Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Toblerone Brownie - gluten free


Toblerone is one of those chocolate bars which seems to have been around forever and by its packaging (and probably its taste) is totally recognisable, even with your eyes closed and your hands tied behind your back. Distinguishable by its characteristic triangular shape, it was first created in 1908 by Theodor Tobler in Switzerland, which makes it older than me..... and even my Mum!

Its unique flavour also stands out against other chocolate bars too. A blend of chocolate, honey and almond nougat, it has that wonderful rich, creamy, melty followed by crunchy, chewy, slightly nutty experience, that is unforgettable when you eat it. Nothing else quite compares.


The experience of buying Toblerone has (for me) become particularly ubiquitous with Duty Free shops, where you not only get the common varieties of milk and white chocolate, but also the slightly less common dark chocolate and positively rare fruit and nut and honeycomb crisp bars. I have even managed to find an especially delicious, blue boxed crunchy almond version made with salted caramelised almonds..... divine! Always..... always..... I make sure I get Toblerone at airports and other duty free outlets..... big bars.........

If like me, you love Toblerone, then you will definitely, absolutely LOVE this brownie. It is packed full of the stuff...... dark, milk and white.


I made two different versions before I was totally happy with the recipe..... Or was that just an excuse to consume more Toblerone? Either way, this version is firm, but fudgy. Made with melted dark Toblerone and an extra portion of ground almonds, the slightly granular crunchiness of the nuts is beautifully enhanced and the creamy, honey sweetness synonymous with Toblerone still shines through. As you bite into the dense, chocolatey blocks of decadence, an extra treat awaits your tastebuds from the chunks of milk and white Toblerone hidden within. Simply delicious.

Amazingly, this Brownie may be rich, but it is not excessively sweet..... I used brown sugar for a more caramelly slice, but cut down the quantity slightly (and also deliberately used dark chocolate) to avoid any over-sugariness.


In honour of this most special and enduring of chocolate bars, I have even cut my portions into triangles.....

Although I love Toblerone and have filled this brownie with its melted delightfulness, I know that it is not always easy to get hold of some varieties (including dark). If you can't find it where you are, hunt down an equivalent to use..... Look for 'Swiss Mountain' bars which contain nougat. In the UK, M&S has a dark bar which is easy to get hold of and makes a good substitute.


I am sending a few triangles out to the following foodie challenges to share this month :

We Should Cocoa with Recipe for Perfection (guest hosting for Choclette at the Chocolate Log Blog this month). February's theme has been a very welcome Brownies (not that we need any excuse to indulge in the compact dark stuff).


Love Cake with Ness at Jibber Jabber who's theme is 'for the love of cake' (and in my case, for the love of Toblerone too).


Cook, Blog Share with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes. Lucy has had a bit of a time of it recently.... I think this Brownie would be a perfect, indulgent 'feel better' treat!


Recipe of the Week with Emily at A Mummy Too.





Toblerone Brownie 

Ingredients

65g plain gluten free flour mix
10g tablespoon cocoa powder
100g ground almonds
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
pinch fine sea salt
200g dark chocolate Toblerone (or equivalent) - chopped into pieces
100g unsalted butter
130g soft light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
80g milk and/or white Toblerone cut into chunks

Method

  1. Base line a 20 cm (8 inch) square baking tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  2. Weigh and mix together the flour, cocoa, almonds, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a glass, heat-proof bowl melt the butter with the dark Toblerone either in the microwave (medium heat, 30 second bursts, stirring frequently) or stirring over a small saucepan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended (but not thick).
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mix and then add the chocolate mix. Beat with a spoon until well-combined and smooth.
  6. Fold in the chopped milk/white Toblerone.
  7. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and smooth the top.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is firming up and a knife inserted into the centre comes out reasonably clean (a few sticky crumbs are fine).
  9. Remove from the oven and cool completely in the tin. Refrigerate for about an hour before cutting into slices.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Instant Fruit & Nut Porridge Pots - gluten free


I am afraid I have come late into the 2015 health-kick! January, it turned out was not a good time to ditch indulgence, but with the start of Lent I have made a decision to cut out a few things (crisps at the office desk have been a particular downfall of mine in the last couple of months) and to try and avoid any snacking between meals as well.

