GF Flour Choices and a Few Personal Words….

Wanna know what flour blends I favor? It took me a few months or maybe years to figure this out for my cooking style. First, I bought a zillion weird and a few typical gf flours. Tried to bake with each and every one of them. Found out a few kinda suck and stopped using them. Others are used infrequently but have real value for a few recipes that they match to. If you are new to gluten free or just trying to get into baking gf this post is for you.

My favorite blend is King Arthur’s Gluten Free All-Purpose blend; made of three flours; brown rice, potato starch and tapioca flour. It is versatile. It makes great pie crust that my family really loves. I use it in most of my muffin recipes. I use it for gf pasta making and for cookies that wow.  Get some and give it a try. I actually make my own blend (same exact blend as KA’s basic all-purpose flour) as it is cheaper but you can buy it at your local grocery store in a  box.

 

king arthur flour

Another blend I like very much is Better Batter, the copycat version you can find on glutenfreeonashoestring. I make a batch and keep it in the freezer so it stays fresh. Great for quick breads, desserts and pastries.

If you want a cup for cup replacement flour there are some good options; Cup 4 Cup or King Arthur’s Measure for Measure flour.  They can be used in your favorite recipes for the most part.

king arthur flour

white rice flour

White rice flour or cornstarch work well for breading things and thickening. I always keep both on hand. Ditto for tapioca flour which I use in my blends and some other recipes. Gotta have it available. I also keep sweet rice flour to use in my main blend and in a few recipes. It adds flakiness in my pie crust. Potato starch is great in my basic blend and a few other blends/recipes. Another must have.

I use sorgum flour in a number of recipes including my delish buttermilk pancakes. It has a nice flavor compared to things like quinoa flour or bean flours. Uggh on them! I still have some in my freezer but I NEVER willingly use them. I do have some chickpea flour but rarely have a need for it.

Occasionally I use teff flour; in small amounts. It makes breads darken and seem like rye or pumpernickel breads.   But, it can give a muddy flavor if you use too much. Coconut flour is another flour I keep in the freezer but only use occasionally.  It can dry out a recipe if you use too much so  use sparingly.

I just got some cassava flour to use to make flour tortillas.  I hear it is fantastic.  I’ll let you know how that goes…

My suggestion is that you start with one or two blends and a couple single flours that can be used in combination. I rarely ever use just one flour except for breading or thickening. A great blend is critical.

Don’t let all the flour choices discourage you.  Try a few and find out what works for you. Some need to be frozen or refrigerated especially if you don’t use them up rapidly; check for that storage information so your flour blend that costs a lot doesn’t get rancid on you.  Have fun!

A personal note. I am sorry I haven’t blogged much lately. Been struggling somewhat. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July and had a partial mastectomy in early August. On the first of October I started radiation therapy and it has sucked my energy and focus away from most of my enjoyable hobbies including this blog. I hope to feel better soon; 3.5 more weeks to go! At least I won’t lose my hair, LOL! I have done a bit of baking and cooking but due to my low energy I seldom can find it in me to write. This will change in November I hope.  Peace and happy gf cooking!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins With a Surprise Inside!

A few years ago I combined my chocolate chip muffins with my classic banana nut muffins to create a lovely sweet snack.  When I made a batch of them yesterday I decided to move the streusel from the top to the insides of each muffin because so often bits of the topping can come off especially after they have been frozen. I thought that this way it is safely trapped inside the muffin for a sweet surprise.

Success: they are perfect in texture, moisture and totally yummy with that bit of streusel filling that goes so well with the chocolate chips.  I left out my usual half cup of chopped walnuts; add some if you like…I was out of walnuts and wanted to keep it a bit simpler.

 

I don’t include a picture of the inside of a muffin as it really doesn’t photograph the filling very much; just bite into one and you will know it is there.

muffins, stuffed big pix

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

2 cups brown rice flour mix (see below)

2/3 c granulated sugar or coconut palm sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 to 1 c packed ripe mashed banana

¼ cup mini chocolate chips and ¼ cup dark chocolate chips (or any combo of chips that adds up to 1/2 cup total)

2 lg eggs beaten

½ c milk plus 2 tbsp extra if you use coconut sugar, 1 or 2 percent

½ c canola oil

————————————-

Filling

½ cup old fashioned oats

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. hemp hearts or almond flour (I used hemp hearts this time; awesome!)

½ tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. butter

Mix filling dry ingredients, rub butter in with your fingertips.

——————————–

Muffin directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees, placing the rack in middle of oven.  Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.  One batch makes about 14 or 15 muffins.

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

Add bananas; stir to coat them with dry mix, then add the chocolate and stir briefly.

Combine milk and oil.  Add liquids and the two eggs to bowl. Stir on low until well blended.

Fill muffin pans 1/3 full.  Sprinkle with filling and top with another glop of batter to fill the pan about 2/3 to 3/4 full.  It doesn’t have to look perfect; the batter will rise and swallow up the streusel into the heart of the muffin.  I had a bit of filling left over so I sprinkled it on top of half the muffins. That looked great too!

Bake 20-22 min until golden brown. Do not overbake or they get dry.  Remove from oven and let cool 5-6 min before gently turning them out from the pans to cool on a rack. I use a butter knife to release them by running it around the edge once before tipping them out. They freeze well for up to 3 weeks.  They keep in my ceramic muffin/cookie jar for a few days.   muffins, stuffed, baked

Brown Rice Flour Mix   *same as King Arthur’s GF flour blend
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Note: This muffin recipe is my third generation version of the banana muffins from Annalise Roberts’s wonderful cookbook: Gluten Free Baking Classics.

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart….Crazy Good

 

Six years ago I made this dark chocolate tart and we ate it around a bonfire. Someone had the bright idea of putting toasted marshmallows on their slice.   This Friday I made the same tart but gluten free and we tried something different to top our slices with; amazing local made blackberry ice cream, delish vanilla ice cream and fresh organic homegrown raspberries.  My slice of tart was silky smooth, very dark and gone far too fast. We all had seconds, but I was able to save some for Joe and I to enjoy Saturday.  It was a big hit with all of the chocoholics there so here is the recipe.

Notes: I did run short on the 60% bittersweet Ghirardelli and used one ounce of semi-sweet to get the correct amount; it worked perfectly. Just take your time melting the mixture; I used the lowest heat possible and stirred it frequently. This is a keeper if you love dark chocolate. I am guessing it could be made with semi-sweet chocolate.  Drop me a note if you try that! I’m always interested to hear how a recipe works out.

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart

Crust

1 cup gf flour (recipe below)

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

5 tbsp. butter cut into 5 pieces

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. water

Mix all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the butter pieces and blend until they are tiny crumbs.  Then add the vanilla and 1 to 2 tsp. water and blend.  It should be thick crumbs.

Spray a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking oil and then sprinkle with some gf flour; shake to coat.  Dump the crumbs of the crust evenly all over the tart pan bottom and press in with your fingers to make a fairly even crust, be sure to push some up the short sides of the pan so it is to the top of the metal and not too thick near the edges.

Bake at 350 for 11 or 12 minutes.  I did 12 minutes. Let cool while you make the filling.

Image

Filling Ingredients

¾ cup heavy cream

1/3 cup whole milk

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, I like Ghirardelli.  Break into small squares/pieces.

1 large egg slightly beaten

Put the milk, heavy cream and chocolate in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat on low to heat; stir often until chocolate is melted.  Remove from heat, whisk well to fully blend and cool a few minutes.

Add the beaten egg, blend well.  Pour into the tart pan and bake at 375 for 15 minutes.  Yeap; 15 minutes; no more than 16 tops. It is a thin chocolate custard and you want it barely solid. It will continue to cook for a number of minutes so stop worrying it is underdone; trust me it isn’t!  Serve at room temperature topped with toasted marshmallows or ice cream. The contrast between the vanilla ice cream highlights the smooth dark delish of the tart. SO memorable.  I had some cold the next day; nice but honestly it is incredible when it is room temperature; the texture is perfection. Enjoy! slice choco tart with icecream

Brown Rice Flour Recipe (same as King Arthur Basic GF Flour)

Ingredients

–         1 c brown rice flour –

–         1/3 c potato starch (not potato flour)-

–          3 tbsp tapioca flour

Directions

Mix all the flours in a jar or bag

Image

This tart is best eaten warm with two or three toasted marshmallows pressed onto the top.  Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream is also yummy.  This picture was taken in total darkness with an i-phone and the owner of this slice of tart was ticked off that her marshmallows cooled while the shot was made so she toasted up two more marshmallows and had all four on her slice of tart.  This dessert is seriously delicious and really easy to make. If you love dark chocolate this is a must recipe for your repertoire.  It can easily be made by you wheat eaters; just use your favorite cookie tart crust recipe.  The filling will be the same.  Now, go get some good chocolate and make your own tart and don’t eat the whole thing yourself; share it with someone you love!

