Category Archives: Desserts

Gluten-Free Baked Applesauce Donuts

Baked Applesauce Donuts

I really wanted to make some autumnally appropriate baked goods, but it’s still a million degrees here and the last few weeks the internet has been overloaded by pumpkin. Pumpkin is not my thing. It looks gross and even though I can’t remember what it tastes like (I’ve only had it twice), I’m pretty sure it tastes gross too. Apple seemed to be a seasonal flavor that was more my speed.

I had two problems with these when they were done. They were extremely dense. Super dense baked goods can just be the outcome of gluten free baking. It happens. I’ve also never made donuts before, let alone baked, gluten free donuts, so I’m not quite sure why these were so dense, but they were. The donuts were also insanely sweet. I know donuts are meant to be sweet, but I think the combination of sugar and applesauce (even though it was unsweetened) was just too much. If I made these again, I would probably scale down the sugar even more to maybe just 2 tablespoons. Because they were so sweet, I decided not to make a glaze for them and warm from the oven, they did not need one either.

Baked Applesauce Donuts

Inspired by this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour (I used Better Batter
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease a donut pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Stir in applesauce, eggs, vanilla and butter. Beat together until well blended.
  3. Fill each doughnut cup approximately 3/4 full. Bake 8 to 10 minutes for a round donut pan or 15 to 20 minutes for a cruller/bar pan in the preheated oven, until donuts spring back when touched. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.

Notes

This recipe will make 6 round donuts or 4 cruller/bar donuts.

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Balsamic Strawberry Popsicles

Balsamic Strawberry Popsicles

So this is what started my whole strawberry craze. My friend Amy (hi Amy!) posted on my Facebook about how delicious strawberries and balsamic are. True story. It’s a delicious combination. I remember making a strawberry balsamic dessert in high school and I felt super grown-up and sophisticated. That phase didn’t last long. Amy’s comment made me really crave some kind of strawberry balsamic combination, but I wanted to try something a little different.

These popsicles are super refreshing and so easy to make. I definitely plan on making these a lot over the summer. Next time though, I would change a few things. I would probably either cut back on the sugar or up the balsamic a bit.The strawberries were definitely sweet enough on their own and didn’t need a whole 1/4.  The vinegar flavor was there, but I would have preferred it to stand out a little more.  And the freshly ground pepper… I love pepper, but every now and again I would find myself biting into what I thought was a little strawberry chunk only to be (rudely) surprised by pepper. Definitely make sure your pepper is finely ground.

Balsamic Strawberry Popsicles (from Epicurious)

  • 2 cups sliced, hulled strawberries (from about 1 pound berries)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place the strawberries and sugar in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture is finely chopped and juicy but still chunky; you don’t want a smooth purée. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the balsamic vinegar and a few grinds of pepper.
  2. Spoon the mixture into ice pop molds and insert sticks. Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 1 week.
  3. To unmold the pops, run hot water over the outsides of the molds for a few seconds, then gently pull the sticks.

 

Japanese Cheesecake

And I’m back! I disappeared over the last week or so and it was kind of accidental. Basically, there was a snafu with a power cord before a big trip. Oops. I had all sorts of grand plans to share delicious recipes while I was gone, but onwards and upwards.

Where did I disappear to exactly?

Tokyo

JAPAN!

Tokyo to be exact and it was amazing. One of my good friends is working in Tokyo at the moment, so it was the perfect excuse to visit. Apart from exploring the city, meeting some amazing people and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, the highlight of the trip was definitely the food! Every meal I had was better than the last one. I ate a lot of things that I have had the Americanized version of before and wow, I have been missing out. I also ate a lot of things outside of my normal food comfort zone. You have to be a little adventurous when you travel.

The only downside of all the amazing food, is the fact that I will never be able to eat sushi again, which makes me sad. One morning we woke up at 3.30 to get down to the Tsukiji Fish Market and see the tuna auction. Afterwards we went and had sushi for breakfast. I cannot even put into words how amazing this sushi was. All other sushi has been completely ruined for me. According to my friend I had a look of total disgust on my face the entire time we were eating. Yes, I was totally disgusted, because all other sushi will just pale in comparison for the rest of my life. But it’s kind of okay, since I guess that’s just an excuse to go back!

japanese food collage

 

Now, let’s get back to business.

Japanese Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of the few desserts I really, really like. Well, love actually. Naturally, I was intrigued by Japanese cheesecake.

