Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pumpkin Oatmeal Spice Cookies with Maple Brown Butter Icing

If you’re short of fridge space this Thanksgiving, and who isn’t, these pumpkin oatmeal spice cookies with their decadent maple brown butter icing are the perfect addition to your holiday dessert menu. 

Last year with my kids insisting on both turkey and ham along with at least five sides, I was so short on fridge space that I asked my son’s fiancé make the holiday pies.   But she’s not gluten free and neither were her delicious looking pies so I was left with no dessert. 

Now don’t be sad for me.  

I’m more of a savory person anyway.  And with all that delicious Thanksgiving fare, I probably couldn’t have even squeezed in the dessert.  Oh who am I kidding? Everyone wants a little sweet treat after the holiday meal no matter how stuffed they are. 

This year I re-worked my oatmeal cookie recipe by adding some pumpkin puree and festive fall spices to make big soft chewy cookies that scream Thanksgiving.  And to guild the lily, I mixed a quick maple brown butter icing to streak over the chewy almost cake-like cookies to make them the perfect fit for a holiday dessert menu.  

Guess who’ll be smiling on Thanksgiving this year. 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Spice Cookies with Maple Brown Butter Icing 
Prep time: 20 min
Bake time: 14-16 min (for large cookies)
Servings: 30 – 36 ( I got 33 cookies)

Cookie Ingredients
  • 2 cups gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 blend)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 3 cups gluten free rolled oats (I used Bobs Red Mill old fashion oats)
  • 1 cup butter, (2 sticks well softened)
  • 2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

Glaze Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Video Tutorial

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (or 190 °C) and line a few baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl stir together the gluten free flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice until well combined the stir in the rolled oats and set aside.
  3. Beat together butter and brown sugar until light and creamy.
  4. Add the eggs pumpkin puree and vanilla and beat until well combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and beat until a well incorporated dough forms.
  6. For large cookies, use a large cookie scoop to drop by scant ¼ cup measures onto the prepared baking sheet.  Bake the cookies halfway for 8 minutes then remove from the oven and flatten slightly with a silicone spatula and bake for an additional 8 minutes for 16 minutes in total.
  7. Allow them to cool of the pan for 2 minutes then remove them from the baking sheet to cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. While the cookies are cooling to make the icing put the butter into a small stainless steel saucepan over a medium heat and melt the butter stirring continuously, until it’s a golden brown color and has a nutty aroma.
  9. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the maple syrup.
  10. Add slightly less than 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar and stir until you have a thick consistency that can easily be drizzled.  If the icing is too thin, continue to add more sugar (1 tbsp at a time) until the consistency looks right.
  11. Drizzle or spoon the icing over the cookies and allow it to dry to the touch before serving. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Microwave Mac and Cheese

Microwave Mac and Cheese 

With Thanksgiving being next week you’d probably expect me to be blogging about my latest holiday dessert recipe.  Instead I’m revealing a recipe you can make quickly for yourself while you are in the midst of all the rest of the holiday cooking.

The grand revelation is my version of microwave mac and cheese for one.

And if I do say so myself, it is light-years ahead of any boxed gluten free mac and cheese you’ll find out there. 

It’s creamy, delicious and possesses all the same luxury as any good homemade stove-top mac and cheese.  But this version is done in less time that it takes to boil the pasta water for regular stove-top mac and cheese methods.  

I think you’re gonna love it.

And for those of you that may be disappointed that this blog isn’t about a Thanksgiving dessert, I do plan to film and edit a video for chewy glazed pumpkin oatmeal cookies and have it up here before the big event.  

After the disappointment a few year back when I made those pumpkin cookies that ended up with more of a cake or muffin-like texture, the recipe for a chewy pumpkin cookie is long overdo.   

Now just cross your fingers that the recipe works and that I can get it done for you in time for the holiday.  

Microwave Mac and Cheese for One
Prep time: 1 min
Cook time: 8 min
Servings: 1-2

  • 3 oz gluten free elbows (I used Sam Mills)
  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 oz American cheese
  • 2 oz shredded cheddar
  • pinch of cayenne
  • pinch of salt

Video Tutorial

  1. In a medium shallow bowl stir together the elbow macaroni, milk, salt and cayenne being sure that all the elbows have been immersed and are filled with the milk then place a tablespoon of butter on top and microwave for 4 ½ minutes on high.
  2. Stir the bowl well and make sure the pasta is separated then add the American cheese on top of the pasta and microwave on high for 2 ½ minutes.
  3. Stir until the American cheese is fully melted and incorporated with the elbows then stir in the shredded cheddar and microwave for one more minute on high.
  4. Stir and let it stand for another minute and serve.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookie Brownie Cups

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookie Brownie Cups   

What did you do with all your leftover Halloween candy?  Being fourteen, my daughter doesn’t trick-or-treat anymore but I still buy bags of candy for the little ones that might drop buy.  The problem is that the number of kids coming to my door seems to have dwindled drastically over the past few years while my candy purchasing habits has remained the same. 

