Friday, July 6, 2012

White cake with strawberry icing--gluten-free

I was looking for a strawberry short cake recipe the other day. I found one and tried it. It was okay. Then we randomly decided to have a half-birthday party for my 18 month old son whose birthday is on Christmas Eve (long story). I still had strawberries so I wanted to try again, but I found this recipe instead. It was so good!!! So if you are in need of a good white cake, try this recipe. It is listed below with my adaptations, or click here to get the original recipe at Gluten Free Gobsmacked.

Gluten Free White Cake


1/2 c butter or butter substitute
1/2 c shortening
4 eggs + 1 yolk
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 c sweet rice flour
1/2 c brown rice flour
1/4 c tapioca starch
1/4 c potato starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour 2 8 inch cake pans (I actually used pie tins because I didn't have cake pans). In a standing mixer, cream the butter, shortening, and sugar. Beat eggs in one at a time and mix for at least 2 minutes each. This makes the batter very smooth. Add vanilla and almond extract. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients, then add slowly to we mixture.
Beat butter in the mixer until light and creamy.

Pour into pans and smooth surface. Bake until top is brown and toothpick comes out clean. The original recipe said 18-20 minutes but mine could have gone 25 and maybe even 30. (I am high altitude, not sure if that makes a difference).

Remove from pans by flipping on to cool pans. I tried cooling racks but they pretty much destroyed my cake and I had to move them to a flat surface.   Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Strawberry frosting:

6 strawberries
2 tbsp heavy cream (can use coconut cream)
4 tbsp butter or butter substitute
milk and powdered sugar to desired consistency

In a food processor or blender, puree strawberries and cream. Mix with softened butter with a hand mixer or standing mixer. Add milk and sugar to desired consistency.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Amazing Fruit Pizza: dairy/gluten-free

I was asked to bring a gluten free dessert to a family reunion the other day. I was feeling overloaded on sweets so I looked for something a little lighter. I came across a fruit pizza recipe and it sounded perfect. But it called for sugar cookie dough, and I have NEVER been successful at making GF sugar cookies. They always melt! The posted recipe looked the same as the other ones that had failed me before. I knew I had been relatively successful at rolling out GF pie crust and tortillas before, which have a common ingredient of sweet rice flour. I'm not one to do a lot of experimentation myself, so I searched for a recipe that had sweet rice flour. 

I found several recipes, but this blog post really caught my attention (please do go read the whole thing!). The first paragraph says:
"You know those super soft, frosted sugar cookies with festive sprinkles that they sell in the plastic boxes at every grocery store in the world? Yes, you know what cookies I am talking about: always decorated with colors and sprinkles to go with whatever holiday is coming up next?"
I am one of those people who always walks past those cookies and craves them. I thought, if this recipe is as good as she says then I've found my recipe! So I tried it, and it was amazing! It really DOES taste like that. Now I still don't know if cookie cutouts will melt when I make them, but the pizza crusts I made stayed pretty close to their shape so I am optimistic about it.

Here is my adaptation of the recipe. I admit I was a little scared to make a GF recipe that did not have xanthan gum or starch, so I did just a little swapping. Maybe next time I'll be braver and try the real thing!

1 1/2 c sweet rice flour
1 1/2 c brown rice flour
1 c GF oat flour
1/2 c tapioca starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
5 tsp baking powder
3/4 c coconut oil
3/4 c dairy-free margarine
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a standing mixer cream coconut oil, margarine, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredient mixture. Separate into two parts (according to the size you want your pizzas) and chill for 1-2 hours.

Now if you are doing sugar cookies, you'll have to go to the original recipe for instructions. But if you are making fruit pizza, read on.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out parchment paper and cut it to fit your pan. Place the paper on the counter top and put the chilled dough on top (unwrapped). Place a piece of saran wrap over the dough and press from the center outward with your hands until it fills the parchment paper completely. (No rolling pin necessary!)

Now put it in the oven and bake it until it's done. How can you tell it's done? I don't know, but tell me when you find out, will you? Seriously, if it looks like it's starting to brown then it's overdone. I sort of tapped the top until it was springy and stuck a toothpick in, which came out clean. But it really doesn't look done until it's burnt so good luck! And if it helps, mine took about 11 minutes.

There are so many things you can top your pizza with that I'm not even going to give a recipe. I wanted it light and dairy-free so I used So Delicious coconut yogurt (vanilla), a sliced peach (mine wasn't ripe, unfortunately), kiwi, and frozen mixed berries (thawed).

So there you have it. Enjoy!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Flatbread: simplified

I've been using an adapted recipe for flatbread from the book Going Gluten Free by Mary Brown. I have since simplified the way I make the recipe and made a few adaptations (such as changing the egg ratios to reduce egg white since my kids are sensitive to too much egg white).

3 tsp sugar dissolved in:
1 1/2 c warm water
2 tsp yeast
3/8 c oil
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
2 1/4 c. flour from GF grain (not a baking blend--I usually use a ratio of 1/3 millet, 2/3 brown rice, and sometimes I throw a little oat or jasmine rice flour in)
1 c starch (I usually use half tapioca, half potato)
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp gelatin (1/2 pckg)
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dissolve 3 tsp sugar in 1 1/2 c warm water. Dissolve yeast and add vinegar and oil. Combine flour, starch, sugar, xanthan gum, salt, and gelatin in a bowl and mix. Pour into mixersuch as a Kitchen Aid or Bosch and add eggs. Mix for about 5-10 minutes. While batter is mixing grease a jelly roll pan. Spread batter onto pan.

At this point you can either let it rise or bake it. I prefer to just bake it. If you let it rise you will have fluffier bread but it will also feel chalkier and fall apart more easily. I get better sandwiches when I do not let it rise.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. The pull it out and let it cool. Freeze or eat immediately. I cut mine into squares and when it cools I remove the slices with a spatula and put them in a gallon size ziplock freezer bag. It stays good in the freezer for a couple of weeks. I often make a double batch and that works okay, although your second batch will have longer to rise than the first.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Barrett's Unusual Ice Cream Party

Having children with food intolerances has its challenges for both mom and children. I have watched my children go through some heart-wrenching experiences. There were times where they had to sit apart from the other kids in the church nursery and eat their own little snack so they would not take any from the other children. They have gone to birthday parties where the mother had said they would have something for my kids but then forgot and I took my kids home in tears. In preschool Barrett had to always be the odd one out who got a few Starbursts while everyone else had cookies or cupcakes on the other kids' birthdays. When it was his birthday I was determined that he could be like anyone else and so I made allergen-free cupcakes with little monster trucks on top--only to be told that homemade snacks were not allowed for safety reasons. (Ironically, Barrett cannot eat most store bought snacks for safety reasons). We have gone to wedding receptions where well-meaning people have handed my children cookies which I then had to take away, breaking their little hearts.

One of the worst times was when I had made one of Barrett's favorite meals for the family, and made him his own dairy-free version. We all had a fine dinner and Barrett ate all of his. The disappointment came when I was eating leftovers for lunch the next day and Barrett wanted some too. When I told him his was gone he just burst into tears. I don't know what it was--maybe just the final straw. But we have had so many experiences like that, I wanted to find a book or something to help my children feel better about their situation.

I looked around on the internet for such a book, but could not find anything. I decided to take matters into my own hands and write a book myself, using experiences from my own childrens' lives as well as some children who live near me. This is the result:


'That will make you sick.'

This is one of the first phrases six-year-old Barrett learns because he has celiac sprue, which means he can't eat cake and bread or even drink milk.

Barrett is embarrassed of how different he is from the other kids in his class...until a new kid who also has unusual allergies comes to school.

At Barrett's Unusual Ice Cream Party, Barrett and his classmates learn that what makes them different makes them special.

It is available from the publisher now, and will be available through Amazon and other large chain stores in mid-April.

For more stories and information visit my author's website and my Facebook page.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Delicious Homemade Rice Milk

I've been experimenting with rice and almond milk recipes because buying rice milk at the store is really expensive, and they add fun things like carrageenan  to the mixture, which more and more people are showing allergies to. Here is the recipe I have had most success with so far. So much success, in fact, that my very inflexible son told me it tastes just like the rice milk in the blue box. I don't think it does (it's better!), but if he thinks so I'll take it!

1/4 c raw almonds (you can blanch them first but I don't)
1/4 c shredded coconut
3/4 c cooked jasmine rice (or sweet rice)
6-8 dates
1/4 tsp salt
4-6 cups hot water, depending on how thick you like it. (My kids seem to like it thick--and all the better since I need to stuff them with as many calories as possible!)

