Jam Ginger Cookies

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Because a friend of mine loves ginger, I took Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for buttery jam cookies and doubled the amount of ground ginger.  Just for good measure, I also added bits of crystallized ginger to it.  The cookies turned out to have good structural integrity.

 

Jam Ginger Cookies
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 36 gluten-free cookies

  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons jam of your choice (apricot, peach, marmalade…)
  • 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, cut into bits (optional)

 

  1. Position racks to divide oven into thirds.  Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth.
  3. Add sugar and beat for a minute.
  4. Add egg and beat for 2 minutes.  The mixture will be satiny.
  5. Add milk and vanilla and beat just to combine.  The mixture might look curdled at this point, but that’s okay.  It will even out shortly.
  6. Reduce mixer speed to low, add jam, and beat for 1 minute.
  7. Still on low speed, beat in baking powder, ginger, and salt.
  8. Beat in flour on low speed.  The dough will be very thick.
  9. Stir in crystallized ginger, if using.
  10. Spoon the dough by rounded teaspoons onto the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between cookies.
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through.  The cookies will be only just firm, fairly pale, and browned around the edges.
  12. Remove baking sheets from oven and let cookies rest on them for 1 minute.
  13. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool to room temperature.
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Banana Coffee Cake

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My best friend gave me this recipe years ago, and it’s still my favorite coffee cake.  If you have overripe bananas, here’s your chance to turn them into a delicious dessert!  The recipe works well gluten free because the bananas help hold everything together and keep the cake moist.

 

Banana Coffee Cake

Yield: 9 ” x 13 ” cake

For the cake:

  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the topping:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips OR chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line a 9″ x 13″ x 2″ baking pan with aluminum foil and grease it.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and sugar until blended.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Beat in vanilla extract, baking powder, and baking soda.
  5.  Stir in bananas.
  6. Gradually stir in flour.
  7. Combine topping ingredients and stir half into batter.
  8. Transfer batter to pan and smooth the top.
  9. Sprinkle with remaining topping.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  11. Cool on a wire rack.

Creme Brulee

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This is one of our favorite dessert recipes ever.  It’s both straightforward and fun to make, because who doesn’t like attacking their food with a blowtorch?

Baking note: You can bake the custards in a pan of hot water, which will make the surface come out smoother.  However, since you’re going to cover it with a layer of melted sugar anyway, this step seems unnecessarily complicated.

Original recipe

 

Creme Brulee
Adapted from All Recipes

Yield: 6 servings

For the custard:

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • grated peel from 1 lemon (optional)

For the topping:

  • 4 tablespoons sugar

 

  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF.  Place 6 shallow heat-proof dishes on a baking sheet.
  2. Beat egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy.
  3. Pour cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to boil.
  4. Remove the cream from heat immediately and stir into the egg yolk mixture; beat until combined.
  5. Pour cream mixture into the top pan of a double boiler. Stir over simmering water until mixture lightly coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.  If desired, stir in grated lemon peel.
  6. Remove mixture from heat immediately and pour into dishes.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
  8. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  9. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons sugar evenly over the 6 dishes of custard.
  10. Oven method:
    Preheat oven to broil. 
    Place dishes under broiler until sugar melts, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully so as not to burn.

    Blowtorch method:
    Hold a blowtorch so the tip of the flame touches and melts the sugar.  Keep the flame moving over the surface so the sugar doesn’t burn.

  11. Remove from heat and allow to cool.  You can refrigerate the dishes to set the custard, but I usually eat it as soon as the sugar crust has hardened.  You can check this by tapping it lightly with a spoon.

Meringue Snowballs

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These meringue snowballs are crunchy and sweet, not to mention appropriate for the holiday season.  They’re great if you have a sweet tooth, and they’re even naturally gluten free, so no modifications are necessary.

 

Meringue Snowballs
From Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan, courtesy of Vogue

Yield: 24 cookies

  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of fine sea salt (optional)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 250ºF.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Sift 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl.  Set aside.
  3. With a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt (if using) at medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until the whites form soft peaks.
  4. Add 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.  It will take about 5 minutes but will be worth your patience.
  5. Beat for another 2 minutes.  You will have stiff and glossy peaks.
  6. With a flexible spatula, fold in the sifted sugars.
  7. Using a cookie scoop or serving spoon, shape the meringue into round mounds on the baking sheets.  Each one will be about 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons.  You want them to be piled high with nice round tops so they resemble snowballs.  Leave 2 inches between meringues.
  8. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes without opening the oven.  The snowballs will puff and crack but stay light in color.  (Pale beige is fine.)
  9. Turn off oven and prop open door with the handle of a wooden spoon.  Leave for at least 2 hours so the meringues finish baking and dry out.  (If you’re short on time, 1 1/2 hours is acceptable, although the larger meringues might still be a little chewy in the center.)

Cinnamon Squares

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The cinnamon squares turn out very tender and moist, if a little crumbly.  Even someone who hates gluten-free desserts surprised himself by liking them.

Baking Notes:

  • Make sure to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, or it will be hard to get the cake out in one piece.
  • If using gluten-free flour, use over 1/2 of the batter in the bottom layer because the chocolate chips will sink while baking.

 

Cinnamon Squares
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 9 squares

For the cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (optional)
  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped OR 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the frosting:

  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped OR 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

 

  1. Center rack in oven and preheat to 350ºF.  Butter 8″ x 8″ baking pan and line the bottom with parchment or wax paper.  Place pan on a baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and espresso (if using).
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla.
  5. Pour liquid mixture over flour mixture and gently whisk until batter is homogeneous.
  6. Using the whisk or a rubber spatula, fold in butter just until butter is absorbed.  The batter will be smooth and satiny.
  7. Scrape about half of batter (or over half of the batter if using gluten-free flour) into the pan and smooth the top.
  8. Sprinkle chocolate over the batter.  Then sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture over the chocolate.
  9. Cover with the rest of the batter and smooth the top.
  10. Bake for 65-70 minutes if gluten free, OR 35-40 minutes if not.  (Yes, the gluten-free version takes a lot longer to bake.)  The cake will look puffed and start to pull away from the sides of the pan.  A thin knife inserted into the center will come out clean.
  11. Transfer pan to wire rack and let it cool for 15 minutes before unmolding it onto another rack.
  12. Peel off paper, invert onto first rack, and cool to room temperature right side up.
  13. After the cake has cooled, put the chocolate and butter in a small non-stick saucepan.  Melt them together on the stove over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn.  The mixture will be smooth, very shiny, thick, and spreadable.  (If it thins out from overheating, leave it at room temperature for a bit until it thickens a little.)
  14. Using an offset metal icing spatula or table knife, spread frosting in generous sweeps and swirls over the top of the cake.
  15. Allow frosting to set at room temperature, then cut cake into 9 squares.