Category Archives: Snacks

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip & Tahini Cookies

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MMM!

So life is exciting around here.  Sorry for the lack of posts, but my body just hasn’t had the energy I’ve needed to keep up with working full-time, grading papers at night, playing with my Chicklet/toddler and managing a household of illnesses in the last several weeks.  I’m thrilled to tell you that we are all healthy again, but now in recovery mode.  Time to get the laundry, grading, etc back up to speed!  I hate it when we fall behind like this… it’s completely normal, but when I’m so stinkin’ tired, I don’t have the energy to catch back up.

Ah, but I did have the energy to make cookies!  Actually, in the last several weeks, my niece has been over to stay a couple nights on the weekends.  (She and her mom just recently moved to our little town.)  She has helped me make gluten-free cupcakes (experimental recipes… not quite ready for posting yet) and I swear she now believes that every Saturday is GF Cupcake baking at my house.  In fact, that is what she told my sister (her other aunt who lives in town here too) when she was staying with them.  She told her that she had a “gluten free cupcake baking date” with me.  Ay!  There are only *so many* cupcakes a girl can eat/bake.  (And I’m a cupcake lover… don’t get me wrong.. but the rest of my family does NOT eat sweets! They’re weird, I know, but I love them.  LOL).

To take a break from cupcake baking, I made a batch of these delicious cookies to share with colleagues on Monday.  None of my colleagues thought the cookies were GF until they saw me munching away on a cookie too.  They looked SURPRISED to say the least.  I actually like the way this recipe turned out so much that I am posting it after only the second batch and I can’t wait to make variations for future batches as well.  I think you will find that this recipe satisfies the need for a chocolate chip cookie with a subtle delicate and creamy finish.

Tahini is made by grinding sesame seeds into a creamy paste.  While it is similar to the idea of peanut butter, it is more creamy and less thick.  You can find tahini made from roasted sesame seeds or plain.  Typically, tahini is used when making things like hummus or other Middle Eastern foods.  It makes a fabulous addition to salad dressings, sandwich dressings, etc.   Normally, you find tahini combined with flavors like:  garlic, lemon, olive oil, chickpeas or mashed eggplant – or even honey!  It is not a sweet flavor, but rather nutty.  If you can’t find tahini, you can substitute with peanut butter, sesame butter, ground hazelnuts, etc.  (See!  An easily adaptable recipe from a flavor profile point of view!  Now you know why I’m excited to try more!)

I think the next batch of cookies that I make will used roasted sesame tahini as it is the batch that I am enjoying the most.  After that, I shall venture forth with this recipe with other flavors – like adding almond butter and a splash of almond extract maybe.  Hmm.. the possibilities are endless.. much like my waistline if I keep baking these!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip & Tahini Cookies

You can print a copy of this recipe by clicking here.
Recipe makes two dozen (or 2 baker’s dozen)

Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) room temperature butter
1/4 cup tahini
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups GF Flour blend
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Combine the brown sugar, tahini and butter in the bowl of your mixer.  Beat until fluffly (3 – 4 minutes).’
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract.  Beat again until fluffly and even. (2 minutes)
  4. Dump in your dry ingredients (all but the chocolate chips) and mix again until even.
  5. Add chocolate chips.  Mix until well distributed.
  6. Form into balls (about 2″ for semi-large cookies) and place on parchment paper (or a silpat baking mat) about 2 inches apart.  The cookies will spread when baking.
  7. Bake at 325F for 9 minutes or until the top becomes slightly golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes on the cookie pan before lifting gently with a spatula to your cooling rack.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Happy Cookie Baking, All!
~Kate

A slightly more decadent Calas: Cocoa Calas

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So the Chicklet has been home with a bit of a toddler-style, No-Day-Care allowed cold for the first couple days this week. I didn’t realize how tired *I* was until I decided to follow HER sleep schedule these few days at home. BOY! We slept until 10:00AM and took naps in the afternoon, even! I swear I felt refreshed…. that is until last night when she went to bed at 8:30PM and my husband sacked out next to her. There was NO WAY I could stay in bed any longer. It gave me a whole two hours of down time…. no baby latched to my leg as I attempt to walk, to dishes to do, lunches all packed, checkbook balanced (yes, we do that!), etc. TWO HOURS! Lord, have mercy!

So… what did I do? I sat on the couch and watched Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (re-runs, at that!) with a complete lack of brainwaves. Pitiful, right? Yes, but completely delightful too. Sometimes I think a little mellowed out time is good for all of us. I’m not so sure the TV is a necessary component of that, but it was nice to watch someone else’s chaos for a bit rather than muddling through my own. (Ah… if only there were little elves and fairies who graded papers and tests at night…….)

