Pear Spice Muffins…Another Snack Option

I had few portable baked snacks and a few bosc pears so I figured it was time for a new muffin recipe. This is a riff off a recipe out of Annalise Robert’s cookbook; Gluten-Free Baking Classics. It is  similar to my recipe for apple nut muffins that I created from her banana muffin recipe. If I had to have just one GF cookbook hers would be the one for me.

Do use a fairly firm pear; I used a bosc which is naturally great for baking but almost any firm pear will do. Notice I didn’t say “hard”. Nope to that; not gonna taste great.  Don’t chop them super fine or big; 1/3 inch dice is good.

I always enjoy eating a muffin still warm out of the oven. It is smart to freeze any you won’t eat in 2 days; ziplock freezer bag works great.  They make super snacks.  These  muffins are kinda delicate; if you want to take them on a hike or car ride put them in a plastic food box – the rigid sides will keep your muffins safe from crushing.

Pear Spice Muffins              

2 cups brown rice flour mix (see below)

2/3 c granulated sugar (can use coconut palm sugar: just increase milk by 2 Tbsp.)

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

skimpy 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1  1/2  c chopped firm pear; peel and core! (about 2 pears)

½ c chopped walnuts

2 large eggs beaten

½ c milk, 1 or 2 percent

½ c canola oil

DIRECTIONS:  Heat oven to 375, placing the rack in middle of oven.  Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.  One batch makes 14-16 muffins.

Mix all dry ingredients in bowl of stand mixer or big bowl

Add pear chunks and walnuts; stir to coat them with dry mix

Combine milk and oil,  Beat in eggs.  Add liquids to big bowl; stir until blended.

Fill muffin pans 2/3 full.  I use a big serving spoon and fill it about half way to dump in each muffin space. Sprinkle the top with a bit of raw old fashioned oatmeal; 2-3 Tbsp. should do it or try  cinnamon sugar.

Bake 20-24 min until golden brown. I used my convection setting and did them for 17 minutes. Perfect. Do not over bake or they will taste dry.  Rest five minutes and then remove from the pans and cool on a rack.

Freezes well for up to 3 weeks.  Keeps in fridge (well wrapped) a few days.

Brown Rice Flour Mix base mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Apple Fritter Quick Bread

Saw this recipe for apple fritter bread a week or two ago. Incredible looking so I wanted to make it but it was not a gluten free recipe.  A few days later I discovered that Better Batter has an identical recipe up on their website but made with their wonderful gf flour blend.  Didn’t take me long to decide I just had to bake a loaf. Never made anything like it in the past other than an apple coffeecake but that was a bit more cakey and was baked in a tube pan.  So armed with just two good sized apples and a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg I threw this recipe together. It is made with oil; I used canola and my dairy choice was whole milk but I am guessing you could use any sort of milk you like. The batter was kinda thin and that worried me but it thickened up as I compiled it in the 9×5 baking pan.

I used my stand mixer and several smaller bowls; one for the apples which are tossed with cinnamon sugar, a small bowl with brown sugar and cinnamon and a medium bowl with the flour and leavening agents in it.  Nothing tricky or complicated; dump and mix it together both in the stand bowl and then in the loaf pan: you layer it up with batter, then apples, then brown sugar/cinnamon mixture, do that another layer and then run a butter knife through it to swirl the cinnamon a bit.  My loaf baked the full 50 minutes and then I let it sit in the pan a while to cool and solidify.  I did make the glaze; not that much more sugar and it looks so pretty.

Yes there is just about ¾ cup of granulated sugar plus 1/3 cup brown sugar but it is a lovely fall treat and there isn’t much else to complain about; no butter or crisco and the chopped apples add a healthy touch. No one is going to whine when you serve up slices of homemade apple quick bread.  Great with a cup of coffee or tea.  Just do it!  Here is the link to the recipe.  Let me know how you like it.  http://betterbatter.org/fall-time-apple-bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread Mix Review

A good friend gave me a gluten free bread mix for Christmas, Bob’s Red Mill Cinnamon Raisin Yeast Bread.  I haven’t done many mixes for bread so it was a new experience. I made it the other week, it turned out great.  Very simple to create, not that much to add, water, two eggs and oil and beat it well, let it rise and bake the loaf.  Mine went together in a few minutes and I poured it into my tall sided 8 ½ x 4 inch bread pan and smoothed the top with a wet spatula. I let it rise the maximum; one hour.  Baked it and it rose nicely.  Cooled and sliced…very tasty.  This is not a sweet bread; rather low in sugar which can’t hurt and not overly cinnamoned, just enough.  I froze most of it sliced so it won’t spoil. I like to toast it after defrosting (my toaster has a defrost setting) and butter the hot bread.  It makes a very satisfying snack and goes well with breakfast choices like scrambled eggs or an omelet.

