Category Archives: Sweet Things

Unbelievably fabulous: Gluten Free Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Really. Un-freakin’-Believably DELICIOUS.

GF Oatmeal & Peanut Butter Cookies

GF Peanut Butter, Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Photo by Kate Chan

I have finally clicked “POST GRADES” on my last class for the semester. The finals are all stacked up neatly and ready to be returned to the students. And I am DONE DONE DONE! I truly love my job (parenting wins, but teaching is great too! LOL) but the paperwork involved is insane. Really. It is.

It follows you wherever you are: classroom desk, reminders written on post-it notes scrunched quickly into pockets or my purse, email (everywhere!), class web page updates, in the car next to the kids day-care bag rides my school BAGSSSSSS, and on every spare surface in the family room/office of the house. Teaching paperwork hangs around link a lingering perfume. And after a while, you are almost drowning in it. And it never ends.

I am just getting better at carving out time for me and my family. There are several hours each day when we are just here together – wherever that may be. But together? Always.

And now both babes are engaged in conversation and action (the baby just sat up for the first time tonight by herself!), life is getting good. The Chicklet and I have been whipping up cookies, rolls and pancakes like nobody’s business. And she has some interesting ideas for flavors. In her mind, everything needs a little cumin. I’m fairly certain that this influence comes from two things: (1) my mention of needing milk and cumin as the purpose for our grocery trip MONTHS ago and (2) her dad will eat anything and EVERYTHING with cumin in it. ;D

I know I’ve been stressed about the paperwork/semester finals etc when we’ve made several batches of cookies. And once again, it’s fabulous to have colleagues to happily volunteer to munch on your test batches of cookies or my booty would seriously needs its own zip code. :D

Do you have a favorite cookie flavor?

I enjoy peanut butter cookies and my sister’s blue ribbon winning “Aunt Selma’s Oatmeal” cookies. But when I decided to make some cookies, a couple things came up. First, I’m not a fan of using vegetable shortening any more. I can really taste it after making something with it. So that was something I needed to modify from the Aunt Selma’s recipe. And two: I wanted some chocolate! :D And that is always a happy thing – unless there isn’t a lot of chocolate in the house.

Anyway, after a few attempts, I have my perfect hybrid recipe. This one is easily adapted too. I’ve used it with almond nut butter in lieu of the peanut butter. I’ve used peanut butter and sliced almonds (instead of the oatmeal) too. I’ve used my GF flour mix with delicious results, and my favorite batch used just millet and sweet rice flours. YUM! Oh – and you can make large or small cookies – and even freeze the little dough balls for “cookies on the fly” if you would like. (This was particularly helpful for me as I am the only cookie-sweet-tooth in the house.) And there is no need for gums of any kind.

Genius, right?

Well, okay. Not really. But it is fabulously tasty. And I will continue to make this recipe over and over again. I think my next trip to the store will involve some hazelnut butter, sliced almonds and dark chocolate chunks. :D It’s going to be a fabulous weekend.

How will you make yours?

GF Peanut Butter, Oatmeal, and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe makes 24 -28 small (1.5 inch) cookies or 12 -18 large (2.5 inch+) cookies

Download a printable copy of this recipe here.

Or get a PDF copy of it here. (with a photo to remind you)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, cold but not hard
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 egg
1 1/12 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup GF Flour OR 2/3 cup millet flour + 1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 GF-certified oats (OR 1/2-2/3 cup sliced almonds)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (OR peanut butter-chocolate chips, or chocolate chunks, etc)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F if baking (not freezing) the cookies.
  2. Cream together butter, white sugar and brown sugar for 4 minutes on medium.
  3. Add vanilla and egg. Beat mixture again for 2 minutes on medium-high.
  4. Add peanut butter. Beat again for 2 minutes on medium-high.
  5. Add flour(s), oats, baking soda and salt. Mix again. Dough will be exactly like regular cookie dough.
  6. Quickly and carefully (so as not to mash them) mix in the chocolate chips and chocolate chunks.
  7. If you are freezing the cookies, form in to the size ball that you want. Place the balls on a plate so that they are not touching. Place the plate of cookie balls with a loose covering of plastic wrap in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. When the balls have hardened and are no longer super-sticky, move them into a freezer-ready package (freezer bag or other type of freezer container). Use as you would any other frozen cookie ball. Remove as many as you wish and bake at 350F for 15-18 minutes (small cookies) or 22-25 minutes (larger ones). Watch the baking time as it will vary based on the size of your cookie, how frozen/cold the cookie dough, and your oven. The photo above shows the golden brown tinges that you are looking for to determine “doneness”.
  8. If you are baking the cookies right away, shape into balls. (I use my ice cream scoop when wickedly lazy and wish for large cookies. It works great with this recipe. I might just have to invest in the little cookie scoops.)
  9. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet covered with a silpat or parchment paper. Bake for 11-13 minutes for small cookies or for 15 – 18 minutes for large ones.
  10. Remove from the oven when the top begins to turn golden brown. (See the photo above.) Allow the cookies to cool for 3-4 minutes before attempting to move them on to a cooling rack. Cool and pack for transport to work (or to a hiding place in the kitchen for your secret stash of goodness).

