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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

GLUTEN FREE MINI CHEESECAKES WITH OPTIONAL DULCE DE LECHE TOPPING

Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     OMG these are amazing!  The crust is vanilla and buttery and the filling is creamy, dense NYC cheesecake and perfectly delicious.
     I was trying to use up leftover things in the fridge.  A partially used jar of Dulce de Leche was just begging to be useful.  I was looking at images of Dulce de Leche desserts and saw a cheesecake square with some Dulce de Leche on top and this inspired me.  The recipe online called for mixing Dulce de Leche into the batter and on top of the cheesecakes.  Maybe another time, this time I was in the mood for plain cheesecake.  I decided to use my favorite cheesecake filling, Lindy’s.  This was definitely the way for me to go since I was really craving some Lindy’s cheesecake.
     Dulce de Leche is a heavenly tasting caramel like spread that is very popular in Latin America, Spain, Portugal and France.  It is usually made by heating sweetened milk.  In some countries they use goats milk, in others cows milk, and often cans of condensed milk are used.  My jar was a store bought Gaucho Ranch brand.  The mini cheesecakes are wonderful plain or with the Dulce de Leche topping.
     I had several, 7 to be exact, Glutino brand vanilla sandwich cookies threatening to go stale, so these were destined to become part of a cookie crust.  I had seen a photo of a whole Oreo cookie used as the crust for a mini cheesecake and thought that this would have been really easy, if only there were more than 7 cookies left.  I decided to crush the cookies in the food processor, but they were too sweet for my palate.  To increase the volume and lower the sweet quotient I added some walnuts and ran them together with the cookie crumbs in the food processor. This worked well.  I cut up cold butter and mixed it in with the crumbs and nuts in the food processor.  No need to add any xanthan or guar gum to the crust since it would be held together by the cheesecake filling.  The cookie crumb mixture was very wet and dough like, not crumb like, so I baked it for about 8 minutes before adding the cheesecake filling and baking it again.  The crust came out perfectly.  It is soft when you bite into it, yet firm enough to serve as a sturdy cheesecake base.
     Mini cheesecakes are much easier to make, store and serve than regular sized cheesecakes.  They will keep for 3 days in the fridge and can be frozen for longer storage and thawed as needed.  Enjoy!



GLUTEN FREE MINI CHEESECAKES WITH OPTIONAL DULCE DE LECHE TOPPING
Makes about 16 mini cakes

Ingredients
CRUST   
7
GF Vanilla Sandwich Cookies
¾ cup
Chopped Walnuts
¼ cup/4 Tbs.
Unsalted Butter
 
FILLING
16 oz.
Cream Cheese - full fat - at room temperature
Divided
2 Tbs.
Corn Starch
½ cup + 2 ½ Tbs.
Sugar
1 ½ tsp.
Vanilla Extract
1 large
Egg
6 Tbs.
Heavy Cream

TOPPING
1 cup
Dulce de Leche (optional)

Directions
1)   Preheat oven to 350℉.  Line a muffin tin with foil liners.
2)   In a food processor pulse the cookies until they become fine crumbs.
3)   Add the chopped walnuts and pulse until fine.
4)   Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the crumb mixture.  Pulse until the butter mixes in with the crumbs.
Pressing the batter into the bottom of each foil cup liner.
5)   Evenly distribute the crumbs among the foil liners and press the wet dough evenly along the bottom of each cup liner.
6)   Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned and cooked in the center.
Cookie crusts after baking.
7)   Allow to cool while you make the filling.
8)   In the bowl of a stand mixer add 8 oz. of the cream cheese, 5 Tbs. of the sugar & the cornstarch and mix on low speed until smooth.
Mixing the cream cheese, cornstarch and sugar.
9)   Add the rest of the cream cheese and mix until smooth.
10)         With the mixer running on low, gradually add the rest of the sugar and the vanilla.  Mix until combined.
11)         Add the egg and blend in.
Adding the egg to the filling.
12)         Add the cream and mix in.
The batter after the cream is mixed in.
13)         Evenly divide the batter on top of the crusts. I used a scoop that measured 2” across to measure out the batter.  Hold each end of the muffin tin and firmly tap the muffin tin a few times on the counter top to release air bubbles.  I forgot to do this and there were a few bubbles that collapsed into small holes after baking.
Raw cheesecake filling in the cups.
14)         Bake about 18 minutes until the batter is set with some wiggle left in the center.  Turn and rotate the pans halfway through the baking time so that the cheesecakes bake more evenly.
The cheesecakes right out of the oven.
Note the domed tops and some bubbles.
Learn from my mistakes and remember to tap the muffin tin
 on the counter before baking to get air bubbles out.

Cheesecakes after cooling.
Note that the cakes flatten a bit and have some small holes that the bubbles left.

15)         When done allow them to cool to room temperature and then cover and place them into the fridge to chill completely for at least 2 hours or overnight.

16)         When completely cooled spread the tops of each mini cheesecake with some Dulce de Leche, if using.  You can also just eat these plain or top them with some fruit topping.
A peek at the inside of a cheesecake.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

GLUTEN FREE MOLASSES OAT BANANA MUFFINS

Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

    I am multi-tasking: doing laundry, watching a Hallmark Christmas movie and writing this blog post.  A friend of mine bought a large quantity of molasses and gave me a good portion of this.  I have lots of ideas about how to use this in baking and I decided to make a cake like item first.
    This recipe is based on one I found on food.com by Kittencal.  I converted it into a gluten free recipe and reduced the sugar a bit. I used old fashioned certified GF oats, but next time I will use the quick ones because the smaller and thinner quick kind will be softer to chew with the soft cake.  The old fashioned ones were a bit too stiff for my taste, but no one else seemed to notice.
     I love this recipe.  The muffin is soft and moist with a different and delicious flavor.  I made it dairy free to share with friends and they gobbled them right up with lots of compliments.  Two yums up!



GLUTEN FREE MOLASSES OAT BANANA MUFFINS
Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients
¾ cup
Sorghum
¼ cup + 2 Tbs.
Tapioca Flour
¼ cup + 2 Tbs.
Chickpea Flour
¾ tsp
Xanthan Gum
cup
GF Oats - quick oats would be best
1 ¼ tsp
Baking Soda
1 tsp
Cinnamon
½ tsp
Sea Salt
½ cup
Sugar
¼ cup
Oil (neutral tasting like canola) or Melted Butter
¼ cup
Molasses
2 large
Eggs
1 ¼ cup - about 3 medium
Ripe Bananas - mashed
cup
Milk or Dairy Free Milk of choice - I used almond
2 tsp
Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsp
Vanilla Extract

Directions
1)   Preheat oven to 350℉. Place paper liners in a 12 cup muffin tin.
2)    Add the milk to a cup and mix in the vinegar.  This will make buttermilk. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
3)    In a small bowl add the flours, salt, xanthan gum, oats, baking soda and cinnamon and mix together well.
Dry ingredients mixed together.
4)    In a large bowl add the sugar, oil, mashed bananas, molasses, eggs and vanilla and blend together well.
Bananas, oil, eggs, molasses, sugar and vanilla in the bowl.

5)    Add the milk and vinegar.
The batter after adding the milk.
6)    Add the flour mixture to the banana/milk mixture and beat together well.
Adding flour to the molasses mixture.


The batter all mixed.
7)    Fill the muffin cups ¾ full.  I used a scoop that measured 2” across.
Raw batter in paper liners.
8)    Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cake springs back when pressed lightly with your finger.
Muffins after baking.

9)    Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then cool completely on a rack.
A peek at the inside of a muffin.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

GLUTEN FREE PEAR CUSTARD TART

Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     The holidays are here and I have been baking quite a bit.  I made this recipe twice in one week to serve to dinner quests (on two different nights).  Everyone loved it.  Besides tasting wonderful this tart looks impressive.  People asked which bakery it was from because they couldn’t believe that it was homemade (and they wanted to buy one).
     It is easy to find sweet ripe pears this time of year.  I used Anjou because they were on sale, but you can use any other variety that is available and ripe.  This recipe can also be used with other fruit such as apples, peaches and plums.  The shortbread crust is delicate and tastes divine.  I have made this recipe with other fruit and not added the custard, but the custard goes very well with the soft pears.
     This tart is easier than most because you just press the crust into the pan and no rolling out of the dough is necessary.  I adjust the amount of sugar in the tart according to how sweet the fruit is.  The amount of sugar in the recipe should work well for most people’s taste, but I tend to prefer things less sweet and usually leave out two to four tablespoons of sugar from the mix that tops the fruit.  The amount of sugar in the crust is perfect.

    

GLUTEN FREE PEAR CUSTARD TART
Makes one 9” tart     

Ingredients

CRUST
1 cup
Sorghum Flour
½ cup
Tapioca Flour
¼ cup
Chickpea Flour
½ tsp.
Xanthan Gum
tsp.
Himalayan Sea Salt
¼ cup
Sugar (I used evaporated cane juice crystals.)
½ cup/4 oz.
Unsalted Butter (if using salted butter omit the salt from the recipe) - at room temperature


FILLING
3-4 medium sized
Ripe Pears
½ cup
Sugar (I used evaporated cane juice crystals.)
¼ cup
Cornstarch (use less if fruit is dry or more if very juicy)
½ tsp.
Cinnamon


CUSTARD
1 cup
Heavy Cream
2 large
Eggs
2 Tbs.
Sugar


Directions
1)   Preheat oven to 375℉.  Prepare a 9” springform pan by lining the bottom with a cake cardboard.  If you do not have a cake cardboard on hand just cut a circle of cardboard from a corrugated box and then cover the cardboard completely with aluminum foil.
2)   In a medium sized bowl add the flours, salt, xanthan gum & sugar and mix well.  Using a pastry cutter, two knives, a fork or your fingers mix the butter into the flour mixture until all the flour is coated and the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal. (See my Peach Tart post for photos about making the tart dough and pressing it into the pan.)
3)   Pour the flour mixture into the prepared springform pan.  Use your fingers to press the crust along the bottom and about 1inch up the side of the pan.
4)   Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake the empty crust for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven.
Partially baked tart crust in springform pan.
5)   In a small bowl mix together the cornstarch, sugar and cinnamon from the filling ingredients.  Reserve two tablespoons to sprinkle on top of the fruit and sprinkle the rest of the mixture evenly over the bottom of the crust.
Filling mixture sprinkled over the bottom of the partially baked crust.
Note the reserved mixture in the blue bowl. 
6)   Peel, halve and core the pears.  Cut each half pear crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices.
One pear half, sliced crosswise into ¼-inch thick slices.
7)   Arrange the cut pears in a circle so that they are evenly spaced around the tart.  Place the large end of the pear towards the outside edge of the tart and the smaller end towards the center of the tart.
8)   Fan out the slices of each pear half by gently pressing and pushing the top of the cut pears towards the center of the tart.
Fanning out the sliced pear.

Pear halves arranged in a circle and fanned out.

9)   Sprinkle the top of the pears with the reserved 2 Tbs. of the filling mixture.
Pears topped with the reserved filling mixture.
10)Bake for 25 minutes and remove from the oven.  Increase the oven temperature to 400℉.
Tart after baking 25 minutes.
11)In a small bowl whisk together the custard ingredients and pour over the baked pears.  The custard will over fill the crust edges, this is OK.
Custard poured over the partially baked pears.
12)Return the tart to the oven and bake another 30 minutes.  If the top starts to brown cover the tart loosely with foil to prevent it from getting too dark.
Tart after additional 30 minutes of baking with the custard.
13)Allow the tart to cool for about a half an hour on a rack.  Run a knife or spatula around the edges of the pan.  Loosen the outer ring of the springform pan and gently remove it.  Use a pointed knife to lift an edge of the cardboard from the bottom of the pan.  Gently slide the tart on the cardboard onto to a serving dish. 


14)Serve warm or at room temperature.  If making the tart ahead of time it should be refrigerated and then allowed to come to room temperature when ready to serve.  Refrigerate any leftovers.