Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies

When you think of Christmas, what scents or flavours do you associate it with? For me, peppermint and shortbread always come to mind.

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I eat my fair share of shortbread during the holiday season and I must say they are one of the best cookies to make gluten-free. Maybe because they tend to have more butter than flour…but regardless, they always seem to turn out with the exact ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ consistency as ‘gluten-full- shortbread.

My go-to shortbread recipe has always been ‘Grandma’s Shortbread’ on the back of the Fleischmann’s Canada Corn Starch box. It’s fool proof and also easy to turn gluten-free by subsituting wheat flour with a gluten-free blend.

Sometimes gluten-free all-purpose flour can be tough to use as a replacement for all-purpose white, wheat flour because the consistency turns out too tough or grainy. For example, Robin Hood Gluten Free Flour is awful for making shortbread. The consistency is super grainy and the flavour turns out almost sour – not a fan!

One of the best ‘cup-for-cup’ gluten-free all-purpose florus I’ve come across so far has been Glutino’s All Purpose Flour Mix. It isn’t grainy and offers a smooth finish to baked goods. I would definitely recommend picking up a box of this for your holiday treats.

I usually top my shortbreads with a Milk Chocolate Chipit, but with my last batch I chopped up Hershey Peppermint Bark Bells and topped the cookies with those. They add a minty, Christmasy flavour (they’re also delicious to eat on their own). If you’re not in the Christmas mood yet, you probably will be after these cookies.

Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies

1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (Glutino’s All-Purpose Flour Mix)

1/2 cup icing sugar

1/2 cup corn starch

3/4 cups butter (room temperature, or nooked in the microwave)

6 Hershey Peppermint Bark Bells (chopped)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

With a hand mixer (or stand mixer), mix butter until smooth and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, sift the gluten-free all-purpose flour, icing sugar and corn starch. Sifting the dry ingredients together enusres that there are no large clumps – it essentially aerates the ingredients.

Combine the dry ingredients with the butter and continue to mix with the hand mixer. YOu will then have to combine the ingredients with your hands to form a ball of dough. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes and then roll one inch balls and place two to three inches apart from one another.

Bake for 10 minutes, top the cookies with the chocolate pieces and bake for an additional 10-12 – until slightly golden.

What’s your favourite holiday/Christmas cookie? Comment below to let me know for your chance to win Glutino coupons!

For an additional entry, follow @TheGutGazette on Twitter and let me know in a separate comment.

Gluten-Free Flatbread

I think I’ve mentioned this a few other times, but my favourite flavour combination is sweet and salty. I love adding sweet to a salty dish, I find it brings the flavours to different level.

Gluten-free flatbread

The best food combo is dates, prosciutto and goat cheese. The sweet dates compliment the salty prosciutto and the smooth goat cheese blends everything together perfectly. This flatbread recipe is perfect for an appetizer or a main meal and I will assure you it will be a crowd favourite.

Gluten-Free Date, Prosciutto & Goat Cheese FlatbreadGluten-free flatbread

2 frozen gluten free pizza crust bases (O’Dough’s has a good crust – this is what I used)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8 medjool dates, de-pitted and chopped
6 tbsp goat’s cheese
8 basil leaves, chopped
4-6 slices of prosciutto

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place frozen crusts on baking sheet (they will defrost while they cook).

Top each frozen gluten free pizza crust base (or flatbread) with ½ cup mozzarella cheese. Next, top each crust with four basil leaves, spread around to cover the base. Top each crust with three tablespoons each of crumbled goat cheese and then sprinkle the chopped dates (four to each crust) and chopped prosciutto on top. Ensure the prosciutto is the last to be added, as it will become crunchy while cooking.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

Mini Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pies

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!

What is your favourite Thanksgiving food?

Ever since I was introduced to Glutino’s Perfect Pie Crust mix, making gluten-free pies has been very easy. I love the buttery flavour and flakey texture. I had to get creative when I realized I didn’t have a pie dish at the cottage, so I made mini pies in a muffin tray!

These mini pies are a great dessert to please all of your guests. Make a few fillings and just fill the pies up – then everyone can enjoy their favourite flavour. Although this post is too late for this year’s Thanksgiving, keep the idea in mind for Christmas (or for my American readers, try out this recipe for your Thanksgiving celebrations).

I followed the instructions on the Glutino Perfect Pie Crust box, but I adjusted the amount of time I baked them for. I did bake the base for 15 minutes, but then once filled and topped with the top layer of crust, I only baked them for 25 minutes.

You can use whichever pie filling you want, but for my pumpkin pie filling I made the following:

Pumpkin Pie Filling:

1 cup pureed canned pumpkin
1 cup condensed milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Empty one cup of pureed pumpkin into a saucepan and heat for about five minutes. The process of warming the canned pumpkin helps to remove the taste of tin. After, whisk the pumpkin, sugar and condensed milk until smooth. Add in the eggs and beat. Stir in the spices and then allow the filling to cool.

While the filling is cooling, follow the instructions on the Glutino pie crust mix.

*I found chilling the dough for 30 minutes was plenty of time, rather than the full hour the instructions on the box stated. 

Mini Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

Enjoy!

….And remember, pie isn’t just for dessert, it’s perfect for breakfast too 🙂

Hello September!

It’s amazing how quick summer flies by. Warm summer nights, fresh produce and swimming in the lake are all coming to a close with ‘back-to-school’ and ‘cozy sweater’ season around the corner.

The last couple months were fairly busy for me. I tried to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, which meant limited time on my computer. Little blogging meant more golfing, yoga, reading, painting, cooking, wedding planning and enjoying time with family and friends. It was a beautiful time spent!

One of my favourite recipes I made this summer was ‘Lemon Blueberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting’. The sweet blueberries and tart lemon create a perfect contrast of taste and the cream cheese frosting is a creamy, flavourful finish. It was a hit in my house and a recipe that can be made well into the winter months to give your tastebuds a hit of summer flavours.

Lemon Blueberry Cake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting 

1 box of gluten free yellow cake mix
2 cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup butter (softened)
4 cups of icing sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

Follow the cake mix directions. Add in the vanilla extract, blueberries and lemon zest. Pop in the oven and bake according to the instructions listed on the mix.

While the cake is baking, whip up the cream cheese frosting.

Ensure the cream cheese and butter are soft. Cream together the butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer or blender until fluffy. Slowly mix in the icing sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in the lemon zest, vanilla and lemon extracts.

Once the cake is baked, let rest to completely cool.

I liked the ‘naked’ sandwich look of the cake by “smooshing” the two pieces together with the frosting in between, but feel free to frost however you like.

It’s a super easy recipe and the perfect dessert!

Potato Chip Crusted Sole

Fish and chips are one of those foods that I just don’t get enough of. Merely because most restaurants don’t have the gluten free option and frozen GF breaded fish isn’t the same. I will always remember the amazing GF fish and chips I had when I was in London last year…the fish had the perfect ‘batter to fish’ ratio and it was fried to a golden crisp.

The amazing gluten free fish and chips from Grill on the Square in London

When Glutino sent me their Baked Potato Crisps with the idea to use them to coat meat, I couldn’t resist the thought of crunchy, salted, potato coated fish. The end result didn’t mimic the taste of fried, battered fish, but it did create a welcome, crunchy taste to a relatively bland white fish.

I really enjoyed cooking and snacking on Glutino’s Baked Chips. They are very similar to Lay’s Baked Potato Chips, but of course Glutino’s BBQ flavoured ones are gluten free (whereas Lay’s are not). I thought that the Simply Salted chips were very salty, but when used to coat the fish, the saltiness wasn’t as noticeable.

This recipe is super simple and is perfect for a quick meal when you don’t really feel like putting much effort into cooking (i.e. – after a summer afternoon on the dock or in the park).

Potato Chip Crusted Sole

1 bag of Glutino Gluten Free Simply Salted Potato Crisps (or any other type of chips)
4 tbsp mayonnaise
4 large pieces of firm white fish (sole, cod, halibut)

Preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium-size bowl, crush the chips with a large spoon or fork. Crush to a desired size (I crushed mine until they were about 1/2 an inch). Coat the top of each piece of fish with a tablespoon of mayo and dip the mayo side into the crushed bowl of chips. You could opt to coat both sides of the fish with the mayo and chips, but the side facing down on the baking sheet could become soggy. 

Once all of the pieces are coated, place them in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the chips are golden and the fish is thoroughly cooked through.

Sweet Tortillas with Tropical Salsa

Sweet tortillas and tropical salsa with a warm caramel drizzle. What the hack? Yup…I did a total hack of the ever so popular salsa and chips. After discovering Udi’s ‘What the Hack’ food contest, I thought I would come up with a clever dish of my own. Unfortunately the contest was only open to US residents, but I still had a fun time pretending I was participating in Chopped [Canada]. The whole idea was to choose one of three Udi’s products and then a few ingredients from their six key ingredients (which included: pineapple, coconut, nut butter, chocolate chips, parmesan cheese and jalepenos). The recipe was a hit and was demolished very quickly. It’s a light summer dessert perfect for ending a Mexican-inspired meal. You can either serve them as individual plated desserts, or buffet style with the option to dip into the salsa. 
Sweet Tortillas & Tropical Salsa
1 pack of Udi’s Plain Tortillas 
2 cups of chopped pineapple 
1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup dulce de leche 
2 tbsp cream 
Preheat oven to 450°F. 

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle each tortilla to coat (set aside half a tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar mixture for the salsa). Place tortillas on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until golden and crispy (be sure to monitor the oven as some ovens bake quicker than others – you don’t want these to burn). 

Meanwhile, combine the chopped pineapple, coconut and remaining cinnamon sugar in a bowl. 

To make the caramel drizzle, combine the dulce de leche and cream in a small sauce pan, stirring until combined. Make sure it doesn’t burn.
Once the tortillas are baked, cut into quarters while still hot. Set aside to cool. 
To assemble, place one tortilla on a plate, top with two tablespoons of the tropical salsa and drizzle with the warm caramel sauce. If you’d rather serve this in a buffet-type setting, place the tortillas in a bowl next to the large bowl of tropical salsa for people to dip into. 

 Enjoy! These are very easy to make and delightfully refreshing! Let me know how you enjoy them!

I Heart You Hand Pies

I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post. Life got busy! However, during these last few weeks I have been testing out lots of new products that I am excited to share with you. 
It’s been such a treat to have the snow melt and the robins chirp away the last couple of weeks. Until this morning when I woke up to snow outside! I didn’t think April snowfalls were such a thing. I guess that’s what you get for living in Canada, eh? With snow on the ground, it’s hard to imagine that Easter is just days away. Have you figured out your brunch, lunch and/or dinner menus? I thought I’d share with you a fun dessert that doesn’t take too much time to make and doesn’t require a serving spoon! Introducing: gluten free hand pies (which I love). 
If you were on Pinterest around Valentine’s day, you probably would have seen Pinterest exploding with various versions of the ‘hand-pie’. I thought they were way too cute to pass up, but I didn’t have a huge chunk of time to make gluten-free pastry dough. Fortunately Glutino pulled through with their Perfect Pie Crust Mix. The directions were very simple and it only took about an hour for the dough to chill in the fridge. The dough was easy to roll and the baked result was delicious. I was expecting the texture to be doughy and bread-like, but it was nice and flaky with a buttery flavour. For one of the fillings I chopped up a couple of apples (without the skin), mixed the pieces with brown sugar and caramelized them in a pan with some butter until tender – it was that simple! I cheated for the second filling and scooped some cherry jam out of a jar…easy peasy! 
11 steps to make your own hand pies:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
2. Prepare the dough as per instructions on the box (or use your own dough recipe)
3. Roll until half an inch thick 
4. Use a circular cookie cutter (about three inches in diameter) to cut the dough
5. Put a tablespoon of filling in the centre of one of the cutouts (bottom half)
6. With a second cutout (top half), cut a hole in the centre using a knife or a small cookie cutter (I used a small heart shaped cookie cutter)
7. Drape the top half (with the hole) on top of the filling to make a ‘sandwich’
8. With a fork, gently press the sides of the ‘sandwich’ to make pie indents 
9. Whisk one large egg with one tbsp of water to make an egg wash
10. Brush the tops and edges of the pies with the egg wash
11. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden 

Gluten Free Chocolate-Bacon Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Frosting

A chocolate-bacon cupcake with salted caramel frosting to top it off. I popped the bite size cupcake in my mouth and just laughed. The tastes were amazing. I love when something tastes SO good! The sweetness of the chocolate, saltiness of the bacon and the savoury dulce de leche cream cheese frosting married so well together.

When I received my March issue of Food Network Magazine, I got really excited to see that it was “The Bacon Issue”. I was more intrigued when I saw the feature on the cover that said “Wow! Chocolate-Bacon Cupcakes.” In December when I was at the Distillery District Christmas Market, I tried Leonard Pig Candy Chocolate Covered Bacon and I loved it. So I jumped on the idea of making these interesting cupcakes. I adapted the recipe to make to make it gluten free. These are a must try and a crowd pleaser. I served these to a bunch of ladies at a recent vino night and they were a hit (they also couldn’t even tell they were GF)!

Gluten Free Adaptation – Chocolate-Bacon Cupcakes with Dulche de Leche Frosting 

From Food Network Magazine (March 2014 | Volume 7, No. 2 | p. 132)
For the candied bacon:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
12 slices gluten-free bacon cut in half
For the cupcakes:
1 package of gluten free chocolate cake mix
1 tbsp instant espresso/coffee mix
For the frosting:
1 cup jarred dulce de leche
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sea salt for the topping
1. Make the candied bacon: preheat oven to 350 and set a rack on a foil-lined baking sheet. Whist the brown sugar, sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl. Toss bacon in the mixture until coated. Arrange bacon on the rack in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes until dark brown. Let cool. Chop the bacon into small pieces.
2. While the bacon cooks, prepare the cupcake batter. Follow the instructions on the gluten free chocolate cake mix and mix in the instant espresso. Alternatively, you may use your own gluten free chocolate cake recipe.
3. Prepare muffin tins with muffin cups. Fill muffin tins with batter until 3/4 is filled. I made mini, bite-sized cupcakes, which made 48. You can make regular sized cupcakes though, or even a cake. Follow the instructions on the box for bake times. Once cooked, remove to a rack and cool completely.
4. To make the frosting: beat the dulce de leche, cream cheese and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until combined. Transfer to a pastry bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
5. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes (or cake). Top with candied bacon and sprinkle with sea salt.
The candied bacon was really delicious. Some parts were chewy, others were crunchy. It was deliciously sweet with a hint of smokiness and salt. I had left over bacon and the next day made a candied bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. It sounds weird, but you can’t judge it until you try! Yum! I can’t wait to make these again. Thank you Food Network for an amazing recipe that not only tasted beautiful but looked beautiful.

Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf

Warm, chewy, sweet, hearty, chocolaty-banana goodness. There’s not much more I can elaborate on with this home-baked, comfort food. The smell of banana bread baking in the oven is a nostalgic aroma that reminds me of the recipe my mom makes. Although this is delicious, I must admit that I do miss the gluten-filled banana bread that my mom makes…it’s really good and I have yet to replicate it with gluten free flour. 

Gluten-free Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf

1 3/4 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
4 ripe bananas (mashed)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or coconut oil)
2 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare the loaf pan by greasing it with cooking spray or butter and flouring it lightly. 

Combine flour, sugar and baking powder in one bowl until combined. In a second bowl, blend bananas, vegetable oil and eggs. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined – add in chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for one hour until golden.

Gluten Free Oatmeal, Toffee, Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I have a little bit of a toffee obsession. I love the combination of chocolate and butterscotch/toffee, like seen in my Coconut Butterscotch Chocolate Brownies and my Cheesecake Pops. I also love sprinkling or drizzling it on top of thick Greek yogurt to make a yogurt parfait – thanks to Chobani for the inspiration! By the way, how much do you miss not having Chobani in Canada? I hope they come back soon! 

A craving for a warm oatmeal cookie kicked in yesterday afternoon, so I thought I would take it into my own hands and whip up a batch. I had a few toffee bits left from my last recipe and I thought they would make a good addition. And so they did!

The combination of chocolate and toffee in these oat-y, hearty cookies are amazing. It’s a great combination of flavours that really made my tastebuds happy. 

Gluten Free Oatmeal, Toffee, Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg (or egg replacement – 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp water, 1 tbsp white vinegar)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups gluten free oats
1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour 
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits 

Preheat oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Beat butter and sugar with a mixer until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix until combined. Add in chocolate chips and toffee bits.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. 

Drop by tablespoon onto pan and flatten with back of spoon. 
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden.

*Warning, these cookies are extremely addictive. It’s not hard to eat more than one…or two…