Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle Torte

I have been pondering for a while if I could make the torte gluten free since there is already so little flour in the recipe. Recently, I have had more people come into my life that either have celiac disease or are gluten sensitive, so I tried to give it a whirl. I considered substituting gluten flour, but I decided to just omit the flour because there was only 2 tablespoons in the original recipe and plenty of egg whites to act as a binding agent. If you are looking for a recipe that will WOW everyone and please those who are dairy free and/or gluten free, this is the recipe for you!


Ingredients

Cooking spray
12.5 squares (5oz) Dark Chocolate Dream chocolate
¾ cup + 2T sugar
½ cup rice milk
3large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp Kahlua or coffee extract
¼ tsp salt
3 large egg whites at room temperature
2 tbsp all-purpose flour

·      Heat oven to 350F
·      Line the bottom of an 8” springform pan with wax paper and lightly spray the bottom and sides with the vegetable spray.
·      Wrap bottom of pan with foil (and up the sides by 2 inches).
·      Place the chocolate in a microwave proof bowl.
·      Microwave on high for 1.5-2 minutes to melt until smooth.
·      In a small sauce pan, combine ¾ cup sugar and rice milk. Whisk together and ook for 2 minutes over medium heat, whisking constantly until smooth.
·      Whisk the milk/sugar mixture into the melted chocolate until smooth.
·      Stir in egg yolks, vanilla, Kahlua (or coffee extract) and salt.
·      Beat egg whites in a large mixing bowl at medium speed until foamy. You want the egg whites to form stiff, shiny peaks. 
·      Gradually beat in the remaining ¼ cup sugar; increase speed to high and beat just until stiff, but not dry. Be careful not to over mix to point of being dry.
·      With a rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into the chocolate mixture, at a time.
·      Fold in flour
·      Spread in prepared pan.
·      Place springform pan in a roasting pan.
·      Pour enough water to reach 1” up the side of the pan.
·      Bake for 30 minutes.
·      Remove pan from water.
·      Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack
·      Discard foil. Remove sides of the pan and cool cake completely.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Quick and Easy Fudge


After making fudge last year, I wondered if I could come up with a quicker and easier way to make fudge. The Peanut Butter Fudge from last year had me pondering if I could do something similar with chocolate. After a couple of tries, this fudge is what I came up with. It is a quick and easy recipe that can be whipped up without much difficulty.  The fudge turns out rich and silky smooth. The coffee extract is the key to making it have that little something extra and you really do not taste the coffee. It just enhances the chocolate flavor.  This would make a great treat to bring to an office or neighborhood party or even a gift for a teacher.

2 tbsp Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks
½ cup SO Delicious Original Coconut (or Almond) Creamer/(or rice milk)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2¾ cups confectioners’ sugar
10 oz dark chocolate* chopped or broken into pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp coffee extract



·      Line a 9x9 in pan with foil.
·      Heat creamer/milk and margarine in a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat.
·      Once the margarine is melted, whisk in the cocoa powder.
·      Whisk until smooth.
·      Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
·      Bring to a boil.
·      Reduce the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
·      Add the chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate is melted and smooth.
·      Stir in the vanilla and coffee extracts.
·      Pour the fudge into the prepared pan and cool. If you need it to cool quickly, you can put it in the freezer or outside if you live where it’s cold.
·      Remove the fudge from the pan by lifting up the foil.
·      Remove the foil and cut into ½ inch to 1inch squares.
·      Store in an airtight container.
·      Enjoy!

*I use Dark Chocolate Cream Pure Dark or Scharffen BergerSemi-Sweet Chocolate

Note: I've noticed that after several days the fudge tastes better. The flavor seems to mature and becomes richer..

Friday, December 12, 2014

Vegan Sugar Cookies

A couple of my daughter’s classmates are allergic to eggs, so for her Thanksgiving Day lunch I made vegan sugar cookies. These are very similar to my regular sugar cookies. Her school is also nut free, so I omitted the almond extract. A quick tutorial on how to decorate these and other cookies without the sugar spreading is coming very soon.

Ingredients

1 cup Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks
½ cup confectioners’ sugar (sifted)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp almond extract (optional)
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt

·      Preheat the oven to 400F.
·      Combine the flour, cream of tartar, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk.
·      In a mixing bowl, combine and mix the margarine, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla and almond extracts. Start slowly so you do not end up wearing the sugar.
·      Mix in the flour and salt.
·      Refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours or over night.
·      On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and cut with your favorite cookie cutter(s).
·      Place on a lined cookie sheet.
·      Bake for 6-8 minutes.
·      Cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp almond extract (optional)*
5-6 tblsp rice milk

·      Mix the ingredients until smooth and then dip the tops of the cooled cookies in the frosting, one at a time.
·      Sprinkled with your favorite colored sugar.
·      Let the frosting dry.

