Gluten Free ‘Baci di Dama’ (Hazelnut and Chocolate Cookies)

If you’re looking for the perfect bake for Valentine’s Day, look no further than these mini Hazelnut and Chocolate Cookies which are very romantically named ‘Baci di Dama’ or ‘Lady’s Kisses’.

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Baci di Dama originate from the Piedmont region of Italy and were made to celebrate the excellent Hazelnuts produced there. It is thought that the cookies are called ‘Lady’s Kisses’ as the two sandwiched cookies are said to resemble lips pursed together ready to receive a kiss or the two halves symbolise two lovers kissing.

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Whichever explanation you decide to opt for, there’s no doubt that these miniature cookies are incredibly cute. They are also incredibly simple to make and require just five ingredients – great for a last minute gift idea if you’re stumped for what to get someone for Valentine’s Day!

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Baci di Dama (Lady’s Kisses)

Ingredients

100g blanched hazelnuts
100g gluten free flour (I used Schär Mix It! Universal)
60g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter
50g good quality dark chocolate

Method

1) Place a dry frying pan over a medium heat, then lightly toast the hazelnuts until golden brown.

2) Blitz the hazelnuts in a food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Place the ground hazelnuts into a large bowl, then stir through the sugar and the flour.

3) Rub the butter into the hazelnut mixture and start to bring the mixture together to a form a dough – if the mixture is a little crumbly, add a few drops of water to help it come together.

4) Wrap the dough in cling film and chill it in the refrigerator for two hours to help it firm up.

5) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/gas mark 3. Roll the chilled dough into small ball shapes which weigh approximately 5 grams each, then place the pieces of dough onto baking trays lined with baking parchment and chill the

6) Place the balls of cookie dough into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.

7) Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely while you melt the chocolate.

8) Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Allow the chocolate to cool for a few minutes, then dip the flat side of a cookie into the chocolate, then sandwich it together with another cookie – repeat until all the cookies have been sandwiched together.

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I love seeing your take on my recipes, so remember to share a snap of your Baci di Dama over on Facebook, twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #titchytonbakes.

 

Gluten Free Iced Gems

Recently I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the bakes of my childhood – so far this year I’ve posted a gluten free version of Jammy Dodgers and Party Rings, and now I’ve come up with a recipe for Gluten Free Iced Gems.

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Ice Gems may be small, but they aren’t fiddly or faffy to make. They would make an easy homemade gift or a great rainy project for the kids, as there are no difficult techniques involved – you could even save on washing up by putting all the different colours of icing in the same piping bag and making multicoloured ice gems!

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These biscuits kept really well for about 5 days in an airtight container. The royal icing took about 24 hours to set completely, but they were fine to eat after a few hours.


Gluten Free Iced Gem Biscuits

For the Biscuits:

75g golden caster sugar
75g unsalted butter (cold)
140g gluten free all purpose flour (I used Schar Universal Mix It – you could also use 90g GF Self raising and 50g rice flour)
1 small egg (you might not need it all)
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the Icing:

275g icing sugar
1 egg white plus Food Colouring (I prefer using a Gel or Paste)

Method:
1) To make the biscuit dough: In a large bowl combine the gluten free flour and sugar, then rub in the cold butter until you have a breadcrumb like texture.

2) Whisk together the egg and vanilla in a separate bowl, then add this bit by bit to the breadcrumb like mixture whilst bringing the ingredients together with your hands – you might not need all the egg.

3) Tip the contents of the bowl out onto a lightly floured surface, then use your hands to work the ingredients into a soft dough. Don’t worry if the dough seems a little sticky as it will be refrigerated which help it to firm up – don’t be tempted to add more flour!

4) Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

5) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/Gas Mark 4 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
8) Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out the dough until it is 0.5mm thick. Cut out small circles using the bottom of a piping nozzle as a cookie cutter and  transfer the cookies to the tray lined with greaseproof paper using a palate knife.

9) Bake the cookies for 10 – 12 minutes or until the cookies are firm and a light golden brown – be sure to keep an eye on them as they could quickly over-bake.

10) Once baked, leave the cookies to cool slightly on the trays to before transferring them to wire racks to finish cooling.

11) To make the royal Royal icing: place 1 egg white in a bowl, then slowly sift in the icing sugar in batches. In between the batches of icing sugar, stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk until the icing thickens up – you can use a dash of water to encourage the ingredients to come together if necessary.

12) Divide the icing between 4 bowls, add a few drop of food colouring to each one depending on what colours you want the icing to be – you can leave one bowl of icing white if you want white iced gems.

13) Transfer the icing to 4 piping bags, each one fitted with a 1 inch star nozzle, then pipe a blob of icing onto the centre of each biscuit.

14) Leave the icing to set, then enjoy!

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I love seeing your take on my recipes, so remember to share a snap of your Iced Gems over on Facebook, twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #titchytonbakes.

 

 

Gluten Free Halloween: Chocolate Skeleton Cookies

Just in time for Halloween – here is my recipe for these rather kooky, but not so spooky cookies.

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These cookies are of course gluten free could be made dairy free, just substitute the butter for dairy free spread or dairy free butter. If you use dairy free spread make sure it is super cold, or it can make your biscuit dough a little oily – you may also need to for chill your biscuit dough for a little longer.

I also used an all purpose gluten free flour to make these biscuits – the new Schär Mix It Universal Blend – if you can’t get hold of this you could use a mix of gluten free self raising and rice flour (see the recipe below for details).

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I had a lot of fun decorating these cookies and giving them rather shocked expressions! I think this recipe would be a lovely project to get children involved in over the Halloween weekend, as the cookie dough is very simple to make and they can get creative giving the skeleton men different expressions and looks!

Gluten Free Chocolate Skeleton Cookies

Ingredients

For the chocolate biscuits:

150g sugar
150g butter
2 tbsp cocoa powder
280g gluten free all purpose flour (I used Schar Universal Mix It – you could also use 150g GF Self raising and 130g rice flour)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the decorations:

250g icing sugar
1 egg white

Method

1) To make the biscuit dough, combine the gluten free flour, cocoa powder and sugar in a large bowl.

2) Rub in the butter until you have a bread crumb like texture.

3) Add the egg and vanilla essence and start to bring the ingredients together using a wooden spoon.

4) Tip the contents onto a lightly floured surface and use your hands to work the ingredients into a soft dough. Don’t worry if the dough seems a little sticky as it will be refrigerated which help it to firm up – don’t be tempted to add more flour!

5) Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

6) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/Gas Mark 4 and line a baking tray with grease proof paper.

7) Dust a clean surface with flour. Roll out the dough using a rolling pin until it is about 5mm thick, then cut out gingerbread men shapes.

8) Transfer the cookies to tray lined with greaseproof paper using a palate knife. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until the cookies are firm and a light golden brown – be sure to keep an eye on them as they could quickly over-bake.

9) Once baked, leave the cookies to cool slightly on the trays to before transferring them to wire racks to finish cooling.

10) To make the royal Royal icing: place 1 egg white in a bowl, then slowly sift in the icing sugar in batches. In between the batches of icing sugar, stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk until the icing thickens up – you can use a dash of water to encourage the ingredients to come together if necessary.

11) Transfer the icing into a piping bag fitted with a writing nozzle and decorate the Skeleton men – don’t forget to give them shocked expressions!

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I love seeing your take on my recipes, so remember to share a snap of your Halloween cookies over on Facebook, twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #titchytonbakes.

Gluten Free Party Rings Recipe

If you’ve run out of Summer holiday activities to do with the kids, why not give my Gluten Free Party Rings recipe a go?

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This is the perfect bake for the weekend or the holidays, as it’s super easy and a really good one to get the kids involved in –  I’m sure they’ll love helping icing the biscuits… and eating them!

It’s a great recipe for us big kids too – because when are you too old for Party Rings?


Gluten Free Party Rings 

Ingredients:

For the biscuits:
150g sugar
150g butter
130g rice flour
150g self raising gluten free flour
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the Icing:
400g icing sugar
Food colouring

Method:

1) In a large bowl, stir together the gluten free flour and sugar until combined.

2) Rub in the butter until you have a bread crumb like texture.

3) Add the egg and vanilla essence, then start bringing the ingredients together using a wooden spoon.

4) Use your hands to work the ingredients into a soft dough. Don’t worry if the dough seems a little sticky as it will be chilled for a while to help it firm up – don’t be tempted to add more flour!

5) Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least and hour.

6) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/Gas Mark 4 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

7) Dust a clean surface with gluten free flour and roll out the dough using a floured rolling pin.

8) Cut out circle shapes using a 6cm pastry cutter, then transfer them to the prepared tray using a palate knife. When the biscuits are on the trays, use a pipping nozzle to stamp a hole through the middle of each one.

