Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apple Amber Bars - gluten free

Gina had a heritage project at school and part of the project was to bring in food for a heritage lunch. She was studying Ireland and Scotland, and she wanted me to make a dessert. I went over lots of different kinds of desserts and we finally settled on Apple Amber Pie, an Irish dessert. Apples are very common in Irish desserts as it is one of the few fruits that grows well there. I think Gina was taken by the meringue topping since she is usually not fond of apple desserts. The lunch got changed to bringing only finger foods which made a pie more difficult, plus one of her classmates can't have gluten. So I modified the recipe to have a bar type cookie with a gluten free crust. For the crust, I used a recipe that was for lemon bars though I decreased the amount of rice flour and added almond meal. The recipe said it was for a 9x13 in pan though the amount of dough seemed more appropriate for an 8x8 pan. I ended up using a 9x11 in pan instead which still made a very thin crust and very buttery. Next time I may try using a full cup of rice flour and 3/4 cup almond meal. These bars were very good, even my husband who never likes apple desserts liked it.

1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter

Mix dry ingredients and then cut in butter until crumbly. Press into pan lined with parchment (I usually have the parchment overhanging the sides of the pan. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes or until light brown.

4 apples, peeled and grated
2 Tbsp water
Lemon juice from one lemon
3 eggs, separated
4 oz sugar
1/2 tsp cinammon

Heat the 2 Tbsp of water until steaming then stir in the grated apple. Cook until apple is soft and somewhat like applesauce but still a little chunky. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, 3 oz of sugar and cinnamon. Lightly beat 3 egg yolks then stir into apple mixture. Spread over baked crust and bake at 350 for 18 minutes. Beat egg whites until frothy and then gradually add remaining sugar and beat until stiff. Spread on top of cooked filling and then bake another 8 minutes or so, until top is light brown.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lemon Bars

I had a hard time deciding what to make for dessert for Christmas dinner this year. I had lots of idea but I quickly started running out of time at Christmas approached. In the past I have made tarts, Buche de Noel, cakes etc. I had bought some Meyer lemons that I really needed to use so I finally settled on lemon bars as something I could put together easily but would also taste really good.

I used a recipe from alpineberry but I also included a half cup of creme fraiche to mimic a French lemon tart that is also very good. I cut them up into small squares and arranged them on a fancy plate. Along with a plate of gingerbread cookies, they disappeared. I was just going back to take a picture of the last two when I realized that they were all gone! Or almost all gone. Gina hadn't quite finished the last one.

Lemon Bars
(makes one 8-inch square pan)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/8 tsp salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 large eggs
1 cup superfine or bakers' sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.

To make crust:
Combine flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the mixture is pebbly. Press evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake until lightly golden, about 18-20 minutes. Set aside crust.

To make filling:
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in lemon zest, juice and creme fraiche until well combined. Pour over crust (it's okay if crust is still hot). Bake until filling is just set, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

A few days after I sent off the Maple Pecan Cookies, I received a package in the mail from Jenny in Newport, Kentucky (the same person who received my cookies). Inside was a pretty tin filled with Kentucky Bourbon Balls. The smell of bourbon was pretty strong on opening the box, and boy were they good. They are definitely a good cookie to send by mail.

Included in the cookie exchange was also a haiku:
Bourbon Balls yummy
Yummy in my tummy tum
Next year maybe rum?

