9.27.2010

Gluten-Free Biscuits

Amazingly, I am getting another post out less than 24 hours after my last one. I know, very unusual for me, but I had something turn out so well that I have to post this recipe for all my gluten-free friends!

I discovered this recipe for gluten-free buttermilk biscuits today and decided to make it with dinner tonight. I followed the recipe as written. I used Jules All Purpose Gluten Free Flour for the flour blend, and I used shortening where there was a choice of leaf lard or shortening. I also added a tablespoon or two of buttermilk because the dough seemed too crumbly. The only other thing I did differently was I brushed the tops of the biscuits with melted butter when they had about five minutes left to bake instead of brushing the tops with egg yolk/milk mixture.

I didn't take pictures of the process because I wasn't thinking I would blog about these, but it was simple. Just be sure to use cold butter and shortening, cut them into the flour mixture until pea size clumps form, and only mix the buttermilk in until the dough holds together. And by the way, I used Jules flour mix instead of tapioca flour where the recipe calls for it to coat the rolling surface, rolling pin and biscuit cutter.

Once I got the biscuits out of the oven I couldn't get my iPhone quickly enough to snap a picture of these beauties.
Lovely, huh? Bet your mouth is watering.....but just wait....
I cannot say enough how good these biscuits are. My non-gluten free husband agreed. Bake them and let me know what you think! Thank you, Jeanne from Art of Gluten-Free Baking!

9.26.2010

Chocolate Birthday Cake

When my husband's birthday was nearing, I asked him (as I always do) what kind of birthday cake he would like. Even though it is not what he would normally choose any other time of year, nor what he would order when he is getting dessert at a restaurant, he seems to always lean towards a chocolate cake with chocolate icing for his birthday. This year I was determined to find the best recipe out there so that he would have a delicious treat.

So what did I do? I trusted Google, of course. And the recipe I found was definitely a keeper. It is an Ina Garten recipe (of Food Network fame) called Beatty's Chocolate Cake. Hubby loved it! And so did my daughter. Since I'm celiac and couldn't eat it, I had to trust their review. I tried the icing, but didn't love it, even though they said it was delicious. I'm more a fan of cooked fudge icing for chocolate cake. I'll include the recipe for both in this post so you can choose which to use.

In the past I have steered away from baking layer cakes because they always seem to come out uneven and never look pretty. But not this cake--it came out perfectly!
I used 9" round cake pans, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. It was a very easy recipe that I would recommend to anyone. Layer cakes are awesome because they allow you to use more icing.....yum!
As you can see, I didn't take the time to make the icing perfect. Bob was on his way home from work unexpectedly early, so by the time the cake cooled I didn't have much time to get it iced and decorated.
I opted for simple piping around the top with vanilla buttercream, and of course the traditional birthday greeting on top!
And here's the birthday boy, very excited to blow out the candles and dig into this homemade treat on his day, which he always says should be a national holiday (he loves his birthday!). And I must say, it wouldn't be a bad idea--he is one great hubby and daddy!
Chocolate Cake:
  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee

Chop the chocolate and place it in a double-boiler or a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium high speed until fluffy, about three minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating about three more minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioner's sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Beat until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee in two tablespoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the mixture until blended, but do not whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

And last but CERTAINLY not least, this is the chocolate icing I would want on a gluten-free version of this cake if it were my birthday. Don't let the fact that this icing is cooked scare you--if you follow the simple directions, it is easy as pie (or in this instance, cake!).

Never Fail Cooked Chocolate Icing:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Mix the sugar, milk, cocoa and butter together in a medium pan. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Time it exactly from the time it begins to boil! Remove from heat and allow to cool a little, then add vanilla extract. Set in a pan of cold water and beat until it is a spreading consistency. (I usually do this by stirring with a wooden spoon).


9.05.2010

Oh, The Places We Have Been!

It's been a while since I updated my blog. Since last spring I have been lots of exciting places and been through the emotional rollercoaster of sending my last child (of five) off to college.

First, the places:

In April, Sarah (the aforementioned youngest) and I tagged along with my hubby to Washington D.C. when he had a meeting there. We had an awesome time and saw so much! We were honored that our eighteen year old wanted to go with us. After touring long and hard all day (art museums, monuments, government buildings including the White House), we found some really great restaurants and ate well.

This is us in front of the United States Supreme Court building:
And this is Sarah in the tunnel between the National Gallery of Art buildings:
Our favorite restaurant in D.C. was a tapas place called Jaleo. Sarah loved it, and so did I. They had a fantastic gluten-free menu.

Next was New York City. When each of our children has graduated from high school we have given them a trip with one parent--the boys went with their dad, the girls with me. Everyone chose NYC except one son, who chose a hunting trip out west. Needless to say I was glad a daughter was graduating so I got to go! We had a blast! So many memories, lots of blisters on our feet, and tons of museums, plays, and again, great food. Our favorite was Nizza (amazing gluten-free food!). And we saw tons of celebrities! We saw someone every day of our trip.

And Sarah with Amber Riley (Mercedes) of Glee:

Next we were off for our annual family beach trip to Sea Island, Georgia. Always my most favorite time because all of my kids and their spouses/significant others are there for an entire week of fun, sun, relaxation and a lot of reading on the beach, cooking together in the kitchen, and just enjoying each other.
Then, in July we were off to Lake Oconee for a long weekend. Lots of fun relaxing, catching up with each other, and tubing.
In between all of this travel, there were also trips to Asheville, North Carolina with a trip to the Biltmore House and some of the best gluten-free eating ever at Posano Cafe; St. Simons Island for another meeting with my husband, and a trip to Auburn to see and celebrate the graduation of our son Matthew.
One final REALLY fun thing that we did was spent a night in Atlanta so my husband could take advantage of his birthday gift from me--a cooking class with Atlanta chef Kevin Rathbun! The class was on grilling, smoking and all the fixings, and when the class was over I got to go have dinner with him. It was a really fantastic experience.
Okay, that was a lot of info, and even more photos, of my summer and why I've been absent. I am looking forward to posting some yummy recipes soon. In the meantime, I hope you are as excited about fall and college football being here as I am!