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Easter Meringues! Guest Blog Post 2 by Gracefully Gluten Free

One of my favorite things about gluten free & food blogging is the people I come into contact with! I truly cherish the different perspectives and creativity of my blogging peers. One blogger that I am continuously impressed with is Ashley over at Gracefully Gluten Free! I am so excited to share this recipe she created for you here, and even more excited to try this with my kiddos today! I love her tips and hints that will help you attain the perfect meringues!  

You can find her blog here, with lots of great recipes and info on eating out and living gluten free.

Follow her on Twitter here.

Find her on Facebook here.

Follow her on Pinterest here.

Enjoy! 

Easter Meringues by Gracefully Gluten Free

If you are just starting out being gluten-free (or are operating on a limited budget), going out and buying a whole bunch of new ingredients can be daunting, not to mention expensive! Here is a fun little Easter recipe you probably have all of the ingredients on hand for. And if you don’t, everything in this recipe is pretty cheap! We’re talking $7 or less for about 50 “fluff piles.” All of these items should be available from your local grocery store as well. I adapted this recipe from the December 2011 issue of Bon Appetit, but I used coconut flavoring, and I dyed them pastel. Aren’t they cute?

3 egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
food coloring- whatever colors you’d like! I used the “Neon” palette by Kroger. This worked pretty well to make pastels.

ingredients for easter meringues

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again (and I’ll probably keep saying it!). The secret to good meringues is to use room temperature egg whites. Really! Those elusive stiff white peaks will form right up! I put my egg whites in a little bowl on the stovetop while my oven pre-heats to speed up the process a bit.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

I also like to clean out my stainless steel bowl with a paper towel dampened with vinegar. The acid helps the peaks to form, and the vinegar also helps to make sure the bowl is really nice and clean (contaminants are usually what ruin meringues).

Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites and salt together until they get really foamy. This should take about a minute.

Keep mixing, and slowly add the sugar. Mix this until it gets shiny, and stiff peaks form. Then add the powdered sugar and coconut extract, and mix those in as well. It will be sort of moldable at this point.

meringue ready eggs

Spoon about a fourth of the egg whites into a sealable plastic bag. Drip some food coloring in there, and squish it around until it is mixed in. This would be a great step to let kids help with if they are around! You can mix it thoroughly for an even, pastel look, or less for a more “swirly” look. Do this with the other colors in other bags.

Cut one corner off of the bottom of the plastic bag, and squeeze the egg whites out in little swirls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put them into the oven for 2-2 1/2 hours. Then take them out, and let them cool for 1 hour. Don’t worry if they are soft when you take them out of the oven, they’ll harden up as they dry.

Store in an airtight container.

And there you have it! Cute, easy, and low-cost! These can be modified for any holiday or occasion. Just change up your flavoring extract and your colors! (For a winter parties this past winter, I used almond extract, kept them white, and put blue sugar on top. I called them snow drifts!)

Gluten Free chocolate ice cream

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I love ice cream! I’ve made a few different kinds now and experimented a bit. I’ve learned a lot, and had fun trying my hand at vanilla bean ice cream, and gluten free cookies and cream. I’m also trying to come up with a good dairy free recipe (stay tuned) and some others…but for now, how about some good old-fashioned creamy no-cook chocolate ice cream? This is, to date, my kids’ favorite.

*side note: you know how adding a tiny pinch of cayenne makes hot cocoa simply amazing? Well. It doesn’t work that way with I’ve cream. Trust me on this. It is sweet and smooth going down, and then your throat catches afire. No need to attempt that little addition. Trust me…

INGREDIENTS:
2 C half & half
2 C heavy cream
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa

Whisk all ingredients together. Chill for a few hours.

Process in your ice cream maker, then fold into a freezer safe container and place in the freezer to finish the ripening process.

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Pouring in the mixture.

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Getting there!

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Enjoy!

One more note: I love to serve ice cream in those individual ramekins. Perfect size for such a rich dessert. The ice cream scoop pictured was one I found at a general store in the small town of Crowell, Texas, tags still on for $2. I think it’s at least two decades old…which made it much newer than many of the store’s offerings! I’ve found lots of neat things in that store 🙂

cashew butter chocolate strawberry bites

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Press cashew butter (Mmmm…cashew butter=new favorite food) into small cups. Pour melted chocolate chips into the center. Place chopped strawberries atop the chocolate. All gluten free, of course. Enjoy!

1 spoon of cashew butter for each “bite”
1 tablespoon melted GF chocolate chips for each “bite”
2 strawberries, quartered, for each “bite”

Amazing Gluten Free Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

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I found a recipe for these cookies years and years ago, and converted it to a gluten-free recipe. They are very easy to bake, and quite delicious! You can find the original recipe here. They’re delicate, with a hint of lemon and a crunch with the cornmeal. They’re pretty simple to make, but look and taste impressive!

