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Airstream trailer

Hello, you beautiful people! And, I mean everyone. This Christmas season has given me new reasons to look at the world, remembering how blessed I am. The big things. The little things. I’m truly a blessed individual.

OK, I wasn’t thrilled when the Little Man and I were sick all but 3 days in the last two months, but we got better. And, it’s small potatoes. I have had several friends going through some very rough times lately. Some are online friends. Some are real life friends. Some are both. To all of you, I send love and hugs and happy, happy thoughts.

And, somehow, this actually leads into the post I was going to write today. One of the many, many things that I am grateful for is my family. All of them. And, this recipe is an adaptation from a recipe of my step-MIL. If you can call it an adaptation. She freely admits that she doesn’t write down recipes or measure. She just throws stuff together, and most of the time, it works out. Well, this is one that worked out well. Very well.

About a month and a half ago, my FIL and step-MIL stayed the night at our house. Step-MIL brought these fabulous ginger cookies. I call them ginger cake cookies. They are cakey, and gingery, and yummy goodness. I asked her for the recipe, and she sent me an approximate idea of what she threw together. So, I did some work and came up with this recipe. It tastes pretty much like what she brought.

I also adapted this recipe to make a gingerbread “house” for a contest that my friend, Kim, is holding on her blog, Cook It Allergy Free. So, this brings me to the picture at the top of this post. I loved the picture this made when we were walking on my in-laws property. It’s not theirs. It belongs to their neighbor’s son, but they share the beautiful walking property. And, I felt good about my photographer’s eye, when I heard my step-MIL say it was such a great picture as I was bringing out my camera. (She used to be a professional photographer.) So, I was inspired to make this for the contest.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread House Trailer

Gluten-Free Gingerbread House Trailer

So far, it’s not getting many votes. Like any. But that’s ok. It was my first attempt at anything like this. The Little Man helped me a lot. That boy has patience. He helped for an hour before he got bored and tried to put kidney and black beans on it. (He thinks the m’n’m’s are beans. And he will continue to think that as long as I can make it happen.)

So, if you feel inclined, you can vote for my trailer at Kim’s Gingerbread House contest. It’s #16. You can vote once per day. That would be cool.

Or, you can make the Gluten-Free Ginger Cake Cookies. That would also be cool. Let me know if you do. I would love to know how you like them.

Gluten-Free Ginger Cake Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Add palm sugar.
  3. Add ginger, molasses, and egg.
  4. Pile into little mounds on a cookie sheet. Might want to use parchment paper, but it isn’t absolutely necessary.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes.
  6. Test at 8 minutes for doneness.
Gluten-Free Ginger Cake Cookies

Gluten-Free Ginger Cake Cookies

Notes: If you don’t have fresh ginger, or the gumption to grate it, you can sub 2 teaspoons of ginger powder. I used McCormick Roasted Ground Ginger I got at BlogHer Food. It worked very nicely.

Also, I adapted this recipe for the gingerbread house by doubling the recipe, using a total of 3/4 cup molasses and 3 eggs. I let it sit in the fridge overnight before rolling. It made it cakier (not a word, but you know what I mean), and we are still eating it days later. It still tastes good. (Oh, yeah, I so destroyed it as soon as I took the picture. Not really impressed with how it turned out, but it was my first attempt.)

Lessons learned when making a gingerbread house:

  1. Roll the dough thin. Mine was much too thick to work with. The walls were heavy.
  2. Mix the royal icing for a very long time. I didn’t mix mine long enough, and it took forever to harden. Seriously, the reason the windows look so you-know-what-ed up it because after 3-4 hours of laying down, I tried to put the walls up, and everything came running down. Not pretty. But, it’s still tasty.
  3. If you use this recipe, you can take cookie cutters to it after. The Little Man has lots of his gingerbread “stars” to eat for a while.

Until later, here’s to…Living better, easily!

PS – I am linking this recipe to Calling All Cookies – Gluten-Free cookie round-up, being held by Nancy at The Sensitive Pantry. Another dear friend.

PPS – If you haven’t already, go vote for my trailer at Kim’s Gingerbread House contest. It’s #16.

