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

Monday, December 23, 2013

Pecan Tassies, Gluten Free & Vegan

Pecan Tassies are one of my favorite holiday treats and one I have not had in 6 years, since going gluten and casein free.  Some people cheat for foods they love, but I never do.  The results are just not worth it.  For me, no food is worth a migraine, or bloating, or IBS, or itchy skin, or drop-dead exhaustion.    I've kept my old recipe, however, in hopes that one day, someone would come up with a casein-free cream cheese.  Finally, Daiya has done that!  Happy Day!  In truth, I don't care for the cream cheese by itself or on crackers or bagels.  It has a hint of sweetness that I don't care for, but this is probably because I still remember what dairy cream cheese tastes like.  The girls really like Daiya's cream cheeses on crackers and bagels.  However, I love baking with the plain cream cheese.  And honestly, it makes my Pecan Tassies divine.  I love them now more than ever in all their gluten free, casein free, egg free glory.  Because they are egg free, they don't have that crispy sugary skin on the top, but I really don't mind at all.  It's just super great to finally enjoy Pecan Tassies that are safe for everyone in my family.  I'll tell you they did not last long at all.  I need to make more!

Pecan Tassies, Gluten Free & Vegan

1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine
3 tbsp. Daiya Plain Cream Cheese
1 cup GF flour blend

Beat the margarine and cream cheese until smooth.  Add the flour and beat until well combined.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch salt
1/2 cup ground pecans

Whilte the dough is chilling, stir together the brown sugar through the salt and mix until well combined.  Add the ground nuts and stir.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a mini muffin tin with margarine, set aside.

Take the chilled dough out of the refrigerator.  Form the dough into 1 inch balls and press into the muffin cups evenly over the bottom and up the sides.  Spoon about a teaspoon of the filling into each muffin cup (filling should not reach more than 3/4 of the way up).  Bake until set, about 25 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove the cookies from the pan onto a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Gluten Free, Vegan Linzer Torte & Linzer Strips

Every year during the holidays I make Linzer Torte. A Linzer Torte is a big cookie filled with fruit preserves and topped with a lattice crust. It's served in slices like a cake. It's beautiful and always impresses - it is the dessert that gets the most compliments year after year.  A Linzer Torte,  while not overly complicated, is definitely worth the time and effort it takes to make. This year my linzer torte is gluten and vegan and it's even better than it used to be when I made it with regular flour and butter and eggs. I promise I'm not exaggerating, it really is fabulous.  I make Linzer Strips with leftover torte dough and they are equally fabulous!

1 3/4 cups GF flour blend (this one works best)
1 cup almonds, walnuts or pecans, finely ground
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup Earth Balance margarine
2 tbsp. apple butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup apricot preserves*
1/2 cup raspberry preserves*
2 tbsp. coconut milk
powdered sugar for sifting, if desired

Combine the apricot and raspberry preserves, set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Sift together the flour through the cinnamon, set aside. 

Beat together the margarine, apple butter and vanilla until well blended. Transfer to a food processor. Add the flour mixture and process until dough comes together in a large clump (or, beat shortening and flour mixtures together by hand until combined). Divide the dough in half, wrap halves with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Take half the dough out of the refrigerator. With floured hands, take small clumps and place them in a 9 or 10 inch springform pan. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and an inch up the sides of the pan. Slice away the jagged ends with a knife and remove the excess to make an even trim one inch high all around. You may not use all of the dough - I like a thin crust, so I always have leftover dough - save leftover dough for Linzer Strips (see bottom of post). Spread the preserves into the crust.

Take the remaining half of the dough and place it on a floured piece of wax paper. Roll the dough with a floured rolling pin into a circle larger than the springform pan, lifting half the dough at a time to put more flour underneath the dough as needed. With a floured butter knife, cut the dough into 1/2 inch wide strips, discarding jagged ends. Take a long knife or cake spreader and carefully run it under a strip of dough to loosen it. Then run it underneath the strip of dough, lifting the strip to place it on top of the preserves.

Trim the excess from the ends to fit the pan. Repeat, placing four strips (or more if you can) evenly across the preserves. Turn the pan a quarter turn and place an equal number strips of dough on top of the previous strips of dough, creating a diamond pattern. Run a floured knife between the pan and the dough sides to loosen, then with your fingers carefully press the trim down upon the edges of the lattice crust to make the edge. The dough is forgiving enough to take a finger and smooth away any cracks or breaks.

Dip a finger into the coconut milk, then gently brush the dough strips and edges of the tart with the coconut milk, smoothing away any imperfections.  Chill about 20 minutes while the oven preheats to 350 degrees. Bake the torte in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the preserves are bubbly.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for an hour. Run a butter knife around the torte to loosen and remove the sides from the springform pan.  Then, undo the latch and carefully remove the sides.  Serve at room temperature or cover and chill up to 24 hours, bringing torte to room temperature before serving. Sift powdered sugar over top of the torte before serving, if desired.  Makes 12 small servings or 8 big servings, depending on how you slice it.

*Sometimes I cheat and use one 10oz bottle of St. Dalfour fruit preserves.

To make Linzer Strips:

Take leftover torte dough and roll into one or two logs (depending on how much dough you have) about 2 inches thick.  Place the logs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Make an indentation down the center of the logs with your thumb, molding edges slightly.  Fill indentation with fruit preserves (do not mound the preserves, keep the preserves level with the sides of the logs). 

Bake at 375 degrees until the logs are golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes.  Slice the logs diagonally into individual cookies.  Finish cooling, then drizzle with icing and enjoy.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gingerbread with Caramel Cinnamon Sauce (Gluten Free, Vegan)

Cold weather just screams for homemade gingerbread.  I love this cake's homey simplicity.  I love gingerbread  better than any other cake except for maybe apple.  It's perfectly fine plain, but adding the Caramel Cinnamon Sauce gives it a touch of elegance I think it deserves.

3/4 cup dark molasses
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup applesauce
3 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. powdered ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Generously grease one 9x13 inch baking dish with shortening or a bit of margarine, set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour through the salt.  Make a well in the center and set aside.

In a medium bowl add the molasses together with boiling water, stirring gently, until combined. Add the brown sugar and stir to combine.  Add the grapeseed oil and applesauce and mix well.  Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until well incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.  Bake about 40 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the baking dish and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack to room temperature.  Cut into squares and serve with a drizzle of Caramel Cinnamon Sauce and a dollop of whipped coconut cream  or if you're lazy like me, a squirt of Rice Whip.

Caramel Cinnamon Sauce
1/4 cup Earth Balance Soy Free Margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut cream
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat.  Bring to a simmer and whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has thickened a bit.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly before drizzling over gingerbread.