Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hot Cross Muffins

A delicious take on Easter's Hot Cross Buns that's adapted from the Company's Coming Mostly Muffins cookbook. If you love hot cross buns but don't have the time or inclination to bake them, you should check out the Mostly Muffins cookbook and bake up a batch of  Spiced Fruit Muffins. If you can't tolerate gluten or dairy, give this adapted recipe a try. If you like hot cross buns you will like these muffins. If you've been missing the joy of hot cross buns because of food intolerance, I promise you will LOVE these muffins. 

1 1/3 cups gluten-free, all-purpose flour blend
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp each nutmeg, allspice and ground cloves
1 large egg
1 cup non-dairy milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup dark raisins or currants
1/2 cup chopped mixed glazed fruit

Measure all dry ingredients into a medium/large bowl. Stir together with a wire whisk. Add egg, milk and oil. Whisk together vigorously for several minutes until very well incorporated and smooth. Stir in raisins and glazed fruit. Let stand for 1/2 hour.

Heat oven to 350*F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Divide batter between lined cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until tops are browned and a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Let stand a few minutes then move to wire rack to cool completely before adding icing crosses.

ICING

Mix 1/2 cup icing sugar, 2 tsp non-dairy milk and 1/8 tsp vanilla together to make a smooth paste. Spoon it into a small freezer bag; snip a small hole in one corner and squeeze icing to/through the hole to pipe crosses onto the cooled muffins.

Makes 10-12 muffins.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Toasted Walnut Cake

Apparently I'm not done with my Company's Coming "Baking: Simple to Sensational" cookbook. I've been using it to adapt recipes for gluten and dairy free desserts lately. This Toasted Walnut Cake turned out beautifully! I might add raisins to it next time, since my Other Half doesn't like walnuts and didn't help me eat this. I did a half batch of the original recipe and used my bundt pan for baking. I used the full glaze recipe, but I'll convert it here. (feel free to double the glaze recipe here.) I did find the glaze a bit thick, so I added hot water to make it a little more runny. I think it would work in an 8 or 9 inch square pan; you might have to bake it a little longer, but it should work. Just drizzle the glaze all over the top. Enjoy!


1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour blend
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/3 cup Canola oil
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted*

Maple Glaze
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp Becel Vegan margarine
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 cup maple (or maple flavoured) syrup

1-2 Tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted

In medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and sugars. Add milk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Whisk together really well, until thoroughly blended and your arm starts to get a little tired. Stir in walnuts. Let stand for 30 minutes.

While batter is standing, grease  a bundt or small angel food tube pan and preheat the oven to 350*F.

After 30 minutes, spread batter evenly in pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let stand in pan on wire until the pan is cool,  then gently ease cake out of pan onto wire rack to continue to cool.

Mix up all glaze ingredients together until smooth. (If too thick, add a little hot water. ) Drizzle glaze over top of cake, allowing some to drip down sides. Immediately sprinkle with second amount of walnuts. Let stand until glaze is set.

*You can toast the walnuts in the oven, spread evenly in ungreased shallow pan at 350*F for 5-10 minutes, stirring or shaking often, until lightly browned and fragrant, OR you can toast them on the stove in a skillet/frying pan or saucepan, likewise stirring and/or shaking them. Toast all 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp together, reserving out the smaller amount for garnish.

The "Minus 1/3" Gluten Free Baking Solution

I've discovered a four-part trick to easily convert regular muffin, quick bread and cake recipes:

1. Remove 1/3 of the required amount of regular all-purpose flour and substitute an all-purpose gluten free flour blend.
2. Add 1/4-1/2 tsp xanthan gum, if it's not already in your flour blend (I generally do 1/2 tsp per cup of flour)
3. Beat the batter to death (opposite of normal quick breads and muffins)
4. Let the batter stand for 30 minutes before filling muffin tins/cake pans

Mixing the batter up and letting it stand for half an hour allows the gluten free flours to absorb the liquid. As the flours are absorbing the liquid, the batter gets thicker, so it makes sense to reduce the amount of flour used. I've had success with this formula for numerous muffin recipes, for banana bread, pancakes and waffles. Also a chiffon cake, surprisingly. The baked food is noticeably less "dry/ grainy" than previously, and it doesn't dry out as quickly- lasting several days longer than usual.