Golden Beet, Persimmon, and Pomegranate Salad

Golden Beet, Persimmon, and Pomegranate Salad

A while ago, I received an email from a friend of mine, Nancy at The Sensitive Pantry, about Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign. This holiday season, several bloggers are joining together for a week-long campaign called Share Our Holiday Table. We are each choosing a type of holiday dish to write about to get the word out. Each day this week, a different dish will be spotlighted. (Please scroll down to the bottom to see links to the posts so far. And go visit.) Monday was Appetizers. Tuesday was Drinks. And, today (Wednesday) is salads. I chose Vegetarian Salad. So, below is the recipe I came up with. It’s a very tasty salad made with golden beets, persimmons, and pomegranates. Hence, the name. (Sorry, I’m not very imaginative, sometimes.)

Share Our Holiday Table

But, before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about how you can help. You can take the pledge to help end child hunger here. You can purchase beautiful holiday gift cards to donate and promote awareness. Or, you can help promote by facebooking and twittering this post, other bloggers participating in the campaign, and/or the No Kid Hungry Pledge itself. (There are convenient buttons on the site.) Any help is greatly appreciated.

On to the recipe. I came up with this recipe because it was what I had on hand, and I have had a thing for beet salad, lately. Just can’t get enough of it. So, I added a few more ingredients that I really like, and voilà!

Golden Beet, Persimmon, and Pomegranate Salad

Golden Beet, Persimmon, and Pomegranate Salad

Golden Beet, Persimmon, Pomegranate Salad

(with Ginger Honey Vinegarette)

Ingredients:

Salad -

  • 4 Large (or 8 small) Golden Beets (shredded)
  • 3 Large (or 6 small) Ripe, Fuyu Persimmons (sliced into strips)
  • 1 Large Pomegranate (just the seeds)

Dressing -

  • 2 tbsp Shredded Ginger Root
  • 1/4 cup Lite Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Honey

Directions:

Salad –

  1. Use a food processor or grater to shred the beets.
  2. Add the persimmons.
  3. Add the pomegranates. (For an easy tutorial on how to peel a pomegranate, just click to see my previous post.)

Dressing -

  1. Add ginger, rice vinegar, olive oil and honey to a mini food processor or blender.
  2. Blend away until it is mixed well.
  3. Pour over salad and toss. Toss the salad together. Don’t toss the salad across the room or something. Just want to be clear.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

December 6: Appetizers

Gourmet

Family Friendly

Vegetarian

Gluten Free

December 7: Drinks

Gourmet

Family Friendly

Vegetarian

Gluten Free

December 8: Salads

Gourmet

Family Friendly

Vegetarian

Gluten Free

December 9: Soup

Gourmet

Family Friendly

Vegetarian

Gluten Free

December 10: Entrees

Gourmet

Family Friendly

Vegetarian

Gluten Free

     

    Pomegranate Seeds

    Pomegranates are probably my favorite food. I could live on them. But, they have one major flaw. Peeling them.

    They have this tough skin that gets hard as a rock if, God forbid, you leave them too long before getting around to peeling them. Try to peel that thing off without popping a bunch of the little packet of sweet, juicy flavor around the seeds. Thus, staining anything it touches. Good luck!

    And, speaking of stains. The stains my fingers get from trying to peel these things drives me nuts. My fingers dry up and turns a pale, orangey color. Um, why?

    I know I could get the seeds in a little container in the store, but that just seems so lazy and wrong.

    And, I have heard several times that you just cut it in half and hit it with a wooden spoon. Then, all of the little seeds pop out like beautiful, red, magic rainfall. I’ve even seen Nigella do it on her show. I tried it, and I just ended up mashing the pomegranate and having little red dots all over my kitchen. It was a pomegranate massacre. Should have had a white chalk outline around it and called CSI. Not really the outcome I was looking for.

    So, if you are not a pomegranate whisperer, like I am not, I am going to share with you my technique for getting those pesky, but oh-so-tasty seeds out with as little hassle as possible. And, hopefully, as little stains as possible. Either red or orange.

    Step 1 – Don’t cut the pomegranate in half. Score it. Take a sharp knife and score the skin around like you would be cutting it in half, going around the top and bottom. (It’s easiest to go around the little nib at the bottom.)

    Peel a pomegranate - Step 1.1

    Peel a pomegranate - Step 1.1

    Peel a pomegranate - Step 1.2

    Peel a pomegranate - Step 1.2

    Step 2 – Put the knife in the top to separate the top where the skin is thick.

