Tag Archives: gluten-free

Gluten-free Apple Pie

I earlier posted my recipe for Rustic Apple Pie.  This apple pie recipe differs from that one in two ways. First, this one is gluten free. Yes, even the lovely tender, flaky crust is gluten free.  Second, the filling is pre-cooked before being added to the pie.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

For those following a gluten-free diet, they know how difficult it can sometimes be to find a pie pastry that closely resembles a wheat flour version.  I love making pastry and enjoy a lot of quiches and pies.  It pains me that those on a gluten-free diet cannot enjoy the same foods simply because they don’t have a good gluten-free pastry recipe.  So, I have developed this pie pastry recipe that, in my opinion, rivals any gluten version (and, in fact, is better than many I have been served).  When I first started developing gluten-free pastry, I figured it would not roll out, would crumble into bits, be hard as a rock, and/or would not transfer, in one piece, to the pie plate. However, I have adapted the basic pastry recipe I have been using for years and I could not be more pleased with it.  Serve this pastry to someone not on a gluten-free diet and I think they would be hard-pressed to know it’s gluten free!

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

So, let’s start with some hints and tips on making the pastry, many of which apply to any pastry, gluten or gluten free.

The Pastry

First, all ingredients must be cold – super cold.  Yes, even the flour should be chilled for 30-40 minutes in the refrigerator. I use a one-to-one gluten-free flour in this recipe.  I have been having great success with Bob’s Red Mills 1-to-1 gluten-free flour in my baking and find it has better flavor than gluten-free all-purpose flour and has the texture in baked goods more closely resembling a wheat-based flour.

There are various schools of thought on the type of fat to use in pastry — butter, lard, or shortening. Using all butter in pastry will give a wonderful flavor and a lovely tanned crust. It can, however, be a bit finnicky to work with because it softens very easy and can quickly be over-blended with the flour. If overworked, a tough crust is likely. While lard is easy to work with and will give layers of flakiness in the pastry, it lacks the flavour that butter gives.  Using shortening will yield a nice tender crust but, like lard, has little flavor.  As with butter, shortening softens extremely easy as it is being worked with so, if the dough is overworked, it will yield a tough crust.

I find the best combination of fats to provide flakiness, tenderness, flavour, and structure to pastry is to use one part lard and one part butter.  I coarsely chop/cube the butter and lard into the flour then take my pastry cutter and blend the fats to the consistency of large peas.  There is no need to mash it or blend it finely.

For liquid, I combine vinegar, egg, and water to equal 2/3 cup – all ingredients to be super cold.  Not all of this liquid may be required. It’s important to use only enough of the liquid that the dry ingredients are incorporated and will cling together and the dough forms a ball.  Don’t add too much liquid or you will end up with a gummy mess that will yield a tough pastry. I don’t use a food processor to make the pastry as I find it is too easy to overprocess the dough. Mixing the pastry by hand gives more control and, I find, a flakier crust.

Gluten-free pastry has a different texture and consistency than wheat-based pastry. The most noticeable difference is the lack of elasticity that wheat-based pastry has from the gluten in it. To ensure the safe transferal of pastry from counter to pie plate in one piece, I recommend rolling out the pastry between two sheets of parchment paper.  Once the pastry has been rolled to the desired thickness, generally somewhere between 1/16” about 1/8” thickness, simply remove the top sheet of parchment, slide your hand under the bottom sheet and carefully lift the pastry, flip it over into the pie plate, and peel off the parchment paper. A tip is to lightly flour the bottom piece of parchment and the top of the pastry.  This will make the task of peeling off the parchment paper easier. Fit the dough snugly into the plate and trim pastry flush with pie plate edge. I don’t like thick pie crusts so you’ll notice, from the photos, that I roll my pastry quite thin.  That’s a matter of personal preference so, if you like a thicker crust, by all means, go ahead and roll the pastry a little bit thicker.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

Roll the pastry for the top crust the same as for the bottom crust but make sure there is no wrinkle in the parchment paper as this will form a wrinkle imprint in the pastry as the pastry is being rolled out.  This is less of a concern for the bottom pastry crust but, for presentation purposes, is an issue for the top crust.  For this reason, I recommend starting with a new piece of parchment when rolling out the top crust pastry.

Don’t forget to dampen the outside rim of the bottom pie pastry before placing the top pastry over the filling.  The pastry edge needs to be dampened lightly with water which will seal the two crusts together.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

The Filling

My traditional apple pie recipe calls for uncooked apples mixed with spices and sugar.  That version will yield a pie where the layers of apples stay intact and totally visible once the pie is baked and sliced.  For this apple pie recipe, however, I am pre-cooking the apples by sautéing them in butter, then mixing in the sugar, spices, and cornstarch while they sauté. The result is a filling that resembles the consistency of a can of apple pie filling (only this homemade version is, in my opinion, much better!).

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

There are advantages to this method of making the filling. First, juices from the apples are released during the sautéing process and are thickened before going in to the pie. I find there is less chance of the pie boiling out significantly because the juices have already been released and thickened before going into the pie. Second, it is easier to arrange the filling in the pie because the apples have softened a bit.  Whereas for raw apples there can be gaps in the filling, there are generally none with a pre-cooked filling.

The trick to this method is to not overcook the apples because, remember, they will continue to cook as the pie bakes.  You still want to be able to see the apples (not applesauce) in the filling.  For this reason, it’s important to use apples that have a crisp, firm texture so they can stand up to the sautéing and baking and still hold shape when the pie is sliced.  My favorites are Spartans, Cortland, Pippins, Honeycrisp, and Lobo. I usually use a combination of at least three (and sometimes more) different varieties. Using a mix of apple varieties will give better flavor, especially if a blend of tart and sweet apples is used.  Slice the apples at least ¼” thick for this filling.

I use mostly brown sugar combined with a small amount of granulated sugar for this recipe.  Brown sugar will give a richer flavor and deeper color to the filling.  Choosing spices for an apple pie filling is always subjective.  Some use just cinnamon while others will add nutmeg.  I like a blend of spices in my apple pies so have chosen cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice for this recipe.  A splash of brandy (optional) will also enhance the flavor of the pie but, note, just a small splash! Either flour or cornstarch can be used to thicken the filling. Cornstarch, however, will tend to yield a more clear filling than will flour.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

Preparing the Pie for the Oven

After the top pie pastry has been placed over the filling, the edges of the top and bottom pastries need to be pressed together to seal in the filling. There are various ways the pie edges can be joined. I tend to go with the simple pressing of the bottom and top pastry with the tines of a fork. I think this is also the easiest method to ensure the pie cuts out with the edges intact. Other methods, such as crimping, are raised up and can burn more quickly during baking and are also at risk of breaking off as the pie is cut.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

It’s important that the top pie pastry be vented for baking. Otherwise, the crusts may be soggy from too much steam trapped in the pie.  It may also cause the top crust to leave the filling and puff up, leaving a hollow space between crust and filling.  This will cause the crust to break when the pie is sliced and, for presentation purposes, the pie slice will not be visually pleasing when plated.

Use a sharp-tipped paring knife to cut criss-crosses in the pie pastry starting in the center with a slightly large “X” and then adding smaller ones all around the circumference of the pie.  I also use the tines of a fork to prick the pie pastry in various places in the top crust pastry for added venting.

Brushing a very light coating of an egg-milk wash on the top crust will yield a crust with more “tan”.  A sprinkle of granulated sugar may also be added but note this may cause the top crust to brown fast and before the pie is baked.  If this happens, tent the pie loosely with tin foil.

I recommend placing the pie in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes or so before baking.  This will chill the pastry and reduce chance of it shrinking significantly while baking.

Fruit pies have a tendency to boil out during baking, even if they are well vented and the filling pre-cooked, so I recommend placing the pie on a tinfoil-lined rimmed baking sheet.  If the pie does boil out, you won’t be faced with an oven cleaning job.

Baking the Pie

Preheat the oven to 425°F and bake the pie at this temperature for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the crust is lightly tanned and juice from the pie is bubbling slightly through vented holes.

Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and allow it cool completely before cutting.  This allows the filling to settle so it stays intact (instead of running) when the pie is cut.

Serving the Pie

This pie benefits from a few hours of refrigeration after it has cooled completely at room temperature.  The chilled pie is easier to cut and the filling stays in place.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

The most common ways to serve apple pie are plain, with cheddar cheese, or with vanilla ice cream.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

This gluten-free apple pie is a tasty treat indeed!

Gluten-free Apple Pie

Gluten-free Apple Pie

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten-free Apple Pie

Filling

Ingredients:
2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp cornstarch

2-3 tbsp butter

2½ lbs apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into ¼” thick slices (about 8 medium-large sized apples)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp brandy (optional)

Method:
In small bowl, whisk together the brown and white sugars, spices, salt, and cornstarch.  Set aside.

Prepare apples and sprinkle with lemon juice and brandy (optional).  With large wooden spoon, gently toss apples to coat with the lemon juice and brandy.

In large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium low and add the apples.  Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring gently and frequently.

Stir in the sugar-spice-cornstarch mixture.  Cook for 4 minutes, stirring gently and frequently.  Remove from heat and cool filling completely.

While filling is cooling, prepare the pastry.

Pastry for 1 double-crusted 9” pie

2 cups (276g) gluten-free 1-to-1 flour
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp sugar

¼ cup cold butter (76g)
¼ cup cold lard (76g)

1 large egg (reserve apx 1 tsp of the yolk for the egg wash)
1 tsp white vinegar
Enough water to make 2/3 cup liquid

1-2 tsp milk
Method:

In medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and sugar together.  Cut the butter and lard into chunks and add to the flour.  With a pastry cutter, cut the butter and lard into the flour until the fats resemble the size of large peas.

