Wednesday, February 10, 2010


New York is on LOCKDOWN today for what will surely become 2-3" of snow. The school called a pre-emptive snow day, which means they have absolved themselves of all responsibility to shovel and accommodate students' safety. So I woke up before it got too bad and Rosie and I are having a Snowed-In Bake Day!!

We're going to make everything winter-themed to celebrate! And watch lots of Teen Mom!

Peppermint-Patty Cupcakes
Peppermint Glaze Chocolate Pudding Pie
Warm Chocolate Pudding Pies

and lord knows this does not a real meal make, so for real nourishment, a baked mac and cheese.

Peppermint-Patty Cupcakes
4 ozs unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 3/4 c Rice Flour Mix
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 c canola oil
1 1/2 c milk
2 c granulated sugar

Mint Topping:
4 c confectioners sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
1/4 c vegetable shortening
2 tsp peppermint extract

Chocolate Glaze:
8 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/4 c light corn syrup
1 1/4 tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In small sauce pan, melt chocolate over low heat. Melt slowly, stirring constantly. Set aside to let cool.
In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and soda, salt xanthan gum. Whisk.
In separate bowl, combine milk and oil. Whisk, lightly.
In electric mixer, beat eggs and butter on medium (~5 minutes) until light and fluffy.
Blend in chocolate and vanilla.
Add 1/2 of wet ingredients at low speed, blend, add 1/2 of dry ingredients.
Repeat until all ingredients are combined.

Grease or paper-cup your cupcake trays, bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool for another 15 before adding toppings.

For Frosting, beat confectioners sugar, corn syrup, shortening and peppermint extract until a tight paste forms. Gather into ball, wrap in wax paper and roll out piecemeal into roughly 5"x5" pieces 1/2" thick. cut through piece with cup or jar top. Set the patty atop the cupcake.

Next, for the creamy glaze, melt chocolate on stovetop. Microwave corn syrup and butter for 45 seconds, remove, whisk to combine, then add chocolate and let cool for several minutes. After topping, let set in chill setting for 20 minutes.

Peppermint Glaze Chocolate Pudding Pie
This could also be called 'mishap pie'-- we were writing out the grocery list and decided to try our hands at a gluten-free conversion for my favorite childhood cookie: The Thin Mint! I was a girl scout, and they wait until now, the most bitter, relentless time of year, to send young girls to wait in grocery store parking lots and sell these things. But today was about Kell on Earth, and cotton pajamas, and not being in the shit! So we pulled a fantastic shortbread recipe, made it chocolate, made it GF, rolled it up and put it in the fridge, and after 2 hours it still hadn't collected. Here's what we did with it:

The cookie recipe is:
1/2 c unsalted butter
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 c rice flour mix
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c mini chocolate chips

and the would-be mint glaze:
8 oz chocolate, semi-sweet
2 tsp mint extract
milk, eyeballed

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy.
Add vanilla, mix well.
Add flours, cocoa powder, xanthan gum and salt;
Mix until a soft dough is formed.
Mix in chocolate chips.

Gather dough onto wax paper and form into log-like shape. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

But that's where things went wrong, right? It was too crumbly. So we tamped it into a greased, glass pie plate and popped it in at 275 F for ~20 minutes.

While it was baking we whipped up some non-cooking chocolate pudding, boxed.

Then we melted the chocolate, added the mint extract, thinned it with perhaps a tablespoon of milk, and let it cool a bit before emptying it into the pie crust.

The crust and peppermint layer cooled for about 45 minutes, and then we added the pudding and let it set in the fridge for about an hour.

I just tasted it, and it's a freaking thin mint pie. It kind-of looks like hell, but it's tough to make pudding look formal. But the taste is unreal.

Warm Chocolate Pudding Pies
These I'm leaving for Rosie and Roland to enjoy together while I'm out of town this weekend! She'll have to report on how they are...we've been waiting to make them forever, the recipe's been sitting in our book since we began it.

1 1/2 oz chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 tsp softened butter
+ 3 tbsp
3 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
3 tbsp rice flour mix
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Lightly butter 2 ceramic ramekins

Melt chocolate in small sauce pan over low heat, stirring until melted.
Remove from heat and stir in 3 tbsp of butter and sugar until smooth.
Add eggs, flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Beat in electric mixer until pale and very thick (~5 min)
Place in ramekins, cover in plastic, and freeze for 3 hours.

Whenever you want 'em, preheat oven to 375
Bake 10 to 11 minutes until edges are set and the middle is shiny.

....Now, you KNOW all of this wasn't enough for us. As soon as we started getting together what we needed, I started grating cheese, because with this dish, the armwork is the hardest part.

Rosie and I have made this so many times, I can't overstate what a great snack it is. The original recipe is my grandmother's, so I can't share the whole, exact thing, but I'll give you all the important parts.

Baked Mac & Cheese
We used gluten-free elbows, the only appropriate pasta for mac and cheese. Thrown in a quart of boiling water for about a minute and then removed from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, in a medium pot, on very low heat, melt 3 tbsp of butter. When butter is melted, whisk in 2 heaping tablespoons of rice flour mix. Then whisk in about a tablespoon of milk. One handful at a time, add in 12-14 ozs, grated, of sharp cheddar, and follow each handful with a tablespoon or so of non-fat-free milk. When all ingredients are a thick, cheesy cream, remove from heat.

