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.

June 29, 2009

waving goodbye to what FIG-ure I once had!

Filed under: In the Kitchen — Tags: , , — candid reflections @ 1:18 pm

I’ve had a love for fig cookies ever since I was a kid.  Yesterday I made them in my kitchen for the first time, and let’s just say, it definitely won’t be the last!


Yummy Fig Cookies

1 lb. raisins
1 lb. dried figs
1 ½ cups honey
1 cup water
1 small orange
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ½ teaspoon baking powder
5 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

Begin by grinding figs and raisins.  Add finely grated orange rind.  Place in a sauce pan and add honey, water, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Boil for 15-20 minutes, stirring until condensed like jam.  Set aside to cool.

For cookie dough, cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs.  Measure vanilla into milk.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Then add dry ingredients and milk alternately to creamed mixture.  Mix well.
Refrigerate dough for at least one hour.

Roll dough out thin, and cut into rounds using small biscuit cutter.  Place about a tablespoon of cooled filling between two dough circles, pinching edges together.  Prick the top of the dough and bake 35o° for 15 minutes (till golden brown.)

October 9, 2008

Um….yum! Pumpkin Scones

Filed under: In the Kitchen — Tags: , , — candid reflections @ 7:50 am

Pumpkin Spice Scones


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter 
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons half-n-half (I used sour cream, cause that’s what I had) 
  • 1 large egg 

Powderered Sugar Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk 

Spiced Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1 pinch ginger 
  • 1 pinch ground cloves 


  2. Preheat oven to 425º. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.
  5. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 14–16 minutes. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.
  8. Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth.
  9. When scones are cool, use a pastry brush to paint plain glaze over the top of each scone.
  11. Combine the ingredient for the spiced icing together. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (at least 1 hour). A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can drizzle with a whisk.

October 7, 2008

Pumpkin Pancakes

Filed under: In the Kitchen — Tags: , , — candid reflections @ 8:52 am

In celebration and introduction of a new and festive season, I invite you to serve up these delicious autumn pancakes.                                      

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 2/3 cups buttermilk ( I used coconut milk, cause that’s what I had)
¾ cup pumpkin puree
4 tablespoons butter,  melted

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pie spice, and salt.  Whisk until completely incorporated.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until well blended.  Stir in the buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter.  (I suggest adding a tsp of vanilla and ½ a tsp of cinnamon as well.)   Add the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk until smooth. 
Heat a griddle or cast-iron pan over moderately high heat.  Brush lightly with oil.  Working in batches, drop batter by ¼ cupsful onto the griddle.  Cook pancakes until bubbles form on top , and bottoms are golden brown, about 2 ½ minutes.  Serve hot with maple syrup.


May 27, 2008

Apple Strudel Ladder Loaf

Filed under: In the Kitchen — Tags: , — candid reflections @ 6:17 am

I found this yummy recipe over at Chickens in the Road 







There are lots of tastey recipes over there, you should go check them out for yourself!  But first, throw these ingredients into your bread machine!  If you don’t have one, here is the old fashioned way of makin’ it:

Apple Strudel Ladder Loaf

2 1/2 cups very warm water (sometimes I use 3 cups to make larger loaves!)
1 package yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Let sit five minutes. Stir in first three cups of flour with a heavy spoon. Add the next cup of flour a little at a time as needed, stirring until dough becomes too stiff to continue stirring easily. Add a little more flour and begin kneading. The 5 1/2 cups flour is approximate–your mileage may vary! Continue adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let dough rise in a greased, covered bowl until doubled. (Usually, about an hour.) Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead briefly before dividing in half.   I skipped this first paragraph because my bread machine did all of this for me- I just added the ingredients in the order recommended by my bread machine manual, and selected the dough cycle.

Roll each half into an 8-inch square on a floured surface. Brush a few tablespoons of melted butter on each square. Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 cups chopped, peeled apples for filling. Spread half of the filling down the middle of each square of dough. At the sides of the filling, cut the dough at 1-inch intervals. Fold dough strips over the filling to wrap. 

Carefully move filled loaves to greased baking sheets. Brush tops with more melted butter; sprinkle with sugar. Let rise till doubled. Bake at 350-degrees for 30 minutes. (Try peaches in this recipe or add nuts–it’s all good!) Serve warm slices with ice cream.


Ohh, I added fresh cherries to the second loaf and it was deeelicious!

May 3, 2008

Cowboy Caviar

Filed under: In the Kitchen — Tags: , , — candid reflections @ 1:04 am

My husband brought this delicious recipe home from work several months ago.  A co-worker of his had brought some of this salsa/pico de gallo to share at lunch and we’re so glad he did.  We ‘ve been making it ever since!  


Cowboy Caviar
3 avocados
1 can of black eye peas
1 can of corn
4 or 5 Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
about 5 green onions
Juice from one small lime
3 large cloves minced garlic
a few shakes of Tabasco sauce
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil



 Chop three avocados into very fine pieces.






 Rinse and drain black eye peas and corn. 






Seed and chop tomatoes into fine pieces.





Finely chop green onion.






Combine all of these ingredients into a bowl and then add minced garlic, Tabasco sauce, salt & pepper, and vegetable oil.  Finally, squeeze the juice from one small lime into the mixture.

Stir well to combine. 

Sometimes I add a handful of chopped cilantro for a little extra zing. 

Now, grab your favorite tortilla chips and dig in!


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