More Gluten Free Fun

My experiments with gluten free baking have been continuing for weeks. It is not as challenging as I would have thought, though, the hardest part is consistency of results. Using yeast has always been a tough one for me. I don’t understand it very well, and I find that the need for exacting measurements and temperatures can make it hard for me to succeed. I’m finding, though, that with a little patience and persistence, even gluten free baked goods with yeast are worthwhile.

After the pizza, I moved on to sweets. I love brownies and my husband made some wheat based brownies that smelled delicious. So, I pulled out my gluten free flours and had a stab at it myself. I started with a recipe I found online. It used a base of coconut flour, which, to my taste, was too strong. The coconut flavor overruled the brownie taste and I found that disappointing.

Next time around, I decided to replace the coconut flour with mochiko – sweet rice flour. I had a bunch in my cupboard from experimenting last summer with making ice cream mochi. In addition, I had some leftover silken tofu in the frig, and I know that makes a lovely pudding style topping.

Mixing brownies

Mixing brownie batter

silky chocolate pudding

Silky chocolate pudding top

The brownies are moist, a tiny bit cakey, and quite a deep chocolate flavor. I’m quite pleased with the result.

Gluten Free Brownies with Silky Chocolate Pudding Top

½ c. butter, melted

¾ c. cocoa powder

3 eggs

¼ c. water

½ c. maple syrup

½ tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. Madagascar vanilla

½ c. mochiko (sweet rice flour)

GF brownie slice

GF brownie slice

pudding top brownies

Pudding top brownies

Silky Chocolate Pudding:

9 oz. silken tofu, firm

1 Tbsp. vanilla almond milk

½ tsp. Madagascar vanilla

1 Tbsp. honey

⅓ c. chocolate chips

1.     Preheat oven to 350ᵒ.

2.    Melt butter and stir in cocoa powder. Set aside.

3.     Beat eggs, maple syrup, salt, baking powder, water and vanilla.

4.     Add melted butter/ cocoa mix.

5.     Add flour and whisk until smooth.

6.     Spread evenly into an oiled 8×8” pan.

7.     Bake for 20 – 30 minutes. Cool.

8.    Prepare pudding by putting all ingredients, except chocolate in a mixing bowl. Blend thoroughly with a hand blender until silky smooth.

9.     Meanwhile, melt chocolate in a double boiler. Stir melted chocolate into tofu blend and mix thoroughly.

10.  Spread evenly onto cooled brownies.

The brownie success led me to “graham” crackers. I’ve been making real graham crackers for my pies and they are simply delicious. The gluten free pie crusts I make are good, but not the same style as a graham cracker crust. So, I thought, there’s got to be a way to get a similar quality with gluten free flours. And I succeeded! The secret is to use a little almond flour to get the texture of the graham flour. Now, I can offer a gluten free “graham” cracker crust for my pies.

GF graham dough

GF graham cracker dough

GF graham crackers

GF graham crackers

 

Another cracker that I like to make at home on occasion is one I found in the New Farm Cookbook, an old whole foods style cookbook from the ’70’s. There’s a Cheezy Cracker recipe that gets its cheesy flavor from nutritional yeast and they’re quite addictive! I didn’t think to take any pictures of these when I made the gluten free version, but I’ll have you know, that my family loved them so much I had to practically fight them off to get my share!

 

 

On the savory gluten free journey, I discovered that I could also make pasta. This seemed like a daunting task that actually was quite simple.  I found a recipe online again and made a few minor changes to the flour mix. A lot of these recipes use large amount of tapioca flour which doesn’t sit well in my stomach. It also ends up being too much like white bread, so I adjust the recipes to include other flours like teff, brown rice, millet or sorghum for a heartier flavor.

stroganoff sausage noodles

Stroganoff sausage with GF egg noodles

 

I didn’t roll the dough out thinly enough on the first try, but the flavor was good and made for a delicious meal with Sausage Beef Stroganoff Sauce with Gluten Free Egg Pasta. A side of steamed broccoli made it a perfect meal.

 

 

 

I’ve been making a melt in your mouth marinated salmon (gravlox). I love to have lox on bagels with cream cheese and tomatoes or blended into a spread. I make my own spread and enjoy it with rice crackers and salad for a healthy lunch, but really miss having bagels. So, I decided to have a go at making gluten free bagels.

homemade lox with capers

Homemade lox with capers

 

As before, I had trouble with the yeast activating properly, so these bagels didn’t turn out that well. They look pretty good, but instead of being a little fluffy with their chewiness, they turned out heavy and dense. That is because the yeast didn’t do it’s thing. They are edible, and even better with the lox spread.

Next time I will use a different mix of flours so they have a heartier quality. I may combine the two online recipes I have to get the best effect.

bagels before baking

GF bagels before baking

garlic onion asiago bagel

Garlic onion asiago bagel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tasting New Ideas – Ice Cream

A few years ago, in my constant quest for the perfect ice cream and all tastes Asian, I tried making Green Tea Ice Cream. It was an instant hit and I went on to Thai Tea Ice Cream. Over the years, I have experimented with many flavors. I love using maple syrup instead of sugar in all of my recipes. The ice cream is tastier without the heavy sweetness of sugar.

ice cream mix

Green Tea Ice Cream

Getting the right creaminess has been a challenge. To make an ice cream that freezes well, but isn’t too hard to scoop is a real trick.  I’ve used rice milk, almond milk, goat milk and cow milk to get different consistencies and textures.

Currently my favorite non-dairy milk is almond. I’ve recently created a Carob Mint ice cream using almond milk and no dairy. Sweetened as usual with maple syrup, it is a lovely change of flavor. Many people want to use carob to replace chocolate. I find that is a big mistake! If you’re wanting chocolate, have chocolate. Carob is a rich, lovely flavor in its own right and is wonderful in ice cream, candy bars, in cookies or as a hot drink. Enjoy carob for itself.

Cinnamon Vanilla and Carob Mint

For dairy ice creams, I like a combination of heavy whipping cream and goat’s milk. I’m finding that the number of eggs I use has a strong influence on the consistency too. I have a great recipe right now that seems to work well with a large variety of flavors.

steaming mochi

Rolling green tea mochi

Green Tea Mochi

 

    On Saturday, March 3 from 2 – 3pm I’ll be

offering a free tasting at my Pleasant Hill

               location. Hope you can join me!

        Please RSVP ahead if you plan on coming

so I have enough for everyone.

 

I’ll be featuring the following flavors:

Ginger-Lemon ice cream

Peppermint Fudge  Chunk (this has Ofer’s homemade fudge in it)

Green Tea

Thai Tea (hoping to have some wrapped in mochi just for fun!)

Ginger-Lemon

Cinnamon Vanilla

Kahlua Chocolate Mint (using my homemade kahlua)

Dairy-free Carob Mint