Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake

Well, I suppose it’s that time of year to dust off the cans of pumpkin languishing in the pantry. It’s time to dig out the jars of cloves and nutmeg that have been buried in the cupboard. I love pumpkin desserts, yet I‘m always perplexed as to why I don’t make them more throughout the year. For me, and I’m sure for most people, pumpkin treats have an unbreakable association with family and holidays.  Food is often about more than flavor. At times, food is about the memories and feelings surrounding it. So I guess a big pumpkin pie on a hot July day doesn’t have the same feel as it does right now. Enough rambling already…sheesh. I was looking for a nice little pumpkin cake to try out. I found this recipe and I made it without taking any pictures for my blog. My small family devoured this cake like we hadn’t eaten for weeks….I assure you we eat plenty. Anyway, I was “forced” to make this again to capture it for you to enjoy. This cake is soooo moist and delicious. This would be a great breakfast cake or even just something for people to snack on as you’re preparing your other holiday dishes. Let’s get to it.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Bundt Cake:
adapted from All Recipes
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 can of pumpkin (15oz Libby’s or 2 cups fresh pumpkin)
4 eggs
2 cups GF flour mix plus extra for preparing the pan
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp each –ginger, nutmeg, and cloves
Cream Cheese Icing:
5 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces butter (4 Tbs)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 Tbs half & half or milk
IMG_3701 I would start by measuring out the cream cheese and butter. Set them aside to come up to room temperature.Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Next, whisk all your dry ingredients (except the sugar) together in a medium bowl.
IMG_3708In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the sugar, pumpkin, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined. Next, beat in the eggs one at a time. IMG_3711Mix the dry ingredients into the wet and thoroughly combine them. Pour the batter into a large prepared Bundt pan. I prepared my pan by spraying it with Pam and lightly coating it with extra GF flour mix. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 45-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.IMG_3713I let the cake cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes before inverting onto a plate or rack.IMG_3718To make the topping, whisk together the butter, cream cheese, powder sugar, and vanilla. Next, whisk in just enough half & half or milk to make the icing pourable. You don’t want it thick like frosting and you don’t want it so thin that it all runs off. I used about 3 Tbs of half & half. This gave the topping the consistency of molasses which pour easily onto the cake but also stuck to it and didn’t run all over.
IMG_3720Give the cake a little time to cool down and then pour the icing over it.
IMG_3725All that’s left to do now is cut a piece and relax. Even though we are in the giving and sharing season, you may be tempted to keep this all to yourself. Enjoy!!! Have a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gluten Free Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Cake

Well, it looks like all of August has passed me by and we’re nearly through September.  I have to share with you a little change in my life. For those of you that don’t know, I was a Lieutenant in my fire department.  Early this Summer I began preparing for a promotion to Battalion Chief, which is kind of like a shift supervisor. This preparation pretty much wiped out a relaxing Summer. However, I got the promotion about a month ago. It has been a very exciting change but it has kept me busier than I imagined it would. I haven’t been cooking up too many new dishes to share on my blog. Although, I did have the opportunity to surprise my wife with a tasty cake for her birthday last month. My wife will sometimes buy Glutino chocolate sandwich cookies and break them up in Dairy Queen soft serve vanilla ice cream for dessert. This gave me the bright idea to make a cookies and cream ice cream birthday cake. Without further adieu, here it is:
Gluten Free Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Cake:
1-2/3 cup GF flour mix
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 eggs
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 quart Dairy Queen vanilla soft serve ice cream
7-10 Glutino or Kinnikinnick chocolate sandwich cookies
2-Pillsbury vanilla tubs
IMG_2704In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl or cup, combine the wet ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until thoroughly combined.IMG_2708Divide the batter between 2 buttered and gf floured 9 inch round pans. (on a side note, if you are looking for an easy tasty chocolate cake to snack on, use this same recipe but put it in an 8” square pan and bake at 35o degrees F for 35-45 minutes) For the ice cream cake, bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cakes, then wrap them individually in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer for at least 4 hours. It’s best to work on this cake a day ahead of time.IMG_2713At this point you need to work quickly to keep the ice cream from melting too much. I started out by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. Next, remove one layer of cake from the freezer and discard the plastic wrap. Place the whole quart of vanilla ice cream in the bowl of your stand mixer, add about 7-10 cookies and crush them to bits with the paddle attachment. IMG_2719Working quickly, spread the ice cream onto the bottom layer of cake and then add the top layer on. Try to smooth the sides of the ice cream and fill in any gaps. It should look like a giant ice cream sandwich. Get the cake back in the freezer for about 2 hours. When you are ready to frost the cake, remove it from the freezer and work, wait for it………quickly!!!, to get a thin base layer of frosting on. The frosting doesn’t want to stick to the ice cream very well, just do the best you can. It doesn’t matter if the whole cake is covered at this point. Stick the cake back in the freezer for about an hour. Take the cake out and finish frosting. Now that you have a base layer of semi-frozen frosting on, the second layer of frosting should go on easily.IMG_2722Sprinkle some crushed cookies on top along with a few whole ones for decoration. Get the cake back in the freezer until you are ready to serve it. I didn’t want to mess with trying to take the cake off the baking sheet, so I just left it on. My wife was too excited to care anyway. IMG_2725There you go, one gluten free cookies and cream ice cream cake. Of course yours doesn’t have to be cookies and cream, this would work great with Butterfinger, peanut butter cups, etc. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gluten Free Frogmore Stew

