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 Christmas: Hazelnut, Cranberry and Orange Biscotti Recipe

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

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

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

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

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

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

Method:

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

2. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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 Vanilla and Amaretti Cheesecake

If you are looking for a Gluten Free dessert that is indulgent enough to serve at a dinner party, look no further than this super rich Vanilla and Amaretti Cheesecake recipe.
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I love cheesecake and it’s super easy to achieve a Gluten Free version if you can find the right biscuits! You could use shop bought Gluten Free Digestives or Shortbread (if you can find nice ones) but I decided to use Amaretti Biscuits for an interesting twist on the traditional cheesecake.

Amaretti Biscuits are traditionally gluten free as they are made using ground almonds, but unfortunately, a lot of supermarket versions are produced using wheat flour and are not suitable. You should be able to find traditional Amaretti Biscuits at an Italian Deli OR you can make your own like I did – for my Gluten Free Amaretti Biscuit recipe click here.

Gluten Free Vanilla and Amaretti Cheesecake

Ingredients

For the Biscuit Base:

1 tbsp Disaronno Liqueur (optional)

180g Gluten Free Amaretti Biscuits, plus a few extra for the top.

100g Unsalted Butter, melted.

1 tbsp Demerara Sugar

For the Filling:

300ml Double Cream

300g Full Fat philadelphia Cheese

300g Mascarpone Cheese

100g Icing Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

To decorate:

50g Plain or Milk Chocolate

A handful of toasted Flaked Almonds

2 Gluten Free Amaretti Biscuits, crushed.

Method:

1) Grease a springform cake tin with melted butter and line the bottom with a circle of baking parchment.

2) Place the amaretti biscuits in a food processor and blend until you are left with biscuit crumbs.

Tip. If you make your own Amaretti biscuits like I did, it is a good idea to make them the day before and leave them to dry out slightly or they will be too chewy.

3) Transfer the biscuits into a small bowl and leave them to soak in the amaretto liqueur for a few minutes (optional), then stir in the melted butter and sugar until the biscuits are coated.

4) Press the biscuits into the base of the cake tin using the back of a spoon. Once the base is covered, pop it into the fridge to chill while you make the filling.

5) In a large bowl whip the cream to soft peaks using an electric hand mixer.

6) In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, vanilla and sugar until just combined then fold in the cream with a spatula – do not overbeat the mixture or it will become too runny.

7) Spread the filling over the biscuit base using a palate knife to help you achieve a level finish.

8) Leave the cheesecake to set in a fridge overnight or for at least 6 hours.

9) Gently remove your cheesecake from the tin and place on a serving plate – it’s a good idea to run a palette knife around the edge of your cheesecake to help loosen it from the sides of the tin.

10) To decorate: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan simmering water, remove from the heat and leave the chocolate to cool before transferring it to a piping bag.

11) Pipe chocolate across the cheesecake in a zigzag pattern and then sprinkle on the toasted almonds and crushed Amaretti biscuits.

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Your cheesecake should feed approximately 8 – 10 people – perfect for a large dinner party. Leftovers should be stored in the fridge and should keep for 2 to 3 days.

Gluten Free Gnocchi

I have always been a keen baker, but I can’t say I have always been the most confident cook – until I gave up gluten!

When I started my Gluten Free diet over two years ago I decided to become a better cook, believing that if I had better cooking skills I would find a way to eat everything I used to before.  What I didn’t expect was how enthusiastic I would become about food and how much it’s taken over my life. I love experimenting to find away to eat ‘normal’ dishes and this newfound enthusiasm has prevented me from feeling down about the food I can’t eat.

Now, as well as baking all the sweet treats I love, I have started to develop savoury recipes and today I’m going to share with you one of the first savoury recipes on my blog, this very easy Gluten Free Gnocchi recipe.

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Making food from scratch is so rewarding but can often be very time consuming. I’m pleased to say this recipe is very quick as you only need 4 ingredients and you won’t require any specialist equipment. Gnocchi also cooks in a matter of minutes, making it a quicker option than pasta.

Gluten Free Gnocchi
Serves 3 – 4 people.

Ingredients:
800g Potato (Approx 2 Large Potatoes)
200g Rice Flour (I used Doves)
1 Large Egg
1/2 tsp Salt

Method:

1) Peel and cut the potatoes into similiar sized chunks to ensure the potatoes cook evenly.

2) Place the potato into a steamer and cook for approximately 20 mins until it starts to become soft – but do not over cook.

You can boil the potatoes but I prefer to use a steamer as it prevents the potatoes from soaking up too much moisture. If you boil the potatoes you will need to ensure you drain the potatoes well and soak up any excess moisture with paper towels.

3) Drain the potatoes and leave them to cool on kitchen paper in order to help them dry out.

4) Finely grate the cooled potatoes – you can also use a potato ricer.

5) Place the flour and salt onto a clean work surface, make a well in the middle of the flour for the potatoes, then add the egg.
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6) Use your hands to work the ingredients together until it starts to form a smooth dough.
7) Work the dough into a rectangle and then cut the dough into slices using a dough cutter.
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8) Roll out each piece of dough into a ‘rope’.
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9) Cut each rope into inch long pieces.
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0) Roll each piece up into a ball then indent them with a fork to create the classic gnocchi indentation.
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11) Place the Gnocchi in boiling water and cook for 2 – 3 minutes – you will know the Gnocchi is cooked when they float to the surface. Remove the Gnocchi from the heat immediately and drain to prevent it from over cooking.

Gnocchi is so versatile, so you can experiment with a variety of toppings. I like to top mine with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese then gently bake it in the oven to create a Gnocchi Bake.  Delicious!

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

(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!)

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!