Sunday, November 25, 2012

peppermint brownie-cakes

Last night I made these peppermint brownie cupcakes.  They're so simple and got audible yum sounds :) 

I started with:
  • A boxed brownie mix -- I personally prefer either Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownies or King Arthur Gluten Free Brownies.  This was made with the latter. 
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) melted butter
  • 3 large eggs -- I used my parents' duck eggs
  • Mini peppermint patties 
  • Chocolate chips or chocolate syrup -- I'll explain in Step 7 :)
  • 2-3 crushed candy canes
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place cupcake wrappers in a muffin pan - either regular or mini in size.  I used both, just to test it out.  They both work.

2. In a medium bowl, stir the mix with the melted butter and eggs. 

3. Divide the batter between cupcake cups, leaving more room in the cup than you normally would.  Tip: Use an ice cream scoop to measure the batter.

4. Place an unwrapped peppermint patty on top of the batter and press it down about halfway into the cup.  If it's too near the top, the peppermint patty will puff out.  If it's on the bottom, the peppermint filling with stick to the bottom of the wrapper. 
 5. Bake 18-22 minutes if making full-size cupcakes.  I baked my minis for about 15 minutes.
6. Cool completely on a cooling rack for roughly an hour. 

7. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler.  I've heard the microwave for 1 minute will work, but my chips only became grainy, and I didn't have the time for a double boiler.  In a hurry, I turned to chocolate syrup, which doesn't harden the way I wanted. 

8. Drizzle the chocolate over the cupcakes and sprinkle with the crunched-up candy canes.

Happy eating!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

pumpkin cake pops

Hello, readers!  I hope you each had a wonderful Thanksgiving with few (preferably no!) cross-contamination "oops" moments.

If you're not already pumpkined out - which tends to happen to most people at some point this time of year - here's a baked goodie that was a big hit at our Thanksgiving extravaganza on Thursday: gluten free pumpkin cake pops.  (Thanks to my boyfriend's mom, Jenny!)
First, Jenny combined a can of Libby's pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices, and a box of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix, and bake the cake according to the box directions.

Cool then crumble the cake:
Add cream cheese frosting to make the crumblies hold together:
Form balls of cake:
 Shove sticks into the balls for dipping while melting white chocolate:
Dip into the melted chocolate & roll in chopped nuts.  Tada!!
P.S. These are also really tasty sans chocolate & nuts. 

BTW, you'll soon be enjoying higher-quality photos thanks to an early Christmas present from Scott: a Nikon Coolpix L310 with a special food setting :)

Happy eating!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

thanksgiving recipe roundup: veggies, dip, & desserts

Hello!  My month got away from me, between my birthday and the election.  To make it up to you, here are a few recipes and tips worthy of Thanksgiving: a festive veggie plate, chip dip, tiramisu, and chocolate chip cheesecake. 

Here are tips from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness from 2011 and from NFCA staff, bloggers, and Facebook fans for this year.  

Most importantly: don't let yourself feel like a bother.  It's common to feel guilty about your dietary needs and try to compensate by making "normal" versions of the same foods.  If you don't give a choice or make a big deal that yours is different, your guests probably won't think about it :)  This is so simple, but it's what I'm worst at doing.

Now, on to the recipes! 

Veggie Plate

Here I used baby carrots; red, green, yellow, and orange bell peppers; celery under the peppers; cucumbers.  Most important: the celery feet and pepper face.  Yep, I totally snagged this from Pinterest. I served it with Marzetti Simply Dressed Ranch. 

Addictive Chip Dip with Rotel, Cream Cheese, and Sausage

Scott's mom recently made this for a little shindig, and it was awesome.  I easily ate half of it myself -- and it's so simple to make!!
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese 
  • 1 16-ounce package of sausage
  • 2 cans of Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chiles)
  1. I found that the store brand was the only one without MSG, but any will do, and I choose mild rather than medium.  That was plenty warm enough for me!
  2. Brown the sausage, and remove excess grease.  
  3. Add the cans of Rotel.  Some recipes suggest draining the Rotel, but I prefer to let the flavors merry in the skillet.  
  4. Let the liquid cook down, then add the cream cheese.  
Little tip: If you're like me and I only picked up one package of cream cheese, sour cream will do in a pinch.  I was more than skeptical!  Believe it or not, it doesn't impact the taste. 


Using Schar Ladyfingers, I made some terrific tiramisu for Halloween & my birthday. 
  • 3 large eggs, separated 
  • 4 tablespoons sugar 
  • 8 oz of mascarpone cheese - I found a tiramisu flavored one that was incredible! 
  • 2 tablespoons rum 
  • 1 package gluten-free Schar Ladyfingers 
  • 1-1/4 cups of brewed espresso 
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder - I couldn't find mine and used homemade hot chocolate mix instead.  Mmm!
  1. Beat the four egg yolks with the sugar, rum, and mascarpone.
  2. Beat the egg whites until stiff.  Use a mixer!  Your arm will get tired mixing by hand.   
  3. Fold the egg yolks and cheese blend in with the egg whites.  
  4. Soak the ladyfingers in the coffee.  Don't use too much coffee!  Sadly I learned the hard way that it will make the ladyfingers very mushy.  
  5. Make a layer of ladyfingers in a glass dish, then spread the mixture on it.  Repeat :)
  6. When finished, sprinkle cocoa powder on top. 
Little tip: With egg whites, stiff peaks hold their shape while soft peaks will flop over.  

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

A sweet friend made this for me for a Thanksgiving party over the weekend. Yum!  (Thank you, Katie!!)

  • Chocolate chip cookie mix for the crust - Our friend used the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Mix, which called for butter, vanilla, and egg.
  • 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. For the crust, make as directed then press in the bottom of the pie plate.  Set aside.
  3. Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl on low for 30 seconds.  
  4. Mix in vanilla and eggs.  
  5. Stir in chocolate chips, then pour into the pie plate on top of the cookie crust.
  6. Bake for 1 hour to 1-1/4 hours.  The cheesecake will be puffed and light brown.
  7. Allow the cake to rest in the oven for 15 minutes.  (The oven should be off with the door ajar.)
  8. Remove from oven, enjoy, and refrigerate any leftovers!

More to come tomorrow, including gluten-free pumpkin cake pops. Yeah, they're delish.  Happy eating!!