Monday, November 5, 2012

Baking Powder Biscuits

Biscuits have always intimidated me. I only ever made the Bisquick kind or popped open a can before needing to bake gluten free. I somehow thought they were difficult to make. Wow, I was wrong. They're not the super fluffy, roll them out and cut them with a biscuit cutter kind, but they're delicious with soup, eggs, smothered in sausage gravy, slathered in jam or plain. Add a little extra sugar to the dough and sprinkle more on top and they could easily become shortcakes.

Mmm.. biscuits


Baking Powder Biscuits
2c gluten free flour
1T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp sugar
6T cold butter, cubed
1/2 - 3/4c milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix dry ingredients and then cut in butter until pea sized lumps remain. Stir in milk, starting at 1/2c, until a sticky dough forms. Using a muffin scoop or ice cream scoop, gently form 8 discs. Place on baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes. Serve warm.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

"Mommy, can we get one of those pumpkins and make pumpkin pie?" Adia asked while going through the produce section. My first reaction was to say no, but they were the right kind of pumpkin and it's not like they're readily available year round.

"Sure, why not. It's been years since I attempted making pumpkin puree and last time didn't go so well." We picked out a pretty good sized one. I'm not sure how much it weighed, but it was a little smaller than a basketball. I'm guessing 3 or 4lbs. It ended up giving us about 30oz of pumpkin puree, enough for 2 pumpkin pies.


Honestly, it was easy making the puree. I was pleasantly surprised and Adia thought it was awesome. She especially liked being my pumpkin masher.

Pumpkin Puree

1 pie pumpkin, usually called sugar pumpkins or Cinderella pumpkins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove stem from pumpkin. Cut pumpkin in half, through the stem end. Scoop out seeds and "strings". (Save the seeds for roasting) Place pumpkin cut side down on an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet or pan. Cover with foil and bake about 90min. Gently touch outside shell of pumpkin to test for tenderness. Scoop out insides when cool enough to work with. Mash with a potato masher or puree in a food processor.





Crustless Pumpkin Pie

15oz pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
dash nutmeg
1/2 cup gluten free flour
1 egg
1 12 oz can evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 9in pie plate with cooking spray and set aside. Mix pumpkin puree, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and flour until well blended. Add egg and milk. Stir until completely combined. Pour into pie plate and bake for about 45-55 minutes. Cool for at least 2 hours and serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Refrigerate leftover pie.
*Ours was a little overcooked, so watch it carefully once you reach 45 minutes.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Apple Nutmeg Muffins

I love muffins. It's no secret. Growing up, my mom often made muffins to go along with dinner. I rarely saw her open a cookbook, instead she'd just start throwing ingredients in a bowl and when the timer dinged, she'd pull delicious muffins out of the oven. I loved the nights she'd make them.

These muffins remind me a lot of the ones she used to make. She claims now that she doesn't bake and that these are so much better. She's lying. She's an awesome cook and baker, but I do try to save her some of these when she visits. That's easier said than done with 3 kids and a hubby who swarm the kitchen when the timer dings.



Apple Nutmeg Muffins

2 cups gluten free flour blend
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5T sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 egg
1 cup milk
3 T oil

cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a muffin tin and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add diced apple and stir to coat apple pieces. Add wet ingredients and stir until combined. Spoon into prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the tops of the batter with cinnamon sugar mixture, if desired.

Bake 20-25 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

I almost always have cocoa powder in my pantry. It's a sad day when I run out and don't have an extra can ready to be opened. I used to always have baking chocolate too, but after our pantry moth infestation and subsequent pantry purge, I quit having extra bars lying around. The other day I was in desperate need of some chocolate, but the girls wanted chocolate chip cookies. I thought of making a mug cake, but I really wanted brownies. That's where these came in. I didn't have any chocolate bars, but I certainly had cocoa powder. And honestly, I think these are way better and much more chocolatey than the normal brownies I make. I think my go to brownie recipe has changed. Now I'll just have to wait until Uncle Eck comes back. He's the ultimate brownie taster, but he's in Mongolia until next summer.


The girls protested me making these because they ONLY wanted cookies, however after they tasted them, they were in heaven. All three girls love dark chocolate the best and of course they always want to eat all the cookie dough when we make chocolate chip cookies. These were the perfect meld of the two.


Cocoa Powder Brownies

1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4c butter
1/4c unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp espresso powder (optional)
3 large eggs
3/4c gluten free flour blend
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1c chocolate chips (optional, but awesome)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9" square pan or a 9x13" pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang to easily remove brownies from pan. Grease parchment paper or foil.

Melt butter and add sugar, salt and applesauce. Mix until sugar is mostly dissolved. Stir in cocoa and add eggs one at a time until mixture becomes glossy. Stir in flour, xanthan gum and baking powder. Once incorporated, stir in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 32-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Let cool 15 minutes before cutting or cool completely before topping with cookie dough. I then keep them in the freezer.

Cookie Dough Topping

1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
pinch of cinnamon
1c gluten free flour blend
1/8-1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips (mini ones work best, but aren't necessary. Mini M&Ms would be fun too)

Cream butter and sugars. Mix in vanilla and salt. Blend in flour and slowly add milk until a spreadable consistency is reached. Stir in chocolate chips. Chill for a few minutes before spreading on top of completely cooled brownies. Chill before cutting. Once again, they're best kept in the freezer.

*This eggless cookie dough also works well for homemade chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and for just eating with a spoon. I think it tastes best chilled or slightly frozen, but it's good all the time.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Shhh... Secret Recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes

Shh, don't tell, but there are my specialty. They are by far my winning chocolate cupcakes. No, they haven't won any actual awards, but they're always asked for at family gatherings and everyone is always surprised when I tell them that they're gluten, dairy, egg and peanut free. Amazing huh?


I made them the first time because we have friends who have a child with a severe peanut allergy and Miss A wanted chocolate cake for her birthday. These were perfect and amazingly delicious. Best part, you can eat the batter without fearing salmonella. It's just a little perk.

These cupcakes are considered a "Wacky Cake" because of their lack of dairy and eggs. They're a cinch to whip up and will knock your socks off.


Chocolate cupcakes

1 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend
1/2c cocoa powder
3/4tsp xanthan gum
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm coffee or 2 tsp espresso powder dissolved in 1c warm water
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
6 Tablespoons oil
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan or mini cupcake pan with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, sugar, baking soda and salt until thoroughly combined. In a separate container, mix together wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk until mixed.

Spoon batter into prepared cupcake pans. Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes and mini cupcakes for 12-15 minutes. Makes 12 cupcakes or 24-27 mini cupcakes.

Eat plain, sprinkled with powdered sugar or top with your favorite frosting.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Gluten Free Pizza

mmmm... pizza.


Definitely a favorite food for the girls. After making our own pizzas at home, I don't like ordering pizza anymore. I do like that there's a local place in town that makes gluten free pizza, but it's expensive and only so-so. The girls would all rather make their own. They also get their own personal pizzas with their own preferred toppings that way too.

This pizza dough isn't your typical glutened kind that involves kneading and rolling. This stuff has more the consistency of brownie batter and you'll need parchment paper on your pan and a moistened spatula to spread it. After the first few tries, you'll get the hang of it. I know I have.


Gluten Free Pizza Dough

2 cups gluten free flour blend
1/2 cup millet flour
1 1/2tsp xanthan gum
2T grated Parmesan cheese
2T ground flax seed (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 packet yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups warm water
1 egg
3 T olive oil

Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Turn to high and beat for 2-3 minutes until thoroughly combined and thick.

Line cookie sheets or pizza pan with parchment paper (an absolute must!). Scoop out dough onto prepared pans and spread using a moistened spatula. Let sit 30 minutes in a draft free location. I usually turn my oven on to low and put the pans in the oven. If I leave them on the counter, I run into a cat and children who like to sneak bites.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake crusts for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned and pulling away from paper. Top with your favorite toppings and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

I now make a double batch of dough, spread out several personal sized pizza crusts, bake and freeze them.

Makes 2 12-in pizzas, a large rectangle or 6 5-in pizzas. I make a large 12 inch and 3 little ones for the girls.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

To say that the girls like pancakes would by an understatement. They are true pancake fanatics. They have a favorite diner in town and want to eat there all the time because they serve gluten free pancakes. At least once a week they ask for pancakes for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The most requested type: chocolate chip (pumpkin pie is a close second). I always have to make sure I have a never ending supply of mini chocolate chips.
chocolate chip pancakes
Chocolate Chip Pancakes

2 cups gluten free flour blend
1 T + 2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
5T brown sugar (or white sugar, but brown sugar makes them taste more like cookies)
1 1/3 - 1 1/2 cups milk (depends on the consistency you want & I swear it's different every time I make them)
4T melted butter or oil
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
about 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Whisk together dry ingredients until completely mixed. Add in wet ingredients until only small lumps remain. Let sit a few minutes while griddle heats. Pour 1/8-1/4c batter on griddle. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and let cook until bubbles come to surface and pop. Flip pancakes and cook until just set. Do not over cook or you'll burn your chocolate chips.

Serve as is or with whipped cream or ice cream.

 *The sooner you sprinkle the chocolate chips, the more incorporated they'll be in the pancake. I usually do 2 pancakes, sprinkle them with chocolate chips and then do more.

chocolate chip pancakes

Friday, August 24, 2012

Chocolate Mug Cake(s)

Sometimes you just need a chocolate fix. And often times you don't want that chocolate to break the calorie bank or in our case, to leave us with a dozen cupcakes that we shouldn't be eating. While I could freeze them so we'd have them for emergencies (i.e. unexpected school party), they always end up getting eaten before I have a chance to freeze them.

Enter the mug cake. I've made mug cakes in the past and was completely unimpressed. Too eggy. Not chocolatey enough. Just plain funky. These are amazing. They're fudgy, egg free, easily dairy free and around 200 calories a pop (without ice cream). The girls love them too. They can't eat a whole one so I usually double the recipe and then split it into 3 smaller tea cups. That's still almost too much for them, but they're not ones to turn down chocolate.

Chocolate Mug Cakes

Chocolate Mug Cake

2 tablespoons gluten free flour blend (or just rice flour)
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar (we like ours less sweet)
2t - 1T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon instant coffee crystals – optional, but brings out the chocolatey YUM!
Pinch salt
1T Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon + 1 tsp milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk when I have it)
3/4 teaspoon oil
Drop of vanilla extract
1/2T mini chocolate chips (optional)

In a coffee cup combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, coffee crystals and salt until no lumps remain. Stir in the yogurt, milk, oil, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in chips. Bake in the microwave on high for 30-35 seconds. Add 5 seconds if needed, but watch closely. Do not over cook. Serve with ice cream.

You can also omit the yogurt and use 1 tsp oil and 2T milk.

Chocolate Mug Cakes with Ice Cream

Sweet Pie Crust

Pie crusts, love them or hate them, they're an important part of baking. Every October we go to the pumpkin patch with the girls, grandparents, aunts, uncles & friends. It's a yearly tradition that Tink talks about for weeks. Not only do we pick pumpkins, but we buy more apples than we can find a place to store. Some for eating, some for making crockpot applesauce (don't worry, I'll post that recipe eventually), some for apple crisps & a ton for apple pie. My mom loves apple pie. I made it for her birthday last year & I always make sure to make plenty for her to take home. After Tink had been gluten free for almost a year, she asked for a pie. She'd never had one before, but had seen them places. "Make one I can have, please?!" I found various recipes online, but they were disasters. The dough wouldn't roll, it stuck to everything, it tasted off. Finally, I had success with a version of the recipe below, but while the technique was good, it didn't quite make enough dough & the texture was off. There was so much xanthan gum in the crust that it was gummy. I tweaked it more & more, adding an egg white for structure & eliminating a bunch of xanthan gum. I tried different flours & starches, cut back in the sugar. Eventually it tasted good, had a good texture & I could successfully roll it out. If I want to make a savory pie crust, I just eliminate the vanilla & sugar. It works well for a chicken pot pie. Tink's favorite treat is to roll out any left over scraps, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, roll it up, cut into slices & bake until golden. And as a rule, my pie crusts generally look terrible. Usually if I get a pretty one, I forget to take a picture. As long as it tastes good, right?

pie crust 
Sweet Pie Crust

1 2/3 cups gluten free flour blend
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 egg
1 egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cold water, as needed

Mix flour, cornstarch, salt, sugar and xanthan gum. Cut in butter using pastry cutter or knives until mixture contains pea sized lumps. Add eggs & vanilla. Mix with hands until ball forms. If dough appears dry, ass cold water as needed. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 minutes or until needed. To roll dough, lay down a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Sprinkle with cornstarch. Split dough in half. Pat into circle, sprinkle with cornstarch & cover with another sheet of wrap or paper. Begin rolling, lifting plastic wrap to prevent sticking. Peel off top layer of plastic wrap and gently invert pie plate over dough. Flip dough & pie plate over and carefully peel off plastic wrap. For top layer, repeat rolling technique, but after removing top layer of plastic wrap, gently dust dough with cornstarch. Fold dough in half and carefully transfer to pie plate. Gently unfold crust. Brush with egg wash & bake.

Apple Crisp

Sorry, I fell off the face of the earth. Honestly, it's felt like that. In the last 18 months, I went back to school, sent Tink to preschool, bought a house, remodeled parts of said house, moved, acquired a kitten that I had to bottle feed, graduated from college, adopted a dog & survived two very hyper, very opinionated & technically savvy twins. It's exhausting just to write, even more to live. All the while thinking "I've gotta start blogging again," but something had to give & this was it. It's especially true when the twins scream hysterically if you enter a 2 foot radius around the computer. The only time to blog would be after they went to bed & the majority of the time, I was asleep then too. So, I'm back or at least trying to be back. And I bring you apple crisp as a peace offering.

You can actually use the topping for any fruit really. I've made blueberry crisp with the berries the girls and I picked last summer, but usually there's outrage if they get used for cooking. The girls would rather eat them right off the bush or straight from the freezer. I'll never forget Tink requesting blueberry muffins and then realizing the blueberries were cooked IN the muffins. It didn't go over well. My mom loves apple crisp and so do I. This is actually adapted from her recipe.

From the end of September to the beginning of December, I make apple crisps on a near weekly basis. You just can't compete with how easily it comes together and how delicious ripe, local apples are. I sometimes make it in a big glass pan. My mom bought me the blue glass pan as my Easter basket one year. It gets used constantly. Other times I make individual servings in cups from Pampered Chef. I love making it that way because it can easily be covered & sent to work with the hubby. It's nice to have a single serving too.

apple crisp

Apple (Fruit) Crisp

4-5 medium apples, peeled & chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp lemon juice or apple juice

1 cup certified gluten free oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup gluten free flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss apples with juice, cinnamon and nutmeg in large bowl or baking dish. In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients for topping. Pour in melted butter, stirring with a fork until well moistened. Beak large clumps & pour over apple mixture. Spread in an even layer & bake 25-30 minutes until top becomes golden brown & crunchy and apples are tender. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 apple crisp2

Oatmeal Cookies

My dad ate oatmeal for breakfast every morning when I was growing up. It always made sense that he would love oatmeal cookies too & my mom made them the best. She always added raisins for him & sometimes nuts, but would have to leave some separate without for me. I still don't like raisins & neither does Tink. I often make them with chocolate chips instead, which Tink enjoys, but craisins are good too. Make sure you buy gluten free oats & don't add too many mix-ins or you risk your cookies falling apart. Sometimes baking without gluten does suck, but at least the cookies taste the way they should.

chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup shortening or butter
1 ½ cups brown sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp gluten free vanilla
½ cup buttermilk
1 ¾ cup gluten free flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
3 cups gluten free oats
1 cup raisins, nuts, chocolate chips or craisins or mixture thereof (optional)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Cream sugar, shortening, vanilla and eggs in large bowl. Stir in buttermilk. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Stir in oats and any optional ingredients. Spoon onto cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool slightly before moving to wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container for 4 days or longer in the refrigerator. * For puffier cookies, chill dough before baking

M&M Cookies, revisited

While we loved our old M&M cookies, something was missing. I don't like crunchy, flat cookies. I never have. And I especially didn't like crunchy chocolate chip cookies. I tried adjusting temperatures and cooking times and flour content, but it wasn't that simple. My first recipe change was to swap out some shortening for applesauce. From my previous gluten free baking experience, I knew it would add moisture to the finished cookie. I also upped the xanthan gum by a bit, not much, but enough to add chewiness. Then, to keep them puffy, I refrigerated the dough for at least 30 minutes and between baking batches. It worked! When I pulled the cookie sheet out of the oven, I was pleasantly surprised. They were definitely puffy. I let them cool slightly and the first bite was chewy and soft. I was in heaven. I knew I had to let them cool completely before I'd know if I was truly successful. I was nervous, but I had succeeded. When the Hubby took a bite, all he could say was "mmmm." I think he ate the majority of them and kept telling me they were the best he'd ever had. So please, if you like soft, chewy, puffy chocolate chip cookies, you've gotta try these!

