Category: Dessert

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I have a few friends who either suffer from celiac disease or have a low tolerance for gluten, which led me to experiment with gluten-free flour. It was a challenge at first to learn the ins and outs of working without gluten, but I persevered. Here’s one of my recent “success stories,” Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies.

I made these especially for my friend Dennis, who is constantly commenting on the inferior quality and high cost of commercially made GF snacks. This is one of his favorite cookies and he requested cashews in lieu of the typical walnuts. These cookies are light, with a buttery, not too sweet flavor, and a hint of cinnamon. He stopped by on Saturday to pick them up and was delighted with the results and his goodie bag to go!

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Gluten-Free Flour

There are a wide variety of flours to choose from and most local grocery stores carry one or two brands, usually King Arthur Flour or Bob’s Red Mill. Both have blends that you can substitute all-purpose flour cup for cup for the gluten-free flour. I used King Arthur Flour’s Measure for Measure, which doesn’t require the addition of gums. Read the ingredient label to check if either guar gum and/or zanthan gum are included. My research shows that using half guar gum and half xanthan gum provides the best results. A 1/4 teaspoon each per cup of flour is sufficient. These are readily available from vendors such as Bob’s Red Mill and amazon.com and other vendors.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

The cookies whip up exactly like any other drop cookie. Beat the butter until fluffy in a stand mixer or with a hand beater; scrape the sides and beater. Add the sugar and salt and beat until incorporated; scrape the sides and beater. Add the eggs and beat, scraping the sides and beater as needed until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla extract, raisins, and nuts. Add the flours, oatmeal, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, guar gum, and xanthan gum,* and beat on low, scraping the sides of the bowl and the beater as needed, until the flour is moist. Scrape the sides and beater again and mix on medium-high until the dough is smooth, about 10 seconds.

*Omit if using a gluten-free flour that includes these gums.

Drop the cookies by the spoonful onto the lined cookie sheet, or use a cookie scoop, which makes about a 2-inch cookie, not too big and not too small. I like to use the scoop for the uniformity in size and even cooking.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Pop the cookie sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookie is golden brown.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Cool the cookies for 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container or freeze.

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Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld

Ingredients

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cups raisins
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, optional, such as walnuts, pecans, or cashews
1 cup gluten-free flour
3/4 cup oat flour
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal, such Quaker Oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon guar gum*
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum*

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

Beat the butter until fluffy in a stand mixer or with a hand beater; scrape the sides and beater.

Add the sugar and salt and beat until incorporated; scrape the sides and beater.

Add the eggs and beat, scraping the sides and beater as needed until incorporated.

Mix in the vanilla extract, raisins, and nuts.

Add the flours, oatmeal, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, guar gum, and xanthan gum,* and beat on low, scraping the sides of the bowl and the beater as needed, until the flour is moist. Scrape the sides and beater again and mix on medium-high until the dough is smooth, about 10 seconds.

*Note: Omit if using a gluten-free flour that includes these gums.

Drop the cookies by the spoonful onto the lined cookie sheet, or use a cookie scoop, which makes about a 2-inch cookie, not too big and not too small. I like to use the scoop for the uniformity in size and even cooking.

Pop the cookie sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. The bottom of the cookie should be golden brown. The tops a darker beige.

Cool the cookies for 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container or freeze.

Notes

*Note: Omit if using a gluten-free flour that includes these gums.

Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake

pumpkin ricotta cheesecake

I like to tweak recipes. Sometimes it’s not a very noticeable change and other times I create a new version of something I’ve done in the past. This Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake is a remake of a traditional Italian Ricotta Cheese that I did a couple of years ago. I thought a pumpkin version for Thanksgiving was just what we needed this year!

This dessert whips up in a matter of minutes. Make it the day before and let it sit, refrigerated of course, which allows the flavors to meld. It also takes the pressure off on Thanksgiving day to have the dessert already done. Take it out of the refrigerator an hour before serving to warm up, and add a dollop of whipped cream for a delicious garnish.

Making the Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake

Preheat the oven to 300ºF and lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with a little unsalted butter. I use a small piece of wax paper and a dab of butter, about 1 teaspoon, and smear it over the bottom and sides of the pan.

greasing the pan for pumpkin ricotta cheesecake

Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the bottom of the pan and turn on a slant to coat the sides too.

pumpkin ricotta cheesecake

Line a 13 by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Sometimes a springform pan leaks and this keeps the bottom of your oven clean.

