Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Cookies

These gluten free double chocolate cookies are to die for. They are so rich and are the perfect treat for any chocolate lover. This recipe might seem tricky because of the double boiler but it's easy and fast once you get the hang of it. I just set a metal bowl over a medium pot with less than an inch of simmering water in it (the bowl should be heated by the steam and not touch the simmering water). I hold the bowl with an oven mitt while I mix to protect my skin from heat and steam. If you aren't gluten intolerant feel free to use all purpose flour instead of the Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free mix.  Add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper for a Mexican chocolate vibe. Enjoy!
Gluten Free Double Chocolate Cookies
(Adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)
3 Tablespoons salted butter
16 ounces bittersweet chocolate roughly chopped and divided
2 large eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark), packed
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a double boiler (metal or glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water), melt half of the chocolate along with all of the butter. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool a bit.

In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar together then add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until fluffy and lightened in color. Temper the melted chocolate mixture into the wet ingredients stirring vigorously so the heat doesn't cook the eggs. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. The batter will be thick. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate (i.e. chocolate chips).Toasted nuts and dried fruit are nice optional ingredients in this recipe as well.

Portion out dough onto well greased, silt pat or parchment lined baking sheets leaving at least 2 inches between each for spreading (Tip: Use wet hands to shape the cookies). Bake for 10-14 minutes until glossy and beginning to crack. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet until slightly firmed and then move to a wire rack to cool.

Cornmeal Olive Oil Biscotti with Dates and Walnuts

These biscotti are unique, delicious and healthy. They're an excellent alternative to the floury, bland, mass-produced biscotti that have caused so many people to think they don't enjoy this Italian delicacy. The base recipe can accept any fruit/nut/etc. combination you can dream of, so have fun playing with the possibilities. Cranberry and white chocolate? Currants and pecans? Substitue orange zest and juice for the lemon? You decide!
Cornmeal Olive Oil Biscotti with Dates and Walnuts
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (or other nut)
2/3 cup chopped pitted dates (or other dried fruit)

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Whisk the flour, cornmeal, and baking powder together and set aside. Beat the olive oil and sugar until smooth, frothy and lightened in color. Beat in the salt, pepper, eggs, lemon zest and juice. Stir in the dry ingredients in and then add the chopped nuts and fruit.  

Using wet hands, shape into a long rectangle 12 inches long and 3 inches thick (you can make it shorter and thicker if you wish).  Cook for 20-25 minutes but check after 15 to gauge doneness. 

Remove from the oven and lower the temp to 325F. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Lightly pat with wet hands to moisten the outer shell a bit and place on a cutting board. Carefully slice the log into 1/2 inch biscotti, laying each flat on it’s side back in the pan. I used a chef's knife with good results but you may also try a serrated blade. Cook for another 25 (+ or -) minutes flipping each biscotti at the halfway point to ensure even browning.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes or so before transferring to a rack to finish cooling. 

Flourless Chocolate Cake

This is a super-rich, elegant, death-by-chocolate style cake. When baked in an 8 inch pan it comes out very thin, under 1/2 inch thick, but it's so rich you won't miss the height. Top it with very lightly sweetened, fresh whipped cream and raspberries to temper the richness. Yum!
Flourless Chocolate Cake
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate 
1 stick salted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder optional
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for dusting
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar for dusting
*Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for serving

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line an 8-inch round baking pan with foil and butter well. Chop the chocolate coarsely. In a double boiler (or metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water) melt the chocolate with the butter stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature  Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl then add them to the cooled chocolate while stirring vigorously so they won't cook. Sift the cocoa powder over the batter and stir until combined. 

Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake in middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes until top has formed a thin crust and the center is just set. Cool the cake in it's pan on a rack for 10 minutes and then invert onto your serving plate. Dust the cake with additional cocoa powder and/or powdered sugar. Serve at any temperature with ice cream or whipped cream!

Endive with Goat Cheese Citrus and Walnuts

This elegant appetizer is both rich and light at the same time. It's also a show stopper while still being easy enough to make ahead. Just remember to wait until the last minute to drizzle on the balsamic reduction. 

Endive with Goat Cheese, Citrus and Walnuts
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons honey, divided
cooking spray
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
16-20 endive leaves (about 5-8 heads depending on their size)
Goat cheese 
16-20 orange sections (about 2 large oranges. Blood or Cara Cara varieties add nice color)
1 Tablespoon or so fresh chives, snipped or minced
fresh black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Toss walnuts with 1 tablespoon honey. Spread on a baking sheet coated liberally with olive oil and bake for about 10 minutes. Check and stir after 5 minutes as they can burn quickly. 

Combine honey, vinegar and orange juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and stir until reduced to about 3 tablespoons. 

Top each endive leaf with an orange section, about a teaspoon of crumbled goat cheese (or bleu cheese) and a teaspoon or so of candied walnuts. Arrange on a plate and then drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with chives and freshly cracked pepper before serving.