Sunday, 27 November 2016

Aquafaba Almond Biscuits (Gluten Free)

Roll up roll up as I mystify, stupefy and (in some cases) terrify you with my baking powers! Marvel as I transmute the discarded water from a modest can of chickpeas into the whipped white of an egg! Pish, tosh and collywoddle you might say, but before you cry foul why not try it for yourself? It might just make you believe in the magic of baking. ;-)

Prep time: 30 Mins
Baking time: 15 Mins
70g Unsalted Water from a drained can of Chickpeas (AKA Aquafaba)
200g Ground Almonds
50g Gluten Free Plain Flour
125g Golden Caster Sugar
1tsp Vanilla Extract
1tsp Almond Extract
6 Glace Cherries (Halved)

We begin with the main talking point itself. The water from a can of chickpeas (aquafaba) contains proteins, which means when you whisk them vigorously they form a similar consistency to egg white.  You do need to give it some welly though so for this recipe I whisked mine for a good 10 minutes with an electric whisk, until soft peaks just start to form. Don't worry about the faint chickpea odour either, as it will all but disappear during baking.

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and line a large flat baking tray with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl mix together the almonds, flour and caster sugar. Add the two extracts, then fold through the whipped aquafaba. Get your hands into the mixture and form into a sticky dough.

Using wet hands take a ball of the mixture, slightly larger than a golf ball. Flatten into a fat disk with your wet hands and place on your baking tray. Repeat for the rest of the mixture, evenly spaced apart until you have a dozen biscuits. Press a cherry half into the centre of each biscuit and bake in the centre of the oven for around 15 mins, until golden brown on top. When you are happy the biscuits are baked remove from the oven and leave on the tray for 30 minutes. Carefully peel each warm biscuit from the baking paper and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. The biscuits are done. Abracadabra!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Easy Gluten Free Fruit Cake

If you think I'm done with the Gluten Free recipes then I'm afraid you are mistaken. I have a few more yet to blast from my cake horn before I am done! This fruit cake is a deliciously indulgent GF alternative to the normal fruitcakes that are so deliciously gratifying to nom down on chilly day (or any other day for that matter). You can pick up GF plain flour so easily in most supermarkets these days but ping me if you are struggling and I'll give you some steer. ;-)

Prep time: 20 Mins
Baking time: 70-75 Mins
175g Unsalted butter (Softened)
200g Light Muscovado Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Extract
1hpd tsp Mixed Spice
100g Ground Almonds
1.5tbsp Brandy
150g Gluten Free Plain Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
600g Luxury Mixed Fruit

To glaze
1tbsp Brandy
1tbsp Maple or Syrup

This is a really straightforward recipe so let's get to it! Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 20cm springform tin (base and sides) with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and the sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time along with the vanilla extract. Add the mixed spice and ground almonds, give them a quick mix through, then add the brandy. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix with vigour until evenly combined. Fold through the fruit and spoon the mixture into you prepared tin, evening to the edges. 

Bake in the centre of the oven for around 70-75 mins, until a sharp knife or metal skewer comes out cleanly when inserted into the middle of the cake. When you are happy the cake is baked remove from the oven. Poke holes into the top of the cake then drizzle over the syrup, then the brandy and leave in the tin for around 60 mins to soak in and cool. Carefully remove the cake from the tin, peeling off the paper and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. The cake is done. :-)

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Gluten Free Pear and Hazelnut Cake

I've been going gluten free recently, which was actually easier than I first thought (albeit more expensive). Treats such as this delicious cake have certainly played their part and this one is so good it deserves a place amongst any conventional equivalent. The pears are of course wonderful but the stars of the show are the hazelnuts. There's just something about a toasty hazelnut that is so hard to beat!

Prep time: 15 Mins
Baking time: 60 Mins
100g Ground Hazelnuts
200g Golden Caster Sugar
4 Large Eggs (Beaten)
100g Unsalted Butter (Melted and left to cool slightly)
1tsp Almond Extract
1tsp Vanilla Extract
200g Ground Almonds
4 Large and Slightly Firm Pears

Baking time, whoop whoop! Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5, grease a 23cm springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper. Take 25g of the ground almonds and sprinkle into the inside of the tin, so they stick to the greased sides. This will make it much easier to remove the cake from the tin when the time comes.

Whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale and frothy, then add the melted butter and keep whisking. Don't be tempted to add red hot butter or you'll be left with scrambled eggs! Add the two extracts, then with a wooden spoon fold in the ground almonds and the 75g of leftover ground hazelnuts. Spoon into your prepared tin and gently ease to the edges.

Peel and core the pears, then slice lengthways, about the thickness of a pound coin. Arrange over the top of the cake mixture, pressing into the surface, about a third of the way down. I like doing this as you're left with a nice peary surprise when slicing! Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for around 60 mins, until a metal skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. When you are happy the cake is baked remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

When the cake is cool carefully remove from the tin, peeling off the paper from the base. Slice and serve. Yum!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Oaty McOatcakes (Gluten Free)

As delicious as a cup of leaf tea is it's just not quite complete with something sweet on the side. These oatcakes are a delicious and simple alternative to the usual biscuity fair, with toasted oats and just the merest whisper of warm spice. You can make them as large or as small as you like, although remember to not make them too big for dunking! ;-)

Prep time: 20 Mins
Baking time: 15-20 Mins
100g Unsalted Butter (Cubed and at room temperature)
75g Golden Caster Sugar
150g Gluten Free Jumbo Oats
100g Oat Flour (Plus extra for dusting)
1tsp Mixed Spice
75g Sultanas
2-2.5tbsp Milk

Here we go! Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and line a large flat baking tray with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar, then mix in the oats, flour and spice, followed by the fruit. Drizzle in the milk a little at a time until you are left with a soft biscuit dough.

Dust a clean, dry surface with more flour, then using a floured rolling pin roll out your ball of dough until about 1/2cm thick. Using a biscuit cutter cut into rounds and place each on your prepared baking tray.

Bake in the centre of the oven for around 15 minutes until light golden brown. If you want them super crunchy at this point you can flip them over and bake for a further 5 minutes, but I personally like them with just a little give. Once baked remove from the oven, leave on the tray for around 20 minutes, then carefully lift each onto a wire rack until cool. Done and done!