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Sunday, September 29, 2013


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

    These matzo balls are light and tasty.  The recipe is one I found many years ago on-line for vegan matzo balls.  That recipe used regular matzo meal.  I replaced the matzo meal with raw cream of rice cereal.  The texture of the cream of rice cereal when cooked is very similar to that of matzo meal and is a very satisfying gluten free substitution.
GF Cream of Rice Cereal.
A great substitute for Matzo Meal in this recipe.

     OK, the photo is not vegan. In the photo there are wonderful vegan matzo balls with chicken soup.  I find that these vegan matzo balls are lighter and more flavorful than any recipe for matzo balls that contain eggs so I now always use the vegan recipe. Since my daughter-in-law can not eat soy (tofu) I make a small batch of matzo balls following a typical recipe using eggs for her.  Most of my family prefer the vegan ones.
     To make it completely vegan just use a vegan soup. The best recipe I have found for vegan ‘chicken soup’ is one from the Still Life With Menu Cookbook by Mollie Katzen.  She has written many cookbooks the most famous of which is the Moosewood Cookbook.  I have three of her cookbooks and have not tried a recipe that I did not like. Moosewood is a restaurant in upstate New York near Cornell University.  Her recipe for Not-Chicken Soup has a wonderful flavor and is chicken broth-like in taste.  I will include this recipe at the end of the blog.

Makes about 15 2” Matzo Balls


1 1/2 cups  Raw Cream of Rice Cereal
1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1 Tbs. Corn Starch (or potato starch)
3/4 tsp, Sea Salt
3/4 tsp, Pepper
1/4 tsp. Dried Basil (optional) or herb of choice.
12 oz. Firm Silken Tofu
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup Vegetable Stock
1 small Carrot - peeled and finely grated

  1. In a bowl mix together the cereal, salt, pepper and basil.  Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor add the tofu, oil and vegetable stock.  Puree until smooth.
    Pureed tofu, oil and broth.
  3. Add the tofu mixture to the cereal mixture and stir together well.  Add the grated carrots and stir in well.
    Adding carrots to the batter.
  4. Refrigerate the batter at least an hour or overnight.  The batter will not hold together if it is not well chilled.
    Matzo ball batter ready to go into the refrigerator.
  5. When you are ready to cook the matzo balls, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add a tablespoon of salt to the water.  You can add unsalted gf vegetable bouillon cubes to the water for more flavorful matzo balls.
  6. The batter will not form into firm balls like they do when regular matzo meal is used. You will need to use a scoop to measure out the batter.  I used a scoop that measured 2” wide and the boiled matzo balls measured 2” after cooking.   Use a larger scoop for larger balls.  Drop the scoops of batter into the boiling water/broth being careful not to drop the balls of batter on top of each other.  The matzo balls will sink to the bottom of the pot and float up as they heat up.
    Scooping out Matzo Balls with a 2-inch diameter scoop.
    Use a larger scoop for  larger balls.
  7. Cover the pot with the lid and simmer for 45 minutes.  Try not to peek and lift the lid until the time is up.
  8. If you leave the balls in the hot water for an hour after they are done they will soak up more water and be softer and plumper.
  9. Remove the matzo balls with a slotted spoon and serve in the soup.  You can store the matzo balls in a container in the refrigerator for later use.  If you want to store them for a longer time, spread them out on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer until firm.  Once the balls are frozen place them in a freezer bag.  Thaw and reheat them when ready to eat.

Makes 8 servings


8 cups Water
2 tsp. Sea Salt
2 large Carrots - peeled and cut into chunks
2 medium  Onions - peeled and cut into chunks
8-10 medium sized cloves Garlic - peeled and cut in half
2 stalks Celery - cut into chunks
1 small Parsnip - peeled and cut into chunks (optional-using it will make a sweet broth)
handful Mushrooms - cut in quarters
1/2 tsp. Turmeric
to taste Black Pepper

  1. Place all the ingredients into a large soup pot.
  2. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
  4. Strain out all the vegetables and reserve the broth.
  5. Reheat the broth when ready to have the matzo ball soup.
  6. You can store the broth in the refrigerator for several days until ready to use.  
  7. You can freeze the broth for longer storage and then reheat.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     It is now officially autumn here.  Many years ago (so long ago I can start the sentence with ‘once upon a time’) when I was a child I tasted my first spice cake.  This was on Halloween when the local bakery was giving out pieces of cake to Trick or Treaters. This particular bakery was owned by a man from the Netherlands who was a wonderful old world baker.  The cake was light and delicious and I have loved spice cake ever since my first bite.  I wish I had his recipe, but I do not, so I converted a traditional wheat recipe to gluten free.  I was not in the cream cheese frosting mood and wanted a frosting that was fluffier with an interesting flavoring to go well with spice cake.      
     The cake is moist and light with a harmonious blend of spices where one spice does not over power any other.  This recipe is quite forgiving.  I made a few errors adding the ingredients at the wrong times and in the wrong way when mixing the batter and it still came out great with dome shaped tops. 
     I was so happy with how the cupcakes turned out.  The Spice Cupcakes are absolutely delicious and the orange frosting goes perfectly with the spices. 