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lemon velvet pie 010lemon velvet pie 011Warning, this is not a traditionally sweet cinnamon raisin bread: seriously lowered sugar so I was put off a bit at first bite but once I adjusted my expectations I was pretty darn happy with it.  I think it would be awesome for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Maybe I will try that for lunch tomorrow.

If you can’t find it in your store (try Wegmans) you can shop for it on line: http://www.bobsredmill.com/shop/mixes.html

Happy baking!

French Apple Tart…ooh la la

This French apple tart is an old favorite of mine, been making it for years.  I have no idea where I got the original recipe from so I can’t give credit for it, I lost my copy and had to replicate it. Plus, I had to change it a bit to make it gluten free but it tastes just as good as before.  The cinnamon and lemon topping are what makes it so tasty.

It should be made with an apple that keeps its shape; Granny Smith is the best choice in that regard or Golden Delicious.  Don’t use one that goes all squishy like Empire or Macintosh.  You only need 3 large apples.  It should give you about 6-8 slices of tart. Lesser amount of slices if your family is piggy, the full eight slices if they are not big dessert eaters.french apple tart

I use my GF tart shell crust which is from Annalise Roberts’ book; Gluten-Free Baking Classics.  It is very easy; hand pressed into your tart pan.  I would say that this is a cookie crust; sweet and short, very yummy.

I rarely have any of this tart left over for more than 24 hours.  It is very popular with everyone.  I like it for how easy it is to make, how handsome it looks and that I can throw it together quickly with only 3 apples and a lemon. Sorry for the lack of photos.  Wasn’t thinking about pictures when I was making it…

French Apple Tart

Crust

1 cup brown rice flour mix

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. xanthan gum

5 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, in 5 chunks

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients in a stand mixer, cut in the butter by mixing it at a med low speed until crumbly.  Add vanilla and mix well.  If it is really dry looking add a tbsp. of water.  Press into the bottom and up the sides of your tart shell as evenly as you can make it.

For this recipe I always use an extra large 10 inch tart pan.  Mine is ceramic so it doesn’t have a removable bottom.   Bake it at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let it cool while you peel and slice the apples.

Filling

3 large Granny Smith apples; peeled and sliced – not thick or too thin

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. GF flour

Lay the apple slices in concentric circles in the tart pan over the crust. Mix the sugar and flour and sprinkle over the apples.  Cover loosely with foil and bake 25-30 minutes until the apples are soft if pricked with a fork.  Do not bake until they collapse; should still hold their shape.

While the tart is just finishing its baking make the topping.

Topping

In a small heavy sauce pan place

2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tbsp. cornstarch and mix them.

Add ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. lemon zest (grate the zest and then juice the lemon)

½ cup water

½ tsp. cinnamon

Cook over medium heat, stirring it constantly with a small whisk or a spoon, until it boils and seems thickened and is no longer opaque.  This should take less then five minutes.  Remove from heat and pour the hot gloppy topping carefully over the hot apple tart taking your time so you cover the entire surface of the apples.

Let cool before serving.

This tart is perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.  Don’t put it on top or it will not look so nice because of the French cinnamon topping. Or some plain organic yogurt goes well and is far healthier…just saying.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (this is the same as King Arthur’s gf all purpose blend)
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

Originally posted in September 2014.  I bake this tart quite often; it is definitely a go to tart at my house.

 

Sour Cream Cinnamon Cake

I am no longer a fan of the usual custom of the big fluffy iced birthday cake.  I have sure had some bad cake luck over the years, even when I COULD bake with regular flour!  So, I had a birthday cake to make this weekend and I went a different direction. I made a cinnamon walnut apple cake.  Used that recipe nearly three years ago, I wonder why it took so long to make it again.  Addictively flavored with cinnamon and chopped walnuts. The thin layer of apples adds moisture and a delicate touch of apple. Yumm!

