Friday, October 24, 2014

Overnight Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes
(vegan, gluten free, need a VitaMix)

Happy Friday! Lately, Fridays have been for pancakes. Here, I'll show you:


What better way to say hooray!-to-72-hours-free-of-pitch-black-mornings-and-homework-complicated-afternoons? There isn't a better way if your pancakes have chocolate chips in them.

These are another batch of my blender pancakes, this time made with a trio of whole grains, a can of pumpkin puree, some molasses and baking spices to embrace the season (note: Fall 2014 has been an easy season to embrace here in Minnesota), and chocolate chips. Naturally.

Here's what my trio of grains looked like:

Whole Grains

And here's the rest of the process:

Just add chocolateIn the skillet

Ugh! Edith! I don't have a VitaMix and why on earth would I blend whole grains?! 

Fine. Make these equally delicious oatmeal pancakes instead. We had them last Friday. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes (Gluten-Free and Vegan)
Yield: about 20 five-inch pancakes

1 1/4 cup brown rice*
3/4 cup whole oat groats, raw buckwheat groats, sorghum, millet, teff, or a combination*
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 can pumpkin puree (or 1 1/2 cups homemade)
1 cup water or milk/non-dairy beverage
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or something similar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional, I suppose)
Oil or butter for frying

Day 1: In a large bowl or measuring cup, cover whole grains with water by about 2 inches. Add 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and soak for 8-24 hours.

Day 2: Drain the grains, rinse them in a fine sieve, and pour them into your blender. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the baking powder, and blend until smooth. Pour batter into a large measuring cup or bowl. Sprinkle batter with baking powder and whisk until it's thoroughly incorporated. Add chocolate chips, if using, and stir.**

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Grease skillet with oil or butter. Add 1/4-cupfuls of batter to pan and cook for a couple minutes over medium heat and once bubbles begin to form, flip and cook another minute or two.

* Note regarding grains: You just need a blend of a bunch of sturdy grains and a smaller bunch of less sturdy grains, totaling ~2 cups. So, if you want to use something like millet or quinoa, which are a little more delicate, try 1 1/4 cups brown rice and 3/4 cup millet, quinoa, or a mix. But if you're using something else chewy and sturdy, like oat groats or sorghum, you could go half-and-half or just use 2 whole cups of oat groats. This morning, I used the following: 1/2 cup ivory teff (only use this if your sieve has VERY fine mesh), 1/2 cup oat groats, 1 cup brown basmati rice. Delicious. All grains hydrate a little differently, so have a little extra liquid on hand to thin out batter as needed.

** Note regarding liquids: Make sure the batter isn't too thick if you don't want overly doughy pancakes. Thinner batter firms up more evenly. Once you've blended everything and stirred in your baking powder and chocolate chips, if the batter needs a little loosening up, add water or milk, 2 tablespoons at a time, until you get a more traditional pancake batter consistency. That's what we're after, but when you're working with whole grains and flax seeds and pumpkin puree and molasses, a little finessing might be in order.

Friday, September 19, 2014

For Nicole: Gluten Free Chocolate Doughnuts with Coconut-Chocolate Glaze

Dear Nicole,

So, I totally kept my word. This is something I try to do on a regular basis but sometimes I forget or get lazy or my children exist (and, well, you've met them). It is easier to keep my word when it involves my new favorite thing: the doughnut pan.

as good as it looks

Which reminds me! Hey! True story: "Mom, I am allergic to peanuts, right?" "Yes. You are allergic to peanuts and I am allergic to tree nuts. So we don't eat nuts in our house." "But I am not allergic to all nuts, right?" "We don't really know." "But, like, I am not allergic to doughnuts, right?" "Right." Accompanied by much laughter, naturally.

On a more serious note though, I think, seriously, that you (and maybe everyone) need(s) a doughnut pan. I especially think that gluten-free bakers need doughnut pans. They are a recipe for success. Because, here are some things that help with gluten-free baking: short cooking times, small items, eating baked goods day-of. Cookies and muffins? Great gluten free options. Cakes? Well, sometimes, depending on what other restrictions you might have. Pastries, pies, bread? Trickiest of all. Bring on the eight thousand ingredients. Baked doughnuts, I am happy to report, are basically muffins with a nice firm exterior. Think muffin top. But muffin top on top and bottom. Win-win. They bake in 15-20 minutes, they taste best on the first day but that is true of all doughnuts really, and I am fairly certain they are full-proof. Also, they are crazy-go-nuts good.

