Monday, March 26, 2012

Gluten Free Banana Bread

My friend Krista's makes an amazing banana bread, or so I have been told.  I have never been able to try it, because it is not gluten free.  My children are always devouring her banana bread whenever she has some to share.  I have not found a gluten free banana bread that I like as much as I remember loving my grandmother's recipe when I was a kid.  So, I decided that it was time to create a recipe that reminded me of her recipe.  This is the recipe I used.

Gluten Free Banana Bread

3 cups almond flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
2 bananas
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, bananas, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla.  In a smaller bowl, mix together almond flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.  Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in the large mixing bowl.  Transfer to the loaf pan.  Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 60 minutes or until a knitting needle stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, and then finish cooling on a wire rack before serving.  

I think this recipe turned out very well.  The top did not sink in, which has happened to me many times when cooking banana bread.  My kids gave it their seal of approval.  I hope you and your family like it too.  Enjoy!


Prepping for Passover

Passover is coming up in a couple of weeks.  Passover is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the Jews' exodus from Egypt, where they had been slaves for many of years.  It is a celebration of freedom.  It is a time to remember the bad times so that we will never forgot, but we also have to celebrate our freedom.  I have always enjoyed celebrating Passover, and I sure that is partly related to the fact that this is my mother's favorite holiday.  Now I enjoy celebrating this holiday with my husband and children.  The picture below is from the first seder my husband and I shared after we were married.

Even though Passover is a celebration, we also honor tradition and do not eat any leavened foods.  This restricts many flours, pastas, and cereals that my family is used to eating the rest of the year.  So, my husband and I try like to start thinking about our menu a couple weeks before the holiday starts.  We create an Excel Document that contains all of the meals that we will be eating for the week of Passover.  We make a detailed list all of the meals, and then we compile all of the recipes that we need.  Then I go through and write down all of ingredients we need.  I also try to whittle away at the ingredient list, so it is not such a big shopping trip right before Passover.  I try to convince myself that our grocery bill does not go up during Passover, despite the fact that I know it will.

Since Passover requires us to not eat food that is leavened, we have Passover specific supplies that we need.  Thankfully we live close enough to a bigger city, and we buy these items there.  When I went shopping this year, I was impressed that there were more Passover specific gluten free products than usual.  I saw a Passover gluten free cake mix in chocolate and vanilla and Passover gluten free pasta.  I even found gluten free gefilte fish and gluten free matzah.  I usually do my own baking, but it is nice to see options for people who do not.

I am really looking forward to Passover this year.  I hope you and your family have a wonderful Passover too.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gluten Free Monkey Bread

CORRECTION:  I am really sorry, but I seemed to have given credit to the wrong blog for this wonderful recipe.  I got this monkey bread recipe from Paleo Parents.

This past weekend we went to a friend's house for dinner, and we were all supposed to bring something that would be good for brunch.  I knew I wanted to make something sweet, but I did not have anything in mind.  Then I thought about the one time (at least that I remember) that my mother make a recipe called monkey bread.  I was 10 years old, and I had never heard of such a thing.  She made it for a Temple function, and it was so delicious!  I remember that it was fun to pull it apart.  I went online, and I found that Paleo Parents had a monkey bread recipe.  This is my version.

Gluten Free Monkey Bread

2/3 cup dried dates, pureed
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vanilla

almond flour (divided into 1 1/2 cups and 1 cup)
1 cup tapioca starch
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/4 teaspoon iodized salt

3 egg whites

1/3 cup chopped walnuts
6 tablespoons shortening (cut and divided)
3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease the bottom of a bundt pan with grapeseed oil.

Puree the dates, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla in a food processor until it is combined.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups of almond flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch, baking soda, cream of tarter, and salt.  Make sure that all of the dry ingredients are evenly distributed.  Add this to the date mixture, and whisk together until it forms a batter that is thick and dry looking.  Set this aside.

Separate 3 eggs and save the egg whites.  Whip them with a whisk until they form soft peaks.  Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until the eggs are spread evenly throughout the batter.  Then gently mix in remaining almond flour using 1/4 cup increments, until the the mixture turns into a sticky dough.*

Sprinkle the bottom of the bundt pan with walnuts, 2 tablespoons of shortening, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. In a shallow bowl, combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.  Roll the dough into about 1 inch balls and drop it into the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Roll the balls around the cinnamon/sugar until they are coated.  Add the balls to the bundt pan.  When all the dough is in the pan, top it with remaining shortening and cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.  When it is done, allow it to cool for 20 minutes.  Turn the monkey bread out on a serving platter.  It can be eaten warm or at room temperature.  Since I was bringing it to a friend's out, I served this at room temperature.  It was absolutely delicious.

This recipe was made with a lot of help from my son.  My husband and daughter went out to run a few errands, so I asked my son if he wanted to help me.  He promptly agreed.  So, I put on some music and we got down to business.  We had a lot of fun working together, and the results were amazing.  My friends said the monkey bread reminded them of cinnamon and sugar donuts.  They did not taste like they were made with almond flour.  I was extremely pleased with these results.  I hope you enjoy making this recipe with your family and friends.



*My son was helping make the monkey bread, and I realized that this was the perfect time for an impromptu math lesson.  I showed him that we needed four 1/4 cup measurements of flour to equal 1 cup.  I took out a small plastic container and filled it with water.  I gave my son a 1/4 cup measuring cup.  I had him count how many times it took for him to fill 1 cup.  This was a great visual lesson to introduce my son to fractions.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Gluten Free Apple Berry Crisp

Gluten Free Apple Berry Crumble

1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries, sliced
4 apples, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup water
Maple syrup

1/2 cup gluten free oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, strawberries, and apples.  Add 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and a drizzle of maple syrup.  Stir all of this together and bring the mixture to a boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes, until the fruit is slightly tender.

Combine the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and butter into a small bowl.

Drain the liquid from the fruit and pour it into a shallow baking dish.  Top with the oat mixture and sprinkle some extra cinnamon for a sweet and crispy coating.  Bake it for 25-30 minutes, until the topping is browned and the apples are tender.  Serve with your favorite ice cream.

My husband and I really like fruit crisps.  We decided to make this one when we had company for dinner.  It was super easy and not very time consuming.  This crisp was a hit!  Even my son liked it, and he does not like cooked fruit.   He liked it so much that he wants me to make it again as his special treat for his 1/2 birthday later this week.  I hope your family will love this recipe as much as mine does.  Enjoy!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Gluten Free Almond Cake

Almond Cake Recipe

My friend Krista at See Mommy Do It makes an amazing almond cake.  Originally, she used all-purpose in the recipe, but she has successfully been able to substitute almond flour.  She has been telling me that I need to try it for a couple of months, but tonight, I was finally able to try it.  And I loved it!  It was moist and sweet.  Unlike a lot of almond flour cakes, this had just the right amount of nutty flavor.  Please stop on by her blog and get this recipe.  You and your family will love it!  Enjoy!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gluten Free Hamantashen

Purim is here, which means that it is time to make Hamantashen!  I have some amazing memories of baking hamantashen with both of my parents.  My mother and I would make the dough, and my father would roll it out on a big wooden cutting board that used to belong to my Great Grandma Bertha.  Then my mother and I would cut out the circles, spoon in the filling, and then pinch the corners together.  My mother always double checked my corners before we put them in the oven.  Now I make hamantashen with my children and my husband.  Plus, I even invite friends over to enjoy in the hamantashen making fun!  I hope that I am helping my children create wonderful memories of their own during this joyous holiday.

Last year I made gluten free hamantashen using this recipe.  These hamantashen were soft, a little chewy, and they were so delicious.  However, the recipe contains rice flour, which I do not use in my baking anymore.  So, I had to re-think how I was going to make hamantashen this year.  I found a couple of different grain free hamantashen recipes, but I liked the one from Comfy Belly the best.  

Gluten Free Hamantashen

2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter (cold and cut into pieces)
2 rounded tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Put all of the ingredients into the food processor.  The food processor disperses the butter in the dough mixture.  Place the dough in a piece of plastic wrap and roll it into a log.  Freeze the dough log for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Take the dough out of the freezer, and cut the log into about 16 pieces. Take a section of the dough and roll it into a ball.  Then flatten it in between your palms to form a circle.  Place the dough circle on the parchment paper.  Place about a teaspoon of filling* in the middle of the circle.  Fold the dough around the filling into a triangle and pinch the 3 corners together.  The pinching helps keep the hamantashen together when baking.  Repeat for all sections of the dough.

Crack an egg and separate the egg whites from the yolk.  Brush the egg whites onto the edges of the hamantashen.  Bake the hamantashen for about 15 minutes or until they start to brown around the edges.  Let the hamantashen cool, and then they are ready to eat.

*Traditionally, hamantashen are filled with poppyseed filling or a stewed prune filling called lekvar.  My mother always this when we made hamantashen together.  This is her recipe.

Lekvar (prune filling)

2lbs pitted prunes
2 capfuls lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
Cherry pie filling

Put the prunes in a medium saucepan and then submerge the prunes completely under water.  Add 2 cupfuls of lemon juice, salt, and sugar.  Stir together all of the ingredients together.  Then cook the mixture on a medium heat until it looks syrupy (~15-30 minutes).  Combine the stewed prunes in the food processor with the chopped walnuts.  Then mix the stewed prunes with some of the cherry pie filling and cinnamon.

This year I decided not to use lekvar, because not enough people in my family will eat them.  Instead, I filled some with homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam, some with cherry pie filling, and some filled with nutella (my kids' favorite).

I hope that you enjoy making making these with your family and friends.  Enjoy!