Tag Archives: blackstrap molasses

Gluten-Free, Milk-Free Gingerbread

Gluten-Free, Milk-Free Gingerbread

Years ago I inherited a gingerbread recipe that sent my taste-buds flying.  It was a dear friend’s mom’s, and I remember the first time I made it for a group of friends.  Back then, I was relatively unfamiliar with basic cake techniques, and the idea of “starting and ending with dry” seemed practically scientific.

The cake got raves.  But after that first time, I couldn’t eat it.  My milk allergies had gotten worse.

Fast forward ten years later and I made the recipe my own.  I think actual ginger-bread is too often overlooked in favor of its cookie-d cousins.  Which, trust me, I enjoy thoroughly.  But there’s something so homey and warm and New England holiday about it that I particularly love.

Substitution ingredients are below, but this blend of ingredients produced a moist, perfectly sweet, highly-spiced cake that I ate way too much of as soon as it was cool enough to slice.

Notes: I used butter, but not milk, substituting with unsweetened almond milk.  To make completely dairy-free, substitute the melted butter with melted butter-flavored Earth Balance.  You can use regular all-purpose flour (2 cups) if you don’t have gluten problems, or substitute with a gluten-free mix of your own.  I use less xanthan gum in this recipe than you might expect – if you want to omit completely, just add 1 Tbsp of flax meal. 

Another time I made this recipe I used 1 cup white rice, 1/2 cup tapioca, 1/2 cup sorghum and 1/4 cup millet and it worked well too!

Top with unsweetened coconut milk whipped cream for a special holiday treat!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch / flour (or arrowroot starch)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (or melted Earth Balance to make dairy-free)
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar and enough unsweetened almond, soy or cow’s milk to make 1/2 cup of liquid total
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup hot water

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan (preferably something thick like a Pyrex dish), set aside.
  • In a measuring cup, heat the milk and vinegar so that it’s slightly warm.
  • In a large bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment), add flours, tapioca starch, salt, baking powder, baking soda, xantham gum and spices.  Stir/mix/whisk quickly to combine.
  • Make a well in the center and pour in this order: molasses, maple syrup, melted butter, egg, and milk/vinegar mixture.
  • Stir/mix together until combined.
  • Add hot water and beat until combined.
  • Pour into pan and bake for 40 minutes or until slightly browned on top and slightly springy when you press it with your finger.
  • Cool for 15 minutes, then loosen from the pan with a knife and invert onto cooling rack.
  • Cool completely before slicing.

Decorate with sifted powdered sugar and whipped cream (either cow cream or coconut milk are delish!)

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Filed under Dessert, Gluten and Dairy Free, Gluten-Free, Holidays!, Recipes, Vegetarian

Vintage Recipe Swap – Sweet and Spicy Blueberry Molasses Jam Cookies

Ginger Molasses Cookies with Blueberry Ginger Lime Jam

I love the food-blogging community.  For the past few months I’ve been taking part in a Vintage Recipe Swap with Burwell General Store.  We’re sent a recipe and have to alter at least three things about it, then blog our creations on the same day.  I am always incredibly impressed with what the other bloggers post.  They’re truly inspiring, culinary masters that I have so much to learn from.  Please check out their sites (links at the bottom of this post).

This month’s swap is a Jelly Cake.  Check it out:

After my disappointment with last month’s Baked Potato Cakes I knew I wanted to make something decadent this month.  Something that would take some planning and patience and love.

This recipe is wonderfully simple in theory – two cakes sandwiched with jelly.  And I loved that the second cake was spicy with cinnamon, cloves and allspice.

So I decided to make only a slight variation on this classic idea with an easy blueberry jam nested in the middle of gluten-free ginger molasses cookies.  I love how versatile and mobile cookies are.  And while lying in bed, sleepless, one night, I thought how I could try the jam between two round cookies and also try it with the raw dough pocketing it before baking, much like an Italian or Polish pastry cookie.

It took three days in short bursts to make this recipe, which actually made it more relaxing of a process.  One morning I made the Blueberry Ginger Lime Jam.  I loved the fresh, organic blueberries I found at the market and figured I’d spice them up with a bit of ginger and fresh lime juice and zest.  I also made a smoky blueberry sauce with paprika that I then made into a martini.  Delish.

Smoky Blueberry Martini

The second day I made the cookie dough, then stuck it in the fridge and rolled and baked the next morning.  Fully refrigerating dough is a crucial step when making cutout cookies, especially when they’re gluten-free, in order to keep a clean shape and consistent texture.  In my earlier days I thought I could get around a few steps and still have incredible cookies.  Now I know that refrigerating dough, using parchment paper, keeping my gluten-free flours cool and rolling evenly are important keys to mastering this.

The result is a rich, spicy ginger cookie sweetly flavored with dark molasses.  Making them into pocket cookies yields a softer, pastry-like cookie, whereas the rounds have the perfect amount of gingery jam between.  They have a soft mouth feel, and hit you in two stages – first the spicy ginger cookie, and then the rich jam.  I love them.  Love love love.

Note: In this recipe I’ve measured out my preferred gluten-free flours and added some flax seed meal for fiber (it also helps baked goods gel a little bit more too).  All that’s important is that you have three cuts of gluten-free flour.  I recommend keeping your flours in the fridge as they stay fresher longer – it also helps when making a pastry like a cookie that needs to stay tight.  I also usually refrain from mixes that are high in potato flour or starch and only use one kind of flour – usually white rice.  Check out my gluten-free flour blends page for more ideas.

Another note: I used two types of molasses and maple syrup because I had small amounts of each and like using what you’ve got instead of purchasing excess.  Just make sure you have 3/4 a cup of molasses.

Buen provecho!

Sandwich and Pocket cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup unsulfered dark molasses
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 egg

Directions

  • In a small bowl, sift together the flours, flax seed meal, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and xanthan gum
  • In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add molasses and maple syrup and beat to combine.
  • Add egg and beat to combine.
  • Slowly add in flour until combined.
  • Divide in half, flatten into disks and individually wrap in plastic.  Set in refrigerator at least two hours or (preferably) overnight.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Flour work surface with rice flour and roll disk to 1/4 inch thick, rotating dough regularly to prevent sticking (re-flour board as necessary). Cut into circles about 1 3/4 inch in diameter.
  • Bake for 12 minutes or until still slightly soft on top.  If you prefer crispy cookies, bake for 16 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and flip upside-down on a cool cookie sheet or flat work surface.  With the bottom of a shot glass or a small spoon, press a small circle into the bottom of each cookie.  Allow to cool completely.
  • When cool, fill 1 cookie impression with about a teaspoon of your favorite jam (mine was Blueberry Ginger Lime Jam) and use a second cookie to sandwich, repeating until all are done!

Store in an airtight container (preferably in the refrigerator) until ready to serve.  Alternatively, you can cut squares of dough, fill with jam, and make pocket cookies.  These will be a little softer and cake-like. 

Jam-filled sandwich cookies

Check Out the Other Creations From The Recipe Swappers!

  • CM is our Burwell General Store leader.  A food producer and writer, she’s based out of L.A. and has worked with the Food Network and Saveur, amongst many others.  Those are just my two favorites :)  Her site is, of course, divine.
  • Lindsay puts amazing honesty and simplicity written into her recipes. She loves Oregon, its ingredients and Portland’s lifestyle, and it shows.
  • Chef Dennis is veteran chef in his own right.  The rest of his fantastic food blog can be seen at morethanamountfull.
  • Mari lives in Oregon wine country and is a budding wine connoisseur.  Visit her at The Unexpected Harvest.
  • Boulder Locavore’s  starting point for the recipe swap is always a local-seasonal-organic combination, though her love of international cuisine and cocktails often work their way into the mix!
  • Joy, holding down a dairy-intolerant household, doesn’t let that restrict her love of flavors and food, in fact, it inspires her to do what she does. When you visit her blog, be sure to check out her “ubiquitous about page” and the balcony gardening category.
  • Monique has been food blogging since 2007, and her first recipe was a BLT-inspired chicken pot pie!
  • Shari is our first International participant!  Writing from down under, we cherish her voice in the swap because she brings the results of additional recipe challenges; the seasons are flipped from where most of us are blogging.
  • Jennifer‘s tag line says it all: Life is too short to eat bad food.  At her blog, Adventuresome Kitchen, you will find a passionate food-type, feeding her family amazing meals and living to blog about it.
  • The Cake Duchess.  The name says it all, and Lora’s recipes are rock solid, creative, decadent, inspiring.
  • Pola is a new blogger from Italy, transplanted to the cold Midwestern plains. After years of calling mom to check on cooking times and temperatures of family Italian recipes, she started writing them down. In the process, she is hoping to help new friends discover how to cook simple and authentic Italian food.
  • Jamie blogs at Random Acts of Food and has a love for food that only an Italian could! She enjoys cooking and baking in all cuisines for her family and friends.
  • Crissy and Lauren are two recent college graduates who are embracing their passion for all things culinary in the smallest yellow kitchen that ever was.  Their balanced diet of equal parts savory and sweet helps them add a little zest to what they do best!
  • Claire blogs with Texas pride from Dallas. She loves chicken fingers, Law and Order SVU and is left handed.
  • Nay blogs about food at Spicy Living from Portland, Oregon, and joined in on the Lemon Cake swap.  She incorporated lavender and lemon into cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
  • Cindy, food lover, all-around awesome person and her knowledge about US restaurants is almost encyclopedic. Check out her quirky and fun blog.
  • Sabrina Modelle blogs at The Tomato Tart from the San Francisco bay area, and for her first swap (the Lemon Cake) she made a Brown Sugar Lemon Rosemary Cake with Rosemary Caramel.
  • Nicolle writes the joyful Rhythm of the Seasons from Boulder, Colorado and is looking forward to offering more recipes and menus as the spring, summer and harvest seasons heat up.
  • Linda is a saucy Texan with an encyclopedic knowledge of food. She’s published many cookbooks, won many awards, and has been the source of many belly laughs. When she’s not writing books, her latest creations can be found at Everybody Eats News.
  • Tricia is the founder of Pietopia, an annual pie contest that asks “What does your life taste like, in a pie?” and her beautiful work as an eating designer and blogger can be found at Eating Is Art.
  • Jaclyn is a writer, baker, perpetual daydreamer and the author of the cooking and baking blog Food+Words. She has a degree in Creative Writing and is currently studying Baking and Pastry at Le Cordon Bleu. Jaclyn has a panchant for baking, laughter, a nice glass of Riesling and anything lemony.
  • Merry-Jennifer is a physician, a writer, a wife, a mother of two, and the author of the food blog The Merry Gourmet. She focuses on family-friendly original and adapted recipes – with an occasional cocktail recipe thrown in for balance.
  • Alli has a master’s degree in Nutrition and blogs at An Open Cookbook from Seattle, Washington. We met recently at BlogHer Food in Atlanta, and immediately hit it off. A warm welcome to her!
  • Rachel Saunders is the owner of Blue Chair Fruit and author of The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook. She produces all of her jams and teaches classes from her space in Oakland, California.

Blueberry Ginger Lime Jam and Smoky Blueberry Sauce with the cookies

Nutritional breakdown from Cook, Eat, Share

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Filed under Burwell General Store Swap, Cookies, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Recipes

Bourbon Molasses Apple Pie (with candied bacon)

Bourbon Molasses Apple Pie with candied bacon

The problem with living in the best city in the world is that you can plan a refined night for you and your significant other of theatre and a late supper at a French restaurant, and then end up going to the theatre, then a rock club, then a blues club, then an Eastern European dive bar until the wee hours of morning, all the while proclaiming “we live in the best city in the world!”

Naturally, sleeping in the following morning was required.  And then the long subway ride home had me maneuvering construction-ed lines, packed by panicked tourists who ripped the bag of groceries I had been schlepping for far too many transfers.

But at least I was going home to PIE.  Apple pie, with molasses and bourbon and a bit of candied bacon on top.  As I was groggily hitting the elevator button, the boyfriend remarked that I had yet to bake him a pie.  As fellow dusty bakers can understand, this was less of a histrionically domestic complaint and more a phrase of endearment that had me humming on my way to the grocery.   My day had taken a turn to the apple world.  It’s a sweet world.

This is the third version of this recipe, lovingly entitled “Punch Yo Mama Kentucky Apple Pie”.  From my time on the border of Kentucky, I learned that those people do well with delicious food and honor their bourbon.

In the last two test versions the molasses flavor held its own but there was virtually no bourbon flavor.  So instead of heating the bourbon and molasses to make a glaze (which I found killed the taste of the alcohol) I blended them at room temperature with a little tapioca starch to thicken the mixture.  I also included bourbon into the pie crust, finding that the flavor works well baked in flours.  Previously I candied thick-cut bacon with a molasses / brown sugar mixture and baked it into the pie – this time candied thinner bacon and sprinkled it on when serving to retain its crunch.

The result?  The bourbon flavor came though just enough that you’d notice but not be overwhelmed by it.  I had added no sugar to the apples, and they came out sweet and caramely, and the cinnamon gave them a bit of punch.  The crust was a bit too crumbly on day one, but definitely didn’t distract, and was soft and manageable on day two.  (For a flawless crust try my Perfect Gluten-Free Pie Crust) By far the apple/molasses/bourbon combination was killer!  And the bacon was so crunchy and sweet that the crusts don’t even need sugar.

Notes: You can use regular white flour in the crust, or experiment with gluten-free flour blends you like using. This crust was a bit crumbly – I’d stick to my easy gluten-free crust or Perfect Gluten-Free Pie Crust, including the bourbon instead of water as suggested below.  If going gluten-free, just make sure you have enough starch and xantham gum to pull the flour together.  You can also use butter-flavored Earth Balance and omit the egg to make this dairy-free and vegan.  I’m experimenting with sugars lately, and used just a tiny bit in this, but it really doesn’t matter what kind of sweetener you use.  Yes, the flavor will vary slightly, but that’s one of the beautiful things about pies: make a crust and fill it with fruit and chances are you’re going to be happy.

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 14 small apples, preferably of three varieties
  • 2 Tbsp. bourbon
  • 3 Tbsp. molasses
  • 2 tsp. starch (I used tapioca)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (preferably two different, pungent varieties – I used Indonesian and Chinese)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/2 tsp.

For the crust:

  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/2 cup sweet white sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 tsp. xantham gum
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. sweetener – I used sucanat, crushed cane sugar, because I accidentally picked it up instead of fructose, which I was going to try using.  I’m still working on which sweetener I like best for health / baking reasons.
  • 16 Tbsp. butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 Tbsp. bourbon
  • 4 Tbsp. ice cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten, for brushing on the top of the pie.  You can also use egg white, melted butter or water.

For the Bacon:

  • 5 slices of thin bacon
  • Your choice of sugar – brown sugar or sucanat will flavor best

Directions:

Prepare the Filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Peel, core and slice apples, and let them sit in a strainer.
  3. In a small bowl, mix molasses, bourbon and starch.  Blend with a fork.
  4. Separate the apples onto two cookie sheets with high rims.  Pour 1/2 of the molasses mixture on each sheet, and mix thoroughly with your hands until the apples are coated.
  5. Sprinkle with each tray with 1/2 of the cinnamon and nutmeg
  6. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until just soft while you prep the crust.

For the crust: I use a standing mixer with the paddle attachment.

  1. Place flours, starch, xantham gum, salt and sugar in the bowl and whisk together.
  2. Toss in butter and start to mix on low speed until the butter is cut in, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the bourbon one tablespoon at a time, and then the water, using only just enough for the dough to pull together.
  4. On a floured pastry board, roll half of the pastry into a disk to fit your pie plate.  I make sure to thoroughly turn and flip my dough so that it doesn’t stick, as gluten free dough can break easily.
  5. Fill the plate with apples, tapping down slightly.
  6. Roll out the top crust, close pie, seal the edges with a fork.
  7. Mix a teaspoon of water with a slightly beaten egg, brush the top of the pie, and sprinkle with sugar if desired (After sampling, the pie was sweet enough without the sugar and would have been prettier if I had omitted it).
  8. Bake for 45 minutes, covering the edges of the pie halfway through to prevent browning, or until top of pie is slightly browned and apples cooked through.

