Saturday, August 25, 2007

Peach Cobbler

Not surprisingly, this recipe is cobbled together. The base, with its citrus and almond notes, is inspired by The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, and the top is adapted from various gluten-free scone recipes, with almond flour to complement the base and with the addition of an egg for richness, tenderness, and firmness.

4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp almond extract

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup amaranth flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 to 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt

extra sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 400F. Arrange sliced peaches in the bottom of an 8" square glass baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and almond extract. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, while you prepare the biscuit topping.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours and starches with xanthan, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in butter until only small lumps remain. Stir in egg and yogurt (beginning with 1/3 of a cup of yogurt) to make a soft, moist ball. Add additional yogurt, 1 tbsp at a time, if the mixture is at all dry or crumbly.

Remove hot peaches from oven and quickly drop biscuit dough in about 12 even spoonfuls over the surface. Sprinkle with a little extra sugar for decoration and glossy brownness. Return to the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed biscuit top is cooked through and is firm and golden brown. Be sure the biscuit is fully cooked in the centre of the pan, if possible. (It might stay a wee bit gooey there -- and if so, cut the cobbler in long, narrow slices to ensure each slice includes some of the more perfect biscuit nearer the outer edges of the pan.)

Serve hot, with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This is the time of year one's garden would ordinarily be overrun with zucchini aspiring to the size of small coffeetables, if one's zucchini plants weren't half-drowned by the torrential rains this year, and if one's life-partner had not planted so many "Mammoth Russian" sunflowers that they cast shade in all directions until nightfall. This recipe works very well with grated frozen zucchini, if one has a surplus instead of a crop failure.

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour (or more rice flour)
1/2 cup potato starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 mounded tsp soda
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp cocoa

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla

2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini, centre seeds scooped out if excessive
1 cup chopped walnuts, or pecans, if you insist
1 cup chocolate chips

Grease tube or bundt pan. Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients until well-blended.

In a smaller bowl, whisk eggs, oil, sugars, and vanilla.

Beat wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring just until blended. Fold in zucchini, chocolate chips, and nuts.

Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out on a rack to cool completely.

When completely cooled, spread with cream-cheese frosting, if desired: Blend 1 pkg (4 oz) cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter, and 2 cups gluten-free icing sugar until no lumps remain.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Banana Muffins

While we're on the topic of overripe bananas . . . (I recently overestimated my baby's interest in eating bananas and underestimated their appeal for fruitflies.) These muffins are delicious with chocolate chips (what isn't?) but just as tasty with fresh or frozen berries, dried fruit, or chopped apple chunks instead of the chocolate chips. If using fruit, you might like to add some grated lemon peel or cinnamon to the batter. I have to keep my muffins simple and chocolate-free until the baby is old enough to taste citrus or chocolate.

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour (or another 1/2 cup brown rice flour)
1/2 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup flaxseed meal (optional)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp unflavoured gelatin (omit for vegetarians)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup milk (soy milk works fine)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1 cup chocolate chips, blueberries or other berries, or chopped fruit

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin or use liners. Whisk together dry ingredients until well-blended. In another bowl, whisk milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla until very smooth. Pour into flour mixture and stir just until ingredients are moistened. Fold in mashed bananas and additions (chocolate or fruit). Spoon batter into tins, filling 2/3 to 3/4 full, depending on how big you like your muffins and how many you wish to make. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until tops of muffins are lightly browned and centres test clean with a skewer. (Note: If using frozen bananas or frozen berries, you may need to allow a little longer for muffins to cook.) Remove from oven, then turn out onto a rack to cool.

Makes 12 to 15 muffins.

Banana Bread

This gluten-free recipe originally came from Canadian Living, but the version below is adapted to include more whole-grain gluten-free flours. A good way to use up over-ripe bananas!

3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (preferably walnuts or pecans)
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp cider vinegar
2 large eggs

Lightly grease one 9x5" loaf pan. In large bowl, whisk flours, baking powder and soda, xanthan, and salt. Stir in nuts and flaxseed meal. In separate bowl, mash bananas and whisk in brown sugar, melted butter, vinegar, and eggs. Pour over flour mixture and stir just to blend. Pour into prepared pan. Tap on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350F about 50-55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out on a rack to cool completely.

Makes one loaf.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ice Cream Waffle Cones

I found a version of this recipe in a newsletter from the local celiac association, and it was credited to the "Edmonton Chapter." So, thanks to the Edmonton chapter. I've adapted the recipe to my liking -- and also to my patience. My little "tweaks" have made the batter easier to pour and to spread and then to shape into cones, but at the cost of a little bit of crispness, unless the cones are cooked to perfection, and life admits a lot more errors than perfections. A real treat, though, to have a real ice-cream cone . . . worth the bother for the sake of much-loved children.

2 egg whites
pinch salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp water (or tiny bits more, as needed for pourability)

Beat egg whites with salt until frothy. Stir in sugar, vanilla, almond extract, xanthan gum, cornstarch, potato starch, and water; stir until no lumps remain. (The mixture will be similar in texture and colour to melted marshmallows.)

Lightly spray a hot pan with vegetable oil or non-stick cooking spray. (Keep the temperature constant at low-medium -- just less than 4 on a scale of 10 on my stove.)

Spoon approximately 1 1/2 tbsp batter into greased pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter into a circle or oval as thin as the batter allows, ideally about 4". Cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes, then flip to cook the other side until it, too is golden, about 90 seconds. Very carefully and very quickly, without burning your fingers, remove from pan onto a silicone baking sheet or heavy, clean towel. Form into a cone with your fingers, working quickly but without burning your fingers. The cone will set into place quickly as it cools. Place cone seam-side down to cool completely. Freeze if not using within a few days.

Makes 12 cones, give or take. Takes about an hour. If sugar from the cones begins to burn on your pan, remove from heat, wash and dry, re-heat the pan, and recommence.

Marjorie's Blueberry Cake

My mother-in-law asked me to attempt to recreate her favourite blueberry cake in a gluten-free form for blueberry season. The first attempt was good, but the centre was slow to cook, leaving the edges a little browned for my liking. The second attempt was better, with delicate and tender sides and an evenly risen and browned top, but it was definitely a little more finicky. I made sure my butter and eggs were room temperature and I warmed the milk in the microwave. And I used fresh, not frozen, blueberries to reduce the cooking time. And I cooked the whole darn thing in a bain marie. It was nearly perfect cake, but if you really can't be bothered with the fussing, it will still be delicious -- a real, old-fashioned cake to serve with tea.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch flour
1/4 cup amaranth flour
1/4 cup soy flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup warm milk

2 to 3 cups blueberries

Grease and line with parchment paper a 9" square pan.

In a large bowl, whip butter until white. Cream sugar with butter until light and fluffy, several minutes longer than you think is reasonable. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flours and starches, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum.

To the butter mixture, beat in flour mixture alternately with the warm milk. Fold in blueberries. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Place the cake pan in a larger pan; fill the larger pan with boiling water to halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake at 350F for about one hour (definitely a little more for frozen berries). A skewer poked into a crack in the cake's surface should test clean.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe can be doubled or tripled for special occasions. No one will know there chewy crisp cookies are gluten-free unless you tell them.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup amaranth flour
1/3 cup potato starch
3 tbsp tapioca starch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup fine unsweetened coconut

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone sheets. Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together flours and other dry ingredients. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips and coconut. Drop by 1 tbsp about two inches apart on prepared pans.

Bake for about 12 minutes, until light golden. Cool cookies on racks, if they last until cool.

Makes almost 3 dozen cookies.

Corn Fritters

These quick corn pancakes make a very quick breakfast side-dish or, surprisingly enough, a good vegetarian sandwich filling, with cheese, sprouts, tomatoes, and a spicy fruit chutney. If you like a stiffer and heavier dough for fritters, adding more flour is an option.

1 can (14 oz/400 ml) can creamed corn
1 large egg
1/4 cup amaranth flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 tsp baking soda

Whisk egg into creamed corn until beaten. Stir in flours and flaxseed and baking soda until just mixed.

Drop 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp of dough onto a hot, lightly greased griddle. Cook over medium heat, turning once, until golden brown and well set. Serve with chutney, as a savoury, or with maple syrup or molasses, as a sweet breakfast.

Makes about 12 smallish (2 1/2" to 3") pancakes (about 3 servings).

Amaranth-Blueberry Pancakes

July got away from me with no recipe postings, due to regular summer busy-ness, a new baby in my sister's family, and a bout of hot summer weather that kept me out of the kitchen.

These amaranth pancakes were a hit with my baby, who liked sinking her new teeth into the dense and chewy little cakes. Halved fresh raspberries would be a nice substitute for blueberries. Leftovers are best reheated in the microwave. They do
not do well in the toaster, unless you like a lot more crunch to your pancakes than I do.

1/2 cup amaranth flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup potato starch flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 tsp baking soda
sprinkle of salt

2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp oil

1/2 cup blueberries

In a medium bowl, whisk flours and starches, baking soda, and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and oil until well blended.
Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, just to combine. Fold in blueberries.

Spoon by the generous, dolloppy tablespoonful onto a hot, lightly greased griddle. Turn once, after set on one side.

Makes about 12 smallish (2 1/2-3") pancakes.