Place the ricotta cheese, sugar, pumpkin powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves in a mixing bowl.

pumpkin ricotta cheesecake

Beat with a whisk attachment until combined, or in a bowl with a hand whisk. Make sure there are no lumps.

If you are mixing by hand, the eggs are best beaten first and then added to the batter. I use the empty ricotta cheese container to avoid using another bowl. Simply crack the eggs into the container, cover, and shake to scramble.

pumpkin ricotta cheesecake

Add the eggs and vanilla to the batter and whisk until smooth.

pumpkin ricotta cheesecake batter

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes. The cake is done when it’s set in the center and the sides are lightly golden brown.

Remove and cool for 5 minutes. Take a sharp knife and run the blade around the inside of the pan to make sure the cake isn’t sticking; then release the side panel. Once the cake is cool, refrigerate.

pumpkin ricotta cheesecake

 

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Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake

pumpkin ricotta cheesecake

A quick and easy dessert that can be made a day in advance. Take the cake out of the refrigerator an hour before serving to warm up. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 80 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Dessert

Ingredients

2 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon more for the pan
1/2 cup pumpkin powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
5 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Garnish
whipped cream

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 300ºF and lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with a little unsalted butter. I use a small piece of wax paper and a dab of butter, about 1 teaspoon, and smear it over the bottom and sides of the pan. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the bottom of the pan and turn on a slant to coat the sides too.

Line a 13 by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Sometimes a springform pan leaks and this keeps the bottom of your oven clean.

Place the ricotta cheese, sugar, pumpkin powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves in a mixing bowl and beat with a whisk attachment until combined, or in a bowl with a hand whisk. Make sure there are no lumps.

If you are mixing by hand, the eggs are best beaten first and then added to the batter. I use the empty ricotta cheese container to avoid using another bowl. Simply crack the eggs into the container, cover, and shake to scramble.

Add the eggs and vanilla to the batter and whisk until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes. The cake is done when it’s set in the center and the sides are lightly golden brown.

Remove and cool for 5 minutes. Take a sharp knife and run the blade around the side of the pan; then release the side panel. Once the cake is cool, refrigerate.

Keywords: Ricotta cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake, cheesecake, Italian cheesecake, pumpkin,

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

I don’t know the origin of this recipe and I’ve tweaked it a little over the years.  The original was a plain brownie, no chips or nuts. It’s one of those handed down by Grandma Mary to Mom to me. It’s probably another recipe that got clipped from a weekly newspaper’s food column or was found in a women’s magazine.

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

The brownies are moist and even better if made a day in advance. Don’t cut them into squares until they are completely cool (I mean cold) or they crumble.

Use an 8” x 8” x 2” square pan, lightly greased and you’ll end up with 16 brownies.

The nuts are optional and if you have a group that is divided over nuts, sprinkle some on half the top and all will be happy.

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

These triple-chocolate brownies are quick and easy to make and a real crowd pleaser. Don’t hesitate to serve with a scoop of ice cream on the side!

Watch the Triple-Chocolate Brownies Video here.
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Triple-Chocolate Brownies

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

Brownies are an all-time favorite and these triple- chocolate brownies bring three times the flavor! Quick and easy to prepare.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 16 two-inch brownies
  • Category: Dessert/Bars
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease an 8-inch by 8-inch by 2-inch baking pan.
  3. Place the butter and chocolate in a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl and melt over low heat, stirring occasionally. Once the butter is melted, take off heat to stir the chocolate to help it melt. Don’t let the mixture get too hot or the chocolate will seize.
  4. Stir in the sugar and vanilla extract, which helps cool the chocolate.
  5. Add eggs and vanilla and beat lightly. Beating too hard will incorporate air and create a less dense brownie.
  6. Stir in the flour mixing until all the flour has been incorporated.
  7. Stir in the chips and nuts, if using, until thoroughly blended.
  8. Spread mixture into the greased baking pan.
  9. Top the brownie batter with the walnuts, if desired.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes; the brownies are done when top looks cracked and the sides have pulled away slightly. A toothpick inserted in the middle should show a moist crumb.
  11. Cool and cut into squares.

