Chewy Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

>> Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gluten free cookies can be tricky. In general, gluten free baking is a horse of a different color; it takes some major adjustments and a whole lot of trial and error. Even if you follow the recipe to a T, you still don't always end up with something that tastes good and you rarely come out with something that a person who CAN eat gluten would enjoy. This recipe is different.

When I first cut out gluten, my mom sent me a link to a King Arthur Flour recipe that she had tried and loved and that happened to be gluten free (ironic, right?) I tried it and loved it too but it was really rich and I felt like it was missing something. I made the cookies again and this time I made an oreo style filling and turned them into sandwich cookies. They were SOOOO good but still a tad rich so for round three I whipped up a marshmallowy filling more like what's in a whoopie pie that was a little less sugary sweet. To. Die. For.

These cookies give you options. You can make the fudgy, chewy cookies and eat them on their own, or try one of my two filling options. You can add flavors like mint or peanut butter to the filling for totally different tastes. This recipe is practically foolproof and you don't need to go out and buy a mess of gluten free flours like you do for most g free baking. Try these and let me know what you think!

- 2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 1 cup cocoa powder (Dutch Process preferred)
- 3 lg. egg whites
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow fluff
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or  1/2 vanilla bean

Filling - OREO STYLE
- 1/2 stick of butter, softened
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla OR 1/2 vanilla bean

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Mix all cookie ingredients with a hand mixer (or a sexy pink Kitchenaid if you are lucky enough to have a sous chef who knows how to buy the perfect b-day present.)

Dollop in 1 tsp drops onto parchment lined cookie sheets.

Cook about 8 minutes until cookies spread and cracks start to form on top.
Let cookies cool. THIS IS IMPORTANT, if you try to take them off before they cool, they will break.

For filling, mix all ingredients with hand mixer. Put into a piping bag, if desired.

Flip one cookie upside down, pipe or spoon filling onto cookie and top with another cookie.


Feast minus wheat

>> Monday, October 26, 2009

A few weeks ago I hosted a gluten free canape and cocktail party to test some recipes and demonstrate some of the skills I'm picking up in cooking school. I was still cooking (frying, actually) throughout the night but I had a great time and my guests seemed to enjoy the spread. I don't think anyone would have noticed the lack of gluten had I not shouted from the rooftops that every last dish was GLUTEN FREE! Here is the menu from the magical evening:
Arancini with Spicy Marinara

Bacon Toffee
Otatop Sniks (inside-out potato skins)

Truffled Goat Cheese Deviled Eggs

 Mom Style Strawberries (strawberries with sour cream and brown sugar)

Hummus and Veggies
Mini Frozen Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecakes

Chocowich Cookies

I will post the recipes for each of these items in the next couple of weeks. My photos are not so hot for these recipes; there is only so much multi-tasking a girl can do!

If you're anxious to see any of these recipes ASAP, let me know. I'm planning to re-make most of these dishes so I can get better pics for you.


Polenta Caprese Towers

>> Thursday, October 8, 2009

I miss summer already and it barely has one foot out the door. It's not the sweaty, sticky weather I miss, it's the gorgeous, plump, rainbow hued heirloom tomatoes. You can still find the last of them kicking around farmer's markets and shops but it's obvious that fall is here and the best tomatoes are gone until next year. If you do happen to come across some decent tomatoes or if your garden produced a bumper crop, this recipe will put them to good use, making the most of their tart, umami goodness. I put together this recipe to use up the last bit of burrata cheese we had in our fridge. Burrata is a very soft mozzarella stuffed with cream. It is one of my very favorite things in the world. It's mild, creamy and tender. It brings out the very best in anything you put it on. My sous-chef likes his on warm crusty bread with a bit of sea salt, olive oil and balsamic. Since bread is a no-no for me, I decided crispy polenta would be even better.  I couldn't be happier with how these turned out. Try them for yourself and see!

- 5-6 heirloom tomatoes of assorted sizes and colors
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar 
- 1-2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper

- ready-to-use polenta log
- pinch of garlic powder
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
- 4-6 oz package fresh mozzarella cheese (cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices)
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
- 1 package burrata mozzarella cheese
- 4-6 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Slice tomatoes into 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick slices and place in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar.
Sprinkle minced garlic evenly over the tomatoes.
Mix together sugar, salt and pepper and sprinkle evenly over tomatoes.

Bake for 45 min to 1 hour until tomatoes are softened and beginning to brown at the edges.

Cut polenta into 1/2 inch slices

Heat butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to bubble. Place polenta slices in the oil and cook each side about 10 minutes or until crisp.

Place the rounds on another foil lined baking sheet.

Top half the slices with grated parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of garlic powder.
Top the other half with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese (NOT the burrata.)
Broil in the oven until the cheese melts; watch closely. When cheese is bubbly and edges are brown, remove and let cool.

Stack: Start with a polenta round topped with parmesan cheese, next place a roasted tomato, next place a plop of burrata, next place a polenta round topped with mozzarella then top with a tomato. Sprinkle fresh basil on top. Voila!