Fudgies… or No-Bake Cookies – A geographic and cultural debate!

gluten free fudgies

The proper name for these cookies is a matter of some debate in my household. My husband – and most of the country, as far as I can tell – calls these cookies “no-bake cookies.” In my family, these cookies go by one name and one name only – “fudgies”. My grandmother was a bona fide cookie lady for many years, making cookies at a high school cafeteria in Massachusetts. She called these fudgies, and I don’t know about you, but I’m not arguing with a cookie lady!

 

Another reason why these cookies should be called “fudgies” – you cook the base as you would cook a fudge candy. This is the reason why some people have difficulty with the cookies coming out dry and crumbly, or so soft that they never firm up. Most recipes specify a cooking time, which can vary from one to five minutes, and your results can vary wildly based on the size of the pot you use, or if you scale the recipe up or down. If you want to avoid dry or mushy fudgies, it’s time to haul out the candy thermometer. Fudge is cooked to 240ºF (soft ball stage), but I prefer to slightly undercook the sugar mixture to 220ºF. This results in a slightly creamier, glossier cookie.

 

Using a candy thermometer sounds like a pain, but you may only need to use it a few times, and you can record how long you needed to boil the sugar mixture. Just keep in mind that if you double or half the recipe, or use a different sized pot, your timing will probably change. A candy thermometer is the only way to guarantee consistent results every time.

 

Ingredient note: This recipe contains gluten free oats. Some people on gluten free diets cannot tolerate oats, even if they are certified gluten free. If you are sharing these cookies, please let any GF dieters know that they contain oats!

 

Yield: 30 cookies using #40 portion scoop

Ingredients:

  •  2 c. white sugar ( 400 g)
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder (20 g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick or 114 g)
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter (140 g)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  •  3 c. old fashioned gluten free oats (285 g)

Other Equipment:

  • parchment paper or waxed paper
  • cookie scoop
  • candy thermometer
  • 6 Qt pot
  • rubber spatula

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Butternut Squash Soup

gluten free butternut squash soup

 

This is a simple soup that comes together quickly, but the squash takes a while to roast and cool. The roasting can be done a day in advance if you are pressed for time in the evenings.

Yield: 6-7 cups

 

 Ingredients:

whole butternut squash (2-3 lbs)
4 cups GF chicken broth, divided (recommended: Kitchen Basics brand)
1 medium onion

2-4 tablespoons olive oil

white pepper

salt ground cayenne pepper

nonstick cooking spray

optional: sour cream

 

Other Equipment:

baking dish

immersion or stand blender

6Q pot

mesh strainer

spatula

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Oatmeal Flax Muffins

Gluten Free Oatmeal Flax Muffins - www.cookiesandquilts.com

 

These muffins pack in fiber and iron, and have a delicious cinnamon molasses taste.

 

This recipe use milled flax seed, not whole flax. Milled flax seed looks like this:

milled flax seed

Milled flax seed from Hodgson Mills

 

You can find milled flax seed in the health food flours sections of the grocery store. I purchase Hodgson Mill brand, which is labeled as gluten free.

 

Ingredient note: This recipe contains gluten free oats. Some people on gluten free diets cannot tolerate oats, even if they are certified gluten free. If you are sharing these muffins, please let any GF dieters know that they contain oats!

 

Yield: 10 muffins

 

Ingredients:

  •  1 c. certified gluten free oats (95 g)
  • 1 c. buttermilk

 

  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/3 c. white or brown rice flour (50 g)
  • 1/3 c. tapioca starch (35 g)
  • 1/3 c. potato starch (45 g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 c. milled flax seed (26 g)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. oil
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • raw/turbinado sugar (optional)

 

Other Equipment:

  • 12 cup muffin pan

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Brownies

I’ve owned two of Marcel Desaulniers’s cookbooks, Death by Chocolate and Desserts to Die For, for ages- they date back to my pre-diagnosis days. I gave them a fresh look a few years ago, and discovered that lots of his recipes are free of flour as written! Who needs flour with that much eggs, chocolate and butter?

 

His brownie recipe did contain a small amount of flour, so I modified it to be gluten free… and added some more chocolate. You’ll notice that the recipe below has some options. This is because, if you use corn starch and omit the xanthan gum, you have a recipe that requires only ingredients that are readily available at any grocery store. Just be aware that it is best to buy fresh containers of baking powder, corn starch, and cocoa, instead of using opened containers that have been in a gluten-containing kitchen. Starting fresh will avoid any possible contamination with the wheat flour bin.

 

So… the really important question for all brownie recipes: Fudgy or cake-like? Well, if you include the xanthan gum and use tapioca flour, the brownies are most definitely fudgy. If you omit the xanthan gum, then the texture can best be described as smooth and truffle-like. These brownies taste great with regular Baker’s chocolate, but if you really want to indulge, Scharffen Berger’s 3 oz. semisweet and bittersweet bars say “gluten free” right on the wrapper.

 

Yield: 8” x 8” pan of brownies, 12 servings

 

Ingredients:

  •  4 Tablespoons butter (half-stick or 57g)
  • 3 oz. semisweet chocolate (85 g)
  • 3 oz. bittersweet or unsweeted chocolate (85 g)

 

  • 1/4 c. tapioca flour (32 g) or corn starch (35 g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (10 g)

 

  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar (200 g)
  • 1 teaspoon GF vanilla
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • nonstick cooking spray (optional)

 

Other Equipment:

  • 8” x 8” x 2” baking pan
  • parchment paper
  • double boiler (see instructions for description)
  • mesh sieve
  • electric mixer fitted with whisk or balloon whip attachment

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Yellow Cupcakes

These cupcakes were one of my first (successful!) gluten free baking attempts, and they are a great place for anyone to start. I found the recipe on A Gluten Free Guide , and it follows in the great tradition of doctored cake mixes. That’s right, these cupcakes “cheat” by using a boxed GF cake mix as a base. No tracking down multiple flours, no covering your entire kitchen in tapioca flour dust, and these things are pretty much foolproof.

The chocolate frosting recipe can be found here.

Ingredient note: This recipe calls for orange juice, which I don’t always have available (you know, for those cupcake emergencies). I keep a container of orange juice concentrate in my freezer, and scoop 2-3 tablespoons into a measuring cup, and add enough warm water to bring the total volume to the 3/4 c. required for this recipe.

Yield: 18-21 cupcakes

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package gluten free yellow cake mix (Betty Crocker brand and Gluten Free Pantry brand both work well)
  • 1 package (3.4 oz/96 g) Jello instant vanilla pudding
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 c. orange juice
  • 1/2 c. oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoon vanilla (recommended: Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste)

 

Other Equipment:

  • 2 – 12 cupcake pans
  • cupcake liners
  • #40 portion scoop (optional)
  • hand-held wish or electric mixer
  • spatula

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Chocolate Icing

This chocolate icing recipe is based on the Pioneer Woman’s  sticky chocolate icing. I scaled it up a bit since the original recipe left small amounts of sweetened condensed milk languishing in my fridge.

This batch makes enough icing to frost two batches of yellow cupcakes (recipe here). This stuff freezes well, so after frosting your cupcakes, scoop the rest of the icing into a resealable container, let it cool, and then freeze. When you make your next batch of cupcakes, just microwave the frozen icing and stir it every minute. As it softens, shorten the time between stirs to 30 seconds.

 

Sometimes the icing doesn’t always last until the next batch of cupcakes…

 

Yield: ~ 2 c. icing (enough for two batches of 18-21 cupcakes)

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 14 oz. (396 g) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 oz. (226 g) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 Tablespoons butter

Other Equipment:

  • medium sized saucepan
  • spatula
  • small spoon

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Weeknight Chicken Noodle Soup

Around our house, this soup is the first line of defense against colds, headaches, and feeling under the weather. As soon as sniffles are heard, we gather the ingredients to get this soup going.

 

I consider this a “weeknight” chicken soup because the broth is not based on a homemade chicken stock, it just comes out of a box. The active preparation time for this soup is minimal, but the chicken does take time to roast and cool. If I know I am going to be pressed for time in the evening, I sometimes roast the chicken a day in advance.