9) Bake for 10 minutes or until they are a light golden brown – be sure to keep an eye on this biscuits as they could quickly over-bake.

10) Leave the biscuits to cool on the tray for a few minutes to help them firm up,  then transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

11) To make the icing: place icing sugar in a large bowl with a few teaspoons of cold water, then mix the ingredients until they form a spreadable paste. You may need to add a little more water if the icing is too thick.

12) Divide the mixture into different bowls . Leave the icing in one bowl white, then add a little food colouring to each of the other bowls – the colours are up to you! Transfer the white icing to a piping bag fitted with a small writing nozzle.

13) To decorate, spread a little icing over the biscuit using a palate knife. Pipe three lines of the white icing across the biscuit, then run a cocktail stick through the lines to feather the icing – repeat until all the biscuits have been iced.

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I love seeing your take on my bakes, so remember to share your a picture of your Party Rings over on Facebook, twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #titchytonbakes.

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Jammy Dodger Recipe

Today I’m going to share with you my Gluten Free & Dairy Free Jammy Dodger Recipe – this recipe is also free from eggs and so is suitable for vegans.

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I found gluten free biscuits a little tricky at first, but I’ve discovered over the course of many biscuit based experiments that success comes down to two things:

1. What type of flour(s) you use.

2. How you bind your ingredients.

I’ve found that good gluten free biscuits require a mix of different flours. I usually start with gluten free self raising flour as my base, then add other types of flour depending what kind of texture I want the finished bake to have. For biscuits, I wouldn’t recommend using self raising flour alone, as the biscuits will rise too much and be more cake like. Gluten free self raising flour is a useful base though, as it usually has added raising and binding agents, like Xanthan gum which helps to bind the ingredients together. To the self raising flour I like to add cornflour, which also helps bind the ingredients together, and ground almonds to add some bulk  – although I don’t like to add too much, as this could cause the biscuits to crumble.

In most of my cookie recipes I usually add an egg yolk to help bind the ingredients together – without an egg, I usually find that the dough is too crumbly and too difficult to handle. This time I decided to experiment with golden syrup, which in my opinion did the job just as well as an egg yolk – great news for vegans!

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Jammy Dodgers – Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Egg Free/Vegan

Makes approximately 18 cookies

Ingredients

For the biscuits:

250g gluten free self raising flour

60g cornflour

40g ground almonds

100g caster sugar

150g dairy free spread

2 tbsp golden syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

200g strawberry or seedless raspberry jam

1 tbsp cold water

Icing sugar for dusting

Method

1. In a large bowl, stir together the gluten free self raising flour, cornflour, ground almonds and sugar.

2. Rub the dairy free spread into the flour mixture until it starts to form a bread crumb like texture. Add the vanilla extract and golden syrup then start to bring the mixture together with your hands until it forms a dough – don’t worry if the dough seems quite soft at this point.

3. Wrap the dough in cling film then leave it to chill in a refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

4. Whilst the dough chills, preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/gas mark 3 and line two large baking trays with baking parchment.

5. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface. Using a 6cm crimped scone or pastry cutter, stamp out 36 cookies – transfer the cookies to the baking trays using a palate knife or splatula.

6. Once the cookies are on the tray, cut holes in the centre of half the biscuits using small cookie cutters in any shape you fancy – I used a tiny flower cutters and a piping nozzle to cut out circles.

7. Bake the cookies for approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown – don’t worry if the cookies are a little soft, they will firm up when they cool down.

8. Leave the cookies to cool and firm up on the baking tray for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

9. In a small bowl mix together strawberry jam (or the jam of you choice) with some cold water to make it more spreadable.

10. Lightly dust the cookies with the hole in the centre with icing sugar.

11. Spread the jam over the base of  the cookies without the holes, then sandwich them together the remaining cookies, so that the jam peeks through!

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Gluten Free Christmas: Gingerbread Wreath

We are 12 days into advent and I finally feel as though I’m getting into the full swing of the festivities. So far most of Advent has been spent in the kitchen working on festive bakes, most of which have involved copious amounts of edible glitter which I keep finding everywhere, including in my hair, on the floor, on the cat…

Today I’m going to share with you my recipe for this gingerbread wreath which is definitely an excuse to get out the edible glitter.

