I just got home from a whirlwind of a weekend in San Francisco as a vendor at the GFAF Expo. Phew! Talk about one exciting & exhausting 48 hours. It was an invaluable experience and I feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of it - not to mention, very proud to showcase our sinfully delicious gluten-free brownies from a lovely, cozy, kitchen-ish space.
We received such positive feedback from the hundreds of people who stopped by our booth. Some even circled back to sneak a second helping for themselves or to press their friends to grab a sample of "the best brownies". After one bite, even the skeptics agreed - our brownies really are crazy good.
What a wonderful start to the year. 2013, here we come!
You know that infectious smell that seems to linger long after you've devoured every morsel of whatever goodness you whipped up in the kitchen? You know, the one that miraculously (forcibly) stretched your one-bite rule into a half-pan and licking-the-bowl-clean obligation
? Of course you do. We all do. In fact, that's happening in real-time in my kitchen this evening. My friend Laura Hanley of G-Free Laura
asked if I had any recipes I'd like to share for the holidays, so I set out to find something festive, but not cliche (read: peppermint-anything). I stumbled upon these cherry-cabernet brownies and was hooked. Now, I know cherries aren't in season, but hey, that's what dried fruit is for. As a bonus, cherries are red, red is festive this time of year, festivus brownius = happiness. "You see: robe, kimono. There you go!" Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Anyway, back to the brownie delight going on over here. In a word, these are special. They are everything you could hope for and more. The cherries puff up a bit from the cabernet and are a wonderful little surprise in (almost) every bite. Plus, the additional liquid from the wine adds great body to the baked brownie. I've already broken my one-bite rule and have eaten an entire brownie. Ok, maybe two. But who's counting?Source: Adapted from Better Homes & GardensCherry-Cabernet BrowniesYield: 8"x8" panBrownies:
1 bag kitch+table double chocolate brownie mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup cabernet sauvingnonGanache:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp butter, cut up
3 tbsp cabernet sauvingnonDirections:
Preheat oven to 325˚F. In a saucepan, combine cherries and wine. Just as it begins to boil, remove from heat & set aside. Prepare brownies as noted on package. Add cherry-wine mixture to brownie batter and stir until combined. Bake for 31 - 35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
For ganache, combine chopped chocolate, butter and wine in a saucepan on low heat. Stir until melted and smooth.
As a kid, bread & water never sounded like a particularly harsh diet. In fact, digs aside, I always believed our confined contemporaries had it pretty good. I, for one, could do serious, blissful damage to a loaf of bread. I've since been enlightened and am now acutely aware of just how varied their cafeteria grub can be (not to mention, food pyramid compliant).
Judging by the starchy superabundance at the grocery store (seriously, how does anyone make a decision?), it's clear that bread is an entrenched & over-indulged staple. Even gluten-free bread options are growing & while some have won the blue ribbon for their exemplary imitation of cardboard, the vast majority are making impressive strides toward fluffy and flavorful.
Like most of my concoctions, borne from an appetite for kitchen adventure (and an inability to turn my brain off at bedtime), I thought I'd give the idea of pizza dough bread a whirl. I recently purchased adorable paper loaf pans and was anxious to try them out. With a few adjustments, I mixed up the pizza dough and transferred it into a well-oiled loaf pan. The result? Absolute perfection. Now, it's common knowledge that gluten-free baked goods have an un-fabulously short shelf-life & unfortunately, this little loaf is no different. But really, when things taste this good, why would it need to last very long? I made the loaf yesterday, and it was great fresh out of the oven. I wrapped the leftover bread in plastic wrap and left it on the kitchen counter overnight. Though the texture certainly changed, it was no match for the oven. Today, I simply cut it into 1/4" - 1/2" slices and toasted them in the oven. Spread with butter or (homemade!) jam, it makes for a divine accompaniment to any breakfast.
Pizza Dough Bread
Yield: 1 mini loaf
1 bag kitch+table rustic pizza dough mix
7/8 cup water
Prepare pizza dough as noted on package, except mix on high speed for 3 minutes. While dough is mixing, prepare a sheet of parchment paper with a generous splash of olive oil. Using a rubber spatula, scrape dough from the bowl onto the parchment paper and with oiled hands, work into a ball. Transfer dough ball into a greased mini loaf pan (6" x 2 1/2" x 2") and press flat. Cover in plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour. The loaf will rise about 1/2" to 3/4" above the edge of the pan.
Preheat oven to 350˚F and bake for 36 - 40 until golden brown. Remove from oven and release loaf from pan onto a wire rack to cool. If you can't wait to slice into it, let cool just enough to handle it with ease.
For delicious toast, preheat oven to 400˚F (or use a good 'oletoaster!). Cut loaf into 1/4" - 1/2" slices and place directly on oven rack for 10 - 15 minutes (keep an eye on them to avoid making burnt toast) or into toaster/toaster oven. Goes fabulously with butter, jam, peanut butter, almond butter...you get the point!
Chocolate. So good, Hollywood made a movie about it. And so good, I'm going to blog about it. Well, indirectly of course via the bee's knees of baked goods: the brownie. Before you question whether or not you need to make these, take a quick peek at the list of ingredients. If that doesn't conjure up images of kitchen bliss, I don't know what would. OK, now that you're stuck with me, let's talk about the goodness that will unfold as you start mixing things up.
Normally, I'd suggest baking these around folks with a serious predilection for brownies as a means of portion control (tried and true, scouts honor). So if you're home alone, beware. A spoonful of batter here and there may seem innocent enough, but we both know that "making sure it tastes good" happens more than just once or twice. On the off chance you can't control your cravings, don't fret. Brownie bites are always a good way to cover up the fact there isn't enough batter left to fill an 8" x 8" pan - plus, they make for the perfect, two-bite snack. But I'm not here to encourage you to eat brownie batter or to make brownie bites (yet!). Rather, I want to share what could be one of the greatest amalgams of all time: chocolate, caramel & sea salt. Ah, sweet & salty. Taste buds love it. Hips, not so much (note: the happy dance that will take place in your kitchen should take care of that). You'll really test your willpower as you wait for the caramel and chocolate layers to set. But once they do, you're welcome. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Cooking Light
Salted Caramel Brownies
Yield: 8" x 8" pan
1 package kitch+table brownie mix
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 1/2 tbsp evaporated fat-free milk, divided
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped*
1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
*Candy melts are also an excellent option
Prepare and bake brownies as noted on package.
For the topping, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and 1 1/2 tbsp milk; cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and powdered sugar; stir with a whisk until smooth. Spread over cooled brownies. Let set.
Combine chocolate and 2 tbsp milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until melted, stirring after 20 seconds. Stir until smooth; drizzle over caramel. As you can tell, this wasn't so easy for me. If your kitchen prowess isn't up to par or you'd like one less bowl to clean, I'd recommend purchasing a container of chocolate melts advertised for strawberry-dipping or chocolate colored candy melts from your local craft store. Melting them in a plastic bag, cutting of a corner and zig-zagging across the brownies will make for a more even distribution of chocolate. Sprinkle with sea salt. Let set.
Instagram is fantastic. With the click of a filter, it catapults the seemingly mundane into sheer photographic genius. Case in point, that picture to the left. Pizza bites aren't exactly the most interesting subject to photograph. After all, they're just (delicious) balls of (the best) gluten-free pizza dough. But tap 'earlybird' and you've got something that looks pretty awesome, if not from the early '70s. Decade aside, I dig the photo and more importantly, I dig the app. Without it, I might never have unearthed (and dusted off) the moxie to start this blog. So here I am, excited to create an endless catalog of recipes that can be made using kitch+table gluten-free baking mixes.
To start us off, I thought I'd share a 'recipe' that recently had me stuffed to the gills. Yes, I tend to nibble my way through many a kitchen adventure, and this was no exception. To prepare for an elementary school carnival where I'd be selling my mixes, I racked my brain for the best way to showcase a truly incredible pizza mix. Without a portable oven, making full-fledged pizzas was out of the question. I tried 'pizza crackers' and 'pizza sticks' and while they were beyond addicting fresh out of the oven, within a few hours they were tooth-break-worthy. Not wanting to expand the tooth fairy's clientele, I continued on in my quest. Finally, I dug through my drawers and found what is quite possibly the greatest kitchen purchase I've recently made: a cookie dough scoop. Unsure if my bright idea would, in fact, be bright, I transferred pizza dough scoop by scoop into a mini muffin pan, popped them into our (jet-fueled) oven for 8 minutes and out came the most rustic-looking and divine-tasting pizza bites. They were a hit. And an easy one at that.
Yield: 22-24 bites per mix
1 bag of kitch+table gluten-free rustic pizza dough mix
7/8 cup water
Preheat oven 425˚F. Prepare pizza dough as noted on package. Transfer dough to a generously oiled baking sheet & with oiled hands, work into a ball. You may certainly grease the mini muffin pan, but as the dough itself is already oiled, it is not necessary. Using a cookie dough scoop, drop pizza dough into the mini muffin pan wells. With each scoop, run your finger across the top to remove excess dough before releasing into the well. By the end, you may have to work the dough into the scoop by hand.
Bake for 8 - 18 minutes depending on your oven. Keep an eye on the pizza bites, and remove once they have acquired a golden-brown color. Allow to cool briefly, and then release & transfer to a wire rack or dish to cool until they can be handled with ease.
While the pizza bites are great on their own, they make for a terrific appetizer or snack accompanied by an assortment of dips (pesto, marinara, ranch, olive oil dip, etc.). Just break them open, dress them up & enjoy!