11.28.2009

Gluten-Free, Dairy -Free Pumpkin Muffins


The past month in the Northwest has been visually amazing. The autumn color has been stunning. To me, the fall colors are the best of Nature's palette. The yellows, oranges, and crimsons sprinkled among the bases of the tall evergreens beside my house inspired me to add a little color and texture to pumpkin muffins. The flavors of autumn and the colors of autumn mingling in a muffin.


Pumped Up Pumpkin Muffins
from: giddyupglutenfree, dorothy allard 2009

3/4 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup millet flour
1/2 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
1 cup cane sugar
2 tbsp flax meal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
1/3 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1/3 cup light olive oil
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans


Mix flours, potato starch, sugar, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in large mixing bowl. Whisk until well combined.


In a smaller bowl, stir together the eggs, pumpkin, almond milk, and oil. Whisk until well blended.


Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until well blended, being careful not to over beat. Fold in cranberries, apricots, and pecans.


Fill paper-lined muffin cups all the way to the top. Sprinkle tops with muscovado sugar, if desired.


Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.


Remove muffins from pan and cool on a wire rack. Any muffins that you don't intend to eat within a couple of days should be frozen for later use. After they are completely cooled, wrap individually in plastic wrap, then in foil, and freeze. After they are frozen place them all in a large plastic freezer bag, labeled with content name and date. To thaw, unwrap and place on the counter for about 15 minutes.

11.20.2009

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Gingersnaps







One reason I look forward to the holidays is because it justifies my primal urge to bake. Since my move into gluten-free, I bake twice as much - the original version of my recipes for my gluten and dairy eaters, and the gluten-free and dairy-free versions for Annie and me and our GF/CF friends. I really enjoy playing the kitchen scientist, tweaking my ingredients to make the taste and texture of the GF/CF version match that of the original. It's kind of a game. I win when no one can figure out which one is "real" and which one is "fake." (not my labels. Theirs.)


When I first started baking without gluten, I did what most do. I tried recipes in gluten-free cookbooks. I learned quickly that just because a recipe is in a cookbook doesn't necessarily mean it's good. (Although I did find some fantastic recipes in some of the cookbooks!)  I never did find a recipe for gingersnaps with the taste and texture that I was after, so I just did what I should have done from the very beginning. I went to my old tried and true recipe, using GF/CF substitutions. This re-do is every bit as good as the original. Maybe better. I hope it becomes one of your favorites too.


Gluten-free Gingersnaps
from: giddyupglutenfree, dorothy allard 2009 

1 1/2 cups millet flour
1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
1 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cream of tarter
2 tsp xanthan gum
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves


3/4 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 slightly beaten eggs
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsp apple cider vinegar


Pre-heat oven to 325ยบ.
Combine the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, whisk until combined.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening and sugar until creamy, stir in the eggs, molasses, and vinegar. Stir until well combined. Add the dry ingredients, stirring to combine. Roll in one-inch balls, then roll the balls in sugar. Bake on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet for about 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. The recipe makes about 36 cookies. If the cookies are not gone in a couple of days, they need to be frozen. (I usually freeze half as soon as they are cooled). Just stack them in a freezer bag, and get out as much air as you can, and freeze. When you are ready for a treat, thaw on the counter for about 15 minutes.


Ingredients note: Use organic ingredients when you can, and evaporated cane juice instead of refined sugar. 

11.18.2009

A Guide to Natural Sweeteners



The holidays are just around the corner, and visions of dancing sugarplums are no doubt becoming hard to ignore. So much of our holiday culture is about the food, and especially about the sweets. I think we all have childhood memories of sweets that made an appearance only once a year, elevating them to the top of the "all-time favorite goodies" list. The emotional attachments to our holiday sweets is strong. As a child, my favorite holiday candies were my grandmother's penuche and fudge, and my mother's divinity. I have always associated these candies with Christmas and visa versa.

We all have our favorite holiday cookies, cakes, candies, and desserts that we look forward to sharing every year with our families and our friends. Why not make these goodies healthier. The refined sugar called for in most recipes can be replaced with natural alternatives. The result? Goodies that make you feel good, and make your life better.

Last year around this time I found an excellent guide to natural sweeteners on the website of my local organic co-op, PCC (Puget Consumer Cooperative). Here is the link. I hope you find the information useful. I certainly have.

11.14.2009

Giddy up!



A gluten-free journey

The path to gluten-free began in 2007.

Some in my family, including me, can't tolerate gluten. Some can't tolerate dairy. Some can't tolerate gluten OR dairy. Like most others new to the world of gluten-free, we found that most things available in stores were disappointingly bland and horribly void of nutrition. We did not want to settle for mediocre. So, I set off to adapt our favorite things to GF/CF. I love to cook and bake, so it was natural to just go into the kitchen and start experimenting.

Becoming a gluten-free cook was at first a rocky road, becoming familiar with the characteristics of each flour, and learning the right balance of flours and starches. The most important thing I learned was that there is no right solution, just alternatives. It’s just a matter of finding which alternative you like best. My objective was not to just make something that was okay for being gluten-free, but something that was amazing and delicious, and oh, by the way, it’s gluten and dairy free.

I am here to share those recipes with you.

So off we go. Saddle up!

11.13.2009

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies



The first recipe to share? Chocolate chip cookies, of course! Classic. Comforting. What is better than an ooey gooey warm chocolate chip cookie. A delicate crunch on the outside, and nirvana on the inside. This recipe evolved from my trusty old pre-GF recipe. The cookie in the banner on the top of this page? That is this. You will love these, and when your gluten eating friends snitch one, they will never know the difference.
 


Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
from: giddyupglutenfree, dorothy allard 2009
 
3/4 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup millet flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup tapioca flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift together dry ingredients, set aside.

Combine oil and sugar in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer on medium high speed. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until creamy. Add vanilla.

Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips.

Scoop up 2 inch dollops of dough (no need to be precise), and drop 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Flatten slightly.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Let me know how these work for you.

Ingredients note: Use organic ingredients when you can, and evaporated cane juice instead of refined sugar.
 
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