“Tricky” Chocolate Pudding

I blame this recipe for my youngest child’s O.B.S.E.S.S.I.O.N. with chocolate!

Luke was my smallest baby, at 7 lbs. 13 ounces and 21″ long. That may not seem “small” for a newborn, especially one that was born 2 weeks early, but Sam was 9 lbs. and 23-inches long! Sam never lost an ounce after he was born like most newborns tend to, but Luke did lose weight, almost a full pound! Luke stayed on the small side for quite sometime and it was a struggle to get him to gain weight (one of the many “signs” that I thought he had celiac, not Sam).

2007

Anyway, I was on heightened celiac alert after Luke was born and on the advice of his pediatrician (based on the information at the time), we delayed introducing gluten to Luke until he was 1. Lots of commercial baby foods have gluten, so I started making my own baby food. That was the beginning of my “make my own” era! I got Jessica Seinfeld’sDeceptively Delicious” cookbook and got to work. It was during this time that I actually picked up the tip to freeze purees in ice cub trays, and I still use that trick for my GF Condensed Soup components!

One of the recipes that I first tried and was blown away by the results, was the Chocolate Pudding recipe on page 159. This was especially helpful for helping to put weight on Luke because of the healthy fats. Click here for more nutritional info on avocados. I found a very close copy of the recipe on another website, so I will link to that, but I originally got the recipe in Deceptively Delicious. The only thing different is the missing added cornstarch from Jessica Seinfeld’s recipe. I did not use the cornstarch either just to see how it would turn out, and I think that is the reason the pudding was so shiny. Taste-wise though, I think it is better without the added cornstarch.

“Tricky” Chocolate Pudding

1/4 cup Trans-Fat-Free Soft Tub Margarine (I used the Soy-Free Earth Balance, which is also gluten-free and dairy-free. You could also use Palm Shortening).

1 cup Avocado Puree (about 2 large) make sure they are very ripe! (Of the 6 avocados I had, only two were in good enough condition to use, so I had slightly less than a cup of avocado puree. If you use ripe avocados, just smash them up really well with a fork to make the “puree” or you could throw them in a blend or food processor).

1 cup Confectioners Sugar (I used 365 Organic Powdered Sugar which is corn-free).

1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I used 1/4 cup Hershey’s Cocoa Powder and 1/4 cup of Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder)

1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

  • Melt the margarine in a medium pan over low heat.
  • Mix avocado puree and melted margarine in a small food processor or blender until very smooth. (I omitted this step).
  • Return to pan and add sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla. Cook about 3-4 minutes until it thickens.
  • Serve warm. (Luke likes this cold too!).

Melt the butter (or butter substitute),

Mash up 1 cup of ripe avocado (or thereabouts),

add the cocoa powder, powdered sugar and vanilla,

and there you have it!

This is REALLY GOOD pudding! You cannot tell there is avocado in it!! The texture is thicker and creamier than a dairy-based pudding mix. It’s kind of like a fudge brownie batter, if that makes sense. But in case you are not convinced…

Exhibit A:

Does this look like a face that would lie to you? If you are not convinced of that, click here, and check out the last photo.

Now do you believe me? 😀

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Naturally Gluten-Free! I also made a few other tweaks to accommodate dairy and egg allergies, which also happened to bump up the nutritional content!

I have no idea where this recipe came from, my aunt sent it to me several years ago and I just stumbled across it tucked away in a file. There is no name or publication on the recipe, so if this is your recipe, please let me know and I will give you full credit! 😀

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar

1 cup Peanut Butter (or substitute with another nut butter and I have also heard there is a pea butter called No Nuts Pea Butter.)

1 large Egg (I used Flax Seed Gel: heat 1 Tbs. Ground Flax Seed with 3 Tbs. Water over medium-low heat until you get an egg white consistency)

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 cup Chocolate Chips (I used 365 Brand Vegan Chocolate Chips from Whole Foods)

  • Stir together first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon. Stir in chocolate morsels.
  • Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350° F. for 12 minutes or until puffed and golden brown (cookies will be soft in the center).
  • Cool cookies on baking sheet for 5 minutes, remove and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Flax Seed Gel: the consistency really does mimic an egg white!

All the ingredients before adding chocolate chips

It was very cool to find dairy-free chocolate chips at Whole Foods!

These are DELICIOUS!

We absolutely could not tell I replaced the egg with flax seed gel! Added bonus: we cut back on some cholesterol and bumped up the fiber content!

Click here to see the nutritional facts for Flax (I’m a poet and I didn’t know it! 😉 )

Gluten-Free “Nilla” Wafers

I am absolutely thrilled with the outcome of this recipe! I had been playing around with various gluten-free recipes for copycat Nilla Wafers, but was never all that impressed with the results. I had actually given up trying for a while until Sam’s teacher sent home the Friday Fun Snack recipe of the week. The kids were going to be making “Bear Bagels.” There is nothing like the pressure I put on myself to make Sam feel “normal” at school to rev up my stubborn determination to “get it right!”

I recently bought one of Todd Wilbur‘s cookbooks, “Even More Top Secret Recipes,” and inside was a recipe for homemade Nilla Wafers. I made a few GF tweaks and went for it. Absolutely amazing results! Outside of the fact that they do not look like a carbon copy of Nabsico’s Nilla Wafers (I lack the machine to replicate the precise uniformity!), the taste is SPOT ON!

I was wondering how I was going to give everyone the recipe without violating a copyright, but after a little searching on the internet, I found the EXACT same recipe on another website that I can link to! 🙂 I found the following recipe on RecipeGoldmine.com.

Since I still do not have an “About Me” or an “About this Blog” page published (I am working on it), I thought I would re-mention how I get the recipes that I post. I am not a recipe creator, but rather a recipe “recycler”. I rarely find my recipes on gluten-free websites or in gluten-free cookbooks, not because there aren’t some really great recipes out there, because there are! Before my celiac diagnosis, I had well over a hundred “regular” cookbooks which I impulsively gave away. I mistakenly assumed I could never use them again, which is just not true. Once I learned the basics of cooking gluten-free, I was then able to figure out how to convert gluten recipes to be gluten-free.

My hope is to help others save some money (by not disposing of your “regular” cookbook collection!), and some time (I can literally spend weeks researching and testing different recipes for one particular item, but I am fascinated by the research and I love to experiment… but that is not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea!).

I also really want to help those who are newly diagnosed or those who may be stuck in the denial/depression phase of a celiac diagnosis, which I understand all too well. I was stuck in the land of denial for 3 years and harmed myself greatly because of it. I know how much missing a particular food can lead one to consider “cheating,” and I was a MAJOR cheater (but I was also devoid of all the “classic” GI symptoms. So consider yourself “lucky” if you experience a reaction to gluten. It is kind of like a physical guide to keep you safe and healthy and out of the land of denial!).

Fast forward to today… just knowing that I can have whatever I want, (if I am willing to make it) has done so much in terms of getting me to a place of acceptance for my new normal. Now I just need to help my son stay in his place of acceptance as he goes on his journey of growing up gluten-free in a “Lunchable” land (I couldn’t resist the twist on Adam Sandler’s “Lunchlady Land”). Kindergarten can be a harsh place to be different. So if you have a kiddo who is having a hard time with not getting “hot lunch,” like mine is, maybe this video will help!

Whoa, how was that for an ADD tangent?!! 😀

The format for the majority of my recipes (just in case you happen to be a new visitor) is the original gluten containing recipe is in black and my GF tweaks and suggestions are in red. I will always link to the original recipe and give full credit (which is why I even brought up Todd Wilbur’s book instead of just linking to Recipe Goldmine because people that can create recipes, deserve the full credit for them! It is just nearly impossible for me to show you how I do things without the original recipe posted on my blog.

Gluten-Free Nilla Wafers

1/2 cup Powdered Sugar (I used 365 Organics Powdered Sugar which is corn-free. Click here to see a picture in an older post of mine)
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 cup Shortening (I used Spectrum Shortening which is non-hydrogenated)
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 cups Cake Flour (See below for instructions on how to make your own GF Cake Flour)
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tbs. Water

  • Heat oven to 325 degrees F. (I used my convection oven set to 325° F.).
  • Cream together sugars, shortening, egg, vanilla extract and salt in a large bowl.
  • Add the flour and baking powder.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of water and continue mixing until dough forms a ball.
  • Roll dough into 3/4-inch balls and flatten slightly onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. (I made mine smaller, about 1/2-inch. I flattened the cookie with the bottom of a glass (be sure it has a smooth bottom… I use a wine glass! 😉 ), then I pressed the edges down slightly to get that “domed” effect).
  • Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until cookies are light brown. (Since all ovens are different, I recommend starting at 10 minutes, then check each minute thereafter for doneness. I pulled mine out of the oven after 15 minutes).

Makes 50 to 56 cookies.

Gluten-Free Cake Flour (I got this recipe from RecipeCurio.com)

  • To make a cup of (Gluten-Free) Cake Flour, first place two level tablespoonfuls of Corn Starch (or Arrowroot Powder if you need to avoid corn) in a cup and finish filling with regular Bread Flour (use your favorite Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend that has the Xanthan gum already added. I used Better Batter Gluten Free Flour). This makes the equivalent of one cup of unsifted Cake Flour. Then this should be sifted together three times before using in the mixture.

Pinch off little globs of cookie dough…

Roll the cookie dough globs into balls…

Press the cookie dough balls flat with the bottom of a glass…

I pressed my cookie dough to about 1/8-inch thickness.

Don’t be surprised if the cookie dough sticks to the bottom of the glass. If you use Better Batter GF Flour though, you can pull it right off, just like “normal” cookie dough! 🙂

I pressed the edges down with my fingertip to try and achieve the same look as the real Nilla Wafers.

They may not look exactly like a real Nilla Wafer, but to everyone I gave a sample to (even glutenators!) they tasted just like them!!

Just for kicks I had to assemble some GF Nilla Banana Pudding. Normally I make my own vanilla pudding, but I used the Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding in this photo because the artificial coloring in the mix helped distinguish the pudding from the cookies in my picture! 😀 I also used Cool Whip, another Kraft product (I will admit it, I like Cool Whip, even more than I like homemade whipped cream… shameful, I know!). For Kraft’s Gluten-Free Policy, click here.

I am testing several “make your own Cool Whip” recipes at the moment (to get away from the hydrogenated oil and corn syrup that is in Cool Whip, and also to see if I can find a recipe that can be easily tweaked to be dairy-free. Wish me luck!

Sour Cream Fudge Cupcakes

I know, I know… it’s January 5th and everyone is dieting, trying to eat healthier and going through sugar detox from the holiday season. But what if you could have your “cake and eat it too?” Sorry, couldn’t resist that one! 🙂

I was going through my recipes that have been piling up and this one in particular caught my eye. My 2 year old is a bonafide chocoholic so I had a thought for 2010, I am going to be putting his love for chocolate to good use! I will be occasionally using chocolate as the delivery vehicle for good nutrition. Chocolate actually has a few great health benefits, but I am talking about REAL chocolate (Dark Chocolate) and not the milk chocolate or “chocolate flavored” junk that is often marketed toward children in the form of candy bars, etc. Now just because dark chocolate can be a mostly guilt-free dessert option, moderation is still very important!

What really piqued my interest was the fact that the recipe calls for a single gluten-free flour and not a blend of GF flours. The flour you ask? Quinoa, my friend. Check out this page on a website called Body Ecology regarding quinoa. Did you know that quinoa was a relative of spinach? Very cool! I have always heard that of all the whole grains (even though it is a seed and not an actual grain), quinoa is the cream of the crop.

The recipe also does not call for xanthan gum so I was really interested in seeing how they would turn out! Anyhoo, this recipe was printed on the back of the bag of Quinoa Flour that I bought by Bob’s Redmill.

Sour Cream Fudge Cupcakes

1/4 cup Unsalted Butter (I used Smart Balance but Earth Balance, which is dairy free, would work great too)

1/2 cup Water

1/4 cup Cocoa Powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa, click here for a link to Hershey’s allergen statement)

1 cup Sugar

1 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Quinoa Flour

1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

2 Eggs, separated

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

1/4 cup Sour Cream (I used Lowfat Sour Cream because I always try to follow a recipe exactly as written the first time I make it, except for butter because I rarely use the real stuff. Next time, I am going to try these with plain Greek yogurt or maybe even the Chocolate Coconut Milk Yogurt, which is dairy free, by So Delicious… Luke LOVES it!)

  • Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • Place the butter (or equivalent) and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and whisk in the cocoa powder.
  • Sift together the sugar, quinoa flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. (I like to throw all of the ingredients that I need to sift together in a bowl first. I then use a whisk to incorporate everything first THEN I sift. I also do not use a “sifter.” I have gone through 4 in the past 5 years and they either rust, get jammed or something. I actually just use a mesh strainer and the handle of a wooden spoon to swirl the flour thru. I have come to love re-purposing items that I already have, saves money and precious space!).
  • Add the cooled cocoa mixture, egg yolks, vanilla and sour cream (or equivalent) and blend well.
  • Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter.
  • Spoon into a muffin tin lined with paper cupcake liners.
  • Bake for 20 minutes (mine were done in 15 minutes using a convection oven), or until a cake tester (toothpicks work great!) inserted in the center comes out clean.

I was a bit skeptical when making these. Quinoa flour has that earthy/nutty aroma that for whatever reason makes me think of a barn, just like sorghum, millet and amaranth does for me. But, once the cupcakes were completely cool…that taste was barely present so the chocolate worked for Luke and for me! Very sneaky indeed. 🙂 I think I am going to also try adding some shredded zucchini, pumpkin puree, sweet potato puree or even mashed bananas next time to add more moisture and nutrition.

I did add frosting to some of the “muffins” too, which was quite the side adventure in itself. The recipe calls for 3 cups of powdered sugar and I only had one, so I took the opportunity to try and make my own powdered sugar! I followed a recipe I found on Recipezaar but I used arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch so if it worked, then it would be a good option for those that are allergic or sensitive to corn… or if you have watched the film King Corn, like me, one too many times! Click here for information on thickeners, arrowroot is a 1:1 replacement for cornstarch.

Homemade Confectioner’s/Powdered Sugar

For each cup of powdered sugar that you need add the following together (so if you need 3 cups of powdered sugar, you will need 3 cups of granulated sugar plus 3 Tbs. of arrowroot powder or cornstarch)

1 cup Sugar

1 Tbs. Cornstarch (or Arrowroot Powder)

Combine the two and process in blender (I used my food processor) until powder forms. I stopped after 10 minutes when I realized the homemade powdered sugar was not going to be the same consistency as the store-bought powdered sugar. While the taste was great, my food processor did not produce that “powdery” texture. If anyone has any tips, I would love to hear them! 🙂 So as you will see in the cupcakes, the frosting has a certain “texture” from the granulated sugar. It tastes like frosting but if you are a texture person, you may not like it.

The cupcake (or as Luke refers to anything in this shape WITHOUT frosting or icing, a "muffin!" I actually didn't feel too bad giving him one without the frosting for breakfast this morning.

Cupcake with "textured" chocolate frosting. The boys didn't seem to notice though as they each wolfed one down for last night's dessert.

While I do monitor the boys intake of sugar, I am sometimes a *little* lax because at least 95% of what they eat is homemade and does not contain preservatives, etc. They also do not eat at McDonald’s and the like, in fact we rarely eat out at all (only on special occasions), so I figure there is room for a little sugar here and there and it makes for great parent bribery! But seriously, homemade has a lot of advantages. Not only can it save on fat, calories, and chemicals/preservatives, but you can save SO much money, which can really offset the expense of a gluten-free diet! I would really like to start incorporating a cost breakdown for cooking at home. My husband is a financial advisor so I am going to try and put his number crunching skills to good “domestic” use!

Here is something new that I want to start doing from time to time. I have been having a lot of fun finding new uses for products that I already have. I recently came across another blog; Curious Gypsy, and the author had an entire list titled “Fun Facts – Useful Household Hints.”

One of the items listed (#2) was to use Pam cooking spray (Original, Butter Flavor and live Oil are gluten-free) to dry nail polish! This is actually a pretty cool thing for people that are either:

A.) Really sensitive to gluten where even coming in physical contact with it can cause a reaction like a rash, etc. (If you are newly diagnosed with celiac disease, talk with your doctor about this. I think it is still up in the air on skin care products containing gluten. Some people say it is absorbed through the skin and could cause problems for celiacs. On the other hand, my GI doctor told me that if I do not ingest the substance that contains gluten, then it cannot hurt me. The biggest risk factor then of course is cross contamination by having a lotion, etc. that contains gluten on your hand that ends up on your sandwich that then ends up in your stomach, etc. I personally prefer to err on the side of caution and omit gluten whenever and wherever I can. I do not mess around with Lip Sticks and Lip Balms, mine are ALWAYS gluten-free).

B.) For any celiac that gets manicures where nail enamel dryer is used, which could lead to gluten cross-contamination if you put your hands in your mouth or on something that will end up in your mouth, after being sprayed. While I do not know about all brands, I do know that DeMert (see photo below) contains Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein (among other things like Butane…)!

If you have any cool ideas like this and would like to share them, I would love to hear about them! Also, feel free to email me with questions, recipe ideas or if you need help “tweaking” a recipe of your own, I would be happy to try and help! 🙂 My email address is: heidikelly13@gmail.com

Homemade Gluten Free “Nestle Crunch” Candy Bars

Rice Dream Crunch Bar

Homemade Crunch Bar

I got the idea for this the day I was working on my GF Rice Crispies post and dipping my Buckeyes in chocolate at the same time. A light bulb went off… I wonder how it would work out to make my own GF “Nestle Crunch” candy bar with chocolate and the Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice cereal?? All I needed was a candy bar mold to find out!

I have been collecting chocolate molds for a few years now, ever since Sam was about 2 and he had a little playmate with Eosinophilic Esophagitis. This boy had a very limited range of foods that he could eat, (as in, you could count them on 2 hands!). He had a feeding tube and his diet was supplemented with EleCare Formula through his tube. My heart really hurt for him, especially during holiday playgroups when special treats were present. This little boy could not have dairy but his mom would carry around a bag of Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips to give him as a treat. I presume they are safe for those on the dairy free diet plan because this mother was very thorough in researching foods that she gave her son. But as always, double check for yourself to be sure they meet your specific needs, a lactose intolerance is very different from a dairy allergy. There are specialty brands of Gluten-Free Dairy-Free chocolate chips but they can be harder to come by and can cost more too. A few websites to look at: Chocolate Emporium, Amanda’s Own Confections, Sunspire, and Enjoy Life. I mention this story about EE (Eosinophilic Esophagitis) for two reasons: one as a way to bring up why I started making chocolate treats but also because there is an apparent association between EE and celiac disease. I found this study on CSA’s website (they are great resource for ongoing studies related to celiac disease. They post the PubMed PMID number for the various studies so if you find one of interest, you can Google that number to read the study.) If you have a child with CD and they are not healing on the GF diet, this might be something you may want to mention to your doctor.

Spectrum Brand Shortening was also okay for him so I got the idea to buy various sucker molds, melt down the chocolate and pour them into the molds to make chocolate suckers. This way he could have his safe chocolate chips in a different shape and have a special treat of his own too. Click on this link for Candy making instructions when using chocolate chips.

For the candy bar that I made, I used Chocoley’s Bada Bing Bada Boom Candy Melts since that was what I had already made for my Buckeye Candy. If you can tolerate dairy, it is an excellent product and it happens to be “celiac-safe!”

There really isn’t a recipe for this, just a method:

I put my candy bar mold in the freezer for a few minutes. This helps the chocolate set and makes the finished product easier to pop out of the mold.

I placed a thin layer of melted chocolate in the mold then sprinkled Erewhon's Crispy Brown Rice Cereal on top of the first chocolate layer.

I then added a second layer of chocolate on top of the cereal. I need to practice on my chocolate pouring skills! 😉

I placed the filled candy bar molds in the refrigerator for a few minutes until the chocolate hardened.

This experiment was a great success (taste-wise anyway… now I need to work on the appearance, LOL!) Outside of the fact that the mold I used was probably twice the thickness of a Nestle Crunch candy bar (which if I am remembering correctly were/are pretty thin), we thought the taste was VERY CLOSE to Nestle’s version, just with a lot more chocolate. I decided to break the bars up into smaller pieces since a whole bar would be chocolate overload. I have been storing the pieces in an airtight container so we can just grab a small piece to satisfy our sweet tooth as needed.

The airtight container you see here was a bonus find on my trip to The Dollar Tree a few weeks ago to buy holiday gift containers. They are very similar to the Snapware containers that often retail for $5.99 each, but only cost a buck! 😀

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free “Winter Oreos”

While at the grocery store the other day, Sam spied the Winter Oreos on display. While I was hoping he didn’t notice, the bright red cream put him in a trance! So he said, “Mom, you need to make these. So and so in my class brought them to school in their lunch and they were so cool.” Well, if you have to put it that way…. (I need to find some good natural food colorings, any recommendations?).

Gluten Oreos

So here they are! I used the same recipe as I did for the Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies for the chocolate wafers but I omitted the peppermint oil.

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Winter Oreos

Cookie Wafer:

1 pkg. of Betty Crocker’s GF Devil’s Food Cake Mix

1/4 cup Butter, melted (I used Dairy-Free Earth Balance)

5 Tbs. Milk (I used Rice Milk)

  • Combine melted butter, cake mix, and milk in a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer. Mix until a ball of dough forms.
  • Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
  • Roll out dough. I rolled mine out pretty thin, maybe about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick. They will rise a bit in the oven. I rolled out my dough using the Pie Crust Maker. This is seriously the best gadget for working with gluten-free doughs!
  • Using a small circle cookie cutter, cut out the cookie wafers.
  • Place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350° for 8 – 12 minutes (mine were ready at 9 minutes in a convection oven). Let cool for a couple of minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Cream Filling:

I used the recipe on the back of the Pamela’s Simplebites Extreme Chocolate Mini Cookies package.

1/2 c. Butter (I used Earth Balance Non-Dairy Buttery Spread)

1/2 c. shortening (I used Crisco, but Spectrum would also work well… I am going to start using the Spectrum shortening again in 2010.)

2 c. Powdered Sugar (I used a bit more until the icing became the more solid consistency of what I remember Oreo icing to be)

2 tsp. water

Red and Green Food Coloring

  • Mix together. Place dollops of icing between two layers of cookies and press together.

The cookies taste great and were a big hit with the kids. They are a lot “crunchier” than what I remember the real Oreo wafer to be. I might try to use shortening the next time I make the cookie wafers to see if that makes a difference. The cookies also tend to split when they spread in the oven. If anyone has a tip on how to prevent this from happening, please let me know! 🙂

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Sugar/Waffle Cones

I had a crazy “adventure” this week! I say crazy because it is December and I needed a gluten free sugar cone and quick!

I found out on Monday that Sam’s kindergarten class was going to be making a snack for their winter celebration. The snack was going to be a Christmas tree made out of a sugar cone! I have GF cake cones on hand by Goldbaum’s (LOVE THEM!) but no GF sugar cones. None of my local stores had any in stock so I looked into ordering some and having them shipped overnight… but not for $60 in shipping!

Just as I was coming to terms with letting Sam have an important life lesson, that we will all face disappointments and have to do without at times; my husband called me from his office and said, “I found an ice cream cone maker. Find a recipe!”

Uhhhh, okay.

So, I started Googling away. When I search for a recipe, I do two things. I do a web search for a gluten-free recipe of what I want and I also just search for what I want, without the gluten-free tag. I like to compare and contrast ingredients, methods and techniques. I also like to look at pictures. If a recipe does not come with a picture, I move on to the next one (usually). I like to know what I am getting myself into. After perusing the internet for an hour or so, I settled on 3 recipes, 2 regular recipes for waffle cones and 1 gluten free recipe. I made my tweaks on the regular recipes and followed the GF recipe very closely (with just an exception or two).

Of the recipes I tried (time was of the essence). I liked the gluten-free recipe best. The next time I make these though, I will probably omit the vanilla because the regular recipes did not call for vanilla and I think the flavor was more authentic to the store-bought sugar cones. To be clear, I was looking for a sugar cone, like the cones in the box and not a waffle cone which are usually what you find in an ice cream parlor and a freshly made.

Without further ado, here is Take 1 on Homemade GF “Sugar Cones.”

I followed the recipe by Collette of “Gluten Free Recipes by Collette.”

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Sugar/Waffle Cones

1 large Egg
1 Egg White
1/4 tsp. Kosher or Sea Salt (I just used regular Salt)
1/2 cup Granulated White Sugar
2/3 cup White Rice Flour (I used Superfine White Rice Flour)
2 Tbs. Coconut Oil, melted (I used Earth Balance Dairy-Free Buttery Spread in the tub)
1 tsp. Pure Vanilla (I will omit this the next time I make these as sugar cones)

Heat waffle cone press (I have a Chef’s Choice 838 Waffle Cone Express) to about darkness level 3-4.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, egg white and salt. Blend well with fork.

Add the sugar, blend until sugar dissolves.

Add coconut oil (or substitute), white rice flour and vanilla. Whisk to combine.

When your light comes on and the machine is hot, (we sprayed the plate with non-stick spray first) spoon 2 full Tbs. of batter (we used just under 1/4 cup of batter) into the center of the waffle plate. Press down lid and let cook 60 seconds, check for doneness, if more time is needed, go another 30- 60 seconds (depending on how brown you want the cone to be) (We cooked ours for 2 1/2 minutes).

When waffle cookie is ready, lift off the press with a spatula gently, and place on a clean flat towel, using the cone shaper tool roll the cookie, making sure to pinch the bottom so you don’t end up getting dripped on 😉 lol

To cool, place cone upright in a tall iced tea glass, (we used the holders from our snow cone machine we got at Target when Sam had his tonsils out last summer) and get to work on the next one. You can also make them into cookies (Pizzelles) and serve those with ice cream in a bowl.

Spray the plates first with non-stick spray.

I was beginning to think that this project would not end well! Apparently, this is common although probably not to this degree. 😀 There are little "canals" on the sides of the waffle cone maker for excess batter to escape.

To make a sugar cone, I trimmed the top to make an "even" edge. I use the term "even" loosely. LOL!

To make a Christmas tree, invert the cone and coat with green frosting. We decorated ours with Jelly Belly's, Skittles and a red star marshmallow by Kraft.

Peppermint Bark

Gluten Free Dad here.

I’m sure you’ve all figured out by now that everyone in our home is effectively banished from Mom’s kitchen during the holidays.  There are some good reasons for this.  For starters, the rest of us are boys, which means we make big messes, don’t measure ingredients very well, and always want to run the KitchenAid on the highest setting (it will throw a thick batter six feet, trust me).

The other reason we aren’t allowed in the kitchen (and certainly not near the KitchenAid) is that Mom makes A LOT of food this time of year.  I think in her past life she was the mess cook for an army battalion, maybe even a brigade, because she typically makes enough Christmas treats for somewhere between sixteen and seventeen thousand (or one classroom of six year olds!).

Of course everyone loves the Buckeyes (sugary peanut butter wrapped in chocolate?…mmm…), but my favorite this year has been her Peppermint Bark.  What a great combination of flavors and almost so easy to make that even a husband can do it!  Almost.

Here’s how much of a no-brainer it is.  You get some Baker’s Chocolate Squares (since 1780…it must be good) at the store (men, it’s in the aisle of death with the wheat flour that you can’t buy anymore).  Get the semi-sweet and the white.  I found it at Super Wal-Mart for $2, at the regular grocery store for $3, so if you’re anti-Wal-Mart, it’ll cost you a couple of bucks but you won’t have to stand in line for 30 minutes listening to the “this would be funny if it wasn’t true” cell phone conversation of the person in front of you.

Parts List

2 (8-oz.) pkgs. Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate Squares (Heidi actually used Chocoley’s Bada Bing Bada Boom Dark Chocolate Candy Melts but you have to order those. Chocoley’s chocolates are made in a dedicated facility, are Celiac Safe and “husband-proof.”)

2 (8-oz.) pkgs. Baker’s White Chocolate Squares

1/8 tsp. Peppermint Oil

Candy Canes

  • When you get home, start the double boiler on the stove. All this really is, is a stockpot/large sauce pan filled with an inch or two of water and brought to a simmer. In a smaller pot/saucepan/ metal bowl, add the chocolate and place over the big pot of simmering water. The heat will melt the chocolate (DO NOT get water in the chocolate).
  • Melt the semi-sweet (men, that’s the BROWN chocolate) first.  Get out a cookie sheet while that’s melting down and line it with parchment paper (if you don’t have any, that’s okay. It will allow for more fun when breaking the chocolate into bark).  When the chocolate is melted, grab two pot-holders (yes men, the handles are hot…and no, you won’t be tough enough to use your bare hands) and pour the melted chocolate onto the cookie sheet.  It should ooze all the way to the edges…wiggle (or forcefully bang) the cookie sheet to make sure it’s evenly spread.
  • Now this is the hard part…put the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for a couple of hours until it hardens.  Be sure to grab a Red Bridge (or two) while the fridge is open.  Also, if you do this part during the pre-game, you’ll be ready for step two at half-time…just some FYI. Guys, this is really important…the brown chocolate must be hard before you add the white chocolate.  It’s like painting…you better be sure the primer is dry dry dry before you add the top coat.
  • While that’s going on in the fridge, grab some candy canes.  During the commercials of the game, put the candy canes in a big Ziploc bag (be sure to unwrap them first).  Run out to the garage, grab your hammer and smack the bag a few times (turn the hammer-head sideways) to break the candy canes into small chunks, but do not overdo it. You want pieces of candy cane and not candy cane powder.
  • After the brown chocolate has set (or half-time, whichever comes first), repeat step one, only use the white chocolate this time.  Once the white chocolate has melted, add 1/8 tsp. peppermint oil (not to be confused with peppermint extract!) to the white chocolate and stir. Pour the melted white chocolate DIRECTLY ON TOP OF the hardened brown chocolate.  Use the same wiggling/banging technique to even out.  Grab your semi-pulverized bag of candy canes and shake all over the white chocolate.  Be careful…don’t be a Peppermint Globber (no one likes a Peppermint Globber).
  • As soon as you get a good coating of broken candy canes, GET IT RIGHT BACK IN THE FRIDGE!
  • Now this is important.  You have to leave the cookie sheet in the fridge until half-time of the Sunday NIGHT game (about six hours) to be sure everything has really firmed up.  Pop it out of the cookie sheet (if you can) and don’t worry about breaking it…that’s the whole point.  If you get a big piece of it, grab with both hands and smash on counter (think of Paul Stanley smashing a guitar).  You ideally want pieces somewhere between the size of a book of matches and a playing card, so don’t use your hammer for this part, even though you may be tempted.
  • If you do it right, you’ll have a great big mess of stuff in front of you.  Grab a Tupperware-like container (you’ll get the wrong size at first and get in trouble for dirty-ing an extra container) and stack-to-store like moving boxes.  Lids are optional as long as your now WAY TOO BIG container (won’t make that mistake again) is in the fridge (grab another two Red Bridges while open and look forward to Monday night game…wonder what went wrong with my fantasy team this year??).

This is not my doing. I would have "wrapped" the bark in a plastic grocery bag... or the Sunday Comics.

Gluten Free Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is the BEST gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe that I have ever come across. I kid you not, they are identical in taste to the classic gluten containing Toll House cookie! I found the recipe on Recipezaar about 6 months ago and they have held up perfectly each time I have made them. I double the recipe because the original recipe has some odd measurements like 3/8 cup. I do not own a measuring cup that indicates 3/8 cup, so if you double it, it is a simple 3/4 cup. You will want to double the recipe anyway, unless you are making these for 1 person! The measurements below are for a double batch of the recipe. Click on the above link to go to the recipe for the original measurements).

1 cup Rice Flour (I used Superfine White Rice Flour)

1/2 cup Tapioca Starch (I used Expandex Tapioca Starch, but the regular works great too)

3/4 cup Sorghum Flour (I used Superfine Sorghum Flour)

2 tsp. Xanthan Gum

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Salt

1 cup Butter, softened (I used dairy-free Earth Balance. Did you know that the same company that makes my beloved Smart Balance also makes Earth Balance!?)

3/4 cup Granulated Sugar

3/4 cup packed Brown Sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 Eggs

1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1/2 cup Pecans (I omitted the Pecans and added more chocolate chips and plain M&M’s)

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. (I used my convection oven at 350°F)
  • In the bowl of your mixer, combine butter, sugars and vanilla. Mix on low until combined (about 2 minutes). Add egg and combine.
  • In another bowl, measure out your flours, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. (I used a whisk to blend all of the ingredients together, then I sifted the flour combination to make sure everything was incorporated). With mixer on low, slowly integrate the dry goods into the wet.
  • When all the dry goods are integrated, add the chips and nuts and mix just long enough to combine.
  • Spoon out by the tablespoon onto a baking sheet (I line mine with parchment paper) and bake for 12 minutes. (Start checking at 8 minutes, my cookies cooked A LOT faster than the 12 minutes indicated, probably because of the convection oven, but just to be safe, check anyway). Let rest for about 10 minutes on the sheet for the centers are set. (I did not find this to be necessary in my case).

Nice and crispy on the outside and full of gooey chocolaty goodness on the inside! I added the red and green M&M’s for some holiday flair.

I think I will make a big batch of these and go conduct a “blind taste test” in front of my local Toll House store, LOL!

I forgot to make my goldfish, maybe the spell has been broken! 😀

Chocolate Fudge

Okay, this is nothing spectacular, fudge is fudge right? Well, I just wanted to offer some suggestions for those who may want to make this recipe (or one like it) but haven’t because of the dairy. I made this batch with dairy but I think there is a nifty way around it for dairy free folks. I have ordered some rice milk powder and bought a ginormous tub of Earth Balance vegan spread to start experimenting with more dairy free recipes. The dairy free rice milk powder should be here Tuesday, so I will test a batch of homemade dairy free sweetened condensed milk in this fudge recipe. I will also try it out in the Magic Mix recipe to see if we can come up with a great dairy free condensed soup! I am so excited to see how it works out! Anyway…

I have always used the following recipe from the Kraft website for Baker’s Classic Chocolate Fudge. I like this recipe because the end product has a smooth and creamy texture. A very small piece goes A LONG WAY!

2 pkg. (8 squares each) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate (When I test the dairy-free batch later this week, I am going to try using Hershey’s Cocoa. The back of the package says that 3 Tbs. Cocoa Powder + 1 Tbs. Shortening or Oil is equivalent to a 1 oz. square of Baking Chocolate. Doing the math, that is 3 cups of Cocoa Powder and 1 cup Shortening or Oil for this recipe.)
1 can  (14 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk (For this batch, I used the Fat Free Sweetened Condensed Milk, which makes me feel not as guilty eating it. I cannot tell the difference in taste from the full fat version to the fat free version)
1 cup chopped Walnuts (optional)
2 tsp.  Vanilla
  • LINE 8-inch square pan with foil (I used parchment paper). Microwave chocolate and milk in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 to 3 min. or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 2 min.; stir until completely melted. Stir in nuts and vanilla.
  • SPREAD onto bottom of prepared pan.
  • REFRIGERATE 2 hours or until firm. Use foil to lift fudge from pan before cutting into pieces.

Luke calls this "Budge." LOL!

Somebody help me...please 😀