Monday, 18 June 2018

Chocolate-Espresso Puddle Cookies - gluten & dairy free

These Chocolate-Espresso Puddles are one of my favourite speedy bakes and are perfect for using up spare egg whites (particularly when you are unsure how 'pure' they are). After posting a recent photo of them just out of the oven on Instagram and getting requests for the recipe, I am sharing this fudgiest of cookie treats with you, my lovely readers.... and even better, they are not only gluten free, but dairy free too.

Shortly before I made them, Mr GF had thrown together a lovely Carbonara which had used a handful of egg yolks. He had placed the whites in a bowl in the fridge, but when interrogated, confessed that whilst cracking the eggs, a yolk had broken and he could not be sure that it had not contaminated the yolk.

Whilst Mr GF couldn't understand why this was a problem, the bakers amongst us know that the teensiest bit of yolk in the white means that the egg white can no longer be used for meringue, macaron or any other recipe that requires a stiff whip. These Puddle Cookies on the other hand, don't need treating with kid-gloves, so are perfect for when 'mistakes' have been made in the egg-cracking department.

I confess, the recipe is not a Gluten Free Alchemist one, but is adapted from a non-espresso version that I was given by Adriana Rabinovich when I attended a gluten free baking course of hers a couple of years back. In turn, the sheet she gave me with the recipe, references '', so I guess it probably has a long history before it reached my greedy kitchen.

If you haven't been on a course by Adriana and you need some tips and tricks for gluten free baking, then I would wholeheartedly recommend attending one. Although we didn't make the 'Puddles' on the course, she served them to us with coffee at break and with just one bite, I was addicted and demanding the recipe.

Having made them many times, I think that they do require a little experience to get baked to perfection.... Baked too long they will be overly-crisp and crunchy... If you bake them too little, they are too soft and will fall apart on lifting from the tray. Both 'mistakes' are still equally yummy, but are not the intended result.

Cooked precisely, they should be a little crisp on the outside with a soft, chewy, slightly gooey interior, that sends you into the sort of blissful enjoyment that you never want interrupted. The darkness of the chocolate should fill your nose with a pungent aroma and the flavour should be deep and rich from the cocoa, with a hint of espresso bitterness as it spreads across your taste buds.

Believe me, it is worth working on perfection! You just need to know your oven and keep a check on them...

Tempted? You should be... These Chocolate-Espresso Puddles are sublime and ridiculously moreish, but because I am so generous, I am also sending a batch over to the following linkies... (well it would be selfish not to share... wouldn't it?!)


Cook Blog Share with Everyday Healthy Recipes
Got To Be Gluten Free with Glutarama and myself
We Should Cocoa with Tin and Thyme


Bake Of The Week with Casa Costello and Mummy Mishaps
Baking Crumbs with Only Crumbs Remain
Recipe Of The Week with A Mummy Too


What's For Dinner Sunday Link Up with The Lazy Gastronome
Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum
Fiesta Friday with Angie and Spades, Spatulas & Spoons

Chocolate-Espresso Puddles (adapted from a recipe from Adriana Rabinovich) - Makes about 25 to 30 cookies)


235g walnuts - toasted, cooled and rough ground (using a blender)
325g icing sugar
45g cocoa powder
10g instant espresso powder
large pinch fine sea salt
3 large egg whites
½ tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 175 C/325 F/Gas 3 and base-line 3 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place the ground walnuts, icing sugar, cocoa, espresso powder and salt into a bowl/airtight container and mix/shake together until well-blended.
  3. Place the egg whites into a separate large bowl and whisk lightly until slightly frothy.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and the vanilla to the egg whites and beat together with a wooden/silicon spoon until the mixture comes together evenly.
  5. Leaving plenty of space between each for spreading, place spoonfuls of the cookie batter onto the baking trays.
  6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies should look glossy and slightly cracked on the top when done. 
  7. Remove from the oven when baked. As they start to cool, gently lift the bases from the baking paper. If they are difficult to remove, pop them back in the oven to cook for a little longer. (You want to get the baking just right... If you over-bake them they will be too crisp. A perfectly-baked puddle should be crisp on the outside with a fudgy middle).
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

13 Wonderful Gluten Free Recipes and a New Course - Revisiting May's #G2BGF

With the school half term getting in the way, I am late with my round up of May's Got To Be Gluten Free (#G2BGF). I hope you will forgive me for spending a little time with Miss GF and for taking a little time away from the computer. Whilst there is a tiny bit of guilt beckoning, it has been good to step back for a few days...