Enjoy!
Kate

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GF: Fabulous, Quick Brownies

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Quick, easy and delicious: GF Brownies!

Quick, easy and delicious:  GF Brownies. Photo by Kate Chan.

The holidays are over (but my tree is still up until Saturday).

My parents have left  (leaving my Chicklet at a loss for her beloved Grammy and Grampy).

My work?  Still not done, but at least the pile is neater well… still visible and now sporting a “to-do list” sticky note.

The New Year has begun and I am so very thankful to have had some time with my parents.  My dad is tired (chemo, anemia and a variety of other ailments), my mom is amazingly steady and continues to demonstrate grace, and I am still just figuring it all out as it comes.  Sometimes it’s strange to me to think of all of our ages and that I have KIDS!  What?!?!  Kids?  I’m a mom?  Get out! I still feel like a kid myself!  Who knew that this is the way it really would be.  Certainly makes me appreciate this bizarre phase of life more.

I am realizing all the things my parents did for and with us that I don’t remember.  Raising kids is a bit like raising a future amnesia patient.  :D  I will remember all of our lovely little snuggles, games and conversations, but they won’t.  It’s definitely eye-opening and character building.  It’s sad that we don’t remember these tender moments with our parents as we grow up.  But I’m happy I don’t remember teething, etc!  Blech!  Some things are definitely meant to be forgotten after the experience is over.

Experience is also what makes me able to remove myself from the high school drama that swirls outside my classroom door (and sometimes sneaks through the doorway in whispers, glances and clandestine text messages).  Thank goodness none of us have to relive that again, huh?  But really, the beautiful part about experience is the sincere appreciation of my parents and their gifts to me.

There are too many instances for me to name, but I will just say this:  we are much more like our parents than we will ever know. :D  (And in my case, that is a great thing! I’m lucky.)

My folks just left on Tuesday.

On Monday night, I decided to whip up some brownies for a lunch meeting on Tuesday.  I started at 9:45.  By 10:20, the brownies were done.  But my mom had already gone upstairs to bed (or so we thought) while my Love and I visited with my Dad at the table.  As my dad excused himself to join my mom, I went up to say goodnight to her.  I didn’t want to miss my chance as I wasn’t sure if she would be up when we left the house early in the morning heading off to daycare/work/school.

I found her at the top of the stairs – holding her laptop and sniffing the air.  “Are the brownies done yet?” she asked.

Oh yea.  You have to love her. :D

She came downstairs to make the great sacrifice of taste-testing.  I had the brownies cooling on the counter (laying on parchment paper but out of the baking dish).  When she and my dad entered the kitchen, they were both whispering about brownies.  My dad asked her what she was doing and that he thought she had gone to bed.  She laughed and said nope – not when there are fresh brownies in the house.

And then he asked, “Brownies? Where?”

“Yes!” she said, “I can smell them but I don’t see them!”

I chuckled from the other room.  Busted by my giggle, my parents laughed too.  And then we cut into the delicious, fudgy warm brownies and talked about the quality of them.  Oh, chocolate.  If not for love to bind our family, I’m sure chocolate would do.

——————–

And now that there are a few more gluten-free buddies at work (for a few reasons), I have even more taste-testers.  The mistake I made, I guess, was bringing the brownies in from the car before lunch.  Why?  Well, because they never actually made it to lunch.  They were eaten for breakfast.  :D Oh yes, it was a sacrifice indeed.

My normal breakfast it typically a cup of coffee and a banana.  This time is was a mighty chocolatey banana with a fabulous coffee kicker and a side of brownie.  YUM.

I guess I will just have to make another batch for my meeting on Saturday (8:00AM until 2:00PM, anyone?).  Something tells me they might just end up as a Saturday brunch item during our meeting, but I know my chocolate-loving colleagues.  They will be all-over the idea of that!

