Gluten-Free Coffee Biscuits Recipe

Coffee laced cookies with chocolate chips

This is a cookie recipe for a grown up. Call them adult cookies. Or better yet, go a little UK and name them biscuits. It sounds a whisker more civilized when you declare to your co-workers, Excuse me while I fetch myself a coffee and a biscuit, Darling. Back in two shakes!

Much less Kindergarten, with all that grab your blankie from your cubbie business and the ritual involving tiny milk cartons and poking bendy straws through paper wrappers and the inevitable bad boy, Sully, who would blow on the straw and shoot the wrapper missile right at your ear (so annoying) and those graham crackers that never quite snap apart evenly and get stuck in your teeth (beyond annoying). Quiet time. With cookies.

A prelude to adult tea time, I suppose. But don't mention snuggies. I don't even know what a snuggie is, nor do I want to know why I would want to bring one to work with me and why they're making a day of it. It seems so. Let's see. The image of graham crackers and milk and that nasty snotty Sully shooting paper straw wrappers at my head comes to mind.


The word itself conjures that official classroom smell. Crayons and white paste and chalk. I'm snagged in the late trailing end of the Boomer Generation, can you tell? We had nap time on the floor with blankets and milk. I'm sure my sons have a their own '80's variation on this "time out" theme. (I'll have to ask them.)

What did you have for your Quite Time ritual?

Milk and cookies? Or Juice boxes and Cheetos? And why are cookies called cookies here in the States and biscuits in the UK? I ask you. Inquiring minds are scrambling to uncover these mysteries.

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Helping cookies keep their shape . . . Works For Me Wednesdays

Welcome to a new (to Bake at 350) blog feature...Works For Me Wednesday. Here's a synopsis of what it's all about..."Basically, the idea is that on Wednesday you post a little tip you've learned on any (G-rated) topic--anything that has "worked for you" in making your life easier. "Before my tip, let me tell you how I found out about WFMW...

Around Christmastime, we moved to a new house. I met our neighbors, but hadn't really had a chance to get to know them. The day before Valentine's Day, their son was over at our house playing and I was finishing up making the Homemade Hostess Cupcakes.

I had them all laid out on the table, taking pictures from every angle, when out their son walks into the kitchen. All I could think was, "oh great...he's going to go home and tell his parents that the crazy lady next door takes pictures of FOOD!" But, do you know what he said? "Do you have a blog?" :)

It turns out, his mom, my neighbor, has an amazing blog, a real blog!!! It's called We are THAT Family. Have you seen it? Go now, seriously! (It's really good, so please come back eventually!)

I am so excited to have a friend next door (that's only happened to me once, and it was like heaven on earth), and a bloggy friend at that! You can check out her more colorful account of meeting a "blogger next door" here.

We Are THAT Family is now the host of Works for Me Wednesdays...I can't wait to read through all of the great ideas posted there!

Without further ado...

To help cookies keep their shape, freeze them! I freeze each batch of cut-out cookies for 5 to 10 minutes before baking. They rise just slightly higher and keep their shape better. This really helps when using an intricate cookie cutter, but I do this even when baking circles.

If I'm baking a large batch of cookies, I normally have one sheet in the oven, one in the freezer, one on the counter for loading and one cooling and I just rotate through them.

Hope that helps! :) Is there anything you are wondering about cookie making? Post a comment and I'll try to add it to future WFMW.

Yes, I said, Yes, I will, Yes!

Thirteen years ago tonight, my husband proposed. Valentine's Day had come and gone and I was left thinking WHEN IS THIS GOING TO HAPPEN?!? He had other plans....he wanted to throw me off guard, I think. Over a loaf of Great Harvest Bread Company bread (you knew there was food involved, right?!? He's a smart man!) and glasses of champagne, the question was popped. M...THANK YOU for asking!!! I still say YES! :)

To make the cookies:
  1. Outline a diamond shape in white icing using a #2 or #3 tip.
  2. Outline the shape of the ring, inner and outer circle, in yellow using a #2 or #3 tip (AmeriColor Egg Yellow)
  3. Thin white and yellow icings with water until the consistency of syrup. Cover with a damp dishtowel and let sit several minutes.
  4. Run a rubber spatula through the icing to break any air bubbles that have formed on top. Pour into squeeze bottles.
  5. Fill in the diamond on white flood icing. Use a toothpick to guide into corners.
  6. Fill in the ring with yellow icing.
  7. With a #3 or #4 tip, fill in the center of the rings in pink (AmeriColor soft Pink).
  8. Let sit at least one hour.
  9. With a #2 tip, pipe "yay!" across the cookies.
  10. Let dry overnight.
  11. Mix a small amount of meringue powder with water.
  12. Paint mixture on the diamond with a small paintbrush and immediately sprinkle with clear sparkling sugar.

Like these cookies? Check out some wedding cake cookies here!

Don't forget to enter the CHOCOLATE GIVEAWAY!!!

Meet Your Cook

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Meet Karina

A CHOCOLATE Giveaway...because a girl can't live on cookies alone!

This is really exciting! The wonderful people at See's Candies are offering a $25 gift card to one lucky Bake at 350 reader!!! Yay! Go on over to their website and check out all of their chocolate candy!

There's so much to choose from! Here is what I would choose (in case the lucky winner feels like sharing the love).... ;) I'd start with the dark chocolate nuts & chews...
...and I think these are SO cute! I'd love to keep a little stash of chocolate & cafe latte lollypops in my purse in case of emergency!!!
These are so perfect for St. Patrick's Day!
Then, maybe I'd finish with See's dark chocolate peppermints. This is fun! enter, go to See's Candies website, leave a comment, and let me know one thing you would chose if you are the winner. (I won't hold you to can change your mind!) Be sure your comment has a link to your blog or an email address so I can contact you if you win. Drawing will be held next Thursday, February 26th at 8pm central.

Good luck! :)

Scalloped Potatoes - Vegan + Dairy-Free

Dairy free scalloped potatoes vegan style comfort food
Creamy vegan scalloped potatoes

On a whim and out of nowhere (and at 2:54 AM, I'll have you know) I began conjuring images of creamy scalloped potatoes. Odd for someone who must avoid cheese and cream and butter and who- most days- is reconciled to her cheese-free life with a shrugging Lebowski-Zen detachment they write books about. Not to mention, it's been (literally) over a decade since I made this retro recipe, cream or no cream. Alas, I simply couldn't get the idea out of my sleepy Ewan McGregor-esque spiky head. 

The vegan scalloped potato challenge bit me. And refused to let go.

To make my pre-dawn vision a reality this classic recipe would need some serious tweaking. I mean, it's not just cheese you have to replace (and I'm no fan of plastic vegan cheeses, let me tell you). There is cream. And sweet moo-cow butter. Three key ingredients that make this comfy dish so melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Lucky for me I happened to have some dairy-free cream sauce left over from a vegan pasta I had tossed together the night before. A thick and silky hemp based sauce featuring artichokes and wine.

Accident? Destiny? Or simply the collective unconscious zeroing in on post-midnight potato cravings when your serotonin is dropping so fast your heart beat skips and triggers a hot flash?

You decide.

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Gluten-Free Ryeless Rye Bread

Gluten free rye bread aka ryeless rye is baked with gluten free flours
My gluten-free ryeless rye bread recipe makes delicious toast.

Call me crazy but one of the comfort foods I miss most after living gluten-free for years is not some fancy French cookie or triple layer ganache swathed cake. Nope. 

It's rye toast- piping hot and crunchy around the edges slathered with melting peanut butter. 

My favorite tea time snack. There's something about that fragrant rye tang with caraway paired with sweet creamy peanut butter that sends my little endorphins into all's right with the world childlike bliss.

I'm easy, I know.

The snag is- ever since my celiac disease epiphany gluten-free rye bread has been playing hard to get. Recipes for ryeless rye bread have proved petulant and elusive. Rice flour or chick pea flour does not taste like rye, I'm sorry to tell you. And now peanut butter has gotten itself into all kinds of trouble with the whole e-coli thing (through no inherent fault of it's own-- the peanut is innocent, I tell you).

So what's a gluten-free goddess to do? Live without one of life's simple pleasures? (Aren't I already doing that, living sans bagels?!) Dear Zen Universe- honestly now- for the sake of calm detachment and flow must I give up all dreams of deli?

Not today.

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Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

I hope you all had a sweet Valentine's Day! I never got around to posting these yesterday....
The idea for decorating the tops with words instead of the usual curlicue came from Martha and the recipe from Lovestoeat's blog. Quite honestly, they were messy & a pain in the heinie to make, but they are so cute and so good, I will probably make them again.
I've always had a fondness for Hostess Cupcakes. My mom told me that when I was in Kindergarten (this was in the days of eating in your classroom, not the cafeteria), she packed a Hostess Cupcake in my lunchbox. At lunch I brought it to my teacher's desk and said, "Can you tell me what this says? I can't read cursive." So, I love this little version...because it does say something! :)
The cake texture was a lot like the original, but the filling and much better!
Scroll down for the recipe....but I thought you might like to see the Valentine's Day menu that greeted me when I woke up yesterday! :)

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes
(adapted from Food Network magazine, modified by Lovestoeat & then me)

For the Cupcakes
1 & 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

For the Filling
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla exrtact
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup marshmallow creme

For the Ganache
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Icing
1 stick unsalted butter
1 & 1/2 - 2 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350. Place paper liners in muffin tin for about 20 cupcakes.

Prepare the cupcakes: Bring the sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Pour into a large bowl; add the chocolate and butter and let sit, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture has cooled slightly. Stir in the vanilla.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Using a mixer, beat the eggs into the chocolate, then mix in the dry ingredients.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans (about 1/4 cup batter per cupcake) and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for about 25 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.

(They will sink in the middle...they'll puff up when filled later)

For the filling: Using a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon heavy cream; beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons heavy cream in batches, alternating after each addition. Beat in the marshmallow creme; set aside or refrigerate.

For the ganache: Place the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl. Heat the cream and 1 tablespoon butter until just boiling, then pour over the chocolate; let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla; let stand until cool but still glossy and liquid.

Spoon the filling into a pastry bag with a medium star tip. Insert the tip into the center of each cupcake top; fill until the cupcake is heavier (do not overfill). (It's OK if some of the filling peeks out, it will be covered by the ganache.)

Spoon a little ganache on each cupcake and lightly spread with an offset spatula or a knife. Chill for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing: Using a mixer, beat the remaining 1 stick butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, the milk and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, adding more milk if needed. Spoon into a pastry bag with a small tip (I used a #2 plain tip); pipe onto the cupcakes to decorate.

Store in the refrigerator.

Valentine cookies with va-va-va-vanilla

Is it just me, or are cookies with little specks of vanilla bean peeking through a little exciting?
Instead of my usual vanilla/almond cookie, I decided to make use of my vanilla bean paste for some mini valentine hearts. I used 2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste instead of the usual 1 teaspoon of extract. I just love those tiny flecks of vanilla bean in the dough!
Of course, we had to test them, just to be sure! :)
I also added a few drops of vanilla extract to my royal icing, since I was tinting it all red. (Want more info on red icing? Click here.)
I bagged them all up to give away...minus a few more "test cookies"...but last night after dinner, we decided our family needed a bag, too!
Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Make Your Own Potato Chips

Make your own potato chips.

Before I get to how to cook your own potato chips and avoid the game we food allergic individuals refer to as Le Chip Roulette, I'd like to mention dreaming. Because I woke from some very strange dreams this morning. Dreams involving caveman chest hair and glistening inky fish and long distance songs on some radio left behind in an abandoned mining shack perfect for a David Lynch location shoot. Spandau Ballet, in fact- crooning, I know this much is tru-hoo.

It's day fifteen of the tenacious head cold I picked up in Los Angeles. And it's Friday the thirteenth. But I'm not so easily spooked. Old ghosts got nothing on this morning's weirdness. This is kindergarten stuff. Amateur hour. So I shook it off and brewed some tea.

I'm blaming high altitude and not enough fresh fruit.

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What's all the BUZZ about Valentine's Day?

I've been dreaming about little pink bees for about a year now....since last Valentine's Day! :) My favorite cookie of the three ended up to be the red heart covered in sanding sugar. I've never covered an entire cookie in sanding sugar, thinking it would look too plain, but actually they turned out really pretty (and they are so easy!).

