Archive for Special Occasion

Ghost Meringue CookiesThese Meringue Cookies have become a favorite with family and friends at Halloween parties. I love that they are naturally gluten-free and dairy-free! If you aren’t familiar with meringue cookies: They are light and airy, crispy on the outside, yet a little chewy on the inside.

It has come to my attention that my recipe and directions for making Meringue Cookie Ghosts were not so easy to find. So, here are the recipe and directions for making these cuties. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free Halloween Ghost Meringue Cookies

Ingredients:

2 large egg whites (at room temperature)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional, but adds a nice flavor)
1/2 Cup superfine sugar
handful of mini chocolate chips (I buy Enjoy Life’s Dairy-Free, Nut-Free Chocolate Chips.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200° F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium glass or metal bowl, beat the egg whites until they become foamy little bubbles. Add the cream of tartar and almond extract. Continue beating at medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the sugar while beating until smooth and glossy, stiff peaks form.
  3. To make the ghosts, I used a piping bag with round tip. (I used Wilton disposable decorating bag and round tip #12.) If you don’t have these, you can simply use a zip-style plastic bag and cut the tip off a corner to squeeze out the meringue. Fill the bag with the meringue and create the ghost in one continuous motion by gently squeezing the meringue out of the bag. Make it quickly to avoid getting the meringue too warm in your hand. There’s no right or wrong way to make a ghost, but I made these by starting with a round mound of meringue for the head. Then, I moved the bag to the left and then the right, forming the arms (if you can call them that). I then finished it off by dragging the bag down and to the right to finish the ghost shape.
  4. Next add the chocolate chips for eyes.
  5. Place the tray of ghosts in the oven and bake for 2 hours.
  6. Let them cool on the cookie sheets.
  7. Place them on a plate to serve, or store in an airtight container.

Additional Notes:

  • This recipe will make 18-24 ghosts, depending on the size you make them.
  • If you have trouble removing the ghosts from the parchment paper, carefully slide a thin, flat knife under them to lift from the paper.

More favorite Holiday Meringue Cookies at Celiac Family:

Snowman Meringues

Snowman Meringues

Christmas Tree Meringues

Christmas Tree Meringues

Meringue Duckies

Meringue Duckies

Linked to:

Comments (9)
May
25

Rainbow Cake, gluten-free

Posted by: | Comments (5)

Part of my busy schedule last month included my daughter’s birthday. She didn’t seem intent on any particular theme for her party, so I suggested rainbows. Seems like an easy cake to make, right? Right. I made it a little more interesting by adding some dimension to the rainbow.

For the base of the cake, I used three Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mixes. I mixed them all together using the directions on the boxes. Then, I poured the batter into two Pyrex 9×13 Baking Dishes and baked both at 350° F for about 45 minutes. Each layer of the cake was made of 1.5 cake mixes. I used Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Frosting for the filling between the layers.

For the rainbow on the cake, I baked one 9-Inch Round Cake using Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix. I cut the cake in half, at a horizontal angle and then trimmed out the middle of the rainbow. I added a smaller wedge of the cake to put under the large side of the cake so the rainbow itself ended up being like a two-layer cake. Does that make sense? I know I should take pictures while I’m building and decorating cakes, but I forget. And when I do remember, I’ve got cake and frosting on my fingers.

For the frosting, I made a Buttercream Icing. Rather than using a dye to mix into the frosting, I sprayed the frosted cake with blue Spray Color. I thought the uneven coloring would look more like sky and clouds. Plus, it was faster and left fewer bowls to clean up. I used the same buttercream icing for the trim, clouds, and rainbow on the cake. Then, I sprayed the back of the rainbow cake with red coloring.

For the front of the rainbow I simply used different Colored Sugars that I carefully sprinkled on with my fingers. It’s best to do this right after you’ve frosted it, so that the frosting is still damp and sticky to keep the sugar in place. You can buy the sugars already colored, or make it yourself using granulated sugar mixed with some food coloring. I had some of each.

So there it is. Another cake decorating idea that you can do yourself, but still wow the kids.

Supplies I used:

More Rainbow Cake Ideas I found Online:

  • This six-layer Super Epic Rainbow Cake at Whisk Kid is a rainbow on the inside!
  • These rainbow Colorburst Cupcakes at Our Best Bites are just as colorful.
  • The Super-Duper Rainbow Cakes – in a Jar at off the (meat) hook would make beautiful table decorations, party favors, or gifts to give!
  • A variety of decorating ideas for rainbow-theme cakes can be found at Coolest Birthday Cakes.com.
Comments (5)

This is a fairly simple, traditional recipe that I put together for our Thanksgiving family gathering this year. I always enjoy sweet potato casserole for the holidays. I usually prefer a crunchy pecan and brown sugar topping, but decided to change it up a little this year. I know some people always look forward to the toasted marshmallows on top. So, this year, I did both. This is now my favorite way to eat them. I’d like to think of this as a vegetable side dish, but really it’s sweet enough to call it dessert. This is the picture I took before baking. Sorry, I forgot to take the “after” shot.

