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Friday, 12 July 2019

Delicious Chocolate-Packed Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies!

A new favorite chocolate chip cookie, even for my dad who usually doesn't like desserts with coconut in them.  These just have the most delicious flavor - and the extra crunch of coconut is delicious with the massive amount of chocolate chips.  I love using a variety of different sorts of dark chocolate chips in these.  Yum! I feel like these look a little darker in the pictures than they do in real life, but really you can make them lighter or darker depending on how crispy or soft you prefer your cookies.  Enjoy!  
Fresh out of the oven - these ones were maybe a little darker than I typically aim for, but you can get an idea of how they end up.  They generally don't spread as much as normal cookies because they're so full of chocolate chips.  If you want them to spread a little more, add an extra dash of vanilla extract or water.   
Fresh out of the oven! These ones had a little less chips and extra dash of vanilla. 

Delicious Chocolate-Packed Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes ~36 small cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream the following:
½ cup butter
¾ cup light brown sugar

Then add and mix lightly:
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs (I recommend 2 small eggs, or 1 egg and 1 egg yolk)

In a separate bowl, mix together:  (you want to mix gluten-free flours with xanthan gum before adding it to the wet ingredients, so you don’t get clumping)
¾ cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 Tbsp potato starch
½ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mix just until combined.

Fold in:
1 - 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips (mixture of milk, semi-sweet, dark, and extra-dark chips)
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut

Drop 1 Tbsp-sized scoops of cookie dough onto parchment-lined baking pans.
My five year old LOVES helping me bake.  She scooped about half the cookies herself!
Ready to bake!
Bake cookies 7-9 minutes at 350 F, until nicely browned.  For a crispier cookie, you can cook them a minute or two longer. 

Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes on pan before removing to wire rack to cool. 
Literally 15 minute after we filled the cooling rack with cookies.  Everyone keeps searching for the cookies with the most chocolate chips.  Ha! 

Packed with so many extra chocolate chips they were basically chocolate held together with a little cookie.  They were yummy!

Friday, 28 June 2019

Herb-Cheddar Scones

I don't make scones very often, but every now and then it's nice to have a scone for dinner or dessert.  These herb and cheddar scones are perfect for a savory meal.  They would go nicely with eggs, or a BBQ style meal.  Make them into small wedges or circles if they're a side rather than main part of your meal! Enjoy!
I made big wedges for these scones, but you can make smaller scones, too.  Just reduce cooking time by a few minutes. 

Herb-Cheddar Scones

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together:
2 cups Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix *see below for measurements just for this recipe*
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Chop in with a pastry cutter:
1/2 cup butter, chilled

Whisk together in a small cup or bowl:
1/2 cup heavy cream/whipping cream
2 eggs

Stir into flour mixture with a fork, just until dough forms - don't overwork!
cream/egg mixture, from above
1 Tbsp freeze-dried dill (or 2 Tbsp fresh dill)
1 Tbsp freeze-dried chives (or 1/4 cup fresh chives or scallions)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Ingredients prepped, with butter chopped into the flour mixture.  Everything mixed together just until the dough forms, then kneaded just a few times.

Knead just a few times with your hands to help it all hold together (don't overwork - you don't want to heat up the dough/butter or over-mix).   Working quickly, press into a 1/2" thick circle on the parchment paper lined pan.  You can use a butter knife or large flat-edged dough scraper to gently cut/separate into wedges.  Slide them just apart from each other.  You can also roll and cut out circles, or squares to make smaller scones.  Just lower the baking temperature by 4-5 minutes.
You can make scones large or small.  Here, I pat them into one large circle and cut it apart into wedges.  These were for larger dinner-sized scones.

Brush the tops of the scones with additional heavy creamIf desired, you can sprinkle more dill and scallions on the top.  
Brushed with cream before baking.
Bake immediately at 425 F for about 20 - 22 minutes, until nicely browned.  (For smaller sized scones, cook a few minutes less).  Scones are best fresh and warm.  You can freeze and reheat any leftovers in the oven. 
Fresh from the oven! Yum!  

*Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix for this recipe - makes 2 cups flour mix*
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
3/4 tsp xanthan gum

Friday, 14 June 2019

Ginger Pear Upside Down Cake

I was inspired to make several varieties of upside down cakes after watching the British Baking show with my kids.   Since discovering it years ago, I have always loved the rich flavor combination of fresh pears baked with tangy ginger.   In this case, I wanted to try to create a ginger-pear cake that really packed a lot of ginger flavor.  It was such a success, I've since made it several more times, not including the other experiments I've tried with other fruits.  A new family favorite around here! Enjoy!
A fresh Ginger Pear Upside Down Cake, ready to eat! Yum! 
A pretty slice of Ginger Pear Upside Down Cake. 

Another picture, just because it's just so visually appealing. 

Ginger Pear Upside Down Cake
Makes 10" - 11" diameter cake

In a 10" oven-proof skillet (*I have a nice oven-proof non-stick pan - a cast iron would work well, too), over medium-low to medium heat melt completely:
1/4 cup butter

Remove butter from heat, then add:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch cloves
2 Tbsp corn syrup (optional, but will help keep the syrup from crystallizing when cooled)

You do NOT want to let this cook or heat much at all, or you'll end up with it seizing up and turning into a lump of hard sugar you need to throw away.  Just stir off the heat to help it become nice and smoothed.
Melted butter with sugar and spices mixed in, ready to add the fresh fruit on top.

Arrange on top of syrup:
2 - 3 Bosc pears, just ripe, so they're still firm and aren't mushy, peeled and sliced ~1/4" thick (fanning them out ends up looking pretty)  *If you don't have Bosc pears - apples will work well, too.  Make sure you use a variety that is good for cooking, so it keeps its shape as it cooks.
You don't have to add the random little extra pieces, but I just love the fruit.  I've made this all pear and a mixture of pear and apple.  It's worked great both ways! 

In a large bowl, mix together with a whisk:
1 1/2 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp fresh, crushed ginger (they sell this in the freezer in 1 tsp frozen cubes, which makes it easy to have on hand if you don't have any fresh ginger root)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch allspice
pinch cloves

Add and whisk until smooth:
3/4 cup milk
6 Tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs
1 Tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

Pour/spread carefully over the pears.  Bake at 350 F 33-37 minutes, until cooked through and nicely browned on top.   Let the cake rest on a cooling rack for only 5 minutes.
Skillet in the oven, about to bake.
Fresh out of the oven. 

Working carefully and quickly, place your serving platter on the top of the pan, holding it tight against your skillet.  Flip the cake upside down onto the serving platter. 
After resting 5 minutes, it was flipped onto the serving platter. 
It smells SO good. Mmmmm... 

You can eat this right away, or let it cool and then eat.  The first time I made it, this cake did not last a day at my house, it was melt-in-the-mouth delicious.  Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.  I recommend reheating any leftovers before serving, although my son likes it best chilled. :)   Enjoy!
The cake ends up moist, with a lovely texture.  

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Kristin's Sunshine Muffins

Bananas, pineapple, coconut wrapped up into one muffin.  These muffins taste like "sunshine" to me, so I'm calling them sunshine muffins.  My son told me they were "heavenly", which I think is quite the compliment.  They were such a fun, light flavor.  Even my dad, who tends to not like things with coconut, really enjoyed them.  Yay!  They whip up quick and easy in a bowl with a fork, too.  I love those sorts of recipes - easy, but absolutely delicious.  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Banana Pineapple Coconut Muffins
Fresh from the oven - Sunshine Muffins

Sunshine Muffins
Makes 12-18

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line 12 - 18 muffin tins with paper liners.

In a bowl, mash together with a fork:
2 large, overripe bananas, mashed (I like to leave it a bit chunky, so you end up with bits of banana throughout)
3 oz crushed pineapple & juice (use crushed pineapple in juice OR a mix of cubed pineapple & juice from a can, break up the pineapple cubes to "crush" the pineapple -- do not use the canned crushed pineapple in syrup or you'll end up with too much sugar/sweetness)
1 egg
1/4 cup oil (I like avocado oil)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Add and mix in, just until blended (I mixed everything together with a fork, and used a spatula at the end to get all the edges of the bowl and spoon them into the muffin tins):
1 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Divide the batter evenly between muffin tins, 1/2 - 3/4 full.
Muffins, ready to bake!  These are filled 3/4 full and required closer to 25 minutes to bake.  I have made them other times, filling only 1/2 full and they bake in ~20 minutes.  

