Clara Gluten Free

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.