Gluten Free Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares

I do like to try to mix things up occasionally. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

We’ve had a few visitors over the past few weeks, the school holidays playing havoc with the normal routine (But then what is normal?) and it’s been a little chaotic!  Sometimes I’ve had time to bake, other times, sadly not. And in the hope of bettering myself I even baked some gluten free Caramel Shortcake for a job interview!! I was asked to talk about something I’m passionate about……. 😀

I think I’ve said it before, planning what to bake normally ends in epic failure! Make-it-up-as-I-go along mostly works out well and this was one of those occasions.

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 3 / 160c and line a small baking tray (20cm X 10cm) with greaseproof paper.

 

Gluten free Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares

90g soft butter

80g soft peanut butter

160g soft brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

120g gluten free self-raising flour

40g Cocoa (I used Food Thoughts)

40g ground almonds

1 tsp bicarb of soda

200g chocolate (I use Callebaut)

80g melted butter

1 Bag of Reece’s mini peanut butter cups

First of all scatter about half the bag of mini chocolate peanut butter cups on the base of the baking tin.

Then mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Beat the butters with the  brown sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs one at a time. I used a stand food mixer, so I also had to remember to scrap the sides occasionally. When beating in the eggs leave the to beat in well before adding the next. Ensure the mix is smooth and not curdled. Mix in the vanilla extract. Then alternate mixing in the sour cream and dry ingredients. Dry – cream – dry – cream – dry. Until all mixed in well. Pour over the scatter mini cups, smooth out to an even surface and bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30mins.

Leave to cool for about 30 minutes before removing from the pan, and making the topping.

Melt the chocolate – in a microwaveable bowl – in 30 second bursts. Or in a bowl over simmering water. Ensuring no water gets into the chocolate and the water isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl.

Once melted stir in the melted butter and pour over the chocolate cake. Spread evenly and then decorate with the remaining mini Reece’s chocolate  peanut butter cups.

Leave to cool and set at room temperature before cutting as it will cut easier. If you need it quick pop in the fridge. But beware……it’ll be harder to cut.

As with most gluten free fresh bakes,  it’ll only last a couple of days before it starts to dry out. The chances are though it won’t last that long😃😃

Enjoy 😀😀😀

 

Gluten Free Star Biscuits

Biscuits. For the me the gluten free baker, are a bit of a devil.

The lack of gluten to hold the ingredients can prove a little tricky during baking as the mix just doesn’t hold and the ‘biscuits’ flood the baking tray. You’re left with a very tasty slab of biscuit.

So you have to think a little differently and a little outside the box sometimes. A little less of this and a little more of that. Trial and error. At least that’s what I’ve found.

I’ll keep at it, but I’d like to share this recipe with you in the meantime. You can of course eat these as simple biscuits without putting a filling in or drizzle some sauce on.

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c and make sure the shelf is in the middle of the oven. Line 3 baking sheets with greaseproof, or get sheets ready to put on baking sheets when you have cooked a tray of biscuits. This recipe will make about 20 biscuits, but that’ll depend on how big your cutter is.

Gluten Free Star Biscuits

100g butter

100g caster sugar

1 beaten egg

1 tsp vanilla essence

180g Gluten free Plain flour

100g Rice flour

Filling –

80g soft butter

160g Icing sugar – I used Sugar and Crumbs flavoured icing sugar. The Cherry Bakewell Icing is Gluten free.

Your choice of jam

Cream and the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the beaten egg and the essence. Stir in the flours until well combined and you have a lovely dough.

Place this on a floured surface and roll out to you desired thickness – about as thick as a pound coin.

Using your cutter of choice, gently cut out your shapes. Use a smaller cutter of the same shape and press into half of the biscuits to get a ‘hole’ – a bit like the Jammie dodgers you see. When done, you can bring the ‘bits’ together, form another dough ball and roll out again. Repeat again of needs be. Place your cut shapes on the greaseproof.

Before baking you need to rest the cut shapes in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Once rested, bake one tray at a time for about 8 minutes. Once cooked leave the trays of baked biscuits to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the greaseproof. They need to set and rest otherwise they’ll break and bend.

To make the buttercream beat the soft butter until fluffy then stir in the icing sugar before beating again – I used a hand-held electric whisk – until nice and smooth. Fill a piping bag using a plain nozzle.

To make the gluten free Bakewell Biscuits – pipe a little of the buttercream onto half of the biscuits – the ones without the hole, leaving a little gap in the middle for the jam. Put half a teaspoon of jam into the little space and then top with the holey biscuit.

If you want to buy some lovely flavoured icing sugars, the link is here. There is a fantastic range of flavours to get your imagination going.

Home

Mrs Darlington’s Jams, curds and pickles are now available on-line too.

http://www.mrsdarlingtons.com

 

Gluten Free Almond and Jam Thumbprint Bites

Now, don’t get over excited….2 posts inside a week!!!

There is no other reason than the fact that these went down a storm and the four of us devoured the lot within 24 hours…….they needed to be shared with the world.

GF Almond & Jam Thumbprint BitesI also initially trialled a recipe for this a couple of weeks ago and its proved pretty popular on Instagram. So I thought I’d give it another go and make them even better🙂 And just ahead of the school holidays in the UK, it’s also a very quick and fun recipe to put together with the children. My eldest enjoyed rolling these into balls and popping in the jam…Noah just loved eating them.

Gluten Free Almond & Jam Thumbprint Bites

175g soft butter

50g caster sugar

50g Demerara sugar

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons of almond essence

280g gluten free plain flour – I use Dove Farm

60g Ground Almonds

60g chopped Glace cherries

150g jam – I actually used Mrs Darlington’s – Summer Fruits Jam – a current favourite

Preheat the oven to Gas 5 / 180c and line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof. This will make 24 ‘Bites’

Cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolks and essence. Gently mix in the flour, almonds and cherries. Mix well until all the ingredients are bound together and you get a large dough.

Gluten Free Almond & Jam Bites

Divide this into 24 balls, roughly the size of a large walnut and place onto the 2 trays. Gently press a thumb into the middle of each ball to create a hollow. At the same time, you are also flattening them, which is fine. Into these, place about half a teaspoon of your preferred flavoured jam – raspberry would also work well.

Bake one tray at a time in the oven (you could put the other tray in the fridge) on the middle shelf for about 11  minutes, they’ll bronze nicely.  Once cooked put the other tray in and repeat.. Leave to cool and then eat…. They are great cool, but rather nice still warm…ummmm

 

Gluten Free Treacle Tart

Back again…apologies for a slight delay in proceeding, it’s been a bit hectic, everyday life just takes over. But baking is never too far from my mind.,

Now although this might not be one for Noah it’s certainly a great choice for anyone. Whether it’s gluten free or not, it tastes great! Rich and rather creamy……

Gluten free treacle tart

It’s a recipe that’s been converted from one that was written by cook book author Maguerite Patten, from her book ‘Best British Dishes’. Although the printed recipe did need some additions as it wasn’t big enough for the stated flan size. It’s actual name is Norfolk Treacle Tart. Having made the version with breadcrumbs before, gluten free bread though is a taste a gluten eater will not take to easily….

You’ll need an 8″ fluted, loose bottom flan dish and baking beans.

Preheat the oven to Gas 5, 180c

Make the gluten free pastry;

200g Gluten free plain flour ( I use Dove Farm )

100g diced butter

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon of icing sugar

milk to bind

Either by hand or a food mixer, mix the butter and flour too breadcrumbs, stir in the icing sugar and yolks and a little milk if required to make into a dough. Cover with cling film and pop in the fridge for about half an hour.

Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and roll our to fit the flan dish.  Bake the pastry blind. Cover the base of the pasty with greaseproof and cover then with the baking beans and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven once baked and then remove the greaseproof and the beans and make the filling. Turn the oven down to Gas 3, 160c

4 egg yolks

6 tablespoon double cream

12 tablespoons of treacle/golden syrup

4 tablespoons of lemon juice

Add all of the above ingredients into a bowl and whisk together until well blended.

Pour into the baked pastry case and return to the cooled oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes. It’s done when the filling has set with a little wobble. Leave to cool before cutting and sampling – it’ll be rather hot.

I served this nice and cold on a summer’s day with a dollop of double cream…….

Gluten Free Bubble Gum Cupcakes

Its been a while.

The mum and dad taxi service has been pretty hectic over the past couple of weeks since returning from our holiday. Our eldest has been doing a few dance exams with mock trials beforehand and Noah, the busy socialite that he is, has had many birthday parties. Of which one lovely mum actually baked Noah his own gluten free cake!! Progress at last. Needless to say I was very thankful.