 

How To Blind Bake a Pie Crust

Blind baking

Not all pie fillings require baking, but the pie crust certainly does. Use this simple technique to blind bake a pie crust before adding the filling.

To blind bake a pie crust, place the dough in a pie dish, crimp and then use a fork to gently poke holes around the sides and bottom of the dough. This allows steam to escape and prevents the bottom of the pie dough rising into a small hill.

Blind bakingPlace a piece of plastic wrap, no worries, it doesn’t melt, parchment paper or foil in the bottom of the unbaked shell and fill with pie weights. Pie weights are sold in stores in small quantities and tend to be expensive. An excellent and inexpensive alternative is a one-pound package of dried beans. Cool the beans after removing and store in a covered container for reuse.
The cooking takes place in two stages:

  1. Baking with the beans in the shell and removing about 20 minutes in.
  2. Return the pie shell, without the beans or liner, and continue baking until golden brown.

Cool the shell before adding filling.

On occasion, it pays to blind bake a pie crust with a filling that needs to be cooked, such as quiche, which makes the bottom crust soggy. See our recipe for Bacon Spinach Quiche.

Blind baking

See the How To Blind Bake a Pastry Crust Here.

Basic Pie Crust

How to make pie dough

Whenever I make a pie crust, I think of Grandma Mary, my mother’s mother. Pies have always been a big thing in our family and I remember when Grandma taught me how to make my first one. I was 16 and my parents had gone on vacation, a very rare occurrence, I can assure you, and she was staying with me and my brother.

I asked her to teach me and we set up on the table in the breakfast nook, put all the ingredients together, gently brought the pie dough together and rolled it out. This is the only cooking experience I ever had with her, which is a real shame considering the repertoire of recipes she had in her head! I didn’t realize until it was too late the importance of learning about food and recipes from family members, including my Mother-in-Law Ruth who passed away very early on in our marriage. Her sisters and daughter didn’t know her secrets either.

Cherish your memories of cooking with family and remember to write down traditional recipes and family favorites, even if you need to measure ingredients as you go along because they don’t!

Ratios

For a basic, savory pie dough use a 3:2:1 ratio of flour to butter to water, plus a little salt (1/2 teaspoon per 1 ½ cups flour). For a sweet pie dough add 1 tablespoon sugar per 1 ½ cups flour.

Flavored Crusts

Add more sugar for a sweeter crust, add herbs or shredded cheese for a savory crust.

Smear the Butter

You don’t need special equipment to make the dough. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, add the butter, which has been cut into small pieces and work the four and butter together by smearing together with your thumb and index finger until the butter is the size of peas. Alternatively, use a pastry blender, electric mixer or food processor, but be very cautious of over developing the dough when you add water with these appliances.

Smearing the butter coats the flour with fat and is one step in preventing an over-developed gluten. The most important factor is to use as little agitation as possible: minimal mixing, no kneading.How to make pie dough

Want a flakier crust? Leave the butter pieces in slightly larger pieces.

Flaky Crust

Butter contains about 15-20% water and milk solids, the rest is fat. Because of the water content, a butter crust is crispier than a crust made with lard or shortening, both of which are 100% fat.

The water in the butter turns to steam, puffs up the layers and creates that much desired flaky, crispy crust.

Add the Water

Water is always given in an approximation; it depends on how much moisture is in the flour. Use only cold water to keep the butter from getting too soft. Add about half the water at first and gently toss the flour and water together.

Pick up a small handful of the dough and press together. If it falls apart, add more water, toss and check. Keep this up until the dough holds together with no crumbling.

How to make pie dough

For a single-crust recipe, scoop the loose mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap, large enough to contain the disc.

For a double-crust recipe, divide the loose mixture in dough in half and place each portion onto a piece of plastic wrap large enough to contain the disc.

Gently form a mound and wrap the dough. Push the mound down with the palm of your hand and form a disc. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight to hydrate the flour.

 

How to make pie dough

Watch the video here.

