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Archive for the ‘Cakes, Cookies and Desserts’ Category

We usually turn to rice when confronted with wheat allergy, or the need to stay away from gluten.  Rice flour is the base of most cake, cookie, bread and all purpose gluten free flour mixes.  But rice does not provide great nutrition and cakes can be quite crumbly, especially when made egg free.  I have combined some amazingly nutritious gluten free flours—Amaranth, Sorghum, Quinoa, and Oats with a starch for binding, to produce fantastic cakes, cookies, pie crusts, Indian rotis and just about anything that wheat flour can make.  These flours are available in most specialty food stores and are becoming increasingly available in mainstream stores in the US. You can also find Amaranth, the Indian ‘Rajgira’, and Sorghum (‘Jowar” in India) in all Indian stores.

Grandma’s Gluten Free Flour Mix

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup amaranth flour
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup oat flour (just grind one minute quick cooking oatmeal in a dry grinder)
  • 1/2 cup corn-starch (also called corn flour in some parts of the world)
  • 1and 2/3 teaspoon xanthan gum/ guar gum.
  • 1 level teaspoon salt.
  • Note:  If oats do not suit,, use 1 cup of cornstarch / tapioca starch 

Method:

  • In a large bowl, mix all flours well, taking care that bowl and mixing spoons are dry.
  • Add salt and xanthan gum and mix well.
  • Make double the quantity, or more, and store in dry, airtight jars.
  • To retain freshness, store in fridge.

Baking time for gluten free flour is a little more than the time required for baking with wheat flour

In the absence of Egg Replacer, use—3 Tablespoons water, 3 Tablespoons oil and 2 level teaspoons baking powder, mixed together.  this mixture is equivalent to 2 eggs.

Note

I stay away from soy, as it is an established allergenic food.  However, if soy is not an allergy issue, use 1/2 cup soy flour in place of quinoa flour, which may not be available in all places.  Quinoa is protein rich and soy is a good substitute But, if soy is a problem food, and there is no quinoa, make the flour mix without quinoa/soy.  Add 1 1/3  teaspoon xanthan/guar gum.  If the gums are not easy to obtain, you could omit them.   They add that extra bit of stickiness, and give a slightly better ‘stretch’ quality to the dough.  Increase the quantity of oat flour by 1/2 cup and and also add 1/2 cup more of corn starch (cornflour).  This will enhance the binding quality of dough, prevent crumbling of baked goods., and will help in rolling out chapatis etc. more efficiently

Fact Files on the Ingredients

Amaranth

This is an excellent source of protein, and is high in certain amino acids which are usually found only in animal foods.It is loaded with iron (a 100 g serving gives 50% of daily requirement based on a 2000 cal. diet). It is also a good source of calcium, vitamins, minerals and fiber.. Actually, amaranth is not a grain, but is the seed of a plant that is grown for its nutritious leaves as well. Toasted amaranth seeds can be eaten as breakfast cereal. The name ‘amaranth’ itself comes from the Latin root word, ‘amar’, as also the similar Sanskrit word, which means ‘immortal’.

Sorghum

This is among the oldest known grains and is also rich in protein, iron, calcium and potassium. Since it metabolizes slowly, it is possibly beneficial to diabetics as well. It is a good addition in any baking mix, as it does not have an intrusive flavor or color. It has been a staple food in Africa and India for centuries.

Quinoa

This is often described by nutritionists as the ‘super grain’. The National Academy of Science describes quinoa as ‘the most nearly perfect source of protein from the vegetable kingdom’. Ancient Incas called it the ‘mother grain.’ It has nine essential amino acids, has more calcium than milk, is high in iron, minerals, micronutrients, Vitamin E and some of the B group vitamins.

Oats

Oats are actually gluten free, but there is some chance of cross contamination as they are sometimes grown in proximity to, or in rotation with wheat. Cross contamination can occur during the milling and transportation process as well. If gluten free oats are available, go ahead as they have a good binding quality, are high in fiber , and contain some amount of iron and protein.

Others

Xanthan gum and other gums such as guar gum and locust bean gum are gluten free and help to give gluten free flour a spongy, elastic texture that gluten containing flours usually provide.

Corn-starch is not only a thickener to be used in soups and sauces, but also has a great binding quality. other starches such as tapioca starch, potato starch or arrowroot flour may also be used in place of corn starch.

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Nobody ever tires of chocolate cake.  This one comes out especially light and fluffy….great for special occasions.

Just slather with a quick chocolate frosting or divide the batter into two pans, and put a generous layer of cream cheese frosting between two layers to make it extra special. Or do both!

You could even make it dairy free.

Every guest will just love this one, even those with zero allergies.

rich chocolate cake

Ingredients

2 cups Grandma’s Gluten free Flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter / margarine

1/2 cup oil   (Use 2 Tablespoons less oil if you are using the substitute mixture for Egg Replacer)

1/2 cup buttermilk (for dairy free use 1/2 cup soy milk with 1 teaspoon lemon/lime juice)

Egg Replacer equivalent to two eggs. (If egg replacer is not available, whisk together 3 Tablespoons water, 3 Tablespoons oil plus 2 level teaspoons baking powder)

4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1-2 teaspoons vanilla

Method

Pre heat oven to 350F or 180C

Bring to a boil– water, cocoa, oil and butter/margarine.

Remove from heat

Add vanilla, buttermilk and pre mixed egg replacer / substitute mixture

Sift together flour, sugar and baking soda.

Gradually fold into the liquid mixture.

Use hand mixer to make a smooth batter, if necessary.

Spoon into 2 eight inch pans.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

Frosting

3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

3 Tablespoons milk

3 Tablespoons oil/butter

1/2 cup chocolate or vanilla chips

Bring to a rolling boil and continue to boil for one minute.

Remove from heat, add chocolate/vanilla chips and beat well

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla if required.

Using a broad spatula dab half the frosting onto one cake while still warm. Place the second cake on top.

Use remaining frosting to cover the top cake.

Simply delicious!

Cream Cheese Frosting ….a great option

Using a whisk or hand mixer, beat together—

1 cup cream cheese

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Absolutely yummy.

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Apples, pumpkins and ghostly nights….Halloween is here. Serve this fantastically tasty and easy apple dessert after trick and treating is done, to top off a special meal. This one is truly quick, simple and nourishing. Actually it’s a great dessert for any occasion…. Divali included!

Ingredients

6 medium size cooking apples. (good to have a sour variety)

4 Tablespoons dates, pitted and chopped

3 Tablespoons seedless raisins

Juice of 1 orange

Juice of 1 lemons/limes. Use 2 limes if small in size.

6 level Tablespoons brown sugar

Cream for serving.

Method

Pre heat oven to 350 F or 175 C

Wash apples, peel and core each one. If you are not using a corer, gently core with a knife to form and hollow and remove center.

Place in an ovenproof dish.

Sprinkle with lemon/lime juice.

Mix orange juice with the chopped dates and raisins.

Spoon the mixture into each apple hollow. Stuff it in as tightly as possible to get as much of it inside as possible. Add a few more dates and raisins if required.

Sprinkle liberally with brown sugar. Use a little more if required.

Bake for 40 minutes or until soft.

Serve hot with cream or ice cream.

Simply delicious!!!

 

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This is a great variation of the wheat and egg free basic chocolate cake.  Orange gives a zesty, tangy, delightful flavor….very enjoyable at tea time, after school or even as a dessert or snack addition to school lunch.

 

Tea time orange cake

 

Ingredients

2 cups Grandma’s Gluten Free Flour Mix

3/4 can condensed milk (a little over 10 ounces)

1 stick (4 ounces) butter

2-3 Tablespoons grated orange zest (gently grate orange zest without including the white portion beneath)

3/4 cup fizzy orange drink (Fanta, for example)

2 level teaspoons baking powder

1 level teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

A few drops of yellow food color.

 

Method

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F (approx 180 C)

In a medium bowl, sift all dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder and baking soda)

In a large bowl pour condensed milk.

Add melted butter and whisk together.

Add orange zest and vanilla extract, and mix well.

Pour in the fizzy orange drink slowly, mixing with a spoon as you pour.

Fold in dry ingredients, a few tablespoons at a time, ensuring that there are no lumps. If batter feels too thick,add a couple of tablespoons more or orange drink.

Mix well using a hand mixer for a couple of minutes.

Transfer into a 9” bundt pan or use two medium loaf pans, (8”x4”)

Bake for 45 minutes or until cake is a rich golden color, and knife comes out clean.

Simply delicious!

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Nothing can be more allergy free than this cake, a real “wonder”—no gluten / wheat, no eggs, no dairy when you use oil instead of butter—and it is simply delicious!  Serve it as a dessert with fresh berries, or pack it in for snack time in school, this cake is healthier than you think, and a great filler for those in between ‘I am hungry’ times.

 

Rice pound cake

 

 

Ingredients

2 level cups Cream of Rice* (you can get the fortified one, with thiamin, niacin and riboflavin added)

1/4 cup oat flour (slightly heaped)

5 Tablespoons melted butter or oil

1 1/2 cups yogurt

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon plus one pinch (1/8th teaspoon) baking soda mixed in 2 Tablespoons milk

A few drops of yellow food color

*Cream of Rice, for my Indian readers is rice’ rava’, or semolina

 

Method

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for the baking soda, using a large, heavy spoon.  Mix thoroughly.  Add 1-2 Tablesppons water if mixture appears too thick.  (Consistency of batter will depend on the thickness of yogurt used).  Basically you need to achieve cake batter consistency.

Add the baking soda mixed in milk, and whip it into the batter, whisking it with firm movements, so that it is fully incorporated.

Pour into a lightly greased 8”x4” loaf pan

Set aside for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and cake has browned a little.

Let cool, then slice and serve……just great!

