Next-Level Scalloped Potatoes

Today’s recipe has a bit of a weird inspiration/backstory – it all started with a Boxing Day trip to Walmart to snag cheapo gift sets for an upcoming party and gift swap.

It was early enough that the store was blissfully empty and quiet, but we were in a rush to get home and get to work. We decided to pick up a couple food items needed for the coming days. En route to pick up the cheapest, smelliest tuna they had (the cats prefer it that way!), I noticed something from the corner of my eye: Jalapeno cheddar instant scalloped potatoes. It kinda stopped me dead in my tracks- why hadn’t I ever thought to put jalapeno in scalloped potatoes. It was an epiphany!

We ALMOST bought it, but (at least!) one too many childhood experiences with dehydrated “Hamburger Helper” type potato products got in the way. Besides, we had potatoes and almost a litre of heavy whipping cream at home left over from other recipes, I’d just make my own from scratch.

After adding everything I wanted to it – beer, because I LOVE beer as an ingredient when it comes to cheese (even if I won’t drink beer as a beverage!), onions, garlic… it was amazing. The sauce almost didn’t make it to the potatoes, from uh.. “quality control”. 🙂

The smell coming out of the oven was maddening. Why is it that the recipes that put out the most tantalizing smells seem to start doing so the earliest in their cook times, and have the LONGEST cook times? I was very frustrated, and was pretty ravenous by the time it finished cooking – maybe not the best thing to make first thing in the morning, for breakfast!

Actually, I lie. It WAS the best thing to make for breakfast. SO GOOD. I love potatoes almost any way you could come up with making them (Yes, I live up to most stereotypes for my Irish heritage!), but this was WAY beyond any scalloped potatoes I’d ever had/made before. Hey, let me ask my husband for a 6 am, getting ready for work, several days after the fact food review!

“Well, they’re obviously much better than anything I’ve had from a box, all fancy and shit. I liked the little bit of zip from the 2 large jalapenos – it was great heat level for breakfast or lunch. For dinner, I like this a little more spicy so would add more jalapenos.”

So there you have it. “All fancy and shit”. 🙂

Enjoy!

Jalapeno Scalloped Potatoes
Makes ~ 8 servings

2-3 large jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup white rice flour*
1 cup gluten-free beer*
3 cups heavy cream **
1 cup grated Monteray Jack cheese
Salt and pepper
4 lbs red potatoes, washed
Pan spray
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F

In a medium or large saucepan, combine jalapenos, onion, garlic, and butter. Sautee for a few minutes, until onion and peppers soften up a little. Add rice flour, whisk until well distributed and free of clumps.

Add beer, whisking well until smooth. Add heavy cream, continuing to whisk, until smooth. Bring to a boil. As mixture starts to boil, add shredded jack cheese, continue stirring until melted and smooth. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Peel potatoes if you like – we don’t bother, we like the skins! – and slice VERY thinly. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish, and layer about a third of the potatoes in there. Pour a third of the sauce over it, tilting the pan to let it seep through the layers.

Layer another third of the potatoes, pouring another third of the sauce over it. Repeat one more time, using up the remaining potatoes and sauce. Cover with foil.

Bake for 1 hour. Remove foil, return to oven for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven, scatter cheddar cheese evenly over the top, and return to the pven for another 10 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Serve hot!

* You can use regular flour and/or beer if you don’t need this to be gluten-free

** You can use Half and half or milk, if you prefer.

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.

No-Tomato Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe (Gluten-Free)

I love quinoa. The taste is decent, and it’s a fun texture to eat. When I first started eating it like a decade ago, it was mostly in soups, as a healthier (and more fun!) alternative to noodles or rice. Sometimes I’d serve it on its own, almost like a rice… but it was only a few years ago that I started using it in what’s now my favourite application for quinoa: tabbouleh!

Even before discovering that I need to be gluten-free, I found that I actually preferred the taste and texture of quinoa to the traditional bulghur wheat used in tabbouleh.

Beyond being inherently gluten-free, this recipe was created with another need in mind – my husband’s utter hatred of tomatoes. I wanted a tabbouleh I could share with him, rather than hoard for myself. So: red peppers.

Usually, I’d consider this more of a summer thing, but I’ve been craving it lately, so did up a batch yesterday. Sitting here on Christmas eve munching on some… it has green, red, and mint involvement. I’m officially declaring it holiday canon.

So say we all?

No-Tomato Quinoa Tabbouleh

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch mint, chopped
Zest and juice of 1-2 lemons (1/3-1/2 cup fresh juice)
1/3 cup olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

In a pot, bring quinoa and 2 cups hot water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Stir well, remove from heat, and transfer to a mixing bowl to cool a bit.

After 10-15 minutes, toss to fluff. Add peppers, cucumbers, green onions, parsley, mint, and lemon zest. Stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingedients, whisking to combine well. Pour over salad, toss to combine. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours before serving.

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 Maple Pumpkin Pie with Maple Cream

It’s been almost exactly 1 year since I set up a Kickstarter campaign for the gluten free cookbook I’d been considering developing. It was wildly successful – almost double-funding! – and I worked really hard to product the BEST recipes for gluten-free cooking and baking.

Well, today is the day! The official release date for Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking & Baking!

To celebrate the occasion, I am sharing a ridiculously awesome recipe with you: gluten free maple pumpkin pie. The crust is a bastardization of one in the book – I decided that I wanted to do a slightly sweeter, spiced-up version for this particular pie recipe.

If you follow the Beyond Flour page on facebook, you may have seen the “teaser” pic of this recipe on a post I made this weekend, here! Just look at those glorious air bubbles!

This tastes as good as it looks, with or without the maple cream topping (which I adore!). Everything you could want in a pumpkin pie – creamy, rich, with the right amount of spice, and a flaky crust. Perfection!

Gluten-Free Maple Pumpkin Pie with Maple Cream

Dough – makes enough for 2 crusts

3/4 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch each: ground nutmeg & ground cloves
1 (8oz) brick cream cheese
1/2 cup cold butter
1 egg
1/3 cup+ cold water

Measure flours, corn starch, brown sugar, xanthan gum, and spices into the bowl of your food processor, blitz to combine. Add cream cheese, butter, and egg, blitz a few times until mixture resembles gravel. Stream in cold water as you run the food processor, just long enough to start to bring it together as a dough – you may need to use a little more or less water. Do NOT over-process it!

Remove dough from processor, knead lightly to bring it together as a ball. Wrap in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Divide dough in half*, Roll your crust (s) out to about 1/4″ thick. Line a pie pan with one crust, trim the edges of the crust to only slightly longer than the edge of the pie plate. Use your fingers to crimp/ruffle the edge of the pie.

Use a fork to prick some holes on the bottom of the crust. Chill in freezer until ready to bake.

* If you are only using half of the dough, tightly wrap the second half of the dough and freeze it until the day before you want to use it. Allow it to thaw on your counter, then proceed as described above.

Filling – makes enough for 1 deep dish pie, two smaller pies, or a normal sized pie and a few tarts (use scrap dough!)

1 brick (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 pie crust recipe, above.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a stand mixer (or in a bowl with an electric mixer), cream together cream cheese and brown sugar. Once smooth, add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.

Take crust out of the freezer. Gently cover edge of crust with aluminum foil, bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, discard foil, fill with pumpkin mixture. Transfer to oven, bake for 45-50 minutes or so, until center is set. Remove from heat and allow to cool fully before serving. Right before serving, prepare Maple Cream:

Maple Cream

Whipped Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream (keep it very cold!)
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Pinch of salt

Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or an electric hand mixer, whip cream until soft peaks form. Add maple syrup and salt, continue whipping until it reaches desired consistency. Serve immediately.

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.

Maple Bourbon Glazed Carrots Recipe

This weekend, we celebrated Thanksgiving. I may live in the USA, but I’m Canadian, and Thanksgiving happens in early October!

We’d decided early on that we’d be having a ham for this Thanksgiving, and turkey for my husband’s (American) Thanksgiving. Mashed potatoes were a given… but I had NO idea what kind of a vegetable I wanted to serve. I decided that I’d cruise the Minneapolis Farmers Market a couple days before, and see what inspired me.

As it turns out, inspiration hit in the form of a @mplsfarmmarket tweet – a picture of gorgeous purple and white carrots! I decided to do a up a glazed carrot recipe, featuring a variety of carrots. I decided that it would be a maple glaze, because, you know, Canadian. At the very last minute, I decided it would be a maple-bourbon glaze – and by last minute, I mean that my husband ran to the store to pick up some bourbon JUST after I got the carrots cut, and the potatoes were boiling away!

These were amazing – be sure to make more than you think you’ll need, as they disappear QUICKLY.

Maple Bourbon Glazed Carrots

3 lbs mixed carrots
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup bourbon*
1/4 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper

Wash and/or peel your carrots. For ours, I peeled the white and orange carrots, and scrubbed the purple ones – peeling will remove that pretty purple colour from the outside!

Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the carrots into round (straight across) or oblong (on a bit of a diagonal) disks, 1/8-1/4″ thick. (Aim for uniformity – they’ll cook more evenly!). Add to a heavy, medium pan, along with remaining ingredients.

