Tag Archives: baking

Cheddar Cheese Crackers (Gluten Free!)

 

Cheddar Cheese Crackers (Gluten Free!)

Read this recipe and then run to the kitchen to make them! Even if gluten isn’t an issue for you or if you are attempting to figure out gluten-free snack everyone can enjoy, these are going to be the perfect addition to any upcoming holiday gatherings you have coming up. I used freshly grated sharp white cheddar. I think sharp or extra sharp cheddar is going to be essential in making this (Seriously, why do people even bother with mild cheddar? Life’s unsolved mysteries…).

I plan on making these again as one of my Thanksgiving appetizers. I’m thinking of taking these to the next level though. Parmesan-Rosemary, Chipotle-Cheddar, Gorgonzola! The possibilities are endless. It’s going to be exciting.

The crackers will keep for a few days in a sealed plastic bag, but I don’t imagine them being around that long.

Cheddar Cheese Crackers (Gluten Free!)

Cheddar Cheese Crackers (from Elana Amsterdam’s The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook via Cookistry)

  • 1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 baking soda
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 large egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Cut two pieces of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet. Grate 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and cheese. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg and oil. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until well-combined.
  3. Take parchment paper, place dough on one piece of parchment paper and place other piece on top. Take rolling pin and roll out dough until about 1/16-inch thick.
  4. Remove top parchment and cut dough into pieces 2 inches square. (A pizza cutter would be perfect for this if you have one.) Slide the parchment with the cut dough onto baking sheet and bake crackers 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  5. Let crackers cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Bars

 

Pumpkin Pie Bars

We had 3 days of sub-70 degree temperatures here in Southern California, which means it’s kinda, sorta officially autumn.  Time to bust out the scarves, jackets and boots and other autumnal things that are still completely inappropriate in this climate. I decided to go all out and just dive into the deep end of fall. I feel like the deep end of fall is most accurately embodied by pumpkin in it’s various forms. I dabbled around in the shallow end of pumpkin, with some gnocchi and lattes, a couple weeks ago, but brace yourself.

If you like pumpkin pie or even vaguely think that pumpkin scented candles are sort nice, you definitely need to go ahead and make this. The bourbon and chocolate chips are totally optional, but I think they are totally necessary. Just do it. This is a perfect dessert for any halloween or fall cocktail parties you have coming up. It would also be great for a casual Thanksgiving get together. So just go ahead and make it now. Everyone will love you.
Pumpkin Pie Bars

Pumpkin Pie Bars (from Joy the Baker)

  • 1-1/3 cups flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF All-purpose mix)
  • 3/4 cup  granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup  (1-1/2 sticks) cold butter
  • 1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, uncooked (used Bob’s Red Mill GF Oats)
  • 1/2 cup  chopped walnuts
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 3   eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons bourbon (optional)
  • a handful of butterscotch or chocolate chips for sprinkling on top (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides; grease foil.
  2. Mix flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar in medium bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats and nuts.
  3. Reserve 1 cup oat mixture; press remaining onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes. Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, eggs, vanilla, bourbon, pumpkin and spice with mixer until well blended. Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture and a handful of butterscotch or chocolate chips (if desired).
  4. Bake 25 min.; cool 10 min. Use foil to transfer dessert from pan to wire rack; cool completely.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin Pie Spice

 

When I was living overseas, there was no such thing as pumpkin pie spice. Pumpkin just isn’t put in pie form in other parts of the world. But I was quite happy to learn that it was super easy to make your own pumpkin pie spice. I’ve never used the ready mixed version, I’ve always made my own and word on the street is that it’s pretty good.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
Combine all the spices in a small container with a lid. Shake together to combine. Shake it some more. Store in small jar or spice container.

Pear & Blueberry Crisp

Pear & Blueberry Crisp

 

I’m not too big on desserts, but crisps would be one of my favorites. They are so easy to make, but seem like the could be kinda complicated if you don’t know  any better. If you stick them in ramekins, they make perfect individual desserts for guests or you have perfectly portioned desserts for a few days.

I threw all this together in about 5 minutes and it took about 20 minutes to bake. We had three pears that were about to go off, so I peeled them, cut off the gross bits and was able to fill 4 standard size ramekins. This could easily be made gluten full or gluten-free. I used Bob’s Red Mill Quick Cook Oats and Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix, but regular quick cook oats and all-purpose flour would be just fine.

Pear & Blueberry Crisp

You can also serve these with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, but we didn’t have either in the house. They were still delicious without.

Pear & Blueberry Crisp

  • 3 ripe pears, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen and defrosted
  • 2 Tablespoons quick cook oats
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flower
  • 4 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Butter
  1. Heat oven to 350. Grease ramekins with butter or baking spray. Place pears and blueberries in ramekins.
  2. In a small bowl, mix oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter and mix until crumbs start to form.
  3. Sprinkle crumbs over ramekins. Place on small baking tray (just in case they bubble over) and bake in oven for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Carrot ‘Pup’Cakes

So, this week we had a very momentous occasion to celebrate, my darling pups turned 10!

Naturally, we needed to have a party. Yeah, I’m that girl. Deal with it.

I spent about 8 minutes attempting to take a picture of the two of them looking cute in their party hats, but homegirls had other ideas. After much bribery and coercing and cursing on my part, we all just decided to call it quits. As you can tell by the look of sheer terror on Bella’s face, she still hasn’t quite forgiven me for putting her through the indignity of it all. She was so pissed she wouldn’t even play with her new toy… which her brat of a sister stole approximately 2 seconds later.

The real excitement came when the cake came out. Peanut Butter and Carrot Pupcakes! They were a smashing success. These are human grade dog treats and my dogs absolutely love them.

For the ‘frosting’ I whipped up some plain cream cheese to make it easier to spread and added a few carob chips, which are 100% dog safe. 

Peanut Butter Carrot ‘Pup’Cakes (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl mix flour and baking soda. Then add remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
  2. Pour into greased 8″ round cake pan or into muffin tin prepared with liners. For round cake pan, bake 30 minutes. For pupcakes, bake 15-20 minutes
  3. Let cool. Serve and let your pup enjoy!
The pupcakes can be served as is, or topped with ‘frosting’. I would recommend either more peanut butter (which is sometimes too ‘sticky’ for dogs to eat) or cream cheese and add on some more carrot shreds or carob chips.

Key Lime Pie with Pecan-Gingersnap Crust (Gluten Free!)

Key Lime Pie with Pecan-Gingersnap Crust (Gluten Free!)

So last week, I had to cook for 19 people. NBD. I’ve done it before in much worse conditions. The key to cooking mass quantities of food for mass quantities of people is utilizing your time. Anything that can be made ahead of time, should be made ahead of time. Desserts are usually a sure bet in the ‘make ahead’ category.

 

Key lime pie seemed like the perfect solution to all my problems. Make ahead, light, fruity, summery. I was actually inspired when I was going through a pile of cookbooks my mom is sending to cookbook heaven (aka the thrift store). We have a stack of cookbooks that have been lurking around for years, but haven’t used in ages and decided to give them one last glance before they were gone. We stumbled across a little gem! The original recipe in the Williams-Sonoma Savoring America had a great sounding crust, but the filling was a bit too fussy. I wanted this to be able to make this ahead of time and have everything be ‘easy peasy lemon squeezy’ not ‘difficult, difficult lemon difficult’. Or lime, I guess I should say. (I am going to venture a guess and say only one person reading this got the difficult joke… (Hey Lauren!) If you would like to get the joke, go watch this movie and thank me later.)

Key Lime Pie with Pecan-Gingersnap Crust (Gluten Free!)

The end result was perfect. The crust had a little bit of a ‘spicy’ bite to it from the ginger and it complemented the cool, sweetness of the lime perfectly. Everyone wanted some…

Key Lime Pie with Pecan-Gingersnap Crust (Gluten Free!)

Key Lime Pie with Pecan-Gingersnap Crust

Pecan-Gingersnap Crust (Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring America, p. 218)

  • 28 gingersnaps (we used Trader Joe’s GF Gingersnaps)
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz/60g) chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp chopped candied or crystallized ginger
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz/60g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Key Lime Pie Filling (adapted from this recipe)
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp. powdered sugar
For the Crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Butter a 9-in pie dish.
  2. In a food processor, combine the gingersnaps, pecans, ginger, sugar and cinnamon if using. Pulse until the mixture is finely ground crumbs, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add the melted butter. Mix until the crumbs are evenly dampened and the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  3. Press the mixture in an even layer on the bottom and sides of the pie dish.
  4. Place the crust in the oven and bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer crust to rack to cool.
For the Key Lime Filling:
  1. Lower oven temp to 325F/160C.
  2. Combine the condensed milk, lime juice, and eggs. Beat until blended and pour into cool pie crust.
  3. Bake 15-20 minutes until the pie is just firm.
  4. Transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Before serving, mix sour cream and powdered sugar and spread on top of pie before serving.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Review: Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cake Mix & Some Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake!

It seems to be birthday season in these parts. I really had no clue I knew so many people born in April and May until I had to figure out presents for all of them. Since I am currently a poor, I decided the most economical of things to do would be baking their gifts.

One of these birthday dinners required a gluten-free dessert. Since the dinner was a last minute, impromptu kind of thing, I had to resort to boxed cake mix! The shame… Luckily, I’d been wanting to test out the Gluten-Free Betty Crocker Cake Mix I had bought a couple weeks ago. The gluten-free cake mix is definitely more expensive than the regular line of Betty Crocker mixes (and it’s never gone on sale at any of my local grocery stores), but still cheaper than a lot of the ‘specialty’ gluten-free brands.
pineapple upside down cake

Overall, I must say I was very pleasantly surprised with how the cake turned out. Granted it’s been a while since I’ve had cake, gluten-free or otherwise, but this cake turned out much better than I imagined. Most gluten-free baked goods I’ve encountered have been very dense and very dry. This cake was very light, fluffy and moist. It was just like a regular/non-gf cake.
pineapple upside down cake
I followed the directions for the cake that were on the box but for the bottom/top of the Pineapple Upside Down Cake, I followed the topping recipe from Smitten Kitchen with the addition of some maraschino cherries and poured the cake batter on that. There is a recipe on the Betty Crocker website for the cake as well, but I’m not the biggest fan of corn syrup, so Deb’s butter and brown sugar substitue worked better for me.

Blackbird Bakery Gluten Free Maraschino-Marzipan Kisses!

And we’re back! There have been a few speed bumps and lost of busy days in the real world, so this little blog has been very neglected. Now that trips are done, puppies are better, food allergies are diagnosed and things are getting back to normal, it’s time to get back to business!

Let’s talk about baking, because who doesn’t like baking? Nobody, that’s who!

Gluten Free Maraschino-Marzipan Kisses
Gluten-free baking can be super daunting to the uninitiated. Having to combine multiple kinds of expensive, flours with strange names (sorghum, millet, guar gum, xanthan gum, say what?) seems like way too much effort most of the time when you are just trying to whip up some treats in a hurry. While I absolutely love to bake, I’ve been very hesitant about getting involved in gluten-free baking. Nearly every store-bought gluten-free dessert or sweet I had tried has been absolutely horrible, unless oddly sweeten cardboard is your thing…

Gluten Free Maraschino-Marzipan Kisses

 

Enter Blackbird Bakery’s book! This is the first gluten free baking book I’ve bought and I really like it. As obsessed as I am with my Kindle, I still love the feel of a good book. Blackbird Bakery Gluten Free is a very high quality cookbook with great pictures and very interesting recipes. I like the fact that the author/baker Karen Morgan lays out the recipes in clear terms and makes it all seem very approachable. The beginning of the book contains a nice little glossary that explains all sorts of things about different type of gluten free flours and ingredients and how they might be used. It was such a useful thing to read and made me feel like I could understand and tackle any baking endeavor.

The first cookies I made were super simple and fast and very tasty.

Maraschino-Marzipan Kisses

From Blackbird Bakery Gluten Free

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/8 tsp. pure almond extract
  • 2 cups sliced almonds, coarsely crushed
  • 1 lb. jar maraschino cherries, drained (I used the jarred cherries from Trader Joe’s, they aren’t maraschino)
1. Pre-heat oven to 375F and line two baking sheets with parchment or silpats.
2. In a food processor combine the almond flour and sugar and mix for a few seconds.
3. Add the egg whites and almond extract and mix on high until the dough pulls together into a sticky mass and forms a ball.
4. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop out dough and transfer it to a flat surface (the cookbook says you should have about 18 balls of dough, I had a lot more).
5. Take 2 shallow bowls or pie dishes, place the almonds in one and water in another. Dip the palm of one hand in the water and wet the other palm.
6. Take one of the dough balls and place it in the palm of your non-dominant hand. Gently press the ball into a disk. Place a single cherry in the middle of the dish and then carefully lift the edges of the disk up and around the cherry. Roll the cookie between your hands to form a ball. (Make sure to keep your hands moist with the water so the dough doesn’t stick!)
7. Roll the finished ball in the crushed almonds and try to coat evenly. Place the dough ball on one of the prepared pans. Repeat until all the cookies have been made.
8. Bake 1 pan at a time for 10 minutes, rotating halfway through.
9. Remove from the oven and let cool on pan for 5 minutes then transfer until wire rack to cool.
10. Serve and enjoy!
The cookies turned out to be rather delicious. The dough smelled slightly like marzipan, but tasted much better. The combination of cherry and almond was quite enjoyable. Despite looking kind of fancy, these cookies were easy to make.

Izzy wanted some too!