Gluten Free Cream Puffs

It's one week till Christmas! The decorations are up, the gifts are wrapped, the house is clean(for now), the kids are home from school, and holiday visitors have started arriving!  With so much going on I like to have as much of my Christmas dinner prepared ahead of time and in the freezer as possible.  There will still be lots to do on the 24th and 25th but I don't want to spend the whole day in the kitchen.  In my freezer I have, Wild Rice Stuffing, Butternut Squash Soufflé, Whipped Cranberry Salad, various gluten free goodies, and for Christmas Dinner dessert, Gluten Free Cream Puffs with Old Fashioned Chocolate Sauce.
Cream puffs are always a hit! After a big dinner they are nice and light and dressed up with just a little Chocolate Sauce they are just right for your Holiday table! 
Cream puffs are actually very easy to make gluten free.  Recently I learned that I could make them in my standing mixer with my whisk attachment and it is so easy! Making them by hand isn't too hard either,but my arm used to get so tired beating in the eggs.  I have also learned another tip.  When they are done baking, poke each puff with a sharp knife (I do it on the side) and then let them cool in the oven with the door open.  This will let the steam out and ensure that the puffs are crisp.  When they are cool I fill them with whipped cream using an icing bag and a medium sized tip through the slit I made when they were done baking.  

 

Gluten Free Cream Puffs

  • 1 cup Gluten Free flour Blend
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 large eggs
Mix flour, xanthan gum and baking powder together, set aside.  In a medium sauce pan heat water and butter until butter melts and water just boils.  Add flour mixture all at once and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball (it will look like 'play dough'). Place the dough in the bowl of a standing mixer.  Using the whip attachment add eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is absorbed before adding the next.  Drop by teaspoons, or with a pastry bag onto a greased metal cookie sheet.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  Do not under-bake.  Pierce each puff with a sharp knife and cool in the oven with the door open.  When completely cool fill with sweetened whipped cream and top with Old Fashioned Chocolate Sauce.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Sauce

 
  Hot chocolate season is here!  Treat yourself with this gooey, chocolate sauce that will bring back childhood memories. This is a recipe that has been in my family for ever!  I don't know where it came from but if we wanted chocolate milk, hot chocolate or  ice-cream sundaes, this is what we used. There was always a jar of this sauce made and waiting in the fridge.  
When I look at the list of ingredients on a container of chocolate sauce in the grocery store it contains a lot of ingredients that I can't pronounce.  I try not to eat unpronounceable ingredients and I sure don't want my kids eating them either. This Old Fashioned Chocolate Sauce has only real food ingredients and I have replaced the white sugar with organic cane sugar and so for a treat once in a while this is a good choice.  It only takes about 5 minutes to make and lasts for up to a month in the fridge.
Lately I have also been using this sauce for a Mini Cheesecake topping and drizzling it on Gluten Free Cream Puffs to make them extra special.    

Old Fashioned Chocolate Sauce

  • 1 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
In a heavy sauce pan mix sugar and cocoa.  Add hot water and simmer over medium heat for two minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in salt, vanilla and butter.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.

Gluten Free Orange Almond Cookies

  Here on the Prairies it is officially winter.  I know this not because of the date on the calendar but because we have had our first "storm day". A day when schools are closed because of severe weather.  In this case it wasn't snow but ice and when the news reached the children there was joy all around.  As a mother I have always liked storm days too, as long as they don't happen too often.  Once in a while it is great to have everything shut down, no appointments, no after school activities, just a day at home.  Sometimes the family needs to rest, to spend some time catching up with piano, homework, reading, or building snow forts.  At this time of year it can be spent decorating, wrapping gifts or holiday baking. 
At four o'clock my daughter said to me, "This was a nice day!"  I agreed, "Yes it was a nice day".
"No,"  she replied.  "It was an ice day!"  
 
  It was just the perfect day for cookies!  And it's not Christmas without cookies!  These Orange Almond Cookies are so fast and easy to make and I think they look so nice with the simple almond decorations and the glimmer of the sugar crystals.  They are just the right combination of chewy and crunchy and they have just a hint of orange flavour, it's hard to tell they are gluten free! 

Gluten Free Orange Almond Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar, or 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • Grated rind of one orange
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour, or ground almonds
  • 1 1/4 cup Gluten Free Flour Blend
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar, for dipping glass
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, for decorating
Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg, almond extract, orange rind and orange juice and beat until fluffy.  Add all dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Roll into one inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Use a drinking glass with a flat bottom, spread a bit of butter on the bottom, dip it in sugar and flatten the cookie balls.  You will have to re dip the glass in the sugar between each cookie.  Place four pieces of slivered almond on each cookie, gently press them in.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  

White Chocolate Berry Bars

 
I have recently made a discovery, white chocolate!  While it isn't completely life changing, it does open up the door to many delicious new recipes to try.  Move over milk chocolate and dark chocolate and make room for white chocolate on the Christmas dainty tray! These White Chocolate Berry Bars are gluten free like all of my recipes and they are very yummy!    
When I was first introduced to white chocolate as a child I didn't trust it.  How could this imposter call itself chocolate it wasn't even brown!  I did try small amounts over the years but was never swayed, until about a year ago when I tried a white chocolate cheesecake.  Sadly, I realized what I had been missing all these years!     
  I usually try to bake using healthy ingredients and limit the sugar.  This is a little harder to do using white chocolate, but once in a while we need a treat, right?  By using my Raspberry Blueberry Chia Jam which is only sweetened with a small amount of honey and by using ground almonds and oatmeal in the crumb mixture these yummy treats have some quality ingredients and nutritional value.  
 
The only problem with these bars is that they disappear fast.  I have already had to make a second batch and it is only December 7th!  The second time I made a double recipe in a 9 x 13 pan so that will hopefully make it to Christmas.
   

White Chocolate Berry Bars

  • 1 cup Gluten Free Flour Blend
  • 1 cup Gluten Free oatmeal 
  • 1 cup ground almonds, or almond flour
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar, or 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup raspberry jam or Raspberry Blueberry Chia Jam
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips or white melting chocolate, divided 
In a medium sized bowl mix dry ingredients.  Blend in softened butter and mix till combined.  Grease a 9 x 9 inch baking pan or line with parchment paper. Place 2/3 of the crumb mixture in bottom of pan and press down firmly.  Spread jam over base, sprinkle on 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips or chopped baking chocolate.  Spread remaining crumbs over top and press down gently.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes until top is lightly browned.  Cool completely, cut into small squares and drizzle with remaining amount of white chocolate by melting it and placing it in a piping bag or a small ziplock bag with a small hole cut in one corner.  

Raspberry Blueberry Chia Jam

Chia Jam has been gaining popularity recently, along with the popularity of chia seeds themselves.  These small seeds are referred to as a super food because they are high in protein, fibre, calcium, omega 3 fats, and are low in calories.  One of the cool properties of chia seeds is their ability to thicken liquids, this is because of the gelatinous seed coat.  For this reason it makes a very easy no-cook jam.  This is also the reason you should never eat chia seeds alone, they could swell and get caught in your throat.  But ground up in baking or whole in jam or pudding the mild flavoured chia seed is great.
Another reason chia jam is great is because, unlike traditional cooked jams, you can add a lot less sugar.  In this jam I have combined raspberries and blueberries because blueberries add some natural sweetness that goes great with the tangy raspberry.  The only other sweetener I added was 1/4 cup of honey.  Combined with the nutritional value of chia seeds this makes a great part of a healthy breakfast.
 
Did I mention how easy it is to make this jam?  No stirring over a hot stove, no sterilizing jars!  Life just got so much better!  Just throw everything in the blender,  mix until it reaches your desired chunkiness then let it sit for 10 minutes and enjoy!
  In addition to breakfast, this jam is great on yogurt or try it on a mixed berry ice cream sundae.  
Watch for my next post, White Chocolate Berry Bars to add to your holiday goodie collection.
 

 

Raspberry Blueberry Chia Jam

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 3 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. warm water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
If using frozen berries, defrost and drain excess liquid.  Place all ingredients in a blender.  Mix until combined and berries are partially chopped.  Place jam in a jar or bowl and let sit approximately 10 minutes until thick.  Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.