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Monday, July 28, 2014


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     It’s summer here in New Jersey.  It is hot and sometimes we have 100% humidity even if it is not raining.  My air conditioner was not working up to par so I was UN-baking for two weeks until it was replaced.  The things I have been UN-baking include a No-Bake GF Cheesecake, GF Waffles, GF Belgian Butter Cookies (on a cookie iron), puddings, pancakes and this delicious GF Ice Cream Pie.  
     Originally I had intended to make a dairy free cheesecake in the crust, but I was in a hurry and wanted to do something easy and fast for some dairy free guests.  I bought some So Delicious Butter Pecan Almond Milk Ice Cream and spread it into the frozen graham cracker crust.  Easy as pie! (excuse the pun) Everyone loved it!
     I am so impressed and surprised at how good the no-bake cookie crusts come out.  You cannot tell that they are not baked and they taste wonderful.  I thought that the graham cracker crust would pair well with a butter pecan ice cream. It did! 
     A fruit ice cream such as strawberry or peach would go well in a graham cracker crust as well.  If I had used vanilla ice cream I would have felt compelled to also make some sort of sauce, chocolate or caramel or strawberry.  I think that mint chocolate chip, chocolate or raspberry ice cream would go better in a chocolate cookie crust baked or no-bake. 
     I highly recommend this dessert, it is simple, easy, fast and a real crowd pleaser. 


7-8 oz. (about 2 cups of finely ground cookie crumbs)
Gluten Free Graham Crackers
For Vegan make sure the crackers are made without eggs or dairy and for Dairy Free that they are dairy free.
1/4 tsp.
Xanthan Gum
3 Tbs.
6 Tbs.
Unsalted Butter - melted 
For Dairy Free or Vegan use 3 Tbs. Margarine such as Earth Balance Buttery Sticks and 3 Tbs. of Shortening such as Spectrum Organic.  Be sure that the margarine and shortening are non-hydrogenated and dairy free.  Melt the margarine and shortening.

Use any flavor of ice cream or non dairy ice cream that you would like.  I used about 2½ cups of ice cream to fill the crust.  


  1. You will need one 9-inch pie pan.  
  2. Crush the cookies into fine crumbs by running them in a food processor.  You can also place the cookies in a sealed plastic zip lock bag and crush them with a rolling pin until very fine crumbs form. 
  3. Add the crumbs, xanthan gum and sugar to a bowl and mix until well combined.
  4. Add the melted butter or melted margarine & shortening and mix well.
  5. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom and sides of the pie pan.
  6. Cover well and freeze until firm - for at least an hour or overnight.  It will store well frozen for several months.  The crust needs to be firm before you fill it or the filling will dislodge and mix in with the crust when you try to spread the ice cream in.
  7. To fill the pie crust, let the ice cream stand at room temperature for 5 minutes to make it easier to spread it evenly into the crust.  Then spread the ice cream into the crust, taking care to fill in the bottom edges and not leave gaps.
  8. Cover and freeze until ready to serve.
  9. When ready to serve, use a firm knife and slice into individual portions.  Make sure you cut through the crust when slicing.  Enjoy!
Whole pie frozen solid.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     These are the best waffles I have ever had in my life.  They are light and delicious with a crisp outside. This recipe from my friend who is famous for his waffles.  Our group of friends spent many a Sunday morning hanging out and enjoying these waffles with real maple syrup.  It took me many waffle eating years to pry this top secret recipe from him.  
    My gluten free version of his recipe is just as wonderful as the original.  This recipe is very versatile and I have been able to successfully make vegan and dairy free versions as well.  If you freeze the fresh waffles you can reheat them and they are absolutely better than any frozen ones you can buy.
     I love to have my waffles with real maple syrup and yogurt or a fruit cream that I make with silken tofu. I put silken tofu in a food processor with fresh or frozen berries and sweeten the cream to taste with maple syrup.  This dairy free cream is wonderful.  Even people who are not fond of tofu love it.  It is surprising how good waffles taste with yogurt or sour cream or my fruit cream along with some maple syrup, of course!
     I suppose you can add things to the batter like granola or blueberries if you like.  I sometimes put in chopped nuts for some crunch.  

Makes about 6 round Belgian waffles.

1/2 cup Sorghum Flour
1/4 cup Tapioca Flour
1/4 cup Chickpea Flour
1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1/4 cup Corn Meal
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
3 large Eggs - separated
2 cups Sour Cream - for Dairy Free use non dairy sour cream
1 Tbs. Vanilla Extract
6 Tbs. Butter (melted) - for Dairy Free use Canola oil or margarine

  1. Mix the flours, corn meal, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Separate the eggs and whip the egg whites until stiff.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the egg yolks, sour cream, vanilla and melted butter until well blended.
    The wet ingredients (except for the egg whites).
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir together.
    Wet and dry ingredients mixed together.
  5. Fold in the whipped egg whites.
    Whipped egg whites and the mixed batter.

