Gluten Free Christmas Treats

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Light Meringue Cookies 

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These are a truly light meringue cookie as compared to almost every other meringue recipe that I’ve ever tried.  Most meringue cookies are very solid throughout and have a powdery taste.  These, on the other hand have a lot of air throughout the cookie and the chocolate chips and nuts add a lot of flavor.  This is a recipe that has been in my family for a long time, but I’ve decided that it must be shared.  Too many people are seeking gluten free desserts and this is one of the best.

Ingredients: 3 egg whites , 1 1/8 cups sugar, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, 12 oz chocolate chips (I used colored chips for the holidays), 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350.  Cover two cookie sheets with aluminum foil.  Whip egg whites until fluffy, keep whipping and SLOWLY add sugar (I pour it so that it appears to be a slow constant rain of sugar – should take a couple of minutes to add sugar), add vanilla and whip until incorporated.  Stir in pecans and chocolate chips by hand.  Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared cookies sheets.  TURN OFF OVEN! Place cookie sheets in the oven for at least 10 hours (I usually keep it in overnight)  DO NOT OPEN OVEN!  Gently remove from cookie sheets.

Note:  I only make these cookies during the winter when the humidity is low.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

IMG_0275This isn’t a fancy dessert, but it tastes delicious and  is festive looking for the holidays.  Whether or not someone is gluten free, they are sure to enjoy the flavor.

 

Ingredients: 2 lbs of chopped chocolate, 1 tsp of peppermint (not mint) extract, 1 1/2 cups of chopped peppermint candy canes,

Directions:  Place wax paper over a jelly roll size cookie sheet.  Melt chocolate in the microwave, stir in peppermint extract, mix in 1 cup of chopped candy canes, spread onto prepared cookie sheet, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of chopped candy canes.  Chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.  Break into serving pieces and enjoy.  As long as you live in a cool area, the bark can be kept at room temperature.

See Related Post:

Gluten Free Halloween Treats

Gluten Free Halloween Treats

HAPPY BAKING!

Frozen Hot Chocolate Meringue Cake (gluten free)

Hot Chocolate Merengue Cake

Fabulously light, gluten free cake that can be flavored any way you like.

This is a very different kind of cake.  Instead of actual or traditional cake, there are two layers of baked meringue.  There is a layer of whipped cream between the rings of meringue and frosted on the top and outside with more whipped cream.  The entire cake is then placed in the freezer.  After one day, the meringue softens a bit and has an amazing texture.

This is the second time I made a version of this cake.  For the chocolate whipped cream I used: 2 cups of heavy cream, 6 Tbls. of Ghirardelli hot chocolate mix, and 6 Tbls. of powered sugar.  I had to go to a few stores to find this kind of hot chocolate mix, but as I have mentioned before using top notch chocolate ingredients is essential to obtaining the best flavors.

Essentially, this cake could be done using an flavor whipped creme that one desires.  The options are endless.

Note:  The top Happy Birthday decorating was done in dark chocolate.  I allowed the whipped cream to harden first before placing the lettering on top.

Original Recipe: (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/frozen-meringue-cake-recipe.html)

Frozen Meringue Cake
Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients
Meringue:
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup superfine baker’s sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (6 ounces)
Syrup:
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (6 ounces)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup fresh raspberries, for garnish, optional
Special equipment: One piping bag fitted with a plain 1/2-inch tip

Directions

For the meringue: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a pencil, trace two 8-inch-diameter circles, side-by-side, on the parchment paper.

Beat the egg whites until fluffy in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Gradually add the superfine sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, with the machine running on medium-low speed, until the mixture holds soft peaks. Beat in the cream of tartar and salt. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick and holds stiff peaks, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Place the meringue in the piping bag. Pipe the meringue into two 8-inch circles on the prepared baking sheet using the traced circles as a guide. Bake until crisp, 2 hours. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool completely while still in the oven, about 2 hours.

