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While I personally do not know anyone who has a problem with gluten in their diets, I wanted to experiment with a couple of gluten free recipes in case I am called to bake for someone who cannot tolerate this particular protein. It has previously never occurred to me that some people cannot enjoy regular grains like wheat, rye or barley and it was not until medical school that I learnt about celiac disease and how difficult it is for such patients to go about their daily grocery shopping and cooking.  We now have a reasonable wide range of gluten-free products in supermarkets and specialty stores but most of these unfortunately do not come cheap.

Coconut flour is one which can be safely consumed by anyone on a gluten-free diet without having to break the bank. Easily available in your local store [I found mine at Shoprite Tamarin under Lemcke Brand from South Africa], coconut flour, while being healthier that your refined wheat flour derivatives, will not give the same ‘lift’ during baking such that your cakes and muffins will lack the expected light and fluffy texture. If it is your first time, you will be surprised [like me!] to discover that this recipe, from King Arthur Flour, calls for less flour [as little as ¼ cup for a dozen muffins] and typically twice the number of eggs. This is because coconut flour readily absorbs moisture from the batter, so I think it does help to have a few fresh berries in there.

COCONUT FLOUR BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3 large eggs, room temperature

3 tablespoons butter, melted

3 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease six wells of a standard muffin pan.

  • Line the pan with greased muffin papers. Sift coconut flour and baking powder.

  • Mix it until well blended. Stir together the eggs, butter, honey, salt, and extracts.

  • Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there are no visible lumps.

  • Gently fold the fresh blueberries into the batter till they are evenly incorporated.

  • Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup to about half full.

  • Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

  • Cool for about 5 minutes in pan, then transfer to a rack to cool. Makes 6 muffins.

Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins

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Welcome to our Holiday Bakealong challenge. Each month, we’ll announce a new recipe for you to try, along with helpful tips and step-by-step instructions here on our blog. We invite you to bake one of our favorite holiday recipes, this stunning Cinnamon Star Bread, then share a photo of your creation, tagging it #bakealong. Enjoy!

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You want to bake something extra-special for the holidays. A real show-stopper, as delicious as it is gorgeous. Not only is this loaf gorgeous; it’s your best cinnamon bun dream come true. Multiple layers of cinnamon-sugar encased in tender bread beg you to pull apart, slice, or nibble. Each warm and aromatic bite is better than the last.

CINNAMON STAR BREAD

For the Dough

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup instant potato flakes

1/4 cup nonfat milk powder

3/4 cup+ 2 to 4 tablespoons lukewarm water

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kitchen salt

For the Cinnamon Filling

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Method:

  • Sift the flour, potato flour, and dry milk through a strainer to prevent any lumps.

  • Combine all dough ingredients and knead by hand to make a soft, smooth dough.

  • Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let it rise for 60 minutes, until doubled.

  • Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball and rest for 15 minutes.

  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 piece of dough into a 10-inch circle.

  • Place circle on a piece of parchment, brush a thin coat of beaten egg on surface.

  • Sprinkle with 1/3 of cinnamon-sugar, leave 1/4″ of bare dough around perimeter.

  • Roll out a second circle the same size as the first and place it on top of first circle.

  • Repeat layering process with egg, cinnamon sugar, dough, leaving top circle bare.

  • Place a 2 1/2″ to 3″ round cookie cutter in the center of the dough circle as a guide.

  • Cut the circle into 16 equal strips, from the cutter to the edge, through all the layer.

  • Using two hands, pick up 2 adjacent strips. Twist them away from each other twice.

  • Repeat with the remaining strips of dough so that you end up with 8 pairs of strips.

  • Pinch pairs of strips together to create star shape with eight points. Remove cutter.

  • Transfer star on the parchment to a baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush with egg and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden.

  • Remove bread from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

  • Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 10.

KAF November Bakealong Challenge

 

 

The classic financier, made with finely ground almonds, is something I bake every time I have extra egg whites left over from homemade custards or ice cream. Very basic in its ingredient list and baking method, the only lengthy step you will encounter is to brown a few knobs of unsalted butter to create the aromatic beurre noisette, which highlights the nutty flavor of this delicate loaf-shaped friandise.  For a twist, I switched the almond meal in Weekend Bakery‘s recipe to a good measure of ground pistachios with a light sprinkling of chopped nuts on top and they were as good as the traditional almond financiers. I am further encouraged to try them with other nuts like pecans or cashew nuts just to see which one I like best.

PISTACHIO FINANCIERS

Ingredients:

30 g pastry flour

50 g pistachios

25 g almond flour

150 g icing sugar

Pinch of kitchen salt

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

3 egg whites, room temperature

100g unsalted browned butter

20g pistachios, chopped

Method:

  • Shell the pistachios and grind them to a fine powder along with one teaspoon pastry flour.

  • In a bowl, combine sugar, salt, pastry flour, almond flour, pistachios and almond extract.

  • Add egg whites and stir with a whisk until you have a smooth mixture, 1 minute is enough.

  • Add browned butter in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Transfer it to a piping bag.

  • Put it in the fridge for one hour. Preheat your oven to 200 °C / 390 °F conventional setting.

  • Now fill the prepared financier molds and sprinkle the tops with roasted chopped pistachios.

  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Leave in pan for 5 minutes before turning out.

  • Cool completely on a wire rack. Financiers are best eaten while fresh. Makes 12 financiers.

Pistachio Financiers

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PrerrnaMirchi
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