Originally posted in 2014. Silly of me not to repost sooner as it is AMAZING!

Fall Plum Tart

I love juicy ripe plums eaten out of hand but seldom bake with them.  This is one of the only recipes I bake using blue plums; these are those oval plums, sometimes called prune or Stanley plums that are only available for a few weeks in the early fall.  They are inexpensive, not too sweet and they get soft and purpley delish in this simple tart.  It is modeled after a German fruit tart I had enjoyed in my wheat loving past life.  I think my version replicates it quite well although mine is a tad more cakey….not a bad thing either!  I posted this last year but wanted to share it again. This time I found smaller Stanley plums and tried them instead of the big ones used last year. They were great so you can definitely go with either size of oval plum.  I think you could make it with round plums but I do think the oval ones have more flavor and are more suited to baking than round purple plums.

I use my favorite homemade cobbler mix which makes this really simple.  I will put the mix recipe down at the end of this post.  I keep it in my freezer and one cup makes great cobbler or works as this tart base.

A few instructions to assist you if you make this tart: I cut up the plums first and sprinkle them with sugar, let them stand while I mix the dry stuff up and then stir up the wet items in a small mixing bowl.  If you want it lower in sugar just leave off that sprinkle here; it will still taste great.

Be sure to use a 10 inch tart pan; if you made the tart in a 9 inch one it may well spill over and burn on the bottom of your oven which is never a good thing. You could also use a 9-10 inch pie pan as a baking dish.

plum tart 2017

We like it with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. It is fine unadorned. Makes a great breakfast too with a cup of coffee or tea.

 

Fall Plum Tart

1 cup cobbler dry mix; recipe below

¼ c sugar – mix these together

—-

2 eggs

3 Tbsp. buttermilk

2 Tbsp. melted butter

1/2  tsp. vanilla

1/2  tsp. almond extract

————-

1 ½ lbs prune plums (enough to cover the entire tart pan) cut in halves or quarters. I used 9 large ones for this most recent tart.

Mix them with 2 tbsp sugar

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix two dry ingredients in a small bowl.

Spray a 10 in deep tart pan with cooking spray, could use a 9-10 inch pie pan as a substitute baking dish.

Beat eggs in medium bowl, add rest of wet ingredients, mix well, add to dry ingredients, stir the batter briefly to fully blend.  Pour into the prepared pan and spread it out with a flexible spatula.  It often just spread great if you tilt the pan a bit – the batter will spread all on its own. Top with plums, cut side up, push each in slightly into the batter and cover the entire surface of tart base. Sometimes I cut up a few plums and fit the chunks in around the halves but this time I didn’t; works either way.

Bake 25-30 min.  Top with mixture of 1 ½ tsp sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon

Bake 3-5 more minutes or until top looks done.

Cool somewhat before slicing/serving.

 

Dry Cobbler Mix

2 ¼ cups white rice flour

½ cup potato starch

½ cup tapioca flour

1 tsp. baking soda

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/3 cup sugar

 

Re-posted from my blog, originally October 2014, minor changes to text and cooking time in recipe.

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.

 

Blueberry Cheese Tart

In search of a dessert that used up a crust I had in the freezer, and some blueberries in the fridge. Just needed the ricotta cheese. I added some lemon extract and zest to the filling because I love lemon and blueberry together.

I used a long rectangular pan to create mine but you can use a round one if that is what you have. I just enjoy the rectangular pan as I can cut it across into bars; easy to eat with fingers if you cut your bar in half to make two squares. Plus it looks awesome…. blueberry ricotta tart

 

This time I used a redi-made gf pie crust my sister had bought; it made two crusts and she only used one so we froze it; thawed it for this tart and it worked great; similar texture to my standard gf pie crust. Or use the cookie crust below. Yeap; that’s a bit of extra custard I baked with blueberries; it was really tasty even minus a crust.