I may have to make a batch with rum myself.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Cookies

Growing up, I would make 8 to 10 different kinds of cookies over a weekend with my grandmother. Over time, it evolved into me making the cookies for her, to be given away to all her friends. Now I don't seem to find the time to make all the different kinds of cookies. This year, I had a cookie exchange to attend and a cookie exchange by mail so I found a recipe that sounded good and made a lot of cookies. I made Glazed Maple Pecan Cookies from the blog Under the High Chair. The dough was easy to put together, formed into logs, and then refrigerated overnight. Then it was just a matter of slicing and baking. The glaze consisted of maple syrup and powdered sugar. For the first batch, I followed the proportions and it came out really thick, more like frosting and it was hard to glaze the cookies. The second time I made the glaze, I started with 1/4 cup syrup and 1/2 cup sugar and then slowly added more sugar to make a glaze. I loved the combination of maple and pecan though the maple flavor was more subtle since I omitted the maple flavoring and my family devoured the ones that were left after the two cookie exchanges. I guess I will have to make more.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lemon Torte

I know I have been ignoring this blog for quite awhile. I have pictures, I have recipes, but I've just been either very busy and then very lazy to deal with this blog. I will try to catch up over the next month.

I love lemon desserts, I even have a cookbook devoted entirely to lemon desserts though I don't think I have made anything from that particular cookbook. A week ago, friend dropped off some Meyer lemons and I have been trying to decide what to make with them ever since. Something simple but also a recipe that uses a lot of lemon juice. Yesterday I came across this recipe for Lemon Torte on the Baking Bites blog. It is a simple one layer cake that includes ground almonds and then it is topped with a powdered sugar glaze while still warm. I've had a stick of butter sitting out so I was ready to go.

The butter and sugar are creamed together first until fluffy. I was a tablespoon short of butter so I added in a tablespoon of olive oil. I've made this a second time and added 2 Tbsp of olive oil and 6 Tbsp of butter. After the addition of 3 eggs and 1 Tbsp of lemon zest, flour and ground almonds are added, alternating with lemon juice (1/2 cup total). Then it is baked in a springform pan. The powdered sugar and lemon juice glaze is poured on top when the cake is still warm. Removing the sides after adding the glaze allows it to run down the sides.

This cake was very easy to make with a standing mixer though a hand mixer would work just as well. The cake is very moist and full of lemon flavor. I don't know if the addition of olive oil made any difference. I've seen several recipes for orange olive oil cakes which sounds intriguing and so I may play around with this recipe.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Blogging by Mail: Package has arrived

My Blogging by Mail package arrived a couple of days ago, all the way from Australia. It was sent by Silver from Dragon Musings, another mom with three young kids. All three of my kids were quite excited to see what was in the package especially since the box was decorated with Winnie the Pooh.

Inside the box were
-Tim Tam biscuits, an Australian cookie that I had heard about but never tried. These particular ones are pink inside and only are sold in October.
-A large bag of Mixed Berry Brownies. Even though they had traveled for 10 days, they were still very good, brownies definitely travel well.
-A bar of Mixed Berry Chocolate and the recipe for the brownies so that I can make them myself
-A package of Cadbury chocolates with Australian animals on each wrapper for the kids (Gina loved the picture of the Tasmanian Devil, though she keeps calling it a bear)
-A diary for 2009 (this will definitely get a lot of use)
-A recipe magazine. I love cooking magazines and can't wait to read this one.
-A can of Spam. She had read on my blog that I had never tried Spam so now is my chance.

Thanks again to Silver. I really enjoyed getting this package and I'll be checking out your blog whenever I get a chance.

My package was sent to Fran at apple, peaches, pumpkin pie.

A big thank you to Stephanie from Dispensing Happiness for organizing this. It was a lot of work with 117 participants.

Baking GALS: Cookies in the mail

A while back I came across this group called Baking GALS. It is a group of bloggers who organize bakers to send goodies to soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afganistan. Each group sends to one specific soldier who then shares all the treats with his buddies.

This afternoon I made Blondies with Andrew's help. The recipe is from Cooks Illustrated and it is very easy. I had grand plans to make another kind of cookie but that never happened. I did buy lots of other stuff to fill the box and the kids donated their Halloween candy.

In addition to the Blondies pictured below, I also am sending several packs of gum, two bags of peanuts, two packs of dried mango from Trader Joe's, two boxes of granola bars, lots of Halloween candy and today's Sunday edition of the San Jose Mercury News. The box goes in the mail tomorrow.