Let me take you back a couple weeks. A Firefighter I work with was hosting some friends over for a 4th of July party at his house. Our families live in the same neighborhood. He told me not to worry about bringing any food because he was making Frogmore Stew for everyone. Frogmore Stew sounded a bit familiar, I think I had it at work several years ago but I didn’t remember it being all that spectacular. My wife and I are also cautious when someone else is cooking and they aren’t used to the precautions needed for Celiacs. I did a quick Internet search and found that nothing in Frogmore Stew has gluten. So what is Frogmore Stew you ask? The name comes from Frogmore, South Carolina. It is essentially a mix of small potatoes, corn on the cob, spicy sausage, and shell fish like shrimp and crab all boiled together in a large pot of water seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning. Back to the party, everyone was sitting around on the back patio enjoying the sunshine and having a cold drink when my friend came out and covered his patio table with packing paper and dumped a big pile of food on top of it for everyone to pick at. Everything was perfect and delicious. My wife and I looked at each other and knew that we had to make this for everyone at our upcoming family vacation. So I went from having Frogmore Stew once several years ago to having it three times in the past three weeks. This is the easiest, most delicious meal to serve to your family and friends this Summer. Plus the presentation will have everyone's attention.
Frogmore Stew
serves  8-10 people- adjust the amount as necessary
Old Bay Seasoning- about 1/3 to  1/2 cup per gallon of water- It’s great if you can use 1 large pot but you need about 2- 2 1/2 gallons of water for this recipe. I don’t have a pot that big so I used a couple smaller pots. Just season the water in each pot and it will be fine.  
Onion- 1/2 an onion sliced
Lemons- Juice from 3 lemons

Potatoes- small whole red and Yukon gold-about 2 pounds
Corn on the cob- about 5 ears shucked and cut into thirds
Sausage- Andouille or any kind you like- about 12 links cut them in half
Shellfish- Mix and match however you like- 2 1/2 pounds of medium shrimp cleaned but with the shell on, 2 pounds of Snow crab legs, I even used 1 pound of steamer clams the second time I made this.
IMG_2373The view from our rented lake house near the Southern Oregon Coast.IMG_2376My first time making Frogmore Stew at the lake. Set out a little bowl with melted butter.IMG_2642My Brother in Law and my dad caught a several Dungeness crab that we brought home, so I had to make this again. Prep your vegetables.
IMG_2645Add the Old Bay Seasoning to the water along with half an onion and the fresh lemon juice.IMG_2649Rinse off the shell fish before cooking.IMG_2657Cooking is very simple, everything goes into the same pot of boiling seasoned water. It’s all about timing.  Start with the potatoes because they take the longest. Boil for about 15- 20 minutes or until just about cooked all the way. You want the potatoes to be just a bit under done when you start adding more ingredients so that they will be perfectly cooked when everything is finished. Next, add the corn. After 5 minutes, add everything else-the sausage, shrimp, crab, and clams. The sausage and crab are already cooked, they just need to warm up. The shrimp and clams only take a few minutes to cook. Finally, strain off  and discard all the liquid and pour everything onto the middle of your table lined with newspaper or packing paper. If you don’t want to dump this on your table, just pour it into a large pan or bowl and set it in the middle of the table for your guests to pick at. Serve with a little melted butter and you are set. This is a great hands on Summer time meal. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gluten Free Strawberry Pie

I know, I’m a horrible blogger…oh the guilt!!! I hate leaving you hanging for so long. I do enjoy my blog and all the positive feedback I get from everyone. Lately, I have had a horrible case of writer’s block, or blogger block. I haven’t been making too many new dishes to post here. However, the beginning of Summer in Oregon brings on the fleeting crop of fresh Hood strawberries. We have a little berry farm about a mile or two from our house where we go every year to pick these fresh sweet berries. So with Oregon strawberry inspiration, I give you………..a strawberry pie. I do cheat by using a Whole Foods pre-made gluten free pie crust. By doing so, this pie is super simple to make and super delicious.
Strawberry Pie
1- 9 inch gluten free pie crust, baked (Whole Foods Brand)
1 quart fresh strawberries, divided
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbs cornstarch
3/4 cup water
Whipped cream for topping

Begin by baking the unfilled pie crust per the directions on the package.
IMG_2195Next, take half of the strawberries (1 pint) and mash them in a medium sauce pan. Add the sugar. Cook the mixture over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
IMG_2197Combine the cornstarch and water. Gradually, stir the cornstarch mixture into the boiling strawberries until thickened, about 5-10 minutes. The mixture will thicken more as it cools so don’t over cook it.
IMG_2199Place the other half (1 pint) of berries in baked pie shell. Leave them whole.
IMG_2200Pour the thickened berry mix over the whole berries in the pie shell. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before serving.
IMG_2205Top with plenty of whipped cream. Enjoy!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kinnikinnick Blueberry Donuts

IMG_1646Hello, I hope everyone had a good Easter. I just want to let you know that Kinnikinnick has delicious blueberry donuts for sale right now. If you are a donut lover, and who isn’t, these are the perfect little breakfast treat. Enjoy!!! Full disclosure; I received a free package of blueberry donuts to try from Kinnikinnick.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gluten Free Brown Butter Brownies

I’m no stranger to a batch of brownies. Quite often a cheap box of brownie mix and some vanilla ice cream make their way into the grocery cart when firefighters go shopping for their daily supplies. Even at home I have made some decent gluten free brownies from scratch. Not to mention, there are a couple good GF brownie mixes available as well. I have to tell you, the recipe I’m about to give you puts all other brownies to shame, even the non gluten free ones. As an added bonus, these brownies are super simple to make. Up until a couple of years ago, I had no idea what browned butter was. Now that I have tried it, I’ve used brown butter in several recipes. For those of you who don’t know what is so special about brown butter, allow me to fill you in. When you take butter and heat it in a saucepan over medium heat, it begins to melt and foam up. After 4-5 minutes, the butter begins to darken in color and “brown.” When the butter browns, it takes on a very nutty, earthy flavor that tastes great when used with chocolate.
Gluten Free Brown Butter Brownies
from Bon Appetit, modified to be gluten free
10 Tbs unsalted butter (1-1/4 sticks)
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs
GF flour mix
1/2-1 cup walnut pieces
IMG_0347Start by pre heating your oven to 325 degrees F. Next, line an 8inch by 8inch pan with tin foil. Lightly coat the foil with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt together, set aside.IMG_0352Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.IMG_0359I wanted to show the transformation of the butter here. After the butter melts it is still golden yellow and it begins to foam up.IMG_0361After, 4-5 minutes you will see the butter getting darker and “browning.” Make sure you stir the butter occasionally so it doesn’t burn. Once the butter reaches a deep brown color, remove from the heat.IMG_0367Next, add the sugar, cocoa powder, salt mix. Add in the vanilla and 2 tsps of water as well. Stir the mixture well. The mix will be a little grainy at this point. Let it cool down for about 5 minutes before adding the eggs, one at a time.IMG_0370After the eggs are mixed in, the batter will become smooth and shiny. Add in the gf flour and beat vigorously for about 60-70 strokes.IMG_0372Stir in the walnuts.IMG_0374Pour the batter into your prepared pan and throw it in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean with a few crumbs on it. Cool the brownies in the pan on a rack. After they are cooled, you should be able to lift the brownies out of the pan by carefully lifting the tin foil on the sides of the pan.IMG_0378Now you have a whole pile of ooey gooey delicious gluten free brownies. Like I said before, these are the best brownies I’ve ever had.IMG_0382They even go great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gluten Free Banana Cake with Cream Caramel

How in the world does time get away from me so fast? I really didn’t mean to have nearly a month pass me by before my next post. For those of you still with me, I have a tasty little cake for you. This is a banana layer cake with banana cream caramel and roasted pecans. What I really like about this cake are two subtle ingredients that I never would have thought to add; dark rum and lime juice. Both the rum and lime juice are sprinkled on each layer of cake giving this cake a great accent flavor. OK, here we go.
Gluten Free Banana Cake with Cream Caramel
from Bon Appetit, modified to be gluten free
2-1/2 cups of GF flour mix
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/2 cups sugar (divided)
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks, room temp)
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 Tbs buttermilk
2 small ripe bananas (cut into 1/4 inch cubes)
Banana Cream Caramel:
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1 small ripe banana (cut into 1 inch pieces)
3 Tbs unsalted butter (room temp)
3-3/4 cups chilled whipping cream (divided)
4-1/2 tsp fresh lime juice (divided)
4-1/2 tsp dark rum (divided)
2 cups pecan halves
3 Tbs unsalted butter (melted)
1-1/4 tsp fine sea salt
IMG_0558 Let’s begin by making the cream caramel. Combine the brown sugar, banana, and butter in a food processor; blend until smooth. Add 1-1/2 cups of heavy cream and blend again until combined. Transfer to a heavy medium saucepan.IMG_0563Whisk over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan and cook, without stirring or mixing, until the temperature reaches 218 degrees F. Pour the caramel into a medium bowl. Cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally.IMG_0574In a separate bowl, whisk 2-1/4 cups of cream just until it begins to form soft mounds. Fold the whipped cream into the room temperature caramel.IMG_0575This is what your banana cream caramel should look like. Chill the cream caramel in the refrigerator until it is firm enough to spread, about 3 hours.IMG_0582Let’s move on to the cake. First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and butter and flour two 9 inch diameter cake pans. Next, sift together the gf flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and 1 cup of sugar together. Beat in 2 eggs. Next, alternate adding the buttermilk and dry ingredients (gf flour)  into the butter, sugar, egg mix until thoroughly combined. IMG_0588In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 4 eggs together with 1-1/2 cups of sugar until the mixture is thick and pale, about 4 minutes. Fold the egg/sugar mixture into the cake batter. Finally, fold in the bananas. Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pans on a backing rack for 15 minutes.IMG_0591After the cake has cooled in the pans, invert them on to a backing rack and cool to room temperature. While the cake is cooling, turn your oven to 325 degrees F and make the toasted pecans. Toss the pecans and melted butter in a medium bowl until well coated. Add the sea salt and toss. Spread the pecans evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until fragrant and slightly darker in color, stirring occasionally.  Cool pecans completely.IMG_0605Let’s put this thing together. Start by slicing both cake rounds in half horizontally so you end up with 4 cake layers. Place one layer, cut side up, on a platter. Drizzle 1-1/2 tsp of lime juice and 1-1/2 tsp of rum over the cake. Next, spread 1 to 1-1/2 cups of cream caramel over the layer. Place the second layer, cut side down, on top of the first layer. Repeat the drizzle of 1-1/2 tsp each of lime juice and rum. Spread on the cream caramel. Repeat for the third layer, cut side up. The fourth layer goes cut side down and is just covered with the cream caramel, no rum or lime juice. IMG_0609To finish things off, I spread the remaining cream caramel around the outside of the cake as well. Top with toasted pecans and you are in business. Now, this cake should be refrigerated to keep everything firm before cutting into it. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of patience. I cut into this cake immediately and the layers wanted to slide around a little bit. Be careful if you don’t have the willpower to refrigerate this cake until it is firm. The flavors in this cake all work together beautifully. Enjoy!!!