In an attempt to keep the wolf from the door, I have been trying to make breakfast as appealing as possible. I have never been good at breakfast..... I think because I see it as an interruption to the possibility of an extra half hour's sleep (of which I need lots).


So in my head, breakfast should be quick, convenient and something I can eat at home, in the car or in the office dependent on time available in the morning (and at what point my body suddenly tells me it has to be given sustenance).

In the last couple of years there has been a proliferation of commercially available instant porridge pots and sachets. The convenience of wholesome, filling breakfast porridge which can be prepared and ready in a couple of minutes by microwave (now found in many office kitchens) is very alluring. But what makes it so instant?


It's no big trick and nothing very complicated. It is a simple matter of balancing rolled oats with oat flour, making them apparently speedier to cook and also much creamier. And here's the good news...... you can make them at home to your own specification....... lacing with your own favourite spices and adding delicious fruit and nuts as you fancy. If you are gluten free, just make sure you use certified GF oats to avoid any cross-contamination.


This is my version! Instant Fruit and Nut Porridge Pots which combine a carefully considered ratio of porridge with my favourite dried fruits and nuts, balanced with brown sugar and cinnamon for a healthy, sustaining, incredibly tempting breakfast treat.

This recipe uses freeze-dried strawberries and dried blueberries (I used Crazy Jack) for a good fruity punch...... with a blending portion of rich ground hazelnuts and a crunchy couple of spoonfuls of chopped green pistachio nuts. The flavours and textures in this morning bowlful are like no porridge I have had before....... And that is a good thing! This is a a bowl which excites the tastebuds......... It makes getting out of bed something to look forward to.......


You could just mix the porridge portion in a bag and it would taste just as good, but I have layered mine......... it looks so much prettier! Presented in small glass jars, it makes for lovely little gifts if there is someone you want to cheer up, or to give to those early birds in the office as a little rewarding treat........... the experience of eating the contents is guaranteed to make them feel valued and to put a smile on any face.


Although I have used strawberries, blueberries, hazelnuts and pistachios, there are no limits to the combination of ingredients you could choose, providing the fruit is dried, to ensure portability. This is the opportunity to use the fruit and nuts you like.

I am sharing these home-made porridge pots with the following challenges this month :


Credit Crunch Munch with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary (guest-hosting in February on behalf of Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All). The bonus of making these porridge pots at home saves a considerable amount on cost compared to shop-bought versions, as well as allowing you to use your favourite additions.


The Spice Trail challenge - hosted by Vanesther at Bangers & Mash. This month it celebrates 'temple food'. Porridge has always been a healthy breakfast option, but with fruit, nuts and cinnamon it is not only delicious, but very nutritious and ensures you are kept full and alert until lunch time.


Cook, Blog, Share with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.


Recipe of the Week with Emily at A Mummy Too.


Tasty Tuesdays with Honest Mum.



Instant Fruit & Nut Porridge Pots

Ingredients - For Each Pot

18g gluten free oats
7g GF oat flour (just whizz some oats in the blender/grinder until they are powder)
3 teaspoons rough chopped freeze-dried strawberries or raspberries
1 heaped teaspoon dried blueberries
2 teaspoons chopped pistachio nuts
2 to 3 teaspoons brown cinnamon sugar (make by adding a little ground cinnamon to soft light brown sugar)
1 heaped teaspoon ground hazelnuts

Method

  1. Mix the oats with the oat flour in a small bowl.
  2. Prepare your jars or pots (with airtight lids) ready for mixing or layering and lay out your ingredients in small bowls ready to divide into portion-pots.
  3. Spoon your ingredients into your jars/pots in the ratios as above. Feel free to vary your fruit and nuts as you prefer. To make mine as pretty as possible I layered in the following order (from bottom to top) : half the oat mix; strawberry; blueberry; pistachio; sugar; hazelnuts; rest of the oats.
  4. Seal the jar/ pot with a lid. 
  5. To Prepare : Tip the porridge mix into a serving bowl and stir. 
  6. Add 140 ml milk and microwave on high for 1½ to 2 minutes. If you prefer your porridge a little less thick, just add a little extra milk)
  7. Enjoy!
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Vanilla Buttermilk Pancakes - gluten free with Berries and Freshly-Made Chocolate Sauce


These pancakes are GOOD! Really really good. Not only are they gluten free, but they are light, fluffy and perfectly laced with rich vanilla.

