Thursday, 22 December 2011

Pistachio Bark

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Feliz Navidad, Mele Kalikimaka, Happy Hanukkah or Happy December 25th. Regardless of your religious beliefs, practices, or what have you - Tis the Season to be baking (let's face it, winter - to me at least - means baking. Whether it's Christmas or not). This is one of my favourite recipes, and I only ever make it at Christmas. I discovered it in a Hershey cookbook years ago and tweaked it to become my own. It's incredibly sweet, soft, chewy, and a little bit salty (if you happen to buy salted nuts).

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of meeting the lovely Lauren of We made delicious (although somewhat floppy!) date-filled pinwheel cookies and this bark. Both were a great success :)

So from my kitchen to yours, have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

2 cups milk chocolate chips (I use half white/milk chocolate chips)
1 1/2 cup Pistachios (or any other nut/combination of nuts)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup (or whatever you have on hand! It all turns out the same!)

1. Line a 9x9 pan with tin foil. Dump in the chocolate chips to form an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
2. In a heavy skillet on medium-high heat, combine butter, sugar, corn syrup and nuts and continuously stir until the mixture becomes bubbly and brown. You'll know it's done when it has a beautiful, light caramel color and the mixture sticks together when you stir it.
3. Immediately pour the caramel on top of the chocolate chips in an even layer, and spread to make sure all the chocolate chips are covered (the heat of the caramel will melt the chocolate).
4. Put it in the fridge and let it sit until it hardens.
5. Once the bar has hardened completely, let it sit on the counter for a few minutes and peel off the tin foil. Break or cut the bar into whatever size you would like!

This bark is great on the counter or in the freezer (just be sure to let it sit out for a few minutes!)

Monday, 22 August 2011

Best Ever Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

This is one of those better than wheat recipes. I wish I could take full credit for this. This recipe for gluten-free pizza dough is from Gluten Free Mommy  and it is truly amazing.

If you've ever made gluten-free pizza before, you'll know the crust is difficult to master. The toppings don't necessarily change (they have really good gf pepperoni) but the crust. It can be too crumbly, too dry, crunchy, hard, soft, mushy, all of the above (yes, all at once). No matter if the dough "rises" or goes straight into the oven, it never puffs up like wheat pizza dough. It is tough and hard on the teeth.

One day I was fed up. I googled and went on pinterest until I found this recipe.

Best Gluten-Free Pizza Dough from Gluten Free Mommy
(Adapted by Kate)

1/4 cup millet flour
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp sugar for proofing yeast
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
~3/4 cup warm water
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
2 eggs
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp honey


Preheat oven to 450 with pizza stone on the middle rack.

1. Combine wet ingredients (cheese/yogurt, eggs, oilve oil, apple cider vinegar, honey). Let mixture come to room temperature.
2. Proof your yeast: combine 1/4 cup of the warm water with yeast and 1 tsp sugar. Set aside. (Should look foamy like this)
3. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (preferably one that can be attached to a stand or hand mixer). Give it a whisk then attach to the standing mixer or use a hand mixer to combine dry with the wet ingredients. Mixture should be dry and crumbly. Slowly add the rest of the 3/4 cup of warm water until the dough is smooth. Last, add the proofed yeast. The dough should look shiny and have the consistency of stiff cake batter. It will be extremely sticky.
*Note: You do NOT have to let this dough rise. It rises beautifully in the oven while baking. However, if you set it aside for a little while that's cool too.
4. Here comes the sticky part. Sprinkle a liberal amount of sweet rice flour to your counter. Cover your hands in sweet rice flour and scoop out half the dough onto the counter (This makes 2 medium size pizzas). Pat the dough out with your hands. If it gets too sticky, keep adding more sweet rice flour. Once it's your desired thickness, slide off the counter (should slide easily if you have enough flour underneath) onto a flat cookie sheet (again, covered in sweet rice flour) or pizza paddle. Carefully slide the dough onto the pizza stone. You may need the help of a spatula.
Flour everywhere

5. Let the dough pre-bake for a few minutes until golden brown on top. It will puff up beautifully.
The golden-brown point

6. Once your crust is golden-brown (about 5 minutes), slide the oven rack with the stone halfway out of the oven and put your sauce/toppings on while the stone is still in the oven (tricky, I know. You may have to find your own method for making this pizza. I've found this works the best for me). Once the toppings are on, push the rack back in and let it bake!
7. Pizza should be golden brown on top with bubbly, delicious cheese!

