Gluten Free

Chocolate Truffles and Peanut Butter Fudge – Daring Bakers Challenge August 2011

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

I have just been away for a fabulous 2 week holiday, leaving the rainy Sydney weather and enjoying beautiful 25 degree days in Port Douglas and the sand under my feet. I hope to give a short post on a few of my recommendations of restaurants and activities for those who are going there on a holiday soon.

We came home to lawn that needed mowing and the destruction of the first tulips I have planted in our garden, some fresias, irises, jonquils and snowflakes. We think it was either cockatoos, rabbits or a dog that destroyed some of the flowers and plants, but I am so excited about the flowers that weren’t destroyed and hope to post some of those pics soon as well.

I should get started talking about this month’s challenge though, and I must admit my delight at the array of recipes we were given to choose from for this challenge. We needed to make a chocolate and non-chocolate sweet, and were given methods for tempering chocolate, making truffles, chocolate coated sweets, filled chocolate, jellies and fudge.

Two of the recipes that I really wanted to make required specialised equipment and/or ingredients, which I did not have time to source before the challenge was due, although I am thinking of looking on the internet to find the moulds and ingredients so I can make these in the future.

Due to time constraints, I decided to make some of the easier looking recipes, and I have never made fudge before, so this was also an exciting new recipe to try. I found the truffle recipe a lot easier than a previous truffle recipe I have tried, and the fudge was easy as well, not needing a thermometer.

I woke up this morning and thought perhaps I would just coat my truffles in crushed nuts, but decided to push past my troubles with tempering chocolate, and tried to temper some of the nicest chocolate I have ever bought, using my marble slab. Unfortunately I still have some way to go before I manage to temper chocolate correctly, although I guess practice makes perfect…

Thanks to this month’s hosts. Everyone who has tried these sweets has loved the challenge, and loved that I’m a member of the Daring Bakers! 🙂

Milk Chocolate & Hazelnut Praline Truffles

Servings: Makes +- 30 truffles, recipe easily doubled or halved
Adapted from the Cook’s Academy Curriculum, Dublin
Active Time: 1 – 2hrs
Ganache Setting Time: 2 – 4hrs or Overnight

Praline Ingredients:
½ cup (120 ml/2 oz/60 gm) hazelnuts, shelled & skinned (or a combination of nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios)
½ cup (120 ml/4 oz/115 gm) granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water

Making the praline and ganache. Once set, making balls of the set ganache then rolling in crushed hazelnuts

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to moderate 180°C / 160°C Fan Assisted (convection oven); 350°F / 320°F convection / Gas Mark 4
2. Place whole hazelnut on a non-stick baking tray and dry roast for 10mins
3. Allow to cool
4. Place hazelnuts in a clean dry kitchen towel and rub to remove the skins
5. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicon mat
6. Place the skinned hazelnuts onto the prepared tray
7. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved
8. Turn the heat up and bring to the boil (do not stir), brushing down the sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals
9. Boil until the mixture turns amber (160°C – 170°C / 320°F- 340°F on a candy thermometer)
10. Remove from heat immediately and pour the syrup over the hazelnuts
11. Allow to cool completely
12. Break into small pieces
13. Transfer pieces to a food processor and process until desired texture, either fine or rough
14. Set aside

Ganache Ingredients
1¾ cup (9 oz. / 255 g) Milk chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup (4 oz. / 125 ml) Double/Heavy Cream (36% – 46% butterfat content)
2-3 Tablespoons (1-1 ½ oz. / 30ml – 45 ml) Frangelico Liqueur, optional

½ – 1 cup Crushed or Ground Roasted Hazelnuts for coating (I used pistachio and almonds)

Directions:
1. Finely chop the milk chocolate
2. Place into a heatproof medium sized bowl
3. Heat cream in a saucepan until just about to boil
4. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir gently until smooth and melted
5. Allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes
6. Stir in the praline and (optional) liqueur
7. Leave to cool and set overnight or for a few hours in the fridge
8. Bring to room temperature to use

Forming the truffles:
1. Using teaspoons or a melon baller, scoop round balls of ganache
2. Roll them between the palms of your hands to round them off
Tip: Handle them as little as possible to avoid melting
Tip: I suggest wearing food safe latex gloves, less messy and slightly less heat from your hands
3. Finish off by rolling the truffle in the crushed roasted hazelnuts
Tip: You can also roll them in hazelnut praline
4. Place on parchment paper and leave to set
Tip: They look great when put into small petit four cases and boxed up as a gift!

Peanut Butter Fudge

Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Yield: 64 squares

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (120ml/115g / 4oz.) Unsalted Butter
2 1/4 cups (540ml/450g / 16oz.) firmly packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) Milk
3/4 cup (180ml/200g / 7oz.) smooth Peanut Butter
1 teaspoon (5ml) Vanilla Extract
3 1/2 cups (840ml/425g / 15oz.) Confectioners’ (Icing) Sugar

Directions:
1. Place butter into a medium saucepan and melt it over medium heat.
2. Add brown sugar and milk, stirring.
3. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Remove from heat.
5. Mix in peanut butter and vanilla.
6. Place confectioners’ sugar into a large mixing bowl.
7. Pour hot peanut butter mixture over confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth.
8. Pour fudge into an 8 by 8 inch (20cm by 20cm) pan.
9. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.
10. Cut into 1-inch (25 mm) squares.

Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse – Daring Bakers Challenge June 2010

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

Even though I end up with loads of egg whites after my cooking escapades, I never tend to make meringues out of them. I end up trialling out some macarons and other egg white based goodies like souffles.

I was really excited to try chocolate meringues though and these were a big winner with everyone, especially Nick – who just loved them and wants more (I guess I know what I may be making with any more egg whites).

The mousse was quite nice and a bit rich – I think it would be a great recipe for those who want an eggless mousse.

I decided to make half the mascarpone cream and crème anglaise, as I didn’t think I would need such a large volume, especially considering I had seen most people only do a light drizzle over there meringue and mousse. After plating and taking photos I poured a whole lot over the meringue and mousse as an ice cream substitute with its lovely vanilla flavour (even if I did over cook the crème anglaise – whoops).

What a great challenge (Thanks Dawn!) Even though I had a bit of trouble finding the time, I had no trouble finding people to help eat the dessert.

Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

Recipe Source: Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard

Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):

3 large egg whites
½ cup plus 1 tbsp (110 grams) white granulated sugar
¼ cup (30 grams) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F (95º C) degrees. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment and set aside.

Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.)

Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come together.)

Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could just free form your shapes and level them a bit with the back of a spoon. (Class made rounds, hearts, diamonds and an attempt at a clover was made!)

Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base): (I left out the lemon and orange juice/ Grand Marnier)

1 ½ cups (355 mls) heavy cream (cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent)
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces (255 grams) 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (390 mls) mascarpone (we made this for the Tiramisu Daring bakers challenge – see the recipe here)
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice)

Put ½ cup (120 mls) of the heavy cream and the lemon zest in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool.

Place the mascarpone, the remaining cup of cream and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low for a minute until the mascarpone is loose. Add the Grand Marnier and whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks. (DO NOT OVERBEAT AS THE MASCARPONE WILL BREAK.)

Mix about ¼ of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse. Again, you could just free form mousse on top of the pavlova.

Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling): ( I made half this quantity)

1 recipe crème anglaise
½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone
2 tbsp (30 mls) Sambucca (optional)
½ cup (120 mls) heavy cream

Prepare the crème anglaise. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and the Sambucca and let the mixture cool. Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.

Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream above): (I made half this quantity)

1 cup (235 mls) whole milk
1 cup (235 mls) heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 tbsp (75 grams) sugar

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.
Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat.

Pour about ½ cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep from making scrambled eggs. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture and put the heat back on medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. DO NOT OVERCOOK.

Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours or overnight.

Assembly:
Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and fresh fruit if desired.

Gluten Free Carrot, Zucchini and Apple Cake

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

When I was asked by Haystac whether I wanted to try out some of the gluten free products by Vitarium, I was excited to work with gluten free flour.

The texture was a lot finer, and to me resembled a something similar to the texture of cornflour. I was given both self raising flour and a packet mix of Chocolate Ripple biscuits to try. I’d like to pass on the Chocolate Ripple biscuit packet mix to someone who would like it (and live in Australia) – so please leave a comment and let me know if you’d like it and why.

Photo from Vitarium website

I decided to make something in-between a carrot cake and zucchini cake, even though I’ve never tried a zucchini cake, plus I wanted to add some grated apple too. And what is a carrot cake without the gorgeous icing? (Still a lovely carrot cake 🙂 ) But I decided to add the icing – just because it works so well and everyone loves it 😛

I have just submitted this recipe to the The Great Vitarium Gluten Free Bake Off which has just started and has some amazing prizes – check it out and wish me luck 🙂 I also want to wish all the other contestants luck for this competition, and think it is fantastic there will be such a great new range of recipes for those requiring gluten free diets.

Now, I’d love to have a try with the plain flour…

Gluten Free Carrot, Zucchini and Apple Cake

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups Vitarium gluten free self-raising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
230g grated carrot
100g grated zucchini, excess liquid removed
50g grated apple, after excess liquid is removed
2/3 cup walnuts (optional, I didn’t use these)

250g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 160C.

In a large mixer, beat together the oil and brown sugar for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between additions. Sift in the flour, cinnamon and ginger and mix for one minute. Mix in the grated carrot, zucchini, apple and walnuts (if using). Pour into a greased and lined 22cm round tin. Cook in preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before icing.