These pancakes worked, these Cranberry Orange Muffins, (using 2/3 cup + 1/4 cup GF flour blend) and Blueberry or Chocolate Chip Muffins, (2/3 cup GF flour).

The secret seems to be reducing the flour, really beating the batter and then letting it rest for half an hour.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Gluten and Dairy Free Baking Powder Biscuits

I just tried Baking Powder Biscuits using this formula. Success! They didn't brown very well, but they had a good biscuit texture, didn't taste at all "grainy/dusty" and were delicious with the hamburger soup I made for supper. 

1 1/3 cups Gluten Free flour blend
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup Canola oil*

Measure flour blend, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum into a medium sized bowl. Whisk together until well blended. Add milk and oil. Beat with a whisk or rubber tipped spatula until very smooth and dry ingredients are well incorporated. Batter will seem too runny, but let it stand for 30 minutes, and the flours will absorb the liquid, making it thicker. Set the oven to 350* F. After a 30 minute rest, drop batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet into 9 mounds.  Smooth and shape the batter mounds (with a spoon or fingers dipped in cold water) and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the tops are firm and slightly browned. The biscuits didn't get as golden brown as traditional/wheat flour biscuits, but they had a good texture and tasted quite delicious.

To turn these into "scones", add 1/4-1/3 cup sugar to the dry ingredients, brush the tops of the biscuit rounds with almond milk and sprinkle with sugar. The dough can also be formed into one large round, brushed with almond milk, sprinkled with sugar and scored with a knife into 6-8 pie shaped wedges to create more traditional scones. 

*I've also used Becel Vegan Margarine with good results. Biscuits were pretty much the same with the vegan margarine as they were with the oil, so I've been using oil as it's less expensive than the margarine, choosing to save the margarine for eating on the biscuits.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Gluten, Diary, Soy Free Banana Cake With Cream Cheese Icing

This is the Banana Cake recipe from the Purity Cook Book- mine is a lovely copy I found at a second hand bookstore a few years back. I've employed the "normal recipe minus 1/3 of the flour" technique, increased the amount of mashed banana so the oil and sugar can be reduced a bit, and discovered the glories of Daiya non-dairy cheese! It's a delicious cake and it keeps well in the fridge for about a week. No one will know it's gluten and dairy free. Enjoy!

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups gluten-free flour blend
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum

Wet Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
1/3 cup oil
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 well beaten eggs
1/4 cup non-dairy milk soured with 1 tsp vinegar/cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk/beat together the wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry, and beat together until completely incorporated and very well mixed. Let stand for 30 minutes, (batter may seem runny, but as it stands the flours will absorb the liquid and it will get thicker).

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350*F and lightly grease or line with parchment paper, one 9" square pan or two 8"round layer pans. (I found the 9" square pan made a very high cake. I preferred the height I got using a 9 x 13" baking pan.).

After 30 minutes, pour/divide batter into pan(s). Bake for 50-55 minutes for a square/rectangle cake, 30-35 minutes for a layer cake. Test for doneness with a toothpick inserted in the middle. Cake is done when the toothpick comes out clean, cake bounces back when lightly touched and is nicely browned.

Let cool completely before removing from pans and frosting.

Faux Cream Cheese Frosting:

3 oz (which is 125g/@1/2 cup)  Daiya Plain Cream Cheese Style Spread
1/4 cup  Becel Vegan Margarine (or other non-dairy butter-like spread)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups icing sugar

Beat together until smooth, creamy and of spreadable consistency. Spread evenly over cake, or between layers and on top.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Gluten-Dairy-Soy Free Raisin Bran Muffins


This is a recipe that I've adapted from my adaptation of the Company's Coming Muffins and More cookbook. These muffins have been a favourite, and I've missed them since going gluten and dairy free. They freeze well, and mix up quickly, and since they work for the new diet- I've been in heaven again. My FAVOURITE thing is coffee or tea and a raisin bran muffin with Becel Vegan Margarine and honey. This has become my "go-to" bring along muffin for travelling. A double batch makes 18 muffins that really travel well. I bring them in a freezer-type storage bag and  borrow fridge space along the way. With peanut butter, (I bring Kraft Extra-Smooth or a natural PB- the only ones I've found without soy oil) one of these muffins is a good breakfast when the hotel is serving up a "continental". Also a good lunch option, snack or supper supplement. So far the record is tasty for 2 weeks on the road.

