Gluten-Free Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies (Pirate Cookies, Do-Si-Dos)

As with many of the cookies in my gluten-free cookbooks (“Beyond Flour”, “Beyond Flour 2”, and “More Than Poutine”, which are available for purchase HERE), these are another example of a recipe that is actually better done as a gluten-free cookie, than the source material. As many GF flours have more flavour than regular/all-purpose flour, proper blending and use of them will result in a more rich, flavourful end result.

The recipe for these cookies began as a craving for an off-the-shelf cookie from back home – Pirate Cookies. My husband had never tried them, so I made a gluten-free version… and I was promptly informed that they were very much like a Girl Scout cookie he liked. (After some Googling, it appears he means Do-Si-Dos). Either way, they turned out amazing, and now disappear FAST whenever I make them. I aimed for a little softer and smoother of a cookie than the source material, because I’m not a fan of crispy cookies. If you prefer a crispy cookie, allow to bake for an extra minute or two.

If you are making these for someone who is gluten-free, be sure that they can handle oats. Also, be sure to only use oat flour that is certified to be gluten-free.

Makes about 30 2″ cookies

Oatmeal Cookies:

3/4 cup Gluten-free oat flour
1/4 cup Sorghum flour
1/4 cup Coconut flour
1 tsp Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/3 cup Butter, softened
2/3 cup Granulated sugar
1 Large egg
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Corn starch, for rolling

Peanut Butter Filling:

1/4 cup Smooth peanut butter
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2 cups Icing (Powdered) sugar
2 Tbsp Water

For Cookies:

Whisk together dry ingredients (except sugar) until well combined, set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add in egg, beat well. Add vanilla extract, and mix until well incorporated and smooth. Slowly add dry mix to the mixer bowl, and carefully mix until well incorporated and smooth. Wrap dough in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C), line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Generously sprinkle clean work surface with corn starch, roll dough to 1/8″ thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out rounds, place cookies 1″ apart on greased baking sheets. For added accuracy, use a fork to gently make a grid pattern on top of half of the cookie rounds, before using drinking straw to punch a small hole in the center of each of those marked rounds.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until bottoms look lightly golden.

Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for at least 5 minutes before moving. Cookies need to cool completely before filling, so make your filling now!

For Filling:

Whip peanut butter until smooth. Add vanilla extract and salt, and mix until incorporated. Slowly add powdered sugar a bit at a time, until incorporated completely. Beat on high for 1 minute – mixture will be very, very thick.

Lower mixer speed to lowest setting, and slowly add water. Once incorporated, check for consistency. Add more water or powdered sugar to achieve the consistency you want.

To fill:

Spoon prepared filling into a pastry bag. Cut the tip off and pipe about a small amount of filling onto the bottom of one cookie. Flip over, top with another cookie. (If you went for the accuracy with a straw, use the cookies with holes in them as the top in each cookie sandwich.)

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes are included.

“More Than Poutine” is available for purchase, here.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Hoppy Citrus French Macaron Recipe

Today’s post is a great example of how unbelievably spoiled my husband is at times 🙂

Last week, I was craving macarons. As there was nothing open / nearby, I decided to just make my own. I find that commercially made ones don’t have enough flavour, anyway.

So as I was deciding what kind of macarons I wanted to make, somehow the subject of cooking / baking with hops came up. I hadn’t done any hop recipe development in a while – the Hoppy Citrus IPA Glazed Wings and Hoppy IPA BBQ Sauce recipes were the last I’d done up, and that was during the harvest last fall – our current hop growth is already starting to threaten our entire side yard, this season!

Anyway, I ended up developing two separate hop flavoured macaron recipes yesterday. These were especially made for my hop head husband, who really believes that “The more bitter, the better!”. Hops, chocolate, whatever – that’s his thing.

This first recipe uses Centennial hops, known for their citrussy notes. Cascade hops would also work well, especially if you’re less into the bitterness – Cascade has all the flavour of Centennial hops, but with less bitterness.

If SUPER hoppy IPAs aren’t your thing, you’ll probably want to cut back the hops to about 1 Tbsp worth. I’m not a huge fan of hops on their own, and these are only slightly too bitter for me – the filling really balances it out. The bitterness builds and leaves a nice aftertaste.

As a final note, I recommend you read my first post about making macarons if you are at ALL intimidated by the idea of making these: The Easy Way to Make Macarons. The only change I’ve made since then, is that I sifted the ingredients together, on account of the hop leaves. They turned out perfectly!

Oh, and I did eventually get to put on a batch of macarons for ME, after all of this hop macaron craziness 🙂

Enjoy!

Hoppy Citrus Macarons Recipe
(Makes 20-24 cookies)

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup finely ground almonds *
2 Tbsp finely ground dried hop leaves – Centennial or Cascade**
3 large egg whites
4 tbsp white sugar
Green gel food coloring, if desired

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Mix together powdered sugar, ground almond meal, and hop powder. Sift through a wire strainer, discarding any large pieces. set aside.

Mix egg whites and sugar in a *very clean* metal mixer bowl. It is very important that not only is the bowl and whisk attachment VERY clean, but that no specks of egg yolk are included with the egg white. The presence of any egg yolk or grease on your bowl or whisk will prevent the egg whites from properly whipping up. This is the only “rule” you really need to be concerned about!

Affix your bowl to the mixer, and whip eggs on high until stiff peaks form. The whites will be pillowy, thick, and marshmallowy. When you remove the whisk from the meringue, it should leave a very definite “peak” – if the tip flips over a little, that’s ok. Add a small amount food coloring, if desired, whisk in.

Dump bowl of dry ingredients into the meringue. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to gently stir the mixture until everything is well incorporated and very thick.

Once mixture is fairly uniform, beat it until it’s still thick, but oozes a bit. You don’t want to beat it till it’s fully RUNNY, but you’d like it to settle back into place if you remove some and drop it back into the mix. It’s better to under-beat it than to over-beat it.

Spoon macaron batter into a pastry / frosting bag with a 1/4″ or so opening – whether a metal tip, or just the end cut off the bag.

Pipe ~ 1.25″ – 1.5″ rounds onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If the batter isn’t running all over the place, there’s no real worry about placing them close together – I’ll leave an inch or so between the rounds.

Pick up the sheet of piped cookies, and rap it against the counter a couple of times to dislodge any air bubbles.

Bake cookies for 13-16 minutes, or until they lift easily from the parchment. (Undercooked macarons will stick). Remove from oven, cool to room temperature, and prepare the filling.

Orange-Lemon Buttercream Filling

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 Tbsp Orange zest – about 1 orange worth
1 tsp lemon zest – about 1 small lemon worth
1 Tbsp orange juice
1-2 cups powdered sugar

Whip butter until smooth. Add zests and orange juice and mix until incorporated.

Slowly add 1 cup of powdered sugar a bit at a time, until incorporated completely. If mixture seems too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar, continuing to mix until thick (but spreadable!) and smooth.

To assemble Macarons

Spoon or pipe about a Tablespoon worth of filling onto the flat underside of one cookie. Top with the underside of another cookie. (Rounded sides facing out). Holding cookies by the edge, twist gently to force frosting out almost to the edge.

* Finely ground almonds may be referred to as almond meal” or “almond flour”, depending on where you find them.

** I like to use a spice / coffee grinder to get dried hop leaves down to a fine powder – even my mini food processor doesn’t work so well, just blowing the leaves around in the bowl. Blitz to a fine powder, then measure.

Fan of hops? You’ll LOVE my latest cookbook, Hedonistic Hops!

Hops are prized for their ability to impart varied, complex flavours to beer… but did you know they can also be used culinarily? While hops may seem like a bizarre or exotic item to cook with, it’s the same as using other herbs and spices in your kitchen… you just have to know what to do with them. Appetizers, main dishes, beverages.. even desserts can be uplifted with hops!

Even those who are not fans of beer will love the unique flavours that various types of hops can bring to their plate. Floral, earthy, peppery, citrusy… Cooking with hops is a great way to expand your seasoning arsenal!

Interested in boozy culinary experiments? You’ll LOVE my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker!

Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.

To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more! Order your hard copy here, or digital edition here.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Gluten-Free, Coconut-free “Unicorn Poop Cookies”

This weekend, I was presented with an interesting challenge. We were headed to a party for some of our more.. uh, COLOURFUL … friends, and it was decided that unicorn poop cookies would be perfect for the occasion. We’d all seen these floating around pinterest, and found them good for a laugh.

As I was the one to bake them, I would do them gluten-free. Doesn’t matter to anyone else, as my gf cookies taste at least as good as the “Real” thing”.

… except that one of my friends is severely allergic to coconut, and coconut flour is my big secret ingredient to making gf cookies with great taste and texture. CRAP! (LOL)

So, I developed this recipe to work around both of our allergies, while still providing a great tasting cookie with a nice soft/chewy texture. I flavoured them with blood orange extract, after discovering that I didn’t have any lemon extract. They smelled completely insane throughout the whole process, and were a big hit at the party!

(Excuse the crappy cell phone photography for the progress pics – made these while my husband/photographer was at work!)

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Unicorn Poop Cookie Recipe
Makes about 24 LARGE poops.

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup light/white buckwheat flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp extract of choice
Gel food colouring – I use Americolor *
Sparkle gel, edible glitter, etc *

Whisk together all dry ingredients (except sugar) until well combined, set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream together cream cheese, butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add extract, and mix until well incorporated and smooth. Slowly add dry mix to the mixer bowl, and carefully mix until well incorporated and smooth.

Divide dough evenly into as many pieces as you want colours – I think 5-6 works best. (I derped and put WAY too much into the lump that was to be turquoise!). Colour each with food colouring until desired colour is reached, and fough is uniformly coloured. I wanted vibrant, but pastel would be pretty with this, too. Just make sure the colours look good with each other!

Wrap each colour of dough separately in plastic film, chill for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Divide each ball of cookie dough into 4 roughly equal sized lumps. Roll each new ball into a long log shape.


Taking 1 log of each colour, position a set of logs together, then roll into one large rainbow log. Repeat 3 more times, to make 4 large logs.


Cut each large log in half, and then each half into 3 equal pieces. You will now have 24 small logs:


Roll each small log into a longer long, and twist into a turd shape. Have as much fun with this as you can with sculpting poops 🙂

Arrange cookie turds evenly across the two cookie sheets. Bake cookies 1 sheet at a time for 15-17 minutes, or until bottoms look lightly golden. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheets for at least 5 minutes before moving. Cookies need to cool completely before decorating with sparkle gel, edible glitter, etc.

* As with all gluten-free baking, be sure that any individual ingredients you use are also gluten-free. Americolor is gf, as is the brand of edible glitter we used.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Peppermint Swirl Meringue Cookies

Back in October, I catered a party that had a Christmas theme. I designed the menu to be holiday themed, but with a twist – everything was gluten-free, in honour of the release of Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking.

I included a bunch of seasonal favourites in the spread – gluten-free versions of my Nanaimo Bars, Mini Pumpkin Pies, Mushroom Turnovers, Fruitcake… and a big spread of cookies.

Among the favourites were these colourful Mint Meringue swirls. Cheap and easy to make, fun to pipe out, and they look so pretty on a holiday sweets platter. Melt in your mouth, too!

Enjoy!

Peppermint Meringue Swirl Cookies
(Makes about a gallon sized baggie worth of cookies)

6 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 1/4 cups sugar
2-3 tsp peppermint extract (NOT peppermint oil)
4 large (or 3 normal and one large) pastry bags

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper. (Do NOT use pan spray!)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar. Using the whisk attachment, whip on high until glossy peaks form. Slowly add in the sugar – a little at a time – and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Turn off mixer, remove bowl. Gently stir in peppermint extract to taste.

Working quickly but gently, divide the meringue into three bowls. Dye one red, and another green, leaving the third bowl white.

Fit one large pastry bag with a large coupler set and tip of your choice – I used used a 4B, large star tip. Fill the other three bags with one each of the three meringue colours, taking care to avoid air bubbles. I like to tie them off with a little bit of twine, as it keeps things cleaner.

Cut about 3/4″ off the end of the three filled bags and CAREFULLY insert them into the fourth pastry bag, so that the three open tips insert almost all the way into the coupler (NOT all the way into the tip, though!)

Be gentle, you don’t want to squeeze meringue out of one or both of those bags yet!

Use the frosting bag as you normally would, piping small swirls of meringue out onto the prepared cookie sheets. I like to make them just over 1″ in diameter, and leave about 1″ between each little mound.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until just starting to get lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool fully before transferring to an airtight container.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Gluten-Free Fig Newtons Recipe!

This past week, I was in Chicago for a convention. It went very well – TONS of fun, loads of laughs, great time spent with friends, as always. This is a yearly event that I cater a dessert (and, more recently, some savoury apps as well!) for.

It’s always very well received, but this year I did something different – I made the entire menu gluten-free. Given that only a small number of attendees are GF, I was really nervous. GF food has such a bad rep, would they even TRY it?

Well, given the reviews that I’ve been getting for Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking & Baking, I probably shouldn’t have been worried. They whole spread went over SUPER well, with many people declaring that they would have had no idea it was GF. Three people even told me that they adored my mushroom turnovers… even though they hate mushrooms! What a compliment!

Now, time to get back to work!

So, let me share one of the most popular recipes from Beyond Flour – Fig Newtons!

This recipe takes a bit of doing – the filling needs to be made and cooled, the dough needs to be chilled – but the result is well worth the time and effort. This produces a fragrant, delicious cookie that is sure to satisfy your comfort food cravings.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Fig Newtons

1/2 cup Butter, softened
1/4 cup Granulated sugar
1/4 cup Brown sugar, packed
1 Large egg
1 Tbsp Orange juice
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Zest of 1/2 orange
1/2 cup White rice flour
1/2 cup Sorghum flour
1/4 cup Coconut flour
1/4 cup Millet flour
1 Tbsp Tapioca starch
1 tsp Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking powder

Filling:
12 oz Dried mission figs
1/3 cup Water
Zest of 1/2 orange
Pinch Salt

Corn starch, for rolling

In stand mixer, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add egg, orange juice, vanilla, and orange zest, beat until everything is fully incorporated and smooth.

In a large bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Slowly add this dry mix to the mixer bowl, and carefully mix until well incorporated and smooth. Chill dough for 1 hour.

To make the filling:

Remove any stems from the dried figs, discard. Finely chop figs. Place into a saucepan with water, bring to a moil over medium-high heat. Once mixture starts to boil, cover and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed by the figs.

Transfer fig mixture to food processor, along with orange zest and salt. Process until very smooth. Transfer to a clean bowl, loosely cover with plastic film, and allow to cool to room temperature.

To Assemble:

Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C), line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide dough into 4 equal balls. Generously sprinkle clean work surface with corn starch. Roll one dough ball into a long, thin, and narrow strip – about 4″ x 12″. Trim to square up / tidy the edges.

Stir cooled fig mixture to incorporate any condensation that has developed. Transfer about one quarter of the filling to a pastry bag, or heavyweight plastic bag with a corner cut off – either way, you’ll want about 1/2″ diameter opening.

Pipe a long, fat line of filling up the center of the rolled dough, using up all of the filling in the bag. Use a clean spoon to gently spread the filling to a width of slightly more than 1″.

Gently fold one long side of dough over the filling. Fold the other long side over that, forming a long tube of filled cookie. Gently flip over, slice into cookies (About 1.5″ long pieces), and gently transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are just starting to turn golden brown. Do not over bake!

Remove cookies from baking sheet, immediately cover with plastic wrap or – as we do – a long cake pan. Allow to steam/cool like this for at least 30 minutes. While these CAN be eaten right away, it’s best to let them sit overnight to let the moisture levels of the filling / cookie balance out a bit.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Gluten-Free Chewy Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies Recipe

Only one month to go until the official release date of my latest cookbook, Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking & Baking!

The books for pre orders and my Kickstarter backers have been ordered from the printer, the files are being converted to an e-book, and I just noticed this morning that Amazon has posted their listing for it! Exciting!

This book has been the biggest book project I’ve ever taken on. It started with a HUGE premise – that gluten-free cooking doesn’t have to be about compromising on flavour or texture. Sure, it’s been said before, but the follow through attempts I’ve seen have been lacklustre – GF food still has a reputation of being pretty awful for anyone who’s not actually GF.

I took the concept a step further – why shouldn’t gf cooking be as good OR BETTER than wheat flour cooking? With the variety of alternative flours available, each with their own unique flavours and properties. All of these flours have more flavour and have more nutrition that wheat flour, anyway – why shouldn’t we all make use of them?

Once you give up on the idea of using an all-purpose flour mix, the sky really is the limit! I’m still shocked over the pitas that taste like JUST Jimmy John’s bread – the loss of JJ was one of my biggest sadness issues when I had to go GF. THAT recipe (in the book) really made me feel like a miracle worker!

The thing is, using an all purpose mix for gluten free baking is kind of like using one spice mix for seasoning everything you eat – sweet AND savoury. Can you imagine that? Sure, it’ll work on some things, but definitely won’t be suited for others. Gluten free flours are the same way – some recipes call for more structure, some need more moisture retention. Robust savoury flavours really lift some recipes… and for others it would be overkill. By using different combinations of flours, you really let the flavours and properties of those flours sing!

Personally, I can’t see ever using wheat flour to bake cookies again, even for my non-gf friends. The complex – but fairly subtle, in some cases – flavours, the amazing textures… I’m pretty sure that every cookie recipe in this book has wrecked me for the wheat versions. Today, I’d like to share one of them with you. These cookies are everything you could ever want in a cookie… chewy, fudgey, dense, and full of flavour.

Gluten-Free Chewy Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup cocoa
2 Tbsp tapioca starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups soft caramel pieces *
Coarse sea salt

In stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla, beat until everything is fully incorporated and smooth.

In a large bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Slowly add this dry mix to the mixer bowl, and carefully mix until well incorporated and smooth. Chill dough for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll 1″ balls out of the cookie dough. Arrange dough balls on baking sheets leaving at least 2″ between cookies – they flatten out a fair amount. Gently press the tops of each slightly – flatten JUST enough to prevent the dough from rolling.

Bake for 11-13 minutes. Cookies will look puffy, but flatten out as they cool. Do not overbake! As soon as cookies are finished baking, lightly sprinkle tops with coarse sea salt, press lightly into top of cookies.

* We used baking caramel bits, that came as little balls… but if you don’t have those available, you can cut soft square caramels into quarters and use that.

Less into the salted caramel idea, and want to use the chocolate cookie as a base for something else? No problem, just substitute 2 cups of other “stuff” – chocolate or butterscotch chips, mint chips, dried fruit, nuts… whatever!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

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Chewy Chai Blondies Recipe

Chewy Chai Blondies

1 cup dark brown sugar (well packed!)
1 cup granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tbsp instant tea
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Cardamom
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup melted Butter

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare 9 x 13 pan ( or two 8 x 8” pans) with pan spray or shortening.

In large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add beaten eggs and melted butter, stir until dry ingredients are well incorporated and wet.

Spread batter into prepared pan(s), Bake for 20 – 25 minutes for 8 x 8” pans, or 30-35 mins for 9 x 13” pan. Blondies are done when knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. Enjoy!

Tropical Fruit & Rum Cookies!

Tropical Fruit Rum Cookies Recipe

(Makes 20-24 LARGE cookies)

3 cups mixed dried fruit*
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup amber rum **
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 lb. cashews, chopped

A day or two before baking the cookies, chop dried fruits into pieces, mix in rum, and cover.

Preheat oven to 325F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, or coat well with baking spray. Strain dried fruit mixture, leaving it in your sieve to drain while you prepare the rest of the cookie batter.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and zest, continue beating until eggs are fully incorporated and mixture is once again smooth and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Add to the butter & sugar mixture, beat gently until well combined. Add strained fruit and cashews to the cookie batter, mix well.

Use a tablespoon, cookie scoop, or small ice cream scoop to drop rounded spoonfuls of the batter onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool on sheets for 5 minutes or so, before gently transferring to baking racks to finish cooling.

Once cookies are cool, keep them stored in airtight containers.

* I used a combination of dried papaya, dried pineapple, some banana chips (I’d smashed them up a bit), and golden raisins.

** I prefer amber rum for this, but it would also work really well with spiced rum or dark rum!

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Sugar Cookie Decorating – Dalek Cookies

So it’s been a week since I returned from Convergence… probably about time to make good on that Dalek Cookie Decorating tutorial I was promising, huh?

Ah, Convergence. 6500+ geeks under one roof, amazing costumes, messed up conversations… and more than one reminder that I am getting OLD. I was in bed by 10 pm the first night, and was barely able to walk by Sunday. Yikes!

My husband had an AMAZING time in his Weeping Angel costume, posing for several hundred photos (Conservative guesstimate, it was likely over 1000!), sneaking up on people, photo bombing some … he was kind of a rock star 🙂 Click here for photos!

For my part, I taught cookie decorating for my “Cooking with an Overlord” activity.

If you were at Convergence and had NO idea what “Cooking with an Overlord” would entail, you weren’t alone – *I* had no idea what it was going to be until about 2 weeks before the event, which was LONG after the program guide description was due, LOL! (That was right around the time I was up to my eyeballs in MasterChef stuff.)

At the last minute, I decided that I wanted to teach people how to do cookie decorating, using Doctor Who themed cookies. A quick Google search brought me to Warp Zone Prints on Etsy, a company that was using 3D printers to make cookie cutters – Brilliant! I immediately ordered the three cutters pictured above, and planned the logistics for such a large class.

Note: I did a trial run of all three cutters, only the Dalek one was really suitable for this type of cookie decorating. The TARDIS and Weeping Angel ones were so cute, I’d recommend dyeing your cookie dough and only doing outline decorating on them, however.)

At my cookie class, I got to see Idris serve Carmen Sandiego with a warrant, so… there is that. 🙂 My friend Michelle is sporting the Idris costume I made her – check out my costuming site, I’m back in the custom fashion design business! – and Carmen Sandiego is my friend Samantha, a local writer who reports on Eurovision at her blog, ESC Insider.

We also had the pleasure of meeting the famous Pink Dalek herself, Alanna… who was excited to EX-TER-MIN-ATE some cookies!

Me decorating some cookies to demonstrate to the class… let’s get to it!

Rolled Sugar Cookie Recipe for Decorating
Makes about 55 Daleks

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
5+ cups all purpose flour

In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add in eggs and egg whites, a little at a time, beating well between each addition. Add vanilla extract, and mix until well incorporated and smooth.

Mix remaining 3 ingredients together, carefully mix into wet ingredients until fully incorporated. Wrap dough in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, line cookie sheets with parchment paper

On a floured counter, roll cookie dough out to about 1/4″ thick (can be slightly thicker). Use cookie cutters to cut out whatever shapes you’d like, place cookies 2″ apart on greased cookie sheets.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until bottoms look lightly golden. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheets for at least 5 minutes before moving. Cookies need to cool completely before decorating.

Royal Icing Recipe

4 egg whites
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4-6 cups powdered/confectioner’s sugar

In clean stand mixer, whip egg whites until foamy. Add lemon juice, whip for another minute. Slowly add powdered sugar until cookie icing reaches desired consistency. You will want a fairly thick frosting – but still smooth and workable – for piping details and borders.

A good way to figure out if your frosting is the right consistency is to pull a spoon through the middle of the frosting bowl.

– If the frosting settles out in less than 5 seconds, it’s too runny. Add a little more powdered sugar.

– If the frosting settles out in 5-10 seconds, you’re good to go!

– If the frosting takes longer than 10 seconds to settle, it’s too thick. Add a little water or lemon juice and try again.

LET’S DEC-OR-ATE!

First, take about 1/4 of your frosting and dye it black. Personally, I like the Americolor line of food coloring gels.

Cover the remaining frosting tightly with plastic wrap – have the wrap sitting right on the surface with NO air pockets, vent holes, etc. The frosting dries out FAST.

I recommend using a frosting bag with a coupler and tip (#2 or #3 round tip), so please take these photos as a “do as I say, not as I do”. It was after Convergence, I was tired and burnt out, didn’t feel like messing around with tips and couplers. Also, I used pre-Convergence frosting – which was too thick for outlining – so my cookies are kinda ugly. LOL!

If you don’t want to use a tip, cut the very end of the frosting bag off to leave a fairly small opening – 1/8″ diameter or so.

Holding the tip / end of your frosting bag about 1 cm away from the cookie, carefully pipe out your outlines and design details. These lines will eventually contain the flowing frosting, so make sure you don’t have any breaks in the piping, or the icing will flow out to areas you don’t want it!

Once all the outlines are piped, allow the cookie to dry for about 10-20 minutes.

Next, you’ll want to tint your first color of frosting – about 1/3 of the original batch. I used a few drops each of gold and warm brown to get a sort of bronzey colour for the main body of the Daleks. Daleks come in many colours now, though, so use whatever colour you prefer!

Once you’ve gotten the right colour mixed up, you’ll need to thin the frosting so it will “flood” the decorating area. Add a few drops of water and stir well. Use the end of your spoon to drizzle a bit of frosting back into the bowl. If it smooths out and disappears in a count of 3, you’re good to go! If not, add a couple more drops of water until it’s the right consistency.

Carefully pipe a bit of the liquid frosting into the areas you want – you’ll probably not even need to squeeze the bag, just carefully guide it, nudging it into corners, etc. This can be messy to start, just practice!

Generally speaking, flood piping is done from the outside perimeter of an area inwards, but on these cookies there’s so little room to work with, just do whatever feels right!

Sit back and admire your work. (Yes, these examples are sloppy. Sorry!)

Following the past few steps, dye about 2/3 of the remaining frosting gold (or whatever colour you’re looking at for these sections, thin it for flooding, and have at it!

Dye about 1/2 the remaining frosting bright turquoise blue, and flood the appropriate circle. (I have no idea if “the one on the forehead” applies, given that the forehead of the actual creature would be more like 2/3 of the way up, inside what is seen. Maybe I’m over thinking this…)

Dye remaining frosting pale grey and thin it. Pipe to fill in the … whisk?… area!

Allow the cookies to dry overnight before packaging or serving.

Enjoy!

(Or, if like me, you are less than impressed with your own work after a loooong weekend at Convention… you can go over all of your original outlines with some more black frosting to make them stand out a bit more and “clean up” the overall appearance! Bonus points for claiming that you emant to di it that way, for extra definition!)

Btw, the following picture sums up my Convergence weekend nicely, I think:

MasterChef Guest Post – Carrie Peterson’s Whoopie Pies

Today’s guest blog entry is from one of the closest friends I made from the whole MasterChef ordeal ADVENTURE – Carrie Landry Peterson.

In LA, she and Carrie Stevens shared the room next to mine. During our downtime, Carrie and I would hang out – Boozy disposable coffee cups in hand – and swap conspiracy theories and observations about the general nonsense that surrounded us.

Since getting home… well, things are more or less the same. Swap out a hot, humid hotel hallway for our respective homes, add a couple phones, and change out the paper cups for real glasses. You know, except when we’re feeling nostalgic!

Love this girl!

Hello Everyone! My name is Carrie Peterson and I’m an Airline Pilot who loves to cook!

By now, you all know that Marie appeared on the FOX show MasterChef! This is how she had, I mean..I had the pleasure of meeting her! Marie has asked me to share with you, my “wicked good” Whoopie Pie recipe.

Whoopie Pies you ask?!? Yup, this would be the dessert that I have made since the ripe age of 8! I can make these scrumptious desserts in my sleep. So what better dish for me to make on my MasterChef TV audition, right?!?! Right…

So here is a little history on my beloved dessert…The Whoopie Pie was created in 1925 by Labadie’s Bakery in Lewiston, Maine. It’s the official state treat, does your state have an official treat? No? Well, what are you waiting for? Get on it!!

I’m not sure what Marie has shared with all of you fabulous people about her experience on MasterChef. Lets just say…it was interesting! We have all made 99 new friends for life! We have also learned that boxed wine served in to go coffee cups is like a glass of heaven after a long day of filming! I wish we could share more with you… Like who won, but you will have to watch yourselves!! Sorry!

Ok, enough of my rambling on….may I present to you, my “wicked good” Whoopie Pie recipe.

WHOOPIE PIES

Cakes:

3 c sugar
1 c butter (room temp)
4 eggs
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla
6 c flour
2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 c milk

Filling:

1 1/2 c shortening
3 c confectioners’ sugar
1 1/3 c marshmallow topping
Dash of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 to 1/2 c milk

Preheat oven to 350′ or convection oven to 315′.

In a large bowl using a mixer, beat sugar, butter, and eggs. Add the oil and vanilla and beat again.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, stir or beat to blend. Add 1 1/2 c milk and beat again. Add the remaining dry mixture, blend until incorporated. Add the remaining 1 1/2 c milk and blend.

Depending on what size cake you would like (I make several sizes, depending on what it is for) you can use a large spoon or a measuring cup. Scoop your desired size cake batter on a cookie sheet (I line mine with parchment paper). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.

In a bowl using an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients except the milk and beat well. Add just enough milk to achieve a creamy frosting. Spread the filling on one cake half and top it with another cake half.

This recipe makes either 16 LARGE Whoopie Pies or 50 or so small Whoopie Pies.

Let me know what you all think!

Carrie xx