Cheese Muffins

Credit for these delicious cheese muffins goes to my friend Amanda, who experimented with and modified the original recipe extensively before coming up with these!

Original recipe

 

Cheese Muffins
Adapted from Genius Kitchen

Yield: 12 muffins

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 3/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum, if you have it
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese

 

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350ºF.  Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine milk, butter, egg, spices, baking soda, cream of tartar, sugar, and salt.  Mix well.
  3. Add flours/starches and xanthan gum (if using) and mix well.
  4. Mix in cheese.
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.
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Rasmalai (Sweetened Cheese Disks in Saffron Milk Syrup)

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A friend of mine had rasmalai or ras malai in a restaurant and enjoyed it so much that he wanted to try making it.  This is an Indian dessert consisting of soft cheese disks boiled in cardamom sugar syrup and served in thick saffron milk syrup, garnished with chopped pistachios.  Although the recipe looks complicated, it only took us a little over 2 hours and turned out to be very tasty.  If you have leftover milk syrup, you can even mix it with rum to make an eggnog-like drink!

Original recipe

 

Rasmalai (Sweetened Cheese Disks in Saffron Milk Syrup)
From HealthyIndianRecipes

Yield: 4 servings

For rabri (thickened milk):

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)

For chenna (cheese):

  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice OR vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  • 4 cups ice water OR ice cubes

For sugar syrup:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cardamom powder

For topping:

  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios OR sliced almonds (optional)

 

 

Make rabri (thickened milk syrup):

  1. Pour 3 cups milk into a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add saffron (if using) and sugar when the milk comes to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium.  Stir every 2 to 3 minutes to prevent the milk from scorching on the bottom.
  4. When a layer of cream forms, just push it aside.
  5. Boil until the milk thickens and reduces by about half.  Set aside to cool.
  6. When the milk has cooled completely, chill it in the fridge.  (Alternatively, put in freezer to cool faster, but check frequently to make sure you don’t freeze it.)

Make chenna (cheese disks):

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, bring 5 cups milk to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together lemon juice OR vinegar and water.
  3. Add diluted lemon juice OR vinegar to the milk and stir until the milk curdles completely.  Pour in more lemon juice or vinegar if needed, but too much of it will make the chenna hard.  The leftover liquid (whey) will look greenish.
  4. Turn off heat, then add ice water or ice cubes to the pot and set aside for 2 minutes.  This will help keep the cheese soft.
  5. Line a colander with cheesecloth and drain curds and whey through cheesecloth.
  6. Squeeze out excess whey, gather together the edges of the cheesecloth, and tie a knot.
  7. Rinse under the faucet to remove the taste of lemon OR vinegar.  Squeeze out excess water.
  8. Hang it over a bowl for about 45 minutes to 1 hour for the excess whey to drain off.  The cheese will be just moist, with no dripping water.  It should not be sticky.
  9. Transfer the cheese to a plate. Knead well (squeeze with hands) for about 3-5 minutes until it is smooth and no longer crumbly.  Do not knead so long that the cheese begins to release grease or fats.
  10. Make 12 equal balls and flatten them to make disks. If the disks are slightly cracked on the sides, roll the sides gently. Cover and set aside.

Make sugar syrup:

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, combine 3 cups of water with 1 cup sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
  2. Bring to a boil, then add cardamom powder.
  3. Add the cheese disks to boiling syrup gently.
  4. Cook covered for 8 minutes on a medium-high heat.  The disks will double in size.

Assemble rasmalai:

  1. Remove the disks one by one and cool on a plate.
  2. Squeeze them gently between your palms to remove absorbed sugar syrup.
  3. Add these to the pot of chilled, thickened milk.  If desired, simmer for 1-2 minutes on low heat so cheese can absorb milk.  However, do not overcook or the disks will break up.
  4. Allow to rest for few hours if desired.
  5. Chill and garnish with chopped nuts (if desired) before serving.

Basil-Cheese Pizza

IMG_5721

I know this isn’t a dessert or even a snack by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s gluten free and turned out well, so I thought I’d share it.  Although we made a vegetarian basil-cheese pizza, you can use whatever toppings you like.

Original recipe

 

Basil-Cheese Pizza
Adapted from Epicurious

Yield: Two 10-inch pizzas

 

For tomato sauce:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes with added purée
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

For crust:

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthum gum
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, from 1 (1/4-ounce) package
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

 

For topping:

  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 4 large fresh basil leaves, roughly torn

 

 

Make tomato sauce:

  1. In a 4-quart nonreactive saucepan over very low heat, stir together tomatoes and oil.
  2. Bring to simmer, cover partially, and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced to 1 cup, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Stir in sugar, salt, and oregano, cover. Keep warm or refrigerate, covered, up to 5 days.

 

Make pizza crust:

  1. In bowl of electric mixer, whisk together gluten-free flour, xanthum gum, and salt.
  2. In small saucepan over moderate heat, stir together milk and 1/4 cup water and heat until warm but not hot to the touch, about 1 minute (the mixture should register between 105°F and 115° F on candy thermometer).
  3. Stir in yeast and sugar.
  4. Add milk–yeast mixture, egg whites, and 2 tablespoons oil to dry ingredients and, using paddle attachment, beat at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until dough is very smooth and very thick, about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove racks from oven, set pizza stone or heavy upturned baking sheet on bottom of oven, and preheat to 400°F. (Preheat at least 45 minutes if using pizza stone or 20 minutes if using baking sheet.)
  6. Have ready two 12-inch squares parchment paper. Scrape half of dough onto each square and form each half into a ball.
  7. Coat each ball with 2 teaspoons oil, then use oiled fingertips to pat and stretch each ball into 9-inch-diameter round, 1/4 inch thick, with a 1/2-inch-thick border.
  8. Loosely cover rounds with plastic wrap and let rise in warm draft-free place until each pizza is about 10 inches in diameter, about 20 minutes.
  9. Using baking peel or just holding the corners of the paper, transfer 1 crust with parchment to preheated pizza stone and bake until top is puffed and firm and underside is crisp, 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. Using baking peel and discarding parchment paper, transfer baked crust to rack to cool.  If you don’t have a baking peel, hold the corners of the paper to transfer the crust to the rack, then slide the paper out from under the crust.
  11. Bake second crust in same manner.
  12. Baked crusts can be made ahead and frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap, up to 1 month. Thaw in 350°F oven until hot, 4 to 5 minutes, before topping and broiling.

Top and broil pizzas:

  1. Preheat broiler. Transfer baked crusts to 2 large baking sheets.
  2. Brush 1 teaspoon olive oil over each crust.
  3. Spread each with sauce, leaving 1/2-inch border bare, then sprinkle each with mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  4. Drizzle remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil over pizzas.
  5. Broil pizzas about 4 inches from heat, rotating as needed for even browning, until cheese is bubbling and browned in places and crust is golden brown, 4 to 8 minutes.
  6. Scatter with basil, slice, and serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

Brazilian Cheese Bread

IMG_3381

Brazilian cheese bread is another one of those naturally gluten-free recipes – no modifications needed!  It’s not really a dessert, but it is a tasty snack that I wanted to share anyway.

Baking note: You need a mini-muffin tin for this recipe.

Original recipe

 

Brazilian Cheese Bread
From SimplyRecipes

Yield: 16 puffs

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup packed grated cheese of your choice (I used parmesan)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease a mini-muffin tin with olive oil or baking spray.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  (The batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)
  3. Pour batter into mini-muffin tin, filling each well almost to the top.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until all the cheese breads puff up and are lightly browned.  (If your oven has a window, this process is fun to watch.)
  5. Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes.
  6. Eat warm.  The cheese bread will be chewy and gooey.  You can also save and reheat them later.