About Jesicakes

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A BFA Painting and Drawing graduate gone cookie designer and decorator.  I bring my knowledge of art, composition, and color to pastries to create the perfect cookies and cakes for your events or occasions.
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Peppermint Vs. Andes - Andes Fudge Cookies

For a while now I've been wanting to make super rich, chocolatey, brownie-like cookies.  And come winter my cravings for mint chocolate cookies start to grow.  But then the question became do I go the route of Peppermint or Andes mints?  So I decided to do a mint cookie bake off...one recipe, two refreshing, cool, minty variations.  In both cookies, the chocolate mixture I use is rich and deep but not too dark.  They have a slight crisp to the outside but a soft, gooey brownie like texture on the inside.  Theses cookies are intense, guaranteed to please any chocolate lover!  I built this recipe after studying about ten or so variations, putting together what I thought would make the perfect cookie and if I haven't made I'm pretty darn close!  You can try both and decide for yourself which on is superior!

This is the Andes Fudge Cookie post.  I added chopped Andes mints to the mix for a cool, refreshing minty taste that hits you right away.  They have that cooling effect of the Andes, with little bits of sweetness from white chocolate chips that add a nice textural difference to the smoothness of the chocolate cookie itself. 

The process to this is pretty much identical to the Peppermint Bark Cookies, but I figured it'd be easier to follow as two separate posts.

Andes Fudge Cookies
Recipe a Jesicakes original
Makes 18-20 cookies
Ingredients
- 1/3 cup split between brown rice and white rice flour*
- 1/8 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 4 oz 60% cocoa chocolate, chopped (I use Ghiradelli, 4oz is one baking bar)
- 2 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (about 1/3 cup)
- 2 oz unsweetened bakers chocolate
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 oz white chocolate chips (about 1/3 cup)
- 4 oz chopped Andes mints (about 18 mints)**

*I used both because I feel like brown rice flour is more substantial than white rice, but also wanted a bit of silkiness from the white rice.  I'm sure if you used one or the other it'd be fine.
**They sell prechopped Andes mints, so if you have those, use about 2/3 a cup.

Peppermint Vs. Andes - Peppermint Bark Cookies

 For a while now I've been wanting to make super rich, chocolatey, brownie-like cookies.  And come winter my cravings for mint chocolate cookies start to grow.  But then the question became do I go the route of Peppermint or Andes mints?  So I decided to do a mint cookie bake off...one recipe, two refreshing, cool, minty variations.  In both cookies, the chocolate mixture I use is rich and deep but not too dark.  They have a slight crisp to the outside but a soft, gooey brownie like texture on the inside.  Theses cookies are intense, guaranteed to please any chocolate lover!  I built this recipe after studying about ten or so variations, putting together what I thought would make the perfect cookie and if I haven't made I'm pretty darn close!  You can try both and decide for yourself which on is superior!

This is the Peppermint Bark Cookie post.  I added crushed Peppermints to the mix for a lingering, warm, almost spice from the peppermint.  The peppermint adds a great crunch within the cookie.  And the white chocolate chips add a creamy, smooth, sweet balance to the peppermint and completes the peppermint bark effect of the cookies.  

The process to this is pretty much identical to the Andes Fudge Cookies, but I figured it'd be easier to follow as two separate posts.

Peppermint Bark Cookies
Recipe a Jesicakes original
Makes 18-20 cookies
Ingredients
- 1/3 cup split between brown rice and white rice flour*
- 1/8 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 4 oz 60% cocoa chocolate, chopped (I use Ghiradelli, 4oz is one baking bar)
- 2 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (about 1/3 cup)
- 2 oz unsweetened bakers chocolate
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
- 6 oz white chocolate chips (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup crushed candy canes plus extra, set aside extra.**

*I used both because I feel like brown rice flour is more substantial than white rice, but also wanted a bit of silkiness from the white rice.  I'm sure if you used one or the other it'd be fine.
**I used 6 candy canes which was the perfect amount.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rolled Sugar Cookies Update

Something so simple can really add to a dessert, especially in terms of presentation.  Something about adding a Hershey's kiss to the top of the sugar cookies I made in my last post made them so much more festive...and made my boyfriend very happy since he's been known to polish Hershey's kisses off like no one's business.  I actually would love to try it with different kinds of kisses...peppermint, hugs, etc.  To make them, follow my last post exactly.  you add the Hershey's kiss with 2 minutes left on the baking time, just long enough to set them into the dough but not long enough to melt them.  It adds a nice touch of chocolate, and let's be honest, it just makes them look pretty darn cute.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lemony Rolled Sugar Cookies

My friend Jessica came by a few weeks ago asking me to help her make a gluten free sugar cookie for the holiday.  Simple sugar cookies are one of my favourites...sweet, soft and chewy with a bit of crispness from being rolled in sugar before baking.  I found a recipe for Lemon Sugar Cookies from Two Peas And Their Pod that included lemon which I thought would really brighten up your regular sugar cookie.  Personally, when I made sugar cookies in the past I always included cream cheese in them.  It keeps them nice and soft and adds a little bit of sweetness and tartness that wound up pairing nicely with the lemon flavor.  Besides chocolate chip, sugar cookies are a treat that will please almost everyone.  These sweet, light, lemony sugar cookies will be a nice change from heavy winter flavors and meals.

Lemony Rolled Sugar Cookies
Recipe adapted from Two Peas And Their Pod
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes 3 dozen cookies
Ingredients
- 3/4 cup brown rice flour
- 3/4 cup white rice flour
- 3/4 cup sorghum flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon (gluten free) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks/6oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon (gluten free) vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar for rolling cookies

Monday, November 28, 2011

Say Goodbye to Fall with Pumpkin Flan

This Thanksgiving I wanted to go a little nontraditional while still having the dessert feel like it fit the theme.  I recently celebrated my five year anniversary with my boyfriend Justin in Puerto Rico, and the entire time I was searching for good flan.  Still not sick of it, I decided to take a stab at making my own flan, having only ever made it once before over ten years ago for class when I was in 6th grade (so I probably had lots of help from a parent...and it leaked all over my mother's car...but that's a story for another time).  Originally I planned on making Queso Flan, since it was my favourite we had on our trip, but in honor of Thanksgiving I wanted to find a recipe with Pumpkin too.  This time my flan came out perfectly!  It was silky and creamy, full of spices from the ginger, cloves and cinnamon.  It had the perfect touch of sweetness from the caramel and the pumpkin, and tartness from the cream cheese.  This recipe is sure to impress anyone, and it was just as delicious, yet more complex, than the flan we had in Puerto Rico.  Justin brought it to his office and said it was a huge hit amongst his colleagues.  So if you have some cans of pumpkin still lingering in your cabinet, make sure you try this recipe!

Pumpkin Flan
Recipe adapted from Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes 1 10'' pyrex dish, or 4 2-4 cup pyrex dishes
Ingredients for the Caramel
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup of water
Ingredients for the Custard
- 12 oz can of evaporated milk (I used 2%)
- 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 5 eggs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp white rice flour*
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp gluten free vanilla
- Boiling Water**

*I used white rice flour because it's mild and ground finely.  Brown rice would probably be okay but possibly affect the texture a bit.  You can also use 1 Tbsp of cornstarch (I just didn't have any)
**You will need a larger container to place your pyrex dishes in.  The flan bakes in a water bath.  I just used a large, disposable aluminum tin.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gluten Free Cornbread for Thanksgiving


As I mentioned my last post, for Thanksgiving every year since I was in Kindergarten I've been making pumpkin bread and cornbread.  Last week I made my pumpkin loaf recipe gluten free, and today I tried making my cornbread recipe gluten free.  It turns out this recipe is the one on the back of the corn meal bag, but over the years my mom and I had altered this one too.  The result is a rustic, moist yet fluffy cornbread that has just the right amount of sweetness.  And it tastes just like the version with all purpose flour.  It's perfect with cranberry sauce (which I plan to make fresh for the first time for Thanksgiving) or even just toasted with a little bit of butter.  It's simple, easy to make, and a perfect side for your Thanksgiving table!

Gluten Free Cornbread for Thanksgiving
Recipe adapted from Indian Head Corn Meal
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes 1 Loaf in a 8'' X 4'' load pan
Ingredients
- 1 cup corn meal
- 1/4 cup sorghum flour
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup white rice flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 3 tsp gluten free baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1 egg, beaten

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Loaf Two Ways

When I was in Kindergarten we were all given two Thanksgiving recipes: one for Corn Bread and one for Pumpkin Bread.  Every year since then, it's been a tradition to make both for Thanksgiving.  Even when we do "nontraditional" dinners (in a family of half vegetarians there is never a turkey), these two dishes are always on the table.  Over the years my mom and I had tweaked with the recipe here and there, and the last few times I've changed a few minor components, but this last time I made it completely gluten free without really altering the flavor.  Also, this recipe doesn't require a mixer or anything.  And after all it was given to me in Kindergarten, so it's so easy a five year old could follow along.  This loaf is irresistible...it never lasts more than a few days.  While eating a little piece of it earlier tonight, I decided next time I want to make cupcakes, I'm going to try using this recipe.  It's moist, but still a bit cakey and not too dense.  It's filled with warm cinnamon and sweet bites of either cranberries or raisins.  And of course the star of the loaf is the pumpkin.

I'd recommend making it one of two ways (or well, three if you count my desire to make them cupcakes!).  The first is as slices as a side dish for your Thanksgiving meal.  It's also great this way year round as a snack or breakfast.  In this version, either cranberries or raisins are good but I think I prefer it with the raisins.  The second is as squares, topped with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting as a dessert.  In this preparation I prefer it with cranberries, and I sprinkle the top with some cranberries as well.  Or if you're like me, you pick one of the two dried fruits, and make half the loaf sliced and uniced, and ice the other half the of loaf for dessert squares!  Either way I promise it you and your guests will be taking seconds! 

Pumpkin Loaf: Two Ways
Recipe a Jesicakes original
Makes 1 Loaf in a 8'' X 4'' load pan
Ingredients
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs slightly beaten
- 2 cups 100% pure pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup sorghum flour
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 cup of raisins or dried cranberries
*Since this recipe was originally made with flour, if you and/or your guests are not gluten free, just substitute 2 cups of all purpose flour for all the other flours and the xanthan gum.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

 One of my favorite things about fall is how everything becomes pumpkin flavored.  I've been making pumpkin bread every year since I was in kindergarten, but up until a few years ago I had never made pumpkin cookies.  Justin and I were throwing a spiked cider fall party and I needed a dessert to go with it.  I looked up a few oatmeal cookie recipes and wound up concocting what is now my famous Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and White Chocolate Chips (okay well, famous at least among my friends and family).  So this year, going gluten free, I decided to work at the recipe some more and make it fit for my new diet.  They taste exactly like the ones with all purpose flour.  The tart little bites of cranberry, smooth sweetness of the white chocolate chips, warmth from the cinnamon, and burst of pumpkin flavor make these my absolute favorite cookie.  It is nearly impossible to eat just one. 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and White Chocolate Chips
Recipe a Jesicakes original
Makes 36-40 cookies
Ingredients
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 1 tsp gluten free vanilla
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 1/2 cups gluten free old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup white chocolate chips

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Brownie Update! Epresso Brownies!