    Batter after the egg whites were folded in.
  6. If desired you can now fold in additions such as nuts, chocolate chips, blueberries, etc.  
    My Belgian waffle maker.
    The light is on while it is warming up.
  7. Heat the waffle iron.  The light on my waffle iron goes out when it is hot enough. Spray with cooking oil.  In my Belgian Waffle Maker I used between 3/4 and 1 cup of batter for each waffle.
    ¾ cup of batter.

    Waffle from ¾ cup of batter.
    It stuck to the top of the waffle maker…go figure!

    I full cup of batter.

    Waffle from full cup of batter.
  8. The light on the waffle iron will go on again when you add the batter and will go off when the waffle is ready.
    Batter just put onto the hot waffle iron.
    The top of the waffle iron will soon be closed down
    over the batter so it can cook.
  9. Remove the cooked waffle with a fork or tongs.  It should only need a gentle prod to come loose.  When the waffle sticks too much you may need to use more cooking spray.  If your waffle iron is very old it may be time to buy a new one if the batter sticks so much that the waffle breaks apart when you try to remove it. 
    Using wooden tongs to gently prod the waffle off the maker.
  10. If cooking for a few people keep the cooked waffles warm in an oven set to a low temperature of 150-200°.  I like to place them on a baking sheet in the oven.  I add the waffles as they are cooked.  When all the waffles are done you can serve them all at once, nice and warm and still crisp on the outside and everyone can eat together.
  11. Serve with real maple syrup.  I also love to serve them with yogurt and fruit, or nuts. 

Monday, July 14, 2014


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     My central air conditioning is taking its last breaths.  Until it is replaced (darn, it can’t be fixed) I am not turning on the oven.  I made a really great No-Bake Cheesecake.  This recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart one.  Smooth and creamy with just the right amount of lemony flavor everyone loved it and couldn’t believe that it was not baked.
     The trick to making this cheesecake is to chill it well.  I was a bit worried about not baking the crust, but the cookie crust came out surprisingly well.  I used store made gf chocolate animal crackers.  I suppose that you could use gf graham crackers if you don’t want a chocolate crust. 
     It calls for a 6-inch springform pan.  Of course, I do not have one of those, so I used a regular 6-inch cake pan.  To get the cheesecake out of the pan in one piece I lined it with parchment paper and placed a cake cardboard on the bottom.  I am pleased to report that this worked very well and the cake came out easily and intact.  If you do not have any 6-inch pans, I think that you can use a smallish pie pan, but the filling will not be as tall.

Makes one 6-inch cheesecake.

7 oz. (about 2 cups of finely ground cookies crumbs) Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies (I used the whole 7.7 ounce box of chocolate animal crackers.)
1/4 tsp. Xanthan Gum
3 Tbs. Sugar
6 Tbs. Unsalted Butter - melted

1/3 cup Sugar - adjust to taste
8 oz. - 1 package Full Fat Cream Cheese
3 Tbs. Lemon Juice - fresh squeezed.
1 tsp. Lemon Zest - very fine
pinch Himalayan Sea Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Heavy Cream

  1. You will need a 6-inch springform pan.  If you do not have a springform pan, you can use a regular 6-inch cake pan, but you will need to line it with parchment paper.  Lining the pan will enable you to remove the cake without it breaking apart.  You can also place a baking cardboard on the bottom to make it easier to lift and transfer the cake.
    Pan lined with parchment paper.
    This will enable you to keep the cake intact while removing it from the pan. 

    Baking cardboard on bottom of pan.
    This makes it easier to remove & transfer the cake.
  2. Place the cookies into a food processor and pulse or run the machine until there are fine crumbs.  Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and add the melted butter, xanthan gum and 3 tbs. of sugar.  Mix well.
    GF Chocolate animal crackers in the bowl of a food processor.

    Cookies ground into fine crumbs.

    Crust mixture well combined.
  3. Pour the crumbs into the pan and press the cookie mixture evenly over the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of the pan.  My pan was 2 inches deep and the cheese came up to the top.
    Crumb mixture pressed along the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
    This pan is 2-inches deep.
  4. Place the pan into the freezer to harden while you make the filling.  Hardening the crust will keep the filling from blending with the crust as you fill it.
  5. Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks in a small bowl.  Set aside.
    Heavy cream whipped to soft peaks.
  6. In an other bowl add the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.  Mix together with an electric mixer until smooth.
    Filling ingredients (except for the whipped cream)  in a bowl.

    Ingredients mixed until smooth.
  7. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.  This will make the filling lighter.
    Whipped cream folded into the cream cheese mixture.
  8. Scoop the filling into the firm and well chilled crust.  Even out the top with a spatula.
    Filling scooped into the prepared chilled crust. 
    Filling smoothed out with a spatula.
  9. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and place the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, put the cake into the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight before serving.  For clean slices wipe the knife blade clean with a damp cloth after each cut. A serrated knife will cut the crust without crumbling it.
    Cake wrapped in plastic, ready to be chilled.

