Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Oh, the banana...such an underrated fruit.  All too often they sit on our counters, lonely and green with envy as the apples and berries have all the fun being used for more than just a quick breakfast on our way to work, but then, in the blink of an eye, our beautiful canary yellow bananas turn a potting soil brown. I know, sounds appetizing, but I beg you to resist the urge to throw out those bananas with the old coffee grounds. Instead, throw them into the freezer until you are ready to use them because what was old and brown can become new again, and sweet!

Gluten Free Banana Bread
Bananas past their so called peak of freshness can be used for all sorts of tasty treats such as one ingredient banana "ice cream" (slice them up, freeze, then blend to a soft serve consistency and you've got an amazing way to beat the summer heat); or, two ingredient banana pancakes (one banana mashed with 1-2 eggs lightly beaten and cook as you would any other pancake and you have a delicious breakfast for your toddler or hungry spouse). 

Personally, my favorite use for my ripe bananas is a good old fashion loaf of banana bread because the flavor never disappoints and goes great with my morning coffee or latte. There is just something so nostalgic about banana bread. I guess it reminds me of holiday mornings surrounded by my family; hanging out in our pjs and laughing about one thing or another.

This fabulous recipe was adapted from Hoosier Homemade's "Best Ever Banana Bread" was converted to a gluten free version for my school assignment and I have to say, it is one of the best banana breads I have ever eaten. It is all that you want a banana bread to be: soft, moist, slightly sweet and full of banana flavor, which you can thank those potting soil brown bananas for!!

Ingredients (makes 1 standard loaf)
2c MINUS 2tbsp GF Flour Blend**
1c sugar
1tsp GF baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2c GF Wesson Vegetable Oil (Soybean oil)
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1tsp GF vanilla
Add 1/2c walnuts, chopped if your nuts are free of gluten ingredients
**See my post on my go to GF Flour Blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep 1 standard bread pan with GF non-stick spray.  In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients and set aside.  In medium bowl, mash bananas, add eggs, vanilla and oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients into well.  Fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf only has a few crumbs.
Mise en place
Sift, Mash and Fold
Bake to Perfection
This bread was so delicious and once again my GF Flour Blend did not disappoint. I can't tell you how excited I was to see the height of the loaf through the oven window as it baked up because I had always been unable to achieve that kind of lift with other GF recipes.  You will love this loaf and if you don't want to make the leap to gluten free, I am sure that the original version is just as yummy so give it a try.
If you need to be strict on your gluten intake please be careful when choosing your ingredients.  I was very close to following the original recipe and adding walnuts, but when I looked at the ingredients on the walnut bag I noticed that they were produced with trace amounts of wheat, which is a no-no for gluten free eaters.  The same is true of baking powder and even vanilla so read the ingredients list closely!  If you need some extra help on deciphering whether the item is gluten free or need some options, head over to GF Overflow to check their database.
Please enjoy and let me know who you think. 
Happy baking!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Flickr Online Baking Portfolio

Over time I have slowly been creating an online Flickr Baking Portfolio that I would like to share with you. It has a little of this, and a little of that, but most of all it is a fun collection that shows how my baking chops continue to progress.

Here are a few of my latest cakes that I am really proud of that are included in my Flickr Baking Portfolio:
Rockin Rio
 6" - 4 Layer Vanilla Bean Cake
Meyer Lemon and Strawberry Curd
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Strawberry Scented White Chocolate Shards & White Chocolate Drip
Rainbow Sherbet
6" - 4 Layer Vanilla Cake
Meyer Lemon Curd and Strawberry Preserves
Ombre Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Peanut Butter & Jelly
6" - 5 Layer Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Buttercream with Strawberry Preserves
Chocolate Cake Orbs with Rainbow Confetti
Cookies 'n Cream
6" - 4 Layer Chocolate Cake
Cookies 'n Cream Cookie White Chocolate Buttercream
Carrot Cake
8" - 3 Layer Carrot Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting & Toasted Walnuts
Strawberry Cheese Cake
9" - New York Style Cheese Cake
Fresh Strawberries and Fresh Whipped Cream
Thank you for your continued support and I welcome any feedback. 

