Clara Gluten Free

More on Fruit & Yogurt

I'm not exactly sure why I'm such a fan of fruit and yogurt. Certainly the sour/sweet flavors are awesome. And it's breakfast everyday, and I love my daily rituals. Like a lot. So that's part of it. And perhaps the protein is good, and the pro-biotic arguments may be part of it, but who knows yet really anyhow. In any event, here is a short collection of some awesome fruit/yogurt breakfasts.

{kiwi and raspberries! I knowI said that I hadn't tried it yet in my last post, but it's awesome! Also, the embroidery in the background makes the important statement "Food Helps"}

{with peaches...on the road!}

{with peaches and rasperries, at home}

Banana Bread

I did it! I did it! I did it! I made GF banana bread that isn't weird! There's been a long argument between me and banana bread, you see, and it seems that I have won.

This issue is always something like this: it's mushy (near liquid), it's crumbly (read: falling apart), it tastes strange (that is, saccharine, or bitter, or like baking soda), it makes us glutened (actually, a bunch of ingredients I was buying were bad, so they were yielding bad bread). But now, by Jove, I think I've got it! It also turned out to be a great way to clear out the freezer of hoarded over-ripe bananas we had built up (10).

The key was pummeling this baking recipe with binders. Eggs and flaxseed, actually, and sugar. Turns out sugar is extremely important for baked goods in keeping the proper texture (I think it has to do with the way the recipe retains water, actually, but don't quote me on that), and all my breads were too low-sugar. Which is unfortunate, because I like them to be not very sweetened, but that might be for next time around. As such, here's the recipe for the banana bread that my mom and I may or may not have spent all of Thursday afternoon eating.

Banana Bread - makes 3 loaves, 12-14 slices per loaf. 
Note: This is a really good way to clear out a lot of over-ripe bananas you might be saving in the freezer. Also, the best way to freeze bananas: remove the peel, stick the bananas in a large bag, and freeze all together. Defrost in the microwave when you are ready, at a medium heat, until the banana is pretty mushy (it won't have a banana texture, more like a really soaking sponge).

10 bananas, defrosted
1 1/4 cp dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 cp white sugar
2 tbs vanilla
6 eggs, whisked together
7 tbs ground flaxseed meal
3 sticks butter, softened
4 1/2 cp brown rice flour
2 cp tapioca flour
1 tbs baking soda
1 tbs kosher salt

1- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 3 loaf pans with the wrappers of the softened butter.

2- Put the bananas in the bowl of a large stand mixer. Mash the bananas with the paddle attachment by stirring at a medium speed. They may liquify (that's ok).

3- Add sugar and vanilla. Stir at medium until well-combined. Add butter. Stir until combined (it's ok if there are fine lumps of butter in the mixture). Add eggs and flaxseed meal.

4- Stir in the flours, baking soda, and salt. Stir until batter is loose, but well combined.

5- Pour into loaf pans. Bake 60-70 minutes. Remove when the loaves are firm to the touch and dark brown.

Greek Yogurt with Summer Fruit

This is breakfast everyday, or some version of it. And as such, I highly, highly recommend it. Copy-editing sister will agree.

Greek yogurt, berries, and sometimes a peach. This time of year, though, peaches are fantastical, so I include them when I can because awesome summer fruits are awesome. Anyhow. Also in this here brekkie is GF toast with butter. Personally, I prefer fat-free yogurt because it's sourer, but to get any of the calcium and vit. D, one does need some fat...hence bread and butter. But other such breakfast carbs are yummy too.

Toast & Yogurt & Fruit - serves 1

Note: I like fat-free Greek yogurt because I love the flavor and it's thick and awesome and high protein and awesome. It can be a bit harsh on glutened-tummies, so watch out if that's an issue. Obviously, too, it's impossible for casein-free tummies, but I assume that soy or coconut milk yogurt can be substituted if you so desire.

