Tag Archives: glutenfree

Gluten Free Homemade Croissants!

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Dear reader or fellow gluten-free lifestyler,

Do you know what I ate two nights ago for the first time in eight years? Something so delicious and delectable that I practically made myself ill because I couldn’t resist and I ate THREE of them! I’m talking about homemade gluten-free chocolate-filled Croissants. Yeap. Catch you breath. I said the magic word – CROISSANT and GLUTEN FREE in the same sentence.

Last December, I was emailed a recipe that I just wrote about for Crescent Rolls. I had been wondering for VERY long time how I could make croissants to eat with my morning latte filled with chocolate (or not) or fill with turkey and cheese or whatnot for lunches. Typical croissant recipes require yeast, milk, the gluten of flour to create the flaky layers, and resting/rising time that most gluten free recipes cannot duplicate. However, with super slight modifications from the recipe I posted for crescent rolls, I have been able to make croissants the last few nights that I have been enjoying for breakfast and lunch.

Homemade Croissants

It is a welcome change of pace for my taste buds.

The beauty is that this same technique (the rolling, turning, frozen grated butter) that has made the most tender and flaky pastry can also be used for filo dough. In fact, I have a little part of my mind planning to make some more baklava this weekend – oh babee! I’ve made baklava before following Rebecca Reilly’s recipes (Delish, by the way. This is a cookbook to own if you like to bake and also have to bake gluten-free. However, I was truly missing the flaky and tender pieces of filo dough that you normally have in baklava. I was curious about whether this dough would work for that – but was only convinced after my can-eat-gluten-but-doesn’t husband gobbled up a couple mini-croissants and exclaimed “Wow, Katie, you could make the best filo dough and baklava with this stuff.” Done. That’s *so* next on this baker’s agenda.

In the meantime, if you have some time on your hands and plenty of butter on hand, please make some croissants! You won’t regret it, I promise. You can fill them with whatever your heart desire. And trust me, you will want more of these buttery, flaky, tender croissants. I wish I could tell you what they are like on Day Three, but the ones I’ve made have yet to make it past Day Two!

In fact, for the first time ever, I’m rather bummed that my colleagues aren’t wondering what I’m eating for lunch because it looks so “normal” to them. It surprised my last night when that thought crossed my mind. Then I realized, they are usually curious about what I’m eating because they haven’t often seen quinoa salads or eaten homemade risotto or rice balls with smoked salmon. For once, when I want them to jump up and down with me on the desks at lunch, they are painfully unaware of my triumphant, scrumptious lunch. Meh. It’s for the better. They would all just want a bite anyway. LOL

My lunch today includes a croissant filled with turkey/white cheddar and one filled with broccoli/white cheddar cheese. I’m in heaven, don’t ya know. In fact, breakfast? Yeap. A croissant dunked into my coffee. Man, I’m bad! I have definitely had my butter intake for the next – oh – month or so, lol. But that’s okay. I am enjoying exploring the kitchen again.

This recipe takes time to prepare (more like time to roll out repeatedly and refrigerate), but after reviewing many gluten recipes for croissants over the last several years, the time is actually less involved than for traditional croissants.

I’m not good at rolling them up to look perfect, and have decided to stick with the mass-rolling technique of keeping them straight. Or, in the case of the ones filled with cheesy goodness or chocolate, I actually rolled them up a bit more like an egg roll + crescent to keep the filling within the croissant and not all over the baking pan. You can even seal in the goodness by filling, rolling over one flap over the top of the filling and brushing the edge with some beaten egg and folding up a *bit* (like 1/4″). Once you’ve done that, you can roll it like a crescent/croissant.

I do hope you try this recipe, please tell me if do! I’d love for us to keep this one on the exploration front – it’s worth it! Here are the basic steps I followed. Keep in mind that the croissants will NOT puff up/rise (there’s no yeast here) nor will they be as large as the ones you see at the market.

First, prepare batch of the crescent dough with the modifications I used plus a few others. I have retyped the recipe here because I have added a bit more of a few ingredients like cream of tartar, xanthan gum, baking soda, sugar and an additional flour (sweet rice flour).

I have also uploaded pictures of the steps (rolling) for you if they will help as well. Although, let me just say this, photography + massive amounts of sweet rice flour….. well, they just don’t always mix. LOL

Here’s the overall step-by-step picture. You can find details that explain each image on Flickr too. Just click on the big picture and it will take you to the Flickr page where you can read more.

Making Croissants

GF Croissants
Recipe makes 14 small-medium croissants.

Ingredients:
1 stick of butter, (8 Tablespoons) slightly softened
1 stick of butter, frozen
1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon GF cottage cheese
1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon GF cream cheese
1 cup GF Flour Mix (rice-based or sorghum-based)
2 Tablespoons of sweet rice flour + 1 ½ cups sweet rice flour for rolling
1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ Tablespoons sugar
1 or 2 eggs, beaten (to seal the croissants closed and brush on the croissants before baking)

Directions:

  1. Cream together softened butter, cream cheese, and cottage cheese until whipped, creamy and semi-yellow in color (about 3-4 minutes)
  2. Add GF Flour mix, 2 Tablespoons sweet rice flour, xanthan gum, salt, cream of tartar, baking soda and sugar. Mix together until the dough comes together – mostly away from the sides and begins to form a ball or lump in the middle of the mixer (about 3-4 minutes).
  3. Shape into a disk and place into a Ziploc bag. Refrigerate at least two hours, overnight preferred.
  4. Grate the frozen butter (I used my food processor) and put it into a freezer-safe storage container/bag. Return grated butter to the freezer until you are ready to use. (By the way, it will store indefinitely like this.)
  5. Work in a cool place or consider refrigerating the dough after Step 9). Place parchment paper, sweet rice, grated frozen butter, and the rolling pin on a large surface that you can easily reach to roll the dough thinly.
  6. Remove dough from the fridge and divide into fourths. Return 3 of the 4 to the Ziploc bag and place in the refrigerator.
  7. Reshape this ¼ piece into a disk quickly. (Try to touch the dough as little as possible in order to keep it as cold/cool as possible.)
  8. Generously dust the top of the parchment paper. Place the dough disk into the center on a generous amount of sweet rice flour. Generous dust the top and side of the dough. Cover with another piece of floured parchment paper. Roll the dough as thinly as possible (about 1/8 of an inch or so). You should be able to see through the dough partially. I was able to roll the dough about 22” long and about 15” wide.
  9. Turn the dough lengthwise. Generously sprinkle the middle 1/3 of the dough with the grated, still-frozen butter. Fold up the bottom third of the pastry over the top of the middle third. Sprinkle the grated, still-frozen butter over the top of the part you just folded on top. Fold down the top third of the dough to cover the center/butter again.
  10. Turn the dough and fold in any edges that are thin or not part of the folded center. Generously dust the top, sides, and bottom (lift the dough gently to push flour underneath) of the dough. Repeat the rolling and butter sprinkling (Steps 8 and 9) one more time. You will sprinkle the butter on twice and roll out three times.
  11. After the second sprinkling of butter and folding, turn the dough again and roll the dough out for it’s final time, once again rolling it as thinly as possible. Work quickly at this point as the dough is beginning to warm up again.
  12. Lift off the top parchment paper and divide the dough in half with a pizza cutter. Leave the dough lying flat along the parchment paper.
  13. Divide each half into long triangles with the pizza cutter. You will end up with 4 large triangles for each ¼ of the dough. At this point you may fill your croissants with pieces of dark chocolate or turkey/cheese, etc by placing your filling on the wide end of the triangle.
  14. Roll the croissant up from the wide end carefully (as the layers are thin). Seal the end (to keep it together during baking) by brushing beaten egg onto top ½ inch before finishing the roll. Shape into a crescent moon shape or leave in a roll.
  15. Brush the completed croissants with beaten egg (this provides them with a golden brown or they will turn a dark brown while baking).
  16. Lay the complete croissants on parchment paper and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. Repeat steps 7 through 15 with the remaining dough. OR bake the first batch, see what you need to adjust and then bake the others. The dough will keep refrigerated for two days.
  17. Bake the croissants at 375F for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!
-Kate

GF: Homemade Egg Rolls

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Eight years ago I had my first – and last – homemade phenomenal gluten-wrapped egg roll. I remember the evening well. My love (a native Chicagoan who also happens to be Chinese-American) and I were dating/living together at the time. While we made the egg rolls, he were talking about my first trips to Chicago, etc. I started to tell random stories. (Of course.)

One of which was about my then college buddies and I driving to Chicago for a weekend. (One of the girls was from the nearby suburbs, so we all went home with her to explore the city.) What I vividly remembered, I told him, was driving around freaked out by the traffic with one friend holding a map and the other reading street signs.

In particular, I remember the girl reading the map telling the other to watch for “Wentworth or Cermak Road”. (We were headed to Chinatown.) The girl in charge of street signs was quiet for the longest time. Long enough for our already-thin-thanks-to-traffic-patience to wear out further.

The girl with the map asked in a more demanding tone “Where are we, T? You are watching the street signs, right?”

“Of course I am,” she replied quite exacerbated with us herself, “Quit being so pushy. I just can’t read the street signs. I don’t know what it says, so leave me alone.”

Huh? Oh great, I thought, we put someone with worse vision than my own in charge of the street signs!

“What do you mean you *can’t* read them, T? That doesn’t make sense.”

“Well,” she said, “They look all strange to me. I can’t figure out what they say.”

At the next red light I could finally look up long enough to see what her problem was. At the sight of the street signs written in kanji (“Chinese”) script, I just about busted a gut and wet my pants.

“Um, T?” I asked, “Did you think maybe you couldn’t read it because it’s written in Chinese? Do ya think maybe we’re here already?”

Good lord. That woman is NOT my choice of navigator now. In fact, my navigator does little more than try to look cute and stick his big head out the window when we drive by any lakes or streams. My black lab is the best navigator and side-seat driver ever. He’s awfully quiet.

Needless to say, by the time my love and I met, I had learned my way around Chicago well and knew enough about Chinatown to find my favorite egg rolls. Thankfully, he taught me there was so much more to Chinese food than what I had known before. And with the few tips and tricks from his family – and himself – I have learned to make some fabulous Chinese food.

One trick he taught me the night we made egg rolls. He was telling me about working in his family’s Chinese restaurant as a child. (He was cute as a little guy. He told me that he and his sister got the best tips. LOL) He said that to hold all the egg roll ingredients together, his grandfather would add peanut butter to the veggie and meat mix. Say what? Come on now, I thought, peanut butter? How gross.

Boy, was I wrong. When we added peanut butter to the egg roll filling mix, I was convinced I was going to hate them. Hardly. Those egg rolls beat out anything I had eaten before. And shortly after the egg roll making-bonanza, I learned that I had Celiac Sprue. No more egg rolls. Well, at least not until now.

While this recipe may not make my weekly rotation, it was nice to make some tasty egg rolls that were even delicious for lunch the next day at work! (Yes, you read that right – they were still delish at lunch!) The only bizarre thing? The egg rolls didn’t brown like the gluten-filled wraps. I’m not sure why, but to be honest, these white egg rolls hit the spot. I’m not much of a fried foodie, it makes my heart seize just thinking about it, but sometimes….. Sometimes you just have to live a little.

If you have been craving egg rolls too, may I suggest you take the plunge and try some of these? If you aren’t hung up on the coloring, your taste buds will love you.

My Egg Roll Wrapper Recipe
Ingredients
1/2 cup cold water + 1/4 cup cold water (added tablespoon by tablespoon)
1 egg (whisked in to 1/2 cup cold water) + 1 egg for sealing egg rolls
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch (+ more for dusting)
1/3 cup corn starch
1/3 cup sweet rice flour (+ more to avoid sticky dough)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon gelatin

Directions:

  1. Put rice flour, salt, tapioca, corn starch, sweet rice flour, xanthan gum, and gelatin in a food processor until evenly combined.
  2. Whisk together egg with ½ cup cold water until well blended.
  3. Turn on food processor and slowly pour egg/water mixture into the dough.
  4. Open the food processor and scrap down the sides. Make sure the dough is evenly processed. At this point, check to see if the dough will easily stick together but is not sticky. If the dough does not come together to form a soft dough, turn the food processor back on and slowly drizzle water in by the tablespoon (maybe up to ¼ cup more of cold water will be needed). If the dough is too sticky, add a tablespoon of sweet rice flour at a time until the dough forms a soft dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 Tablespoon/small ice cream scoop balls. While working with one ball at a time, keep the remaining dough in a bowl under a damp (but not wet!) towel.
  6. Press each ball into a small disk.
  7. At this point, you can either use a tortilla press, a pasta roller, or some serious arm muscle and a rolling pin. Roll the disk into a super flat (think lasagna flat) round or square. (If using your pasta roller, roll to the level 3 thickness. (1 being the thickest setting on my Kitchen Aid pasta roller attachment.) Don’t get the wrap too thin or it will rip when you are rolling the egg rolls together with their stuffing.
  8. Continue flattening each ball.
  9. Store the flattened egg roll wrappers on wax paper or parchment paper and cover with a damp (not wet!) towel. Set aside to make your filling. (See below for a suggested filling recipe.)
  10. Once you have prepared your filling, individually lay 2-3 tablespoons of filling into each egg roll wrap. (The amount of filling will vary depending on the size of you wraps.)
  11. There are two ways to fold up the wraps – depending on how flexible your wraps are (depends on how thick/thin they are).
    1. OPTION ONE: Wrap like a spring roll wrapper but be sure to brush the last edge with beaten egg to seal it before frying.
    2. OPTION TWO: Fold in the sides over the top of the filling. Then fold up the bottom. Put beaten egg on the final edge and roll the wrap into the egg-brushed edge so that all sides are covered.
  12. Lay aside completed egg rolls.
  13. Heat 1 ½ inches oil (we use canola or peanut) in a deep pan.
  14. Once the oil sizzles when the end of an egg roll is dipped it, add 3 or 4 egg rolls to the oil to cook.
  15. Stir occasionally to ensure equal cooking.
  16. Each batch of egg rolls will take between 5 – 6 minutes in the fryer.
  17. Drain well on a large stack of paper towels or on a brown bag to absorb the oil.
  18. Serve with Sweet Thai Chile dipping sauce or another sauce of your choosing.

