Gluten Free Graham Crackers
May 22, 2014

GF Graham crackers

One of my favorite things in the world are s’mores.  I don’t even need a campfire.  Just give me a graham cracker, fat marshmallow, and a square of chocolate and I’ll take it to the microwave or even the fireplace or a hot plate.  In the microwave you can watch the marshmallow grow to 10x the size, or in the fire you can catch them on fire and blow them out just as they get singed to your personal preference.  And then ooh, the hot marshmallow melting the chocolate ever so slightly.  Smoosh them between two graham crackers and let the crumbs fly and cover your face with gooey, sticky marshmallowy chocolately goodness.  Ahhh….

But not everyone can enjoy this experience that appeals to all of your senses.  I was reminiscing about s’mores recently to a gluten sensitive friend and realized how sad it is she can’t enjoy them.  So, just as I converted my Molasses Cookies to gluten free, I figured I could try my hand at creating a gluten free graham cracker.  This is the result and I’m quite pleased!  And of course, these can be crushed up and substituted for any graham cracker pie crust too!

Gluten Free Graham Crackers

300 g Gluten Free Flour (equal parts or 100 g each: brown rice flour, tapioca flour/starch, sorghum flour)
51 g sweet rice flour
3/4 tsp xanthan gum (or 1/2 tsp xanthan gum and 1/4 tsp guar gum if you have it)
1.5 tsp cinnamon (or less if you want it less cinnamon flavor)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 c packed light brown sugar
8 Tbsp butter cut (still cold from refrigerator)
3 Tbsp cold water
3 Tbsp honey (or more if you want more honey flavor)
3 Tbsp molasses (or less if you want less molasses flavor)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together flours.  Then mix in xanthan gum, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.  Then mix in sugar.  Cut in butter 1/2 Tbsp at a time and mix on high for several minutes until the mixture resembles sand or cornmeal.  Stir in water, honey, molasses, and vanilla.  Mix until dough forms one ball.  Wrap dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325º.  Place parchment paper on cookie sheet and set aside.

Lightly dust another piece of parchment paper or a clean counter surface with sweet rice flour.  Once dough ball has chilled, divide in half and put half back in the fridge.  Roll out the dough to 1/8″ thick.  Use a pizza cutter or pastry cutter to cut out a large rectangle, dividing into smaller squares or rectangles for the crackers.  Score the  crackers in half and use a plastic fork to create desired designs.

Transfer dough crackers to cookie sheet, keeping small distance between each.  They will not spread, but will stick together if touching.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning the sheet at the halfway point to help bake evenly. Once crackers are lightly browned and begin to feel firm to the touch, remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for a couple minutes before transferring to cooling rack.  They will continue to harden as they cool.

Notes:
* Just before baking, you can lightly dust the crackers with cinnamon and sugar, if desired.
* It is not necessary to cut them into boring rectangle crackers.  Feel free to use any cookie cutter you have handy.
* Add or subtract cinnamon or molasses according to taste.  Note, that you may need to add more water (or honey) one tablespoon at a time to achieve the desired dough consistency if you use less molasses.

No-Fail Molasses Cookies – Gluten Free!
July 4, 2013

gfmolasses

Whenever I need to bake something that is quick and will be a crowd pleaser, I always fall back on my No-Fail Molasses Cookies.  I’ve posted my once closely guarded recipe here before.  But I can’t share these fabulous cookies with my gluten sensitive friends.  So I decided maybe I should experiment with trying to convert the recipe.  I’ve baked gluten free before.  And this is a fairly simple recipe, I figured I’d give it a try!  I clicked on 3 links did a little research online about converting baking recipes and took a stab in the dark.  Whoa, on my first try I actually have an edible product.  It’s not exactly like the original version of the cookies, but it’s a damn good substitute!  So I made these just in time for my gluten sensitive friend’s birthday and shipped them to her.

Gluten Free Molasses Cookies

Makes about 4 dozen

250g gluten free flour*
1 cup sugar (plus extra in a bowl or plate for rolling)
1/2 cup + 2 tsp oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup molasses
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2+ tsp (plus a pinch or two) salt
1 tsp cinnamon (plus extra to taste)
1 tsp ginger (plus extra if you prefer more of a gingerbread cookie)

Preheat oven to 300°.

