Gluten Free-dom!

Note: this was originally intended to be posted last week, but there was a bit of an issue with images. All fixed now and everything should be getting back on schedule! Apologies for the low quality cell phone pics — I completely forgot to get photos until we were at the party.

flag tart

I had big party plans this weekend, then about mid-week started getting kicked in the head by social anxiety about said parties. So I cancelled out on one (I’ll get there someday, C!) but decided to just pop my head in at the other, largely because I’d offered to bring something and the hostess had requested a non-cake dessert: “You like to bake — bake something for dessert. But not cake. I’m baking a cake.” I like these kinds of parameters — guidelines are good. And also the cake was delicious. But ANYHOW, I decided I’d always wanted to make a flag tart thing, and this was the perfect opportunity. And I promised myself I could just drop off the tart and the kids and Kit and go home if I felt overwhelmed.

flag tart closeup

I perused Pinterest for a shortbread crust, grabbed some cream cheese for cream cheese topping, and picked up blueberries and strawberries to top it all off. I had intended to bake the crust Friday night, but then I ate too much Chinese food and laid on the couch like a lump instead. And then I didn’t get up early enough to bake it before the town parade. So I was down to crunch time when we got home and I discovered I was out of regular flour. Um. Oops.

I really didn’t have time to find a store open on the holiday, so I decided to wing it with the GF supplies I had on hand. And thus, the Gluten Freedom Tart was born. (Also, I ended up staying for the whole party because it was all awesome people I already knew, so that was nice.)

Gluten Freedom Tart
Print Recipe
A gluten free shortbread crust topped by cream cheese frosting and fresh fruit.
Servings Prep Time
20 squares 25 min
Cook Time Passive Time
15 min 1 hour
Servings Prep Time
20 squares 25 min
Cook Time Passive Time
15 min 1 hour
Gluten Freedom Tart
Print Recipe
A gluten free shortbread crust topped by cream cheese frosting and fresh fruit.
Servings Prep Time
20 squares 25 min
Cook Time Passive Time
15 min 1 hour
Servings Prep Time
20 squares 25 min
Cook Time Passive Time
15 min 1 hour
Ingredients
Shortbread Crust
Cream Cheese Topping
Fruit
Servings: squares
Instructions
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper
  3. Combine butter, powdered sugar, and flours in mixer (will be slightly softer/doughier than shortbread typically is).
  4. Spread dough on lined jelly roll pan to a thickness of about 1/4". (Dough may not be enough to fill entire pan -- if not, shape into a rectangle in the center of the pan.)
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until just brown.
  6. Let crust cool for at least 1 hour (should be room temperature before adding topping).
Topping
  1. Whip cream until it is just beginning to peak.
  2. Add granulated sugar and vanilla.
  3. Continue to whip until stiff, being careful not to overwhip.
  4. Add cream cheese and whip until fully combined.
  5. Spread cream cheese topping on crust.
  6. Arrange blueberries and strawberries in flag pattern.
  7. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
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Better-than-boxed Brownies

Yep, another re-publish from Tasteful Diversions. Next week it’ll be a new one, I promise. 

To follow up last week’s lemonade recipe, I give you brownies. Specifically, I’m publishing these two recipes close together because one of my very favorite summertime combos is brownies and lemonade.

I avoided making brownies from scratch for years because not only were they WAAAAY too much effort (double boiler? No thank you very much!) but they also never came out fudgy like I like them. Then I stumbled across this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated which is only slightly more work than making from a box (no double boiler!) AND makes the fudgiest brownies I’ve ever had.

