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Friday, 19 May 2017

Key Lime Curd & Lemon Sugar Cookies

Key lime curd served alongside homemade gluten-free lemon sugar cookies or key lime cookies are a perfect summertime dessert when you want something light, but flavorful.  The homemade curd is wonderfully pleasant, filled with key lime zest and juice.  If you need to juice your own, you will need quite a lot of key limes. I think something around 20 or so for that much juice.   The cookies are lovely made into little sandwiches, or served with a dollop of curd on top of each cookie.  Or, you can serve alongside on a small plate, as shown in the picture here.  Enjoy!

Key lime curd served alongside homemade key lime cookies, but equally delicious with the easy, no-fuss lemon sugar cookie recipe below! 

Key Lime Curd & Lemon Sugar Cookies

Whisk together in a pan:
1/2 cup key lime juice
zest of 7-10 key limes
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2/3 - 3/4 cup cold water

Heat over medium heat, stirring regularly.  Once mixture boils, let boil for 1 minute.   Then add and whisk in:
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 Tbsp butter

Allow the curd to boil for 1 minute only. Remove from heat.  Pour curd into a large bowl (or several smaller bowls) and cover with plastic wrap (have the plastic wrap tight to the top, like you do for pudding.   Let cool or serve warm with key lime coolers or the lemon sugar cookies, below.  Enjoy!!!

Lemon Sugar Cookies
Make one batch of Kristin's Favorite Sugar Cookies, adding 6 drops lemon essential oil (high quality - I love the Doterra lemon oil) and 1 tsp lemon zest.    I've retyped the recipe with modifications here for convenience.

Makes ~40 small cookies (it really depends on your cookie cutter or cookie scoop size)

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line baking sheets with silicon lining or parchment paper.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl: (it's important to do this in GF cooking to avoid clumping)
1 1/2 cups Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour mix
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Beat in a mixer until fluffy:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter

Add and mix in thoroughly:
1/2 egg (beat the egg in a bowl with a fork and dump in approx. half the egg - the recipe is forgiving)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
6 drops lemon essential oil
1 tsp lemon zest

Add dry ingredients and mix until well-combined.   If you want to roll and cut shapes, then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to chill.   Otherwise, you can scoop and then flatten the cookies with a plastic-bag wrapped glass or your hand.

Roll out chilled dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to approx 1/4" thickness.  Cut into whatever shapes you like and place on prepared cookie sheets.  

If desired, you can sprinkle the cookies with decorative sugar crystals before cooking for a fancier look, or dust with powdered sugar after baking. 

Bake cookies ~6-9 minutes (depending on size) until just barely browned on edges of the cookies.  Remove pan from oven.  Let sit a few minutes before placing your cookies on a cooling rack.

Perfect served alongside fresh key lime curd, for a decadent treat.  You can dust your cookies with powdered sugar, if desired.   Enjoy!

Key lime curd, sandwiched between cookies. Yum! 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Homemade Butter Chicken

This easy gluten-free butter chicken recipe is wonderful!  Despite the name, there's very little butter in it, but it's nice and creamy and not too spicy, being a family-friendly Indian dish.  I've made several renditions of butter chicken over the years, but never been satisfied until now.  Make sure you start a day ahead, so you can marinate your chicken overnight, allowing the flavors to have ample time to sink into the meat.  None of the steps in this recipe are tricky, but it doesn't require quite a bit of simmering time, so make sure to read through the recipe ahead of time.   This was a perfect dish for my brother's birthday dinner, served alongside chicken saag, in which we used paneer in place of chicken (wonderful) and fresh, homemade GF naan bread.  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Butter Chicken
A delicious meal of butter chicken and paneer saag (made with diced paneer in place of chicken) over rice 

Homemade Butter Chicken
based off a NYTimes recipe
Serves ~8, about 1 hr 15 minutes cooking time (most of it simmering time)

In a large tupperware, mix together the night before you want to make this dish to marinate chicken thighs: (aka, ~24 in advance)
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt (lactose-free works great)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp garam masala
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp ground tumeric
3 lbs boneless chicken thighs

In a large pan over medium heat, melt butter, then cook 2-3 minutes:
1/4 cup butter
1-2 Tbsp oil
1 large onion

Add to onions and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, until onions are just starting to brown:
2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp cumin seeds

Add to the pan, and cook about 10 minutes, lowering heat to just below medium heat:
16 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 jalapeno, minced OR 1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp salt

Add to pan and cook 5 minutes:
Chicken, marinated plus marinade sauce

Add to pot and cook, simmering over medium-low heat for 30 minutes:
3/4 cup GF chicken stock (or 3/4 cup water + 1 tsp Asian mushroom seasoning)

After simmering, add and simmer an additional 15 minutes to thicken:
1 - 1 1/2 cups coconut cream (OR thick part of canned coconut milk if you can't find canned coconut cream)

Serve over fresh basmati rice.  If desired, you can sprinkle with fresh cilantro before serving.  Absolutely wonderful served alongside homemade gluten-free naan bread, too!  Enjoy!

GF Butter Chicken
A delicious meal of butter chicken and paneer saag (made with diced paneer in place of chicken) over rice with GF key lime cookies and key lime curd (recipe to be posted soon) on the side! 


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Dark Chocolate Whoopie Pies!

Whoopie pies are a fun, delicious treat that come in all sizes and with a variety of fillings.  These ones are a dark, rich chocolate puffy cookie filled with marshmallow frosting.  The cookie itself is puffy and moist, a mix between a piece of cake and a cookie.  I recently posted a family favorite oatmeal whoopie pie recipe.  You can easily fill these cookies with an ice cream of your choice for a delicious ice cream sandwich, too!  For a proper chocolate whoopie pie (reminiscent of my days travelling to Bova's bakery in the North End of Boston), you can fill your chocolate whoopie pies with freshly whipped cream sweetened with just a touch of powdered sugar, then store them in the refrigerator for up to a day.  Yum!  Enjoy!
Gluten Free Chocolate Whoopie Pies
Homemade Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Whoopie Pies!
Makes 12 whoopie pies

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line two pans with silicon liners or parchment paper.

Mix in a bowl, and then set aside: (it's important to mix gluten-free flours first to avoid clumping when baking)
1 cup extra dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

In a mixer, beat until fluffy:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar

Add and mix until well combined, scraping down the bowl a few times:
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 eggs

Scoop 12 cookies onto each parchment paper/silicon lined pan.  They will spread a bit and puff up during baking.   Bake at 375 F for 7-9 minutes.  (less for softer, fluffier - more for harder with a slight crisp edge)
Gluten Free Chocolate Whoopie Pies
You can leave scooped for puffier whoopie pies, or flatten slightly before cooking (with your hand in a plastic bag) for flatter/wider cookies.

Cool cookies on a wire rack.
Gluten Free Chocolate Whoopie Pies
Chocolate Whoopie Pie Cookies, cooling before being filled.

Once cool, fill with delicious marshmallow fluff frosting *(measurements below for the right amount for these cookies) OR whipped heavy cream/whipping cream (1 cup heavy cream + 2-3 Tbsp powdered sugar).   Make sure to refrigerate if you use the whipping cream.   These are great right away, but I find even better if they're left refrigerated overnight to let the flavors mesh a little before serving.  Enjoy!

*Marshmallow Fluff Frosting - just enough for filling 12 whoopie pies!
Beat together until smooth, then use to fill whoopie pies:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste
~1 cup marshmallow fluff

Friday, 21 April 2017

Homemade Naan Bread - quick and easy!

One of my favorite types of bread in the world is the quick, delicious flatbread served alongside Indian dishes.  I always loved it, but it took me many attempts to discover this rendition of my favorite flatbread.  It works perfectly as a pizza crust, too!  A definite new favorite around here.  We have so far enjoyed it with butter chicken, coconut curry, and chicken saag.  It's a perfect accompaniment to any meal where you want a quick garlic-bread type side, too.  Happy eating! Enjoy!

Gluten Free Naan Bread
Homemade gluten-free naan bread, ready to enjoy! 

Homemade Naan Bread - quick and easy!!!
Makes 6 ovals of naan

Preheat oven to 475 F (450 F convection).  Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixer, combine the following:
3 cups Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
2 tsp xanthan gum
3 tsp rapid-rise yeast
1/2 - 1 tsp dried cilantro (or 1/2 - 1 tsp dried ground coriander)
1 tsp salt
dash garlic powder

Add, and beat 2-3 minutes, until nice and smooth:
2 1/4 cups milk (lactose-free works well, room temperature is ideal)
2 eggs

While the bread is mixing, in a small bowl melt:
1/2 cup salted butter

Spread two ovals of naan bread batter on each of the three parchment paper using a spatula, making 6 large oval naan breads.   Brush the tops of each with melted butter (~1.5 Tbsp butter per naan works great).   You can let the breads rest for 15-20 minutes, if you want slightly puffier bread, but it's not necessary.

Bake the naan at 475 F for ~12-15 minutes until nicely browned and bubbly.  (Lightly browned naan will result in the bread sinking and not retaining it's nice bubbles after removal from the oven, so make sure it's nice and dark golden brown).

Remove from oven, tear or slice to serve alongside your favorite Indian dishes, perhaps an easy chicken-vegetable curry. Enjoy!
Gluten Free Naan Bread
Delicious homemade GF naan bread, fresh from the oven and ready to serve alongside a vegetable filled coconut curry. Yum! 

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Homemade Gluten Free Crab Cakes!

I grew up in Maryland, land of delicious crab and crab cakes.  My favorite crab cakes of all time are ones made with Old Bay Seasoning.  It already has salt in it, so make sure not to add extra to any recipe that you use it in, but Old Bay Seasoning is perfect in crab cakes.  This recipe I based off a Paula Deen crab cake recipe, but modified to have the right blend of spices and vegetables that I wanted in a crab cake.  These were a huge hit!  The best crab to use for crab cakes is the claws, and often it's sold in a refrigerated section in a 1 lb. can.  I included recommendations for side dishes to accompany your crab cakes below. Enjoy!
Homemade Gluten Free Crab Cakes
Delicious Homemade Gluten Free Crab Cakes, packed with flavor! 

Homemade Gluten Free Crab Cakes!
Makes ~10 crab cakes, serving ~4-8

In a large bowl, mix together:
1 lb. fresh crab meat (1 lb canned fresh crabmeat claws are best)
1/2 cup crushed gluten-free crackers (Scharr brand or GF matzoh work well, you can also use GF breadcrumbs)
4-5 scallions, thinly sliced OR 1/4 cup sweet onion, finely diced
1/4 cup bell pepper, finely diced
2-3 Tbsp finely sliced chives
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg
1/2 tsp dried ground mustard OR 1 tsp regular mustard
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Sprinkle/dust (a fine mesh sieve is perfect for this) the parchment paper with Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix.  Shape crab mixture into small patties and place on flour-dusted parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.  Flatten the patties a bit (they should be around 3/4" thick) and sprinkle/dust the tops of the patties with additional GF Flour.  (You can start heating your oil, instructions below, while you prep your crab cakes). 
Homemade Gluten Free Crab Cakes
Crab cake patties placed on parchment paper-lined pan dusted with GF flour. Look at all those lovely vegetables in the patties. Yum!  (Note: This was a double batch, so you'll end up with half this amount using 1 lb. crab meat)
Homemade Gluten Free Crab Cakes
Crab cakes dusted with GF flour, ready to fry!  

Heat avocado oil* in a large frying pan over medium heat.  You want the oil to cover the bottom of your pan in a thin layer.  Fry your crab cakes in batches for ~4 minutes per side, adding extra oil as needed to keep the bottom of the pan covered.  Place on a paper towel-lined plate once cooked.  Serve with tartar sauce or a dipping sauce of your choice.  I've posted a couple of my favorite homemade sauces (tartar sauce & curry sauce), too!  Crab cakes are great with Greek salad, homemade french fries or skinny sweet potato fries, baked potato wedges & sweet potato fries, or corn on the cob.  Enjoy!
Homemade Gluten Free Crab Cakes
Crab cakes being fried. 

*I love using avocado oil for frying - particularly with gluten-free foods. I find it makes a wonderfully crisp edge to foods cooked in it.  If you don't have avocado oil, feel free to use any other oil appropriate for frying.  

Tartar Sauce Recipe and Curry Dip Recipe, great for crab cakes or fried fish

These are two easy sauces - perfect for serving alongside fried fish or crab cakes (which I'll be posting momentarily).  You can double or triple the recipes easily, but I tend to make these amounts for serving at dinner for the family.  Enjoy!

Tartar Sauce
Mix together in a small bowl:
1/4 - 1/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tsp mustard
1/4 cup minced dill pickle
1-2 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
dash tumeric (optional)
pepper & salt, to taste

Curry Dip
Mix together in a small bowl:
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp ketchup
1/2 - 1 tsp curry powder
~3 Tbsp minced dill pickle

Monday, 3 April 2017

Chocolate & Toasted Marshmallow 4-layer Birthday Cake!

This birthday cake was what I like to call an "ultimate" success.  It was loved by all, leftovers fought over.  It was delicious with a fun mix of chocolate, dark and light, and marshmallow.  If you have two cake pans that are actually the same size, you can make yours into a proper cylindrical cake, but I had two different sized cake pans I was using.  The cake has four layers of rich chocolate cake, a layer of toasted marshmallow frosting, a layer of chocolate frosting, and a layer of toasted marshmallows.  The entire cake is topped with chocolate marshmallow frosting with a layer of chocolate ganache poured over the top followed by some sprinkles, just for fun. Happy Birthday and Happy Baking!  Enjoy! 
GF Chocolate Birthday Cake with Toasted Marshmallow
A fantastic chocolate toasted marshmallow 4-layer birthday cake! 
GF Chocolate Birthday Cake with Toasted Marshmallow
A very happy 6 year old. 
GF Chocolate Birthday Cake with Toasted Marshmallow
A slice of the four layer cake. 

Chocolate Toasted Marshmallow Birthday Cake!


Cake: (based off the recipe I posted of my friend Julie's Top-Secret Cupcake Recipe)
Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter and then line two 8" (ish) cake pans with parchment paper.  Cut a circle for the bottom of the pan and long strips for the edges of the pan.

In a measuring cup, combine the following and set aside:
1 1/2 cup milk (lactose-free works great)
2 Tbsp white vinegar

In a large bowl, whisk together:
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

In a mixer, beat until fluffy:
3/4 cup salted butter, softened

Add sugars, and beat until fluffy:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar

Add one at a time, scraping down the sides of the mixer, as needed:
3 eggs (room temperature)
2 egg yolks (room temperature)

Add in:
3 tsp vanilla extract

Turn the mixer to low.  Alternately add the flour/cocoa blend and milk/vinegar mixture.

Divide batter between the two prepared cake pans.  Bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes.  (I fine 30 minutes is usually good, but all ovens vary, so check with a toothpick and remove when the toothpick comes out clean.)

Let cakes rest a few minutes before moving to cooling rack.  Allow cakes to cool completely.  Slice each cake horizontally, so you end up with four even layers total.

Fill with the following layers of frostings/fillings:

Bottom layer of toasted marshmallow frosting:
Toast 12 large marshmallows under a broiler until they are light to medium browned. (Watch closely!)   Flip very carefully with fingers and repeat, broiling on the other side.  Remove and set on the counter.

In a mixer, beat together:
12 toasted large marshmallows
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 - 1 cup marshmallow fluff

Middle layer and outer layer of frosting:
In a mixer, beat together:
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups marshmallow fluff

Top layer of filling:
Toast 12 large marshmallows under a broiler until they are light to medium browned.  Flip and repeat on the other side.   Press the toasted marshmallows on evenly across the cake before adding the final layer of cake.

GF Chocolate Birthday Cake with Toasted Marshmallow
Cake with bottom layer of toasted marshmallow frosting, middle layer of chocolate frosting, and top layer of freshly toasted marshmallows! Yum! 

After you've filled all layers, top the sides and top of the cake with the remaining chocolate marshmallow fluff frosting (from the middle layer).   Top with the ganache topping, below.

Ganache topping:
In a small frying pan, bring to a boil over medium heat:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter

Remove from heat and mix in:
4-5 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Let cool for a few minutes before pouring/spreading ganache over the top of the cake.  Serve immediately, or let cool and/or chill for a more hardened top layer before serving.  Enjoy!!!!!!!

GF Chocolate Birthday Cake with Toasted Marshmallow
Toasted Marshmallow Chocolate Birthday Cake, ready to slice! 

GF Chocolate Birthday Cake with Toasted Marshmallow
Yes, it was as delicious as it looks.