*If you omit the almond extract then use 3 tsp of vanilla extract.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Disappearing Maple Bars





No bake Disappearing Maple Bars are an easy and fun treat to make with the kids or by yourself. With the holiday season in the near future, these bars make a great gift for friends, family, neighbors, and teachers. I call them
Disappearing Bars because they do not last very long. Disappearing Bars are vegan and can be made gluten free if you use nuts in place of the graham cracker crumbs and oats. The following brands of graham crackers are dairy free: Harris Teeter, Target, and Publix store brand and Baker’s Harvest graham crackers. The crackers are separated into 3 packages of crackers in the box and each package is about 1 cup after it’s been blitzed in a food processor.

Maple Bars

Crust
10 tbsp Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks
3 oz. dark chocolate (Dark Chocolate Dream-Pure Dark)
2 tbsp sugar
2 cups (approximately 2 packages) graham cracker crumbs
1 cup rolled oats

Filling
4-5 tbsp Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks, softened
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp maple extract
1 tbsp rice milk

Topping
9 oz melted dark chocolate

·      Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until you have fine crumbs.
·      Put graham cracker crumbs into a mixing bowl.
·      Pulse the oats and sugar in a food processor 6-7 times.
·      Add oats to the graham cracker crumbs.
·      Melt margarine and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds at a time until both are melted (stir between each 30 seconds).
·      Stir the chocolate mixture into the graham cracker and oat mixture.
·      Press into a 10”x15” pan.*
·      Place in the fridge.
·      In a medium mixing bowl beat the margarine, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and maple extracts, and rice milk.
·      Spread over the graham cracker crust and put back in the fridge until the frosting is firm (about 1 hour).
·      Melt the 9oz of chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds at a time until melted. Stir between each 30 seconds.
·      Quickly spread over the cooled frosting. This is best done in sections or the chocolate will harden before you get it spread over the whole thing like mine did.
·      Let the chocolate harden.
·      Cut into approximately 2-inch squares.
·      Store in an airtight container.


*You can use a 9”x13” baking pan if you don’t have a larger one.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lahori Chicken and Potato Curry


One of the most irritating parts of having a dairy allergy is that it can be difficult to go out to eat. When we go out, we usually stick to Asian restaurants. They are most often the safest when trying to avoid dairy, but you still have to be vigilant. Unfortunately, I cannot eat Indian cuisine out. While I love cooking, but sometimes I’m just not in the mood and my favorite curry dish does take some time to make. It is sooo worth it, though.  This chicken and potato dish is fabulous, layers of subtle flavors that build to one big cohesive finish. The homemade curry in this dish is very similar to garam masala, so if you do not have the time or a spice grinder (aka coffee grinder) then you can definitely substitute store bought garam masala.  You can find it in the spice section of most major grocery stores. I really do recommend you try making your own at least once if you can.  

You can use a whole 4-pound roaster chicken cut into 8-10 pieces, but I prefer using skinless or boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

Like many of my one-pot recipes, I like to double the recipe and put some in the freezer for a later date. One day I will get a stand up freezer for the garage and fill it with all kinds of goodies for when I don’t feel like cooking.  

*If you do decide to double the recipe, do NOT double the amount of lemon juice you add. It will make it too lemony.


8 chicken thighs (boneless, skinless are fine)
1 pound small red potatoes, cut into  1½” cubes
3 tbsp olive oil
¾ tsp turmeric, divided
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
salt
1½ medium onion, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic
2-inch piece of fresh peel ginger**, roughly chopped
1 cinnamon stick
12 green cardamom pods
9 whole cloves
10 black peppercorns
1 dried red chile
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 fresh jalapeño or serrano chile, cut in half and seeded
2 large tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 cup water
½ cup fresh cilantro chopped
juice of one lemon

  • Combine the cinnamon stick, green cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns, dried red chile, coriander seeds, and cumin in a small dry skillet. ***
  • Toast the seasonings over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until you can really smell them. Be careful because it’s easy to burn them.
  • Remove from burner and cool.
  • Finely grind the spices in a spice grinder.
  • In a very large zip top bag or a large bowl, combine and mix the chicken, potatoes, ½ tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, and a ¼ tsp of salt.
  • Place the ginger, garlic and onions in a food processor and finely mince them.
  • In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the spice mixture, the onion mixture, the jalapeño, and 1 tsp salt to the pot.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes until the onions are translucent and soft, stir occasionally.
  • Remove the jalapeño.
  • Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and ¼ tsp turmeric to the onion mixture. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the onion mixture to the food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the pot at medium-high heat. Add the chicken and potatoes.
  • Cook for 3-5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the mayonnaise and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomato/onion mixture and water to the chicken.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and partially covered.
  • Cook uncovered for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in lemon juice and cilantro.
  • Serve with basmati rice and dairy free naan.


Notes:
**Fresh ginger should be smooth and firm with shiny skin.
***If you prefer to use store bought garam masala, you will need 3½ 4 tbsp garam masala.

It’s been a while, but the last time I looked Trader Joe’s had dairy free naan or you can use dairy free flat bread such as this:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Homemade Ranch Dressing


I love salads, but in recent years, I haven’t eaten them as often as I use to. I like various oil and vinegar based salad dressings ok, but I really missed ranch dressing. That was my favorite. And now, it is again! I hope you enjoy this cool creamy dairy free ranch dressing over your next salad. This recipe should really be made ahead of time since it thickens after it sits for at least 30minutes and the dried onion flakes soften. But don’t worry if you don’t have the time to let it sit. I will include a short cut for making the dressing that will allow you to use it within 5-10 minutes. You can store the seasoning mix in a zip top bag in the fridge or any other airtight container.
 

Ranch Seasoning Mix

5 tbsp dried minced onions (onion powder will work if you do not have minced onions)
3 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried dill
½ tsp  salt

Dressing

2 tbsp Ranch Seasoning Mix
1⅓ cup mayonnaise
cup rice milk
1½ tsp lemon juice

·      Combine the mayonnaise, rice milk, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl and whisk until there are no lumps in the mayonnaise.
·      Whisk in the seasoning.
·      Chill for 30 minutes before using it.
·      Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

*Shortcut:
·      Combine and stir the rice milk, lemon juice, and seasoning mix in a bowl.
·      Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
·      Whisk in the mayonnaise (whisk until there are no more mayonnaise lumps).

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Chiffon Pie with Chocolate Ganache



Here is a gluten free version of my Chocolate Chiffon Pie.

Use finely ground nuts, either almonds or hazelnuts, in place of graham cracker or cookie crumbs.

This time I used a 9inch spring form pan instead of a pie pan and added a dairy free chocolate ganache on top. I have decided that I prefer the look and ease of the spring form pan. The result is an unbelievably lush and decadent dessert that is sure to impress anyone who tries it.

Gluten free crust

2 cups ground nuts (almond or hazelnuts)
4 tbsp granulated sugar
4 tbsp Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks, melted

·      Thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
·      Press into the bottom of a 9inch spring form pan.
·      Pour the Chocolate Chiffon Pie filling into the pan.
·      Refrigerate until firm.
·      Run a knife around the edge of the pan.
·      Release the latch and very slowly lift the ring away.
·      Place back in the refrigerator until the ganache is ready.
·      Pour ganache over the pie. (optional)
·      Chill until it is time to serve.


The filling for the pie is the same as the original recipe. I am including it here so it’s all in one place.

Chocolate Chiffon Pie Filling

1 pkg plain gelatin
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1¼ cups rice milk
6 oz. Scharffen Berger Semi Sweet Dark Chocolate*, broken into chunks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp Kahlua (coffee flavored liqueur) or 1 tsp coffee extract
4 egg yolks
3 egg whites
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar

·      Combine gelatin, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.
·      Gradually stir in the rice milk.
·      Add the chocolate pieces.
·      Stir over low heat until the chocolate melts.
·      Remove from the heat.
·      Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl, then whisk a small amount of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
·      Stir the yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture.
·      Return to low heat.
·      Stir until thickened.
·      Stir in vanilla extract and Kahlua (coffee extract).
·      Cool mixture until it’s very thick.
·      In a mixing bowl, beat the room temperature egg whites and cream of tartar.
·      Once the egg whites are foamy reduce the speed to medium and very slowly add the sugar.
·      Beat on high until the egg whites are stiff but not dry.
·      Stir ⅓ of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
·      Gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
·      Pour over the crust.
·      Refrigerate.



Chocolate Ganache

You can use other liqueurs or none at all depending on your preference.

9 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate
1 tbsp rum (or Kahlua), optional

·      Chop chocolate into smaller pieces
·      Combine chocolate and coconut creamer in a saucepan.
·      Whisk over medium high heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture thickens.
·      Remove from heat.
·      Whisk in rum (Kahlua).
·      Let cool until it is warm to the touch, but not hot.
·      Pour and spread over the top of the chilled pie.
·      Refrigerate until the ganache is set.