Bake at 350 F for ~18-22 minutes for 18 muffins or 23-26 minutes for 12 muffins.   They should end up a nice, light golden brown on top.

Remove to cooling rack.  Enjoy!!!

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Beautiful Mini Lemon-Strawberry Cake

A tiny cake, but with a big impact.  A nice, light lemon cake with a simple strawberry jam filling, topped with colorful marshmallow fluff frosting.  You could even go simpler, and leave off the frosting.  Just sprinkle with a little powdered sugar before serving.  This was lovely for Mother's Day!
It looks humongous in this picture, but this pretty cake is small and dainty - just 6" in diameter (a bit more with the frosting)
A lovely slice of strawberry-lemon cake, perfect for any celebration.

Beautiful Mini Lemon-Strawberry Cake
Makes one 6" cake with three layers

If you're making homemade jam, make it first so it can cool.  A high-quality store bought jam will work well, too.  For this cake, I made the following and used it to layer the cakes once it cooled.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook until starting to thicken (20-30 minutes):
~12 oz strawberries, washed, hulled, and finely diced
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

In a small bowl, mix together:
2-3 Tbsp cold water
2-3 Tbsp cornstarch

Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the strawberries, stirring constantly.  This will thicken up the jam nicely.  You can make this thinner or thicker, depending on your preference.  A thinner jam may run off the sides of your cake a bit.   
Pour thickened jam into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to avoid a film forming on the top.  Let jam cool completely.   To speed this, you can place the bowl in a container of ice and put a baggie of ice on top of the plastic wrap.
Freshly made jam on the left, and speeding up the cooling process on the right.  Just make sure your bag of ice doesn't leak at all as the ice melts.

Lemon Cakes:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Butter and line three 6" pans with parchment paper. I usually cut a circle for the bottom, then strips to line around the edges.

In a bowl, whisk together:
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
zest of 1 lemon

Add and whisk until smooth:
1/2 cup milk (lactose-free or dairy-free works great)
1/4 cup oil (I like avocado oil, but any light oil will work)
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 drops lemon essential oil (I like the DoTerra lemon oil for baking)

Divide batter between the three pans.  Bake at 350 F for about 14-16 minutes, until cakes are set in the middle.   Carefully remove from pans, removing parchment paper, too.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Lemon cakes, cooling.
Frosting: (this is the same as my favorite marshmallow frosting recipe)
In a mixer, beat together until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes):
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup marshmallow fluff
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Assembling Cake: 
Once cooled, layer your cake with jam.  Then, spread a thin "crumb/jam" coating of frosting over the entire cake - this fills any holes and smooths out the sides.  Place the coated cake in the refrigerator to chill.
Layered with jam - you can see it was a bit runny, but it didn't make the cake soggy at all, so worked just fine! 
No problem if there are little bits of jam that end up sticking through, though it is best to try to get them covered up. After chilling and adding more frosting, this was completely hidden.

Divide the remaining frosting into four bowls.  Color the frosting, as desired.  I used a mixture of purple and pink coloring, adding amounts bit by bit using toothpicks, until I ended up with the colors I wanted.  (I left one as white, and the others shades of purple).  Place each color into a small, freezer ziploc (or icing bags).   Trim the corner off each to pipe.
Four bags of frosting in freezer Ziplocs - I find the freezer Ziplocs to be tough enough to squeeze without breaking while piping.  I've had issues with other styles.

Starting at the base of your cake, pipe 2-3 circles around the entire cake.  Use the back of a spoon to spread the frosting, flattening it a bit.  Pipe 2-3 circles of your next color.  Again, use the back of a spoon to spread the frosting.  Repeat with the final colors, until your cake is a beautiful gradient of color going up the cake to a pale top.  You'll end up with something that looks uniquely your own, but the gradual coloring changes make it so pretty.
You don't have to leave any frosting white -- you could make four colors, just make them complimentary, varying shades.  

I prefer this cake at room temperature, so the frosting stays soft, but you can always keep it in the refrigerator, removing it about 45 minutes - 1 hour before serving.   Enjoy!
Yummy, simple layers of lemon and strawberry! 