For the cream: Beat the cream on high speed until thick using an electric hand mixer. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Continue to beat on high speed until the cream holds stiff peaks. Add the raspberries and beat until incorporated into the cream.

Spread one-third of the cream over each meringue circle. Place 1 circle on top of the other to create 2 layers. Spread the remaining cream on the sides of the cake. Garnish with fresh raspberries if using, and freeze the cake until firm, 3 hours.

For the syrup: Mix the raspberries, vinegar and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Lightly mash the raspberries using a fork. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thick, 25 to 30 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and allow to cool.

To serve: Allow the cake to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Cut the cake into wedges and place on serving plates. Drizzle with the syrup and serve.

See Related Post:

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Frozen meringue cake with Bailey’s Vanilla Cinnamon Whipped Cream

For this version of the whipped cream I used: 2 cups of whipped cream, 1/4 cup of powered sugar, and 1/4 cup of Bailey’s Vanilla Cinnamon Irish Creme.

HAPPY BAKING!

 

National Cookie Day – 12/4/15

What’s hot out of the oven today?

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Sugar Cake Cookies and Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

For Other Cookie Ideas, Check out:

Cookies

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Gluten Free Merengue Cookies

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies (gluten free)

Oreo Cookies

Oreo Chunk Cookies

Nut Crescents

Nut Crescent Cookies

red and green whoopie pies

 Red and Green Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

macaroon

Macaroon (not French Macaroon)

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Banana-Chip Oatmeal Cookies (gluten free)

Macaroon Maddness

Macaroon Madness

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

lemon & lime cookies

Lemon & Lime Cookies

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Fall sugar leaves

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Snowflake sugar cookies

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Argentinean Alfajores

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White bats to celebrate Twilight vampires

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Chocolate dogs to celebrate Twilight wolf pack

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Swirl of Shortbread

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Vanilla French Macaroons w/ Bailey’s Vanilla Irish Cream

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Chocolate-Mint French Macaroons

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Oreos in a Chocolate Chip Cookie

Thanksgiving 2015 Desserts

IMG_7523Complimentary desserts to the standard pumpkin, apple, and pecan pie.

When there are a lot of desserts on a table, guests often like to enjoy a sample of many.  A slice of pie or cake tend to be large servings.  Small pick-up desserts are a nice compliment.  I like to stick to flavors of the season.  The middle plate holds nut crescent cookie, which are filled with a combination nut filling.  Nuts are always in season this time of year.  The bottom plate holds Dulce de Leche fudge.  While caramel apples are about a month past their prime – caramel is usually a welcome flavor.  Finally, the top plate holds oreo truffles – no matter what the season is, chocolate lovers want chocolate desserts.

Oreo Truffles

Grind together 1 package of Oreos and 1 8-oz pkg of cream cheese in food processor.  Roll into balls.  Place in freezer for about 30 minutes.  Dip in chocolate.

Dulche de Leche Caramel Fudge ( recipe from http://chocolatechocolateandmore.com/dulce-de-leche-caramel-fudge/ )

3 cups white chocolate (use a good chocolate – don’t use chips)

2 Tbls butter

Melt the above ingredients in microwave (don’t over cook)

Stir in 1 tsp. of vanilla and 14 oz of Duce de Leche caramel (usually found in hispanic section at grocery store)

Pour into foil lined 8×8 pan.  Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Nut Crescent Cookies

In addition, to the above desserts, I also made:

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Carrot Cake (gluten free)

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Chocolate Loaded Cake (gluten free)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND HAPPY BAKING!

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Loaded Cake (gluten free)

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I aim to please when making birthday cakes for family and friends.  This cake is dedicated to my daughter that believes chocolate cake lacks enough chocolate.