Also, recommended fruit to combine: raspberries, blueberries, peach, strawberries, and/or blackberries. And of course, other fruits that are good in yogurt, but ones that I haven't tried them in any combinations (...yet...): bananas, or  kiwi, or plums.

2/3 cp Fat-Free Greek Yogurt
2/3 cp fresh fruit (e.g. 1 peach, dozen blueberries, 2 sliced strawberries)
1 slice of bread
sliver of butter

1- Toast bread. Meanwhile, scoop all the yogurt into a wide bowl. Wash/slice fruit into bite-sized chunks.

2- Butter the bread. Layer all the fruit on top.

3- The end. Enjoy. :)

Back again!

After a very busy spring/summer, it's time to bring this blog back from break-time! I'm going to be posting more meal ideas along with the recipes, as I have found that I got lots to say about that too. So keep an eye out for things picking up again!

We've got some blogging to do... :)

Berry Ice Cream

We got a whole bag of frozen Radar Farms berries at Costco a few weeks back. To borrow a cliche, (sorry about this, copy-editting sister...) it was a very-berry boatload of berries to play with! ...anyhoo...

My brother's favorite ice cream flavor is strawberry, so we compromised and I made a quart of berry (though not strawberry) ice cream. It was a bit difficult to keep the water in the berries from making the ice cream icy-textured. Since I don't really like to use eggs in the ice cream, because I think it makes the ice cream taste like custard and not like cream, I opted to cook down the berries in order to boil off some of the water. It helped a great deal, and also the slightly-more concentrated pectin (the protein in fruit that is not unlike gelatin in meat/bones), helped thicken and stabilize the ice cream. Yay for bonus success! Of course, berry ice cream is really meant to go with chocolate, so I hunted down on Pinterest  a GF brownie-in-a-mug recipe to make into a berry-brownie sundae. Which was super yummy, so of course, I made it four more times. In a row.

Berry Ice Cream- makes 1 quart

4 cups mixed berries, frozen
2/3 cup agave nectar
1 pint whipping cream
1 tbs vanilla
1 1/2 tsp salt

1- Soften berries in the microwave, then melt and bring to a boil on medium heat. Allow to reduce until the color has darkened and the berries have thickened (about 10 minutes). Stir constantly. 

2- Remove from heat and pour into medium mixing bowl or large pyrex liquid measuring cup. Add agave, stir until combined.

3- Add cream, vanilla, and salt. Stir until combined. Let cool to room temperature for 1 1/2 hours. Chill further in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 hours. 

4- Mix according to your ice cream-maker's manufacturer's instructions. Pour into large, freezer-safe tupperware container, cover with plastic wrap to maintain freshness. Let harden for 3 hours.

5- Serve, ideally over a brownie-in-a-mug, with whipping cream and chocolate sprinkles. 

Chocolate-Dipped Divinity Candy

After making marshmallows, I had to make more candy. Not because I want candy, but because it's gluten-free...obviously... (OMG! candy!).

The difference between divinity and marshmallows is mostly temperature (which so basic it's is kinda awesome) and that divinity doesn't have gelatin (though some marshmallows don't...). And divinity is a particular favorite in my house and marshmallows are just a pantry staple. Anyway. I don't know how to invent candy recipes, so I found this Emril recipe on Foodily and the chocolate-tempering instructions from David Leibovitz. Both recipes worked for me very well- so well that I made divinity candy three times (this is batch #3) and dipped two of them (this is dipping #2). I would have kept making it, but the freezer ran out of space... Apparently, I need to figure out how to expand those drawers...

Chocolate-Dipped Divinity Candy- makes ~ 75 candies

1- Follow this recipe from Emril on Food Network; make the candies half-size for dipping.

Variation: sub out the 1 tsp vanilla extract for 1/2 tsp vanilla extract + 1 1/2 tsp almond extract- this makes it taste like the fluffiest marzipan ever.