I would thoroughly recommend that you take the opportunity to whip up a batch...... With Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) coming up this week, you need no additional excuse to indulge in a pile......

Made with a base of buttermilk, these pancakes are soft, vanillary and perfectly spongy. Slightly sweet, they can be scoffed for breakfast, dessert, or just because......... Although perfect with fresh fruit and drizzled with a little Maple Syrup, if you want to really hit the dizzy heights of decadence, melt some chocolate together with milk for an amazing chocolate hit in the form of a drizzle of speedy, home-made chocolate sauce.


Whenever I make chocolate sauce, I always wonder why people buy the stuff? It is so incredibly quick to make and tastes way better than anything you buy in a bottle. Deep, dark and almost sinful, it contrasts beautifully with the vanilla in the pancakes and fruitiness of the berries.....

These pancakes (according to my pre-GF memory) are equally as good as any glutenous version and worth every ounce of effort it takes to make them. Actually they are pretty straight forward, but I haven't made the American-style pancakes for a very long time and it did take me a good few tries before I worked out how to get a reasonable shape and also to flip them without getting the top batter stuck on the spatula. The trick (as I eventually remembered), is to wait until the bubbles in the batter rise to the surface and pop, before trying to turn them.


It is equally important to let the batter stand for 5 to 10 minutes before cooking the pancakes...... The wonderful thing about baking powder is that it goes through two triggers to activation..... First when it gets wet and then when it gets hot...... Letting the batter stand allows your pancakes extra rise and fluffiness!

In testimony to their deliciousness, my daughter has managed to scoff at least five of these today (One batch of batter makes a lot of pancakes for a small family, but they keep for a little while in the fridge and freeze well, so zap them in the microwave when you are ready for another portion).

To be honest, these pancakes should absolutely not be reserved for Pancake Day alone....... they are way too moreish and I am absolutely certain that we will be having them again very soon in this house.....


I am sending a pile of pancakes to a few challenges this month :


Alphabakes with Caroline Makes and The More Than Occasional Baker which has the letter V for us to be inspired by this month. These pancakes are flavoured with the exotic richness of the Vanilla bean.


Family Foodies with Vanesther at Bangers & Mash and Lou at Eat Your Veg who are celebrating February with a Pancake Party


Cook, Blog, Share with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes


#FoodYearLinkup with My Recipe Book - Celebrating Shrove Tuesday


Tasty Tuesdays with Honest Mum - My first time joining in!


Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too



Vanilla Buttermilk Pancakes (Makes 15 to 18 pancakes)

Ingredients

100g white rice flour
50g potato starch flour
30g sorghum flour
30g tapioca flour
30g soft light brown sugar
2 teaspoons GF baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
pinch fine sea salt
2 large eggs
570 ml buttermilk (I used 2 x 284 ml pots)
55g unsalted butter - melted
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Chocolate Sauce
115g dark chocolate - cut into pieces
60 ml milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

berries or other fruit to serve

Method

  1. Weigh and mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum and salt, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla bean paste until light and airy.
  3. Add and beat in the flour mix until you have a smooth thick batter.
  4. Set aside and leave to stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile place the chocolate and milk into a small glass bowl and gently heat in the microwave (medium setting for 20 second bursts, stirring between each) or place in a small non-stick pan over a low heat, stirring very frequently until fully melted and combined.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  7. Heat a griddle or flat bottomed skillet until medium-hot and very lightly grease the base (I carefully wipe the base with a little vegetable oil on a piece of kitchen roll).
  8. Drop a spoonful of batter onto the pan and gently spread into a pancake shape about 10 cm/4 inches in diameter.
  9. When bubbles surface and pop at the top of the pancake, use a spatula to carefully turn it over and cook the other side. Both sides should be golden brown.
  10. Set aside in a pile (place in the oven on low heat to keep warm until ready to eat).
  11. Serve with fresh fruit and drizzled fresh chocolate sauce.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Raspberry-Lemon Drizzle Trifle - gluten free & perfect for Valentines


Trifles are a perfect dessert for Valentines sharing. Even better, they can be thrown together in an instant, providing you have to hand some left-over cake, a pot of custard, a glug of spirit, a bit of fruit and a splash of cream. With very little effort you have a sophisticated pud that gives the impression of hours spent in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove.

This particular trifle came out of a need to use up some cake that was stashed in the freezer. You may remember a while back, I made some amazing Raspberry-Lemon Drizzle Cake for a leaving do at work. The cake was made with freeze-dried raspberry and coloured pink in theme with the leaving do which aimed to raise money for Breast Cancer Care. In an effort to make the cake just right, I made more than one of them and ended up with a bit of a glut, which I froze.


The other day, I found the said cake hiding in a freezer drawer and decided it was time to get creative.

There were also some raspberries left over from a birthday cake that I made (to be posted soon), so figured a trifle was my best option.

Being Valentines this week, it seemed only right that I should make diddy trifles, which I thought would be a little 'tidier' and work better with a romantic dinner for two. So I cubed the sponge and arranged it in some glass serving dishes with the raspberries to make it extra revealing and tempting.


Trifles by tradition are moistened with a drizzle (or in my case a dowsing) of alcohol, although they are equally yummy soaked with a carefully-chosen fruit juice when the kids are eating them. I used some Blackberry & Elderflower Pimms which was left over from last summer and also needed to be finished up. This was a special edition Pimms which I was tempted to buy after I saw a few bloggers using it last year. I am not usually a massive Pimms drinker, but this particular edition really grabbed me and before the season was out I had downed more than my fair share!


It was also the perfect addition to this trifle as it enhanced the fruitiness of the dessert whilst giving it a special grown up twist. You could of course use any number of favourite tipples...... I considered toffee vodka, limoncello, creme de cassis and amaretto before I remembered I had the Pimms......

The trifle has the usual addition of fresh custard trickled and layered among the alcohol-soaked sponges, a sprinkling of nuts and lightly whipped pillows of cream to top it off. Use a really good quality ready-made vanilla custard if (like me) you can't be bothered to make your own.


The textures and flavours are wonderful..... The moistened, slightly granular texture of the almonds in the cake, against the juicy fruitiness of the raspberries, rich creaminess of the custard, crunch of the nuts and light, decadent airiness of the cream.

Simple, fruity, slightly alcoholic deliciousness. Zingy yet sweet. Adult but fun. Messy yet sophisticated. Beautifully tantalising.........

I am sharing these amazing trifles with the following challenges this month :


Cook, Blog, Share with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.


Treat Petite with Kat - The Baking Explorer (and Cakeyboi), who's February theme is 'love is in the air'.


Alphabakes with Caroline Makes and The More Than Occasional Baker, which has a very lucky 'V' for Valentines as this month's challenge letter. This dessert also has a goodly portion of Vanilla custard at its core and was Very Very quick to make!


Foodie Friday with Casa Costello




Recipe of the Week with Emily at A Mummy Too


#FoodYearLinkup with My Recipe Book.


The No Waste Food Challenge with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary on account of it being almost entirely made of leftovers!



Raspberry-Lemon Drizzle Trifle (makes 1 large trifle or 6 to 8 individual trifles - depending on size)

Ingredients

Raspberry Drizzle Cake from this recipe post (about half quantity)
180g fresh raspberries (reserve a few for decoration)
approx 200 ml alcohol of choice (I used Blackberry & Elderflower Pimms) OR a slightly watered down berry coulis (from this recipe) or a mixture of commercial fruit syrup and juice
500g (approx) fresh vanilla custard (good quality) - I used shop bought
450 ml double cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
To decorate 
freeze-dried raspberry powder 
chopped hazelnuts 
fresh raspberry taken from above 

Method

  1. Cut the cake into small pieces and arrange in the serving bowl(s) with a scattering of raspberries.
  2. Drizzle alcohol/coulis/syrup over the sponge so that it is able to soak in.
  3. Spoon a layer of fresh custard over the top.
  4. Whip the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla to soft peaks and spoon on top of the custard.
  5. Add a sprinkle of raspberry powder and walnuts and top with fresh raspberries to decorate.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Hazelnut-Chocolate (Nutella) Thumbprint Cookies - gluten free (with option for dairy free)


Judging from the flurry of activity on Twitter today, it is the day for celebrating our favourite chocolate-hazelnut spread - it's World Nutella Day!


There is nothing that quite matches the chocolatey-hazelnutty stickiness on the roof of your mouth or the creamy melty distinctively flavoured experience that is eating Nutella. Some of us were raised on the stuff...... it has been around a long time....

A little trip through the history of Nutella, tells us that is was first 'discovered' in 1946 as a way to make cocoa go further following World War 2. An Italian pastry maker made a hazelnut paste to which was added to a small amount of rare cocoa to serve with bread.


By 1951, this clever discovery had started to develop into Nutella as we know it (although still without its trade mark name), becoming more creamy and spreadable. By 1964 it was being served up in distinctive jars and spreading rapidly across Europe, developing an ever-growing fan club as it went.

1977 saw it reach Australian shores from where it moved into global success..... by 2009 being available in over 150 countries. It even has its own Face Book page!


Shame on me.... I nearly missed its special day...... Good job I had these delicious Nutella Thumbprint Cookies up my sleeve!

In addition to having a soft, melty dose of Nutella pooled in the middle of each cookie, the famous hazelnut-chocolate flavour combo inspires the whole recipe, which is based in ground hazelnuts and cocoa.

Motivated by the need to use up some egg white that was languishing in the fridge, they are made using a meringue-type mixture, which when baked, is amazingly crisp. The smell when you open the biscuit barrel just exudes Nutella. Once you start munching them, it is impossible to stop at one........


It's definitely worth grinding your own hazelnuts if you can..... they are much fresher, more intense as a result and heaps cheaper than buying them ready ground. Buy a big bag from one of the many health food or seed and nut stores that are around now and grind them by weight as you need them. Just be careful not to over-grind or you will end up with hazelnut butter..... Wonderful though it is, it won't work for these cookies!


If you can't eat Nutella because you have to avoid dairy, just substitute the filling for a spread that you can eat...... they are otherwise completely dairy free.


I am sharing these cookies at Cook Blog Share with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.


The No Food Waste Challenge with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. Had it not been for the need to use up left-over egg white, these cookies would not have been created.


Credit Crunch Munch, this month being guest hosted by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary on behalf of Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla at Fab Food For All.


And with Emily at A Mummy Too for Recipe of the Week.


Hazelnut-Chocolate (Nutella) Thumbprint Cookies (makes 18)

Ingredients

1 large egg white
100g soft light brown sugar (or golden caster sugar if you prefer)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
150g skinned ground hazelnuts (grind to a coarse grain)
1 tablespoon plain gluten free flour
Approx 3 tablespoons Nutella (or alternative dairy free chocolate spread/jam/curd)
chopped roasted hazelnuts to decorate

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Whisk the egg white with the sugar until very thick and pale.
  3. Add the cocoa and salt and whisk again.
  4. Fold in the ground hazelnuts and flour so that you have a thick, sticky dough-paste.
  5. Scoop the dough into small, even, rounded piles on the baking sheet, leaving a gap between each, or roll into small even balls with your hands.
  6. Press a good indent into the centre of each using your thumb or fingers.
  7. Fill each indent with a small scoop of Nutella and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.
  8. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the outer case is dry and crisp.
  9. Turn off the oven and leave the biscuits in the oven to cool.
  10. When they have cooled enough to feel crisp underneath, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated