Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Cinnamon No-Rolls

Home with the kids this weekend, I found myself mourning the lack of oats.  I never remember to buy these kinds of things.  (That would be why I've been out of powdered sugar for a month.)

Six cans of fire roasted tomatoes?  Of course.  Seventeen thousand pounds of dried beans?  Shelved neatly in the freezer.  But, nooo, I can never remember things like powdered sugar. 

Or oats.

Darn oats.

But, when you think about it, it really isn't about the oats.  It's not about the apples, either.  

For me...

it is all about the cinnamon.

I adore cinnamon.  Vietnamese cinnamon, to be precise.  Don't have a favorite cinnamon?  For shame.  Go to Penzey's as soon as you can and smell the little jars.  You'll be able to pick a favorite.  (One of my friends is my Penzey's Partner - her favorite is korintje cinnamon - another good one and it's readily available.  I have a jar from the supermarket here in town.)

My nine year old's love of cinnamon pretty much only extends to cinnamon rolls.  Cinnamon rolls were my Everest for the longest time and I've finally found a recipe that we love.  That said - I may have a new favorite.

Gluten-Free dough is sticky, by nature.  It's workable, don't get me wrong, and when you adjust to wetting your hands and utilizing parchment or a silpat, it's much easier.  But, it's still a pain.  Heck, it was a pain to make regular cinnamon rolls.  It's a labor of love.  I'm willing to do it... twice a year.  But, it isn't something I really enjoy doing.  

I mean, how do you think Cinnabon got so popular?  Because a good cinnamon roll is rare enough.  But even if you have an amazing recipe, you still have to do all that work - in all those steps.  

So, I set out to eliminate some of that.  Udi's has a pretty good little product that they call a cinnamon roll, but the textures not quite right.  It's more of a cinnamon muffin.  And when you're all about the cinnamon, there's a significant lack of gooey, sweet, buttery cinnamon swirl.

Let's see if we can fix that!

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Cinnamon No-Rolls

Base layer
3 Cups Flour (as always, I use Pamela's
1 cup sugar
4 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt

1 1/2 cups unsweetened nondairy milk of your choice (we like Silk coconut milk)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable/canola oil
(you could technically use an equal amount of applesauce, but we're about to get butter loco)

Top layer:
1 cup of Earth Balance (or nondairy margarine or butter)
1 cup of brown sugar, packed
2TBSP flour
1 TBSP cinnamon

Optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans or a diced green apple 
(I added the latter since my daughter doesn't care for pecans.)

You can figure this part out, right?  Mix stuff until it's dough.  Awesome.  Good job.

Spread it in a 9x13.  You can use a spatula/spoonula or just moistened, clean hands.

Make the top layer by combining the earth balance, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Drop by spoonfuls on top of your base layer, or spread.  Whatever makes you happy.

With the side of a spatula or the back of a wooden spoon, swirl spirals into the dough to give it that cinnamon roll look.  (I mean, let's be honest, you don't have to.  It's going to taste just as good.)

It will look something like this (minus the green, if you don't have apples in yours.)

Yum, right?

Preheat the oven to 350° and bake for about 40 minutes.  It will puff all the way to the top of the pan, then fall a bit as it cools.  Don't sweat it.

You can top with a cream cheese frosting (nondairy for our crew) or an easy powdered sugar glaze (just thin out some powdered sugar with a few teaspoons of "milk" and drizzle over the top)

Sorry I had to zoom in on one swirl.  I swear it's not because the corner was missing at this point.

I also swear I didn't burn my fingers on hot sugar.  Or something.

With glaze added (honestly?  Unnecessary and a tad too sweet with glaze, for my liking.  But that gooey cinnamon butter stuff you see right there at the top?  Oh yeah. You need to taste that.)

Cinnabon, who?!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Apple Crisp For You & Me

A friend of mine posted recently that she was making an apple crisp.  I, of course, couldn't keep my big mouth shut and started yapping about how I had a great recipe.  there goes the diet

So, of course, I had to make one. Let's be reasonable here.  It's what a good friend would do.  The topic also led me to wax poetic about the joys of an apple peeler/corer/slicer.  Seriously, it's a gem of a gadget. But, you can absolutely peel and cut them to your heart's content.