Bring to a boil, turn heat down to medium, and simmer – stirring occasionally – until glaze cooks down and carrots reach desired tenderness – between 10-20 minutes, depending on thickness and personal taste.

Serve hot!

* Bourbon is a spirit that is tends to be distilled from – in part – fermented wheat. While it doesn’t cause a reaction in MOST people with gluten sensitivities – and the leading Celiac associations have deemed it gluten-free – a few experts disagree. If you have noticed a reaction, or just want to play it extra safe, it could be a good idea forgo the bourbon in favour of juice, rum or brandy.

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.

Poached Pears

Looking for an easy, elegant dessert to serve on New Year’s Eve? Look no further!

Poaching is a great way to use fruit when it’s either off-season and less than perfect, or just a bit under ripe. The fruit is cooked in a flavorful liquid – usually wine – that is sweetened with sugar and/or honey, and flavored with any number of ingredients. This cooking process sweetens and softens the fruit, so you’re actually quite a bit better off starting with firm and under-ripe!

This is a great base recipe, but feel free to experiment with it. You’ll find flavor combinations to try at the end of the recipe- or just run wild with your own imagination! Poached fruit is great when served as slices on top of cheesecakes (or other desserts), on ice cream… served in halves or as whole fruit. A whole poached pear, perched in a martini glass and drizzled with a little chocolate is a statement kind of dessert!

This recipe is from my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker.

Poached Pears

4 Large, firm pears
3 cups fruity red wine (We used Winehaven’s “Sangria” for this)
Sugar 3/4 – 1 cup 175-250 ml
Flavoring items of choice *

Peel the pears, leaving the stems on – it’s prettier that way.

In a medium saucepan, combine your wine with sugar, bring to a boil. Cook, stirring until all sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat down to low, add flavoring items of choice. At this point, it’s a good idea to taste the syrup to make sure that the liquid is sweet enough for your taste.

Add the pears to the pot. If they float, laying a small, heat proof dish on top to weigh them down works well. Cover the pot and allow the fruit to cook through to desired softness – this may happen in 10 minutes, it may take 40-60 minutes. Just poke it every once in awhile to see how it’s doing.

Once pears cooked through, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool, move to fridge to chill for at least an hour.

When ready to serve, remove pears from poaching liquid. To make a sauce to serve with the pears, return the poaching liquid to the stove top, simmer until reduced in volume and thickened.

* Flavoring items of choice: Vanilla beans (cut in half, lengthwise), whole cloves, zest/juice of citrus fruits, tea bags, cinnamon sticks, mint leaves, rosemary… whatever you feel like using! I recommend not using too many different flavors – I like to let the flavor of the fruit shine through. For this recipe, we used one vanilla bean, and the peels of two clementine oranges.

* Liquid variations: Wine – red, white, rose, champagne, mead – any type that you like drinking. Favorite spirits, such as rum, whisky, and brandy can also be used. Fruit juice or water can be added for extra flavor, or to cut too-strong flavors.

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 Brandied Apple Crisp

Apple crisp was the dish that I was first known for, back when I was a kid. I substituted my favorite granola cereal for the rolled oats that most recipes called for… and a favorite was born!

As an adult, I’m a big fan of the combination of apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, and apple brandy – as you may have noticed by now. (Mmmm Brandied Apple Upside Down Cake!) The Apple Brandy gives a little extra something to this dish, an added warmth and complexity. It tastes like the holidays!. This apple crisp is the perfect way to end a crisp, cool day of apple picking with your special someone.

Apple Crisp was definitely one of the things that immediately came to mind, when I found out about my gluten allergy – so of course, I had to make a GF version. This won’t be for everyone – I realize that some people have issues with oats – but it’ll hit the spot for those who CAN have oats.

Also, bonus: Because the topping is oats based anyway, NON-gf people not only don’t take it as “GF”, but find it tastes better than with regular flour!

Gluten Free Brandied Apple Crisp

1 cup Sugar
1 cup GF Oat Flour
3 cups GF Granola*
1 cup Butter, melted
7-8 Large, tart apples
1/3 cup Apple brandy
1/2 cup Brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 cup Walnuts or almonds, optional

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9″ square baking dish, set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, flour, and granola. Add melted butter, stir until well incorporated. Everything should be wet, but crumbly.

Peel (if you want – I don’t usually), core, and chop the apples. Toss apple chunks with the apple

brandy. Separately, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts – if using. Add to the bowl of apples, toss until apples are evenly coated.

Spread apple mixture evenly over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with an even layer of the granola mixture, patting down lightly. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned, and apples are tender. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

* If you prefer, rolled oats can be substituted for the same amount of granola.

Flavor Ideas:

– While I love this with apple brandy.. try rum, whisky, or whatever else you like. Non-cream liqueurs work best.

– For a non alcoholic version, swap apple juice or apple cider

– Add sweetened dried cranberries instead of – or in addition to – the nuts.

– For a “Candy Apple” crisp, use sour apple schnapps for the flavoring, add a layer of ½ – 1 cup chopped Kraft caramels on top of the apple layer, before coating with the streusel topping.

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.

Boozy Chocolate Haystack Cookies

Growing up, haystack cookies (or, as we referred to them… “worm cookies”!) were a common offering at special occasions. Around the holidays, these were served right alongside other staple favorites, such as Confetti Bars and my beloved Noelles.

Like Noelles, it’s another childhood favorite that I saw fit to mess with: While the original was great, the addition of cream liqueur takes it to a whole new level. Not so much in a *literally* intoxicating way, mind you – but the cream liqueur brings with it a complexity of flavor that the childhood favorite was lacking.

These are particularly fabulous with the “Baja” line of cream tequila liqueurs. I love it with Baja Rosa (Strawberry) and Baja Luna (Black Raspberry), but try it with any cream liqueur – Irish cream, Castries peanut creme, Godiva…yum!

These are easy, fast, no-bake.. and OH so addictive!

Don’t want the kids to miss out? Simply swap milk for the cream liqueur, and add 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

Boozy Chocolate Haystack Cookies

3 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup Coconut
2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Cream liqueur of choice
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Cocoa

In a large bowl, combine oats and coconut, set aside. Prepare 2 cookie sheets – or a counter top – with parchment or waxed paper.

Combine sugar, liqueur, butter, and cocoa together in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil, stirring constantly. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat.

Pour hot mixture over coconut and oats, stir to coat everything evenly. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared pans or counter top, allow to cool fully – cookies will harden and “set up” as they cool. Store in an airtight container – these will keep a long time, assuming they go uneaten that long!

Makes at least 24 cookies

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.

How to make Cream Puffs, Boozy Pastry Cream, and Croquembouche

Cream puffs / profiteroles are a great “fancy” dessert option. Not only are they insanely easy to make, they take very little in the way of ingredients, and can be customized many ways.

Cream puffs start out with the batter – Pâte Ă  choux, or “choux pastry”. It’s a basic recipe that’s used to make everything from cream puffs and eclairs to cruellers and churros. It doesn’t contain any leavening ingredients (yeast, baking powder, baking soda, etc), instead relying on its high moisture content to puff during baking. Baked at a high temperature, the water becomes steam and creates large air pockets in the final product. Fill them however you want – with pastry cream, pudding, mousse – and there you go. Fancy dessert!

If you want to up the badass factor though, consider assembling cream puffs into a croquembouche.

A croquembouche is a spectacular dessert. It’s traditionally served at weddings in various European cities, but is also becoming a popular alternative to wedding cakes here in North America. It’s also great for holiday dinners, or fancier potlucks.

A bit of a disclaimer here: This is an easy recipe to make, however, it’s also sort of dangerous. I won’t kid you, there is nothing worse than a hot sugar burn. If you drop the sugar onto skin, it will burn, it will stick, and it will HURT! Please exercise caution when dealing with the caramel in this recipe.

If you do make this for a group, and you do manage to burn yourself in the process.. I promise the reception it will receive – and the amount of brownie points you’ll gain – will be worth it. Be careful anyways, though.

The recipes below – the cream puff dough, filling, and caramel to assemble the croquembouche – are all from my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker. Used together, you can make a croquembouche from scratch, start to finish.

HOWEVER, I realize this may be more ambitious than everyone has time or energy for. So… a couple suggestions if you need to “cheat” it:

Croquembouche

1. Use instant pudding, Cool Whip, or another pre-made filling to fill the homemade cream puffs… or

2. Buy pre made cream puffs, proceed directly to the croquembouche recipe at the bottom.

Personally, I think it’s fun to do the start-to-finish thing… and gives you huge bragging rights. Also, it’s not difficult at all, or even all THAT time consuming. The pastry cream can be made ahead, and the puffs themselves work up really quickly.

Pâte à choux (cream puff dough)

1 cup Water
1/2 cup Butter
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Flour
3 Large eggs
2 Egg whites

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking sheet. It’s very important to not grease the pan – it will cause the pastries to flatten!

Combine water, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium sauce pan, heat to a boil. Remove from heat, add flour, stirring until well incorporated.

Reduce heat to medium, return saucepan to stove top. Cook for another minute or so, until the dough comes together, leaving the sides of the pan. Transfer dough to the bowl of your mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the dough for a minute or so to allow it to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, beat together eggs and egg whites in a small bowl. With the mixer set to medium, add egg mixture to dough a little at a time, allowing eggs to fully incorporate into the dough before adding more. It may look like a separating mess, but I promise it will come together!

When all of the eggs are incorporated and the dough is smooth and shiny, it’s ready to pipe! It’ll be soft and a bit sticky, but more or less be able to hold it’s shape.

Using spoons or a pastry bags, make tablespoon-sized mounds of batter, leaving 2″ of space between each. Use a moistened finger to pat down any peaks of dough that may form as you finish piping each.

Bake for 12 minutes, then -WITHOUT opening the oven door – turn the temperature down to 350°F (180°C) and bake for another 25 minutes. Crack the oven door open a few inches, turn the heat off, and allow the puffs to cool in the oven for 30 minutes. This step allows the insides to dry out, providing a stronger structure to prevent collapse.

Fill a pastry bag with your choice of pastry cream, pudding, or mousse. Once puffs are completely cool, jam the tip of the pastry bag into the side of a puff, and fill!

If you’re not planning to make a croquembouche, dust with powdered sugar, drizzle with chocolate, and/or serve with fresh fruit or berries.

Boozy Pastry Cream

To make this recipe alcohol free, substitute 1/2 cup half and half for the 1/2 cup of liqueur, add 1-2 tsp of Vanilla (or other flavor) extract.

3 Large egg yolks
1/4 cup Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Flour
1/2 cup Cream liqueur of choice.
1/2 cup Milk
2 Tbsp Butter

Whisk yolks together with sugar until fluffy and pale yellow. Add flour, whisk until incorporated and smooth. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring liqueur and milk to a light boil.

Measure about 1/4 cup (50 ml)of the hot milk liquid, and stream slowly into egg mixture while whisking. Continue streaming liquid and whisking until it is completely incorporated, and mixture is smooth. Repeat with another 1/4 cup (50 ml) of hot liquid.

Remove saucepan from heat, pour egg mixture into milk mixture, whisking constantly. Once fully incorporated and smooth, return to heat. Turn heat down to low. Continue whisking mixture constantly, cooking until mixture is very thick. Remove from heat, whisk in butter until fully incorporated and smooth.

Cover with plastic wrap, chill until needed.

Croquembouche

2-3 batches of profiteroles, chilled
2 1/2 cups Sugar
2/3 cup Water

In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water, bringing to a boil over high heat. As soon as sugar begins to change color – about 300°F (150°C) – remove pan from heat. Set pan in a larger pan of warm water, on heat proof surface. This will slow the cooking, but keep the caramel warm enough to work with.

Work quickly to assemble your croquembouche. I like to freestyle it, not bothering with a form, but your mileage may vary. Feel free to use a styrofoam cone – like a craft store Christmas tree form – covered in parchment paper if you’d like.

Carefully dip a profiterole into the hot caramel, place on serving plate. Repeat with 15-20 more puffs to form a large circle. Make a second row on top of it, using less puffs and attaching them slightly to the inside of the first row. Continue making gradually smaller rings, until closing off the top with a single profiterole.

Depending on how generous you are with the dipping, you may want to make a second batch of caramel at some point.

When your tower is assembled, drizzle caramel or melted chocolate all over it, dust with powdered sugar, and/or garnish with decorative items such as candied flowers, nuts, etc.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try making a web of sugar strands around it. Cut the very end off a wire whisk, or use 2-3 forks held together. Dip the tines of the forks / whisk into the remaining hot caramel, and use a swift motion to spin trails of caramel around the croquembouche. You can spin as much or as little sugar as you’d like, to achieve your desired effect.

Serve within 2 hours of making. It’s best to serve as soon as possible, as the caramel threads (if used) are very sensitive to moisture in the air – and in the dessert itself – and will melt.

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.

Cheesy Mushroom Turnovers Recipe

This recipe is a holiday favorite around our house. It’s quick and easy enough for any day (especially if you skip the brie!), but the savory taste of the mushrooms and thyme… ahh. It’s just very warm and festive tasting.

Be forewarned – doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling this recipe is a very wise idea – HIGHLY addictive! If you’re baking them for a party, be prepared that you – and anyone around – will not be able to resist these, straight from the oven. Also, “I’ll just try one..” doesn’t work.

mushroom turnovers recipe

In addition to being an excellent hot party food, these taste awesome as a cold breakfast or snack the next day.

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