Justin (my boyfriend) ran in a half marathon in Baltimore this weekend.  So I wanted to surprise him when he got home with his favorite treat...brownies.  I've made these brownies plain, and as cookie brownies (recipe one day soon...promise!), but I wanted to try a new way.  I love adding coffee to chocolate.  Even a hint of coffee actually enhances the chocolate flavor.  So remember the Blissful Brownies post I made?  I added 3 Tablespoons of Instant Espresso to that recipe.  If I thought those brownies were addictive before, I was wrong...well, I wasn't wrong, but the espresso in this new recipe makes them extra addictive.  The espresso makes them even richer, more chocolately, not to mention the espresso flavor gives it a bit more complexity.  Coffee and chocolate are meant to be together.  The addition of the espresso makes these brownies irresistible.  I may have had three...I think Justin may have had 5!  So while you should refer back to that post for the procedure, here are the ingredients again as a refresher.

Irresistible Gluten Free Espresso Brownies
Recipe adapted from The Weather In Cascadia, whose recipe was adapted from Gluten Free Goddess
Fills a 8'' X 8'' pan
Ingredients
- 4 oz 60% cocoa Ghiradeli bittersweet chocolate bar, roughly chopped 
- 3 Tbsp cocoa powder (Hershey's, or any non-Dutch processed)
- 1 Tbsp canola oil (or vegetable)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tsp gluten free vanilla
- 1/2 cup of almond flour (I used a coffee bean grinder to grind fresh almonds)
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3 Tbsp Instant Espresso (not ground espresso, I used Ferrara Instant Espresso)

I mixed the espresso in with the chocolate mixture right before adding the chocolate to my mixer.  For the full procedure go to the original post for my Gluten Free Brownies.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Delicious Apple Crumble Cake

When I think of fall desserts I think of two things: Pumpkin and Apple.  Apple is also one of the traditional foods for Rosh Hashanah.  So I decided I was going to make a delicious apple cake using local apples (one of the many benefits of living in NY) for the holiday...only my family's party was canceled.  But I found a recipe on Oh! Nuts' blog for a Rosh Hashanah Apple Crumb Cake that looked too good to not try. So this past Sunday I made it anyway!  I replaced the flour in the crumbs and the cake with a mix of gluten free flours I thought might work out well. My guessing was right on because this cake is delicious.  The cake is moist, but the apples are still firm and the crumble and walnuts add a nice crisp texture.  This cake is perfect for all those apples you'll be bringing home from apple picking, and if you're really ambitious this recipe calls for applesauce...which if you still need something to make you can use homemade applesauce (I was not that ambitious.  Well, actually I have not gone apple picking yet so maybe I will be once I come home with a few pounds of apples).  This cake screams fall between the apples and the cinnamon.  Plus it's best served warm...and if you're like my boyfriend, with homemade cinnamon maple whipped cream.  It's the perfect cake to eat outside on a cool fall day.

Apple Crumble Cake
Recipe from Oh! Nuts
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes a 9'' round cake
Ingredients for the Crumble
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sguar
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 rounded tsp cinnamon (I use more than Oh! Nuts...I'm a huge cinnamon lover)
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup sorghum flour
- 1 Tbsp tapioca flour
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp gluten free vanilla
Ingredients for the Cake
- 1 large Honey Crisp of Fuji Apple, and an extra just incase*
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 Tbsp sour cream, room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
- 2 tsp gluten free vanilla
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup sorghum flour
- 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 12 tbsp butter, room temperature

*My secret to baking with apples is using Honey Crisps (if in season like they are now) or Fuji's.  They're firm so they hold up well being baked, and I find them to simply taste better than Granny Smith or Yellow Delicious.

This post is a little photo heavy because of the steps and the layering of the cake.  So click "Read more" for the procedure.

Friday, September 30, 2011

My eRecipe Page

Like my dessert recipes?  Well on top of baking, I love to cook in general.  So while I want to keep this blog strictly desserts/sweets (with maybe the occasional indulgent breakfast item like my gluten free pancakes), for all other meals of the day you can visit my eRecipe page.  As long as things are still going as planned, I'll also be Chef of the Week there the last week of October (I'll post more when it gets closer and I know more).  So far I have my desserts you've seen here, but also a recipe Gluten Free Spinach, Escarole, and Goat Cheese Lasagna, and a recipe for Sauteed Swiss Chard and Pomegranate.  I'll be posting a lot more on there in the next few weeks.  While desserts are what I love most and how I make my living, cooking everything from breakfast to dinner is also my passion.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Say Goodbye to Summer with S'mores Cookies!

Early this spring I was eating a chocolate chip cookie trying to think of a spin I could put on it and suddenly a brilliant idea hit me...a S'mores Chocolate Chip Cookie!  And then this summer came and all of a sudden on every food site I saw people were making their own renditions of a S'mores Cookie.  So maybe my idea wasn't as brilliant as I thought, but it still sounded delicious!  The one problem I was encountering was how to make them gluten free without graham flour, which is essential if I really wanted to make them taste like S'mores.  So finally this Sunday I made Gluten Free Graham Crackers from scratch and viola!  Now I could make S'mores cookies.  I based them off my Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, so if you've read that the process is pretty much identical (I'll post it anyway).  The main changes are that I used graham flour (crushed graham crackers) instead of oat flour and I only used semi sweet chips in the cookie because I put dark chunks on top.  And of course topped them with marshmallows.  They were delicious, not to mention adorable!  You could really taste the cinnamon and honey from the graham flour (even without toppings these flavors really elevate these simple chocolate chip cookies into something a little more complex).  So bake a batch of these up for one last taste of summer before diving into fall flavors.

Gluten Free S'mores Cookies
Recipe a Jesicakes original with graham flour made from a recipe by Gluten Free Girl
Makes 18-20 cookies
Ingredients
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup graham flour*
- 1/3 cup brown rice flour
- 1/3 cup tapioca flour
- 1/3 cup sweet rice flour
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp hot water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- 50-60 mini marshmallows (I used Dandies' vegan marshmallows because I don't eat gelatin)
- 1 60% cocoa Ghiradelli chocolate bar, chopped (if you want to be traditional use Hershey's squares)
- 1/4 cup extra crushed graham crackers*

* Graham Flour made from crushed graham crackers from my last recipe post here.  I used 3 graham crackers and a fourth for the extra for the topping.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gluten Free Cinnamon Sugar Graham Crackers


One of my favourite snacks when I was a kid was cinnamon sugar graham crackers.  I especially loved them on a chilly night with a nice hot cup of black tea to dip them in.  The reason I wanted to make grahams today was to crumble them up to make graham flour for S'mores Cookies I'm also making later today.  I was surprised to find that I only needed three of these graham crackers.  This turned out to be a wonderful surprise because these grahams are delicious! Not too sweet but rather that subtle sweetness from the honey with a little kiss of extra sweetness from the cinnamon sugar on top.  I could tell straight from the dough that as long as they baked right they'd be killer because the dough alone (egg free too!) was so delicious I was struggling to not just eat it raw.  I've never made any kind of graham cracker before so I got the recipe form Gluten Free Girl and stuck pretty closely to it.  And obviously, if you don't like cinnamon or want the added sugar, just leave off the step of sprinkling them with cinnamon sugar before baking.  So bake up the perfect Gluten Fee Cinnamon Sugar Graham Crackers, make some tea to dip them into, and relax and enjoy the day.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Sugar Graham Crackers
Recipe from Gluten Free Girl with minor changes
Makes 16 graham crackers
Ingredients
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sorghum flour*
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp brown rice flour*
- 1/3 cup - 1 tbsp tapioca flour*
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp sweet rice flour*
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 7 tbsp unsalted butter just out of the fridge
- 1/4 cup mild flavored honey (I used pretty generic clove honey)
- 3-6 tbsp cold water
- Cinnamon sugar

*She does her baking by weight (something I'd really like to start doing just need to do more research and also save and buy a scale).  All of these flours come out to 2.5 ounces each.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Best Ever Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies!


The first gluten free recipe I tried really developing myself was Chocolate Chip Cookies.  By this I mean studying a bunch of different recipes, seeing what I thought worked best, and making my own recipe out of them.  I've tried so many packaged gluten free chocolate chip cookie mixes and there's always some aspect that dissatisfying about them...whether they're dry or have a distinct taste or smell that just screams gluten free (and not as good as the original!).  My goal was to make a recipe for them that tasted just as good if not better than my favourite all purpose flour chocolate chip cookie recipe...and I think that I finally got it!  These cookies are crispy on the edges but have a soft chewy center.  The different flours I use give them a great classic flavor that you would never guess are gluten free.  They're easy and quick to make, and the perfect fix for any of your cookie cravings!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe a Jesicakes Original.
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies (I would consider this a 1/2 recipe)
Ingredients
- 1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1/3 cup brown rice flour
- 1/3 cup tapioca flour
- 1/3 cup sweet rice flour
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp hot water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips (I do 2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips and 1/3 cup chopped 60% Ghiradelli dark chocolate)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Miss Me?

I really would love to update this every weekend.  This weekend I didn't because I normally don't work Saturday's or Sunday's but worked both.  Today we were in a street fair so it was a busy week preparing for it too!  As of right now I'm lying down after a 50+ hour work week ready to sleep through Monday all the way to Tuesday morning where I'll wake up and start a new week of work!  I LOVE my job but baking and decorating can be tough work, especially when the week is ended with a 10 hour street fair!  But I'll be back to my normal no weekend working week, so make sure to check back!  I decided to start off with my Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Then Gluten Free Graham Crackers.  The combination of which will be the base to what I'll be making after which is Gluten Free S'mores cookies!  So enjoy you week and make sure to check back because I have lots of people who can tell you that you do not want to miss my recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies...so unbelievably better then any box mix you'll buy!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Anything Imaginable Oatmeal Loaf


When I first went gluten free the biggest thing I had a problem eliminating was snacks and meal replacement bars.  I think my lunch every single day of my last two years of college was an apple with cheese, greek yoghurt, and then two hours later to hold me over until dinner a Luna Bar or a Special K Bar.  Those were my dinner half the time if I was working or just had a deadline on a painting so couldn't eat at home.  And while I like Larabars now they're not that same satisfaction of a granola bar.  So the very first gluten free thing I made was a take on an Oatmeal Loaf I found over at Flour Child.  The wonderful thing about this recipe is that there is a up to 1 1/2 cups of add ins part of the recipe that can be anything you want.  I was making a new loaf pretty much every week coming up with new combinations (some not as successful as others).  You can make it as healthy or decadent as you'd like...wherever the mood takes you!  I love making a healthy version with fruit and veggies and nuts that a perfect quick energy boost before a yoga class.  But I also love a good chocolate chip version when I have a sweet tooth.  Also, this is so easy in terms of preparation.  Absolutely no mixer required and I can whip this baby out in under 15 minutes (+ baking time).  Here's the kinds I've made:
  • Carrot, Sweet Potato, Walnut
  • Carrot, Zucchini, Walnut
  • Apple, Carrot, Raisin, Walnut
  • Apple, Cranberry, Carrot, Walnut (probably my favorite on the not as sweet/healthier side)
  • Cocoa, Walnut, Banana (not as good as it sounds...)
and finally...the best (slightly sinful) versions:

Banana, Chocolate Chip, Coconut and Walnut Oatmeal Loaf
Recipe adapted from Flour Child
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes 1 8'' x 4'' loaf pan
Ingredients
- 1 1/4 cups brown rice flour*
- 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
- 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon (+ with this recipe I add an extra 1 tsp as well) 
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar (or white)
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup almond milk (original recipe uses buttermilk)
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp canola oil (I've found this optional...for this loaf especially I don't think it's needed.  For the apple, cranberry, carrot, walnut though it could use a little moisture)
- 1 1/2 cups of add ins: 2 very ripened bananas, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips.  Be careful about adding TOO much wet ingredients.  If you do, compensate with a few extra tbsp of brown rice flour.

