Gluten Free Chocolate And Peanut Butter Biscuits

Gluten free biscuits are a bit of a nemesis when it comes to gluten free baking.

There is a little outside-the-boxing thinking required.

‘Normal’ biscuits are held together with gluten, simple. But just look at the makes up of gluten free flour and you’ll notice that there really isn’t anything there to do this. Now in some instances – mostly I have found with sponge cakes – you can just about get away with swopping out gluten free flour for normal flour. But with biscuits, that is not the case, in my humble opinion. Simply swopping out with gluten free flour gives you a puddle (once baked) on a tray, of cooked dough. Your cut cookies merge into one large piece of something…..

Some would say that adding xanthum gum is the way forward, but there are several arguments about the long-term effects on the body that this can cause. You can read that for yourself as I am not knowledgeable in those scientific matters. For me adding too much, can actually alter the taste, so I just add it to pastry, sparingly.

So thinking outside the box, what do you add? I simple terms, I know that my shortbread biscuits are pretty crispy, they have a ‘snap’. So by keeping to this relatively easy recipe a few tweaks and you have the basis for a gluten free biscuit.

So whilst the Country surges ahead with biscuits, as seen on the new series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’, some of us would rather buy a packet of gluten free biscuits from the supermarket! I on the other hand struggle and strive to create something nice and edible, which I think I have found here 😀

And this was my second try at this……Dear author of a well-known bakery (2 books) in London take note….you cannot simply swop ingredients to create something for everyone. Instinctively I knew it wasn’t going to work, but I had to give it a shot. Wont be doing that again!

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c/165c fan and line 2 – 3 trays (dependant on size of tray) with greaseproof paper.

This receive will make about 20 single biscuits, or in the case 10 biscuits sandwiches.

  • 50g soft butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 90g Rice Flour
  • 70g cornflour
  • 40g extra caster sugar

Filling;

  • 90g melted chocolate
  • 50g peanut butter – smooth or crunchy
  • 20g more of soft butter
  • 100g icing sugar

To make the biscuits, beat the sugar and butter with an electric hand-held whisk until it comes together and is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk. Sieve in the 2 flours and beat until combined. Now you may find this ends up as ‘breadcrumbs’, which is fine, just stop with the whisk and get your hands dirty and bring the mix together to form a dough. It will feel a little dry, but it’ll work.

With the dough break of small pieces, roughly 15-20g each, roll into a ball and place on your trays roughly 5cm apart. Once you have used up all the dough, dip the base of a small glass into the extra caster sugar and then press down on the balls of dough to slightly flatten them into biscuits. If they do stick, release them from the glass using a butter knife.

Bake in the oven for about 9-12 minutes, there should be little or no browning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely, before removing from the tray and placing onto your cooling rack.

To make the filling, which is rather fudge like – you are not going to be able to pipe this.

Beat the butters together, then beat in the icing sugar and pour in the melted chocolate. You should have som thing resembling fine breadcrumbs, but you need to then bring this together with your hands to form a ball.  From this, roll small balls of fillings, roughly 20g each, and use to sandwich between 2 biscuits. Repeat until you have filled all the biscuits.

Cover or serve.  They should last 2 – 3 days, if they haven’t all been eaten first.

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Blog’s Happy 2nd Birthday

This April 2017 sees my little blog celebrate its 2nd birthday.

It all began with Noah and without repeating the story, we found little in the way of tasty gluten free cakes and bakes after Noah was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. Taste and price was not great – with price most certainly not changing, but variety certainly has.

In this time the gluten free cake and bake availability has increased and the amount of gluten free sources of information on the internet steadily increases too.

For me though, its all about variety. The versatility of gluten free baking shows no sign of abating and it is only me that holds back on what to create next. That and time. It’s never on anyone’s side, but juggling work and family life with the blog, isn’t easy. I’d dearly love to post more often and try even more different things. I think that’s another reason as to why the cakes and bakes are relatively easy, if I don’t have much time, there’d be others out there in the same state.

I originally set out to create recipes that were accessible for everyone, recipes that were relatively easy to make. Looking at ‘normal’ cakes and bakes and seeing if I could convert them for those on a gluten free diet/lifestyle and foods that Noah might (a big Might 😀) eat and enjoy.  It hasn’t been easy, some recipes convert relatively easily, some just need a little more work.  Trying different flour combinations, using less butter, or less/more eggs.  There have been many failures, but far out weighed are the successes, gluten free baking is not as difficult as some make out.

To those that continue to read the postings and recipes, thank you. To those that ‘like’ and comment thank you again, so I’ve baked you a little cake, it’s a Gluten Free Caramel Cake adorned with lollipops – not a crumb of gluten in sight. Enjoy 😀

I look to continue the recipe testing ( who doesn’t love a tasty disaster ), to continue taking part in challenges, both to myself and the ones on-line and on social media.

The blog gets all kinds of hits worldwide. From most of the ‘civilised’ western world and interestingly from the developing worlds. It always intrigues me, looking at the stats, I seem to have ‘lost’ out in Brazil over past months, only to be replaced by Indonesia! You are all welcome, thank you and keep sharing.

Happy Baking 😀😀

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Gluten Free Simnel Cupcakes

Marzipan seems to be the latest theme for the recipes! And that can only be  a good thing.

These very simple flavoursome and moist cupcakes are very quick and easy to make.  The inclusion of cream cheese is a little departure for me, but it really works a treat. Plus I had some in the fridge so wondered what else I can do with it….

This makes 12 lovely cupcakes, so line your cupcake tin with cupcake cases and pre-heat the oven to Gas 3/ 160c.

Weigh out;

  • 90g soft butter
  • 60g full fat cream cheese
  • 130g light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 150g gluten free self raising flour
  • 200g mixed dried fruit
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 250g marzipan – rolled out and cut into 24 x 6cm rounds, to about 4mm thick.
  • Mini Eggs to decorate

Using a hand-held electric whisk, whisk the butter, cream cheese and sugar until fully combined. Then add in the eggs, one at a time to ensure they are mixed in well. Then lightly toss the dried fruit and the mixed spice together, before adding it to the egg mix and stirring it all together.

Then half fill the cupcakes cases with the batter, place a round of marzipan onto this, then top up with the remainder of the batter.

Cook for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Once cooked, placed the remaining marzipan rounds on top of the cooked cupcakes and allow to then cool, before removing from the tin onto a wire rack.

Once cooled you may wish to lightly singe the edges of the marzipan with a hand-held bakers blow torch to give a bit of colour. But please do take care not to burn anything – including you!

To finish, lightly push into the centre a mini egg.

 

 

Gluten Free Honey and Lemon Cupcakes

And so we move now into Spring.

The evenings are getting lighter, colour begins to take its hold in the garden and Easter is just around the corner. Next stop summer….

So some light cupcake baking to throw into the mix, to add some colour to the kitchen

gluten-free-honey-and-lemon-cupcakes

Pre-heat the oven to gas 4/180c and line a 12-hole cupcake tray with cupcake liners – I chose yellow 😀

For the cupcakes –

  • 150g soft butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g honey – ideally not a cheap one as you need the flavour of the honey to shine through. You could use acacia or thyme.
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g gluten free self raising flour

For the filling –

For the topping (a meringue) –

  • 2 egg whites
  • c150g caster sugar (if you weigh the egg whites, you’ll need twice the amount of sugar)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • extra honey to drizzle

Beat the butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs one at a time, you will find you will need to add a tablespoon of gluten free flour to keep it from curdling. Once the eggs have been beaten in (I used a hand-held electric whisk) add in the flour and divide between the 12 cupcake cases and bake for about 20 minutes. Or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool before removing from the tray and transferring to a wire rack..  You can then make the meringue topping.

Place the sugar onto a tray and warm gently in the oven. Whilst the sugar is warming, whisk the egg whites to a stiff peak. Remove the sugar from the oven and add the warm sugar to the stiff egg whites  2 tablespoons at a time. Taking care between additions to ensure the sugar has been completely whisked in.  Continue whisking until the meringue is nice and shiny. You also need to make sure the sugar has dissolved into the meringue. You can find this our by pinching some of the meringue between your fingers. If the mix is smooth you are done.  If you can still feel the sugar crystals keep going.

Now depending on your mixer it could be done in around 10 – 15 minutes – or if it’s an older version (like mine) – longer.  But its worth the wait. The finished meringue will be nice and smooth to eat.

Before you top the cupcakes, scoop out the middle (or use one of those fancy cupcake hole makers) of each cupcake and put a teaspoon of lemon curd into each hole.

Once you have your finished meringue put into you piping bag – with nozzle of choice – and pipe onto the cupcakes with your desired pattern of preference.

Glaze under a very hot grill, or use a hand-held bakers’ blow torch to give the meringue some colour. Please take care which ever you use,  make sure you take necessary precautions if using a blow torch. The naked flame is hot and will burn! It stating the obvious perhaps, but its easy to lose concentration.

To finish – drizzle with some extra honey and sprinkle the lemon zest over the tops and enjoy.

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Noah’s Annual Coeliac Check-up

It that time of year again – Noah’s annual check up. For a boy of 6 it has fastly become his worst time of year. By association Hospital = injections = pain. But with some bribery we got through it.

This year University Hospital of North Staffordshire  – who have been utterly brilliant since and from Noah’s diagnosis – sent us a note to book in for a blood test.  The blood test was a week before the actual appointment.  Meaning that when the appointment came round, we could discuss the results and next steps.  Previously we had the blood test and appointment on the same day, we would then have Noah’s result by post a week or more later.  This new way made way more sense.

It also made for 2 trips to the Hospital – an easy one and a not so easy one.  Two trips that we needed to prepare Noah for, trips that he is becoming to understand and also necessary. But still the questions – Will I need to go every year? When will I be normal free? Why cant I be like my friend?  Not easy ones to answer, but at least now I can assure him with the fact that I now have to have an annual blood test.  I have recently been diagnosed with an under active thyroid.  It has given him some comfort, daddy has to have some pain too.

The blood test day came and went, we tried to make nothing of it (and I was 3 packets of Pokémon cards light) and almost passed without too much bother.  And then the wait…

Although we know we are doing everything right, that we are providing a gluten free household (it’s so much easier for us all to eat with Noah, rather than provide different meals) there is still that nervous caution.  We can’t control the school meals, but again we have some trust with them as we have not seen any adverse reactions. Oddly the only time recently we have noticed a reaction was after a trip to Pizza Express – which was very disappointing.

Appointment day arrives – Noah gets to leave school in the middle of the day, which he really liked.  The results were great. All good and a ‘well done Mum & Dad’.  Blood count was below the limit, so we continue to manage Noah’s diet (and ours), although now and after the team there were able to analyse the blood result, Noah needs to eat more protein, as his iron level was a little low – increase his meat intake.  Eating his own body weight in green vegetables was not going to be an option!

And so the journey continues, as Noah gets older, so will his tastes and so will this blog (hopefully) continue to provide an insight into Noah’s world.  There will be an interesting time coming up – and an opportunity to try foods he will have never seen before – more on that later in the year.

So onto a new recipe, soft, sweet and crunchy with a little bitterness from the berries

Line a small 20x10x3cm baking tray with greaseproof for the cake and line a shallow tray with greaseproof for the crumble mix and preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c

gluten-free-chocolate-and-blackcurrant-crumble-slices

For the sponge-

120g very soft butter

120g light brown sugar

3 eggs lightly beaten

80g gluten free self raising flour

30g Cocoa

10g Ground Almonds

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

60g sour cream

The Jam –

200g Blackcurrant Jam (or make your own – see below)

The Crumble –

100g Gluten free plain flour

70g butter

70g caster sugar

To begin with put the crumble ingredients into a food mixer and blend until you have ‘breadcrumbs’. A few short bursts on pulse should do it. Then spread the crumble mix in the shallow tray and bake for about 10 – 12 minutes or until the mix is lightly browned. And as it’s gluten free it will have all merged into one ‘biscuit’. Fear not, just leave it to go cold and break it up to form nice crispy bits . Leave to one side for now.

To make the sponge, pop all the ingredients (not the jam) into your mixer (I used a kitchen aid mixer with a beater attachment) and beat for about 3 – 4 minutes until all the ingredients are fully blended and mixed together. Pour into the 3cm deep tray and bake for about 20 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing from the tray.

Spread with the Blackcurrant jam and sprinkle over with the cooled Crumble … Slice and enjoy

Now I did have some Blackcurrant in the freezer and made my own quick jam. 250g of fresh (defrosted) Blackcurrants and 150g granulated sugar.  Pop them into a saucepan and bring to a slow boil, stirring and boil for about 15 minutes. Leave to cool before using.

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