Honestly, these were just okay.  No nasty gluten-free taste, but they didn’t really rise at all.  The taste itself is fine, but a little plain.  They were a little doughy in the center.  Maybe could’ve used a bit more sugar, which I’ve accounted for in the recipe that’s posted.  This recipe originally came from Bob’s Red Mill.  Here it is:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1/3 c. Brown Sugar, packed

1 T. Earth Balance shortening

Egg Replacer for 2 eggs (I used 2 T. soy flour mixed with 2 T. warm water.  1 mashed banana could also be good, and the sugar could be reduced again)

2/3 c. Brown Rice Flour

1 T. Tapioca Flour

2 T. Potato Flour

2 t. Baking Powder

1/2 t. Sea Salt

1 c. Oat Milk (or other non-dairy milk)

1/2 c. Rice Bran

1/3 c. chopped nuts (I used pecans, but walnuts could be good too)

1/2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries (or other dried, fresh, or frozen fruit)

Whisk together the flours with the baking powder and salt.  Whip up the egg replacer, and add alternately to the mixture with the milk.  Stir in rice bran last, then nuts and fruit.

Bake in greased muffin tins for 20 to 25 minutes (mine took closer to 30).

Makes 8 smallish muffins.

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These are by far the most successful gluten-free cupcakes I’ve made to date.  In fact, they may be the most successful gluten-free thing I’ve made–ever.  The batter tasted good from the start, which is always a good sign.  They cooked up perfectly in the oven, with a moist, light, and slightly crumbly cake texture, and weren’t too sweet with the frosting on top.  Originally, this recipe came from Karina’s Kitchen, and I used a frosting recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen.  I have to say, this frosting kicks ass as well.  The secret is in the Almond Extract.  I would definitely make these again.  They’re even good enough to serve to non-gluten-free people.  I made a half recipe, but here’s the full one:

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners.

Whisk together the dry ingredients:

3/4 rounded c. sorghum flour (I used 1/3 rounded cup for half recipe)

3/4 rounded c. potato starch, cornstarch or tapioca starch (I used potato starch, and again 1/3 c. for half recipe)

1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 c. organic cane sugar

1/2 t. sea salt

1 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

1 t. xanthan gum

Add in and beat till smooth:

1 c. warm rice milk (not too hot or it will make the potato starch gluey)

1 T. Egg Replacer (I used 2 T. Soy Flour mixed with 2 T. warm water)

3 T. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

2 t. bourbon vanilla extract

1/2 t. apple cider vinegar (or other light tasting vinegar)

Beat the batter for a full two to three minutes until all the ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth.  I used a 1/4 c. measuring cup to scoop the batter into the cups.  Bake in the center of a preheated oven till done (mine took exactly 20 minutes).  Cook the cupcakes on a wire rack (don’t let them sit in the baking pan too long or they’ll get soggy).  Frost when completely cooled.  See recipe for frosting below.

Vegan Chocolate Icing Recipe

This is probably the best vegan frosting I’ve ever made.  Perfect consistency, spreads easily, and hardens nicely after a few hours.  Not too greasy, but it is pretty sweet.  Again, I made a half recipe here, to cover 6 cupcakes.  Here’s what the full one would be:

1/2 c. (1 stick) Earth Balance shortening

2/3 c. cocoa powder (I used some sweetened dark chocolate chips for making hot chocolate, and melted them in the microwave)

2 c. powdered sugar

1/3 c. unsweetened soymilk

1 t. vanilla extract

1 1/2 t. almond extract

Melt the shortening (I did this in a small bowl in the microwave).  Add cocoa and stir.  Add powdered sugar and soymilk, then beat on medium for about a minute (I just did this by hand with a spoon), or until it’s a good consistency for spreading.  Stir in extracts and frost away!

Note:  I added about 6 T. more soymilk because it was pretty think, and that helped a lot with spreading it onto the cupcakes.  However, that might have been because I used solid chocolate instead of cocoa powder.

Kale Soup Extraordinaire

December 17, 2009

This is a recipe that I actually really like.  It originally came from the New York Times website, but I’ve changed and added a lot of things.  It’s been veganized, and has a lot more variety and flavor.  Mostly, I was just trying to use up things in the fridge.  This is definitely something that I would make again.  I cut the recipe in half, which was just about perfect for three hungry people.  Next time, I would add more garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.  I’ve put these adjustments into my version:

Kale Soup Extraordinaire

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped

6 large cloves garlic, minced (I used only 3 or 4, but it could have used the extra flavor)

salt, to taste

1/4 c. millet

1/2  lb red potatoes, sliced thin

1 bay leaf

1/2 c. parsley

1 1/2 t. thyme

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 1/2 carrots, sliced into thin rounds

1/4 lb mushrooms, sliced

1/2 lb kale, washed thoroughly

2 c. water

3 c. vegetable broth

Freshly ground pepper

Heat 1/2 T. of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot, and add the onion.  Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes.  Add the garlic and 1 t. salt.  Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute.  Stir in the potatoes, add the water, and 2 cups of the vegetable broth.  Add the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes until the potatoes are starting to fall apart.

While the soup is simmering, you can wash and prepare the other veggies.  For the kale, stack the leaves, roll them up tightly and slice crosswise into very thin filaments.

When the potatoes have begun to fall apart, stir in the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and kale, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered.  The veggies should be tender but not become too mushy.  Add the last cup of vegetable broth (feel free to add more if you want a brothier soup), more pepper and more salt to taste if needed, and stir in the other 1/2 T. olive oil.  Serve with crusty bread.

Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

December 16, 2009

This is a recipe that I actually made about two days ago. I’m not gonna lie, it needs some improvement. In my opinion, it’s edible. Not a lot of the nasty gluten-free taste, but it doesn’t quite have that irish soda bread texture to it yet. Originally, this is a recipe from the Gluten Free Goddess, who adapted it from a Whole Foods recipe and made it without gluten. To make it vegan, I had to make vegan buttermilk, which changed the baking soda/baking powder ratios, along with a few other things.

This recipe had a few problems. First of all, I would make individual scones next time instead of one big loaf. When I first took the irish soda bread out of the oven, I thought it was done, and later discovered that the center still wasn’t cooked all the way through. I proceeded to keep baking the bread throughout the day, but all that did was crisp up the outside while leaving the center still slightly mushy. Individual scones might fix this.

Here’s my version:

Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a small souffle dish for a round loaf, or a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan (the standard size) for a square loaf, or just use a baking sheet for individual scones.

1 c. sweet rice flour
3/4 c. teff flour
1/4 c. tapioca flour
1 T. sugar
1 t. xanthan gum
1 1/4 t. baking soda

1 c. currents, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
1 c. vegan buttermilk* (you’ll need 1 T. vinegar plus almost 1 c. soy milk)
6 T. EarthBalance butter, melted
Egg Replacer for 1 egg (I used 1 T. flax seed blended with 3 T. water)

Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir them together.

*For the buttermilk mixture, first add 1 T. vinegar to a 1 c. measuring cup, then fill the rest of the way with soy milk. Stir together, and let sit for at least ten minutes. I used apple cider vinegar, but I think you’re supposed to use regular white vinegar.

In a second, smaller bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together. You’ll want to mix the egg replacer in a separate bowl before adding it to the rest of the wet ingredients. Make a small well in the dry ingredients, then slowly pour the wet ingredients into the well, then stir until just combined. The dough should be pretty sticky, but not too dry.

I formed the dough into one big round shape for the souffle dish, but next time I would form individual triangles or mounds and place them on a baking sheet. If using one big dish, bake for 30 minutes or so, until a butter knife comes out clean when inserted into the center. If making scones, it might take less time, so watch them closely.

Technically, this biscotti is sugar-free, too. Originally, this recipe came from the Gluten-Free Goddess, who has her own blog of gluten-free recipes. Some of her stuff is also vegan, which is always helpful. I’ve changed a few things, like using soy four for eggs, and a honey instead of Agave Nectar when it ran out mid-measuring.

There were a few mishaps as usual… I’ve gotten into the habit of halving recipes, mostly just because of the lack of people available to eat them. With a household of three healthy people, it can take awhile to get through a batch of cookies, especially if it’s one of the not-so-delicious batches. This time, I halved everything as usual, and had just dumped the wet ingredients into the dry ones, when a funny little feeling creeped up. The shortening. Something just wasn’t right. I checked the package again, and sure enough, while I had halved everything else just perfectly, I had put in the full amount of shortening. So… after scooping out the buttery mixture from the chocolaty flour in a haste, I went back and doubled everything else to make the full recipe. That means 20 biscottis now instead of ten, but that’s okay. In the end, I think they turned out okay. They were pretty crumbly, and I thought they could have been a little sweeter. Overall though, they were one of the more successful gluten-free adventures. Here’s the recipe:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Biscotti

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I usually do this after mixing the dry ingredients. I can never seem to get everything all measured and mixed in the ten minutes it takes the oven to heat up).

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl:
1 c. millet flour (you can also use sorghum flour, but I used millet)
2/3 c. buckwheat flour
1/3 c. quinoa flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 t. baking sodacic
1 t. sea salt
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
just a little bit of nutmeg
1 t. xanthan gum

Add in:
3/4 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (I used pecans in mine)

In a separate bowl, blend:
1/2 c. EarthBalance Shortening
2/3 c. organic raw agave nectar (I used mostly honey instead because I ran out of agave nectar. Not very vegan of me though)
1/3 c. sesame tahini (you could also use sunflower seed butter)
1 T. vanilla extract, or even a little more
Egg Replacer for 2 large eggs – I used 1 T. soy flour and 1 T. water in this recipe
2 T. Oat Milk (any non-dairy milk would probably work fine)

Scoop the creamed wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir well until combined. The dough will be pretty stiff – using a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula works better than a hand mixer. The dough should stick together but not be too wet or sticky itself. If it’s too dry, add a tablespoon of oat milk (or whatever non-dairy milk you used) at a time until it’s the right consistency. When the dough holds together if you press it into a mound, it’s ready. Scoop the mound of dough onto the prepared baking sheet and press with a rubber spatula or your hands to make a long log shape. Smooth the surface so it’s slightly flattened mound shape. It should be uniform and even – the width and height you want your biscotti to be. Mine was bout 4 inches and maybe 3 inches high, but it spreads slightly when it bakes. Later, you’ll be slicing the dough crosswise.

Bake the dough in the center of a preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes – depending on your individual oven temperature and the size of the dough log (I baked mine for about 35 minutes total, which was maybe a little too much). The dough should bake up firm and be dry in the center when you insert a knife to test it. Take the dough log out of the oven and let it cool for at least 20 minutes. For round-two of baking, set your oven low, to 275 or 300 degrees F (I did 300 degrees F).

When the dough log is cool enough to handle, hold it in place with one hand and slice it crosswise with a sharp serrated knife. You should get about 20 biscotti. Lay each biscotti on the parchment paper and bake them for 10 to 12 minutes or so. You want them to crisp up in the oven, but don’t let them burn. Place them carefully on a cooling rack when done (I let them sit on the baking sheet for awhile – maybe not the best idea). They will crisp up even more as they cool. You can wrap the biscotti individually and store them bagged in the freezer for best results, and keep a few on hand in the fridge to eat within a day or so.

Should make 20 biscotti.