Wake up to Orange Poppy Seed Goodness

I’m convinced the key to living gluten-free isn’t as much changing your lifestyle, as much as it’s about adapting.  While I have some great gluten-free cookbooks and often use specialty diet products, I rely for the most part on mainstream recipes and “tweak” them to our dietary needs. The benefits of this approach are many.

For one, you’ll quickly see that a gluten-free diet isn’t about doing without. We eat sandwiches and pasta, bake cookies and consume pizza. I use the same family favorite recipes on a gluten-free diet.  If you are going to live GF for more than a few weeks, you need to adapt and evolve your baking and cooking so you don’t feel limited. You can still gobble your grandma’s coffee cake recipe. All you need to do is learn to  alter or substitute a few items.  You’ll enjoy life without wheat if you can evolve.

Another benefit is saving cash. It’s a lot cheaper to eat gluten-free if you can temper buying mixes and pre-made items. Yeah, we love Shabtai Bakery’s GF and dairy free devil’s food cake, creme filled Ring Tings, which are remarkably “Ding Dong-esque” and yummy. Shabtai’s creation might be better than the real Hostess item, I believe.  And I order boxes of the confection to fulfill our cravings here. And we do use prepared items for “on the fly” cooking here, which I regularly review. But if you know that you can make at least most of your gluten-free daily diet  delicious in your own kitchen,  you’ll be able to limit spending for the items that are truly worthwhile or  necessary.

Modeling the adaptive lifestyle rubs off on GF kids and helps them understand how to tweak recipes and make lifestyle choices that fit their diet. Someday they will grow up and have to make choices to fit in a wheat-based world. While GF is more mainstream, it’s a far cry from the “norm” in many parts of the country.  Your kids will have to adapt, watch pennies while on a GF diet and enjoy eating. 

Pull out those old tried and true recipes and start revising for your GF diet. You might have to tweak a bit and it might take a few attempts for real success, but you’ll quickly learn the ropes.

This week, I’ve been spotlighting  breakfast ideas and items. The recipe below is our family favorite that I’ve made for nearly 25 years frequently. Just a few changes made it as moist, flavorful and delicious as it’s always been. You wouldn’t know it’s gluten and dairy free. While it’s not a “low-calorie” option, it makes a great way to start the day. I use almond extract in lieu of vanilla often, by the way, as it’s more flavorful and blends nicely with gluten-free flours, but you can substitute vanilla if you’d like with good results. Make this the night before, as it’s best the next day. Keep all gluten-free items tightly wrapped to prevent drying.

Good morning!!!

Gluten-Free Poppy Seed Bread with Orange Glaze

Makes 2 loaves

3 cups GF  flour mixture ( see below)

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon xanthen gum

3 eggs

1 1/2 cup milk (or substitute almond milk or soy milk)

1 1/2 cup oil

3 teaspoons poppy seed

1 teaspoon orange extract

1 tablespoon almond flavoring

***GLAZE***

1/4 cup orange juice

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1-2 teaspoons almond flavoring

Grated orange peel

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat granulated sugar, eggs, oil and milk/milk substitute in large bowl.

Combine GF flour mixture, salt, baking powder and xanthen gum. (I use a wisk to mix well)

Add dry ingredients to egg mixture. Beat well with mixer till combined, while scraping bowl. (GF flour is heavy and sinks to the bottom, so you’ll want to keep stirring well)

Stir in poppy seeds, orange  and almond extract.

Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

For Glaze:

Blend glaze ingredients in bowl.  Brush onto baked loaves while warm.

Using all of the glaze will keep the loaves moist and extra flavorful, and avoid the dried out effect you often get with gluten-free baked goods.

Flour Mixture:

1 part brown rice flour
1 part sorghum flour
1 part tapioca starch

Or you can try these options for flour mixtures.

