Tag Archives: dairy-free

Gluten-Free Baking Class? Yes Please!

Hi Everyone, Ally here, I am excited make a guest appearance on Kelley’s fantastic food blog!

As you know from Kelley’s recent post she and EPC have had a very busy month or so thanks to Coco, the new adorable addition to their family. In the midst of her hectic month Kelley did make time to attend a Gluten-Free Baking Class, with me, at the City Arts Centre. It was her idea, because she loves baking, and I am the lucky Celiac friend who often benefits from her passion for new foods.

There were 11 of us in the class, all ladies, about a 50/50 split between “there for their own health or interest” and “there for their husband’s gluten intolerance.”

“Where are all the husbands?” Kelley wondered aloud.

After brief introductions and a short overview by our instructor, Jody Shenkarek (former co-owner of the fabulous Cafe Mosaics), we split up into groups of 2 or 3 and headed into the large kitchen to test our baking skills. Each group had chosen two of the recipes in the handout provided so that by the end of the evening we would be able to sample a bit of everything.

Kelley and I were joined by a lovely older lady named Jean and the three of us set to work mixing up a batch of  Basic Gluten Free Flour Mix.  We made a double batch to provide the basic ingredients for most of the groups. Rather than sifting we mixed the Basic Flour ingredients with a whisk which certainly did the trick.
Our group’s first recipe was for Basic Scones, which was very exciting! Both Kelley and I  love scones!

Baking by committee in a crowded kitchen had its challenges but we managed to gather all the ingredients measure them properly and keep track. In the recipe it says to flour a surface and your hands when splitting the dough into two batches. Well, the GF flour mix doesn’t behave like regular wheat flour so Jody, our instructor, took over – simply plopping the halved dough right onto the parchment and using slightly floured hands to shape it. It provided a good “teachable moment” for her.

Our scones turned out perfect and all three of us were quite pleased.

I have since made these scones at home adding an eighth of a cup (1/8 C) defrosted frozen blueberries to one half, and sprinkling chopped pistachios and mission figs on top of the second half. They turned out delicious! However the berries added a lot of moisture so the scones needed an extra
3 to 5 minutes to fully cook and brown nicely. Personally I think you should experiment with the options – I used to love Berry and White Chocolate, or Cheese and Spinach scones – from Good Earth Café in Calgary. The Basic Scone recipe is straightforward and easy to experiment with, so don’t be afraid to get creative.

Once our scones were in line for the oven, we set to work on the Nut Crackers. I will continue with this recipe in Part 2 of Gluten-Free Baking Class!

Stay tuned.

Basic Gluten Free Flour Mix (makes 6 cups of basic mix)

4 Cups Superfine Brown Rice Flour
1 & 1/3 Cups Potato Starch (NOT potato flour)
2/3 Cup Tapioca flour (which is a.k.a. tapioca starch)

  • Sift in bowl or put into an extra-large Ziplock bag and shake to mix – keep remainder refrigerated!

Caution: when measuring, pour into measuring cup rather than scooping it – Then level off the top with a knife.
This will avoid packing it too densely and mixing  up the proportions.

Basic Scones (makes 1 dozen)

3/4 cup of plain yogurt (I used plain dessert tofu with no problems!)
3/4 cup milk (substitute rice or soy milk to make them dairy-free)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups Basic Gluten Free Flour mix (see above)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoon baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (NOT wax paper)
  • In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon & milk – set aside
  • In a large bowl whisk together all other (dry) ingredients.
  • Once it is well mixed add the wet ingredients and the oil, using a wooden spoon until it is well combined but still clumpy.
  • Divide the dough in half and plop onto cookie sheet – flour your hands and the top of the dough shape into two (6 inch diameter) discs (add optional ingredients to the top at this point if not added already)
  • Cut each disc into 6 “pie” slices and then bake in the centre of the oven for 15 to 17 minutes – transfer to a cooling rack and serve warm.

Optional ingredients: berries – 1 cup, chocolate chips ¾ cup

Recipes adapted from The Allergen Free Bakers Handbook by Cybele Pascal.

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Better than good! Peanut Butter and Honey Fudge

It was cold this  weekend – alternating between rain, snow, and the barest hint of sun.  In fact, the weather last weekend was rather crummy as well, but I was in Calgary having fun with my best friend, so I didn’t notice.

