Brownie Cookies

Bake Your Love
Bake Your Love

Brownie Cookies… Did you know that you can actually make brownie cookies? Brownie bites, but more elegant.

And did you know The Adventuresome Kitchen’s Chocolate Lover’s TDF (to die for) Brownie Mix makes great cut-out (brownie) cookies? It does indeed!

We design our mixes to be as versatile as possible- because some days you want something a little more elegant than a simple brownie…something a bit more lovey-dovey.

Our Brownie Cookies recipe is also a perfect way to stretch the Adventuresome Kitchen’s gluten free brownie mix to accommodate a classroom full of sugar fiends ready to let out for a long weekend. There’s a reason the Valentine’s parties are at the end of the day!

See the recipe below for how to make these delicious bites, and if you need a last minute sweet for your sweet- click here and use code AWESOME6 until midnight tonight (2/12/15) for a crazy discount…

Why? Because I Love You!!

Baking Chocolate Cookies

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The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes..ever..

The Best Gluten Free Chocolate CupcakesIt’s National Cupcake Day!! Get yourself to the kitchen and make yourself a batch of the best gluten free chocolate cupcakes ever!

The history of the cupcake goes back to at least 1913. It differentiated itself from the pound cake recipe (a lb of sugar, butter, flour, eggs) with the following formula: 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 4 eggs, a heaping tablespoon of baking powder and a cup of milk… Cupcake vs. Poundcake…so simple, when you think about it..

Our recipe was originally conceived several years ago for the elder Kitchen Diva In Training’s 9th birthday. But, it’s so good we decided to repost today- we keep coming back to this recipe- sometimes making modifications like adding a teaspoon or two of chipotle powder, or a tablespoon of cinnamon, or even a bit of espresso powder.

We like this recipe because it has the following qualities: A slightly crispy top, a spongy but not too dry middle, light and fluffy, and of course….very chocolate-y…. making these the best gluten free chocolate cupcakes- ever!

The Ultimate Gluten-Free Chocolate CupcakesGluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The key to this recipe is the buttermilk. Buttermilk, when reacting with baking soda and the acid from chocolate, undergoes this nice chemical reaction that adds air bubbles to the batter. I’ve also found that setting a hot (400 degrees) oven for the first five minutes, then turning it down for the rest of the baking helps too. The high heat helps encourage the lift and sets the structure so that the cupcakes don’t collapse.

Really, I don’t think you need to wait for a birthday to make these- think of something to celebrate and enjoy these tonight! Oh yeah- and give these to your gluten-full friends and see what they think! I guarantee they’ll be stunned…and happy!

* Have you ‘Liked’ our Facebook Page? Post a picture of your gluten free chocolate (or otherwise) concoctions there and we’ll share your pics!

 

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Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin PieIt’s Pi-Day! Pie Day….3/14 What better way to celebrate than with a gluten free chocolate pumpkin pie?

3.14 Pi… I was never great at geometry. And although I forget the exact formula to find the area of a circle, I do remember pi. However, I much prefer contemplating this circle of chocolate pumpkin pie perfection invented by none other than my oldest Kitchen Diva in Training. She has not yet engaged in the geometry struggle. I hope that when she does my negative feelings don’t rub off on her. And, if she struggles- I hope she remembers the joy she found in filling the area of this circle with something that brought a smile to our faces.

Make a pie today. Make several.. Roll out your dough and contemplate how many bites it will take to fill the tummies of those you love. That’s my kind of geometry.

The Kitchen Diva in Training with her creation
The Kitchen Diva in Training with her creation

 

Can’t get enough of Strawberry- Rhubarb? Try this pie

Berry Pies more your thing? Try these

Or if a twist on Apple Pie is what you prefer, try this.

 

 

 

Gluten-Free Chocolate Pumpkin Pie -makes 1 pie

This pie, based on my Oma’s pumpkin pie and redesigned by my daughter, is dense, creamy, and VERY easy to make. My kind of pie.

Ingredients

Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin Pie1 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

2 TBS Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1/2 cup of small chocolate chips

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups pumpkin (this is slightly less than 1 can- if you like a super-pumpkinny flavor, use the whole can)

3/4 cup milk (we used 2%, but you could use a fatter milk, or even non-dairy)

Directions

Place all ingredients in a bowl, and mix until thoroughly incorporated. We used our stand mixer.  Pour into an unbaked (gluten free )piecrust and bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 50-55 minutes.

Gluten Free Sponge Cake w/ Rose Water & Mandarin Orange Filling

Well Hello Again!! It’s Royal Wedding Week, and while many of you are scurrying around making last minute egg and bunny preparations, my eye’s been on a certain Princess-to-Be whose pending nuptials are just around the corner.

We have been very busy around here over the last few weeks. Mother Nature waits for no one, and in between the rain, snow, and generally yucky weather we’ve been having this spring, the Kitchen Divas in Training and I suspended regular schooling for a week to put in a square-foot garden. It’s amazing how much practical learning can be packed into one backyard kitchen garden project! When I debriefed the experience with the girls, here’s just some of what they said they learned:

Geometry, volume, money management, reading, chemistry, patience, ‘that it’s hard to co-operate sometimes’, flexibility when your project goes wrong, ‘bossy’ leadership vs. ‘real’ leadership (don’t you love that?!?), that big projects take longer and cost more money than you think, a sense of humor makes the hard work more fun, delayed gratification, that sometimes you just have to stop and play (I’ll admit- it was me who had to learn that!) the list goes on, but you get the idea…. what a rich experience for all of us! Future lessons will include the enjoyment and preparation of our food (arguably the best part- right?) and then preserving the bounty of the harvest- so keep your eyes peeled in future months for posts regarding pickling, freezing and other types of preserving!

When the rains began again, I found myself digging in a box of old photos for a picture that my grandmother took of me holding a badly decorated ‘wedding’ cake in front of the TV, where Prince Charles and the new Princess Di were in a carriage leaving St. Paul’s Cathedral. I was 10 years old. (Alas, the picture was not to be found.) I’d like to say that my cake decorating ability has improved significantly in 30 years time, but it hasn’t. So I compensate with whipped cream and flowers.

Now, if you’re a true Anglophile, you know the proper wedding cake for an event such as this is a fruit cake. Not the nasty stuff we all received in red tins from various grandparents, aunts, and uncles in the day, but real fruitcake. Such as soon t0 be Princess Kate- or is it Lady?- will be having next Friday. Now, I know absolutely nothing about the proper making of a fruitcake, but Fiona at Life on Nanchang Lu has an incredible fruitcake recipe that’s been a part of her family for some time. While I haven’t attempted a GF version, one look at her picture is enough to make a fruitcake lover out of anybody.

Thinking of the Royal Wedding Cake naturally got me thinking of my own wedding some years ago. My wedding cake was the last gluten-bomb I enjoyed. Six weeks later I was handed my life-changing celiac diagnosis. But, I do remember my cakes fondly- an antique rose cake and a mandarin orange cake. Both high on flavor, but low on fuss and frosting. So this week I set out to create a gluten-free hybrid of what I remember enjoying on my big day.

There are two places I go when I need to convert a recipe, The Joy of Cooking, and Mastering the Art of French Cooking. First, the technical cooking information is very comprehensive, so it helps me figure out the cooking chemistry. Second, who needs anything else? You’ve seen the picture of my beat-up Joy in a previous post, and my Mastering is quickly taking on the same look. This time, Julia did not disappoint. I converted her recipe for a basic butter spongecake with a handful of tweaks and only one hiccup. First go-round I was supervising the Kitchen Divas in Training in a chemistry lab, and as soon as I turned around from popping my fluffy cakes in the oven I noticed this: (melted butter sitting on the counter)

Which resulted in this:(funky looking cake)

In case you’re looking at these pictures a bit mystified- let me explain. Spongecakes get their sponginess from eggwhites whipped into stiff peaks. This provides structure, air bubbles,  and even a bit of elasticity to a gluten-free pastry. This is key for the pastry to not have that tell-tale ‘gluten-free’ texture. But, fat has a role to play too. Think of the egg whites as very excited children on a sugar high. They get all huge and out of control and then- phfszzzzz- they collapse. Adding fat to your spongecake is like insisting your child eat a turkey sandwich prior to the candy. It keeps everything manageable, and results in a cake that looks like this: (normal looking cake)

Much better, yes? More stable and cake-like. With the addition of the fat- in this case melted butter- the batter also behaved more like regular batter. It flowed nicely, and spread easily in the pan.

Now, if you look closely at both versions of the cake, you’ll see that the first cake- while not as attractive, does have a little more volume- this is because the eggs expanded unhampered by the fat. I would absolutely consider this recipe without the use of fat if I were spreading it on a sheet and making a buche de noel. The texture was very nice and definitely spongy- but too spongy for what I wanted for this cake.

The second cake is a bit denser, but ended up having a lovely crumb, and worked well with the mandarin orange curd I made. While I used rose water to flavor the cake this time, this is a very basic recipe that could easily take on any flavoring you desired. There will definitely be different incarnations of this in my future.

