And Now for Something Completely Frivolous: Gluten-free Marshmallow Cereal Squares

Oh Pinterest, sometimes you are silly (see this for proof), but sometimes you are genius. Because without you, I never would have thought to make a batch of these last Friday.

They are super colorful, not all that good for you, and full of sugar.  (Though they’re pretty low on fat, if I stop to think about it.) In other words, fun.

~ Gluten-Free Marshmallow Cereal Squares ~

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan (if made with vegan marshmallows)

I used Trix, but you can use any gluten-free cereal you like. I was THISCLOSE to using Reece’s Puffs (for obvious reasons – they are puffs of Reece’s), but opted for the Trix because it had 1.5 grams less fat per serving, because that matters when you’re making something that is 85% sugar.  (Ssssh. It does.) Also, the squares come out looking like something straight out of a Lisa Frank-themed party, which makes this very sneezy-itchy-allergy time of year seem a little better.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups gluten-free cereal of choice
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 1 bag marshmallows

Melt Earth Balance over low heat in a non-stick skillet, add marshmallows. Stir occasionally until marshmallows are completely melted (a silicone spatula works wonders here), mix half of the cereal into mixture while pan is still over very low heat.

Once incorporated, add remaining cereal and smooth out into a lightly-greased pan (a few sprays of Pam will do). A baking pan about 10 x 10 will work. Let sit till cooled, cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

A Note: If you make these with a gf rice cereal, there is a certain one that many health food stores sell in bulk that doesn’t work as well in this recipe. They look like Rice Crispies (without the malt) but they’re much harder and crunchier, and don’t soften up as well after being combined with the marshmallow – they come out more crunchy than chewy. Last summer we were promised a GF version of Rice Crispies, but I have yet to see them on shelves. In the end I think you’re better off with a fun cereal. Kix would be good too!

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Holiday Photo Overload!

qGluten-Free Rum Balls

photo4 Gluten-Free Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

1 Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

7The Before

m Gluten-Free Lemon Meringue Pie

photo 2    Gluten-Free Checkerboard Cookies

Recipes coming soon!

Gluten-Free Pecan Pie (No Corn Syrup Needed!)

pie4I don’t know about you, but I dislike corn syrup (those commercials claiming “corn sugar is the same as cane sugar” are such bull). I know that it’s unavoidable in some recipes, or when you’re making candy, but I don’t dig it. I have a problem believing that something is not horrible for you if there’s corn syrup in it – and yes, sometimes I do believe pie is healthy.

Beyond that, I never have it in the house. But lucky for me, and you, there is no corn syrup in this recipe! And I swear on all that is sweet and tasty, you will never miss it. You will not even notice it’s not there.

I discovered this pie last year, and it quickly became a holiday favorite. (And by favorite, I mean we can’t get out of the December without eating two one.) It’s perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and is super easy.

Also, the original recipe posted on allrecipes has 34,888 saves and over 1,000 positive reviews. Enough said.

~* Gluten-Free, Corn Syrup-Free Pecan Pie *~

 

For the crust (makes 2 crusts, either freeze half of the dough for later or halve the amounts)":

  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup Earth balance buttery sticks
  • 6 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon sorghum flour
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare crust; see directions here. (Note that the types of flour in this recipe are a bit different than in the link .)

In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy, and stir in melted butter. Add in the sugars and flour, mix well. Finally add the milk, vanilla, and pecans.

Pour into the pie shell, and place pie in the oven. Once the pie is in, turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 30-40 minutes. The top will crack slightly.

pie3

Enjoy with whipped cream/cool whip, etc!

I’m off to the gym to prepare for future pies – that’s why everyone works out, right?


19 days till Christmas!

Life Update and a Product Review: Enjoy Life Crunchy Cookies

Oh, I am a bit behind here. It seems that, in life, you are either behind in work/things that need to be done, or behind in everything else. I think this falls into the “everything else” category. My apologies. As some of you may know, I finished grad school in May and since I started working full-time (real-job time!) I haven’t had much time to write.

Also, in an effort to um, er, downsize, I have enacted a moratorium on baked goods, excepting those on Thanksgiving and Christmas (upon which there will be baked goods. I’m very excited to show you them). I did manage to sneak some pumpkin bread in there but I figure, if it’s made in the bread machine it can’t be all bad. And pumpkin is oh so good for you.

And since I didn’t technically bake these cookies I’m about to review, they don’t count – yep, I’m pretty sure they don’t. Plus, they were sent to me gratis, and therefore can’t be wasted.

So for the stats: these cookies come in four varieties: double chocolate, chocolate chip, vanilla honey graham, and sugar shortbread. They are indeed lightly crispy, and quite large for the typical boxed-cookies, which makes me happy, at about 100-120 calories a pop for two.They are free of all the allergens, as Enjoy Life products are.

(Tip: if you like your cookies less-crispy, open the box and come back in a few days; they will soften up a little)

These make a lovely snack, dessert, coffee-partner. I just tried the sugar version yesterday and even though the chocolate ones are very good, I think the big sugar crystals on these won me over. (Very bad tasty with Nutella.)

However, with the holidays coming up, I am confident that these cookies would be a great ingredient in recipes that call for a cookie crust/cookie crumbs, etc.  Their texture is very well suited for grinding, and firm enough to stand up in baking.

Another related tangent that I need to share: my grandma makes the best rum balls. Ever. In all creation. Every year she makes a whole batch of them and then they sit out in a big tin on the counter, getting better each day, as rum balls do. Since her house is about 10 feet from mine, I used to furtively sneak into the kitchen – when people were conveniently elsewhere – and shove a couple in my pocket for good measure.

If you aren’t familiar, they are basically crushed Nilla wafers, rum, powdered sugar, and walnuts. They are German, as am I. Many recipes call for cocoa powder, but I think they’re better without it. No need for baking, which keeps the alcohol…intact. They are amazing little spicy balls of cookie dough, and of course off-limits to me now.

As yet I haven’t tried to recreate them gluten-free, but this year I really want to. And I think I might have to try it with the vanilla honey graham version here.

Has anyone tried to make some sort of unbaked cookie with gf cookie crumbs? Let me know!

One week till Thanksgiving!

Gluten-Free Date-Meringue Bars

19 It has been interesting around here lately, but some things are certain; the seasons will change, you will get that back-to-school cold (even when you are no longer going back to school), and you will get the urge to bake. And if you’re like me, that cold-thing will make you scour the cabinets for ingredients instead of making a trip to the store. 

It began with a bag of bulk-medjool dates. They have haunted my cupboard for longer than I care to admit, so I googled “date bars” and discovered this little gem of a recipe on food.com. Using online recipes is always a risk when there aren’t photos or many directions to go with it, especially when it’s on one of those huge submission-based sites. This recipe had only one review, but the person gave it five-stars so I figured I’d give it a go. The nice thing about these bare-bones recipes is that you can work easily with them once you’ve gotten familiar with your basic ingredients.

So the moral is, for every chocolate-coffee cookie flop (yep, that happened) you get lucky with a bar like this. I think I knew it would be fabulous when I caught a whiff of the dates in the saucepan; who knew dates were such chameleons? The result is a bar with the taste of pecan pie, the crunch of walnuts, and the fluffiness of a meringue topping.

In short, it tastes like Fall.

~ Gluten-Free Date-Meringue Bars ~

There’s something about the richness of the filling with the lightness of the meringue that is a match made in dessert-heaven.

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Ingredients

For bottom layer:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter substitute
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tbsp molasses (optional, but adds nutrition and deep flavor)
  • 1 1/4 cups GF flour (whatever mixture you like best; I happened to have about  1/4c sorghum, 1/2c tapioca, and the rest brown rice flour.)

For date filling:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup dates, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • handful of raisins

For meringue:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (optional, but helpful if your whites ever happen to collapse of if you’re using a hand-mixer)

1 Beat together butter and granulated sugar, add egg yolks, vanilla, and molasses. Mix in flour and blend until batter comes together; it will look much like a shortbread dough.

3

Press into a greased 8 x 8 pan. Keep in fridge until filling is ready. 

6

Add water, chopped dates, raisins, and brown sugar into medium saucepan, cook over medium heat until bubbly and thickened (about 10 minutes).

 7 Once mixture starts to bubble about halfway in, add chopped walnuts. Mush up the dates a bit with your spoon; watch as your dried-out dates turn into sweet, gooey deliciousness.

10

Pour filling over bottom layer; spread evenly.

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For meringue: beat egg whites  and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar until frothy, slowly add brown sugar one tsp at a time. Once all sugar is added and you’re at soft peaks, add 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and crank up the speed!

13

Beat to stiff peak stage, or when the meringue stand up on top of the whisk, and spread over filling.

14

  [Image this peak flipping up and curling]

15

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. If meringue begins to brown too much, cover with aluminum foil partway through.

Let cool on a wire rack until meringue is cooled and starts to pull away from the pan; serve warm!

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Notes:

  • If you view the original recipe, you’ll see I added a few things to it, which you can just as easily take away if they;re not your thing. The molasses, however, is seriously delicious. Pecans could be substituted for the walnuts.
  • If you only have dates, increase amount to 1 1/2 cups and cut out raisins and walnuts.
  • Recipe calls for a 9 x 7 inch pan, but really who has that on hand? 8×8 is much more accessible, in my opinion.

 

Overall, not bad for a scrounged-up recipe, I must say.

