Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mocha Espresso Cupcakes

Gluten Free Mocha Espresso Cupcakes 
















These Mocha Espresso Cupcakes were decadently delicious.  I'll be making them again even if the recipe isn't totally worked out just yet.  These java flavored delights were actually made as part of my video entry into a baking competition hosted by a fantastic YouTube channel called Steve’s Kitchen.

At Steve’s channel he spent a week doing different variations of his basic pound cake recipe.  For the contest we were asked to put our unique spin on his basic pound cake.  In all six of the variations he demonstrated, he used an equal ratio of butter, sugar, eggs and self-rising flour.  He also added a teaspoon of extra baking powder to each of the recipes to add some lightness to the final product.

And in all of his variations, the results were stellar.  To create these mocha espresso cupcakes, I actually used Steve’s red velvet cupcake variation with a few minor changes.  During the baking process I ran into a bit of a problem.  The cupcakes rose out of the pan in an out-of-control fashion.  I think the extra baking powder caused a little too much leavening. 

Notice I said “THINK” since I’m not 100% sure that the extra baking powder caused the problem.

But here's my theory.  Steve had used regular flour in each of his recipes which of course contains gluten.  In a heavy pound cake recipe like this, I can see where the extra baking powder would be quite helpful in the final result.  Gluten often needs to be fought against in developing light cakes and pastries.  Gluten free baking doesn’t share this problem. 

Gluten free flours have far less structure so there was nothing to hold the batter back once my cupcakes hit the oven.  I’d strongly suggest that you watch my video tutorial where I outline what I think went wrong and what I did to fix these cupcakes.  

In the recipe I wrote below, I omitted the extra baking powder but the recipe has not been tested to see if it fixes the problem I encountered in the video.  Look folks, there’s only so many cupcakes I can eat while still tring to maintain a healthy diet.  When I get a chance I’ll try to re-test the recipe and update this post.

Proceed with caution if you feel lucky. 

And if you do happen to try the recipe as it’s written below, sans that extra baking powder used in the video, be sure to leave me a comment to let me know how they turned out.

Mocha Espresso Cupcakes
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Servings:12 cupcakes

Ingredients
  • 200 grams butter(7 oz or 14 tablespoons or 1 ¾ sticks)
  • 200 grams sugar(7 oz or  halfway between ¾ cup & 1 cup)
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 200 grams gluten free self-rising flour or gluten free Bisquick (7 oz or halfway between 1 & 1 ¼ cups)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 3 tbsp milk

Frosting Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar (additional may be needed if you need a thicker frosting)
  • 1 tsp heavy cream or milk (additional milk may be needed to thin the frosting)
  • 2 tsp espresso powder (divided)
Video Tutorial  (Please WATCH Before Attempting This One)



Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 340°F (or 170 °C) and line a cupcake tin with 12 paper liners
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs and milk until the mixture is very well combined. 
  3. Stir together the self-rising flour, espresso powder and cocoa powder then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until the batter is well combined and smooth.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 liners and bake them for 18-22 minutes.
  5. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  6. To make the frosting beat together the butter and confectioner’s sugar. 
  7. Dissolve 1 tsp of espresso powder with 1 tsp of heavy cream or milk and beat it into the frosting then stir in 1 tsp of undissolved espresso powder into the icing to add tiny flecks of coffee into the icing if you want. 
  8. If the frosting is too thick for your needs, add more cream or milk and if it’s too thin add more confectioner’s sugar.
  9. Use a star tip to pipe a rosette onto each cupcake then garnish them with an espresso bean. 
  10. Chill for an hour or so to solidify the butter cream then serve.

Notes:  Please watch the video tutorial before attempting this recipe.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gluten Free Apple Crisp



Gluten Free Apple Crisp
















With Labor Day well behind us, who’s not longing for the aromas of autumn spice wafting through their homes.  This easy gluten free apple crisp is a perfect example of how simple things can be.  It’s the yummiest dessert you can turn to when you’re craving apple pie but don’t want to make the whole pie for yourself. 

I've often said that apple crisp is for people that don’t feel like messing with the crust.  This apple crisp recipe shows you that it’s just as easy to make for one as it is for ten.  And I baked mine right in the toaster oven since it was still pretty warm out when the day I decided to take the plunge and kick off my fall baking.    

The only thing better than diving into a warm bowl of apple crisp, is topping it off with good vanilla bean ice cream first.  Would anyone disagree?

Gluten Free Apple Crisp
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Servings: 1

Ingredients
  • 1 large apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp brown sugar  
  • apple pie spice, sprinkle to taste
  • 1 tbsp water

 Ingredients for the Topping:
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats (gluten free)
  • 1 tbsp gluten free flour
  • 1 tbsp butter, diced
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • apple pie spice, sprinkle to taste

Video Tutorial:



Instructions:
  1. In a medium bowl stir together the diced apple, corn starch, brown sugar, apple pie spice and water then add the apple mixture to a greased 2 cup Pyrex dish.
  2. For the topping, in a small bowl combine the oats, gluten free flour, diced butter, walnuts, apple pie spice and brown sugar.
  3. Use your fingers to mix the butter into the other ingredients by pinching it with a sliding type motion until you've got a nice crumbly consistency… then loosely spoon mixture over the seasoned apples.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in a preheated 350°F (or 175 °C) oven or toaster oven.
  5. When it comes out I like to let it cool for 5 or 10 minutes. 

Notes: 
  1. If you want to add ice cream while the Pyrex is still very hot then you've got to aim your ice cream away from the dish so the temperature change wont crack the glass.
  2. This recipe is easy to increase and can be made in one large baking dish or several more individual servings.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Buffalo Chicken Sliders
















As I’m sure you all know, the NFL season kicked off last week.  With that in mind I’m sure many of you are looking for great ideas to add to the game day feast.  Even if you’re not a fan of football, chances are you’re probably a fan of the food.  

I mean who doesn't love chowing down on all those vats of chili and platters of nachos and buffalo wings.

My easy buffalo chicken sliders borrow the flavors of those beloved wings in lighter, less messy sliders.  And the beauty of these sliders is that these they’re made with leftover shredded chicken.  And if you don’t feel like roasting your own chicken you could always buy a rotisserie chicken and shred that.  But make sure to check that it is gluten free.

This recipe was done in a small version.  But if you're making it for a game day crowd, I’d quadruple this one.  

And once your guests taste these, be prepared to make them every week.  Believe me, everyone will be begging for these spicy little buffalo sliders.

Buffalo Chicken Sliders
Prep time: 5-10 min
Cook time: 5 min
Servings: 4-6 depending on roll size

Ingredients:
  • 10 oz shredded chicken
  • ½ cup hot sauce (Franks or Crystal)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp mayonaisse
  • 2 oz blue cheese, crumbled
  • 4 slider buns (I used 4 toasted Schar ciabatta rolls)

Garnishes:
  • romaine lettuce
  • celery, very thinly sliced
  • crumbled blue cheese

Video Tutorial: 



Instructions:
  1. In a small bowl stir together the Greek Yogurt, Mayo and blue cheese until combined then set it aside in the refrigerator.
  2. In a small skillet, add the butter to the hot sauce and stir until the butter is completely melted then add the chicken and stir until the chicken is completely coated in the sauce and heated through.
  3. To build the sliders add smear of the bleu cheese spread to the bottom of the bottom of the slider bun.  Top with a piece of lettuce and spoonful of the buffalo chicken.  Add a small dollop of the blue cheese spread then top with additional blue cheese crumbles, and thinly sliced celery. 

Notes: 
  1. Optionally you can toast the slider buns to add flavor and texture.
  2. Inserting sandwich picks into the sliders will help to keep them together when serving.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Southwestern Chicken Salad Sliders

Southwestern Chicken Salad Sliders 
















These southwestern chicken salad sliders solve that age old kitchen dilemma of what to do with your leftover chicken.  I'm in the habit of roasting a whole chicken.  Not only is it cost effective, my daughter also loves the smell of roasted chicken when she comes in from school.  And I love to see her smile.  

But I have to admit that roasting a whole chicken was a lot more feasible when I had teenage boys at home and my hubby was still alive.  With the boys having grown up and moved out and my husband’s sudden unexpected cardiac arrest last year my family of five has dwindled to two.  

Likewise the leftover chicken problem seems to be arising more frequently.  Let’s face it, there’s only so much chicken that two people can consume.

These southwestern chicken salad sliders solve the age old dilemma with ingredients that are sure to revolutionize the way you think about boring chicken salad.  The fiery spices actually make these sliders a very nice addition to your game day table.  

And they're convenient too since the salad can be made a day in advance and the sandwiches assembled  right before your friends arrive.

Southwestern Chicken Salad Sliders 
Prep time: 15-20 min
Servings: 18-24 depending on roll size

Ingredients
  • 10 oz chicken breast (cooked, cold & diced)
  • 1 ear of corn (grilled & niblets removed)
  • ¾ cup black beans (rinsed & drained)
  • ½ red pepper diced
  • ½ cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • ½ cup salsa
  • 2 chipoltle peppers in adobo (diced)
  • slider rolls of your choice (I used Schar gluten free ciabatta rolls)

 For Garnish
  • avocado slices
  • habanero cheddar or jalapeno jack (sliced or grated)
  • romaine lettuce


Video Tutorial:



Instructions
  1. In a bowl large enough to mix the entire salad, stir together the sour cream, salsa and diced chipotles until well combined. 
  2. Add the diced chicken, corn, black beans and red peppers and stir until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  3. To build the sliders add a piece of lettuce to the bottom of the slider bun.  Add some chicken salad then top with avocado slices, cheese and the top bun.

Notes: 
  1. To grill the corn, place it onto a hot grill pan then rotate every minute or so for 5-6 minutes or until you have a little color on all sides.  You can substitute drained canned corn or the frozen variety if you want. 
  2. Optionally you can toast the slider buns to add flavor and texture.
  3. Inserting sandwich picks into the sliders will help to keep them together when serving.

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