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Cheesy + Garlicky Dinner Rolls | happyandsimple.wordpress.com

I have been promising a bread recipe and here it finally is (we won’t talk about the slight anxiety attack encountered while the recipe was temporarily misplaced – the best things are worth the wait, right?).  The recipe I’m sharing today is about as basic as it gets, and it is delicious!  I usually try to stick to whole grains, but sometimes white bread just hits the spot – especially with cheese and garlic.  They are also a great roll when made plain (my favorite, slathered with sunflower butter).

Please note that this recipe is geared toward using a bread machine, but may also be made by hand.  Guidance can be found within the reviews section on the recipe page (link below).

Before you click the link for this recipe, make sure to read my tips below for recipe success and how to easily turn these plain rolls into cheesy garlicky goodness.

Click here for the ‘Soft Dinner Rolls’ recipe.

Basic tips:

  • The order in which you place ingredients into your bread machine matters.
    • Manufacturer suggestions may vary, but I always place all liquids in first, followed by dry ingredients.  In this case, I place the sugar as my first dry ingredient so that it can dissolve into the liquid more readily.  Finally, I proof my yeast in a minimal amount of water, then use my finger to dig a little well in the flour, pouring the yeast mixture into the well.
  • Margarine may be used instead of butter if you want a dairy-free option (note that not all margarine is dairy-free).  Make sure your butter or margarine is very soft (but not melted) so that it will mix well.
  • All-purpose flour may be used if you do not have bread flour.  I have always used Wheat Montana All-Purpose flour with great results (they make great non-GMO/unbleached flours).
  • Make sure your dough isn’t too dry or too wet.  Your ball of dough shouldn’t look like it’s melting and it shouldn’t look like it’s cracking.  I usually end up adding a little extra flour to this recipe, and my dough has just a tiny hint of tackiness let to it once it’s been kneaded together.
  • They will turn out okay with less yeast.  If you only have one packet of yeast, don’t worry – they’ll still turn out!
  • Eco-friendly tip: skip covering the rolls with plastic as they’re rising and use a damp dishtowel instead.

Cheesy + Garlicky Dinner Rolls | happyandsimple.wordpress.com

Cheese/garlic tips:

  • While forming your dough into rolls/balls, place the desired amount of shredded cheese (I use a couple tsp cheddar) into the center and stretch your dough into a ball around it, pinching it shut on the bottom.  I store my shredded cheese in the freezer and place it in the dough while still frozen.  It should work just fine at room temp, but note that I’ve not tried it that way before.
  • Brush rolls with butter ( or margarine) after they’ve baked but are still warm.  After brushing butter, immediately sprinkle with your favorite garlic salt.  If you prefer fresh garlic, try adding a little minced garlic mixed in with your cheese.

Cheesy + Garlicky Dinner Rolls | happyandsimple.wordpress.com

These freeze very well – loosely wrap in foil and stick in the oven to thaw for a few minutes.

Happy baking!

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Whole wheat challah bread

I have never eaten challah bread before, but have heard it makes wonderful french toast, so I had to try making some.  I used a whole wheat (well, half whole wheat) recipe from King Arthur Flour and it is delicious!  It tastes a little like a mild sweet hawaiian bread.  Visit the King Arthur site for the recipe, but feel free to check out a few hints below (as the original recipe may leave you with dry bread).

Hints:

-Add 1.5 Tbsp orange juice (to combat any bitterness from the whole wheat flour)

-The recipe calls for 2 C bread flour & 2 C whole wheat pastry flour – this is too much!  Start with 1.5 C of each, and sprinkle in additional if necessary (you want the dough to have just the slightest bit of tackiness).

-A bread machine works beautifully for combining/kneading and the first rise – just set on the dough cycle!

-Note, I accidentally diluted my egg wash a bit too much, so yours may turn out with a shinier finish.

Happy Sunday!

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Slow Cooker Recipe: Apple Pear & Crystallized Ginger Crisp

Oops, ignore that goofy headline (if you saw it) – my new track pad has a mind of its own!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and was able to spend quality time with family and friends!  My tasks yesterday included baking butternut squash rolls and dessert.  The dessert was a hit – the rolls… umm, a little less so.  I’ve made the rolls several times and they are 100% fabulous when the recipe is followed, but I sometimes get a little overzealous in my attempts to modify.  If it ain’t broke folks, don’t fix it.  So on to this dessert… while I love pie, I knew I wouldn’t have time this year to deal with crust making, etc., and I wanted to make use of my slow-cooker since the food would be traveling a short distance in cold weather.  While it takes awhile to bake, this apple pear ginger crisp is easy to throw together and a great option for those who can’t have lactose or dairy (just skip the butter – Fleischmann’s unsalted margarine is lactose-free and Earth Balance sticks are dairy-free).  Modified from a recipe over at ‘What’s Gaby Cooking’, it turned out beautifully… and I think it tasted even better today!

Why should you make this instead of plain apple crisp?  My comparison is this – fresh apple juice tastes really good, right?  Well, when winter rolls around, spiced apple cider tastes even better.  This, friends, is the apple cider of apple crisps.

Apple Pear Ginger Crisp

Filling:

  • 4 apples (I used 3 honeycrisp & 1 pink lady)

  • 2 larger or 3 small pears (I used 1 Bosc & 1 D’anjou)

  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

  • 2 Tbsp crystallized ginger, chopped finely

  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 Cup (minus 1 Tbsp) granulated sugar

Topping:

  • 2/3 Cup lightly packed brown sugar

  • 2/3 Cup rolled oats

  • 3/4 Cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 Cup unsalted butter or margarine

prep

How-to (slow-cooker method):

  • Peel, core, and chop up your apples and pears (I usually chop into very small pieces, but this is a matter of personal preference).

  • In large bowl (or directly in your slow-cooker if you wish), stir apples and pears with lemon juice, crystallized ginger, cinnamon and sugar until all fruit is coated.  Place into your slow-cooker (if you didn’t mix it up in there) forming an even layer across the bottom.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry topping ingredients (save the butter/marg. until later), making sure to break up any lumps in the brown sugar.

  • Evenly spread your mixed dry topping ingredients on top of the fruit in your slow-cooker.

  • Cut your butter or margarine into small cubes and evenly layer them on top of your dry topping layer.

  • Secure the lid on your slow-cooker, placing several (3-4) layers of paper towels underneath the lid.  This is optional (and at your own risk), but it seems to catch much of the condensation that forms under the lid, keeping the topping from getting too moist.

  • Set the slow-cooker on low, and leave it be for 2-3 hours.  At this point, I checked it and the fruit was simmering, but the butter on top had not yet melted completely.  So, I took a fork and poked some holes through the butter to let some of the heat from below escape and turned the setting to high for about an hour, then back to low for a short time.  Basically, this is a ‘you’ll know when it’s done’ kind of thing – you should definitely hear the fruit bubbling, and all of the butter on the topping should be melted and baked in.  (Next time I make it, I’ll note the timing a little better for you precision bakers!)

  • Enjoy plain or with ice cream (sooo good with Trader Joe’s vanilla soy ice cream!)

How-to (oven method):

Since I haven’t tried this in the oven, I can’t be super specific, except to tell you to follow the slow-cooker instructions, placing your ingredients in a 9×9 baking dish rather than a slow-cooker.  The only modification I would suggest is pre-combining the butter in your topping.  Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a fork, until crumbly.  Sprinkle topping evenly on top of your fruit layer.  Bake at 350 degrees until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden and appears done.  Time-wise, the original recipe suggests 45-50 minutes, but it’s always good to peek a bit sooner!

Other ideas:  If you are a fan of nuts, you might try mixing in some pecans with your topping!  Leftovers – great on waffles or pancakes!

Slow Cooker Recipe: Apple Pear & Crystallized Ginger Crisp

Don’t forget… a couple more days to enter the holiday mini-ornament/magnet giveaway.  Enter by midnight CST 11/31; winner will be contacted on Monday Dec. 1st!

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chocolate mousse

A few days ago, I began a quest for lactose-free chocolate mousse.  This recipe is it!  Rich, creamy, chocolaty, and easy to make.  Perfect on its own as a decadent dessert, or try it as cake or cupcake filling.

The original recipe can be found HERE.  I have also listed the recipe below, with my own set of directions/suggestions.  It really is simple, don’t let all the instructions scare you – but feel free to ask questions if any arise…

For 4-6 servings, you will need:

  • 200 grams of dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I used Ghirardelli 62% – make sure your brand is dairy free, if desired)
  • 3 medium-sized pasteurized eggs (many grocery stores now sell eggs still in the shell that have been pasteurized)
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Note 1: if you’re unsure of how to measure 200g chocolate, read the sizing info on the chocolate bar label and it should list this measurement.  Any dark chocolate will work, but if you are planning on eating the mousse solo, I recommend splurging on a higher quality chocolate.

Note 2:  After I listed this as dairy-free, it occurred to me that though most don’t consider eggs as a dairy product, there is a bit of gray area and this recipe is of course, not suitable for vegans.

Place a clean (make sure it has no residue of any sort!) bowl in the fridge or freezer for several minutes.

Place chocolate in a medium-large microwave safe bowl.  Melt chocolate.  If you’ve never done this before, it must be done gradually so as not to burn.  The easiest way is start with 30 second increments, and stir after each.  Once it starts melting significantly, knock your increments down to 10-15 seconds, and do this until your chocolate is stirred smooth.

Very slowly mix the water into your chocolate (using a spoon).  It may seem like it is going to seize up, but adding the remainder of the water and stirring more vigorously will get you past this.  If the texture isn’t smooth once mixed, place your bowl back in the microwave and heat for a few seconds at a time, then stir, and repeat until it’s reasonably smooth.

Set aside your chocolate/water mixture.

Separate the eggs.  The original recipe recommends using room temperature eggs.  This makes the egg whites a bit fluffier, but takes longer…and being impatient, I always have a heck of a time with this and nearly always use cold eggs with no troubles.  Place the 3 yolks into a small bowl and the 3 egg whites into to the bowl you already have chilling in the fridge or freezer.  Set the egg yolks aside.