In a measuring cup, whisk the egg and vinegar together.  Add enough cold water to measure 2/3 cup.  Add the egg-vinegar-water mixture to the flour, small amounts at a time, and mix with a fork.  Add only enough water that the dough clings together and can be formed into a ball.

Divide the dough in half.  Form disk shapes with each piece. Place disks in the refrigerator for about 10-12 minutes to chill. Remove one disk from the refrigerator and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll pastry to desired thickness, generally between 1/16”and 1/8” thickness. Peel the top piece of parchment from the rolled out pastry. Slide hand under parchment that has the rolled pastry and carefully flip it into a 9” pie plate that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray or greased.  Cut off excess dough so pastry is flush with the pie plate edge.  Place pie shell in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to chill. Remove second disk of pastry from refrigerator.

Prepare pastry for the top crust in the same manner as for the bottom crust.  Remove pie shell from refrigerator and arrange cooled pie filling in prepared cold shell. Brush edges of bottom crust along pie plate edge with a bit of water to moisten. Transfer pastry to the top of pie filling. Trim excess pastry from the pie plate edge.  Press the edge of the pastry all around the pie plate rim with tines of fork to adhere top crust to bottom crust.  Cut slits in top of pie pastry to allow steam to escape as pie bakes. For additional venting, prick the pie in several places with tines of a fork.

In small bowl, lightly beat the reserved egg yolk with 1-2 tsp milk.  With a pastry brush, lightly brush the pie with the egg-milk mixture.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Place pie in refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow filling to settle and to chill pastry to reduce shrinkage while it bakes.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Transfer pie to oven. Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 375°F. Bake for another 40 minutes then test with fork inserted into slit in center of pie to determine if apples are cooked. Apples should be fork-tender when pie is done. If not done, return pie to oven and check every 5 minutes until apples are fork tender.  If pie browns too quickly before it is cooked, loosely tent pie with tin foil.  Remove pie from oven and transfer to cooling rack.

Yield:  1 – 9” pie (apx. 6 servings)

Gluten-free Apple Pie

A lightly spiced cooked apple pie filling sandwiched between a tender, flaky, and flavorful gluten-free pie crust.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 2 1/2 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4" thick slices (about 8 medium-large sized apples)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp brandy (optional)

Gluten-Free Pastry for 1 double-crusted 9" pie

  • 2 cups (276g) gluten-free 1-to-1 flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (76g) cold butter
  • 1/4 cup (76g) cold lard
  • 1 large egg (reserve apx 1 tsp of the yolk for the egg wash)
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • Enough cold water to make 2/3 cup liquid
  • 1-2 tsp milk

Instructions

  1. Filling:  In small bowl, whisk together the brown and white sugars, spices, salt, and cornstarch. Set aside.

  2. Prepare apples and sprinkle with lemon juice and brandy (optional). With large wooden spoon, gently toss apples to coat with the lemon juice and brandy.
  3. In large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and add the apples. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring gently and frequently.
  4. Stir in the sugar-spice-cornstarch mixture. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring gently and frequently. Remove from heat and cool filling completely.

  5. While filling is cooling, prepare the pastry.

Gluten-free Pastry for 1 Double-crusted Pie

  1. In medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and sugar together. Cut the butter and lard into chunks and add to the flour. With a pastry cutter, cut the butter and lard into the flour until the fats resemble the size of large peas.
  2. In a measuring cup, whisk the egg and vinegar together. Add enough cold water to measure 2/3 cup. Add the egg-vinegar-water mixture to the flour, small amounts at a time, and mix with a fork. Add only enough water that the dough clings together and can be formed into a ball.
  3. Divide the dough in half. Form disk shapes with each piece. Place disks in the refrigerator for about 10-12 minutes to chill. Remove one disk from the refrigerator and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll pastry to desired thickness, generally between 1/16”and 1/8” thickness. Peel the top piece of parchment from the rolled out pastry. Slide hand under parchment that has the rolled pastry and carefully flip it into a 9” pie plate that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray or greased. Cut off excess dough so pastry is flush with the pie plate edge. Place pie shell in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to chill. Remove second disk of pastry from refrigerator.
  4. Prepare pastry for the top crust in the same manner as for the bottom crust. Remove pie shell from refrigerator and arrange cooled pie filling in prepared cold shell. Brush edges of bottom crust along pie plate edge with a bit of water to moisten. Transfer pastry to the top of pie filling. Trim excess pastry from the pie plate edge. Press the edge of the pastry all around the pie plate rim with tines of fork to adhere top crust to bottom crust. Cut slits in top of pie pastry to allow steam to escape as pie bakes. For additional venting, prick the pie in several places with tines of a fork.
  5. In small bowl, lightly beat the reserved egg yolk with 1-2 tsp milk. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the pie with the egg-milk mixture. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  6. Place pie in refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow filling to settle and to chill pastry to reduce shrinkage while it bakes.
  7. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  8. Transfer pie to oven. Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 375°F. Bake for another 40 minutes then test with fork inserted into slit in center of pie to determine if apples are cooked. Apples should be fork-tender when pie is done. If not done, return pie to oven and check every 5 minutes until apples are fork tender. If pie browns too quickly before it is cooked, loosely tent pie with tin foil. Remove pie from oven and transfer to cooling rack.

 

For my Rustic Apple Pie recipe, click here.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake Recipe

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake

This posting contains my newly-developed recipe for gluten free light fruitcake.

This cake is so tasty that it’s hard to tell it is actually gluten free!  The flours I use in this recipe are the one-to-one gluten free flour along with almond flour and coconut flour that add lovely flavour and texture to the cake batter.

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake

As always, ensure that all ingredients (not just the flours) called for in the recipe are indeed gluten free and have not been cross contaminated with products containing gluten.

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake

Rather than rewrite all the tips I have for making fruitcakes, I am directing readers to my previous postings for dark fruitcake and light fruitcake. While these two recipes are for regular fruitcakes that are not gluten free, the tips I have provided in those postings apply equally to this gluten free version of a fruitcake.

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten-Free Light Fruitcake

Ingredients:

¼ lb golden sultana raisins
1½ oz green glazed cherries
2½ oz red glazed cherries
1½ oz glazed pineapple rings, chopped
3 oz mixed glazed fruit
2 tbsp citron
3 tbsp brandy
3 tbsp flaked coconut
½ tsp finely grated lemon rind
½ tsp finely grated orange rind

¼ cup butter, softened at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, separated
¼ tsp pure vanilla
¼ tsp almond flavoring
¼ tsp lemon flavoring
3 tbsp applesauce

¾ cup one-to-one gluten-free flour
1½ tbsp almond flour
1 tbsp coconut flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp zanthan gum
Pinch salt

1½ tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp brandy

Few glazed cherries for cake top decoration (optional)
Extra brandy for brushing on cake as it ages and for soaking cheesecloth in which to wrap the cake

Method:

In medium-sized bowl, combine the raisins, cherries, glazed pineapple, mixed glazed fruit, and citron. Mix well.  Stir in the three tablespoons of brandy to coat the fruit.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand for about 24 hours to macerate the fruit, stirring occasionally. When ready to mix up the cake, add the coconut and grated lemon and orange rind.  Stir well.

Prepare 6-inch square fruitcake pan that is at least 2¼” deep and has a removable bottom:  Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray.  Line the pan (bottom and sides), with brown paper or double thickness of parchment paper.  Lightly spray the paper.

Preheat oven to 275°F.

In medium-sized bowl, and using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until mixture is light and creamy. Separate eggs and set aside the whites. Add the egg yolks to the creamed butter and sugar, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure ingredients are all incorporated. Beat 1 additional minute. Beat in the vanilla, almond, and lemon flavorings.  Stir in the applesauce.

Remove 3 tbsp of the one-to-one gluten free flour from the ¾-cup called for in the recipe and set aside to flour the fruit.  Sift the remaining one-to-one gluten free flour, almond flour, and coconut flour together with the baking powder, zanthan gum, and salt.

In measuring cup or small bowl, combine the orange and lemon juices along with the two tablespoons of brandy.

Add the dry and wet ingredients to the beaten butter-sugar-egg mixture in three additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Transfer batter to a larger bowl, big enough to accommodate the amount of fruit to be added.

Sprinkle reserved 3 tablespoons of the one-to-one gluten free flour over the macerated fruit to which the coconut and grated lemon and orange rind have been added. Toss ingredients lightly and quickly.  Gently fold the fruit mixture into the batter.

In clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.

Transfer batter by large spoonfuls into the prepared baking pan.  Use a knife to evenly spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top.  Add a few glazed cherries as decorations to the top of the cake, if desired.

Place small pan of hot water on the lower rack in the oven.  Place fruitcake in center of middle rack and bake for approximately 1¼ – 1½ hours, or until cake is firm to the touch and cake tester inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. After about 35-40 minutes or so of baking, loosely tent cake with tin foil to prevent it from browning too much. When cake is baked, remove from oven and place on rack.  Let cake cool in pan for about 40 minutes before carefully removing from pan by inverting it on to a tea towel and removing the paper.  Carefully turn the cake, top side up, on to a wire cooling rack.

Let cake cool completely before brushing well with brandy and wrapping in brandy-soaked cheesecloth, followed by plastic wrap and tin foil. Store in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, dry area.  Remove wrapping and brush cake top and sides with brandy once a week for 2-3 weeks, as the cake “ages”, before cutting and serving. After cake has aged 2-3 weeks, it is recommended to refrigerate the cake or, if not using in near future, freeze it.