 

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Basic Pie Dough

How to make pie dough

This recipe gives the ingredients for a double-crust pie. Divide the recipe in half for a single, or make the whole recipe and freeze the second disc.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 9- or 10-inch crusts
  • Category: Baking

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces and kept cold
  • 3/4 cup cold water, approximate

Instructions

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, add the butter, which has been cut into small pieces and work the flour and butter together by smearing together with your thumb and index finger until the butter is the size of peas.
  2. Alternatively, use a pastry blender, electric mixer or food processor, but be very cautious of over developing the dough when you add water with the appliances.
  3. Water is always given as an approximation; it depends on how much moisture is in the flour. Use only cold water to keep the butter from getting too soft. Add about half the water at first and just toss the flour and water together. Pick up a small handful of the dough and press together. If it falls apart, add more water, toss and check. Keep this up until the dough holds together with no crumbling.
  4. Divide the dough in half, it’s loose and crumbly because you haven’t forced it together yet, and scoop each half onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Gently form a mound and wrap the dough.
  5. Push the mound down with the palm of your hand and form a disc. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight to hydrate the flour.

Notes

Freezes well. Freeze as a disc or roll out and freeze as a rolled up sheet. See video here.

 

Triple Berry Crisp

Fruit Dessert History

Quick and easy Triple Berry Crisp is versatile. Not only is this a wonderful dessert but it also makes an excellent breakfast. The recipe calls for whole-wheat flour, whole oats, brown sugar, almonds, cinnamon, salt and melted butter for the topping and a bounty of fresh fruit – a great way to start the day!

Wash the fruit, drain a little, slide the berries into a deep dish pie pan, cover with the crisp topping and bake for a little over an hour, until the berries are bubbling. No sugar needed in the fruit unless you find it very tart and then I recommend  only a sprinkling of a tablespoon or two over the top of the fruit.

Fruit Dessert History

Make several batches of the topping at once, minus the butter, and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use 1 ½ cups of the topping mixed with 6 tablespoons melted butter and combine over 7 cups of fruit.

Fruit Dessert History

Here’s the video, but don’t miss out on the history of the crisp and similar type fruit desserts below!

FOOD HISTORY

Bird’s Nest Pudding, Brown Betty, Buckle, Cobbler, Crisp, Crumble, Grunt, Pandowdy, Slump, Sonker – all names and variations on “old-fashioned” English and Colonial American fruit desserts. If old-fashioned means out of date, I beg to differ. These recipes are wonderful ways to make use of abundant seasonal fresh fruit and are not just for dessert.

The common denominator is the recipes all use fruit, sweeteners, and usually have a crusty top. What varies is the type of fruit, though apples predominate, and the type of pastry that covers the top or on occasion is broken up and mixed into the fruit bottom.

Fruit Dessert History

What’s in a Name

Names are regional and somewhat like barbecue, each style is fiercely defended. The sonker has its own festival in Lowgap, North Carolina and proudly touts the abundance of fruit contained in a sonker compared to a stingy cobbler.

Bird’s nest pudding is made with sliced apples covered with a mixture of milk, eggs, and sugar, and  baked until set, a custard.

Brown betty has layers of fruit, crumbled pastry, fruit, and crumbled pastry. The crumbled pastry absorbs fruit juices and thickens into a pudding-like consistency.

Yellow cake is the base for a buckle with berries strewn across it and topped with crumbs, which is then cut into squares after baking – a precursor to a fruit bar, perhaps.

A cobbler is a deep dish dessert covered with thick biscuit dough, either a solid layer, or cut into rounds, resembling cobbles – hence the name – sprinkled with sugar, and baked until golden brown. The thickness of the biscuit overwhelms the dish and is why Sonker fans claim to have a better fruit to crust ratio.

Grunts and slumps are stovetop versions of a cobbler, which originated in England. The biscuits are steamed in a cast-iron skillet and resemble dumplings. The noise from the bubbling fruit “grunts” as it stews.

To make a pandowdy, the dough is sliced and pressed into the fruit during the last stage of baking. Early recipes referred to this step as dowdying.

Fruit History Dessert

My Favorite

So many to choose from, but for me it’s an easy choice, the crisp, or crumble as the British say, is my favorite. Fruit on the bottom covered with a layer of flour, brown sugar, whole oats and sometimes nuts that is traditionally rubbed with butter. The butter melts in the oven and “crisps” the top. I find, however, that melted butter added to the dry ingredients does a better job. The fat is totally incorporated into the crust and prevents a partially crisp, partially powdery top. Below is my recipe for Triple Berry Crisp.

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Triple Berry Crisp

berry crisp

Not only is this a wonderful dessert but it also makes an excellent breakfast. The recipe calls for whole-wheat flour, whole oats, brown sugar, almonds, cinnamon, salt and melted butter for the topping and a bounty of fresh fruit – a great way to start the day!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 70 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 nine-inch deep dish crisp
  • Category: Dessert

Ingredients

  • 6-8 cups mixed berries, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Slide the berries into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.
  3. Place the almonds and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade and finely grind the nuts.
  4. Add the flour, oats, cinnamon, and salt; pulse just enough to combine the ingredients.
  5. Pour the melted butter over the mixture and pulse until well incorporated.
  6. Take handfuls of the crisp topping and cover the fruit. Place in preheated oven and bake for 80 minutes or until the fruit begins to bubble.
  7. Remove and cool.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Notes

Use frozen, unsweetened fruit in the off season.

Make up multiple batches of the topping, minus the butter, and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use 1 ½ cups of the topping mixed with 6 tablespoons melted butter and combine over 7 cups of fruit. It’s so quick and easy to make these crisps spur of the moment.

 

 

Pie Crust Treats

Pastry Treats

Have you ever wondered what to do with the few little pieces of uncooked pie crust left over after trimming the dough off your pie or tart? Take those scraps and make pie crust treats!

Cut them into a pieces that can be devoured in a bit or two. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and top with a dollop of your favorite jelly or shake a little cinnamon and sugar on them.

Pastry scraps

Bake in a preheated oven (350 degrees F) with your pie for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove, cool, make a cup of tea and reward yourself with these crispy, sweet delights!

Here’s our recipe for basic pie crust.

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

I recently had a coconut milk ice cream and I’ll be darned if I can remember where, but I really liked it and fortunately the idea stayed with me.

Use half and half for a slightly lighter version, it reminds me of ice milk in texture. Chop any kind of nuts to garnish the ice cream for crunch; pop them in a bag and gently crush with a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pan. I chose candy-coated almonds for a little color as well as crunch; other options include chocolate-covered almonds or spiced nuts.

Tip: Set your freezer temperature to 4ºF for ice cream that is easy to scoop.

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

 

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Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Jazz up this coconut milk ice cream with some crushed nuts for color and crunch.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 1 quart
  • Category: Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups half and half or cream
  • 1 can (15 ounces) coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the half and half, coconut milk, sugar, coconut extract and salt in a medium-size bowl until sugar is dissolved, about three minutes.
  2. Chill for at least one hour.
  3. Follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. About halfway through the churning, add the coconut flakes and continue churning as directed.
  4. Freeze.

Notes

Use the half and half for a slightly lighter version, it reminds me of ice milk in texture.

Tip: Set your freezer temperature to 4ºF for ice cream that is easy to scoop.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti

Here’s a recipe for gluten-free Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti. I also want to share my research and solutions to making a great tasting gluten-free biscotti with excellent texture.

Why Gluten Free?

Eating gluten-free eating is having its 15 minutes of fame. With awareness of celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder where ingesting gluten can damage the small intestine) and other gluten allergies and intolerances on the rise, there are more options than ever for those who want to eat gluten-free. There are also many excellent cooking blogs entirely devoted to gluten-free cooking, such as Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, Elana’s Pantry, and Celiac Chicks.

I became interested in gluten-free baking when I realized I had a family, friends, and colleagues who either suffer from celiac disease or have a low tolerance for gluten. This means they aren’t able to enjoy my biscotti, which lead to a lot of research on how to exchange all-purpose flour for a gluten-free version.

Baking gluten-free presents a challenge. Without gluten as a binding agent, the chances of the cookies breaking and crumbling increases. Despite some early failed attempts, I persisted, thanks to ample encouragement from my friends, who are always on the hunt for high-quality, good-tasting gluten-free treats. I had a handle on the flavor profiles, but the real challenge with gluten-free biscotti is the texture.

Resources

There are a number of gluten-free flours available and I needed to find out how they work and which is best. King Arthur makes an excellent gluten-free multipurpose flour, which uses both white and brown rice as well as tapioca and potato starches. It has a nice texture and a neutral taste.

Bob’s Red Mill also sells a gluten-free all-purpose flour, which is made from garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, and fava bean flour. The beans and sorghum have a noticeable flavor, but I’ve found that the two brands work equally well.