To make the Chicklet feel a little better, I have been back in the kitchen backing and cooking. Tuesday, I had just put some rice in the rice cooker (my mommy-doesn’t-have-to-watch-it-boil gadget) when my husband walked in the door and announced that he was taking us out for dinner. Hey! Who am I to argue? I was up and prepping the diaper bag before he could change his mind. The only “problem” was the cooking rice. I knew we could leave the rice cooker on as it would just switch to “keep warm” mode once the rice was done…. but what to do with that “leftover” rice?

What do you do with leftover rice?

At our house, the leftover rice is most frequently used up by:

  • packing it in lunches with leftover stir-fry
  • served up for snacks (or packed in lunches) as onigiri (even the Chicklet likes her onigiri!)
  • compressed in to a gluten free version Spam (or sometimes ham) Musubi mold the next day
  • made in to fried rice
  • converted into a quick rice porridge (although to be honest, it’s not as good as when made with fresh rice grains)
  • Calas - we use a variation on this recipe, but we add more vanilla, some cream cheese and cinnamon and then we fry it up a little longer so the outside bits are a bit crunchy too.

It’s that last one that might be new to some of you.  Calas are great and really rather easy (if you don’t mind frying things in oil).  While the recipes you find online will vary with the amount of eggs (sometimes 2, sometimes 3, etc) or the amount of flour required (sometimes as little as 6 Tablespoons or as much as 1 cup) even though they have the same amount of rice (typically 2 cups of leftover rice), it’s easy to convert the recipes to gluten free.  Select the one that has less flour in it as that will make it easier (we really like the one linked about), and have a go.  Once you see how easy and delicious, start changing that recipe to match your tastes!  For example, for the recipe linked above, we do the following now:

Cinnamon Calas
Makes 12 Tablespoon sized Calas
Ingredients:
1 cup leftover cooked rice
3 Tablespoons GF Flour Mix
3 teaspoons of sugar or 2 teaspoons of agave nectar
2 Tablespoons whipped cream cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
vegetable oil for frying
powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar for coating after frying or honey for drizzling after frying

Directions:

  1. Mix together all ingredients (minus vegetable oil and topping of choice) in your mixer well.  (OR … if the presence of rice kernels in a doughnut are enough to make you cringe, then mix it together in your food processor as the blade will chop those bad-boy rice kernels in to smitherings.  You may want to watch this as when I’ve done it in the past, I have added a 1/4 cup more of leftover rice to the mix just to make sure it’s not to mushy to form blobs for frying.)
  2. Heat your frying oil to 350F.  Drop (carefully!) the calas by the tablespoon into the hot oil and fry until deep golden brown on the outside.  (A tad longer if you like to have a little crunch… oh-so-good!).  Drain on paper towels after removing with a slotted spoon.  Dust with powdered sugar or shake in a bag with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar or drizzle with honey.
  3. Enjoy while warm!

See?  EASY!

To make COCOA Calas: add 1/4 cup of unsweetened dark cococa powder to your mix.  And keep that cream cheese there – it adds to the yummy goodness and smooth taste of the calas.

Yes, I know.  Cream cheese is NOT a standard calas ingredient.  But, go with me, will ya?  It’s DELICIOSO!

Hey Steve (who happens to have a different doughnut recipe posted as I peeked today too) - this is SO worth cracking out that Fry Daddy to try! :)

Happy GF eating!
~Kate

Thank you, Starbucks…..

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Thank you, Starbucks….., originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Okay…so this morning I stopped at Starbucks for the first time in a LONG time. (I’m actually laying off the caffeine for a while… I’ll explain later.) The drive-thru line was much too long for me as I was running late but the store itself was pretty barren. I decided to run in.

AND BOY-HOWDY, am I glad I did!

Oh my goodness! Waiting there in the middle of the store was a table FILLED with GLUTEN FREE bonanza goodies! I found “Peeled Snacks” (I got the cherry and the apple) which are just natural, dried fruits with nothing added. I found Kind Bars (which to be honest, I’m not a big eater of these as they taste like candy bars to me… but heck! I was THRILLED to see the gluten free offering!). And, I found my new addiction: Lucy’s Cinnamon Thin Cookies.

Oh.
My.
GOODNESS.

These babies are GOOD.

Seriously.

I’m thrilled to have a great range of goodies to choose from the next time my girlfriends want to connect for coffee after work.

So, thank you, Starbucks! You made my day. And now my desk drawer is stuffed with dried fruits, almonds and yummy treats for moments o’chopping in my future!

Please let me know if you guys find these products nationwide, too!
I’d love to know if I can pick them up when I head to Chicago or Arizona to see family too!
~Kate