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It's All About the Baking came about because I want to share my Gluten-free baking. I've developed recipes and tricks over the past ten years so I could enjoy old favorites that tasted, well, just like the old favorites! Hundreds of experiments and tastings (including and especially friends who can eat gluten) later, I'm ready to share!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, Take 2

When I made these fabulous cookies I knew I'd remake them after tweaking the recipe. These are flat, not thick and soft, cookies, They are chewy in the middle and crispy-chewy around the edges. Sometimes I like a cookie that's softer in the middle and thought that decreasing the butter was the solution. Turns out, this time, I was right. (There will soon be a post about learning from your/my mistakes.)

I eliminated one tablespoon of butter and got the result I was looking for. I don't think I'll experiment with this further, but if you like an even softer cookie, I'd cut two tablespoons from the original recipe. I'm offering a re-do of the the recipe with these changes already included.
ready for chillin'

I also left out the dried cherries and added toasted, chopped  walnuts. The walnuts are great even without toasting, but fabulous with toasting!
One for the oven

15 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (14 TB for softer cookie)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 cup cane sugar
2 extra large eggs warmed to room temp*
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup sorghum flour or your favorite gluten-free flour/mix
Chocolate chipper
1 teaspon baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp psyllium seed husk powder*

1 1/4 Cups rolled oats
Chipped Chocolate
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped*
3/4 cup toasted walnuts chopped*

Sift or whisk the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars together in a large bowl, just till blended. Add in the eggs and vanilla and combine thoroughly. Don't over beat as you don't want to incorporate too much air in the dough, especially with gluten-free flour.

Lovely ingredients
Thoroughly mix in the sifted dry ingredients, scraping bottom and sides of the bowl; a stand mixer with a paddle makes is easiest, but you an use a wooden spoon. Add the oats, chips, and cherries. If you're not already mixing by hand you may need to switch to incorporate these three ingredients. (I love my Kitchen Aid six-quart mixer because it will handle this!)

Tightly cover the dough, chill at least two hours and preferably over night to allow the flour and oats to absorb the moist ingredients. If you skip this rest, the cookies will spread out and burn around the edges while remaining raw in the center. I know because I tried it.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, drop dough by spoon fulls* onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat mat. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until cookies are nicely browned on the edges and the centers are set.

Cool on wire racks, store left-overs in a tightly covered container.

-I used eggs from my local farmer's market, one tiny one and one jumbo one!
Warm chocolate goodness
-If you want to omit the psyllium husk powder, increase xanthan gum to 1 3/4 tsp.
-A 1 3/4 inch cookie scoop is too big. Either use a smaller scoop or just use a generous teaspoon full.
-While you can sub in a bag of chocolate chips, you can see from the photos the large pockets of chocolate you get from chopping your own. I start the chopping process with the Chocolate Chipper (afailable at King Arthur, online) and finish the process with a large chef's knife.
Melted chocolate chunk!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Zucocoa Cake

Recently, in clearing out the fridge while preparing to leave on a short vacation, I had two, lonely zucchini that had not made it onto a dinner menu. Since I was having several friends for a quick dinner gathering, I thought Zucocoa cake would be the perfect dessert.

This recipe began as a sheet-cake recipe from a friend who described it as an old, hippie recipe. I changed the ratio of flour and cocoa to make it a true cocoa cake. You could add chopped nuts or even chopped, dried cherries, but I prefer it just the way it is.

For this gathering I glazed the cake with dark-chocolate ganache. It's such a delicious way to top off a cake, though this cake is perfectly fine plain, and even makes a better breakfast pastry sans glaze.

If you're sharing with someone who is averse to vegetables, peel the zucchini first to rmove any evidence green and shred it so the vegetable melts into the cake.

Though I have not done it, I think this recipe would work in two medium loaf pans or a 9x13 sheet pan. Adjust baking time if using a sheet pan; it will take a few minutes longer to completely bake in the center.

UPDATE! I'm including photos of shredded zuzzhini because it's easier to shred than to chop finely into uniform pieces. That's about all the updating, Enjoy!


Grease and flour (I use cocoa instead of flour) a Bundt pan. Set aside.
Greased pan, floured with cocoa
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sift together:
2 1/4 cups flour (I used sorghum, use your favorite GF flour or flour blend)
1/2 c cocoa
1 1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum or 1 TB psyllium seed husk powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Finely chopped zucchini
Process and reserve 2 cup finely chopped zucchini or 1 3/4 cup shredded zucchini, (blotted with a towel if you've shredded it ) to remove some moisture.*

Cream together without over beating:
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temp
1/2 cup shortening (I use Spectrum organic; 96 grams equals 1/2 cup if you have a scale)
1 3/4 cups sugar
Add and mix thoroughly:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup soured, whole milk,* buttermilk, or yogurt thinned with milk or water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix or stir the dry ingredients into the butter/egg/milk mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl two or three times.
Stir the chopped or shredded zucchini into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared Bundt pan.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes (checking at 50 minutes) depending on your oven.

Cool in the pan for ten minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.
Cool completely before serving.

Glaze, from Epicurious:
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup corn syrup, preferably dark
9 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring the whipping cream and corn syrup to a simmer but not a boil. Pour over the chopped chocolate and whisk until combined. Glazing works best if you can chill the cake thoroughly first. Not everyone can make room in their fridge, but the glaze won't slide off the cake if it's cold. If there's no room in the fridge, scoop up the glaze with each slice and enjoy!

*Update for September 4; I disolved 2 tsp of espresso powder in 2 TB boiling water, then melted an ounce of unsweetened chocolate in that. These additions provided another layer of flavor to the cake and I loved it!
*Shredding the zucchini will give you a more moist, denser cake.
*To make sour milk put 2 tsp vinegar (white or cider) into a measuring cup and fill to half cup with whole milk. Let sit for a few minutes.
*The Kitchen offers a great tutorial for ganache. For a quick glaze, chop 3 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and put in a bowl. Heat 1/2 cup cream (I got away with half and half, all I had at the time) till it just begins to simmer. Pour over chopped chocolate, let it stand till chocolate is soft, and stir or whisk to blend. To make it thinner, add warm cream a little at a time. Drizzle over completely cooled cake.
Shredded, draining on towel
Lovely batter

The shredded zucchini makes a smoother, slightly creamier, batter. It's just a great cake either way.