150 ml (2/3 cup) Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour* 
250 ml (1 cup) ground flax (or 125 ml/1/2 cup ground flax+ 125 ml/1/2 cup oat bran)
3 ml (1/2 tsp) Xanthan Gum
5 ml (1 tsp.) baking soda

5 ml (1 tsp.) baking powder
5 ml (1 tsp.) cinnamon (optional)
175 ml (3/4 cup) raisins

250 ml (1 cup) non-dairy milk
5 ml (1 tsp) vinegar
50 ml (1/4 cup) canola or olive oil
50 ml (1/4 cup) molasses
1 egg

5 ml (1 tsp.) vanilla


In a large bowl, combine flour, flax/oat bran, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and raisins. Mix well with a whisk. Push up around sides of bowl, making a well in the center.

In med. sized bowl, stir milk, vinegar, oil, molasses, egg and vanilla together. Whisk together until well blended.

Pour milk mixture into well in dry ingredients. Stir vigorously to combine well. You can't beat this too much.*

Let better stand 30 minutes.

Divide into greased or paper lined muffin cups. Bake at 350 * F., for about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Makes 8 large muffins.
 

Note: To make the Husband's Favourite "Raspberry Bran Muffins", use 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (un-thawed) instead of raisins, and add 25 ml., (1/8 cup) Splenda sweetener or 1/4 cup brown sugar to the flour mixture.
 Another Note: I made a batch (without cinnamon), divided the batter, added raisins to half for me, some brown sugar and raspberries to the other half for him, and he thought they were just fine. In spite of a slight prejudice against "gluten-free" things. 


Monday, April 29, 2013

Baking Powder Biscuits

One of the first things we were taught to make in Grade 8 Home-Ec. A great, versatile standard. If you add a little extra milk, (on purpose or by accident) to make a stickier dough, you can either drop them onto the top of a bubbling stew to make dumplings, or drop them onto a greased cookie sheet for "drop biscuits". Add cheese and bacon! Add chopped green onion or chives! Add sugar and bake in round "cakes" to make scones! You can even use the baking powder biscuit as a pizza crust in a pinch. Perfect with soup or stew for dinner, or for breakfast, hot and fresh with jam or to hold an egg and ham sandwich.


2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup of butter or hard margarine
3/4 to 1 cup milk

Lightly grease a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 375*F.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium sized bowl. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender. If you don't have a pastry blender, you can use a couple of knives to cut at the butter, or just use your fingers, kind of squishing the flour and butter together until the butter is broken up into little flour covered pieces and the mixture sort of resembles oatmeal.

Add the milk- start with 3/4 cup, and add a bit more if needed, gently folding it into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until it holds together. (*if you use whole wheat flour, it will take more milk than with white flour) Dough should be in a lump together but not sticky. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently roll out to 2 inch thickness. Either cut into circles (or hearts, or shamrocks or Christmas trees...) and place on prepared baking sheet. You can gently gather the scraps together and recut it. OR (as I usually do) just cut the rolled dough into 12 squares and place on cookie sheet. 

Bake for 15-25 minutes, until biscuits are risen and golden brown.

If you add too much dough and it's quite sticky, just drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, dividing it into 12 mounds. Bake as indicated until risen and nicely browned.

VARIATIONS: 

To make dumplings for stew, add 1 cup to 1  1/4 cups milk to make a soft, sticky dough. Drop by Tablespoons onto hot stew. Cover and let the stew simmer for 15-25 minutes until the tops of the dumplings are firm to the touch. To make dumplings in the Slow Cooker, cover the top of the slow cooker (under the lid) with a clean tea towel. This keeps the condensing steam from dripping back onto the dumplings which keeps them from getting cooked properly on top.

Cheese Biscuits: Add 3/4 to 1 cup of grated cheese with the flour, either before or after you cut in the butter.

Cheese and Bacon Biscuits: Add 3/4 cup of grated cheese and 1/2 cup of cooked, chopped bacon before you add the milk.

Cheese, Bacon and Onion Biscuits: Add 3/4 cup of grated cheese, 1/2 cup of cooked, chopped bacon and 1/3 cup of chopped green onion before you add the milk.

Easy Scones: Add 1/2 cup of sugar to the flour mixture, and increase the butter to 1/4 cup. Divide the dough in half, after the milk is mixed in, and shape it into two 6 inch circles. Score the circles with a knife, cutting each into 6ths. Brush the tops and sides with a little milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake as directed for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.