Sunday, November 25, 2007

Chocolate-Chili Sparklers

Another cookie recipe, adapted from a seasonal brand promotion for products I am allergic to or don't buy. Still, these cookies are scrumptious -- absolutely gooily decadent fresh out of the oven after a Mexican meal, and still soft and yummy the next day. This is chocolate the old-fashioned way. I mean REALLY old-fashioned, like the Mayans and Aztecs liked it, with cinnamon and hot peppers.

1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup lard or shortening
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 extra large egg

2/3 cup cocoa
1/4 cup amaranth flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
3 tbsp tapioca starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne

1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl, beat butter, shortening, sugar, and eggs.

In a small bowl, whisk cocoa, flours and starches, xanthan gum, soda, cinnamon, and peppers.

Blend dry ingredients into butter and sugar mixture; mix in chocolate chips.

Roll into small (3/4"); roll balls in cinnamon sugar (3 tbsp sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon). Place on parchment paper or a silicone baking pad on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350F for 8 to 10 minutes, until somewhat cracked and flattened but still soft in the middle.

Makes 3 dozen.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ginger Sparklers

Yes, more cookies. Is there such a thing as "too many cookies"? I used to make hundreds of these at a time. Now adapted for gluten-free. The many-flour blend in this recipe seems to preserve the texture better in these soft-doughed cookies than fewer-flour blends. Lining the baking sheet is an absolute must in this case.

3/4 cup shortening or lard
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
3/4 cups amaranth flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup soy flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
extra sugar (for rolling)

Cream shortening and sugar until light. Mix in eggs and molasses. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients. Mix well and combine bit by bit with the creamed mixture. When well mixed, roll into small balls. Roll balls in white sugar. Flatten lightly with a fork and bake at 350F for about 10 minutes (until they are no longer pale).

Cream Cheese Pastry for Savouries

This makes perfect little gluten-free turnovers to serve as Christmas finger food. I have only tried this cream-cheese pastry with savoury fillings so far, to bring out the cheesiness of the cream cheese. I bet brie and cranberry chutney would be marvellous, or almost any savoury thing you would ordinarily wrap in phyllo pastry bundles.

3/4 cup cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum

Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Beat in sugar and salt. Stir in flours, starches, and xanthan gum just to blend. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least one hour.

Roll out on a rice-floured surface to 1/8” thickness. Cut 3” rounds. Fill with 1 tsp of your favourite savoury pre-cooked filling. Brush edges with beaten egg and fold over rounds to seal. Prick with a fork. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, until golden.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tempura Batter

For at least 3 cups of fish, seafood, or vegetable pieces.

1 egg, beaten
1 cup club soda
juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup rice flour (sweet rice flour best)
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt (if desired)
salt, to taste
1/2 tsp baking powder

Beat the egg. Add the club soda. Mix together cornstarch, rice flour, xanthan gum, seasoning, salt, and baking powder. Beat half the mixture into the egg, then stir in the rest. Leave a few lumps. Dip fish or veggies into batter with chop sticks. Shake off excess. Deep-fry until coating is golden and contents are cooked through.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Fruit and Nut Christmas Crostini

Christmas baking season looms. So many cookie recipes to try, and so little time . . . This was a recipe from Canadian Living a few Christmases back. It adapted beautifully to gluten-free flour.

4 egg whites
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup amaranth flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/3 cup whole almonds
1/3 cup pistachios
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Line bottom and sides of a 9 x 5” loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat in sugar 2 tbsp at a time, until stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla.

In a small separate bowl, whisk together flours and xanthan gum. Sprinkle half of flour over the egg white mixture and fold in. Repeat with remaining flour. Sprinkle with almonds, pistachios, raisins, currants, and cranberries; fold in. Scrape into prepared loaf pan; smooth top.

Bake in centre of 350F oven until firm and pale golden, about 35 minutes. Let cool on rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and peel off paper. Let cool completely.

Using serrated knife, level top. Cut crosswise into about 1/8” thick slices. Arrange, 1/2 inch apart, on cookie pans lined with parchment paper. Bake one pan at a time at 300F, turning cookies once halfway through, until crisp and golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool on pans, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen.