Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Biscotti.

Finally getting off my lazy blogging butt and posting the recipe for these since I have no excuse not to - the pictures have been uploaded for 3 weeks. 

These cranberry chocolate chip biscotti are a lovely cookie to have hanging around the house, especially around the holidays as anything cranberry is festive in my opinion.  Feel free to add or subtract additions to this recipe - add some walnuts, almonds, pecans, take out the chocolate chips, add other extracts or spices (I had to resist the strong urge to add cinnamon), you get the idea.  This is a great basic biscotti recipe!

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Adapted from Cooking Light
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.  In a larger bowl, combine the vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs.  Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir in the cranberries and chocolate chips. 

Divide the dough in half and form each half into a log 8 inches long and an inch high on the parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the logs are firm and slightly golden and cracked on top.  Let the logs cool almost completely, or at least 45 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board and slice the logs into 1/4-1/2-inch slices.  Lay the slices back on the baking sheets and bake for another 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway through until the cookies are a shade darker.

Let cool completely and store airtight. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Is it really November 26th?

I hope everyone who reads this blog had a great Thanksgiving!  I definitely did - lots of amazing food ate with my immediate family, sister-in-law and adorable nephew.  (All gluten free, too.  We've been doing that gluten free holiday thing for a few years now, not to brag or anything :D) 

I've been a lazy daisy as far as photographing baked goods go.  The dessert recipes for Thanksgiving are going to be linked to here, and the pictures I took were just snapshots taken throughout the day, during the meal preparations.  They're certainly nothing compared to a lot of food bloggers, but they're something and the recording of recipes is what matters here anyway, even though the food setups for pictures frustrate me enough to stop posting for almost 3 weeks.  What do you do when you live somewhere the sun only makes an appearance 2 days out of 7?  It's not ideal for food photography.

Anyway, firstly I made Ellie Krieger's Pumpkin Flan and it tasted absolutely wonderful, pumpkin pie without the crust, which was what I wanted.  Perhaps I'm just jaded and lazy but I'm done with gluten free pie crusts unless someone can find me a fool-proof recipe.  They're just not worth the time and effort.  (I can't find one that's easy to roll out, I always end up piecing together the crust in the pan, so what's the point of taking the time to roll it out at all?  Plus the metallic tapioca starch taste always puts me off...)  I didn't take any pictures of this because when I inverted it onto the platter, the caramel didn't really drip down any sides since the sides were so thin (I made it in one 8-inch cake pan rather than 8 small ramekins), it just pooled in the middle and didn't look so great.  But it did taste amazing and that's what matters.  The only changes I made to this recipe were to increase the amount of spices and bake it in a large cake pan.  Served with cinnamon whipped cream on the side.

Then the chocolate cream pie - if I didn't make this, I'm fairly certain my sister would have a fit.  I enjoy it as well but I was dreading the crust.  I remembered I had some leftover gluten free vanilla cookie crumbs in the freezer and added just a couple tablespoons of melted butter and pressed those into a 9-inch pie plate and baked at 350 until the edges were golden.  This could not have worked more perfectly and I plan on doing this every time I need to make a gluten free pie, quite honestly.  Normally I use a very high-fat recipe in Lisa Yockelson's book Chocolate Chocolate, but this year I was looking for something lighter, something that wouldn't leave my stomach feeling like a brick after eating it, so of course I went to Cooking Light.  This recipe came out so nicely, so creamy, so chocolaty.  And no one knew it was "light." Success?  Success.  Only difference was that I used real whipped cream instead of the meringue.  I figured just a light slather of real cream would be just as caloric as an 8-egg white and 1 cup-sugar meringue topping.  Yes it might be poor reasoning, but it is Thanksgiving after all :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pumpkin Coffee Cake.

I have to admit, I went a bit pumpkin crazy last week.  I saw a 3-pack of pumpkin at the warehouse store and I grabbed it.  I now have 4 30-ounce cans and 2 15-ounce cans sitting in my cupboard - even after making this coffee cake.  I'm not admitting that I won't be able to use it all yet :)

This is a great, spicy, warming coffee cake during these colder months and it just so happens to be light as well.  I was pretty appalled by the calorie counts in most pumpkin coffee cake recipes out there on the 'net (pumpkin recipes in general - 1 cup of oil in a 9x5'' quick bread, seriously?!), so of course I checked to see what Cooking Light had to offer and they didn't let me down.  I didn't make any changes to this recipe except increase the spices and I never keep buttermilk in the house so I used skim milk plus a teaspoon or so of lemon juice to substitute for it.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake
Adapted from Cooking Light
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup quick-cooking or rolled oats
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons chopped pecans
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and melt the 1 teaspoon butter in the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan.  Combine the oats, brown sugar and pecans in a small bowl and sprinkle on the bottom of the cake pan.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together.  In a larger bowl, cream the 3 tablespoons butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the egg and beat well.  Add the flour, pumpkin and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

Scrape the batter over the toppings in the cake pan and smooth the top.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 to 40 minutes.  The cake will be done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top is domed and just slightly golden around the edges.

Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate and serve with coffee or tea :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies.

One of the things I (everyone, I'm sure) love about food is its comforting qualities.  The other day my sister Laura came home from a terrible day at work.  I asked her what I could make her to cheer her up and her reply was "peanut butter cookies :)" - one of her absolute favorites and it was the least I could do to see her smile.

This is my go-to recipe for peanut butter cookies and I debated posting the recipe, ("Peanut butter cookies?  Everyone already has a recipe for those, how boring...") but then I remember even if I'm the only one reading my own blog, I want to nail down my favorites.  Because what's the point of trying so many different recipes if we never find one we can always rely on?  This is the peanut butter cookie I can always rely on, no matter what!  I halve the recipe and always end up with plenty (over 3 1/2 dozen), but I'll post the original here.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Good Housekeeping
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup (the original recipe calls for dark, I always have light on hand)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and have a few baking sheets ready.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and set aside.  In a larger bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar and peanut butter together until light and fluffy.  Add the corn syrup, vanilla and eggs until well-blended.  Add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until everything is well incorporated.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on the baking sheets.  With a floured fork, make criss-crosses on top of each ball of dough to flatten.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 8 to 12 minutes, depending on how crisp you want them to set up.  (I like mine on the chewier side, just barely golden on the edges - 8 minutes.)  Let cool slightly and enjoy with a glass of cold milk :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cake.

I haven't done a lot of gluten free baking lately since Rachel just had a lovely baby boy a few weeks ago, my nephew Oliver:

But luckily this past weekend we got to see him in his adorable dragon costume for Halloween:

For this special occasion, I made a gluten free pumpkin spice cake.  I made it last year and it's a wonderful keeping cake since pumpkin baked goods seem to stay fresh and moist for days.  I added chopped and toasted pecans this time but last year I added dried cranberries as well as an orange glaze.  Feel free to add anything you'd like: chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, etc.  I didn't fancy this one up with a glaze, but perhaps a nice dusting of powdered sugar would also do if you're looking for a way to make it not so plain.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cake
Adapted from 125 Best Gluten Free Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt
1 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup whole bean flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice (or apple juice, apple cider, milk)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chopped and toasted pecans

Grease a 9x13'' glass baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.  In another bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the juice, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin and mix well.  Stir in the dry ingredients and the pecans until everything is well combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. in the mean time.

After the batter has rested, bake the cake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Let cool completely before cutting or glazing.