The Best Lemon Squares

I’ve been making lemon squares for years; including all the years I’ve been gluten free. Tried a few recipes; okay but my clear favorite for taste and easiness to make is the one out of my beloved “Gluten-Free Baking Classics” by Annalise Roberts; cannot stress enough how reliable and tasty her stuff bakes up. This one definitely falls into both those categories.

I used the wonderful Meyer lemons my brother sends me; so delicate a flavor and perfectly scented. Use whatever lemons you have as this is a delightful treat that even your non-gf friends will clamor for.

lemon bar

Lemon bar with lots of powdered sugar!

“The” Lemon Squares

Crust:
1 cup King Arthur basic gf blend flour
¼ c sugar
1 tsp. xanthan gum
5 Tbsp. butter.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. I put the oven shelf near the bottom of the oven. In your stand mixer, blend flour, sugar and gum; add butter which you cut up into 8-10 smaller pieces. Blend until small crumbles. While it does that spray an 8 inch metal pan with cooking spray and dust with gf flour. Pour crumbs into pan and spread evenly as possible into corners and up a bit of the sides. Press a bit but not too hard to get the best result. This recipe’s filling doesn’t go very far up the sides so just a bit up. Bake 15 minutes.

While it bakes make the filling; I use the same mixing bowel and paddle. FYI: I Have a great new paddle with a scraper edge that my guy bought me; it is fantastic at mixing batters better; far less scaping necessary. Best gift in kitchen!

3 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. KA basic gf blend flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. grated fresh lemon rind; then juice it for
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons should do it)
½ tsp. pure lemon extract

Beat eggs in the mixing bowl after the crust goes into the pan until kinda foamy. Then add rest of ingredients and mix well; be sure the flour is blended in. Pour over the warm crust and bake for 20 more minutes. Let cool before cutting. I like to sprinkle mine with a bit of powdered sugar; 1-2 tbsp worth.
I think it tastes even better the second day. Needs to rest a bit and let the flavors ripen to their fullest.

Apple Tart…Veganized But Still Yummy

 

My assignment was to make a vegan (and gluten free) dessert to take to a small gathering out of town. I have to confess I am not particularly fond of some vegan desserts I have tried: the mouth feel is sometimes odd and the texture can be heavy especially icings. But I felt those things could be avoided. There were still plenty of apples from our picking expedition in October so that seemed like a great place to plan from. I am not yet rolling out pie dough plus it has an egg in it so that’s a no…so I did a shortbread cookie crust made in my stand mixer in a few minutes with no real work. I really didn’t miss the rolled out crust; this simple press in crumb recipe by Annalise Roberts is the very best crust for sweetness and texture. And great for gimpy folks like me!

The tart was a complete success; the crust tasted delicious and not weird. All gone in moments; silence as everyone inhaled their slice. Shortly thereafter two other non-vegan guests sidled up to me and quietly thanked me for a great dessert; they were probably glad there was no weird icing involved, LOL! This could be an excellent holiday dessert if you need one that is vegan.  It travels great; I have a pie saver – big diameter, low cylinder tupperware meant just for pies and tarts.

Notes: I used a mixture of baking apples; some golden delicious and Jonagold. Any baking apples will work (Not red delicious as they are best eaten raw) …no honeycrisp either; best raw.

vegan apple tart unbaked

vegan apple tart baked

I forgot to take a picture of my slice before devouring it: sorry; it was great looking, everything held together perfectly.

Apple Tart with Vegan Cookie Crust

Ingredients:

CRUST:

1 cup gf flour (King Arthur basic gf blend)

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. xanthan gum

5  Tbsp. cold Earth Balance (sold in sticks just like butter)

FILLING:

3 -4 cups of peeled, cored and sliced cooking apples (4 good sized apples)

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp. Tapioca flour or KA basic gf blend

1/3 c sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 Tbsp. coarse sugar for topping

DIRECTIONS: Crust: use a stand mixer; put dry ingredients in bowl, add cut up Earth Balance and mix on medium until crumbly. Spray 9 inch tart pan with cooking spray and press in crust, heat oven to 375 degrees.  My pan has a removable bottom but I don’t see why you couldn’t use a plain pan.

