Archive for Desserts
This winter, our family went to the movie theater to watch Disney’s latest animated film “The Princess and the Frog.” We loved the movie. And, although I haven’t spent a lot of time in New Orleans, I was reminded of the fun times and good food I’ve had there in the past. In the movie, there were scenes where Tiana (“the princess”) makes or powders beignets (pronounced ben-YAYs), a kind of doughnut that was made famous by Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. While watching the scenes, I wondered about making these gluten free. Of course, I couldn’t find a gluten-free recipe, so I had to come up with my own.
I am so excited to share this recipe with you. I’ve never actually eaten a lot of beignets – only when I’ve been at the French Quarter in New Orleans. They really are a delicious treat. If you’re not familiar with them, I would describe them as a square doughnut, or bread dough deep fried into little square pillows, and topped with powdered sugar. They are so yummy! If you aren’t celebrating Mardi Gras with a Gluten-Free King Cake this year, then you should definitely indulge in these little gems.
Gluten-Free Beignet Recipe
1/2 Cup warm water
1/4 Cup sugar
2 tsp yeast
3/4 Cup almond milk (Regular milk should work, too.)
1/2 Cup butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Cups brown rice flour (I use Authentic Foods finely ground.)
1 Cup potato starch
1/2 Cup sweet rice flour
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 liter vegetable oil for frying beignets
powdered sugar for dusting the beignets after cooking
- You’ll need a large pot of vegetable oil to fry the beignets. Electric deep fryers are great for keeping the temperature consistent. However, you can use a pot of oil on the stove top, but you’ll need to watch the temperature closely. You should fry the beignets between 360° - 380° F.
- Start by combining the yeast with the sugar and the warm water (110° - 115° F is recommended but I don’t usually check the temperature.) in a small bowl. Set it aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the brown rice flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour, xanthan gum, and salt. Add in the melted butter, milk, and eggs and mix thoroughly.
- Now stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture. The dough should start to pull together into a soft ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper and top with plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it’s about 1/8″ thick.
- Using a pizza cutter, cut the beignets into 2-1/2″ squares. You should be able to make 24 – 30 beignets.
- Fry the dough in the heated oil 1 – 3 beignets at a time. Don’t fry too many at once, as it can lower the temperature of the oil too fast. Thus, inhibiting the beignets to puff up like they should. Once the beignets start to brown, flip them over using a slotted spoon or tongs. Once the beignets have been lightly browned on both sides, carefully remove them from the oil and place on paper towels to absorb extra oil. The beignets should only take one or two minutes to brown on each side.
- Generously top each beignet with powdered sugar and serve while warm.
- These aren’t terribly sweet. Most of the sweetness comes from the powdered sugar, so you can easily adjust it to your liking. You can even drizzle a little honey on it, like my husband did, if you have a sweet tooth.
- In case you’re wondering: I didn’t find it necessary to wait and allow the dough to rise. I simply cut them out and fried them up.
- This dough wasn’t very sticky, so you might be able to roll out the dough without using the parchment paper and plastic wrap, but I find it convenient. A little dusting of potato starch on the counter and rolling pin should work fine.
- Just roll out the dough once. I tried to re-roll the dough (balled it up and rolled it out again) to cut perfect squares. As a result, the dough fried up flat and a little tougher.
- Watch the temperature of the oil while frying. If it’s too low, the beignets won’t puff up. If it’s too high, the center won’t cook through and will be a little gummy. If you’re having trouble, try putting two pieces of dough into the oil at a time when it’s at 380° F.
- Although I don’t believe it’s traditional, I think these would be nice with a little cinnamon mixed into the dough. I might try that next time.
- In order to save time for breakfast, the traditional meal time to eat these, make up the dough the night before and keep the dough in the refrigerator. In the morning, roll it out, cut it and fry.
- I did eventually find another recipe for gluten-free beignets. This one by Teri Gruss at About.com uses a cake mix for the flour.
- There are more tips for cooking beignets at Cafe Du Monde .
- I’m linking this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays because I only used 1/4 Cup sugar in the dough and I reduced the lactose content by using almond milk.
- For more gluten-free recipes, visit The Gluten-Free Homemaker at this week’s edition of “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten Free?“
- Know a fan of Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog”? Here are some coloring/activity pages my daughter has enjoyed.
This month I’ve been experimenting with chocolate-covered macadamia nuts. I made three different versions: Easy, Delicious, and Addictive! Plus, some heart-shaped ones for Valentine’s Day. Let me start with the easy recipe:
Easy Chocolate-Covered Macadamia Nuts
Whole Raw Macadamia Nuts
Dark Cocoa Candy Melts
You’ll also need a Truffles Candy Mold.
- Melt chocolate candy melts in the microwave. Start by melting at half power for about two minutes. Then, put in for another minute at a time to finish melting.
- Fill about a third of each candy truffle mold with the melted chocolate. Push a nut into the melted chocolate in the mold. Then, finish filling the candy mold with more melted chocolate. Tap the mold on the counter to release any air bubbles.
- Place the mold in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Then, pull it out of the refrigerator, turn it upside down and pop the candies out.
- The candy melts are so easy to work with, and they make very pretty, shiny candies. However, it isn’t as tasty as using good chocolate. (That doesn’t mean they didn’t disappear as quickly as I made them.)
- For melting the candy melt discs, I used a plastic squeeze bottle. It made it easy to melt the candy and fill the candy mold. You can keep the bottle in a bowl of warm water to keep the chocolate warm while you’re filling the candy molds with nuts. Or, just pop it back into the microwave for a minute or two, if necessary.
- You can, of course, melt the chocolate on the stove with a double boiler. Just be careful not to get any water into the chocolate, as it can make the chocolate seize.
Delicious Chocolate-Covered Macadamia Nuts
For an even better tasting candy, instead of raw macadamia nuts, I used Elana’s recipe for candied macadamia nuts at Elana’s Pantry. It’s a pretty quick and easy recipe, and is a very tasty treat by itself. But, the sweetness of the agave nectar combined with the salt, and then roasted in the oven gives this chocolate candy another tasty layer which is delicious!
Best Tasting, Addictive Chocolate-Covered Macadamia Nuts
For the best tasting chocolate covered macadamia nuts, use the candied macadamia nuts and use real dark chocolate! Using real chocolate just makes these even better. In order to get the best looking results, too, you’ll have to temper your chocolate. I’m still trying to perfect the tempering process, but even if it doesn’t work for you it will be delicious! It just may not be as pretty. Un-tempered chocolate also has a tendency to bloom at room temperature. So, if you don’t temper your chocolate, eat them right away or store in the refrigerator.
Valentine’s Day Treats
So, for Valentine’s Day, I made some of these with heart-shaped molds. I couldn’t find any candy molds that were deep enough to accommodate the macadamia nuts, so I used these silicone gelatin/ice cube molds I found at the dollar store.
- Elana’s Pantry Candied Macadamia Nuts recipe and directions.
- Diane made Chocolate Macadamia Nuts without using candy molds at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.
- Detailed directions of Tempering Chocolate is at Cooking For Engineers.
- The Giver’s Log has great tips for buying chocolate and melting and tempering chocolate.
- For more gluten-free recipes, visit The Gluten-Free Homemaker for What Can I Eat That’s Gluten Free?
I made these Chocolate Mini-Muffins for my daughter to take to school to share with her classmates. I intended to make banana muffins, but didn’t have any ripe bananas. So, this is what I came up with at the last minute. I guess I should call them cupcakes because that’s really what they are. But, I didn’t frost them like cupcakes. I was trying to keep them from being too sweet. It didn’t matter to anyone in our house that they weren’t frosted, the muffins disappeared very fast! I did, however, manage to save a few of them to see how they would last. Thanks to the pumpkin, they were still moist after sitting on the counter (in a sealed container) for a few days.
I’m linking this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays this week because the pumpkin adds to this treat a good amount of vitamin A, but adds no saturated fat or trans fat. And, no egg, oil or milk is needed to bake these; the pumpkin provides all the moisture needed. That’s good news for our friends with additional food allergies, too.
Chocolate Pumpkin Mini-Muffins made with Betty Crocker’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix
- 1 box Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate (Devil’s Food) Cake Mix
- 1-1/3 Cups of pumpkin (about 12 oz.)
- 1/2 Cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
- Combine the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Scoop batter into a Mini-Muffin Pan with paper liners or lightly sprayed with oil. You can also bake these on a flat baking sheet. Just place scoops of batter onto a baking sheet lightly greased or lined with parchment paper.
- Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 350° F.
- Makes about 36 mini muffins.
- No need to add egg, milk, oil, or anything else.
- I used 1-1/3 cups pumpkin because I had it leftover from a pumpkin pie I made. You could probably use 1 Cup, but I wouldn’t try a whole can (15 oz.) of pumpkin.
- The batter is very thick, so you can’t pour it into the muffin pans. I used a small cookie scoop, which gave it a round shape. Baking it did not make it spread. It actually kept its shape on a flat baking sheet.
- Please note that these do not have a strong pumpkin flavor. I used the canned, plain, solid pack 100% pumpkin. I also didn’t add any pumpkin pie spices. You could certainly do that if you’re wanting more of that flavor. But, if you do want a pumpkin-flavored muffin, I would try it with Betty Crocker’s Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix and add in some pumpkin pie spices.
- When I make these with chocolate chips, my kids think they taste like brownies.
Ready to get baking? If you need one of these cake mixes, why not enter the giveaway of the Betty Crocker gluten-free dessert mixes I posted last week.
Something I usually make during the holiday season is Poppy Seed Bread. Although the poppy seed bread is cooked in a small loaf pan, it is really a cake. In my mind it’s too sweet and fine-textured to be considered a bread. But, we slice it like bread, and tradition says we call it bread.
Every year, my mom makes Poppy Seed Bread to give to friends and co-workers for the holidays. I, too, have continued this tradition. This year, rather than making it from scratch, I decided to take the easy way and use Betty Crocker’s Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix. I was a little concerned about the amounts, but was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out. I added some flavorings and poppy seeds to the mix, as well as eggs, milk and oil. It made a very nice poppy seed cake that I then covered with a thin, sweet glaze.
These cakes can be made up in advance and frozen until time to give them away for the holidays. Once I’ve made the cakes and let them cool completely, I wrap each one individually with plastic wrap. Then, I place them in a zip-style plastic bag. Sealed like this, you can keep them in the refrigerator for at least a week, or in the freezer for several weeks. They will defrost quite quickly at room temperature. Or, defrost them in the refrigerator overnight.
Poppy Seed Bread Made With Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
For the Cake:
1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
2/3 Cup milk
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
1 TBSP poppy seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp butter flavoring
1 tsp almond flavoring
For the Glaze:
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
1/4 Cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp butter flavoring
1 tsp almond flavoring
- In a medium mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Then add in the remaining cake ingredients (cake mix, milk, oil, poppy seeds, vanilla extract, butter flavoring and almond flavoring). Mix until thoroughly blended.
- Pour into greased, small/mini loaf pans. (I use an oil spray, but you can use butter or shortening.)
- Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350° F.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and cool in the pans on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the glaze. Combine all the glaze ingredients and mix well.
- Pour the glaze over each cake (still warm in the pan). Let it sit for 5 minutes, then remove and let it cool completely on racks.
- I made three small loaves with this recipe, but probably could’ve made two slightly larger loaves. This recipe will also make one full-size loaf.
- I used the small, or sometimes called mini, aluminum foil loaf pans (about 3.5″ x 6″ x 2″h) you find in the grocery stores. I’ve used them over and over, washing each time in the dishwasher. If you’re wanting a more permanent solution, try these Mini Loaf Pans.
- For presenting these as gifts, I usually keep the bread wrapped in plastic wrap and then tie it with a nice festive ribbon. For more color, you can use colored plastic wrap that is easy to find during the holidays. Sometimes I will also put the bread in a clear plastic gift bag, or treat bag and then tie with a nice ribbon. You can also use colored cellophane to wrap it, and tie with ribbon at both ends. It all just depends on how and when you want to present it.
- If not giving these away as gifts, put them in the freezer. Then the night before Thanksgiving or Christmas, put them into the refrigerator to defrost overnight. By morning it will be a nice treat to eat for breakfast, or maybe a snack while opening stockings, with a cup of tea.
For more edible gift ideas, be sure to visit Cents To Get Debt Free. I’m a little late to the blog carnival, so there are already plenty of other great ideas for edible gifts. Please be aware that some of the contributions at the carnival may not be gluten-free, but there are still plenty that are GF and other good ideas that could be modified to be GF.