Monthly Archives: April 2013

Anything Goes Cookies

I decided this morning that a proper attempt at a gluten-free something was in order and in The Intolerant Gourmet I found a recipe for basic cookies. In essence, cookies that can be made plain or with additions. I’ve eaten four so far today. But I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’m convinced about their texture so I thought I’d post the recipe here and see what you all thought. They are decidedly more-ish but I suspect this is largely to do with the large amounts of chewy caramel in the cookie and not the cookie itself.

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As you can see, I obviously added way to many butterscotch pieces (hence the half destructed appearance of the cookie) so I’ve halved the amount in the recipe below. I also added in xanthan gum – which, through reading Babycakes I’ve understood is required in pretty much every gluten-free recipe you make. I figured it probably wouldn’t hurt to be on the safe side. The recipe is given with some flavour combinations (and I like the sound of custard cookies) but I had these peanut butter pieces to use up and figured a chocolate/peanut butter/butterscotch cookie was the way forward. I was right (thankfully) and now I just need to find some people to eat them. I also used butter in this recipe as the original calls for some sort of healthy spread. I know I’ve given up wheat but I have certainly not given up butter.

(In other news this week, I bought and assembled a desk – the one in these pictures; I transcribed another interview and am trying to summon the motivation to continue as I seem to have developed a mental block with transcribing; I bread baked with year fives; and I have one day of field work left. Expect cake on this blog later in the week.)

Anything Goes Cookies

Adapted from The Intolerant Gourmet by Pippa Kendrick

125g butter, unsalted and at room temperature

75g soft brown sugar

150g gluten-free plain flour*

75g gluten-free self-raising flour

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

50g butterscotch pieces

50g peanut butter pieces

50g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.

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Add in the vanilla followed by the flours and xanthan gum. I found it useful to stir everything together first before beating it with the electric beater but that was really to avoid having flour on every available surface. Then add in the additional ingredients (chocolate/peanut butter pieces/butterscotch pieces).

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Beat until the mixture starts to come together and then knead to form a loose dough.

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Roll the mixture into balls, and lay out on the baking sheet. Press down lightly – I did some with a fork but found that the palm of my hand worked better and didn’t split the cookies apart.

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Bake for 14 minutes, turning the tray around half way through. You want the cookies to be a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on the tray before transferring to a wire rack. Eat.

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Blog April 2013 007*I’ve got a supply of Doves Farm gluten-free (and various other alternative) flours so that’s what I’m using in these recipes.

Macaroons for Ice Cream Sandwiches

So whilst I was at home last week I made macaroons for ice cream sandwiches. I got the idea (and the recipe) from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. I can’t remember how I heard about Jeni but I became fascinated by her ice creams because they’re made without eggs and use a slurry of cream cheese and corn flour to thicken the custards. I still haven’t gotten around to actually making the ice creams (because I was obsessively making David Lebovitz’s salted caramel ice cream), so I made these instead.

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They’re surprisingly easy to knock up and are really good when paired with ice cream. (I had another drama with the ice cream cylinder again (!) so I served various ice creams I’d made during the week plus some vanilla ice cream friends bought with them after I’d messaged them desperately at the last minute. I am totally buying an electric ice cream maker as soon as funds allow.) Jeni serves them as ice cream sandwiches but I did a DIY dessert, setting out the two different types of macaroons, the ice creams and then peanuts, pistachios and raspberries so people could add what they wanted. It was fun, and really good.

I used the recipe Jeni sets out but didn’t blend the icing sugar and almonds together. Rather, I ground the almonds in a coffee grinder and then sifted the icing sugar and almonds into a bowl, as you do for regular macarons. I found them moreish and the perfect accompaniment to ice cream. The best combination was chocolate macaroon, salted caramel ice cream and roasted peanuts. Bliss I tell you.


Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton-Bauer

1 1/2 cups flaked almonds

2 1/2 cups icing sugar

3/4 cup egg whites (left over from all the ice cream making)

pinch of sea salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar

For chocolate ones: 3 tbsp cocoa powder

Line two trays with baking paper. You can mark circles on the paper with pencil but then flip the paper over otherwise the pencil marks will attach themselves to your macaroons (this happened to me). I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to make the circles but you can choose the size that suits your needs.

