Tasty and mostly simple food for the whole family.

Tasty, healthy, simple, verstile, practical, seasonal, fun food for all to enjoy. I will endeavour to make things gluten-free, dairy-free (cow's milk only here, I'm not super-human), and low sugar as able. I hope others feel motivated to add their recipes to this collection so we can all try them. Thank you!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Russian Tea Cookies (Gluten-Free)

What are they really, these cookies?  I found many other possibilities online including Mexican Wedding Cakes, Russian Teacakes, Swedish Tea Cakes, Italian Butter Nut, Southern Pecan Butterball, Snowdrop, Viennese Sugar Ball, Sand Tarts, and Snowball and finally, Butterballs (my favorite, of course). I went with what I used to make, please choose your favorite.

These began with a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that I found on another blog. I have been pretty chicken to make gluten-free baked goods since this whole thing started.  I flopped pretty badly in my first bread-making attempt and who has the time (resources, ego...) for that on a regular basis?  This recipe met all of the necessary criteria for me to give it a try:

1) It looked easy and fast
2) I had most of the indregients on  hand and otherwise had probably good substitutes
3) I had been seriously craving something of a 'treat' at night- Gluten-free snacking is a complicated thing.
4) They are pretty low sugar, given they use agave and only 1/2 C
5) I was totally avoiding all of the cleaning that has been piling up around this house.

I think they turned out pretty darn tasty, albeit a bit greasy (I cut quite a bit of the oil from the original).  They had much more of a 'Tea Cookie' texture than a typical chocolate chip cookie, though.  I happen to like Tea Cookies, but couldn't shake the expectations and incongruencies.

After a bit of thought, I just decided to adapt the recipe into what I felt it better lent itself to and I must say it is delightful. I hope you like it!  I didn't have any white rice flour on hand today, so I used brown rice flour instead this time.  I think that in this instance, white rice flour would be better for a lighter texture but I won't complain.  As a side note, the original Chocolate Chip recipe was pretty darn tasty, too- just more of a Chocolate Chip Tea Cookie.

"Helping"- Obvioiusly a chopstick is key here for proper cookie execution.
  • 1.5 c  White rice flour
  • 1 c tapioca flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t xanthan gum
  • 2/3c canola oil (If you can have real butter here, why wouldn't you?
  • 1/2 c agave nectar
  • 3/4c finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Spray baking sheet with canola oil spray or line with parchment paper. 
2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, adding nuts at the very end. Mix thoroughly. 
3. Roll cookies into 1.5 inch balls and place on cookie sheet
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. 
5. After completely cooled on rack, roll in powdered sugar once (or twice if you want them super dusted)


Made about 24-30 cookies

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chewy Granola Bars - Gluten-free (naturally)/Dairy-free

This is very fast, easy to make and couldn't possibly be more versatile or flexible.  Every time I make this, I tell my good friend, Bert "I made bars again, I think these are my best yet".  They are always different based on what I have on  hand and I benefit from the difference each time.  The inspiration for these came even before going the gluten/dairy free route for me.  As a new mom, I found that it was hard for me to find good, healthy and fulfilling snacks to keep me going during the day without eating just junk or not eating at all.  If you aren't in need of dairy-free, the other version is ridiculously amazing and I will post it next.  This version is super tasty, but more healthy tasting, too. Truly, there is no need to be precise with the ingredients or amounts, as long as it is gooey as a batter and sticks together.  What I put down here is what I currently have been enjoying, but it will change next time.... These last for ages, too.  Also, one time I made them and decided the next day that they were too gooey so I cooked them again and it worked great!  Really, these can't messed up.

  • 2c Rolled oats, gluten-free if needed (I prefer the chewiness of regular, quick are also delicious)
  • 1c Toasted brown rice cereal (totally optional, but good for texture variation and lightens it up)
  • 1-2c mixed dried fruit (I just use currants and keep it to 1c since I don't like things too sweet)
  • 2c mixed chopped nuts (I like a mix of blanched almonds, pine nuts, pecans, cashews & soy nuts)
  • 1/2-1tsp salt (again, totally optional, but I like a more savory flavor.  You could use some salty nuts as well- yum!
  • 1/2c natural peanut butter
  • 1/2c unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/3c low-sugar jam or preserves

Preheat oven to 350.

Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper and grease or spray with non-stick spray.  If you are adding lots of nuts and rice cereal, maybe you will need a 9x13 pan.

In large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. In smaller bowl or in a large measuring cup, mix the wet ingredients well.  Pour the wet into the dry and mix together.

Pour the mix into your prepared pan and pat down- they should be maybe 1-2 inches thick.  Cook for ~30 minutes, 'til browned around sides and top.  It may still seem a bit gooey.

Let cool in pan ~10  minutes before transfering to cooling rack and cooling completely.  Cut them into 12-16 squares as you like.

gooey into the pan!
Just done

The corner is the best part!