Entries tagged with “Gluten-free baking”.

The cookie jar has certainly been filled to the brim with buttery, sugary treats this month.

Slice and bake shortbread filled with fruit and nuts and flavoured with the scent of rosemary.  Quick and simple shortbread bars with a creamy custard flavour.  Gluten free inspired shortbread with some punchy zesty tang.  And lastly, a healthier shortbread option packed with oats and wholemeal flour.

These cookies have been shared with friends, family, and also enjoyed as a quick little treat.  And although technically the entire round up may not be classified as shortbread, as such, they could all certainly be labelled as delicious!

Are you planning on making shortbread this holiday season?  What is your flavour inspiration for your selection?

Next month, I will be tackling some new Christmas food traditions for the Mélanger family.  Stay tuned….

In the meantime, here is the round up of the month.  I hope you enjoyed it!

{ Rosemary, apricot and almond shortbread }  The sugar and fresh rosemary from the garden was processed to incorporate the flavour without the texture.  With the crunch from the almonds, as well as the additional sweetness from the apricots, this little rosemary flavoured cookie turned out to be delicious experiment.  { Read more here … }



  { Melt ‘n’ mix custard shortbread }  The original recipe for this quick and easy shortbread calls for cornflour where I have used custard powder.  I had the idea of using custard powder after making an apple pie recipe from Ben O’Donoghue (actually his Gran’s recipe) using custard powder in the pastry.  It produces such a delicious, creamy flavour.  { Read more here … }


 { Gluten-free citrus currant shortbread } Working with gluten free flour, I was a little nervous that the dough would be difficult, but on the contrary, it was a breeze to work with.  All in all, it came together very quickly.  Taste wise, these little shortbreads were deliciously buttery, soft and crumbly.  And of course, bursting with the tang of citrus and currants!  { Read more here … }


  { Oat & wholemeal shortbread bars }  In this little cookie that can be enjoyed with perhaps a little less guilt, plain, white flour has been replaced with a combination of wholemeal (whole wheat) flour and rolled oats.  The quantity of sugar has been squeezed down to an almost modest amount. And although the butter component is still relatively high (it is shortbread, after all!), an egg has been added to boost protein.  { Read more here … }

It is amazing what can catch your eye.  Innocently trawling the aisles of my local supermarket recently (carefully focused on my shopping list, of course!), the line “with the tang of citrus and currants” boldly printed on a packet of plain, sweet biscuits, jumped out at me.

I paused in my thoughts, reflecting that citrus and currants is such a winning combination of flavours, but sadly, not a combination I have used recently.  So as I turned my trolley into the next aisle, I decided to use the inspiration for the next shortbread in the line up this month. (Why not?)

Back home, I extracted the necessary ingredients from the pantry.  With everything neatly on the counter ready to go, I hesitated.  Drumming my fingers, I was unsure I wanted to go down the standard shortbread cookie route.  I was keen to try something new.  Experiment a little.

I returned the plain flour, and grabbed some rice flour and tapioca flour as a replacement.  I wanted to try my hand at some gluten free shortbread.

I was a little nervous that the dough would be difficult, but on the contrary, it was a breeze to work with.  All in all, it came together very quickly.  Taste wise, these little shortbreads were deliciously buttery, soft and crumbly.  And of course, bursting with the tang of citrus and currants!


{ Gluten-free citrus currant shortbread } Original recipe by Julia Tuomainen @ Mélanger

* Ingredients *
75g rice flour
75g tapioca flour
75g corn flour
10g baking powder
120g butter
2 tsp vanilla
30g icing sugar
2 tsp lemon and orange zest
30g currants

* Directions *
Sift the flours together and set aside.  In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter, vanilla and sugar until fluffy.  Add the flours and then stir in the zest and currants.  Turn the dough out and shape into a log that is 5 cm in diameter. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.  Preheat the oven to 180C.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Slice rounds 2cm thick. (Don’t worry if the cookie breaks, just squeeze it back together.)  Place the cookies on the baking sheets, and bake for 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes approx. 12-15 cookies


Next month, baby Mélanger is due to arrive and join the Mélanger household.  Thus far, my pregnancy has been mostly agreeable (touch wood that continues), …. except for one little minor grumble.

Food restrictions.

Being the risk averse person I am, I have taken on the task of eliminating any potential food or beverage nasty with force.  Not just some of the time, but 100% of the time.

Mr Mélanger has been handed the essential role of food reintroduction facilitator.  I have created a detailed day-by-day menu outlining specific foods that I impatiently want to consume, yet again.  (Probably no surprises what graces that list.)  And so during the first four to five days after delivery of bub while I am still in hospital, I hope to be reacquainted with some of my old favourites.

I am lucky not to have any allergies to food, nor (as far as I am aware) any food intolerances.  But many people face permanent food restrictions in their life.  Each and every single day.

So this month is my way of learning more about allergy free baking.  My way of increasing the awareness of allergy restrictions (for myself and others), and to challenge myself to bake with some new ingredients and food substitutions.

And although I cannot compare nine short months of food restrictions with a life threatening allergy, I must say that my pregnancy experience has given me a greater appreciation of what people with allergies and face every day.

So join me as a I venture into very unfamiliar allergy free baking territory!

Citrusy. Fruity. Spicy. Zesty. Peppery. Creamy. An entire spectrum of flavours was packed into a just handful of simple and quick cakes this month. Proof that quick and simple does not have to mean boring.

I have reconnected with the fundamental joy of baking this month. Creating something by hand. Something very simple, but enormously satisfying. (And enjoying an ever fragrant kitchen in the process!)

Here is a round up of my recipes this month. I certainly now have started to build a repertoire of simple and quick cakes.

Lemon and sugar bundt cake small{ Lemon and sugar bundt cake } For me, the lemon and sugar bundt cake was hands down my favourite. Simple ingredients packed with flavour. If you are partial to a zesty, syrupy cake, you will not be disappointed with this one bowl wonder.  { Get recipe … }

Moist date loaf small{ Moist date loaf } The recipe was as traditional as date loaf can be. Delicious with a huge slab of butter and washed down with a cup of tea. The crumb is lighter than the more traditional cake, and as a result, the date almost has a marbling effect.  { Get recipe … }

Swedish visiting cake small{ Swedish visiting cake } It does not get any easier than this cake. It was quick and easy, and the hidden gem was the taste. The cake is light and airy, and with additional texture provided by the roasted flaked almonds, you are offered great crunch to each mouthful.  { Get recipe … }

zucchini and marmalade loaf small{ Zucchini and Orange Marmalade Tea Cake } The cake is very moist thanks to the zucchini. The small addition of cinnamon draws out a warm spicy flavour that combines well with the sweet and bitter orange marmalade.  { Get recipe … }

Fresh ginger cake small{ Fresh ginger cake } This is the perfect cake to lure along some cooler days. The cake has a rich, spicy flavour from not only the large injection of fresh ginger, but the addition of rich spices such as cinnamon, cloves and black pepper.  { Get recipe … }

Chocolate chestnut cake small{ Chocolate chestnut cake } This cake is dense and rich, but not too sweet. More appropriately a dessert cake rather than afternoon tea cake. But in saying that, it certainly it is quick to prepare and bake.  { Get recipe … }

I also have scores of new ideas to test out in the future. Many of you have your own favourite go-to recipe. For my upcoming baking trials, I now have 25 suggestions.

Pound cake, Caraway Seed cake, Banana loaf, Friands, Chocolate and Orange Storecupboard cake, Wacky cake, Lemon bundt, Chocolate layer cake with chocolate buttercream, Chocolate chip banana bread, Black Magic Cake, Chocolate Applesauce cake, Cinnamon coffee cake, Devil’s food cake, Coffee cakes, Butter cake, Lemon glazed butter cake, Zucchini and Orange Marmalade Tea Cake, Banana Date Tea Cake, Orange cake, Hazelnut cake, Yoghurt cake, Chocolate buttercake, chocolate bourbon bundt cake, Norwegian Pear cake.

Thank you, everyone. Looks like there is definitely room for a few more ‘Simple Cakes’ month in the future!

Chocolate chestnut cake single

My first Passover Seder.  It was all so new – and I was like a child experiencing it for the first time.  I remember the decorative Seder plate including the six symbolic foods.  The four cups of wine drunk during the Seder.  The cup of wine — and door left wide open — for the Prophet Elijah.  The afikomen.  (I could tell you a funny story about the hiding of the afikomen, but I may leave that for another time!)  And last but certainly not least, the Passover songs.  Chad Gadya was firmly my favourite.

So tonight at sunset, there will be Passover Seders in homes all around the world.  It will mark the beginning of Passover.

During the eight days of Passover there are additional Kosher restrictions around grains and cereals.  Never having to really consider food restrictions myself (for religious or allergenic purposes), I watched the planning required to avoid those key food groups during Passover.  With all the recipes now available online for Kosher Passover food, however, I hope it is easy to find something new to try.  Like this cake.

This cake slightly breaks the Simple Cakes mould in that, due to its richness, it is  more appropriately a dessert cake rather than afternoon tea cake.  But in saying that, it certainly it is quick to prepare and bake, so a Simple Cake indeed.

One taste and I immediately I conquered up images of that heavily advertised butter substitute.  You know the one…

I can’t believe it’s (not) Kosher!

Chocolate chestnut cake set

{ Chocolate Chestnut Cake } recipe by Nigella Lawson

* Ingredients *
16 oz / 439g canned unsweetened chestnut puree
1/2 cup soft unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum (I omitted this ingredient)
6 large eggs, separated
9 oz / 250g bittersweet chocolate
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar

* Directions *
Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C.  Beat the chestnut puree with the butter, then add the vanilla, rum, egg yolks and melted chocolate.  Blending well.  In another large bowl, whip the egg whites with the salt until they are foamy.  Add the sugar gradually to form stiffer, glossy peaks, and then sprinkle the brown sugar over and either fold in or whisk in slowly.  Fold the whites, gently into the chestnut mixture, a third at a time.

Pour into a prepared 8 inch / 20 cm spring form pan (greased and lined with parchment paper).  Baked for 45 minutes, until the cake has risen and is firm on top.  It will look dry and cracked, but don’t panic, it won’t taste dry.  Cool in the pan for 20 minutes and then turn out on a rack.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar to serve.

Related recipeschocolate chunk macaroons small

{ Chocolate Chunk Coconut Macaroons } Looking for a more traditional Passover sweet?  Try Chocolate Chunk Coconut Macaroons. These little hay-stacked cookies are a simple little biscuit perfect for a sweet indulgence any time of day.  They are simple and quick to make.   { Get recipe … }