Happy Baking,

Sunday, August 23, 2015

GF Cinnamon Oat Streusel Cake

Never in a million years would I have ever thought that these words would come out of my mouth, but this gluten free coffee cake is better than any I've had before. I thought that I would immediately be able to tell that this cake was made without AP flour and that it would taste dense, dry and gritty, but the truth is that those worries couldn't be further from the truth.

This cake is moist, fluffy and light.  The crumb is tender with the perfect amount of chew. It's so light in fact that you will be tempted to go back for seconds and even thirds! My husband, who is picky about his sweets had no clue it was gluten free nor did he care once he found out.
This cake is also a great base for different flavors such as the addition of berries and nuts, but be careful with nuts if you need to be strict about it staying gluten free since a lot of nuts are processed where wheat and other gluten contaminated products are processed. 
1c butter (softened)
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1 1/2c sugar
1c milk (room temp)
3c sifted GF Flour Blend**
4tsp baking powder
2tsp salt

Streusel Topping
1c brown sugar
4tsp cinnamon
1/4-1/2c rolled oats
3-4tbsp melted butter
**See my post on my go to GF Flour Blend
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13x9 pan and set aside. Cream together butter, eggs and sugar. Stir in milk. Fold in sifted dry ingredients and set aside batter. Prep streusel by combining all ingredients with a fork. Pour half of cake batter into your greased 13x9 pan. Sprinkle 1/2 of streusel over batter. Top pour remaining batter over streusel layer then sprinkle remaining streusel over batter. Bake for 35-40 min or until golden brown. A toothpick inserted into center should give a few crumbs.
Mise en place
Creaming and folding
Streusel and layering
Enjoy and please let me know what you think! Up next, a delicious gluten free banana bread. 

Happy baking, 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Gluten Free Flour Blend

Hi everyone!! I have been absent for a bit, but I have recently gotten back into the swing of things and started my Escoffier Online Culinary Academy Healthy Baking course and I am so excited to share my journey with you.

The course includes:

Gluten-Free Baking and Desserts
- Lactose-Free Desserts
- Vegan Baking and Desserts
- Diabetic and Low Fat Desserts
- Paleo Desserts
- Raw Desserts
- Heart-Healthy Desserts
- Farm to Table Desserts

My first two assignments were to convert my favorite recipes into gluten free versions. I was a little nervous about this because when I have used other flours in the past the flavors were just not great. The texture was gritty and the baked goods were dense with absolutely no fluffiness whatsoever.  

So in order to avoid this I searched Pinterest for a gluten free flour blend. Now, everyone claims that their blend is the "BEST EVER", but I knew they couldn't all be right. I wanted a flour blend that seamlessly stepped into the shoes of my go to AP flour; a 1 to 1 substitution. The good news is, I found the perfect blend and I want to share it with you!

This GF Flour Blend was adapted from "The Thrifty Couple"

I replaced the sweet rice flour with sorghum flour because I just couldn't find sweet rice flour at any of the markets I went to, but the substitution created the most delicious GF Flour Blend so I think I will stick with this version.

4 1/4 Cups Brown Rice Flour
4 1/4 Cups White Rice Four
4 1/4 Cups Sorghum Flour
4 1/2 Cups Tapioca Flour (aka Tapioca Starch)
2½ TBSP Xanthan Gum (not pictured)

Just measure, mix it up with a whisk and put it in a glass or rubber container with a lid and you are good to go!

Bob's Red Mill GF Flours
Using a 1 to 1 conversion I was able to make GF Cinnamon Oat Streusel Coffee Cake and Banana Bread. I will share the recipes and pictures in my next post coming up very soon!

I promise you will not be disappointed with this GF Flour Blend and you will not miss the AP flour at all.  You may even like the recipe better gluten free...I know I did.

Happy Baking!!