Candid Reflections

February 11, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Filed under: Gluten-Free, In the Kitchen — Tags: , , , — candid reflections @ 11:35 am

Dear Andrea L., or anyone who may be trying to avoid that white, fluffy gluten containing stuff,  AKA: wheat flour,

Here is the chocolate cake recipe I promised… a little later than I’d hoped to get it posted, but I think you’ll find it was well worth the wait!  Prepare your taste buds for a velvety, chocolately scrumptious experience.

This fudge-like cake is so easy, my two fifth graders prepared it during school – Cooking Class.  Later (in between coaching math problems), I enjoyed my helping of the chocolate cake (half), in the teacher’s lounge (anywhere where there is no kids!)

Flourless Chocolate Cake

16 oz. good quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate (ie. Scharffen Berger, Dagoba, etc.)
5 large eggs, separated
1/3  cup powdered sugar
1 TBSP vanilla
1/2  cup unsalted butter
Powdered cocoa (to dust pan)

Preheat the oven to 250.  Use butter or margarine to grease a nine-inch spring form pan, then dust it with the powdered cocoa.

Melt the chocolate (the kids used inexpensive chips by Ambrosia) with the butter completely in a double boiler, or the microwave.

Separate the eggs.

Beat the egg yolks with the vanilla in a large bowl, then very gradually add the warm chocolate-butter mixture, stirring constantly. 

In a clean, large bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until they are stiff and form soft peaks.

Slowly add the powdered sugar to them, still beating until it is well blended.  The egg whites should appear a little shiny and stiff.  Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture a little at a time.

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and bake for approximately an hour.  The top of the cake should appear dry and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should have crumbs stuck to it, but not appear gooey.  Serve when it is completely cooled.  You may dust it with cocoa, powdered sugar, or serve with whipped cream. 

.. if you’re feeling really naughty, prepare a yummy ganache frosting for your flourless chocolate cake, a dangerously delicious combination indeed!

Ganache :

8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoons cognac or brandy (optional)

Place the chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl.  Set aside.  Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.  Bring just to a boil.  Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes.  Stir with a whisk until smooth.  If desired, add the liquer. 

To cover cake:  First brush any loose crumbs from the cake and place cake on a wire rack.  Put rack on a baking sheet, so that ganach has a place to drip, making cleanup easier.  Using a cake spatula, cover the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer of ganache.  This is called a crumb coat.  Refrigerate for 5 min.  To cover cake, pour the remaining ganache onto the center of the cake.  Working quickly, spread with a spatula using big strokes to push the ganache over the sides of the cake, creating an even coating.

February 3, 2010

Chocolately, Gooey Goodness… and they’re Gluten-Free!

Filed under: Gluten-Free, In the Kitchen — Tags: , , , — candid reflections @ 10:10 pm

Oh my, now here is a gluten-free cookie that my little man-cub who has allergies is going to have to hide from the rest of the bunch!  I made these for the first time tonight, after he had gone to bed.  I’m back into test mode, trying out various recipes for my little allergic fella, so of course I had to try them out as soon as I pulled them from the oven.  All I can say is that they were deeee-lish!  I called my eldest, non-allergic son in to have a sample.  I asked him if he could tell that they were gluten and dairy free.  He ate some and then replied that he’d have to taste some more before making that call.  I gave him the other half of the cookie and waited for his answer.  Immediately after licking his lips, he responded to my anticipation by repeating the request for yet another taste to really be sure!  Ha!  I knew they were that good! 

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Cookies
Recipe from Carol Fenster’s book 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes

¼ cup ( half stick) unsalted butter or Earth Balance
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups Carol’s Sorghum Blend*
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used dairy-free)
½ cup dried sweetened cherries
¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut

     *Carol’s Sorghum Blend
     1 ½ cups sorghum flour
     1 ½ cups potato starch or corn starch
     1 cup tapioca flour

1. Place a rack in the lower-middle position and another in the upper-middle position of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 375º.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large mixing brown, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on low-speed until very smooth, about 1 minute.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk together the sorghum blend, cocoa, xanthan gum, salt, and baking soda and gradually beat into the egg mixture on low-speed just until blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips, cherries, and coconut.  Knead the dough with your hands a few times to make sure the chips, cherries, and coconut are thoroughly incorporated. 

