Gluten Free Christmas: Coconut Snow Cupcakes

It’s almost Christmas Day! It’s been a busy festive season for me, but I still have one Christmas recipe to share with you this year –  my Gluten Free Coconut Snow Cupcakes.imageThese cupcakes are a little different to your traditional Christmas bakes, perfect for anyone who isn’t a big fan of dried fruit but still festive enough to be served on Christmas Day – I think they would also be lovely served at a New Years Eve party! imageI got these cute star decorations from HEMA – they are actually cocktail sticks but I thought they would make cute cupcake toppers, but you can use any cupcake toppers or edible decorations of your choosing!


Gluten Free Coconut Snow Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the sponge:

200g golden caster sugar

200g Butter, softened (or dairy free alternative)

200g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour

2 tbsp dessicated coconut

1 tsp Baking Powder

3 tbsp Milk (or dairy free alternative)

1/2 Vanilla pod deseeded (or 2 tsp of vanilla extract)

1/2 tsp coconut extract (optional)

2 large eggs

For the buttercream icing:

150g unsalted butter, softened (or dairy free alternative)

250g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

1 tsp vanilla extract

To  decorate:

3 tbsp dessicated coconut

edible glitter (optional)

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/Gas Mark 3 and line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases.

2) In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

3) In a separate bowl cream the butter, vanilla extract and sugar together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.

4) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. With the mixer on a low speed, add the egg a bit at a time along with a tablespoon of the flour mixture.

5) Once the egg is fully combined, add the rest of the flour and the milk until you are left with a smooth mixture.

6) Spoon approximately one and a half tablespoons of the mixture into each cupcake case, being careful not to overfill them.

7) Bake for approximately 20 – 22 minutes – the cupcakes are ready when they are golden brown and firm to touch.

8) Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling while you prepare the buttercream icing.

9) To make the buttercream, beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy and almost white in colour.

10) Once the cupcakes have cooled, spread the buttercream forest in over each cupcake using a palate knife, then sprinkle each one with desiccated coconut and a touch of edible glitter to finish.

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That’s it for my Christmas recipes this year! If you’re looking for more gluten free Christmas baking inspiration why not check out my Gluten Free Stollen Muffins, Gluten Free Gingerbread Wreath or you can find a full list of my Christmas recipes over on my Recipes page.

 

 

Gluten Free Fondant Fancy Cupcakes (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Today I’m going to share with you my Gluten Free Fondant Fancy Cupcakes recipe which is inspired by the showstopper challenge from the Semi Final of ‘The Great British Bake Off’.

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Last week’s show saw the remaining four bakers battling it out over Patisserie for a place in final, but sadly Selasi didn’t make the cut. He might not have made it to the final, but he did win over the hearts of the nation and I will definitely miss him during this week’s show. Speaking of this week, the final will be a very bittersweet occasion, as although I am excited to see who wins, I am sad that this is the last episode of GBBO as we know it.

What I’m going to miss most is how the show has inspired me to bake things I’d never thought of trying – this includes fondant fancies, which were featured on last week’s show.

I used to love Fondant Fancies and seeing them on the show has made me feel super nostalgic – I remember having them at my Grandma’s house when I was little and how I always would choose the pink ones, because I liked them best!

I will admit though, Fondant Fancies looked incredibly difficult and fiddly to make, so I decided to go for a more simple approach. My Fondant Fancy cupcakes are much a easier to achieve, but they are every bit as delicate, dainty and delicious as the fondant fancies I remember.

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These cupcakes would be lovely served at afternoon tea or a birthday party and are sure to impress, despite being deceptively simple.

Gluten Free Fondant Fancy Cupcakes

Makes approximately 16 small cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

150g softened butter (or dairy free alternative)
150g caster sugar
150g gluten free self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk (or dairy free alternative)

For the buttercream:

100g softened butter (or dairy free alternative)
100g icing sugar

For the fondant icing:

300g ready to roll icing
50ml cold water
A few drops of pink food colouring

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/gas mark 3 then line two cupcake trays with 16 cupcake cases.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.

3. Add a tablespoon of flour, then beat in the eggs a little bit a time before sifting in the remaining flour and baking powder. Add the milk, then beat the ingredients together with the electric hand mixer until combined.

