Monday, March 12, 2007

Molasses Ginger Cookies

One of the best things about Rebecca Reilly's wonderful book, Gluten-Free Baking, is that the recipes hail from Maine and share heritage with the recipes of Atlantic Canada that my family grew up with and that we continue to crave despite dietary limitations. Her soft molasses cookies taste like my grandmothers' kitchens used to smell and are every bit as good as the wheatier variety, especially fresh out of the oven. This recipe is adapted, but not by much, from her book. But buy the book. You need it.

3/4 cup amaranth flour
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup soy flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 rounded tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar; mix in sugar, molasses, and egg.

In a small bowl, whisk together flours and starches with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and xanthan gum.

Add dry ingredients to molasses mixture alternately with the buttermilk, in three additions.

Refrigerate dough for an hour, if you have the time and patience. (I didn't, and no loss to the cookies' quality.)

Spoon rounded tablespoons of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon baking sheet. Bake for approximately 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When done, the cookies will spring back blithley from a light touch.

Allow cookies to cool on pans for five minutes, then transfer to racks to complete cooling.

Makes about 32 cookies.

Soft Lemon Drop Cookies

This recipe is adapted from Gluten-Free Girl's wonderful lemon olive oil cookies and makes soft, chewy, intensely lemony cookies. Like little pillows of lemony goodness. I haven't managed to share these cookies with anyone outside our house yet. They seem to disappear before we get outside the door.

1/4 cup plain unsweetened yogurt (soy yogurt works A-OK, too)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large egg
1 tsp pure lemon extract
zest of one medium lemon, well-washed and scrubbed before grating
juice of one medium lemon
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Combine dry ingredients in a smaller bowl. Whisk well.

Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk well, as well.

Stir dry ingredients into wet with a rubber spatula, scraping the sides well.

Spacing them 2" apart, drop cookies by the gooey spoonful onto parchment paper- or silicon sheet-lined baking sheets to make 20 to 24 cookies. Bake 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are set and cracks in the surface no longer look wet and doughy.

Allow to cool on the pans for five minutes, then cool on a rack.

Makes almost 2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

This recipe is based on Bette Hagman's muffin recipe, with additions of whole grains and a flavourful sprinkling of cinnamon sugar from my mother's wheat-based blueberry muffin recipe. If possible, it’s best to let these cool an hour or so before eating them. When they’re hot, the texture is quite nice, but they taste too “eggy” for my liking. The muffins freeze well and heat nicely in the microwave.

2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup softened butter
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
3/4 cup amaranth flour
3/4 cup potato starch flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
5 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup blueberries or other chopped fruit

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 12 muffin cups. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Beat in eggs. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with the milk. Don’t overbeat. Stir in vanilla. Fold in blueberries. (The dough will seem sloppier than regular muffin dough.) Pour into muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake about 20 minutes, until muffins test done.

Makes a dozen muffins.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Breakfast Rice Pudding

This rice pudding is more like a naturally sweet breakfast porridge than a dessert. It is gluten, egg, and dairy free and is still delicious. This batch makes enough for at least five days' worth of breakfasts -- just tuck the casserole dish into the fridge and warm a serving at a time in the microwave. If you don't have cashews, pecans make a good substitute, for a flavourful but slightly darker-hued pudding.

2 cups cooked brown and wild rice combo
1 cup crushed pineapple and juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 ripe banana
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup unsalted cashews
3 tbsp orange juice concentrate
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 325F. In a casserole dish, combine brown rice, pineapple and juice, and dried fruit.

In a blender, combine banana, hot water, cashews, orange juice concentrate, vanilla, and almond extract. Blend until smooth.

Pour blended ingredients over rice mixture. Mix well. Bake for 45 minutes.

Makes 6 breakfast servings