Yield:  1 – 2 lb cake (apx. weight)

NOTE:  As always, ensure that all ingredients used in the recipe are, in fact, gluten free.

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake Recipe

Yield: 1 - 2 lb cake (apx. weight)

A gluten free light fruitcake that is studded with a mixture of brandy-soaked glazed fruit baked within a batter made with gluten free one-to-one flour, almond flour, and coconut flour.

Ingredients

  • ¼ lb golden sultana raisins
  • 1½ oz green glazed cherries
  • 2½ oz red glazed cherries
  • 1½ oz glazed pineapple rings, chopped
  • 3 oz mixed glazed fruit
  • 2 tbsp citron
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 3 tbsp flaked coconut
  • ½ tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • ½ tsp finely grated orange rind
  • ¼ cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla
  • ¼ tsp almond flavoring
  • ¼ tsp lemon flavoring
  • 3 tbsp applesauce
  • ¾ cup one-to-one gluten-free flour
  • 1½ tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp zanthan gum
  • Pinch salt
  • 1½ tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • Few glazed cherries for cake top decoration (optional)
  • Extra brandy for brushing on cake as it ages and for soaking cheesecloth in which to wrap the cake

Instructions

  1. In medium-sized bowl, combine the raisins, cherries, glazed pineapple, mixed glazed fruit, and citron. Mix well. Stir in the three tablespoons of brandy to coat the fruit. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand for about 24 hours to macerate the fruit, stirring occasionally. When ready to mix up the cake, add the coconut and grated lemon and orange rind. Stir well.
  2. Prepare 6-inch square fruitcake pan that is at least 2¼” deep and has a removable bottom: Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray. Line the pan (bottom and sides), with brown paper or double thickness of parchment paper. Lightly spray the paper.
  3. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  4. In medium-sized bowl, and using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until mixture is light and creamy. Separate eggs and set aside the whites. Add the egg yolks to the creamed butter and sugar, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure ingredients are all incorporated. Beat 1 additional minute. Beat in the vanilla, almond, and lemon flavorings. Stir in the applesauce.
  5. Remove 3 tbsp of the one-to-one gluten free flour from the ¾-cup called for in the recipe and set aside to flour the fruit. Sift the remaining one-to-one gluten free flour, almond flour, and coconut flour together with the baking powder, zanthan gum, and salt.
  6. In measuring cup or small bowl, combine the orange and lemon juices along with the two tablespoons of brandy.
  7. Add the dry and wet ingredients to the beaten butter-sugar-egg mixture in three additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Transfer batter to a larger bowl, big enough to accommodate the amount of fruit to be added.
  8. Sprinkle reserved 3 tablespoons of the one-to-one gluten free flour over the macerated fruit to which the coconut and grated lemon and orange rind have been added. Toss ingredients lightly and quickly. Gently fold the fruit mixture into the batter.
  9. In clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.
  10. Transfer batter by large spoonfuls into the prepared baking pan. Use a knife to evenly spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top. Add a few glazed cherries as decorations to the top of the cake, if desired.
  11. Place small pan of hot water on the lower rack in the oven. Place fruitcake in center of middle rack and bake for approximately 1¼ - 1½ hours, or until cake is firm to the touch and cake tester inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. After about 35-40 minutes or so of baking, loosely tent cake with tin foil to prevent it from browning too much. When cake is baked, remove from oven and place on rack. Let cake cool in pan for about 40 minutes before carefully removing from pan by inverting it on to a tea towel and removing the paper. Carefully turn the cake, top side up, on to a wire cooling rack.
  12. Let cake cool completely before brushing well with brandy and wrapping in brandy-soaked cheesecloth, followed by plastic wrap and tin foil. Store in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, dry area. Remove wrapping and brush cake top and sides with brandy once a week for 2-3 weeks, as the cake “ages”, before cutting and serving. After cake has aged 2-3 weeks, it is recommended to refrigerate the cake or, if not using in near future, freeze it.

Notes

NOTE: As always, ensure that all ingredients used in the recipe are, in fact, gluten free.

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Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake studded with glazed fruit and flavored with brandy

Deli-style Gluten-Free Beet Muffins

Beet Muffin
Gluten-Free Beet Muffin

We have all heard of carrot muffins and don’t think twice about including the carrot vegetable into baked goods.  What is less commonly heard of is the use of beets for the same purpose. Today, I am sharing my newly-created and tested recipe for deli-style gluten-free beet muffins which are moist and packed full of wonderful flavor.  This is definitely in the category of “don’t knock it till you’ve tried it“!

Beets
Beets

Our garden did extremely well this year and our beets, in particular, grew very well….to the point that we had way more than what we could eat fresh or pickled.  I am always looking to add new gluten-free muffins to my recipe repertoire so, with an abundance of beets available, I figured this was a good time to experiment with them and I am very pleased with the results.  These deli-style gluten-free beet muffins have undergone several testings, in different ovens, and have produced consistently good results to the point that I am ready to publish my recipe here on my website.

Beet Muffin
Gluten-Free Beet Muffin

For those of you who follow a gluten-free diet, you are likely aware that it is often difficult to get good quality baked goods that reasonably replicate gluten baked goods and that are appetizing and tasty.  I have been doing a lot of experimenting with gluten-free recipe creation over the past while and am having very good results, particularly with muffins.  I love a muffin for coffeebreak at work every day and I absolutely detest any muffin with a flat top!  I expect my muffins to resemble deli-style muffins – those that are beautifully raised, with the dome top, and are a reasonably good sized muffin.

 Beet Muffins
Gluten-free Beet Muffins

In order to get that deli-style muffin, I have learned that gluten-free muffins take more leavening. This is probably due to the properties in the gluten-free flours and they obviously must take more leavening.  I find some gluten-free flours produce baked goods that have a “gritty” texture to them while others will result in a “gummy” textured product, and still others can have an offputting taste that is just not very appetizing.  I have come up with a flour mixture blend that alleviates these issues and I attribute a lot of that to my use of small amounts of almond and coconut flours in my baked products.  These flours cannot be used cup-for-cup substitutions for all-purpose flours because they react to liquid differently and, hence, the use of them in any quantity requires modifications to the liquid content in a recipe.  However, small amounts of them can be used and I find they do enhance both the texture and certainly the flavor of baked goods like cookies and muffins.

Beet Muffin
Gluten-free Beet Muffin

The other thing I have learned about gluten-free baking is that the addition of several flavor enhancers greatly improves the flavor of the baked product. This is where the use of yogurt, vegetables (such as beets), maple syrup, cocoa, and so forth come in. For this beet muffin recipe, I use a thick Mediterranean-style/Greek yogurt.  Many recipes will call for the use of plain yogurt and that certainly works in this muffin recipe.  However, I have also tested it with coconut and lavender (yes, lavender!) flavored yogurts and both are very good in these muffins.  Don’t substitute regular yogurt for the thick Mediterranean-style yogurt in this recipe as the regular yogurt will be too watery and will change the ratio of wet-to-dry ingredients in the muffins.

For this recipe, I incorporate beets in two ways – as a purée and in shredded form.  The purée should be of the consistency of applesauce or baby food and should look like this.

Beet Purée
Beet Purée

A small food processor or blender works well for the purée but I often use my immersion blender. If the beets are soft enough, the immersion blender will work. I use my tall 2-cup measuring cup when using the immersion blender to purée these beets as it contains any splatters – you really do see how red beets can be if you find splatters on the wall!

To shred the remaining beet(s) required for the recipe, I use a simple shredder like the one shown in the photo below. As you can see, the beets are shredded rather coarsely.

Shredded Cooked Beets
Shredded Cooked Beets

Some recipes call for shredded uncooked beets to be used in muffins; however, these muffins only take about 20 minutes to bake and, since beets are firm and take a while to cook I find, to ensure the beets are cooked in the muffins, I have better success using cooked beets in this recipe. Both the beet purée and shredded beets give these muffins flavor and moisture.

Beet Muffins
Gluten-free Beet Muffins

I love chocolate so have incorporated some cocoa and chocolate chips into the muffins as both add lovely flavor to the baked product.

While I cook the beets especially for these muffins, if you happen to have cooked too many beets for another purpose, these muffins would be a good way to use the left-over beets. Three-quarters of a pound of beets (weighed after leaves removed) are required for this recipe. The ones in the photo below are from our garden so, as you can see, they are of varying sizes! Just know that the bigger beet is going to take longer to cook to fork-tender state. Don’t split the beets before they are cooked as they will bleed and their goodness will be poured down the drain.

Beets
Beets

As always, make sure that all the ingredients called for in the recipe are gluten free.

Beet Muffins
Gluten-free Beet Muffins

These are great muffins to make in the summer and fall when you have fresh beets in the garden or can access them at local farmers markets or roadside farm market stands. These muffins freeze well.