4.. Using a spoon, scoop balls onto parchment paper.  Place one sheet on the upper rack, and one on the lower rack.  Bake 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets between racks halfway through baking.  Cool cookies 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store, tightly covered for up to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to a month.

February 1, 2010

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies/ Snickerdoodles

Filed under: Gluten-Free, In the Kitchen — candid reflections @ 10:43 pm

In the kitchen this evening, trying out a new recipe I picked up from a local community GF meeting a few months ago.  My little gluten-free fella found these cookies pleasing.

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter (or Earth Balance)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg (or egg replacer)
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and sugar, beat in egg and vanilla.

1 cup white rice flour
1 cup brown rice flour
¼ cup starch (potato, tapioca, or corn – I used tapioca)
1 tblsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp soda
2 tsp xanthan gum

Mix together dry ingredients in separate bowl.  Add dry mixture, one cup at a time to butter mixture.   The dough will be stiff.  Scoop by spoonfuls, roll in sugar or a sugar/cinnamon mixture, place onto cookie sheet and bake about 7 minutes or until golden.

January 10, 2009

Savory Coconut Cupcakes – gluten & dairy free

Filed under: Gluten-Free — Tags: , , , , — candid reflections @ 12:06 pm

Not just an ordinary cupcake… they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, and assuredly delicious!

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Coconut Cupcakes

1 c. sifted coconut flour
½ c. potato starch
½ c. tapioca starch
3 t. baking powder
2 c. sugar
1 c. margarine
6 eggs (or egg substitute)
1 c. coconut milk
2 t. vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients, set aside.  Cream together sugar and margarine.  Combine eggs, coconut, and vanilla, then add to sugar mixture.  Mix into dry ingredients.  Pour batter into muffin tins lined with paper cups.  Bake at 350º for 20-30 min.

Coconut Frosting

4 Tbsp. coconut flour
1 c. coconut milk
1 c. margarine
1 ½ c. powdered sugar
½ c. brown sugar
2 t. vanilla

Heat coconut flour and milk in a saucepan until thickened.  Set aside to cool.  Cream together margarine, sugars, and vanilla.  Beat in cooled coconut mixture until it is smooth and resembles whipped cream.  Add 1tsp. of xanthan gum to stabilize, if necessary.   *note:  Next time I think I’ll try heating the brown sugar with the coconut milk and flour, to eliminate some of it’s graininess.

January 6, 2009

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Filed under: Gluten-Free, In the Kitchen — Tags: , , , , — candid reflections @ 10:15 pm

When my youngest little fella was diagnosed with a few food allergies recently, I really felt quite sorry for the little guy.   The thought of going through life without the ability to devour scrumptious cinnamon rolls fresh out of  the oven, and to have to face a plate of spaghetti without the noodles or a cheesy piece of garlic bread to gnaw on – I think I’d lose my mind… I’d definitely lose a few pounds! 

Anyway, I love to bake, and I’m on a new found quest to find delicious, not just tolerable, treats for my food challenged little guy.  The standing test on whether a recipe is a keeper or not in my kitchen is how fast it gets gobbled up, and I’m making no exceptions with the allergy recipes.  So for this cake to go from this:

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to this in one short evening, you know it’s good!  and to think only one of us has the food sensitivities!

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Yummy Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
1 ¾ cups brown rice flour
¼ cup almond meal  if you have it
¾ cup cocoa
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs  – or 2 Tbs. flax seeds in 2/3 cup of water for those who can’t do eggs
1 cup milk – or rice milk, or soy milk for those who can’t do dairy
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350 .  Grease and flour a 9×13 baking pan, or two 9″ rounds.  Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla, beat on medium speed 2 min. (or if you can’t have eggs like my little guy then place the flax seeds in a pan with the water, bring to boil, and then simmer for five minutes.  Add this mixture to the other wet ingredients in place of the eggs.) Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin.)  Pour into pan.  Bake 30-35 or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely.

Chocolate Frosting

1 stick of margarine
2/3 cup Cocoa
3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup rice milk or soy milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Whip soft margarine and cocoa with electric mixer.  Alternate adding powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed.  Add vanilla.  Spread on cake.

December 9, 2008

Trying My Hand at Gluten-Free

Filed under: Gluten-Free, In the Kitchen — candid reflections @ 4:21 pm

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Well, we discovered last month that our littlest guy is gluten intolerant, which means he can’t digest wheat flour properly.  This hasn’t been the most uplifting discovery for us to make, as we’re finding that wheat flour is in just about everything prepared… from things less obvious like taco seasoning and soy sauce, to things most obvious like pasta and nearly all breads on the grocery shelf.  I’ve finally accepted this new challenge, and am dealing with the possibilities of a new array of staples in my kitchen.  I’m not ready to give up cooking and baking as I know it, however I am prepared to delve in and try my hand with unfamiliar ingredients – xanthan gum, tapioca flour, potatoe starch, almond flour, sorghum flour…

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These Gingerbread  Sandwhiches are my first attempt at baking with alternative flours, they are pretty good I must say… oldest son called them heavenly, as a matter of fact!  I can definitely see replacing my old, all-purpose flour, gingerbread recipe with this new, alternative flour, recipe.  This new recipe was in no way inferior to my previously preferred recipe..that’s great news!  Soo, that’s one down, and many more to go…

Gingerbread Cookies    recipe from Carol Fenster’s book:  Gluten-Free 101

¼ cup butter or margarine
3 Tbs. molasses
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ¼ cup flour blend*
1 tsp. xanthan gum
½ tsp salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
2 Tbs. water ( if needed )

*the flour blend is something that I mixed previously to use as a replacement for the all-purpose stuff.  Ings. are:  1 1/2 cups sorghum flour, 1 1/2 cups potatoe starch, 1 cup tapioca flour, and 1/2 cup almond flour.

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In food processor, or with electric mixer, combine butter, molasses, sugar, and vanilla.  Add remaining ingredients.  Blend until throughly mixed together and dough forms a ball.  Add water 1 Tbsp. at a time, if needed.  Shape dough into 1″ flat disk, cover, and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat oven to 325º.   Grease baking sheet, or line with parchment paper, set aside.

Shape dough into 1″ balls and place on baking sheet.  Flatten slightly with bottom of drinking glass.

Bake 18-20 minutes on the middle rack of oven, or until cookies start to turn brown on bottom.  Cool cookies on baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer to cooling rack.  Store in an airtight container.

For the icing:  blend 1/4 cup of butter, softened, and 3 oz. softened cream cheese.  Gradually add 1 cup  of powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp. Jet puffed marshmallow cream.  Spread filling between two cookies and press slightly.  Chill.

April 2, 2008

Amazing Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Filed under: Gluten-Free, In the Kitchen — candid reflections @ 8:56 am

I have been on a baking kick this week.  Would you believe that these cookies are made without flour?  Yes, you heard me right, zilch!  And they are soooo delicious!

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Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup all natural peanut butter (I use Adams – creamy, prestirred)

¾ cup sugar

1 large egg, slightly beaten

½ teaspoon baking soda

¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup roasted, unsalted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350º.  Line the bottom of a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

In a large bowl stir together the peanut butter, sugar, egg, and baking soda, until combined.  (I used my Kitchen-Aid on low setting.)  Add chocolate chips and peanuts.  Scoop dough into teaspoon size balls, and place on baking sheet two inches apart.  Dough may be a bit crumbly but blends together nicely while baking.  Bake on middle shelf for approximately 14 minutes.  Cool on wire rack – cookies will be fragile while warm, but will firm up after cooled.  Natural peanut butter is best because it doesn’t have multiple ingredients which will interfere with  ingredients in this recipe.

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