And since I really like Reese’s cups I tend to stock up.  Although they’re my favorite, they’re also pretty sweet so I can only eat a few and then the sickening feeling sets in.  In this recipe I’ve scaled down the sugar in both my favorite brownie and peanut butter cookie recipes by 20% then sandwiched the sweet Reese’s cup between those two layers to turn a classic candy into a dessert that hits all the right notes.  

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookie Brownie Cups
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 22-24 min
Servings: 12

  • 12 Reese’s cups
  • For the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough:
  • 2/3  of a cup gluten free flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup butter (well softened)
  • ¼ cup peanut butter (well softened)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
  • For the Brownie Batter:
  • ¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup gluten free flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (or 175ºC) and line a cupcake tin with 12 paper liners.
  2. Stir together the free flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  3. Cream together the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar until smooth add the vanilla and egg and beat until smooth then mix in the flour mixture until a soft dough forms then stir in ¼ cup of mini chocolate chips.
  4. Divide the dough evenly among the 12 liners and press it onto the bottom then top them all with a Reese’s cup and set the pan aside.
  5. To make the brownie batter in a medium microwave safe bowl melt the butter then add the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and eggs and whisk until well combined.
  6. Add the flour and baking powder and stir until the wet and dry ingredients are well combined. 
  7. Divide the mixture evenly among the 12 liners then tap the pan a few times to settle the batter.
  8. Bake them for 22-24 minutes depending on your oven then allow them to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Basil Pesto Focaccia

Basil Pesto Focaccia

In my last post I showed you how to make a crusty loaf of Gluten Free Olive Bread using Bob’s Red Mill’s gluten free pizza crust mix.  Using a mix eliminates the headache and expense of buying and blending countless flours to get a good end result. 

This basil pesto focaccia bread is even easier to make than a free form loaf of bread.  Beyond the dough being super simple to mix, this one is much easier to shape and bake than the olive bread which incidentally was a very stunning addition to the appetizer table.

When you want something that’s easy to make yet sure to outshine any gluten free boxed cracker you might normally serve at a party, this focaccia bread is the way to go.  

It can be customized with countless toppings to fit in with whatever else you might be serving.  It’s particularly good with tomatoes and rosemary.  Or it can be pushed towards a sweeter direction with pears and gorgonzola. 

Really the combinations are endless.

With the holidays on the horizon you can rest assured my pantry is always stocked with several bags of this pizza crust mix.  The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.    

Basil Pesto Focaccia
Prep time: 2 ½ hours (including 2 hour rise time)
Bake time: 35-40 min
Servings: 12-24

  • 1 pkg. pizza crust mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 yeast package (included with the mix)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (for the dough)
  • ½ cup basil pesto sauce (I used Mezzetta brand)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided (2 tbsp on the bottom & 4 tbsp on top of the focaccia)
  • ½ cup grated locatelli or pecorino romano cheese

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Line a 9x12 inch baking pan with parchment paper drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil then lightly sprinkle the bottom of the pan with adobo seasoning and set it aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine the warm water and yeast package and let it stand for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs and olive oil and mix until well to combine.
  4. Add the flour mixture and stir or beat until the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly combined with no visible dry mixture left.
  5. Turn the dough ball out onto the prepared pan and spread it evenly over the bottom using a sheet of plastic wrap to press it down without it sticking to your fingers.
  6. Press shallow divits into the entire surface of the dough with the back of a plastic spoon to form small indentations where the pesto can settle. 
  7. Spread the pesto evenly over the top then drizzle over another 4 tbsp of olive oil then sprinkle over ½ cup of locatelli or pecorino romano cheese
  8. Prick the entire focaccia with a fork at about 1 inch intervals straight through to the bottom of the pan so that the oil, cheese and pesto can drain through and flavor the dough.
  9. Let the focaccia rise for 2 hours then bake in a preheated 400ºF (or 205ºC) on the middle rack for 35-40 minutes or until it is a light golden brown.
  10. Cool on a baking rack to maintain a crusty exterior.  Slice and serve.

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