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Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     I saw a photo of a mint brownie and wanted to eat it; so I made some gluten free ones.  I love my tried and true gf brownie recipe. These fudgy brownies are just the right balance between fudge and cake-like brownies with an old fashioned brownie taste.  A creamy mint filling and soft chocolate glaze put the perfect brownie recipe right over the top.  Umm.  So good.
     It is approaching the mint and chocolate in everything season.  This recipe is my new favorite in this holiday category.  You can color the mint filling with red or green food coloring if you want to make them even more festive looking.
     The mint brownies from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles blog looked really good, so I loosely followed the instructions.  I used my brownie recipe, her chocolate glaze and made a hybrid between my frosting recipe and hers for the mint filling.  I had an idea in my mind about how I wanted the mint filling to taste and feel.  I wanted it smooth and melt in your mouth minty, not too sweet and not too minty.  This filling came out just as I imagined.  The chocolate frosting is firm yet soft and just the right amount of chocolate with the brownie and mint filling.  The three components are perfectly balanced together.  So happy with the results.  



See my recipe for Gluten Free Brownies. Omit the walnuts and the chocolate chips.
Or use your favorite recipe for GF Brownies.

3/4 cup Shortening - Non-hydrogenated such as Spectrum Organic all vegetable Shortening.
4 oz. Confectioner’s Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Peppermint Extract
pinch Sea Salt
5 tsp. Cold Water
several drops Natural food coloring in red or green. (optional)

2 oz. Semisweet Chocolate Chips
2 Tbs. Shortening

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 7x7-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil.  Grease the foil with butter or margarine.
  2. Prepare one recipe of Brownies without nuts or chips.
  3. Pour brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake according to the recipe directions.
  4. Allow the brownies to cool completely before proceeding. Keep the brownies in the aluminum foil lined pan.
    One recipe of Brownies in a foil lined pan.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer add all the filling ingredients and mix until well blended and fluffy. 
    Mint Frosting whipped until smooth and fluffy.
  6. Spread the mint filling evenly over the completely cooled brownies in the aluminum lined pan.
    Mint Frosting spread as evenly as possible over the baked brownies.
  7. Place the pan in the fridge to allow the filling to harden.
  8. Prepare the chocolate glaze by melting the shortening and chips in a small saucepan over low heat.  Stir constantly until melted.
  9. Mixture should be very thin and liquid like.
    Chocolate Glaze.  All done, thin and runny.
  10. Pour the glaze all over the cooled mint filling. Immediately tilt and turn the pan to spread the glaze evenly over the top. 
  11. Place in the fridge to cool and solidify.
    Glaze after spending some time in the fridge.
  12. Lift the brownies out of the pan by holding the aluminum foil.  Peel the foil carefully off the sides.
    Peeling the foil off the sides.
    You can trim the edges before cutting into squares
     to get perfect looking pieces.  
  13. Cut into the desired number of squares.  I cut them into 16. Wipe off the knife between cuts to make cleaner looking squares.
    Cut into 16 squares.
  14. Serve at room temperature. Best eaten within the first 2 days but will still be good on day 3.
  15. You can store them in the freezer in an airtight container.  When ready to use thaw them at room temperature for about a half hour before serving.     

Monday, November 11, 2013


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     I was cleaning out the freezer to make room for all the food I must prepare for a baby shower.  I found a lot of crusts from homemade gf challah bread that I cut off when making tea sandwiches.  There were also lots of end pieces of store bought gf bread.  I cut them all into cubes.  At eight cups I stopped and threw the rest of the savory bread into the food processor to make bread crumbs.  Challah bread is perfect for bread pudding, but for bread crumbs, not so much...too sweet.  
     I had not made bread pudding for a while.  Usually I just throw things together without following any recipe.  I knew this would not fly with the blog.  Measurements are important when you want to repeat a recipe.  I looked up a bread pudding recipe and then I used what I had on hand.  There were two egg yolks and 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree from other baking. Since I would be bringing it to a meeting where a few people are dairy free, I used a can of coconut milk instead of regular milk. 
     The unbaked pudding ended up sitting in the fridge for a few hours.  There was not enough time to bake it  before I had to run out of the house. I like how it came out, nice and moist and soft without any hard or obvious bread cubes.  The pumpkin flavor was delicate and delicious.  It was devoured at one sitting.


8 cups Gluten Free Bread Cubes - soft
4 large Eggs (I used 3 and the 2 yolk I had on hand.)
3/4 cup Pumpkin Puree (not pie filling)
1 1/2 cups Milk - For Dairy Free use non-dairy milk (I used a 13.5 ounce can of full fat Coconut Milk and omitted oil or butter)
4 Tbs. Butter or Margarine or Oil (if using a can of full fat Coconut Milk omit the butter or margarine or oil.
1/2 cup  Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ginger (dried and ground not fresh)
1/4 tsp. Cloves (ground)
1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
pinch Salt
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

  1. I used a Corning Ware glass 2 quart oval casserole. You can use an 8x8 or 9x9 square baking pan. Grease the pan and put the bread cubes inside.  Use a pan where the bread will fit with at least 3/4 of an inch to spare at the top. 
    Bread cubes in a Corning Ware pan that is about 3" deep.
  2. Mix all the other ingredients together in a bowl.  
    All the ingredients except the bread.
    The coconut milk stayed in lumps.
    This is OK, it melts when hot and blends right into the pudding.
  3. Pour the liquid over the bread cubes.  You may need to stir the cubes to cover them all with the liquid.
    Bread cubes right after the liquid is poured over them.
  4. Allow it to sit until all the bread is soft and moistened.
    Bread cubes after soaking for a few hours (while I ran errands).
    Ready to go into the oven.
  5. When ready to bake preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Bake about 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted two inches from the edge comes out clean.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    Baked Pumpkin Bread Pudding with a piece taken out.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     I am continuing my recent pumpkin theme with this recipe.  I saw a photo of pumpkin cheesecake brownies that looked so enticing that I had to make some. I used my brownie recipe and their cheesecake recipe.    
     Some of the brownie batter is swirled into the pumpkin cheesecake batter.  The brownies and brownie swirl comes out very fudgy and goes really well with the spiced pumpkin cheesecake topping.  The cheesecake part is dense like a NY cheesecake.  Next time I may try a great Italian cheesecake recipe I have with my brownies and see how a lighter cheesecake might work in the recipe.  Chocolate and pumpkin spice definitely are a great pair that is worth repeating in various forms.  
     The phone rang while I was putting the brownie batter onto the pumpkin batter and I lost my rhythm and when I returned to baking I forgot to take photos of the blobs of brownie batter on the cheesecake batter or a photo of swirling the brownies into the pumpkin batter or of the raw swirled batter ready to enter the oven.  It was only after it was baking in the oven for a few minutes that I realized my omission.  Sorry I don’t have the photos to show how to blob and swirl the batter.



8 ounces Cream Cheese
1 cup Pumpkin Puree (not pie filling)
6 Tbs. Sugar
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ginger (dried & ground - not fresh)
1/4 tsp. Cloves
1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
1 large Egg
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Make one batch of my brownie recipe.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare an 8x8-inch square pan by lining it completely with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving an over hang to grab so you can lift the finished brownies from the pan.
  3. First make the cheesecake.  Beat the cream cheese until smooth in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment or in a bowl using an electric hand mixer. 
  4. Add the sugar and continue to beat a few minutes until fluffy.  Scrape down the bowl and make sure the mixture is completely smooth.  
  5. Add the salt and spices and mix well.
  6. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
    Adding the egg and vanilla to the
     whipped cream cheese, sugar & spices.
  7. Finally add the pumpkin puree and beat until it is well incorporated. 
    Adding the pumpkin puree.
  8. Place the cheesecake batter in the refrigerator while you make the brownies.
  9. Make a recipe of brownies.
    3/4 of the Brownie recipe spread in the lined pan.
  10. Place 3/4 of the brownie batter in the prepared baking pan and spread evenly over the bottom.
  11. Pour the cheesecake batter over the brownie batter and smooth out the top.
    Pumpkin cream cheese batter spread evenly over the brownie batter.
  12. Dollop 7 or 8 blobs of the remaining 1/4 of the brownie batter over the top of the cheesecake batter.
  13. Run the tip of a sharp knife through the batters back and forth in both directions to swirl the batters.  Do not swirl too much or you will blend the brownie and cheesecake batters together, the aim is to keep them mostly separate.
  14. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the top of the batter is puffed up all over, even in the center.
    Baked brownies.  Note that even the center is puffed up when done.
  15. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan before removing them with the foil or parchment paper.  
    Cooled brownies taken out of the pan.
  16. For clean and pretty cuts, cool the brownies in the refrigerator for 2 hours before cutting into squares and also clean off the knife between each cut. If you are really into perfect looking brownies, you can trim the edges off before cutting the entire tray of brownies into 16 equal squares.
    Brownies cut into 16 squares.
    The knife was cleaned off between each cut.
  17. Store in the refrigerator.  They are best eaten within 2 days of baking, but will keep for up to 5 days.