Gluten Free American Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I’m really excited to share with you my recipe for Gluten Free American Style Chocolate Chip Cookies!
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I’ve been having really bad cookie cravings since I caught a whiff of freshly baked cookies wafting out from Millie’s Cookies while I was walking around Westfield a few weeks ago…

I know you can buy gluten free cookies from the supermarket, but they’re not the same! You might think I am being picky, but supermarket versions are rather chunky and crunchy, not soft and chewy like the ones you can buy freshly made from bakeries.

I decided the only thing for it was to make my own and although I haven’t had a proper cookie in over three years, these cookies are exactly like what I remember! They have a slightly crunchy outside and a lovely soft and chewy centre bursting with chocolate chips.
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The trick to making the best chocolate chip cookies to make sure you don’t over bake them. I accidentally over baked the first few which made them a bit too hard, but if you take them out of the oven while they are still quite soft and leave them to set on the baking tray your cookies will retain their chewy centre.

Gluten Free American Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

175g gluten free self raising flour
100g rice flour
2 tsp cornflour
A pinch of salt
150g butter, melted
125g caster sugar
75g light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp milk
150g milk or dark chocolate chips

Method

1. In a large bowl, mix together the flours and the sugar.

2. Add the melted butter, vanilla extract, egg yolks and milk. Mix until all the ingredients are combined then fold through the chocolate chips.

3. Wrap the cookie dough in cling film, then chill the dough in the fridge for a few hours until it has firmed up.

4. Heat oven to 180 degrees C/160 Fan/Gas Mark 3.

5. Line two large baking trays with baking parchment.

6. Separate the dough into pieces that weigh approximately 35g each and roll each one into a ball shape.

7. Place the balls of dough on the prepared baking trays making sure you leave room for the cookies to spread out as they bake.

8. Bake the cookies for 12 – 15 minutes. The cookies should be golden brown and will remain quite soft – don’t be tempted to bake them for longer.  If the cookies have puffed up a bit, gently press them down with your fingers a few times towards the end of the bake so you don’t end up with cookies which are too dense and cake like.

9. Leave the cookies to firm up on the baking tray then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Tis almost the season to be jolly, so I will have plenty of Christmas recipes coming real soon. In the meantime, come and follow me over on Instagram or Facebook to see what else I’m getting up to!

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

I am really enjoying the current series of Bake off. Does anyone else think the challenges are even more difficult this year? It’s been great to see gluten free baking featured on the show and I wasn’t surprised that the bakers found gluten free bread so tricky!

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a GBBO related bake, so today I am going to share with you my recipe for gluten free LadyFingers as featured on Victorian Week, as part of the Charlotte Russe Showstopper.

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LadyFingers, or Sponge fingers as they are also known, are a vital component of number of bakes, including trifle and tiramisu. They are made from a fatless sponge batter, so a good electric whisk or stand mixer is required to whip up enough air into the batter. I am also pleased to say this recipe is Xanthan gum free, perfect for those of you who struggle with Xanthan gum and other binding agents.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start planning your very own Charlotte Russe Showstoppers, complete with gluten free LadyFingers!

Gluten Free LadyFingers 

Ingredients: 

4 eggs, separated into egg whites and egg yolks
100g caster sugar
125g gluten free plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
a few drops of lemon juice

Method:

1. Preheat 200 degrees c/gas mark 5.

2. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

3. In a large bowl: whisk the egg yolks with a electric hand mixer for a few seconds then add the half of the caster sugar and the vanilla extract. Beat the eggs for a few minutes until the mixture is very thick.

4. In a separate large bowl: whisk the egg whites with a few drops of lemon juice until the egg whites start make soft peaks. Add the rest of the caster sugar and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

5. Sift the flour into the egg yolk mixture, then fold the egg whites a bit of a time through the egg yolk mixture until all the ingredients are fully incorporated and you are left with a stiff batter.

6. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag which is fitted with a 1/2 inch nozzle.

7. Pipe the batter into 7cm long fingers leaving a good gap between each one to allow them to expand slightly.

8. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until slightly golden brown.

9. Leave the fingers to cool on the tray for few minutes then use a palate knife to transfer them to a cooling rack.

Other recipes I’ve posted from this series of ‘Bake Off’ include my gluten free Madeira recipe and my gluten free Biscotti Recipe.

You can keep up to date with my kitchen adventures on Instagram or Facebook. I’m also pleased to announce I am going to be contributing the occasional recipe to the Daily Spectacle website and you can find both my gluten free Blueberry Muffin Recipe and my gluten free Maple and Pecan Granola Recipe there already!

Gluten Free Cranberry, Almond and White Chocolate Biscotti (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Today I’m going to share with you another gluten free version of a bake featured on ‘The Great British Bake Off’.