    Peel a pomegranate Step - 2

    Peel a pomegranate Step - 2

    Step 3 – Gently pull apart to separate the two halves.

    Peel a pomegranate - Step 3

    Peel a pomegranate - Step 3.1

    Peel a pomegranate - Step 3.2

    Peel a pomegranate - Step 3.2

    Step 4 – Score each half in half (so you have quarters) on the outer skin. And gently pull it apart.

    Peel a pomegranate - Step 4.1

    Peel a pomegranate - Step 4.1

    Peel a pomegranate - Step 4.2

    Peel a pomegranate - Step 4.2

    Step 5 – Get a big bowl of water. Use it to help you get the seeds out. Just have your hands in the water with the pomegranate quarters. Bend them back a bit and gently scrape out the seeds with your fingers. (I know scrape isn’t a gentle word, but I couldn’t think of another one to mean the same motion. Just be gentle.)

    The bowl of water is especially helpful if you have an older pomegranate that has tons of yummy seeds but a skin that might as well be made of titanium. The water helps to make the skin more pliable to work with, as well as preventing the weird stains the skin causes on your fingers. Not a fan of those stains, if you hadn’t guessed.

    Peel a pomegranate - Step 5

    Peel a pomegranate - Step 5

    Then, after the seeds are out, just sift through them to make sure you get rid of the icky ones and keep the good ones.

    Pomegranate Seeds

    Pomegranate Seeds

    Done!

    Until later, here’s to…Living better, easily!

    PS – If you haven’t already – you can ‘like’ Glügle Gluten-Free on Facebook.

     

    Gluten-Free Christmas Lasagna Finished

    Gluten-Free Christmas Lasagna

    I love, love, love lasagna!

    OK, who doesn’t? Even vegetarians find a way to make lasagna work for them. Otherwise, I don’t think vegetable lasagna would exist.

    Well, I specifically love, love, love my mother’s lasagna. She made it with a secret ingredient that no other mother of any of my friends ever made it with. (Did that sentence make any sense?)

    Anyway, everyone I have ever known (except my mother) made lasagna with ricotta cheese. Including frozen versions. Don’t get me wrong. Ricotta has its place. But, it makes my lasagna dry. And, it’s just not right.

    So, when I moved out of the house, I made sure to get that lasagna recipe to take with me. I made it a few times, but I have not attempted it since going gluten-free. I know I can get gluten-free lasagna noodles, but it just seems too heavy to me.

    But, I have been trying to figure out a way to make it. Make it more healthy. Make it less heavy. Make it so I can eat it, enjoy it, and not feel guilty and 5 pounds heavier.

    Well, I did it. That gosh darn CSA box showed up with an over abundance of veggies, again. What to do with them?

    There were two giant bunches of Swiss chard. Hmmm. Chard is flat and long. And it goes great in Italian/tomato dishes. I wonder…

    Yep! It worked like a charm. Well, almost. When I made it, I used the chard in long strips. And, we found out that it is a bit difficult to cut into with a knife when it’s warm. Hence, the recipe below calls for it torn into pieces. Much easier.

    And, one other note. It was pretty watery due to the leafy green thing. I used a turkey baster to suck some of it out. But, it still tasted great. And, the water content should be reduced if you use a spinner on your chard before you layer it.

    OH! And that secret ingredient that my mother used. It’s cottage cheese. Instead of ricotta, she used cottage cheese. It made the lasagna so moist and yummy. Anyone I have ever known that has tried my mother’s lasagna (or later, mine) loves it and says it’s the best they’ve ever had. Seriously! She volunteered to make it for Christmas Eve dinner one year and was pretty much required to do it every year after. Snarf went my family. It was gone!

    So, below is my recipe for Christmas Lasagna. Get it? It’s red (the sauce) and green (the chard). Get it?

     

    Gluten-Free Christmas Lasagna

    Gluten-Free Christmas Lasagna

    Christmas Lasagna

    Ingredients:

    Sauce -

    • 1 Onion (chopped)
    • 4 – 5 cloves Garlic (chopped)
    • 2 lbs Ground Beef
    • 2 – 28 oz. cans Tomato Sauce
    • 2 tbsp Dried Parsley Flakes
    • 1 tbsp Sugar (I used Palm Sugar.)
    • 1 tsp Dried Basil

    Cottage Cheese Mixture -

    • 3 cups Cottage Cheese
    • ½ cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)
    • 1 tbsp Dried Parsley Flakes
    • ½ tsp Dried Oregano

    The Rest of It -

    • 1 bunch of Swiss Chard (rinsed, dried, and torn into pieces)
    • 8 oz. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

    Directions:

    Sauce -

    1. Saute onion in a little olive oil until translucent.
    2. Add garlic and saute a bit more. Be careful not to burn garlic.
    3. Add ground beef and cook until beef is browned and mixed with onion and garlic.
    4. Drain off the fat.
    5. Add tomato sauce, parsley, sugar, and basil.
    6. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
    7. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered at least one hour or until mixture has thickened to the consistency of spaghetti sauce.
    8. Remove from heat.

    Cottage Cheese Mixture -

    1. Add cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley and basil to food processor and blend until smooth. It will be thick and you need to spoon it out. It should not pour. Then it’s too thin.

    The Rest of It -

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. In an ungreased lasagna pan, layer Swiss chard to cover the bottom of the pan.
    3. Then the meat sauce.
    4. Then mozzarella cheese.
    5. Then cottage cheese mixture.
    6. And repeat 3 more times.
    7. End with mozzarella so cottage cheese mixture is only layered 3 times.
    8. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Bake for 1 hour if lasagna has been refrigerated.
    Gluten-Free Christmas Lasagna First Steps

    Gluten-Free Christmas Lasagna First Steps

    Gluten-Free Christmas Lasagna Next Steps

    Gluten-Free Christmas Lasagna Next Steps

    **Note** I used a very large lasagna pan for this. If using a normal or smaller pan, it will make two batches.

    **Note 2** My mother is allergic to onions, so in her original recipe, she uses onion powder. It works perfectly. So, if you have an issue with onions, just substitute onion powder.

    I am also posting this recipe now, because it is easy to make ahead of time and refrigerate/freeze for a crazy day that you just want to throw something in the oven and be done with it. Indulgent, yet still feel good about eating it with all of the holiday food we are given all month. Just be sure it is thawed before cooking if you freeze it.

    Until later, here’s to…Living better, easily!

    PS – I am linking this to Gluten-Free Holiday at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang for holiday entrees and side dishes. Lots of good stuff linked already. Go take a look.

    PPS – I am also linking this to Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free being hosted by Carol from Simply…Gluten-Free. (Naomi Devlin of Straight Into Bed, Cakefree and Dried started Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free, and each month it’s hosted on a different blog with a different theme.) And, this month’s theme is family traditions. Since this is a Christmas Eve tradition, it counts.

    PPPS – Wow! I have a lot to link this to. I am also linking this to Gluten-Free Wednesdays at The Gluten-Free Homemaker. Linda always has a lot of great recipes of her own, plus some fabulous ones linked up on Wednesdays.

    PPPS – If you haven’t already – you can ‘like’ Glügle Gluten-Free on Facebook.

    Butternut Squash

    Don’t these two butternut squashes look like two beautiful lovers, snuggling together for the perfect photo? Just so sweet and cozy? Awwwwww.

    And if it was a year ago, I would be punting these two squashes off the deck on which the picture was taken like I was trying out for the Pittsburgh Steelers football team replacement kicker. You betcha!

    There has been no love lost between squashes and I. That’s for sure. I have never been a fan. Yuck!

    Then, that darn CSA box showed up on our doorstep with these two puppies in it. Are you kidding me?! What am I supposed to do with that?!

    That very day, I got an alert in my email box. My friend Ellen, The Gluten Free Diva, had just put up a post about her Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup.

    Curry? CURRY?! CURRY?!?! OMG! Ellen, you area the best! I LOVE curry! Along with pomegranates, chicken curry is my favorite food. Ask anyone who knows me. I have been in love with it since I was a little kid. It was an all-American, made-with-butter-and-flour-and-cow’s-milk version, but I loved it. My tastes have since changed to love any type of Asian curry. Obviously, the Indian curries (which are now my favorite) do not contain any butter or cow’s milk. But, I digress.

    Thanksgiving was right around the corner (at the time), so I decided to try this new recipe out on a bunch of relatives and friends. Always good to do when you haven’t tried a recipe before. But, I trust Ellen.

    Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

    And, am I ever glad I did. I made her soup for the almost 30 people who showed up at my in-laws’ on Thanksgiving. It was pretty easy to make with all of the Thanksgiving morning melee going on, especially since I cut up the squash, apple and onion the night before. Very easy.

    But, then I made a big mistake. Me and my ethical blogging self. What is wrong with me? I got so many compliments on the soup. Lots of this-is-the-best-soup-I-have-ever-had compliments. And what do I do? Do I say thank you and go on letting them think that I am a soup-making goddess?

    No! I go and tell everyone that it’s my friend, Ellen. Blah, blah, blah. She came up with the recipe. Blah, blah, blah. She’s the soup-making goddess. Not me. I just read the recipe and followed directions.

    I mean, I don’t copy recipes on-line and take the credit (which is why you will only find a link to the recipe on my site), but this was the prefect opportunity to take some credit for making an awesome soup. And, I blew it.

    Oh well. It was awesome. They know I actually did the work for the soup they ate. And, it was greatly appreciated. Especially by the vegetarians. Not usually a lot to eat at Thanksgiving for the vegetarians.

    What’s funny is that I was planning on making this recipe for Thanksgiving anyway, but it happened to coincide perfectly with Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger, hosted by Sea at Book of Yum. So, since this fits all of the criteria, I am submitting it. But, what is really funny and ironic, is that I had already committed to adopt Ellen, anyway.

    So, it worked out just perfect for me. I love it when that happens.

    And, as far as drop-kicking the butternut squash from now on, I think they are safe from my foot. Safe from my knife, cooking pot, mouth and tummy… Not so much.

    On that note, go to Ellen’s site. Look at her recipes. You must, must, must try the Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup. If it can save Butternut Squash from being punted in my house, well… You get it.

    Until later, here’s to…Living better, easily!

    **This post is linked to Calling All Cookies – Gluten-Free Cookie Round-Up by Nancy at The Sensitive Pantry. Take a look for some fabulous cookie recipes.**

    ** This post is also linked to Life In Grace – Christmas Cookie Exchange 2010. More fabulous cookie recipes to chose from.**

    Here is another Gluten-Free Holiday guest post. This one is from the lovely Kim at Simple Ginger. She has been blogging for a year, now, and she has traveled the path that a lot of us have traveled. Kept trying to get answers as to what was ailing us for so many years. Get told way too many answers that aren’t the right ones, including IBS and “It’s all in you head.” Interestingly, Kim brings up in her blog that she kept having problems with strep throat, especially in school. I never thought that might be an issue, but I had strep throat 9 times my senior year in high school. Yes, that was 9 times in 9 months.

    Hmmmm. Something to think about.

    And, Kim is a great photographer. You should hop on over to her blog just to look at her fabulous pictures. And grab a few recipes to try while you are at it. She has some great ones to try.

    Anyway, Kim has graced my blog with a post about Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies. You know the ones I mean. Sugar cookies cut into shapes of trees and gingerbread men with that hard, super-sweet, colorful icing. Yum, yum, yum! I know it’s two days before Thanksgiving, but sometimes you need an extra treat around for your guests when you are trying to get that turkey done. Or, maybe you want to bring that extra treat to where you are going. Either way, cookies can be lovely for Christmas or Thanksgiving. Or both!

    So, here is Kim and her Christmas Cookies…

    Hi!  I’m Kim.  I blog over at simpleginger, where I write about my gluten free cooking adventures and life.  I love to cook, especially love trying new recipes, and keeping things simple.  I’m always looking for new recipes to try so if you have some great ones to share, stop on over and leave me a note!

    Kim from Simple Ginger

    Anyway, I’m so glad to be here today sharing my favorite Christmas cookie.  I like this recipe so much I’ve been known to make it my Valentine’s day cookie recipe as well…or even Easter.  Heck, any holiday is a great excuse to have these super cute and soft cookies on hand!

    Gluten Free Christmas Cookies

    Gluten Free Christmas Cookies

    The holiday season can be a tricky one for gluten free eaters, but it doesn’t have to be!  These awesome cookies will impress anyone on your holiday party list.  They are the perfect combination of plain frost-able Christmas cookie, but with a soft chewy secret….sour cream!  This recipe comes from my grandma, not sure where she got it from, but they are a family favorite.  When iced with royal icing, they turn out smooth and shiny and dry hard so they can be stacked in a cute gift bag and tied with a pretty bow for an easy hostess gift, or spread on a platter for a charming cookie plate at your holiday get together.  I hope you try them out!