 

Speaking of chicken, this soup is extra tasty if you use bone-in, skin on chicken breasts. Sure, boneless, skinless breasts work as as well, but I think the extra taste is worth some additional fat!

 

The noodles in this soup suck up lots of broth, so stick with simple shapes like shells or elbows that will hold up well. If you like your soup to have plenty of broth, you may want to add an extra container of chicken stock to the soup when reheating it the next day.

 

Yield: 12 cups

 

Ingredients:

  • ~ 1 lb chicken breasts (1 full chicken breast or two split breasts)
  • 2 – 32 oz. containers Kitchen Basics chicken broth or unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large or 1-1/2 medium white or yellow onions
  • 3 – 4 celery stalks
  • ~2 c. baby carrots or 2-3 peeled and trimmed carrots
  • 1/2 c. GF pasta shells or elbows (I use Tinkyada brand)
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried poultry seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • salt – to taste
  • optional: fresh thyme or parsley. I use them if I happen to have them around, but don’t purchase them just for soup.

Other Equipment:

  • meat thermometer
  • 8 QT or larger soup pot
  • baking dish
  • aluminum foil

Ingredient note: I love Kitchen Basics brand broth. I have tried some of the other GF brands out there, and I think this one tastes the best. It is carried in regular supermarkets, no specialty stores required. And for some reason the NO GLUTENS that they put all over the package always makes me smile.

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Sugar Cookies and Snickerdoodles

 

If you keep the gluten free flours on hand, these cookies come together quickly anytime the warm-cookies-NOW urge strikes.

I have actually found that I tend to throw these cookies together a little too quickly… on two separate occasions, I have forgotten the xantham gum and the baking soda and powder. I guess the good news is that this seems to be a fairly robust recipe… the texture was affected slightly, but the cookies were still very tasty.

 

Nevertheless, it’s worth taking a minute after you have made the flour blend and making sure all of the ingredients actually made it in the bowl!

 

Yield: 18 cookies using #40 portion scoop

 

 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
  • 3/4 c. sugar (150 g)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (recommended: Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste)

 

  • 1/2 c. rice flour (75 grams)
  • 1/2 c. corn starch (70 grams)
  • 1/2 c. tapioca starch (60 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • salt (I use 1/2 teaspoon with unsalted butter, 1/4 teaspoon with salted butter)

 

  • additional sugar for rolling dough in (~1/4 cup)
  • optional: cinnamon for snickerdoodles

Other Equipment:

  • parchment lined baking sheet
  • #40 portion scoop (optional)
  • electric mixer

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Pico de Gallo

I’m not a fan of cilantro, and I really dislike raw tomatoes, so I was surprised by how much I like this pico de gallo. It tastes so fresh, and the lime juice makes it nice and zippy. It’s great on tortilla chips, or dump it on fish tacos and chicken fajitas.

 

Half of a jalapeño in this dip only gives it a little kick, so add more to taste if you would like it hotter.

 

Yield: 2.5 cups

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Campari tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • small bunch of cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeño (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 fresh lime
  • salt

 

Other equipment:

  • Food-safe gloves

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Chocolate Walnut Cookies

This is François Payard’s recipe for a flour-less, butter-less cookie that has a delicious fudgy interior and a beautiful shiny exterior.

The dough is not going to look like typical cookie dough. In fact, the first time my mother made this recipe, she thought the batter was such a sad prospect for cookies that she dumped it in a pan and baked it like brownies instead… and those tasted great, too!

Ingredient note: If you are making these gluten free, make sure to check the brand of walnuts that you buy. I have noticed a few brands, and specifically Diamond brand, have a warning on the back that their product is made in a factory with wheat products.

 

Yield: 24 cookies using #40 portion scoop

 Ingredients:

  •  2-3/4 c. walnuts (halves and pieces)
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • ¾ c. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • optional: 1/4 to 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

Other Equipment:

  • parchment paper
  • portion scoop (optional)

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