Filling: mix dry ingredients in a small bowl, Mix filling in medium bowl; dump in apples, sprinkle with lemon juice and then sprinkle over all with all of the dry mix. Gently place into tart pan on crust and sprinkle top with coarse sugar. I took the time to arrange mine in a pretty pattern but you can just pile it in if you are in a rush.

Bake on lowest shelf in oven, 35-40 minutes until lightly browned and bubbling. Remove from oven and cool at least 30-60 minutes before serving. Best eaten within 24 hours. Vanilla ice cream is great with apple tart! Enjoy.

Note: You can use the convection setting; takes about 25-30 minutes to bake.

Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp: BLUEBERRILISHOUS!

It’s definitely rhubarb season, at least at my garden here in Pennsylvania! This recipe is a 3.0 take on my other crisps; it is super easy to put together and the blueberry fruity  flavor is super yummy.

It keeps about 2-3 days depending on humidity. I have a glass baking dish with a plastic lid for keeping things fresh; works great.

Notes; any gf flour blend will do, I use King Arthur blend. I used a bunch of chunky walnuts.  I think the walnuts add a nice crunch to the result. But great with no nuts too…  I think it  would work fine with frozen blueberries.  This is smaller version of my  fruit crisp recipe; when you don’t have a lot of fruit or want less leftover.  You can make the other recipe and just use a mixture of the two fruits; tad more rhubarb in it but it really has a strong blueberry flavor. Delish!

blueberries and rhubarb

blueberries, rhubarb and tap starch

The fruit is mixed with the dry blend of sugar and tapioca flour plus a touch of cinnamon.

Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp

Ingredients

Fruit layer

1 pint fresh blueberries washed

2 cups rhubarb cut into ½ inch bits

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp.  tapioca starch (or cornstarch if you chose)

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Topping

1/4 cup gf flour blend

1/2 cup gf oats (not quick ones!)

2 Tbsp. unpacked brown sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

2 Tbsp. butter, cold

1/3 cup walnuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray inside of 8×8 glass baking dish; any dish roughly that size will do. In a large mixing bowl dump all the dry ingredients; sugar, starch and cinnamon. Mix a bit; add rhubarb and blueberries, mix well. Dump into baking dish.

Dump all dry ingredients left except nuts into bowl of mixer, blend briefly. Add butter which you have cut up into about 12 or more tiny bits; a few cuts with a knife do it quick. Blend a minute or so until you can’t see the butter. Add nuts. Pour over the fruit. Bake on middle shelf for 28 to 32 minutes; the thicker the layer of fruit is the longer it takes; you want it bubbling and the top lightly browned. Let cool at least 15 or 20 minutes.  Great with vanilla ice cream or plain Greek yogurt on top. Or go decadent by pouring a bit of heavy cream into the bowl with your crisp; AMAZING!  Store with a tight lid on top. Enjoy!

blueberry rhubarb crisp in dish

This was the second day dessert in an old chipped bowl! I forgot to take a picture when we had it on Sunday; just so eager to enjoy this treat!

Chocolate Pavlova with Berries

In search of a new version of pavlova…came across chocolate pavlova and decided to give it a whirl; several recipes out there; this is a riff off of a recipe by Nigella Lawson; translated from grams for most part.  I also topped with strawberries; she used raspberries. I am sure both are great options. Use the fruit you have. It was impressive looking and delicious!

choc pavlova minus choco

 

 

meringue whippingchoco being added

Chocolate Pavlova with Strawberries; serves 8

Ingredients:

6 large egg whites

Pinch sea salt

½ tsp. cream of tartar

1 ¼ cup sugar

3 Tbsp. cocoa powder sieved

1.5 tsp. red wine vinegar

50 grams dark chocolate chopped; I used 1 1/3  of two 40 oz bars of Aldi’s dark chocolate

Topping

1 ½ cup heavy cream

2-3 Tbsp. sugar

1 quart box of ripe strawberries sliced and mixed with 1-2 Tbsp. sugar (optional but if they aren’t dead ripe it is a good idea)

Directions:

Prep: Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9 inch circle and flip paper. Chop chocolate with heavy knife, sieve cocoa, separate eggs. Slice strawberries and mix with sugar (if eating same day as making meringue)

