Sugar Cookies

You know those grocery store cookies- the big cakey sugary cookies that are decorated differently for each season?  Here is how to make them gluten free and vegan!  These still tasted good when they were several days old!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1 c. vegan butter (SmartBalance or EarthBalance work)

1/4 c. non-dairy milk (I used original cashew milk)

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 c. Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour

2 T. cornstarch

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

 

Icing:

4 c. powdered sugar

4 T. non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened flax milk)

dash salt

1/2 to 1 tsp vanilla

 

Directions:

Combine 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar with butter, 1/4 c. non-dairy milk and vanilla.  Mix on low in a stand mixer.  Add flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and cream of tartar.  Give it a little stir so the flour won’t poof, and then mix with a stand mixer until combined.  Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  The dough will be wetter than normal cookie dough.

After two hours, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  You have at least two options with the dough.  The quick version is to take it out by Tablespoons and press onto a piece of parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thick in the shape of a cookie.  If you want shaped cookies, it will require a fair amount more of effort since the dough is wetter.  I managed to get some hearts out and then decided to go back to circles.  See below for details.*  Always put remaining dough back in the fridge until you are ready to shape it so it will be less sticky.

Bake the cookies on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 7-8 minutes at 375 degrees until edges just start to brown.  Cool on a cooling rack (I just pull the whole sheet of parchment paper onto the cooling rack.)

Icing Directions:

Mix powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, and non-dairy milk.  Stir well and then spoon onto cooled cookies.  I found that it spread by itself, so I just needed to put a big spoonful in the middle of the cookie.

*To make the hearts, I grabbed a handful of dough and put it on parchment paper dusted with white rice flour.  Then I dusted the top of the dough and put a piece of wax paper on top to help me press it down.  I then stuck it in the fridge for about 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, take it out and remove the wax paper.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out the shape you want, but instead of scooping up the cookie and putting it onto a pan, remove the excess dough and leave the cookie where it is.  This would be a fairly tedious process to cut them all into shapes which is why most of mine became circles.  I will experiment another time with ways to make cookie cutter cookies.

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One of the hard-earned hearts!

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The inside looks just like it’s supposed to!

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This is how they looked right after being frosted.

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This is how they looked after the frosting had dried.

Adapted from:

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/vegan-sugar-cookies/45ab6889-511a-4345-9391-9ea5c00c8d4a

 

 

Greek Salad

After I made skewers, I had leftover chicken and vegetables.  I searched the internet and found inspiration for this recipe.  It was, once again, a hit with the guys.

 

Ingredients:

1/2 c. olive oil (I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

1/2 c. red wine vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

3/4 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 T. minced onions

1 yellow pepper, diced

3 roma tomatoes, diced

7-8 mushrooms, diced

2-3 cups of cubed, cooked chicken (lightly salted and peppered) (omit chicken for vegetarian option)

1-2 handfuls of fresh basil (optional)

Optional add-ins that I didn’t use:

Feta cheese

Black olives

Cooked pasta

Green onions

 

Directions:

 

Cook chicken and allow to cool.  In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, oregano, sugar, salt, and minced onions.  Dice the vegetables and add to the olive oil mixture.  Add cooled chicken.  Stir in some torn basil leaves and garnish with a sprig of basil.  Store in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before eating.

 

Recipe adapted from:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/11689/greek-pasta-salad-i/

 

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti is such an easy dish.  One way to make it special is to add meatballs instead of meat sauce.  I thought I would never eat meatballs again since the ones in the store have flour in them usually, but I was inspired by the meatloaf recipe my friend showed me and a very bland version of meatballs found in a recipe book.  This is the new and improved gluten free, dairy free, and egg free meatball that tastes normal.  I like this recipe so much that I doubled it (okay, I also had a lot of ground beef sitting around because the big package was on sale).  I have been experimenting with the spicing and this is what I did this time.  It was my favorite so far, so you get to be privy to it!

 

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef

1/2 c. Rice Chex crumbs

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp McCormick’s California Style onion powder with white and green onions and parsley (If you can’t find this, you can use 1/2 tsp onion powder and 1/2 tsp parsley.  It’s cooking- the seasoning doesn’t have to be exact :-)).

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Crush the Rice Chex until they are fine crumbs.  Combine with all the spices.  Put all the meat in a bowl and pour the spices and crumbs on top.  Mix with your hands until completely combined.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and form into 1 1/2 inch meatballs and leave at least 1/2 an inch between each.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cooked through.  Cut one in half to make sure.

I served mine over HEB gluten free noodles with a jar of Classico spaghetti sauce with about 4 T. red wine splashed in.  I needed to use it up as it was still left over from my Harvest Stuffed Squash and it added a nice flavor to the sauce.  Allow it to simmer until the alcohol cooks out- about 10 minutes or so.

 

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This is how they looked before going in the oven.

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This is how they looked after being cooked.

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Mmmmmm…

Vegan Milk Chocolate Frosting

This was my first real attempt at pretty frosting.  I bought an icing decorating kit a few years ago but didn’t have an frosting recipe that was firm enough to use it with.  Not so anymore!  After I made my Oreo frosting, I realized I had a good recipe.  This recipe is almost the same except for no Oreos and it’s a little moister and has cocoa powder.

I frosted my Great Divide cupcakes with this frosting.

 

Ingredients:

3 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 T. plus 1 tsp. butter (I used SmartBalance)

2 T. shortening (I used Spectrum.  You could probably use butter instead but it may not hold its shape as well.)

1/4 tsp salt

7 tsp non-dairy milk (I used Silk’s Original Cashew Milk but you could also use coconut or almond)

1/4 to 1/3 c. cocoa powder (depending on how dark you want the chocolate to be)

 

Directions:

Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, butter, shortening, and salt in a bowl.  Combine with a fork or a pastry cutter.  Add cocoa, starting with 1/4 c.  You can always add more later.  Add non-dairy milk one teaspoon at a time.  You will need at least 4-5, but stir well before adding the last couple.  If your frosting will hold its shape, stop adding liquid.  Mix with a mixer for about a minute to combine well and to add a little fluff.

If you have a cake decorating set, put the frosting in the bag/canister, add your favorite tip, and frost away! If you don’t have a kit but don’t want to just smear the frosting on your cupcakes, you could fill a plastic Ziploc bag with frosting and then cut the tip off of one end and squeeze it out to swirl it on the cupcakes.  Enjoy!

Great Divide Cupcakes

These turned out just like I was imagining them!  The secret is a little tool sold at Bed Bath and Beyond (and probably other places with baking tools.)  See the pictures:

 

Directions:

1/2 c. coconut oil

1 1/2 c. granulated sugar

3 eggs or egg replacer equivalent to 3 eggs (4 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer and 6 T water or 3 T. ground golden flaxseed and 9 T. water- I prefer flaxseed)

2 tsp vanilla

1 c. brown rice flour

3/4 c. potato starch

1/2 c. tapioca starch

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 c. milk (I used coconut milk from a carton)

1/4 to 1/3 c. cocoa powder

 

Directions:

Melt coconut oil and stir together with sugar in a large bowl.  Add “eggs” and vanilla and stir well.

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients except the cocoa powder.

Add the dry ingredients and the milk to the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  I usually give it a quick mix with a mixer just to make sure all those gluten free ingredients are incorporated (about 1-2 minutes).  The last thing you want is a mouthful of unblended rice flour. Separate out half the batter into a different mixing bowl and add 1/4-1/3 c. cocoa powder to one of the bowls.  Mix thoroughly.

Place muffin liners into muffin tin.  Stand the divider in one of the cups and put vanilla cake in one side and chocolate in the other.  I found that about 1 1/2 to 2 T. worked well on each side.  Fill all liners until batter is gone.  If you run out of one, you can just use it to make a single-flavored cupcake.  Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 18-19  minutes until cake springs back when you touch it.

Cool on a cooling rack and then top with frosting.

Final product when topped with my Milk Chocolate Frosting (posting in 2 days, so come back again!):

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