Gluten Free Mini Pop Tarts

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It is starting to appear as if my best recipes result from trying to use up leftover ingredients. The other day, I made a batch of chocolate cherry mini-tarts (not yet blog worthy but close). I’ve made Kringle from time to time with this recipe. As a result, I had cherry pastry filling in my pantry. Pastry filling is NOT canned pie filling. It is thicker, less chunky, and more like jam or preserves in texture. For the mini-tarts, I needed about 2/3 of a container of pastry filling. That left me with a 1/3 of a cup of cherry pastry filling and no idea of how to use the filling. Hello, Pinterest.

I found inspiration from this mini pop tart recipe. I wasn’t sure, though, about the pastry. Pastry dough is not my strength and I have little success with pastries or cookies that have to be chilled before rolling them out. Seriously, how long do you chill the dough to make it the right rolling texture?

Recipes that contained gluten seemed to use plain pie crust with filling. My husband, though, has a sweet tooth. I wanted a crisp, flaky but sweet pastry.

Here is the result:

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For the pastry:

Preheat your oven to 375. Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Get your rolling area prepped with a bit of gluten free flour.

Ingredients:

2 c gluten free flour blend (see note 1)
1/2 c (that is one stick) of cold butter cut into small pieces
1 egg
Pinch of salt
1/3 c of sugar
Approximately 2-4 T water

(You will also need an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water for binding and, of course, fillings of your choice.)

Instructions:

Mix the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the cubed, cold butter. Pulse until evenly incorporated. Add the egg and 1 T of water. Pulse. At this point, add just enough water to make a dough ball that holds together.

Roll out the dough on a parchment lined, (gluten free) floured surface. You may want to work two halves of this dough.

Using a small square cookie cutter or even a ruler, cut squares out of the dough. My cookie cutter is about 2 1/2 inches square. You could use any shape, large cookie cutter but round or square will work best with filling.

Place the squares on a cookie sheet. Drop about a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of filling on the pastry. Brush egg wash around the outside edge of the dough. Top the square with a second square of dough. Bind the top and bottom together by pressing a fork around the outside edge. (I did not “dock” my pastry, but they probably need it. Docking is pricking the dough to vent steam during baking.)

Bake the pastries about 15-18 minutes. Check the doneness by looking at the color not by firmness. You want them browning on the bottom but not overly browned.

You could fill them with almost anything. My next batch will have Nutella in them. Or apricot preserves. Or cinnamon sugar…

You could top them with glaze or sprinkled sugar. Because the dough is sweet, I was hesitant to glaze them.

My husband and I ate some of them right off of the cooling rack. Be careful; the filling is hot.

If you use a fruit filling, I would store these in the refrigerator. If you do so, reheat a bit to serve. They are spectacular warm.

Note 1- you can use a good gluten free blend with xanthan gum for the whole 2 cups. I like 1 and 1/2 cups of gluten free blend plus 1/4 cup oat flour (Bob’s Red Mill is certified gluten free) and 1/4 c superfine almond flour (like Honeyville). This combination adds sweetness without making the pastry too dense.

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Gluten free honey graham, chocolate, and ginger snap cookies

We love gluten free graham crackers. Love, love, love them.

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My original inspiration came from this recipe. It is a wonderful base recipe that holds up beautifully to adaptations.

The original version of the recipe was too large for my food processor. As a result, my versions are half batches of the original with my own spin on the recipes.

Basic honey graham crackers:
1 cup plus 2 T of gluten free flour with xanthan gum*
A pinch of salt
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 stick of cold butter (that’s 4T)
1 t cinnamon
1 and 1/2 T honey
Between 3-5 T water

Preheat your oven to 350.

Line cookie sheets with parchment.

Cut the butter into tiny cubes. (My next experiment will be with butter substitutes but I haven’t had a chance.)

In your food processor, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar) and pulse to combine. Add the honey and butter and pulse until incorporated.

Add 1 T of water at a time until a dough ball forms when pulsing the food processor. Use only as much water as is needed to get the dough to stick together.

On a floured piece of parchment, roll out the dough. Cut shapes with cookie cutters; mini cutters work best. Transfer to a cookie sheet.

Optional- sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake until crispy– approximately 12 minutes.

*Note- I have used every possible flour. My favorite combination is 1/4 c oat flour, 1/4 c sweet rice flour, 1/4 c sweet sorghum flour, 1/4 c tapioca starch, 2 T arrowroot starch. My husband’s favorite is King Arthur’s pre mixed blend plus 1/2 t xanthan gum.

The great thing about this recipe is the versatility. I suspect it would even make a spectacular pie crust but I haven’t tested that theory yet.

Here is another great version.

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These are chocolate honey graham crackers and they taste a lot like a teddy graham.

Chocolate honey graham crackers:
1 cup gluten free flour with xanthan gum
1/4 c cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 stick of cold butter (that’s 4T)
1/2 t cinnamon
2 T honey
Between 2 and 4 T water

(Follow the instructions above.)

If you omit the cinnamon and use evaporated cane juice instead of honey, these cookies are a GF Oreo.

The final version that I like is a ginger snap.

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Ginger snaps:
1 cup gluten free flour with xanthan gum
1/4 c buckwheat flour
A pinch of salt
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 stick of cold butter (that’s 4T)
1 t ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
1 and 1/2 T molasses
Between 3-5 T coffee

(Follow the instructions above.)

And now, I need to figure out if these work as a sugar cookie too…

One Bowl (Gluten Free) Cookies- Four Varieties

There are, in anyone’s kitchen, “go to” recipes. For me, one bowl cookies are my go to.

One Bowl Cookies:

1/2 stick of melted butter (4T)
1/3 c light brown sugar
1 c almond flour
1 egg

Stir the brown sugar into the butter until the sugar gets a little melted. Stir in almond flour. Add the egg and stir well.

Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet.

These cookies are spectacular. Moist, cakey, light… They are everything you could want in a cookie. You still want more?

Variety 1- Add cinnamon to the batter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar for snicker doodles.

Variety 2- Add a 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips for chocolate chip cookies.

Variety 3- My favorite- Add 1/2 c of chopped dried apricots and chopped dried cherries.

So, my basic recipe three ways emboldened me to try this trick with other flours. Here is the result.

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Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

1/2 stick of melted butter (4T)
1/3 c light brown sugar
3/4 c oat flour
1/2 c Bob’s Red Mill certified gluten free quick oats (I’ve used rolled oats too)
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 egg
2/3 c butterscotch chips (or raisins)

Melt the butter and stir the brown sugar into the butter. Stir the oat flour and oats into the sugar and butter mixture. Add the spices and egg and then the butterscotch chips.

Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes

These recipes make 18 cookies for me with stir ins like chips and about a dozen cookies without stir ins.

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Gluten free crackers (like Ritz or Club)

We have a lot of members of our family who are gluten free and have been for quite some time. I am fairly new to gluten free food.

Frankly, there are a few things that I miss. I miss pretzels. I miss pretzels. I miss pretzels (okay, you get it). In all honesty, I like salty more than sweet. Gluten free pretzels are not the same as the wheat based snacks in the snack food aisle.

Other than pretzels, I’ve been missing club/ritz type crackers. I have made gluten free crackers before. I’m fond of Elana’s Pantry almond flour sesame cracker. Sometimes, I don’t think that I should eat so many nuts. Most packaged and store bought crackers are all seeds and nuts or taste like their own box and are made from rice flour. Neither type make me feel the same way that ritz or club crackers did just a few months ago.

For the most part, I’m going to post only sweets. These are my exception.

Gluten free, buttery, crackers and based off of this post.

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1 c gluten free flour (I used a blend without xanthan gum)
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 T sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 c of cold butter cut into small chunks
1/3 c ( or slightly less) water

Place flour, baking powder, sugar, and the pinch of salt in a bowl. Use a pastry cutter (or, as I did, a fork) to crumble the butter into a course meal consistency. Add water a little at a time until a dough forms.

On a flour dusted surface, roll out half the dough. Using cookie cutters, make small rounds and transfer them to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Dock the crackers with a fork.

Bake the crackers for 10-15 minutes. You want them to be crispy but not over cooked. Mine took about 13 minutes.

While the crackers are hot from the oven, brush them with a bit of melted butter. The butter step gives these crackers their ritz flavor. For a more “saltine” flavor, you could sprinkle them with salt instead.

My favorite chocolate sandwich cookie

Confession. I’m terrible about figuring out how much frosting to make. Inevitably, I end up with more frosting than I need. I hate to waste leftover frosting and will bake a batch of cookies to use with the frosting.

This week, I was baking for a friend who follows a vegan diet. I had leftover vanilla frosting from a batch of cupcakes. The frosting was 1 stick of Earth Balance vegan spread, 1/3 c coconut oil, and about 1 1/2 c powdered sugar. After mixing it, I tried a taste and thought that it was the closest thing to the inside of an Oreo that I’d ever made.

Do you remember the “O R E O” jingle? We sing it “Faux R E O” because of these gluten free goodies:

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I happen to have a great chocolate cookie that tastes like a chocolate sandwich cookie. Perfect.

These cookies are chewy rather than crisp. If you use all honey, they have a tangy flavor.

They are vegan. Depending on your position on arrowroot, they are also Paleo or Primal (without frosting).

Preheat your oven to 350

Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats

2 c almond flour (Honeyville or JK)
1/3 c coconut flour
1/2 c arrowroot flour
1/3 c cocoa powder
2/3 c date sugar and/or coconut sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/2 c oil (mild flavor like grape seed or melted coconut oil)
3/4 c maple syrup and/or honey
1 1/2 t vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients together. I like to sift the flours to get the lumps out and then add the other dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until evenly incorporated.

Drop the dough onto the lined cookie sheets with a disher. I used a 1 1/2 T cookie scoop. Flatten the rounds with a flat, nonstick surface. I use the bottom of my 1/3 c measuring cup sprayed with a small squirt of oil but you could use a spatula or glass. The dough is sticky so you need to grease or spray the flat. You want the cookies to be even in thickness so that they will bake evenly.

Bake them for about 12-15 minutes. Let the cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Be careful of the cooking time– too little and they are a tad gooey , too long and the bottoms burn.

When they are completely cool, frost the bottom of a cookie, layer it with a second cookie, and enjoy.

Amazing! They are truly my favorite gluten free cookie.

Pumpkin Mini-Muffins with Maple Frosting (gluten free)

A few weeks ago, I jokingly updated my Facebook status stating that I was going to start a food blog. A few friends encouraged me to try guest blogs. Ultimately, I realized that blogging my gluten free trials and errors organized my recipes for me. So, despite my early reticence, I’m giving blogging a try.

It’s fall. That means pumpkin, apples, squash… At this point, I’m likely to leave main dishes to better cooks. I did, however, go crazy for pumpkin recipes.

My first try were these pumpkin bars. Truly, a great jumping off point… Except. There’s always an “except” for me. I don’t like agave. I much prefer maple syrup or honey to sweeten. I also think that recipes with agave tend to be a bit less sweet than my dear husband prefers. I tweaked a little (okay, a lot) and used a muffin tin instead of a baking dish.

Here’s my update:

Pumpkin Mini-Muffin Bars (Paleo, gluten free)

2/3 c pumpkin (yes, from a can. I don’t prep my own pumpkin…)
1/3 c apple sauce (unsweetened)
1/3 c date sugar (you could use coconut sugar)
1/3 c honey (or maple syrup)
2 eggs
1/3 c coconut flour
2 t pumpkin pie spice
A pinch of salt
1/2 t baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix in one dish the pumpkin, honey, eggs, and applesauce. Set it aside.

In another dish, combine the remaining ingredients. I like to sift coconut flour and date sugar to remove clumps.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined.

Scoop about 2T into each space in a mini muffin pan. (My batch made 23.)

Bake for 16-20 minutes.

This is the result:

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Lovely, moist, delicious little bites of pumpkin-y goodness.

Except. I mentioned there’s always an “except” with me, right?

I thought they needed frosting.

Maple Frosting (vegan)

1 (8 T) stick of vegan earth balance spread
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c maple syrup
About 2 cups of powdered sugar (add to texture)

Mix the butter spread, coconut oil and maple syrup until well blended. Stir in powdered sugar until frosting consistency.

Ah! So much better!

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