Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Brownie Thing!

Last night my husband, kids, and exchange student all decided to go fishing.  Um, fishing is not one of my top 10 fun activities to do.   So while they went fishing, I figured I could relax and watch a movie.  Um, well that didn't exactly happen.  BUT!  While I was at home, I could hear a commercial from the 80's running through my mind.  Does anyone remember this?

Nothing says I love you like......cookies.  Who knows why this was running through my mind, but it made me want to bake cookies for my kids.   I have tried on multiple occasions to bake cookies like the old fashioned gluten days.  I have learned that eggs are essential.  Without eggs, you end up with puddles that look like caramelized sugar blobs worthy of the local trash dump.

I found this recipe at one of my favorite blogs.  True, I can't claim credit for this recipe:)  But it is really amazing and the closest thing I have found to Nestle Toll House Cookies.  It resembles a yummy bar cookie with a slightly brownie like texture.  I have noted my changes below. 

So, when the kids returned last night after being feasted on by no see-ums, they were delighted with the "Nothing Says I Love You" allergy friendly substitute.  

Interesting side note:  Our Chinese exchange student says they don't eat soft and gooey cookies......he was appalled when I said we even eat the dough raw:)  ::Cough::  I would "never" lick the bowl at my age!!! 

Coconut and Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies
Chill before eating for best texture. or go the other route and zap in the microwave briefly to melt the chocolate chips. Life is short.

Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease an 8x8-inch baking pan with vegan shortening. Dust with a bit of gluten-free flour.  (I skip this and line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper and double the recipe.)

Whisk together dry ingredients:

1/3 cup coconut flour
2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup tapioca or potato starch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a separate bowl, beat to combine:

2/3 cup organic brown sugar
1/4 cup organic unsweetened applesauce (If you double the recipe, this equals one small container of applesauce ...the kind for a lunchbox.)
2 1/2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla
1 tablespoon agave  (you could sub honey)
1/4 cup light olive oil  (I use Coconut Oil) 
1/4 cup warm vanilla hemp, coconut milk or rice milk, more as needed  (I used Blue Diamond Almond Milk)
When the wet mixture is smooth, slowly add in the dry ingredient mix and beat just until combined.

Add in by hand:

2/3 cup shredded coconut  (I use unsweetened dessicated coconut.)
1/2 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips.


Dump the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread it evenly. Sprinkle on extra chocolate chips if you like (and press them gently into the top).  (I never do this part...)

Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven until the batter is set and slightly golden brown - anywhere from 22 to 30 minutes, depending upon altitude (at high altitude these took almost 35 minutes to bake). The surface should be slightly firm, like a blond brownie (if a finger touch leaves a dent, bake a tad longer).

Cool completely on a wire rack; chill before cutting and wrapping for storage.

These bars are moist and chewy, and are best eaten chilled. Hot from the oven they fall apart.

Makes 15 cookie bars.
Alexander enjoying the bounty! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Easy Crockpot Pulled Pork

If you are like me, your days are beyond full!  A typical day for me could include a full day of homeschooling, laundry, a Dr. visit, various emails and phone calls, and to top it all off music lessons for both kids.  On days like this I can't be cooking a three course meal! LOL:)  With multiple food allergies, I just can't run to McD's for dinner either.  Prepacked food?  Nope....nothing there either.  For days like this, I love to use the crock pot.  Easy, nutritious, and satisfying, crockpots save the day!  This is one our families favorites.  I usually keep a pork roast in the freezer as a backup.  This recipe is excellent for the freezer in case you do once a month cooking. 

Easy Crockpot Pulled Pork

1 Pork Roast
 (I normally use a pork shoulder roast.  I have been known to use a Boston Butt Roast.  If you are looking for a leaner pulled pork, you could use a Sirloin Roast.)

1 bottle of GF Beer ( or substitute 12 oz of Beef/Chicken Broth)

Salt to Taste

The extremely "complicated" instructions:)

Place the roast in the crockpot.

Pour beer/broth over the roast. 

 For this batch I used Hard Apple Cider.  I thought the flavor of the apple would taste wonderful with the pork. 

As you can see, the beer/broth does not cover the roast.  The beer is only about 1 inch deep.  This roast is approximately 4lbs.  If I was using a larger roast (i.e. 8 lbs), I would use 2 bottles of beer.  

Cover and cook on low for 10 hours.

After 10 hours, your roast should know look like this:


Remove from the crockpot and shred with two forks.  (Take the forks and pull them in opposite directions to "pull" the pork.)

Final Results:

Place the pulled pork back into the crockpot to soak in all of the juicy goodness of the beer.  Salt to taste.  I also add garlic powder too.  Because we drench with BBQ Sauce, I use a light hand with the seasoning.  

Our BBQ Sauce (I only find this at Wal-Mart). 

This sauce does contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  My children are fine with corn syrup - not corn proteins.  I will post a recipe for homemade HFCS-free  BBQ Sauce soon.  



Friday, August 3, 2012

Yummy Real Life Doughnuts!

When was the last time you had a doughnut?   I mean a "real" warm out of the oven doughnut.   I remember eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts before I turned gluten free 12 years ago.  ::Whisper:: Wanna know a secret?  I could eat an entire dozen by myself!!!  (Especially when they were hot!)  I thought the days of eating doughnuts were a distant memory.  My kids longed to know what a doughnut tasted like as they drooled over their friends treats.  Enter Babycakes NYC!    

I know you are thinking great - NYC!  I know what that means....New York City.  Never in my life will I eat them then.   True and not true:)  There are three Babycake Bakeries in the United States.  One is in NYC, one in LA, and one in Orlando.    Last year when we were in Orlando for a conference, going to Babycakes was at the top of my agenda!  No way was I leaving without a doughnut!  

It was gluten free allergy free heaven!!!
Did you know all of their baked goods are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, nut free, and most are corn free too?  (The only corn is in their baking powder and confectioners sugar as corn starch.  I have been told they occasionally have cornbread also.) 

These yummy gems come at a price though.  Six doughnuts or cupcakes for $18.00.  Yes, you read that correctly:)  Take a moment to breathe and then continue reading.....

Better?  Good.  The good news is that Erin the owner wrote a cookbook with the recipe in it.  So not only can you have the yummy doughnuts, you won't have to take out a second mortgage to afford them.  

Not only that!  She did an interview with Bon Appetit and they were allowed to post the recipe on-line.  Since, it is legally on-line I will not reproduce it here.  

You can find the full recipe here:

Couple of Hints for you though:

1.  I have found using spray oil (Crisco) rather than swiping the pans with straight oil works the best.  I found the nifty doughnut trays online at Amazon. 

2.  I use a tablespoon to measure the dough into the pans.  I place 2 tablespoons in first and then divide the remaining dough evenly.

3.  The recipe says to use a toothpick to evenly distribute the dough in the mold.  Um, well, I haven't found that too effective.  I just wash my hands well and use my finger.  A lot less time consuming!

4.  This recipe uses A LOT of vanilla.  One recipe uses one 2 oz bottle from a normal market.  May I suggest, a large bottle from Costco/Sam's.  I have used both the Kirkland brand and the Tones brand of PURE (NOT imitation) Vanilla successfully.

5.  One note on the cookbook.  Not all the recipes are gluten free.  Just didn't want you to be disappointed  when you cracked open the book and found a glutenous recipe.  

6. Enjoy:)

Here is a final picture.  These are the true gems from Babycakes. Mine look almost as good.  Better yet, they don't break the bank!