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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!)

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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!:)