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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Mint Dark Chocolate Ganache

This is the last chocolate ganache recipe needed for the gluten-free wedding cake I made last December at the big gluten-free wedding reception I put together.  I'll be posting the wedding cake recipe in one week in honor of the 1 year anniversary of my brother and new sister's wedding!  But for now, you can think happy thoughts about mint chocolate ganache, which is, in my opinion, one of the tastiest kinds of ganache!  Enjoy!

Mint Dark Chocolate Ganache Truffles
Mint Dark Chocolate Ganache is perfect used in Molded Chocolate Truffles

Mint Dark Chocolate Ganache

Bring to boil over medium heat:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
5-6 fresh mint leaves (crushed in your hand before adding to pan to release oils) and/or 1-2 drops high quality peppermint essential oil (adjust to preference)

Once at a rolling boil, remove mint leaves.  Pour over:
8 oz high quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate

Mix thoroughly until smooth.
Optional: Add handful of crushed peppermint candy to ganache before using.

This recipe has 3 uses:
1. Truffle filling
2. Glaze on outside or middle filling layer in cake.
3. Cooled, then whipped and used as frosting (can be piped nicely once whipped).  

You can roll and dip truffles, too.  Then sprinkle with crushed peppermint for a nice finish.
Hand-dipped Mint Truffles in White Chocolate
Hand-dipped Mint Truffles in White Chocolate

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

We made these as a youth activity at my church and it was such a huge hit with the girls.  I've since made it a handful of times at home and when we've had visitors and it's been an equally big hit.  My sister, Jenny, introduced me to the magic that is cinnamon roll pancakes.  They're a great treat when you don't have time to make homemade gluten-free cinnamon rolls.  The cinnamon mixture sinks into the batter and then caramelizes perfectly once flipped. Enjoy!

Fresh, piping hot gluten-free cinnamon roll pancakes!

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
Makes ~24 pancakes

Mix in a large bowl:
1 1/2 cups Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Add and mix in:
2 eggs
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cup milk (lactose-free works great!)
4 Tbsp oil
1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)

Pre-heat your pan over medium-low heat while you mix together the cinnamon mixture.

Mix together and put in a squeeze bottle (or thick ziploc bag):
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
*The butter will separate out a bit from the cinnamon swirl mix, but just keep shaking or mixing - I sometimes just squeeze out any extra liquid into a spare bowl before piping the cinnamon mixture onto the pancakes.

If you have a non-stick, then you don't need to butter the pan (although you'll want to give it a quick wipe between batches of pancakes).  If in doubt, butter your pan between rounds of pancakes.

Pour a spoonful of batter on the pan.  Add a big swirl of cinnamon mixture on top of the pancake.  Repeat.

You'll want the pancakes to look fairly well-cooked, so you can see bubbles coming through the entire pancake before you flip.  It should look similar to the one below.

You can serve the pancakes plain (honestly, they're delicious like this and I don't think need anything else added) or you can make a bit of cream cheese glaze (below) to turn them into proper mini cinnamon rolls.  

Cream Cheese Glaze:
2 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
milk, to desired consistency

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Ganache

A simple, and delicious raspberry chocolate ganache recipe.   This is delicious when used as a filling in cake, too!  The flowers on top aren't quite poppies, but close enough to seem appropriate to post close to Remembrance Day.  Enjoy!
GF Raspberry Dark Chocolate Ganache
A variety of truffles with ganache fillings.  The flower-topped chocolates have the raspberry dark chocolate ganache filling.  

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Ganache
For use in truffles or cake fillings

In a saucepan, bring to boil over medium heat:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup high quality raspberry jam (with or without seeds, depending on preference) (you can add a drop or two of raspberry flavoring, but I tend to prefer the taste of a high-quality jam). 

Remove from heat and pour over:
8 oz high quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate

Mix thoroughly until smooth.  You have two options:
1. Let cool slightly before using as fillings in molded chocolates OR as a rich filling in a cake.
2. Let completely cool before rolling for round, dipped truffles OR whipping and using as filling for a cake.  

Monday, 9 November 2015

Delicious Root Vegetable Side

This isn't as colorful a dish as I normally prefer, but the taste is fabulous.  It would be a lovely addition to a Thanksgiving style meal.  It's filled with wholesome fall vegetables: celeriac root, parsnips, onion, garlic & potatoes.   Once the vegetables are cooked, you can throw in a bit of milk, chicken and peas to quick turn it into a hearty all-in-one meal (instructions below).   The vegetables are wonderful served alongside fresh multi-grain bread & butter.   I used fresh vegetables from our organic vegetable CSA (community supported agriculture, Heartbeet Organics).  If you're out of parsnips, you can just leave it out and make the dish with only potatoes and celery root.  The blend of flavors is really what makes this dish pop.

Delicious Root Vegetable Side
Serves 4-6

Grate coarsely (a large grater on a mandolin works well or you can chop into thin strips) the following:
4 small/med. potatoes (thin-skinned)
1 celeriac root (also called celery root) (peeled)
2 parsnips

Prepare the following:
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

In a large low-sided frying pan, warm over medium heat:
2-3 Tbsp butter
2-3 Tbsp olive oil

Once butter & olive oil are hot, add all vegetables (onions/garlic & potato/celeriac/parsnips) and the following seasonings.  Saute all veggies until nicely softened, stirring regularly.
pinch ground allspice
pinch dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper, to taste

Serve as a delicious, rich side dish. Would be a wonderful addition to a Thanksgiving-type meal.


To make into a quick & hearty meal, you can add the following:
1-2 cups cooked chicken
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup milk (lactose-free options work well)
Cook a few minutes, until mixture thickens. The potatoes contain starch that will help naturally thicken this mixture.  Salt & pepper, to taste.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Rich Beef Stew

A perfect dish for the time of year when things are cooling down, and fall vegetables are plentiful and fresh.  I chopped everything coarsely in my stew, but you could make things smaller if you want to speed up the cooking time a bit.  However, the meat does need over an hour to simmer to allow it to soften and gain a lovely flavor and texture, so make this when you have a couple hours on a chilly afternoon or evening.  All the kids enjoyed this stew, happily digging into over-sized chunks of vegetables, too!  Delicious with homemade sourdough rolls, biscuits, wholesome bread, or crackers. Enjoy!
Gluten Free Beef Stew
Delicious Vegetable-filled Beef Stew
Gluten Free Beef Stew packed with vegetables
Colorful organic vegetables fill this beef stew. 
Rich Beef Stew
Serves 6

Heat over medium-high heat:
2 Tbsp olive oil

Add and cook until meat is browned on all sides:
1-2 lbs stew beef (large pieces) (I tend to use closer to 1 lb, because I like less meat/more veggies)

Add, then simmer, covered, 1 1/2 hours: you'll need to bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat to a simmer)
2 cups water
1 onion, diced
1 - 2 cloves garlic, diced
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt

Add and simmer, covered, ~35-45 minutes, until vegetables have softened:  (you'll need to bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat to a simmer)
2 cups hot water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp beef bouillon paste (make sure it's GF)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
4-5 small potatoes (thin peeled), chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 parsnip, diced
1-2 stalks celery, sliced
1/8 - 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Organic Vegetables for Beef Stew
Beautiful veggies - potatoes, carrots, parsnips, celery
Organic Tomatoes & Parsley for Beef Stew
Colorful tomatoes & parsley
Once vegetables are softened, if you want a thicker stew, mix together in a small bowl:
1-2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Mix into simmering stew, and allow to cook 1-2 minutes, until thickened, stirring regularly.  You can adjust at this point if it's still not as thick as you'd like it.  Serve & Enjoy!  

Monday, 2 November 2015

Easy Green Tomato Salad Dressing

The blend of green tomato (or any color), dill and feta make this a wonderfully tasty salad dressing.  And, it's so easy to whip together.  You could easily play around with other herbs at your disposal, too! Enjoy!
Gluten Free Green Tomato, Dill & Feta Salad Dressing
Lovely fresh greens, kale, and purple carrots topped with fresh green tomato, dill and feta salad dressing.

Easy Green Tomato Salad Dressing
makes ~ 1/2 - 3/4 cup dressing

Blend together with a stick blender or other blender:
2 Tbsp cranberry-pear vinegar (white wine vinegar, or similar pale-colored vinegar will work)
2 tsp maple syrup
1 small/medium green tomato, de-seeded
3 - 4 Tbsp olive oil
3 - 4 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
1 - 2 Tbsp fresh dill
salt & pepper, to taste

Serve over any salad for a lovely flavor, filled with fresh herbs, tomatoes and cheese!
Gluten Free Green Tomato, Dill & Feta Salad Dressing
Tasty GF Green Tomato Salad Dressing on fresh greens, kale & purple carrots.