|March 4, 2013||Filled under Breakfast, Desserts, Fruits, Kid-Friendly|
I live for my weekends. For me, nothing could be more wonderful than sleeping in, snuggling under my pile of blankets. If I could be a fairy tale character, I would be cross between Sleeping Beauty who slept for 100 years and the Princess and the Pea, where I sleep under a million blankets instead of on a million mattresses. I was not born a morning-person by any means – I get up fairly early during the week and cherish every minute of extra sleep I can afford on the weekends. And as much as I enjoy heading out for brunch, I really prefer lazily waking up to make a delicious breakfast while still in PJs. So much so, that I invested in a waffle maker.
While pre-made frozen gluten-free waffles are convenient weekday breakfast solutions, weekends are for busting out that waffle maker. Since going gluten-free, I have experimented with numerous GF pancake and waffle baking mix and most have been pretty good and some great. However, being able to create golden crispy waffles from scratch feels so much more satisfying.
My waffle maker is by VillaWare and I scooped it up on Amazon a few years ago (mine’s an older model). It has plates that are dishwasher safe and removable so you have the option to make traditional Belgian round waffles or the heart-shaped ones (PS I am a sucker for all heart-shaped foods). It also has browning controls, on/off ready to bake lights, and beeps when the waffles are done. The generous spill troughs also mean I haven’t ever had overflow. Although I invested in a fancy-ish waffle maker, you don’t need to spend a lot to have homemade waffles.
Also, you can totally transform this into a dessert by adding some ice cream, chocolate sauce, and all the fixings for a sundae. Or put a scoop of ice cream between two pieces of waffle hearts for a waffle ice cream sandwich. Playing around with the fillings also transforms this into a breakfast/dessert type of meal. A world of waffle-y goodness awaits.
This recipe was adapted from the fabulous BabyCakes Covers the Classics cookbook - Erin McKenna’s second book (highly recommended if you are looking for gluten-free vegan versions of retro 50′s desserts like snickerdoodles, whoopie pies and sticky honey buns). I’ve always been a fan of buckwheat waffles and pancakes so I adapted her waffle recipe and added some blueberries. This recipe yields a pretty big batch of 10 to 12 waffles, which in our house is enough for a substantial breakfast and more to reheat during the week. A sprinkling of powdered sugar and some pure maple syrup is my preferred way of enjoying these waffles, ideally with some Motown playing in the background.
What’s your weekend breakfast like?
Blueberry Buckwheat Waffles adapted from BabyCakes Covers the Classics
Makes 10 to 12 waffles
- 1 1/2 cups Bob’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 2 1/2 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- 3 Tablespoons agave nectar
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Powdered sugar and pure maple syrup to serve
Special Equipment: Waffle maker
- Preheat waffle maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Spray with canola oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum. Add milk, agave nectar, vanilla, and stir until combined. Fold in blueberries.
- Pour 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup batter into waffle maker and bake to desired doneness. Repeat with remaining batter, spraying with oil between batches. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup.
|March 3, 2013||Filled under Desserts|
Do you prefer going out to eat or staying in? I love both. Sure it’s nice to be waited on, and no clean up is always a good thing, but sometimes you just want something exactly the way you want it. And eating at home can definitely allow for that. You can make your favourite things, just the way you want, without worrying about what hidden allergens may sneak in.
One area that restaurants often trump home cooking is in the dessert department. Sometimes you just need an indulgent splurge, something sweet, decadent, and sinfully good at the end of your meal. For anyone who’s ever tried, finding a dairy/egg/gluten-free dessert (besides fruit) is tough, especially in restaurants. The other night, after we opted to stay in for dinner, I whipped up this decadent chocolate mousse and it was totally the best part of our meal.
I came across this recipe on Pinterest called ’3 ingredient chocolate mousse in 5 minutes’ and felt that it might be the right combination for me to tinker with, to create something dairy/egg/gluten-free yet still delicious. (PS follow me on Pinterest here - I am seriously addicted).
I’ve made traditional chocolate mousse many times before and have always found the step of whipping the egg whites to be so fussy. My version here is a combo of chocolate chips, coconut milk, and soy milk and was ready in about 8 minutes. Not bad right? The end result is a mousse with a texture that’s rich and creamy. While this version isn’t as airy and fluffy as a traditional mousse, it’s just as indulgent and satisfying. The canned coconut milk creates a rich creaminess and the soy milk helps lighten up the texture.
This recipe involves two steps: 1) melt chocolate, 2) mix in coconut and soy milk with a hand mixer. You can make just before serving or make ahead and chill in the fridge. A little shredded coconut on top makes for a pretty garnish, but is totally optional. If you’re a hardcore coconut lover, mix in some shredded coconut right into the mousse.
This was so delicious that I will be making it over and over again forever and ever. We served this to a couple of friends the other night and lets just say that one of our guests licked the bowl clean. Literally. What a sweet compliment.
3 Ingredient Chocolate Mousse (Dairy-Free) adapted from Drizzle and Dip
- 1 10 oz bag of dairy-free mini chocolate chips from Enjoy Life
- 1/2 cup canned chilled full-fat coconut milk, solid part only
- 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk or other dairy-free milk
- 1/4 cup grated coconut (optional)
Equipment: Hand mixer
Place chocolate chips in a large heat-proof bowl over a pot with 1″ of simmering water, so that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and place bowl directly over a large bowl of ice. Add coconut milk and soy milk to chocolate. Using an electric hand mixer, beat ingrendients until blended together and mixture becomes light and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in grated coconut if using. Serve immediately or chill to serve later.
|January 21, 2013||Filled under Cakes & Cupcakes, Desserts, Kid-Friendly|
Do you smile and get giddy like a 2-year old when you see a cupcake that is disguised as an ice cream cone? If you don’t, you may want to check for a pulse, because I probably could have named this post ‘happiness in a cone’. I first made ice cream cone cupcakes back when I was a teen summer camp counsellor looking after pre-school aged kids. The utter joy the campers got from helping to create these and gobbling them up was priceless. As wise and mature teenaged counsellors, we made sure to serve these to the kidlets right before we sent them home with mom and dad so we got to experience the joy, and parents got to deal with the resulting sugar high afterwards *insert evil laughter*.
What’s in it? This simple recipe involves gluten-free cake mix from Pamela’s Products, egg-replacer from Ener-G, homemade frosting, and gluten-free cones from Let’s Do. These cones look just like it’s gluten-filled original except the texture is slightly little less crunchy but still delicious. These cupcakes would be perfect for a birthday party for kids of any age - I actually made these for my own birthday which happens to be next week. You can do just about any combination you would do for a normal cupcake – the options are endless. This version happens to be gluten/nut/egg/dairy-free – so almost allergen free but still super yummy. A rare combo indeed.
Specialty Bakeware Not Required: Now I’m not normally one to acquire too much specialty bakeware, as living in a condo means very limited storage, but I couldn’t resist this ice cream cone baker that was on sale. You don’t need it to make this, you just need some tin foil and a muffin pan – there’s a great tutorial here.
Test one first… I recommend doing one test cupcake before doing the entire batch. The cone only needs to be about 2/3 full with cake batter (using a small ice cream scoop or one tablespoon at a time), however, different cake recipes rise differently. Once you’ve tested one cone, you can fill the rest of the cones with the right amount of batter. Too much batter will result in overflow, look messy, and messy up your oven too. Once these cuties are baked, poke a small hole in the bottom of each cone with a fork to allow the steam to come out so the cones don’t get soggy.
MMmmm Fudgy Frosting… Most people will agree that the best part of a cupcake is the frosting. This fudgy frosting is dairy-free thanks to chocolate chips from Enjoy Life and coconut oil. This recipe is adapted from Elena’s Pantry - a great gluten-free resource. The instant espresso powder gives the frosting a more deeply chocolate-y tasting. The heart-healthy coconut oil allows me to enjoy my birthday cupcakes guilt-free, especially since birthday calories don’t count, right? I chose an unscented coconut oil so the chocolate flavor wouldn’t compete with coconut, but if you wanted a choco-coconut frosting, scented coconut oil would be perfect.
For garnish, I recommend some white chocolate shavings (contains dairy) or shredded coconut to pretty these up even more. I considered putting some sprinkles but all the ones I found had wax or shellac as an ingredient so I passed.
I plan to make these cupcake ice cream cones every year for my birthday from now until infinity, so that I always feel like a kid no matter how much older I get. I hope you enjoy these for your next celebration.
Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes (makes 12 ice cream cone cupcakes and 6 extra regular cupcakes) Adapted from Pamela’s Products
- 12 flat bottomed gluten-free ice cream cones (1 package from Let’s Do)
- 1 package Pamela’s Chocolate Cake Mix (gluten-free)
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1/3 cup egg replacer (Ener-G brand) or 2 large eggs
- 1 and 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips (dairy-free from Enjoy Life)
Dairy-Free Vegan Chocolate Icing (for 12 cupcakes) Adapted from Elena’s Pantry
- 1 cup chocolate chips (dairy-free from Enjoy Life)
- 1/3 cup unscented coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon soy milk
Special Equipment: Muffin pan and foil, or ice cream cone baker from Niftys
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover muffin pan with foil. Poke a hole over holes where cupcake would go and place ice cream cone in. In a large bowl, add cake mix, oil, egg replacer or eggs, water and chocolate chips. Mix all ingredients with a spatula until just combined. Do not over mix. Using a small ice cream scoop, fill ice cream cones until 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes on center rack or when toothpick comes out with slight crumbs. (Place a clean cookie sheet on bottom rack in case of spills.) Place on baking rack to cool. Poke a small hole in the bottom of each cone with a fork to release steam.
- For remaining batter, fill paper lined muffin tin until 2/3 full. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. Place on baking rack to cool. Reserve or freeze for future use.
- Prepare frosting. In a small saucepan on very low heat, melt chocolate and coconut oil. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in espresso powder (if using), vanilla and soy milk. Stir and place in fridge for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and beat with hand mixer until light and fluffy. Ice cooled cupcakes and garnish as desired.
A note about substitutions: I know many of my readers do not necessarily have gluten allergies or have varied food sensitivities. This post can be used as a guideline to inspire you to create ice cream cone cupcakes with your favourite options. My version is the most stripped down version and serves as a jumping off point for your own creations. I love hearing from you so if you end up tinkering with the recipe, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Happy baking!
|October 31, 2012||Filled under Desserts, Kid-Friendly|
Happy Halloween! Here are some spooky sweet treats to take to your Halloween party – these tasty tombstone marshmallows are heading to the office tomorrow. I made double whats in the picture in about 30 minutes and could probably have made a zillion more if I had to feed a crowd. They’re so simple and fun to make, require minimal ingredients, and because they are foods on sticks, are perfect for entertaining. Bonus: the messier the chocolate, the better they look. And you can dip into anything you like – I opted for Skor bits and toasted coconut. Trick or treat indeed.
Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows (makes 30)
- 60 Large marshmallows (about 1 and 1/2 bags)
- 1 cup chocolate chips (I used gluten-free/dairy free ones by Enjoy Life)
- 1/2 cup total of toppings of choice (I used 1/4 cup Skor bits, 1/4 cup toasted coconut)
Special Tools: 30 candy sticks or skewers, tray lined with parchment paper
- Skewer 2 marshmallows on a stick. Repeat until all marshmallows are skewered.
- In a small bowl heat up half the chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Heat for another 30 seconds until melted, stirring in between (about 2 minutes total).
- Dip skewer in chocolate, wipe away excess with a spoon. Dip spoon in melted chocolate and drizzle over marshmallows. Dip in toppings and place on parchment lined tray. Add remaining chocolate chips to bowl and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Repeat dipping process. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chocolate is set.
|February 7, 2012||Filled under Cakes & Cupcakes, Desserts|
Valentine’s Day is around the corner and whipping up this luscious triple chocolate torte is a sure-fire way to show your sweetie that you care. It’s undoubtedly a show stopper, covered in a glossy dark chocolate ganache and enrobed in white chocolate slices. Not into V-Day? Me either (sort of). You can totally whip up this crowd-pleasing dessert to celebrate just about anything, from a new job, birthdays, showers, housewarming, festivus, you name it; it’s definitely a special occasion dessert.
As much as I go to baking mixes to help me create gluten-free desserts, this one was an easy adaptation of a recipe I found in the Globe and Mail over the holidays. It’s got a such a small amount of flour in proportion to the chocolate and other ingredients so it was easy to swap in GF flour. That being said, this dessert requires a) time b) planning and c) patience. All in all, it’s a pretty straight-forward recipe to make, Ie. it LOOKS way harder to make than it really is. And if you want to simplify, you can always make it a double chocolate torte and skip the white chocolate slices.
To break it down, this cake takes 3 steps. Step 1 is make the cake. Step 2 is to make the white chocolate slices. Step 3 is to make a ganache and assemble. Basically this cake involves a lot of chopping and melting chocolate (fun) and dish washing (not so fun which – I suggest outsourcing this piece to husbands/boyfriends/roommates/other parties who want to eventually eat this masterpiece).
Making the white chocolate slices is so simple and gives the cake its ‘wow!youmadethatyourself?’ look. Melt the white chocolate chunks and spread it onto a lined baking sheet to chill in the fridge. Once it’s chilled, simply remove and break into pieces and let your inner pastry chef/artist decorate. The more variations in the pieces, the better the cake looks.
The last part of the cake to make is the ganache which is dead simple to do. Seriously, just boil milk, pour it over chopped chocolate and stir to create a smooth and glossy chocolate spread. Pour onto the cooled prepared cake and spread around. It’s so much easier to make than icing or frosting and I love the silky rich taste so much that I just might ‘ganache’ all my cupcakes from now on.
So the next time you have a special occasion and 4 hours to spare, why not try making this amazing dessert? It’s so worth it and remember, after you serve this, you get to relish in all the adoring compliments while enjoy this decadent treat.
Triple Chocolate Torte (serves 8 to 10) Adapted from Lucy Waverman’s Triple Chocolate Torte for Globe and Mail
• 4 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
• ½ cup unsalted butter or dairy-free vegan butter, softened
• ½ cup packed brown sugar
• ¼ cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
• 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1 tsp vanilla
Dark Chocolate Ganache
• 8 oz dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate chopped into small pieces
• ½ cup unsweetened soy milk or regular milk
White Chocolate Pieces
• 6 oz white chocolate
Special Equipment: 9” round springform pan, off-set spatula, parchment paper
1. Make cake. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Invert the base of a 9” round springform pan so that it is lip side down (avoids having an indent in the base of the cake). Grease bottom and sides of pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
2. Melt chocolate in a small heavy pot over low heat, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
3. Cream butter and sugars in a large bowl until like and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions.
4. In a separate bowl, sift cocoa powder and add gluten-free flour, and salt and whisk until well combined. Beat into butter mixture. Stir in the melted chocolate and vanilla. Pour into springform pan and spread into an even layer.
5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until set and slightly puffed in the centre. Let cool in the pan.
6. Make ganache. Place dark chocolate in a bowl. Place soy milk in a small pot and bring to boil over medium heat. Pour over chocolate and stir to melt.
7. Remove cake from pan and pour ganache over cake, ensuring the ganache spreads to the edge. Use a spatula to help spread evenly over the top and sides. Chill in the fridge to set.
8. Make white chocolate rectangles. Place white chocolate in a small, heavy pot over low heat. Melt slowly, stirring occasionally. When melted, use an off-set spatula to spread evenly on a parchment paper or Silpat sheet lined baking sheet. Place in fridge to harden.
9. Remove white chocolate from parchment paper and break into large pieces and press white chocolate against the sides of the cake, overlapping slightly. Stick leftover white chocolate pieces vertically into the middle of the cake to create a pattern. Chill again until ready to serve. Remove from fridge for 15 minutes before serving.
|December 1, 2011||Filled under Breakfast, Desserts, Fruits|
So the holidays are here. It’s official – Movember is over, holiday party invites are streaming in, and tis the season for baked goodies, egg nog, and shopping until you drop. Many of us are hosting parties and attending potlucks (or like me, doing both this weekend) and finding a dessert that everyone can eat can be a challenge. I’m gluten free and mostly dairy/egg-free and I have friends who have nut/sesame allergies. So what dessert do you make to delight everyone’s taste buds that’s actually satisfying? It’s this gluten-free vegan apple crumble. I made this a few weeks ago for a friends dinner party and it was described as ‘Christmas in a bowl’. How sweet is that?
