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Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

You may have noticed that I have been on a Kahlua kick lately, what with the Mocha Kahlua ice cream and now these. What can I say? I love the flavor of Kahlua, even though I don’t like coffee. But I’ve always loved coffee-flavored treats.

The initial inspiration for all of this Kahlua-ness was the two lovely women that hold down the fort (the front desk) and keep us all in line at my office. Apparently they often make Kahlua Chocolate cake for the administrative staff birthdays. One day we were talking and they were ooing and ahhing over this cake and so I asked for the recipe. Of course it was a standard gluten-full recipe but I knew that it wouldn’t be hard to convert. And typically they make it as a bundt cake. But I require portion control with something so decadent in my house, and so I made cupcakes!

And of course once I made the cupcakes, I had to take the ladies a plate to taste-test for me, to make sure that they stood up to the gluten-full version. They were declared a success! But I mean, really, how could you go wrong with all that chocolate, anyway?

Kahlua Chocolate Cupcakes with Kahlua Cream Cheese Frosting

I can’t find the exact gluten-full recipe to link to, although if you search for Kahlua Chocolate cake, you will find many variations. Here’s my gluten free version.

3 eggs

1/2 cup oil

3/4 cup sour cream

1-15oz pkg of Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix

3 oz instant chocolate pudding mix (part of one small box)

3/4 cup Kahlua

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine eggs, oil and sour cream. Stir in cake mix, pudding mix and Kahlua. Beat on low for one minute, then increase speed to medium and beat for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into cupcake liners. Bake for 18-23 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Makes approximately 18 cupcakes, depending on how full you fill the liners. Frost with Kahlua Cream Cheese Frosting, below.

Kahlua Cream Cheese Frosting

3 Tbsp butter, softened

2.5 oz cream cheese, softened

2 Tbsp Kahlua

8 oz powdered sugar

With a mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Mix in Kahlua. In small amounts, begin mixing in powdered sugar. Continue adding and mixing in powdered sugar until frosting is consistency that you desire. If it gets too thick, add a bit of milk or more Kahlua to thin it out.

Frosts approximately 18 cupcakes, depending on how much frosting you use per cake. If you want to get all fancy and use a frosting applicator and fancy tips, you might want to double this recipe.

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My first giveaway! How exciting!

So, have you tried anything from Katz Gluten Free yet? I hadn’t but they sent me a sample package a while back and I am loving everything in it! And now they just sent me their two newest products, Vanilla Rugelach and Chocolate Frosted Cupcakes (with sprinkles!).

I am sitting here eating one of each (despite all the Christmas cookies, Buckeyes and fudge sitting on my kitchen counter). I defrosted the chocolate cupcake in the microwave (a little too long) and the smell that filled the kitchen was wonderful and chocolately. I had asked my husband if he wanted half but he didn’t since he had just opened a beer. But just now he came wandering in here, his nose leading him, asking if there as any cupcake left. Uh, no. Gone. Gulp! Mmm. I don’t think he will pass up any future offers of these cupcakes!

These cupcakes would be a great option for school children. The school could keep the package frozen and defrost one for a classroom birthday treat as needed for your child. Or keep them in your freezer for a special treat for you!

And the Vanilla Rugelach are good too. But the vanilla is a little bit overpowering, in my opinion. My favorite rugelach is their Cinnamon Rugelach. Both are great with a cup of tea (as you can see in the picture here).

Of their other products that I have tried, I really like the Challah Bread. As well, the Chocolate Chip Cookies. They have a great flavor and plenty of chips that are a little melty when you bite into one.

So, enough with the review. Be sure you go on over and check out some products – they are currently offering free shipping on orders over $30, how cool is that? The shipping prices of things often cause me to just ‘do without’ instead of ordering something online.

As well, go on over to the Katz website and enter yourself into the “Box of Katz” giveaway. The drawing for this huge prize will be held on January 3rd.

And to enter the giveaway, please leave a comment here, letting me know if you have tried any of their products and if so, which is your favorite? If not, let me know which product you would like to try. With this, you will be entered into a drawing for one of their Scrumptious Sample Packs, shipped direct to your door! (One entry per person, please.) The winner will be chosen on Sunday, January 2nd.

And if you follow Twitter or Facebook, be sure to ‘follow’ or ‘friend’ Katz Gluten Free for more fun!

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Every family has it’s traditions. And despite living so far away from our families these past few years, I have continued my family’s holiday baking tradition. You see, we don’t really celebrate Christmas anymore with a tree and presents and all that. But I still do like to make holiday treats for us and others.

Growing up, my mom and I always made roll-out sugar cookies, buckeyes, fudge (with and without nuts), turtles (to use up the leftover buckeye chocolate) and peanut brittle. Sometimes she would mix it up and make some other things but these were the good-old standby’s. Over the years, since my celiac disease diagnosis, I still make many of these items, some of which are naturally gluten free, like the fudge, turtles and buckeyes. (I haven’t gotten brave enough to make peanut brittle yet!) And although it has been many years since I have made gluten free sugar cookies and I do love them, I find that I crave other things at this time of year.

This year I have made the following:

Chocolate Fudge – Like my mom, I make the Fantasy Fudge recipe on the back of the Kraft Marshmallow Creme. Remember, Kraft clearly labels all ingredients and allergens on their products.

Salted Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies – a new-to-me recipe. I would suggest creaming the butter, sugars and eggs together first. I used Amy’s (SS&GF) Basic Flour Mix but I used regular garbanzo bean flour rather than the garfava blend she calls for. It worked just fine! I also added 1/2 teaspoon of xathan gum to the flour mix. Also, if you’re gluten free, make sure to use gluten free oats like those from Bob’s Red Mill (check the label, not all of their oats are GF).

Pistachio-Cranberry Biscotti – the first time I have made biscotti, but Amy at SS&GF made it simple. I used her Basic Flour Blend mentioned in her recipe, with the garbanzo bean flour substitution. They are tasty and will go great with my favorite seasonal Celestial Seasonings teas.

Peanut Butter-Nutella Thumbprint Cookies – I changed it up (because I didn’t have enough peanut butter) and made peanut butter cookies with GF flour. They are a little dry and crumbly, but the flavor is great. I’ll have to work on these… And I need to practice my Nutella spooning skills.

Chai-Spiced Snickerdoodles – Wow! I really like these. It has been a long time since I have made Snickerdoodles and when I saw these I knew I had to make them. Delicious! I used my standard cookie-flour-mix, which is the Gluten Free Pantry’s French Bread and Pizza Mix, cup for cup. It already includes guar gum, so no  additional guar or xathan gum is needed. I often find boxes of the GFP mixes (and other gluten free products) on clearance at my local Smith’s grocery store and so I buy them up when I see them.

Butterscotch Cookies – a recipe I received in a Gluten Free.com/Beth Hillson newsletter. They didn’t identify the original source. We really like these too and I think I would like them even more without the cinnamon as I think it competes too much with the butterscotch flavor.

Cappuccino Thins Cookies – be sure to give yourself time to refrigerate these guys. Great flavor! Again, here I used the Gluten Free Pantry’s French Bread and Pizza Mix flour, cup for cup.

And last, but not least…

Buckeyes! No Christmas holiday is complete without these, at least in our family. You see, I am originally from Ohio and I went to The Ohio State University (OSU). And it’s funny, as I have entered this gluten free blogging world, I have been surprised to find quite a few Columbus, Ohio/Ohio State gluten free bloggers!

Amy from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free – we went to OSU at the same time but didn’t know each other until we ‘met’ in the blog world.

Kim at Gluten Free is Life – she lives in the Columbus, Ohio area near where my step-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins live/lived!

Wendy at Celiacs in The House - another Columbus-area, gluten free blogger.

And I can’t forget, Heidi, over at Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom - she is actually the only one of these fellow Ohio bloggers that I have met since we now live in neighboring towns, although across the country from Ohio now. We went to OSU during overlapping times but never knew each other there. As well, she grew up in the same Columbus-area town that my step-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins lived too!

So, you say, what is a buckeye anyway? And why is it the mascot for The Ohio State University? Well, the seed comes from the Ohio Buckeye tree (Aesculus glabra). And for whatever reason, the university claimed it for their mascot in 1965.

So, since I am an Ohio State Buckeye, through and through, and I have never known a Christmas without buckeyes, I am sharing the recipe with you here so that you can enjoy them too.

This recipe is the one that my family has made for years. And it does take some practice to keep the ball on the toothpick while dipping. And since my mom hated making these, the only way we got them was if I made them, so needless to say, I have been making them for too many years to count! See the resemblance to the seed above?

Buckeyes!

(Also known as Peanut-Butter Balls in other parts of the country, although my husband does not believe me and thinks that is sacrilegious!)

1 stick of butter, at room temperature *

1 pound of confectioner’s sugar

1-1/2 cups of creamy peanut butter *

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl using a hand mixer (I would suggest doing one batch at a time to avoid burning up your mixer’s motor). Once the dough is well-mixed and become crumbly, using your hands, make three to four large balls of dough. Then using your warm hands, pinch off small pieces of dough and roll into balls about 3/4″ in diameter. (Make them much bigger and I think they are too peanut-buttery, I like a balance of chocolate to peanut butter.) Place balls on a plate while you complete this task.

When they are all rolled, in a double-boiler, melt:

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips *

1/4 bar of paraffin wax*

Stir frequently until it has all melted. Turn off the heat on the pot. Tilt your pot so that you get a deeper puddle of chocolate and your ball won’t hit the bottom of the pot when dipping. Then, carefully, using a toothpick inserted in the top of the ball, dip the ball into the chocolate, so that only about a 1/2″ diameter circle of peanut butter is showing at the top. Allow the ball to drip the remaining chocolate back into the pot, while holding it at a slight angle. Place the  ball on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Carefully, slightly twist the toothpick between your fingers just a bit to get the pick out of the ball, without touching it! Be sure to start placing the balls at the end of the cookie sheet that is farthest from your pot of chocolate so that you do not drip the chocolate over the finished buckeyes. If you happen to drop one in the pot completely, just use a spoon to fish it out and enjoy! And you can reuse your toothpick, until you accidentally dip one too far and get chocolate on your pick! We leave the toothpick mark in ours, some people don’t.

Chill and store in the refrigerator. Makes about 4-5 dozen, depending on how big you make your balls.

Notes:

* I use regular salted butter but unsalted will work too. You can also use dairy-free margarine like my pal, Heidi and her dairy-free Buckeyes.

* I use regular old Jif or Skippy peanut butter for these. I have never tried natural nut butters and don’t know how they would work. Sun-butter may also work for a nut-free version, but I personally have not tried it. Let me know if you do.

* You could use other chocolate, like Heidi, but semi-sweet chips are standard in this family.

* Paraffin wax – this is the “old” part of the recipe and is what my grandmother and mother before me have always used. This makes the chocolate pretty and shiny and it hardens better than chocolate on it’s own, making it less likely to melt or slide off the balls. Some people may find this disagreeable. Carnauba wax is a common ingredient in candy bars and such. And paraffin wax is what is typically used on fruits and vegetables to make them pretty and shiny. Paraffin is mineral oil in a hardened form. You can find the edible paraffin wax in your large grocery store, often near the canning supplies.

Another option, if the wax bothers you, is to add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable shortening to your chocolate. I personally have never tried this but others have. You could also temper your chocolate (never tried it), or use a chocolate specifically for candy-making, like Wilton’s Candy Melts. Again, haven’t tried it.

