Clara Gluten Free

Bread Pudding

Hello again! (long time no see, no? Don't worry- I only temporarily fell off of the side of the world because of semester exams. This year, I  actually studied for all of them!!) First of all, here's to hoping all holidays/starts of new years were pleasant +  remain to be so, and second of all, yes, I know bread pudding is not exactly a holiday cookie. But, I made it with my holiday baking, so it's going in the summary series on all that. Anyway, it's a great way to use up stale bread/sweet breads. 

This version I made is kind of like cake and kind of like blondies (you know, the non-chocolate brownies?) and I made it to use up left over baked donuts/crullers from  Sweet Freedom, but I'd recommend against using fried donuts, if anyone eating the pudding wants to have any arteries to speak of afterward! The more traditional way to make bread pudding is to use up regular old stale bread, or cinnamon raisin bread, but being that GF bread is well, gluten free, it tends to disintegrate with fluid, ie the egg-milk mixture for the pudding. So, proceed with caution. As to the general structure of bread pudding, to the best of my knowledge, it is sort of like a custard, but with bread chucks suspended through out. So the eggs for the base, but in this case they leaven (make it rise) a bit too. Oh, and make it really rich. 

Bread Pudding- about 24 small-ish servings

Note: The bread I used was already very sweet, so you might want to add sugar to taste if you are using regular sandwich bread. 

about 5 cups of 1" cubed sweet bread
8 eggs
3 cups of milk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup M & Ms 

1- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk eggs, milk and vanilla together. In a large mixing bowl, soak the bread until it begins to dissolve. Pour off and reserve excess liquid. 

2- Fill a large (approx 18" x 22" ) pan with bread mixture. Stir in half of the  M & Ms. Pour left over eggs/milk until half of pan is filled, discard the rest. Top with the remainder of the M & Ms.

3-Bake for about 1 hr, or slightly over, until browned on top (cover with aluminium foil if browning too much) and set (if you poke it, it should feel like a gelled cake). Let cool, and serve immediately.

Flourless Peppermint-Chocolate Cookies

So...blame that absence on baking holiday cookies and school...which I may or may not have done to the exclusion of everything else. Anyway. Here's the start of my series on holiday baking. This year, diagnosised and all, it's REALLY! EXCITING! to be making lots of holiday treats that are well, safe for a celiac to eat. To kick this off- I made a recipe I found off of Foodily, but the recipe originally came from   this lovely blog . How can you go wrong with any of the words "Flourless", "Chocolate" or "Cookies"??

The first time I made the cookies, I wanted to reduce how much the spread, and everything in the world needs peppermint, so I tweaked them to suit. These are flourless, so they are naturally GF, as always- assuming your ingredients are clean. As for how they work- the binding and the moistness comes from the egg whites. Similar to meringues, but not made into a foam. However, I got an idea to take down the spreading from meringue cookies. Ever made meringues? Well, they always call for an acid (cream of tartar, usually), which helps unfold the egg white protiens to they will bond into a network. So I added baking soda, which has cream of tartar and baking powder (baking soda, a.k.a- sodium bicarbonate- a levener), in order to help get the structure I wanted and get a little bit of lift to the cookies. I think it worked. I also increased the cocoa powder and switched in a darker chocolate in order to balance the peppermint I put in. You could use semisweet or milk chocolate, but I like the dark flavor of the bittersweet. Well, actually, I like the dark flavor of unsweetened baking chocolate...but I try not to inflict it on normal people. 

Flourless Chocolate Peppermint Cookies- makes 3 dozen

1 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
4 egg whites
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbs vanilla
1/2 tbs peppermint extract
1 1/4 cups bittersweet chips/shavings
1/3 cup crushed candy cane (about 7)

1- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly wipe with oil/butter to grease. Crush the candy canes is a strong plastic bag, with a hammer or some other large, heavy object. Combine with chocolate chips, and set aside.

2- Combine cocoa and sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Stir on low to combine. Add the egg whites (you can reserve the yolks for up to 3 days in the fridge. Crème Brûlée, anyone?), extracts baking powder, and salt. Stir on high to combine, until the batter is stretchy. Stir in the chocolate chips and candy cane.

3- Put about 10-12 1" balls of cookie dough on each cookie sheet (space them out so there are about 2 inches of space between each ball of dough). Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies feel solid, but the center still feels soft. 

4- Remove from oven, allow to cool on the cookie sheet 5-10 minutes. Fend off the people who try to take the cookies too early (the cookies will disintrigrate) and then move to a cooling rack/serve immediately. 

Sandwiches, Part II

...and to conclude that short series on sandwiches- here is the other recipe. Again, I did a panini, but grilled cheese or broiled open-face melts would work too- especially for this one, which is a jazzed up tuna melt.

I was making lemony tuna salad, when I realized didn't have mayo (dairy-free or otherwise) so I decided to go for coconut oil. And was surprised to discover when I went to mix up my tuna that coconut oil is very, very hard at room temperature. So, I cut it int to the tuna like butter into flour for pastry (yes, I know- weird connection), but I bet if you melted it and stirred it in it would work better. Haven't tried that yet- so consider yourself warned. And on that ominous note- I'd just like to say... it was the Best! Tuna! Melt! Ever!!

Coconut Lemon Tuna Melts- serves 4

2 5-oz cans of tuna, drained
3 celery sticks- washed + sliced
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 lemons- zested + juiced
1-2 1 oz slices of cheese for each sandwich
4 slices of bread or 4 rolls, halved

1- Preheat a panini press or oven broiler. Combine in a medium bowl tuna, celery, lemon zest/juice and coconut oil (you may have to cut this is in like butter into pastry. If so- use a big fork). Lay out the pairs of slices of bread. Butter the outside of each sandwich (helps with browning the outside)

2- For each sandwich- layer bread (butter-side down), slice of cheese to cover the bread, tuna, more cheese if using, top piece of bread (butter-side up).

3- Press in the panini-maker until golden brown or broil 7-10 minutes (be sure to flip them part way through!). Allow to cool for a few minutes, slice and serve immediately. 

Sandwiches, Part I

I've got two sandwiches I've been meaning to blog. And by meaning, I mean sitting on my computer while I think about Thanksgiving  and bake Christmas cookies (I'll have those recipes soon!!). So, here's Sandwich 1- an Apple Cheddar Panini

Unfortunately for me, there's not a whole lot of food chemistry happening with a sandwich, but that explains why they are easy to make (Look at that! I just came up with a whole idea to explain...when there is no real information to talk about!). Well, except- keep in mind what the consistency of your cheese is going to be like when it melts- all cheeses melt in different ways...and some separate into curds and oils (kind of really gross- but those are generally very hard cheeses only) The main thing to think about is taste: sandwiches hold on to the flavor of their ingredients really well, so it's important to make sure you have good combinations. So, in good creative-cook fashion, I stole this idea from a Whole Foods recipe. Except I put it on bread, not tortillas. Yes, I know. Brilliant. 

Apple Cheddar Paninis/Melts- makes 6

1 Crisp, sour Apple, sliced thin (I like Honeycrisp, Fuji and Braeburn)
1 or 2 1-oz Slices of Cheese for each sandwich
12 slices of bread

1- Preheat a panini press or oven broiler. Lay out the pairs of slices of bread. Butter the outside of each sandwich (helps with browning the outside)

2- For each sandwich- layer bread (butter-side down), slice of cheese to cover the bread, slices of apple to cover the bread, more cheese if using, top piece of bread (butter-side up).

3- Press in the panini-maker until golden brown or broil 7-10 minutes (be sure to flip them part way through!). Allow to cool for a few minutes, slice and serve immediately.