Christmas Stollen, 2.0….Even Better!

Gluten-Free Holiday Stollen Yield: two 10″ loaves

The classic Christmas stollen dough is made with yeast. This quicker, easier gluten-free version, made with baking powder as the rising agent, is even tastier in my humble opinion. Filled with dried fruit and toasted almonds, and covered with a layer of melted butter and powdered sugar, this pastry is delicious with a cup of coffee or tea. Great choice for when company is coming as it isn’t that much work or time needed to create this masterpiece. Everyone will think  you slaved all day to bake it. No need to tell them how easy it is! If you are searching for the perfect gluten free holiday treat; look no further. I cannot say enough good things about this treat. It is loved by all and that second loaf makes a wonderful gift.

I made it 2 years ago, lost the recipe; had to get it again from the King Arthur Flour’s web site customer service center as they have removed it from their recipe rotation. They said it needs some tweaking. I disagree, it is just delectable. My family adores it and will do nefarious things to get more stollen at Christmastime.

It is far easier made without yeast and I frankly don’t miss it like I thought I would. This dough is very tender and flavorful. You could use orange rind instead of lemon rind and the dried fruit selection is entirely up to your tastes or your pantry. I am looking forward to enjoying stollen in a couple of weeks. One more good thing; it doesn’t require aging like a fruit cake. As soon as it cools you can cut a fat piece and enjoy a slice of heaven on earth!

Adding the butter
Butter is now integrated into dough using pastry cutter

Dough

2 1/4 cups King Arthur basic blend Gluten-Free Flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt*

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter

3/4 cup ricotta cheese, part-skim milk type

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Grated rind of 1 small lemon; or 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil, or 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup of your favorite dried fruits, chopped to 1/2″ pieces (I do apricots, dried cherries, currents, raisins or dried peaches/pears)

1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted and cooled

—————

*Reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon if you use salted butter.

dried fruit and citrus zest

Topping

the dried fruit is mixed in!

Adding the toasted almonds
Adding the wet mixture into the dry dough
formed stollen ready to bake
baked and powdered
More powdered sugar sprinkled on using a sieve

4 tablespoons butter, melted

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with

parchment.

2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum in a mixing bowl.

3. Cut the cold butter into small chunks, then blend it into the flour mixture to form uneven crumbs.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the cheese, eggs, vanilla, and flavors.

5. Toss the fruit and almonds with the flour mixture until evenly distributed. Then combine the wet and dry ingredients, mixing until most of the flour is

moistened.

6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead it two or three times, until it holds together. Divide it in half.

7. Pat each piece of dough into an 8″ x 7″ oval about 1/2″ thick.

8. Fold each piece of dough roughly in half, leaving the edge of the top half about 1/2″ short of the edge of the bottom half. Should you fold the long way, or the short way? The long way will give you a longer, narrower stollen, with shorter slices; folding the short way will give you a wider, fatter stollen, with longer slices.  I do the long way, your choice.

9. Use the edge of your hand to press the dough to seal about 1″ in back of the open edge; this will make the traditional stollen shape. It’s also the familiar Parker House roll shape, if you’ve ever made them. The dough will probably crack; that’s OK, just smooth it out as best you can.

10. Carefully place the shaped stollen on the prepared baking sheet.

11. Bake the stollen until they’re very lightly browned around the edges and on top, about 40 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean.

12. Remove the stollen from the oven, and transfer them to a rack. Brush them each with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle heavily with confectioners’ sugar.

13. Allow the stollen to cool, then brush with butter again, and sprinkle with sugar again. Wrap in plastic wrap until ready to serve; serve within a week. If desired, sprinkle with additional sugar just before serving.

14. Yield: two 1-pound stollen loaves. I like to freeze one for another occasion if I am not gifting it right away. Enjoy!

Trader Joe’s Mandarin Oranges

Trader Joe's Dried Fruit SOFT & JUICY MANDARINS Dried Orange Fruit 4 6 OZ  BAGS | Dried fruit, Dried oranges, Orange fruit
So yummy!

A few weeks ago, I got to shop at a Trader Joe’s and I discovered a delightful and relatively healthy treat; dried mandarin orange sections.140 calories for 12 pieces. Sweet and tangy. Delightful and I love that I can eat just one or two sections for a tiny treat. Hard to eat half a muffin, half an orange or just a few tortilla chips…. Too bad they are all gone. I live over an hour away from the nearest Trader Joe’s. Longing for the day the move into my area. We are a large population center in Pennsylvania. Kinda mystifying why we don’t have one…. come on Trader Joe’s!! We NEED you here in the Lehigh Valley ASAP, for nothing else, for my addiction to these tangy tasty crescents of citrus flavor.

Fruity Scones – GF and Delightful!

Scones are a guilty pleasure; full of butter and what ever yummies you folded in. My friend Josh was stopping by and I wanted to make a treat for us. Scones aren’t generally something I make just for me. So these were a special delight in the late afternoon. The recipe was new to me and came off the King Arthur Flour website. It is super easy and definitely a keeper.  https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-scones-recipe

Use whatever drop ins you want; I used a mixture of dried berries and cherries, plus some dried cranberries and a good sprinkle of currants.  Plus some orange zest and a touch of lemon extract.  Go with flavors you like and dried fruit/nuts in your cupboard.  I made 10 smaller ones but the original recipe was 8 big fat ones. You will surely impress anyone eating these scones.

scones

The rear one is more of a wedge shape. The others were made in an old tin muffin pan; great browning in that pan….

Fruity Scones –

makes 8 big ones or 10 smaller scones

Ingredients

1 ¾ cup King Arthur Basic All Around gf blend (the mix I use all the time)

¼ cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. xanthan gum

½ tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. nutmeg (skimpy)

Sprinkle cinnamon

1 stick cold butter

Grated zest of one small orange

¾ cup of dried fruit; cut into ½ inch dice. I used mixed berries/cherries, currants and dried cranberries; go with any mixture you have

1/3 cup whole milk

2 large eggs

½ tsp.  lemon extract or 1 tsp. Vanilla

Directions: Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, I used my stand mixer. By hand is do-able. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 10 muffin cups or a sectioned scone pan or a baking sheet.

Cut stick of butter into about 10 thin slices, blend into flour mixture. (You can use a pastry cutter to blend in the butter or even a butter knife but the stand mixer is super quick and easy.)  Grate the orange rind into the blend. Blend in the dried fruit briefly. In a small bowl mix milk, eggs and extract.  Pour into the dry mixture and blend briefly; get all dry stuff mixed in. Do not over mix. Using a big serving spoon just blop big chunks of the dough into the sectioned scone pan or muffin cups or onto baking sheet; if you do the sheet you could shape them into the traditional wedge shape. [The original recipe says to let them rest 15 minutes at this  point… before baking; forgot to do this; next time!] Sprinkle with coarse finishing sugar if you like and I do. About a tablespoon is plenty to spread around. Bake 15-20 minutes until light brown. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Butter can be applied (a certain friend seemed to enjoy that embellishment!) but I found them rich enough all alone.  Enjoy!

Christmas Stollen – Even Better

I am very traditional about certain things and stollen for Christmas is one of them. I made it a couple of years ago but wasn’t that impressed with the gf version I chose. This December I made it from a recipe on King Arthur’s website and it was so easy and so very delish I just had to share it right away with you. My mom and I had some together this afternoon and I marveled at how perfect it was, you would never guess it is gluten free. It is made without a mixer, just a whisk, a pastry cutter, a big spoon and a bread board to knead it briefly. The recipe is found at: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-holiday-stollen-recipe. It uses their basic all purpose blend, does have eggs and butter and some ricotta cheese. No fancy techniques. Sort of almost a quick bread that looks like you were baking all day. Tastes like Christmas should taste!

I made a few changes; I didn’t have the butter flavor additive. I added 1/4 tsp lemon extract to up the lemon flavor that came from the zest of an entire good sized Meyer lemon.  I added 2 more Tbsp. of ricotta cheese. I used full fat and maybe that altered things but it was a bit dry so I added as I mixed it up and kneaded it. I shaped each half into an oval about the size the recipe says and I folded it the short way so it was chubby and appealing; I used to do it the long way; like it much better like this.  Makes  nicer slices and fits on my big sheet pan much easier.

stollen fruit

 

My dried fruit inside was tuned up by 1 Tbsp. of brandy that soaked right in.  I only did the butter brushing after baking once. Did sift powdered sugar then and after it was mostly cooled.  My dried fruit mix was 1/2 cup golden raisins, and 1/2 cup of currants, chopped dried apricots and a cherry and berry dried blend. I started the oven heating and toasted my almonds as it got hot; put them outside in the cold for 2-3 minutes to cool before adding to the mix.  stollen wet ingreds

I baked this about 8 extra minutes as it just wasn’t brown; don’t be afraid to do that if something looks too pale or underdone; far better to be a tad crunchy than saggy underbaked dough insides. stollen ready to bake

This was easy; no yeast to deal with. The only special tool I recommend is a pastry cutter; it has several blades and cuts the butter into smaller and smaller bits which is what gives this bread pastry its flaky tenderness. You could use a butter knife instead; will just take longer. stollen baked

This is the Christmas bread of my dreams. Don’t be afraid; you can make this my friends! Enjoy the holidays and Merry Christmas! stollen sliced

Awesome Instant Oatmeal….GF of Course

Chilly nights are here….snow may be on the way. Yes, that sounds awful but it is the sad truth about fall…it means wintery cold is not far off. The freezing weather we are about to be hit with got me thinking about making more warm breakfasts. Last week I bought a bag of quick GF oatmeal at the health food store.  It was pretty tasty and only took a few minutes to cook up. It got me thinking that maybe I could make my own version which could be cheaper and easily varied from batch to batch.  I looked around on some sites and cookbooks. I found a recipe by the queen of entertaining, she who spent a few weeks in the big house.  No names here! All I had to do was use gluten free oats which are available at Frey’s Better Foods, at Giant and at Wegman’s grocery store.   I added a bit more cinnamon to my version.

rolled oats

There was a bit of prep work; the oats need to be toasted for 15 minutes which gives them a lot more flavor than the ancient grains version I had purchased.  A sheet pan is perfect for this toasting.  Just keep an eye on it for the last few minutes to make sure nothing gets too brown.

2014 november oatmeal 009

I put some dried cranberries and golden raisins in my version.  Other options could be chopped dried fruits like apricots or apples, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, or any sort of nut you like. I think a combo of two items is really a great idea.  Like some fruit and some nuts.  I also topped mine, once it was cooked, with some hemp seeds which are nutty and kinda like sesame seeds.

The oats were coarsely ground in my small food processor in two batches. If you use a big one you could probably do it in one batch.

2014 november oatmeal 010 I poured the chopped oats into a storage jar with a tight lid and added the sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Then I poured in the toppings.  Easy and it only takes a few minutes to make it in the morning.

Instant GF Cinnamon Oatmeal

INGREDIENTS

2 cups old-fashioned gluten free rolled oats

2 tbsp.  light brown sugar

½ teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread oats on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until lightly toasted but not browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Pulse oats in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Mix sugar, salt, and cinnamon, or more to your taste into the oats as well as half to 2/3 cup of a combination of add-ins (see suggestions below), before storing in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  Or freeze it to keep even longer.

Additions: dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, walnut chunks, pecan bits, raisins, dried apricots cut into small bits, cut up medool dates, currants, dried blueberries or cherries, flax seeds, hemp seed hearts: any small seed or dried fruit would be awesome!

2014 november oatmeal 011

To make: heat 2/3 cup of water, lightly salted, to the boil.  Stir in a heaping 1/3 cup of the oatmeal mixture. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring a couple times. Cover and let stand 2-3 more minutes before scooping the hot cereal into a bowl.  It is already sweet enough for my taste but you can add more brown sugar or some honey to the dish. A fresh topping would be a great addition of nutrients and even more flavor.  Sliced banana, some blueberries or sliced ripe pear and you are about to enjoy a fairly inexpensive yet healthy gluten free hot breakfast that only took 2 minutes to cook.

Note: I like this better than the GF Ancient Grains version; tastes fresher and toastier and has a great oaty flavor.  About to make a new batch; I have been enjoying it a lot on cold mornings.  I love how fast I can make it; my regular oatmeal takes 8 minutes plus the time to get the pot of water to a boil.  Two minutes is an oatmeal revolution!