    For the cookies:

    (yields about 2 dozen cookies)

    • 3/4 cup (165g) sugar
    • 1/4 cup shortening
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3/4 cup (100g) potato starch*
    • 1 & 1/8 cup (112g) corn starch*
    • scant 3/4 cup (75g) brown rice flour*
    • 1/2 cup (75g) sweet rice flour*
    • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
    Ingredients for Gluten Free Christmas Cookies

    Ingredients for Gluten Free Christmas Cookies

    *I use a 40% whole grains to 60% starches ratio.  Any starch or whole grain flour could be used as a substitution as long as the same amount, by weight not volume, is replaced.  I strongly recommend using weights for all of your gluten free flours.  It really makes a world of difference.

    sugar on scale

    Cream the shortening and sugar together in a mixer bowl or by hand.  Add in the egg, sour cream, and vanilla and mix until combined.

    Ingredients in mixing bowl for Gluten Free Christmas Cookies

    In a separate bowl combine the flours and the xanthan gum.  Whisk to aerate and combine.  This is a very important step to ensure the starches and xanthan gum do not clump when added to the other ingredients.  Add in about 3/4 of the flour mixture in 3 additions.  Mix until incorporated after each addition.  The dough should come together but still be sticky.  Use the remaining flour mixture, as needed, when rolling out the dough.

    Cut the dough in half and knead one half into a disk shape on a well-floured piece of parchment.

    Ball of Gluten Free Christmas Cookie dough

    Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out your cookies.

    Cookie cutouts in rolled out dough

    Carefully place cookies on a cookie sheet spaced about 2 inches apart.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until just starting to brown.  Continue with the other half of the dough.  Re-roll the scraps and cut cookies out of those as well.

    Gluten-Free Gingerbread Man without Icing

    Cool on wire rack completely before icing.

    For icing:

    • 2 tablespoons dried egg whites**
    • 6 tablespoons water
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 4 cups powdered sugar

    Royal icing is a classic decorating tool.  Not only does it taste great, but it’s easy to handle and turns out very professional looking even when just a simple outline dam is built then the interior flooded with a solid color.

    Gluten Free Gingerbread Man with red icing

    **Dried egg whites are a safe alternative to using fresh raw egg whites.  Those can be used as well, but if using omit the water.

    Just Whites

    Add the dried whites and water together in a clean mixing bowl and whisk with at whisk attachment until foamy.

    Beaten egg whites

    Add in the vanilla and sugar and mix slowly until combined, then medium high until thick and shiny, about 5 minutes.

    icing dripping off beater

    This consistency is perfect for piping the outline of your icing onto your cookies.  Fill a piping bag or heavy-duty plastic storage bag and snip just a tiny tiny corner off.  Practice consistent even piping on a scrap of parchment, then outline your cookies.  Next take some of the white frosting into a smaller bowl and add food coloring until you reach the color you desire.  Add in water 1 teaspoon at a time to thin the icing for “flooding”.

    Green and Red icing

    The consistency you are after can be measured by drizzling icing off of a spoon; when the drizzle off of the spoon takes 5-10 seconds to disappear you’re ready.  When you’ve reached that consistency, add to a piping bag and trace right around the inside of your outline.  Then fill in with a zig-zag motion until the entire interior is covered.  Don’t be intimidated; it’s much easier than it sounds!

    Set the cookies out to dry mine took about 2 hours.  Then they can be stacked.

    Gluten Free Christmas cookies II

    Enjoy!

    Gluten-Free Crustless Fudge Pie

    Most people reading this right now already know my next guest, Shirley. She has been running her blog, gfe – gluten-free easily, for years. She has been gluten-free since 2003 and runs the King George Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Group in Virginia. Her blog is about being as naturally gluten-free as possible, meaning eating foods that just naturally don’t have wheat, rye or barley in them, instead of just subbing a bunch of non-gluten flours. She has tons of recipes on her site and she is considered by many to be our gluten-free “mom”. She is so sweet, nurturing, and inclusive to all of us fellow gluten-free bloggers. And, anyone out there who is just going gluten-free or has been gluten-free for years. She is just one of “those” people. You know the kind. You just would hug her through the computer, if you could.