Better-than-boxed Brownies
Print Recipe
These brownies are perfect every time...dense and fudgy on the inside with a lovely crisp top. (Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March & April 2010)
Servings Prep Time
12 ? I dunno -- depends on how big you like your brownies 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 ? I dunno -- depends on how big you like your brownies 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-35 minutes
Better-than-boxed Brownies
Print Recipe
These brownies are perfect every time...dense and fudgy on the inside with a lovely crisp top. (Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March & April 2010)
Servings Prep Time
12 ? I dunno -- depends on how big you like your brownies 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 ? I dunno -- depends on how big you like your brownies 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-35 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: ? I dunno -- depends on how big you like your brownies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line 13×9 pan with foil; spray lightly with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk cocoa and boiling water together until smooth.
  4. Add in unsweetened chocolate and continue to whisk until chocolate is melted.
  5. Whisk in melted butter and oil. [CI notes at this point that the mixture may look curdled; I have not had this issue.]
  6. Whisk in eggs, yolks, and vanilla.
  7. Whisk in sugar.
  8. Stir in flour and salt [CI indicates a rubber spatula for this part; I use a wooden spoon and it seems to work fine] until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  9. Fold in chips.
  10. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350° 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs).
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan on a rack for 1 1/2hrs.
  12. Using foil, remove brownies from pan and place on rack to cool another hour before serving.*
Recipe Notes

*Okay, look, this is 2 1/2 hours of cooling time. I don’t know about you, but there is no chance in hell that fresh brownies are going to get that much alone time at my house. I usually make it about 45 minutes before I start cutting.

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Freeky Good Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bitten CookieEver since Kit discovered he’s wildly gluten intolerant, I’ve been trying to recreate his favorite foods. The thing he always requested the most before he went all freeky* were my chocolate chip cookies.

The first thing I tried was just throwing in some gluten free all purpose flour mix. It turns out one of the flours used in most GF AP flour blends is tapioca…which makes my throat start to close up. So that’s no good. Also, the texture wasn’t great. Then I played around with a bunch of other combinations and found a mix of rice flours and oat flour that made a decent tasting but very crumbly cookie.

For Father’s Day last year, we got him a bunch of gluten free cookbooks, including one that had amaranth flour in just about every recipe for doughy things. It was also the only GF source I’d seen that didn’t recommend xanthan gum for everything chewy. (If you don’t know what xanthan gum actually is, go have a look. I’ll wait. Gross, right? Oh and bonus, if you’re sensitive to xanthan gum, which isn’t uncommon, it gives you the same symptoms as being glutened.) The only drawback to amaranth flour is that it tastes like dirt. Literal dirt from the ground. If you’ve ever had to clean something very, very dusty and gotten that taste in your mouth, that’s the taste of amaranth.

So I played a little more. Coconut flour was promising, but does have a strong coconut flavor. I happen to like coconut, but it’s not the flavor profile I was going for. I went back to the oat, which was nice, but you could still taste the amaranth under it. I added a little coconut back in, and bingo! Good taste, good chew, good cookie.

I was, frankly, shocked the first time I bit into one of these. It’s not a good gluten free cookie. It’s a good cookie, that happens to be gluten free. I am super proud of these. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

gfcc_plate

 

*Being gluten free sucks pretty hard. In an effort to lighten it up, we started calling it being a gluten freek. It turns out we are not the only clever ones — there are several blogs who use the term, and even a couple of gluten free beers.

Freeky Good Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
Chocolate Chip Cookies, Gluten Free version
Servings Prep Time
48 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
11 minutes per sheet 2 minutes per sheet
Servings Prep Time
48 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
11 minutes per sheet 2 minutes per sheet
Freeky Good Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
Chocolate Chip Cookies, Gluten Free version
Servings Prep Time
48 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
11 minutes per sheet 2 minutes per sheet
Servings Prep Time
48 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
11 minutes per sheet 2 minutes per sheet
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  3. In mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugars.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until smooth.
  5. Add half of each flour, the baking soda, and the salt, mixing until fully incorporated. (If you prefer to do this more traditionally, you can mix together all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add that mix half at a time. I just prefer not to dirty another bowl, because I am lazy and I haven't noticed it makes any difference at all in the final product.)
  6. Add the rest of the flours and mix thoroughly.
  7. Fold chocolate chips into dough, distributing as evenly as possible. (I like to use a wooden spoon for this, but whatever works is fine.)
  8. Scoop dough onto lined cookie sheet in teaspoonfuls. (You can use one of those fancy cookie scooper things if that's your bag, but I just use a regular kitchen spoon.)
  9. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until slightly brown and no longer wet looking on top.
  10. Let cool on sheet for 2 minutes.
  11. Transfer to cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

* Some people who have celiac cannot tolerate oats, even those labeled gluten free. If that is the case for you or your freek, I recommend using 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and a 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour in place of the oat flour.

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