2- When the candies are cool (minimum 4 hours later), chocolate dip them, following David Leibovitz's procedure on tempering chocolate. Be sure to work quickly, as the chocolate will firm up fast (as in "5 seconds after dipping and still around your fingers" - fast) if it has been tempered properly.  Let the candies cool after dipping on a large sheet of parchment on a baking tray or the counter.

Store at room temperature or in the freezer, after 1 week.


Something kind of amazing about candy? It's all sugar. Which means it's sugar....and gluten free. 
{I discovered candy-making recently}.

The recipe for these marshmallows come from the amazing blog of David Lebovitz, and I did not even adapt it. The post explains the food chemistry that goes into marshmallow making, but I will note that it's really nifty that marshmallows are stabilized in meringue pie minus the weepiness. It's like, a network of sugar and egg protein, that doesn't melt! Wheeee!

I think I'll celebrate that discovery with (a now frozen) fresh marshmallow.

Recipe- makes 4 dozen marshmallows
Note: If you want pictures of how all this should work (which I always do) then check out David's post. 

"2 envelopes (17g) powdered gelatin or 17g sheet gelatin (8 to 10 sheets)
1/2 cup (125ml) + 1/3 cup (80ml) cold water
1 cup (200g) sugar
1/3 cup (100g) light corn syrup
4 large egg whites (1/2 cup, 110g), at room temperature
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Marshmallow Mix
One part corn starch (or potato starch), one part powdered sugar (about 1 cup, 140g, each)

1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup (125ml) of cold water to dissolve and soften. If using leaf gelatin, soak the leaves in about 2 cups (500ml) cold water.

2. In a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, mix the sugar and corn syrup with 1/3 cup (80ml) of water. Place over medium-to-high heat...Note that you will use this saucepan twice, to make the syrup and melt the gelatin, eliminating the need to wash it between uses.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour in the egg whites and beat on low speed until frothy. Add the pinch of salt.
4. When the syrup reaches about 210ºF (99ºC), increase the speed of the mixer to high and beat the whites until they are thick and fluffy.
5. When the syrup reaches 245ºF (118ºC), slowly pour the hot syrup into the whites, pouring so that the syrup does not fall on the whisk since some of the syrup will splatter and stick to the sides of the bowl.
6. Scrape the gelatin and water into the pan that you used for the syrup, or put the gelatin sheets and 2 tablespoons of the water into the pan and swirl it to dissolve. (There should still be residual heat left in the pan from making the syrup in it to dissolve it).
Pour the liquified gelatin slowly into the whites as they are whipping. Add the vanilla extract or paste and continue to whip for 5 minutes, until the mixture is feels completely cool when you touch the outside of the bowl.
7. Dust a baking sheet evenly and completely with a generous layer of the marshmallow mixture. (I use a sifter to do this.) Make sure there are absolutely no bare spots.
8. Use a spatula to spread the marshmallows in a layer on the pan. Allow to dry for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, uncovered.
9. Put about 1 cup (140g) of the marshmallow mixture into a large bowl.Dust the top of the marshmallows with some of the marshmallow mixture. Use a pizza cutter or scissors (dusted as well with the marshmallow mixture) to cut the marshmallows into any size or shape pieces that you’d like and toss the marshmallows in the marshmallow mixture. Shake the marshmallows vigorously in a wire strainer to remove the excess powder. Alternatively, you can dust a baking sheet and put scoops of the marshmallow on it, and let them cool, as shown in the post."

Brown Bread

The other day I was looking for some dark, multigrain-ish bread which was not a cookie or any other chocolate/sweet containing confection. Hence brown bread.

I used my very own sandwich bread recipe as the jumping-off point, but changed the agave to molasses (for the whole "brown bread" thing), added buckwheat and sunflower seeds for texture, chia seeds for binding/fiber, and almond butter in place of oil. I did find that the flavor needed a bit of sweetening, hence adding some corn syrup and the dough was a tad too stiff, so I added some water. But by and large, the recipe is pretty similar...but not so similar that it looks anything like the original....

Brown Bread- makes 1 loaf

1/4 c molasses
1/2 tbs corn syrup
4 tbs chia seeds
1 tbs yeast
3/4 c water
3 tbs almond butter

1 1/4 c brown rice flour
3/4 c corn starch
1 c tapioca flour
2 tsp xanthum gum
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
dash cinnamon

1/4 cp buckwheat groats
1/2 c sunflower seeds, hulled and raw

1 egg
3/4 cp water

rise: 45 min
bake: 35 min

1- Warm an oven to about 125 degrees. Grease 1 loaf pan with vegetable oil.

2- Combine molasses, corn syrup, chia seeds, yeast, first 3/4 c water, and almond butter in a medium bowl.  Stir together, let stand for about 15 minutes.

3- Meanwhile, combine flours, xanthum gum, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, buckwheat, and sunflower seeds in the bowl of a large, strong stand mixer. 

4- Add egg and poolish of yeast and molasses. Mix with the paddle attachment, add additional water if necessary. When the dough is stretchy and slightly shiny (about 7 minutes) transfer to loaf pan.

5- Let rise in warm oven for 45 minutes.

6- Turn the oven to 350 F, with the bread still in the oven, and bake for 35 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 200 F. 

7- Remove from oven, let cool for 15 min before slicing. Serve warm. 

Banana Peanut Butter Snack Bars

Everyone's busily working away, the freezer is overfull of cookies, and I had spare time and two overripe bananas to use up. A problem in need of a baking-solution if I ever saw one! Since a not-sweet something was in order, I dreamt up these snack bars.

There were no binders but the bananas, minimal flour, because I used peanut butter (obviously...), and dark-dark chocolate (obviously). They taste kinda creamy/fudgy from the peanut butter, slightly fruity from the little bit o' dried fruit, and all sweet and salty from the sweet bananas and well, salt. As for how to cook these up, again, I kept things simple on the method. Maybe, to compensate, these need a snazzier name... Snack Bars, Elvis-Style anyone?

Banana Peanut Butter Snack Bars- 14 bars
Note: The 72% chocolate is best if it is not chocolate chips. Chips melt and keep their form, while chocolate bars tend to melt entirely when they are baked, which results in more of a chocolate swirl. 

2 overripe bananas, mashed
1 cup peanut butter, half crunchy, half smooth
2 tbs agave

3 tbs shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 almond flour
1/8 c coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt

2 1/2 oz 72% dark chocolate, broken to small bits
1/2 c 60% dark chocolate chips
1/4 c dried pomegranate bits

1- Preheat oven to 350. Line 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper

2- Combine banana, peanut butter, and agave. 

3- Stir in coconut, flours, baking powder and salt until smooth.

4- Add chocolate and pomegranate.

5- Spread into pan. Bake 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the bars are springy when touched. Remove from heat.

6- Let stand at room temperature for a few minutes. Once the bars are not so soft, remove parchment and cool on a wire cooling rack until room temperature. Slice into bars by halving the square in one direction and then slicing into sevenths in the other. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for a day or two before freezing. 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies II

More cookies! This is rapidly turning into a Series of Posts. Life could be worse. Anyway, I know I made vegan chocolate chip cookies before, and that I made banana toffee chocolate chip cookies in my last post, so, here's another version.

(shout out to my blog-copy-editing sister who loves lighting...nifty shadows, no?)

[As the copy-editing sister, I must suggest you capitalize the s in "shout-out". I would also like to say:

(1) Nifty shadows, indeed! I would question whether the red-balance of the photo is a little high. They're chocolate chip, not cherry, cookies! (Note to GF-Baking-Master Sister: cherry cookies should be considered for immediate experimentation—and by immediate, I mean in six months, when cherries are in-season.)