 

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The Gingerbread wreath is completely edible (except for the Red Ribbon) and although it looks impressive and difficult to achieve, it was actually incredibly easy! You don’t need any fancy equipment, just a large dinner plate, a sharp knife and a few different sized cookie cutters. Whipping up the gingerbread dough takes only a matter of minutes and the construction of the wreath isn’t too daunting, as long as you follow the instructions step by step. The wreath is not really design to be used as a decoration as the ribbon won’t support the weight of a wreath – but it would make a lovely edible Christmas gift.

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Gluten Free Gingerbread Wreath

This recipe is inspired by Cassie Best’s Gingerbread Wreath for BBC Good Food

Ingredients

For the Gingerbread:
125g gluten free self raising flour blend
200g rice flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
125g unsalted butter
150g soft dark brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp black treacle
1 large egg

To Decorate:
200g Ready to roll Icing
30 ml cold water
250g icing sugar
1 egg white
Edible glitter

You will also need:
A sharp knife
1 x large dinner plate
1 x inch piping nozzle
1 x 9cm round cutter
1 x small star cutter
1 x medium star cutter
1 x large star cutter
1 x small angel cutter
1 red ribbon

Method

1) In a large bowl, sift together the flours, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon. Using your hands, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it becomes like fine bread crumbs and then stir through the dark brown sugar.

2) In a separate bowl whisk the egg with a fork, then add this to the cookie mixture along with the golden syrup and black treacle. Mix until the ingredients come together. The cookie dough will appear quite wet at this stage but don’t be tempted to add more flour or you will dry out the dough!

3) Gently knead the dough on a floured surface with floured hands until it turns into a smooth, soft and slightly sticky ball of dough. Dust the dough with flour as you knead to stop it sticking to the work surface. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours – chilling helps the dough to firm up so it can be rolled out.

4) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/160 fan/gas mark 4. Roll half of the dough out in between two sheets of greaseproof paper until it is the thickness of a 1 pound coin. Remove the top layer of greaseproof paper, then place a large dinner plate face down into the centre of the dough and use a sharp knife to cut out a large circular disc of gingerbread.

5) Transfer the gingerbread onto a baking tray (you can use the bottom sheet of baking paper to line your tray) then use a 9 cm circular cutter to cut out a circle of dough from the centre of the gingerbread disc and a 1 cm piping nozzle to cut out a hole for the ribbon.

6) Bake the base of your wreath for 10 to 12 minutes – watch out for the edges catching.
Once baked, leave the wreath to firm up on the baking tray for a few minutes before transferring it to wire rack to finish cooling.

7) Roll out the remaining dough and cut out 5 large stars, 4 medium stars, 11 small stars and 2 angel shapes. Arrange the shapes onto a baking tray and bake for 10 to 12 minutes – the smaller cookies will need checking after 8 minutes.

8) Once baked, leave the cookies to firm up on the baking tray for a few minutes bering transferring them to wire rack to finish cooling.

9) While the cookies cool, make the royal icing: place 1 egg white in a bowl and slowly sift icing sugar in batches. In between each batch of sugar, stir the icing with a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk until the icing thickens up, then transfer the icing into a piping bag fitted with a small writing nozzle.

10) Next, make the fondant icing: break the ready to roll icing into pieces and place them in a bowl. Add a splash of water and use a spatula to break up the icing until it starts to become more paste like, then add the rest of the water and beat with an electric hand mixer until the fondant becomes runny.

11) Spread the fondant icing over the 5 large star shapes and sprinkle each one with edible glitter. Decorate the remaining pieces with the royal icing and leave all the pieces to dry for about an hour before you assemble the wreath.

12) Use the remaining royal icing to stick the biscuits to the wreath. Sprinkle the wreath with edible glitter and thread a red ribbon through the hole to finish.

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There will be plenty of festive bakes coming your way really soon. Meanwhile, why not come and see what else I’m getting up to over the festive season by following me on Instagram or Facebook. Remember, If you give this recipe take a snap of it and share it with me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #titchytonbakes and I will share my favourites on my Facebook page!

Delicious Alchemy Christmas Products Review

There are 9 weeks to go until Christmas and though it still seems a little way off, it’s not too early to start getting excited!

I was definitely excited when I received an early Christmas present from the elves over at Delicious Alchemy. The team at DA kindly sent me some of their brand new Christmas products to try, and as there are some absolute crackers (Get it? Crackers?!) I thought I would share my thoughts on them with you.