I adapted this recipe just barely from a woman named Jeanine whose blog is called The Baking Beauties. She is from Canada and she has done A LOT of work for you. I think she should be your go-to source for standard baking recipes made gluten-free.

You can go now. Because I think you need to get yourself a doughnut pan. Miss you.


GF Choc Donut Collagedonies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Doughnuts with Coconut-Chocolate Glaze
Adapted from Baking Beauties
Yields: 6

3/4 cup sorghum (that's what I used) or brown rice flour*
3 tablespoons tapioca starch*
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons: dry instant chocolate pudding mix, dry milk powder, or whey protein powder**
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup oil (I used melted coconut oil)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
1-2 tablespoons milk or water

Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly grease a doughnut pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. I recommend sifting cocoa powder into the bowl to avoid lumps. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into the flour-cocoa mixture and stir until fully combined. Spoon mixture into prepared doughnut pan: aim for 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, rotating pan 180 degrees after 6 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the doughnut comes out clean.

Let doughnuts sit for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely (20-30 minutes was sufficient) before frosting.

When ready to frost: Stir together the powdered sugar, sifted cocoa powder (sifting really is a helpful step here), butter or coconut oil, and enough milk or water to make the glaze the consistency you want. Dip your cooled doughnuts into the glaze and place on cooling rack until frosting firms up a bit. I dipped my doughnuts three times in the glaze to get them as shiny and evenly-coated as I wanted. There was more than enough frosting to do this.

* 1 cup less 1 tablespoon of whatever gluten-free baking mix you have on hand will work in place of the flour and starch in this recipe. Use the xanthan gum only if your baking mix doesn't include any. You can also substitute potato starch, arrowroot, or cornstarch for the tapioca starch.

** Jeanine consistently uses pudding mix in her recipes. I imagine, based on my use of milk powder in conventional baking, that this makes for a more *tender* (ew!) texture. I didn't have milk powder or pudding mix in my kitchen, so I used some whey protein powder and evidently it worked fine, since I think these doughnuts are perfect. Comments on the Baking Beauties site indicated that a tablespoon more of cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon of flour works fine too, just to even out the dry-to-wet ratio. Maybe *tenderness* (ew!) is compromised, but they will still be doughnuts.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Go Big or Go Home: Spiced Pumpkin Doughnuts

It is fall and so we are sick. Well, I'm not actually (yet), but the rest of my family has their first cold of the season. My tiny sidekick has a cruddy variety of whatever's going around so I put community health above my own and skipped the gym today (and Kid Zone childcare (germville)). And then I was like, if I'm skipping the gym anyway, I might as well make doughnuts. So Beckett and I braved the cold (it dropped thirty degrees over the last 20 hours, because Minnesota is glorious like that), got a little token exercise / fresh air exposure (me on foot, B on scooter), and walked (or scooted) first to the local kitchenware store (not Target in this instance) for a doughnut pan and then to the nearest grocery store to pick up the only ingredient we didn't have on hand to make these bad boys: pumpkin puree (on sale - just in case I needed one more sign indicating today was doughnut day).

Pumpkin Doughnuts

These are adapted from King Arthur Flour. Here's what I did differently: halved the recipe (if I made twelve, we'd eat twelve), reduced sugar by a third in the doughnut recipe but used more for dusting (these do not need to be sweeter), increased spice a bit (subtlety, I feel, is best left to the novelists), and subbed half bread flour and half whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose (this was based on what I had on hand and a little knowledge about flours and I'm fairly certain that in the future I will use the exact same flour blend - texture was perfect).

As this was my first time using them, I slightly overfilled my doughnut molds, so my holes were not quite holes (but I didn't have anywhere else to put the remaining batter - what's a baker to do?). This aesthetic error was by no means a deal-breaker: these are hands down the best homemade baked good I've had in a long time. I can't think of a better tonic to counter your family's change-in-seasons malaise.

Next on my list: these!

