Drop Down MenusCSS Drop Down MenuPure CSS Dropdown Menu

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


By Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear
** (Check out some exciting new info at the bottom.)
     What can I make with only one pint of blueberries?  A new Whole Foods Market opened up nearby and organic blueberries were on sale.  If I had not also bought a container of organic strawberries I would have eaten the blueberries raw; but the strawberries smelled so wonderful that I ate them first.  Then I realized that between what was going on in my life and how long berries stay fresh it was necessary to make something with those blueberries.  Only one pint, need two for a big pie.  Not in the mood for cobbler, I want pie.  I know, I’ll make mini pies!
     Then I realized that I had no idea how many mini pies one pie crust would make, so I went surfing on Google.  I found a great site, everythingPIES.com, where the blogger, Pie Guy, obviously has lots of mini pie baking experience.  I was duly warned that with cupcake sized mini pies the fillings cook faster than the crust resulting in a mini volcanic pie filling flow or possible pie top blow off.  The pies should be frozen solid, overnight, before baking to prevent this.  I threw them in the freezer quite a bit less than overnight.  I froze them for less then even one hour.  So I got a bit of a blueberry lava flow.  When the lava cooled I just scraped it off the pan and dropped it back inside the vent holes of each pie.  If only I had read the instructions the day before I was baking for company. 
Blueberry lava flow.
Freeze your pies solid before baking
 to prevent this from happening to you!
Pie Guy also recommended placing a strip of parchment paper in each muffin cup to help lift the pies out.  I read this too late for the first tray.  Then I forgot for the second.  The pies came out easily and in one piece anyway, despite the blueberry spills.  I did run a knife where the spills were in case the pies would stick at those spots. 

     I used my current favorite GF pie crust recipe for Pâte Brisée, making one crust using unsalted butter and one using Earth Balance Buttery Sticks for my vegan and dairy free friends.  For the filling I followed the one in my Betty Crocker Pie and Pastry Cookbook that called for two pints of blueberries and cut the recipe in half.  I decided to add the optional cinnamon and also some lemon zest to give some fresh flavor to the cooked berries. 
      Each 9-inch pie crust made five two-crust mini pies, so there were 5 butter crust pies and 5 dairy free ones.  The pies were very easy to eat and serve.  They held together very well.  Much less messy than serving slices from a large pie.  I was very happy with how it came out.  They were quite delicious.  All my friends loved the pies and appreciated the portion control and neatness.  

** I would like to send a shout out to 2 Gluten Free food bloggers THE BAKING BEAUTIES  & ALLERGY FREE ALASKA.  They have started a Gluten Free and DIY Tuesday link up party where bloggers can share links to their posts every week.  A great way to discover other GF bloggers and DIY sites.  Thanks you Jeanine and Megan! 

Makes about 10 two-crust mini pies if using a standard muffin tin

Make recipe for Two 9” pie crusts of GF Pâte Brisée or pie crust recipe of choice.  For dairy free use dairy free margarine & for vegan use vegan margarine and sugar in the recipe.

1 pint or 2 cups Fresh Blueberries
¼ cup Sugar
1 tsp. Lemon Zest - very fine
1 Tbs. + 2 Tsp. Sorghum Flour
¼ tsp. Cinnamon
1½ tsp. Lemon Juice

  1. Prepare a muffin tin by lining 10 of the cups with a strip of parchment paper to help lift the mini pies out easily. (I am not preheating the oven because I am giving directions for making this after freezing the pies solid overnight to prevent the filling from oozing out of the pies.  If you want to bake these mini pies right away preheat the oven after you make the pie crust dough and place the discs of dough into the freezer for about 1 hour to chill.  I would also chill the completed unbaked pies in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before baking to get a flakier crust and a bit less filling ooze.)
  2. Make dough for two 9-inch pie crusts.  Divide the dough into two equal parts, shape into flattened discs and wrap each piece in plastic wrap.  Place the discs in the freezer for about 1 hour. 
  3. Place the washed blueberries in a bowl and add all the rest of the filling ingredients.  Note that the lemon zest should be very fine.  Mix well and set aside.
    Finely grated lemon zest.

