Monday, October 21

Gluten-Free Goodies That Actually Taste Good

I'm incredibly fortunate that I don't have any gluten allergies, because my friends that are often seem to be very limited in their dining options. What's more, most gluten-free offerings I've tried are bland and not too filling. That all changes with the Barrios' family's book of recipes that they were kind enough to send me: SPOOKtacular, Gluten-Free Halloween Desserts.

While I do enjoy dabbling in the occasional baking endeavor, so much of my success is dependent on following a recipe to a tee. With the full-color pictures and step-by-step instructions, I won't mess things up and burn my desserts. Which is a relief, because burnt anything is bad, but burnt desserts are THE WORST.

You can make some fun treats this Halloween, too. Here's an excerpt recipe for "Wicked Witches" cupcakes:

WICKED WITCHES (8 – 12 cupcakes)

Wicked Witch is our theme for these cupcakes, which we deck out in three distinct forms: the witch’s legs, her hat, and her broom.

1 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup raw coconut oil or softened butter
½ cup raw sugar (coconut or demerara sugar)
2 table spoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs or 3 medium eggs
1 ½  cups raw, grated fresh carrots
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
(for decoration)
Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)
Grass (see page xx)
thin-bladed knife
For fondant other materials needed, see each set of decorating instructions.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Line a muffin pan with paper cupcake cases.
Sieve the flours, baking soda, salt, and spices into a bowl; mix; and set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat the oil or butter, sweeteners, lemon juice, orange juice, and vanilla until the mixture is light and creamy.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in batches, alternating with the eggs.
Stir in the carrots and nuts. Mix well.
Pour the batter into the cupcake cases, filling each ¾ full.
Bake 15 – 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup butter, softened (1/2 stick)
6 ounces (170 grams) cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until the mixture is silky. Add the sugar and vanilla, and continue beating. Don’t stop until frosting is perfectly smooth.

To Decorate
Once the cupcakes are cool, frost them. The decorating instructions below cover 4 cupcakes for each of the variations, but if you make your cupcakes big, you may have only 8 to decorate. Then you’ll have to decide.

For the Witches’ Brooms, you need to assemble these materials:
2 ounces (60 grams) brown fondant
4 ounces (120 grams) orange fondant
4 lollipop sticks

Begin making the brooms by dividing the brown fondant into 4 pieces with a little left over. Roll and smooth one of these pieces of brown fondant around a lollipop stick. Divide the orange fondant into four pieces, roll one of them out in a thin rectangle. With a knife, cut strips to about a ½ inch from the edge of the rectangle.

Wrap the orange fondant “brush” around the covered stick and—like magic!—it’s a broom. Wrap a little strip of brown fondant around the base of the broom for detail.

For the Witches’ Hats, you will need to have on hand
5 ounces (150 grams) black fondant
2 ounces (60 grams) orange fondant

Divide the black fondant into 6 pieces, and then shape one of these into a circle and another into a cone. Cut the cone in half and place at the center of the circle. Fold the circle in half. Use the marzipan to add a band around the base of the hat.

Keep a few strips of the orange fondant you used for the broom. Use these on the cupcake as the witches’ hair.

For the Witches’ Legs, to decorate 4 cupcakes, you will need
8 lollipop sticks
2 ounces (60 grams) orange fondant
2 ounces (60 grams) purple fondant
4 ounces (120 grams) black fondant
purple sugar glitter

Roll two long, thin strips in two different colors. If you like, you can add sugar glitter for extra magic.

Wrap the strips tightly around the lollipop sticks. Now you’ve got the legs in their stockings.

Shape the boots with black fondant and put them on the ends of the 4 sticks. Wet the boots a little and sprinkle on the glitter for some added va va voom

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