Spiced Pumpkin Doughnuts
Adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour
Yields: 6 (well, probably 7, if you've got a spare doughnut mold)

For doughnuts
1/4 cup oil (I used melted coconut oil)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin purée (canned pumpkin)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie or other baking spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (2 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour*
1/2 cup (2 ounces) bread flour or all-purpose*

For dusting
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking spice or cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 6-ring standard doughnut mold.**

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder, until mixture is smooth, with no lumps. Stir in flour(s) until just combined.

Using about 1/4 cup batter per doughnut, fill each mold until 3/4 full (or 4/4 full, if you need to use up all your batter and you don't mind a slightly disfigured doughnut). Bake for 16 minutes, rotating pan 180 degrees after 8 minutes for even baking. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place sugar and baking spice or cinnamon in a plastic bag and shake to combine. Once doughnuts are cool enough to handle, loosen edges with fingers (this was v. easy - no knife required), remove one doughnut at a time from pan, and toss it gently in the bag of cinnamon sugar until evenly coated. Place on cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before eating (that said, if you eat one hot, you won't regret it).

* I weighed the flours, so volume measurements are my best estimations.

** I greased 5 out of 6 of my molds, just to see how nonstick the nonstick was. It's pretty nonstick. I couldn't even figure out which one it was. So, you probably don't have to grease your pans, although a little external oil will help the cinnamon-sugar stick.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Just Do It: Pink Lemonade for Grown-ups

Hi. You know when you want to be doing something regularly but you're out of the habit? And you can come up with tons of excuses for why not do this thing that you do, truly, deep down in your heart, I think so anyway, want to do - some excuses 100% valid, some sort of random and artificial? That's what's been going on with me and the blogosphere. I got out of practice and I super lost my groove. And I feel badly about that because I've actually got a few recipes worth sharing. (There goes one excuse.) So today I'm just doing it. I'm posting about this fantastic pink lemonade.


I'm not going to tell you why it's sort of loaded and emotional for me to post about it. I'm not going to try to put into words the amazing summer-vacation-esque magic that hibiscus brings to boring old lemonade. I'm just going to give you a recipe worth making and hope that, since I'm just doing it, you'll just make it. It's divine. And pink! Which is fun.

Hibiscus Simple Syrup
Yields 1 1/2 cups

1 cup sugar*
1 cup water
2 tablespoons dried hibiscus leaves** (I got mine in bulk from the Wedge co-op, in the spice/tea section)

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved and the mixture is pretty hot (3-5 minutes). Stir in hibiscus leaves and allow to steep for 10 minutes or so. Strain into a glass jar and chill.

* Don't be all granola and use rapadura or coconut sugar here. Part of this recipe's allure is the beautiful ruby-red color that sugar-water takes on when infused with hibiscus leaves. I made it with coconut sugar once and it was way less pretty.

** My hibiscus leaves were old. At least a year old. I bought them way back when with a mind to recreate (to no avail) the spicy hibiscus punch that's sold at Bread & Pickle by Lake Harriet (a-may-zing, with all  kinds of clovey-limey complex weirdness/goodness). Anyway, I mention that to suggest that you might not need two whole tablespoons to get a lot of flavor if your hibiscus leaves are fresher. 

Hibiscus Lemonade, i.e. Pink Lemonade for Grown-ups

Per 4-oz glass of lemonade, combine the following in a glass half-filled with ice and give it a good stir:

Juice of 1/2 an average-sized, average-juicy lemon (~2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons hibiscus simple syrup (or more, to taste (my husband, for instance, preferred 3 tablespoons of simple syrup, but he also prefers frozen juice concentrate combined with 2 containers as opposed to the standard 3-4))
1/3 cup sparkling or still water (or a little more if you like your beverages less sweet)

Oh, you thought I meant that kind of grown-up beverage? Well okay. In place of water, add 3 tablespoons vodka and a splash of soda water (2-3 tablespoons).

If you want to make 6 servings, combine the following in a big glass jar or small pitcher and chill:

Juice of 3 lemons (3/4 cup)
3/4 - 1 cup hibiscus simple syrup
2 cups sparkling or still water or 1 cup sparkling water/soda + 1 cup vodka

Serve over ice. Enjoy!

Now I'm going to make some salads. Because these are salad days as well as lemonade days, aren't they?