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten-Free Beet Muffins

Ingredients:

¾ lb beets

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (or gluten-free one-to-one flour)
1/3 cup gluten-free oat flour
¼ cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
2 tbsp arrowroot starch
1¼ tsp zanthan gum
¼ cup gluten-free small flake rolled oats
5½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp ground chia seeds
1/3 cup cocoa
Scant 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
¾ tsp cinnamon

2 extra-large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
½ cup almond milk or whole milk
¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1/3 cup Mediterranean-style/Greek yogurt (plain, coconut, or lavender flavor)
4 oz beet purée (see method below)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1½ tsp vanilla
½ cup shredded cooked beets

½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Method:

Remove leaves, leaving about 1½“ stems along with the roots on the beets. Wash beets. Cook beets in boiling salted water until fork tender.  Let beets cool enough to handle, then peel. Loosely chop 4 oz beets into a small food processor or a blender and purée until smooth (an immersion blender may also be used). Consistency of puréed beets should be similar to apple sauce or baby food. Shred remaining beets to fill ½ cup measuring cup.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Use muffin tins with cups that have ½-cup holding capacity. Prepare muffin tins by greasing or spraying each muffin cup with cooking oil, ensuring the top of the muffin tin is also well greased. Alternatively, line with parchment paper cups.

In large bowl, combine the dry ingredients by whisking very well.  Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and set aside.

In separate bowl, or large measuring cup, whisk together the lightly beaten eggs, almond or whole milk, coconut oil, yogurt, beet purée, maple syrup, vanilla, and shredded beet.

Pour wet ingredients into well in the dry ingredients.  Combine just until dry ingredients are barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently stir in the chocolate chips, if using.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling almost to the muffin cup rim.  Let batter sit for 5 minutes before baking.

Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce heat to 400°F.  Bake 20-22 minutes or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Let muffins rest in muffin cups for 5-7 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 15 muffins

Gluten Free Beet Muffins

Yield: 15 muffins

A deli-style gluten free muffin that combines beets with chocolate to create a moist, tasty muffin

Ingredients

  • ¾ lb beets
  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (or gluten-free one-to-one flour)
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1¼ tsp zanthan gum
  • ¼ cup gluten-free small flake rolled oats
  • 5½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • Scant 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 extra-large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup almond milk or whole milk
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup Mediterranean-style/Greek yogurt (plain, coconut, or lavender flavor)
  • 4 oz beet purée (see method below)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup shredded cooked beets
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions

  1. Remove leaves, leaving about 1½“ stems along with the roots on the beets. Wash beets. Cook beets in boiling salted water until fork tender. Let beets cool enough to handle, then peel. Loosely chop 4 oz beets into a small food processor or a blender and purée until smooth (an immersion blender may also be used). Consistency of puréed beets should be similar to apple sauce or baby food. Shred remaining beets to fill ½ cup measuring cup.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  3. Use muffin tins with cups that have ½-cup holding capacity. Prepare muffin tins by greasing or spraying each muffin cup with cooking oil, ensuring the top of the muffin tin is also well greased. Alternatively, line with parchment paper cups.
  4. In large bowl, combine the dry ingredients by whisking very well. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and set aside.
  5. In separate bowl, or large measuring cup, whisk together the lightly beaten eggs, almond or whole milk, coconut oil, yogurt, beet purée, maple syrup, vanilla, and shredded beet.
  6. Pour wet ingredients into well in the dry ingredients. Combine just until dry ingredients are barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently stir in the chocolate chips, if using.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling almost to the muffin cup rim. Let batter sit for 5 minutes before baking.
  8. Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce heat to 400°F. Bake 20-22 minutes or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  9. Let muffins rest in muffin cups for 5-7 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
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Beet Muffins
Gluten free Beet Muffins

 

For another great gluten-free muffin recipe from My Island Bistro Kitchen, try this Blueberry Muffin recipe.

These delicious Deli-style Gluten-free Beet Muffins are made with cooked beets and chocolate to create moist,tasty muffins.

Gluten-free Beet Muffins

 

Four Great Places for Breakfast on Prince Edward Island

Given a choice of which meal of the day to eat out, hands down, I’ll choose breakfast every time! I love eating breakfast out and sipping on that first cup of coffee as the tantalizing scents of breakfast preparation waft through the air in the dining room.

Coffee
French-Press Coffee

When I choose a restaurant for breakfast, I’m not looking for greasy diner fare. I’m looking for places that:

  • have a selection of breakfast menu items that extend beyond the standard/usual run-of-the-mill bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, and toast (although, admittedly, that’s sometimes exactly what I crave!);
  • cater to a gluten-free diet since one in our party follows this diet;
  • offer a dining experience which is to say the restaurant has some kind of ambiance – that could be energy and vibrancy, scenery, décor, etc;
  • support local food producers and use fresh, locally-produced ingredients;
  • provide consistency which is to say their food and service are consistently good over several visits; and
  • put some effort into food presentation.

Right out of the gate, I’ll tell you this is not a sponsored post and I wasn’t paid to do it. In fact, the restaurants I’m about to tell you about have no idea I was checking out their restaurants and writing about them on my food blog. So, what follows are my own personal impressions of four (4) great places on PEI that I choose for breakfast and we travel from Summerside to Murray Harbour to find them.

Barbara’s Choices:

  • Samuels Coffee House, Summerside
  • #5 Café, Murray Harbour
  • PEI Preserve Company, New Glasgow
  • Kettle Black, Charlottetown

Samuel’s Coffee House, 4 Queen Street, Summerside

Price Range: $2 – $10  (at time of writing)

I seriously love this place that opened in 2011 and I personally think they have the best coffee on the Island! Their coffee house is small and quaint (yes, you can even eat in the little vault!) but they pack big flavor in their light fare menu items and desserts.

Samuel's of Summerside, PEI
Samuel’s Coffee House, Summerside, PEI

Housed in the former, and now refurbished, Journal-Pioneer building, the large windows allow lots of natural light to permeate the dining area. This is casual style dining. You place your order at the counter, receive a table number and, when the food is ready, a server delivers it to your table. Complimentary Wifi is available.

A good selection of coffee types are available that include espresso, café mocha, café latte, espresso macchiato, cappuccino, and americano. They also, in my view, make the best paninis on the Island using local ingredients. These are perfect for brunch or a light lunch. If you check out their menu board, they’ll often list the food producer’s name by the ingredients they use so you know you are getting good, fresh, local fare.

Breakfast Sandwich
Breakfast Sam at Samuel’s Coffee House, Summerside, PEI

Their “Breakfast Sam” is a great breakfast or brunch choice and it is available in a gluten-free version as well (shown in the photo above).  With eggs, cheddar, ham, tomato, and spinach on a cheese bun (gluten version only with this particular bun; gluten-free is on toasted bread), this is simply a lovely way to start the day. Other breakfast items include their own house-made granola, homemade bread for toast, muffins and cinnamon rolls, and oatmeal.

In the summer months, Samuel’s also operates a coffee house at Avonlea Village in the resort municipality of Cavendish.

Samuel's in Cavendish, PEI
Samuel’s Coffee House Cavendish Location at Avonlea Village

#5 Café, 5 Church Street, Murray Harbour

Price Point: $9 – $11.50 (at time of writing)

Oh, this is a real little gem in the picturesque fishing village of Murray Harbour and absolutely worth the drive to eastern PEI.

#5 Cafe, Murray Harbour, PEI
#5 Cafe, Murray Harbour, PEI

Located in a decommissioned and repurposed church, the owner has kept much of the ambiance of the former church including the matched board walls and ceiling.  The small open- concept kitchen (seen in the photo below) now takes up the former altar and choir loft.

#5 Cafe, Murray Harbour, PEI
Open-concept Kitchen at #5 Cafe, Murray Harbour, PEI

The focus of food preparation at #5 Café is very much on the concept of clean food that is not full of additives and preservatives and that is made from scratch in their own kitchen.

#5 Café offers a wide variety of casual fare items on their menu but, bar none, their omelette is the best I’ve ever had!  Toast is made with their own homemade bread and you’ll often find locals dropping in to buy some of the bread to take home.  Gluten-free bread, though not made in-house, is also available with breakfast items.

Omelette at #5 Cafe, Murray Harbour, PEI
Omelette at #5 Cafe, Murray Harbour, PEI

Regardless the time of day, I’ll bet you can’t leave without checking out their dessert case and large glass jars filled with delectable cookies and other sweets! You just might find some homemade fudge in that dessert case as a sweet ending to breakfast or brunch!

#5 Café, Murray Harbour, PEI
#5 Café, Murray Harbour, PEI

Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, 2841 New Glasgow Road, New Glasgow

Price Point: $6 – $11 (at time of writing)

In operation since 1985, this restaurant is the “go-to” place for many Islanders (including me) for breakie on weekend mornings. You know the old saying “Go where the locals go and you’ll find good food”. Breakfast is served daily until 11:00am.

Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, New Glasgow, PEI
Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, New Glasgow, PEI

Open seasonally from the end of May to early October, be sure to look through the windows to the right as you enter the front doors. Here, most days, you can see the preserve-making process in action. This company is well-known for its production of preserves and spreads and many breakfast menu items are served with their own house-made preserves.

Breakfast Frittata, Prince Edward Island Preserve Company
Breakfast Frittata, Prince Edward Island Preserve Company

The bright open-concept dining room is surrounded by windows. Boasting a phenomenal view of the River Clyde, try to snag a table by the window so you can watch the many different birds at the feeders and fluttering amongst the beautiful flowers of the nearby Gardens of Hope. Complimentary Wifi is available in the dining room.

Breakfast Time!
It’s Breakfast Time for Everybody at the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, New Glasgow, PEI
View from the window of the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company Restaurant alongside the River Clyde
View from the window of the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company Restaurant alongside the River Clyde
Traditional Country Breakfast
Traditional Country Breakfast at the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, New Glasgow, PEI

This full-service restaurant has a great menu selection for breakfast and I’ve sampled most of them!