This week’s episode was Biscuit Week in which the remaining contestants baked no less than 748 biscuits plus a show-stopping edible and ornate biscuit box each, which had to be sturdy enough to encase their biscuits.

The Signature Challenge saw the bakers take on Italian Biscotti. Biscotti basically means the biscuits are ‘twice baked’ and are traditionally dry and quite hard biscuits, filled with nuts and fruit. They can be a little tricky to get right because whilst the biscuits need to be dry, there is a danger they will end up so brittle that they will break your teeth! The bakers had a relatively short amount of time in which to bake the Biscotti, which needs to be cooled down completely before it’s baked again so that it doesn’t crumble when sliced.

I decided to have a go at creating a gluten free version of the signature challenge and went for the quite classic flavour combination of cranberry, almond and white chocolate.
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The key to baking excellent gluten free biscotti is to start with a slightly wetter mixture than you’d expect. Although Biscotti are typically quite dry biscuits, remember that gluten free flour requires more moisture than normal flour – without the extra moisture the Biscotti won’t survive being baked twice and will be a crumbly mess. If you follow my method carefully you should have no problems baking your very own gluten free Biscotti which has the texture and taste of proper Biscotti.

Gluten Free White Chocolate, Almond and Cranberry Biscotti

Ingredients:
150g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
300g gluten free self raising flour + extra for shaping the dough
30g ground almonds
3 large eggs
125g dried cranberries
75g chopped blanched almonds
25g chopped cashew nuts
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp almond extract

To decorate:
300g good quality white chocolate

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4 and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the caster sugar, baking powder, flour and ground almonds.

3. Add the eggs, cranberries and nuts then mix until all the ingredients are combined. The mixture will be much 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.

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

5. 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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6. 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.
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7. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until the biscotti is golden brown. Remove the biscotti from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.
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8. 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.

9. Transfer the biscotti back onto the baking tray and bake again for 6 to 8 minutes on both sides, then leave the biscotti to cool on a wire rack.
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10. Melt the chocolate slowly in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Dip the base of each biscuit into the chocolate, gently shake off any excess chocolate, then leave each one to set on a sheet of greaseproof paper.

Once set, enjoy in the traditional Italian style with a cup of coffee!
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If you’re not feeling all baked out, why not check out my take on the classic Madeira cake as featured on episode one of this years ‘Bake Off’.

Gluten Free Easter: Vanilla Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Easter Sunday may only be one day away but there is still enough time to get baking some delicious Easter treats.

Today I am going to share with you a recipe which is so easy to whip up at the last minute and requires very few ingredients: Vanilla Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing.
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The recipe is so simple and easy to make – just be sure to chill the cookie dough for a few hours to make it easier to handle. You can make the cookies your own by choosing different shaped cookie cutters and by decorating them however you fancy!

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They would also make a beautiful Easter gift for anyone you know who isn’t keen on chocolate!

Gluten Free Vanilla Sugar Cookies – DF options

Ingredients:

For the cookies:
150g sugar
150g butter
130g rice flour
150g self raising gluten free flour (I used Doves Farm)
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Royal Icing:
1 egg white
250g icing sugar

Can I make these dairy free? – Yes! Instead of milk, use the plant based milk alternative of your choice. Swap butter for Stork Baking Block margarine which is dairy free.

Method:

1) In a large bowl, mix the gluten free flour and suagr until combined.

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.

Tip. 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 and hour.

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

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

8) Cut out the cookie shapes with your chosen cutters and transfer them to the prepared tray using a palate knife.

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

10) Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool.

11)  To make the Royal icing, place 1 egg white in a bowl and slowly sift in the icing sugar in batches. In between the batches of icing sugar, stir with a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk until the icing thickens up, it is now ready to be used. Transfer the icing into a piping bag, if you are not using your icing straight away cover the bowl with cling film to prevent air getting to it which will cause it to harden. If you wish to decorate the cookies in different colours, simply add a few drops of food colouring to the icing.

12) Decorate the cookies however you fancy!

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You can see what else I’m getting up to over Easter  over on Instagram or on my Facebook Page.

I hope you all have a lovely Easter weekend and eat plenty of Chocolate!

Gluten Free Florentines

Happy New Year! January is here and I’m sure most of you are getting back into the swing of things after a busy (but hopefully not too stressful) festive season.

If you are feeling the winter blues, fear not! My Gluten Free Florentines recipe is bound to bring a little sunshine into your life.

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Florentines are traditional Italian biscuits, they typically contain nuts and candied peel which are melted together with butter and sugar then smothered in a delicious layer of chocolate.

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I first attempted to make Florentines after they were featured as a technical challenge on last years ‘The Great British Bake Off’. They were relatively easy to adapt into a Gluten Free version as they don’t contain very much flour, however, they were tricky little devils to get right!