* I do not refrigerate my balls prior to dipping and I have never had an issue with them in my 25+ years of making Buckeyes!

What is your must-make holiday treat? or the one that your husband (or children, etc.) insists upon every year?

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The nights are getting cooler and the days are not quite so warm. The sun is sinking low in the sky earlier. And the corn stalks in the garden are drying up.

Autumn is coming and with it, my food cravings are beginning to change. The past week or two I have been craving some of those autumn foods, like pumpkin and cozy soups. And it may be because I have a couple of pie pumpkins and butternut squash ripening in the garden. But those pumpkins can’t ripen fast enough for me, so I went to get some canned pumpkin…

Have you been able to find canned pumpkin lately? Normally the stores carry it year-round and I can get some anytime I want, but this past year was different. No pumpkin to be found. Did you know there was a pumpkin shortage this past year? Last year in Illinois, where most pumpkins are grown, there was excessive wet weather which caused a particularly bad harvest. But things are going better this year and they are expecting to have a good harvest. Thankfully! And thankfully there will be pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, no worries!

Since I knew pumpkin has been hard to find, I asked my buddy Heidi over at Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom, also known as Gluten-Free CNN, if she had seen any around town. She gets around to all the stores and I knew that if it was to be found, she’d know where! Sure enough, she said that Whole Foods had some this past week. It wasn’t Libby’s but Farmer’s Market brand, which I had never heard of – but it was pumpkin! Heidi said she had left me a few cans, so I ran over there and grabbed some.

I had plans to make my pumpkin chocolate chip muffins but thought I would change things up a little. I decided on Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies instead! If you have never tasted pumpkin and chocolate together, you have to try it – absolutely delicious!

Last night I was trying to decide what to make for our monthly celiac support group meeting/potluck and I knew I needed to use up some of the Gluten Free Pantry mixes that I had bought at our local Smith’s in the clearance baskets (I can’t resist buying gluten free items when they end up in there!). My favorite chocolate chip cookies are made with the Gluten Free Pantry’s French Bread and Pizza mix, so I figured I would start there. I looked around a bit and came up with the recipe below.

As I was making them, my husband stated that I had to leave half of them at home! He hates it when I make sweets for an event and take them for others to eat and leave him none at home. Oops! But oh-so-much-better for my waistline! So since I was playing with the recipe, I went ahead and ended up with almost a double batch. So he got some of his own. But there are still too many on the counter for my comfort, so I anticipate some will be going to work with one or both of us on Monday!

We had lots of delicious things at our meeting today. Heidi brought some delicious Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies that I am hoping she will post on her blog soon! These cookies were devoured at the meeting today, so I hope you will enjoy them too.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Inspired by many, but an original by Renee

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

2 cups of The Gluten Free Pantry’s French Bread and Pizza Mix

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp cinnamon

a generous pinch of each: ground ginger, ground cloves, nutmeg

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your cookie sheets. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together with your hand mixer. Add the egg and thoroughly combine. Then add the pumpkin and vanilla and mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a teaspoon, scoop out small balls of cookie dough onto your greased cookie sheets. Use wet hands to smooth the cookie dough, if desired. Bake 12-14 minutes or until the edges begin to brown slightly. These cookies will be soft and more cake-like than most.

This recipe is cross-posted over at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

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Last week’s meal plan got derailed by a trip to the Farmer’s Market as well as time to finally make something we’d been wanting to make for a while now – tamales!!! About a year ago we bought the book, Tamales 101 by Alice Guadalupe Tapp. We have both read through it multiple times and drooled over the recipes. Last Christmas, we thought we might make them but I don’t have a stand mixer and the mixing of the masa by hand was a bit intimidating. But I knew that other people make them without, it was just an excuse for a mixer! But still I refrained from buying one and so we didn’t make them. Finally, when my in-laws were here a couple of weeks back we thought we might make them then since four pairs of hands seemed better than two. But we ran out of time.