All of the products below are already available to buy over on the Delicious Alchemy Shop.

Gluten Free Christmas Fruit Cake Mix

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This product was actually launched last Christmas, but I’m absolutely thrilled it’s back this year! My mum, in particular, was very impressed with this mix and thought the cake was so much better than her usual shop bought cake – and if something gets the mum seal of approval, then it must be good!

The Christmas Fruit Cake Mix is both gluten and dairy free, good for those of you with multiple intolerances. It is one of Delicious Alchemy’s more expensive baking mixes at £5, but that’s because you get a huge 650g bag which is chock full of dried fruit, including dates, raisins and sultanas and all the ingredients are spiced beautifully – as soon as I opened the bag, I could smell Christmas!

Like all Delicious Alchemy’s products, it super easy to make – the cake mix takes a matter of minutes to whip up, so it’s perfect when you’re a little short of time during the festive period.

As well as Christmas Cake, this mix would make a great Christmas Pudding!

Gluten Free Sage and Onion Stuffing

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When I received the package from Delicious Alchemy I had no idea what was going to be in it, so I was really excited when I opened it to find Stuffing Mix!

I’ve actually never had stuffing on Christmas Day because the one my family usually has contains gluten and while my parents are great at catering for my dietary requirements, I know that they can’t always find a gluten free alternative for everything.

I think they will be more than happy to try out this gluten free stuffing mix this year, as it tastes just as good as normal stuffing and you’d never know it’s gluten free. I also love the traditional flavour combination of sage and onion – yum!

As well being gluten free and dairy free, the stuffing mix is also vegetarian – which means my sister can have some too.

Again, like Delicious Alchemy’s other products, the stuffing was quick and easy to make – you add water and oil, leave the mixture to stand before rolling it up into balls shapes before baking for 20 to 25 minutes – foolproof!

If my house is anything to go by, the kitchen can get rather hectic on Christmas day –  these stuffing balls could easily be prepared the day before and baked just before you need them.

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Remember tuffing isn’t just for Christmas! You could have this stuffing all year round with a Sunday roast.

Gingerbread Mix

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The final new product is probably my favourite – Gingerbread Biscuit Mix!

As I’ve mentioned on my blog before, it’s simply not Christmas without Gingerbread and I always bake a batch on Christmas Eve to enjoy with a cup as of tea before we open our presents on Christmas morning.

I was sceptical whether this mix would live up to my own  Gingerbread recipe, but I was pleasantly surprised!

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The Gingerbread dough is easy enough to achieve – simply add butter, eggs and golden syrup, work the mixture into a dough then chill it before you cut out your biscuits to make the dough more managable.

I like my Gingerbread to pack a powerful punch, so I was worried the ginger flavour might not be strong enough for me, but the level of ginger was just right – the biscuits were sweet but with a lovely fiery kick.

I do like my Gingerbread to be a slightly darker colour though, so next time I might experiment and add a little bit of treacle as well as golden syrup.

The biscuits weren’t too soft and had some snap to them, they also kept well for a few says in an airtight container.

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I made these rather handsome gingerbread men, but you could use this mix to make more a more festive Gingerbread House.

All of the above products are available to buy as a special Christmas bundle or they can be purchased separately from Delicious Alchemy’s Shop.

Delicious Alchemy do not pay me to advertise their products, they sent me products to sample in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Gluten Free Viennese Whirls (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Bake Off is finally back on our TV screens, so queue the nationwide baking frenzie and attempts to recreate bakes from the show at home – sometimes with varing success!

This was certainly the case when I attempted to make a gluten free version of Viennese Whirls, the technical challenge from this year’s Biscuit Week.

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I discovered Mary Berry’s recipe on the BBC Food website and decided to give it a whirl (see what I did there?) – I thought a gluten free version would work quite well and that all I needed to do was change the flour… I was quite wrong!

I followed Mary’s recipe to the letter and all the the tips the bakers mentioned on the show, including insuring the butter was soft enough and chilling the whirls before baking. Unfortunately, they turned out a crumbly mess and I couldn’t even get them off the baking tray without them disintegrating into a million pieces

The recipe definitely required a few further tweaks to work gluten free, so it was back to the drawing board.

I think that the first attempt went wrong because the mixture was too soft and a bit oily which resulted in the mixture melting in oven, despite the fact that I’d chilled the whirls in the freezer for 15 minutes prior to baking.