Makes 12 cupcakes
Recipe can be doubled with good results.


3/4 cupSorghum Flour
1/4 cupChickpea Flour
1/4 cupTapioca Starch
1/2 tsp.Xanthan Gum
1 1/2 tsp.Baking Powder
1/2 tsp.Baking Soda
1/2 tsp.Sea Salt
1 tsp.Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp.Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp.Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp.Ground Allspice
1/4 tsp.Ground Cloves
3/4 cupBrown Sugar (I used organic)
1/2 cupMilk - For Dairy Free use non dairy milk such as almond, rice, etc.
2 largeEggs
1 tsp.Vanilla Extract
1/2 cupButter-melted; For Dairy Free use Oil such as Olive or Canola

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare muffin tins by putting a paper cupcake liner in each hole.
  2.  In a large bowl add all the flours, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar and spices.  Mix together well.
  3.  In a separate bowl mix the eggs, milk, vanilla and melted butter or oil.  Mix well.
  4.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together with an electric mixer until smooth and well blended.
    Batter all mixed.
  5.  Divide the batter evenly among the 12 liners in the muffin tin.
    Batter divided evenly and scooped into 12 liners.
  6.  Bake 20-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Baking time will vary according to your oven.
    Baked Spice Cupcakes.
  7. Frost the cupcakes, if desired, and enjoy fresh.  The cupcakes will last at room temperature for 3 days.  If you freeze the fresh cupcakes you can enjoy them later by thawing them for half an hour before eating them.

1 cupShortening (non hydrogenated such as Spectrum)
2 cupsConfectioner’s Sugar (I did not sift it and it weighed 14 ounces)
1 tsp.Vanilla Extract
1 tsp.Orange Extract (I used natural flavor from Bakto Flavors, LLC)
2 Tbs.Milk - For Dairy Free use dairy free milk such as Almond, etc.

  1.  Add all the ingredients to a deep bowl.  Mix with an electric mixer until well blended, smooth and fluffy.
  2.  Frost the cupcakes.  You can use a knife  to spread the frosting.  You can also fill a pastry bag, fitted with the tip of your choice, with the frosting and decorate each cupcake.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     This French Bread is moist and tasty with a crisp crust.  It is best eaten when freshly baked.  You can keep it a few days at room temperature or in the fridge and toast the slices; or you can freeze the freshly baked loaf. To use the frozen loaf warm up the whole loaf in the oven or thaw it out to make garlic bread and then heat it up in the oven.  If you slice it and then freeze it you can toast a piece whenever you like.  This recipe is fairly easy to make.  You can have a loaf or two of bread in about an hour and a half.  
     For me cakes and other sweet things are easy to convert to GF, but bread-like recipes I have found to be more difficult.  It has taken me many tries to make gf pretzels from a regular recipe and I am still trying to perfect gf cinnamon rolls.  I did not have the time to perfect a French bread recipe in time for the French Tea so I used one that was already gluten free.  I found the recipe by GlutenFreeGirl on Food.com.  I made one loaf as is and then I tweaked it a bit to my taste by adjusting the flours and liquids.  I am posting my ‘tweaked’ recipe.
     I served Brie, Veggie ‘Brie’ and Vegetarian Pate on the toasted French bread at my tea party.   The pate recipe is one that I have been using for many years.  I do not know the original source. The recipes and instructions for these will be on the end of this post.

2 loaves


2 cups Sweet Rice Flour
3/4 cups Tapioca Flour
1/4 cup Chickpea Flour
1 Tbs. Xanthan Gum
1 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1 Tbs. Sugar - I used evaporated cane juice crystals
1 Tbs. Honey (or another Tbs. of sugar)
2 Tbs. Yeast
1 1/4 cups Warm Water
2 Tbs. Olive Oil or melted Butter or Margarine (not hydrogenated)
1/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 large Eggs
optional Melted Butter or Margarine or Oil for brushing the top.

  1. Gather all the needed ingredients.  Ingredients should get to room temperature before you begin.  You will need a French Bread pan.
  2. Create a proofing box (see instructions in my Challah Bread Recipe) by heating a few cups of water in a heat proof bowl or cup in the microwave oven for ten minutes or longer as you make the dough.  Leave the cup/bowl of water in the microwave with your dough as it rises.  Heat and moisture allow bread to rise well.
  3. In a bowl add 1 1/4 cups of warm water (110 degrees) and the honey and/or sugar and mix well.  Sprinkle the yeast on the top and stir it in.  Set aside.
    Yeast after it has dissolved in the water and foamed up.
  4. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer add the flours, salt and xanthan gum and mix together on low speed until well blended.
  5. When the yeast foams add it to the flour mixture in the bowl and mix together on low speed.
  6. Add the eggs, oil and vanilla and mix on low for about 30 seconds and then beat on high for 3 minutes.  The dough will be more like a cake batter, quite sticky and pale.
    Finished dough.
  7. Place the French Bread Pan on a baking sheet.  Spray the pan with cooking spray or  wipe oil on it and sprinkle with cornmeal. (Just a note here from the ‘don’t do what I did’ category:  The French Bread Pan has holes in it.  This helps to crisp the bottom of the loaf.  The corn meal you sprinkle on the pan will fall out the holes and onto the bottom of the oven.  I also found strange little brown dots of baked dough all over the bottom of the oven.  Use the baking sheet under the bread pan to save you from cleaning the oven after you bake.  My first loaf stuck to the pan with just the cornmeal so for the next time I used oil and then cornmeal on the pan and this worked very well.)
  8. Spoon out the dough onto the bread pan dividing the dough into two loaves as evenly as you can.  
  9. Wet your hands and smooth out the loaves.  Form them as high as you can, they will flatten and spread out as they rise and bake.
  10. Make slits on the top of the loaves using a sharp serrated knife. If brushing the top with butter or oil do so now before the loaves rise.
    Dough spooned out onto the baking sheet with slits cut into the top.
  11. Arrange the racks in the oven so that the bread will be in the center of the oven and the lower rack will have room to fit a pan with water.
  12. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place a baking pan filled with water in the bottom shelf of the oven.  The bread will bake better with moisture in the oven.
  13. Place the pan into your proofing box aka microwave oven...do NOT turn on the microwave oven...close the door and let the loaves rise for 20-25 minutes until doubled in bulk.
    Loaf after rising.
  14. Bake the risen loaves in the oven for 30-40 minutes until nicely browned and the internal temperature is 210 degrees. 
    Baked loaf of French Bread.

Photo by Kathy Graves


15 oz.  Fresh Green Beans - steamed.  You can also use canned (drained) or frozen ones (steamed).
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
2 Medium Onions - chopped 
5 large Eggs - Hard Boiled and shelled.
2 oz. Walnuts - lightly toasted or raw
to taste Sea Salt and Pepper (My secret ingredient is Low Sodium Vegit)

  1. Sauté the chopped onions in the oil until brown. 
  2. In a food processor add nuts and pulse until fine.
  3. Add the green beans and 3 of the hard boiled eggs and run the processor until combined and somewhat smooth and transfer to a bowl.
  4. Hand chop the remaining 2 eggs and then mix by hand into the processed mixture.
  5. Chill overnight and serve.

For a Vegan Veggie Pate I would recommend the recipe on the Veg Kitchen Blog.  I have made this and it is very good.

Brie and Dairy Free ‘Brie’

     I used a Goat Brie with vegetarian enzymes on the baguette slices for the French Tea Party. 
     For the Dairy Free version I spread Earth Balance Buttery Spread on each slice of bread and then topped it with a slice of Follow Your Heart Mozzarella with some Go Veggie Parmesan sprinkled on top to punch it up. 
Dairy Free 'Brie' with dairy free parmesan on top.

     I sliced the French Bread and toasted the slices for a few minutes in the oven before topping them with the cheese and pate.
Toasted slices of French Bread on a baking sheet.
Veggie Pate on left and Brie on right side of tray.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


GF Dairy Free Peaches and Cream Cake
Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     Peaches and Cream Cake has a thin layer of cake topped with peaches and then a creamy cheese layer.  The top of the dairy cheese version is much like the filling of a cheese Danish.  The dairy free/vegan version results in a smooth creamy top that is like a very light pudding.  Both versions are delicious.  Most of my friends, who are willing taste testers whenever I bake, liked the dairy free/vegan version better.  Even the dairy eaters liked the dairy free better.  The creaminess of the dairy free top layer was delightful and yummy.  Only one person (who loves cheese cake) preferred the dairy topping. I made the vegan ones with yellow peaches and the dairy and non dairy batches with white peaches. The  yellow peaches won the taste test hands down.  You can taste the yellow peaches more and in this case more was better.
A slice of Vegan Peaches and Cream Cake with yellow peaches.

