Tag Archives: dessert

Gluten Free Grasshopper Cupcakes: Mint-Chocolate & Chocolate Chip

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Gluten Free Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes
Gluten Free Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes

Gluten Free Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes

A couple months ago, a colleague brought me some small gluten free cupcakes from a local bakery.  They were “grasshopper” cupcakes, she told me.  I was curious.  She handed me the box and smiled.  Said because they were gluten free, she snapped them up as she “knew someone” who could enjoy them.  I’m the lucky someone, I told her.  I thanked her profusely for thinking of me and promised to give them a try at lunch time. (It was 7AM, after all, when she delivered them.)  The school day started with the rush of students, papers, lessons, activities, things to manage, etc and soon lunch arrived.

I opened the box of cupcakes.   There were FOUR of them.  Four?  Hot dog!

And then I looked more closely.  Egad…they were CHOCOLATE!  I know this sounds ridiculous, but I am really NOT a fan of chocolate cake.  I am fairly certain my aversion to chocolate cake and ice cream stems from a not-too-fun incident when I was 6.

We had just moved in to our new house on the East Coast when my family noticed a birthday party of little girls in the nearby cup-de-sac.  Since they were all my age, I was encouraged and “included”…. and petrified.  I didn’t know any of them – but my anxiety tends to display itself as super-social behavior.  I guess it fit the birthday party mode.  What didn’t fit was the superhuman consumption of chocolate cake (GIANT portions with major frosting) and chocolate ice cream (HUGE SCOOP).  I …. well…. ended the party ill.  And never socialized with the little girls in the nearby cul-de-sac again.  (Way to kick off a new school/new school year with a reputation, huh?)

Needless to say, I was bummed to see chocolate cupcakes.  Since I had told my colleague I would let her know what they were like, I forced myself to take a small bite of one.  And wow.  They were good cupcakes!  They were light, had an airy crumb and tasted nicely.  (They were a bit crumbly…but hello? Gluten free!)  I shared the other three cupcakes with 3 of my students who are also gluten intolerant or have Celiac Disease.  (It’s amazing to me the number of kids who are gluten free now – we even have a “gluten free club” in the high school!).  They were a hit with everyone.

And I thought about going down to pick up more cupcakes from that bakery another day.  So about 2 weeks ago before Valentine’s Day, I brought the girls down there to pick up some cupcakes for Valentine’s dessert.  Everyday the flavors offered change (apparently) and I was bummed to discover that the gluten free cupcake “of the day” was not Grasshopper.  To boot, each standard (as in what you would make at home = smallish cupcake) cost $2.50 – or “$30/dozen)  (Ummmm..hello?).  Needless to say, I will not be a cupcake-purchasing Momma again for a while.

And the girls?  Well, one of them ate the frosting off their cupcake and the other took 3 bites of the cake before declaring she was “done”.  Next time I will buy one for them to split and save myself the wallet-busting heartache when I tossed the uneaten cupcakes into the trash.

But I still couldn’t get over the cupcake my colleague had given me.  So I set out to make one myself.

Recipe Testing

Recipe testing

I’m happy to report that I ditched the ratios, squashed the “dense cupcake” dilemma and discovered the best cupcake I’ve had in a VERY long time.  I have thoroughly tested this recipe (have made it at least 6 times in the last two weeks) and sent samples out and about in the world with a wide variety of testers: (1) gluten intolerant/celiac “used to the gluten free baked good” crowd, (2) my non-gluten free  but utterly wonderful colleagues who have tasted a dozen + recipes for me without complaint but great tips; (3) the toddler/youngster set in the house and with my friends; and this time – I dared request testers from my could-be-professional cake-baker buddies.  Really.  One of my colleagues could easily retire and bake cakes for big bucks for people.  (PS.  And she’s grossed out by gluten free stuff…ha!)

All of my testers have report HAPPY and DELICIOUS results.  I hope you will too.  Even the pro-baker-to-be has requested the recipe for when she may need a gluten free go-to cake. She said, and I quote “I would have NEVER known that this was a gluten free cake.  It was perfect.”   (Yes!)