First, set the oven to 350 and then start with the basic ingredients:

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Zest a small lemon and then juice it

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Blend the GF flour, cornmeal, and salt:

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Then separately mix the butter, sugar, lemon peel, and lemon juice in a mixer:

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Blend until light and fluffy-looking.

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Then, I realized that I need to switch to a bigger mixing bowl….Oops.
Commence adding in the flour mix to the butter mix and blend slowly. I added half of the flour, blended, then added the rest.

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Blend, then add eggs and then the vanilla. Then, using a cookie press, press small cookies onto parchment paper on cookie sheets, like this:

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Bake for about ten minutes for the small cookies, longer if you are doing larger cookies. The edges should start to brown a bit.

Oh, and when you pull them out of the oven, resist the urge to immediately put them onto a cooling rack – let them cool a bit first, unless you want to end up with this:

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Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

1 3/4 cups GF all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 small lemon- for 1 tablespoon of zest and 1/2 tablespoon of juice
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350. Zest the lemon- you should get about a tablespoon of zest – and then juice it. The recipe only uses 1/2 tablespoon juice, so you can reserve the rest of the juice for another use. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Set aside. Mix in mixer the butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice until pale and fluffy. Add in eggs, blend, and then add in the vanilla.
Add dough to cookie press, and press out cookies onto parchment-lined baking sheets. I used the flower design. Bake at 350 for ten minutes. Allow to cool a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Coconut Caramel Chocolate Cookies (Gluten-Free)

Coconut Caramel Chocolate Cookies (Gluten-Free)

I saw a blog post yesterday (http://glutenismybitch.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/is-this-a-gluten-free-girl-scout-cookie/) that featured a photo of the most delicious-looking GF cookies. DELICIOUS. SO, I played with trying to recreate a similar cookie. Something like Girl Scout Samoa cookies – AKA Caramel De-Lites.

Basically, I wanted to make something relatively easy, yet still great. After a bit of trial and error, I decided that going without egg would work fine. Then I chose to skip the shortbread cookie, so the flour was tossed out (not literally…).  I decided to completely forgo baking altogether and make them similar to the no-bake macaroons that I love. Well. With chocolate. And caramel.

SO. Not perfect…but they are really delicious!

The caramel & the base layer of chocolate is hidden...'til the first bite

Started with the basic ingredients.

Sans the caramel...it was feeling shy.

I used chocolate chips, sweetened flaked coconut, butter, sweetened condensed milk, cream of coconut, vanilla, and also some soft caramels (they were hiding). I melted the chocolate chips with a bit of butter in the microwave. Then, I spread a dollop of the melted chocolate onto wax paper. Make sure to spread it very thin, like this:

After spreading out a couple dozen chocolate circles, I popped them into the freezer while I microwaved the caramels with two tablespoons of water and then I brought the chocolate out of the freezer. I spread the melted caramels on top of the chocolate.

*NOTE* In between each step, I popped the cookie sheets covered in wax paper into the freezer.

Caramel, all melty & warm, atop the chocolate coins.

Back into the freezer this went, and I mixed the sweetened condensed milk together with the vanilla and the cream of coconut (you will note that you’ll have enough c of c left for a few pina coladas…you’re WELcome). Then, I added the coconut and stirred it up, and topped the cold caramel-chocolate bases with the coconut mixture.

Then, I reheated the leftover chocolate and drizzled it on top.

These are not the same, obviously, as the famous Girl Scout cookies, but they are pretty good. Other ideas, if you want to try, would be to add in a GF shortbread cookie, and to toast the coconut as well. I suppose you could also make your own caramel. I figured it would be too time consuming to make my own caramel, but that was until I realized how dang long it took to unwrap all those soft caramels…

Finished Result:

The caramel and the base layer of chocolate is hidden...until the first bite

INGREDIENTS:

12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

1 T butter, cold

1/2 of 14oz bag of soft caramels – unwrapped

1 T water

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup cream of coconut

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 of 14oz bag of sweetened flaked coconut

DIRECTIONS:

Melt the chocolate chips with the butter, stirring often. Drop by spoon into wax paper (on a cookie sheet). Make 2-3 dozen, reserving some of the melted chocolate for drizzling later. Use a spoon to flatten out the chocolate into thin coins. Place into freezer while melting the caramels with the water. Bring out the chocolate coins and spoon small circles of caramel onto them, and return to freezer. Combine the vanilla, cream of coconut, and sweetened condensed milk. Stir in the coconut. Remove the coins from the freezer and top with the coconut mixture. Return to the freezer while warming the chocolate. Then pull the cookies out of the freezer and drizzle with the melted chocolate.

I store these in the fridge.

This was just a quick experiment today – let me know what you think!:)