Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fudgy Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Chocolate Icing

Ohmygod-sogood. This was amazingly delicious, and super easy to throw together. Thick in the middle of finishing up my Master's thesis, I was having some hard core chocolate cravings last week. So I pulled out a Gefen boxed chocolate cake mix that was on sale after Passover ended and modified it to make it lower fat. Then, I modified the frosting and ended up making it higher fat. So it probably all comes out in the wash, and you won't remember modifying anything once you're having a piece.

After trying the frosting in the box (which was so so sugary I couldn't eat more than a tiny taste of it - and that is saying something, because my tolerance for sugar is usually well above average - I decided to scrap it and make my own frosting. And what could be better than the combination of peanut butter and chocolate? I couldn't think of anything, so that was that. It turned out to be fabulous. If you want these to be more like brownies, I suspect you could eliminate one of the eggs - but I haven't tried it myself. But even as it was, the cake had a lovely rich texture, and the icing was the perfect complement to its chocolatey-ness. Perfect for a night of studying and sure to satisfy chocolate cravings, stress-induced or otherwise.

Fudgy Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Chocolate Icing

For cake:
1 package Gefen gluten-free chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
1/4 cup fig butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup almond milk

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9" round pan. Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer for about 3 - 4 minutes, or until smooth. Pour into the pan and bake for 25 - 40 minutes (depending on your oven), just until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely (if you can stand to wait).

For icing:
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
3 - 4 tbsp. natural cocoa powder (to your own taste)
1/2 - 1 cup powdered sugar (to your own taste)
2 tsp. vanilla
Dash of salt

Mix all ingredients together very well, and adjust ingredients to your own taste until you get the consistency you want in your icing. Spread evenly over completely cooled cake. Then eat the rest with a spoon. (Seriously - you won't be sorry for at least 10 minutes.)

Store cake in the refrigerator and let warm to room temperature before serving.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

Heavenly. Simply heavenly. I loved these so much that I had to give most of them away. If I hadn't, I would have eaten the entire batch by myself, easily--probably in a shamefully short amount of time.

Peanut butter and jelly is one of my favorite combinations ever. I love it so much that I ate peanut butter sandwiches every day for several years in my first two jobs as an adult. I still eat it all the time. It's one of the things I could probably live on for a good long time before I got sick of it.

So when I saw the Gluten-free Goddess' Peanut Butter Banana Cake, I knew I had to try it out for myself. I made a few modifications, and then decided at the last minute to make it into a portable PB&J sandwich by adding a dollop of my homemade Black Raspberry Mango jam before baking them. They turned out to be FABULOUS. One of my friends took one bite and said, "So this is basically a peanut butter sandwich shaped like a muffin. It's wonderful." And I had to agree as I scarfed mine down with her.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins (Adapted from Gluten-free Goddess' Peanut Butter Banana Cake)
Makes 9 muffins

2 large bananas
1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tsp. white sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 - 5 tbsp. of your favorite jam (I used my homemade black raspberry mango)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with 9 paper liners.

Cream together the bananas, peanut butter, agave nectar, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and mix well. Coconut flour can be particularly clumpy, so try to work out all the lumps.

Spoon into the muffin tins, filling each one about 2/3 full. Spoon about 1 or 1 1/2 tsp. of jam into the middle of each one. Bake them for about 17 - 20 minutes, or just until a sharp knife comes out clean, and the top is slightly browned. Remove from the oven and let sit in the hot pan for about 3 - 4 more minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

These only lasted long enough for me to verify they are still good 2 days later. But I suspect if you keep them in the refrigerator, that they will keep for about 4 days.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Classic Deviled Eggs for One (maybe Two)

You're looking at my Easter celebration! I'm pretty equal opportunity when it comes to religious holidays, so I'll probably be eating these later with some matzo toffee bark. (Hey, it all starts out with the same book, right?)

If you live alone like me, and have no children, you may find yourself still craving some Easter favorites, but in smaller volumes. So after a disastrous first attempt at making deviled eggs last night (I put the eggs on to boil and promptly became engrossed in a TV show in the next room. The next time I thought about them was when I heard them explode in my kitchen. Easter fail.), I tried again this morning. It went much more smoothly, mainly because of the lack of explosion involved.

Because it's just me, I only used two hard-boiled eggs, and it made just the right amount. But hey, if you're even less hungry, or if you're saving room for other Easter or Passover treats, go ahead and halve this recipe.

Classic Deviled Eggs for One

2 hard-boiled eggs, halved
1 tbsp. Ojai Lemonaise (or your favorite brand of mayo)
1/8 tsp. white vinegar (optional)
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
Dash of salt (to taste)
Dash of paprika + more for sprinkling

Remove the yolk from the halved eggs and place in a small bowl. Add the mayo, vinegar (optional), and spices and mix well. Place back onto the egg whites in equal amounts, then sprinkle with paprika.

Voila! Chill until ready to eat. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Maple Oat Nut Scones

These are amazing. Simply amazing. I made them a while back after one of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rallies, and they were some of the first gluten-free scones I've ever had that really, truly, honestly tasted like scones. One of my friends who swore he hated scones LOVED these. Couldn't get enough of them. Enough said.

They are full of lovely maple flavor and taste like the ones you get at Starbucks (at least, from what I remember). Seriously - they will disappear in a matter of hours (minutes?) if they even make it off the cooling rack.