And I know some of you are doing the appropriate thing:  avoiding sugar after so many yummy treats during the holidays.  But chocolate is like air sometimes:  you just GOTTA have it!  And besides, my wild rice dish that I am making in the crock pot tomorrow will more than make up for it.  :D

If you get a hangering for some fabulous brownies, try these.  When they are warm, they are rich and fudgey.  When they cool off, they are still fudgy, but get more cake-like.  Either way, they are delicious.  And if you don’t want to make your own, you are more than welcome to come to our curriculum planning meeting on Saturday morning to try some of mine. :D

Gluten Free Quick Brownies
Makes a 6″ x 10″ oblong or 9 inch square pan.

Ingredients:
2 eggs, beaten together in a small bowl
2/3 c. GF flour mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional – but adds a great layer of flavor)
1/2 cup sugar (use 2/3 cup if using all bittersweet chips)
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons water
2 cups chocolate chips (1 cup bittersweet, 1 cup milk or semi-sweet)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line your baking pan with parchment paper (or oil tin foil).
  2. Beat together eggs in a small bowl.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and chili powder and set aside.
  4. In a microwave safe bowl, place the sugar, water and butter.  Melt in your microwave (30 seconds +, depending on your microwave).  Take out and stir.  Then put back into the microwave and bring it to a boil.  (About 2 minutes more – again, depending on your microwave).  (PS.  This step can be done on your stovetop in a small saucepan too, if you would prefer.)
  5. Stir the chocolate chips and vanilla extract into the hot sugar/water/butter mixture.  Stir until the chocolate chips have all melted (leaving a few chunks is okay).
  6. Add dry ingredients plus eggs to the mixture and stir well.  (Do this quickly so the eggs don’t begin to “cook” in the hot chocolate goodness.)
  7. Pour your batter into the parchment lined baking dish.  Bake for 20 – 26 minutes or until the top shines and is dry.
  8. Remove from the oven.  Lift the parchment out of your baking dish and set it on a cooling rack to allow the brownies to cool.  Cutting in to warm brownies will give you fudgey dense brownies.  Allow them to cool completely for a less dense-fudgey brownie.  Store in an airtight container or a plastic food bag until all have been devoured.

Happy GF Chocolatey Goodness!
~Kate

 

Dear Santa

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Chocolate Caliente a la español

Chocolate a la española/Spanish Hot Chocolate Photo by Kate Chan

A tidbit off my facebook posting just to help you get the context for my chocolate craving:

Dear Santa –

Please forgive my little imp’s exclamation of “Oh, shit!” when the gas fireplace burst to life the other day. And, well, her “What the hell is that, Momma?” query while we drove home and she saw strange sights through her side window in our quirky little town. After all, she did just give me the biggest, unrequested snuggly hug after her bath tonight.

And besides, we both know Momma and Papa deserve the coal for these infractions. But can you make my coal caffeinated at least? I need to keep up with her after all.

xoxoxoxo
~Kate

Get the picture?

Yes.  Tonight required much more than Calgon.

It was a hard-core, bring on the chocolately goodness that you have to sip off a spoon because it is slightly thickened and to-die-for.

Drink up.

Sip it all.

Lick the spoon and then ever crevice of your serving cup.

Sigh.

And post the recipe for someone else’s long day.

You won’t have any regrets.  Just delightful thoughts of chocolate, warm and toasty family cuddles and deep winter sleeps.

It’s HOT CHOCOLATE SEASON!  Wahooo!

Spanish-style hot chocolate
Serves 1.5 chocolate lovers or 2.5 chocolate sippers (if those types exist.  LOL)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup half and half
4 ounces chopped chocolate (semi-sweet OR dark chocolate)
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cold water
vanilla extract OR peppermint (that…would not be Spanish but it would be good!)

1. Heat milk and cream over medium-low heat until warm. STIR constantly to avoid scalding milk.
2. Stir in chocolate pieces and continue stirring until completely melted. Add the extract of your choice.
3. Mix together water and cornstarch until it is smooth. Add to chocolate. Continue to stir until the hot chocolate thickens to a thin pudding. Remove from the heat.
4. Serve with whipped cream (ideally) or mini-marshmellows (if necessary).

If you use dark chocolate, people in Spain have been known to sprinkle a little sugar on top for added sweetness.

Recipe serves 2-3 in demistasse cups OR just one if they have a huge chocolate craving!

Happy Gluten Free Chocolate Days, all!
~Kate