After a few trials and a bit of research I have discovered that all they require is a little bit of patience. I would recommend setting yourself a good bit of time to make Florentines and make sure you give the biscuits your full attention as they will need to be watched like a hawk! Mary Berry recommends that you weigh the ingredients out very carefully so use electric scales to measure your ingredients if you can.

Gluten Free Florentines – GF/EF/DF options

(Recipe adapted from Mary Berry’s Recipe on BBC food as featured on ‘The Great British Bake Off)

50g Butter

50g Demerara Sugar

50g Honey

50g Gluten Free Plain Flour (I used Doves)

50g Glacè Cherries – finely chopped

50g Candied Peel – finely Chopped

25g Flaked almonds -finely Chopped

25g Desiccated Coconut

200g of good quality Plain Chocolate (or Milk Chocolate if you prefer!)

Can I make these dairy free? Sure! You can substitute butter for Stork (the hard baking Block) and the chocolate for dairy free chocolate, which can be found the in FreeFrom section of most supermarkets.

Method

1) Preheat your oven to 180C/Gas 4 and line three baking trays with baking parchment.

Tip. I have very small oven so I decided to bake each tray separately. If you have enough shelves you can bake them all at once, but you will need to swap the trays around to ensure they are all evenly baked. 

2) In small heavy bottomed pan measure the butter, sugar and honey. Heat the ingredients over a low to medium heat until the butter has melted.

3) Remove the pan from the heat. Add the Gluten Free flour, Cherries, Candied Peel, Almonds and Coconut and mix well.

4) Spoon six teaspoonfuls of the Florentine mixture onto each of your baking trays – make sure you leave plenty of space in-between each one to allow them to spread out as they bake.

5) Bake the Florentines for 8-10 minutes or until golden-brown.

Tip. Make sure you keep an eye on your Florentines. A couple of seconds could mean the difference between beautiful golden brown florentines or completely burnt ones!

6) Remove your florentines from the oven and leave them to cool before using a palate knife to lift them onto a cooling rack.

Tip. Don’t attempt to remove your Florentines from the trays whilst they are still warm as they will just fall to pieces.

7) To make the chocolate coating, gently melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.

Tip. Try not to let the bowl touch the water as it will burn the chocolate.

8) Spread melted chocolate over the bottom of each florentine, then using a fork, make the classic zigzag pattern through the chocolate.

Tip. Traditionally Florentines are quite lacy which means some chocolate may bleed through to the other side of the biscuit. I recommend gently painting the chocolate on each one using a pastry brush!

9) Leave your florentines to set on the cooling rack with the chocolate side facing up then serve with an espresso. Delicious!

Gluten Free Christmas: Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

It’s almost Christmas which means time for preparing those bakes for the big day!

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Today I’m going to share with you a recipe for Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies which would make a lovely gift or edible tree decoration!
Gingerbread is my favourite and I have lovely memories of making it with my mum and sister during the Christmas holidays, but until now I’ve never made it gluten free!

In the past I have found making Gluten Free biscuits quite tricky, usually they would end up rising, lose their shape and the texture would be far too chewy. After a few experiments with different types of flour, I have come up with the perfect Gingerbread Cookie recipe that has both the taste and texture of proper Gingerbread – I guarantee no one would be able to tell they are Gluten Free!

These cookies would also make a lovely homemade Christmas gift. The recipe makes a very large batch (perfect if you’ve got lots of special people to give presents to) and the cookies keep well if stored in an airtight container or a clip top jar.

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Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing – GF/DF Options

Ingredients

For the Cookies:
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 (to make dairy free, use Stork Original Baking Block)
150g soft dark brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp black treacle
1 large egg

For the Royal Icing:
1 egg white
250g Icing Sugar

Method:

1) In a large bowl, sift together the flours, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon.

2) 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.

3) 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.

4) 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!

5) 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 rice flour as you knead to stop it sticking to the work surface.

6) 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.

7) Heat your oven to 160 degrees/180 fan oven/gas mark 4.

8) Roll out the cookie dough on a floured surface. Using festive cookie cutters, cut out the shapes you want then arrange the cookies on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.

9) The cookies will take different times to bake depending on their sizes:

Small Cookies – 8 to 10 minutes
Medium Cookies – 10 to 12 minutes
Large Cookies – 12 to 15 minutes

You will know when the cookies are done if they lift off the baking sheet easily. The cookies shouldn’t get too brown – watch out for burnt edges!

10. Transfer the cookies to a wire wrack to cool.

11. To make the Royal Icing, place 1 egg white in a bowl and slowly sift in the 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.

12. Transfer the icing into a piping bag, if you are not using your icing straight away cover the bowl with cling film to prevent air getting to it which will cause it to harden.

13. Finally, have fun decorating your cookies however you choose!

I am taking a well deserved holiday, but I will be back in the New Year with more gluten free recipes for you all to try.  In the meantime, come and check out my out my Instagram page to see what else I get up to over Christmas!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  xxx