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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

White Chocolate Ganache

A beautiful, easy white chocolate ganache recipe, perfect for spring treats: beautiful cake topping, homemade chocolates, drizzled or smoothed for frosting over a cake or cupcakes, whipped and used as frosting.  I find, particularly for white chocolate, using a high quality chocolate is imperative if you want a good, clean texture for your ganache. I've previously posted how to properly temper chocolate for molded chocolates if you want to make molded chocolates, like the ones pictured here.  Enjoy!
Homemade white ganache truffles, decorated with edible glitter.

White Chocolate Ganache
This recipe has 3 uses:
1. Truffle filling
2. Poured while still warm (not hot) over cake to form smooth frosting
3. Cooled, then whipped and used as filling or frosting on cake.

Heat to boil over med-high heat:
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp cream
1 Tbsp butter
3/4 tsp vanilla bean paste (preferred) OR vanilla extract

Remove from heat and add:
6 1/2 oz. high quality white chocolate

Stir gently until smooth.  For truffles, follow directions similar to dark or milk chocolate ganache.

Heart-shaped chocolate molds filled with white chocolate ganache.  Once the ganache has cooled, the final layer of chocolate can be spread over-top the ganache, cooled, and the chocolates can be knocked out.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Amazing Brownie Chocolate Chip Swirl Cookies!!!

These gluten-free brownie chocolate chip swirl cookies are a combination of two of my all-time favorite recipes, with a little tweaking to perfect the texture.  Our favorite classic dessert recipes are my best brownie recipe and my amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe.  These combine the two for the most amazing tasting cookies, that look fantastic, too!  They aren't much more work than making a batch of cookies and brownies, but you do have to wait for the roll of dough to chill before you can slice and bake, so ideally you'd whip this up the night before you want to bake them.  They go quickly around here, so enjoy while they last!
Gluten Free Brownie Chocolate Chip Swirl Cookies
Freshly made Brownie Chocolate Chip Swirl Cookies - SO delicious! 

Amazing Brownie Chocolate Chip Swirl Cookies
Makes about 30 cookies

Mix up the brownie layer first, so you can set it aside to cool a bit while you mix up the chocolate chip dough.

Brownie Batter:

In a large bowl, melt together at 50% power in the microwave:
4 oz high quality dark chocolate (65-70% dark chocolate is ideal)
1/3 cup butter

Mix in, then let it cool slightly:
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp white sugar

Mix in thoroughly:
2 eggs

Add and mix in, just until combined.  Then set aside the brownie batter while you mix the chocolate chip dough:
1/4 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl:
1 cup sweet white rice flour (or plain white rice flour)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

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

Add and mix in:
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

Add and mix in dry ingredients.

Add and mix in:
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Scoop dough out onto two overlapping pieces of plastic wrap.  Place another two overlapping pieces on top.  Roll out dough between plastic wrap until it's as thin as possible, given the limitations of the mini chocolate chips.  You want it to be about 10-12" wide and around 20" long. 

Remove the top layer of plastic wrap, and spread the brownie batter over-top the dough.  Let the dough cool a bit (you can put it on a cookie sheet in the refrigerator to speed this along, if you like), then using the plastic wrap to help, roll up the cookie/brownie dough into a long roll.  Carefully place in the freezer to chill at least an hour, but you can chill overnight to make sure it's thoroughly chilled for neater cookies.  ***You can keep the roll of dough wrapped in the freezer for several weeks, slicing and baking cookies as you want them, too!***
Rolled out cookie dough with chocolate brownie spread on top. This is thicker than recommended because it was made with regular-sized chocolate chips. (Aim for thinner cookie dough!)
Roll on left was made with regular chocolate chips, roll on right is longer and made with mini chocolate chips.
Slice thinly and bake at 350 F for ~10-13 minutes on parchment-paper lined pans.  *These spread quite a bit - the thinner you slice, the less they spread, so aim for a very thin slice and give yourself space on the pan for spreading.  Although, they will still taste amazing even if you have thicker slices and they mush together.
Thicker slices on left, due to regular chocolate chips being used - I'd recommend aiming for the right, thinner slices possible because mini chocolate chips were used.  The thicker slices spread a lot and the cookies mushed together.
Bake until they're a golden brown around the edges, and clearly cooked through the middle. Remove from oven.  Let them rest 2-3 minutes on the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool.   These are wonderful warm, but the best is to let them fully cool before eating.  Leftovers freezer perfectly, too! Enjoy!!!
Gluten Free Brownie Chocolate Chip Swirl CookiesGluten Free Brownie Chocolate Chip Swirl Cookies
Cookies on left were ones that all mushed together - but still tasted great.  Cookies on right were made from thinner slices, and made neat, attractive cookies. 
Gluten Free Brownie Chocolate Chip Swirl Cookies
Delicious Brownie Chocolate Chip Swirl cookies cooling on a wire rack after cooking.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Gluten Free Light & Fluffy Carrot Cake Pancakes

After a lunch out at a restaurant for my dad's birthday, we wanted something lighter, but still tasty and fun for a birthday dinner.   These were a massive success!  They were fluffy, light, not too sweet, and delicious plain or with a drizzle of a cream cheese-maple syrup mixture.   There was more than one person exclaiming how these were the best pancakes they'd ever eaten. They'd be a perfect breakfast for Easter, being filled with carrots.  Enjoy!
GF Carrot Cake Pancakes
A full plate of carrot cake pancakes!

Gluten Free Light & Fluffy Carrot Cake Pancakes
Based on a recipe by Bobby Flay
This makes a generous amount of pancakes (basically two platefuls like the picture above). You can halve the recipe, if desired, but they are great reheated, too!

Grate and then use paper towels to pat dry:
2 large carrots (making ~2 cups grated carrot, patted dry)

In a large measuring cup, combine and set aside (this is essentially making buttermilk):
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 3/4 cup milk (I like to use half coconut milk and half lactose-free milk, just for a little less dairy)

Mix dry ingredients together with a whisk:
3 cups Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix (*see below for amounts for just this recipe)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Add and stir in with a spatula until thoroughly combined:
milk/vinegar mixture, from above
patted dried carrots, from above
4 eggs
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp grated orange zest

Cover and refrigerator batter at least 30 minutes.

Cook the pancakes over medium heat on a well-buttered griddle.  Once there are bubbles throughout the surface of the pancake, flip and cook the other side.  Serve hot with cream cheese-maple syrup, below.  They'll also taste great with plain maple syrup and whipped cream.

Cream Cheese Maple Syrup

Mix together equal parts maple syrup and cream cheese, something like this:
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup cream cheese

Bring to a boil either on the stove-top or in the microwave.   Whisk together, blending if you really want to get all the lumps out.  This is a simple way to make a maple cream cheese syrup.  It tastes amazing on top of the carrot cake pancakes!  Leftovers store great in the fridge or freezer and reheat wonderfully, too! Enjoy!
GF Carrot Cake Pancakes
You can make the carrot cake pancakes large or small, depending on preference. 

* To make Kristin's Gluten-Free flour mix just for this recipe, whisk together:
1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup arrowroot flour or 2/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp xanthan gum

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Hummingbird Cake - topped with homemade caramel and candied pineapple!

I used to make hummingbird cakes quite frequently when we lived in England, but hadn't made one in several years.  They are an absolute delight - easy to make, and a fun taste that everyone enjoys.  The mix of pineapple, banana, and cream cheese frosting is delicious.  We have a lot of birthdays in the winter months around here.  My girls love anything chocolate, but my son was more than willing for me to do something a bit unusual for his birthday cake.  While adults love this cake, I find little kids especially love it - inhaling it, if given the chance.  My cousin's 1 year old daughter was in heaven eating this cake.  I use less frosting, but add homemade caramel sauce and candied pineapple on top, which makes this cake extra special.  Enjoy!
Hummingbird Cake Gluten Free
A slice of Hummingbird Cake, topped with caramel and candied pineapple
Hummingbird Cake Gluten Free
The completed Hummingbird Cake, topped with homemade caramel sauce and homemade candied pineapple

Hummingbird Cake - topped with Homemade Caramel and Homemade Candied Pineapple
based on a recipe from the Southern Living Magazine

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Butter, then line bottoms of four 8" round pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together:
3 cups Kristin's Gluten Free Flour Mix *amounts listed at the end of the recipe*
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

Add, and stir in, just until combined:
6 bananas, overripe and mashed
8 oz can crushed pineapple (with juice)
1 1/2 cups oil
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Divide cake batter between four pans.  Bake at 350 F for ~20 minutes, until browned and toothpick comes out clean.  Let rest 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to wire racks to fully cool.  I just place a wire rack on top of the pan, then flip it over and let them cool upside down.  Since they're going on a cake, I don't find it matters.

Once cake has cooled, beat together the following Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese
6 Tbsp butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar

***This is a lighter amount of frosting, if you prefer a generous amount, then double this amount. 

Place a cake layer on a serving platter.  Spread ~1/2 cup frosting on the layer.  Top with another layer and repeat until you have all four layers stacked.  Gently spread frosting on top and sides of the cake.   I like a lighter frosting, but if you're concerned about appearance, then make a double batch of frosting and you'll have enough to fix up any mishaps.

If you're not serving right away, chill in the refrigerator, and remove 1/2 hour before serving to top with caramel sauce and candied pineapple, if desired.

I recommend adding caramel sauce and candied pineapple shortly before serving - simply because it's fun for guests, but you can also decorate the cake in advance and refrigerate.

Homemade Caramel Sauce

Butter an 8 x 8" pan.  Set aside to pour caramel into once it's been cooked.

In a saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat:
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup corn syrup
generous pinch of salt
4 Tbsp butter

Boil until caramel reaches around 215-225 F.  I prefer a thinner sauce for this sort of thing, so aim for more like 215 F.

Immediately remove from heat and stir in:
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pour caramel sauce into prepared buttered dish.  Let cool a bit (or all the way) before pouring over-top the cake, letting it drip down the sides.
Hummingbird cake with caramel drizzled on top. Yum!
Homemade Candied Pineapple

In a saucepan, bring to a boil at medium heat for 2-4 minutes:
1 cup water
2 cups white sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup

Add and cook over low heat for ~45 minutes, until pineapple pieces are transparent:
1-2 cups fresh pineapple, thinly sliced (and diced, if desired)  

Remove transparent pineapple pieces from syrup, drain them, and then place them on wire cooling racks to dry.   This can take several hours.  A fan can help speed the process.  Once cool and dried, roll the pineapple pieces in sugar, and store in a bit of additional sugar in a tupperware until ready to use.

The candied pineapple was a bit hit and looked beautiful on the cake!
Two delicious slices of Hummingbird Cake, topped with caramel and candied pineapple. 

* For 3 cups Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix: 
1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour (or additional brown or white rice flour)
2/3 cup cornstarch OR 1/2 cup arrowroot flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp xanthan gum