The bottom layer is a flourless chocolate cake.  The middle layer is chocolate mouse.  And the outside is chocolate ganache.  This cake is absolutely not lacking chocolate!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 1/3 c water
  • 1/3 sugar
  • 1 stick butter (cut up into pieces)
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 c coffee
  • 2 Tbls dark rum
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven 325
  2. Butter 8 in round cake pan and line with aluminum foil
  3. In medium saucepan heat water and sugar over medium heat until simmer.  Add butter and heat until melted
  4. Remove from heat and add chocolate.  Make sure chocolate is submerged.  Let stand for one minute.  Whisk until smooth
  5. In mixer with whisk attachment, beat eggs, coffee, rum and cinnamon until well incorporated
  6. Slowly add chocolate and whisk until well combined.
  7. Pour into prepared pan
  8. Create a water bath for cake pan.  Put cake pan in a larger pan and add enough water to larger pan to reach halfway up side of cake pan.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch
  10. Place in refrigerator until cold and ready to proceed with chocolate mouse
  11. To remove from pan, run a knife along edge.  Place pan on hot stove for 7 seconds.  Invert cake and remove foil.

Chocolate Mouse

  • 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (Do not use chocolate chips)
  • 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar
  1. Chill a bowl and whisk in the freezer for a few hours.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler until smooth.
  3. In the chilled bowl, whip the cream and sugar until it holds its shape.
  4. Fold half of the cream into the chocolate until incorporated.
  5. Fold the chocolate and cream mixture into the remaining whipped cream, incorporating thoroughly.
  6. Spread on top of flourless chocolate cake.
  7. Freeze for about 15 minutes and shape the mouse on top of cake – repeat again if necessary
  8. Freeze for about 1 hour so that the mouse will hold its shape before ganache is poured on top

Chocolate Ganache

  • 16 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped (use good quality chocolate – it is the essence of the flavor)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Place chocolate in a bowl.
  2. Heat cream over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to simmer.
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until well-incorporated.  It should be thick enough that it doesn’t just run down the sides.  Allow to cool a little if not thick enough
  4. Pour warm ganache over the cake
  5. Put in refrigerator for 15 minutes.  Reshape the ganache coating so all the sides and top are smooth.

Keep cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

HAPPY BAKING!

Gluten Free Halloween Treats

Gluten Free Halloween Treats

Meringue Cookies in the shape of candy corn and ghosts

(recipe found at http://makebakecelebrate.com/candy-corn-week-candy-corn-meringues-printable-and-round-up/)

Ingredients
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 TSP Salt
  • 1/4 TSP Cream of Tarter
  • Orange Gel Coloring
  • Yellow Coloring
  • Parchment Paper
  • Pipping Bag
  • Large Round Tip

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 150-170 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer separate egg yolks from egg whites. Let the eggs come to room temp.
  2. Beat eggs until white and foamy. Mix in 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp cream of tarter until soft peaks form.Set timer for 7 minutes. Slowly add in sugar a bit at a time taking the entire 7 minutes to do so.
  3. Divide into three bowl. To make the most meringues put a little more in the orange bowl, and the most in the yellow bowl because you will use the most of these colors.
  4. Add orange to your middle bowl and yellow to the bowl with the most meringue.
  5. Fill piping bags with meringue using a large round tip (I used Wilton #2A). If you only have one tip or one bag just start with yellow and wash in between of course.
  6. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet pipe yellow dots of meringue about an inch across. Holding the icing bag vertical. Just press gently until you get a nice shape release pressure then pull up. I have found that these bake best when they are no bigger then and inch wide and an inch tall.
  7. Layer an orange dot on top slightly smaller, remember to keep the icing bag vertical it will help loads!
  8. Layer a smaller white dot on top. Pull up as you release pressure to get a nice little tip.
  9. Now bake at a very low heat (about 150-170) for about two hours to two and a half hours until they are nice and crisp. I just checked on mine every so often to make sure they haven’t started to brown. Every oven is different. I have found in the past that a low temp for a much longer time is far better then a higher temp with a risk of browning.
  10. With any left over white batter: swirl and add a couple of mini chips for eyes

Chocolate Coated Marshmallows with sprinkles with gluten free Snyder’s Pretzel handle

This is pretty self explanatory and incredibly easy to make.  They are festive looking and very fun to eat!  The chocolate cools and hardens quickly so it can even be done as a last minute dessert.

