Regency Ginger Crisps

When the Hallmark Channel introduced me to the Murder She Baked movies, I really wanted to read the books. Thankfully, my mom had almost the entire Hannah Swensen series written by Joanne Fluke and what she didn’t have, I work at a used book store so I can easily get the missing books.

I’m not a huge fan of ginger, but I do like gingersnaps when I get a craving for them. Reading the recipes in the books, just made me want to convert them to gluten-free. You can find the original recipes in the books. With these cookies, you don’t get a big burst of ginger flavor, but you do get more of the molasses flavor, which I like. I love molasses. What can I say?

This recipe is from the first book in the series, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, and is the second recipe written in the book.

Do not preheat the oven. Dough must chill before baking.

  • 3/4 cups melted butter (1-1/2 sticks)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 Tbsp molasses (1/4 cup)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2-1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour (not sifted)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar in a small bowl (for dusting)

Melt butter and mix in brown sugar. Let mixture cool and add egg. Add soda, molasses, salt, and ginger. Stir thoroughly. Mix in flour. Chill dough for at least one hour, overnight is best.

Preheat oven to 375°F and have the rack in the middle position.

Roll the dough in walnut-sized balls with your hands. Roll the dough in white sugar. Place on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet, 12 to a standard sheet. Flatten the dough balls with a spatula.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool on cookie sheets for no more than one minute and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: To measure molasses, first spray the inside of the measuring cup with oil so the molasses will not stick.

The first time I made these, I made the dough balls too big and could only fit six to a sheet, but they were still amazing. These would be a great cookie to get kids involved (careful with the melting butter part) or if you are a beginner baker.

These cookies would be amazing served with pumpkin or vanilla ice cream.

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Spiced Apple Cider Muffins

I recently won first place at my hometown’s County Fair with these muffins. The spice you get with them is from just a powdered drink mix. I’ve been experimenting with various drink mixes lately. It’s fun.

This recipe starts with a basic muffin recipe from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook: Celebrating the Promise (ISBN 978-0-696-235115) with a few changes that I’ve made.

Makes 12 muffinsapple muffin

  • 1-1/3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 3 packets of instant apple cider drink mix
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil (usually I use extra virgin olive oil, but coconut oil is really good)
  • 1 large firm apple, peeled and diced (I use Red Delicious or Granny Smith)
  • Streusel Topping, optional (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease 12 2-1/2 inch muffin cups or line muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, oats and apple cider packets. Make a well in the center and set aside.

In another bowl, combine egg, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mix. Stir until just moistened; batter should be lumpy. Fold in apple.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each two-third full. Using a small ice cream scoop makes it easier to keep the muffins uniform. If desired, sprinkle tops with Streusel Topping. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool muffin cups on wire rack for at least 5 minutes.

Note: To help keep apples from falling to the bottom during baking, toss them in a little bit of flour and use a wire mesh strainer to help get excess flour off apples.

Streusel Topping

  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp oats
  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired

In a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Cut in oats and nuts, if using.

This has become one of my favorite recipes. These muffins are great cold for breakfast or warm with vanilla ice cream if you want to enjoy them for dessert.

A Food Network Gift

I remember searching (without much luck) for gluten-free recipes on the Food Network’s website so that I could create something special for the holidays back in 2003. One link caught my eye – 12 Days of Cookies. Never heard of it? It’s one of their newsletters and my absolute favorite. The 12 Days of Cookies has become one of the main things I look forward to this time of year since it started in 2003. Seven years later and I have every recipe, in order, in my recipe box.

My Gluten-Free Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

The one downfall to getting this newsletter is that the cookies are not gluten-free. However, some of the recipes have been really easy to convert. Take the first one for this year as example – Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies by Paula Deen. This cookie is very simple to make and a good recipe to get kids into the kitchen. Here is my gluten-free, dairy-free take on Paula’s recipe.

1 (8-ounce) package of Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, room temperature

1 stick Nucoa butter, at room temperature

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 box Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake mix

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. I had to mix this part by hand because the dough ended up being too think for my grandma’s mixer.

Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner’s sugar.

I didn’t refridgerate mine before rolling. I used two spoons to form into (somewhat) balls, dropped them into the confectioner’s sugar which gives them enough dusting to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands as you roll them into balls.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet (I covered mine with parchment paper), 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and “gooey.” Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Christmas Alternative: I made these during a Christmas party my cousins were throwing at our grandma’s house. To make them a little more festive, I crushed up some candy canes and added to the dough just before rolling into the balls. The melted candy canes kind of stuck to the parchment paper but just let them sit for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

I just realized that in one week, two things will happen: one – this blog will be celebrating it’s first birthday (I must think of something special to post) and two – I will begin my mad dash like I do every year to get my stuff done to enter in my hometown’s Fair. I have been entering various things in the Tri-County Fair for at least half my life. I’ve won countless (I say countless because seriously I’ve lost count) ribbons and awards for my items.