    Well chilled cake removed from the pan.
    The parchment paper helps to lift the cake out of the pan.

    The cake after a few slices were cut.


Monday, July 7, 2014


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     I am just too susceptible to food photos and talk.  I was reading a menu on-line from an Italian restaurant in Manhattan that makes everything on their regular menu into a gluten free version.  The hundred-layer lasagna caught my fancy.  Is it really a hundred layers...what type of flour do they use in their pasta...does it taste like real pasta...etc.?  Then the lasagna wheels were turning in my head and by the end of the week I just had to have lasagna.  
     I make my own spaghetti sauce and then freeze it, some in two-cup and some in four-cup portions, to use when I make pizza, pasta etc.  I learned how to make my sauce from a friend’s Italian mother (she called it gravy) and it is my favorite sauce.  The next time I make a batch (which will be soon as I used the last portion to make this lasagna) I will post the recipe.  You can also use a good sauce from a jar.  It has been years since I used a jar sauce, so I am not able to recommend one.
     Whoopi Goldberg always raved about Joy Behar’s lasagna.  I decided to try that recipe.  It is made with a sausage meat sauce.  If you want a vegetarian lasagna, leave out the meat or use a gluten free vegetarian meat alternative.  
     Usually, I make a tray of baked pasta or lasagna and freeze portions for later.  This came out so delicious that we ate (too large a portion of) it three days in a row for dinner and there were only two portions left to freeze.  This recipe definitely satisfied my lasagna craving.


2 Tbs.Olive Oil
1 cupOnion - chopped
2-6 clovesGarlic - crushed
1½ lbs.Sweet Italian Sausage - casings removed
28 oz. canCrushed Italian Tomatoes (or 4 cups of homemade or jarred spaghetti sauce)
6 oz. canTomato Paste (omit if using homemade or jarred sauce)
1/2 tsp.Dried Oregano - or more or less to taste
1/2 cupFresh Basil Leaves - chopped
1/4 cupFresh Parsley - chopped
1 tsp.Sea Salt (less or more to taste)
3/4 tsp.Pepper
1 BoxGluten Free Lasagna Noodles - (I love Tinkyada brand.)
1 Tbs.Olive Oil - to add to the noodle cooking water 
1 lb.Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1 cupGrated Parmesan or Romano Cheese - divided
2 largeEggs
1 lb.Whole Milk Mozzarella Cheese - grated

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.  Position rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Grease a 9x12x 2-inch pan.  Set aside.
  3. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the large pot (about 5 quarts) of boiling water and cook the noodles a few minutes less than the package directions.  The oil will keep the noodle from sticking together. You want the noodles a little undercooked, as the noodles will cook a bit more while baking.  They should be firm with a little chew when tested.  If cooked too long the noodles will be mushy and disintegrate after baking.  For example, if the package says to cook the noodles for 15-18 minutes, check the noodles after 10 minutes and every 1 minute after until the desired consistency is reached.  It may only take 12-15 minutes to reach the right texture.  When done, drain the noodles and rinse with cold water.  Spread out a piece of plastic wrap and lay out the noodles flat in a single layer to keep them from sticking to each other.
  4. In a large pan, heat the oil.  Add the chopped onions and sauté until clear, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
  6. Add the sausage and stir and break up the meat into smaller pieces with the spoon as you stir and mix it while cooking.
  7. Add the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes, basil and oregano and simmer for 20 minutes.  If using ready made sauce, add the sauce, oregano and basil and simmer about 5 minutes.
    Meat Sauce all cooked.
  8. While the sauce is simmering make the cheese filling.  In a large bowl add the ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup Parmesian or Romano cheese, beaten eggs, sea salt, pepper and parsley.  Mix well.  Set aside.
    Ricotta cheese filling.
  9. To assemble the lasagna, spread 1/4 of the sauce over the bottom of the 9x12-inch pan.  
    Sauce over bottom pan.  Some noodles on top beginning to make the first layer.
    Broken noodles & those with tears will be used on the bottom two layers.
  10. Using 1/3 of the noodles make a layer of noodles over the sauce, overlapping the edges of the noodles as needed.  Use the broken pieces of noodles on the first two layers, reserving the intact noodles for the top layer.  Next layer 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese over the noodles, then spread 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture over the mozzarella cheese layer.  Top this with 1/4 of the sauce.  Repeat this once more with a layer of noodles, cheeses and sauce.
    Spreading ricotta cheese mixture over the mozzarella cheese. 
  11. For the top.  Make a final layer of noodles with the remaining pasta.  Spread the remaining sauce on top.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of grated parmesian cheese and the remaining 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese.
    Lasagna on baking sheet ready to go into the oven.
  12. Place the pan on a large baking sheet to catch any spills.  Bake uncovered for 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling. 
  13. Allow the lasagna to sit for at least 1/2 hour until slightly cooled and set.  If cut while very hot the lasagna will ooze and spread.  If set and cooled, it will cut into neat portions.