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Archive for September, 2012

Since the last time I posted, my life has been a swift succession of those two things in the title. Birthdays, the start of a new work/school year, and a few other new things have made for an exciting couple of months filled with God’s blessings.

Celebrations usually mean special food, so these can be difficult for the new gluten-free cook. I know. Our first gluten-free, dairy-free Thanksgiving and Christmas were strange, Strange, STRANGE! However, it can be a LOT of fun to experiment and recreate the old traditional favorites, sans gluten, and to find some new favorites too!

In the past 8 weeks, I have cooked up two gluten-free birthday parties (with quite a few dairy-free choices as well)! Let’s celebrate together!

For my youngest sister’s 14th birthday, we had…

Macaroni and Cheese Gluten-free, Dairy-free

 

Onion Rings GF/DF and Corn Free

 I forgot to photograph these!  Silly me…

Cheese Sticks GF, with Pepper Jack Cheese–yum!

 

Cake! GF/DF/Corn Free
Vanilla Cake, covered with hand-painted fondant, with a buttercream elephant

 

I had a little fun making buttercream fondant figures, too!

A couple weeks later, a good friend of mine celebrated a special birthday with the following…
(It is worth noting that my friend and her family are gluten-eaters, and they enjoyed these gluten-free treats!)

Cupcakes GF/DF, decorated with delectable dairy free buttercream frosting!

  

Cream Puffs GF, can be made DF

 See recipe below for photos!

Ham and Cheese Bites GF, could be DF with special cheese

 

Chicken Salad GF, DF and delicious!

 

Cake inspired by Sleeping Beauty GF/DF

  

If this cake looks like a mess, yay! I got it right! If you haven’t seen the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty in a while, go watch the scene where Fauna makes Briar Rose’s birthday cake. It’s very entertaining!

The cake is made of Rice Krispy treats (Gluten Free Rice Krispies, of course!), covered in marshmallow fondant, then stuck together with buttercream frosting. The broom is painted marzipan.

WOW!

What a lot of celebrating we have done lately! God really blessed us with a ton of great recipes, and much success in the kitchen! All the recipes from this post will appear here in the next few weeks, but I’d like to start with my personal favorite. This recipe is great because it is SO easy, and incredibly versatile. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free, Corn-Free Cream Puffs or Éclairs
With a Dairy-Free option!

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter  (or Dairy Free shortening, I like butter flavored Spectrum)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt 
14 Tbsp white rice flour, or your favorite GF flour mix (no xanthan or guar gum needed!)
4 large eggs

In a saucepan, bring water, butter, vanilla and salt to a gentle boil. Add rice flour all at once and stir until mixture is smooth and cohesive.  It will look like this:

Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to a smooth dough between each addition.  When you’re done, it will look like this:

For cream puffs, use a pastry bag to pipe small mounds about 2″ apart, or use two teaspoons and shape into small balls. For éclairs, use a pastry bag and pipe into 4″ logs onto a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure to leave plenty of room between each. (They puff!)  I recommend using a pastry bag to shape your dough–it doesn’t take long, and the results are beautiful!

Before baking:

After baking:

Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes (until slightly brown on top).

  

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  As you transfer them, poke a hole in each one with a small paring knife.  This lets excess steam escape and keeps the insides from getting soggy.  It also provies a perfect entry point for piping in filling!

This recipe can be halved. (But why would you want to???)

Note: It is Essential to either line your baking sheet or butter it well. These will stick to the sheet otherwise, and you will lose the bottom half of each one. I recommend parchment or a Silpat—easy cleanup!

Filling
1 cup whipping cream 
powdered sugar to taste
Beat together on high speed until stiff. Refrigerate.

For stiffer filling:
1 cup whipping cream
powdered sugar to taste
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin, bloomed in 2T cold water, then melted
Beat together cream and sugar until soft peaks form.  Add in melted gelatin and continue to beat until stiff.  Refrigerate until needed.

Optional Topping
4 oz. good quality semi-sweet chocolate
Melt chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water. Stir until smooth.

Allow pastry to cool. Carefully dip each in chocolate to coat the top. When the chocolate has set, fill each with whipped cream either by splitting each in half with a knife or by pressing a round tip of a pastry bag gently through the side and piping full. Once filled, these can be frozen until wanted. (If you can stand not to eat them immediately!)

Other tasty fillings for these lovely shells:

  • Butter and Jam
  • Fruit and Whipped Cream (like shortcake) (Passion Fruit folded into Whipped Cream is lovely!)
  • Egg Salad, Tuna Salad or other savory, even Taco Salad
  • Ricotta cheese, mixed with Meyer lemon juice, zest and a touch of sugar

Do you have a favorite recipe you have converted to be allergy-friendly?

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