Mix all ingredients until fully incorporated.  It will be a sticky gooey batter, a little stiffer than brownie mix for example.  Scoop out a chunk of dough and roll into a 1″ ball in your hands.  Then roll the dough ball in sugar, coating evenly.  Place on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper about 2″ apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes (12-14 for airbake cookie sheets).  After about 1/2 time, rotate cookie sheet and sprinkle extra sugar on top of cookies.  Do not overbake the cookies, they will get really hard if you do.  The cookies will flatten out when they’re ready and be slightly stiff on the edges, but soft in the middle.  Allow to cool a couple minutes on the cookie sheet before transfering to wire cooling rack.

* Gluten Free Flour  
You can use any gluten free flour or make a mixture of your own. For this particular recipe I used the following that weighed out to 250g together:
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
50g white rice flour
remainder brown rice flour (just shy of 200g)

*TIPS:

  • I like to add extra salt, cinnamon, and ginger to the recipe to taste.  An extra pinch of salt or two gives it a nice sweet and salty taste.  I also like to add nutmeg and some all spice if I have it.
  • The cookies will continue to bake a while on the cookie sheet after you remove from the oven.  Keep this in mind since you take them out a little underdone, but also don’t leave them on too long or they will get crispy.
  • Let the cookie sheet cool a little between batches for a more even batch.  I alternate cookie sheets to allow for this.
  • This mixture is much stickier and more gooey than the original version.  I found it was best to put a little bit of sugar in my palm while I try to roll it into a ball to get it into a ball and not stuck to my hand.  Then I rolled it in the sugar.
  • I found that if I let the batter sit a few minutes after mixing it didn’t stick to my hands as much.
  • The cookies will flatten out to thin cookies, so allow enough room between the cookies to spread.  Also don’t worry if the balls aren’t exactly round, they will flatten out perfectly.

Goo Goo Clusters Jog ‘n Hog
September 18, 2012

That race name is a mouthful isn’t it?  Well it’s not just the name that’s a mouthful!  Keep reading to see how you can participate!

First, let me start with the basics.  Some of you (especially if you’re not from around these parts) may not be familiar with Goo Goo Clusters.  Goo Goos are something of a local delicacy around here, and used to be pretty hard to find outside the Southeast or even the Middle Tennessee area.  I used pack my suitcase full of them to take as gifts when I traveled outside the country.  It’s more than a candy bar, it’s “The Original Southern Confection” with a perfect combination of real milk chocolate, roasted peanuts, caramel, and marshmallow nougat…mmmm so yummy!  Goo Goos have been a tradition in Nashville and they’re celebrating the 100th birthday in October!  When something’s that good, it stands the test taste of time!

So, what is Goo Goo doing for it’s birthday?  Having a race of course!  See you knew I had a reason for this post.

Let’s see, chocolate and running…my 2 favorite things!

Which brings me to the Jog ‘n Hog.  You’ve heard of beer races, but who wants to have beer slosh around in your stomach when you can have sweet candy goodness?  The race is pretty simple, run about 2 miles, stop, eat 6 Goo Goo Clusters, then run/waddle about 2 miles back to the start.  But this race isn’t just about running on a Goo Goo filled stomach, you also get a race shirt and a commemorative “Hog Tag.”  I’m all about the swag and bling in races, and especially the race food!  This race has it all!!

What: Goo Goo Clusters Jog ‘n Hog Race
When: October 13, 8:30am
Where: Shelby Bottoms Park, Nashville, TN

And here’s the best part, the lovely people at Goo Goo Clusters have given me a discount code for you to register for the race!  Aw yeah, I love my readers and I want you to love some Goo Goos too!  All you have to do is go to www.jognhog.com and register for the Nashville race, and use the following code for a $5 discount on the entry fee: JOGNHOGBLOG.   Registration closes at midnight on October 7, so don’t delay!

But if the mouthful of chocolate or the discount isn’t enough of an incentive to get you to join me (yes I’m running this race too!), then how about this? A little birdie told me that somewhere among the Goo Goos, will be a “Golden Goo Goo” that will entitle the racer who finds it to receive a $100 gift certificate to the Goo Goo online store!  There are some pretty sweet (pun intended) items in the store, and not just more Goo Goos!  So what are you waiting for…go register for the race now!

Oh and don’t forget to wear your extra stretchy running shorts for this race!

Not only do I love Goo Goo, but they love me too! The folks there gave me a sweet incentive to run the race – a free entry! So I’ll see you there!