*With this batch, I tried doing a mix of different flours, but I definitely prefer it with just the brown rice.  I like the coarser texture with the oats...I feel like the finer texture of the tapioca and sweet rice flour are fighting the oat texture too much.  If you'd like to try though, I did 1/3 cup sweet rice flour, 1/3 cup tapioca flour, 1/3 cut brown rice flour, and 1/4 cup oat flour.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hunker Down for the Hurricane


So, while I'm not freaking out like crazy buying the grocery store out of a year's supply of bottled water and batteries, it's common sense to not plan on going out at all during a hurricane.  Later tomorrow or Sunday I'll be posting a recipe for Anything Imaginable Oatmeal Loaf.  It's a gluten free loaf base recipe that has room for add ins of whatever you desire.  I've done everything from Banana, Coconut, Chocolate Chips, and Walnuts to Apples, Carrots, Cranberries, and Walnuts.  What you do need is a stocked pantry.  Being a baker, my pantry is always stocked with gluten free baking necessities...especially for those last minute chocolate chip cookies urges.  So here's a quick break down on some gluten free alternatives always in my kitchen:
-Brown Rice Flour - Dense and a bit grainy, but Bob's Red Mill version is actually pretty fine compared to others. When recipes don't call for a lot of flour (like my brownies) and it's silly to do a blend, I almost always will use just brown rice flour.
-Sweet Rice Flour - A thickener but also adds the sweet flavor of rice versus the more nutty almost flavor of brown rice flour.
-Oat Flour - (Obviously) adds a great oat flavor, and when mixed with other flours layers in really nicely.  My favorite recipe I notice it in is my chocolate chip cookies.  There's just a subtle undertone of oat flavor.
-Tapioca Flour - Helps in holding together the batter.  Adds that spring to baked good that tells you they're down.  It also helps add a nice crispness and golden brown color...which if you've tried a gluten free recipe without it you may have noticed that gluten free flours don't tend to brown.
-Sorghum Flour (I haven't used it yet but I'm excited to try it. It's pretty high in protein without the very earthy taste and smell of something like Garbanzo flour)
-Xanthan Gum - Necessary to add viscosity to gluten free batters.  Otherwise, anything baked free of a mold (like cookies) will not hold their shape and spread out too much while they bake
-Gluten Free Baking Powder - Baking Powder has some kind of starch in it. It can be cornstarch, potato starch or wheat starch...the latter of which will make it contain gluten.  So make sure you check the ingredients in it or make sure it says "Gluten Free."  I use Davis.
-Gluten Free Vanilla - Vanilla contains alcohol...some use a grain alcohol.  So again, make sure your vanilla says "gluten free."  I use Kirkland's Vanilla (the Costco brand...it's gluten free, tastes good, and you get a pretty gigantic bottle for very cheap compared to the gluten free vanilla in the supermarket)

Of course, my kitchen always has chocolate of some kind, sugar, salt, baking soda, unsalted butter, milk of some kind (usually almond because I actually love the flavor it adds, but just make sure no one has any allergies!), cinnamon, eggs, and so on....all the usuals for any pantry and fridge used in all kinds of baking recipes.  I also plan on making some homemade gluten free Graham Crackers this weekend...half of which I'm pulverizing to make Gluten Free S'mores Cookies.  So between that and possibly making some hurricane cocktails, I think I have a good plan to survive Irene.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rich, Decadent, Blissful Brownies