After straining pasta, add in 1 tbsp of butter to keep pasta from sticking. Then stir in 1 c peas. Pour in 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Stir together in oven-safe ceramic baking dish, then add other 1/2 of cheese sauce on top. Top with extra cheese and corn flake bread crumbs

Bake at 350 F for ~35 minutes, or until edges are boiling.

Let cool before eating.

This is a mac and cheese that you simply CANNOT beat.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Snickers Cookies (and cookie bars)

These cookies were born over a gmail chat with our dear friend Maud who is currently living in LA. I started talking about how I wanted to make a cookie that tasted like a snickers bar, and she immediately suggested rolos. Genius! I've been thinking about it ever since so I decided to try them tonight. I used pretty much my regular chocolate chip cookie recipe but added peanuts and rolos to try to replicate that ooey gooey salty sweet deliciousness that comes in a snickers bar. Oh, also, this is a large recipe. You could cut it in half or you can make it all and then save half the dough in the freezer. It's never a bad thing to have cookie dough around.

2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cups rice flour mix
1/4 cup teff flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp salt

chocolate chips
rolos candy

Preheat the oven to 375. Cream the butter and sugar in your mixer or with a hand mixer. Add the eggs and beat, then add the vanilla. Beat until smooth. Technically you should do the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, but I find if you do it in a stand mixer you can just throw it all on top of the wet ingredients, give it a preliminary stir and then beat it in. It comes out evenly mixed. I usually use a combination of the rice flour mix along with teff and millet flour which are both whole grains. This time I was out of millet so I substituted in some quinoa flour that I was given over the holidays (yes people give me flour for Christmas). Either way it's nice to add in a whole grain so there is some semblance of health to counteract all the butter and sugar and chocolate. And man, this quinoa flour made these cookies extra fluffy and delicious. We're going to have to experiment a lot more with this quinoa stuff. I threw in probably about half a cup of chocolate chips. They're the one thing I don't believe in measuring. Just look in the dough and see if it looks about as chocolatey as you want your cookies to be. If not, add more! I also threw in a handful or two of peanuts. I left them whole, or really halved, however they came in the can. I might chop them up next time. I cut the rolos in half because I thought it would be too much to bite into all at once. Here is everything before it was fully mixed in. Mmmmmm.

To bake them I went two ways. First, I made a tray of small cookies to see how those would turn out.

Then I made a batch of big cookies that I know will just turn into cookie bars, or cookie pie as I like to call it. For some reason I go through the motions of making separate cookies even though I know that they will disappear in the baking. Maybe one day I'll just go all out and fill the entire tray. For now, it looks like this.

Oh, man. These cookies are SO GOOD. Salt, chocolate, peanuts, caramel. They're insane when they're warm, but somehow when they're cold they're even more reminiscent of a snickers bar. Except maybe even better.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Mini Loaves with Streusel

I love winter break, because you don't go outside unless you absolutely have to, and that means lots of our favorite indoor activity: baking. Rosie got "The French Chef" DVDs for Christmas, and except for venturing out to Fairway (woot woot!) for elusive, delicious crystallized ginger (we'll put up the recipe that calls for that tomorrow!), we've been watching and baking all day.

This recipe is the wholesome companion to the banana peanut loaves we made yesterday, and like them, we used mini loaf pans as well as standard-size muffin-cupcake pans. There are a lot of ingredients, but the moistness really justifies the extra prep time.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Streusel Topping

2 cups Brown Rice Flour mix
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tb baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup peeled, chopped apple (about 1 medium-large apple)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs

1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour mix
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
(Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and xanthan gum in a small bowl; stir to blend. Pour in butter and stir until all dry ingredients are moistened. Break into small pieces with spoon.)

Preheat to 375
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, and cinnamon in large mixing bowl, add apples and walnuts, stir until evenly mixed.
In small bowl, combine milk and oil; remove 1 tablespoon of combined liquid and discard it. Beat in eggs. Add liquids to apple mixture and stir until just blended.
Fill muffin pans 2/3 full, then top with streusel. Bake ~20 min, let cool on rack.

--taken from Gluten Free Baking Classics, Annalise G. Roberts

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mini Loaves

Pretty much whenever we bake we use this flour mix as a base:
6 cups brown or white rice flour
2 cups potato starch
1 cup tapioca starch or flour

Mix them all together until they feel like one flour. You can make a smaller ratio but it's easier to make a big batch and always have some on hand.

Today we made these mini loaves. It's the first time we've used these tiny pans Julia found.
We converted the recipe from Magnolia's cookbook, made it gluten free and added peanut butter. We also used about half the bananas we were supposed to, because we ran out.

They came out deliciously nutty and chocolatey; the banana was subtle, but added a great moistness.

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup mashed bananas
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/2 cups peanut butter
2 cups rice flour mix

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour loaf pans. Cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Add one egg at a time blending until smooth. Add mashed bananas and milk. Mix in sifted flour. Blend in peanut butter. Stir in peanuts and chocolate chips. The mini loaves baked for 15-20 minutes and cooled for another 20.

Julia's staying with me for a few days, so we're going to wake up early, work on our recipes and get them on here. Julia's new years resolution of gaining 20 pounds demands real effort!