4. Spoon two teaspoons of mixture into each cupcake case, being careful not to overfill them. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch.

5. Leave the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack. To make the buttercream, beat the butter with an electric hand mixer until it’s very light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and continue to beat until all the ingredients are combined, then transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a medium plain nozzle.

6. Once the cupcakes have cooled, pipe a blob of buttercream onto each cupcake then place them in freezer to firm up while you make the fondant icing.

7. Cut the ready to roll icing into pieces and place them in a large bowl. Add a splash of water and using a spatula start to break up the icing until it starts to become more paste like. Add the rest of the water and beat with an electric hand mixer until the fondant becomes more runny.

8. Save a couple of tablespoons of the white icing to decorate the top of the cupcakes. Add a couple of drops of pink food colouring to the remaining icing and mix until the fondant turns a light pink colour.

9. Remove the cupcakes from the freezer. Spoon a little of the pink fondant icing over each cupcake, then use a palate knife to spread out the icing making sure that the buttercream is covered.

10. Put the left over white icing into a piping bag fitted with a small writing nozzle. Pipe the icing across the top in a zig zag pattern.

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

Today I’m going to share with you my gluten free take on Mary Berry’s Bakewell Tart, as featured on the latest episode of ‘The Great British Bake Off’.

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This week the bakers had to tackle pastry and they were tasked with making Danish Pastries, Filo Pastry Amuse Bouches and a Bakewell Tart, which was this week’s technical challenge.

There was some controversy on Twitter after the show aired that Mary’s bake was not a Bakewell Tart, but in fact a Cherry Bakewell because it was topped with an almond flavoured icing – apparently a traditional Bakewell Tart is supposed to be topped with layer of flaked almonds, not icing.

It may annoy traditionalists, but I decided to stay true to Mary’s recipe and go for a layer of icing…  but I did add some flaked almonds for good measure!

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The challenge making a gluten free version of this bake is coming with a good shortcrust pastry recipe.

Gluten free pastry can tend to be a little on the crumbly side, so it’s important that there is enough liquid in the mixture to help bind the ingredients together. My recipe uses a combination of egg yolks and butter to achieve this, but if the mixture is being little stubborn, a drop of water can be added to help bring it together.

It’s also incredibly important to chill your pastry before using it, as it this really does help to make it more pliable.

Finally, a good quality non stick tart or flan tin with a loose base is essential, or you will struggle to get your tart of its tin!

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Gluten Free Cherry Bakewell Tart

(Recipe inspired by Mary Berry’s Bakewell Tart recipe from ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

You will need a 8″ inch fluted flan or tart tin with a loose base.

Ingredients

For the Pastry:

200g plain gluten free flour

50g ground almonds

75g  icing sugar

2 egg yolks

125g butter

A drop of water

For the filling:

4 tbsp seedless raspberry jam

150g butter, softened

150g caster sugar

150g ground almonds

1 large free-range egg, beaten

1 tsp almond extract

For the icing: 

300g icing sugar

1 tsp almond extract

A handful of toasted flaked almonds to finish

Method

1) To make the pastry, stir together the flour, ground almonds and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl.

2) Rub together the flour mixture and the butter, add the egg yolks and start to bring the mixture together your hands.

3) Tip the contents of the bowl out onto a floured work surface and knead the dough until it comes together in a smooth ball – you can add a few drops of water to help, if necessary.

4) Wrap the pastry in cling film and put it in the fridge to cool for about 30 minutes to an hour – this is very important as the colder the pastry is, the easier it is to work with.

5) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4, then throughly grease your tart tin with butter.

6) Roll out the chilled pastry between two sheets of greaseproof baking paper (this will prevent the pastry from sticking to your work surface) until it is about the thickness of a 1 pound coin.

7) Use greaseproof paper to help you get the pastry into the tin safely. Firstly, peel off the top layer of baking paper, place the tin upside down into the middle of the pastry then carefully flip the pastry over with the help of the bottom sheet of baking paper. Peel off the bottom baking sheet and gently press the pastry down into the tin, insuring it’s pressed right into each groove – don’t panic if you do get any tears or any holes, just neatly patch it up with some spare pastry.

8) Trim off any excess pastry. Place some baking paper into the case and fill it baking beans (any dried beans or rice will do) then blind bake the pastry case for 10 minutes. Remove the baking beans and bake the case for a further 5 minutes to help dry it out.

9. Meanwhile make the Frangipane: cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, ground almonds and almond extract until the ingredients are combined.

10. Leave the pastry case to cool down slightly before spreading the jam over the base of the case in an even layer. Next, spoon the Frangipane into the case and smooth it out with a palate knife.

11. Bake the tart for 25 – 30 minutes or until the Frangipane is golden brown and firm to touch. If the pastry starts to get a little too much colour, put some tin foil over the tart, this will prevent it from burning.

12. Leave the tart to cool completely before decorating. While you are waiting, toast your flaked almonds by spreading them over a lined baking sheet and baking them at 180 degrees for about 5 minutes until toasted.

13. To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the almond extract and 2 to 3 tablespoons of cold water and mix until you are left with a thick but spreadable icing.

14. Spread the icing over the cooled tart using a palate knife. Sprinkle over the toasted almonds, then serve!

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I hope you enjoy this recipe and all other recipes I have recreated during this series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ so far.

I love seeing your bakes, so if you try any of my recipes please take a snap and share it on Instagram or Twitter by using the hashtag #titchytonbakes or post a picture on my Facebook page.

 

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 Buckwheat and Peanut Butter Flapjacks (No Oats)

Today I’m going share with you my Gluten Free Buckwheat and Peanut Butter Flapjack recipe.

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I have been working on this recipe for a while, after a kind request from a friend who struggles to tolerate oats. The objective was simple: create a flapjack that looks and tastes like a traditional flapjack but that doesn’t contain any oats, not even gluten free ones.

I happily excepted the challenge because there are many Coeliacs who struggle to tolerate gluten free oats (despite the fact that they are considered to be okay) and there are many looking for an alternative that will work for them.

When I was looking for an oat subsitute I came across some gluten free Buckwheat flakes in my local health food shop; they are slightly paler in colour than oats but are similar in size and texture so I thought they would work well – If you think you can tolerate buckwheat then this recipe might be worth a shot.

It took a few attempts to get the recipe just right. The first attempt resulted in a flapjack that was so crumbly that I couldn’t even cut it into squares and the second attempt was a complete disaster when I accidentally over baked them and they turned out as hard as rocks – oops!

It was definitely third time lucky. The final attempt resulted in the perfect buttery, and chewy flapjack which didn’t crumble at the slightest touch – result!

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I deviated slightly from the brief and used peanut butter which I know isn’t particularly traditional, but I love the flavour! If you’d prefer a more traditional flapjack or have a nut allergy you can miss out this ingredient and they will work just as well.

Free Buckwheat and Peanut Butter Flapjacks

Makes approximately 16 flapjacks

Ingredients

175g unsalted butter
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
150g soft brown sugar
300g buckwheat flakes

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C/Gas Mark 2, then throughly grease and line a square tin (20cm x 20cm) with greaseproof paper.

2. Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat. Once the butter has melted add the peanut butter, golden syrup and brown sugar then stir until the sugar has completely dissolved and you can no longer feel any grains scraping the bottom of the pan.

3. Add the Buckwheat flakes and mix until all the ingredients are fully combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading it right into the corners and pressing it down flat with the back of a spatula.

4. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. The flapjack is ready when the top becomes a beautiful golden brown and is soft to touch – do not be tempted to bake it for longer; although the flapjack will seem too soft, it will firm up as it cools down.

5. Leave the flapjack to cool completely before cutting into squares (5cm x 5cm) – if you attempt to cut the flapjacks before they are properly cold they will crumble, so patience is definitely a virtue!

I hope you like this recipe and give it try!

If you want to keep up to date with my kitchen adventures you can find me on Instagram @titchyton or on my Facebook page.

No Churn Raspberry and Mascarpone Ice Cream

After what has seemed like months of endless grey clouds and drizzle, the sun finally decided to grace the UK with its presence and Britain has just enjoyed a week of uncharacteristically warm weather, which some of us Brits are quite frankly not used to.

Despite the fact it has been uncomfortably hot at points, I have tried to make the most of the sunshine as it will be over all too soon and at the weekend I had my first (and probably last) barbecue of the year and made homemade ice cream.

