Monday, February 26, 2007

Gluten-Free Tortillas (Wraps)

I love the texture and flavour of amaranth flour and so should not have been so surprised to discover that it makes chewy, flexible tortillas.

My mother is the queen of burritos and has been looking for a wrapper that the celiacs in the family could eat. I think this may just do the trick! This small batch is enough to make two large, burrito-stuffable tortillas or three smaller (10 cm) tortillas to wrap around a sandwich filling or to eat as fajitas. So far, I've only eaten these warm, so I'm not sure how they work with cool fillings.

2/3 cup amaranth flour
1/4 cup water
sprinkle of salt

Combine amaranth flour, water, and salt, mixing well until the dough can be formed into a dense, slightly sticky ball. Form into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Divide into two or three balls. Place each between two sheets of plastic wrap (sprinkling with a little rice flour, if necessary). Roll until tortilla-thin. Gently peel away plastic wrap from each side.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Lightly grease with a mist of vegetable oil. Cook the tortillas one at a time, just until each side bubbles slightly and the bubbles brown (30 seconds to 1 minute per side).

Stack tortillas on a warm platter and stuff while warm and soft.

These reheat nicely in the microwave with a warm sandwich filling.

Makes 3 (10cm) or 2 slightly larger tortillas.

Chewy Chocolate-Butterscotch Chip Cookies

An adapted version of a recipe from an old Harrowsmith recipe. These were popular when I made them yesterday, though I can't comment on how well they might keep, since they didn't last long enough . . .

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups ground oatmeal (gluten-free oatmeal pulverized in a food processor)
1/3 cup amaranth flour
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 oz chocolate chips
2 oz butterscotch chips
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large bowl, cream butter, sugars, then eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk oatmeals, flours and starches, xanthan, soda, and baking powder.

With the electric mixer running, blend flour mixture into butter mixture. Add chocolate and butterscotch chips, coconut, and almonds and mix with the electric mixer until well combined.

Roll into balls, one large tablespoonful at a time, to make 36 balls. Place 2" apart on a parchment paper-lined or silicone sheet-lined pan. Flatten balls slightly with your hand. Bake for 10 minutes, until beginning to brown lightly. Allow to cool a few minutes on the pan before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Gluten-Free Crepes

These turn out beautifully. No one will know they are gluten-free -- if secrecy about celiac happens to be your thing. They can be used for supper or for dessert and extras store well in the refrigerator.

1/3 cup rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups 2% milk

Whisk flours with salt in a medium bowl or cup with a pouring spout. Whisk eggs and milk until well combined. Stir wet ingredients into flours and refrigerate batter at least 1 hour.

Remove from the refrigerator and whisk batter again very thoroughly. (Flours will have settled lumpishly to the bottom.)

Grease a crêpe pan with butter over medium heat. When butter has fizzed and the bubbles have subsided, pour a scant 1/4 cup batter into the pan. Tilt pan to cover evenly. Cook until set, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip and cook lightly (30 seconds) on the other side. Stir the batter well from the bottom before cooking each crêpe, as flours will settle again swiftly.

Makes 10 to 12 thin crêpes.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Porridge-y Goodness

Brown rice porridge doesn't have enough flavour for me, and quinoa flakes don't have enough texture -- but put them together and they balance each other out deliciously and nutritiously.

The porridge recipe below is almost instant. Amounts are for one big bowlful. I measure five or six individual servings into little resealable snack bags so I can "just add water" in the morning.

3 tbsp quinoa flakes
2 tbsp cream of brown rice cereal
1 tbsp unrefined sugar (sucanat - evaporated cane juice)
1 tbsp whole flaxseeds
1 heaping tbsp raisins
dash of cinnamon
sprinkle of salt
3/4 cup water

Stir dry ingredients together, then stir in water. Cook three minutes in the microwave, stirring once partway through. Remove from microwave, stir well, and allow to sit for two minutes.

Serve with milk or soy milk - or cream, if you are feeling decadent.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Gluten-Free Herbed Popovers

These popovers are delicious soaker-uppers of gravy at supper, or you can make them without the herbs and serve them with butter and jam for breakfast. They freeze very well, but reheat them in the oven, not the microwave.

How big you make them and how long you cook them will affect whether they are light and dry throughout or a bit more dense and custardy on the inside. The instructions below tend to the custardy.

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup potato starch flour
2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp each fresh rosemary, chives, and parsley, chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp black pepper (optional, if using herbs)
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 450F. Butter muffin tins well for 10 popovers.

Boil water and butter in a small saucepan. In a small bowl, mix flours and salt well. Add to the boiling mixture in the saucepan, all at once, and stir rapidly until the mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat, scrape into a bowl, and allow to cool slightly (5 minutes).

Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating very well after each. Put one goose-egg-sized lump of dough in each prepared muffin tin.

Bake at 450F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F. Check popovers for doneness after ten more minutes.

When done to your liking, remove from oven and prick each popover with a fork to release steam. Turn out of the pan and serve right away.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Mousse-Filled Chocolate Tartlets

I tried this chocolate pastry for Valentine's Day and, other than overcooking it so it was a bit smokier than hoped, it was delicious. Filled with mousse and chopped toasted nuts, it was even better.

I wished I had sprinkled a little cayenne pepper into the pastry, for a subtle hit of hotness. A teaspoon of pulverized instant coffee granules would also have been good. I imagine that using ground hazelnuts in the pastry and chopped hazelnuts in the cups would be just as delicious as almond flour and chopped almonds.

1/3 cup softened butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
3 tbsp potato starch flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
pinch of salt

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together flours and starches, cocoa, xanthan, and salt. Using an electric mixer on a low setting, mix flour mixture into butter mixture until well combined.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

Remove pastry dough from the refrigerator and from the plastic wrap. Divide into 24 even balls, warming the dough as little as possible with your hands. Set out 2 12-cup mini-muffin or tartlet pans. Place one ball in each of 24 tartlet cups. Press gently and evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the little cups. Prick the bottoms with a fork.

Chill the pastry while the oven preheats to 375F. Bake for about 15 minutes, watching carefully in the last minutes to prevent burning. (The dough is so dark, it's hard to tell if the brown is edging to black.) Turn the pastries out of the pans to cool on a rack. Allow to cool completely before filling.

Chocolate Mousse: Finely chop 8 oz bittersweet chocolate. Place in a heatproof bowl. Heat 3/4 cup of cream in a small saucepan until just beginning to boil. Pour cream over chocolate. Whisk until smooth and chocolate is melted and glossy. Stir in 2 tbsp orange liqueur. Refrigerate for about 1 hour; remove from refrigerator and whip until light.


Coarsely chop 1/2 cup of toasted almonds. Reserving 1/4 cup of the chopped nuts for garnish, sprinkle the remaining nuts into the bottoms of the cooled pastry cups. Mound each cup with mousse, using a knife to make sure the mousse adheres to the outside edges of the pastry and seals in the nuts. Sprinkle the reserved nuts on top of the mousse.

Refrigerate the tartlets until ready to serve.

Makes 24 tartlets.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Golden Cornmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies have a lovely buttery taste, like chocolate chip cookies should, but they also have a hint of corn flavour that is very pleasant. Corn flour, which is like very fine cornmeal, is best; cornmeal is a little grittier, though equally nice in flavour. This is a great recipe for someone who is baking for a celiac friend and usually has cornmeal and other baking goods in supply -- the only "special" flour is the rice flour. The parchment paper is absolutely necessary, unless you have a silpat nonstick baking mat.

6 tbsp butter (1/3 cup)
1/4 cup soft brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup rice flour
3/4 cup fine cornmeal or corn flour (very fine cornmeal)
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F.

Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, cream sugars and butter until light. Beat in egg. Stir in dry ingredients. Mix well, then add chocolate chips.

Form into cookies by the tablespoonful. Place on the parchment paper-lined pan about 1 1/2” apart. Cook about 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on pan before transferring to a rack.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Chocolate Opposite Cookies

White chocolate chips in a chocolate cookie -- the opposite of regular chocolate chippers.

The dough for these cookies will be a very stiff and a little sticky, and the cookies will not spread a lot change shape much from the shape you drop onto the pan, so you might wish to roll tablespoonsful of batter and then slightly flatten them.

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg (extra large)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup amaranth or sorghum flour (or more rice flour)
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup white chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg and then vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk up flours, cocoa, soda, and salt.

Beat flours into butter mixture with an electric mixer. (The dough will be too stiff to stir.) Mix in white chocolate chips, also using the electric mixer on its lowest setting.

Divide dough and roll into 30 balls, each a scant tablespoon or heaped teaspoon. Place 2" apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 350F. The cookies will sink towards the pan at their edges and will crack attractively on top. Cool on a rack -- or eat warm. These are chewy and moist when warm, crunchy and dense when cooled.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tea Wafers

Yes, more cookies. It's not that I don't bake other items -- breads and quick breads and whatnot -- it's just that few of the savoury items are receipes of my own devisement or adaptation.

These cookies, adapted from A New Way to Cook, are really only “wafer-thin.” They practically have to be painted on to parchment paper for baking. They are perfect with a cheese tray or a glass of warm milk. I keep meaning to try them with good-quality green tea, but I am seduced by the scent of bergamot.

The recipe makes dozens, but I forgot to note the yield last time I made them.

1 bag Earl Grey tea, steeped in 3/4 cup boiling water and set aside to cool

3 1/2 tsp loose Earl Grey tea leaves
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 large egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup amaranth flour (or more white rice flour)
1/4 cup tapioca starch

In a blender or food processor, blend tea leaves with sugar until powdery. Beat butter and tea sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, 3 tbsp of the cooled steeped tea (use the rest for another purpose), vanilla, salt, and flours. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes, to let the tea flavour develop.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line cookie pans with parchment paper. Drop batter by the scant teaspoonful onto the paper. Spread into 2” circles with the back of the spoon. This will be finicky. Trust that it will be worthwhile.

Bake for 9 or 10 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Keep a close eye on the cookies, since they will burn quickly. Allow cookies to cool on the pan until handleable, then finish off the cooling on racks.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Afghans (Chocolate Crunch Cookies)

When I lived in New Zealand, longer ago than I care to admit, my flatmates told me about afghan biscuits, the chocolate-cornflake crunch cookies their mothers made for them. I told them about the afghan blankets my mother knit and crocheted for me. Strange uses of the word "afghan" in this world. I wonder what Afghans think.

New Zealand "biscuits" are quite different from Canadian-style cookies: crisp and crunch and fairly short. Afghans have the distinction of also being frosted. These are like not-too-sweet chocolate shortbread cookies with lots of cornflakes. They are frosted with a light-coloured cocoa icing, to more than make up for the not-too-sweetness.

These adapted very well to gluten-free flours, and I might try more New Zealand biscuit recipe adaptations in coming weeks.

3/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup white rice flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup potato or corn starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup cocoa
3 cups GF (malt-free) loosely packed cornflakes crushed slightly to make 2 cups

Preheat the oven to 350F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Whisk together flours and starches, xanthan, and cocoa until well mixed. Beat into creamed mixture. Fold in cornflakes, or mix with your hands.

Take small handfuls of dough and squeeze into balls to make 30. Set the balls 2" apart on the prepared cookie trays. Cook for five minutes, then remove from oven and lightly press down the warm cookies to flatten them slightly. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes, to set. Remove from oven and cool, first on the pan, then on racks when cool enough to move. Frost with a swoosh of chocolate icing.

Chocolate Icing: Sift 1 cup of GF icing sugar with 1 tbsp cocoa. Blend in 1 tbsp softened butter and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Add 1 tbsp milk (or more, a wee bit at a time) to make icing of a spreadable consistency.

Makes 30 frosted cookies.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Gluten-Free Cornbread (Johnnycake)

You may use 2 cups cornmeal instead of the amaranth flour/corn flour/cornmeal combination, but if you do, the cornbread will be a bit grittier, and you’ll have to be more careful testing for doneness to make sure the centre is cooked through — cornmeal won’t cling to a toothpick like wheat flour will, and it’s easy to think the bread is done before it really is.

It is definitely worth separating the eggs to give the bread a bit of lightness.

If you like cornbread as a savory, this is also delicious if you leave out the sugar and grate in some zesty cheese or some diced pickled jalapeno peppers -- or both.

1 cup cornmeal (medium “normal” cornmeal)
1/2 cup corn flour (like fine cornmeal)
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal (optional)
2 tbsp potato starch
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs, separated

1 tsp xanthan gum
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease an 8” square baking pan.

In a large bowl, stir together corn flour, cornmeal, flaxseed, potato starch, sugar, and baking powder. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.

In a small bowl, beat together egg yolks, xanthan gum, buttermilk, baking soda, and vegetable oil. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients. Stir until just moistened. Fold in beaten egg whites. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake at 400F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cornbread tests done in the centre and in any cracks on its surface.

Makes 9 pieces. In Canada, johnnycake is traditionally served with butter and maple syrup or molasses.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Gluten-Free Butterscotch Crunch Cookies

These are just painfully deadly sugar bombs. The butterscotch chips, being sugar bonded to fat with corn syrup, will burn first, so keep the cookies well-spaced and keep the oven temperature constant. Keep a careful eye in the last minutes of cooking, too. Always use parchment paper or a silpat sheet for gluten-free cookies.

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup gluten-free flour (1/2 cup rice flour and remainder potato starch)
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 cups slightly crushed gluten-free corn flakes
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat butter, sugar, and eggs in a mixer bowl on medium speed until light and creamy. Combine flours, baking powder, and xanthan gum. Beat into creamed mixture until blended. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop dough by shaped spoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake 9 to 12 minutes, until set and golden.