(2) Our fully-grown cat is chasing his tail, and has been doing so almost non-stop for the past week, on-and-off with the other cat. They spin around on their sides on the cat-structure, directly beneath the bed of the third cat (Moo), until they get bored and fall asleep. 

(3) hello, world! That's all.]

While the last vegan chocolate chip cookies were big and chewy, these come out small and fluffy, with lots of chocolate chips. There isn't a sugar/egg-creaming-step to create air bubbles, which expand and do the usual food-chemistry wonders that end up with "chewy cookie". Instead, these rise in the oven and turn out more like "sweet quickbread with tons of chocolate chips". 

As for flavor—I think the flaxseed contributes some nuttiness, and the salt helps to balance all the chocolate and sweetness. Though, the salt can be reduced if you want, but if you're looking to leave out the flaxseed, beware. It's also a binder (in place of eggs), so it's best to leave that in, or, at least, know that's what it does when you're being clever and inventive [note from the copy-editing sister: we encourage clever inventing]. I say this because the experience I've always had when I start experimenting is one where I, um, like to know what I am working with—unless, of course, I'm all "tally-ho! it's adventure time!"; this happens more than you might think. [I also encourage adventuring with all of the clever and inventive abandon as is suitable. Carry on.]

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies II- makes 24

1 c almond flour
1 c brown rice flour
2 tsp xanthum gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbs salt
1/2 brown sugar, packed

1/3 c water
2 tbs flaxseed meal
1 tbs vanilla
1/4 c oil
1/4 c water + approx 3 tbs

10 oz chocolate chips

1- Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

2- Combine 1/3 c water and flaxseed meal. Let stand to thicken. 

3- Whisk together flours, xanthum gum, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. 

4- Combine  vanilla, oil, 1/2 c water. Stir into the dry ingredients. If the dough is too dry, i.e. well-stirred but not all the flour is incorporated, add a few additional tablespoons of water at a time, until the dough is well combined. It will be soft and stretchy-ish. Stir in the chocolate chips.

5- Divide into 1" - 1 1/2" balls, place on cookie sheet, and flatten slightly. Bake 20 minutes, or until golden around the edges. Remove from oven, let stand 1 minute, cool on a wire rack. Serve immediately, or freeze within a day or two. 

Banana Toffee Chip Cookies

I've been calling these Bananoffee Chip Cookies because I like combining words [and I, the Copy-Editing Sister, like to capitalize things. A lot. Lots of capital letters. More Capital Letters].


More importantly, I like cookies!

When we (my blog-copy-editting sister and I, that is) [I've already introduced myself] were candy-making over the holidays, and she made some toffee that she was less-than-thrilled with, but that I wanted to use, so I turned it into these cookies. Since bananas can be used as binders, I opted to remove the eggs from my dough, to prevent it  from being glued together too much. As a result, the dough was not very elastic, so not much cookies spreading ensued, and instead the cookie-base is fluffy. And it works well to hold all the chocolate chips and heavy toffee chunks together. Which was kind of the point all along.

Banana Toffee Chip Cookies- makes 36

3 + scant 1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1 tbs xanthum gum
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tbs salt

2 medium overripe bananas, mashed
2 sticks of butter, melted and browned, and slightly cooled
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp banana extract (optional)

7 oz toffee, broken into chunks
1/2 cup large semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

1- Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2- In a medium bowl, combine the flours, gum, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together, and set aside.

3- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in large bowl while using a hand mixer, combine bananas, butter, sugar, vanilla, and banana extract, until smooth and slightly fluffy.

4- Fold in flours, stir until almost combined. Stir in toffee and chocolate chips.

5- Shape into 1" - 1 1/2" balls. Bake 20 minutes, turning sheet half-way through. Allow to set on pan for 2 minutes. Remove, cool on a wire cooling rack for a few minutes. Serve immediately, or cool entirely and top with peanut butter. Eat or freeze within a day.

