Gluten-Free Rum Balls (or Easter Eggs!)

These rum balls, while traditionally made around the holidays, are a perfect “adult” treat for Easter – if you’re feeling particularly grown-up you could even dip them in dark chocolate. This recipe is easily adaptable if rum isn’t your thing, though coconut rum sounds perfect for Easter!

 ~* Gluten-Free Rum Balls *~

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan

A food processor is the quick way to go here, but if you don’t have one you could try crushing the  cookies/nuts with a mallet.

Best made a couple days in advance

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free wafers (or other crisp gf cookie)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup powdered  sugar, plus sugar for coating
  • 1/3 cup rum (spiced, coconut, etc.)

I doubled the recipe, hence 2 cups of crumbs

Begin by pulsing cookies (I used GF animal crackers in a pinch, though I think there are better alternatives out there) into large crumbs – make sure you do not crush them too finely! I made this mistake initially and it made for a very gooey rum ball that wouldn’t firm up until I added extra powdered sugar. You want large crumbs, not flour. Same goes for the walnuts – if you even just chop them with a knife that works too.

Once your cookies and walnuts are ready, assemble them in a separate bowl (again, if you process everything together it’s quicker but you run the risk of chopping everything too finely); add powdered sugar.

Pour in corn syrup, and slowly mix in rum, taking care that the mixture does not become too wet or sticky. (Conversely, if it’s too dry you can add more rum.) Using a teaspoon or small ice cream scoop, form the batter into small balls and roll in powdered sugar. Let sit on parchment paper to set. If you’re having trouble working with the dough, set it in the fridge until if firms up a bit.

Place rum balls in a parchment-lined cookie tin or container and – here’s the hard part – let sit for a few days for the best flavor. If you like a very firm rum ball, you can keep them in the fridge, though honestly they get better with time if they sit out on the counter.

How many is too many? Up to you!

If you’re making Easter eggs, roll balls into egg-shapes and decorate with chocolate. You can also add cocoa powder for extra chocolate flavor!


I’m getting excited…

… Because blackberry season is upon us!

One of the perks of living in the “country” part of Sonoma county is that the five acres I live on is more or less covered with blackberry bushes. And let me tell you, they are not easy to get rid of; they basically devour everything in their path.

Throughout the years my family has tried to mow them, trim them, poison them, and salt them, but the bushes just won’t quit. And quite frankly, I’m grateful for their insistence, because I love me a blackberry pie something fierce.

Towards the end of July they ripen so quickly  that I can hardly get to most of them before they begin to melt in the summer sun – and of course the best ones always seem out of reach. But rest assured, there will be pie. And other blackberry goodness.

I. Can’t. Wait. 

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Happy (Gluten-Free) Easter to All!

Happy Easter!

Whether you’re religious or not, Easter is a wonderful excuse to consume delicious gluten-free fare.

On the menu today?

  • Baked herb-salmon with roasted red potatoes, sautéed asparagus and yellow squash.  
  • And for dessert, wonderful Gluten-Free Coconut Cake!

 

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I know that salmon is traditionally a Good Friday dish, but I’ve never been a fan of lamb, or duck, or ham. I like roast beef, but that’s a bit too much work, and it feels rather heavy for such a springy holiday. And since I’m cooking this year, salmon it is!

And did you notice that 75% of the meal was baked in the oven? It makes everything so much easier when you have people over; you can actually leave the kitchen (and avoid that whole-red faced thing).  

Watch next week for the recipes to these dishes, plus a few more treats I’ve cooked baked up this week!

 

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So…what are you eating today?

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P.S. Peeps are gluten-free!

Can you be lazy and gluten-free? Sure – you have a savings account, right?

image Sometime in life, you find yourself adding up the money you spend on certain items (note: I exclude shoes from this calculation). And it is at these times when you realize that you can waste away substantial funds on something that you don’t really pay attention to, namely: Food.

Add special dietary restrictions to that equations, and you’re screwed. I often think of how lucky I am to be living in Sonoma County, surrounded by healthy and natural food shopping options – these thoughts oddly enough usually occur whenever I’m forced to enter a Safeway.

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Sorry, no cheapy Lean-Cuisine for you, my friend.

 

But even if you have a local Whole Foods you can still lose; you’ll get what you want, but oh, will you pay for it.

My personal, culinary Achilles-Heel? (Yes, that does sound rather disgusting.) Amy’s Kitchen’s meals. Tasty, gluten-free, little meals that zap up in 6 minutes and taste like actual food. They’re even made a few miles from where I live. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating their dinners for dinner most weeknights, and I love that they’re healthy and relatively low-calorie. Really they are the only low-calorie gluten-free meals you can buy in the supermarket. My favorites? imageimage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For an extra splurge, they even make gluten-free, dairy-free pizza! (about $8).

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[Author’s Note: Amy’s people, if you are reading this, feel free to send me coupons, free meals, etc :D]

Sadly, the meals hardly ever go on sale (when they did a few months ago, I went a bit crazy) and compared to the other options in the frozen-food aisle, they are priced more like food from the prepared foods section, or even from a restaurant.

Recently I’ve been a bit strapped for cash – blame it on the holidays and the last couple weeks before financial aid checks go out – and so I’ve been cooking at home more. Which means lots of rice, vegetable, potatoes, beans, soup, and more time spent in the kitchen. And, let’s face it, less variety; complicated recipes become much more complicated, and often expensive, when you make them GF. And people, I like to be lazy. I like to have portions measured out. I like to add a cup of veggies to a dish and call it a day.

I also like to not overdraw my checking account.

There are then two choices: pay for quick, easy, and different food; or be cheap and eat the staples. And count calories yourself.

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You can definitely live the life of a lazy-cook while on a gluten-free diet, but in the end, it’ll cost you a bit more.

P.S. And why, when you Google “gluten-free” does a photo of a toasted bagel come up? That’s just cruel!

Is intolerance ever a good thing?

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In social terms, of course not. But when you have suffered for years from pain and discomfort, and your symptoms are so general, wide-reaching, and just plain scary (a very, very long list indeed!) that your doctor gives you an aspirin and some Pepto-Bismol and sends you on your way, it can be. Because to find out, finally, what your problem is – that’s freedom!

And the ranks of those people who can’t tolerant gluten or dairy – whether due to allergy, intolerance, or disease – are growing, and will continue to grow as time goes by. As much as 15% of the population is sensitive to gluten, about 1 out of 200 people the world has Celiacs, and 1 in 3 people is lactose intolerant.

But there is hope! Some are helped by supplements or lactase pills, and there are more gluten and dairy-free products on the shelves than ever before! (Thank Whole Foods, or the people who think going gluten-free will make you loose weight, which may not work for all, but I’ll take it!)

So, yes, intolerance can be a good thing when you can name it, and give yourself the knowledge about how to live with it.

This site is my effort to make up for what I can’t get when I’m out, to make my own safe version of the things I used to pick up at the deli or local Starbucks without a thought. I used to bake with flour and butter, and I still will bake, with gluten-free flour and Earth Balance. I have a serious sweet-tooth, and frankly, I don’t believe there is anything you can’t make with the right substitutions!

Gluten-Free Dreaming Copyright 2011.