Notes; you can leave out the lemon extract if you don’t want that flavor. I use King Arthur’s basic gf flour blend when I make a homemade crust, the one that is just flours, no xanthan in it. I used blueberries but I am sure you could make this with raspberries or a mixture of the two.

The ricotta was in a 15 ounce container so I have a little leftover. Might make a tiny bit of dip for crackers. Or maybe an egg custard for breakfast tomorrow…hmmm.

Ricotta Blueberry TartCookie crust:

1 cup brown rice blend

1 tsp. xanthan gum

¼ cup sugar

5 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 10 pieces or more

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1-2 tsp. water

Mix the dry ingredients in stand mixer bowl.  Add the butter, mix until fine like sand.  Add extract and water. Blend briefly.  Spray pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle in the mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Press lightly in with your hands. DO not press too hard or it becomes way too firm.

 

Or, roll out that glutino crust and fit into your pan; trim off extra crust. Fill.

Filling:

12 ounces of ricotta cheese, whole milk is best but any will do.

3 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. lemon extract

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Pinch sea salt

1 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tsp. lemon rind grated

Mix ricotta with eggs and rest of ingredients except fruit; can use same bowl with your stand mixer.  Carefully pour into the tart crust. Top with the berries. If you have too much liquid filling as I did: pour rest into a small low casserole and top with ¼  cup more of the berries; bake that small pan about 25-30 minutes. Bonus treat!

Bake tart 50 min at 375 degrees. It should be fairly firm in the center.  Let cool before slicing.  You can sprinkle it with powdered sugar if desired. I was so eager to try it I totally forgot to do this! Enjoy.

GF Flour blend (if you want to make it yourself)

2 cups brown rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch

1/3 cup tapioca starch

Rhubarb Peach Pie, Yeap…It’s Doable!

 

Generally, my rhubarb is done long before I see fresh peaches in my neck of the woods. Not that I actually live in the woods. Just happen to like that idiom and it fits.  I think the peaches I bought at Bechdolt’s Orchard were imported from the Carolinas and it is the end of picking my rhubarb but they came together beautifully in this lush pie.  I was kinda curious how these two fruits would taste in one pie: in one phrase: lush and delicate. It is a version of my rhubarb custard pie.

It goes together rather quickly especially if you have a stand mixer and had leftover crumbs in the fridge as I did. Suggest you use a  potato peeler to cut the skin off the peaches and sliced them on the thin side. Saves the effort of hot water bath poaching which is kinda hot; you will only need 3-4 peaches depending on their size.

This pie is for all the pie lovers who love a fat slice of juicy homemade pie!

Rhubarb Peach Custard Pie

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 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions:

Mix dry crust ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and lemon juice.  Mix briefly 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.  Then roll out and put on the parchment lined pan; put back in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

4 cups chopped rhubarb (use 3 if your pan is 9 inch)

2 cups fresh peaches, sliced and sprinkled with 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2/3 cup sugar

¼ cup tapioca flour

¼ tsp. cinnamon

Sprinkle nutmeg

Zest of ½ a lemon, optional

Mix all dry ingredients; pour over fruit and stir up and pour carefully into crust that you rolled out and placed into a 9 or 10 inch pie pan.   Top with the following custard mixture you beat in a small mixing bowl:

2 eggs. 1/3 cup whole milk, ¼ tsp. almond extract.

Then top with crumbs:

In stand mixer: ¾ cup brown rice flour mix, ½ cup sugar, ½ tsp. xanthan gum and 1/3 cup cold butter cut into six chunks. Mix until the butter is in fine crumbs well blended with the dry ingredients. I use about half a batch of crumbs on top of my crumb pies; you can use as much or as little as you like. Don’t press on them; just lightly sprinkle over top of fruit mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 55 to 60 minutes; should be bubbling and lightly browned. Let cool and set for at least 2 hours before cutting.

rhubarb peach pie just out of oven

rhubarb peach pie sliceBrown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur basic gf blend you can buy at Giant)

2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch – not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

The crust recipe is from Annalise Roberts great cookbook, GF Baking Classics, Second Edition.