To compensate for the loss of gluten, guar gum and/or xanthan gum are used to stabilize the dough. In my experience, without these gums, the log of biscotti easily crumbles. Use an equal mixture of the two for best results. Too much guar gum can produce a stringy dough and too much xanthan gum may create an unappealing gumminess. One-quarter teaspoon each, per cup of flour is sufficient.

If you want to forgo buying the gums separately, Bob’s Red Mill sells a gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour that contains sweet white-rice flour, whole-grain brown-rice flour, potato starch, whole-grain sweet white-sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and xanthan gum.

My Results

After some initial trial and error, I’ve honed my techniques for delicious gluten-free biscotti with great texture. Less fillings, such as chocolate and nuts, make a difference. The presence of these chunks prevent the dough from staying connected. Of course, there is no guarantee, even with regular biscotti, that a biscotto or two won’t break, but the likelihood of this happening increases with gluten-free versions.

The real key—a shout-out to Shauna Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl for passing this along—is to let the baked biscotti sit until it has cooled completely before cutting. Shauna recommends letting it sit overnight, but if you’re less patient (as I am), two hours is sufficient. Giving your gluten-free biscotti the extra time to cool helps ensure that they’ll hold together as well as those made with wheat flour.

Following is my recipe for the Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti.

 

Biscotti-Update.jpeg

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti

A delicious, gluten-free biscotti with peanut butter and chocolate that won’t disappoint in taste or texture!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 dozen
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

Glaze

1 large egg

Biscotti

2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup salted peanuts
3 1/2 to 4  ounces dark chocolate (85% cocoa) or milk chocolate, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multipurpose Flour, plus more for dusting
1  teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon guar gum

Instructions

Setup
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat one egg until frothy and set aside with a pastry brush.
Line a 17- by 10- by 1-inch  baking sheet with parchment paper.

 Method

Beat the eggs, sugars, vanilla extract and salt in an electric mixer, fitted with the beater attachment, on high until thickened, about two minutes. Mix in the peanuts, chocolate and peanut butter. Add the flour, baking powder xanthin gum and guar gum. and beat on low, scraping the sides as needed, until the flour is moist. Scrape sides and beater once more and mix on medium high until the dough is smooth, about ten seconds.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form a thick log. Roll the log back and forth, adding bit of dusting flour as needed, until the log is 18-inches long by 2-inches wide. Cut it in half, place on the prepared sheet tray and gently press the log to about a 1/2-inch thickness. Brush each log with the egg wash, place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let sit for at least two hours or overnight.

Cut the log on an angle into 1/2-inch slices and lay flat on the sheet tray and bake for 15 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Notes

The recipe calls for 3 1/2 to 4 ounces chocolate because not all chocolate manufacturers sell the same size bars. Don’t fret, use whichever brand you like. My preference is primarily Lindt (3 1/2 ounces).

 

 

Biscotti

I love biscotti. That crisp first bite, the bitter/sweet contrast of a good dark chocolate, the nutty crunch—what could be better? That’s why I’ve written a biscotti cookbook, which is coming late fall 2018 or early spring 2019.

The word biscotti means “twice baked.” The first bake sets the loaf, and after cooling and slicing, the second bake dries the individual biscotto into a crispy cookie. I’ve made numerous attempts over the years at baking my own biscotti, with mostly abysmal results. They crumbled to dust every time I tried to slice them, and soon my favorite treat had become my nemesis. I was tempted to give up, but ultimately I rallied. I’m a culinary-school graduate after all—surely I could rise to the challenge. After many hours of online research and instructional videos, success was mine! Once I mastered that first batch I was hooked.

A Little Biscotti History

Biscotti are ubiquitous at this point—you can find them in just about any bakery or coffee shop you walk into. But the original biscotti weren’t quite as appealing as the version you now munch with your macchiato. They were flat, very dry, and very hard. They were utilitarian; portable with a long shelf life, making them easy to take on long trips. Some versions could last a year with no noticeable deterioration, though they got a little less mileage on the open seas due to animal and bug infestations.

Prior to the Industrial Age, there were few food resources available to travelers and military troops that were suitable for long journeys. Fresh foods were consumed first, and since there were rarely places to restock, especially for those at sea, biscotti became a standby. The original versions were hard as rocks, one had to dip the cookie into hot tea or a warm gruel to soften it up before eating. I imagine sailors gnawing on these like babies with teething biscuits!

Though the oldest recipe dates back to eighteenth-century Italy, twice-baked goods are not unique to that country. Other versions include English hardtack, Jewish Mandelbrot, the Dutch rusk, the German zwieback, and the Greek paximadia.

Happily, after the Industrial Age introduced canned and frozen foods, the original bland biscotti wasn’t discarded entirely but instead turned into a delightful, tasty treat with the addition of sugar, flavorings, nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate.

Biscotti can now be enjoyed at any time of the day: with a latte for breakfast, with tea in the afternoon, or with a glass of Vin Santo in the evening. They also partner nicely with ice cream, gelato, or sorbet. Biscotti are as portable as ever, so take a few with you on your daily travels!cookies1.1024.IMG_3621

Apple Pie with Crumb Topping

Honeypie’s Recipes thanks all the brave men and women and their families who serve or have served our country by offering a Veteran’s Day Apple Pie with Crumb Topping recipe.

We decided to pay tribute to our troops with an apple pie recipe. When journalists’ asked WWII soldiers why they were fighting, the frequent response was:  “For Mom and apple pie.”

Interestingly, apples are not native to the Americas; they were brought here from Europe. Apple pie became a symbol of prosperity and national pride in the 19th and 20th centuries. Hence the expression “As American as apple pie.” We took the liberty of making a version from the Dutch, which uses a crumb topping instead of a double crust.

Traditional accompaniments for apple pie are whipped cream, ice cream, or thin slices of sharp Cheddar cheese.

Single Pie Crust

Dump the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl. Cut the butter in half lengthwise and then into 8 slices. Toss these into the flour and coat the individual pieces well. Cut the butter with a pastry blender until the butter is in tiny pieces about the size of a pea.

Use the butter wrapper to grease the inside of the pie dish.

Measure 1/4 cup water, add vanilla extract, and drizzle over the flour. Toss gently with your fingers to incorporate the moisture. Form a small clump of dough. If it crumbles easily, add another tablespoon of water and toss. Repeat the crumble test. Add another teaspoon or two of cold water if it’s still dry and repeat the crumble test.

Once the dough holds together, push it all together into a mound and place on a piece of plastic wrap.

Wrap securely and push down to form a round disc. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to hydrate the flour.

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Crumb Top

Place the sugar and walnuts in the base of a food processor and pulse until the nuts are mealy. Add the flour, oat, cinnamon and salt and pulse five-six times.

Dump the crumble mixture into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour the melted butter onto the crumble mixture and stir until combined.

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Apple Filling

*Note: I used two each Granny Smith, Macoun, Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious; each has a different sweetness or tartness and soft or firm texture, which makes a complex pie.

Peel and core the apples and cut into 1/2-inch slices lengthwise. Sprinkle with cinnamon and salt; toss to combine.

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Assembly

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Lightly flour a rolling surface, the rolling pin and both sides of the pastry dough. Roll the dough out from the middle; turn, roll from the middle. If the dough begins to stick, lift and lightly sprinkle more flour on the rolling surface, rolling pin and pastry dough. Continue rolling, turning and dusting as needed until the dough is roughly 14-inches round.

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Roll out the pie crust (see our post/video) around the rolling pin and drape evenly across the pie dish. Lift each side and tuck the pastry down the sides of the pie dish. Cut the edge of the dough around the pie dish leaving a one-inch overlap.

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Fold the overlap under and then crimp. Sprinkle the bottom of the pie dish with one tablespoon all-purpose flour.

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Slide the apple mixture into the dough-lined pie dish. Strew the crumble over the top.

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Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350ºF and continue cooking until the apples are fork tender and juices are bubbling, about 45 minutes; the pie is done when the apples are easily pierced with a knife.

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Apple Pie with Crumb Topping

apple pie

Make this delicious apple pie with crumb topping with a variety of apples, such as McIntosh, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or McCoun. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or slices of Cheddar cheese.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Dessert

Ingredients

Pastry Dough
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter,
6-8 tablespoons cold water, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apple Filling
8 medium apples (use a variety for complex flavor)*
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

Pastry Dough
Dump the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.

Cut the butter in half lengthwise and then into 8 slices. Toss these into the flour and coat the individual pieces well.

Cut the butter with a pastry blender until the butter is in tiny pieces about the size of a pea.

Use the butter wrapper to grease the inside of the pie dish.

Pour the vanilla into a measuring cup and add four ounces of cold water. Drizzle over the flour. Toss gently with your fingers to incorporate the moisture.

Form a small clump of dough. If it crumbles easily, add another tablespoon of cold water and toss.

Form another small clump and repeat the crumble test. Add another teaspoon or two of cold water and repeat the crumble test.

Once the dough holds together, it should not be wet, push it all together into a mound and place on a piece of plastic wrap.

Wrap securely and push down to form a round disc.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to hydrate the flour.

Apple Filling
Peel and core the apples and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch slices lengthwise.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and salt; toss to combine.

Crumb Topping
Put the sugar and walnuts in the base of a food processor and pulse until the nuts are mealy.

Add the flour, oat, cinnamon and salt and pulse five-six times.

Dump the crumble mixture into a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Pour the melted butter onto the crumble mixture and stir until combined.

Assemble

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Lightly flour a rolling surface, the rolling pin and both sides of the pastry dough.

Roll the dough out from the middle; turn, roll from the middle. If the dough begins to stick, lift and lightly sprinkle more flour on the rolling surface, rolling pin and pastry dough.

Continue rolling, turning and dusting as needed until the dough is roughly 14-inches round.

Roll the dough around the rolling pin and drape evenly across the pie dish. Lift each side and tuck the pastry down the sides of the pie dish. Cut the edge of the dough around the pie dish leaving a one-inch overlap.

Slide the apple mixture into the dough-lined pie dish. Strew the crumble over the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350ºF and continue cooking until the apples are fork tender and juices are bubbling, about 45 minutes; the pie is done when the apples are easily pierced with a knife.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 51581

Keywords: apple pie, apple crumb pie, dessert, pie, crumble, apple dessert

 

Strawberry Ice Cream

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Ice cream is one of America’s favorite treats and strawberry ice cream is a classic. To celebrate the publication of my cookbook, Endless Summer: 54 quick and creative ice cream and dessert recipes, I’m publishing my recipe for strawberry ice cream.

Here’s the story behind Endless Summer. The Monday before Christmas (2013) I got a call from my client at Zoku LLC. They had a new product, individual ice cream makers, and wanted to know if I’d like to write an ice cream book to accompany this new venture. Having worked with them before, I knew they operate on a tight deadline and this one was particularly challenging. Write the book in six weeks!

Ice Cream Recipe Book

Endless Summer is available  at Williams-Sonoma stores and online, as well as amazon.com and other venues. The book is sold separately from the Zoku Ice Cream Maker and works for traditional ice cream machines. There are 54 recipes for ice cream, gelato, sorbet, granita and some dairy-free frozen desserts as well as recipes for sauces, apple pie, profiteroles, ice cream cones and more. I am particularly pleased with, well all of them, but a couple of favorites are the Pumpkin Pie, White Chocolate & Fudge Swirl, and Coconut Milk, Lemongrass, Ginger & Jalapeño (one of the dairy-free desserts). With Zoku’s permission, here is the recipe for strawberry ice cream.

Check out Zoku’s website to see all their fun individual appliances, such as the Quick Pop Maker and the Slush and Shake Maker. Great recipe books for these, too!

Strawberry ice cream from the ice cream machine.

One and one-half cups strawberries cut into pieces to maximize flavor.

Puree the strawberries, sugar, lime juice, vanilla and salt in a blender or food processor. Add the cream and milk and pulse to combine. Chill ice cream mixture and stir well before using.

 

 

Strawberry ice cream base.

Follow the instructions included with your ice cream maker for churning and freezing.

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Get our recipe for peanut butter cookies and make PB&J ice cream sandwiches!

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Strawberry Ice Cream

Tip: To maximize the strawberry flavor, cut large strawberries in quarters and small one in half to get a full measure.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups rinsed and hulled fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Puree the strawberries, sugar, lime juice, vanilla and salt in a blender or food processor. Add the cream and milk and pulse to combine. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate for at least five hours or overnight. Stir well before using.

Notes

To make the PB&J ice cream sandwiches, take one cookie and place 4 ounces/1/4 cup ice cream on the backside of the cookie and cover with another cookie and gently press.