    Well, Shirley’s post brings up many fond memories of my childhood and my first little-girl, movie-star crush. Christopher Reeve. I was eight, and he was dreamy. And, personally, I thought he was even cuter as Clark Kent. Maybe it was the glasses.

    So, this fudge pie sounds perfect to me. But, you’ll have to read on to know what I’m talking about.

    Gluten-Free Crustless Fudge Pie II

    Crustless Fudge Pie—The Clark Kent of Pies

    This Crustless Fudge Pie is the Clark Kent of chocolate desserts. A quick look reveals a perfectly respectable chocolate dessert, but after a glance you might move on. Yes, it’s chocolate (and many of us consider chocolate to be its own food group, and rightly so in my humble opinion), but like Clark, this pie looks “average” in its appearance, understated, if you will. It’s the thick gooey chocolate desserts that often grace the holiday table that inspire visions of Superman flying in to whisk us away from all our woes … as he so often did with Lois Lane. Complete with the cape and tights, of course. (Love those tights!) But we often ignore the plainer chocolate desserts just as we bypass Clark or take him for granted. You take a look at this pie and think, hmmm, I may come back for that later. You tell yourself it will still be there if you are interested. But, if you dig a little deeper—and in this case you want to be digging with a fork in hand—you’ll find that, like Clark, this Crustless Fudge Pie has hidden super powers. So much so, that a small sliver is enough. Anything more and you might be propelled to the planet Krypton. That might not necessarily be a bad thing if you don’t like the folks with whom you are eating your holiday dinner, but superpowers are to be optimized for the greater good, not abused.

    Crustless Fudge Pie

    • 8 tbsp (1/2 cup) butter (dairy or non-dairy)
    • ¼ cup cocoa
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup gluten-free flour mix (see notes)
    • ½ cup chopped nuts (optional, see notes)
    1. Grease pie plate well and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Melt butter in medium-sized saucepan. Remove from heat and slowly add in the following ingredients in order, stirring after each addition: cocoa, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, gluten-free flour mix, and nuts (if used).
    3. Pour filling into prepared pie plate.
    4. Bake for about 25 minutes. Test with a toothpick. When the pie is done, the toothpick should have just a smidge of chocolate on its tip. You don’t want to overcook this pie.

    Serve with whipped cream, if desired. It’s not needed, but just a drizzle does make for a prettier dessert (one more worthy of Superman) and the whipped cream can complement the rich chocolate favor. I drizzled mine with a small amount of Honey Cinnamon Whipped Cream as shown.

    Gluten-Free Crustless Fudge Pie III

    Adapted from an old recipe in the gfe recipe box; author unknown

    Shirley’s Notes:

    Extra virgin olive oil can most likely be substituted for the butter. Filippo Berio recommends a substitution of ¾ cup olive oil for 1 cup of butter. (See Filippo Berio’s substitution chart here.) I love baking with olive oil when I can; it adds richness and moisture to gluten-free baked goods. (Along those lines, you may also be interested in my Perfect Pound Cake recipe, which uses olive oil.) I’m almost certain that 1 cup of coconut/palm sugar (total amount) could be used in place of both the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Because this pie will come out very thin if you use a standard (not deep dish) 9-inch pie plate, making this recipe may present an opportunity to use a smaller pie plate that you don’t often get to use. Baking in a smaller pie plate will produce thicker slices; baking time may have to be adjusted slightly. However, using a standard 9-inch pie plate is perfectly acceptable. With any size pie plate, this pie will yield more servings than most pies due to its rich flavor.

    If you’d like to make this pie with a crust, reduce the gluten-free flour mix to ¼ cup and pour all into an unbaked pie crust. My No Roll, Never Fail, Press-In Pie Crust is a good, easy option for a pie crust for this fudge pie. Adding nuts can be a great (and more nutritious) option for those who can indulge in them, but I find that I prefer this pie without nuts most often. I don’t like nuts in my fudge and adding nuts to this pie makes it more of a brownie pie than a fudge pie in my opinion. When I do add nuts (usually walnuts) per request, I tend to prefer the crusted version to balance the slightly more substantial filling. All in all, I prefer the crustless version without nuts for chocolate superpower optimization. A crust just seems to take away from that … sort of like an energy shield deflects all energy, good and bad. Can you tell that I grew up with two males in the house and watched a lot of sci-fi and super hero movies? It wasn’t all bad though. After all, Superman was in those tights …

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