Monday, September 17, 2012

Gluten Free Apple Bread!

Hello all! It's getting fall-like outside, so there's only one thing to do - APPLE PICKING! This is our second year apple picking, but I can't believe I didn't do it before. So fun! Anyways, in honor of fall and Rosh Hashanah, I decided to try to make a gluten free apple bread. It turned out pretty good! Here's the recipe:

Gluten Free Apple Bread
(Adapted from: this recipe)

  • 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar free maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • Mix the flours together with xanthan gum in bowl 
  • Add remaining ingredients (except apple) in stand mixer and mix - this "dough" is really more of a batter-like consistency, it won't be like normal bread dough, but don't worry!
  • Chop apple, mix with a bit of lemon juice (this will keep it from turning brown), and fold into the batter
  • Pour batter into prepared bread pan
  • Let bread sit in pan for 45 minutes, in warm spot (it won't really rise like normal bread does, but that's ok)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 55ish minutes (start checking around 45 minutes, it may take a bit shorter or a bit longer)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Choux Pastries!

Hello and welcome to another Daring Baker's Challenge! Kat of The Bobwhites was our August 2012 Daring Baker hostess who inspired us to have fun in creating pate a choux shapes, filled with crème patisserie or Chantilly cream. We were encouraged to create swans or any shape we wanted and to go crazy with filling flavors allowing our creativity to go wild!

Choux Pastries with Peanut Butter Chocolate Crème Filling
Pastry adapted from: Steamy Kitchen 
Chantilly cream adapted from: Martha Stewart

Ingredients (Choux Pastry AKA Pâte à Choux):
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 eggs
Ingredients (Crème filling - Chantilly Cream):
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon PB2
This was a "fun shaped pastry" - I wasn't too creative, but it would be super fun to make different shapes!


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Mix water, salt and butter in pot over medium heat.
  3. When mixture is just bubbling, add flour, turn off heat, and mix vigorously until a dough forms - about 1 minute.
  4. Transfer dough to stand mixer, start the mixer to cool it down a bit. 
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure the each one is fully incorporated before adding the next (this is important - you don't want to cook the eggs!)
  6. Once this is done, either pipe the dough onto a prepared sheet or spoon it on (this just depends on whether you want to have fun shapes, or regular cream puff shapes)
  7. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.
  8. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for about 25 minutes. Start checking the dough around 18 minutes to see if it's done. It could take as long as 30 minutes, but mine only took about 25.
  9. While the choux pastries are baking or cooling, make the Chantilly cream. This step is super simple - simply add everything in a stand mixer and mix until you have a whipped-cream like consistency!
  10. Enjoy your pastries!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Four Ingredient Gluten Free Bread

Have you ever had beer bread? It's delicious and so easy to make! All you have to do is combine your favorite bottle (or can) of beer, 3 cups flour, and about a tablespoon of sugar, and bake at 375 for 45-55 minutes. DELICIOUS. However, recently I have had to eat a gluten free diet and I MISS BREAD. I've tried a few gluten free breads from the store, but they all have an odd taste or weird texture. This is my first attempt at a gluten free bread, and I think it turned out ok.

Before making this bread, keep in mind a few things: (1) Beer bread is better, if that's an option, make that!, (2) this bread isn't bad, but the texture is not all it could be, (3) you should really like the taste of cider to make this bread, because that flavor didn't bake out as well as beer flavor bakes out of beer bread.

So, if all of those things sound good to you, or Cider Bread just sounds good, here's the recipe!

Four Ingredient Gluten Free Bread
(AKA Cider Bread)
Adapted from: Farm Girl Fare's Beer Bread Recipe

3 cups gluten free flour (I used this, but any gluten free combo should do) 
1 bottle hard cider (I think this is all gluten free, but check the bottle to make sure there isn't anything else in it)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
Water, if needed (my bread dough was a bit dry, so I added about 1/4 cup water at the end)

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
2. Mix all ingredients, adding water as needed
3. Bake for 35-45 minutes (start checking at 35 minutes, mine was done around then)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympics Cupcakes!

I LOVE the Olympics! I could not be more excited that they're starting today! So, in honor of the Olympics, I made Olympics/British cupcakes! This was mainly just regular vanilla cupcakes with marshmallow buttercream, but I think they turned out super cute! (If you want these cupcake decorations, you can find them here)

For the cupcakes I just used a generic vanilla cupcake recipe, but I added a teaspoon of this pralines and cream flavoring. I think it works really well with a plain cupcake. Of course, since these cupcakes are really about the decorations, any flavor cupcake will do!

For the frosting, I used marshmallow creme butter cream. I didn't know that you could do this, but since I had a jar of marshmallow creme lying around, I decided to look it up. This recipe actually turned out so well! The frosting was thick, so it was easy to pipe onto the cupcakes, but not too thick. It was also so easy! I'll for sure be using this recipe again.

Marshmallow buttercream:
(adapted from: here)
1 16-ounce container of marshmallow creme/fluff
3 sticks butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 - 3/4 cup powdered sugar

1. Whip the marshmallow creme in a stand mixer
2. Cut the sticks of butter into 4 pieces each. Add each into the marshmallow creme, incorporating well after piece.
3. Add in the vanilla and almond extract.
4. Add in 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Add in more if you think it'll be a better texture.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bastille Day Muffins!

When I was in college, I took French. Not my brightest idea, since, after 7 years of Spanish, I tried to pronounce everything as if it were in Spanish. Oh, well. Anyways, since I was taking French, I tried to do French things. The extent of that included watching movies I already knew in French (it sort of helped) and making Bastille Day Muffins (it was no help at all, but fun!) My roommates at the time LOVED the muffins, so now it's become a tradition and I make them every year. They're super easy and delicious.

Bastille Day Muffins
Adapted From: All Recipes 


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup melted butter 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix everything in bowl (seriously, these muffins could not be easier - just mix it all in, in whatever order you want - there can even be lumps and they will turn out great)
3. Place batter in greased muffin tin (this makes 12 muffins)
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes (check at 20)
5. Take muffins out, and let cool a bit so that they're warm, but easy to handle
6. Melt butter for topping and create sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg mixture
7. Roll muffins first in butter, then in sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg mixture
8. Serve and Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Battenberg Cake! A Daring Bakers Challenge

For this month's Daring Bakers Challenge, the recipe was Battenberg Cake! I had never heard of (or seen) Battenberg Cake, so I was pretty excited! It turns out that the cake is a British cake, and so this recipe is in honor of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee! How fun! I used the traditional Battenberg cake recipe supplied in the challenge, but I changed it a bit. SO, here's the recipe I used!

Battenberg Cake
Adapted from Daring Bakers Challenge
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar (the recipe calls for caster sugar, but I used granulated and it was fine)
1 1/4 cup flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (reduce if using self-rising flour)
1 teaspoon salt (omit if using self-rising flour)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 vanilla bean (if you're feeling fancy! Totally optional though)
Food coloring of your choice

Modeling Chocolate:
7 ounces milk chocolate
3 tablespoons corn syrup (light) 

Inside of the cake

Modeling Chocolate:
1.  Make modeling chocolate first, as it has to sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours
2. To make modeling chocolate, melt chocolate in double broiler or in microwave (heat in increments of 15-30 seconds - don't let it burn!)
3. After the chocolate is thoroughly melted, stir in corn syrup, put in baggie and refrigerate until ready to use
4. When ready to use, knead with powdered sugar until soft and workable

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare 8x8 pan with parchment paper (see tutorial here)
2. If you haven't already ground the almonds, grind in food processor until fine (note: this will not be super fine, but it will still work)
3. Mix all ingredients in stand mixer
4. Take out half of the batter and mix your colors in each of the halves
5. Put half the batter in one half of the pan, and half in the other
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes
7. Let cool
8. Cut each half in half (the long way)
9. Arrange in the alternating pattern, putting the jam of your choice in between each slice (this will act as a glue)
10. Roll out modeling chocolate so it will cover the cake
11. Cover the cake and refrigerate until ready to serve!
12. ENJOY!

There are a lot of varieties to this cake - look around online, there are some really fun ones! (Like this Rubik's Cube cake!). Also, don't be discouraged with this one, it's a bit tricky. I sadly forgot to put sugar in until I'd already put the cake in the pan! I had to scoop it out and stir it in by hand - not a total disaster, but not my finest baking moment. Anyways, the point is, this was a super fun cake to make, just don't let the hiccups discourage you!

 I used milk chocolate modeling chocolate, but you can use dark or white, or use fondant or marzipan. I also chose to use purple and green, but any two colors work - have fun with it!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Daring Bakers' Challenge - CHALLAH!

Challah. I LOVE CHALLAH. As my first Daring Bakers Challenge, I'm pretty psyched. It's like easing me into the process. Anyways, growing up I had challah all the time. The local bagel shop had probably the best challah ever, in fact, when I go home, I usually insist on eating challah with literally every meal. So, when I found out the May Daring Bakers Challenge was challah, I was very excited. I have made challah a few times before, but since it's a long process and I don't have a recipe I love, I don't do it too often. This time, I decided to make two loves, one savory (sesame/poppy seed) and one sweet (dried cranberry). I used King Arthur Flour's Classic Challah Recipe because I've had very good luck with their other bread recipes (croissants, English muffin bread, Scali bread). I made a few changes to the recipe, but overall I thought it turned out great.

Recipe adapted from: King Arthur Flour

1 cup warm water
12 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (the original recipe calls for honey, but since I didn't have honey, I used maple syrup - I thought it worked well!)
4 large eggs
8 cups flour
4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoon instant yeast
Add-ins: Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, cranberries, etc.
For egg wash: 1 egg with 1 tablespoon water, beaten

  1. First, mix all ingredients except add-ins and egg wash in mixer with dough hook. Mix until everything has come together into a stiff dough.
  2. Split dough in two equal part, put each in a greased bowl (I used Pam) and cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise for 2 hours. NOTE: If adding in anything that should be incorporated into the dough, such as cranberries, this is the time to do it. Take out your first half of dough and place it into another bowl. Use the mixer to mix the add-ins into the remaining dough half. Then place half into bowl with plastic wrap. 
  3. After two hours, split each half into three small "strands." These can be short, as they will rise a bit more over the next 10 minutes. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
  4. Roll each strand into long strands, maybe 15-20 inches long. Put the end of the three strands together and pinch them so they stay. Braid the loaf as you would a normal braid and pinch the other end. Put on a baking sheet with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with other loaf. Let rest and hour to an hour and a half.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put one loaf in the refrigerator (this will ensure the bread doesn't over-proof). With the other loaf, brush egg wash over entire loaf. DO NOT OVER EGG-WASH. (This happened to me on my second loaf. It was still tasty, but one side definitely tastes a bit like scrambled eggs). NOTE: If putting seeds (or anything else) on top, this is the time to add them on. Bake the loaf in the oven for 20 minutes, then put a foil tent on it and bake for another 20. Take out of the oven, you're done!
  6. Repeat step 5 with the other loaf. Now you're really done!
  7. HELPFUL TIP: King Arthur's website suggests placing two cookie sheets under the bread to ensure it doesn't get too crispy on bottom. I did this and the loaves turned out great! Since I did do it, I don't know how they'll turn out with only one cookie sheet, but the crust could burn or become too thick.
  8. ALTERNATIVES: There are many ways to braid challah. There are 4 strand loaves, round loaves, challah rolls, etc. If you google the type you want, there are tons of tutorials out there.
 Photos of Steps 4 and 5:

Photos of the savory challah!

Photos of the sweet challah!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Two Frostings!

Today I had a little extra time, so I decided to make cupcakes! Because the hubby loves peanut butter cups, and my mom loves sending him them, we have an abundance of Reese's around the house. We also recently discovered Biscoff Spread (or the off-brand Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Spread). So, I decided to make chocolate cupcakes, half with peanut butter frosting and half with Biscoff frosting!

Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe from: The Family Kitchen

1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar (optional)
3/4 cup cocoa
1 cup milk (any type, dairy or non-dairy)
2 eggs
1 cup coffee (I used this)
1/2 cup oil (I used vegetable)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in stand mixer on low. Try to get all the lumps out (it's ok if there are a few left). 
Pour batter into 24 prepared muffin tins (about 1/2 - 3/4 full).

Bake 12 at a time for 25 minutes.

Peanut Butter or Biscoff Frosting
Adapted from: All Recipes

1/2 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter or Biscoff spread
2-4 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Place all ingredients in mixer and mix until smooth. Note: this frosting will be VERY thick. That's ok! If you like it like that, you're done! If not, you can add more milk to thin it out. 





Fun Cupcake Tips!
I used a cupcake corer and put mini Reese's in the peanut butter frosted cupcakes. I also used the corer on the Biscoff frosted cupcakes and put these chocolate bars inside. 

I also garnished the peanut butter cupcakes with Reese's and the Biscoff cupcakes with Piroulines.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Homemade Croissants!

Today I really felt like making something that took a bit more time and was a little more involved. I was going to make ciabatta, but I forgot to make the sponge last night (I was SO bummed when I realized this morning!) Luckily, I found this recipe for homemade croissants. They turned out so well! It was my first time make croissants, but I think they came out really nice, not perfect, but definitely croissants. This recipe is very time consuming, but totally worth it. It's also a bit complicated, but if you read the instructions carefully and look at the pictures for guidance, it's not too bad.

Recipe from: King Arthur Flour 


Croissant dough (beginning)
2 eggs, plus enough water to make 2 cups of liquid
1/4 cup sugar
6 cups flour
1 packet instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Butter mixture
1 7/8 cups butter (cold)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour

I would try to explain this, but it's much too complicated and King Arthur Flour has excellent instructions, with pictures. To find the instructions, go to the recipe here.

Fun Tip: The recipe has you cut off the edges of the dough so that you have a perfect rectangle. Instead of throwing that dough away, you can twist it and then refrigerate it (as you would the croissant dough) and make cheesy (or not cheesy) bread sticks! Right before putting the bread sticks in the oven, brush with the same egg wash and sprinkle with cheese. Then, follow the instructions for cooking the croissants, except lower then baking time to 10 minutes at 425 degrees and 10 (or even 8) minutes at 350 degrees. Yum!


Banana, Mango, Avocado Mini Muffins!

I went to the store today, and I just happen to pick up bananas, mangoes and avocados. I wanted to make something with all three and I came across a recipe for muffins. With a bit of tweaking, I came up with a super easy, super fun recipe!

Banana, Mango, Avocado Mini Muffins
Adapted from:

1 mango, cubed
2 bananas (extra ripe)
1 avocado (soft)
1 stick butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/8 - 1/4 cup molasses
2 3/4 cup flour
1/4 oat bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 - 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup dried cranberries

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place bananas, avocado and butter into bowl. Beat in stand mixer until mostly smooth (it won't be perfectly smooth, but that's ok)
3. Add eggs, sugar, molasses.
4. Add flour, oat bran, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla.
5. Add about 1-2 cups dried fruit (I used dates and cranberries, but anything would work) and cubed mango, stir in by hand.
6. Bake in mini-muffin tins for 15 minutes, at 350 degrees.