Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blueberry Cream Cheese Danishes (Flourless)

This is a delicious recipe for gluten-free Blueberry Cream Cheese Danishes! The dough texture isn't exactly the same texture of a gluten danish, but the gluten-free version has a great texture that is somewhat flaky and tastes As Good As Gluten. I'm anxious to get back into the kitchen and start experimenting with different fruit flavors using this base cream cheese danish recipe.

You'll notice that my danishes are somewhat skimp on blueberries. Even though I piled the blueberries on before baking, they cooked down a lot. So, follow the recipe below and pile on the fruit for a fruitier danish!

A few weeks ago, Kalinda at Wheat Free Meat Free posted a Vegetarian Gluten-Free Roundup that included my Lemon Custard Cakes and a delicious recipe from Ricki at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs for Freeform Blueberry "Cream Cheese" Danishes. I've made delicious desserts by baking with black beans, and I've been wanting to try baking with white beans. When I saw Ricki's recipe, I knew that Blueberry Cream Cheese Danishes would be my first attempt at baking with white beans.

Ricki's recipe is written gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free, anti-candida, and vegan. However, I'm only gluten-free and chose to adapt Ricki's recipe to meet my needs. So, if you need sugar-free alternatives or vegan alternatives to this recipe, Ricki's already done the work for you.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Danishes
Adapted from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs 

For the filling and topping:
·4 - 6 oz. Neufchâtel cream cheese, softened
·2 – 3 TBS powdered sugar
·1 cup frozen blueberries
·1 - 2 TBS brown sugar
For the dough:
·1 can white beans, rinsed and drained (I used Great Northern, but navy or white kidney would work)
·¼ cup ground flaxseed meal
·¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
·3 TBS milk
·1 TBS vodka (Why vodka? It's a secret ingredient for flaky pie crust and adds some flakiness to a danish. Flavored vodkas can also be used to complement your fruit danish flavor. If desired, you can substitute milk for the vodka.)
·2 tsp apple cider vinegar
·1 TBS vanilla extract
·2 TBS potato starch
·½ tsp baking soda
·¾ tsp double-acting baking powder
·1/8 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 375˚. Line 1 - 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

In a small bowl, beat together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Taste and adjust cream cheese and/or powdered sugar to achieve the desired sweetness. Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, process the beans until they begin to form a paste. Add the flaxseed, oil, milk, vodka, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Process until very smooth and no bean lumps remain. Add the remaining dough ingredients and process until blended. The bean dough mixture should resemble a wet, soft dough. (Add a bit more milk if the dough is too dry and will not hold together).

Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and arrange on the baking sheets. Grease your palms liberally with oil and flatten each dough mound to a round disk ¼ inch thick and 4-5 inches diameter.

Divide the sweet cream cheese among the center of each disk, and spread with the back of a spoon to cover the dough (leave about ½ inch dough all around the edge). Next, pile about 2 TBS frozen blueberries on top of the cream cheese, creating a bit of a mound in the middle. Using the back of a greased spoon, carefully push up the edges of the dough to form a rim encasing the fruit (leave the fruit uncovered in the middle).

Sprinkle the fruit in each danish with brown sugar, and bake for 40-50 minutes until the bottoms are deep golden brown.

Yield: 8 danishes

I've also shared this recipe on: Seasonal Sunday

Monday, June 20, 2011

Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger: Elana's Pantry

For the June Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger event, hosted by Celiacs in the House, I adopted Elana at Elana's Pantry. Not only does she have a top-notch blog full of a wide variety of delicious recipes and gluten-free information, but she is also (according to me) the Queen of Gluten-Free Cupcakes with a new Gluten-Free Cupcakes cookbook available. Many well-respected gluten-free bloggers have reviewed Elana's cookbook and tried a few of her recipes, and they all have had nothing but great things to say.

Since I love flourless recipes and the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, it was only fitting that I chose to bake Elana's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes (which only require 7 common pantry ingredients, bonus!). I substituted honey instead of agave and omitted the salt because I used salted roasted peanuts.

My batch of Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes baked perfectly with great flavor and texture. As you can see from the non-frosted cupcake in my picture, my gluten-free AND flourless cupcakes did not sink (yay!!)! These cupcakes remind me of my all-time favorite candy - Reese's. I frosted my cupcakes with a Chocolate Powdered Sugar frosting - absolutely delectable!

