXTURE. LET REST IN THE REFRIGERATOR, WHILE YOU ARE DOING THE OTHER PARTS OF THIS RECIPE. GRIND THE PLANTAINS INTO A MEAL WITH A FOOD PROCESSOR. ADD IN THE THAI PEANUT SAUCE BASE MIXTURE. MIX WELL. USE ON TOP THE WAHOO AFTER GRILLING AND GLAZING.

OVER HOT COALS, GRILL THE WAHOO FILLET FOR 3 MINUTES PER 1 INCH OF THICKNESS ON ONE SIDE AND THEN FLIP AND COOK 3 MINUTES MORE ON THE OTHER SIDE, GLAZING WITH THE CARAMEL MOP AFTER IT COOKS. DUST WITH THE THAI PEANUT-PLANTAIN MIXTURE ON THE TOP OF THE FILLETS OF WAHOO AFTER THE SECOND SIDE IS COOKED. KEEP IN A WARM OVEN.

NEXT, SAUTE THE SHALLOTS AND GARLIC QUICKLY, ADD THE YUCCA AND CONTINUE TO COOK ABOUT THREE MINUTES. TOSS IN THE PEPPERS AND SAUTE (”TO JUMP”) TO DISTRIBUTE THEM IN THE PAN. PRESS THE YUCCA INTO A 4 OR 5 INCH RING MOLD IN THE CENTER OF THE PLATE (SEE PICTURE). REMOVE THE MOLD AND SET THE WAHOO ON TOP. ENCIRCLE THIS PRESENTATION WITH MORE OF THE CARAMEL MOP SAUCE. ARRANGE THE ASPARAGUS AROUND THE YUCCA, POINTING OUT TO THE EDGES OF THE PLATE LIKE THE HANDS OF A CLOCK.

2ND PART OF THE RECIPE:
CARAMEL MOP
SERVES: 25
ONE OF MY FAVORITE “MOPS” FOR GRILLED NY STRIP STEAKS AND RICHLY FLAVORED FISH FILLETS LIKE MAHI MAHI, WAHOO, ESCOLAR AND SALMON. MAKE THIS LARGE RECIPE BECAUSE YOU WILL FIND A LOT OF OTHER FOOD TO USE IT ON.

INGREDIENTS
12 OZ. COCA-COLA, REDUCED TO A SYRUP
4 OZ. ESPRESSO
4 OZ. GARLIC, ROASTED, CHOPPED
6 OZ. SHALLOTS, CHOPPED
2 OZ. APPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE
3 OZ. KAHLUA LIQUOR
3 OZ. SOY SAUCE
2 OZ. BALSAMIC VINEGAR
1 OZ. FRANGELICO LIQUOR
1 OZ. TRIPLE SEC
5 OZ. PICK A PEPPA SAUCE, OR CAN FIND IN ANY LOCAL CARIBBEAN MARKET
2 TBS. BLACK PEPPER
2 TBS. SEASALT
2 TBS. XANTHAN GUM

INSTRUCTIONS:
IN A SMALL PAN, BRING 12 OZ. OF COCA-COLA TO A BOIL AND LET THIS VOLUME REDUCE BY 2/3. ADD THE NEXT 10 ITEMS TO THE POT AND LET SIMMER FOR 5 MINUTES. REMOVE FROM THE HEAT AND COOL. PLACE IN A FOOD PROCESSOR AND GRIND WELL UNTIL EVERYTHING IS PULVERIZED INTO A SLURRY. ADD THE THICKENER SLOWLY TO THIS MIX AND PLACE IN A SQUIRT BOTTLE.
TO USE:
DRIZZLE THIS “MOP” (SAUCE) OVER TOP ANY GRILLED POULTRY, PORK, BEEF OR BABY BACK RIB AND BRUSH ALL AROUND THE FOOD AS IT IS COOKING ATOP THE GRILL.
IT IS USED HERE ON WAHOO….SEE ABOVE.

The recipe comes from Chef Michael Bennett’s cookbook: “In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks”, ISBN: 978-0615-29778-1. A 180 page, 125 plus gluten-free Caribbean-inspired recipe cookbook. Available at Amazon and on Chef Michael’s website: Foodbrats

My final comment: Thank you Chef Bennett for the Gluten-Free tips for people new to gluten-free, reminders to us all, and a fantastic looking recipe. I can’t wait to try it. Readers, thank you as always for reading, and let me know if you try this recipe or if you’ve owned his cookbooks!”

Recipe: Gluten-Free “Dirt & Worms” – Better than the original!