So this weekend, my husband was determined. We made two kinds, Green Chile and Cheese (vegetarian) tamales and a dessert tamale, Raspberry Chocolate pecan. They were both wonderful!!! Both recipes were from Tamales 101. It’s a great book. And it isn’t really very hard, once you get the hang of it. My handy-dandy hand mixer also managed the challenge just fine. Here are some photos for your drooling pleasure.

A giant bowl of masa.

The mess of assembly.

Green Chile and Cheese tamales steaming in the pot.

Green Chile and Cheese on the left and the Raspberry Chocolate Pecan on the right.

Between that and  trying to take care of the things in the frig that needed to be eaten or ‘dealt’ with and impulse-buying at the farmer’s market, I really don’t need to buy much at the grocery tomorrow.

Also, this week, the Gluten Free Menu Swap is being hosted by Celiac Family and the theme is tomatoes! Who isn’t eating tomatoes right now? It’s prime time. Last week I made white bean gazpacho with some of my tomatoes. I wish I had more tomatoes coming on than I do but we have been struggling with pests this year and both of my big, beautiful San Marzano paste tomato plants are slowly dying. But our Black Russian and Stupice varieties are beginning to come on. So we’re still hoping for more tomatoes, I just wish it was the San Marzanos.

At the farmer’s market I picked up some more beets, some okra, oyster mushrooms, leeks, tomatillos, three different kinds of fingerling potatoes and some cute little Japanese shishito peppers.

So, for the meal plan:

Mushroom and Leek Pasta with Salad – we made this tonight and it was delicious. I used the oyster mushrooms and leeks I picked up at the farmer’s market. Thanks for a wonderful recipe, Jenn!

Cucumber and Avocado Soup, Sauteed Fingerling Potatoes, Oven Roasted Okra – the soup never got made last week as my avocados were not ripe. But I still have plenty of cucumbers! And thanks to Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free for the idea of roasting the okra.

Our very own tamales with shishito peppers and tomatillo salsa – I will fry the peppers in very hot oil and sprinkle with salt. And we will roast the tomatillos with some garlic and onions and make a salsa out of them. Great for dipping the tamales in!

Sesame Maple Roasted Tofu with roasted beets and stir-fried sugar snap peas

And lots of leftovers!

As for desert this week, we still have homemade vanilla frozen yogurt, David Lebovitz’s cherries in red wine sauce, Shirley’s honey cinnamon ice cream and of course, the raspberry chocolate pecan tamales. So there is probably no need for additional ice cream this week.

If you are looking for any more meal ideas, be sure to check out OrgJunkie and all the ideas over there (most are not gluten free or vegetarian).

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Gluten free or not, everyone has to have their favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Luckily, I found mine years ago when I was a relatively newly diagnosed Celiac. Someone from the support group I belonged to told me how easy it was to just use the regular old Nestle Tollhouse recipe but replace the regular flour with gluten free flour – the key being that they used The Gluten Free Pantry’s French Bread Mix as the flour. It was that simple! Cup for cup, just use the mix as your flour and change no other ingredients. It makes wonderful cookies and no one can tell the difference! I had been craving some cookies recently so I whipped up a batch, after I ate a quarter of the dough, of course!

Unfortunately, the first batch spread all over the pan and made very thin and crispy cookies. I prefer mine to be thicker. So I put the dough in the refrigerator and baked them later that evening. And they were much more to my liking. It’s not to say though that the thin and crispy ones didn’t taste good, because they disappeared as well, but I like my chocolate chip cookies to be more like the ones in the photo above.

As I have mentioned, I am not the best baker so I don’t know exactly why the cookies spread all over the pan. Any ideas? I used real butter and it was quite soft. Could that have been the issue? Fellow gluten free bakers, this novice welcomes your thoughts!