The ingredients for the crumble are pretty basic and are usually in my pantry – Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free oats, vegan butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, brown sugar, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. The apples are usually ones I bought in a big bag and forgot to eat during the week, either Gala, Granny Smith or Honey Crisp. And lemon is optional.
After peeling the apples, you just slice them into 1/4″ slices. This helps them cook evenly and faster. What’s great about apple crumble is you can make a huge one like this for a crowd or a smaller one (halve the recipe in an 8″x8″ baking dish). Leftovers are awesome on hot oatmeal for breakfast (love desserts for brekkie).
The topping for this crumble is so easy – just a mix of oats, GF flour, vegan butter and brown sugar. Just mash crumble it up with your fingers all together until the butter is the size of peas and spread over the apple mixture. Then it’s ready to bake. To make ahead, I prepare the crumble until this point, cover it and put it in the fridge until I’m ready to bake it. That way you get the warm apple pie smells wafting through the house while it’s baking.
And don’t forget some dairy-free vanilla ice cream – my fave is Purely Decadent Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk ice cream. Made from coconut milk, it’s got a unique flavour that is amazing that everyone, no matter what their food sensitivities are, will love.
Recipe Apple Crumble (gluten/nut-free, vegan) serves 8
- 3 lbs apples, peeled and cored and thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Canola oil or vegan butter for greasing the pan
- ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
- ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats
- 6 Tbsp packed brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup vegan butter, cut into small pieces (1 stick)
Equipment: 9”x13” baking dish
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and toss until apples are evenly coated. Grease the baking dish and pour ingredients into dish in an even layer.
- In a mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar and salt and mix until combined. Add butter and using your fingers or a fork, work in the butter until they are pea-sized chunks.
- Spread the topping evenly over the apple filling and bake for about 25 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and topping is golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream.
Some folks look for new ways to jazz up their Thanksgiving spreads, but personally, I’m a traditionalist. I like everything about Thanksgiving just as it is. In my family, this means the juiciest turkey on the planet, creamy mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. Traditional right? But then there’s also chili chicken, biryani, shrimp balls, lasagna, BBQ pork, shrimp and veggie stir fry, duck, beef curry, bread, dumplings and salad. Not so typical, but in our Hakka household, we take the best of Indian, Chinese, and Canadian food and feast. These spreads are legendary and friends of the family often hope for an invite, or at the very least, some leftovers.
I’m also a traditionalist when it comes to chocolate chip cookies. Honestly, some gluten-free cookies can be really terrible. There are some packaged ones out there that are just disappointing (especially since they cost a fortune – like really? expensive cardboard? I’ll pass). I’ve also tried a few from bakeries, and while tasty, they’re nothing like the chocolate-y chewy Neiman Marcus cookie.
Do you know the urban legend of the Neiman Marcus cookie? Well you can ready about it here. Apparently it’s a myth which is why NM posts the recipe on their website, for free. It’s honestly the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve ever made (before I went GF) - moist, flavourful, and super simple to whip up. Tender and chewy. Traditional and tasty. Love NM.
During the holidays, I used to bake countless batches of these cookies and give them out as gifts. Since going GF, I thought I’d never have them again. Until now. I figured out a way to swap out the ingredients to create a healthy,
just as tasty maybe even tastier version. Bye bye butter, hello coconut oil. Exit flour, enter quinoa flour. I also cut down the chocolate chips again so they hold together better.
The quinoa flour is great because it adds protein and a subtle nutty flavour (even though it’s nut free) – healthy enough for breakfast in my opinion. The coconut butter is great too both for flavour and for those who are dairy intolerant. They bake up so beautifully and fill the whole loft with a warm chocolate chip cookie aroma that is intoxicating. This gluten-free version of the NM cookie is definitely going to be a new tradition in my home. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Recipe (Adapted from Neiman Marcus recipe)
Makes about 20 to 24 cookies
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup quinoa flour
- 3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder, aluminum free
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, add oil and sugars and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 30 seconds.
2. Add egg and vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder and whisk together until blended. Beat dry ingredients into wet ingredients slowly until combined, about 15 seconds. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Using a 1 ounce scoop or 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto greased sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the top of the cookie with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. For a crisper cookie, bake for an extra 2 minutes.