Snickerdoodle Squares

I am a chocolate chip kind of girl, through and through, but every once in a while something buttery calls my name. After my second child was born, during those blurry first weeks, a sweet friend brought us dinner and included the most incredible snickerdoodles I have ever encountered. Rich, luscious, and definitely buttery, but somehow still light and tender.
I dream about those cookies when my no-longer-baby children are driving me nuts and I want to drift back to a time when they just needed a bottle and a nap. Given that those things don’t solve their problems anymore, I decided I should  have a really strong cookie in my repertoire to subdue them. My friend’s cookies were decidedly not gluten free, so I couldn’t use those, but I had another plan. Enter Smitten Kitchen.
Have you visited Smitten Kitchen? It’s a really fabulous food blog by a woman named Deb Perelman. I was given her cookbook as a gift and have found it to be simply excellent. That’s where this recipe originated. I took her recipe for Gooey Cinnamon Squares and converted it to the gluten-free-ness that I needed. These little babies took first prize at a recent potluck and I am happy to report that they do indeed subdue my children when necessary! Hurrah!
Snickerdoodle Bars
Cookie Base
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon tapioca flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
Gooey Layer
1/4 cup light corn syrup or honey
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons white rice flour
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon almond flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
Cinnamon Topping
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 inch pan.
For cookie base: Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and milk. Beat well, scraping down the sides as needed. Add dry ingredients. Beat well, scraping down the sides as needed. Batter will be pale yellow and smooth. Spread evenly in the bottom of your prepared pan.
For gooey layer: Whisk corn syrup (or honey, if using), milk, and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.
Cream butter, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add egg. Scrape down sides and beat again.  Combine flours and xanthan gum in separate bowl. Add 1/2 of flour mixture to butter and sugar. Beat well, scraping down the sides as needed. Add 1/2 of milk mixture. Beat well. Add remaining flour mixture and beat well, scraping down the sides. Add remaining milk mixture and beat well, again scraping down the sides as needed.
Dollop batter over the cookie base and spread evenly.
For topping: Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small dish. Sprinkle ALL of the mixture evenly over the top of the batter in the pan.
Bake 25-30 minutes. Center will be slightly gooey when you remove it from the oven. Cool. Cut into 1-inch squares to serve.
PS: They don’t keep very well so eat them up in the first couple of days, though honestly, I don’t think that will be too much of an issue!

Easy Bake Oven Cakes

Here’s something I never thought I’d need or want to do – bake a gluten free chocolate cake in an Easy Bake Oven. Yep, Santa delivered one of those little lightbulb-powered ovens to my daughter last Christmas and it’s darling, it really is, but good Lord, the baking mixes that came with it were disgusting. I simply refuse to buy replacements. On top of that, I think my daughter might have a little gluten sensitivity so we’ve been experimenting with her avoiding it, which leads me back to my first statement.
The circle of life, people. It always leads to cake.
Gluten Free Cake for your Easy Bake Oven
(each recipe makes 1 tiny cake with a little batter leftover)

Chocolate                                                                              Vanilla

3 teaspoons white rice flour                                        3 teaspoons white rice flour
2 teaspoons almond flour                                             2 1/2 teaspoons almond flour
1 teaspoon tapioca flour                                               2 teaspoons tapioca flour
4 teaspoons sugar                                                          4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa                                                   1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder                                       3/4 teaspoon butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon butter, softened                                      1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 teaspoons milk                                                            5 teaspoons milk
Preheat your Easy Bake Oven for 15 minutes. (And before you ask, it doesn’t matter if yours is an actual “Easy Bake Oven.” Ours in not, but it is very, very pink.) Butter and flour the tiny cake pan that comes with the oven. I have found that rice flour works best for preparing the pan.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl with a fork. Mix until smooth.
Pour approximately 3 tablespoons of the batter into prepared pan. Please note that you don’t want to fill the pan to the very top or the cake will rise too much and then it will be a pain to get out of the oven. The pan should be a little over 1/2 full. You can eyeball it – no need to be super precise.
You will have a little batter left over. If you make 2 batches, you should have enough batter left over from each to make a third cake. We tend to make both vanilla and chocolate and then do a swirl cake for the third. If you want to do the same, just spoon in the separate batters side by side, then take a little knife and drag the chocolate into the vanilla, or vice versa, until they are swirly with each other.
Bake for 12 minutes. Cool slightly, then slide a knife in between the edge of the pan and the cake to loosen it before you turn it out onto a cooling rack.
Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar or a smear of Nutella or frost as you would any cake.
Honestly, for cakes make without eggs and cooked with a lightbulb, they are darn tasty. Heck, they are darn tasty even without those caveats. And, as a bonus, you don’t have to spend a small fortune when letting your little one bake in his or her own oven.

Pumpkin Bread

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Quick breads are fabulous. They really are. They’re simple, delicious, and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, snack, or (depending on how much chocolate you add) dessert. They’re easy to make, hard to mess up, and everyone always wants a slice regardless of whether or not you decide to put in chocolate chips. What I really like is how versatile they are. You can swap out the pureed pumpkin for mashed bananas, applesauce, or grated zucchini or just about anything else that suits your fancy and can be mashed or pureed. This particular rendition stays super moist and is flavored with just enough vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar to make it especially delicious.
Pumpkin Bread
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips, optional
Combine pureed pumpkin and sugar in a large bowl. Use a fork and stir well. Add remaining ingredients. Stir until combined with no lumps and everything is a pretty, uniform, pale orange color.
Let batter rest for 30 minutes. Don’t skip this step. It’s important for the texture of your bread.
Once rested, pour batter into a prepared (i.e.greased and floured) loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean when bread is done. Enjoy whenever, but hide it from your kids if you want to enjoy it for more than one day!

