My gluten-free baking efforts are a bit hit or miss, but it does not stop me from trying. Up today – gluten-free brownies made with coconut flour. I am skeptical but I guess on Tuesday when I feed these to people, I will find out for sure.
Gluten-free, paleo brownies
Here’s what to do for your own gluten-free coconut flour brownies:
1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon coconut flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 300F/150C; grease a small square glass baking dish.
Mix together all ingredients. I beat the eggs a bit first, added the butter and vanilla and then added the other ingredients and ended up with a thick, paste-like batter
Pour into the baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Cool for 30 minutes before cutting or removing from the pan. Cut, serve (or store for up to a few days in an airtight container).
Cooking for friends, I decided to serve big platters of breakfast for dinner. I made piles of bacon – made crisp in the oven – and fluffy piles of scrambled eggs. To make the whole thing truly American, I made pancakes. It’s a rare occasion – and I really only do it American style – no super-thin crêpe-style pancakes here.
The recipe I used for American pancakes:
1 1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ¼ cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
Whisk dry ingredients together, whisk in the milk until a lumpy batter forms. Add the egg, mix. Melt and add the 3 tablespoons of butter.
Meanwhile heat a griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat and add a small pat of butter for cooking.
Use ¼ cup for each pancake (makes 8 to 10 pancakes). Cook on each side – on the first one, when the top starts to bubble, you will know it’s about time to turn it over. Cook the opposite side and remove to plates. Serve warm with real maple syrup.
Then I decided to make vanilla lattes. I had no vanilla syrup but decided to make some. It’s fairly simple.
Vanilla syrup (for coffee drinks, for example)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (preferably clear but any vanilla will do)
Heat the water and sugar on the stove on medium heat while constantly stirring. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Add the vanilla. When well-mixed, pour the final product into a bottle. It will probably keep for weeks or even months without being refrigerated. I did not have a good storage bottle so had to use an empty Grey Goose vodka bottle!
Nothing makes a girl feel old like explaining to a youthful colleague what it was like to use floppy disks in “the old days”. It makes one feel even older than explaining the ubiquity of dial-up and AOL to people. It almost does not seem real to me either since my floppy-disk-using time was at the tail end of floppy use. That said, I still remember it well, right down to the last box of these disks that I owned. The brand was “Bonus” or something, so my brother sometimes asked jokingly, “What’s in the Bonus box?” We found it funny, but I can’t begin to understand why now. (It’s possible he wanted to imitate the scene from the 80s film Real Men, which is so impossibly silly and stupid that I love it – and my god, look at John Ritter, who was SO young then (RIP), “Happy pie!”)
Now just seeing the words “five-inch floppy” together makes Viagra and other erectile dysfunction pharma commercials spring (yes, SPRING!) to mind. HA!
Then again, in most of the world, tv commercials for pharmaceutical, prescription drugs are not permitted. Only in America (probably) can you have drug ads in every commercial break prompting you to “ask your doctor” to prescribe all manner of toxic chemicals (and we have seen how much trouble the industry gets into as a result; for example, Johnson & Johnson recently got into hot water thanks to false marketing/making misleading claims and for paying doctors and nursing homes to recommend a specific drug that they knew had other adverse effects).
And in America – North America in general (including the Great White North, Canada, in this assessment of course), one great thing is maple syrup/flavor. In my recent baking escapades, I made not only the infamous brown sugar-maple cupcakes and frosting with candied maple bacon, but also tried a whole new recipe – maple pecan cookies. I did not hear any opinions on these one way or the other (and with 24 different options to choose from, I suppose everyone tried a lot of different things), but I assume these were okay – at least they looked the part.
maple pecan cookies
MAPLE PECAN COOKIES
1 cup butter, room temperature
¼ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
2 cups flour
1 ½ cups finely chopped pecans (or whatever amount you desire – I used less)
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons cream or milk (to achieve right consistency
pecan halves, to top the cookies
Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
Cream butter and add powdered and maple syrup. Add flour and pecans and mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased/parchment-lined cookie sheets. Flatten cookie slightly and use your thumb to make an indentation in the top (for the frosting and pecan. Bake in preheated oven 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Cool completely on racks.
Mix icing ingredients together until you have achieved desired, spreadable consistency and flavor. Spread on cooled cookies and top each cookie with a pecan half.