It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with my Celiac Disease that I began entering my baked goods. I was too scared to do so before. Why? I couldn’t tell you. Entering food items, like anything else, is nerve-racking, especially the first time when you don’t know what the judges look for. I try to enter different things every year, but usually enter the same old things because they are fast and easy. It’s hard to enter as many things as you want when you work 40 hours a week.

After last year’s Fair, I was asked by my (distant) cousin Susie to give the Fair an idea of what classes they could do for a Gluten-Free Division. At the time that I submitted my suggestions to Susie, nobody knew if the Fair would even go for it. I’ve had to enter my desserts with non-gluten-free items. One year I did win first place on my peanut butter cookies. Who knew the judges would like the gluten-free ones better than the normal, regular ones. This year, my mom opened the book and scanned the various divisions of the baked goods category and told me that it wasn’t there. A little while later, she was looking through it again knowing she had to have missed it and there it was, in between “For Men Only!” and “Baking with Honey”. For the first time in four years, I get to compete with either myself or with others who have possibly “mastered” gluten-free baking. For the first time I don’t feel quite so alone in this small town of mine.

So now comes the big question, as the entry forms are due no later than Saturday. What do I enter? I’ve done chocolate chip cookies, double chocolate biscotti, chocolate sprinkled cookies, peanut butter cookies, corn bread, banana bread, pumpkin cookies, peanut butter & jelly thumbprint cookies, and my 21 & Over cookies (my own original recipe; I’ll post it, no worries) between the regular divisions and the Cookie Contest. Last night I experimented and made Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing. My coworkers and I agree that these are a must enter. I’ll figure it out. I always do. In the mean time, look a recipe…

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 cups white rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch

1/3 cup tapioca starch

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp allspice

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp guar gum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in pan(s).

Sift together white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice and set aside. In a small bowl, mix milk and pumpkin together until smooth and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Slowly add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and milk/pumpkin mixture alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour in three parts. Add vanilla and guar gum and continue to beat until just mixed.

Fill cupcake tins about 3/4 full. Level batter by holding pan 3 or 4 inches above counter, then dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of more level cupcakes. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until done. Cool in pans 5 to 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling racks. Cool completely and cover tops with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing or the icing of your choice.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, at room temperature

1 8-oz package cream cheese (I use Toffuti® Better than Cream Cheese for a non-dairy substitute)

4 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

about 2 tbsp cinnamon

In a mixer, cream butter for about 30 seconds. Add cream cheese and cream until well blended. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and cinnamon. Increase or decrease the amount of cinnamon depending on taste. Icing should be a little on the thicker side. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar until desired consistency.

Lemon Deliciousness….

A great basic cake recipe is a lot like a good sugar cookie recipe. These are the recipes that always find themselves at the front of your recipe box and you can barely read them because you’ve used them one too many times – if there is such a thing – and everyone seems to love them. You take these simple, basic recipes, the ones that some people over look because they might not appear to be good or complicated, and you know that all you have to do is add a few extra ingredients, cocoa powder, coconut, or in this case, a little lemon zest, juice of a lemon and lemon extract if that isn’t already enough lemon for you.

I found this recipe in The Lady & Sons: Just Desserts by Paula Deen. I know I’ve mentioned I’m a HUGE fan of hers. Her laugh is infectious and I love her (it doesn’t hurt that I have a huge crush on her son Bobby too). The very first recipe in this book is her 1-2-3-4 Cake. It’s called this because it has 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour and 4 eggs. Basic right? It does have a few other ingredients but these are the main ones. Here’s my Lemon Cake following her instructions but making it my own. You don’t even need frosting, although whipped topping and fresh berries make is a very refreshing dessert on those hot summer days.

Lemon Cake with Whipped Topping and Berries

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter

2 cups sugar

Zest of one medium lemon

4 eggs

3 cups sifted Gluten-Free Flour Mix

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp guar gum

3/4 cup milk (I use soy)

1/4 cup lemon juice (use more milk if you are a little short to equal 1 cup liquid)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon extract

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray your pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray.

 Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4 inches above counter, then dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. A 13x9x2 pan usually takes about 35 – 40 minutes. Cool in pan(s) 5 to 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling racks. From this point you can frost the cake(s) if you want with the icing of your choice or serve with whipped topping and fresh berries.