Living without gluten, casein, soy, eggs and peanuts. Living with ASD and ADHD. Life is good!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pear Cardamom Coffee Cake

Wow, I've been busy. It's been a week since I've posted a recipe and longer than that since I promised some pear recipes. Well here's one, at least. This particular recipe has been my very favorite pear cake recipe for several years. It's one of those awesome, treasured recipes I found at a local orchard. I just love making recipes that come from small family businesses, like I love buying those slim, small country store recipe books. There's something about them that screams "home" to me. Or maybe I'm just a random recipe pack rat. Hmmm.

Anyway, this recipe converted to GFCF really well - so well that it doesn't last long after coming out of the oven. I love making this coffee cake for friends because the bundt shape is so pretty, I've made it for showers and homecomings several times in the past. I was worried about making this bundt cake GFCF and having the sides stick to the pan and everything falling apart into crumbs. So I couldn't believe my eyes when I turned the bundt pan upside down to release the cake - it fell right out! I didn't have to knock on the pan to loosen the cake, I didn't have to shake it, and absolutely nothing stuck! It turned out beautiful and tasted awesome. It's these little things in life that make me happy. Like little country store cookbooks - my little slice of home away from home.

2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
6 oz dairy free vanilla yogurt (such as So Delicious Coconut)

1 1/2 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)
1/2 cup nut meal
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/2 tsp. cardamom mixed with 1/4 cup sugar
3 soft ripe pears, such as Bartlett, peeled, cored and diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt cake pan with palm shortening and coat with the flour blend you are using for the cake, tapping out the excess flour. Don't be tempted to take a shortcut and use cooking spray, which will only make the flour clump together and get soggy. Use shortening for this, spreading thinly all over the inside of the bundt pan with a small piece of paper towel, making sure to get all the crevices. Set aside.

Beat together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, canola oil and yogurt until blended. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour through the xanthan gum. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and beat until blended.

Toss the diced pears with the cardamom sugar. Gently fold the pears into the cake batter. Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 - 15 minutes. Place a plate on top of the cake pan and turn the cake upside down onto the plate. It should release nicely - if it does not, tap on the pan with the back of a butter knife until the cake falls from the pan onto the plate. Cool completely before slicing.

Xanthan Gum vs. Guar Gum

I've finally put my money where my mouth is and have been using guar gum instead of xanthan gum in my baked goods for the past few weeks. Xanthan gum is corn-derived where guar gum is not. I can see no difference between the two in my baked goods. I've been using 50% more guar gum as xanthan gum, so if a recipe calls for 1 tsp. xanthan gum, I use 1 1/2 tsp. guar gum and everything has been turning out great. The one exception is yeast bread - for some reason guar gum is not working in my sandwich bread - I think it is inhibiting yeast growth.

Guar gum is much less expensive than xanthan gum, so even if I was not concerned about xanthan gum being corn-derived, I'd use it anyway because it's half as expensive, maybe less. Which really counts for something in my household these days! I am still using xanthan gum in sandwich bread but in everything else I'm using guar gum, and over time this will help keep the cost of gluten free baking a little more manageable - every little bit of savings counts!

Check out the comment from Niksmom (thanks for the heads-up, Niksmom). I have stated elsewhere that some people may have problems with guar gum because of the high fiber, but I had forgotten that legume sensitive individuals may need to avoid guar gum as it is bean-derived. For people who need to avoid legumes, see this helpful list of legumes here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

GFCF Frosted Pumpkin Bars

These frosted pumpkin bars are good - almost like a cake. I've modified the original recipe (from Penzey's Spices). The maple frosting also goes well with Banana Cupcakes.

2 cups GF flour blend
2 tbsp. flax seed meal
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan or guar gum
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
scant 1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (or 1 15 oz. can solid packed pumpkin)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.

Sift together the flour through the nutmeg, set aside. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs through the pumpkin. Gradually add the dry ingredients and blend well. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack and frost with Maple Frosting.

Maple Frosting
1/4 cup palm shortenting
3 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. rice milk
2 cups powdered sugar, plus more as needed

Beat together the shortening and maple syrup. Add the powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add the rice milk and beat. Add additional powdered sugar until frosting consistency is reached.

Try pumpkin bars with orange glaze (powdered sugar and orange juice) for a change of pace.

Monday, October 12, 2009

GFCF Spiced Pear Crisp

Originally I wanted to turn this into a pie, but it was late in the day, the pears needed to be used right away and I didn't have the time to make a pie crust. And really, a crisp is just a pie without the crust. It only took about 15 minutes to throw together and it turned out great (so good in fact that the kids didn't get any of it because DH attacked it). I'm actually glad I didn't have time to play with a pie crust because it gave me the opportunity to play with a crisp topping that is free of everything Samuel is allergic to or might be allergic to! This one is for you, Samuel - I hope you like it.

6 - 8 ripe pears
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. white sugar
1 tbsp. tapioca starch
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground allspice

4 tbsp. amaranth flour
4 tbsp. tapioca starch
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. coconut oil, divided *
4 tbsp. whole grain buckwheat hot cereal

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease one 8x8 inch baking dish, set aside.

Peel, core and slice the pears thickly. Toss with lemon juice. Combine the sugar through the allspice and toss with the pears until evenly distributed. Place into the prepared baking dish. Set aside while you prepare the topping.

Combine the amaranth through the cinnamon. Cut in 2 tbsp. coconut oil with the tines of a fork until the mixture resembles fine meal. Add the buckwheat hot cereal and toss to combine. Sprinkle topping evenly over top of the pears. Drizzle 1 tbsp. coconut oil over top. Bake about 45 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is lightly browned. Cool slightly before serving warm. Cold leftovers are also good for breakfast!

*If you are allergic to coconut, substitute dairy-free, soy-free margarine instead.

You can substitute apples for the pears, if you like! Thanks to Julie for the pretty picture!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Love Affair with Pears

I love pears. Pears are an autumn fruit every bit as versatile as apples. The two are swapped easily in practically most every recipe that calls for one of them. Have pears but need applesauce? Pear sauce is perfectly lovely. Want to make Apple Pie but have too many ripening pears? Pear pie is divine. Want to make mashed potatoes and have an extra couple of pears kicking around? Mashed potatoes with Pears is absurdly yummy. Pears go as well with cranberries as apples do, too. Try pears instead of apples in Apple and Cranberry Tart for a change.

I love apples with cinnamon and I love pears with cardamom so if I do any fruit swapping, I swap spices too. Try pears dressed simply with cardamom sugar* instead of cinnamon sugar. Even Megan, who turns up her nose at pears, will eat them with a little cardamom sugar sprinkled on top.

So because pears have been on sale lately and I just love using pears in the autumn, I'll be posting a small series of pear-centric recipes soon. If you don't care for pears so much, use apples instead!

*To make cardamom sugar, stir together 4 tbsp. sugar with 1/4 tsp. cardamom until well combined and fragrant.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

GFCF Cinnamon Apple Pancakes

These pancakes are so pretty. They stack nicely, and everybody loves them. What more can you ask for in a pancake?

2 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)
2 tbsp. ground flax seed
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 beaten eggs
scant 1 1/2 cups rice milk
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large apple, peeled, cored and grated

Heat a griddle over medium heat. In a large bowl, sift together the flour through the cinnamon. In a separate bowl combine the eggs through the canola oil and beat well. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture all at once and beat with a fork until blended. Fold in the grated apple.

Lightly grease the griddle with a little canola oil. Pour 1/3 cupfuls of batter onto the hot griddle (or 1/4 cup if you want to make them smaller - they will spread a bit). Cook until the edges are brown and there are tiny bubbles covering the surface. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side. Serve hot with your favorite condiments.