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When I think of summer one of the first things that pops into my mind is ice cream. When I was a little girl my dad worked as an ice cream man and the summer holidays consisted of playing outside with my sisters, endless supplies of ice cream and ice lollies and the occasional trip out in the ice cream van, if I was good!

So, I’m sure you’ll understand why the hot weather meant that I just had to have ice cream and what could be a more perfect excuse to make my own? It’s also surprisingly  easy – it’s a no churn recipe, so you don’t need an ice cream machine but an electric whisk is always a good idea.

When it came to choosing flavours, I decided to use mascarpone cheese as a nod to my Dad (he’s Italian so it seemed like the perfect ingredient) and raspberry which is a lovely sharp contrast to the creamy mascarpone – this recipe is incredibly versatile though, so you can go to town creating tonnes of interesting flavour combinations!

No Churn Mascarpone And Raspberry Ice Cream

For the Raspberry Sauce:
125g fresh raspberries
1 tbsp caster sugar
25 ml cold water

For the Ice Cream:
250g cheese mascarpone, room temperature
397g can sweetened condensed milk
600 ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method: 

1. To make the raspberry sauce: place the raspberries, sugar and water into a food processor and blend to a puree. Push the purée through a sieve to remove the seeds then set it aside for later.

2. For the ice cream, soften the mascarpone cheese with an electric whisk until it is very soft, add the condensed milk and vanilla extract then whisk until the mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks, gently fold through the condensed milk and mascarpone mixture without knocking too much volume from the cream, but ensuring that all the ingredients are combined.

3. Drizzle half of the raspberry sauce over the ice cream mixture but don’t fold it through. Spoon the mixture into a large freezable container and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight and refrigerate the remaining raspberry sauce.

4. Thaw the ice cream before serving with the remaining raspberry sauce.

Honey Roasted Chicken, Feta and Quinoa Salad with Sticky Sautéd Tomatoes

Today I’m going to share with you one of my most favourite creations, my Chicken, Feta and Quinoa Salad with Sticky Sautéd Tomatoes. This is a recipe which I come back to time and time again because it’s super easy to prepare and incredibly tasty.

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I made this for my sister on her most recent trip to London, I had offered to make us both lunch and wanted to serve something more interesting than your usual lunchtime fodder.

Personally I think this salad ticks all the boxes. For a start, there is not a bland lettuce leaf in sight which instantly makes it infinitely more appealing. The base of my salad is made up of quinoa, a grain which is a fantastic source of protein and dietary fibre, and if prepared in the right way can be incredibly flavoursome.

The rest of the ingredients are far from boring, the chicken breast is roasted in sweet and sticky honey which contrasts wonderfully to the salty feta and refreshing cucumber, but without a doubt the absolute star of this dish is my sticky sautéd tomatoes which I am completely obesessed with – you’ll know why, once you’ve tried them!

The salad is topped off with a handful of pomegranate seeds and a bunch of parsley… I tried to get some leaves in there, somewhere!

Honey Roasted Chicken, Feta and Quinoa Salad with Sticky Sautéd Tomatoes

Serves 2 – 3 

For the Salad:
120g Quinoa, rinsed (I used a mix of white/black/red quinoa)
500ml water, brought to the boil
1 chicken stock cube
400g diced chicken breast
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1/2 a cucumber, deseeded and chopped into half moon shapes.
50g Feta cheese
A bunch of fresh parsley
12 cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp caster sugar
A handful of pomegranate seeds (optional)

For the Dressing:
Lemon juice
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to season

Method:

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

2. Coat the chicken in olive oil and honey, then season it with black pepper.

3. Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. To check the chicken is cooked, make sure the meat is white and that no pink remains.

4. Whilst the chicken is cooking, place the quinoa into pan of boiling water and crumble over a stock cube. Stir and reduce the pan to simmer, then cook for 15 minutes until the quinoa is soft.

5. Drain quinoa and leave it cool slightly.

6. To make the sticky tomatoes: heat up a dash of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for a minute or two, until they start to become slightly wrinkly. Add the red wine vinegar and sugar, then stir to coat the tomatoes until they become sticky.

7. Serve your salad on a large serving plate. Start with the quinoa on the bottom, layer up the slices of cucumber, feta, chicken and tomatoes, then top with fresh parsley and pomegranate seeds.

