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.

 

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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 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.