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Its Thanksgiving time—time for vacations, family get togethers, the aroma of turkey in the oven and yummy pumpkin pies.

Here is a quick and easy recipe—no wheat, no eggs, and you can even use a substitute for dairy

The same filling can be used by the whole family.  I make a small allergy free crust, but  make a much larger quantity of pie filling to use in wheat pie crusts for the rest of the gang as well.

 

Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

Crust

for a 6” pie base

1 cup Grandma’s Gluten Free Flour Mix  (click here for recipe) 

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon ice cold water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Method

Place flour and sugar in a large bowl.  My flour mix has salt added into it, so generally recipes with my flour don’t require more salt.  You can just add a pinch if you like.

Cut butter into small pieces and work it into the flour with your hands, so that the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Use just enough water to be able to form a ball of dough.  Add vanilla while kneading.

Alternately, combine ingredients in food processor, and pulse till pea size clumps form  Add water through the feed tube and pulse, stopping just before dough comes together completely.  Line rolling surface with plastic wrap. Transfer dough to rolling surface.

Press and flatten dough and place another sheet of plastic wrap over it.  Roll dough into an 8” round, to create enough crust for the sides of the small pie dish.  Remove the plastic wrap from top of rolled dough, then trim uneven edges with a knife or cut off with a pair of scissors.

Gently lift rolled out dough, place it on the palm of your hand and transfer it onto the pie dish.  It is easy to patch up any small tears.

Crimp edges with a fork to create a pattern, and prick the base with a fork to prevent a rise while baking.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Place prepared crust in oven and bake ‘blind’ (without filling for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare filling–

Filling

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup condensed milk*

3 teaspoons egg replacer or 1 teaspoon baking powder and pinch baking soda

1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg powders

pinch of salt.

* Use 1/4 cup rice milk and 1/3 cup (or to taste) brown sugar in place of condensed milk, if dairy is not permissible

Method

Whisk all ingredients together till mixed thoroughly.

Remove crust from oven after it has baked for 10 minutes.  Prebaking prevents the crust from getting soggy later.

Pour filling mixture into lightly baked crust.  Return to oven and bake for a further 20-25 minutes till filling has cooked and looks set.

Let the pie cool.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Yes, you can actually make donuts with my gluten free flour (See Basics or scroll to the first entry on this blog)  You cannot imagine how easy it is to make kids happy that they can carry donuts to school for snack time as very special treats.  Donuts are fried which does not make them very healthy, but they are great as occasion food.  Moreover, my gluten free flour is very nutritious—much better to have than processed white flour.  So get ready to make this easy treat!

Makes about 16- 18 2” donuts

 

Donuts

 

Ingredients

2 cups Grandma’s Gluten Free Flour Mix  (click here for recipe)

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup milk

3 teaspoons Egg Replacer*

2 Tablespoons melted butter / oil

2 level teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder

Pinch of salt

Granulated sugar for dusting

* If you do not have Egg Replacer, use buttermilk instead of milk and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda,  Add soda while combining dry ingredients.

You will also need a 2” round cookie cutter or a clean lid, and a smaller lid about 3/4” in diameter,  a sheet of parchment or plastic foil to line your cutting board. The number of donuts you will have depends on the size of your cookie cutter/lid.

Oil for frying

Method

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg powders and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, milk / buttermilk, sugar and vanilla.  Gradually fold in dry ingredients.

Using a food processor, or your hands, knead this mixture to form a soft dough, which can be manipulated with your hands.

Divide the dough into lemon size balls

Gently roll each ball and flatten with your palm on a parchment or plastic foil lined cutting board. This will prevent the donut rounds from sticking to the surface.

  Flatten or roll out sufficiently to press the cookie cutter on it to get a good round shape. Remove excess dough.  Then press the small lid onto the center of the ball and gently remove the small round which you cut off from the center.

Keep all the small rounds together to form into additional larger balls. Use extra small balls to fry as donut ‘ holes’. Or fry all small balls to make donut holes.

Heat oil in a medium size wok.  Oil should be sufficient for donuts to submerge.

Test oil for doneness by adding a small ball of dough.  It should sizzle slightly and slowly rise to the surface.

Remove the ball put in for testing the readiness of the oil.  Then carefully lift a cut and shaped donut and gently place it in the oil.  You may be able to place 3-4 donuts at a time depending on the size of your wok.  Do not crowd the wok.  There should be enough room for each donut to fluff and rise to the surface

After donuts rise to the surface and start to brown a little on the underside, gently flip them over with a fork.

The oil should not be over heated and must remain on medium heat for the donuts to cook through

When donuts are a rich golden brown color on both sides, remove each donut carefully with metal tongs or with a slotted spoon, and place on a paper towel lined plate.

After the oil has drained, roll each donut in granulated sugar and enjoy!

Donuts can be cooled and frozen.  I wrap each donut in wax paper and place the quantity to be frozen in an airtight container.  When ready to eat, thaw in the microwave before serving.

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