8. Drizzle over olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Season with black pepper and serve with wedge of lemon on the side.

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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 White Chocolate and Raspberry Muffins

February has been such an incredibly busy month for me, so I’ve very little time to sit down and get this blog written, but I promise I’ve not been neglecting you!

In fact, I’ve been working on perfecting one of my favourite bakes and I’m really excited to finally be able to share with you my recipe for Gluten Free White Chocolate and Raspberry Muffins!

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In the past I’ve struggled to bake the perfect gluten free muffins – often they don’t rise enough or the texture is more like that of a cupcake rather than a muffin, which are supposed to have a much denser texture as opposed to being light and fluffy.  

After a bit of trial and error I have come up with a recipe which I think ticks all the right boxes; the texture was exactly right and the muffins rose enough to create that classic muffin look.

Here are a few golden rules to abide by if you want perfect gluten free muffins:

1. Mix the dry ingredients separately to the wet ingredients – This helps to make sure that the raising agents are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

2. Don’t over mix the batter – Because of the lack of gluten we need something to make the muffins rise, so don’t over work the batter as this can cause the raising agents to work less affectively. Stir the ingredients until just combined and don’t worry about any lumps.

3. Use the right amount of raising agents – I found that baking powder alone wasn’t enough so I also used a small amount of bicarbonate of soda – but don’t use too much or it can leave an unpleasant flavour.

4. Keep chocolate chips in the fridge until you need them – This simple trick stops the chocolate chips melting in the oven and helps them to retain their shape.

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My muffins have an added twist, in that they have a raspberry jam centre but you could use fresh raspberries, if you prefer!

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Gluten Free Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins
Makes 8

Ingredients:
300g gluten free self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g caster sugar
2 large eggs
75 ml sunflower oil
200ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g white chocolate chips, refrigerated
8 tsp raspberry jam

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4 and line a muffin tin with 8 muffin cases.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

3. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, oil, milk and vanilla extract until combined then add this to the dry ingredients.

4. Gently mix the ingredients together until they form a batter which is only just combined (don’t worry too much if there are any lumps), then stir through the chocolate chips.

5. Spoon approximately 1 and a half tablespoons of batter into each case, followed by a teaspoon of jam then fill the muffin cases with a further tablespoon of batter, ensuring the jam is fully covered.

6. Bake the muffins for 25 minutes, until golden brown.

7. Leave to cool on a wire rack before serving.

Gluten Free Scones Recipe

Scones have always been one of my  favourite bakes. They were the very first thing I was taught to bake at school and are a good bake for baking beginners.

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I used to have a little trouble making good gluten free scones – the end result would often be quite crumbly and couldn’t get them to rise like I wanted.

I’ve discovered that an egg and a little milk is required to help bind the ingredients together – making the dough ever so slightly wetter than normal (but not sticky) helps to ensure that the scones don’t dry out during baking.

Possibly the most important tip is not to roll the dough out too thin, otherwise your scones will end up rather flat –  start off with a little height (at least 3cm) and you’ll end up with nice tall scones.

I chose to make some of the scones with glacé cherries and some without – feel free to leave them out if you’re not a fan, but if you do use cherries, make sure you wash the syrup off them as they can make the scones a bit soggy in places!

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Gluten Free Scones
Recipe makes approximately 6 – 8 Scones.

Ingredients:
250g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
75g Butter, unsalted
40g Caster Sugar
75ml Milk
2 eggs (one for glazing)
50g Glacé Cherries, chopped and rinsed (optional)

Method:
1) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C/Fan Oven 200 degrees C/Gas Mark 6.

2) In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt.

3) Rub together the butter and flour mixture until you have a breadcrumb like texture, then stir through the sugar.

4) Add an egg and start to bring the mixture together using a wooden spoon.

5) Add the milk bit by bit (you might not need it all) and use your hands to bring the mixture together in a smooth dough.

6) Lightly dust a work surface with flour then roll out the dough to about 3 cm thick – don’t roll out the dough too flat or you will have very flat scones!

7) Cut the scones out with 6cm flutted scone cutter. Place the scones on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper then lightly brush each one with beaten egg.

8) Bake the scones in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

9) Leave the scones to cool on a wire rack before serving with jam and clotted cream!

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