French Toast
French Toast, Prince Edward Island Preserve Company

Many items can be prepared gluten-free or vegetarian. Items range from granola to the standard country breakfast to French toast, pancakes, Belgian waffles, egg croissant to the breakfast frittata which is seriously the best I’ve ever had. Served in an au gratin dish, it’s filled with peppers, green onions, mushrooms, and three cheeses.  Served with sautéed potatoes and toast, this is the full meal deal and you won’t need to eat for the rest of the day!

Breakfast Frittata
Breakfast Frittata at the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, PEI

Kettle Black, 45 Queen Street, Charlottetown

Price Point: $3.50 – $12 (at time of writing)

Located not far from the Charlottetown waterfront, this independently-owned coffee shop is housed in a refurbished historic building. Look for the bright sunflower yellow store front.

Inside, the exposed brick walls and high ceilings lend a European look and feel. A variety of seating options is available – tables, padded benches, bar stool and counter, and easy chairs.  This is casual dining where you place your order at the register, pick up your beverage, find a table, and a server will then deliver your order to your table. Complimentary Wifi is available.

Breakfast is served all day! Breakfast items range from bagels, Belgian-style waffle, homemade granola and yogurt, and frittata.  Known especially for their types of coffees, they roast organic coffee beans in-house and you can get your lattés, cappuccinos and mochaccinos as well as standard americano coffees here.

My choice at Kettle Black is the frittata that is served with a tasty side salad and toast (gluten-free bread is available).

Breakfast Frittata
Breakfast Frittata at Kettle Black, Charlottetown, PEI

Together, these four establishments offer a wide variety of tasty breakfast fare.

Four Great Places on PEI for Breakfast

 

Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe

Snickerdoodles
Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookies

If you like cookies that are super tasty but not overly sweet then you will like these gluten free snickerdoodle cookies. They sport a lovely soft crumb texture and have superb flavor with the cardamon and nutmeg in the cookies and then the cinnamon-sugar mixture in which they are rolled.

I have been doing a lot of recipe development and testing for gluten free baked goods and have developed several cookie recipes that are suitable for those that have gluten sensitivity or intolerance.  In my view, there is no need for those following a gluten-free diet to be deprived of some fine tasting baked products.

Snickerdoodles
Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookies

This snickerdoodle cookie recipe does not take any unusual or difficult-to-find ingredients.  It calls for gluten free all-purpose flour and a small amount of almond flour. The almond flour adds both flavor and a lovely texture to baked products. It is not an inexpensive flour, by any means, but fortunately not a lot of it is needed to achieve great results.

When using gluten free flours and zanthan gum, it is very important that they be combined very well before incorporating them into the batter. I recommend sifting these products along with the leavening and any spices together into a large bowl  and then whisk them really well.

The snickerdoodle cookie dough will be very soft when all ingredients are mixed in.  Cover the dough and place it in the refrigerator for 40-60 minutes to allow it to firm up so it will be easier to form the cookie balls.

Snickerdoodle Cookies
Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookies

I’m a big fan of digital scales for my kitchen work. I like the look of uniform cookies so I often use the scales to ensure that the same amount of dough goes into each cookie.  I use approximately 20grams, or about 3/4 ounce, of dough for each cookie.  Roll the cookie balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place them on the prepared cookie sheets (parchment lined), spacing them at least 2 1/2 inches apart. Do not flatten the cookie balls – they will automatically flatten as they bake.  These cookies usually bake in about 10 minutes.  Snickerdoodles are great picnic cookies as they travel well.

Cookies
Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookies

Because of their soft texture, they are an ideal choice for homemade ice cream sandwiches.

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches
Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches

And, of course, they are always a popular choice for the cookie jar or lunch box. These cookies freeze really well and are great to have on hand.

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten-free Snickerdoodle Cookies

 Ingredients:

½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
6 tbsp granulated sugar
6 tbsp brown sugar
1 extra-large egg
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp almond flavoring
¼ tsp lemon flavoring

1 1/3 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
¼ cup almond flour
¼ tsp zanthan gum
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Method:

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter with 6 tbsp granulated sugar and 6 tbsp brown sugar.  Beat in the egg and vanilla along with the almond and lemon flavorings.

In separate bowl, sift together the next 9 dry ingredients then whisk the mixture several times to ensure the ingredients are well incorporated.  Mix into creamed mixture until well blended.  Cover and place dough in refrigerator for 40-60 minutes to firm. Shape into balls using about 20g, or about .75 oz, of dough.  Mix the remaining tablespoon of sugar with the cinnamon in small bowl.  Roll cookie balls in sugar mixture and place on prepared cookie sheets, spacing cookies at least 2½ inches apart.  Do not flatten cookie balls. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. These cookies freeze well.

Yield: Apx. 2 dozen

These cookies are supremely good with a glass of cold milk.

Snickerdoodle Cookies
Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookies

Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe

Yield: Apx. 2 dozen

A gluten free version of an old-fashioned favorite cookie, lightly spiced with cardamon and nutmeg, and rolled in cinnamon sugar. A cookie jar favorite for sure!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp almond flavoring
  • ¼ tsp lemon flavoring
  • 1 1/3 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ¼ tsp zanthan gum
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter with 6 tbsp granulated sugar and 6 tbsp brown sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla along with the almond and lemon flavorings.
  3. In separate bowl, sift together the next 9 dry ingredients then whisk the mixture several times to ensure the ingredients are well incorporated. Mix into creamed mixture until well blended. Cover and place dough in refrigerator for 40-60 minutes to firm. Shape into balls using about 20g, or about .75 oz, of dough. Mix the remaining tablespoon of sugar with the cinnamon in small bowl. Roll cookie balls in sugar mixture and place on prepared cookie sheets, spacing cookies at least 2½ inches apart. Do not flatten cookie balls. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. These cookies freeze well.
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Snickerdoodle Cookies
Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookies
Snickerdoodle Cookies

 

Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins

Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins
Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins are a favorite and, while I have a “go-to” recipe for blueberry muffins that calls for regular gluten flour, I did not have one that was gluten-free. So, I set about developing one of my own and this is the result. My aim was to create a bistro, or deli-style, muffin and I am pleased with the end result.

I have discovered several things about gluten-free muffin making.  First, some gluten-free flours have a “grainy”, or an almost “gritty”, texture to them and this will come through in the baked item. Some flours can result in, what I would describe as, gummy texture products. Hence, not all gluten-free flours yield good textured muffins. And, in my view, some gluten-free flours just don’t have a pleasing taste. Second, I find gluten-free flours seem to react differently than gluten flours to leavening.  And, third, it often takes more ingredients and flavor boosters to end up with a tasty muffin that, as closely as possible, replicates a regular muffin. The remedies?  It often takes a combination of more than one gluten-free flour to arrive at a satisfactory result. I add more leavening to my gluten-free muffins than I would usually add to gluten muffins to get that lovely gentle dome shape on the top that is so desired in muffin making.  I bump up the spices and other flavorings (e.g., orange juice, maple syrup, orange rind, and applesauce) to get deep appetizing flavor.

The Bistro's Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins
The Bistro’s Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins

My favorite gluten-free flours to use in muffins are a combination of coconut flour, almond flour, and gluten-free oat flour. I use these in combination with gluten-free all-purpose flour. I find that, if I use just the gluten-free all-purpose flour for the recipe’s entire flour content, the muffins often lack sufficient structure, flavor, and I sometimes detect a grainy/gritty texture. Adding a combination of other flours with different textures tends to solve this problem for me.  The coconut and almond flours add beautiful flavor to baked foods. The addition of some potato starch and zanthan gum also helps with structure and crumb texture. With the availability of bulk food stores, it is easy and convenient to purchase just the amounts of specialty flours and starches called for in recipes rather than having to buy large, expensive bags of them. It’s also a better way to ensure fresher product.

My gluten-free blueberry muffin recipe calls for either eggnog, almond milk, or whole milk.  I have tested this recipe with all three products and had equally good results but must say that the eggnog makes the richest muffins with the most pleasing and complex flavor. However, to make the muffins dairy-free, by all means, use almond milk – it works very well.  The recipe calls for maple syrup and plain works fine. I had some lavender and chai infused maple syrup on hand and, since the lavender plays well with blueberries, it added a layer of pleasing flavor complexity. Some recipes just do require a layering of flavors and, sometimes, one might think that such a small amount of an ingredient called for  could be left out of the recipe with no notice; however, I believe all called-for ingredients in a recipe contribute to the end result, even if they are just playing small supporting roles and are not the main star of the recipe.

This recipe for blueberry muffins makes one dozen muffins and the muffin cup size should be one-half cup capacity. I like to use my square muffin tins for many muffin recipes. Apart from simply liking the shape, the square muffins are easy to wrap, store, and freeze. Several times a year, I go on a muffin-making frolic, making different kinds of muffins for the freezer. I will bag up different varieties and freeze them so they are quick and easy to pull out for weekday coffeebreaks at work.  If a muffin does not freeze well, it will not get added to my repertoire of batch-making muffins.  These blueberry muffins freeze very well.

To get the desired dome-shaped muffin, the muffins need to start out in a relatively high oven temperature – i.e., 450F.   Using the high temperature to begin the baking process allows the outside of the muffin to quickly set while still allowing the inside to continue to rise.  This also gives that nice soft muffin top.  As soon as I place the muffins in the oven, I drop the temperature back to 400F.

The Bistro's Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins
The Bistro’s Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins

The texture of a good muffin should have a loose, coarse interior crumb, like those shown in the photograph above.  Do not overmix muffin batter as this will cause the muffins to be tough, rubbery, and somewhat heavy.  Stir only until the dry ingredients are just barely incorporated.  In fact, in muffins in which I am adding fruit (which gets added last, using the “folding” technique), I don’t completely incorporate all the dry ingredients to the wet because, when the fruit is folded in, the dry ingredients will get further incorporated then.  The batter should be lumpy, not smooth.