Extra Chocolaty Brownies

 

 

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People seem to think you have to decide which brownie camp you want to live in – fudgey or cakey. I happen to think that is a very restrictive way to live. Why can’t I like both equally? I don’t want to be forced to choose between two equally wonderful, albeit different entities. Star Trek or Star Wars. Chris Chambers or Gordie Lachance. Whiskey or tequila. Can’t I like it all? Honestly. Why so much pressure? When it comes to brownies, I prefer to love those that are extra delicious. Let’s just leave it at that.
Extra Chocolaty Brownies
3 tablespoons butterxchoc-brownie3
3 tablespoons coconut oil
6 ounces chocolate chips
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup tapioca flour*
Dash salt
Set oven to 350 degrees. Line a smallish (8×8 or 9×9 or 7×11) glass baking dish with parchment. Alternatively, you can grease the bottom with a little butter or coconut oil.
Melt butter, oil, and chocolate chips in the top of a double-boiler. Stir until very smooth.
Whisk eggs, sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Add melted chocolate mixture. Whisk well.
Add cocoa powder, tapioca flour, and salt. Whisk until well combined and smooth.
Pour batter into prepared dish and bake for 25-30 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should have some bits and pieces on it. Cool brownies before cutting.
*You can substitute regular flour for the tapioca flour if you prefer. It will likely change the texture a little, but not in a bad way.
P.S. To cut the brownies into squares without destroying them, dip a sharp knife into a glass of hot water before each cut. It helps the knife slide through easily.

 

Mexican Wedding Cookies

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Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Snowballs. A cookie by so many names must be sweet.
Now, I usually need at least a chocolate chip or two in my cookies to feel like they are worth eating, but there are exceptions to every rule and sometimes you need to do things a little differently. And fancier. I would argue that these wedding cookies/tea cakes are fancier than your standard chocolate chip cookie and are therefore appropriate to bring to a party. Especially a taco party where you are bringing dessert, are trying very, very hard to stay on-theme, and are not ready to commence experimenting with gluten-free churros. Yes, these tasty little bombs will definitely do the trick in that scenario.
And as luck would have it, my gluten-free version of these guys are nearly indistinguishable from the original. It was meant to be.
Mexican Wedding Cookies
(makes about 36 cookies)
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup white rice flour*
3/4 cup +1 tablespoon almond flour*
1/4 cup +3 tablespoons tapioca flour*
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum*
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
*If you want the non-gluten-free version, just replace the 3 flours and xanthan gum with 2 1/4 cups regular flour. Easy.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter in the bowl of a large stand mixer. Add sugar and mix well. Add vanilla. Mix.
Add flour(s), xanthan gum (if going with the GF version), and salt. Mix well. Add nuts and mix to combine.
Using your hands and about two teaspoons of dough at a time, roll dough into small balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. (Note, the smaller the balls, the more cookies you will have.) Bake 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Pour about a cup of powdered sugar into a shallow bowl. While still warm, roll cookies in powdered sugar, then place them carefully back on the rack. When cooled, roll them in the sugar a second time.
Hasta luego.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

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Say what you will, but sometimes you just need a cookie. I have this feeling multiple times a day, especially after breakfast. I love a cookie after breakfast. I try not to do it around my kids because, you know, role modeling healthy eating habits and all, but man, a tasty homemade cookie after a savory breakfast is good living. These chocolaty, chewy drop cookies are just the ticket. I think I have some on the counter now. Excuse me, I feel a feeling coming on…
Triple Chocolate Cookies
(makes approximately 30 2-inch cookies)
1/2 cup butter (1 cube), melted
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk3choc.cookies4
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons white rice flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons almond four
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
In a stand mixer, combine melted butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Beat well, approximately 2-4 minutes, until smooth. Add egg, vanilla, and milk. Beat well until combined.
Add flours (rice, almond, and tapioca), baking soda, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, and cocoa. Beat until well combined.
Add chocolate chips, semisweet and white, mix to combine. Now, let the batter rest for 30 minutes. It seems like a waste of time, I know, but honestly, it will make all the difference.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Drop batter by spoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes – cookies will be slightly soft when done and better to err on the side of underdone than to cook them into crumbles.
Cookies will keep about 5 days in an airtight container, but you’ll probably eat them up faster than that, as you should.

 

The Only Chocolate Sauce You Need

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There really isn’t much to say here. This is the only chocolate sauce you will ever need. Ever.
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
Melt chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Add powdered sugar and evaporated milk. Stir until smooth. Eat on just about anything. Or by itself.
Sauce will keep very well in the refrigerator for quite a while. You can either gently reheat it in the microwave or just spoon it out cold. Either way works and the only thing you will be thinking once it’s done is, “Why didn’t I make this sooner?” and “What else can I put this on?”
You are very welcome.

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