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The Gluten Intolerance Group recently announced that The Melting Pot had joined the Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP) and launched a gluten free menu. Conveniently, last week was my birthday, so we decided to go for my birthday dinner since neither of us had ever been there.

Initially I was a little hesitant as I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a guinea pig while they got ramped up on their gluten free services. But then I figured someone had to be first and decided to go for it. I made our reservation through their free online system and made a note that I required the gluten free menu. A couple of days prior the manager called to confirm the reservation and the need for a gluten free meal.

When we arrived, they noted again that we needed a gluten free menu* and took us to our secluded table for two. This table had only one burner for one pot of fondue at a time, which should usually suffice for the normal party of two. But after discussing our needs with our server, they decided to move us to a larger table so we could have two burners. The main reason for this was so we could each have our own separate entrée. As I have mentioned, I am not a total vegetarian but more of a flexitarian and thus I generally eat meat when I go out, but rarely cook it at home. My husband is a lacto-ovo vegetarian. And while their vegetarian option is great, when the gluten containing items are removed there isn’t much variety left and I wanted my husband to be able to have the full experience too. So they graciously provided us with a larger, two-burner table.

Shortly after we were seated at our new table, the manager, Tony, stopped by to check on me. We had a nice conversation about the new menu and how excited he was about it. He also told me that the next time we made a reservation to just mention that we needed a two burner table and they would accommodate us. I also mentioned to him that I had brought my own bread for dipping (shoved in my practically empty purse) and he said that was great and that they are looking into providing gluten free bread but are waiting until they see how the new menu goes over. He said the logistics of providing gluten free bread are difficult as they don’t know how much they would need and don’t want to leave it sitting in the freezer for a long period of time, waiting on the next gluten free customer, but that it may be an option in the future.

For our cheese course we shared the Spinach Artichoke Cheese Fondue with cauliflower, celery, carrots and apples. (As noted on the menu, you should request that it be made with cornstarch instead of flour.) I had also brought along some of my own bread and we dipped that as well. It was heavenly! The next course was the salads. We both had the California Salad and it was super yummy (although heavy on the dressing).

For our entrée, I ordered the Signature Selection and my husband got The Vegetarian. The Signature Selection typically comes with filet mignon, shrimp, teriyaki sirloin, chicken breast and salmon. It is noted on the gluten free menu that you should request a substitute for the teriyaki sirloin and so I requested scallops. We cooked each in our own separate fondue pots to avoid gluten contamination in my pot as well as meat contamination in the vegetarian pot. The dipping sauces they provide are also gluten free except for the teriyaki.

For desert, we chose The Original, which is a mixture of chocolate and peanut butter. The chocolate fondues usually come with a lot of gluten filled items for dipping (cake, brownie bites, Rice Krispy Treats) and I wanted my husband to be able to have all the other goodies, so the manager suggested that we could order one dessert but place it in two separate pots, one for me and one for my husband, thus eliminating the cross-contamination issue. It was wonderful! They brought me strawberries, cherries and bananas for dipping and I had also brought along some cubes of lemon pound cake that I had made at home. The menu says that they will provide plain marshmallows and pineapple also, but they didn’t give us those items, and I was so happy with the strawberries and bananas that I didn’t miss them. In fact, I asked for more bananas because they tasted so good with the chocolate and peanut butter fondue.

All in all, it was wonderful! And as far as I can tell, I was not contaminated. Our server, Les, was very conscientious and in fact, he had a shellfish allergy so he seemed to understand allergies and noted that he did not want to get me sick. My husband and I were both completely stuffed and loved it so I am sure we will be going back another time. If you plan on going, be sure to join Club Fondue through their website for special offers and a free chocolate fondue for two.

Kudos to The Melting Pot and especially Tony and Les at the Albuquerque location!

* One side note – in order to view the menu on the website, you need to type in a zip code to get the restaurant  nearest you and from there you can click on the ‘menu’ button to see the different menus. The gluten free menu is listed separately. It initially took me a bit to figure this out.

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