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Monday, 23 May 2016

Easy & Delicious Homemade Soft GF Pretzels!

Several experiments later and we have a winner!   These delicious soft gluten free pretzels or pretzel sticks are delicious!  They're inhaled every time I whip up a batch by friends and family.  While traditionally, it's best to dip pretzels in a baking soda/water mixture, it's a difficulty in gluten-free cooking when dough is often far softer than traditional wheat-filled dough.  While it is possible to do something like freeze your piped out pretzels and then dip them, it's far easier to just brush the tops, as described below.  I'm always looking for the easiest route to get the best possible result!  These have been a hit!  The ones we brushed in butter and dipped in cinnamon sugar didn't even last long enough for pictures.  Enjoy!

Freshly baked GF soft pretzel sticks, a few brushed with melted butter. 

Easy & Delicious Homemade Soft Pretzels!
Makes ~60-70 thin pretzel rods, or 20-30 larger pretzels

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line ~3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the following dry ingredients in a mixer:  (It's important to mix dry ingredients first in GF cooking to avoid lumps.) 
1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup potato starch
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp quick-rise yeast
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Then add and let beat 4 minutes (make sure it's 4 minutes, so the yeast has time to activate):
1 3/4 cups warm water
1 egg
2 Tbsp butter, softened

Place in a heavy-duty freezer ziploc bag.  Snip the end ~1/4-1/2" for thin pretzel rods or larger for fatter pretzel rods or pretzels (if you're up to piping them into pretzel shapes - my attempts tasted great but all looked a bit lopsided).

Pipe pretzels onto prepared parchment-lined pans.   Let rise in a warm location 20-30 minutes.

While pretzels are rising, mix together in a small bowl (this mixture will be brushed on top to give the pretzels that "pretzel flavor":
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar

Just before baking, brush tops of pretzels with the baking soda mixture.  Sprinkle as desired with coarse salt.

Bake at 425 F for 15-25 minutes.  Thinner pretzel rods can cook for as little as 15 minutes, but if you make thicker pretzels increase the cooking time.  Pretzels should be nicely browned.   Light brown = chewier pretzel;  Dark brown = crispier pretzel.

Remove pretzels from pan to a cooling rack.  If desired, immediately brush with melted butter.  You can sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar or another flavoring of your choice immediately after brushing them with butter.  They're great without butter, too!
Delicious soft pretzel sticks. Yum! 

* These are best on the day they're made.*  If you're making them to take somewhere else, transport in a paper bag so they retain their crispness or you'll end up with soggy pretzels.    You can freeze them and reheat in a toaster oven, if desired.


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

My Dad's Famous Shrimp Dip

This is a family and friend favorite.  Perfect for all the parties and events coming up this summer!  It's easy to put together, but wonderfully delicious.  My dad has always loved making this dip and serving it at any and all large gatherings since I was a little kid.  It 'makes a party'.  I've recently made it for some church functions and it's been a hit.  The pans have almost been licked clean.  Such a simple recipe for so much flavor.  I could happily eat a pan myself. Serve with tortilla chips (almost all are GF)! Enjoy!!!

Shrimp Dip!  It's difficult to take pictures of layered dips, but the glass pan gives you a good idea of what the dip looks like.  Enjoy! 

Dad's Famous Shrimp Dip
Makes one 8" x 8" pan

In a glass 8" x 8" pan, spread the following, in order as listed below:
1/2 cup cocktail sauce
1 - 1 1/2 cups shrimp (cooked, peeled, deveined & diced if they're not tiny salad shrimp)
1 cup sour cream (best to scoop tiny scoops over the top, then spread)
1 - 1/2 cups grated medium cheddar cheese

Chill the dip 3-4 hours, or overnight.  Best served with tortilla chips, although you can use other crackers or chips, if desired.  Enjoy!
Cocktail sauce with fresh, chopped shrimp on top.  Ready to spread sour cream and cheese on top. Yum! 

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies

These rich brownies are perfect when you want to have a small, elegant type of dessert without the trouble of making proper chocolates or truffles.  They have been a hit with all lucky enough to taste some of these bite-sized brownies.  Perfect for any occasion!  They're also great because a little goes a long way.  Enjoy!

This delicious piece of peanut butter truffle brownie was cut before fully cooling.  For a neater brownie, let chill fully before cutting (as shown in the picture below). 

Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies
Makes one 8" x 8" pan.

For the bottom brownie layer:
Melt together in the microwave:
7 Tbsp butter
3.5 oz high quality dark chocolate (~70%)

Add, and mix in:
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar

Mix in:
2 eggs

Bake at 375 F for 22-24 minutes.

Let cool completely.

For peanut butter truffle layer, blend together:
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 - 1 cup powdered sugar
3.5 oz smooth peanut butter

You want this to be a spreadable consistency, so add milk 1/2 - 1 Tbsp at a time until you reach a desired consistency.

Spread peanut butter truffle layer over the cooled brownies.

For the top chocolate layer:
Melt together:
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3 Tbsp smooth peanut butter

Spread the chocolate/peanut butter layer over the truffle filling.  Let the brownies fully chill 3-4 hours or overnight.

Dice into small squares and serve!  Enjoy!
Beautiful little bites of peanut butter truffle brownie goodness! 

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Easy and Delicious Flan

This awesome flan recipe makes it's own crust during baking!  It's a delicious flan and so easy to whip together.  For a richer flan, more like the ones we ate while travelling in France last year, use all 10% cream (light/single cream).  I have access to a nice lactose-free version that works perfectly in this recipe.  For a lighter version, you can use a combination of milk (not skim) and light cream.  I've made it both ways.  Both are delicious, but I do prefer the full-fat version.   The vanilla bean paste is wonderful in this recipe, since the small flecks settle into the crust at the bottom of the flan, adding a wonderful flavor in the crust - without doing anything at all!  Enjoy!
A tasty piece of gluten free flan, ready to eat!  Yes, you could make it in a pie dish if you prefer wedges rather than squares of flan. 

Easy & Delicious Flan

Butter 8" x 8" pan (or similar sized pan) Preheat oven to 350 F.

Heat over medium heat until just bubbling around edges (mix together other ingredients while this is heating):
2 3/4 cup 10% cream OR 2 cups milk + 3/4 cup 10% cream (for a lighter flan)
1 Tbsp sugar

Whisk well:
4 eggs
scant 2/3 cup sugar

Add and whisk in:
1/2 -2/3 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix (less for a thinner crust, more for a thicker crust)
pinch salt

Whisk in slowly, stirring constantly:
2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
milk/cream, from above

Pour into prepared dish.   Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.  Lower heat to 300 F and bake an additional 30-45 minutes, until flan is set in center and has puffed up a bit.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack 1 hour.  Then cool a further few hours in the refrigerator.  Slice and serve chilled (if you can make it that long without sampling - we never can and it's tasty warm, too).

Let the flan cool completely before slicing and serving.