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Scandinavian Mallow Fluff Cakes

These Scandinavian Mallow cakes are my variation on the traditional "Flodeboller" that I was lucky enough to have eaten the couple of times I've visited Sweden.  They were so amazingly light and airy - a very different sort of marshmallow taste compared to what is typically found in North America.   However, since I didn't want to use a marzipan-type of base (commonly used for these type of mallow cakes), I needed to come up with something else that I was happy with for the bottoms.  After some experimentation, I came up with these super thin, yummy coconut-chocolate chip cookie bases.  (Technically, you can make these without any biscuit bottom at all.  Just pipe the mallow fluff onto a piece of buttered parchment paper).  These were a big hit around here - not lasting long at all.  Enjoy!!!
GF Scandinavian Mallow Fluff Cakes Flodeboller
Fresh Scandinavian Mallow Fluff Cakes, ready to eat!
GF Scandinavian Mallow Fluff Cakes Flodeboller
A mallow cake sliced open.  These were melt-in-the-mouth delicious!

Swedish Mallow Fluff Cakes

Coconut Biscuit Cookie Dough (make in advance, since these need to chill/freeze before baking)
Makes ~ 60 small cookies - but you'll only need about 15-18 for the amount of marshmallow you'll make here - unless you want less marshmallow per cookie.  Feel free to double the marshmallow recipe if you are hoping to make more cakes. 

In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients:
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
2 Tbsp potato starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

In a mixer, cream together:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar

Add and mix together:
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 egg
1 egg yolk

Add to butter/egg mixture:
dry ingredients from above
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
This is just half the dough, but wanted to show the consistency.  

Divide dough into two portions and use two pieces of plastic wrap to make two 12" - 15" logs of dough.  Place wrapped dough into freezer 1-2 hours (or more - these will last several weeks before slicing and baking).
I wanted small cookies, and these will spread while baking, so I made each log of dough a good 12" - 15" long.  
When ready to bake, remove a log from the freezer and slice into thin slices.  Place on a parchment-lined pan and bake at 350 F for ~7-10 minutes, until nicely browned.   Let rest a few minutes on the pan before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Thin slices of biscuit cookies, ready to bake.  Because mini chocolate chips are used, you can get really nice, thin slices.
Fresh from the oven - they tend to only spread a tiny bit, so you can bake them four across on the pan without any problems.
GF coconut chocolate chip wafer cookies
Fresh from the oven, cooling so you can put marshmallow on top. Yum!

Marshmallow Filling

In a mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk together until soft peaks form:
3 egg whites (fresh eggs are best)
1 Tbsp sugar
pinch salt

In a metal pot on the stove, combine, with very little or no stirring:
2 oz water
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat over medium heat until sugar syrup reaches 238 F - 242 F.   Remove from heat immediately.  Turn mixture to low speed and slowly pour in the sugar syrup.  Increase the speed and beat on medium-high for 8-10 minutes.   The marshmallow will puff up nicely and get light and fluffy, while also cooling down.
Marshmallow fluffing up nicely.

Prepare a large piping bag with a large star-shaped tip (or just use a large round tip).  Place marshmallow into piping bag.  Pipe big swirls on top of each of the cookies, making a nice large mound on top of each.  You can make these as short or tall as you would like, depending on the mallow to cookie ratio you'd prefer.
This pipes into gorgeous swirls.  You can use a plain tip or star tip.  I like this sort of look because then you end up seeing some of the definition once you dip it in chocolate.

Let the marshmallow-topped cookies sit at room temperature to dry for 1 - 2 hoursThese won't dry well if you're kitchen is humid, so best not to make on a rainy day.

Ideally, you would want to "temper" your chocolate for an authentic Flodeboller, however, this method of covering works very nicely, too:

In a 2 cup measuring cup, fill 1 1/2 cups full with high-quality dark chocolate (or milk chocolate) chips.  Melt at 50% power in 30 - 60 second increments in the microwave, stirring regularly.  Once the chocolate is mostly melted, add an extra handful of chocolate chips into your chocolate and stir until all the chocolate is melted.  This won't "temper" your chocolate, but will help you avoid any of the bloom or swirls that can appear on non-tempered melted chocolate.  Once your chocolate is fully melted, add 1 Tbsp light olive oil or 1 Tbsp coconut oil.  This will make it a bit runnier and easier to use for dipping your marshmallow cakes!

One at a time, dip your cakes into the chocolate, rotating them in the chocolate and shaking to remove excess chocolate.  You can use a spoon of your fingers to get as much or little as you like on the bottom of the cookie biscuit.  Place dipped cakes onto a parchment-lined baking tray.  Sprinkle desiccated coconut on top of cakes, if desired.   Refrigerate until chocolate has set, then serve!   You can place them in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens.  Remove and keep at room temperature until ready to serve!  These didn't last more than a few days around here, but they were just as delicious a few days out as on day one.  Enjoy!
Just dipped Mallow Cakes, sprinkled with desiccated coconut, and ready to chill/harden in the fridge.
Flodeboller Mallow Cakes
These are so tasty.  Yum!  

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Tasty Tuna Fish Salad for my Cousin Jake (and everyone else, too)

Every time I mix together tuna fish salad, it ends up slightly different.  It depends on my mood.  It depends on the ingredients in my refrigerator.  But, the version below is a pretty common version that I like to whip together.  I have another tasty tuna fish recipe I've posted here.  I'm a fan of packing lots of vegetables into dishes.  It's great made into tuna melts.  I also like to make a large batch of tuna, so we have leftovers.  My cousin requested this particular version of my tuna fish salad after coming over for lunch.  Here you go, Jake!  Enjoy!
tuna fish salad - tuna melt
Tasty tuna salad, made into tuna melts on homemade onion rolls (with a bit of garlic added, too), served with fresh spinach.  I used a Vermont cheddar on the left and an herb edged mozzarella on the right.  

Tasty Tuna Fish Salad

Tuna is forgiving, so adjust amounts to your personal preference (aka, more/less vegetables, as desired).  In a large bowl, mix together:

3 tins light tuna fish, drained
2 carrots, grated
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1/4 dill pickle, finely diced
4-5 green onions, thinly sliced
2 dashes salt
2 dashes pepper
1-2 dashes ground paprika
1-2 dashes garlic powder
~1/2 cup mayonnaise (more/less, depending on how you like your tuna salad, I usually add by large dollops, mix and re-evaluate)

Mix together the tuna salad.  Taste, and adjust with more salt/pepper/paprika/garlic, as desired.

Delicious heated as tuna melts:
Heat oven to 425 F.  Split homemade onion rolls (with a bit of garlic added, too) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  *(You can make this on whatever bread/rolls you have around/enjoy eating - I've made it on all sorts of breads/rolls/focaccia/naan).  Put scoops of tuna salad on the center of each roll.  Top generously with desired cheese (I love a sharp cheddar, herb-crusted mozzarella, havarti, munster, etc. I even make these with dairy-free cheese for my grandma and she loves them).  Bake until heated through and cheese is just beginning to bubble and brown.  Serve with fresh spinach or salad on the side.  Enjoy! 

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Chocolate Chip Scones!

Feel free to make these whatever size you like - I used the only biscuit cutter I could find at the time.  These were pretty large, but so delicious, no one seemed to mind.  You can freeze leftovers and reheat for breakfasts or snacks. Yum!  Enjoy!
Homemade Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate Chip Scones
Makes ~14  3" scones

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together:
2 cups Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix *see below for measurements just for this recipe*
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Chop in with a pastry cutter:
1/2 cup butter, chilled

Whisk together in a small cup or bowl:
1/2 cup heavy cream/whipping cream
2 eggs

Stir JUST enough cream/eggs into the flour/butter mixture with a fork until the dough forms.  You should have extra of the cream/egg mixture to brush on the tops of the scones, but if not, then it's easy to mix together an extra egg and some cream to brush the tops of the scones before baking.

1 cup high-quality dark chocolate chips (These really make the flavor, so use ones you love!)

Knead just a few times with your hands to mix in chocolate help it all hold together.   Working quickly, press into a 1/2" - 3/4" thick slab on a piece of parchment paper.  You can cut it into circles with whatever size biscuit cutter you have on hand, but all I had was a 3" cutter, which does make fairly large scones, but no one complained. :)

Place your cut scones onto baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Freshly cut out circles, ready to be brushed before baking.

Brush the tops of the scones with the heavy cream/egg mixture.   Sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar.  
Scones brushed with cream/egg mixture and topped with coarse white sparkling sugar before baking.

Bake scones at 425 F for 17-20 minutes, until nicely browned.  Cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy!!!
Yum!  A flaky, warm scone!

*Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix for this recipe - makes 2 cups flour mix*
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
3/4 tsp xanthan gum