Grind the almonds and sift with the icing sugar into a bowl. (If you’re making chocolate macaroons, sift the cocoa powder too.)

Whip the egg whites with the salt and, once soft peaks start to form, add in the sugar, in tablespoons until you have a smooth, glossy meringue.

Fold the almond mixture into the egg whites – I did this in three goes.

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You should end up with a mixture that is reasonably firm but which still spreads a little. Place the mixture into a piping bag with a nozzle and pipe rings onto baking paper lined trays.

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Allow the macaroons to rest for half an hour. Bake them for about 15 minutes at 170C. The macaroons are done when they’ve coloured ever so slightly on top and can be lifted easily from the tray with the help of a palette knife.

Allow them to cool before storing them in the freezer to use as needed…

Raspberry Vanilla Ice Cream

I’ve spent the last week at home, in Johannesburg, catching up with friends, eating a lot of steak, and cooking – despite what it looks like from my obvious state of absence on this blog. But never fear, I finally feel like writing again and to start I’m going to tell you about this raspberry vanilla ice cream I made.

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I’ve been making ice cream almost constantly since Easter. I had a disastrous time then – I have an old school ice cream maker, one where you freeze the cylinder and then churn the ice cream by hand. I didn’t freeze the cylinder for long enough so it was incapable of freezing the litres of ice cream I had made. We had icy custard instead of ice cream. It would’ve been embarrassing if anyone was really bothered but fortunately, my family are very chilled out. My aunt made amazing choux buns instead and everyone was distracted playing badminton and volleyball anyway. I left the ice creams in bowls in the freezer, with instructions for beating every few hours. Apparently they made it into ice cream (one plain vanilla, one raspberry vanilla like this one) and were eaten with meringues (which is weird since that’s how I’m serving the ice cream later). Since being back at my mom’s, I’ve made three ice creams (all for dessert today). The locals keep telling me it’s cold, and to be fair, I did have a jersey on yesterday but today it’s lovely and warm and sunny. It’s positively high summer in my mind and so I thought I’d share the first of the ice cream recipes with you.

I have been making ice cream using various recipes from various chefs. This recipe is adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s book Just Desserts. I’d forgotten about this book – it lives on the shelves here. I was given it as a leaving present when I left the one hotel in Scotland. It is actually an amazing reference point for basic recipes and I can’t believe I haven’t cooked from it more. The vanilla ice cream is a fairly standard recipe although it uses an insane amount of egg yolks. But this results in smooth, voluptuous ice cream which I have tarted up by adding in crushed raspberries. It tastes of high summer. And childhood. (My childhood anyway, and that summer of the berries.)

Raspberry Vanilla Ice Cream

Adapted from Just Desserts by Gordon Ramsay

250ml full cream milk

250ml double cream

50g caster sugar

6 egg yolks

2 vanilla pods

250g raspberries

1 tablespoon icing sugar

Place the milk and cream in a saucepan. Split the vanilla pods length ways and scrape the seeds into the liquid. Add in the pods themselves and heat the mixture until scalding point.

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Meanwhile, whisk the yolks and sugar together until slightly paled.

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Temper the milk mixture into the egg mixture. (This means pour the milk mixture carefully over the egg mixture, whisking whilst you do so, so as not to scramble the eggs.) Return the mixture to the heat, and cook until the custard has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Strain into a mixing bowl. I like to add the vanilla pods back into the mixture to infuse overnight.

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Cover the custard with clingfilm and chill in the fridge overnight. The next day, pour the custard into your ice cream machine and churn. When it is nearly ready, smash the raspberries and stir the icing sugar into them. Add this to the almost churned ice cream. The raspberries will make the ice cream ever so slightly icy. Freeze completely in a tupperware. Remove from the freezer about 10 – 20 minutes before you want to dish up as this ice cream sets fast. (This also prevents you from standing at the freezer and eating it out of the tub.)

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