Cool on cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. These are best and crispiest completely cooled.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Gluten-Free Cheddar-Pepper Tartlets

This recipe is another one adapted from Canadian Living for gluten-free diets -- with a few additions that suit our taste for spice. These are a favourite appetizer for any occasion. We use jalapeno pepper jelly made from home-grown organic peppers. A 1/2 cup jar is just enough for one batch of 36 tartlets.

1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup finely grated, well-packed old Cheddar
2 tbsp (approx) ice water
1/2 cup jalapeno pepper jelly -- recipe below (or other savoury jelly)

Whisk together flours, pepper, and salt. Cut in butter until in fine crumbs. Stir in cheese. Add water one tablespoonful at a time, tossing with a fork, until dough begins to form clumps. Do not use too much water in gluten-free pastry; it will cause toughness.

Press dough into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour. Divide dough into 36 pieces. Press each piece into a tartlet cup, pressing onto bottom and up sides. Prick bottoms with a fork. Spoon about 1/2 tsp of the pepper jelly into each cup.

Bake at 375F for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp and golden. Let cool in the pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.

Jalapeno Pepper Jelly: Mince 5 (or more) jalapeno peppers. Include the seeds to make a hotter jelly; discard the seeds to tame the heat. Place minced jalapenos in a 4 cup measure, and add minced red and green sweet peppers to fill to 4 cups. Pour into a large saucepan and add 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar. In a separate small bowl, whisk 1 box light pectin crystals with 1/4 cup of sugar. Slowly add this mixture to prepared peppers in the saucepan. Place over high heat and stir constantly until mixture returns to a full boil. Stir in 3 cups sugar. Stir constantly as mixture returns to a full boil. Continue to stir and boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim off foam with metal spoon. Pour quickly into warm jars filling to 1/8” from the top. Process in boiling water bath. Yields about 5 cups.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Gluten-Free Meatloaf

Enough with the desserts already.

This recipe makes a goodly amount of meatloaf -- a whole lot, actually. Enough for meatloaf sandwiches for days, and meatloaf sandwiches are the best reason to make meatloaf.

I lobbied to make gluten-free veggie loaf, but it was cold and snowy today and after eating stir-fried cabbage for lunch, we felt the need of some non-vegetable sustenance.

It would be foolhardy to bake this in a loaf pan. Too much bubbling fattiness. Baking it on a regular rimmed cooking sheet lets the fat drain to the edges. It would be foolhardy to top this loaf with ketchup, too, for reasons of good taste.

1/3 cup dry, fine gluten-free breadcrumbs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 large egg
1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (c'mon, don't skimp)
1 tbsp herbes de Provence
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 to 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
lots of freshy ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
1 small carrot, grated and then minced finer
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork

Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine bread crumbs, milk, flaxseed meal, egg, cheese, herbes, mustard, soy sauce, and hot sauce and mix very well. Set aside while you mince the vegetables.

Stir in the minced vegetables. Then fold in the ground beef and pork until well combined but not so squished together that it's gross and there's no differentiation in texture. Pat the mixture down into the bowl to make it cohere and turn it out onto a rimmed baking sheet. Pat and shape the loaf into a compact rectangle, making the loaf about an inch and a half thick.

Place the pan in the centre of the preheated oven. After 30 minutes, remove from oven and baste with any accumulated pan juices. Return to oven, removing to baste again every ten minutes until the loaf is cooked through to an internal temperature of at least 160F, a total of 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and place pan on a tilt to allow fat to drain off. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Gluten-Free Granola

As I have now mentioned several times, I ordered twenty-five pounds of wonderful pure, uncontaminated oatmeal from Cream Hill in Quebec, and my life has been greatly enriched by being able to reintroduce the texture and taste of oats into my diet. Here’s a fantastic granola recipe that tastes a bit similar to “Harvest Crunch” and is good by the handful as well as by the bowlful.

(And the warning again -- uncontaminated oats are not available everywhere, and not all celiacs can tolerate oats at all, so be sure whomever you’re cooking for is okay with oats, and be absolutely sure you use pure, uncontaminated oats.)

3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pepitas (raw hulled pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp powdered milk or soy milk powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp sea salt

In a large bowl, combine oats, flaxseed, coconut, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, almonds, and milk powder.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt honey with vegetable oil. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and almond extract. Pour over oat mixture and stir well. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake at 300F for 30 minutes, stirring well every 7 minutes. Remove from oven. Allow to cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally until fully cool.

Add raisins or other dried fruit if you like.