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!

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

There’s only one week to go until the final of GBBO 2015 and we find out who the winner is. A few weeks ago I predicted that Ian, Tamal and Nadiya would be the remaining three bakers in the final, but it’s really hard to predict a winner because we all know that in the tent anything could happen! Tamal and Nadiya have been my favourites from the very beginning so I will be happy if either of them win.

Since my last post we have seen the remaining bakers tackle Patisserie in the Quarter-final and Chocolate in the Semi-final. Today I am going to share with you my recipe for gluten free Profiteroles which incorporates an element from both shows – Choux pastry and Chocolate!

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I always thought that Choux Pastry would be impossible to make gluten free but it’s actually very straight forward and not unlike making normal Choux!

I strayed slightly from the traditional method of making Choux by adding a small amount of baking powder – normally you would just use plain flour, but I’ve found that adding baking powder helps to give that extra little bit of oomph. This recipe is also Xanthan Gum free which is ideal for those who struggle to tolerate Xanthan Gum and other binding agents.

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Gluten Free Profiteroles 

For the Profiteroles:
60g gluten free plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp caster sugar
55g unsalted butter
110ml cold water
1 to 2 eggs

For the filling:
350 ml double cream

For the topping:
100g good quality milk or dark chocolate
100ml double cream

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/Gas Mark 5.

2. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

3. Sift together the baking powder and flour in a small bowl then set aside.

4. Place a heavy bottomed pan over a low to medium heat, add the water, sugar and butter and bring the ingredients to a gentle simmer.

5. Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and quickly beat in the flour until all the ingredients come together in a smooth ball.

6. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and beat it gently for a few seconds with a wooden spoon to help release some steam – this will help the mixture to cool down.

7. In small bowl whisk the eggs to break up the yolks.

8. Once the pastry mixture is cool, add the eggs a bit at a time whilst beating with an electric hand mixer – don’t add the eggs whilst the mixture is hot or you will end up with scrambled eggs!

9. At first the mixture will look a little bit lumpy but keep beating and adding the egg bit by bit until the pastry becomes smooth. You won’t need to add all the egg and you want to avoid making the mixture too runny as it will be difficult to pipe – the mixture at the right stage should stretchy and have some elasticity when you remove the electric mixer.

10. Transfer the mixture to piping bag and pipe little blobs onto the baking sheets a few cm apart – you don’t need to be too neat.

11. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the profiteroles have puffed up and are golden brown in colour – they should be crispy and quite dark in colour or they will go soggy when you fill them.

12. Whilst the Profiteroles are in the oven, make the chocolate topping so that it has time to cool. Melt the chocolate slowly in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, then add the cream and whisk vigorously to incorporate the ingredients. Leave the mixture to cool in the fridge until required.

13. Remove the profiteroles from the oven and prick the base of each one with a cocktail stick to help release some steam. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

14. Whisk the cream with an electric hand mixer until it creates stiff peaks, then transfer to an icing syringe or a piping bag with a fine nozzle. Create a small hole in the base of profiterole and gently fill each one with cream – be careful not to do this too quickly as the the force could cause the pastry to tear.

15. Spread the cooled chocolate topping on the top of each profiterole, then arrange them onto a plate ready to be served!

I hope everyone is looking forward to the GBBO Final as much as I am, let me know what you’re going to bake in celebration in the comments below or come and see what I’m getting up to on Instagram or Facebook.

Gluten Free Vanilla and Coconut Slices Recipe

It’s summer and what better time of year for an afternoon tea party?

If you are looking for something gluten free and a suitably impressive bake to serve at afternoon tea, look no further than my delicate and delicious Vanilla and Coconut Slices recipe. 
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What could be more tempting than these cakes? They not only do they look attractive enough to serve at afternoon tea, but they are light enough and not too filling – leaving you more room for all those cucumber sandwiches!

The sponge itself is filled with desiccated Coconut and laced with Vanilla and the icing isn’t your traditional buttercream but a lighter version made with Trex – if you want to know how to make snow white buttercream then keep reading!

Gluten Free Vanilla and Coconut Slices

For the sponge:
200g Caster Sugar
200g Butter, softened (or dairy free alternative)
250g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour (I used Doves) plus 2 tbsp dessicated coconut
1 tsp Baking Powder
4 – 5 tbsp Milk (or dairy free alternative)
1/2 Vanilla pod deseeded (or 1 tsp of  vanilla extract)

2 large eggs

For the Icing:
25 g Butter (or dairy free spread)
100g Trex  (Crisco in America)
175g Icing Sugar
2 tbsp Milk (or dairy free alternative)
1 tsp clear Vanilla essence (or put your deseeded vanilla pod into your icing sugar to flavour it)

plus
2 tbsp of toasted coconut to decorate.

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C Fan Assisted/Gas Mark 4.

2. Grease and line a square baking tin.

3. This is an all in one method – sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl then add the remaining ingredients. Beat with an electric hand whisk for 2 minutes then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Beat the mixture for a further 2 minutes or until all the ingredients are fully combined.

4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the mixture with a palate knife

5. Gently tap the tin on the work surface to get rid of any air bubbles then bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the cake is risen, golden brown and is firm to touch.

6. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool slightly before turning it out onto a wire rack. Leave the cake to cool completely while you make the icing and toast the coconut.

7. Place the coconut in a large oil-less frying pan over a medium heat. Gently toast the coconut until it is golden in colour.

8. In a large bowl, beat the vanilla essence (if using), trex and butter until soft.
Then add the icing sugar and milk and beat until you are left with a light and fluffy icing. 

9. Once the cake has completely cooled you can start to assemble the slices.
Firstly, trim the edges of the cake.
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10. Cut the cake down the middle into two halves then cut each half into 5 slices – You should be left with 10 slices in total
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11. Cut each slice in half horizontally ready to be filled with the icing.

12. Spread a generous layer of icing over the base of each slice then sit the other half of the sponge on top.

13. Spread icing over the top of each slice then gently sprinkle each one with the toasted coconut.
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These slices keep just fine in an airtight container and don’t need to be refrigerated – in fact, they were baked on the hottest day of the year so far which didn’t even cause them to collapse into a soggy mess!

I hope that if you have an afternoon tea party coming up that you will try my recipe. If you are looking for more gluten free baking inspiration check out my recipe page or keep up to date with what I’m making on Instagram or Facebook.