Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gluten-Free Rum Balls (or Easter Eggs!)

These rum balls, while traditionally made around the holidays, are a perfect "adult" treat for Easter - if you're feeling particularly grown-up you could even dip them in dark chocolate. This recipe is easily adaptable if rum isn't your thing, though coconut rum sounds perfect for Easter!

 ~* Gluten-Free Rum Balls *~

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan

A food processor is the quick way to go here, but if you don't have one you could try crushing the  cookies/nuts with a mallet.

Best made a couple days in advance


  • 1 cup gluten-free wafers (or other crisp gf cookie)

  • 3/4 cup walnuts

  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup

  • 3/4 cup powdered  sugar, plus sugar for coating

  • 1/3 cup rum (spiced, coconut, etc.)

I doubled the recipe, hence 2 cups of crumbs
Begin by pulsing cookies (I used GF animal crackers in a pinch, though I think there are better alternatives out there) into large crumbs - make sure you do not crush them too finely! I made this mistake initially and it made for a very gooey rum ball that wouldn't firm up until I added extra powdered sugar. You want large crumbs, not flour. Same goes for the walnuts - if you even just chop them with a knife that works too.

Once your cookies and walnuts are ready, assemble them in a separate bowl (again, if you process everything together it's quicker but you run the risk of chopping everything too finely); add powdered sugar.

Pour in corn syrup, and slowly mix in rum, taking care that the mixture does not become too wet or sticky. (Conversely, if it's too dry you can add more rum.) Using a teaspoon or small ice cream scoop, form the batter into small balls and roll in powdered sugar. Let sit on parchment paper to set. If you're having trouble working with the dough, set it in the fridge until if firms up a bit.

Place rum balls in a parchment-lined cookie tin or container and - here's the hard part - let sit for a few days for the best flavor. If you like a very firm rum ball, you can keep them in the fridge, though honestly they get better with time if they sit out on the counter.

How many is too many? Up to you!
If you're making Easter eggs, roll balls into egg-shapes and decorate with chocolate. You can also add cocoa powder for extra chocolate flavor!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Yes I'm still alive, and here's a recipe! (Gluten-free lemon layer cake)

Oh my, how the weeks fly by when you are busy. Sometimes it's a blessing, other times... not so much. I haven't had a day with nothing to do in quite awhile. But on a happier note, good things are going around and it's nice to be employed and living in a beautiful place. And since I moved last weekend, I now have a new kitchen to play with - if I ever have the time! For now, here's a recipe from a month or so ago...

~* Gluten-Free Lemon Layer Cake *~

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

 This recipe has a lot of steps, but it’s completely worth it. It works best if you make the cake and lemon curd the night before so everything has time to cool. Freezing the cakes overnight will help keep them from crumbling or falling apart during assembly (as some gf cakes tend to do). You don’t have to use greek yogurt here, but it adds tangy moisture to the cake. The lemon curd is absolutely fantastic- use it in any recipe for lemon tarts or with fresh scones! (put in link)

For the filling:

  • Zest from two lemons

  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 4 large eggs

  • 6 large egg yolks (reserve whites for the cake)

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen

For the cake:

  • 1 cup sorghum flour, plus more for dusting cake pans

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour

  • 1/4 cup millet flour

  • 1 cup 2% Greek yogurt, at room temperature

  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 5 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 12 tablespoons Earth Balance (or butter substitute) cut into tablespoons, softened

For the icing ("seven-minute" recipe):

  • 2 large egg whites

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Tip: when working with lemons, always use non-reactive cookware and utensils!

 For the filling: Soften gelatin by measuring 1 tbsp lemon juice into small bowl and sprinkling gelatin over top. Heat remaining lemon juice, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high hear, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolved and mixture is hot but not boiling.

Separate 6 large eggs, saving whites for the cake. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and egg yolks together, temper the mixture by slowly pouring hot lemon-sugar mixture into eggs, and then return the mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with heat-proof spatula until mixture reaches 170 degrees. It should be thick enough to leave a trail on the spoon and across the bottom of the saucepan. Watch out for sputters once the curd gets hot!

Quickly remove pan from heat and stir in frozen butter until melted; continue to stir until smooth. Pour filling though a fine-mesh strainer into a non-reactive bowl – definitely don’t skip this step! A smooth curd is especially important when you’re using it as cake filling. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate till its firm enough to spread; at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour two nine-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper (trust me, with a sticky gf cake you do not want to skip this step!)

Whisk together Greek yogurt, egg whites, and vanilla. In the bowl of a standing mixture, mix flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt at low speed with the paddle attachment. With the mixer running at low speed, add butter one chunk at a time, and continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs with no large butter pieces (like a scone or biscuit dough). Add all but ½ cup yogurt mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed till batter is pale and fluffy, about 1 ½ minutes. With mixer running at low speed, add remaining 1/2 cup milk mixture; increase speed to medium and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium speed and beat 20 seconds
longer. Divide batter evenly between cake pans, even out tops.

Bake on center rake, rotating cakes halfway through, until toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with small knife, cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert onto greased wire rack; peel off parchment. Invert cakes again; cool completely on rack. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze overnight if desired. (Freezing often improves gf texture)

Now, the fun part! To assemble: Mix chilled curd with spoon until spread-able. With a serrated knife, cut each cake into 2 even layers, taking care not to break layers. Brush off crumbs. Place bottom cake on cake plate/cardboard, and spread 1 cup lemon filling evenly on cake, leaving a ½ inch border around the edge. Gently add second layer, spread 1 cup filling on top. Repeat with third layer. Place fourth layer on top, smooth out any filling that has leaked out from the layers. Refrigerate while making icing.

For the icing: Combine all ingredients in bowl of standing mixer or large heatproof bowl and set over medium saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water (do not let bowl touch water). Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture registers 160 degrees, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and transfer mixture to standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to beat until mixture has cooled to room temperature and stiff peaks form, 5 minutes longer. Using a spatula, spread frosting on cake, starting with the top layer, working icing down the sides.

Cake can be refrigerated up to one day before serving, and be aware that once the marshmallow-y icing sets, you won’t be able to smooth out any nicks.

A perfect Spring-y birthday cake!