In previous Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger events I've made:
·Kelly at 18 Hour Kitchen's Black Bean Cupcakes
·Shirley at Gluten Free Easily's Flourless Pizza Crust AND Garlic Cheese Biscuits
·Carol at Simply...Gluten Free's Cherry Cola Ribs
·Lynn at Lynn's Kitchen Adventures Homemade Vanilla Pudding, Mexican Chicken Lasagna, and Green Chili and Cheese Cornbread

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Caramel Apple S'mores

What do you get when you combine caramel apples and s'mores? The outcome is a surprisingly delicious and simple treat! It may sound strange, but I promise it's delightful! The apple easily takes the place of a Graham cracker and still provides the crunchiness to the healthier s'more.

I can't remember the last time I had a s'more, but I've been craving one lately. I have a recipe to try homemade gluten-free Graham crackers, but I just haven't gotten around to making them. Throughout the years, I've collected a variety of magazine articles with different renditions of the classic s'more. I recently came across one for a Caramel Apple S'more and new I had to recreate it for an evening snack. I am SO glad I did!

Caramel Apple S'mores
·2 apple slices
·3 large marshmallows, roasted
·1 chocolate square filled with caramel (I used a square of Ghirardelli Dark Cocoa & Caramel)

Place roasted marshmallows along with the chocolate and caramel square in between two apple slices. Enjoy!

I've also shared this recipe on: Gluten Free Wednesday; This Week's Craving

Thursday, June 16, 2011

GF Calzones

This GF Calzone is fluffy, moist, and simply delicious. I think I've created a phenomenal recipe; I love that it is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside!

However, this great recipe didn't come easily. It has taken me 3 tries to create the perfect gluten-free calzone recipe. It was totally worth the effort and frustration. The result of my first try was dough that was too sticky to roll out easily. This resulted in my creation of a semi-"scrambled" calzone on the pizza stone; however, the cooked dough tasted delicious! For the second try, I altered the ingredients to make the dough less sticky. Unfortunately, I made too many alterations because it was way too sticky to fold into a calzone and the flavor wasn't as good as the first attempt.

The third time was a charm! I went back to the original recipe with a few adjustments. I also learned the trick to working with sticky gluten-free doughs - grease, grease, and more grease! By grease, I mean extra virgin olive oil cooking spray. So, please take my suggestion to grease the parchment paper, your spoons, your hands, and your spatulas with olive oil cooking spray. I've learned this by experience! :)  I'm completely overjoyed with the delicious results of my third try! The GF Calzone rises nicely and, of course, tastes As Good As Gluten!

I made a Chicken Alfredo calzone (using my Low Cal Alfredo recipe) with green peppers, pineapple, and onions. The flavors complemented the calzone dough well. I've also made a calzone with marinara sauce, sausage, and onions and a three cheese calzone with tomato and basil, which both tasted delicious. The GF Calzone recipe below also makes a great pizza crust. 

GF Calzones
·¼ plus 1/8 cup warm water
·1 package yeast
·¼ cup sugar
·Dash of salt
·1 tsp baking powder
·1½ tsp garlic powder
·1½ tsp onion powder
·1½ tsp Italian seasoning
·1¼ cup GF flour
·1 tsp xanthan gum
·1 egg
·1 TBS butter, softened
·¼ cup applesauce
·1½ TBS extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 400˚. Combine yeast and sugar with warm water to proof the yeast. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients from salt to xanthan gum. Add egg, butter, applesauce, EVOO, and proofed yeast. Mix until well combined – the dough will be sticky.

Roll the dough out between two pieces of greased parchment paper (My photos are of 1 large calzone, which turned out great. But, from previous experience, it is easier to make 2-4 smaller calzones instead of 1 large calzone).  Peel off the top piece of parchment paper and add desired toppings to one side of the calzone dough. Then, fold the bottom piece of parchment paper (with the dough on it) over to cover the other half of the dough that has the toppings on it (essentially “folding” the pizza in half to form a calzone). Use the back of a greased spoon to form the edges and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the top of the calzone with additional spices/seasoning.