It is from my favorite cookbook by Annalise Roberts; Gluten Free Baking Classics.  To be honest it is more of a coffee cake but oh what a sweet and luscious treat it is; I swear you could feed it to anyone and they would enjoy it.

Easy mixing up of dry ingredients, beat the eggs and sugar with electric mixer and combine all.  Layer it up with thin slivers of raw apple and the nut/sugar mix.  In all it has about a half cup less sugar than most birthday cakes and if you frost the cake you are adding a lot more calories than my simple glaze.  The cake is fine without glaze but I felt it added a lovely finish and great complexity to the flavors of this treat.

I didn’t take many pictures; my fingers were sticky with dough and I really had to just put the cake together; my assistant was only 4 years old and he was more important to me than taking pictures when I made this the other day. Next time I will take shots as I put it together and add them to this posting.

coffee cake 049

coffee cake 077

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

½ cup chopped walnuts

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 ½ cups sugar, divided

1 medium apple; peeled, cored and cut in 8 wedges and each in 8 slices.

2 cups brown rice flour mix

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. xanthan gum

½ tsp. salt

2 large eggs, room temp

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream, room temp

1/3 cup canola oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put rack in center of oven.  Spray a 9 inch tube pan with removable bottom with cooking spray.

Mix walnuts, cinnamon and half cup of the sugar in a small bowl.

Whisk rest of dry ingredients in a small bowl.

Beat eggs in the large bowl of an electric mixer until well blended; 2-3 minutes.  Add the rest of the sugar one tbsp. at a time beating well until creamy colored and fluffy. Add vanilla, sour cream, oil and flour mixture and then beat at low speed for 30 seconds, medium low if your mixer has a very low speed, should be well blended. Spread half that batter in the pan, top with apple bits and half the nut/sugar mix.  Spread rest of batter on top evenly; I plop small bits trying not to get too much in any one area. Cover with rest of sugar/walnut mixture. Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem even; it will rise and form into a cohesive cake.

Bake 50 minutes (Do NOT open until 45 min) until cake tester comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a cake rack for 20 minutes.  Cut down with a thin bread knife around the outside and the center tube and remove from pan; cool completely before slicing underneath to release the cake from the tube.

I made a simple glaze to drizzle over the top; 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 2-3 tbsp. cream or milk.  Add the vanilla and 2 tbsp of milk; add more milk to thin it to the consistency that will allow you to drizzle from a spoon onto the cake.  Slice with a bread knife for perfect serving of this yummy treat.

Brown Rice Flour Mix base mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Moravian Spice Cookies for Christmas Celebrating

We all long for things familiar, things remembered from our childhood. Especially when it comes to cookies. In my family the holidays were framed by a huge array of fancy cookies, no chocolate chips or peanut butters for my relatives but we had spritz, springerly, butter horns, almond crescents, Russian tea cakes, candy cane cookies, and sugar cookies rolled, cut into Christmas shapes like trees, bells, stars or reindeer and sprinkled with fancy colored sugars. So going gluten free meant finding ways to re-create the special cookies I loved. My first effort was the Russian tea cakes and the results were heartrendingly delicious. Last year I made spritz cookies and they were a big hit. This year I have a new cookbook by Annalise Roberts, “The Heirloom Collection” and so far nothing has disappointed. If you like to bake gf it is a must purchase, not just for cookies but tarts and lots of other tasty treats.

Today I bring you her Moravian Spice Cookies. I chose them for many reasons – the memories of spicy cookies being foremost. I am blogging this recipe for a friend who avoids chocolate as well as gluten: makes it hard to find great cookies. I think you will love this cookie for its flavor and crisp texture. I live not far from Bethlehem which is the home base for the Moravian Church.  You can buy these cookies in the Moravian Book Shop but not gluten free.  So now those who can’t eat gluten can have them to enjoy this holiday season.  xmas cookies 007xmas cookies 005

You can cut them out in shapes but I found I liked to mostly make diamonds using a sharp knife. I did do some hearts and ornament shapes but it was tough going to get them off the wax paper and onto the baking sheet without distorting their original shape. You can take her advice and chill them further to facilitate the moving process.  I do love them any shape they are!

