Lemon Cookies (Gluten Free)

So… I know it’s been quite a long time since I posted anything, and I’m sure I’ve been completely forgotten about… not that I had a large following to begin with. But, I’m back, and I promise, I was absent for a good reason. The Man of the House and I are making big plans for our future, and we got very busy with it all. But, here I am, with a recipe that I successfully gluten-freeified this morning. I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest last night and, being who I am, was like, “Cookies???? Give me cookies!!!!”. Obviously, I’m not super good at the whole Paleo diet thing, although I do try my best, and am getting better at it.

So, I’ll admit, I was a bit hesitant about making these. It takes a lot of flour, and our flour is expensive, since we can’t eat wheat. But I woke up with big plans this morning. I was going to make cereal, roast a chicken, clean the entire house, take the cat out for a walk (she loves it), toss in some laundry if there was a full load, actually eat lunch, and be showered and ready to go to dinner by 3:30. Yeah, well, it’s 1:30, and the only thing that has happened yet was making the cereal. Although, I did wake up sort of late… we had a very hard time sleeping last night. And I did decide screw it, I’m making the friggin’ cookies, because I say so, that’s why.

So, I made the cookies. I don’t get to make the chicken today… damn girl won’t defrost. Guess I will just have to wake up and make it early tomorrow. Anyway, I was a little worried about how the cookies would turn out… so I did something a little different. You can find the original recipe here, and below is my version of it. I did not make the icing.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups white rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch/flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
1 tsp aluminun free baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp xantham gum
1 egg
1 cup pure cane sugar
1/2 cup salted sweet cream butter, softened
4 tbsp lemon juice
2-4 tbsp heavy whipping cream (start with 2, add more as needed)

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 350. Line a large cookie/baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum.
3. Add the softened butter and the sugar. My version of a stand mixer is a sturdy fork and lots of arm strength (meaning I get a workout [the only one I’ve gotten in the past two months]). Mix until things start coming together – it will look like dry-ish clumps of earthiness.
4. Crack that egg in there, and mix up. Add the lemon juice and go to town with that fork (unless you actually have a stand mixer).
5. Once mixed well, add 2 tbsp of heavy whipping cream. Mix that as well as you can, and if the consistency isn’t where you want it yet, add and third and, possibly, a fourth if needed.
6. Put the cookie dough on the cookie sheet in lumps. It’s difficult to flatten down at this point (at least it was for me). Bake for 6 minutes, then pull out and flatten the clumps down, as they will be softer now. Put the cookies back in the oven for another 8 minutes. Take them out, let cool briefly. DO NOT attempt to take them off the cookie sheet and place on a cooling rack. Leave them alone until they cool, or they will crumble.

Eat them. With milk. I suppose you could make lemonade to go with them, if you’d like. I thought about it, and then decided that, personally, that would be lemon overkill. These cookies are VERY sweet… I’m going to have to fiddle with the sugar content I think. but they are good. And, as was said in the original recipe post, it’s… hard to eat just one.

The texture of the finished product will vary with the quality of rice flour you use. Arrowhead Mills, which is the one I currently have, is quite grainy. Bob’s Red Mill, on the other hand, is very smooth. Use your favorite kind. Personally, I wish I had some Bob’s Red Mill.

Chocolate Pudding

I apparently have an insatiable need for chocolate in my life. I mean, I must, what with the way I keep finding ways around the Paleo/Primal restrictions to have my beautiful, delicious, silky chocolate. So here’s another chocolate recipe. Chocolate pudding. I was never a fan of the pre-packaged stuff, or even the mix you made with milk. My mom would make those, and they were OK.. they fed my need for sugar back when my body still wanted it all the time. But they never quite tasted like chocolate. Even then, I could taste chemicals. I’m having a very hormonal time in my life right now. Everything’s changing and I’m going absolutely nuts. So I made Alex get me some of those Andes creme de menthe things. And I’ll admit, they’re damn good. Alex HATES chocolate, and he stole several. I ran out, obviously, because that’s what happens when you give this girl chocolate, especially Andes. And Brookside’s “fruit” chocolates. But anyway. Today I was at a loss. I needed chocolate very, very badly. I also wanted some nice, hot, buttered bread. That clearly was not going to happen.

Enter Google. I needed to know what chocolatey goodness I could make with cocoa powder and honey. I found this recipe and said Oh. No. This is happening. And I got to work. I modified it – took out the coffee and the vanilla, changed the salt a bit, and used honey rather than maple syrup.

Ingredients:
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup unsweetened, unprocessed cocoa powder
1/2 cup unfiltered, uncooked honey
few light shakes sea salt

Method:
1. Shake the coconut milk really well, and then dump it into a medium saucepan. I used a small one, because I’m a rebel and digging around in the mess in this torn up house was just not happening. It worked fine, if a little bit of a tight fit. Whateva.
2. Add the cocoa powder. I whisked in 1/4 cup and then 1/4 cup again, rather than half all at once. It worked good that way.
3. Add the honey, and whisk again. Then shake some salt and whisk again.
4. At this point, go ahead and turn your stove on to about 6. Watch the pudding mix like a hawk! I am fully convinced that milk mixes like this wait to boil until you turn your back so you have to clean up a mess. I swear it’s a conspiracy or something. Or maybe it’s just me. That’s entirely possible also.
5. Once the milky mix boils, turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes. Milky mixes don’t exactly boil. They foam. So like I said, watch it like a hawk, because you won’t hear bubbly sounds to alert you.
6. While simmering for 15 minutes, keep an eye on it and whisk it frequently. You want air moving through it and you want it to thicken slightly.
7. When the 15 minutes are up remove the pan from the heat. Cool the mixture to room temperature, whisking occasionally to cool it evenly. Try not to eat it yet. really, try. I promise, though it’s fabulous now, It’s super fabulous after it’s been chilled.
8. Once it’s at room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container and chill in the fridge before eating. And by chill in the fridge I mean at least an hour.

