Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review of Better Batter Gluten Free Potato Rolls


    I have finally finished putting in my new kitchen floor and now I can get back to cooking.  Living through even a small home improvement project can take forever.
    Now that I am back in the saddle, I started baking breads.  With Thanksgiving around the corner, good rolls to go with your turkey dinner is a must.   I started my "good rolls" recipe hunt at one of my favorite sites-- Better Batter.
    As usual, I got immediately sucked into the newest recipes.  Right there on the home page was a picture of fluffy rolls that beckoned me.
    The rolls were a huge hit in my house.  I used fresh mashed potatoes and potato water in the recipe.  This versatile bread can be made into parker rolls, crescents, or cloverleaf.  
    These rolls hit the spot served with a steaming bowl of soup ( we had them with Italian Wedding Soup).  They were also spectacular smothered in homemade strawberry jelly.  Super Yum!

Here is the recipe from Better Batter.

Ingredients:


2 C. mashed potatoes (note: you can use real fresh peeled and boiled potatoes or instant potatoes reconstituted with plain water)
1 C. water
2 packages active dry yeast – equal to 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. bulk yeast
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature [OR use 1 1/4 C. df milk substitute mixed with 1/4 C. vinegar]
6 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled [OR use df margarine – we like Earth Balance]
3 tsp. salt
5 1/2 to 6 1/2 C. Better Batter Gluten Free Flour, plus more for dusting
Butter or margarine for dipping (optional)
Instructions
In the bowl of your stand mixer, blend the mashed potato, water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside and allow to proof for 5 minutes, or until mixture begins to foam. Attach bowl to electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, add buttermilk or df milk sub, melted butter or margarine, and salt. Gradually add 5 1/2 C. Better Batter flour to make a sticky dough. Turn the mixer on high speed and allow to blend for 4 minutes.
Note: If you do not have a stand mixer, you can blend this with your bare hands for about 8 minutes or until well combined and the texture of chocolate chip cookie dough.
At this point you may continue to shape the dough into rolls or you may place the dough in a greased bowl and  with greased plastic wrap, to set aside up to 1 to 1 1/2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.
To shape rolls:
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Flour a work surface with remaining 1 C. flour.  Turn dough out onto urface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough out 3/4 inch thick. Cut dough into 2-inch-wide squares. If you wish, you may cut these squares diagonally into triangles. Dip in butter or margarine if desired, and place at least 1 inch apart on baking sheets.
Let rise 15-30 minutes and bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes; serve.
Variations
Crescent rolls: split dough into three sections and roll each section into a circle 1/8 inch thick. Heavily butter the surface of the circles. Using a knife or floured pizza cutter, cut each circle into 8 wedges. Starting from the wide end, quickly roll into a crescent shape and place on the baking pan to rise. Rise and bake as directed above.
Parkerhouse rolls: Instead of rolling to 3/4 inch thick, roll to 1/4 inch thick.  Break apart, and gently, using floured hands, shape each square on the floured surface into flattened ovals. Brush each oval with butter and fold slightly so the top half doesn’t quite overlap the bottom half. Rise and bake as directed above.
Cloverleaf Rolls: take a floured cookie scoop or melon baller and measure dough into 1 inch balls. Dip each ball into butter and place 3 of these in each muffin tin pan.  Rise and bake as directed above.

And by the way, my floors that kept me away from cooking!

Ripped up flooring
New floor!  Thank Heavens!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Boo Brownie Pops- Gluten Free



     I wanted a quick and easy Halloween pop.  I made these from Cherrybrooke GF Brownie mix, dipped in melted Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips and piped on words with a frosting made of powdered sugar and dairy free milk.

    These brownie bites were intended to be headstone brownie pops but as usual, my best laid plans don't quite turn out the way I envisioned.  It was one of those days where my frosting wasn't thick enough and my handwriting to big.  Definitely no ones cake decorator here.  So for those you with mad decorating skills, I bet these would turn out fantastic instead of just cute.

     I prepared the brownie mix according to the package and poured the batter into a canoe boat cake pan and baked.

Once these cooled completely, I began making various cuts. 
 I made cuts for pops and cuts to make graves.  

I made the following cuts:

I cut off the tops to create a flat surface to make graves.  


Cut off one tip.


Cut off the tip and then continue to cut into 1 inch slices.  These make circular pops.



To make the pops, use the 1 inch circles and insert the popsicle sticks or use the circles with the bottoms cut off to make more of a headstone shape.  

 Pour the melted chocolate onto the pop.  Dipping can cause it to fall off the stick.
  ( Dipping Chocolate is made with 1-10 ounce bag of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips and 
2 tablespoons of oil.  Heat in the microwave in 15 -20 second intervals, stirring, and returning to microwave until it is completely melted.)





Place the pops in a styrofoam block that has been covered with aluminum foil.


Continue until you have coated all your pops.  

I did the same to the graves.


Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or until the chocolate hardens. 

Use white frosting to pipe on words or symbols.  
 I really needed to  have a stiffer frosting.  My letters bled together.

For the graveyards, I placed them on a bed of crushed GF Chocolate Sandwich Cookies.


These didn't look quite how I had hoped.  But regardless, they were delicious. 
 It suffered from what I call the ugly duckling effect.
  Doesn't look so great, but tastes yummy!


Happy Haunting!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Enjoy Life's Not Nuts Review

       I do love my Enjoy Life products.  I buy their chocolate chips, their new handcrafted cookies, and love their double chocolate granola cereal!    Because only one of my kids is sensitive to nuts, we do eat nuts in our house.   So, I glossed over their not nuts! Seed and Fruit Mix.  Silly me!  

     I tried their Mountain Mambo.  It was totally great!  I loved the traditional chocolate chips, raisins, cranberries, and sunflower seeds but loved the addition of apples, and pumpkin seeds. 
 Awesome trail mix!

     The second choice of no nuts! was the Beach Bash seed mix.  This is a tropical mix of pineapple (sulfite free),  cranberries, pumpkin seeds, apricots, and sunflower seeds.   Again this was a tasty mix and you really don't miss the nuts here.  The one thing I did miss (remember I am a choco-holic) was chocolate chips.  I fixed that by adding in my own Enjoy Life Chocolate chips.  
 
    Then I made up a little treat for myself with a few ingredients I had around the house.  I call it  'Date on the Beach.'   I used pitted medjool dates, filled with a sweetened dairy free cream cheese, dipped in melted Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips and pressed into the not nuts! Beach Bash Seed and Fruit Mix.  It was a perfect bite sized treat.  I ate them all by myself and was completely happy!  
   
     These no nuts! mixes are wonderful and can be used for more than just as a quick snack.  I think these would also make a great spin off version of Pasteli, a Greek Sesame honey candy, where you mix 1 cup of honey with 3 cups of sesame seeds (but instead trying one of these seed mixes).  If you use the one with chocolate it will melt when you mix it in with the warm honey, but who cares, it's chocolate!   

   Now I am in the know.  
Who needs nuts in trail mix when these mixes taste so good without them!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Simply Sugar and Gluten Free Cookbook Review



      I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this cookbook.   I have to admit one of the reasons I wanted to review this cookbook was because of my super sized sweet tooth and the need to cut down on sugars myself.  While this book offers a plethora of recipes that don't really call for sugar -- main dishes like Black Bean Tostadas, Black Bean Veggie Burgers, Slower Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice, and tempting side dishes such as Oven Baked Polenta, and Pan Grilled Zucchini,  I wanted recipes that would naturally use refined sugars.

Apple Carrot Breakfast Cake


This cake is a great way to start off the day.  It was a super moist cake that wasn't too sweet.  Yet it was addictive.  I kept going back for more, and a little more, and a little .... hey who ate all the cake!  
(Look around for someone to accuse!)  
Everyone in the family agreed that it is a great anytime cake, but breakfast is good too! 

Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding



Who doesn't love chocolate pudding?   I doubled this recipe and placed it in a rectangular dish instead of  individual ramekins.  It was fantastic!  This recipe will be making many appearances at our table.  It set up just like a full milk version.  I also easily substituted arrowroot for the cornstarch. 
 My youngest daughter was so proud of how well she finger licked the pan that she stated that I didn't have to wash the dish!  I told her she did a great job (but don't tell her but I washed the dish anyways.)

Chocolate Teff Cake


I ate two slices, and sad that I didn't double this recipe. I needed more cake!


I really love teff flour, especially in a chocolate cake.  This cake was moist and decadent.  I felt spoiled eating this cake.  My kids couldn't tell it wasn't cooked with refined sugar.  
 I skipped putting frosting on, and it was heavenly. 
Can't you just see a layered cake with a peanut butter or raspberry jam layer!  
Just be sure to make the recipe twice!  
YUM!

Came out beautifully. 


Cider Cake Donuts




Okay, there is a reason you are looking at a picture of just the pan.
Because this happens to me every so often.  
I made these wonderful cider dounuts, that were excellent, not overly sweet,
but dunked in their sweet glaze made a truly wonderful donut.
 I turned around for a few minutes to take care of one of my little ones and when I turned back  I found all of my donuts gone (about 24 mini donuts).  
I found my Autistic son sitting in front of the empty donut pans.  His mouth moving as he devoured the last one.  
I asked him, "Where did the donuts go?"
He replied, " Donuts, all gone.  The muffin man ate them!"  
I couldn't help but laugh.  
I was honored to have the muffin man stop by.
While I can't tell you my whole family enjoyed them, I can tell you I enjoyed the one donut I got, and the muffin man certainly enjoyed all of these little donuts.
Sorry, I don't have a picture, maybe next time.

The Verdict:
These recipes really delivered.  I would be happy to eat any of these to satisfy my sweet tooth.  All of these recipes were five stars in taste and really shined without the refined sugar.  Amy has really turned me onto using palm sugar and stevia.  I am now trying to cut back on the amount of refined sugar I use, and continue to learn how to use the palm sugar and stevia.  Her book is a great start for me.

I did want to make a personal note here.  I am not a big fan of bean flours and Amy's basic flour blend is a combination of garbanzo fava bean flour, sorghum, potato and tapioca starch.    I consciously choose recipes that avoided the flour blend.  The chocolate cake was made with teff flour, and the breakfast cake was made with sorghum.  I used my favorite flour blend in her cake donuts and loved them.  My flour blend sadly did not hold up in her brownie recipe, but that is not the recipes fault.  Additionally,  I also used dairy and egg substitutes in all the recipes and they turned out well without sacrifice to taste or texture. 

193 Pounds of Pumpkin and a Pumpkin Pie Spice recipe

      It has been a wonderful afternoon!  We picked fifteen pumpkins that totaled 193 pounds ! 
 The kids loved being in the fields and having open season on any pumpkin they wanted.  
We picked our pumpkins at Miller Farms Market in Locust Grove, VA.  

I love their handwritten newsletter!
Check out what they have for the October newsletter..

I like the recipe for pumpkin pie spice!  I always buy mine, but it is also great to have a recipe for one. 

1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground clove

And the tip about grated butternut squash in place of carrots, I might just have to try that. 


Their Pumpkin Raisin Muffins recipe looks great too.   
I plan to try this with my favorite GF all purpose flour.


And they are taking turkey orders, and I am thinking that the greenery class sounds good. 

 I hope everyone gets a chance to go out to the pumpkin patch 
and get their pumpkins and make some memories!  
We had a great time!    





Thursday, October 6, 2011

Better Batter Brownie Mix - No Dairy!



    It has come to my attention, that somewhere on my site, that I have stated that Better Batter Brownie Mix has dairy in it.
    I want to make sure that everyone knows that it DOES NOT  have any dairy.  I can't seem to track down where that may have come from in my posts, so I want to make sure that I get this correction out there.  What it does have is Corn.  So if you have to be careful of corn like us, it is the only mix she has that does have corn as of date.  

    I want to include Ms. Poe's words again about her products here:

A few things: our products except for our brownie mix are corn free - at last check our xanthan gum was grown on sugar beet molasses in the US and there was no protein content in it.

Our pectin is sourced in the United States (California) from lemons grown in CA. We work closely with the first line producer of the pectin and know them personally. No corn issues there.

Financially, I wouldn't suggest you buy it at retail in the store, to be honest.  At your level of use, you'd do better to buy directly from the company. We offer amazing financial aid for families on a fixed income and those with children with developmental issues - I've found most large families qualify for the financial aid program.

Between the financial aid program and our many bulk buying programs available by buying directly, most people find it's actually better to buy from us than to make the Mock Better Batter.

I carefully source every grain and starch in the mix and we can tell you any all all countries of origin, subingredients etc - as a mom who's survived cancer and who has a family with MANY allergies, I'm personally involved in this part of our company, passionately.

Please feel free to contact us via betterbatter.org or to call me at 814.946.0958

Naomi Poe
CEO Better Batter 

     I do hope that that clears things up!  Because I can't say enough good things about her mixes.

    And if anyone can point me to my error in my post, please feel free to send me a comment.  I am always open to correction.  Happens to me daily!  

   Thanks everyone!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Breads From Anna Product Review

  It is becoming that time of year, where pie making becomes abundant.  Apple pie because it is apple picking season.  Pumpkin pies because it's time for that too.  And if you are making one pie, then why not a couple more... sweet potato, pecan, and ohhhh, don't forget blueberry!
   A good pie needs a good pie crust.
    Easy to make is a requirement in my book.  I never made pie crusts before going gluten free.  But with a gluten, dairy, egg, and corn allergies, there was no choice.  If I wanted pie, I had to make the crust.
  When I am not making it from scratch,  I make it from Breads from Anna.  I tried it after reading about them in my Living Without magazine a few months ago.
   Their pie crust is really, really good.  Which was a total shocker considering the ingredient list didn't seem all that appetizing to me.  Tapioca flour, arrowroot, chickpea flour, pinto bean flour, navy bean flour, potato starch, millet, chia flour, crystallized honey, xanthan gum, cream of tartar, baking soda and sea salt. 
    
    It is corn, dairy, soy, nut, rice, and egg free.   I was happy to learn that their xanthan gum is corn free.

I decided that since I really loved their pie crust, that I would try some of their bread mixes too.  They offer a long list of allergy free mixes.  This includes, corn free, soy free, dairy free, gluten free, nut free, rice free, and yeast free bread mixes.  I tried their classic herb bread and it was delicious!  
And the smell!  Oh!  
It was a good day! 

 I chose to cook my bread in the oven but one of the benefits that Breads from Anna offers is they have instructions for use of their mixes with all the major bread machines.  They even have a number you can call if you have problems with their mix in your bread machine. 
I made my herb bread egg free following their tips and it came out like this--


The bread deflated very little and didn't sink in the center. 
 It sliced up beautifully!


Gluten free, dairy free, corn free, soy free, egg free!  It was pure YUM!
I now have lots of Breads from Anna mixes on my pantry shelves.  You can check out their product line HERE!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Getting Started Product Update-Part 2

Photo  Jeltovski
I have several older posts about products that are good if you are just starting out Gluten free - Casein free.  New products and cookbooks have come out since then and I wanted to add to my list:

White Sandwich Bread Recipe:

Better Batter has the best Southern Style White Bread  but I recommend visiting their site.  I have tried several of their recipes and I haven't had one disappoint me yet.

And two of my other favorite bread staples:
Italian or Kaiser Rolls
GF Kings Hawaiian Bread (a sweet roll)

Flour Mixes:

Better Batter Gluten Free Flour -- 5 lbs  - this flour is great !  You can also buy it seasoned for you fried chicken or fish Better Batter Seasoned Flour Mix -- 20 oz.  Be sure to go to their website www.betterbatter.org and they have a great recipe archive to get you started.  Try their italian bread! Yum!

The Pure Pantry has several flour mixes that are fantastic as well.  They too have a great recipes on their website www.thepurepantry.com .  Be sure to try the Lemon Walnut Bread it is heavenly!
The Pure Pantry Baking Mix, All Purpose Gluten Free, 1.4-Pound
The Pure Pantry Pancake Mix, Old Fashion Gluten Free, 1.4-Pound
The Pure Pantry Pancake Mix, Buckwheat Gluten Free, 1.4-Pound

Pasta:

King Soba Noodle Culture 100% Buckwheat Noodles - loved these noodle.  They are fast cooking - 10 minutes.  Great noodle if you are allergic to rice.

Prepared Mixes (Cookies, Cakes, Brownies, Pie Crust)

Better Batter wins here too!
Better Batter Gluten Free Fudge Brownie Mix -- 20 oz
They also have a yummy yellow cake mix you can buy on their website.

The Pure Pantry mixes are here again:
The Pure Pantry Cake Mix, Dark Chocolate, 21-Ounce
The Pure Pantry Cookie Mix, Old Fashion Chocolate Chip, 18-Ounce
The Pure Pantry Cookie Mix, Sugar, 12-Ounce
The Pure Pantry Cookie Mix, Oatmeal Spice, 18-Ounce

Breads By Anna:
 Their Pie Crust is delicious!  It is the easiest mix I have used.  They also have other bread mixes.  Their Herb loaf bread is great!  These mixes are great if you can't have corn.  Big thing in a lot of their mixes -- no corn !  Yeah!

Already Made Products:

Joan's GF Great Bakes:
Great bagels and love her frozen Italian bread.

Enjoy Life:
Their new handcrafted crunchy cookies are awesome!  All of them are very, very good, but the Enjoy Life Chocolate Chip Crunchy Cookie, 7-Ounce (Pack of 6) are super - they are the GF Chips A'hoy version.  They make three other kinds and they are all superb.

Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Crunch Granola, 12-Ounce (Pack of 3) This granola cereal is new and it is wonderful!  I love chocolate and this is a great granola.


Enjoy Life Foods Rice Milk Chocolate Bar Dairy Free



Baking Ingredients:

Enjoy Life Foods Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks 10 Oz - these are just like the mini chocolate chips but are nice sized chunks.
Authentic Foods Dough Enhancer - this is a great product to provide lift to your breads.

Cookbooks I have reviewed and think are awesome:

Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook
Fresh from Elizabeth's Kitchen: Gluten-free & Allergy-Free Recipes
Artisanal Gluten Free Cupcakes