Recipes from Cupcake War Winner Lisa Cowden and Tips on GF Baking

Lisa Cowden: Pastry Chef and Winner Cupcake Wars

Who says we can’t have gourmet fare on a gluten-free diet? Certainly not the Food Network Cupcake Wars winner, Lisa Cowden. In a recent interview, Lisa discussed her own food intolerance and shared a bit of her extensive pastry chef expertise with me. Cowden who crafts yummy treats daily at Gluten-Free Creations in Scottsdale, Arizona- where all 8 top allergens are catered to- understands both personally and professionally the need for GF food that isn’t “second best.”  While her Food Network recipe won with traditional flour, it’s easily created into gluten-free (and casein free as well) -without losing flavor.  Added perks that Cowden attributes to winning, are the natural ingredients that make these cupcakes prize worthy in your kitchen as well.    

Here’s what Lisa says, “You’ll want to substitute a gluten-free mix for the flour. A good mix should be able to substitute cup for cup for the traditional wheat flour.” Her suggestions for GF mixes include using ones that contain sorghum flour- a component used in the Gluten-Free  Creations Bakery for such items as cakes, cookies and other sweet fare. Gluten-Free Creations also has a mix you can buy that’s well worth considering, as it contains not only the exact proportions for baking, but also added vitamins that we – in the gluten-free community- often lack.    

 Below you’ll find further “tweaking” for making the Chocolate Carmel Cupcakes casein-free as well,  based on Lisa’s expert advice. Since about a third of those who have celiac disease have issues with casein or lactose (including my daughter) making items such as ganache – which is heavy on cream- requires further adaptations. Lisa offered two suggestions for casein-free, gluten-free ganache. You’ll find the second ganache option in this earlier post.    

 I was thrilled to find these cupcakes, while somewhat labor intensive for mere kitchen slobs such as me, turned out to be some of the most tasty and delicious items I’d made in the history of my home culinary events- or as Lisa said, “drool-worthy.” And you’d never know they are gluten-free. (seriously). In a spirit of adventure and kitchen mass destruction- we made both this recipe and the original winning recipe on the same day. I wasn’t disappointed in either variety. This one below, given to me by Lisa Cowden, was by far the easiest and was truly stand alone delicious. The original winning recipe  “Rich Chocolate Carmel Cupcake” as it appeared on Food Network, I tweaked for gluten/casein free diets again using Lisa’s tips. It was a bit more work, but the creme filling was well worth the added steps- you can find it here in this post.    

Chocolate Carmel Cupcakes from Lisa Cowden  

Gluten Free Baking Flour Mix (See link below for recipes)     1 ¾ cups  

Zanthan or Guar gum (if not included in your gluten-free flour mix) 1/2 tsp  

Sugar 1 ¾ cups  

Cocoa powder ¾ cups  

Baking powder 1 ½ tsp.  

Baking soda 1 ½ tsp.  

Salt ¼ tsp.  

Buttermilk 1 ¼ cups (If casein intolerant, substitute lactose free milk ,soy milk, or almond milk mixed with 1 tsp cider vinegar- but be sure to add the vinegar for chemical reaction with baking soda)  

Whole eggs 2  

Vegetable oil 4 Tbsp.  

GF Vanilla 1 tsp.  

Hot water 1 cup  

Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Mix. Add the hot water while mixing well, until smooth. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full. Bake at 350F 15-20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back in the center when touched.  

Caramel Filling  

Sugar 1 ½ cups  

Water ¼ cup  

Agave nectar 1 Tbsp.  

Heavy Cream 1 ¼ cup (Substitute heavy coconut milk for cream if casein intolerant. Cream is easier to scoop out if can is chilled in fridge first. Use only the cream part. Discard liquid)  

Butter, softened chunks 2 ounces (1/2 stick) (See this post on butter and casein. Since butter is usually 99 % casein free many people can tolerate butter. But you can substitute soy margarine such as Willow Run)  

GF Vanilla ½ tsp.  

Boil the sugar, water, and agave until it takes on a caramel color and smell. Add the cream slowly, whisking in to avoid boiling over. Whisk to loosen any hardened caramel and melt it all smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour into a squeeze bottle and chill to thicken.  

Ganache Frosting  

Heavy cream 16 ounces (Substitute heavy coconut milk as above, discard liquid and use only the cream portion)  

Dark chocolate chips      16 ounces  

Heat the cream in a pot until it steams. Pour in the chocolate chips and let sit to melt. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let sit 2-3 hours to set up slightly, or chill in the fridge to firm up, stirring frequently.  

*****  See this post for gluten-free flour mixes to whip up at home.

*****  See this post about additional ganache options for casein-free diets.

***** See this post for original Cupcake Wars winning recipe in the gluten and casein free version.

  

Casein and GF Coconut Whipped Cream- When You Gotta Have a Fix

 

Photo by Ginnerobot

As a child, I lurked in the kitchen waiting for my mother to make whipped cream- real, luscious whipped cream. She’d hand me the beaters and I’d scuttle off with my treat. This was before the onset of my own food intolerances and celiac disease, of course. Then there were many bleak years, post- diagnosis where I yearned for a smidgen of whipped cream in vain. Back a hundred years ago or so, when I was a kiddo- though my mother was an amazing pioneer in the world of gluten-free cooking- knowledge and resources were limited.  To this day,  I remain a consummate whipped cream junkie.

Thankfully, being gluten and casein free today doesn’t mean your pumpkin pie is doomed to be forever lonely. There are wonderful alternatives available that actually taste fabulous.

One of the best friends you’ll make in your walk on the GF and casein free path is coconut milk. You’ll find it nearly every grocery and health food store.  Coconut milk comes in two main varieties whole or full fat and “light.” While the light works well in nearly all sweet baking as an equal and flavorful substitute for milk, the full fat kind is magical as a replacement for cream. (A word of advice, don’t use coconut milk in such fare as “potato soup” or it will impart an overpowering and unwelcome coco-nutty taste. Although coconut milk is a great item, some things DO NOT work as universal substitutions. Kindly learn from my mishaps and spare yourself the agony)

Tips for working with coconut milk:

To make whipped cream, you’ll need the full fat kind. Grab a few cans and stick them in your fridge as you’ll want the cream to clump together and separate from the watery “milk”. I like to leave cans for several days in the fridge. The bare minimum I’ve found you can get a decent separation is about 4-8 hours of chilling. Much less than that and your cream will be sludgy and gooey.

Coconut Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

•1 1/2 cups full fat coconut milk, (Two 13.5 oz cans )

•1/3 cup powdered sugar

•1 – 4 Tbsp Tapioca Flour  or Tapioca Starch (they are the same thing, but may be labeled differently) (add 1 Tbsp at a time)

•1 Tbsp GF vanilla extract or you can use GF almond or chocolate extract for a flavor change

Directions:

1.Chill the unopened cans of coconut milk for several days in fridge or at least 4-8 hours.

2.Open cans, remove cream with spatula. Discard liquid or use in another recipe. (The cream should be very thick, almost coagulated)

3.Beat the thick coconut cream in a chilled bowl with a hand mixer on high speed until thick and fluffy.

4.Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and tapioca starch or tapioca flour 1 or 2 Tbsp at a time, testing for flavor and consistency

5. You can flavor the whipped cream further by adding two tablespoons of cocoa powder and increasing sugar by two tablespoons.  Or add cinnamon or GF liqueurs. Make sure you GENTLY add these ingredients by folding so you don’t cause cream to wilt. Work quickly and use immediately or place in a covered bowl in fridge and store for until needed. In the fridge the cream holds up quite well, but you should consume within a day for best results. 

Use this on your favorite dessert,  as a topping for a rich hot chocolate treat or fold into Chocolate of the Gods for a more “milk chocolate” version or any time sweetened whipped cream is needed.  Or you can immediately pounce on the stuff and mass consume it straight out of the bowl. Who said the gluten-free life didn’t have many options?

Chocolate of the Gods: Don’t Tell the Kids What’s in This and Everyone Will Enjoy It

Question: What’s green and brown and goes “whir”? 

Answer:  Something amazingly delicious – that’s what –  even and in spite of the combined ingredients.

I’m a foodie. But if you’ve read anything about our family, we aren’t the health food sort. By this I mean, we don’t milk our own goats or grind our own grain. I do not want to learn these skills either. While we enjoy almost any vegetable, fruit or similarly “good for you” item, we also enjoy tater tots (Ore Ida- a top choice of harried gluten-free moms) and yes, we eat hot dogs and cakes and candies.  I’d call us “non-selective” feeders and mainstream eaters, apart from being gluten-free, that is.

We’ve nixed enough items to be gluten and casein-free that I’m not up for cutting real, honest to God sugar from our diet and I don’t venture  off the grid into the land of odd combinations or substitutions. Hence, while we eat non-selectively- the healthy and the unhealthy- we don’t make any real steps into the extremes.  And I’d have never tried this combination below were it not for the advice of Lisa Cowden, award winning pastry chef and purveyor of delicious food.

Chocolate mousse is a near impossibility when you are gluten and casein-free.  Cream is the main component in chocolate mousse and cream – lest you haven’t heard- is chock full of nasty proteins called caseins. Apparently, “Chocolate of the Gods” isn’t a new recipe, but it was new to me. If I’d have found this before an expert told me to try it, I’d have run screaming from the kitchen. I say all of this to preface the below recipe for you. It’s delicious. It’s rich. You’ll fool your family and friends into thinking it’s real mousse. And these words come from the most die-hard chocoholic and normal eater, so please try it.

Yeah, it’s got avocados and maple syrup and chocolate in it.(OMG)  But don’t dwell on the ingredients. Once you taste this confection, your palate will thank you. You can also use this for the ganache frosting on Lisa’s cupcake recipes or alternately for any chocolate frosting or filling. It’s incredibly thick, so bear in mind it’s best for recipes you need a stiffer frosting or filling. If you eat it as mousse, it’s super rich. Top it with some whipped coconut cream to lighten up the taste if you desire. 

There are many versions of “Chocolate of the Gods” online. This is a variation I tweaked a bit to our taste and the ingredients I had on hand, based on recipes from Food.com and Spectacularily Delicious.com. Since we almost never have gluten-free soy sauce on hand I omitted that, although some Chocolate of the Gods recipes  do call for it. I’m not sure what difference that makes, since ours turned out wonderfully without it. I used almond extract as we enjoy that flavor best with chocolate, but you can also use vanilla, peppermint or orange GF extracts. It was- I must admit- an “Oh My God” moment in the kitchen when I tasted it. Wow. I promptly fed this to three of my kids, including one adult daughter and her boyfriend who were visiting. Not one person thought it was anything but very rich, decadent dark chocolate mousse. Go and create chocolate lusciousness and may the force be with you…

Chocolate of the Gods

Ingredients 

 

  • 2 large Hass avocadoes, cubed or 1 large florida avocado
  • 1/2 cup REAL maple syrup, plus 2 Additional Tablespoons REAL Maple Syrup
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or regular vegetable oil (coconut oil does add the best taste)
  • 2 teaspoons GF almond extract (or peppermint, vanilla or orange GF extract)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (no substitutions)
  • 1 cup cocoa powder (use the best variety you can find)

Directions

  1. Place first six ingredients (avocadoes up to and including basalmic vinegar) in a food processor and pulse until smooth. [Do NOT use a blender as it purees into watery green frog-like soup]
  2. Sift cocoa powder with a metal strainer to remove lumps, then stir into avocado mixture and blend until smooth. [Make sure you blend it well, but don’t over process. Globs of unmixed cocoa aren’t very tasty]
  3. At this point you can refrigerate the pudding in a tightly-sealed container for up to a week or freeze it for up to a month.
  4. Serve chilled, layered with coconut whipped cream and strawberries or raspberries or top with a giant dollop of coconut whipped cream and fresh mint sprigs. Or use for frosting or chocolate filling in bakery items. Doubles as a decadent ganache! Yum!!!

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