Almond Jelly

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Almond jelly is a popular Chinese dessert that is cool and refreshing, especially after a big meal or on a hot summer day.  This is a family recipe from my dad.  If you’re allergic to almonds or just don’t like the taste, feel free to substitute vanilla for almond extract.

 

Almond Jelly (Xingren Doufu)

Yield: 6-8 servings

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract OR vanilla extract
  • 1 (15-oz) can fruit (such as peach or fruit cocktail) in heavy syrup

 

  1. Put water in a pot over medium heat.  Slowly pour in gelatin while stirring constantly and breaking up any clumps.
  2. Keep stirring while bringing water to a boil.
  3. Stir in milk, sugar, and almond OR vanilla extract.
  4. Pour into an 8″ x 8″ pan and cool.  Cover and refrigerate until set.
  5. Cut jelly into 1-2″ cubes and spoon into serving bowls.  Top with canned fruit and its syrup.
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Earl Grey Chiffon Cake

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This chiffon cake tastes like Earl Grey tea in solid form – you have the flavor of the cake layers, kept moist by the frosting, and the fluffy whipped cream melding together deliciously in your mouth.

Baking Notes:

  • 1 Bigelow teabag contains 1 teaspoon of finely ground tea, so you can skip the grinding step
  • Use fresh eggs, because the egg whites will fluff up more when beaten.
  • Separate the eggs when cold, then allow the whites to come to room temperature before beating them.
  • The gluten-free cake dries out fast compared to regular cake, so if you won’t finish eating it the day it’s made, you should definitely frost it with whipped cream to keep it moist.

Original recipe

 

Earl Grey Chiffon Cake
Adapted from Just One Cookbook

Yield: 2-layer 8″ cake

For the cake:

  • 2 teaspoons Earl Grey loose tea leaves OR 2 teabags
  • 1 Tablespoon Earl Grey loose tea leaves OR 3 teabags
  • 6 Tablespoons hot water
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 28 grams + 57 grams granulated sugar (total of 1/2 cup minus 1 Tbsp, if you don’t have a scale)
  • 3 Tablespoons flavorless oil (such as vegetable or canola)
  • 2/3 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the whipped cream frosting:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar

 

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and line an 8″ round baking pan with aluminum foil to make cake removal easier.
  2. Using a food processor or mortar and pestle, grind 2 teaspoons tea leaves into a fine powder.  If you don’t have either, put tea leaves in a bag and crush them.
  3. In a fine sieve in a mug or a bowl, steep 1 tablespoon tea leaves in 6 tablespoons hot water to make a strong tea.  Cool, remove tea leaves, and set aside.  You will only use 4 tablespoons of the tea (although I found that the teabags absorbed about 2 tablespoons of liquid anyway).
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together yolks and 27 grams sugar.
  5. Whisk in oil, 4 tablespoons tea, and 2 teaspoons finely ground tea leaves until thoroughly combined.
  6. Whisk in baking powder and flour, making sure there are no lumps.
  7. In a separate large mixing bowl, whip the egg whites with 57 g sugar and cream of tartar until stiff and glossy.
  8. Add a large scoop of the whipped egg whites to the cake batter and mix gently but thoroughly to lighten the batter.
  9. Add the remaining egg whites in 3 additions.  Gently fold into the batter using a large wire whisk, making sure to scrape down the bottom of the bowl frequently.
  10. Pour batter into pan and gently smooth top with a rubber spatula.
  11. Bake at 325°F for 25 minutes without opening the oven door during this time. Increase heat to 350°F and bake for about 15 minutes longer. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or when the surface springs back immediately after pressing on it with a finger.
  12. As soon as you remove cake from oven, lay 2 thick wooden spoon handles (or chopsticks) across the top of the pan and place a shallow bowl upside down on top of the handles/chopsticks.  Invert the arrangement and cool cake completely upside down.  This step is important, because otherwise the cake will sink.  It looks like this:
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  13. Unmold cake carefully, because it is fragile, and slice it in half horizontally.
  14. Using a mixer on medium speed, beat together heavy cream and powdered sugar until whipped cream holds stiff peaks.
  15. Place one cake layer cut side down on a serving plate and spread with ~1 cup whipped cream.  Top with the second layer cut side down.
  16. Frost first the sides and then the top of the cake with remaining whipped cream.
  17. Refrigerate the cake if you’re not serving it the same day.

Grilled Bananas

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If you’re grilling burgers or hot dogs this summer, why not make grilled bananas for dessert too?  They’re tender and sweet, and are great with vanilla ice cream if you really feel decadent.

Note: For the cinnamon sugar, you can use a ratio of 2 teaspoons cinnamon to 1/4 cup sugar.

 

Grilled Bananas

  • Bananas, as many as desired
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter per banana
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar per banana

 

  1. Heat your grill.  (Presumably you’ll also be making burgers or something like that.)
  2. Slice bananas lengthwise, cutting all the way through the edible part of the banana but not through the skin on the opposite side.  (You don’t want your buttery, cinnamon-y goodness to run out of the other side!)
  3. Spread butter on the inside of each banana.
  4. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar inside each banana.
  5. Wrap each banana in aluminum foil and place directly on the hot coals.  Let bananas cook until soft, about 20 minutes.

American Flag Cookies

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It’s a guest recipe!  A friend who has extensive experience with gluten-free baking made these awesome flag cookies for the Fourth of July festivities.

Baking notes:

  • Instead of store-bought gluten-free flour, you can use 1 cup tapioca or potato starch, plus 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour

 

American Flag Cookies

Yield: 20-24 cookies

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
  • Red and blue food coloring

 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat together butter and white sugar.
  2. Stir in powdered sugar and salt.
  3. Beat in gluten-free flour.
  4. Divide dough into 3 equal parts, and then take a large marble-sized piece of dough from one and put it in another. Color the biggest chunk red and the smallest chunk blue.
  5. Divide the red dough into halves, and then divide one of the halves into quarters. Roll out the half dough into a long rectangle about 2″ x 12″.
  6. Take about 2/3 of the white dough, do the same, and stack it on top of the red dough rectangle.
  7. Take the remaining two blobs of red dough and the blob of white dough and roll them into rectangles about 1″ x 12″ (same length as before, but half the width). Stack them on top of the red-and-white stack with alternating colors, like a flag.
  8. Roll out the blue dough into a snake about 12″ long and then flatten its sides to insert it into the missing gap of the red and white stacks.
  9. Wrap the whole thing in parchment paper, squeeze together, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 300ºF.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  11. Take out dough and cut it into even slices between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick, along the 12″ side of the big sculpture.
  12. Arrange cookies on baking sheets, spacing them 2″ apart, and bake for 22 minutes.