For the sparkly red hearts:
  • In red icing, outline the heart. Use any plain tip...I used a #3 (AmeriColor SuperRed).
  • Thin red icing with water to the consistency of syrup. Cover with a damp towel and let sit several minutes.
  • Run a rubber spatula through the icing to break any large air bubbles and transfer to a squeeze bottle.
  • Fill in the hearts.
  • Let dry overnight.
  • Mix a little meringue powder with water. (To get a peek at my "sanding station," go here.)
  • Brush the mixture on the cookies with a small paintbrush.
  • Sprinkle with red sanding sugar.

Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake

Vegan flourless chocolate cake recipe
A dairy-free vegan flourless chocolate cake- no tofu.

A deep dark chocolate cake recipe. Just in time for Valentine's Day. And the best part? It's not only gluten-free, but vegan as well. And it's technically a flourless chocolate cake (which for some retro-fueled reason still conjures the term sexy thanks to Sarah Jessica Parker).

In full disclosure (hey, I vet my recipes okay?) I added a scant amount of buckwheat flour to help it set up without eggs, but buckwheat isn't technically a grain, is it? More of a groat, a fruit kernel. In fact, buckwheat is a cousin to sorrel and rhubarb. I could try to impress you with shout-outs to the Polygonaceae family, dropping botanical distinctions like actinomorphic and calyx as fast as Madonna drops post-Guy Ritchie boyfriends, but I'd rather leave all botany urges behind and get back to chocolate and celebrating the dream of true love. 

All in the nick of time for Valentine's Day.

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He said, She said . . . Ice Cream Pie

{Be sure to visit this page: Ice Cream Pie, Revisited for an even yummier, more decadent version!}

Have you seen the Turtle Ice Cream Pie from Bon Appetit magazine this month? I could not resist! It just looked so beautiful...and it was beautiful in person as well! :)

Here's the he said, she said...

I's good, but kind of plain.

Hubby...pronounced it "in the top 5 of all desserts ever."
I think I would have loved it if the ice cream hadn't been vanilla. The crust was perfect, the caramel sauce was drool-worthy, the chocolate topping was delicious, but it all got underwhelmed by vanilla! IMHO :)

So, I will make this again, but I'm ice cream, or even chocolate....mmmmmm.....
The makings of the crust...pecans, graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter
Oh...the caramel sauce! The hardest part of the recipe: not eating all of the caramel between layers!!!

Layering the caramel and the ice cream...
...and the pie, waiting the the freezer :)

Happy Birthday, Dad!!!

My dad's birthday is today....happy birthday, Dad!!! He came to visit over the weekend and we had some friends over to celebrate. Here are the cookies from his party...
I was so afraid he would step off the plane with his goatee shaved off, but he didn't...whew!

After seeing Laura's post (she's the owner of A Dozen Eggs and makes perfect cookies) about using flood icing on top of dried flood icing, I thought I would try it for these.
I really liked the way it added some dimension to the cookies. I outlined and filled the face and the shirt and let that dry for about 2 hours. Then I outlined the hair, goatee and button onto the semi-dry flood icing. Then, the hair, etc. were filled in with flood icing.

After drying overnight, I added the nose and lettering with a food coloring pen (AmeriColor Gourmet Writers.)
We had such a fun time! I think I am still suffering from a margarita, cake, cookie, tamale, queso, empanada overload!!! Happy Birthday, Dad!!! We love you!

Big Easy Chili- and some super recipes

Big easy chili that is gluten free scrumptious
Big easy soup with beans and spicy sausage.

I'm back from our jaunt to Los Angeles- an impromptu trip that was over far too quickly (where does time fly to, by the way? They say time flies but I always want to know, where?). I have a handful of juicy details to report, and I will, in an upcoming post, but today is apparently sort of a big deal.

There's a game goin' on? And rumor has it, today's a big chili day. So I am reprising a big easy chili recipe and sharing a link to Whole Foods- for healthy and tasty vegan and gluten-free menu ideas and recipes for pot lucks and Super Bowl parties. Me?

I'll be doing laundry. Lots of laundry.

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