Sunday, December 19, 2010

Product Review: King Arthur Brownie Mix

I had a brownie craving the other day and found a Brownie Mix by King Arthur at the grocery store. (Give me a break, I'm 8 months pregnant!) I have been really pleased with the King Arthur chocolate cake mix so I decided to try the brownies. I had some guests over for dinner who were not gluten intolerant when I made this mix.

The good:
  • tasted really good--especially with ice cream on top!
  • very fast and easy to make
  • King Arthur produces their products in a facility free of the top 8 allergens--that means no soy or dairy so my son can eat them!
  • our guests never gave an inkling that they suspected I was feeding them gluten-free food. The subject would never have even come up if they hadn't asked about my son's milk allergy.
The not-so-good:
  • They totally fell apart. They might work better if you let them cool completely, but then you lose the sensation of warm, fresh-baked brownies.
  • They were really good, but not quite as good as the "gluten" brownies I used to crave.
  • The mix only makes an 8x8 pan--hardly enough for a pregnant woman and her dinner guests. :)
  • It's over $4 for one box
I think the brownies would be improved by the addition of chocolate chips. Especially if you like a sweeter flavor, adding milk chocolate chips would sweeten them up a little.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free Orange Rolls

I tried to make orange syrup to put on my pancakes the other day. It didn't really work at all. But I couldn't let it go to waste so I decided to make it into a glaze and put it on some orange rolls. I found a recipe that looked promising at I tried it and it tasted really good. I'll post what I did below. BUT WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO MAKE GLUTEN-FREE BREAD RISE?!? I always end up with dense lumps instead of bread or rolls.

Despite the density though, these do taste pretty darn good.


1 cup rice milk
1/2 cup oil
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 1/2 c GF flour (I used 1 cup oat, 1 cup brown rice, and 1/2 cup sweet rice flour)
3/4 c potato starch
3/4 c tapioca starch
4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp yeast
grated rind of 1 orange (I would actually recommend using 2 oranges because 1 didn't seem like enough to me)
3 eggs, room temperature

1/4 c orange juice
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp softened soy/dairy free margarine or butter
1 1/2 c confectioners sugar
grated orange rind (optional)

Directions for dough:
Set eggs out in a bowl of warm water until they are room temperature. Scald the milk (heat until just before boiling point), then remove from heat and add oil. Let cool until it is lukewarm.

Mix sugar, flour, starches, xanthan gum, and salt, in a bowl. (I use a Bosch mixer with a bread arm, but you can also mix and knead by hand if you don't have a Bosch or Kitchen-Aid type contraption). Pour yeast evenly on top of flour mixture. When milk is lukewarm, pour it over the yeast. Crack the eggs over the top of the whole mixture and sprinkle in orange rind. Mix with the bread arm for 10 minutes or until flour is fully mixed in (or knead until flour is mixed in).

Put oil on your hands and seperate the dough into two balls. Rub outside with bowl or pour oil in the bottom of your bowl and roll the balls in the oil until it is completely covered. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise.

The original recipe said to let it rise until double, but mine had not doubled after two hours so I gave up and moved on to the next step:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x12 pans and separate and roll out dough into about 24 balls and lay them in the pans. Let rolls rise until they have doubled again. (Mine did rise more, but not double and I was starving so I just cooked them after about 30-40 minutes). Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Directions for glaze:
Mix softened margarine with almond extract and orange rind and slowly blend in orange juice. Slowly blend in the sugar until the desired consistency is reached. If you want a stronger orange flavor you can use a more concentrated orange juice. When rolls are cooled, drizzle glaze over the top of all of them.

*You can also include something like dried cranberries or blueberries in the bread dough, or fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries in the glaze.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gluten/Soy/Milk Free Gingerbread House

I used to love making graham cracker houses with my family when I was a kid. I made my husband and foreign exchange student make them a few years ago even though none of us were kids because I love doing it so much. I was sad when I realized that I couldn't do that anymore.

But this year I learned that I actually had two choices. I could uses Kinikinnik Smoreables to build houses with, or I could try to make my own gingerbread. Since it would take a whole lot of Smoreables to build a house I opted to try to make my own gingerbread for the first time ever! I searched the internet and found this recipe and was going to try it because the almond meal sounded good. However, a friend of mine posted a different recipe and I had both up at the same time. I accidentally started following my friend's recipe instead so I just went with that one, with a few adaptations. I'll try the other one next year. ;) The recipe as I used it is posted below.

For candy we used various gluten-free cereals, cashews, Glutino pretzels (they contain soy lecithin but my son never reacts to the lecithin so we still use them), spice drops, Nerds, Skittles, M&M's (for my dairy-eating daughter), and gummy bears.

I'm not sure why Blogger keeps inserting this picture upside down but I'm tired of trying to fix it so you'll just have to use your imagination.

2/3 c sweet rice flour*
2/3 + 1/4 c gluten free oat flour (I use a grinder to grind up Bob's GF oats)
2/3 + 1/4 c almond meal
2/3 c potato starch
1/3 c tapioca starch
*If you grind your own flour you may want to add just a touch of extra liquid to the recipe and let the dough sit for a little while to soak up the moisture.

1/2 c sugar
1/2 c molasses
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c palm oil shortening
1 egg, beaten (I haven't tried it with egg replacer but I might next time because it turns out that my son is still having problems with egg).

In a saucepan, mix sugar, molasses, ginger, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, mix flour mixture together in a mixing bowl. Once sugar mixture is boiling, remove it from heat and stir in soda (it will foam up). Melt in shortening. Slowly stir in flour mixture. Knead dough until fully mixed.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lay out plastic wrap or parchment paper on rolling surface. (Some recommend to use a floured surface but for me it worked better to just use plastic wrap.) Divid the dough into two equal portions. Set one aside with a wet towel over it to keep it from drying up. Smash the other flat and lay it on rolling surface. Place plastic wrap over the top and roll it until it is about 1/4 inch thick.

Create pattern pieces using wax paper (don't use mailing envelopes like I tried, because you won't be able to peel the paper off the dough). You can draw your own or look one up on the internet. Place the pattern over your dough, cut it out, and move it to a greased cookie sheet. They shift a bit when you move them so you may have to trim them later.

Bake for about 12 minutes. Let them cool for just a minute and then move them to a cooling rack. (Don't wait too long or you will regret it, they harden pretty fast and it is difficult to get them off without breaking them).

For me, this recipe made two houses with pieces about 4x6 inches, and four gingerbread men. Except that I was short one piece on one of my houses so it probably would not have made any gingerbread men if I had remembered the last piece.

Next you need to make frosting to put the house together. I used Royal Frosting this time, but it's not going to cut it next year because like I said earlier, I found out my son still doesn't handle eggs well. The egg-white in the frosting was just too much for him. But for it is:

2 egg whites
2 tsp lemon juice
3 c powdered sugar
Put egg whites and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Beat until the mixture is frothy.

Add the powdered sugar and beat in. Once the sugar is mixed in well enough that it doesn't fly all over the place, beat on high until the frosting is shiny and it peaks.

Spoon it into a frosting bag and cover what you do not use with a damp cloth to keep it from drying out.

Now you are ready to put your house together. Do this the day before you plan to decorate it so it has time to dry up and gather strength.

I had a really hard time putting mine together because I didn't trim the pieces and they weren't stable enough to stay up. Finally I gave up and trimmed all the edges straight with a serrated knife. I had my son hold up one wall while I attached others to it for stability. I made the base and left the roof for later because I didn't want to take any chances.

In the picture at the top you will also notice that one roof is different from the other. That is because I forgot to make one piece and so I used Kinikinnik Smoreables to finish it off. I thought they made a pretty cute roof so maybe next year I will make the house out of gingerbread and use crackers for the top. That way there will be enough dough leftover to make a few more gingerbread men.

Also, after I discovered my son got sick off of royal frosting, I made a new kind to attach the candy with. It didn't really work all that well but it was enough to get a 4 and 2 year old through the process. I just mixed powdered sugar with rice milk and made it really thick. I left out the shortening/butter because those don't really dry out. I also added blue food coloring so my son could tell the difference between "safe" and "not safe" frosting.

I found a recipe that supposedly worked really well but I didn't try it. It called for glycerine and I was hesitant to put something that is commonly used in soaps and lotions in my frosting. Maybe next year though. ;)