To candy the Bacon:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Fit roasting rack into a cookie sheet and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Place sugar of choice in a small bowl, and thoroughly coat bacon with sugar.
  4. Place on cooking rack and sprinkle more sugar on top of each slice.
  5. Cook for five minutes and, if desired, turn bacon and sprinkle with more sugar.
  6. Cook for five more minutes, remove from oven and remove bacon to a plate to cool completely before chopping into small bits.
  7. Sprinkle on top slices of pie for serving.

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Filed under Dessert, Gluten and Dairy Free, Gluten-Free, Pies!, Recipes

Fall Apple Pie

Molasses Apple Pie

October conjures up images of pumpkins, falling leaves and little children running around in costumes.   It’s also the time for the inevitable transition from salads to soups, the pulling of comforters from storage, and for grabbing the hiking boots and tromping through orchards.  And when one can’t get away from the urban jungle to feel the sensation of grabbing a perfectly ripe apple off a tree, you can thank the rising trend of artesinal apples for the variety that can be found at local farmer’s markets and specialty food stores.

I have no magical combination that I use in my apple pies.  Over the years I’ve explored the most local kinds for wherever I happen to be, and generally follow a combination of a 3-apple blend of sweet, tart and complex.  Granny Smith and Golden Delicious are staples, depending on how delicious the particular bunch is.  I also am a huge fan of Macoun, Northern Spy, Braeburn and Mutsu.  I’m even a bigger fan of dozens of varieties I can’t recall, because they just tasted so good when I took that first bite.

The best pies start with a little voodoo: enjoy the magic that is touching, smelling, tasting, and conjuring up ideas of how a combination will taste when baked into a crumbly crust.

I par-bake the apples together while making the crust.  This helps the spices infuse more thoroughly and then you don’t have to bake the crust so long, so it can be flakier and softer than ever.

This crust recipe utilizes a unique blend of gluten-free flours – sweet rice, amaranth, quinoa and flaxseed.  I tried these together for both health and flavor reasons, and was more pleased with this result than any other combination I’ve recently tried.  The rice provides structure, the quinoa both protein and optimum digestibility, the amaranth sweetness and a slightly different texture, and the flax provide a nutty flavor and fiber.

I swirl a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses over the par-baked apples to provide even more depth and complexity – an experiment of old that sent me over the full moon!

Ingredients – Crust :

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/4 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 tsps xantham gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons date or palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 sticks unsalted organic butter, cubed small

Ingredients – Apples:

  • A blend of 3 apples, 4-5 each depending on size, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Saigon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg (preferably freshly ground)
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 farenheit
  2. Spread apples on 2 baking sheets, and sprinkle evenly with palm sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Bake apples for about 10 minutes in preheated oven, until just soft.  Remove to cool slightly.
  4. While apples are cooking, prepare the crust.  In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment place all crust ingredients, and use a fork or whisk to blend.
  5. Toss in butter.  Start mixing on low, then medium/low, until the crust just pulls together.  If too dry add ice-cold water, a tablespoon at a time and waiting until incorporated to continue adding.  Try not to overmix – make sure the butter is incorporated but don’t go beyond that.
  6. Roll or press half of the crust into a deep-dish pie plate.  Fill with all the apples, layering high.
  7. Drizzle entire tablespoon of blackstrap molasses on top.
  8. Roll out top crust, cover the apples, seal the edges and slice a few vents in the top.  If desired, use a pastry brush to brush with water or melted butter, and sprinkle with palm sugar.
  9. Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, being sure to cover the edges of the pie halfway through so they don’t brown.
  10. Cool before serving.

Notes: Gluten-free crusts can be hard to roll.  I suggest rolling on a floured piece of parchment or wax paper, flipping the dough after a few rolls, and then using the paper to flip into the plate. Luckily they’re sturdier than traditional crusts, so you can easily refrigerate and roll again.

The crust will crumble initially when cutting.  Refrigerating the pie, slicing and reheating works out best.  No matter how you slice it, it’s a delicious recipe.  The crust is both nutty and sweet, and the flavor of the apples both complex and comfortable.

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Filed under Dessert, Gluten-Free, Pies!, Recipes, Vegetarian