The cold wet weather made it the perfect weekend to stay indoors and make something delicious.  Trying to  compensate  for the depressing state of affairs outside, I guess.

So, I made some fudge.

Some pretty darn amazing fudge, I might add.

But, it isn’t really fudge, at least not in the true sense of the word. There is no milk or butter to be found, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t chewy, sweet and absolutely delicious.

EPC has named it “The Best Treat of the Year”.

The main ingredients are peanut butter and honey.  A mix of nuts, seeds raisins and coconut plus some carob powder  give this fudge its body and rich taste (I am sure that cocoa would work too).

I found this recipe in Lenten Cookbook: a collection of vegan/vegetarian recipes.  It was put out in 1998 by the Ukrainian Women’s Association Olha Kobylianska Branch from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Since its first printing in 1998, it has been revised and printed four times – undoubtedly a popular cookbook.  I was lucky to get the last one in stock at a local Ukrainian church when a coworker picked one up for me at one of their popular Friday night perogi dinners.

I thought it might be fun to take a look a cookbook that was put out to give church members some vegan and vegetarian options during fasting days.  Without a doubt some of the recipes are a little strange, containing such delights as non-dairy topping and canned tomato soup.  Cool whip is certainly vegan, but YUCK!    And canned tomato soup, well, I hate when recipes ask for a can of any kind of soup to masquerade as a sauce.

Aside from a few questionable recipes, there is a section featuring traditional Ukrainian recipes that contains at least four recipes for borsch, plus recipes for buckwheat Kasha and potato pancakes.

Regardless of how the other recipes turn out, this fudge recipe is worth its weight in gold.

Peanut Butter and Honey Fudge

1 cup of natural peanut butter (please don’t use Kraft)
1 cup liquid honey
3/4 cup carob powder
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped cashews (or nut of your choice)
1/2 cup raisins

  • In a saucepan over low heat gently heat, but do not cook, peanut butter and honey until blended
  • Add carob powder and mix well.
  • Stir in sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, coconut, chopped cashews and raisins.
  • Line a 9 x 9 cake pan with plastic wrap and fold in mixture.  Press into pan and flatten with a spatula.
  • Chill for 2 hours before slicing.
  • Makes 16 large squares, but I cut them in half.

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Carob Cashew Brownies

They look like chocolate brownies don’t they?

Well, they’re not.

These brownies are made with carob powder instead of chocolate.  Carob is a chocolate substitute and although it does not taste like chocolate, it does give you that familiar sense of chocolate.  I am sure this is not hard to imagine when you take a look at the photo.  I have offered carob chip cookies to my friends and find that their similarity to chocolate chips often means that dissimilarities go unnoticed.  Like chocolate, carob also comes from a seed pod, but rather than coming directly from the seed it comes from the pod itself.

I have been eating carob for years.   The nice thing about carob is that it is caffeine free, is safe for people with chocolate allergies and is also safe for pets.

Not that you are going to go feeding these brownies to your dog.

Another interesting thing about them is that they are oil, dairy and egg-free.  Despite this, they are moist and chewy.  And as my husband says, “they don’t taste like a traditional brownie, but they are delicious”.  He really means it.  He has had a hard time keeping his hands off them.

They are sweetened with concentrated apple juice and honey and kept moist by canned crushed pineapple.  When I saw that the recipe had one cup of pineapple I was reluctant to give them a try.  It seemed like a strange combination, but it works.  The pineapple keeps the brownies moist and chewy without making them taste too “pineappley”.

Again, like the majority of the sweet treats I post on Cookbook Cooks, these brownies make for a healthy snack and are good way to shift from refined sugar and carbohydrate baked goods to something that will satisfy your sweet tooth without putting you into a sugar coma.

Carob Cashew Brownies – from The Shoshoni Cookbook by Anne Saks and Faith Stone

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or 1 cup white flour plus one cup of whole wheat flour
2/3 cup carob powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup apple juice concentrate
1 cup canned unsweetened crushed pineapple and juice
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of raw cashew pieces

  • Preheat the oven to 350C
  • Oil a 8 x 12 baking pan
  • In a large mixing bolw combine flour, carob, baking powder and salt.
  • Blend honey, applesauce, juice, pineapple, and vanilla
  • Add dry ingredients to wet and stir in the nuts.
  • Pour into the pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.


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