Back in the Kitchen 12/27/2010
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Now that the craziness of the holiday season is over I can start focusing getting back in the kitchen again. It's been a busy last couple weeks and I haven't been able to work on this as much I as I wanted.
The last few years at the holidays I have spent two full weeks in the kitchen preparing cookies for friends and family. Dozens, upon dozens of cookies from Chocolate Chip to Pfeffernuesse were made, packaged and given away as presents. Platters of cookies would be waiting out for when our guests arrived - and not only were they gluten free, but they were sugar free and dairy free to accommodate other allergies/issues within the family.
We were lucky enough to host the holiday party at our place. Despite all the work that went along with it, I really enjoyed it. It also gave me the peace of mind knowing that the food I was going to eat was going to be safe.
This year, the party was shifted back to our respective families houses, or local restaurants that were between our homes. Since there wasn't any pressure to bake this year I decided to tackle something I hadn't had a chance to yet- Candy. I swore I wasn't going to do any baking- that was until I remembered the sugar/dairy issue.
So last week I started to work on candies- Sugar plums, Caramel, Rock Candy, Peppermint Patties and a Toffee recipe that almost ruined the kitchen. Most everything came out beautifully (except that toffee of course). I packaged up everything in tins to take to the first of our eight holiday parties and got tins ready for the rest.
I'm not sure why- but it continues to amaze me how easy it is to make things. From Semifreddo to Stews- things that we pay top dollar for at restaurants and stores- that will make us sick. I find the simple joy of making items and knowing they'll be safe for me and our household to eat without artificial preservatives and all that other junk.
When I make baked goods- I'd rather use real butter than margarine. The studies keep flipping back and forth on which is worse for you- and I'd rather have the real flavor and proper baking outcome that comes with butter. Unfortunately- not all of my baking I can use butter in. The Chocolate Chip Cookies I did end up baking (my dad's favorite) had to be not only sugar free but also dairy free - and since I don't keep wheat flour in the house, by default they were also gluten free.
For the cookies I have started using Soy Margarine. If you cream it for a few minutes with the sugars (I had to use Baking Splenda and Splenda Brown Sugar) it will act just like regular butter. I was pleasantly surprised at how light and fluffy the cookies came out this year. I put large dollops of dough on the parchment and the whole batch only made 18 cookies- but since they really were for 1 person I didn't think this was going to be an issue. They actually ended up being so large- they needed a tin and a plate.
My Dad was nice, and decided to share his cookies with other family members on Christmas. No one could tell that they were gluten free, let alone dairy free or sugar free. A little kitchen magic for the holidays!
The recipe for the Chocolate Chip Cookies as well as many others can be found in: Desserts
I have added a large selection of recipes to each section of the site - with more to come soon! Whenever possible I have put an image taken of the food prepared. I will be updating each recipe as I am able to get images of the completed product.
Holiday Baking 12/17/2010
One of the most daunting things when you are going gluten free is the holiday season. Not only do you have to consider what you can eat, if your food has been prepared properly, or even how to make a treat that you can share your guests will enjoy and not say turn their nose up to.
One recipe that is a great option is Sugar Plums- yes, just like the songs! They are sweet, spicey and a great addition to any holiday table. And there is an added bonus that they use mostly natural sugars, fruit and are completely dairy free.
I will admit they are probably not what your guest are use to as far as holiday treats, they are not the over processed candy we've grown use to. But the sweet and savory flavors will make you crave them even when the holiday season has long passed.
Although these aren't exactly candy, their small size lends them to that category. You can find the recipe here: Candy