Don’t be like me, sneaking into the fridge under the pretense of grabbing some kefir and “testing” the pudding. Don’t. Be. Like. Me. OK? That’s bad. Very bad.

thisisdelicious

And I promise, in my next post I’ll do something without chocolate.

Homemade Yogurt

This is a recipe I found online. I wasn’t even looking for it. I happened onto the blog to read about how this lovely lady cooks a whole chicken in the crock pot, something I had never considered, but think I will try since I H.A.T.E. cleaning the roasting pan and rack. HATE IT. So I was looking at that recipe when I noticed all sorts of goodies in the sidebar. This was one of them. I didn’t change anything. It’s just too awesome and foolproof to not post though! Original recipe here.

The best part about this recipe for me is that it’s done in the crock pot. This means minimal supervision, so I can actually get other things done, like cleaning and cooking Pinteresting and reading. The times were quite a bit different for me, though, as I will explain after giving you the recipe.

Easy Homemade Yogurt in the Crock Pot
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 24 hours
Yield: 2 Quarts

Ingredients:
½ gallon whole milk
½ cup plain yogurt with live and active cultures

Supplies:
Crock Pot
Candy Thermometer
Beach Towel
Ladle
Mason Jars
Colander (optional)
Cheesecloth (optional)

Directions:
1. Pour 1/2 gallon of milk into your crock pot, set it to high, and heat the milk to 180°. My crock pot has a probe that will alert me when it reaches the set temp, but you can just check it occasionally with a candy thermometer. It takes approximately 2 hours.
2. Turn off crock pot, remove lid, and let the milk cool down to 115°. Do not disturb. This takes approximately 6 hours (varies widely depending on the temperature in your house).
3. Once the yogurt has cooled down to 115°, stir in ½ cup of plain yogurt. The temperature cannot be above 120° or it will kill the cultures in the yogurt.
4. Put the lid back on, make sure the crock pot is turned off and unplugged, and wrap the entire crock pot in a large beach towel. Leave out overnight, undisturbed.
5. The next morning, remove the towel and transfer the crock pot to the refrigerator, do not disturb the yogurt. Chill for about 8 hours.
6. Optional Step: If your yogurt isn’t thick enough for your preference, strain off some of the whey. Line a colander with a cheesecloth and set in the sink or in a large bowl. Pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth, cover, and let it strain until it reaches your preferred consistency.
7. Ladle the yogurt into mason jars and store in the refrigerator.

Notes:
Don’t forget to save ½ cup of the yogurt to use as your starter next time!

My crock pot must be very different from hers, because my milk heated to 187 degrees in under two hours, and then in less than one was already cooled to 124 degrees. So by 3:30pm my crock pot was already wrapped up in towels. I stayed up late (till about 12:15-12:30) to give it about eight solid hours wrapped in the towels, and then stuck it in the fridge. I then proceeded to sleep terribly since I didn’t go to bed at 10 with Alex. Here we are, a couple of childless 20-somethings, and we go to bed at 10pm. We are such dorks. Anyway. I didn’t need to strain the yogurt at all – it was so, so beautifully thick!

This was my first ever attempt at making yogurt, and I declare it a smashing success!

Regular store-bought yogurt lasts around a month, and I’m assuming this will too. I’m not positive, though, so I may give one quart to Alex’s mom or step mom and just save one for us since we don’t use that much. Hm.

Next up is trying the homemade ranch dressing from this blog using the yogurt!

Chocolate Mint Fudge

This fudge is similar in concept to my Blender Fudge, but I didn’t make it in a blender and it had two parts. I honestly think this one came out better.

Ingredients:
one stick salted sweet cream butter
1/4 cup unfiltered honey
unsweetened, unprocessed cocoa to taste
——-
2-3 tablespoons virgin expeller pressed coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey
few drops mint extract

Method:
1. Place butter in a large glass mixing bowl. Cut into several slices. Add 1/4 cup honey.
2. Let sit until butter is softened to room temperature.
3. Mix by hand with a fork until the honey creams the butter.
4. Add cocoa powder. Mix by hand with fork again, until completely mixed. This will take a few minutes. Set aside.
5. In a smaller bowl, add the coconut oil, 1 tablespoon honey, and the mint extract. Mix, then pour into fudge mixture.
6. Mix well, until all fudge looks the same – no shiny, wet looking parts remain.
7. Line a loaf pain with plastic wrap, leaving enough extra to fold over the fudge.
8. Dump the fudge into the pan. Fold the plastic over the fudge loosely and gently press down until you reach the desired shape and thickness.
9. Gently secure plastic wrap and pop the loaf pan into the freezer for about 20 minutes. Remove from freezer, and take the plastic wrapped fudge and store in the fridge.

This fudge is far less runny than the blender fudge, which I like. It was more ‘whipped’ in the bowl, and definitely has a nice texture to it when hardened. Enjoy!