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Category Archives: Baking-Breads

Potato and cheese dumplings

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This recipe is entirely gluten free, from start to finish, with no substitutions on my part.  I’ve modified it slightly from an MoF recipe, because the technique was a bit to fiddly, but that is all.  You have got to love potatoes, a cornerstone in any GF diet.

You will need leftover mashed potatoes, and I am sorry to say that I have never actually gotten instant mashed potatoes to work well in this recipe, so please use real ones (but don’t cook and mash them just for this ).  For every 2 cups of leftover mashed potatoes, you will need about 1/2 – 3/4 c grated cheese and one egg.  To make the dumplings, beat the egg and then mix it into the leftover mashed potatoes.  Salt and pepper to taste, if necessary, and fold in the cheese.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet or into a muffin tin (I find that the baking sheet works better, but the muffin tin will do in a snap).  I get about 24 mini scoop-sized dumplings for every 2 cups of mashed potatoes.  Bake at 350 F/ 180 C/ Gas mark 4 until brown and firm, about 20 – 30 minutes.  Serve warm or room temperature with soup or as a snack.

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Getting the GF cake out of the pan

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I’ve touched on this problem earlier, but I thought I could probably address it in a separate post.  Forgive me if it seems a bit redundant, and if you’ve come up with a way to get your GF cakes out without them crumbling, please do share.

I’m not really a big fan of parchment paper, because it’s hard to crease well enough to give clean edges on cakes.  I’ll use it for meringues and the like, but I otherwise prefer a liberal dose of grease on the pan.  I’ve found that older recipes, which typically rely on a breathtakingly large amount of butter, come out of the pan better for obvious reasons.  I don’t flour my pans, because early versions of GF flour used to turn into an unappetizing goo when used to flour greased pans, and I just got out of the habit.  I suppose current versions would do a better job, but it just seems like an unnecesssary step now.

Sister-in-Law and I have spent many, many hours standing in the kitchen, debating how best to get something GF out of the pan.  We’ve tried a lot of tricks, between the two of us, to varying degrees of success.  Here is what we’ve found…

 GF cookies will come off of the pan as long as it is well-greased, although anything that relies on egg whites for structure needs greased parchment paper.  For loaves, a medium-to-thick loaf will generally come out of a well-greased loaf pan with a bit of coaxing with an offset spatula, put thinner loaves are in there for good (thin meaning about one thumb’s height).  When it comes to thin loaves, I just cut them out in squares and use them as a topping on jello/jelly or in summer pudding.  

Anything with corners and wider than a loaf is going to stay in the pan, no matter what you do, so we don’t even try anymore.  We just keep the pan sparkling clean and decorate our square and sheet cakes in the pan.  Cupcakes and muffins will come out of well-greased pans, but also need the papers greased if you are using them.  The paper might peel off if it isn’t greased, but it will probably also crumble the bottom half of the muffin/cupcake.

Finally, we have a simple, elegant trick for circular cakes – use a spring form or bottomless pan.  These pans come apart, which means you just have to work the sides loose first, take out the cake, and then work that loose from the bottom.  The two-step process seems to stress the cake less, leading it to crumble less, no matter how thick or thin the cake is.  I’ve seen these pans in square form too, but have never really purchased one to see if it works the same.  At any rate, if we want a cake to be free standing, then we will use these pans.

I know some people swear by silicon, and I was game when it first came out.  However, silicon requires that there is a certain degree of flexibility in a baked good, which is not the case with GF baking.  Yes, there is a smidgen’s worth of flexibility in some instances, but anything more than slight pressure will reduce a GF cake or loaf to crumbs.  The wiggly, wobbly silicon forms were disastrous in that aspect. 

For GF baking, you don’t need anything fancy – Pyrex and regular baking pans work best – but you do need about twice as much grease in the pan.  An offset spatula helps when loosening things and gently prying them out, but most, you just need patience.

Oatmeal muffins

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This is another of Miss Maggie’s recipes that I have tweaked for a GF diet.  The muffins are really yummy, and the oatmeal with soured milk lends a texture.  The original recipe is here, but here is what I do.

Combine 1 1/4 c rolled oats/oatmeal with 1 c of milk and 1 TBL of plain white yogurt.  Let sit for 20-30 minutes until the oatmeal absorbs some of the milk.  Beat in 1 egg and 1/2 c (1/3 c if you like muffins less sweet), then beat in 1/4 c oil.  In a separate bowl, combine 1 c GF flour with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp baking powder.  Add the flour to the oatmeal mixture and combine thoroughly.

Bake as muffins at 400 F/ 200 C / Gas Mark 6 for about 20 minutes.  Variations include adding raisins, chopped apple and cinnamon, or 1/2 tsp of jam in the middle of each muffin before baking.  These are great as snacks, especially for after school.

Zucchini muffins, possibly with oatmeal

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It is getting to be that time of the summer, when you absolutely need recipes for zucchini/courgettes.  I like this one, because it works with a slighly less fresh zucchini/courgette just as well as with one that has just been picked.  It also doesn’t need very much sugar or oil, making it very much in the spirit of the Homefront.

Start by grating a medium zucchini/courgette into a bowl.  Stir in 1/4 c sugar (I prefer a light brown sugar, but regular will do) and a pinch of salt.  Also stir in 1 Tbl dried milk (or don’t, you don’t really need it).  Leave this to sit until very juicy, about 20 minutes.  Once it is nice and soupy, beat in an egg and 1 Tbl of vegetable oil.  At this point, I also add in 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp baking powder (use 1/2 tsp if you’re using self-rising flour), as well as a 1 tsp cinnamon.  These can also be sifted into the flour though.

Add slowly, by 1/4 cups, 1 cup of GF flour.  Beat/mix until all lumps are gone.  Measure into your greased muffin pan and bake at 350 F/ Gas Mark 4 / 180 C until done, about 15 minutes.  You can also put this in an 8 x 8 pyrex or a loaf pan, and bake until done.  This recipe will make enough for 12 muffins, medium sized, perfect for little hands to grab for a snack.

Variations on this include using nutmeg instead of cinnamon, adding in some ground flaxseed at the beginning, or possibly oatbran, or even orange zest.  If you want to use oatmeal, which goes nicely with this texture, add in 1/2 c rolled oats with the grated zucchini, and let sit 30 minutes instead of 20, so that it absorbs some of the juice.  Decrease flour by 1/4 c.