    Filling all mixed.
  4. Take one chilled dough disc out of the freezer and place it between two pieces of plastic wrap.  Roll it out to about ⅛ - ¼ of an inch thick.  
  5. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap.  Use a cookie cutter or large cup or bowl to cut circles 3½ - 4½ inches wide.  I used a 3½ inch cutter and the dough reached the rim of the muffin tin cups.  If you want to have the dough fan out over the sides of the cup use the larger sized cutter.
    Rolled out dough from one 9-inch crust recipe.
     3½ inch circles & vent holes were cut with cookie cutters.
    I made one more circle after re-rolling some dough scraps.
  6. Make vent holes in the center of half of the circles using a small cookie cutter or with a knife.
  7. If the rolled out dough has softened put it on a flat tray and put it into the freezer while you roll out and cut the second dough disc.  Take the first sheet of rolled out dough out of the freezer.  Place the second rolled and cut out dough onto a tray and put it in the freezer.
  8. Use a kitchen shears to cut out the plastic and circles of dough without vent holes.  I just cut around the circle taking care not to cut the other circles.  Lift the circle of dough and hold it in your palm plastic side on you hand.  While on your hand the edges bend over and make it easier to peel the excess dough away from the circle. 
    Dough on palm plastic side down.
    Note that the edges bend away from the circle
     making it easier to take the excess dough off.
  9. Center the circle over one muffin cup, plastic wrap facing up.  
    Dough with plastic in cup.
  10. Use your thumb, or fingers (your choice - I found the thumb to be more efficient) to press the dough onto the bottom and center of the cup.  Repeat for each circle without a vent hole.  Repeat with the second tray of dough circles.  Gather and reroll the scraps of dough to make other circles if needed.  You can bake the extra rolled dough and eat it plain or with some jam.
    Pressing the dough into the bottom & sides of each cup with plastic wrap in place.

    Removing plastic after done.
  11. Fill each dough filled cup with the blueberry filling mixture.  Try to evenly distribute the filling.
  12. Cut out the plastic under and the dough around the circles with vent holes using the kitchen shears.  
  13. Center the vent hole over the center of a blueberry filled cup and remove the plastic wrap.  Fold the edges up to make a crust.  Tuck the crust down around the edge of each cup to help it adhere to the bottom crust and keep the filling from oozing out.  You can crimp the edges with a fork if you like. I crimped one and then I realized the soft dough was adhering to the bottom crust without the need for this.  You can crimp the crust if you like how it looks.  Some people make lattice tops. 
    Vent hole centered over the top of the filled pie bottom.
    Then the plastic wrap is removed.

    Folding the edges of the top to fit the mini pie bottom.

    Crimping the edge with a fork (optional).
  14. Wrap the tin of mini pies in plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
  15. When ready to bake. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  16. Take the pies out of the freezer and remove the plastic wrap.
  17. Place the tin on a baking tray to catch drips and put in the center of the oven. 
  18. Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  Then after the first 15 minutes turn the oven down to 375 degrees and bake another 10-20 minutes if not frozen solid and another 25-35 minutes if the mini pies are frozen solid or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
  19. Cool for at least 10-15 minutes before you try to remove them from the pan so that they do not fall apart. Cool completely on racks or serve warm with ice cream. 

Monday, May 19, 2014


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     Rose cookies.  I had never even heard of them, much less tasted one.  A Turkish friend told me about these Iranian New Year cookies.  They really taste like a rose!  Delightful and unique.  The recipe is traditionally made with rice flour so it is gluten free and easy to make.  Some variations include adding cardamom to the batter or topping them with chopped pistachio nuts.  I made the cookies from posts on the Foo Dabbler Blog and My Persian Kitchen blogs, but cut the recipe in half.
     In Iran and the rest of Central Asia the new year is celebrated on the first day of spring. Traditionally in Iran people spend the day visiting family and friends.  Of course you must serve some food to guests.  One of the things that is typically served are rose cookies.  After visiting many people you could be a bit full, but it is not considered polite to refuse food. The cookies are made very small so that you can still eat a little something during each of the many visits on that day.


1¾ cups  Rice Flour - Superfine (make sure the flour is certified GF)
¾ cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Rose Water
1 large Egg - Separated
2 Tbs. (approx.) Poppy Seeds - for decorating

  1. Sift the powdered sugar into a large bowl.  Add the egg yolks and oil and mix well.
  2. Add the rice flour and rose water and mix in.
    Sugar, flour, rose water, egg yolk & oil mixed together.
  3. Whip the egg whites until stiff.
    Whipped egg whites.
  4. Fold the egg whites into the dough.
    Dough after egg white is folded in.
  5. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Prepare baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or silpat pads.
  7. Form the dough into small hazelnut sized balls.
  8. Arrange the dough balls on the prepared baking sheets. The cookies will not spread so you can place them closer together then with other cookies. Flatten each ball with a fork in one direction and then again in another direction to make a cross pattern. 
    Raw cookies on baking sheet.
    Note the cross pattern made with a fork
    & the poppy seeds sprinkled on top. 
  9. Sprinkle the tops with some poppy seeds.
  10. Bake for 15-25 minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned.  The cookie tops will remain pale.
    The bottom of a cookie lightly golden.
  11. Cool before serving.  Store cooled cookies in tins or airtight containers.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking 

     This recipe is adapted from the Down to Earth Cookbook by Sher & Doherty.  Down to Earth was the name of a vegan organic restaurant that is no longer open.  The current incarnation of the original restaurant is the Good Karma Cafe in Red Bank, New Jersey.  They have delicious food and I always loved their Jam Dot cookies. 
     I converted the recipe to gluten free and also changed the type of nuts.  They came out really well.  Light, ‘buttery’, soft and flavorful everyone who tastes them for the first time comments on how surprisingly different and delicious they are. 

Makes about 50 cookies
(Using a 1½” scoop or Tbs. to portion out the dough.)


2½ cups Walnuts - raw 
2½ cups GF Oats - Old Fashioned not quick
1¼ cups Sorghum Flour
½ cup + 2 Tbs. Chickpea Flour
½ cup + 2 Tbs. Tapioca Flour
3/4 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1/8 tsp. Sea Salt
1½ tsp. Cinnamon
1¼ cups Maple Syrup
1¼ cups Canola Oil
1/2 cup (approx.) Raspberry or Apricot Jam

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.  Prepare baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or silpat pads.
  2. Pulse the nuts in a food processor to a medium ground. Add to a large bowl.
  3. Pulse the oats until finely ground and then add to the bowl.
  4. Next add all the flours, xanthan gum, sea salt and cinnamon. Mix well.
  5. Add the oil and maple syrup to the flour mixture and mix until well combined.
    Dough after all mixing is done.
  6. Portion out the dough with a scoop that measures 1½-inches across or 1 Tbs. of dough. Flatten slightly with wet palms.
  7. Press down the center of each cookie with the back of the scoop or with wet thumbs.  A deeper hole will keep the jam from leaking out during baking.
    Scoops of dough flattened with wet palms
    and then dented in the center with the back of the scoop.
  8. Add some jam to each hole. (About ½ tsp.)
    Raw cookies with jam in the centers.
    Some have apricot and some have raspberry jam.
    The raspberry jam on the cookie in the top left had a heart shape when done.
     It was eaten before I could get a pic.
    Placing jam in the shape of hearts for valentines day would be a good idea.
  9. Bake 15-18 minutes until the cookies are golden brown.
  10. Cool on the baking sheets before transferring cookies for serving or storage. Hot cookies will fall apart when moved.
  11. The cookies will keep well at room temperature for about 4 days.  Wrap and freeze cookies for longer storage.  

Monday, May 5, 2014


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     I was in a cake sort of mood and found a recipe on A Piece Of Cake’s blog that looked really good enough to eat off of the page.  The recipe converted easily to gluten free by changing up the flours and adding a bit of xanthan gum.  The cake came out delicious and moist with the denseness of a pound cake.  This recipe is a keeper.  
     The description states that it will keep up to a week.  I baked it 5 days ago and there is only a sliver left. Today the cake is still very good but the corner bottom edges are a tiny bit drier.  

Makes one loaf


1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Hot Water
1/4 cup Agave Nectar or Non GMO Corn Syrup or Golden Syrup (I used Golden Syrup as I had some on hand.)
1/8 tsp. Sea Salt

1 cupSorghum Flour
1/2 cupTapioca Flour
1/2 cupChickpea Flour
1 tsp.Baking Soda
3/4 tsp.Sea Salt
3/4 tsp.Xanthan Gum
1/3 cupPeanut Butter - Creamy
4 Tbs.Unsalted Butter - at room temperature
1/2 cupSugar
1/4 cupLight Brown Sugar 
2 largeEggs - at room temperature
1 cup (2 large)Banana - ripe and mashed
1/4 cupPlain Yogurt or Sour Cream
1 tsp.Vanilla Extract
2/3 cupChocolate Chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with foil or a piece of parchment paper and grease with butter or cooking spray.  The foil or parchment paper will help to lift the cake out of the pan.
  2. Make the chocolate syrup first.  Whisk all the ingredients together in a small saucepan.  Heat over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the syrup simmers and gets smooth.  Remove from the heat and allow it to cool.
    Chocolate Syrup after cooking.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the flours, salt, xanthan gum and baking soda. Mix well.  Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle blade, beat the peanut butter and butter until smooth.
    Peanut butter and butter well mixed.
  5. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
    Batter light and fluffy after beating in the sugar.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, combining well after each addition.
  7. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and then blend in the yogurt or sour cream and the vanilla.  Add to the butter mixture and beat in well.
    Adding the banana mixture. 
    Batter after the banana mixture is blended in.
  8. Add the dry ingredients and mix in on low speed, then increase to medium speed and beat for 2-3 minutes. 
  9. Fold in the chocolate chips.
    Folding the chocolate chips into the finished batter.
  10. Transfer about 1/3 of the batter to a bowl (better less batter than too much) and mix in all the chocolate syrup until well blended.
    ⅓ of the batter with the chocolate syrup mixed in.
  11. Add half of the banana batter to the pan. Then top with half of the chocolate batter.
    Half of the banana batter topped with half of the chocolate batter.
  12. Take a spoon and scoop and swirl the batter.  Repeat with the remaining half of both batters.
    Scooping and swirling the first half of each batter.

    All the batter in the pan and swirled.
  13. Bake for 75-85 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, but not dry.  Cover the top of the cake during baking if the top begins to get too brown.
  14. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before lifting it out of the pan with the foil or parchment paper to cool completely on the rack.
    Baked cake, sliced, you can see the swirls.
  15. Store covered at room temperature for up to 5 days. Freeze for longer storage.