Gluten-Free Blackberry Crisp

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It’s getting to that time in the summer when blackberries are not only ripe, they are so ripe that they threaten to melt in the hot sun. And there’s only one thing to do: pick them!

This is a great recipe that’s simple to make and has all the charm of a pie, without the hassle (or calories) of a crust. The oats and brown sugar also lend a lovely, crisp texture to the topping. The crisp is dairy-free and vegan, and can be easily adjusted depending on how many blackberries you have. And it’s fantastic over ice cream!

Enjoy the end of summer, my friends.

Gluten-Free Blackberry Crisp

*Adapted from the Cook Book*

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For Filling:

  • 8 cups fresh blackberries
  • 7 tablespoons granulated sugar, or sugar substitute
  • 5 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch (or other starchy gf flour)
  • squeeze of lemon

For Topping:

  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup butter substitute (one stick)
  • nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

For fruit filling, stir in sugar, flour, spices, and lemon. Pour evenly into baking dish or pan. Most large baking dishes – anything larger than a pie pan – will work here; I used a 10 x 10 square pan. If you have a smaller amount of blackberries, say 5 cups, you can adjust the recipe, and a pie pan will work. photo 1

For topping, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, and spices. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the nuts. Sprinkle topping over berries.

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Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until filling bubbles and topping is golden. For an extra-crispy topping, put under broiler for a few minutes.

Serve warm over ice cream, or cool in fridge overnight for a very tasty breakfast.

j

Gluten-Free, Salted Caramel Corn

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Is there anything that reminds us more of summer, state fairs, and going to the movies more than popcorn?

Even on a gluten-free diet, there is no reason to cut out this classic snack. Add homemade caramel and you have a match made in (gluten, dairy, and fat-free)heaven.

And with only three ingredients, it could not be simpler. There’s no butter, cream or water; you only need popcorn, sugar, and salt. And you can use this recipe for a basic dry caramel to make all kinds of sugar-coated treats: you can add peanuts in true Cracker Jack fashion, make clusters of nuts or festive popcorn balls, or even drizzle with chocolate for a super decadent dessert.

So here we go, don’t be scared; making a dry caramel was about the easiest thing I’ve ever done – and I’m no sugar artist.

Ingredients (see note below for possible measurements)

  • popcorn
  • white sugar
  • salt

Begin by popping your corn; the ideal, oil-free method is to use an air popper, but if you need to use the stovetop, so be it (personally I’ve never mastered the stovetop method without burning the corn). Bear in mind that oiled popcorn may need less salt.

If you’ve never made a dry caramel before (wet caramel being one where liquid is used) see the article How to Make the Perfect Caramel, by David Lebovitz. As a dry caramel, once it hardens it won’t remain chewy, rather it will harden like the sugar on top of crème brûlée, which is ideal here. And you don’t need that milk for flavor; browning the sugar gives it a much deeper and complex flavor than you might expect.

So, the basic idea is to take 1 cup of sugar spread evenly in a dry non-stick saucepan, and heat it over medium heat. The edges will begin to melt first, and once the bottom layer starts to gel you can mix it up with a silicone spatula, smoothing out any lumps (don’t over-mix). The sugar turns into caramel very quickly; in a few minutes the sugar will be melted and browning. The ideal color here will be a golden brown, like the color of brown sugar. Take care not to burn it!

image photo

Once you have the desired color (sugar should be before or very close to the smoke-point) turn off the heat and add your popcorn into the pan, just like how you make rice-crispy treats. Sprinkle on salt; the more you use the closer you will get to kettle corn. Turn the corn with the spatula until almost all the caramel has stuck to the popcorn, and then pour onto a parchment or silpat-covered baking sheet.

2 Let cool slightly, then break up with spatula or hands. Store in a Ziploc bag. Sneak into movie theater for a fantastic popcorn treat without all the unnecessary fat and oil 🙂

4 A Note on Ratios: there are a couple measurements you can use here. In the first try, I popped 1/2 cup yellow corn (a large bowl) and melted 1 cup of sugar.

However, I had a bit of trouble getting all the corn mixed in the pan and had about 1/3 of the popcorn left. This resulted in a drier mixture in which not all the kernels where coated, more like kettle corn, which some of you may prefer, less like the above photo.

On the bottom of my baking sheet, this also happened:

1 A popcorn/brittle animal, perhaps?

But for those who want the kernels pretty coated (like the above photo), I suggest about a 3-1 ratio of popcorn to sugar. For the 1/3 left in the bowl I melted an additional cup of sugar and mixed the corn in; everything was pretty coated. Also, if you do use more sugar, a little more salt is needed to balance the flavor.

But whatever choice you make, it’s pretty hard to  go wrong, and you can always eat the “mistakes.” 🙂

Gluten-Free Dreaming Copyright 2011.