Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Well my Raisin Bread experiment is finished.  I used my Udi's White bread copycat recipe and made it into a Raisin Bread. Growing up we used to eat the Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  No toasting necessary, we would eat it right out of the package.  If I close my eyes, I can still see what it looks like.  That bread dough was made as flat as it could be and rolled as many times as it could.  I only detected the slightest bit of sugar with the cinnamon in that bread back then.

If you look at my picture here you will see that I did not roll mine nearly enough.  It should have been flatter and rolled at least 4 times.  But OH MY STARS, was it ever tasty.  I devoured half this loaf, no kidding!!!  So good right from the oven.  I have not eaten Cinnamon Raisin Bread since I was a child!!! I forgot just how good it is.  Thank you Monica and Erica for encouraging me to make this!  I am forever in your debt!  Any time you need me to try something, just ask! :-).

1 cup Tapioca Starch
3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/4 cup Potato Starch
2 Tablespoons Oil
3 Egg Whites
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 package (2 1/2 tea) Rapid Rise Yeast
2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
3/4 cup Warm Water
1/2 cup Sun Maid Baking Raisins

3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 170 degrees.  Once preheated turn oven off.  
Lightly grease an 8 x 3 bread pan and a silicon mat or Parchment paper.

  • Add Water, Oil, Sugar, Yeast into a small bowl or measuring cup and mix until combined.
  • Allow water to sit while yeast starts to get foamy.
  • Meanwhile, whip egg whites for approximately 1 minute or until it develops a Soft Peak.
  • Add vinegar, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder and flours in mixer with whip attachment and whip for 3 minutes or until combined.
  • Add raisins and gently combine.

Longer than example in this picture
  • Turn dough out onto greased parchment paper or silicone mat and spread out with oiled hands into a 15 x 7 (not wider than your pan) rectangle.
    I reduced the amount of filling since this picture.
  • Spread sugar and cinnamon on it.  
Rolled Up
  • Start Rolling dough up as tightly as you can by lifting the parchment to aid you in rolling (think Jelly Roll).  It will need to roll 4 times to avoid a pocket in the middle. Keep those hands oiled!
Ready to Rise
Seam side DOWN!
  • Place in pre-warmed oven to rise about 1 hour (I warm my oven to 170 and then turn oven off).
  • Turn oven on to 350 degrees and set timer for 60 minutes.
  • Take out of oven and let rest 10 minutes on cooling rack.
  • Try not to devour the whole thing while you wait for loaf to come to room temperature.  
  • Slice into slices and freeze what you will not need immediately.
I highly recommend using these raisins.
This is what the middle will look like
if you don't roll it enough and put too much filling on!
It is still VERY YUMMY even if it is ugly ~ lol!

I will be sharing this with the following blogs:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

My kids actually like this dish but eat it without the crust.  I must admit, I am very pleased at how easy it is to make and how nicely it turns out.  I like to break up the crust and mix it in.  Yum!

1/3 cup Butter
1/4 cup all-purpose Flour
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 cup Half-and-Half (have used regular milk with good results)
1 bag of mixed veggies, defrosted
    (alternatively 1 cup each: potato, onion, celery, carrot - diced and cooked)
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
2 cups cooked diced Chicken, cooked
Pie Crust (store bought or your own recipe)

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Melt Butter in 2 quart pot.
  • Add Flour, Broth and Milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbly.
  • Stir in Salt and Pepper, Vegetable mixture and and Chicken
  • Continue to cook until heated through.
  • Pour into 2 quart casserole dish. Top with pie shell. Cut slits to allow steam to escape.
  • Bake for 40 minutes until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly and cooked through.

Leftover Ham Tetrazzini

I am trying to figure out ways to use up all my leftover ham from Christmas.  So Voila, a new twist on an old classic.  It turned out VERY good!  Definitely will be making this dish again.