As a chocolate lover, brownies are at the top of my list of favorite desserts.  My idea of the perfect brownie is a crispy outside with a decadently moist center.  I also don't like brownies that are overly sweet, but rather have a rich, chocolately taste.  I found this recipe from The Weather in Cascadia, and the addition of almond meal made it sound too irresistible to not try to make.  When I made it I was an ounce short on chocolate, so I substituted an ounce of unsweetened cocoa powder and while I haven't tried it with all 5 ounces of dark chocolate this version I made was so delicious, why change a good thing?  I used 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate for my recipe, but I'd love to try an even darker version.  And I'm sure a lighter or milk chocolate could be just as good if that rich, dark chocolate flavor isn't for you.  Also, for this recipe I did a recipe and a half which is why you'll see 3 egg and why I used a 13'' X 9'' pan (it was slightly thinner than I would have liked, I think a double recipe would have been perfect).  They're my perfect brownie.  Crispy top with a moist, silky center.  Rich and decadent with the sweet almond flavor coming through and slightly floral notes from the dark chocolate.  My friends and family love them (and have been begging me for the recipe!) and I guarantee yours will too!

Gluten Free Brownie Bliss
Recipe adapted from The Weather In Cascadia, whose recipe was adapted from Gluten Free Goddess
Fills a 8'' X 8'' pan
Ingredients
- 4 oz 60% cocoa Ghiradeli bittersweet chocolate bar, roughly chopped 
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder (Hershey's, or any non-Dutch processed)*
- 1 tbsp canola oil (or vegetable)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tsp gluten free vanilla
- 1/2 cup of almond flour (I used a coffee bean grinder to grind fresh almonds)
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda

*Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder does not react with baking soda

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gluten Free Apple Pie Cupcakes


One of the first things I've ever made gluten free were vanilla cupcake bases.  We were celebrating Easter at my house and I wanted to do a blind taste test with a cute cupcake idea I came across that seemed like a perfect Easter dessert.  I wanted to make "Apple Pie" Cupcakes and not tell anyone they were gluten free to see what the response was (or if anyone could even tell!  Especially my brother who my mom has tried to "trick" with organic versions of food and he instantly can tell they're organic and therefore "gross."  The ones in the middle of that picture are plain Vanilla with Vanilla Buttercream cupcakes for him because he wouldn't touch one with apples).  Now I know, you're not supposed to just switch up ingredients because it can affect the outcome of recipes, but I've often decided to throw that rule out the window.  I simply switched the cake flour for brown rice flour.  Since then, I've further delved into an exploration of flour combinations.  My first time making chocolate chip cookies using only brown rice flour they had a bit of a rustic, coarse texture, but since then with my mix they're nice and crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  I can't wait for another opportunity to make cupcakes so I can try it with my gluten free flour mixture I've come up with, but til then the just brown rice version were slightly crumbly, but still delicious!

Gluten Free Apple Pie Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Annie Eats, whose recipe was adapted from Fatty Fat Fats
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
- 3 cups brown rice flour*
- 1 tbsp gluten free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp gluten free vanilla
- 1 cup almond milk (can use dairy milk, I love the flavor this adds though)

Click "Read more" for the procedure

Friday, August 12, 2011

Welcome!


I have had the most wildly different aspirations for my life and my career.  From curator of a major metropolitan museum, to painter, to marine biologist I changed my mind almost every week.  One thing I always loved was baking.  Throughout college I'd bake for parties and my friends would tell me that I should start my own bakery.  I'd modestly laugh it off...baking was just a hobby...something I enjoyed.  And over the past two years I started thinking to myself why should baking just be a hobby?  So after graduating college I landed a job at Cookie Girl Bake Shop where I honed my baking skills and also learned to decorate specialty sugar cookies and cakes.  While all of this was happening, I was advised to go gluten free because I have a medical condition called fibromyalgia. So now the question is how could I keep baking if I couldn't eat anything I made?  That's when I began researching and discovering all the ways I could make gluten free desserts that taste just as great (if not better) than those with gluten.  One of the things that has always driven me towards baking is that desserts are always a positive thing.  No matter how bad of a day I'm having, I can have a chocolate chip cookie and all my troubles melt away if only for that one moment.  So now I'm out on a mission to develop recipes, further learn to decorate, and turn baking into a career.

On this blog, you can expect to find recipes I try and even some I've developed myself.  I'll also be posting photos of my decorating from work and home.  I'll post reviews of new products I try on my journey to develop the best gluten free versions of desserts.