Carefully remove the hot pizza stone from the oven and sprinkle the pizza stone with corn meal. Using a greased spatula/turner, carefully transfer the calzone from the parchment paper onto the pizza stone. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the dough is cooked and the calzone is browned.

Yield: 4-6 servings

I've also shared this recipe on: Seasonal Sunday's

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart

I love the Sweet and Salty combination of this rich, creamy, and delicious dessert!

I love peanut butter, but chocolate is my normal accompaniment to peanut butter. I do not know how I've never had a peanut butter and caramel dessert before - it is an amazing combination of flavors! I was on a baking/cooking spree the weekend I made this; I cut the recipe in fourths and made a small dish for Mike and I to share.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart
·2 cups crushed gluten-free pretzels (I used Glutino's GF Pretzels)
·½ cup brown sugar, divided
·5 TBS butter, melted
·4 oz. Neufchâtel cream cheese, softened
·½ cup natural peanut butter
·1 cup half & half
·1 tsp pure vanilla extract
·Caramel syrup topping

Preheat oven to 350˚. Using a food processor, finely grind the pretzels. Transfer to a bowl and stir in ¼ cup brown sugar, then stir in melted butter. Press evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Bake until light brown around the edges, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until crumbly. Beat in remaining ¼ cup brown sugar. In a separate bowl, beat half & half and vanilla until soft peaks begin to form. Add half & half mixture to the peanut butter mixture; beat over low-medium speed until well combined and creamy.  

Spread the peanut butter mixture of the cooled pretzel tart shell. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 3 hours).

Serve with caramel syrup topping drizzled over the top.

Yield: one 9" tart (serves 8 people)

I've also shared this recipe on: Slightly Indulgent Tuesday's

This recipe is adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray, 2011. It's now gluten-free, healthier (well, as healthier as it can get and still taste good), and easier to prepare!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Unstuffed Peppers

I have my mother-in-law to thank for this delicious and easy recipe. Even my husband (who "thinks" he hates bell peppers) loved this recipe and said, "This is good; really, really good!"

Unstuffed Peppers
·1 lb. ground beef
·Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder
·1 - 26-oz. jar traditional pasta sauce
·2 large green or red bell peppers, chopped
·1 small onion, chopped
·1¼ cups water
·1 cup instant brown rice

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with seasonings (salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder); drain grease. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Yield: 6

I've also shared this recipe on: Seasonal Sunday's

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Homemade Biscuits and Gravy

One of my favorite (occasional) weekend breakfast recipes is Biscuits and Gravy. However, it's been years since I've made it, I've never made it completely from scratch, and I've never made it gluten-free. A few weekends ago, I created a gluten-free homemade biscuits and gravy recipe from scratch, and Mike and I enjoyed a delicious breakfast!

I did learn one thing about making gravy from scratch - the taste depends on sausage grease. I'm not a fan of cooking anything in grease (remember when I discovered the secret to Mike's Chicken Bacon Ranch recipe was onions cooked in bacon grease)? Well, I had leftover pork sausage that was already browned, so I used it to make the gravy. Needless to say, I didn't have any of the sausage grease drippings and thought I'd be saving time and making a healthier breakfast (which I did) by not using it. My first attempt at this recipe tasted good; however, I, sadly, had to agree with Mike that it was mising the extra flavor from the sausage drippings. I wrote my recipe below the "right" way so we'll have the extra (unhealthy) flavor next time!

Homemade Biscuits and Gravy
Biscuit Ingredients:                                          Gravy Ingredients:
·1¾ cup all-purpose GF flour                            ·1 lb pork sausage
·1 tsp xanthan gum                                            ·1½ TBS cornstarch
·2 tsp baking powder                                         ·2 cups milk
·1½ tsp sugar                                                       ·Salt and pepper to taste
·½ tsp cream of tarter
·½ tsp salt
·5 TBS unsalted butter, softened
·1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450˚. In a large bowl, combine dry biscuit ingredients (from GF flour to salt). Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add milk and stir until dough mixture forms. Drop rounded balls of biscuit dough onto a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat (or parchment paper). Bake biscuits for 12 – 15 minutes, or until tops are slightly browned.

Meanwhile, brown sausage in a large pan. If there is a lot of excess grease, drain some; keep at least some grease to add flavor to the gravy. Whisk in cornstarch and milk over medium heat. Whisk until desired gravy consistency is reached (may need to add more milk if it gets too thick, or more cornstarch if it is too thin). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve sausage gravy over warm biscuits.

