Here’s how the story goes: Girl discovers old Barnes & Noble gift card in her wallet. Girl wants to spend said gift card. Girl goes to B&N and finds herself in the cookbook section. After probably an hour of perusing, Girl’s mom and sister get impatient. So, Girl finally makes a selection and walks out of Barnes & Noble with Gluten-Free on a Shoestring by Nicole Hunn. Too much Girl.
Boy, has that book made me a happy camper! Her blog is good. But this book really cuts through all of the extraneous recipes, as it is a selection of her most useful and practical recipes. The ABSOLUTE best part is that she gives you an array of recipes that all call for SUCH NORMAL ingredients! The only drawback is that a handful of the recipes are rather time-consuming, due to the chilling of the dough for several hours. BUT, the pastries would not be nearly as good if you didn’t put the effort in!
Although it is a cookbook, it is more of a basic BAKEbook (Is that a thing? If not, I propose we make a thing. There should be a distinction, no?). All of these baking recipes are based on a gf rice flour blend. Which is great because it so much more practical/economical to just have one motherload of flour, instead of a plethora of obscure ingredients like coconut flour, sweet rice flour, arrowroot powder, etc. That is for when I am rich and have a ginormous pantry and bake like erryday. (I guess I should note that many of her recipes do call for xanthan gum, but xanthan gum is in already in many gluten free flour blends, so it’s no biggie!)
Without further ado, it is my pleasure to introduce our first contestant:
1. Pop Tarts (but better…)
As much as everyone enjoys eating their pastries out of sealed foil packets, I must say- these are much, much better than Pop-Tarts. Especially if you eat them right away when they are warm! Oooh boy! The outside is flaky and delicious, and the inside tingles your mouth with real fruit. Okay, let’s get right to the recipe, so you can make them too!
1 1/4 c. gf flour blend (with xanthan gum)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
1/3 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, diced and chilled
1/2 c. ice-cold milk (at least 1% fat)
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 T. water
4 T. packed brown sugar
1 t. cornstarch
Begin with the pastry, since it will have to chill for at least 30 min. Combine the flour blend, salt, baking powder, and confectioner’s sugar. Then, cut the diced, chilled butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter (or slice and dice the butter in with two knives).
Next, stir the cold milk into the mixture. Fashion the dough into a ball, handling it as little as possible. (If needed, add another tablespoon of milk to get the dough to hold together.) Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Then, you can move onto the filling while the dough is chilling. Stir the apples, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and 1 T. water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, for about 10 minutes or until the apples are soft. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the brown sugar and cornstarch, until completely combined.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place the chilled dough between two sheets of plastic wrap, and roll out into a rectangle about 1/8 thick. Remove the plastic wrap. Cut the rectangle into 12 rectangles of the same size (I expect PERFECTION. Kidding….)
Now, you get to spoon the filling onto half of the rectangles, leaving a 1/2 in border around the edge. (Then you eat all the leftover filling.) Place the other rectangles on top of the six with filling. Press the edges down with a fork, aiming to completely seal these delicious nuggets. Place on the baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Are you excited to eat??
2. Black and White Cookies
Going gluten free and giving up the black and white cookies that they sold at Starbucks was, at risk of sounding dramatic, a travesty. Nope, that did not sound dramatic at all. Well, fear not, because you can make your own black and white cookies (lookin at you, New Yorkers)!
5 T. unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/3 c. sour cream
1 1/4 c. gf flour blend (w/ x.g.)
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 t. light corn syrup
1 t. lemon juice
1/4 t. vanilla extract
1-2 T. water
1/4 c. cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line cookie sheet with parchment paper. First, use a mixer to beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Then add the egg, then sour cream, then vanilla, mixing well after each addition. Then, mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt, until it becomes a cohesive dough. Spoon the dough by heaping tablespoon on the cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake 15 minutes, or until lightly golden.
While the cookies are baking/cooling, make the icing! Stir the confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of water until smooth. Transfer half of the icing into another bowl and mix in the cocoa powder, to make the black icing.
Once the cookies are cool, turn them over and icing the flat, bottom side. Spread black icing on one side and white on the other (hence, black and white cookies). Chill briefly to set the icing. But its okay if you nibble a little bit first…
3. Blueberry Scones
Question: What do you do when it’s blueberry season and you’ve already overdone the whole muffin thing but you’re not quite ready for the commitment to making a whole pie? (Whoaaa, hi there run-on sentence.)
Answer: You make blueberry scones.
It’s a classic and sure to be a crowd pleaser, especially when that crowd is your sweet-toothed family.
2 c. gf flour blend (x.g. duh)
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 T. sugar
1 c. blueberries (or whatevaa you feel like)
5 T. unsalted butter, diced and chilled
1 c. milk (at least 1%)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Put a few tablespoons of the dry ingredients in a small bowl to toss with the berries. Meanwhile, back at the large bowl, use a pastry blender to mix the butter in, until they are pea-sized little chunks. Stir the milk into the mixture, until completely blended. Carefully fold the berries into the dough, so as to not completely obliterate them.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and pat into a rectangle, until about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into 8 triangles. Place on cookie sheets. Brush lightly with milk and sprinkle with a little (a little more than a little) of sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly brown around the edges. Voila! Tasty, tasty (Fergie, anyone?).
Evidently going along with the trend of “baked goods you see in Starbucks, I had the urge to make biscotti. To be honest, these weren’t my fave. And that is simply due to the fact that biscotti have never been my fave. I like a little more squish in my cookies. My hesitation to make biscotti brought me to the conclusion to make them with chocolate chips, for you cannot go wrong when there is chocolate involved.
2 large eggs
1/3 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. gf flour blend (x.g.)
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla well in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt, and combine well. But wait! Set aside one tablespoon of flour to toss with the chocolate chips. Did I catch you in time? I hope so. You may now fold the flour-coated chocolate chips into the dough.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a long rectangle about 1 inch thick and 7 inches long. Place said log on cookie sheet to cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until firm. Cool completely and adjust oven to 300 degrees F.
Cut the “log” into diagonal slices, about 1/4 inch thick. A serrated bread knife will do the job. Place the slices back on the cookie sheet and bake for another 20-25 minutes, turning over once during baking.
Let those guys cool, then serve. Possibly on a saucer, with a cup of coffee, if you think your house is a hipster coffee house. Charge your friends, play some tunes- you know what, this is getting out of control. Another scenario: just sit there and eat them alone.
Stepping off my Gluten Free on A Shoestring soapbox now…
Rather, Nicole Hunn’s soapbox. (THANK YOU, NICOLE HUNN!)
Peace out, girl scouts.