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Thursday, 21 September 2017

Party sized mint brownies

My son (yes, my 11 year old) and I prepared these for my sister-in-law's wedding on Cape Cod this summer, and they were a perfect addition to our collection of gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free desserts.  Once chilled, they can be neatly cut into whatever shape you desire.  For the wedding, we cut them into triangles that were arranged in a single layer on a couple platters.  They were able to be arranged and then stored in the refrigerator until it was time to serve.  These are similar to my previously posted mint brownie recipe, but a bit thinner and nice for an occasion where you want more, smaller servings to go around.  They were a hit with kids and adults at church, and also with my family, who was disappointed I'd share them at all. Those who have tried my original recipe and this version prefer these because they have a higher ratio of mint & chocolate to brownie. Yum! Enjoy!

GF mint chocolate brownies
Gluten-Free mint chocolate brownies, ready to serve!
GF mint chocolate brownies
I love cutting them into little triangles - both aesthetically pleasing and a nice small size for a brownie when feeding a crowd.

Mint Brownies - for a party!
You can cut them larger or smaller, so you can end up with between 50 - 120 pieces easily. 

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a large, flat (not warped), cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a microwave-safe glass bowl, melt:
1 cup butter

Mix in until smooth:
1/2 cup high quality cocoa powder

Add and mix in:
4 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar

Then add and mix in, just until combined:
3/4 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1/2 tsp baking powder

Spread onto parchment-lined pan.  Bake for 20-22 minutes at 350 F.

Remove and place pan on a cooling rack.
Brownies just after removing them from the oven.

Mix together mint topping in a bowl:
2 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbsp melted butter
2-3 Tbsp milk
4 drops peppermint essential oil (I like the DoTerra Peppermint Oil for cooking)

Spread the mint topping evenly over the warm (but not piping hot) brownies.   I like to use a spoon to place dollops and then spread gently with the back of the spoon.
Mint layer - don't worry if some parts end up a little messy, just be gentle when spreading the mint layer.

In the microwave at 50% power in 30 second intervals, melt together:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate
4 Tbsp butter

Spread chocolate evenly over the top of the mint layer.
Smooth the chocolate evenly over the brownies.  

Let brownies cool, then chill in the refrigerator until topping hardens.  You'll find they'll look nice and smooth once they've cooled.  You can slice these however you like - triangles, squares, rectangles, large, small.  You can even freeze them once you've cooled and sliced them.  Freeze in a ziploc bag on parchment paper in a single-layer.  Enjoy!!!
GF mint chocolate brownies
Mint-Chocolate Brownies! Yum!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Easy GF Tempura Vegetable Medley

One of my favorite things to have accompany a meal is very lightly battered deep-fried vegetables.   We don't have tempura vegetables often, but when I find vegetables like thin asparagus, fresh broccoli, tasty mushrooms, or fresh onions it's hard to resist.  Enjoy!
Fresh GF tempura vegetables, piping hot and ready to eat!

Easy GF Tempura Vegetable Medley
Based off the Artisanal GF Cookbook Recipe

Preheat oil in deep fryer to ~360 F.  My favorite frying oil is avocado oil, but you can use canola oil, or another frying oil of your choice.

Prepare vegetables as follows, using any/all types as you prefer:
1 - 2 onions, sliced in rounds (You can use ALL onions to make onion rings!)
2-3 handfuls thin asparagus, rinsed and with bottom portions broken off (remove the bottom of the asparagus where it naturally breaks off.  I find this leaves you with the tender tops)
1 pint mushrooms, rinsed with stems removed
2 bunches of broccoli, rinsed with heads sliced off (I don't use the stalks) 
You can use other types of vegetables, as desired -  carrots (slice into thin sticks), green beans (rinsed), sweet potato (sliced into thin sticks), but the ones in bold are my favorites.

In a large bowl, whisk together:
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup cold water (often I add a little extra water to thin the batter if it's feeling too thick, but you can use less water if you want a thicker batter on your vegetables)
I aim for a runny yogurt/thick milk type of consistency.  I like a very light layer of batter on my vegetables.
Toss your vegetables in with the batter.  I recommend adding about half the vegetables, mixing them around and making sure you still have plenty of batter remaining before adding more vegetables.
Vegetables (onions, asparagus, broccoli) tossed in batter.

Fry vegetables in batches in your hot oil for ~3 minutes, stirring once to break up the vegetables a bit.  Remove and place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain/cool a bit.  Serve alongside the main dish of your choice (fish, salmon, shrimp, chicken, or a stir-fry).  Enjoy!
Fresh asparagus on the left, a mixture of asparagus and onion rings on the right.
Yum!


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Dessert Waffles

The thing I love about homemade waffles is that they have very little sugar, making them a nice breakfast dish (even though we often add maple syrup or jam to them).  However, sometimes they're fun in the evening for a special dessert treat, as we had them here.
Drooling just thinking about these - fresh waffles topped with coconut-vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. 

Dessert Waffles
If you want crispier waffles, cooking in a waffle iron that's not Belgian-style is ideal. I like to butter my waffle iron and cook waffles a little longer to get them a bit crispier - which is how I prefer them when we put lots of toppings on them. 

Make a batch of Kristin's Delicious Waffles (leave out the apples).   Cook waffles until steam no longer is visible from your machine, and waffles are a nice golden brown.  Immediately transfer to wire racks after cooking. (This helps retain the crispness so they don't get soggy).

Top your waffles as desired with the following options as guidelines:
Ice cream (lactose/dairy-free are great)
- chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, caramel-swirled, etc.
Chocolate syrup
Homemade Fudge Sauce
Strawberries
Sliced bananas
Maple syrup
Whipped cream
Fruit jams or curds (lemon, key lime curd)
Mini chocolate chips

Friday, 25 August 2017

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

We love cinnamon rolls around here, but a new favorite has been making mini versions of my favorite cinnamon roll recipe.   They're a nice size when you want a small treat - perfect for desserts at a wedding, breakfast, brunch, snack-time, etc.  I love to make them, drizzle on a little cream cheese frosting and freeze them for snacks or breakfast treats.  They were a hit recently when I made them for a wedding.  Enjoy!
These mini cinnamon rolls were whipped together for my sister-in-law's gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free wedding reception on Cape Cod.  They were delicious! 
Some tasty mini cinnamon rolls, rolled loosely, for a bit of a messier look, but still equal in taste

Mini Cinnamon Rolls
This recipe makes ~40-50 mini cinnamon rolls, depending on how you roll/slice them.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two pans with parchment paper or silicon liners.

In a 2 cup measuring cup, heat until just scalding (90 seconds in the microwave should do it):
¾ cup milk

Immediately add to hot milk:
½ cup butter, chopped into smaller pieces
½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp salt

In a small measuring cup or bowl combine:
1/3 cup warm water (110-115F)
4 tsp rapid rise yeast or active dry yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
Let yeast rest 5 minutes to foam and allow milk mixture to cool a bit.  

Meanwhile, mix in a large bowl:
4 ½ cups Kristin’s Gluten-Free Flour Mix * (see below for measurement amounts for just this recipe)
2 tsp xanthan gum (this is in addition to the xanthan gum in the flour mix)

Add to the flour mixture:
3 eggs, room temperature
Milk mixture (with sugar/salt/butter)
Yeast mixture

Mix well with a spoon, using the back of the spoon to help make the mixture nice and smooth.  Let this sit just a moment while you prepare the filling.

Melt in a small bowl:

1/2 cup butter

Mix together in a separate bowl:
1 1/2 cup brown sugar (light brown or dark brown work well)
4 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Line two large sheets of plastic wrap side by side on the counter, overlapping a bit.   2-3 foot long pieces work well.  


Spoon out half the dough along the middle of the plastic wrap.  (You can either roll them out in two batches, or if you have a long counter, you can just do it all at once). 
Pull out another two large sheets of slightly overlapping plastic wrap to cover the dough.  You’ll roll the dough between the plastic wrap until you have – more or less – a two foot long piece of dough that is flattened to somewhere between 10-15 inches wide.  Try to make it nice and even.  You have to slightly adjust the plastic wrap as you’re doing this, since it sometimes gets caught underneath the dough.  But, you’ll find the dough doesn’t stick to the cling wrap, which is fantastic!  Carefully remove the top layer of plastic wrap.