This cheesecake is very different  than your standard American cheesecake. The consistency reminds me more of a sponge cake or angel food cake combined with custard than an American cheesecake. It’s very light and airy. It also does not have a crust of any kind. The crust is kind of , sort of, my absolute favorite part of an American-style cheesecake, so off the bat this cheesecake had a disadvantage to winning me over.

I topped my Japanese cheesecake with matcha (green tea) powder (not mold, I swear) and a raspberry sauce. Both helped give a bit of color and flavor to the dessert. I did enjoy this cheesecake, but it probably won’t be on the top of my must make again list.

Japanese Cheesecake

Japanese Cheesecake (adapted from allrecipes.com)

  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white sugar, divided
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2/3 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line the bottom of a 9 inch round cake pan cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Warm the cream cheese and milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cream cheese is melted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and half of the sugar until light and fluffy using an electric mixer. Fold the cream cheese mixture into the yolks. Sift in the flour and cornstarch, and stir until blended.
  4. In a separate bowl, using clean beaters, whip egg whites with cream of tartar until they can hold a soft peak. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining sugar and continue whipping to stiff peaks. Fold egg whites into the cream cheese mixture. Pour into the prepared cake pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet with sides.
  5. Place the baking sheet with the cheesecake into the oven, and pour water into the baking sheet until it is half way full. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the heat to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Continue to bake for 15 more minutes. Let the cake cool before removing from the pan.
  6. Run a knife around the outer edge of the cake pan, and invert onto a plate to remove the cake. Peel off the parchment paper and invert onto a serving plate so the top of the cake is on top again.

No-Bake Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Oatmeal Cookies!

No-Bake Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Oatmeal Cookies!

Does anybody remember the great peanut butter price rising scare of 2011? Well, when I heard about the cataclysmic events that were going to be caused by peanut butter prices skyrocketing, I did what any sane person would do; Ran to Costco and bought the biggest jar of peanut butter I could find and since this is Costco, it obviously came in a 2-pack. Fast forward to this week and as I was looking for a large can of tomatoes in the bottom of my kitchen pantry, I stumbled upon, not one, but two unopened Costco-sized jars of peanut butter. Fortunately, processed peanut butter could survive the apocalypse, so it was still good. It was upon seeing these two jars that I realized that my visions of becoming rich via the illicit peanut butter black market I had hoped would emerge as a result of worldwide peanut butter prices rising, that I should probably set about actually using some of the peanut butter I have been hoarding.

Enter these cookies! These are the easiest cookies in the world to make! There’s no baking, there’s peanut butter, there’s chocolate, there’s oatmeal, what’s not to love?

I cut the original recipes suggested sugar in half and they were still plenty sweet. I think 2 cups would be way too much. My only word of advice is to use the fridge or freezer to help them set. Maybe it was because it was unseasonably hot the day I made these (around 80F/26C, in February… Gross.), but they would not harden. I stuck the cookie sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes and they were perfect.

No-Bake Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Oatmeal Cookies!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats)
  • Waxed or parchament paper

Instructions

  1. In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil, the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Let boil for 1 minute then add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal. On a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet, drop mixture by the teaspoonfuls, until cooled and hardened. Throw the cookie sheet in the fridge to help speed up the process.
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Blueberry Eton Mess

blueberry eton mess

 This is one of the easiest and most refreshing desserts you will ever make. The dessert reminds me of the magical summer I spent studying abroad in Cambridge. It’s light, airy and screams of summer, but it is also the perfect no-bake, in a hurry dessert. The meringues make the cream absolutely amazing. The berries and the cream are great, but add in the meringue, and it gives the dessert the best type of contrast.

I made this with both thawed frozen blueberries and fresh ones. The frozen definitely worked better. The juices that form as the berries thaw out, definitely make the dessert all the better. Any berry will work this dessert, so feel free to go wild.

Blueberry Eton Mess (adapted from Food Network)

  • One 1-pound bag frozen unsweetened blueberries, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 scant cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • Eight 2-inch vanilla meringue cookies, coarsely broken (about 2 cups), plus 2 more, halved
  1. In a medium bowl, using a potato masher or fork, mash the berries and any juices into a chunky sauce.
  2. Place the sour cream in a 1-cup measuring cup. Add enough chilled heavy cream to fill the cup completely. Scrape the cream mixture into a deep medium bowl. Beat the mixture until thick and stiff with a handheld electric mixer. Fold in the broken meringues.
  3. Divide the sauce in half and spoon into the bottom of four serving bowls or glasses. Divide the cream mixture in half and spoon on top of the sauce. Repeat the layers using the remaining sauce and cream mixture. Top each parfait with a meringue half and serve immediately.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Rice Pudding

Mexican Hot Chocolate Rice Pudding

I love Mexican hot chocolate. It was always one of my favorite things growing up. If you didn’t grow up in Southern California or another area with a large Mexican influence, you might not know what Mexican hot chocolate is, in which case, I’ll share. Mexican hot chocolate is very sweet, sugary chocolate with cinnamon, a bit of vanilla and sometimes some almonds or chili. In these parts, you can buy Mexican hot chocolate in just about any grocery story already mixed up, which makes everything a lot easier.

I saw a box of Abuelita at Costco earlier this ‘winter’ (winter is a very loose term in California) and got pretty excited. I bought it. I might have slightly overshot on this purchase. As much as I love Mexican hot chocolate, it’s not something you can have more than one mug of at a time or even every day; it’s way too rich. I realized I had to come up with other ways to use it all up.

Ps. Chocolate rice pudding is really hard to photograph/make look appetizing. Please forgive the picture.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Rice Pudding (from meals.com)

  1. Heat milk and Abuelita chocolate in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until Abuelita chocolate is dissolved and milk reaches a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; add rice. Cook, stirring frequently, for 60 to 80 minutes or until rice is tender and sauce is thickened.
  2. Spoon into individual cups. Serve immediately.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

These could not be simpler and they could not be more delicious. You probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen already. Be warned they are super, super rich.

The bars are also very easy to make gluten free! All you need is a box of gluten free cake mix and done. And seriously, don’t stress out about not making these completely from scratch. Everyone has enough to worry about this time of year and Betty Crocker and other baking companies have spent millions of dollars perfecting the mix that is in those boxes so you don’t have to worry about it; it’s practically rude not to use them.

These would also be perfect to take to a holiday cookie exchange. They are cookie-ish, but a little more exciting. Just throw some seasonal sprinkles on top and you are good to go.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars (from The Girl Who Ate Everything)

  • 1 (18.25) package plain yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (12 oz) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine cake mix, melted butter, peanut butter, and eggs in a large bowl using a mixer or spoon. Press this into a 9X13 pan reserving 1 1/2 cup of the mixture to crumble on top.
  3. In a small pot, melt chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Spread chocolate mixture over the mixture pressed in the pan and then crumble the 1 1/2 cups of reserved cake mixture on top evenly.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Gluten Free Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

I decided to try a new pecan pie recipe this year. Pecan pie is one of the few desserts I like once a year, but I’m still pretty picky about it. The chocolate and bourbon definitely puts this pie over the top. I would highly recommend it if you are looking for a twist on regular pecan pie. 

I read through the comments on the recipe after I made it and I definitely wish I had read them before. This pie makes a TON of filling. You will need a deep dish or 2 regular crusts (see my note!). I would also agree with the recommendation to cut down on the sugar to 3/4 cup. I personally didn’t find the need to cut down on the chocolate or bourbon (and this is coming from someone who is not a fan of chocolate or bourbon), however some other bakers did, but I mean, pecan pie is supposed to be decadent, why cut down on the chocolate and bourbon…?

NOTE: The original recipe called for 1 9-inch pie crust. I followed the recipe exactly and ended up with enough filling for 2 8-inch pie crusts… I would definitely recommend using a deep dish crust or 2 pie crusts like I did. I decided to cheat and used pre-made gluten free pie crusts from Kinnikinnick. These pre-made pie crusts were really not worth the hassle. This is the first bad experience I have had with a Kinnikinnick product. I’ve had good experiences with Whole Foods GF Pie Crusts in the past, but didn’t have a chance to get to WF before I needed the crusts. In the future I will still to Whole Foods Pie crusts or just use GF graham cracker crumbs.

Gluten Free Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie (adapted from allrecipes.com)

  • 1 9-inch (or 2 8-in gluten free) pie crusts
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a small saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, and butter or margarine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter or margarine melts and sugar dissolves. Cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl combine eggs, bourbon, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Slowly pour sugar mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until set and golden. May be served warm or chilled.