Cookie making Tink 
M&M/Chocolate Chip Cookies

2/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup applesauce
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 T vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups GF flour blend
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/8-1/4 tsp cinnamon
12 oz chocolate chips or M&Ms

Cream shortening, applesauce and sugars. Blend in eggs and vanilla. In separate bowl, whisk together baking soda, flour, xanthan gum, salt and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips or M&Ms. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop by tablespoonfuls on a baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet. Cool completely on wire racks before storing.

 *Sorry there's no picture of the cookies. I just realized I never took one and they disappeared so quickly, I didn't get another chance.

Buttermilk Pancakes

For some reason, when I thought of making buttermilk pancakes, I was intimidated. I didn't think I could make them, let alone make them gluten free. Before going gluten free, I always used mixes to make pancakes. Now I question myself why. After eating these, I will never order pancakes in a restaurant or use a mix again. They are beyond delicious and I don't even use butter or syrup on them, unlike Tink and my hubby. The batter is slightly thick, but it depends on your buttermilk, and you DO have to use buttermilk. I attempted these doing the "soured milk" trick and they tasted ok, but the texture was all wrong. The batter was too thin too. They ran all over the pan so I had to make teeny tiny ones. The batter should be the consistency of house paint. It will flatten out in the pan, but it shouldn't involve you spreading it yourself. As for the xanthan gum, it's your choice. If you use it, the pancakes will be lighter and fluffier. If you want thinner pancakes, leave it out.
buttermilk pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 cup gluten free flour
1/4 tsp xanthan gum, optional
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2T sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
3T oil or melted butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla

Whisk dry ingredients in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, beat egg, oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Melt some butter in a nonstick skillet. Drop batter onto skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides. Serve warm with your choice of toppings or plain.

M&M Cookies

When Tink was first diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, I mourned chocolate chip cookies. How can you be a kid and not have chocolate chip cookies? It just didn't seem fair. I tried adapting my old chocolate chip cookie recipe, but the cookies were a disaster. They spread across the cookie sheet, were wafer thin and horribly crunchy. I don't even think we ate them, but just tossed them in the trash. I was so frustrated and upset. Tink HAD to have chocolate chip cookies. Then my mom gave me "Gluten Free Baking Classics" by Annalise Roberts. (I highly recommend that cookbook for any one who bakes gluten free. Her recipes are super easy and they taste good and work.) The first recipe I tried in it was the chocolate chip cookie recipe. It tasted delicious, but the cookies were still somewhat flat and crispy. I'm a fan of soft, cakier cookies so I made a few adjustments so they were the right texture and tasted more like my normal cookies. I also needed to adjust the baking time and temperature. I use a oven thermometer, but the original temperature just seemed too hot. I altered the sugar amounts, added some cinnamon, adjusted the amount of flour and went for M&Ms over chocolate chips.

Tink loves M&Ms. They were one of the first candies she ever had and they have a special place in her heart. It helps that her Grandpa always has some to share since he can't share his oreo cookies. I love changing the M&M colors to go with the season. Halloween M&Ms for October, red and green for Christmas, pink for Valentine's day. It's pretty easy to grab a bag in the seasonal department. Tink has fun with it too. She's also a total chocoholic so she likes the chocolate chocolate M&M version as well. After making the cookies multiple times, I soon learned that if you refrigerate the dough, your cookies come out puffier. I now always refrigerate before baking. Most gluten free cookie recipes work better than way. It's also essential that you use shortening and not butter. I'm sure you could use butter flavored shortening if you'd like to, but no butter.

m&m cookies
chocolate m&m cookies

M&M Cookies
1 cup vegetable shortening (Do NOT use butter or margarine) 
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 T gluten free vanilla
2 ½ cups gluten free flour mixture
1 ¼ tsp xanthan gum
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
12oz chocolate chips or M&Ms (about 1 ½ cups)

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. 2. Cream sugar and shortening in large bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy. 3. Add flour, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. Mix until well blended. Stir in M&Ms. Refrigerate 30min. 4. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake in center of oven for 8-10 minutes. Let cool slightly before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container for up to 3 days on the counter or 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Variation: add 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

Pumpkin Muffins

I've always loved pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie ice cream. I love it all. It's the reason I love autumn so much. Luckily, Tink shares that love. These are Tink's favorite muffins. She asks to make them all the time and then eagerly licks the batter of the beater. (Yes, my less than 3 year old eats the occasional raw egg.) She even prefers them over banana muffins, which surprised me since she loves bananas. The first time I made these, I went straight from the Betty Crocker cookbook, but used gluten free flour. It was a recipe I used all the time, but it came out dry. The second time I made them, I used applesauce instead of all oil. That helped a bit. I then altered the sugar content, added ginger and changed the baking time. These remind me of pumpkin pie and, when not over cooked, are very moist and delicious. Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge. Gluten free baked goods tend to dry out fast and mold easily.
Pumpkin muffins

Pumpkin Muffins – Makes 24 muffins

2 cups canned pumpkin puree (15oz can)
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp gluten free vanilla
4 large eggs
3 cups gluten free flour mixture
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
¾ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp baking powder

 Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease muffin tins or line with cupcake liners. Mix pumpkin, sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl. In another large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from muffin tins. Wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator or freeze muffins individually.

Apple Dutch Baby

I love breakfast. It's the one meal I hate to miss. In college, hubs and I went out to breakfast frequently. (Pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream still bring back memories) Now that we have three small children, one gluten intolerant and two that seem like ticking time bombs, our breakfasts out are few and far between. When they do happen, they're more like lunch because it's nearly impossible to get everyone out of the house before noon. Since we don't go out much, I've had to learn how to make our favorite items at home and without gluten so Tink can enjoy then too. French toast, buttermilk pancakes and waffles are all part of my repertoire now. The most unique, though, has to be the apple Dutch baby. The first time I ever saw a Dutch baby was in high school when I had breakfast with my former Spanish teacher. His wife ordered one and told me I had to try it. It was a traditional Dutch baby, no apples, no cinnamon. Instead it was served with lemon wedges and powdered sugar. It was delicious. A few months ago I was thumbing through my Betty Crocker cookbook and happened on a recipe for a Dutch baby. I'd never attempted it before and, feeling daring, I thought I'd create a gluten free version. I didn't know if it would puff up appropriately or needed xanthan gum to hold it together. I tried variations with different leaveners, but discovered they weren't necessary. The xanthan gum wasn't either. The eggs do their job, not only creating the "puff" but also holding it together. And, as usual, Tink wanted nothing to do with it. She wouldn't even try a bite.
apple dutch baby2
apple dutch baby

Apple Dutch Baby

1T butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup gluten free flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
2T brown sugar + 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup thinly sliced peeled apple

Preheat oven to 400F. Melt butter in a pie plate in the oven. In a small bowl, beat eggs. Whisk in flour, milk, vanilla and salt until smooth. Swirl melted butter to coat bottom of pie plate evenly Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the melted butter. Arrange apple slices in a single layer over the butter and cinnamon sugar. Pour in batter. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately loosen the edges with a knife and turn over on a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Soft Ginger Cookies

I'm always amazed at what Tink actually likes. She seems to really enjoy strong flavors. Her favorite food, if you can call it a food, is mustard. She went an entire week refusing to eat anything but peanut butter and mustard sandwiches. Yes, you read that right. Peanut butter and MUSTARD. I cringed with every bite she took. She's the same 2 year old that also loves Parmesan cheese, provolone, feta, so I shouldn't have been too surprised when she began to ask for ginger cookies. Tink had eaten the occasional store bought gluten free gingersnap, but they left something to be desired. They're super crumbly and get stale fast. They weren't the type of ginger cookies I grew up eating. I wanted something with a slightly crisp outside, but a soft and chewy inside. I didn't have a recipe so one of my mommy friends helped me out. She gave me two different recipes to try. The first reminded me of little pillows of gingerbread. While they had a great flavor, they weren't what I was looking for. Her second recipe was exactly what I wanted. They were soft and chewy and the outside sugar coating gave them a slight crunch. Tink thought they were delicious too. Baker beware though. The first batch I made, I burned. My cookie sheet is permanently scarred. Watch them closely and keep an even closer eye on your oven temp. If you can smell them, they're most likely done.


3/4 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cup gluten free flour
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg

sugar for rolling

Cream shortening, sugar and eggs. Add molasses. Mix in dry ingredients until well blended. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Scoop tablespoons, roll into balls and coat with granulated sugar. Bake 6-8 minutes.


Snickerdoodles are quite easily my favorite cookie. My mom has been making them for as long as I can remember. The recipe she used came from Home EC when she was in school and is by far the best. Luckily, my mom's recipe translated easily into a gluten free version. I mostly just had to change the flour and the finished product tastes just like the original. The texture is even right. They're not too crunchy or crumbly, but be careful not to over bake or they will fall apart. If you refrigerate the dough, you'll end up with a puffier cookie, otherwise they flatten out and the tops crack. I think they taste good either way, it just depends on your preference. I know my mom likes a puffier cookie so I refrigerate the dough when I'm making them for her. I actually made these this morning to bring to a Christmas party at the in-laws. I knew there would be tons of food, especially cookies, that Tink couldn't eat so I thought I'd bring these along. She seems to like them, but after she took a couple bites, she looked at me and said, "I wanted the chocolate ones." I'm not sure if she meant M&M cookies or chocolate crinkles, but she is a bit of a chocoholic. She actually didn't eat a single one at the party. She's good at that. I go out of my way to make her something gluten free and then she'll refuse to eat it. I guess that's what it's like to be a 2 year old.


1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups gluten free flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar + 1T cinnamon for rolling

Heat oven to 375F. Cream shortening, sugar, vanilla and eggs in mixing bowl. Stir in dry ingredients. Refrigerate at least 30 min for "puffy" cookies or use immediately for flatter cookies. Drop tablespoon size balls into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and roll to coat. Place on cookie sheet. Bake 7-8 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Makes 3-4 dozen.

Rolled Sugar Cookies

When first going gluten free, I mourned not being able to bake and decorate sugar cookies for Christmas the most. I did use a sugar cookie mix that tasted pretty good, but it was much too gooey to roll out or cut with cookie cutters. That seriously frustrated me. It wasn't until October that I worked up enough courage to attempt a recipe from scratch. Tink was super excited, even though she didn't know what sugar cookies were, let alone what frosting them meant, but they were cookies and that was enough. I scoured the internet for a recipe that would work and had good reviews. I finally found one and after mixing up the dough, it had a good texture. I could tell I could roll it out, but it didn't taste right. Actually, it was pretty awful. It definitely didn't taste like any sugar cookie I'd ever had before. That's when I had to start tweaking the recipe, comparing it to the gluten filled recipe I used to always make before. I added more sugar, more vanilla, some cream of tartar and it started to resemble the sugar cookies I was used to, but the dough became too dry. More adjustments had to be made until I ended up with the recipe you see below. It tastes exactly as it should, rolls fairly easily and the cookies hold their shape. Be careful not to use too much corn starch for rolling or the dough will become too dry. They puff a bit in the oven so very intricate cutters won't work well. The come out of the oven crispy, but after cooling and frosting, they soften. These have quickly become Tink's favorite cookies to make, but I think it's only because she likes to eat the frosting. As for frosting, I just buy a can of Betty Crocker vanilla frosting and color as desired. Betty Crocker now labels their frosting gluten free even!
Rollable Sugar Cookies 1 1/2 cups rice flour (I used white rice flour) 1/2 cup tapioca flour 1 cup corn starch 1 tsp baking powder 2 1/2 tsp xanthan gum 1/2 tsp salt 1 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup shortening 1 egg + 1 egg white 1 T vanilla extract 1/2 tsp cream of tartar corn starch for rolling dough Preheat oven 350F. Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine until the dough forms a ball. Working in batches and with starched hands, roll to 1/4″ thickness on starched wax paper. Cut into shapes using cookie cutters. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Cool on rack. Decorate with your favorite icing and sprinkles.

sugar cookies3

sugar cookies2