As for the decorating- in this life I will never win any awards for a beautiful cake. I content myself with simple frosting or whipped cream. The girls had the idea of picking the violets and the mint- both are rampant in our yard at the moment, and since we don’t use chemicals in our yard- they’re also edible. So in the mist and drizzle this afternoon, we ran in and out of the kitchen collecting pretty edibles and decorating a cake fit for a princess…or two!

Gluten Free Sponge Cake w/ Rose Water &  Mandarin Orange Filling

Makes 2 8-inch rounds

Ingredients

4 tbs ghee or grapeseed oil (ghee is clarified butter)

2/3 cup sugar

4 egg yolks

2 tsp rose water (or other extract or flavoring of your choice)

6 egg whites

generous pinch of salt

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

2 tbs sugar

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/4 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup white rice flour (could also use brown)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch cake plans and flour using sorghum flour. Melt the ghee and set aside. You want this tepid- but not yet solidifying again- it should be clear. Sift flours into a small bowl. Sifting here is important because it’s adding air to the mix.

If possible, use a stand mixer and a hand mixer for this next section- you can have the yolks mixing in the stand mixer while you whip the whites. If you don’t have both; do the yolks first, then whip the whites.

Place yolks in the bottom of the stand mixing bowl. For optimum leavening, have all ingredients at room temperature, or about 70 degrees if you’re in a hot climate. In a separate bowl place the egg whites. Turn the stand mixer on medium high and begin to whip the yolks. After about 20 seconds add the rose water and gradually pour in 2/3 cup of sugar. Mix until the eggs are fluffy and very pale yellow and make ‘the ribbon’. See this post for an explanation of ‘the ribbon’.

Begin to whip the egg whites with a hand mixer on the lowest setting. When the eggs start to get a bit foamy add the salt and cream of tartar. When the whites reach the ‘soft peak’ stage, add the 2 tbs of sugar, and beat until the peaks are just stiff. Remember, at the stiff peak stage the whites are glossy and stand up when you scoop them with the beaters. The tops may flop over a bit- that’s ok. If your whites become dull and uneven you’ve overwhipped. I’ve read this can be remedied by adding another egg white, but I’ve never tried it myself.

Scoop 1/4 of the whites into the yolk mixture and begin to fold them together. Next, sift (yes, this is the second time you’ve sifted) 1/3 of the flour mixture into the yolk mixture. Then add another 1/4 of the eggwhites and fold, followed by another 1/3rd of the flour, continuing to fold.  Add another 1/4 of the egg whites, fold, and sift the last of the flour. Fold again, and finish by folding the last of the eggwhites into the batter. Pour 1/2 of the butter mixture into the batter and fold. The butter will drop straight to the bottom of the bowl, so it’s important to fold from the very bottom up. Fold in the last part of the butter and pour into the pans.

Cook in the lower third of the oven for about 25 minutes. The color should be golden and a cake stick should come out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the side of the pan and flip over onto a cake rack to cool. It may take a little effort to get the cake out, but gravity will win- just be patient and don’t force it.

While the cake is cooling, make the filling.

Mandarin Orange Curd

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

4 egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar

zest of 2 clementines

1/2 cup clementine or orange juice- strained (about 3 clementines)

8 tbs butter, cut into 1 tbs segments

Directions

Place egg yolks, sugar and zest in a medium saucepan and whisk briefly until yolks have just started to lighten (be carefeul not to over-whisk as this results in grainy curd)

Add orange juice and butter. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until butter has melted and mixture has thickened. This will be a little runnier than lemon curd, but will thicken in the refrigerator if left overnight.

To Assemble Cake

When the cake has cooled and you are ready to assemble, place one layer on a tray or large plate. Using a bread knife, gently remove the crusty top part of the cake- this facilitates the absorption of the filling. Scoop the filling into the center of the cake and using a spatula spread outward within 1/2-3/4 inch from the side. The weight of the top layer will push the filling all the way to the sides.

Next, use a bread knife to remove the crusty top part of the second layer. Gently flip this exposed side down onto the filling and using your hands, gently center the cake. Place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to allow the filling to firm up. While the cake is chilling, make your frosting or whipped cream.

For this recipe, I used 1 cup of heavy cream, 1/2 tsp of rose water, and 4 tbs sugar. Beat on high in a cold bowl until cream makes soft peaks. If you over beat the cream it will turn to butter. Spread evenly around the top and sides of the cake. Decorate as you wish. Edible flowers are always lovely!




Best Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

My big girl turned 9 today, which meant yesterday was a flurry of school celebrations, lunch etc… Unfortunately, this has been a crazy week, and I was left Thursday evening finally hitting the grocery store only to discover there was no gluten-free baking mix whatsoever…nothing….nada…..suddenly the gluten free hocolate cupcakes I had promised seemed to be in jeopardy. Bad mommy….*sigh* My daughter fixed me with her evil eye when I told her I would try my best to create something from scratch, but to please not be too upset if I couldn’t get a recipe right…

So, I found myself at 12:30 a.m. referring to The Joy trying to figure out how I was going to come up with a workable chocolate cupcake…. I haven’t attempted cake before. There are plenty of good mixes that easily get the job done, and usually I’m in enough of a hurry around birthday time that it’s just easier to grab a mix. Well, necessity is the mother of invention. I have grown more confident with my baking during the last 6 months, so I set to work. The first batch was astonishingly good, and worked beautifully for the school celebration, but I thought I could do better. With a little tweaking, the second batch was everything I’d ever wanted from a cupcake. A slightly crispy top, a spongy but not too dry middle, light and fluffy, and of course….very chocolate-y….  In fact, I might be so bold to say that these are quite possibly the best gluten free chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever eaten!

I’m so excited! I don’t think I’ll be buying mix again. This was surprisingly easy. The key is the buttermilk. Buttermilk, when reacting with baking soda and the acid from chocolate, undergoes this nice chemical reaction that adds air bubbles to the batter. I’ve also found that setting a hot (400 degrees) oven for the first five minutes, then turning it down for the rest of the baking helps too. The high heat helps encourage the lift and sets the structure so that the cupcakes don’t collapse.

Really, I don’t think you need to wait for a birthday to make these- think of something to celebrate and enjoy these tonight! Oh yeah- and give these to your gluten-full friends and see what they think! I guarantee they’ll be stunned…and happy!

The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes 

makes about 20 cupcakes

Ingredients

4 oz (8 tbs) salted butter (if you have unsalted butter, add 1/2 tsp of salt to the dry ingredients)

2 eggs brought up to room temperature (do this by setting them in a bowl of warm water while you’re prepping the other ingredients)

1/2 cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar- it’s not pure white, but refined sugar would be ok too)

1 1/2 cups brown sugar (light or dark is fine- just don’t pack it firmly)

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1 cup tapioca starch

2/3 cup sorghum flour

1/3 cup sweet rice flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp vanilla

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place muffin papers in your muffin tins. Place the butter in your stand mixer (if you don’t have one, a hand mixer will suffice) to warm to room temperature. Place the eggs in a bowl of warm water to bring up to room temperature. In a separate bowl, place the cocoa powder, the white sugar (1/2 cup) and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar. Mix until the two ingredients are thoroughly combined. Add 3/4 cup of the buttermilk and whisk vigorously. When the ingredients are fully incorporated, set the bowl aside to rest. The chocolate batter will continue to darken. In a different bowl, combine the tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, sorghum, baking soda and xanthan gum.

Turn on the stand mixer to low and allow the paddle to fluff the butter. As soon as the butter has fluffed, add the remaining brown sugar (1 cup). Allow the ingredients to fully mix. Add the first egg to the batter, and when it has been fully incorporated, add the second. You may need to turn up the mixer one notch at this point. Listen to the engine. With the mixer still running, add the chocolate batter. When the batter has turned a lovely brown color and is appearing a little glossy, stop the machine and scrape down the sides. Mix again for about 3 seconds and stop.

Pour 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the batter and turn the mixer back on. When it’s fully mixed, stop the mixer, scrape down the sides, and add another third of the batter. Turn the mixer back on and when the flour has been incorporated, stop the mixer, scrape down the sides and add the last third of  the batter. When the flour is fully incorporated stop the mixer and scrape down the sides one last time. At this point the batter will be thick, slightly ribbon-y, and sticky. Start the mixer one last time and add the vanilla to the remaining buttermilk (1/2 cup)and then pour it into the mix. When the buttermilk has been absorbed, stop the mixer, scrape the paddle and the sides, and take the bowl to where your muffin tins are waiting.

You will notice that your batter may be expanding. This is the buttermilk reacting with the baking soda. Fill the muffin papers 1/2 to 3/4 full and place in the oven. Bake at 400 for 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 360 and bake an additional 15 minutes. A toothpick or cake-pin should come out clean. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool before frosting….that is if you can wait that long to eat them!