May's #G2BGF link-up was my first foray into hosting a linky party (collaborating with the lovely Rebecca at Glutarama), so bear with me whilst I feel my way around the process and incorporate it into my blogging routine. We had some gorgeous recipes and an amazing new gluten free on-line course last month, but if you didn't manage to join us, we'd love you to come share your gluten free creations with us this time round. This month Rebecca is hosting, so whether you cook, bake and eat gluten free all of the time, some of the time, or you just happen to have made a dish which is naturally gluten free, please come and link up.

But back to last month's delights and a huge thank you to all of you who joined in...

We had 16 entries... which were delightfully varied and as I negotiated my way from blog to blog, I enjoyed reading every one. So without further unnecessary drivel from me, let's get down to the business of revisiting these wonderful shares :

We had six gluten free dessert recipes (well 10 actually, if you count the 'Five Sweet Gluten Free Baking Recipes' that Bryony, from Perfectly Imperfect Mama sent over in one post). Well done Bryony, you did us proud!

First up :

Inspired by a trip to Toronto (and in need of a charity bake), Midge from the Peachicks Bakery made us a gorgeous gluten free and vegan Coffee and Blueberry Loaf Cake... A soft coffee-infused sponge hiding a delectably sticky swirl of sweet blueberries. I am a huge fan of Midge's baking and constantly astounded by what she can produce without dairy, egg and frequently without gluten too. I have no doubt that this cake would have disappeared as quick as a flash in a charity bake sale and would have left people asking for more.

Next... On to chocolate. Yes you heard me.... CHOCOLATE! We had a few incredible chocolate-based desserts sent over... (if I didn't make it obvious, I am a sucker for chocolate, so keep them coming...)

My very talented co-host, Rebecca at Glutarama, delivered a divine-looking gluten free Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding. Doesn't that look and sound amazing? I have not yet ventured to make a self-saucing pudding, but this one is an absolute inspiration and it has leap-frogged right to the top of my 'must make' list.

Bryony, who blogs over at Perfectly Imperfect Mama, shared no less than 5 Sweet Gluten Free Baking Recipes with us, all in one post! I particularly love the look of this Chocolate Avocado Pudding, which is also vegan, but if you are in need of some inspiration, she has Chocolate Brownie, Flapjack, Carrot Cake Muffin, and Brie and Cranberry Muffin too on offer.

If Chocolate Brownies are your weakness (and I know they are one of mine), Choclette's naturally gluten free Triple Chocolate Almond Brownies, which you can find over on her blog Tin & Thyme, look utterly decadent and divine. With their rich, dark fudginess, she describes them as 'way too tempting for anyone supposedly interested in a wholesome diet'. Really? The list of ingredients doesn't look that dangerous and made with plenty of freshly ground, nutritious almonds, dark chocolate and unrefined sugar, I am sure I can make a case for the opposition!

Continuing the chocolate theme, Kat, The Baking Explorer shared another vegan dessert in the form of her wonderfully creamy Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pots. Made with silken tofu, and topped with lightly whipped coconut cream and fresh raspberries, they look dreamily smooth and luxurious, sound incredibly healthy and would wow the guests at any dinner party. If you have any worries that their 'vegan' status might be 'outed', fear not... Kat has already tested them on her friends who had no idea they were made with tofu.

To round off the dessert menu, I shared my seasonal gluten free Rhubarb & Custard Layer Cakes. I have given this retro flavour classic a modern twist by sandwiching rhubarb compote and thickened custard between layers of pistachio sponge..... truly scrumptious!

Although not a dessert recipe, our final sweet recipe was my Coco-Banana Freeze Bites, which make for a wholesome, nutritious after-school snack or alternative breakfast. Always ready to grab from the freezer, these gluten free bites are full of healthy ingredients and with their frozen 'novelty value', are a great tempter away from the crisps and sweets.

On to May's savoury shares... there was definitely a seasonal theme with plenty of fresh spring veg on offer.

Not content with being an amazing baker, it seems Midge over at the Peachicks Bakery can throw together a delicious Seasonal Asparagus & Pea Spring Salad, served with Vegan Cheesy Toasts as well. The warmer weather has definitely brought a hankering for lighter lunches and I for one have been making the most of our very short UK asparagus season. I have to say though, I am endlessly jealous that Midge has her very own asparagus bed over in her No.17 allotment.

I have never yet used wild garlic, but I do love to make my own pesto and this naturally gluten free Wild Garlic and Walnut Pesto from Jo's Kitchen Larder looks and sounds extremely tasty and quite inspired. Not only is it really simple to make, but Jo says that 'its flavour is simply incredible' and I believe her. I can almost smell its aroma through her beautiful photographs.

Jo used her Wild Garlic Pesto to make a delicious-looking mid-week supper of Roast Chicken with Wild Garlic Pesto & Shallots. Jo says that they are huge roast chicken fans in her house and I can see why. I was quite literally drooling at the prospect of having this served to me.... Sorry Jo.... There's nothing for it.... I'm moving in!

This recipe from Mel at Le Coin De Mel for Simple Baked Camembert with Kalettes got me particularly excited. Sure I love Camembert, but I have been rather addicted to Kalettes in recent months. I get quite disappointed and frustrated when I find my local supermarket doesn't have any on the shelf. If you haven't tried them yet, they are a cross between kale and brussels sprouts, full of goodness and have a mild flavour and quite unique texture to eat. I love that they are almost creamy on the tongue.... or is that just me? Either way, if you want to know more about them, head over to Mel's blog and check them out.

Another perfect mid-week meal comes from Monika at Everyday Healthy Recipes. Her vegetarian, naturally gluten free Easy Mexican Bean Stew is as versatile and nourishing as it is tempting. Topped with coriander and fresh avocado and accompanied by a side of salsa, it can be served with rice, in a wrap or taco or alongside crunchy nachos. Any which way is good with me Monika... or alternatively, just pass me the pan and a large spoon!

To round off our recipe-share, I offered some Puff Pastry Party Bites, made with ready-to-roll gluten free puff pastry. Party appetisers can be quite tricky when you are gluten free, so it is always good to have a few quick and easy recipes up your sleeve. Once you have baked your pastry pieces, you can fill these party bites with pretty much anything... I made three versions : Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon; Cream Cheese and Ham and Spicy Beetroot and Houmous.

Although originally set up as a gluten free recipe-sharing linky, we have decided that providing they are centred around some aspect of gluten free living, we will include other contributed posts as well.

For those of you who follow Vicki, the Free From Fairy, you will know that she has just launched a new Basics Online Programme to support people as they make the transition to gluten free living and eating after a diagnosis of Coeliac Disease or gluten intolerance. Vicki is a phenomenally talented blogger with a science and nutrition background and her passion for healthy gluten free eating is admirable. If you are struggling with getting your head around how to survive glutenless in a gluten-filled world, then I would recommend Vicki and her course as a great place to start.

Our final two posts come from my co-host Rebecca at Glutarama.

Rebecca's daughter has been having a difficult time recently with her double health issues from Coeliac Disease combined with Type 1 Diabetes, so Rebecca was thrilled to share a Free From Afternoon Tea together at her local cafe - The Pavilion in Bedford. It sounds like some mummy and daughter time did both of them the world of good and they were clearly treated to a mammoth gluten free feast.

She also shared her Review of Energy Balls from Little Jem's Kitchen, which sound and look amazing. I am particularly coveting these beautiful green Matcha-Pistachio ones.

So that brings us to the end of what was quite a bumper crop of gluten free delights. I hope you have enjoyed reading about everyone's creations as much as I enjoyed writing about them. Don't forget to come and link up this month for June's gluten free party over at Glutarama. I can't wait to see what you share.

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated

Monday, 4 June 2018

Simple 4-Ingredient Store-Cupboard Apple & Strawberry Pie (gluten free; dairy free; vegan)

Sometimes we need a dessert that is simple to throw together, yet is as delicious as the one we have slaved over for hours. This simple 4-Ingredient Store-Cupboard Apple & Strawberry Pie may be just the thing.

Made with store cupboard ingredients (a tin of apples, some frozen strawberries, a little sugar and a pack of ready-to-roll pastry) all 'discovered' and screaming out to be used during a recent clear-out, it is dense with fruit and encased in pretty, decadent pastry.

I have to admit, that tinned apples are not usually found in my larder, but I had bought them some time ago with the intention of making a quick apple puree to use in another recipe, before discovering that a jar of apple baby food was far quicker and easier. They worked perfectly in the pie as despite a good simmering, they didn't completely pulp down and retained a nice 'bite'.

Usually I am a chocolate person, but recently I have been craving fruity stuff.... which is no bad thing, I guess. Although this pie is made with frozen and tinned fruit, it tastes amazingly fresh.... a perfect level of tartness from the apple, sweetened by summer strawberry and a little caramelly coconut sugar. The addition of the strawberry gives it such a beautiful colour too. If you don't want to use 'store-cupboard' fruit, just head to the greengrocer!

Having been through a number of bereavements quite close together, I have needed to do lots of emotional sorting and healing in recent weeks and this pie has been my perfect comfort food. I'm never too sure why we reach for pastry when we need a food-cuddle (or is that just me?), but I know I gobbled most of this down, because when Mr GF returned from two nights away at work and expectantly asked where the pie had gone..... it was well.... gone!

The top of the pie looks a lot fancier than it really is and was born out of needing to make the pastry stretch as far as possible (I didn't want to risk running out and wasn't sure if I had enough to cover in one piece). I needn't have worried.... I think I would have had just enough, but I am pleased I tried something a little different in cutting decorative pastry shapes. I love how the fruit bubbles through the gaps in the surface as it bakes too.... rustic, but inviting... a sort of hint of what lies within.

You can use any shaped cutter to make your shapes, but I thought I would use something fairly simple and to hand. Just make sure you dampen the adjoining raw pastry edges so that they stick together as you go.

It is up to you, but I also chose to sprinkle a little caster sugar on the top once cooked, mainly for decoration.

Although my pie is gluten free, you can (of course) make it with a wheat-based pastry too. Mine is made with Silly Yak pastry, as I found a few packs in my freezer (which I stashed when they were reduced in Tesco a couple of months back). If you haven't used Silly Yak pastry before, I can recommend it as a great gluten free 'go to' if you either don't have time or don't like to make your own. It is also not only gluten free, but dairy free and vegan too, so is pretty versatile from an intolerance perspective.

I am sharing my Simple 4-Ingredient Store-Cupboard Apple & Strawberry Pie with :


Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice
Free From Fridays
Cook Blog Share with Easy Peasy Foodie


Bake Of The Week with Casa Costello and Mummy Mishaps
Baking Crumbs with Only Crumbs Remain
Got To Be Gluten Free with Glutarama and myself


Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum
Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too
Fiesta Friday with Angie, Chipa By The Dozen and The Not So Creative Cook

4-Ingredient Store-Cupboard Apple & Strawberry Pie


1 tin (385g) sliced apples (I used Tesco Granny Smiths) - drained (or 3 to 4 fresh apples, peeled, cored and sliced)
a couple handfuls frozen (or fresh) strawberries (trimmed and de-hulled if fresh)
2 to 3 tablespoons coconut sugar/brown sugar/caster sugar
1 pack ready to roll gluten free pastry (I used Silly Yak)

(dairy free milk of choice to glaze)


  1. Prepare your fruit : Put your strawberries and apples in a large saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of sugar and bring to a simmer over a medium heat, stirring. Simmer, stirring frequently until the fruit has softened and the liquid has reduced, so that you have a juicy, but thick, chunky compote. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Prepare your pastry : Take a pie dish and your ready-to-roll pastry and carefully roll (as per manufacturers instructions) to a depth of about half a centimetre. (I dusted mine with tapioca flour and rolled on dusted clingfilm).
  3. Carefully line the base of the pie dish with rolled pastry and trim the edges, leaving a 'lip' to stick the pastry top. Set aside the off-cuts and wrap in clingfilm until ready to fill the pie.
  4. Fill the pie with your (completely cold) prepared fruit and spread to even the top. 
  5. Bring the remaining pastry together and re-roll. Use a medium-sized cutter to cut pastry shapes.
  6. Using a pastry brush and a little water, moisten the pastry edges and carefully stick the shapes round the edge of the pie (pastry to pastry) and gradually work your way round and into the centre of the pie with each additional shape, to cover the top (there may be gaps between pastry shapes). Once complete, place in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes. 
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
  8. Glaze the raw pastry top with a little dairy free milk and bake for about 30 minutes. If the top starts to brown too quickly, turn down the oven a little, or cover with a piece of foil.
  9. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little extra sugar (optional) for decoration. Eat warm or cold with a drizzle of coconut cream or some dairy-free ice cream. 
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated