Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

I was inspired by a picture of these amazing looking bars......

The recipe looked good but all of the comments said that it did not work and did not taste so great.... 

Then I was thinking about the cupcakes I wanted to make for my niece -(which did not happen because of a pesky virus) and I found this recipe for a peanut butter filling.

Then  I thought what if I combined everything and made my own version of chocolate peanut butter bars so I got to work- and look what happened!

This is so easy you don't even need pictures of the process!

Crust recipe:
1 stick of butter 
5TBLSP Dutch process cocoa
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla
Place in a saucepan on medium low heat and stir until melted and smooth
Beat  1 egg then add a little of the chocolate mixture to temper the egg - then add it to the chocolate mixture and stir until combined.
Next add:
1 cup of unsweetened coconut
1 & 1/2 cup of Graham Cracker crumbs ( I used Gluten Free)
1/2 C Almond meal

The mixture will barely hold together.
Press it into the bottom of an 8X8 pan lined with parchment paper so it comes up each side of the pan.  ( I cut 2 strips to do this)

It will seem thick but that is ok.

Now prepare the Peanut Butter Filling:

1 Cup Peanut Butter ( I used natural creamy Peanut Butter because that is what I always have on hand)
6 Tblsp of Whole milk, Half& Half or Cream

1 & 1/2 Cup of Powdered Sugar  ( you may need more or less depending on your peanut butter)

Add all the PB to the bowl then add the powdered sugar and milk alternately until it is creamy and thick.

Spread the Peanut Butter Filling on the crust.

Chocolate Ganache Topping

8-10 Oz of your favorite Chocolate
(I used a combination of 60% dark and milk chocolate)
2 Tblsp of Butter
1/4 + of Heavy Cream

Melt the chocolate  and butter in a double boiler over simmering water.  As the chocolate begins to melt add the cream 2 Tblsp at a time.  You want your chocolate to be thick but spreadable.

Let your Ganache cool until just barely warm.

Spread on top of the peanut butter filling

Cover and chill.

The original recipe said to chill for  4 hours - 1 hour was fine for tasting - but the longer the chill the easier they were to slice and serve!

They are super rich so it is best to keep the pieces small..... or not~

By the way - I will still work on something like the original - especially since these were so yummy!!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins Gluten Free

This recipe came from a magazine article in the 1980's.  It has been a family favorite for years.  It is easy to use regular all purpose flour in place of gluten free version here.  They are filling and great to take with you for a snack or for breakfast.

2/3 C Quick Oats
1 C Boiling Water
4 Tblsp Butter
1/2 C Brown Sugar

Pour Boiling Water over Oats Sugar and Butter

Let the mixture cool to just warm.  This allows the oats to soften.

2 Eggs (room temperature is better)
1 tsp vanilla

Now add the dry ingredients:
1 Tbsp Cake Enhancer
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 C Oat Flour
3/4 C All purpose Gluten Free Flour ( I use Cup4Cup)

I love cinnamon - and my favorite is vietnamese - it is spicy and fragrant!

Add 1/2-3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips  -you can use semi-sweet, dark, or milk- or a mix.  Whatever makes you happy!

Add 1/2- 3/4 Cup chopped nuts- I love pecans in this recipe but use your favorite.

This will make 6 super jumbo muffins - I use a half cup measuring cup to measure fill the muffin cups.

 or you can do regular size - this recipe makes 12-18 depending on how full you want the muffin tins.   A cookie scoop works well for this.

I use paper liners for muffins because it is easier - but you can grease the muffin tins with butter or spray oil too.

Bake at 400 Degrees for 18- 22 minutes until brown on top and a tooth pick inserted in the muffin comes out clean.

They are yummy served warm - but also great at room temperature.


 Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

Preheat oven to 400

2/3 C Quick Oats
1 C Boiling Water
4 Tblsp Butter
1/2 C Brown Sugar

Pour Boiling Water over Oats Sugar and Butter

Let the mixture cool to just warm.  This allows the oats to soften.

2 Eggs (room temperature is better)
1 tsp vanilla

Now add the dry ingredients:
1 Tbsp Cake Enhancer
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 C Oat Flour
3/4 C All purpose Gluten Free Flour ( I use Cup4Cup)
( you can also use 1 & 1/2 C all purpose flour )

Add 1/2-3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips  -you can use semi-sweet, dark, or milk- or a mix.  Whatever makes you happy!

Add 1/2- 3/4 Cup chopped nuts- I love pecans in this recipe but use your favorite.

Bake at 400 Degrees for 18- 22 minutes until brown on top and a tooth pick inserted in the muffin comes out clean.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

Even before I knew I could not eat gluten biscuit dough cinnamon rolls were my favorite.  It probably has to do with impatience - I never want to wait for the dough to rise- then rise again.....

Making dough- biscuit or yeast has been the biggest challenge for me in gluten free world.  I have a favorite biscuit dough with wheat flour that I have used for years - but adapting it for gluten free - well the results have not been the same.  I don't know about you - but when you know what it is supposed to taste like, and then it doesn't it is just disappointing.

One of the discoveries I have made in gluten free baking is that dry dough is not a good thing - in fact with things like scones, quick breads, and biscuits the dough should be "wetter" than I was used to in regular baking.  The other discovery is that finishing the dough in the food processor is not the best for gluten free flour- the dough is often tough.  This is a big deal since gluten gives dough that wonderful flakey layered feel so without gluten  the dough is much more sensitive.

Today I worked on my cinnamon rolls with my favorite biscuit dough recipe- and this time I think I got it right!

I was so excited about how things were going I forgot to take pictures of each step - sorry!

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Biscuit Dough
Adapted from Bonnie Stern's Cuisinart Cookbook

2 Cups All Purpose Gluten Free Flour - I used Cup4Cup
1 Tblsp - Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Tblsp Cake Enhancer
Pulse these together in the bowl of a food processor with a regular blade or whisk in a large bowl
1 stick of cold butter (1/2 Cup) cut into pieces
Pulse or cut in with a pastry cutter until the butter is pea sized or smaller

If using a food processor empty flour mix in to a large bowl

1 Cup of Plain Yogurt- not fat free.  (I like greek yogurt best)
1/2 Cup buttermilk - added in 1/4 cup increments.  Start with a quarter cup then add the additional 1/4 cup as needed.
 Mix with a fork until dough starts to come together.  You will need to test it with your hands to make sure it is not too wet or dry.  (I am sorry I don't have a picture of this step I will try to get a picture of this step next time I make these)
Try not to handle the dough too much - you don't want the butter to melt.

Roll the dough into a rectangle - I use a cutting board as my outline - measures 18" X12".
I still use glutinous rice flour when I roll out dough - but the all purpose will work too.

Melt 1 stick (1/2 Cup) butter and add a tsp of vanilla to the butter ( I usually start this when I start to dough so the butter is not too hot when I am ready to roll out the dough)

Brush the dough with butter - you will not use all of it.

Sprinkle cinnamon - approx 1 tblsp  You can use more or less to taste.
1/2- 3/4 cup of Dark Brown Sugar sprinkled on the dough
Add chopped nuts - I did pecans around a 1/2 cup

( you can also add cooked apples or other kinds of nuts)

Here is what it looks like..... 

 Begin with long end and roll up the dough jelly roll style toward you.

Then cut the rolls in to 1 1/2 inch rolls you should get about 12 rolls.  I placed these in a greased 8X10 in glass pan.  It is ok if they are touching.  I spoon the left over butter/vanilla mix into the individual rolls.

Bake for 22- 28 minutes until they are brown

The rolls were crisp at the edges and tender inside with caramelized sugar and nuts

I love to add cream cheese frosting to my rolls but my husband does not like frosting so I serve it on the side...

I make frosting or glaze while the rolls are baking.  Any good cream cheese frosting will work.

Start to finish this will take you about 45 minute to 1 hour.

Enjoy these!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gluten Free Thin Mints

There are certain things that you really miss when you are on the Gluten Free Road- and Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies are one of them......  These are soooo yummy!!
Don't be worried that your dough is a little crumbly- it will work.  With the gluten free flour don't let it get too cold or it is really hard to roll out.

  •  Use Glutinous Rice Flour for rolling dough.  It is available on line.  (amazon.com) Glutinous Rice Flour does not make your dough tough.
  • Melt chocolate in a double boiler over water on a easy simmer.  My favorite chocolate is Ghiradelli Double Chocolate - it tastes divine and is easy to melt. 
  • After dipping the cookies in chocolate rest them on a parchment paper or wax paper.
Happy Baking!!

Version of Homemade Thin Mints - Gluten Free
as seen all over the internet

-1  sticks butter, at room temperature
-1/2 cup powdered sugar
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure mint extract
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-3/4 cup Cup4 Cup or other KAF Gluten free flour

6 - 8 oz of high quality chocolate - I used Ghiradelli Double Chocolate

1. In the bowl of a mixer, cream butter until light. Add the powdered sugar and continue creaming. Add the vanilla, salt, and cocoa powder. Mix in the flour, mixing until dough comes together (my dough was pretty dry).
2. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of saran wrap. With your hands, press the dough together in a ball the best you can. Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Once dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350F. Roll dough out onto a floured surface (thin, about 1/8-inch) and use a cookie cutter or a small glass to cut circle shapes out of the dough (it would be fun to make another shape too!). (Note-my dough was kind of crumbly, but be patient and just stick it back together).  I used an 1&1/2 in round cutter
4. Bake cookies on an ungreased baking sheet for 10 minutes before cooling on a wire rack. Once cookies are cooled, melt chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds so as not to burn. Stir in peppermint extract.
5. Using a fork, dip cookies completely in the chocolate, hanging over the bowl to let excess chocolate drip off into the bowl. Place cookies on baking sheet lined with wax paper to dry. Store cookies between layers of wax paper in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cranberry Orange Breakfast Cake for a Snowy Day

Last night a winter storm warning was issued - that sometimes that means an 1 inch of snow or sometimes 6-10 inches.  This is what I woke up to... 

Baking is my favorite start to a day like today.  There is nothing like something warm and yummy out of the oven while the storm goes on outside!

I am making Cranberry Orange Breakfast Cake ( Gluten Free)

I adapted it from Alexandra Cooks original recipe www.alexandracooks.com

I am using Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour with all the rest of the regular ingredients.

Cream the room temperature butter and sugar with the zest until light and fluffy.
(I used the zest from 3 clementines & I use vanilla sugar for baking- you just add vanilla pods that you have scraped into a jar of sugar)

Add the egg and vanilla  you have a smooth orange scented start....

Toss the cranberries with 2 Tblsp of the flour

Mix the rest of dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then add to the batter alternating with buttermilk. 

Then fold in the cranberries....  The batter will be more like muffin batter than cake batter.

Spread in to a greased pan and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar 
( the recipe calls for a 9 inch square pan- but use what you have)

The recipe calls for 35-45 minutes at 350.  My was done in exactly 35.

It smells divine- orange and cranberry Yum!!

The tart cranberries with the tender orange cake - delightful!!
Try it you won't be disappointed!

Cranberry Orange Breakfast Cake Gluten Free
Adapted from Alexandra Cooks (www.alexandracooks.com)

1 Cup + 1TBSLP Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter ( I stick) room temperature
zest from 1 orange.  ( I used 3 clementines)
1 Egg room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Cups -Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 C buttermilk
2 Cups of Cranberries

Bake at 350 for 35- 45 minutes

Here's to snowy days!


Friday, December 14, 2012

One of my cooking challenges is that I am gluten intolerant.  I have known for 5 years - so my cooking and recipes have had to change if I was going to enjoy them.  Working with alternate flours in baking has required some real creative kitchen work.  I am grateful for all the wonderful cookbooks out there that have inspired me to make my favorites gluten free. I promise to share my favorites with you as I continue post.

Scones......I used to make them regularly in my gluten eating days but I have struggled with the texture in gluten free world.  I was excited to try this recipe from one of my favorite cooking blogs- Alexandra Cooks.  I adapted her recipe slightly which I noted, and I used Cup4Cup gluten free all purpose flour- my new obsession.  It is available at Williams Sonoma, and some speciality stores.  Check out their website  www.cup4cup.com.

I always want my gluten free recipes to be tasty for everyone, and I want no one who eats in my home to realize they are eating gluten free.  My darling husband( a gluten eater) assured me this one was successful!


Blueberry Buttermilk Scones
adapted from Alexandra Cooks - check out her site:
www.alexandracooks.com  ( her recipes and blog are a delicious inspiration!!!)

2 C + 6 TBLSP Cup4 Cup Flour
1 & 1/2 TSP Baking Powder
Scant 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 TBLSP Cake Enhancer ( my addition to original recipe)*
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 tsp salt ( heaping)
1/2 tsp Lemon zest ( I used a whole lemon)
1 stick + 1 1/2 tsp very cold butter  cut in pieces
3/4 Cup Buttermilk  ( I added approximately another 1/4 cup)
1 Cup Fresh  Blueberries

1 & 1/2 tsp melted butter
Coarse or granulated sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400

Mix dry ingredients in Cuisnart with blade.  Cut in butter until it is well incorporated - no large chucks.

Transfer to a large bowl.  Add blueberries, then add buttermilk and mix with large spoon until dough forms.  I had to use my hands a little to really get the dough to come together.  You don't want it too wet- but you also don't want it to be crumbly...  This is where I added extra buttermilk.

Transfer the dough to a floured board.  ( I used glutinous rice four for dusting)  press the dough into a circle about 3/4 to 1 inch thick.  Cut into 6 wedges and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.

Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown

* Cake Enhancer is available from King Arthur Flour

Come sit in my kitchen...........

The kitchen is my favorite room- it has been since I was small.  There is something about cooking that is always magical and creative.  I still have my first cookbook - I am sure  there are others who recognize this gem from Betty Crocker!

My darling mother was my kitchen and cooking mentor allowing me to help her, and encouraging me in all my kitchen endeavors......

So welcome to my kitchen!  It is the place I go to create, and often for that creative therapy that feeds my soul and calms my frazzled nerves.  I love to cook with family and friends in my kitchen so I can share tastes and stories while creating.

More stories and recipes to come.....