1 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
8 ounces Mushrooms, sliced
1 can Progresso Cream of Mushroom Soup
3/4 cup Stock, Ham if you have it leftover
1/4 cup White Wine (I use Holland House)
2 cups Colby Cheese, shredded
1 cup Corn
1 cup Cooked Ham, diced
1/2 pound Fettuccine Noodles

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente; drain.
  • In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté onions, mushrooms and garlic in butter until tender.
  • Stir in cream of mushroom soup, broth, wine and shredded cheese. Heat mixture until cheese melts, stirring often.
  • Add ham, corn, cooked and drained pasta and stir to combine.
  • Stir until heated through and serve.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Week of December 27th, 2010

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  Wow, it is Monday.  I can hardly believe its back to the old grindstone already.  Christmas was wonderful here.  We followed old traditions as well as created some new ones.  We stayed home, played as a family on Kinect, built gingerbread houses, had fancy dinners at home, played with our new toys and even went to day after Christmas sales for decorations.  Looking back I think the children will say it was magical.  My favorite part is how the kids restrained from ripping open the gifts right away.  They just wanted to savor and appreciate the fact that they were so fortunate.  How great is that???

I have leftovers, lots and lots of leftovers.  Stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, gravy, strawberry topping from the cheesecake and HAM ~ HAM ~ HAM.  Oh some turkey too and some of the next day Turkey Soup I like to make from the carcass.  *Sigh* even as I type this I have no idea how I will manage it all to not go to waste.   But I  must forge on and think of something.  At the very least, the leftover meat will be diced and frozen if not used.

I think every day I will take out the salads for lunch and force us to get them until they are all gone.  Ham soup is in the forecast but not for a few days at least.

Turkey Pot Pie and Green Salad.  I am going to use my new pie crust recipe to top off this super creamy and delicious recipe.  For the green salad I will toss that leftover Greek Salad on top of some Romain and serve it with a caesar dressing. (recipe to follow)

Ham Tetrazzini.  I am going to use some of that leftover ham, the stock that resulted and some of that corn. I will also toss in some mushrooms, garlic, fettuccine noodles and cream of mushroom soup to make a Gluten free version of this age old classic. (recipe to follow)

Hot sliced turkey and gravy served over bread.  Serving the leftover mashed potatoes and stuffing on the side.

Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and broccoli.

Friday (New Years Eve):
Steak and Seafood Buffet

Breakfast: Mini Ham and Cheese Frittatas
Dinner: Roast pork with Sourkraut

Spaghetti and Meatballs Print

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gluten Free Pie Crust

I have two pie crusts that I had in mind to try since becoming Gluten Free.  I like the Whole Foods pie crust, but that store is an hour away and just is not reasonable for every day.  First up is a recipe that I have been using since I was able to consume wheat flour.  It is a Martha Stewart recipe that I tweaked.  She uses all butter, I like to use half butter, half Crisco. It turns out to be not only gluten free but a gluten free egg free pie crust.  It is simply perfect for when I need to make something allergy friendly for various events.  I am always volunteering to do the allergy items because...well....I have a passion for folks who have to do without.  Makes me think of my daughter.

Up to this point did not have much luck with gluten free pie crust recipes.  For the most part, the pie crust recipes I tried  did not result in an edible crust (the exposed part) once baked. I do not blame the recipe though, it could be the baker!!  :-D. I am fairly new at being gluten free and was not sure it could be any other way.

So what was on my wish list for the perfect gluten free pie crust?  The crust has to hold together yet be tender at the same time.  It should not taste like a cookie dough either although I think this would have its place in the world.  I guess that it seems like I'm asking too much but that is what I was hoping for in trying out this old recipe in a gluten free style.

So I finally did it!!! I finally baked a crust that worked for us.  This recipe was really good.  Really really good. I was so excited!!!  It held up under the wet pumpkin bottom and you were actually able to EAT the RIM!!!  Two thumbs up!

2 1/2 cups Flour Blend **
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 cup unsalted Butter
1/2 cup Shortening
1/2 cup ice COLD Water

  • Put the flour, salt and sugar into food processor and pulse once or twice.
  • Add the butter and shortening and process until the mixture looks sandy or the size of pea gravel.
  • Slowly, while pulsing, add the water until the dough all pulls together to form a ball inside your processor.
  • Divide dough in half.  Place dough on a surface lined with parchment paper or on a Silicone mat.
  • Lightly flour the top and roll out making tiny turns as you roll to form a circle.
  • Use Mat/paper to transport crust to glass pie plate. Gently settle crust into the pie plate.  I was able to simple turn my pie plate upside down over the crust and then turn the whole crust/pate over upright and peel off the paper/mat.
  • Place pie plate into freezer or refrigerator to chill.  
** I used 1 cup Sorghum and 1 1/2 cups of the Udi's Bread flour blend which is 2 cups Tapioca, 1 cup SF Brown Rice Flour and 1/2 cup Potato Starch.  Don't Forget the 1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum!!!**

Friday, December 24, 2010

Quick and Easy Gluten Free Chicken Spaghetti Dinner

When my brother first tried this dish, he went right over to his place and bragged about it to his friends. He was telling them how creative I am.  Well I wish that were the case but I first tried this dish at a Church dinner.  I noticed that my son enjoyed it and he is just so incredibly picky that I thought to myself, "I must try it gluten free".  It makes a generous sized casserole and results in plenty of leftovers.  At least it does for my family.

3 to 4 chicken pieces
Water to cover
1 Herb Ox Bouillon Cube
1 (18 ounce) can Progresso cream of mushroom soup
1  cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 (16 ounce) can Rotel Tomatoes (drained)
1 small Onion, finely diced (1/4 cup)
1 small Pepper, finely diced (1/4 cup) ~ Optional
1 (12 ounce) package spaghetti noodles
1 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
⅛ teaspoons (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
Salt And Pepper, to taste

*1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese (for topping if desired)*

  • Place a large pot of water on to boil. 
  • Add chicken pieces into the pot and cook until done, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Internal temperature of chicken should be 165 degrees. 
  • Remove 1 cup of stock and add Bouillon Cube. Keep the remaining stock on simmer.
  • Making sure chicken is cool enough to handle, pick out the meat to make two full cups of meat. 
  • Add broken spaghetti into the chicken broth and simmer until al dente. Do not overcook, especially with GF pasta. 
  • When spaghetti is cooked, drain out broth.
  • Combine with remaining ingredients (including 1 cup stock) and 1 cup sharp cheddar.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Italian Almond Cookies

This year was our first ever Gluten Free Christmas here at our household.  When considering cookies for this occasion, instead of trying to re-invent the wheel, I decided to search out cookies that were already gluten free (not requiring flour).  This Italian Almond cookie topped my list.  Why, well because my side of the family is Italian of course!! :-).  I was not sure how well this cookie would go over though and a bit nervous making them.  I was pleased to see my son sneak one off of the tray I was getting ready to photograph for this post.  I giggle just thinking back about it.  He says, "Mom these are good."  Yay!

I have heard folks put almond slivers in them, roll them or top them in ground almonds.  It makes for a really nice touch.  And then I seen a recipe over at GF Homemaker that adds Cherries.  I tried that too, very good!!!

2 1/4 cups Whole Almonds
2/3 cup Sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup Butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

  • Combine almonds and sugar in a food processor.  
  • Pulse and puree until you achieve a fine powder (just before butter).
  • Add eggs to mixing bowl and beat until fluffy.
  • Add almond/sugar puree, soda, butter, salt and extracts.  Mix until incorporated
  • Scoop dough out in tablespoon or cookie scoop measure ont baking sheet leaving 1 to 1-1/2 inches apart.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Cookies will achieve a thin wafer 2 inches in diameter that is surprisingly chewy yet crispy.  

Later on, I added 1 cup of flour and 1 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum so I could achieve a puffier cookie.  Any old flour blend will do.  It takes from the pure almond flavor of the original but a softer cookie results.  Noticed I tried adding dried cherries in this softer cookie.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gluten Free Wedding Cookies - Snowball Cookies - Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies

I just bit into the best tasting cookie I ever ate. It has been so long since I ate one of these cookies, I almost forgot just how much I enjoy them.  I can recall the very first time I ever bit into this type of cookie.  It was being called a Wedding Ball by its creator.  I had never even seen this sort of cookie before. It exploaded in my mouth then melted away. The lingering taste of butter and pecans remained leaving me thinking I just ate a tiny piece of heaven.  No doubt, it is my all time favorite cookie.

I have since come to learn that this type of cookie goes by many names.  Wedding Cakes, Wedding Balls, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea cakes, snow balls.  I believe the list goes on and on. 

The recipe I am using here is the recipe I used way back when, before we were Gluten Free.  I have made them gluten free by simply using a gluten free flour blend and some Xanthan Gum.  The remaining ingredients remained the same and the cookies turned out just fine FABULOUS.

1 cup Butter, room temperature
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Flour
   (1 c sorghum, 1/2 cup Tapioca, 1/2 SF Brown Rice & 1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum)
1 cup chopped Pecans

1 cup Powdered Sugar (to roll cookies in)

  • Add Butter, Sugar, Vanilla and Salt to mixing bowl.  
  • Whip for several minutes until throughly incorporated.
  • Add Pecans and Flour and beat for a minute more.  You may need to hand mix to fully incorporate.
  • Using a tablespoon or a cooking scoop, scoop out dough and roll into a ball (like you are rolling meatballs).
  • Place directly on baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 8to 10 minutes.  Cookies will not turn brown, just brown slightly on the bottom.  (Cookies should keep their round shape.)
  • Remove from oven and roll in powdered sugar as soon as you can handle them.  (Use caution when rolling in brown sugar. If you squeeze them too hard they will crumble. This improves while cooling but then the sugar wont stick.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lemon Meringue Cookies

I had a few leftover ingredients from my various experiments and needed a quick dessert idea.  I have seen this done as a flat cookie before and had it in mind to try this for quite some time now but it seemed like too much trouble. It is a bit much to do considering the three different components.  But I had the sugar cookie dough in the fridge, same with the curd.  But it could just as easily be done with store bought cookie dough and jarred lemon curd. 

1 Batch of Meringue

Sugar Cookie Dough:
21 ounce Vanilla Cake Mix (I used this because I had tons of it)
1/4 cup Additional Flour Blend
1 cup Butter flavored Crisco
1/2 cup Butter Flavored Shortening
1/4 cup Sugar
2 Whole Eggs
1 Egg Yolk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Lemon Filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold water
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Juice of medium lemon
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

3 Eggs
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/4 cup Sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • First make Lemon Curd.  In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually add water and whisk until well blended. Whisk in egg yolks, lemon peel and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly; until thick and bubbly. Boil one minute; remove from heat. Stir in butter. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use. You, of course, could use prepared store bought filling as well.
  • Add cookie dough ingredients in a mixing bowl and blend until well combined.  Press unbaked cookie dough into small sized cupcake pan leaving space to form a pie crust.
  • Spoon cooked and cooled Lemon Curd filling into mini pie crusts.
  • Place meringue ingredients into mixing bowl and beat to firm stiff peaks.  Place meringue into piping bag.  Swirl over top to cover Meringue.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 13 minutes.


Menu Plan Monday: Week of December 20th, 2010

I took a lot of care and time putting this plan together.  Why you ask? It is Christmas week and my children are home from school the whole week.  Im actually nervous about this.  I want them to look back on Christmas and remember a nice time.  My plan is to have a Christmas themed craft or activity each day leading up to Christmas.  If you look at my plan, you will notice that I have a lot of cookies planned.  The craziest part of having all these cookies to eat is that we really don't eat many cookies. LOL.  But growing up, we always had the variety of cookies and I want to pass that onto my kids.

I once had a beautiful experience involving Christmas cookies. A neighbor I was not entirely familiar with knocked on my door and handed me a tin full of cookies.  We were so pleased and honored that they even thought of us.  It really made the holiday magical.  We were NOT reluctant to eat the cookies either ~ lol.  Turned out to be the best cookies we ever ate!!!  I bought a pack of tins and I think I'll pass this nice deed forward.

Monday, December 20th, 2010
Dinner: Salisbury Steaks, Mashed Potatoes, veggie.

Activity: Making Cinnamon OrnamentsRoll Out Sugar Cookies and possibly an outdoor activity.

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
Dinner: Chicken Cutlets, Wild Rice, Green Beans.

Activity: Making Reindeer Shirts, Italian Almond Cookies & Wedding Balls

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
Dinner: Mozzarella and Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausages, Parsley Potatoes, veggie.

Activity: Making Flour-less Peanut butter Cookies, Chewy Chocolate Fudge Cookies & Recycled Magazine Bows using gift wrap scraps.

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
Dinner: Chicken Spaghetti, tossed salad

Activity: Making Gingerbread House Pieces to assemble tomorrow.

Friday (Christmas Eve), December 24th, 2010
Lynn's Egg Cups
Hash Brown Casserole
Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

Potato Galette

Saturday (Christmas Day), December 25th, 2010
Scrambled Eggs
Hash Brown Casserole
Sliced Ham
fresh biscuits

Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Cole Slaw

Mashed Potatoes
Pumpkin Pie

Sunday, December 26th, 2010
Leftovers Print

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Week of December 13th, 2010

I'm late, I'm late...for a very important date!  I'm late, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late.  LOL.  I had this post typed up on Sunday and got so busy Monday I forgot to post it.  I still need to look at my plan on the fridge though or I wont follow it and nobody will get fead!!!

Cookies for the hubs Christmas party I think will be those naturally gluten free cookies like peanut butter and oatmeal which I use oatmeal flour as the flour.

Dinner with my Mommies group.  I am going to serve the family:
Hamburgers with Home Made Hamburger Buns, Steak Fries and Broccoli

I am going to have lunch with my husband at his work.  It will be their department Christmas party.  I am going to bring along Baked Ziti and Cookies.
Dinner will be at the Church with be soup and singing!  I am bringing corn bread.

Beef Stew served with Butter Milk Biscuits.  I'm going to be bold and brave and try to convert yet another of my old cut out biscuit recipes.  Wish me luck.

School party today at my daughters class.  I will need to bring her cupcakes and cookies so she can participate.  It really bugs me that she will be the odd man out with the "special" cupcake. So I ordered her an awesome Snow Globe ring to be a cupcake topper!  Then she can hand out cupcake toppers to the rest of her class :-).   We will be going to the movie theater tonight and eating there.

Sweet and Sour Chicken served over rice along with a side of broccoli.  This was a hit with my kids last week and they actually asked for me to make it again this week!!

Chicken Spaghetti.  A classic casserole dish made gluten free by simply replacing the wheat based soup with my progresso soup. Print

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gluten Free Cowboy Cookies

I received this recipe attached to a gift jar at a holiday exchange.  We are Gluten Free so we could not use the blend provided. Looking at that jar on my counter and not being able to try that cookie was taunting me!  LOL.  I decided to try the recipe out with my favorite gluten free flour blend. They turned out wonderfully!!!!  I am so pleased at how nicely the cookie recipes are converting to Gluten Free.

This was my first time having a chocolate chip in a cookie with oats. The combination of oats and chocolate chips was just heavenly.  I always heard of making oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips instead of raisins but never ever tried them that way.  I think these are called cowboy cookies because the turn out to be a hearty cookie.  Just what you would expect a cowboy to eat.

1/2 cup Butter (room temperature)
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla

1 1/2 cups Flour Blend
1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1 1/3 cups rolled oats (make sure they are labeled GF)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with or parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup butter , 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
3. Stir in the remaining ingredients. You may need to use your hands to finish mixing.
4. Shape into walnut sized balls.
5. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.
6. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven.


Taco Seasoning Blend

Make your own Taco Seasoning blend!

I have tried so many different variations of this recipe over the years. I was trying to find one that tastes like the ones you buy already mixed in the packet at the store.  So many times I have been disappointed.  There were some good ones though, like Alton's Taco Potion #19.  But it just was not what I personally was looking for.  This recipe below is what I believe is the closest thing to the packets I am used to.  

It is so economical to make it yourself.  I have not done the math yet, but the cost is bound to be cheaper.  My mother's dollar stores carry all of these ingredients.  So seven dollars for seven ingredients equals seven packets of the store bought stuff.  Or make it yourself and get way more than seven packets.  
1 Tablespoon minced dried onion
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

Get out 10 little snack sized baggies.  
Add each ingredient above one at a time to each bag.
Store for later.

Note:  I personally do not add water to the beef along with the spice.  I think the beef releases enough juices to use and it makes a thicker coating.  My kids hate runny taco meat!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Soft Cake Like Sugar Cookies

These cookies are soft and yummy.  My one biggest challenge of baking gluten free cookies was  making my sugar cookies so they did not get too crunchy.  I actually took a poll on my Facebook page to see what the most popular preference was.  It was chewy by a landslide.

Problem #1:
Every gluten free cookie and gluten free sugar cookie recipe I tried to date resulted in a crunchy cookie.  Like ginger snap type crunch.  They were good tasting cookies but I'm on team chewy cookie!!!

Problem #2:
I need them to end up resembling the shape I am cutting them into (for the kids sake) and not result into a soft puffy blob (which are good to eat, but not to decorate).

I decided to go a different route in my pursuit of a good sugar cookie and use a regular gluten filled recipe instead and use some of the tips I looked up in the back of my cook books.  I started with the recipe that came with the cookie cutter I ordered from

I used a sword cookie cutter in honor of my son's Black Belt Birthday.  By frosting these cookies with a Royal Frosting, they allowed this larger sized cookie to be more stable and not fall apart during transport.  I gave these as hand outs at my son's birthday.  I simply placed them in a Cello bag decorated with a nice ribbon.  They were a HIT!

Below you will find the recipe I ended up with.

21 ounce Vanilla Cake Mix (I used this because I had tons of it)
1/4 cup Additional Flour Blend
1 cup Butter flavored Crisco
1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
1/4 cup Sugar
2 Whole Eggs
1 Egg Yolk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt

  • Gently mix butter and sugar, beating until light and creamy.
  • Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  • Add baking powder to cake mix and add 1 cup at a time.
  • Beat until completely blended.
  • Divide dough in half.
  • Roll out cookie dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper. 
  • Use a rolling pin (with spacer rings if you have it to get perfect spacing) roll out to 1/4 inch thick layers.
  • Continue rolling remaining dough between parchment paper.
  • Place in stacks on a cookie sheet, cover with foil.  
  • Chill dough overnight or 1 to 2 hours at a minimum.
  • Remove one sheet of the dough at a time and cut into shapes.
  • Bake on baking sheet at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes and edges start to brown slightly.
  • Makes a dozen cookies

And because my sole purpose in life is to save you from having the aggravation of trying to figure this out for yourself like I did, here are some hints and some trouble shooting techniques for cookies that I found from various sources, including Joy of Baking. The tips below will help you achieve the cookie YOU desire.

If you want your cookies on the flat side, you can do some or all of the following things: Use all butter, use all-purpose flour or bread flour, increase the sugar content slightly, add a bit of liquid to your dough, and or bring the dough to room temperature before baking.

If you like your cookies light and puffy, try some of the following tricks. Use shortening or margarine and cut back on the fat, add an egg, cut back on the sugar, use cake flour or pastry flour, use baking powder instead of baking soda, refrigerate your dough before baking.

If chewiness is your desire remove the cookies a few minutes before they are done, while their centers are still soft and not quite cooked through. The edges should be slightly golden but the middle will still look slightly raw. Use brown sugar or honey as a sweetener. Try using egg yolks instead of whole eggs. This will add some extra moistness to the cookies thus helping to be a bit more on the chewy side.

For crisp and crunchy cookies, bake your cookies a few minutes longer than suggested and immediately remove them to a wire rack to cool. Cookies made with all butter and high amounts of white sugar will also crisp quite nicely. Another trick is to use bread flour.

Common Cookie Problems

Cookies brown too quickly 
The oven is too hot or baking pans are a dark color. Try baking at a lower temperature, longer or use heavy gauge aluminum baking sheets.

Bottom of cookies brown too quickly
Same as above, or the oven rack is too low, or too much sugar is in the cookies.

Top of cookies brown too quickly and bottoms are not cooked
The rack is too high in the oven

Cookies spread too much
The dough is too soft - refrigerate for 15 minutes; warm baking sheets were used; too much butter, oil, or margarine was used - try using a 50/50 mix of shortening and butter.

Cookies do not bake evenly
Your cookie sheet may be warped or the temperature throughout the oven is not even.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gluten Free Dump Cake

This is a great idea for a pot luck or a dish to take along to a dinner you were invited to. It is called a Dump Cake but it really turns out more like a Gluten Free ~ Worry Free Cobbler.  Either way, its delicious.  I was suggested to try this idea from a few commenters on my Betty Crocker Ideas post and am I ever grateful.  The beauty of this recipe is that it applies to both regular cake mix as well as Gluten Free.

1 Box Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix)
1 Can Cherry Pie Filling 
1 Can Crushed Pineapples (with Juice)
1 Cup (2 sticks) Butter, Melted
Sprinkle of Walnuts

  • Dump Cherry Pie filling into a 9 x 13 Baking Dish.
  • Dump evenly over top of that the Pineapples.
  • Sprinkle some Walnuts on top.
  • Layer an even coat of the Cake mix on top.
  • Layer melted butter evenly over top.
  • Bake 350 degrees for one hour.
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