Baking hasn’t ceased though, as you will see from the social media time lines.  But trying to ‘pen’ a blog post has proved a little tricky. I guess like most, there are times when you hit a wall, words don’t seem to flow. But cake will always provide the inspiration🙂

gluten free independence day cupcakes

These little cupcakes were just for a bit of fun.  Clearly inspired from the fact that today is July 4th American Independence Day. A lot of red, white and blue from our friends across the ‘pond’.

I made these fairly quickly – time was not on my side, it just goes to show that baking needn’t take all day🙂  – and used the all-in-one method of mixing.

Pre-heat the oven to 170c

Line a 12 hole muffin tray with muffin cases and then make the mix.

150g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour – Dove Farm

150g soft butter

140g caster sugar

3 eggs – large

Drop of Blue Colouring –  I used Rainbow Dust

1/2 tsp baking powder

10 drops of Foodie Flavours Bubble Gum flavouring

Mix these ingredients all together until mixed well. I used a table top food mixer with a  beater for about 4 minutes on number 7.

Spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for about 20 minutes, 170c. Test with a skewer and if it comes out clean, they are done.

Leave to cool before icing

200g (approx.) icing sugar to finish, plus Rainbow Dust – Red and Blue ProGel colouring

gluten free bubble gum cupcakes

I used a plain water (glace) icing to top these as it’s a favourite with Noah and a pleasant surprise for when he and his sister come home from school later. So firstly dissolve 120g of icing sugar, with a little warm water until you have a thick paste. If you add too much water just add a little more icing sugar until you have a thick paste. I used Tala disposable piping bags to pipe on top of the cupcakes for a more even distribution of the icing. But you could just spoon it on :)   Then take roughly half of the remaining icing to make some red coloured icing and make as with the plain icing, Then pipe this over as the photo.  Then make the blue icing and pipe in the opposite direction.

Simples.

Happy July 4th to all my American readers from across the world. Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Holiday Time! With Gluten Free Brownie-in-a-mug

It has been holiday time at Cake Towers this week.

We are lucky enough that Noah’s school has a 2 week break at this time of year, which enables us to have slightly cheaper options when it comes to picking a holiday destination.

So yet again we headed off to Center Parcs, our 4th visit to Whinfell Forest up near Penrith. A favourite? Possibly. It’s certainly closer than the others and the central leisure complex is covered which helps when its raining…..something that probably happens more often than not up in the Lakes! I guess it’s just more convenient than driving to Longleat, Sherwood or Elveden Forests. We’ll probably try Woburn when the trees have grown a bit.

As we have previously done, some activities have been pre-booked – Laser Clay, Aqua-fit, Aerial Tree Trekking and Mini Crossbow and our first nights meal. The rest of the time we just leave for ‘going with the flow’. Its our time. A time to get back together, to reflect, to remember who we are and to spend quality time with each other. And as we did last year in Elveden Forest, we took the 7 day break.  It generally takes us a couple of days to wind down and grow accustomed to each other, after that we can start to enjoy the holiday. So a busy weekend ensued before we headed into the week.

Food and dining out is always a problem. There are always some inconsistencies. A ‘Gluten-sensitive’ menu, is not gluten free. But it’s not fair on Noah if we don’t get to eat out. He doesn’t otherwise get to experience a restaurant. But he does end up eating the same foods for children….chicken, chips and peas/sweetcorn.  But we do take some risk with this and we do put Noah at the mercy of the particular outlet. The outlet, the training of the staff and the dynamics of the kitchen, its layout and the diversity of where the different foods are cooked and presented. It is a nightmare trying to make that decision. It’s also not fair on the rest of the family as it otherwise means we miss out too. The CafĂ© Rouge experience on our first night was laughable. After having explained Noah’s intolerance, we were still served the Children’s menu starter of breads and veg sticks. ‘You’ve paid for it so I thought you might as well have it…’ good thinking yes, but take the bread off!!

So we ended up eating in a lot.

Noah 1

Which as it turned out wasn’t of course difficult. Eating freshly made food always helps and there is a good selection of gluten free foods in the ‘Parc Market’ Although priced slightly higher than your average supermarket or corner shop, there is a wide enough variety of foods to get you through your break.

And it seems there is always something new to find in the gluten free aisle! And this lucky find went down a right treat – made by the lovely people at Bakedin, a monthly baking kit delivered to your door with recipes endorsed by one Michel Roux! (I met him once) link here –

HomePage

 

Obviously they are also available in selected outlets. But it’s not often we find something good in the gluten free aisle and so we snapped these up sharpish!