Beat/whisk your egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks start to form.  While continuing to blend, slowly add the sugar.  Mix until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.

egg whites

Slowly add the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture; no need to use a mixer here, just hand stir with a spoon until well-blended.

chocolate sauce

You will now be adding your fluffy egg white mixture to the chocolate mixture – so you’ll want the bowl your chocolate is in to be large enough to contain both.  Gently spoon small amounts of the egg white mixture into the bowl with the chocolate.  FOLD the egg-white mix into the chocolate mix (stirring will cause the mousse to lose a lot of its loft/fluffiness).  Continue to fold in the egg white mix until the two are combined (it’s ok if there is a smidge of marble look to it).

Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

If serving on its own, spoon in to serving dishes and grate chocolate on top (optional; I used a julienne peeler to do this).

chocolate mousse 3

The batch photographed also has a bit of salted caramel sauce drizzled on top… yum!

chocolate mousse 2

Enjoy!

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microwavecake

I have a great recipe to share (sorry about the less-than-appetizing lime green ramekins in the photo – they’re pretty when they’re not housing chocolate cake splatterings).  I haven’t had chocolate in a few days and was craving it in a big way, but just didn’t have it in me to bake something complicated.  This recipe is about as uncomplicated as they come – quick, easy, and tasty!  It can also be easily made gluten-free/dairy-free.  It’s a single-serving chocolate cake – made in the microwave.  Took me less than 5 minutes from start-to-finish.  The recipe comes from the Chocolate-Covered Katie blog… a great site!  Click on the link or use the recipe below (in my own shorthand version, but note that I didn’t modify it, except to add a few chocolate chips – this one is all her).

One-Minute Chocolate Cake

  • 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp cocoa powder

  • 3 Tbsp flour (white, spelt, or gluten-free)

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp sugar (see original recipe for other suggestions)

  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

In your ramekin or mug, thoroughly whisk/blend all of the dry ingredients together.

Now add:

  • 2-3 tsp vegetable oil, coconut oil, or applesauce (I used veg. oil)

  • 3 Tbsp milk (I used unsweetened soy milk)

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • my own optional chocoholic additions: sprinkle in a handful of chocolate chips, OR to make it extra rich, take a big chunk of dark chocolate and set it onto the center of your batter – spoon a little batter on top so it’s covered.  You’ll end up with a lava-like center!

Stir everything together, dropping the chocolate chips on top if you decide to add them.  Microwave, on high, until it puffs up and you see about a dime-sized wet spot left in the center.  The original recipe says 30-40 seconds, my microwave took 55 seconds… so it may vary a bit.  Goes great with ice cream, alone, or toss in a bit of crumbled candy cane to make it festive!  Quickest chocolate fix ever.

Think next time I’ll try using applesauce and substitute maple syrup for some of the sugar.  If it turns out well, I’ll update this post – in the meantime, let me know if you have your own version!

Update: I also made this using King Arthur gluten-free flour and a pinch of xanthan gum rather than white flour… changes the texture and flavor slightly, but still a good quick treat (especially with the addition of chocolate chips)!

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A nearby coffee shop offers lowfat mocha muffins, and they are sooo good. Today, I decided to search out a similar recipe – minus the wheat and dairy. I came across one that looked promising and modified it slightly, using what I had on-hand in the kitchen.  The result is a moist, dense and very chocolate muffin.  They are wonderfully rich and gooey when warm.  While chocolate is the predominant flavor, espresso powder and cinnamon add a nice complexity.  You may choose to lessen the cocoa powder if you want the coffee flavor to shine through.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can modify it in so many ways (just make sure you keep your dry : wet ingredient ratio the same).  My slightly modified recipe is below – click HERE if you’d like to see the original.

You will need (for 12 standard-size muffins):

  • 1 Cup applesauce, minus 1 Tbsp. (I used sweetened applesauce because it’s what I had, and I was short the 1 C, by about 1 Tbsp.)

  • 1 Tbsp. soy non-dairy creamer (this is what I added to make up for the lack of applesauce – you could also use milk, almond milk, etc.)

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1/3 Cup sugar (I was low on raw sugar, so I used equal amounts of raw, brown, and white sugar)

  • 3/4 Cup oat flour (you can grind oats into ‘flour’ by sticking them in a food processor or blender – measure after it is ground)

  • 1/3 Cup cocoa powder

  • 2 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 Cup chocolate chips (dairy-free chips optional)

  • 1/2 tsp. espresso powder

  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

How to make:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  • Grease muffin tin OR line with papers.

  • In large bowl, combine applesauce, creamer, vanilla, and sugar.  Mix well and set aside.

  • In another bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients.

  • Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients – stirring/mixing until just blended.

  • Distribute batter evenly among muffin tins (they will be about 1/2 full).

  • Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out almost clean (this may be tricky to do with all of the chocolate chips – mine  were perfect at 25 minutes).

  • Cool on wire rack (I recommend sneaking one while they’re still warm!)

     

…On another note – yesterday’s weather here was 75 degrees and sunny.  Today, it is 30 degrees and sleeting.

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