A recipe tester

 

GFGrasshopperCupcakes

I hope you enjoy these cupcakes as much we have.  If you noticed, I’m trying to figure out the best recipe-print plugin for my new blog format.  Forgive me for playing around a bit until we figure it out. :D

Happy cupcake baking – I’m on to my next task:  converting this recipe for a lighter, airy non-chocolate version.  So far?  So good!

~Kate

BBQ Round-Up – Get out the stretchy pants!

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The virtual BBQ party has left me with enough recipes and ideas to make it through every BBQ that crops up this summer. Seriously – you guys are amazing! Check out the goodies everyone brought! Oh, I love it!

The food filled many a virtual picnic table, although I think I’ll have to stay seated for a little while after grazing. The BBQ was a great way to get back in to the swing of blog posting after our family left. It’s taken me a little bit to get my mind organized and back on track. I tend to get absorbed in the commotion of the crowd of eight for some strange reason.

We had a lovely visit (even during the two days of plastic-wrapped windows for house painting!). And now it’s back to life… and adoption “autobiographical sketches” and such. (My goodness! If you have ever written an adoption autobiography, you know what kind of a typing-marathon we are involved in!)

But back to the BBQ. Food. It is, after all, why we are all a community and what brings people together. Family. Friends. We bond by food, regardless of culture. And the gluten-free world is bonded by food so very much more! We become bolder with our food choices and definitely with our questions/answers about in public. Like when I’m shopping and reading labels and people ask me what I’m reading for or they get excited if they know what I’m talking about when I ask if something is gluten-free. The smiles of recognition that covers our faces when we find a food-buddy.

Oh, how I wish this BBQ wasn’t just a virtual one! I wish my house could hold you all. (I think 10 might be our max, however. LOL) I know we could all spend hours together sharing stories, laughing, and eating with reckless abandon (thus my stretchy-pants comment above). Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

I think so too!

So here is what everyone brought to the BBQ online. (Please try not to drool on your screens. It’s rather unsightly for the next computer-user, ya know.)

A = Carrie (Ginger-Lemon Girl) brought an Apple-Mint Salad. I don’t know how she knew to kick off a Pacific Northwest BBQ with apples, but she called that one right. I love mint in things (surprising even myself, to be honest) so I can’t wait to try this. Oh, the million varieties of apples + mint? I’m in!

B = Rachel (The Crispy Cook) made a Broccoli Salad a la Grecque. This recipe looks delicious! She included feta cheese which adds a nice saltiness and zing to salads. I love feta or bleu cheese crumbled on our grilled potatoes in the summer, so I think this salad is right up my alley!

C = Natalie (Gluten Free Mommy) showed up with a scrumptious Cherry Clafouti which had me roaming around the kitchen saying “Clafouti” with a million different trills and intonations. I love her tips about pitting cherries with a straw… sure beats what I’ve been doing this summer with a paring knife! LOL

D = Mary Frances (Gluten Free Cooking School) did a little research and made some Diabolically Deviled Eggs. While she wasn’t a fan of her new pimento-cheese deviled eggs, there were takers at her house!

E = And for any of you deviled egg purists out there, no worries! Melanie (The GlutiGirls) brought some Deviled Eggs of her own. I was happy to see that I’m not the only one who pondered the idea of the Tupperware containers for Deviled Eggs.

Seeing both Mary France and Melanie make Deviled Eggs, it made me think we had a bit of a Tyler Florence Throw-Down, Gluten-Free style happening at the BBQ too!

F = Ginger (GF in GF and FL), bless her heart, kept it clean and brought some Freakin’ Awesome Tropical Chicken that Jen (From DelphiForums) dreamed up. I don’t have a picture to share of the dish, but I do have this lovely pilfered photo of Ginger & her cute kidlet, Jeffery! (Happy Belated Birthday, Jeffery!) (Read Gingers BEAUTIFUL post to her son on his birthday too.)

G = Lynn (GF Gastronaut) submitted a delectable recipe for Guacamole. (Sorry to have seen it late, Lynn!) I love avocadoes and a good fresh guacamole. This is a perfect treat! Bring on the chip bowl, gang! :)

H = Heather (GF Vegan Baby) brought some refreshing Honey Rooibos Tea and some Happiness Cookies. The tea looks delicious (especially today as I sit in the sun typing up the Round Up!).

I = A little more from the archives: Ice Cream Sandwiches would certainly go over well!

J = Jacie (Gluten Free Wiggs) made “Jacie’s Gruyere Apple Pie”, OH MY! That sounds so rich and delicious too.

K = Umm.. Kale? Kiwi? Ketchup? (Hey… some government agency used to think it counted as a vegetable for school kids! LOL)

L = Thomas (GFCF Experience) posted a great recipe for his “LIttle Grandma’s Swedish Cookies”. Growing up in Minnesota (semi-Scandinavia), I am quite familiar with the type of delicious cookie he posted. I can’t wait to try his GF version!

M = Karen (Gluten Free Sox) made Memphis-style Ribs that literally had me craving ribs as I read her description of the tender meat easily falling off the bone. The spice list looks wonderful. Yet another “make these before the winter rainy season hits again” recipe for us! That’s for sure!

N = Cheryl (Gluten Free Goodness) made her Nana’s Skillet Bread. Oh, I love skillet breads! It’s the perfect BBQ accompaniment to those ribs that Karen made.

O = Gaile (Fidgety Budgy) created an Oregon Pasta Salad with cherry tomatoes, gherkins, and salmon. YUM!

P = Jenny (Your Sugar and Spice) made a different kind of Pasta Salad with avocado (love avocado!), tuna, and tomatoes.

Yet another Throw-Down, Gluten-free style!

Q = Lauren (Celiac Teen) made a Quinoa side dish that looks tasty. I like that she cooked the quinoa in veggie broth. I love the flavor and texture of quinoa – it helps me make up for missing out on couscous which we used to eat frequently before the land of Celiac entered our lives.

R = Cassandra (Delightfully Gluten Free) made Rhubarb and Strawberry Crisp. If you have never tried rhubarb, I highly suggest this recipe as a beginning point. Rhubarb has a great tart falvor that combines beautifully with strawberries. And in a crisp? Forget about it! You won’t know what hit you but you WILL run off in search of a scoop of vanilla ice cream to eat along side it all!

S = Vicky recommended that we all try this Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Torta from Epicurious. It sure looks good. She said that they use this on Teff Wraps, etc and make the best BLT sandwiches as well with this as a basis. I think it’s a definite party recipe for us to try out. It looks beautiful!

T = Kay (Gluten Free Kay) delighted my eyes with this cute little Tomato Pie. To be honest, tomatoes are relatively new back in our diets (it’s a texture thing… what can I say?). But I love the taste of fresh tomatoes on our sandwich wraps or pizza/flats with basil and mozzarella. I think I will have to give this recipe a whirl with some delicious heirloom tomatoes from the local farmer’s market. (I’m not as green-thumbed as sweet Kay. But boy, do my dandelions grow well! LOL)

U = Sarah (Everyday GF) made some Upside-Down Cupcakes to appeal to the masses. I love this idea too. Mini upside-down cupcakes? Sure easier on our diets than having a huge cake sitting around the house!

V = Vittoria (Deliciously Gluten Free) made a Very Berry Cake that looks to die for too. My love is not big on sweets, but on berries? Berries in a cake? He’s all over it.

W = M-Elle (Cooking, UnCooking) made Watermelon Salsa! Seriously, I can’t wait until we find some good watermelon. I really want to try this recipe out. I think I’m intrigued by the flavor combinations and think it would be delicious on a taco salad made with chicken too. Man, I hope the watermelons start looking good soon! (They are a bit behind this year due to weather.)

X= Me! (Gluten Free Gobsmacked). I made some XXX Cookies. The XXX standing for Powdered Sugar – no worries! Nothing inappropriate. The dough is easy to work with and rather versatile. And India Tree makes some beautiful decorating candies, sugars and vegetable, all-natural food colorings for those of you who can/do use organic. (On a side note, I am amused by the number of XXX google hits that recipe got. Ah, the naive-side of me that thought they were all looking for sugar cookie recipes. LOL I know better now!)

Y = Steve (Gluten Free Steve) had the brilliant idea of bringing a Yummy Caprese Salad. This salad is easy to make and very fresh and delicious. The layers of mozzarella and tomato are delicious – even for me, a self-proclaimed tomato-newbie. Give it a whirl too! You be glad you tried this recipe too.

Z = I haven’t as yet posted a recipe for this, we make Zagablione (Here’s a picture of the Strawberry one we made and here’s a picture of a plain zagablione with fruit on top). There are a couple easy recipes online. You can find the basics of the strawberry recipe here. (Recipes should call for 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon marsala or grand marnier per person. Some call for much more (too much, IMHO) liquor which causes the zagablione to have a strong flavor and not set up as nicely.)

Okay – who’s hosting the next BBQ or party?

And is it just me, or are you guys thinking that a whole GF Community wouldn’t be such a bad place to vacation together either? Boy, that would be NICE!

I’ll be back soon with some new recipes for summer.. and am working my Menu Planning to be able to join the Monday Menu Planners occasionally. As of right now, I plan 4 days at a time. Not quite ready for the prime-time showing of you organized bloggers. LOL I’m working on it though!

Happy July and Gluten-Free BBQing and Eating to all!
-Kate

GF: Pineapple Dessert

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A fun, last minute cooking party with sweet Gaby and Mohammed sent us running for the showers after a day of errand running. Then I found myself packing the oddest bunch of items into a grocery bag. I don’t think we quite brought over our fair share. I tend to lose myself a bit. Gaby, Mohammed and their beautiful kids always envelope us with such love that I tend to just lose my focus and just absorb it all. MAN! Life is good when you have such sweethearts living close by!

We brought over rice, shrimp… and a last minute dessert plan. Actually this is a dessert my love has made before, but this time we hadn’t quite planned it. No matter, he thought the kids would like it. Poor kids. We didn’t even cook it until they had gone to bed. The littlest one request the pineapple dessert – and the adults shooed her off to bed. Seriously! Poor thing! However, we were all thankful she had shaken us out of our dialogue mode and back into the FOOD mode. (Not like we didn’t eat enough – believe me you! Mohammed and my love made jambalaya…….. OH. MY. That we need to recreate again and again someday soon!)

We followed our wonderful conversation with the little one’s requested dessert. This sweet treat is lovely with candied or roasted nuts and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We did eat it with ice cream – but, heck.. .I was too busy eating to take a picture of THAT! :) I’m honestly amazed I remembered to take any pictures at all!

As with everything my love makes, there’s just an “outline” of ingredients but the rest is just his culinary magical touch and a lot of love. (And a great familiarity with my taste buds. LOL) Here’s a general guide for you to follow to make your own pineapple treat.

Pineapple Dessert
Ingredients:
butter (several tablespoons, depends upon the size of the pineapple)
brown sugar (several tablespoons, to taste)
1 pineapple, peeled and cored
2/3 to 1 cup of cognac (per entire pineapple) or rum

Directions:

  1. Saute a few pineapple slices in 2 tablespoons of butter until tender over medium-high heat.
  2. Sprinkle the slices with 2-3 Tablespoons of brown sugar.
  3. Once the sugar has melted and begun to carmelize, spoon cognac (about 1/4 cup) over the slices.
  4. Simmer in cognac and sugar until slightly thickened or flambe.
  5. Serve drizzled with the pan sauce, topped with nuts and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Sometimes this tastes great with a little coconut sorbet in lieu of the ice cream. The nuts add a great crunch to the tender/sweet pineapple texture.

Enjoy!

Kate