Bakedin Gluten Free Brownie in a mug

They are sooo easy to make and a little robust in the methodology…they would have to be for a holiday destination, as finding the right ingredients and having them to hand can be tricky. But we managed to make it work with Lurpack ‘Slightly Salted’ and with semi skimmed milk.

The pack contains 4 sachets of the brownie mix, a sachet of mini marshmallows and instructions. Sadly you can only make 1 sachet at a time, but by the time they are all ready, they should be cold enough to eat..

You take your mug and melt some butter (or alternative) in the microwave, remove and stir in the sachet and then stir in 2 (I used 4 as I’m not always good with instructions 😀) tablespoons of milk. Then depending on microwave wattage cook on full for 1 minute. And then wait……its blinking hot at this point so wait for it to cool. They recommend 5 minutes, which if you sprinkle on some of the mini marshmallows, they’ll melt nicely 😋😋😋. Or you could add ice cream, but there’s not much freezer space in the Center Parcs accommodation. Point worthy of note….use a small mug, otherwise it appears a small portion. But you can only use what you have to hand.

Bakedin Brownie Gluten free

And then we certainly enjoyed them.. But now I  need to make my own ‘cake-in-a-mug’….so watch this space 😄

After that, you’d be forgiven for thinking that was the highlight of the week, but as ever for us it’s the wildlife. There is an abundance of pigeons and rabbits of course, but we saw woodpeckers, pheasants, a baby red deer and one fantastic moment when we saw a stoat! It was hiding from a rabbit, but the rabbit was having none of it. Don’t know what the stoat had done, but the bunny was not best pleased! We made plenty of time for swimming, as the weather was, for the first time for years, fantastic, we were very lucky. We even took the opportunity to try to get Noah and his sister to try to ride bikes without stabilisers.  We almost got there…

And home we came. A well-earned break before it starts all over again and we try to sort out where we go next. It might involve a plane, it probably won’t involve a trip to a lodge. At least for a few years as its time for something different 😊😉

 

Gluten Free Jam Tarts

Gluten free baking for Noah is such fun. There are so many cakes and bakes that I try out, both with and without success.  So trying to sort through which ones to write about does pose some difficulties, as not everything I bake gets a post.  I have to keep somethings to myself for a later date!

But on this occasion the post was chosen for me. Perhaps by default or by design this particular post has had the most interactions (or impressions) on my Twitter page in recent months.  Its simplicity was a surprise hit and yet this could be what everyone wants. Nothing complicated, nothing with ingredients that folk have to buy, but ingredients that most kitchens already have to hand.

These were actually an after thought! I was fortunate enough to have been sent a bag of gluten free flour from the lovely people at The Gluten Free Flour Company so I was going to write a post on Blueberry Frangipane with Wild Blueberry Jam, but perhaps destiny had something else in mind.  After all everyone loves a Jam Tart🙂

http://shop.glutenfreebaking.co.uk/ – click here to visit their on-line shop.

Having made a batch of the pastry for the larger tart, I was faced with a few ounces of pastry… and I just knew jam tarts would go down a treat…..and wouldn’t last long either!

Gluten Free Jam Tarts

The basic recipe for my 7″ pastry is;

8oz Gluten Free Plain Flour – from The Gluten Free Flour Company

5oz diced butter

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon of icing sugar

semi-skimmed milk to bind

Rub the gluten free flour and the butter together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg yolks and the icing sugar and then bring to a dough using the milk. I used a touch more milk, so the dough was slightly wet, as I knew the flour will absorb the liquid and experience tells me that the dough would other wise be dry.

Leave then for 30 minutes to rest in the fridge.

Roll out and use for whatever else you are making and bake blind.

With the remainder of the pastry, I made the jam tarts.  Roll out to the desired height and using a 6cm round cutter, cut out as many (at least 12) rings as you can. Place the pastry into a greased shallow baking pan and fill each case with a teaspoon of your favourite jam – I used Mrs Darlington’s – and spread to cover the base of the pastry.

Then bake in the preheated (Gas 4, 180c) oven for about 10 minutes or until the pastry has a bronzed look.

Stockists of Mrs Darlington’s and a bit about them can be found here.

http://mrsdarlingtons.com/

Now I’m not sure of any differences in using this particular brand of flour, because I tried a different mix of ingredients, but the end cooked result, was a little less crumblier than that of other gluten free flours and the ‘bite’ was also a little better. I’ll let you make your own conclusions when you try it yourself🙂

Enjoy🙂