8-9 apples
1/2 cup granulated sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup rolled oats*
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp good quality cinnamon (seriously, splurge on some vietnamese one day)
1/2 C Earth Balance (or butter)

*note: some oats can be cross contaminated with gluten.  If you are sensitive, definitely buy a designated Gluten Free rolled oat from a manufacturer like Bob's Red Mill

**all purpose flour for wheat-eaters

Peel and slice your apples.  The thinner you go, the better they cook.  Try to be even in your slicing.  
I only cook with granny smith, personally (some apples are for saucing, some are for eating, some are for baking, grannies are for baking).  Lay them out in a 9x13 (or dump 'em in and call it good).

Juice the lemon and pour over the top of your apples.

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup granulated sugar.

In another bowl, mix the oats, brown sugar, flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

Add the margarine/butter and mix quickly by hand or with a pastry cutter.  You will want a crumb texture where you can no longer see the white of the flour and no longer see the pats of butter.  

You can also do this in a cuisinart, on pulse.   

Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top.


Smells like fall.

Bake in a 375° oven for about a half hour, depending on how your apples were cut.

When it looks like this, it's finished.  See those toasty oats and crispy crumbly bits?  Yep.  We're there.

Apples are soft, but not mushy.  Crisp is crispy.  Corners are... wait... we need a better look:

Oh yeah.  That's the stuff. 

This counts as dinner, right?

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Ooey Gooey Jack Skellington Cookie Cake

This isn't really a recipe as much as a method of decoration, but I'm putting it up for a friend.

I've just discovered Earth Balance Baking Sticks.  They're as awesome as my favorite earth balance, but they have a lower melting point (or some other scientific semantics that I won't bore you with).  Bottom line is - they make DELICIOUS cookies.  And dream cheese frosting (I totally just made that up.  It's vegan, made with tofutti "cream cheese.")

My oldest turned 14 last week and is a lover of all things cookie cake.  She asks for one every year, and it's something I'm always happy to do. (hey, no rolling out fondant or icing two dozen cupcakes?  I'm down!)

I set out to find some way to decorate her cookie cake so that it felt - festive.  I considered stacking, layering, icing in between, cookie sandwiches, decorating on top, you name it.  Ultimately, I decided to "decorate" with nondairy chocolate chips.

I made a double batch of my favorite cookie dough, sans chips.  Spread about a quarter of the batter into an 8" cake pan.  (It helps to have oiled or moistened hands, as is usually the case with gluten free batters/doughs)  Smooth it out.  Then press the chips in however your heart desires.  My heart desired Jack Skellington.  (the mouth got a little distorted as it rose in the pan, so you might want to not get so close to the edge).

The result?  Outstandingly delicious, ooey, gooey, soft, delicious mall-quality cookies.  I'm not kidding.  And not a bit of dairy or gluten.  You would never have known!

Ooey Gooey Cookie Cake

3 sticks Earth Balance Baking Sticks
1/4 cup Earth Balance 
(or four sticks of butter if you can do dairy)
4 eggs
1.5 cups brown sugar
1.5 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
(or all purpose flour for you wheat-eaters)

2 bags of chocolate chips (whatever brand you like - we are using the Trader Joe's brand here)

Cream together the "butters" and the sugars.

Add eggs and vanilla.

Mix the dry ingredients, then add gradually until incorporated.

Remove 1/4 of the dough and press into an 8" cake pan 
(I used disposable here - oooh - livin' on the edge!) 

Press chocolate chips into the dough however you'd like.

Divide the rest of the dough into three more baking pans.  

Alternately, you can use a larger pan (like a 9X13) for the rest.  
I did three pans total and a sheet of cookie dough balls, which I froze to bake later on.  
The kids had them last night after dinner and they worked perfectly.

Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.  They will NOT look done when you take them out, but trust me.  
They'll be perfect once they cool.