On my second attempt I decided to use margarine instead of butter, which combatted some of the oiliness, and I added a touch more dry ingredients, which resulted in a firm but pipeable mixture. Again, I  chilled the whirls before baking which helped them to keep their shape.

This time they came out overbaked, which I think is due to the oven temperature being quite high in Mary’s recipe – if you don’t check the biscuits every 30 seconds after the first 13 minutes, you might accidentally overbake them and I definitely wouldn’t recommend leaving them for the full 15 minutes without checking them!

By the third attempt, I knew I had found the right balance of ingredients but decided to drop the oven temperature from 190 degrees to 180 to help to slow down any potential overbaking.

It was definitely third time lucky. The result was a whirl that had kept its shape, was golden but not over baked and was actually stable enough to get off baking tray and be filled. They also tasted delicious and melted in the mouth – heaven!

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Gluten Free Viennese Whirls

Recipe adapted from Mary Berry’s Viennese Whirl Recipe from ‘The Great British Bake Off’ found on the BBC Food website.

Ingredients

For the biscuits:

250g soft margarine (or dairy free alternative)

70g icing sugar

225g gluten free self raising flour

50g cornflour

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

Strawberry Jam (Mary’s recipe said Raspberry, but I prefer Strawberry)

100g unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative)

200g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C fan/gas mark 4.

2. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper, then use a 5cm cutter to draw 8 circles onto each sheet of paper, making sure they are well spaced out. Turn the paper over so the circles are underneath.

3. In large bowl, cream together the margarine, sugar and vanilla with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the gluten free flour and cornflour and beat with the hand mixer until all the ingredients are fully combined.

4. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle – I like to use plastic disposable piping bags because I think they are easier to use.

5. Pipe 24 swirls inside the circles on the baking sheets. Place the baking sheets in the freezer for 10 – 15 minutes to help the swirls firm up before baking.

6. Bake for 13—15 minutes, until  pale golden-brown in colour. I reccomend checking them every 30 seconds after the first 13 minutes as the edges can catch and they can easily overbake.

7. Leave the whirls to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes then transfer them to wire rack to cool completely.

8. To make the butter cream, beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy and almost white in colour. Transfer into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.

9. To decorate: Spoon a little jam onto the flat side of half of the biscuits, then pipe a swirl of buttercream over the top. Place a biscuit on top of each one to create a sandwich, then dust with a little icing sugar to finish.

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Gluten Free Easter: Mini Egg Millionaire Shortbread

It doesn’t feel like two minutes since Christmas, but March is here, Easter is almost upon us and I’m excited to be sharing with you my first Easter recipe of the year – Gluten Free Mini Egg Millionaire Shortbread.

imageI’m rather obsessed with Millionaire Shortbread and Mini Eggs are quite possibly my favourite Easter confectionary, so I just had to put them together in a bake!

I don’t know what I’d do if Mini Eggs weren’t gluten free, but they do contain Maltodextrin, which whilst being a gluten free ingredient can sometimes prove troublesome for Coeliacs. There are a couple of supermarket alternatives out there, however, which don’t contain maltodextrin, including ‘Micro Easter Eggs‘ from Sainsbury’s and ‘Chicky Choccy Eggs’ from M&S. ‘Galaxy Golden Eggs‘ are also gluten free and would create and interesting finish.

 

This bake would make a lovely treat for the children after a busy Easter Egg hunt and is the perfect way to use up any left over Mini Eggs after Easter!

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Ingredients

For the shortbread base:
275g gluten free self raising flour
175g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
100g caster sugar

For the caramel layer:
1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
100g unsalted butter
100g dark brown sugar

For the chocolate layer:
200g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate

To decorate:
1 x bag of mini eggs

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C/gas mark 3 then grease and line a 20 x 20 square tin with greaseproof paper.

2. To make the shortbread base, mix together the flour and sugar in large bowl, then rub in the butter until you are left with a breadcrumb like texture.

3. Start to bring mixture together with your hands until you have a smooth ball of dough.

4. Press the dough into the tin, smoothing it into an even layer that reaches the corners of the tin.

5. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown, then set it aside to cool whilst you make the caramel.

6. To make the caramel, place the butter into a large microwavable bowl and heat until melted. Add the sugar and give the ingredients a good mix until you can’t feel any grains of sugar on the bottom of the bowl – you may need to heat it again for another 30 seconds or so to encourage the sugar to dissolve throughly.

7. Add the condensed milk and heat for a further two minutes before whisking the ingredients throughly with a balloon whisk. Heat the caramel for a further 4 – 5 minutes, giving it a good whisk after each minute.

8. Drop a little bit of the caramel into a glass of cold water – if the mixture can be rolled into soft ball then it’s ready to be used, otherwise it may need another 30 seconds in the microwave.

9. Smooth the caramel in an even layer over the shortbread base, then leave to set.

10. For the chocolate layer, gently melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Pour the chocolate over the top of the shortbread and caramel layers and smooth out with a palate knife.

11. Decorate the top with mini eggs – I broke up a few mini eggs by bashing the bag with a rolling pin which I then scattered across the top – then leave to set before cutting into equally sized pieces.

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There will be more Easter bakes coming up very soon, but in the meantime, you can keep up to date with my kitchen adventures on Instagram or on my Facebook Page.

UPDATE – Here in the UK Mini Eggs are definitely Gluten Free, but I’ve been informed that Mini Eggs in the US may contain gluten due to potential cross contamination risks during the manufacturing process.

Gluten Free Christmas: Hazelnut, Cranberry and Orange Biscotti Recipe

It’s December which means one thing and one thing only… IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!

We are only a week into December and my friends have already accused me of Buddy The Elf levels of excitement at least a hundred times… but I can’t help it because Christmas is my favourite time of the year!
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The decorations are up, I’ve made my first batch of gingerbread, I’ve drunk my first mulled wine of the season and I’ve listened to my Christmas playlist on loop for about a week so I can confirm that I am officially in full Christmas mode.
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For me, the best thing about Christmas is the food. I love all the flavours that the season has to offer more than any other time of year and quite frankly it’s not christmas without spicy gingerbread, chewy chestnuts, juicy clementines or even Brussels sprouts!

Following a gluten free diet has never stopped me enjoying Christmas either. If anything, I’ve found more enjoyment in food because having to bake my own festive treats is all part of the fun.

I have tonnes of Christmas recipes which I cannot wait to share with you but I’m going to start with my Hazelnut, Cranberry and Orange Biscotti recipe.
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Since I shared my Cranberry, Almond and White Chocolate Biscotti recipe a few months back I’ve had it in my mind to create a version using more festive flavours for Christmas.

When my family and I arrive home from church on Christmas morning we usually enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a sweet treat just before opening all the presents. I think this year these Biscotti would be absolutely perfect and I will definitely be making a batch for the big day.
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Gluten Free Hazelnut, Cranberry and Orange Biscotti 

Ingredients:
150g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
300g gluten free self raising flour, plus extra for shaping the dough
3 large eggs
150g blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped
75g dried cranberries
1 tsp orange zest
2 tsp hazelnut syrup or extract (I used Monin Hazelnut Syrup)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4.

2. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.

3. In a large bowl, stir together the caster sugar, baking powder and flour.

4. Add the eggs, cranberries and hazelnuts then mix until all the ingredients are combined.

The mixture will be slightly wetter than expected so please don’t panic and add more flour. Remember that gluten free flour needs more moisture than regular flour and these biscuits are going to be baked twice – if you add more flour you’ll end up with a very dry dough which will result in an overly dry biscotti that cannot be baked twice.

5. Separate the mixture into two halves and generously dust a work surface with a flour.

6. Spoon one half of the mixture onto the work surface into a rough log shape then dust the mixture with a generous layer of flour – do not knead or roll the mixture but gently use your hands to shape the mixture into a log shape. The flour will stick to the mixture like a coating which will help the log keep it shape whilst allowing the inside to stay soft.
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7. Transfer to the log to a baking tray (you could use a cake lifter to help) then flatten the log slightly so it’s approximately the width of a ciabatta. Repeat the with the other half of the mixture then place the second log on the tray – make sure you leave a little room between to allow them to expand slightly.

8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the biscotti is golden brown. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.

9. Once the biscotti is cool, slice it diagonally across into inch thick slices. Do not attempt to slice the biscotti whilst still warm or it will crumble.

10. Transfer the biscotti back onto the baking tray and bake for a further 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Leave the biscotti to cool completely before serving.
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I can’t wait to show you what else I have planned for Christmas, but if you are looking for more Christmas inspiration in the meantime, why not take a look at my Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies recipe which I posted last Christmas, or, follow me over on Instagram or Facebook to see what else I’m getting up to.