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

Ingredients:

Main Ingredients:
4 large Sweet Potatoes or Yams, peeled, cooked and mashed (about 4 lbs or 8 cups)
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1 TBSP Maple Syrup
3/4 Cup Almond Milk (I used vanilla flavored.)

Topping Ingredients:
1 Cup Chopped Pecans
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Rice Flour
1/3 Cup Butter, melted
1 Cup Small Marshmallows

Directions:

  1. Cook and peel the sweet potatoes, or yams. I like to score the skin on the yams both around the middle and lengthwise. Then I put them into boiling water and simmer until they are fork tender (about 20-30 min.).
  2. While the yams are cooking, combine the first four topping ingredients with a fork and set aside.
  3. When the yams are done, remove them from the heat and drain the water. Cover with cold water to cool down. If the skin hasn’t come off already, gently pull the skin off.
  4. Mash the yams and add the rest of the main ingredients. Combine thoroughly. You may want to beat the ingredients together for a smoother, fluffier texture.
  5. Spread the yams/sweet potato mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish. (You can cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator at this point, if you are saving for the next day.)
  6. Then top the yams with the mini marshmallows and pecan mixture in alternating diagonal stripes.
  7. Bake at 350° F for 30-40 minutes, or until the yams are bubbly hot and the marshmallows are lightly browned.

Additional Notes:

  • To make ahead: I made this the day before Thanksgiving, skipping step 2 and ending at step 5 the first day. On the morning of Thanksgiving, I took the dish out of the refrigerator and let set on the counter while I worked on step 2 of the directions and preheated the oven. I then finished the baking with steps 6 and 7.
  • If the marshmallows don’t brown after 40 minutes, put it under the broiler for a few minutes. But watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.

Notable Links:

Sep
15

Hot Wheels Birthday Cake

Posted by: | Comments (34)

It was such a busy summer that I never got around to sharing this birthday cake idea with you. My son loves Hot Wheels! His love of cars started at a very early age, and by the time he was three years old could tell me which cars were Hot Wheels as opposed to any other brand of toy car. I created a Hot Wheels monster truck cake for him when he turned 5, so I wasn’t expecting to make another Hot Wheels cake for him this year. But, two days before his birthday, he insisted on a Hot Wheels cake. And not just a Hot Wheels cake, but a Hot Wheels race track cake. Huh? Has he been watching Ace of Cakes when I wasn’t around? I loved the creative challenge, but with only two days to figure it out, I figured he’d have to accept whatever I could come up with.

I started going through his Hot Wheels tracks for ideas. I found a fun little track that I thought would be fun to incorporate with it. But, I couldn’t remove all the track pieces from the base and support structure. As I discussed the idea with my husband, he suggested that we just use the regular flexible Hot Wheels track pieces to make our own race track. Well, they seemed a little big for it, but he convinced me he could make a support structure for it. OK. But to be a Hot Wheels track it has to have a loop, right? And wouldn’t it be fun if it went through a tunnel in the cake? So, that’s how the thoughts flowed to come up with this idea. Crazy, I know. But the kids loved it!

I didn’t get pictures of the building process. I was too busy trying to figure out what to do to stop and take a picture. And, I’m really sorry I never got a video of it working. We had to enlarge the tunnel a little, and find the right, low-profile car to make it through the tunnel. The kids at the party all enjoyed giving it a try before we cut the cake. It worked most of the time, though the car got stuck in the frosting a couple times.

More specifics:

I baked two round 9″ cakes. I used Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cake Mixes and followed the baking directions.

I made Wilton’s recipe for Chocolate Buttercream Icing, and used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa to make it almost black (and deliciously chocolate :P).

For the bottom layer cake, I cut a path for the tunnel 3/4 of the way through the middle. (At this point, it looks almost like the letter U.) Then, I frosted the top and inside the tunnel.

For the top layer cake, I cut out another path for the tunnel. Then, I placed the cake on top of the bottom layer. I had to make some adjustments for the tunnel, by cutting a little more here and there so that the cake becomes like a ramp down the middle. After testing it with the track, I frosted the top, sides and inside the tunnel.

For the side of the cake, I tried to keep the decoration simple. I used a plastic chop stick to make indentions along the side of the frosted cake to resemble tire tread.

For the flames: I used simple icing made with powdered sugar and water. (I start with 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp water and adjust as necessary.) Then I separated it into three small bowls and used food dye to create red, orange and yellow frosting. I used Wilton’s small round #3 decorating tip to outline the flames. Then, filled in with the different colors as shown in the picture. I used a small knife to spread the frosting to fill in the flames.

For the support of the track, my husband used a yard stick and a dowel rod secured with a nail. The track and clamp are all Hot Wheels pieces I drug out of the toy bin at home. The track had to be high enough to make the loop successfully. It also needed a little support in the middle of the track, so we used a straw taped to the underside of the track and top of the yard stick.

More Great Birthday Cake Ideas:

I’m also linking this post to Gluten-Free Wednesdays at The Gluten-Free Homemaker, where you’ll find lots of wonderful gluten-free recipes, reviews and ideas.

Aug
01

Fruit Pizza Dessert

Posted by: | Comments (18)

Every year, we get together with family to celebrate all the summer family birthdays. Most years, each person has already had a birthday cake to celebrate on their special day. So, when we finally all get together with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, we often do something other than birthday cake for the dessert. Last year, we had chocolate fondue for dessert. This year, I decided to make a dessert pizza with fresh fruit.

It was a busy weekend for us, and I actually decided last minute what I was making, so I took a short cut and used Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix for the crust. (FYI: The mix can be made egg-free, dairy-free, and peanut-free.) I combined two mixes to make a 16″ pizza crust. Then, I made a simple cream cheese spread to cover the huge sugar cookie crust, and topped it with slices of fresh fruit. It’s a simple and easy dessert, but very satisfying and pretty. You can use whatever fruit you have available. Make a design with the fruit, like I did, or simply pile it all on.

Gluten-Free Fruit Pizza Dessert

Ingredients:

Sugar Cookie Dough (2 Cherrybrook Kitchen mixes, 1 Cup margarine or Earth Balance dairy-free substitute, 1/2 Cup almond milk, 5 tsp vanilla)
8 oz. cream cheese [I use Tofutti's dairy-free Cream Cheese to make this dairy-free.]
1/2 Cup powdered sugar, sifted
Variety of fruit, sliced (I used 3 kiwis, a pint of strawberries and a handful of blueberries.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Make the sugar cookie crust. Follow the recipe as usual for the sugar cookie dough. (I combined two mixes with 1 Cup melted butter, 1/2 Cup almond milk, and 5 tsp vanilla.)
  3. Place the dough on a large sheet of Parchment Paper and top with a large sheet of plastic wrap. Then roll, or press, out the dough to a 16″ round. Remove the plastic wrap and slide the parchment paper with dough onto a Pizza Pan or cookie sheet.
  4. Place the large cookie dough into the oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until it starts to brown around the edges.
  5. Remove the pizza crust from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack. The parchment paper will make it easy to slide the crust off the cookie sheet and onto the wire rack.
  6. Mix up the cream cheese spread by thoroughly mixing together the cream cheese and powdered sugar.
  7. Once the crust is completely cooled, spread the cream cheese/sugar mixture evenly over the top of the crust.
  8. Now add the sliced fruit to the pizza. If you are going to make a fun design, I suggest you start in the middle and work your way out to the edges.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until time to serve.

Additional Notes:

  • We cut our pizza into 16 large servings.
  • Each Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix makes about 20 cookies.
  • One batch of homemade gluten-free sugar cookies works for the crust, too!
  • Feel free to use any variety of fruit: berries, peaches, nectarines, mango, cherries, etc. You can also use bananas, but remember they will brown so add them right before you serve it.
  • Want more fruit? Cut thick slices, overlap the fruit, or just pile it all on. Get creative and have fun!RedWhiteBlue
  • You can also use canned fruit, but be sure to drain any sauce or liquid completely from it, so it doesn’t make the pizza soggy.
  • Some of our family members added a scoop of vanilla ice cream to top their pizza slice. I don’t think it needs any topping, but if it sounds good to you, you may also consider topping with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or a simple glaze.
  • You don’t have to make this as a round pizza. Use a baking sheet/jelly roll pan for the crust. Then, cut into squares for serving. fruitsquaresOr, halve the recipe, press it into a 9×13 pan, and bake it for about 15-20 minutes.
  • This is such an easy dessert to make, it would be a great project for the kids to make.

Notable Links: