coconut macaroons

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An amazing thing happened last week.  I had a Saturday off, I had a fresh batch of coconut macaroons and there was light.  The macaroons were a result of a Thursday night gluten-free cooking class (best present ever).  Since Jon and I both participated in the class we ended up with about 60 coconut macaroons.  I took a batch to work where they were thoroughly enjoyed by everyone from residents to social workers to administrators.  A few were enjoyed by guests we had visiting for the weekend and the rest – well – let’s just say that my lunches were pretty sweet last week.

coconut macaroons
yield: about 24 cookies

recipe notes:  The original recipe calls for a 250 degree oven, however we baked ours at 300.  This gave them a crispier shell.  The recipe recommends baking 25 to 30 minutes.  We started checking them around 25 min.  If you want softer cookies, take them out when they’re soft but if you want them crispier on the exterior, keep them in & turn down the oven temp to 250 for another 5 or so minutes.

2 egg whites
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups sweetened shredded dried coconut
1/2 – 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
chocolate, for dipping (optional)

1.  Preheat an oven to 300°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.

2.  In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they just barely hold soft peaks. Beat in the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, stir together the 3 cups coconut and just enough of the condensed milk to make a sticky batter. Fold in the egg white mixture.

4.  Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Dip the spoon into cold water every once in a while to prevent the batter from sticking.

5.  Bake until the cookies are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Turn the oven off. Prop the oven door ajar and leave the cookies in the oven for 10 minutes more. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool completely on the pans, then remove the cookies from the pans.

6.  Optional:  Melt some chocolate in a double broiler.  Dip cookies, cool on baking sheet.

Source: Williams-Sonoma

chocolate glazed chocolate donuts {gluten-free}

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Slowly but surely I’m becoming more excited about gluten-free baked goods.  Seeing gluten-free donut recipes pop up all over the blogosphere from Ashley’s new book is definitely partly to blame.  Are you guys familiar with Ashley’s blog?  It’s one of my newest favorites, since being diagnosed with Celiac and all. I’ve been ooh-ing and ahh-ing over every one of her donut creations and finally made some last weekend.  Wow, these are good.  And not good in the its-gluten-free-but-still-ok kind of good, they’re actually good.  Jon ate one to try and then packed two for himself to take to work the next day.  I took the rest to work and they disappeared quickly.  There’s only two (!) flours necessary, only measuring cups & teaspoons (no scales) involved and they come together so quickly.  Which means you have no excuses – get baking!  

chocolate glazed chocolate donuts {gluten-free}
yield: 6-8 donuts depending on the size of your pan

recipe notes: I adapted the donuts by leaving out the chocolate chips and like them better as all one texture.  I used a recipe for the glaze from Joy the Baker and cut it down, but still had some left-over.  The below measurements are approximately what you’ll need for these.  And if there’s leftover, well, you’ll have to find a way to use it.  Topping ice cream is one of many…

for the donuts:

1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp GF oat flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sweet rice flour
3 Tbsp sunflour oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup + 3T milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

for the glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
sprinkles (optional, but not really)

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your donut pan.

2.  Combine the oat flour, sweet rice flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt & baking powder in a medium sized bowl.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, oil & applesauce.

4.  Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, just until combined.  Mixture may be a bit lumpy & that’s ok.  Do not overmix.

5.  With a spoon, spatula or piping bag, fill the donut pan.  The mixing bowl I used has a spout so I just poured into the pan directly from the bowl.

6.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  The donuts are done when testing with a toothpick reveals a slightly moist toothpick.

7.  Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

8.  To make the glaze, combine everything but the sprinkles and whisk (with a fork is fine) until smooth.  When the donuts have cooled, turn upside down, dunk in icing.  Sprinkle the tops with sprinkles and let the glaze set.

source: donuts adapted from edible perspective, glaze from Joy the Baker

living gluten-free: dining at senza

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Dining out gluten-free can be a pain.  Since being diagnosed with Celiac about a year ago we’ve established a pretty good base of good restaurants with gluten-free options in the neighborhood, places where I could eat and not worry about anything being contaminated or accidentally prepared with gluten.  And I can almost always relax at those placed and generally enjoy eating out.  But there’s still the bread basket I can’t eat, the fact that I have to say “no, I can’t” when someone offers that I try their delicious dish (which is inevitably pasta or breaded or dredged in flour or marinated in soy sauce or the bacon crumbles on the top are fried in a deep fryer that also fries breaded items…).  I can’t try any of the fancy locally brewed beers and I worry about ordering cocktails.  In the end, it’s not so bad that I have to stick to wine and whatever gluten-free meat/veggie option there it, but mostly I just don’t like being the annoying person at the table.