Pour and spread 1/4 cup melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle with ~3/4 cup of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. 
You can see how easily the plastic wrap comes off the dough!  Spread butter, then cinnamon mixture.


Carefully roll up the dough, so you have one two-foot long roll of dough.  (I like to use the plastic wrap to help with the rolling.)  Once you have your long roll of dough, pat the ends slightly to flatten the messy ends.   Use a serrated knife to cut dough into ~24 pieces. (i.e. cut in half, cut each half in half, continue)

You can use the plastic wrap to help you roll it up. I roll it most of the way using the wrap on the far side, then use the side of the wrap closest to me to roll up the last part.  Slice evenly.  

Place pieces carefully on one of the parchment lined cookie sheets and set to rise while you make the cinnamon rolls out of the other half of the dough.   (If I have enough counter space, I just roll the whole thing out at once - a little crazy, but it works). 

Cinnamon rolls before and after rising uncovered on a parchment-lined pan.


Let rolls rise uncovered for ~25-40 minutes in a warm location.  The rolls will puff a bit, but won't double in size.  

Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned on tops.   You can make the cream cheese frosting (recipe below) while it’s baking.
Remove from oven and put on a wire rack to cool. 

You can either:
1. Add the frosting right away and it oozes into the cinnamon rolls
2. Let cool, then add frosting.  

These freeze really well and heat up quickly in the microwave!  We pop them into tupperwares once cooled and pull out and reheat on a plate for snacks/breakfast/treats.  

For a special occasion (party, wedding, brunch), freeze unfrosted rolls in a single layer in a large ziploc.  Remove from freezer and let them thaw IN the bag (this keeps condensation away from the thawing rolls).  Remove and warm on a pan in the oven for 5-10 minutes, if desired, or just frost and serve! Enjoy!

Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a bowl, warm in the microwave 20 seconds, or let sit to come to room temperature:
3 oz cream cheese
2 Tbsp butter

Add, and mix with a spoon until smooth (ish):
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Carefully add, ½ cup at a time:
2 cups powdered sugar
Milk, to desired consistency (add 1-2 tsp at a time)

Some people like a runny glaze, so they’ll find they end up adding more milk, others like a thick topping for cinnamon rolls, so you’ll just leave out the milk or add very little.  You can drizzle a bit on top of the cinnamon rolls while warm, or wait until they've cooled and drizzle for a neater looking frosting. 

If you don’t want to make up the flour mix since you’d have to make it twice for this recipe, just use the following: 
2 cups brown rice flour
1 cup sorghum flour
¾ cup + 1 Tbsp cornstarch OR similar amount of arrowroot starch
¼ cup + 1 Tbsp potato starch
¼ cup + 1 Tbsp tapioca starch
1 ½ tsp xanthan gum (ideally measure 1 1/3 tsp)

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Spinach Artichoke Dip - easy & chilled!

A new family favorite!!! I based this tasty spinach artichoke dip off a yummy rendition I had while visiting Lunenberg, Nova Scotia.  The restaurant there served a light, fluffy, and chilled spinach artichoke dip that we loved (although it tasted like they used mascarpone cheese in lieu (or perhaps in addition to) cream cheese, where I used only cream cheese here. If you have mascarpone about, add in a dollop!   I was inspired to recreate something similar because it was just too delicious and perfect on a hot summer (or any time of year) day not to be able to eat regularly.  I had to post this recipe, because my mom has big plans to make it again tomorrow.  Enjoy!
Fresh, homemade spinach artichoke dip.  The left was whipped until light and smooth, the right is a chunkier version (just not blended as long).  Yum!

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Makes enough for two dipping bowls (2-3 cups of dip)

In a large pot with a lid, cook over high heat:
1 package fresh spinach
1/4 - 1/3 cup water

Steam just until spinach has wilted, then remove from heat.  Let spinach cool slightly before blending with other ingredients.

In a blender, whip together:
~3/4 cup artichoke hearts, marinated in oil (removed from oil)
1 cup steamed spinach, drained (from above)
4 oz plain cream cheese (or a mix of mascarpone & cream cheese)
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese (monterey jack w/ hot peppers) 
1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream (to desired thickness - you can use milk, but I like the texture from the cream)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground pepper
dash cayenne powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp paprika
2 cloves roasted garlic (OR 1/2 tsp dried garlic powder OR 1 clove fresh garlic)

You can blend this only slightly to keep it chunkier, or you can let it really whip to create a light, fluffy dip reminiscent of the texture of hummus.   Personally, I prefer letting it really blend until it's smooth, light, and fluffy.

This spinach-artichoke dip is perfect served with corn tortilla chips or fresh homemade GF naan bread (our favorite!).  Enjoy!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Chicken Saag Pizza!

Leftover homemade chicken saag is wonderful on homemade pizza crusts (GF or otherwise), topped with a little mozzarella, goat cheese & fresh sliced shallots.  The saag is rich, so you can use just a light sprinkling of toppings and cheese.  Not only do you get to have chicken saag again (yum!), but you'll turn an ordinary pizza into an extraordinary one!  Enjoy!
Chicken Saag Pizza
GF Chicken Saag Pizza, topped and ready for the oven! 

I've found that for GF pizzas, it's often best to bake toppings on partially or fully baked GF pizza crusts to avoid any sogginess and to end up with a nice browned, crispy crust.

Our current favorite crust has been to use GF homemade naan bread as our crust.  Just make and bake as instructed, removing the naan bread/pizza crusts from the pan and parchment paper to cool once it comes out of the oven.  When you're ready to top the pizza, then return the naan bread to the parchment-lined baking pan and top with the following:

Chicken Saag, warmed a bit and used as the pizza sauce
fresh mozzarella, sliced
shallots, thinly sliced
green scallions, thinly sliced
crumbled feta cheese
thin tomato slices, optional (the ones pictured here were tiny yellow tomatoes)
green bell pepper, optional
red cayenne pepper flakes, optional

Once you're pizzas are topped, bake in the oven at 450 F for ~7 minutes, until toppings are hot and cheese is just beginning to brown.   (Some GF crusts require baking directly on the rack, others, like the GF naan bread, can be baked on a parchment-lined pan - follow the instructions of your crust).
Chicken Saag Pizza
A yummy chicken saag pizza, fresh out of the oven and ready to eat! 

Slice pizza and place immediately on a cooling rack to keep the bottom nice and crispy. Enjoy!  

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Homemade Thin Mint Ice Cream!

Summertime is a the time of year when I most enjoy eating ice cream all by itself.  Generally, I prefer a tiny dollop on top of something like a warm fruit crisp.  One of my favorite flavors of ice cream is a mint chocolate chip and the other in pre-gluten-free days was a mint oreo flavor made by this wonderful ice cream shop in Boston.  This ice cream provides the best of both worlds!  A yummy cookie crumble, bits of chocolate, and mint all infused together in one delicious ice cream.  And, best of all you won't need all the cookies from your batch of GF thin mint cookies for this recipe, so you'll have extras to serve on the side.  Enjoy!
Gluten Free Thin Mint Ice Cream
A delicious fresh batch of homemade GF thin mint ice cream! 
Gluten Free Thin Mint Ice Cream
A rather crazy looking scoop of scrumptious ice cream with a GF thin mint cookie on the side! 

Homemade Thin Mint Ice Cream

Mix in a bowl:
3 cups 10% lactose-free cream (OR regular light cream OR 1 cup cream + 2 cups milk)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
2 drops peppermint essential oil (I love the Doterra peppermint oil in this recipe - and much prefer it to an extract)

Mix ~10-15 minutes in your ice cream maker (according to the directions on your ice cream maker).  While mixing, you can crush your homemade GF thin mint cookies, enough so you have about 1 cup of crushed cookie crumbs.  I like to leave some larger pieces and some smaller pieces.  It's easy to crush the cookies by placing in a freezer ziploc and rolling or hit with a rolling pin.

After the 10-15 minutes of churning, add to ice cream maker:
1 cup crushed homemade gluten-free thin mints.

Continue mixing until ice cream has thickened, as directed by your ice cream maker.  Scoop ice cream into a freezer-safe container and let chill ~2 hours before serving.  Feel free to serve alongside a few extra cookies! Enjoy!!!!