 

Moravian Spice Cookies

1 1/4 cup brown rice blend (recipe below)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
¾ tsp. xanthan gum
¼ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. butter or vegetable shortening (room temp)
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses

Directions: First combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl; mix well.
Beat shortening, brown sugar and molasses in your big mixer bowl until smooth, add flour mixture and blend until well combined. Shape dough into two disks, chill about 30 minutes, lay between two sheets of wax paper, roll into a very thin (1/8 inch thick) sheet. Cut into 2 inch or less shapes, move with spatula onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If they are sticky and hard to lift up return the sheet to the freezer for a few minutes until they are stiff enough to move. Bake at 325 degrees for 8-11 minutes. Make sure they are fully baked or they won’t be crisp. Leave on the cookie sheet a minute before moving to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight cookie jar or tin.

Spicy and crisp. Great with a cup of coffee or tea! Annalise says you can reduce the spices for less zing; 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, ¾ tsp. ginger and ½ or less of cloves.
Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur GF flour)
2 c brown rice flour
2/3 c potato starch
1/3 c tapioca flour

French Apple Tart: Ooh La La!

Fresh ripe apples are everywhere from supermarkets to the farmer’s markets and orchard stores. This French apple tart is an old favorite of mine, been making it for years. I have no idea where I got the original recipe from so I can’t give credit for it, I lost my copy and had to replicate it. Plus, I had to change it a bit to make it gluten free but it tastes just as good as before. The cinnamon and lemon topping are what makes it so tasty.

applesIt should be made with an apple that keeps its shape; Granny Smith is the best choice in that regard. But Golden Delicious also works fine. Don’t use one that goes all squishy like Empire or Macintosh. You only need 3 large apples or 4 small ones. It should give you about 6-8 slices of tart. Lesser amount of slices if your family is piggy, the full eight slices if they are not big dessert eaters.

french apple tart

I use my favorite GF tart shell crust which is from Annalise Roberts’ book; Gluten-Free Baking Classics. It is very easy; hand pressed into your tart pan. I would say that this is a cookie crust; sweet, buttery and shortbread in texture, very yummy.

I rarely have any of this tart left over for more than 24 hours. It is very popular with everyone. I like it for how easy it is to make, how handsome it looks and that I can throw it together quickly with only 3 apples and a lemon.

apple tart 001

Crust
1 cup brown rice flour mix
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. xanthan gum
5 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, in 5 chunks
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients in a stand mixer, cut in the butter by mixing it at a med low speed until crumbly. Add vanilla and mix well. If it is really dry looking add a tbsp. of water. I don’t often do that; when you press it lightly in the pan it does stick together enough. Press (not too hard) into the bottom and up the sides of your tart shell as evenly as you can make it.  Too hard and it gets a bit concrete-like in hardness.

For this recipe I use an extra large 10 inch tart pan. Mine is ceramic so it doesn’t have a removable bottom. Bake it at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. If you have a bottom heat oven like I do you can skip that step.

Filling
3 large Granny Smith apples; peeled, cored and sliced – not thick or too thin. If small use 4 and cut them each into eight slices
2-3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. GF flour

Lay the apple slices in concentric circles in the tart pan over the crust. Mix the sugar and flour and sprinkle over the apples. Cover loosely with foil and bake 25-35 minutes until the apples are soft if pricked with a fork. Do not bake until they collapse; should still hold their shape.

While the tart is just finishing its baking make the topping.

Topping
In a small heavy sauce pan place
2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tbsp. cornstarch and mix them.
Add ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest (grate the zest and then juice the lemon)
½ cup water
½ tsp. cinnamon
Cook over medium heat, stirring it constantly with a small whisk or a spoon, until it boils and seems thickened and is no longer opaque. This should take less then five minutes. Remove from heat and pour the hot gloppy topping carefully over the hot apple tart taking your time so you cover pretty much the entire surface of the apples.

Let cool before serving.

This tart is perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. Don’t put it on top or it will not look so nice because of the French cinnamon topping.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (for the crust) FYI: this is the same as King Arthur’s gf blend.
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)
2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour!
1/3 c tapioca flour

Originally published in this blog in September 2014.  It is such a great recipe I knew I wanted to share it again this fall.