HAPPY BAKING!

Tennis Racquet Cake

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What kind of cake does one make for a 16 year old tennis player?  I’ve already made a cake in the shape of tennis ball.

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When I asked him what he kind of cake he wanted, he joking said “my tennis racquet.”

I thought about his request for a few days.  It sounded a bit nuts.  Then, I thought I’m just that nuts to take on this challenge.

Here’s how the project went along.

First, I traced the actual racquet to make a template for cutting out the cake and planning how to plate and store the cake.  Both were a challenge because of the size.  A full size racquet is 27 inches long.  I didn’t have a container large enough to store the entire cake.  I needed to be able to split the cake in order to store in two different containers.  You can see the split I made in the cake plate (pre-cut cake cardboard covered with green paper and wax paper).

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I then had to choose an appropriate cake recipe.  I needed one that was dense enough to be cut into sections.  I’ve used a pound cake in the past to cut into shapes, but I wanted to find something different this time.  I found a recipe online that suggested using a cake mix but only using 1/2 the oil and 2 Tbls less of water.  I needed a lot of cake for this project (again a BIG cake).  I used my 12 x 18 inch pan, which requires 2 cake mixes worth of batter.

The cake baked nicely and luckily popped out of the pan without any fuss or cracking.  After the cake cooled, I leveled the cake.  I cut my cake template into three pieces and placed them on the cake.  I cut out each section carefully, making sure to keep my knife perpendicular to the table.  I then assembled the pieces of cake on the cake plate.

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Because the strings on a racquet are in the center of the frame, I needed a separate surface for the strings to appear.  I used my cake level to cut the cake in half horizontally.  I cut out the center, leaving just enough cake for the racquet frame.  I then removed the cake.

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I also had to cut out the throat of the racquet.  The entire cake then needed to be skim-coated with a thin layer of frosting.  This step seals in the cake for freshness and allows the top frosting to go on smoothly.

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I allowed the frosting to dry before placing the two sections in containers for the night.

I wasn’t done for the day, yet.  Dyed frosting needs to sit overnight.  I first whipped up a batch of vanilla white frosting.  I took about a cup of it and dyed it bright yellow-green.  The second batch of frosting, I dyed “tour purple” (which looks like a deep purple or indigo).  This took a lot of purple dye and quite a bit of blue to attain the perfect shade.

Why purple?  The club where my kids practice painted the courts “tour purple” this year.  It allows players to see the ball more clearly because the yellow ball is in direct contrast to the purple.  Here’s a pic of the actual racquet on the actual court.

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To end the evening, I whipped up a batch of chocolate frosting and dyed it black.

EXHAUSTED – that’s what I felt like at this point in the project.  I called it a night.

I woke up the next day refreshed and ready to pipe some frosting.  I frosted the racquet face first so that it would have time to dry before I piped the strings.  Then I went to town on the racquet frame.  I started with all the lettering and details and then filled in with the color.  I wanted all the frosting to be a single surface (smooth like a racquet).

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Next, I piped the racquet handle to look like it was wrapped in a grip.

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I even piped the end of the racquet to replicate the Head logo.

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Lastly, I needed to pipe the strings.  The problem?  Strings on a racquet are woven.  A fact I know all too well because I string my kids’ racquets.  How did I do this with frosting?  I piped every other main (black) string first.  Then I piped every other  cross string (white).  I finished piping the black mains.  Then I finished with the white crosses.  Thus, most of the strings actually appear to be woven.  I could have used a basket weave technique, but the breaks in the piping would have detracted from the overall appearance.

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Here are a few more close up photos of the cake:

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Tennis Cake 2

Head Tennis Racket Cake

HAPPY BAKING!