Yield: 10-12 biscuits

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lemon Custard Cakes

Baking the custard cakes in a hot-water bath helps create the wonderful texture - creamy custard pudding on the bottom with a fluffy, cakey top. The lemon flavor creates a light and refreshing dessert perfect for spring or summer. I think this recipe would also create delicious Grapefruit Custard Cakes.

Lemon Custard Cakes
·3 eggs, separated
·½ cup white sugar
·1 TBS cornstarch
·4 tsp lemon zest
·½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 or 4 lemons)
·¾ cup milk
·Butter, for ramekins
·Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350˚ and bring a kettle or pot of water to boil. Butter 6 ramekins and place them in a glass or ceramic baking pan.

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until fluffy and soft peaks form. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until yolks are light yellow in color. Add cornstarch. Then add lemon zest and lemon juice; beat on low until combined. Whisk in milk. Fold in egg whites by hand, being careful not to over-mix.

Pour the thin batter into the prepared ramekins. Add enough boiling water in the baking pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 25 minutes, or until custard cakes are puffed and lightly browned. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm or cool.

Yield: 6

I've also shared this recipe on: Seasonal Sunday's

This recipe is modified from the cookbook "Everyday Food - Great Food Fast."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger: Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

For the May Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger Event (hosted this month by Z's Cup of Tea), I decided to adopt Lynn at Lynn's Kitchen Adventures.  I've had a wide variety of Lynn's recipes bookmarked ranging from main dishes to desserts.  I love Lynn's blogs because she showcases a wide variety of delicious recipes that are easy to prepare, budget-friendly, and packed full of flavor. In May, I made Lynn's Homemade Vanilla Pudding, Mexican Chicken Lasagna, and Green Chili and Cheese Cornbread. Each one of these recipes is delicious!

Homemade Vanilla Pudding
Click here for recipe
You won't find a boxed pudding that is more flavorful than this homemade pudding recipe. I served over a layer of bananas with a spoonful of whipped cream on top for a delicious Faux-Banana Cream Pie Pudding Dessert.

I had no idea you could make homemade pudding from scratch until I came across Lynn's recipe for Homemade Vanilla Pudding. Even though it does take a little longer to prepare than boxed pudding, it is worth it for the natural ingredients and great flavor. Plus, it only took us 10 minutes - start to finish. I didn't have any cream, so I used all skim milk for the liquid and it still turned out well. I also used pure Mexican vanilla, which added a great vanilla flavor.

Mexican Chicken Lasagna
Click here for recipe
My husband and I love Mexican dishes, and this is a new favorite for us! We love the mild spice from the green enchilada sauce and the great texture and flavor of the chicken, black beans, and cheese layer.

When Lynn posted her recipe for Mexican Chicken Lasagna in March, I immediately bookmarked it. It sounded absolutely delicious, and it combined quite a few ingredients that I love. I'm so glad I decided to try this recipe because it is fantastic. Mike even agreed - "This is good. Really, really good actually!"

Green Chili and Cheese Cornbread
Click here for recipe

I've also shared this recipe on: Seasonal Sunday
There aren't too many cornbread recipes that I like, but this cornbread recipe is really, really good! It's moist and flavorful with corn, cheese, and green chilies.

Last week, we had a cold, rainy day. Mike made
Steak 'n Shake Chili with Venison, and I made the perfect accompaniment - Lynn's Green Chili and Cheese Cornbread. We both really liked the cornbread, and it will now be our go-to recipe for cornbread. Next time I make it, I'm going to increase the heat level by adding chopped jalapenos in place of the green chilies.

This month, I cooked my way through a few of Lynn's recipes I've been wanting to try. However, I didn't get to them all and have the following recipes on my list for another time:
Nut Free Homemade Granola, Mounds Bar Pie, Homemade Peppermint Patties, and Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal.

In previous Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger events I've made:

Kelly at 18 Hour Kitchen's Black Bean Cupcakes
Shirley at Gluten Free Easily's Flourless Pizza Crust AND Garlic Cheese Biscuits
Carol at Simply...Gluten Free's Cherry Cola Ribs