For the icing, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar in two lots, beating well between additions. Add the vanilla essence and mix to combine. Spread over cooled cake and serve.

Raspberry Sorbet

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

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Is it too close to Winter for me to post this recipe? I say, no. At the moment in Sydney we are having very odd whether. It is surprisingly warm, a month into Autumn.

I had been wanting to make a sorbet for quite a while, when the opportunity came crashing through my door – a faulty freezer had caused a family members frozen raspberries to thaw (along with a range of other frozen goods). Rather than throwing them out – yes, that was their plan, I put up my hand and said “but I can make some raspberry sorbet with that”.

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I was surprised at how lovely this sorbet was – sweet and full of flavour. Now time to expand my repertoire of sorbet flavours – well… maybe next summer…

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Raspberry Sorbet

Recipe from Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

500g raspberries
1 orange, juiced
2/3 cup caster sugar
¾ cup water

Puree the raspberries in a food processor, and then pass through a fine sieve into a large bowl, keeping the juice and discarding the seeds. Mix in the orange juice.

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Place the water and caster sugar in a saucepan and heat on medium/high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the sugar water to the boil and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Whisk the sugar mixture into the sieved raspberry puree and cool down in the sink with ice cubes and cold water. Once cooled, churn in an ice cream maker as per instruction manual and then freeze in a suitable container. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, place in a suitable freezer container and freeze for a few hours at a time, whisking or using a fork, to break up larger ice crystals. Continue to mix until it is too frozen to mix further.

5-10 minutes prior to serving, remove the sorbet from the freezer to allow easier dishing of the sorbet.

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Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars – Daring Bakers Challenge January 2010

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

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The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca.

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I always get excited seeing the new Daring Bakers challenge. I think I start most of my posts with something along those lines…

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This was a different challenge for two reasons. It was gluten free and we were making a classic Canadian dessert – one which I had never heard of.

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I’ve always tried to convince myself to make more gluten free products, as I would like to have a few recipes that are suitable for any friends or family who may be celiac or have a gluten intolerance. This is why I was really looking forward to this recipe.

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Starting with the Graham Wafers – I found the dough was quite sticky, and very difficult to even get into plastic and into the fridge (it probably didn’t help with our humidity and heat). It rolled out very nicely, although I had to work quickly as it started melting very quickly. The aroma from the oven was just lovely, a combination of honey, vanilla and brown sugar. All in all the wafers/biscuits were ok, I probably wouldn’t make them again, unless to make the nanaimo bars.

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The Nanaimo bars are very nice and quite easy to make. I was expecting the middle layer to be a bit more custard-like, although the butter cream was very nice.

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Thanks again to Lauren for the great challenge. I’m glad I’ve made some more gluten free sweets and am looking forward to expanding my repertoire.

P.S. Those red/orange spots in the butter cream are from the custard powder.

Gluten-Free Graham Wafers

1 cup (138 g) (4.9 ounces) Sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour) (I found 138g was 1¼ – 1½ cups)
¾ cup (100 g) (3.5 ounces) Tapioca Starch/Flour (I found 100g was 1 cup)
½ cup (65 g) (2.3 ounces) Sorghum Flour (I used normal rice flour)
1 cup (200 g) (7.1 ounces) Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Baking soda
¾ teaspoon (4 mL ) Kosher Salt
7 tablespoons (100 g) (3 ½ ounces) Unsalted Butter (Cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
1/3 cup (80 mL) Honey, Mild-flavoured such as clover.
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Whole Milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Pure Vanilla Extract

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate.

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Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.

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In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.

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Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.

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Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.

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Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).

Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and re-roll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.

Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.

Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take less, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster.

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When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1¼ cups (300 mL/ 160g) of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place in a large ziplock bag, force all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.

Nanaimo Bars

For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer
½ cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
¼ cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1¼ cups (300 mL) (160 g) (5.6 ounces) Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See recipe above)
½ cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened) (I found 1 cup weighed ~65g)
For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
½ cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 mL) Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Vanilla Custard Powder (Such as Bird’s. Vanilla pudding mix may be substituted.)
2 cups (254 g) (8.9 ounces) Icing Sugar
For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Unsalted Butter

For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.

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For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.

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For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

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Additional Information:
These bars freeze very well, so don’t be afraid to pop some into the freezer.
The graham wafers may be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Mine lasted about that long.
If making the graham crackers with wheat, replace the gluten-free flours (tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, and sorghum flour) with 2 ½ cups plus 2 tbsp of all-purpose wheat flour, or wheat pastry flour. Watch the wheat-based graham wafers very closely in the oven, as they bake faster than the gluten-free ones, sometimes only 12 minutes.
For the Nanaimo Bars, if making with wheat, replace the gluten-free graham wafer crumbs with equal parts wheat graham wafer crumbs!

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