Feed your Sugar Fiend
October 19, 2011

If you know me in person, you would agree I am a bit of a sugar fiend.  I admit I have an addiction affinity for all things sweet!  And if it’s chocolate, then that’s better.  And if it’s dark chocolate, even more better!  I keep a stash of chocolate in my desk at work.  I used to call it “emergency chocolate” à la my friend Lesleyeats, but when you eat it every day and restock it regularly, it just becomes “maintenance chocolate” at that point.

So some evil person the fabulous people at Her Nashville Magazine and The Nashville Scene are putting together an event that makes my pre-diabeetus kick in just from reading it called “Sugar Rush.”  If you’re in Nashville next week, you should really get your ticket (they’re selling out fast!) and get your sugar coma on!

These are really some of the best of the best of Nashville’s (and the country’s!) confectioners!  Here’s the best part, you get to try them all, then vote for the best!! And tickets are only $10! And that includes 2 drink tickets, that’s worth the price of a ticket for 2 drinks in this town alone, much less for the sugar overload you can experience.

So get your ticket now, and feed your sugar fiend!

 

Get a napkin
September 28, 2011

Let tell you something shocking.  It is actually possible to over-indulge in chocolate.

Last weekend, I had a fantastic dinner party planned, and I was in charge of making dessert.  The only request was that it had to be chocolate and very dark chocolate at that.  I love my chocolate dark, so I had no problem working on this task.  After much drool-worthy painstaking research, I came across this recipe.  The richness of the chocolate, paired with the intense molten center made it impossible to finish one on your own.  I recommend sharing these, or making in much smaller oven-safe containers.  For those of you with any gluten issues, the good news is this is gluten free!  I opted to serve this warm dessert with some spumoni gelato from our local Bravo Gelato to pair the hot and cold with the cake texture and the molten center.

And make sure you have a napkin ready, because I was telling my friend Tabbulous about the recipe while she viewed the picture on my phone, and she threatened to lick my phone!  You might need to wipe off your computer screen.

Baked Chocolate Pudding (Gluten Free)
adapted from Jamie Oliver recipe

4 120z oven safe ramekins (or 6-8 smaller ramekins)
1 ice cube tray

16-17.5 oz high quality dark chocolate. (minimum 70% cocoa solids, I used Green & Black’s 85%)
1/2 cup hot very strong coffee or hot espresso
1 stick + 1 Tbsp of butter, plus extra for greasing ramekins
6 eggs, separated
1 cup + 2 Tbsp of sugar
3.5 oz almond meal
3.5 oz rice flour

Brew the coffee/espresso, then melt 4.5oz chocolate (about 1.5 bars of a 3.5oz Green & Black’s) with the coffee.  Very dark chocolate won’t melt entirely with the coffee, so after mixing, I microwaved the mixture for 30 seconds at a time while stirring until totally mixed.  Pour chocolate coffee mixture into ice cube tray and freeze until hard.**

Grease the ramekins with butter and place in the fridge (to keep from melting) until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Melt remaining chocolate with the butter in a bowl over a pot of boiling water, constantly stirring.  The chocolate  will melt faster than the butter, but keep stirring until mixed.  Allow the chocolate butter mixture to cool so as not to cook the remaining ingredients.  I placed it in the fridge for a few minutes, but don’t let it get cold and harden.  Whisk the egg yolks and fold into the chocolate butter mixture.  Add almond meal and rice flour and stir/whisk by hand until fully mixed.  Your mixture should look a lot like brownie batter.

Whisk egg whites with sugar until stiff in a separate large bowl with a stick blender or hand mixer with a whisk attachment.  Note, I recommend begin whisking the egg whites and slowly add sugar.  I whisked them together and my mixture looked more like marshmallow cream rather than meringue.  I don’t think it made a huge difference in taste or texture, but next time I will opt for this method.

Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites gently until completely  mixed.  Spoon the chocolate pudding mixture into the ramekins, filling about 1/3-1/2 full.  Push one of the chocolate coffee ice cubes into the pudding mixture, with the narrow portion of the cube towards the bottom of the ramekin.  Spoon the remaining portion of the pudding over the ice cube until fully covered.

Bake 18-20 minutes.  A toothpick inserted in the side will indicate if done, but do not insert in the middle as it will always be gooey and yummy.  Carefully turn ramekin upside down and remove baked pudding while still hot.  If you allow the pudding to cool, even while still warm, it will stick to the bottom and may break apart.  Serve immediately while still warm.

 

** Bonus – use the extra chocolate coffee ice cubes in your coffee or hot milk the next morning!

 

 

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