Egg Roll Filling
Ingredients
1 16 ounce/1 pound package shredded cabbage/carrot mix
1 1/2 cups shredded pork or chicken (lightly seasoned)
2 Tablespoons GF soy sauce
1/3 cup peanut butter
salt/pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Add a small amount of olive oil to a pan and heat until it swirls like water. Add meat.
  2. Cook meat thoroughly.
  3. Remove cooked meat from pan with a slotted spoon and return the pan to the heat.
  4. Add cabbage/carrot mixture. Add soy sauce.
  5. Stir-fry until heated through – but not cooked to a mushy state.
  6. Add cabbage/carrot mixture to the bowl with the meat.
  7. Add peanut butter and stir to distribute well and combine all ingredients thoroughly.
  8. Add salt/pepper to taste.


Happy egg rolling!
-Kate

GF: Sweet Potato & Apple Coffee Cake

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Who knew Costco sold sweet potatoes! OH! I’m in trouble now!

Actually, it’s just going to give me a chance to try Mary Frances’s sweet potato fries (OMG) and a few other sweet potato dishes. We make some to-die-for candied/brandied sweet potatoes around here, but I’m trying to branch out.

I’ve also been craving a great coffee cake. Every week for faculty and/or department meetings, we are served huge trays of some tasty-looking cinnamon rolls. They are huge! Thankfully, I’m not much of a breakfast eater, so for 7:30 AM meetings – I can easily ignore the cinnamon rolls by sitting as far away from them as possible. :) However, my department has a grand total of 7 teachers. It’s harder to hide from the cinnamon rolls, donuts, coffee cakes, muffins, etc that come through the door into our meetings on those days. So I decided to make my own and come prepared to battle with the aromas.

I made this great coffee cake to have a sweet-bread taste beyond just a sweet topping to stop me from craving any of the sweet-looking dishes that my colleagues were munching on. This coffee cake was made on Monday night and lasted super well through the next few days. I kept it on the counter covered with foil. While it was still moist, I did put my piece(s) into the microwave to reheat before eating. NOT because of the bread/moisture, but because that’s how I prefer to eat my coffee cakes – warm!

Don’t worry if you are not a sweet potato fan. This coffee cake hides the mild flavor very well.

Sweet Potato & Apple Coffee Cake
Ingredients:
For the coffee cake:
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 /3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (HEAPING) mashed sweet potato (or pumpkin)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup your favorite GF flour mix with xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum IF your mix doesn’t have it
1/4 cup warm milk

For the apple topping:
3-4 Braeburn apples
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons “pumpkin pie spice” OR
1 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg + 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the icing:
1/2 cup powered sugar
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Cream together butter and sugars.
  2. Add eggs (one at a time) until well incorporated.
  3. Add vanilla. Beat together and until fluffy (2-3 minutes)
  4. Add mashed sweet potato. Beat together again (2-3 minutes)
  5. In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients (baking powder, salt, and GF flour). Add to wet ingredients until just blended – don’t over mix!
  6. Add 1/4 cup of warm milk until well-blended, but not over mixed.
  7. Spread onto silpat or parchment paper into a 1″ thick oblong (mine was about 12 inches wide and 9 inches long).
  8. Peel, core and slice the apples into 1/4″ wide slices.
  9. Sprinkle the apple slices with lemon juice and toss well.
  10. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and spices.
  11. Sprinkle over apple slices and toss to coat evenly.
  12. Evenly spread the apple slices on top of the coffee cake batter.
  13. Bake at 350F for 35 – 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick insert into the middle comes out clean.
  14. While the coffee cake bakes, stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice.
  15. Allow the coffee cake to cool for about 10-15 minutes before drizzling with icing (or the icing will just melt into the apple topping).

The next time I make this, I will reduce the amount of sugar in the coffee cake as it was too sweet for my love and much more cake-like (sweet-wise) than I really wanted. It hit the spot though and got a lot of queries fo r the recipe from my gluten-eating buddies!

Enjoy!
Kate