     I adapted a wheat recipe into a gluten free version. The recipe is from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe blog and she adapted it from a reader’s recipe.  I did not follow the directions well and made a mistake when adding the sugar. As with some baking mistakes this turned out to be a good one. Instead of adding all the sugar to the cheese layer, as the recipe called for, I added half to the fruit before I realized that this was a mistake.  Then, to correct this error, I added only half the sugar to the cheese layer.  This turned out to be the perfect amount of sweetness for me in the cheese layer.  I used fresh peaches and not canned as in the recipe. Canned fruit already has some sweetness in it.  Adding some sugar to the fresh fruit gave it some needed sweetness.  The recipe calls for juice from the canned peaches to be used in the cheese layer.  By adding sugar directly to the fresh peaches some juice was formed that could then be used in the recipe. 
     I would like to give a shout out to the GO Veggie company.  They were nice enough to  send me some free products after I mentioned in my blog that I used their vegan cheeses in my French Tea Party recipes.  (Just to be clear I do/did not make any money for writing about their products in my blog posts. However, I do really appreciate getting free products.) GO Veggie cream cheese was used in the dairy free/vegan cheese topping for this cake recipe. I love the taste and texture of their vegan cream cheese, both straight out of the container and in this recipe.

GF Peaches and Cream Cake with Dairy Topping


1 cup Sorghum Flour
1/4 cup Tapioca Flour
1/4 cup Chickpea Flour
1 tsp. Xanthan Gum
2 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 cup  Sugar (I used evaporated cane juice crystals)
1 Tbs. Cornstarch
1 tsp. Vanilla (in the dairy free/vegan cakes I used Lorann Butter Vanilla)
2 large Eggs - Vegans use egg replacer.  I like to use the following egg replacer for 2 eggs:  mix 1/2 cup water with 2 Tbs. cornstarch, 2 tsp oil, 1/4 tsp. baking powder and 1/8 tsp. xanthan gum. Mix with a fork or small whisk until frothy and add to the recipe.
1 cup Milk - Dairy Free/Vegan use non-dairy milk such as soy, rice etc.
6 Tbs. Unsalted Butter (melted) - Dairy Free/Vegan use olive or canola oil


16 Ounces Cream Cheese - Dairy Free/Vegan use non-dairy vegan cream cheese such as GO Veggie or Tofutti
Make sure it is at room temperature so it will mix well.
1/2 cup Sugar (I used evaporated cane juice crystals)
6 Tbs.
DF/VEGAN - 2 Tbs.
Peach Juice reserved from fresh peaches (see below)
If Dairy Free/Vegan cream cheese use 2 Tbs. Peach Juice or the cream cheese layer will be too runny.


28 ounces
(about 10 medium)
Fresh Peaches - peeled.
about 1/2 cup Sugar (I used evaporated cane juice crystals) or to taste depending upon the sweetness of the fruit.  


Sugar (I used evaporated cane juice crystals)

  1.   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2.   Grease a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray or oil and set aside.
  3.   Peel and cut peaches into bite-sized pieces.
    Yellow Peaches peeled and cut into pieces.
    White peaches peeled and cut into pieces.
  4.   Add half the sugar and mix. Taste a piece of the fruit and then add more as needed to suit your taste.  Set aside.
  5.   In a medium sized bowl add the cream cheese, sugar and required amount of liquid from the peaches and sugar bowl.  Mix until well blended.  You can also blend this with a hand mixer.  Set aside.
    Cream Cheeses I used.  Dairy on left and Dairy Free Vegan on right.
    Cheese toppings all mixed.  Dairy Free on left and Dairy on right. 
  6.   In a large bowl add the flours, salt, baking powder, xanthan gum, sugar and cornstarch and mix well.
  7.   Make a well in the center and add the eggs/egg replacer, milk and melted butter/oil.
  8.   Whisk together until well combined and then spread the batter evenly in the prepared 9x13-inch pan.
    Batter spread in a pan.  (This pan is 9x9-inches for HALF a recipe.)
  9.   Strain the liquid from the peaches and spread evenly on top of the cake batter. I used a slotted spoon to scoop out the peaches.
    Peaches on top of the batter.

    I used a slotted spoon to strain the liquid and scoop out the peaches.
  10. Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the top of the peaches.
    Cheese topping spread on top of the peaches.
  11. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar.
    Cinnamon and sugar sprinkles on top.
  12. Bake 45-60 minutes or until the edges are puffed and golden and the cream cheese layer bubbles slightly.  If the center is jiggly, cover with foil to prevent excessive browning and bake more until it no longer jiggles.  Be sure to keep checking for jiggling at least every 5 minutes if you need to bake it longer than the listed time.
    Baked cakes with Dairy on left and Dairy Free on right.
  13. Allow the cake to cook in the pan on a rack. 
  14. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    Dairy Free Peaches and Cream Cake in pan.
  15. Refrigerate any left overs.