Fudgy Brownies

I was on pinterest the other day (and yesterday, and today, and tomorrow...but that's another story) and I found RecipeGirl's pin of her Cocoa Brownies...which I had to make, despite their being not gluten-free. So, in true GF baker form, I adapted the recipe. And in lucky GF baker form—it worked out!

The recipe was initially nearly flourless, as the sugar and eggs provide most of the structure/texture, so the adaptation was pretty straightforward. I substituted the flour for GF all-purpose flour 1 to 1, but I added 1/2 tsp xanthum gum to make it a little more absorbant. Also, because everyone had the flu around here (which can make us temporarily lactose-intolerant), I used vegetable oil instead of butter to make the recipe dairy-free, but I think that variation is pretty solidly optional. In the end, the pan of brownies took a bit longer to cook than the non-GF recipe called for, but they came out looking almost exactly the same as the pictures on RecipeGirl's site (although, the top is ligher for her than for me). I'd call it a win, all-around. 

On a side note, even Moo approved. 

Fudgy Brownies, adapted via Lori Lange's Cocoa Brownies (makes 25)
Note: I cut these into 25 squares rather than 16, as they are really dark and intensely chocolately

11 tablespoons vegetable oil (or butter)
8.75 oz sugar
3 oz baking cocoa

1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs

1/3 + 1 tbs GF all-purpose flour + 1/2 tsp xanthum gum, whisked together

1- Preheat oven to 325. Line 8" x 8" pan with foil, covering all sides.

2- In a double boiler or medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, warm the oil for a few minutes.

3- Add the sugar and the cocoa, stir occasionally until combined complete. Allow the batter to warm up for a few minutes, then remove from heat. Add salt and vanilla.

4- Add the eggs to the batter one egg at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated. Add the whisked flour mixture.

5- Now, stir the batter 40 more times- it will thicken up and then get elastic. Transfer to the lined brownie pan.

6- Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out slightly dirty (one or two small crumbs).

7- Cool on a wire rack until the pan is cool enough to touch. Remove foil from brownie pan. Cool to room temperature, slice with a sharp knife (and a thin scraping-spatula). Serve immediately, or freeze within a day. 

Butterscotch Brownies

I made a whole bunch of candy over the holidays, and ended up with a surplus of hard butterscotches (this came about when a caramel sauce recipe misfired), so, naturally, it was time to make butterscotch brownies...a.k.a. Happy Brownies. 

They're happy—mostly because they're brownies with sprinkles, but you could also argue that they're happy because the butterscotches were "happy accidents". I didn't think of that until writing this post, though, so I won't. Anyway.

The brownies are pretty much a dump-and-stir method, with minimal complexity. They end up really dark, and on the crumbly-cakey-side. Normally, though, brownie = fudge (not just "fudgy confection") in my house, so I ended up introducing these as "intense chocolate cake", but the name "happy brownie" stuck instead. Go figure. 

Happy Brownies (makes 25, or one 8" x 8" pan)

1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup almond meal
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp xanthum gum
4 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt

8 oz dark chocolate, melted
1/4 cup oil or melted butter
1 egg

1/2 cup crushed butterscotch or hard caramel candies
sprinkles and nonpareils 

1- Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour an 8" by 8" pan.

2- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. 

3- In a separate small bowl or liquid measuring cup, stir the oil into the melted chocolate. Once combined, whisk in the egg until the mixture is homogenous again.

4- Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl. Stir together and ensure there are no pockets of unmixed flours. 

5- Pour into the greased pan. Sprinkled the crushed butterscotches onto the top of the brownies. Bake 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out clean and the butterscotches have melted into the brownies noticeably  Remove pan from oven, sprinkle on sprinkles and nonpareils. Return pan to oven. Bake an additional 5 minutes to set the top of the brownies.

6- Remove pan from oven. Let cool on the counter for 10 minutes. Slice the brownies and remove them from the pan. Serve warm, with ice cream, or let cool.