Muffins will quickly dry out if they are overbaked.   I have found, in my oven, that about 20 minutes bakes these muffins perfectly but, as every oven is a bit different,  I suggest checking the muffins at about the 16-17 minute mark and, just as soon as they spring back to a light finger touch, insert a cake tester or toothpick into the center of a muffin – if it comes out clean, the muffins are done. Let the baked muffins rest in the baking tin for 5-7 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

The Bistro's Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins
The Bistro’s Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

The Bistro’s Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup almond flour
¼ cup gluten-free oat flour
2 tbsp potato starch
1½ tsp zanthan gum
¼ cup gluten-free large flake rolled oats
5½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
1½ tbsp ground flax seed
2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tbsp finely grated orange rind

2 large eggs (room temperature), lightly beaten
2/3 cup eggnog, almond milk, or whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup orange juice
1½ tsp vanilla
2 tbsp maple syrup, plain or flavor-infused (e.g., lavender and chai)
1/3 cup applesauce

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Method:

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Use muffin tins with cups that have ½-cup holding capacity. Prepare muffin tins by greasing or spraying each muffin cup with cooking oil, ensuring the top of the muffin tin is also well greased.

In large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and grated orange rind by whisking very well.  Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and set aside.

In separate bowl, or large measuring cup, whisk together the lightly beaten eggs, eggnog (or almond or whole milk), oil, orange juice, vanilla, maple syrup, and applesauce.

Pour wet ingredients into well in the dry ingredients.  Combine just until dry ingredients are barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling almost to the muffin cup rim.  Let batter sit for 5 minutes before baking.

Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce heat to 400°F.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Let muffins rest in muffin cups for 5-7 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: Apx. 12 muffins

The Bistro's Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins

Yield: Apx. 12 muffins

These flavor-packed deli-style gluten-free blueberry muffins are light and moist with a tender crumb.Hard to believe they are gluten free!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 2 tbsp potato starch
  • 1½ tsp zanthan gum
  • ¼ cup gluten-free large flake rolled oats
  • 5½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1½ tbsp ground flax seed
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tbsp finely grated orange rind
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature), lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup eggnog, almond milk, or whole milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, plain or flavor-infused (e.g., lavender and chai)
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Use muffin tins with cups that have ½-cup holding capacity. Prepare muffin tins by greasing or spraying each muffin cup with cooking oil, ensuring the top of the muffin tin is also well greased.
  3. In large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and grated orange rind by whisking very well. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and set aside.
  4. In separate bowl, or large measuring cup, whisk together the lightly beaten eggs, eggnog (or almond or whole milk), oil, orange juice, vanilla, maple syrup, and applesauce.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into well in the dry ingredients. Combine just until dry ingredients are barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling almost to the muffin cup rim. Let batter sit for 5 minutes before baking.
  7. Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce heat to 400°F. Bake 18-20 minutes or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  8. Let muffins rest in muffin cups for 5-7 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

Please be sure to read the entire blog posting that accompanies this recipe as it contains several tips and hints on making gluten-free muffins.

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The Bistro's Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins
The Bistro’s Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce
Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

Crepes filled with delectable fillings are one of my favorite meals. Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce are a real treat and a lot easier to make than one might think. At one time considered the fare of stylish restaurants and bistros, they can actually be very easily made at home.

I often make up a large batch of the crepes and freeze them, in between layers of plastic wrap, in a sealed freezer bag. If they are already made in advance, it does speed up meal preparation.

Crepes can be made with all-purpose flour or, if following a gluten-free diet, made with gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour. In fact, the crepes in the photos in this posting are made with the 1-to-1 gluten-free flour and are very tasty and have a good soft texture. The crepe batter benefits from spending an hour in the refrigerator before being cooked. I find this gives greater structure to the crepe batter than cooking the crepes immediately after the ingredients are mixed together. The 1/4-cup measuring cup is a good size to use for the batter needed for each crepe.

A slope-sided non-stick 8″ skillet is perfect for making crepes.  Make sure the skillet is hot before adding batter and that only the minimal amount of butter is added to the pan. The best way to get thin crepes is to hold the 1/4-cup with the batter in one hand and the hot pan in the other. Pour the batter in to the pan while quickly tilting and swirling the pan to evenly distribute the batter. Cook the crepe until the gloss is gone from the top of the crepe and it starts to look a bit dry, small tiny bubbles begin to appear, and the edges of the crepe start to curl slightly. I use the tip of a fork to gently life the edge of the crepe, then I grab it with my fingers, and flip it over to the other side. The second side only needs about 15-20 seconds of cooking.  Have a couple of clean tea towels spread out on the counter and, as soon as each crepe is cooked, flip it out on to the tea towel. A small amount of additional butter may need to be added to the pan after every few crepes are cooked. This will ensure that the batter moves freely in the pan. Even though pan manufacturers claim pans to be non-stick, I find they benefit from the addition of a small amount of butter.

My recipe is a good use of leftover chicken (or turkey); however, if you are craving chicken crepes and don’t happen to have any leftover chicken, simply cook some chicken breasts especially for the crepes. It will take approximately one (1) pound of raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts to yield about two (2) cups of cooked cubed chicken.  When I am preparing the chicken breasts for cooking, I mix about 1/2 tsp liquid chicken bouillon with about a couple of tablespoons of water and drizzle it over the chicken. I will sprinkle a small amount of herbs and spices (e.g., dillweed, cumin, granulated garlic, or pretty much whatever strikes my fancy at the time) over the chicken, cover, and bake in the oven until done.  This adds some extra flavor to the chicken which can, otherwise, be a bit bland.

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce
Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

I recommend making this recipe in steps starting with the crepes, then the cheese sauce, and finally the filling.  I enhance the cheese sauce with the injection of some flavor boosters that include chicken stock, granulated garlic, paprika, and cayenne.  They do make a difference.  Those following a gluten-free diet will need to ensure that the chicken stock they use in this recipe is gluten-free.  If gluten-free chicken stock is unavailable, this sauce may be made entirely with milk though the flavor will obviously differ somewhat. The thickener in the sauce is all-purpose flour and, for those on a gluten-free diet, I have had great success using the gluten-free 1-to-1 flour as a thickener for this sauce.  While the sauce can be made entirely with grated cheddar cheese, I find it can be a bit too intense. Therefore, I use a blend of cheeses, my favorite being a mozzarella-provolone-parmesan mix .  With so many packages of pre-shredded cheeses on the market, it’s a quick and easy way to get a blend of cheeses for a recipe.

The filling is easy to make and only takes basic, simple ingredients that include two (2) aromatics (onion and celery), sliced button mushrooms and, of course, the cubed cooked chicken.  What holds this filling together is a portion of the cheese sauce. Don’t add so much cheese sauce that the filling becomes soupy – all that should be needed is about 1/2 cup of the sauce to bind the filling ingredients together.

To fill the crepes, simply divvy up the filling between the eight (8) crepes, placing the filling along the center line of each crepe. Gently fold one side of the crepe over the filling and roll again to form a cylinder.

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce
Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

If you want to plate the crepes, then I recommend baking them together in a baking pan (a 7″x11″ baking pan works well).  I like to bake my crepes in individual au gratin dishes like those in the photo below. I find they are great for presentation and they also ensure that each serving receives an equal amount of the cheese sauce. For presentation purposes, the crepes also look finished and undisturbed when brought to the table in their individual serving dishes.

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce
Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

 

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

Ingredients:

Crepes:
2 large eggs
1 cup flour (to make gluten-free, use 1 cup of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk
2 tbsp melted butter

Cheese Sauce:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour (to make gluten-free, use ¼ cup of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)
Scant ½ tsp salt
½ tsp granulated garlic
Dash paprika
Dash cayenne
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
1 cup grated cheese mixture (e.g., mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan)

Filling:
2 tbsp butter
½ cup onion, finely chopped
½ cup celery, finely chopped
1 cup button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
Fresh herbs for garnish (e.g., parsley, chives, tarragon)

Method:

Step 1 – Make the crepes.  In large measuring cup or bowl and using an immersion blender, beat the eggs lightly.  Combine the flour and salt and beat in to the egg alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour (3 additions of flour and 2 additions of milk).  Beat in the melted butter and beat an additional 30 seconds, or until batter is smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate batter for 1 hour.

Over medium heat, melt apx. 1½ tsp butter in a 8” non-stick skillet with sloped sides. Using a ¼-cup measuring cup, scoop up batter. Pour the batter in to the heated skillet while quickly swirling and tilting the pan to ensure batter distributes evenly and completely over the bottom of the pan. Return pan to heat and cook crepe until top loses its gloss, tiny bubbles start to appear, and the edges of the crepe start to slightly curl. Gently lift an edge of the crepe away from the side of the pan with a tip of a fork and grab the crepe with fingers and flip it over.  Cook the second side of the crepe for 15-20 seconds. Flip the crepe onto a clean tea towel. Repeat for remaining crepes, adding small amounts of butter to the pan, if necessary, to keep the crepes from sticking to the pan.

Step 2 – Make the cheese sauce. In small bowl, combine and mix the flour, salt, granulated garlic, paprika, and cayenne.  In medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in the flour mixture and cook until frothy.  Whisk in the chicken stock and milk.  Cook sauce, until thickened and smooth, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.  Stir in the cheese until melted.

