Saturday, 9 June 2012

Chocolate & Liquorice Cookie

Another experiment into my new favourite flavour combination. This is based on a recipe I found in 'Gluten Free Cookbook for Kids'. I have tweaked of the ingredients to suit my tastes and quirky additional ingredients. These cookies and spongy and chewy and I want to find a recipe that will go nice and crunchy the day after they are made. This current recipe remain chewy the day after. But its always good to be able to eat your experiments!

The Ingredients
100g  liquorice
(sugar-free) chopped
63g unsalted organic butter or soya / olive spread
63g xylitol
62g molasses (unrefined) 
1 medium egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g gluten free flour 
100g ground almond
1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
Pinch of salt
100g xylitol chocolate (chopped, in a blender)

The Method
Preheat oven to 190oC. Place baking parchment on a baking tray.

Combine the flour, ground almonds, bicarb, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter, xylitol and molasses with a electric whisk until it resembles wet sand. 

Add the egg and vanilla to the butter and mix until creamy and smooth. 

Add the chocolate and liquorice to the butter and mix until evenly dispersed. 

Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well and evenly combined. The result is a relatively thick mixture. 

Using a dessert spoon dollop lumps of cookie mixture onto the baking tray and shape into rough cookie-like shapes with your fingers. The number of cookies you get depends on the size of cookie you want :) 

Or you can spread it out as one mass and cut the cookies out afterwards.

Once ready place into the oven for 12-15 minutes. Once baked place on cooling rack and they will soon be ready pop in your cookie hole...  

Quick cut, no shape cookie
NB. Its definitely worth chopping up the liquorice and chocolate into to small chunks. The bigger the chunks the more structurally unsound the cookies are.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Banana Bread & Muffins

I have made banana cupcakes before, but I have found a better recipe that is adaptable to bread and muffins. However, it contains nuts so its not for everyone. Its tasty (toffee like), moist and rises well, which I had some trouble with in the other recipe.

I based this on a recipe from 'Gluten Free Cookbook For Kids' but adapted it based on based my preferred ingredients (and partly on what I had available).

This recipe makes a 1lb loaf and 8 muffins (or it will make a 2lb loaf, if you just want to make bread. I did it this way as I only have a 1lb loaf tin).

The Ingredients
100g pecan nuts or sultanas 
100g unsalted organic butter or soya/olive spread
150g xylitol
125g Molasses (unrefined sugar cane, I used Billingtons)
2 beaten eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
185g plain gluten free flour (Doves Farm)
1.5 tsp GF baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
350g mashed banana
175ml buttermilk

I made the buttermilk by putting a teaspoon of cider vinegar in lactofree milk 5 minutes before I needed to use it - this also works with soya milk (and other non-dairy milks).

Billington’s sugars are all unrefined which means they have been simply made by pressing out, cleaning and crystallising the juice from the sugar cane. Unrefined sugar is better than refined sugar, but its still sugar :) You could make this with just xylitol, but its wouldn't have the same toffee richest that complements the banana so well, its the molasses that gives it this richness.

The Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180c (GM4).

Toast the pecans on a baking tray for 10 minutes. Once they are cool, roughly chop - I did this in the blender cos I'm lazy. Obviously if you are using sultanas you can skip this step :)

Line your loaf tin, ideally with a paper case. I made one from greaseproof paper and a few less than expert snips of the scissors and folding. If you are making muffins as well - pop the cases in the muffin tray.

Cream the butter/spread with the xylitol and molasses, once its well mixed it will look like wet sand. I used an electric whisk.

Wet sand.
 Add the eggs a little at a time, which will make the mixture lighter in colour and creamier in texture. Once the eggs are incorporated add the vanilla in. 

Wet sand with eggs.
 Combine the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, cream of tar tar, xanthan gum and salt.

Add the mashed banana to the butter/sugar mix, you can mix in quickly using the electric whisk. 

Add the banana mix and the buttermilk alternately, mixing well with each addition.

All mixed up.
 Pour the mixture into the tins.


Bake the muffins for about 15 minutes and the 1lb loaf for 30 minutes. You know its done when a skewer in the middle comes out clean. If you are making a 2lb loaf bake for about 45 minutes.

Cool on a rack or at least try to, it smells so good, you might have to leave the house while they cool to stop yourself eating them! 

The results!
Nom, nom, nom.