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The Finished Ball

One day, not long after I had gone gluten-free, my grandma, Honey, called me, to tell me of a recipe she made that just so happens to also be gluten-free.  I couldn’t have been more thrilled to think of a dessert with peanut butter and chocolate all in one that had NO GLUTEN!!  And takes about 10 minutes to make and 10 to bake!

After a lot of playing with the basic recipe my Honey had given me, I perfected a relatively low sugar dessert.  The secret is the chocolate chips stashed in the middle of the ball.

The peanut butter we use just has roasted peanuts and nothing else added.  I have often found that certain peanut butters make me sick and then I wonder if they’ve been crossed processed.  In Philadelphia you can get Crazy Richards, which was actually made by a local Philadelphian who ground his own peanuts.  Roomer has it from a parent I know that Richard use to run a small in-home daycare in the city, all the while, making his own peanut butter.

If we’re looking for an organic one, we have found Santa Cruz makes an excellent one.

Gluten-Free Inside-Out Peanut Butter Balls

Serving Size: about 20 1″ balls

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10-12 minutes

20130522-202617.jpgIngredients:

  • 1 cup of peanut butter – we use peanut butter that just has roasted peanuts and nothing else added
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips – we use Enjoy Life

Supplies:

  • large mixing bowl
  • spatula
  • cookie sheet
  • parchment paper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325*F.
  2. In a bowl, mix egg, sugar, and peanut butter all together until there is a smooth consistency.
  3. Take a pinch in your hand and roll it into a 1″ ball.

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    Rolling Batter into a Ball

  4. Use your thumb to place a small whole in the middle of it.
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    Small Well in Center of Ball

     

  5. Fill well with a handful of chocolate chips.
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    Filling Well with Chocolate Chips

     

  6. Fold over edges of dough around chips.
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    Folding Dough Edges around Chips

     

  7. Roll dough back into a ball.
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    Dough Rolled Back into Ball with Chips inside

     

  8. Bake at 325*F for about 10-12 minutes.  I like mine soft, but if you prefer them crisper, then bake for longer.

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    Ready to Bake

  9. Eat!

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Baked Hamantashan

So, when I picked up my daughter from school yesterday, they informed me that they would be eating Hamantashan.  I rushed home to see if I could replicate what I haven’t had in years.  I made gluten-free, dairy-free hamantashan and they were AMAZING!!  I got rave reviews.

Just as a note, lots of hamantashan are made with a citrus zest.  I really like mine just plain and simple, so I did not use any of that.

Stellar Hamantashan (GF/DF)

This recipe is adapted from the The Shiksa Blog:

Ingredients:

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Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I make my own, but the safest GF variety without alcohol is Frontier Vanilla Flavor)
  • 281.25 grams of GF multipurpose flour or about 9.92 oz (the real recipe called for 2 1/4 cup flours, which would be too much for this recipe.  If doing cups, I’d try about 2 cups for starters and you can always add as you go)
  • scant 1 tsp of Xanthan Gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 to 5 tsp water (if needed) – I did not need this
  • Any kind filling: jam, nutella, chocolate chips, poppy seed, etc.

You will also need

  • 1 baking sheets, 2 mixing bowls, wooden spoon, whisk,  parchment paper
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
Servings: About 16 cookies
Kosher Key: Pareve (depending on filling)

Directions:

1.Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Weigh your flour and then add baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum.20130221-185257.jpg
3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, canola oil, and vanilla.
4.  Slowly add dry ingredients to wet.
photo 1

Adding Dry Ingredients

Note:  this never formed the hard pastry dough I was thinking it would.  It was quite sticky.  I contemplated adding more flour, but decided it would be better to refrigerate.
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Mixed Wet and Dry

6. Refrigerate dough for about 20 minutes.

7.  On a sheet of parchment paper, break dough off and roll into about 1″ balls.  I completed each Hamantashan at a time, because the dough was a bit sticky and I didn’t want it to sit and get too warm.  Flatten them out, put a dollop of jam in the middle, then pinch corners together to make a triangle.

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Making the Hamantashan

8.  Place formed dough in a 350* oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes until edges just begin to brown.

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Finished Hamantashan

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The chewiest, moistest, even bendable cookies yet!

Yesterday my husband, daughter, and I were cooped up in the house because Hurricane Sandy (a.k.a. Frankenstorm) was upon us, and school was canceled.  We had spent the better part of the day in each others’ faces, so what better thing to do than to create something delicious and exciting.  I proposed to my daughter the idea of making something, and together we came up with cookies.  Now, you have to know that some how everything I bake gets tinkered with for a variety of reasons as you’ll see below.  I usually use my favorite King Arthur Box mix of GF cookies, because they come out soft and delicious.  However, I brought them to a party and my friend, Leah, said to me, “Mine are soo much better.  I leave 1/2 cup of GF flour out of the mix.”

Ok, she threw the challenge right in my face.  I was going to have to prove her wrong, but when I went to look at the recipe, it was so filled with sugar and butter, that there didn’t seem to be anything left of the cookie.  Well, that got me thinking what if I substituted maple syrup for the brown sugar.  It all seemed way too complicated.  Then I wondered what would happen if I baked with molasses.

I had just been reading about blackstrap molasses (unsulfured) its benefits; it is a good source of Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, B Vitamins, Vitamin E, Manganese, Potassium, and other trace minerals.  This is especially great for those with gluten sensitivities and Celiac disease, because we are often deficient in vitamin Bs and iron.  To read more, you can check out Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, Certified Nutritional Consultant.  I was gung-ho on figuring out how to cook with it.

I found a recipe from Joy the Baker for molasses chocolate chip cookies.  I was sold.  It seemed easy enough with my “proprietary” blend of GF flour that I have concocted.  I got out all of the ingredients and was quite pleased that I had everything in the house considering the fact that everything around us was closed for the hurricane.

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This was a take 3, because the first picture I had some how inserted the maple syrup and then there was a bit of a snafu.

So I begin mixing the flours, and melting the butter.  Then it’s time to make the homemade brown sugar, made by blending the sugar with the molasses.  As I’m reading a bit more carefully, I come to find that the recipe says Do Not Use Black Strap Molasses.  Of course if you look carefully at the ingredient list, I have blackstrap molasses.

Ahhhhhh!!!  Now what was I going to do.  The butter was melted, and flours combined . . . I texted everyone on my block I could think of for dark molasses.  The first response was a negative.  The second response was, “Oh, no.  It expired in 2008, but feel free to get it if you want to poison yourself.”  I took that as a negative.  The 3rd person had it!  Yippee!!

My daughter and I suit up to brave the storm just to get across the street with winds howling, but rain was at a minimum at this point in the day.

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Gearing up to battle Frankenstorm

We walk to our neighbor’s house to be greeted with a Please Come In.  They hand me the molasses and I couldn’t be more thrilled until I read that it, too, was blackstrap!  Blackstrap is more bitter than dark or light molasses and has less sugar in it.  Argh!!

Back to the drawing board.  Thank goodness we still had power.  I immediately began my research for what to do next.  Was there a substitute possible?  With a bit of persistence and digging, there was!  I was to cut the molasses in half with corn syrup.  And guess what?!!  I had corn syrup at home!!! Yippee!!  My cookies were going to make it!

I will say that the batter tasted better than ever, but when they cooked up, they were flat.  Most likely it has to do with using my “proprietary” gluten-free blend, but I’ve never encountered this problem before.  It also might have to do with my substitutions.  However, I was quite pleased with the end product, I will now call brittles.

The recipe as follows:

Frankenstorm Chocolate Chip & Molasses Brittle Cookies (GF, DF, SF)
(adapted from Joy the Baker’s Chewy Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies)

Servings: 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup of Earth’s Balance Buttery Spread (I use soy free version) or you can use butter or equal amount coconut oil
Roughly 1 & 7/8 c. GF flour blend of choice = about 262.6 grams (I always weigh my flour)
1 teaspoon himilayan salt (kosher salt will do)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon dark molasses, not blackstrap (I used 1/8 c. + 1/2 tsp of blackstrap + 1/8 c. + 1/2 tsp corn syrup)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used my own that I made, but I recommend Frontier Vanilla Flavor (no alcohol), because the alcohol can be grain alcohol and some people are sensitive to this)
2 cups Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
sea salt for sprinkling on top of cookies just before baking

The Execution:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.

2. Mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda and put aside.

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3. In a medium sized bowl, mix the granulated sugar and molasses (corn syrup and blackstrap) until no large molasses clumps remain.

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4. Pour the melted butter into a large bowl. Add the sugar/molasses mix.

5. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes. (Because the butter was melted and/or I used a dairy free butter, it never actually creamed).

6. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

7. Slowly add in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined.

8. Stir in the chocolate chips.

9. Chill the dough for about 20 minutes, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets.

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10. Lightly sprinkle each dough ball with a few flecks of sea salt.  It helps to bring out the chocolate flavor.

11. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 7 minutes.  (Rotate the baking sheet for even browning.)

12. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

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