This dough also makes great bread-dough. Though I haven't tried it in a loaf yet, I made a bun with some leftover dough and it was fantastic!

Enjoy :)


Thursday, 28 July 2011

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been on an experimental kick lately and I wanted to take a stab at my favorite wheat cookie - Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Not much to say about this recipe. It wasn't a huge success (unlike my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies) but it made a nice chewy chocolatey cookie that satisfied my cravings for both sweetness and curiosity.


1/2 cup butter  
3/4 cup sugar  
1  egg
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 tbsp hot water 
1/3 cup cocoa powder  
1/4 rounded tsp baking soda  
1/4 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup white chocolate chips  
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips   

Cream the first 5 ingredients together. Add cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, flours, xanthan gum, and chocolate chips until mixed through. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350. The cookies should be soft when they come out. Let them sit for a bit and they will harden slightly, leaving you with a chewy cookie.

Happy eating,

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Gluten-Free Rhubarb Pie & Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Gluten-Free Pastry (from The Gluten Free Gourmet Cookbook):

1 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
3/4 cornstarch
1 rounded tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp vinegar
2-3 tbsp ice water

In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening. In a separate bowl, beat egg with vinegar and cold water. Stir into the flour mixture until the pastry holds together and forms a ball (she says that kneading will not toughen the dough... which, after years of baking with wheat, is so strange to me).

Form two balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove and roll one ball at a time between two silpats (or plastic wrap/wax paper/parchment paper dusted with sweet rice flour). To place in the pie tin, remove the top sheet and gently invert the dough and drop into the pan. Remove the second sheet. For a crust to be used later, bake at 450 for 10 minutes.
(Makes enough dough for a double-crusted pie)

Rhubarb Filling:

1 pound rhubarb, thinly sliced
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp millet flour (or cornstarch)
1 tbsp lemon juice

Combine all ingredients to coat each piece of rhubarb.

Once the bottom crust is pressed into the pie plate, fill with Rubarb and cover with the last ball of dough (again, rolled out between two sheets). I found that the crust was pretty crumbly so I didn't bother making a proper crust edge. I just placed the top layer of dough gently over top and tucked it in. Place in a 350 oven for approximately 45-50 minutes.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (technique and recipe from David Lebovitz):

The best part about this ice cream is that it doesn't require an ice cream maker. If you have one, great! Use it! But if you don't (like me), this technique is fantastic.

1 cup milk
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium pot until the sugar is dissolved. Meanwhile, set up an ice bath in a large bowl and place a smaller bowl inside it. Set a strainer over the bowl and pour in the 2 cups of cream. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a small bowl and slowly pour in some of the hot milk mixture while constantly whisking so you don't get scrambled eggs!

Once the yolks are warmed up, scrape them into the rest of the milk mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Keep cooking until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the custard directly into the cream. Stir until cooled and add the vanilla extract. From here (if you don't have a machine), follow this method.

It may not be the prettiest thing in the kitchen  but it was really good.

Hope you are enjoying your summer days. They're going by too quickly!


PS. As always, if you wanted to make a wheat version of this recipe, simply use a different recipe for the pie crust. Before going gluten-free my family always used a version of this recipe (sometimes with vegetable shortening). I also recommend  all butter pastry dough.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Grandma's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies - Gluten-Free!!

