Valentine’s Day is coming up so I thought it would be fun to make gluten free heart-shaped crackers. Before making Valentine Red Lentil, Beet, and Flax Crackers I had never used red lentils but I’d heard about them and thought they might produce a cracker in honor of Valentine’s Day that was some shade of red. Well, it turns out red lentils are not red at all, but more orange in color. I thought I could fix this by adding some beets and was encouraged when the dough mixed up to a beautiful deep, ruby-red color – perfect for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately the crackers lose that beautiful deep red color when baked. I was going to rework the recipe to omit the beets but they give the crackers an earthy quality that would be lacking without them and, more importantly, everyone that tried the crackers said they were delicious as is and that I shouldn’t change a thing.
I love Christmas cookies decorated with royal icing but they’re an absolute pain to make. You have to mix up several batches of icing for all the different colors you want, fit multiple pastry bags with tips, and then carefully fill each bag with icing. All that before you even start decorating! It’s very time consuming and the clean up is no fun either. Raspberry Filled Christmas Tree Cookies are much less work but no less beautiful. The idea for these cookies comes from the The New York Times. Their recipe calls for a linzer cookie dough but I opted for a classic sugar cookie dough because I thought the paler color of the dough would highlight the red raspberry jam better. Plus, I already had a batch of sugar cookie dough in my freezer just waiting to be transformed into Yuletide goodness! (more…)
The operative word here, or in this case number, is 1. The recipe for 1 Easy Cranberry Sauce calls for 1 bag (12 oz.) of fresh cranberries, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of orange juice. That’s all it takes to make a delicious homemade cranberry sauce with the perfect balance of sweet and tart to complement your Thanksgiving turkey. If there was a contest for the simplest recipe ever this one would surely be in the running. Just put 3 ingredients into a slow cooker, turn it on high, and cook for 4 hours. (more…)
With Thanksgiving only a couple of weeks away, many of you who are hosting dinners have undoubtedly begun planning the meal. Getting as much done ahead of time will allow you to spend more time with family and friends. Things like pie crusts, cranberry sauce, and even gravy can be made weeks ahead of time and frozen. You can also start thinking about your table decorations. Some people get so overwhelmed with the thought of preparing an entire Thanksgiving dinner that they put very little effort into decorating the table. I think this is such a shame! If you’re going to spend all that time cooking an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t it make sense to put some extra thought into the table decorations? After all, this is the stage for the beautiful meal you’ll spend hours preparing. Floral arrangements are lovely, but oh so boring. Why not create something truly unique and memorable – like Thanksgiving Cookie Votives! These charming cookie votives are a little labor intensive but so worth the effort. They’ll dress up your table and are sure to be a conversation starter. Plus, you can serve them for dessert. Below are some tips for making Thanksgiving Cookie Votives. For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post. (more…)
These witch’s finger Halloween cookies are SO creepy. A shortbread type dough is molded into the shape of a finger and adorned with a blanched almond, painted red to look like a finger nail. The end result is a cookie that looks amazingly realistic. It’s fun to greet trick-or-treaters at the door with a tray of these cookies. The reactions are priceless! (more…)
I’m making A Berry Patriotic Salad with Gluten Free Star Croutons for the 4th of July, but it would be great for Memorial Day or Labor Day too. It’s fun, festive, delicious, AND nutritious.
What makes this salad special is the star croutons and you only need 5 ingredients to make them.
Start by melting coconut oil over medium low heat. While the coconut oil is melting measure out the gluten-free baking mix, parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper and salt into a mixing bowl.
Add the warm water and melted coconut oil to the flour mixture and combine thoroughly. Use a rubber spatula to gather the dough into a ball.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator or freezer if you are not immediately rolling out the croutons.
When you’re ready to roll out the dough, do so between two sheets of plastic wrap to prevent sticking. Don’t try and roll out the entire ball of dough at once. Instead pinch off pieces of dough that are a tad smaller than the size of a golf ball. This will make the rolling and cutting more managable. The trickiest part of this recipe is getting the dough rolled out thin enough. You want to roll it out really thin – between 1/8 and 1/16th or an inch thick. If the dough is not rolled thin enough the croutons will be tough and chewy instead of crispy and crunchy. Rolling pin rings REALLY help with getting the dough to the right thickness for this recipe. Rolling pin rings are plastic or silicone rings that fit onto the ends of your rolling pin and help you roll out dough evenly and to a specified thickness. They come in a variety of sizes depending on the thickness of dough desired, and are available on-line and in cooking stores.
Once the croutons are baked they’ll be crispy and slightly golden brown. They make the salad taste so good! They’re not greasy and salty like boxed croutons or the ones you typically get on restaurant salads.
The crouton recipe makes many more croutons than are needed for 2 salads so package up the leftovers and store them in a zip lock bag in the freezer. You can pull them out whenever you need gluten free salad croutons. It’s fun to make other holiday themed shapes too for Valentines Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.
A Berry Patriotic Salad with Gluten Free Star Croutons
¾ cup fresh raspberries or sliced fresh strawberries
¼ cup chopped almonds
½ cup gluten-free all- purpose baking flour
¼ cup/1 ounce finely grated parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 ½ Tablespoons hot water
3 ounces balsamic vinegar
1 ounce olive
Salt and pepper to taste
To make the gluten-free croutons preheat the oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the gluten free baking flour, salt, parmesan cheese, coconut oil, cayenne pepper, and hot water. Once the dough comes together, gather into a ball and turn it onto a lightly floured (dust with more of the gluten free baking flour) surface. Gently knead it a few times.
Roll out the dough until it is very thin, approximately ⅛th to 1/16th of an inch thick.
Using a star cookie cutter, approximately 1 inch in diameter, cut out the croutons and place them on the baking sheet.
Bake 9-11 minutes, or until they start to brown around the edges.
Notes: This crouton recipe makes more than enough croutons for 2 salads so you’ll have extra left over. Alternatively you can make enough croutons for 2 salads (approximately 1 dozen) and then using a larger cookie cutter make crackers with the rest of the dough.
Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper and set aside. Divide the baby spinach or salad greens between two bowls. Top each bowl of greens with goat cheese, berries, almonds, and 5 or 6 star croutons. Dress with balsamic vinegariette and serve.
Crouton recipe dapted from the book Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk by Lara Ferroni