So, as part of our birthday celebration this year, I booked a table at Senza, a restaurant I’ve heard about from many people whenever the fact that I have Celiac comes up (and it always comes up 😉 ).  The restaurant is entirely gluten-free but it doesn’t advertise itself as such.  Instead, the experience at Senza centers around Executive Chef Noah Sandoval’s unique take on new American cuisine, focusing on fresh, local ingredients and a blend of modern and classic techniques.”  He just happens to not use gluten in anything.

It was a truly wonderful experience and a really great birthday present for me.  I started the evening with an amazing cocktail that included a combination of tequila, mole and rosemary.  Since there were two of us, we opted for the four course menu and decided to taste a bit of what each other ordered.  I wouldn’t be able to describe each course in detail, but can say that the experience overall was so delicious and so much fun.  The service was absolutely incredible and each course brought out to us was fun, creative and deliciously complex in flavor and texture.  And for those that are wondering – there was bread served – and it was really good – a small loaf for the two of use to share, sliced and grilled just for a moment to warm it.  But the best part of the whole experience – even if you take out the delicious food – was the fact that I didn’t feel different and I didn’t have to ask for anything special.  I just sat – and drank & ate & enjoyed a fancy dinner out without a worry in my mind.

If you’re in the Chicago area, gluten-free or not, Senza is a restaurant worth trying.

homemade vegetable stock

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I know Pumpkin Spice is all the rage this time of year, and please don’t get me wrong, I love my Pumpkin Spice.  But you know what I really love about fall?  Soup.  I can go months and months without soup and then as soon as the air gets crisp and the leaves start to change, all I want is soup for dinner.  And what better way is there to start homemade soup than with homemade stock?  It’s simple, it’s easy and – if you make it yourself – it’s always gluten-free.  Grab some veggies and get simmering.  Fall is happening.

homemade vegetable stock
yield: about 4-5 quarts

recipe notes:  I mentioned this when I posted about chicken stock, but it’s worth saying again: stock freezes remarkably well.  I typically use left-over yogurt containers and mason jars now because my freezer is a bit different from when I used to do the ziploc bag method.  Plus, with containers, I like how I can use different sizes and then only defrost however much I think I’ll need for the recipe.  I like to have a variety of amounts frozen from 1/2 cup to 1 quart.

2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped fine
15 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
5-6 quarts water
1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into chunks
1 tomato, chopped
8 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. black peppercorns

1.  Add the onions, celery, scallions, garlic, oil and salt to a large Dutch oven or stock pot and stir together.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the pan bottom begins to brown lightly, 20-30 minutes.

2.  Add in the water, cauliflower, tomato, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorn.  Partially cover, bring to a gentle simmer (not boil) and cook for about 90 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer.

3.  Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher and pour into storage containers.  Use within 3 days if storing in the fridge or freeze until ready to use.

source: annie’s eats

 

cardamom hazelnut granola

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We really like granola.  It may be the fact that I can’t really eat cereal anymore or that we also really love yogurt (granola pairs so well with it).  Whatever the case, it’s gotten to the point that as soon as we run out, Jon asks when we’re going to make granola again.  And even though I’ve got two great recipes already, I’m always excited to try a new kind.  This cardamom hazelnut from Naturally Ella was a great one – the cardamom and hazelnut an absolutely delicious new twist to one of our very favorite snacks.  Paired with pumpkin spice skyr?  Man, fall tastes good.

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cardamom hazelnut granola
yield: about 2 cups

1 cup raw hazelnuts
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
zest from 1 large orange
6 T honey or maple syrup (I used honey)
1/4 cup butter or walnut oil (I used half butter, half vegetable oil)
1 cup dried cranberries

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and cover one large or two small baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

2.  Place hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are in small pieces but not quite the consistency of meal. Place in a large bowl along with the rolled oats and sea salt.

3.  In a small sauce pan, combine cardamom, orange zest, honey, and butter/oil. Heat over low heat until butter is melted and cardamom is fragrant. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated.

4.  Spread granola onto baking sheet(s) and press into a thin layer. Place in oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Granola should be golden in color. Remove from oven and let cool. Pour into a bowl and stir in dried cranberries.

5.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Source: Naturally Ella