Lately I've been in search of a chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe... Easy enough to find in general but not so easy to find one that is gluten-free. The only chocolate chip cookie recipe I've come across have been thin, flat, crispy, or too greasy for my liking (and they lacked oatmeal). The only chocolate chip cookies that have ever resided in my house have been Grandma's chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. No others.

I took my time, experimented with my favourite flours, and came up with a wonderful recipe. Even when they cooled they held onto their chewiness and didn't crisp into a hard rock

Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free)

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp hot water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
2/3 cup millet flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
2 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Cream butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and water (the addition of the hot water may make the mixture look slightly curdled)
In a separate bowl mix salt, baking soda, xanthan gum, and flours. Slowly incorporate into wet mixture. Once combined, stir in oats and chocolate.
Using a large ice cream scoop (or spoon), drop the dough onto a prepared pan (I used my silpat) and bake until lightly golden brown (this took about 15 minutes for me since the cookies were so large. Do watch your cookies carefully though, as every oven is different).



Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad

I made this delicious pasta salad while volunteering in a kitchen one day and I knew I just had to make a gluten-free version. It is super easy and really delicious. The best part? You can adapt it to what you like. One day I added slices of spicy chicken sausage. The next, I added crumbled feta. It's up to you!

Ingredients (Adapted from Kraft):

3/4 cup Pesto
1/4 cup Miracle whip dressing
2 cups pasta (I used gluten free rice pasta)
1/2 cup sliced black olives
3 tbsp chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 tsp black pepper

Cook pasta and drain the water. Rinse thoroughly in cold water.
Combine pesto, miracle whip, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and pepper in a bowl. Combine with pasta.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Beautiful Pomegranates

Meet my new favorite fruit: The Pomegranate

(note: image from google)

It is a beautiful fruit that seems to have a bad rap. Most people don't even know how to eat it. When I first cracked one open (incorrectly), the juice sprayed everywhere, stained my cutting board, and I thought you had to eat the red part around the inner crunchy seed. I was so wrong.

The correct way to cut and eat a pomegranate:
Cut around the pomegranate (into the red skin) in quarters and pull apart. Place the sections of fruit in large bowl of water and start gently pulling the seeds from the membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the skin/white part will float, making it easy to skim off. Drain, rinse, and eat the beautiful red seeds!

Throw them in a salad, make pomegranate juice, or eat them on their own. I actually find this fruit highly addictive. I'm currently seeking recipes containing pomegranates because I am so in love with them (and they are high in antioxidants!).

So go buy a pomegranate! Go!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

A note about Silpats

I heart my Siplat. It never needs greasing, it's easy to clean, it won't burn or melt, and it won't break (I guess unless you seriously abuse it... don't take a knife to it). It replaces parchment paper, gross grease sprays, and oiling cookie sheets. I use it for my cookies, meat, pizzas, and more. Get one. Seriously.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes With Irish Cream Frosting

I'm always searching for the perfect cupcake recipe. And I truthfully have yet to find it. But these were pretty damn good. I made them around St. Patrick's Day (thus the Irish Cream). Irish Cream and I have always had a good relationship. 

Servings: 32

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream

  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tins with paper liners or use those nifty silicone things (mind you I've never tried them. But they look cool). Combine cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
    2. Combine melted butter with sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each (I've always wondered about this part. Sometimes I'm lazy and just dump it in. Other times I follow it perfectly. If I'm making it for myself, I don't really care. For others, I'm more careful).
    3. Fill cups to 3/4 full. Bake for 20 min. or until a knife inserted in centers comes out clean (don't worry about the dent. The icing will cover it up ;)).  Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.  


    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
    • 4-8 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish cream
    To make the frosting, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Add Bailey’s a few tablespoons at a time until you reach your desired consistency. You may have to play around a little bit till you get the consistency/intensity of Baileys you want. Ice the cupcakes in any way you desire.

    PS. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months... but I really don't think they'll last that long