Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mini Cherry Pies: Gluten Free and Vegan

I had not planned to post this, it was an afterthought really. The rest of the family is having cheesecake for dessert on Thanksgiving and Emily asked for cherry pie. I was already using my 9" pie pan for the cheesecake, so we made her two mini pies in small ramekins. Again, I wasn't going to mention the pies here, but when we finished making them I stepped back and looked at them...they were adorable! They were so beautiful I HAD to get a picture! Then of course I thought "I have a picture, I might as well post it". The picture doesn't do them justice though. Maybe the holidays are making me overly emotional, but these doggone things were so cute I almost cried!


1 batch of pie crust, mine is here
1 can of allergy safe cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press your pie crust evenly into the ramekins. If you have any leftover crust you can cut designs for the top. This was my first ever lattice top...maybe THAT'S why I was so proud!(?) Fill crusts to 1/2" below the top. Crimp or decorate the tops as desired. Place ramekins on a cookie sheet in case your filling boils over. Bake until tops are golden. My pies have all varied from 50 minutes to one hour. These ones baked for 55 minutes.

I hope you all have a truly beautiful Thankgiving full of family, friends, and fabulous foods!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Enjoy Life Mega Chunks and Banana Oatmeal Mega Chunk Cookies

I was so excited when I heard about Enjoy Life's new Mega Chunks, but then I couldn't find them in my local store. Then Enjoy Life contacted me and asked if I would like to review them and I said oh yes, yes! For the record, they also sent me a bag of their new chocolate granola to review. It tastes wonderful! I've always enjoyed the flavors of Enjoy Life granolas, but I have a problem with the texture. I am not a crunchy person, and they are definitely harder than oat based granolas. However, if you are the kind of person who loves snacking on corn nuts, like my mother, then you should definitely give it a try. Now back to the Mega Chunks. They are wonderful little chocolate chunks, about the size of half a Tootsie Roll, and have so much potential that I had a hard time deciding what to do with them first (besides eating them straight out of the bag, which we also did). Remember, they are free of all top 8 allergens, Kosher, and have no trans fats or artificial ingredients...not to mention delicious! Meanwhile, I had a brown banana calling my name and two girls in need of cookies, so was born the banana oatmeal chocolate chunk cookie. :)

1/2 c Gluten free oat flour
1/2 c Sorghum flour
1/8 c Potato starch
1/8 c Tapioca starch
1/4 t Xanthan gum
1/2 t Baking soda
1 t Salt
1 t Cinnamon
3/4 c Dairy free margarine (or Spectrum Shortening for soy free)
1 c Brown sugar
1 1/2 c Pureed bananas
1 t Gluten Free vanilla extract
3 c Gluten free rolled oats
About 20 -25 pieces of Enjoy Life Mega Chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
Whisk together oat flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. Cream together margarine and brown sugar. Add vanilla and banana. Mix well, scraping sides and bottom of bowl to make sure all margarine is incorporated. Blend in the flour mix. Add oats, and stir for 1 more minute.
Drop cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet by large tablespoons (or using a small spring action ice cream scoop like I did). Press one Mega Chunk deep into the center of each cookie (they tend to rise back out a bit when baking).
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. The chocolate chunks take about an hour to harden back up, so if you are going to be stacking your cookies for storage, you may want to refrigerate them for a few minutes first.
These cookies were really delicious, and possibly bordering on healthy. I can't wait to try another recipe with this chocolate...maybe the blondie recipe on the back of the bag. Yum!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"The Allergy Free Cook Bakes Bread" Gluten Free, Egg Free, and Dairy Free! by Laurie Sadowski

I am reviewing a new cookbook this week, The Allergy Free Cook Bakes Bread. It is available HERE on Amazon for only $11.54! If you are new to gluten free cooking this book will be a lifesaver. When I first started this allergen free endeaver, (oh gosh, has it been 10 years ago already?), I bought an allergy cookbookbook that had a comprehensive list of gluten free flours and their properties and I could not have ever come this far without it. The problem is that there are more flours available now than there were 10 years ago, so many of the new flours were not included in my first book. The allergy Free Cook Bakes Bread not only has an extensive list of flours, but also a wonderful guide to dairy replacements, and egg replacements! I really do believe this is a must-have book! Now, as I have been writing this my Chocolate Chip Scones from this book have been baking. In the time it took for me to take and upload a picture...they are gone! In other words, I would buy this book just for the information it provides, but as a bonus the recipes are amazing too! :) Included are recipes for quick breads, yeast breads, scones, tortillas, bagels, focaccia, and more. I want to thank Laurie Sadowski for sending me a copy of this book!!! I let Emily decide which recipe we should make first and review, and this was her choice:


1/2 c Sorghum flour
1/4 c Quinoa flour (we subbed with millet)
1/4 c Tapioca starch
2 T Sugar
1 1/4 t Baking Powder
1/4 t Baking soda
1/2 t Xanthan gum
1/8 t Sea salt
3 T Dairy free margarine
1/3 c Enjoy Life chocolate chips
5 T Soy milk (or other milk alternative)
1 T Cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix together soy milk and vinegar. Set aside.
Put the sorghum flour, quinoa flour, tapioca starch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt in a large bowl. Stir with a dry whisk until combined. Using a pastry cutter or two knives (or mashing with a whisk like I do), cut in the margarine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour 1/4 cup of the soy milk and vinegar mixture (vegan buttermilk, for which the recipe is also in this book) into the flour mixture to make a dough and stir until just moistened, add the rest if needed. Using floured hands, gather the dough into a cohesive ball and transfer to the lined baking sheet. Gently knead dough 2 or 3 times until it holds together. Pat into a 1/2" thick circle. (At this point I sprinkled a little sugar on top because we like sweet.) Using a floured knife cut the dough into 4 wedges, pulling them apart only slightly.
Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm. ( Ours were definitly served warm, the house smelled like chocolate chip cookies and the kids came running!)