Welcome back to School and with all the fun school treats! Dirt and Worms was one of my favorite fun, “I can do it myself” almost treats of my school days. Of course, being gluten-free, my children haven’t experienced dirt and worms. The ingredients have been available for a while, but we never seem to have all the ingredients at once. However, this morning my husband and I were doing some photography for upcoming blog posts and reviews when I realized I have all the ingredients for “Dirt and Worms.”

I list this recipe with the brands I used because the brands are Gluten-Free, artificial dye free, and often Casein free, which I know is crucial for many readers. And, I like them…but mentioning anything else would be “Spoilers.”

So, we quickly put it together and here you go: Gluten-Free Dirt & Worms

Ingredients:

Gluten-free Ingredients for childhood treat favorite "Dirt and Worms"

1/2 cup Kozy Shack Chocolate Pudding (or a Dairy Free brand of your choice if you need a CF version)
3 Surf Sweets gummy worms (also a CF candy!)
2 crushed up Kinnikinnick Foods KToos Sandwich cookies (these are Casein free!)
optional a couple of Annie’s Gummy Bunnies and a few Surf Sweets Gummy Swirls to make it look like a little garden.

Directions
Put your worms in the bottom of a cup
Cover with pudding (I used the individual size from Kozy Shack)
Crush your GFCF Ktoos in a Ziploc or plastic bag and cover the pudding with the crushed cookies

Dirt & Worms Step by Step

To finish: Put some Surf Sweets Swirls on top to look like flowers and place some Annie’s Bunnies in if you want to have fun.
Place spoon in confection, get a big scoop, don a Fez, put spoon in mouth, and smile!

Welcome back to the simple, fun things in life! You have yummy treat and you’re now cool!

GlutenFree dirt & worms with best tasting pudding, sandwich cookies, & gummies around!

Thanks as always for reading and stay tuned for product reviews. Several product reviews coming soon!

Breakfast Cookies!

Lemon Ginger Cranberry Almond Scones May 2011

May 2016 note: I’ve recently pulled my own recipe up to make these cookies. My kids miss them.
However, when I pulled it up, I noticed that there was no fat in the recipe. I had eliminated the grapeseed oil from the original recipe because  it made the dough runny.  I was so used to them, I didn’t realize how dry they were at the time, but my husband always complained and didn’t like them.  

This time, on the fly, I cut in 4 Tablespoons of high quality butter and added 2-3T real half and half, closer to what a normal scone would have.   I’m also using cane sugar these days, so I used approx 1/2 cup+ 1-2T.  They turned out delicious and much better than the original, but until I can rework and retest the recipe again, you might need to play around with it. Almond Flour changes the rules of  baking because it doesn’t absorb anything, which is why these have been reworked several times. 

This is an older post originally posted in May 2011. However, due to changes in my own variations, I’m editing the original post to include some needed tweaks to the recipes. After two years, this is one of my very favorite breakfasts, and the combinations are simply endless. Chocolate chip is my default because my kids think I’m the best mom ever for letting them eat Chocolate Chip cookies for Breakfast! Moms need points every once in a while.

In January, 2011 Elana Amsterdam, from Elana’s Pantry and author of The Almondflour cookbook” posted scones recipes on her blog.  Her recipe is so easy, I’ve since memorized it and whip up a batch within a few minutes every few mornings.  The base ingredients are simple and it’s easy to adapt and change the recipe.

My decision to adapt an already amazing recipe came from an unsatisfied craving for almond poppyseed bread and lemon poppyseed bread.  Because Elana’s recipe is so moist, these are perfect for such flavors. I also seemed to have problems with browning and a few other things. So over the past 2 years, I’ve worked and reworked these wonderful gems. They always taste good, it’s just a matter of when they taste best.

I did end up making a few changes to the original base recipe in the end.  I added 1tsp vanilla into the wet ingredients. The vanilla brings out the richness of the almond flour.  I found adding 1/2 tsp baking powder and decreasing the soda to 1/2, yielded a bit better end product.  I also wanted stronger flavors, so any time I use Citrus, I zest an entire orange, lime or lemon. Finally, I’m experimenting with Coconut syrup due to the controversy surrounding Agave Nectar and liver issues I’ve dealt with off and on for a while. I switch back and forth. The coconut syrup is a bit thicker and sticker, so you may need to reduce your flour slightly.

One other important note is that I no longer roll them out or add sugar to the tops. Flattening this dough results in texture, flavor, and other compromises. Instead, i use a drop biscuit method and try to handle to dough as little as possible once it’s mixed up and rested. The creamer addition is recent after watching a FoodNetwork show and a lady talking about using cream in her scones. It hit me that is exactly what these needed!

Here is the original recipe from Elanas Pantry, Orange Dark Chocolate Chip scones.  Make sure to check out her site and recipes. She is fantastic with Almond Flour. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these variations on a Yummy treat.

Base Recipe – edited Aug 16, 2012 to reflect some tweaks that improve texture, flavor, and prep time
Adapted from Elanas chocolate Orange scones

2 cups blanched Almondflour
2t. Coconut Flour
1/2 t. Baking powder
1/2 t. baking Soda
3 T. Agave Nectar or Coconut Syrup
1 T. SO DELICIOUS Coconut Milk Creamer (I use whatever flavor I have on hand.)
1 tsp Vanilla or Almond Extract (as you feel the whim)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder and baking soda (These days, I don’t bother to sift, I use a wisk once they are in the bowl.) Mix egg, Agave nectar, creamer and vanilla then add them to the flour mixture. Once mixed, incorporate your variation ingredients from below. Let sit 10 minutes to allow the coconut flour to fully absorb all liquid. (This is CRUCIAL! IF you don’t wait, the flour will not absorb the liquid properly and you end up with texture problems as well as time issues.)

Grab two large spoons and use a drop-biscuit method onto parchment lined baking sheet. (after two years of testing, I’ve found metal works better than stoneware.) If you desire, you can sprinkle some RAW sugar on the tops (as shown in the photo), but I no longer do. Bake 9-12 minutes.  These are easy to overbake. You want the top peaks to have started browning and the bottom to have just a touch of brown. These don’t brown fully.) Transfer to cooling rack and wait at least 15 min to serve.  (i think they taste better cooled off & reheated slightly or mostly cooled.)

Cranberry, lemon ginger
This is one of my favorite variations (you can sub limes or oranges for the lemon for a completely different taste. I ended up out of lemon one day and used a lime for this recipe, it was fantastic!) By all means, add more ginger, craisins etc if you want more!
Add to the dry ingredients before adding the wet:
1/2-3/4 cup dried craisins
1/4-1/3 cup diced candied ginger. (how strong do you like ginger?)
Zest of 1 lemon (lime or Orange)
Mix and bake as directed above

Lemon poppy seed
Add and mix well with the dry ingredients:
Zest of 1 lemon, 2 T poppyseeds.

Almond poppyseed
add 2T poppyseeds to dry ingredients. Mix well. Omit the vanilla (or reduce it) and replace with 2 t Almond extract, mix with eggs and Agave, before adding to mixture.
Add sliced almonds to the Raw sugar to roll dough in if desired.

Apricot white chocolate:
Dice 1/2 cup dried apricots and add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cups white chocolate chips (use REAL white chocolate, sunspire is a good brand) to dry mixture.  To wet mixture, reduce vanilla to 1/2 or omit and add 1-2 tsp Almond extract. Roll out into sugar as above.

Chinese five-spice chocolate chip:
These are my new favorite.  Add 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder to dry mix and 3/4 cup DARK chocolate chips.

These are the variations I’ve done. Depending on a few of the recipes, sometimes I needed to add an extra teaspoon of coconut flour. Often even how freshly ground your almond flour is can result in the need for more coconut flour because the almond flour is more moist. I also love to be generous with vanilla extract, so mine might have more than that 1 tsp.

Hope you enjoy these variations of a fantastic and fun recipe!

Breakfast Snickerdoodles

I’ve been craving Snickerdoodles and a batch of scones lately. So, this morning, I decided to try and adapt one of Elana Amsterdam’s scone recipes from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook to fit that need. We ended up with delicious Breakfast Snickerdoodles that are less sconeish and very cookish.

I adapted this recipe sans chocolate from her Chocolate Chip Scones (pg 18) which are divine. I also substitute about a cup of the almond flour with 3-4 Tbls. of coconut flour because of the price of almond flour. If you love this recipe, grab a copy of her book. If you hate this recipe, I take all the blame for the modifications, and grab a copy of her book to get back to her recipes. In other words, unless you are allergic to nuts, Elana’s book is one of those staple items for Gluten-Free living.

In order to keep with the spirit of Elana’s cooking, I tried to do an agave/cinnamon topping. In tasting though, I discovered that part of what makes a Snickerdoodle is the dry cinnamon sugar mixture on top. I’m including both variations for those who don’t want to use sugar.

These would make a fantastic New Year’s Breakfast and pair well with a cup of Egg Nog or coffee.

Breakfast Snickerdoodles
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
3-4 T. coconut flour
1/2 t. Sea Salt
1t. Baking Soda
1/4 c. grapeseed oil
1/4 c. agave nectar
2 large eggs
2 t. GF vanilla extract
2t. cream of tarter

Topping:

Variation 1 agave topping: 2T. Agave Nectar + 2 T cinnamon (reduce Cream of Tarter to 1 1/2 T b/c it

Variation 2-Tradition Cinnamon Topping: 2T sugar (white, brown, organic cane juice, etc) + 2T cinnamon

 

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl sift together the almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tarter. Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until combined. Let sit for 10 minutes for the coconut flour to absorb the liquid.

Use a scoop or 1/4 cup to drop batter 2 inches apart onto the prepared sheets. (mine are always more runny than the recipe describes, hence another reason I use some coconut flour in the recipes. If you want them more dense add more coconut or almond flour. If you like them a bit more like cookies, use less flour.)

Depending on the topping, spoon and spread the liquid agave-cinnamon mixture or sprinkle and press the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Bake for 12-17 minutes, until golden brown or a toothpick inserted comes out clean. (the cookies style will be harder to test)

remove the parchment paper to a cooling rack and allow cookies to cool for 30 minutes. (we did eat some within 15 minutes and others later and waiting does produce a better flavor).

Enjoy!

Recipe: Gluten Free Rustic Baked Potato Chowder

I told my husband at the beginning of the week I was making Potato Chowder this week. He was less than excited. Nevertheless, I made it and he ate two bowls and was bummed there was none for his lunch tomorrow! This isn’t a strict recipe, so modify it to your tastes. I put the option of cheese on here as a garnish, but frankly, the soup is so rich and creamy it doesn’t need it. Bacon on the other hand…..it’s a must IMHO.

The main differences in my chowder from other potato chowder is that I use already baked potatoes rather than boiling to keep the soup from being too starchy or tasting like not quite finished potatoes. I cream everything before I completely finish the soup, (I use a Magic Bullet rather than a blender and I want to get it smooth in one batch). Cream cheese replaces both milk and making a roux with flour for thickening, and I keep the skins on the potatoes so the soup ends up more rustic and with more vitamins. The cream cheese also adds a wonderful flavor.

Enjoy and thanks for trying it!

2TBLS olive Oil
2TBLS Butter
1 Carrot minced
1 Yellow Onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
10-12 diced baked baby Yukon or red potatoes (see below for baking method) (I leave the skins on)
1 box of Gluten Free Chicken Broth (you will actually not use the entire box, you’ll use what you want)
pinch of dried Rosemary or fresh sprigs if you wish
sprig of fresh oregano
5-6 leaves fresh basil
pinch of dried parsley
Kosher or Sea Salt to taste
4TBLS-1/2 brick of low fat cream cheese (1/3 reduced fat and aka Neufatchael)
bacon bits
shredded cheese (optional garnish)
ground pepper to taste

Mince and dice veggies keeping separate. Heat Olive Oil and Butter together in a large soup pot. (the olive oil reduces the smoke point of the butter). Once butter starts to foam, add the carrot and sauté for 2 minutes. Add onion and cook for one more minute. Then add garlic and cook everything until they start to brown and carmalize. (I use stainless steel, so I wait until I start to get brown bits). Add broth till it covers the pan. (probably about 1/2 a cup). Stir and scrape off the browned bits. let come to boil and get thick.

Remove pan from heat and place everything in a blender with 1/2 of the diced potatoes, a few pinches of salt, and a cup of chicken broth. Blend till smooth and creamy. Pour the mix back into the pan and add more chicken broth to desired consistency. I probably used about 2 1/2 -3 cups total for the soup. Add rosemary, basil, parsley, oregano, and ground pepper. Add cream cheese and if needed use masher or wisk to break up. Cook for 5 minutes or so and break it up again. (it helps to dice the cream cheese). Taste soup for flavor and consistency. If need more smooth fix it here.

Add diced potatoes and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. (Meanwhile, dice and cook bacon if you haven’t).
Serve with cheese and bacon as desired.

BAKED POTATO METHOD
This summer I figured out how to make moist delicious potatoes in the crockpot. I got tired of heating up the house or exploding potatoes in the oven. I always use Yukon gold or Red. This soup was made with a mixture. Early AM, I scrub all the potatoes and then soak them in 1 cup of kosher salt and 8 cups of hot water. You can poke holes or not poke holes, but it makes them really moist and creamy for baking and the soup. Around 1 or so, I put the potatoes (no foil) in my crockpot with a 1/2 cup or so of water. Place them on High and walk away…..after 3 hours or so, I place it on low and check the water. Around 5pm or 6, I serve them. For the soup, retain about 10-15 small potatoes for the soup and refridge until you desire to use them.