Meringue: Heat oven to 360 degrees. Beat the egg whites with salt and tartar until stiff and then add in sugar in slow steady stream. Turn mixer to high and beat until glossy. Several minutes. Add in vinegar, chocolate and cocoa. Fold well. Spoon out onto the parchment paper; try to keep in the circle. Smooth top a bit. Bake in oven center shelf; turn heat down to 300 degrees. Warning: it will get bigger so don’t make it too wide. Bake 55-60 minutes until it looks baked; can be slightly squishy inside.  Cool in oven with door cracked open for about 30 minutes.  Can store a day. I put mine in the microwave to avoid humidity.

choco pavlova with choco

Serve: Beat cream (I like to chill my beaters and the bowl), add sugar; it should be fairly stiff. Pour out on the meringue and top with the strawberries. Can put slivers or curls of dark chocolate on top. Slice and serve. Enjoy!

I have to say it tasted great leftover the next evening.

 

 

chocolate pavlova slice

My slice…yeap; on a paper plate. We were in a senior living room with a tiny sink; paper plates are essential! It tasted even better than it looks here.

Aldi’s Brownie Mix vs Scratch GF Brownies

Box mixes are generally not my favorites for baking as they can be full of stuff I don’t want to ingest like excess salt, sugar and fats. So I rarely buy them. But recently I bought a gf brownie mix from Aldi’s for less than two bucks. It can be used for chocolate chocolate chip cookies but I made the classic brownies with my box. They came out very tasty. The flavor is that of very dark chocolate and the texture is extra fudgy. They were easy to make and even non celiacs enjoyed their fudgy goodness. brownie mix I tried something different and had my last brownie with flakes of pink Himalayan sea salt on top. The fat ones are the best for this. I do have a big jar of fine grind pink salt from Aldi’s which is great for most uses but not for this; go big and flaky.  I happen to like chocolate with sea salt so I reasoned this could work too and it did. Very nice contrast; try it sometime!

Still, I personally like the scratch brownies I usually make much more as they have the perfect balance between cakey and fudgy. I use top end baking chocolate which gives a superior result. So they rein supreme as the best gluten free brownies I have tasted. Frankly they are even better than my old wheat flour brownies.  Here is the link to my brownie recipe made with the gf flour blend I prefer; King Arthur’s All Purpose GF flour blend: https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2018/02/14/brownies-to-love/  If you want a great Valentine’s Day treat I suggest this recipe; super easy, super fast and super yummy. They also stay fresh longer than any gf cake I have made.  Tomorrow will be snowy here in eastern PA. Perfect day for baking a sweet treat! Enjoy!

Holiday Bread Pudding

What to do with the leftover cookies from Christmas that are kinda starting to get stale.  My preference is to salvage them by making a delicious cookie bread pudding. It varies depending on the cookies you throw in it. I also use holiday bread leftovers like stolen and my favorite Italian fennel and golden raisin bread. The more the merrier!

This is a basic oven baked bread pudding. Nothing tricky or fancy. You don’t have to soak or let it stand a long time.  You can make it with gluten free cookies or wheat based. Store or homemade. I’ve been making it for many years and it works great with gluten free cookies. This time I used delicate meringue filled cookies but a host of cookie varieties will do just as well. I admit it is not a pretty pudding. But it will taste delish and use up those holiday baked goods you have hanging around still!

bread pudding in cup

Angie’s Cookie and Bread Pudding

Approximately 2-3 cups crumbled leftover cookies/bread; not packed in cup I used about 2.5 cups of crumbled cookies

1 Tbsp soft butter

3 eggs

3 cups whole or 2 percent milk ( plus up to a cup more milk if needed)

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. real vanilla extract

Pinch salt

 

Directions: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 1 quart baking dish; I generally use a medium (7 inch diameter) ceramic souffle pan. Place broken cookies/bread into buttered dish. Do not squash down.

Beat eggs in a mixing bowl until fairly well broken up; add milk. Add sugar, vanilla and salt, stir well to melt the sugar. Pour over the cookies. If the milk mixture does not reach the top of the cookies you might have to add a bit more milk. You don’t want to start off with not enough liquid to form custard. Don’t add more than another cup of milk or it will substantially change the proportions of the custard. Place pan in oven and bake 35-45 minutes until the top is slightly browned and the custard is firm-ish. I wiggle the pan to see if it still is liquid; you want a little bit of wiggle; just not so much that your pudding is under-baked.bread pudding in pan

Cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Goes great with a bit of freshly whipped cream. Enjoy!bread pudding with cream

Peach Tartlets = Perfect Dessert

 

It is the peak of peach season so get some peaches and whip up a delicious gluten free peach pie. I wanted individual tarts so everyone would feel special; that I baked them their own mini pie; easy to do!  If you don’t have these deep dish pans you can use the flat bottomed tartlet pans; probably won’t hold quite as much filling. mass upload 8-22-16 563

Please make every effort to use local fruit; can get peaches at orchards like Bechdolt’s near Springtown, at most farm stands and at farmer’s markets; one on Saturdays in Easton or Sunday’s in Hellertown.  This pie really showcases great tasting peaches. If you use lousy peaches your result will lack great flavor. But, here’s the thing: store peaches can be poor in flavor and texture due to improper chilling so I strongly suggest you get locally grown, sweet, ripe peaches to make your pie.  I love when they have a pink blush; it makes the pie so pretty and perhaps even tastier.

To peel; do it old school: heat 3 inches of plain water in a wide pot, drop the peaches gently in 4-5 at a time and blanch them 2-3 minutes, two if very ripe, 3 if less ripe.  Allow to cool somewhat before peeling.  I like to do that over a bowl to catch the juices as I slice each peach. Or just use a potato peeler and slide off the skins. Slice thin and you are ready to use the peaches! If they are quite ripe this works well. Less work, less heat in the kitchen.

Don’t eat these tartlets hot; should be cooled to just warm if you like it so or room temperature or even a bit chilled. They were perfect, just like a big pie only tiny and making one individual dessert.  You could certainly serve them with vanilla ice cream.  And this recipe, like all peach desserts, works perfectly with fresh nectarines, bonus: no peeling required!

Sorry I have not been posting much lately; dealing with illness.  Makes it hard to focus on my blog but these tartlets were just too good to not blog about.

Angie’s GF Peach Crumb Tarlets: makes 7

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

———————

You will need 7 deep dish 4 inch tartlet pans if you make them all at once. I actually froze my dough and made the second batch of 3 a day later. Adjust the filling to the number of tartlets you are baking.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

6-7 cups sliced fresh peaches, peeled and cut in thick slices, place in medium bowl

Mix with:

½ cup sugar

1/4 cup quick tapioca

Notes: I made it in two parts; used 7-8 smaller peaches for each batch. Adjust the sugar and tapioca accordingly.  Let the filling stand while you prepare the crust. This is important so the tapioca can soften and absorb some juices before baking.

Construction: Break dough into 7 small equal balls.  Roll out each tiny crust in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even and somewhat thin, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Or not; I left mine kinda rough but it worked! Place the crust lined pans on a baking sheet with a rim to catch any spills. Fill each tartlet with fruit mixture after you have the crumb topping ready to go. Fill to a tad less than the top edge of the crust.  Do not overfill; they will bubble and spill if you take the filling right to the top edge.mass upload 8-22-16 560

Crumb topping

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form. If you let them go extra long you get big fat crumbs for when you want that look, they work great!

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Sprinkle the top of each tartlet with crumb mix; use as much as you like.  I didn’t measure; just sprinkled until the fruit was barely visible through the crumbs. Up to your personal taste… It sinks partially into the fruit mixture and adds lots of sweetness and eye appeal.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 35 minutes until bubbly and the crumb crust is light brown.  Cool at least 1 hour before serving at room temperature.  I think it is best served the same day you make it, or no more then 12 hours after baking for optimal flavor.  The crumbs will get soggy if too much time passes. Mine was still very good the next day; just not as great as when really fresh.

Note: if you find your bottom crust is not browning enough bake it empty at 375 degrees for ten minutes before filling it with the fruit.  I have a bottom heat pizza style oven which gives me perfect pie crust so I don’t ever have pale pie crust. This is a big benefit of having this type of oven; it is a two oven range with a full sized lower oven.

mass upload 8-22-16 562

Brown Rice Flour Mix (Same as King Arthur GF All purpose blend)
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour

1/3 c tapioca flour

Note: the crust and crumb recipe are out of Annalise Roberts cookbook, Gluten Free Baking Classics, Second Edition. Adaptation and filling recipe are mine.

First published in Summer 2016. No changes to recipe in this posting.