Step 3 – Make the filling.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  In medium-sized skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until onion becomes translucent, stirring frequently to prevent vegetables from burning.  Add the mushrooms and sauté for approximately 3-5 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat and add the diced cooked chicken.  Add approximately ½ cup of the cheese sauce to the vegetable-chicken mixture and stir to combine.

Step 4: Assemble the crepes.  Grease 4 individual au gratin dishes or one oblong baking pan (apx. 7”x11”) that will hold 8 filled crepes.  Divide the filling mixture between the 8 crepes by placing filling in the center of each crepe.  Gently fold crepe over filling and roll again into a cylinder shape and place in baking dish(es). If using au gratin dishes, place 2 filled crepes in each dish. Pour the remaining cheese sauce over crepes to cover, leaving both ends of the crepes uncovered.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and, if desired, sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with favorite green salad.

Yield:  4 servings, 2 crepes each

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 2 crepes per serving

A delectable chicken and mushroom filling encased in a thin, soft-textured crepe and smothered in a rich cheesy sauce.

Ingredients

  • Crepes:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup flour (to make gluten-free, use 1 cup of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • Cheese Sauce:
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour (to make gluten-free, use ¼ cup of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)
  • Scant ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp granulated garlic
  • Dash paprika
  • Dash cayenne
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup grated cheese mixture (e.g., mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan)
  • Filling:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • Fresh herbs for garnish (e.g., parsley, chives, tarragon)

Instructions

  1. Step 1 - Make the crepes. In large measuring cup or bowl and using an immersion blender, beat the eggs lightly. Combine the flour and salt and beat in to the egg alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour (3 additions of flour and 2 additions of milk). Beat in the melted butter and beat an additional 30 seconds, or until batter is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate batter for 1 hour.
  2. Over medium heat, melt apx. 1½ tsp butter in a 8” non-stick skillet with sloped sides. Using a ¼-cup measuring cup, scoop up batter. Pour the batter in to the heated skillet while quickly swirling and tilting the pan to ensure batter distributes evenly and completely over the bottom of the pan. Return pan to heat and cook crepe until top loses its gloss, tiny bubbles start to appear, and the edges of the crepe start to slightly curl. Gently lift an edge of the crepe away from the side of the pan with a tip of a fork and grab the crepe with fingers and flip it over. Cook the second side of the crepe for 15-20 seconds. Flip the crepe onto a clean tea towel. Repeat for remaining crepes, adding small amounts of butter to the pan, if necessary, to keep the crepes from sticking to the pan.
  3. Step 2 - Make the cheese sauce. In small bowl, combine and mix the flour, salt, granulated garlic, paprika, and cayenne. In medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour mixture and cook until frothy. Whisk in the chicken stock and milk. Cook sauce, until thickened and smooth, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Stir in the cheese until melted.
  4. Step 3 - Make the filling. Preheat oven to 350°F. In medium-sized skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until onion becomes translucent, stirring frequently to prevent vegetables from burning. Add the mushrooms and sauté for approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and add the diced cooked chicken. Add approximately ½ cup of the cheese sauce to the vegetable-chicken mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Step 4: Assemble the crepes. Grease 4 individual au gratin dishes or one oblong baking pan (apx. 7”x11”) that will hold 8 filled crepes. Divide the filling mixture between the 8 crepes by placing filling in the center of each crepe. Gently fold crepe over filling and roll again into a cylinder shape and place in baking dish(es). If using au gratin dishes, place 2 filled crepes in each dish. Pour the remaining cheese sauce over crepes to cover, leaving both ends of the crepes uncovered.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and, if desired, sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs.
  7. Serving Suggestion: Serve with favorite green salad.

Notes

Please read entire blog posting for additional details and hints on making the crepes that are not included in this recipe.

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Chicken and Mushroom Crepes
Chicken and Mushroom Crepes

 

 

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce
Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square

Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square
Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square

If you like brown sugar fudge, you’ll love this Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square, even if you aren’t gluten-intolerant or on a grain-restrictive diet! With a cake-type base, it’s the fudge icing that makes this square and takes it from plain to yummy. It’s like having cake and candy at the same time!

I use 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour along with a small amount of coconut flour in this square.  The coconut flour blends well with the shredded coconut in the recipe and gives the square extra flavor.  Super easy square to make.

Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square
Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square

The slightly tricky part is making the icing as it will “set up” very fast.  Make sure you have all the ingredients pre-measured and at hand when you start to make the icing.  It’s essential that the icing sugar be sifted to remove any lumps as there won’t be any time to work out any lumps when beating the icing sugar into the hot butter-sugar mixture. Once the icing starts to thicken, work quickly to spread it over the square.

This square freezes beautifully and is great to have on hand when you just need to have something sweet!

Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square
Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square

[Printable version of recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square

Ingredients:

Square
½ cup minus 1 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 extra-large egg (at room temperature for 20 minutes)
½ tsp pure vanilla
1 cup 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/3 cup milk
½ cup shredded coconut

Icing
3 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tbsp cream
1 cup sifted icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Walnut halves for decoration (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or, alternatively, line 9” square baking pan with tin foil and spray with cooking oil.

Square:  Cream butter and sugar together.  Add the egg and beat well to combine with butter-sugar mixture.  Beat in vanilla.

Sift the 1-to-1 gluten-free flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt together.  Add the dry ingredients and milk to the creamed mixture in three parts (3 parts dry and 2 parts wet) starting and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat for 1 minute longer on medium speed. Fold in the shredded coconut.  Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake for 30-32 minutes or until cake tester inserted into center of square comes out clean.  Remove square from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely.

Icing:  When square has cooled, make the icing by combining the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until both have melted/dissolved.  Add the cream.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and, with an electric hand mixer, beat in the icing sugar until mixture starts to thicken.  Immediately stir in the vanilla and, working quickly (as this icing will “set up” very fast), spread the icing evenly over square.  Score cutting lines on square and, if desired, place one walnut half on each individual square. Let icing set completely before cutting squares.

Yield: One 9” pan of squares

Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square
Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square

Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square

Yield: 1 - 9" pan of squares

An old-fashioned fudge square made with gluten-free flour and topped with brown sugar fudge icing.

Ingredients

  • Square
  • ½ cup minus 1 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 extra-large egg (at room temperature for 20 minutes)
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 cup 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • Icing
  • 3 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 tbsp cream
  • 1 cup sifted icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Walnut halves for decoration (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or, alternatively, line 9” square baking pan with tin foil and spray with cooking oil.
  2. Square: Cream butter and sugar together. Add the egg and beat well to combine with butter-sugar mixture. Beat in vanilla.
  3. Sift the 1-to-1 gluten-free flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add the dry ingredients and milk to the creamed mixture in three parts (3 parts dry and 2 parts wet) starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat for 1 minute longer on medium speed. Fold in the shredded coconut. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 30-32 minutes or until cake tester inserted into center of square comes out clean. Remove square from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Icing: When square has cooled, make the icing by combining the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until both have melted/dissolved. Add the cream. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and, with an electric hand mixer, beat in the icing sugar until mixture starts to thicken. Immediately stir in the vanilla and, working quickly (as this icing will “set up” very fast), spread the icing evenly over square. Score cutting lines on square and, if desired, place one walnut half on each individual square. Let icing set completely before cutting squares.
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Gluten Free Fudge Squares

Gluten-free Melting Moments Cookies

Gluten-free Melting Moments
Gluten-free Melting Moments

These gluten-free melting moments cookies prove that being on a gluten-free diet does not mean one has to compromise on favorite sweet treats!

I use a 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour, such as Bob’s Red Mills brand, for these cookies.  I also add a small amount of very finely ground almonds to the batter as this lends a tenderness to the cookie crumb which justifies the name of the cookies because they do melt in the mouth!

Gluten-free Melting Moments
Gluten-free Melting Moments

These cookies are very easy to make. Mix up the dough. Pinch off small amounts of the dough and form into small balls. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets and flatten with the tines of a fork. Bake. It’s really no more complicated than that!

Gluten-free Melting Moment Cookie
Gluten-free Melting Moment Cookie

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten-Free Melting Moments

Ingredients:
½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
¼ cup icing sugar (aka confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar)
¼ tsp pure vanilla
½ cup 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour
¼ cup finely ground almonds
¼ cup cornstarch

Method:

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream butter.  Add the icing sugar and cream well with the butter.  Mix in vanilla.

In separate bowl, whisk the flour, ground almonds, and cornstarch together. Add to the creamed mixture and blend until well incorporated.

Form dough into small round balls (apx. 5/8 oz dough per ball).  Place balls on prepared baking sheets, about 2“ apart, and flatten each ball with the tines of a fork.  Decorate with small bits of maraschino cherries, if desired.

Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes, just until edges of cookies start to tint a golden tan color. Don’t over-bake. Let cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes then transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield:  Apx. 1½ dozen cookies

Gluten-free Melting Moments
Gluten-free Melting Moments

Gluten-free Melting Moments Cookies

Yield: Apx. 1 1/2 dozen

These melt-in-your-mouth gluten-free melting moments cookies have a tender crumb and delicate butter and almond flavor.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • ¼ cup icing sugar (aka confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar)
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla
  • ½ cup 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour
  • ¼ cup finely ground almonds
  • ¼ cup cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. Cream butter. Add the icing sugar and cream well with the butter. Mix in vanilla.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk the flour, ground almonds, and cornstarch together. Add to the creamed mixture and blend until well incorporated.
  4. Form dough into small round balls (apx. 5/8 oz dough per ball). Place balls on prepared baking sheets, about 2“ apart, and flatten each ball with the tines of a fork. Decorate with small bits of maraschino cherries, if desired.
  5. Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes, just until edges of cookies start to tint a golden tan color. Don’t over-bake. Let cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes then transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
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Gluten Free Melting Moments
Gluten Free Melting Moments
Gluten-free Melting Moments
Gluten-free Melting Moments

For other tasty gluten-free cookie recipes, click on the links below:

Gluten Free Lemon-Filled Thumbprint Cookies
Gluten Free Snickerdoodles
Gluten-free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread

Gluten-Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread

Gluten-Free Shortbread
Gluten-Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread

These easy-to-make gluten-free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread cookies are brimming with flavor. The ground Earl Grey tea leaves lend a subtle hint of tea flavor as well as add wonderful specks of interest in the cookies.  The addition of the dried cranberries and grated orange rind make these very flavorful and tasty cookies.