Place almonds, coconut, rice, and dates in a high-quality blender with two cups of hot water. (The higher quality your blender is, the thicker and smoother your milk will be and the less you will have to strain out. The milk is probably higher in fiber as well). Blend until the mixture becomes too thick for your blender and slowly add in the rest of the water.

Strain the mixture through cheesecloth. This is the hard part because you have to make sure the cheesecloth doesn't collapse and ruin what you've just strained. I usually use a large piece and make a large dip in it inside the picture so there is lots of room inside. I lean one edge of the cloth-covered pitcher to keep it from falling in and hold the rest with my free hand. Pour a little at a time and then pull the cheesecloth up and squeeze it. (Make sure you wash your hands first!!!) Throw away the excess pulp, rinse your cheesecloth and repeat. I have also heard of someone who uses automobile filters with elastic on the edges to make it easier. I like to strain mine twice.

Add the salt and mix in, then store your milk in the fridge and remember that it has no preservatives so it will not last as long as store-bought products. I like to keep it in a pitcher with those handy pumps on the lid because the milk settles and separates over time. I also prefer to use glass to store my food to avoid plastic leaching into my food.

[ETA 3/16/12]:  I used my tax return to buy a commercial blender. I got an Xtreme blender but you could also get a Vitamix or Blendtec or a similar one. With this blender I do not have to strain the rice milk at all. (Hooray!) I do add a little extra water because it is much thicker. But the bonus is that you are not straining out all the fiber and nutrients from the almonds and coconut.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

No Bake Cookies-Dairy/Gluten free

1 3/4 c white sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/2 c rice milk
1/4 c butter
1/4 c shortening*
1/4 c peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 c gluten-free quick oats**

*I use this only if I am using non-hydrogenated butter, otherwise I use 1/2 c butter or margarine
**I want to try this using quinoa, sweet rice, or some other grain because my kids don't tolerate even gluten-free oats very well. I bet it's really good with sweet rice.

Melt sugar, cocoa, butter, shortening, and peanut butter in a pan. Bring to boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Add oats or other grain. Stir for 2-3 minutes while the grain absorbs moisture. Drop with a large spoon on a pan covered with wax paper and cool in refrigerator.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chinese Sweet Rice Balls--a naturally gluten, milk, and soy-free treat

I recently bought some Chinese red rice to try for a little variety. I didn't find much on that but I stumbled across this recipe for Sweet Rice Balls that intrigued me. I'm always looking for easy recipes for my kids so I decided to try it. Result: BIG SUCCESS! They were a big hit and really easy to make.

1/3 c peanut butter (or sesame, almond, or other desired nut butter)
1/4 c powdered sugar
rice, soy, or cow's milk to desired consistency

Stir powdered sugar into peanut butter and if necessary, add a small amount of liquid if it get's too thick and clumpy. You should be able to pick up and shape the peanut butter with your fingers. I used a knife to place pieces onto the balls.


1 cup freshly ground sweet rice flour*
4-6 oz water
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
1/8 c fine ground flour of your choice (I used corn, but sorghum might be really good)
(optional) a nice health idea that I haven't tried yet is to add a small amount of ground flax seed

*I don't store flour, I store whole grains so I used a coffee grinder to grind sweet rice kernels (and it's so much cheaper!). You can use any kind of glutinous rice (does not contain actual gluten, it just means it's sticky). The coffee grinder is an easy way to grind a small amount of grain but it makes the flour a little bit coarse. This is why I had to add xanthan gum and another fine ground flour. If you use Mochiko or a store bought flour you can probably just use water and flour with no additional ingredients.

Fill a medium saucepan halfway full of water and begin to heat. Combine rice flour and water until it forms a large sticky ball. I mixed it with my hands. If the mixture is not sticking add the xanthan gum and other flour until it forms a ball. roll out the ball into a long "snake" and cut into 1/2" circles with a knife. Smash the circles flat and place a small amount of peanut butter filling onto the circles. Wrap the dough around the peanut butter and form small balls. When the water is boiling, place the balls into the water. They will float when they are done. It took mine about 5 minutes. These are best if served while warm.

This is traditionally served with a fermented rice soup or brown sugar and ginger soup poured over the top. I'm trying to pack my kids with calories so I made a brown sugar and ginger syrup to pour over ours.

1/2 c brown sugar
1/8 tsp ground ginger*
1/4 c water

*You can also use a slice or two of fresh ginger instead.

Stir brown sugar and ginger together in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Pour over rice balls and serve.