Find this fabulous recipe by Gretchen at Kumquat by clicking here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Gluten-free Passover Round-up

Passover is one of my favorite holidays. It's not because I'm religious or anything (although I do have very fond memories of my family's seder dinners). No - it's because Passover is very kind to those of us who can't eat gluten. A lot of this holiday is naturally gluten-free! Here are some ways to make Passover season a delicious one (whether you're Jewish or not):

Apple Raisin Charoset

Flourless Mini Carrot Cakes

Gluten-free Matzoh Toffee Bark

Lemon Passover Cupcakes with Blackberry Jam

Passover Lemon Sponge Cake

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

St. Patty's Day Marshmallow Swirl Brownies for the Ratio Rally

Is there anything more irresistible than a rich, fudgy brownie? Is there?

I didn't think so. And I totally agree.

These are in the top five most dangerous things for me to bake as a single woman living alone. I have to get very strategic about timing, baking them just before I am about to see a large number of unsuspecting friends or co-workers I can pawn them off on. If I don't, I end up in a (lonely) repeat of the time in college when my roommate and I sat in front of a pan of brownies with forks, demolishing about 3/4 of them before we knew what was happening.

Still, they are one of my absolutely favorite desserts. Which is why I was so happy that the Gluten-free Ratio Rally decided to tackle brownies this month. 

Our host for the Ratio Rally this month is Mary Fran from Franny Cakes. And we've got quite a line-up of chocolate goodness, practically anything you can imagine. I am salivating just reading the list - salted caramel, chocolate orange, mint chocolate, blueberry citrus (!), PB&J....

For my variation, I decided to go with an old favorite of mine, marshmallow swirl. And since it was March, they clearly needed to be green. It's festive. And versatile! You can make these any color you want. 

These use very little flour, and so my ratio ended up being kind of bizarre. 4 parts fat : 4 parts egg : ~ 2.5 parts flour. No liquid - but yes, 8 parts chocolate. (If you're going to do this, do it right.)

So that's what I did. I made these for a potluck party, and people raved about them. The word "amazing" was tossed around quite a bit, and they disappeared pretty quickly. People who saw me the next week were still talking about these brownies. Multiple people have told me they are the best brownies they have ever had, period. They are that good. 

Go ahead. Whip up a batch. You know you want to. 

St. Patty's Day Marshmallow Swirl Brownies
Makes one 9"x13" pan of brownies

4 oz (1 stick) Earth Balance Buttery Spread
8 oz. Trader Joe's Belgian Dark Chocolate (72%)
10 oz. (1.5 cups) white sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1.5 oz (1/2 cup) almond flour
.6 oz (1/8 cup) sorghum flour
.5 oz (1/8 cup) tapioca starch
1 tsp. salt
3/4 - 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup Marshmallow Fluff
1/2 - 1 tsp. gluten-free green food dye (more as needed)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil or spray with cooking spray.

Place butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water; stir frequently until chocolate and butter are melted.  Alternatively, place them in the microwave for 2 - 4 minutes, stirring frequently to break up the clumps of chocolate.  Let cool for 10 minutes (til they are about at room temperature).

Stir the sugar into the melted chocolate until combined. Stir in the eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Whisk in the vanilla. 

In a small bowl, combine the almond flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, and salt.  Gently fold the mixture into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth top. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and pres lightly into the batter.

In a small bowl, mix the Marshmallow Fluff with the green food dye until you've got a nice, bright shade of green. Swirl into the top of the brownie batter.

Bake until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, anywhere from 35-45 minutes (I baked mine for 39 minutes or so). Start checking them after about 30 minutes to gauge how quickly they are baking so you don't overbake them.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.  Slice and serve once cooled.  Store in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze; reheat before serving.  

Check out all the other lovely creations - and just try to resist. I dare you.

Adina from Gluten Free Travelette made Chocolate Brownie Pie with Orange Zest
Angela from Angela's Kitchen made Gluten & Dairy Free Cream Egg Brownies
Brooke from B & the boy! made Triple Chocolate Brownies
Caitlin from {Gluten Free} Nom Nom Nom made Peppermint Brownie Bars
Caleigh from Gluten Free[k] made White chocolate and marshmallow brownies
Caneel from Mama Me Gluten Free made Triple chocolate brownies
Charissa Luke from Zest Bakery made Slutty gluten-free brownies
Claire from My Gluten Free Home PB&J Brownie Whoopee Pies
Erin from The Sensitive Epicure made Mexican Cocoa Brownies with an Almond & Pepitas Crust
gretchen from kumquat made salted caramel brownies
Heather from Discovering the Extraordinary made Nutmeg Blondies
Irvin from Eat the Love made Blueberry Citrus Marble Brownies
Jean from Gluten-Free Doctor Recipes made Blue Ribbon Brownies
Jonathan from The Canary Files made Vegan Marbled Banana Walnut Brownies
Karen from Cooking Gluten Free! made GFChewy Crackled Top Brownies with Raspberry Puree
Mary Fran from FrannyCakes made Gluten-Free Hazelnut (Nutella) Brownies
Morri from Meals with Morri made Oaxacan Brownies & Mesquite Cacao Blondies
Mrs. R from Honey From Flinty Rocks made Black Bean S'More Brownies
Pete and Kelli from No Gluten, No Problem made Caramel Mexican Chocolate Mesquite Brownies
Rachel from The Crispy Cook made Co-CoNut-Nut Blondies
Shauna from Gluten-Free Girl made Gluten-Free Brownies
Tara from A Baking Life made Mint Chocolate Flourless Brownies
TR | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies Gluten Free Berry Fudge Brownies