Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Brass Ring: Gluten-Free Biscuits

Some days, I want nothing more than to make something comfortable, something I've made 1,000 times before that turns out perfectly. And then there are some days when I feel like kicking some gluten-free baked good ass. These biscuits are a result of one of those days.

I woke up one morning recently thinking about biscuits. And then I realized that biscuits may not be a possibility, which made me angry. I tend to stay away from anything that is so intensely flour-based and have few other ingredients to rely on (puff pastry, croissants, etc.). But this day I was feeling determined. 

I did a lot of research on biscuits, both gluten-free and not, and found that every gluten-free recipe contained eggs as a binder. I wanted to stay away from eggs because of a friend with the allergy. So, I decided to pull out my favorite Martha Stewart Cookbook, and high-quality gluten-free flour (I used Cup4Cup) and got mixing, hoping for the best. Instead of using buttermilk, I used a thicker kefir, which gave both great flavor and enough moisture to keep them together.

When I pulled them out of the oven and saw the perfectly fluffy layers, I knew that I had obtained the brass ring, achieved a master feat: I had made lovely and delicious gluten-free biscuits. And I was thrilled.

Gluten-Free Biscuits
adapted from Martha's American Food
makes about 12

2 1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (Cup4Cup works best here!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold salted butter + 2 tablespoons melted butter to use after baking
1 cup kefir (You can also use buttermilk or greek yogurt whisked with a small amount of water)
rice flour, for rolling out dough

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet or lay a piece of parchment on it.

Stir together the dry ingredients. Cut butter into small cubes and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter (seriously, use a pastry cutter. You don't want the butter to get too warm). Work in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in kefir or buttermilk by hand.

Dust clean surface with rice flour (you can also use GF AP flour but rice flour is cheaper). Roll out dough into a disk that is about 3/4 in thick. Cut out dough with a 2-in round cookie/biscuit cutter and place rounds on prepared baking sheet.

Bake biscuits about 12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter. Serve warm (preferably with a bit of jam or honey).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Honey + Orange Madeleines

Sometimes foods can take you to another place. There are the foods that bring you to places you remember from your childhoods, and then there are the foods that bring you to places you have only imagined. For me, these perfect little French cookie/cakes have me dreaming of sitting on the Champs-Élysées while Proust writes on the next bench over. I love that about food, it's ability to take you someplace else. These little madeleines have the perfect citrus-sweet flavor balance, and will hopefully take you away, too :)

Honey and Orange Madeleines
makes 24
adapted from Martha Stewart: Cookies

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons finely grated orange peel
orange glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt butter on low heat. Once melted, let sit over heat one minute more. Remove from heat. Remove 1/4 cup of the butter from the pan and use it to brush a 24-mold madeleine pan. Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

Whisk eggs until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the honey and vanilla. Whisk in the remaining 3/4 cup melted butter. Fold mixture into flour mixture. Let rest 30 minutes at room temperature.

Divide batter evenly between prepared madeleine pans, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake until the cakes are crisp and golden around the edges, 8-9 minutes.

Allow to cool and remove from the pan. Cover with glaze.

For the glaze, whisk together 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, 1 teaspoon orange zest, 1 tablespoon warm honey, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract). Brush over madeleines. These madeleines are best eaten the same day they are made.

About Me

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Salt Lake City, Utah
As a pastry chef by trade and by hobby, being diagnosed with Celiac Disease has not been easy. But through some experimental baking and a whole lot of faith, I'm living a full(er) life.