Gluten-free Shortbread
Gluten-Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread

I have been having very good success using 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill, for my gluten-free baking.  The addition of finely ground almonds adds both flavor and a layer of tenderness to the shortbread crumb.

Gluten-Free Shortbread
Gluten-Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread

I use my old coffee grinder to grind the loose tea leaves very finely. This releases their essence which, in turn, infuses the dough with the tea aromatic. Use dried, not fresh or frozen, cranberries for these cookies and make sure they are chopped quite finely.

The dough will be quite soft so form it into a round log shape, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or waxed paper, and refrigerate it for 2-3 hours before slicing and baking. Refrigerating the dough helps to firm it up enough so that, when sliced with a sharp knife, the slices cut cleanly. Empty cardboard paper towel rolls make great cylinder “sleeves” in which to chill the cookie dough because they help to keep the round shape. Simply slit open the paper towel roll, place the wrapped cookie log inside the “sleeve”, draw the edges of the cylinder together, and secure with tape. Rotate the cookie dough log a couple of times during the chilling process to distribute its weight and help to keep the round shape.

These cookies are a great addition to the menu of anyone on a gluten-free diet. In fact, anyone can enjoy these cookies, regardless whether they have a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten or not – I’ll bet you’d never guess they’re made with gluten-free flour!

Gluten-free Shortbread
Gluten-Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten-Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
½ cup sifted icing sugar (aka confectioner’s or powdered sugar)
¾ tsp finely grated orange rind
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1/8 tsp almond flavoring

¾ cup 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour
¼ cup finely-ground almonds
1½ tbsp cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
¾ tsp finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves

¼ cup finely chopped dried cranberries

Method:

Cream butter and sugar together until smooth.  Beat in orange rind, vanilla, and almond flavoring.

Whisk flour, ground almonds, cornstarch, salt and ground tea leaves together.  Blend dry ingredients into creamed mixture until just combined.  Stir in cranberries.

Form dough into log approximately 1½” in diameter.  Wrap tightly in wax paper or plastic wrap. Slit open an empty paper towel cardboard cylinder and place cookie log in cylinder.  Draw cylinder sides together and secure with masking tape.  Refrigerate cookie log for 2-3 hours, turning roll every hour or so to distribute the weight of the log and to keep the shape round. (Unbaked cookie logs may be stored for 2-3 days in the refrigerator before baking, provided they are stored in sealed plastic bags or airtight containers.)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, slice cookie log into ¼” thick slices.  Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 1½” apart.  Bake for 20-21 minutes, or until edges of cookies start to tint golden brown, rotating baking sheet half way through the baking.  Let cookies cool on sheets for 3-4 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or freeze for longer storage.

Yield:  Approximately 24 cookies

Gluten-Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread

Yield: Apx. 24 cookies

A flavorful gluten-free shortbread cookie infused with a hint of Earl Grey tea and flavored with grated orange rind and dried cranberries.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • ½ cup sifted icing sugar (aka confectioner’s or powdered sugar)
  • ¾ tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp almond flavoring
  • ¾ cup 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour
  • ¼ cup finely-ground almonds
  • 1½ tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves
  • ¼ cup finely chopped dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Beat in orange rind, vanilla, and almond flavoring.
  2. Whisk flour, ground almonds, cornstarch, salt and ground tea leaves together. Blend dry ingredients into creamed mixture until just combined. Stir in cranberries.
  3. Form dough into log approximately 1½” in diameter. Wrap tightly in wax paper or plastic wrap. Slit open an empty paper towel cardboard cylinder and place cookie log in cylinder. Draw cylinder sides together and secure with masking tape. Refrigerate cookie log for 2-3 hours, turning roll every hour or so to distribute the weight of the log and to keep the shape round. (Unbaked cookie logs may be stored for 2-3 days in the refrigerator before baking, provided they are stored in sealed plastic bags or airtight containers.)
  4. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, slice cookie log into ¼” thick slices. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 1½” apart. Bake for 20-21 minutes, or until edges of cookies start to tint golden brown, rotating baking sheet half way through the baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 3-4 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  5. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or freeze for longer storage.
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Pin These Gluten-Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies To Pinterest!

Gluten Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread
Gluten Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten-Free Shortbread
Gluten-Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread

Looking for more great gluten-free cookie recipes?  Check out these from My Island Bistro Kitchen:

Melting Moments
Snickerdoodles
Lemon-Filled Thumbprint Cookies

The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola Recipe

The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

This granola recipe features a tasty mixture of toasted rolled oats, coconut, and dried fruits and berries.  Notably missing in this recipe are any nuts or whole seeds which are often found in granola.  This is intentional.  For anyone who, for any reason, cannot consume nuts or whole seeds, this granola is especially for you!

The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

Granola is an oat-based cereal. Typically, the base ingredients will include:

  • rolled oats (use the ones that have large flakes; easily customize the recipe to be gluten-free by using gluten-free oats),
  • some kind of sweetener (e.g., brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey),
  • an oil (e.g., coconut, vegetable, or olive),
  • dried fruits and/or nuts, and
  • flavoring (such as vanilla and a medley of spices that often include cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamon).

Granola is very versatile and is so much more than a cereal served with milk for breakfast, although that is quite lovely. Here are some ways I like to use granola:

  • topping for yogurt parfaits,
  • snack food (like a trail mix),
  • ingredient in muffins, cookies, and bars,
  • crushed/ground and used to bread chicken pieces or as a topping for casseroles,
  • sprinkled over salads, or
  • mixed with toppings for a baked fruit crisp

It’s very easy to customize granola to suit your taste. If you want to add some nuts or chocolate chips to the granola, for example, swap out an equal amount of dried fruit or berries.  Or, if don’t like raisins, exchange them for an equal amount of another ingredient such as dried blueberries, cranberries, cherries, or apricots.  The important thing is to keep the proportions of ingredients in the recipe.

The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

If you can turn on an oven and heat a mixture in a saucepan on the stove, you can make granola!  The sweetener, oil, and flavorings are heated in a small saucepan on the stove top just until they are warmed and well blended.  This syrup gets poured over the oats and stirred to ensure the oats are coated.  The oats are then spread on a large cookie sheet and baked in the oven for 35-45 minutes until they turn golden brown.  They are then cooled and tossed with the mixture of dried fruits and berries.

It’s very important to pay attention to the oats as they bake because they can easily burn.  The oats need to be turned 3-4 times as they bake to ensure that they toast evenly on all sides.  As soon as they start to turn a deep caramel color and begin to get a bit crispy, they are done.

The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola

Ingredients:

3 cups large flake rolled oats
2 tbsp ground flaxseed

1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries (or a combination of two or three)
1 cup sultana raisins
½ cup hemp hearts
¼ cup chopped dates
½ cup dried pineapple
½ cup dried papaya

½ cup coconut oil
½ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch salt

½ cup flaked coconut

Method:

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil. Spray lightly with cooking oil.

Combine rolled oats and ground flaxseed in large bowl.

In separate large bowl, combine cranberries, cherries, and/or blueberries along with the raisins, hemp hearts, dates, pineapple, nd papaya. Set aside.

In small saucepan, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, spices, and salt. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture is well blended and heated. Do not boil.

Pour hot syrup over oats and toss to coat. Spread oats evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until oats are a deep caramel color and start to get crispy. Stir oats every 12-15 minutes, turning them over with a spatula, so that the oats toast evenly. Add coconut to oats during the last 5-7 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 minutes then transfer toasted oat mixture to the large bowl containing the dried fruit. Stir well to combine all ingredients.

Store granola in airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days or store in refrigerator for longer use.

Yield:   Apx. 7½ – 8 cups

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The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola

Yield: Apx. 7 1/2 - 8 cups

A tasty nut-free granola made with a wonderful blend of dried fruits and berries

Ingredients

  • 3 cups large flake rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries (or a combination of two or three)
  • 1 cup sultana raisins
  • ½ cup hemp hearts
  • ¼ cup chopped dates
  • ½ cup dried pineapple
  • ½ cup dried papaya
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup flaked coconut

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil. Spray lightly with cooking oil.
  2. Combine rolled oats and ground flaxseed in large bowl.
  3. In separate large bowl, combine cranberries, cherries, and/or blueberries along with the raisins, hemp hearts, dates, pineapple, and papaya. Set aside.
  4. In small saucepan, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, spices, and salt. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture is well blended and heated. Do not boil.
  5. Pour hot syrup over oats and toss to coat. Spread oats evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until oats are a deep caramel color and start to get crispy. Stir oats every 12-15 minutes, turning them over with a spatula, so that the oats toast evenly. Add coconut to oats during the last 5-7 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 minutes then transfer toasted oat mixture to the large bowl containing the dried fruit. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Store granola in airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days or store in refrigerator for longer use.
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The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola