Ding Dong Cupcakes- Version 1

I love all the chocolate Hostess and Little Debbie and Marinela items.  Unfortunately, I don’t know of a gluten free version, so here is a homemade, everything free recipe!  It is version one because I don’t have the frosting quite right yet.  That didn’t stop us and some guests from polishing them off!  Don’t miss out on making these cupcakes, but feel free to experiment with different frostings.  I will be doing the same and I’ll let you know when I make the right one :-).  In the meantime, I have included several options below.

Ingredients:

Dry:

1/2 c. brown rice flour

1/2 c. sorghum flour

1/4 c. potato starch

1/3 c. cocoa powder

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp xanthan gum

1/4 tsp sea salt

Wet:

1 c. nondairy milk

1/3 c. canola oil

1 T. apple cider vinegar

Filling:

SoDelicious CocoWhip

 

Directions:

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add wet ingredients and stir well.  Pour into greased muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes until it springs back when you lightly tap the top.  Cool slightly and remove from muffin tin.  Allow to cool completely.  Punch out a hole in the top using this clever device that I found for a few dollars at Bed Bath and Beyond:

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Fill hole with thawed SoDelicious CocoWhip.  Cut punched out part of cake in half and top the filled cupcake with the punched out part like this:

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I was a little sloppy since I knew I was going to frost it.

Frosting:

I think the best frosting so far would be my Milk Chocolate Icing.  It’s not perfect for this recipe, but of the following options, I think it has the best texture.  If you are going more for looks than texture, continue reading.

The following frosting was good, but it was a little too hard and did not replicate the frosting on the Hostess/Little Debbie/Marinela cupcakes you find at the store.  This is what I did, but it would work better if imitating Reeses or something like that.

Ingredients:

4 ounces Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate

1/4 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp milk

1.5 T. shortening

Directions:

Melt chocolate in the microwave in a bowl- stir every 30 seconds until melted.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Top cupcakes quickly as the frosting will quickly harden.

It looked like this:

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The icing I used in the top image is just melted chocolate that hardened on top- no extra ingredients added:

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Recipe adapted from: http://www.forkandbeans.com/2014/08/22/gluten-free-vegan-homemade-ding-dongs/

Oreo Buttercream Frosting

I love Oreos.  Unfortunately, they are filled with flour.  On the bright side, several companies have taken up the banner and created gluten free chocolate sandwich cookies.  My personal favorite is Glutino brand because there is no milk in them either.  I have used them for several baking adventures, but I wondered what they would taste like in icing.  I also wanted to quantify a buttercream frosting recipe so that it was repeatable.  In the past, I have just tossed together ingredients and eyeballed the proportions.  The result was always delicious, but the consistency wasn’t as reliable.  Sometimes I got a thin glaze, and sometimes a thick, creamy frosting.  This time I wanted something thick enough that it would hold together a two-layer cake.  Here is my first thick frosting recipe that I am posting on this blog.  I am sure there will be more to come.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 c. powdered sugar

2 T. plus 1 tsp butter (SmartBalance)

1/4 tsp salt

2 T. shortening (I used Spectrum Non-Hydrogenated All Vegetable Shortening.)  You could possibly use all butter.

1 tsp vanilla

5 tsp non-dairy milk, added one at a time until desired thickness.  Can add more if you want it to be less thick.  (I had original Almond Milk today, but coconut milk would work.)

7 crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (I used Glutinos- possibly has traces of egg if you are allergic to eggs)

 

Directions:

Combine sugar with salt, butter, shortening, and vanilla and combine with a pastry cutter.  Add in non-dairy milk until desired thickness.  I wanted a really thick icing, but you could add more butter and/or milk if you want a thicker, moister frosting.  Mix with a beater to combine well and fluff.  Add in cookie crumbs and stir well.

I doubled my chocolate cake recipe and cooked it in two spring form pans.  I frosted the bottom one and then added the put the second cake on top and continued frosting.

 

Note:  If you can eat gluten, feel free to use real Oreos for this frosting.  There’s nothing like the original.  I once shared some gluten free chocolate sandwich cookies with a friend.  She said, “They’re good, but there’s something missing and I can’t put my finger on it.”  I said, “It’s wheat.  The flavor you are missing is wheat.”  There is no exact replacement for that flavor, but these other cookies are pretty close, and in a frosting recipe, you really can’t tell.

 

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I love the look of frosting in a bowl!
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Look how well it stays on the beaters!
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The final product.  Our cake stand from our wedding had the chance to get out and play too.

Inspired by: http://www.food.com/recipe/oreo-cupcakes-with-oreo-buttercream-487608

 

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (a.k.a. Dinosaur Food)

I remember making this recipe in junior high with a friend.  At the time we called it dinosaur food, but I have since learned that is has a much less exciting name.  Whichever name you choose to use, this is an easy, quick recipe and relatively inexpensive depending on the ingredients you use.  If you don’t need to be gluten free, you can use regular oats and it is really cheap.  I like Skippy Natural Peanut Butter because it is a compromise between cheap peanut butter and “healthy” peanut butter.  The ingredient list is really short but it still looks and tastes like the peanut butter I remember.  These are all the ingredients you need:

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Ingredients:

1/2 c. butter (one stick)- regular butter or a n0n-dairy butter both work.  I used SmartBalance.

1/2 c. milk (I used coconut milk)

2 c. granulated sugar

1/3 c. cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. peanut butter (could use SunButter or another nut butter if you can’t have peanuts)

2 1/2 c. oats (I used gluten free quick-oats this time but it is good with whole oats too)

 

Directions:

Mix butter and milk in pan and turn on medium low until butter is partially melted.  Add in sugar and cocoa and mix well.  Bring it to a boil over medium high heat and boil for one minute (I sometimes do 2 minutes.)  Remove from heat and add vanilla and peanut butter and stir until melted.  Add in oats and stir well.  Line a baking sheet with wax paper and drop cookies onto pan by Tablespoons.  Let cool completely and then store in an airtight container.

 

 

Double Chocolate Cookies

Double Chocolate Cookies

I let out audible sounds of elation as I bit into my first cookie, mostly in the form of “Mmmm!”  This recipe turned out perfectly!  The dough was just the right texture and the cookies are melt-in-your-mouth.  The ingredients are pretty simple too.  My only complaint is that the batch wasn’t big enough.  I may double it next time.  I think it might also work as a pan of brownies.  I will update when I try that.

 

Ingredients:

3/4 c. brown rice flour

1/4 c. tapioca starch

1/4 c. potato starch

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 c. cocoa powder

1/2 c. coconut oil, melted but room temperature

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. packed brown sugar (I used light brown because that’s what I had)

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/3 c. non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened Cashew Milk this time, but normally I use coconut milk)

1/4 to 1/2 c. Enjoy Life Mini-Chocolate Chips

 

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix flours and starches, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.  In a stand mixer bowl, mix coconut oil and sugars.  Blend on low.  Add vanilla and blend again on low.  Add half the flour and half the milk and stir just a little bit before turning on the mixer to prevent a flour cloud.  Mix briefly with the mixer.  Repeat with the rest of the flour and milk and mix with mixer briefly.  The dough should be very thick.  Add in chocolate chips.

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, form dough into balls and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Chill the dough balls on the cookie sheet until ready to go into the oven.  Bake for 10 minutes or until desired firmness.  *Note* Coconut oil will harden as it cools, so do not over bake.

This is what they looked like before baking:

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I saved some of these in the freezer for later for brownie bites!

 

Adapted from: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/vegan-chocolate-almond-cookies/?m

 

Cookie Dough Bites-Egg Free!

I love cookie dough.  I have always loved cookie dough.  That is most of the reason I bake- so I can sample the dough.  I used to eat cookie dough with eggs in it when I ate eggs.  I never had a problem with salmonella, but now that the cookie dough is egg free, there is no cause for concern!

 

Ingredients:

1 c. coconut oil (I used LouAna brand)

3/4 c. packed light brown sugar

1 c. granulated sugar

2 Ener-G eggs (or 2 real eggs- for 2 Ener-G eggs, mix 3 tsp. Ener-G powder with 4 T. water and let it sit for a few minutes)

1 T. vanilla extract (use the real stuff!)

2 c. brown rice flour

1 c. potato starch (not potato flour!)

1/2 c. tapioca starch

1/2 tsp xanthan gum (this is essential if you want your cookie to stay together)

1 tsp salt (a little less)

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips.)

 

Directions: Make Ener-G eggs.  Mix together coconut oil and sugars.  Add Ener-G eggs and vanilla and stir well.

Stir together flours (brown rice, potato starch, tapioca starch), xanthan gum, salt, and baking soda.

Add flour mixture into wet mixture in thirds and stirring after each addition.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Form dough into balls and refrigerate or freeze.  If it is too wet to form into balls, refrigerate the dough for an hour and then try again.

After they are shaped, I freeze the dough bites so that I can take them out a few at a time and enjoy.  I have also served them over coconut ice cream.

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Served over ice cream

Easy Fudge- Dairy Free!

So, I was shopping the other day and found a new product- sweetened condensed coconut milk!  It looks like this:

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I bought the can without any specific plan in mind, but I knew it would come in handy.  I vaguely remembered avoiding some recipes because I didn’t know how to duplicate sweetened condensed milk.  So one day when my husband was driving home after a long day, I remembered this can and the simple fudge recipe I used in junior high, and I was able to make a quick treat for us.  It is simple and delicious and the texture turned out well- no candy thermometer required!

 

Easy Dairy Free Fudge

Ingredients:

2 c. chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips)

1 can sweetened condensed coconut milk

1 T. butter (I used SmartBalance)

dash salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 c. chopped walnuts (may omit if desired or may be substituted for other nuts)

Parchment or wax paper

 

Directions:

Melt chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.  Once the chips are mostly melted, add the butter, salt, and vanilla.  When the mixture is smooth, remove from heat and stir in the chopped walnuts.

Pour into a wax or parchment paper lined 8×8 pan and allow to cool.  Once it is close to room temperature, you may put it in the fridge to chill.  Once it is chilled, cover and let set for 2 hours or until you are able to cut it with a knife.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.  My dairy free and dairy loving friends and family gobbled this up.

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Adapted from: https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/28655/easy-chocolate-fudge/

Chocolate Mint Pudding- It’s Dairy Free!

Have you ever tried to make a package of pudding with non-dairy milk?  The last time I tried it, it was a complete failure.  Dairy milk has magical qualities that occasionally can’t be replaced.  So, I decided to try my hand at dairy free pudding but I took a different approach.  Basically this is the filling to the chocolate cream pie I have posted here:https://oldfavoritesmadeglutenfree.com/2015/12/19/baked-chicken/.  The only difference is I used a less creamy can of coconut milk and I was out of baking chocolate so I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips.

The mint came from one of my cousin’s kids.  Apparently he grows his own mint and dries it on the horns of deer they have hanging around their house.  How cool is that! (For all of you who are concerned, don’t worry.  They use the deer for meat, not just for sport.)

 

Ingredients:

1/4 c. cornstarch

1/4 c. granulated sugar

3 T. cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 can coconut milk (14 oz- a lower fat percentage is fine)

1 1/4 c. coconut milk (from a carton)

1 T. dried mint

1/2 c. Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips* or 4 oz. Baker’s brand baking chocolate

1 tsp vanilla

 

Directions:

In a mug or glass measuring cup, heat the 1 1/4 c. coconut milk.  Put the mint leaves into a bag or a steeping spoon and allow to steep in the milk for 5-7 minutes. When it smells like mint, remove the mint.

In a sauce pan, combine cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  Stir in canned coconut milk and coconut milk steeped with mint and turn on heat to medium heat.  Whisk continually until boiling.  Boil for two minutes.  Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and vanilla.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Cool and then store in the refrigerator.  When serving, garnish with a fresh mint leaf if you have one.

 

*I would recommend microwaving these in a bowl for about 10-15 second intervals until they are a bit softened.  Then they will melt better when added to the pudding.

Chocolate Glaze

There’s nothing like a chocolate donut.  The glaze just puts it over the top.  This glaze spreads on easily but then hardens up nicely just like it should- not hard like a chocolate chip, but not gooey.  I had to give some away and stick some in the freezer to keep myself from eating too many at once.  As one of the kid recipients said, “It tastes like a cupcake!”  Indeed, it does.  This recipe makes enough for about 9 donuts, so double it if you are pairing it with my chocolate donut recipe which makes 18.   Find the recipe here: Chocolate Donuts.

Ingredients:

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Glaze for 9 donuts:

Ingredients:

3/4 c. powdered sugar

1/4 c. cocoa powder

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 to 2 T. coconut milk

dash salt (about 1/8 tsp)

 

Combine sugar and cocoa powder.  Add in vanilla and 1 1/2 T. coconut milk.  Stir until a paste begins to form.  Add the extra 1/2 T. of milk if it is too dry to be spreadable.  Add the dash of salt and combine well.  Taste and see if you want more salt.  Spread on tops of cooled donuts.

 

Doubled for 18 donuts:

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1/2 c. cocoa powder

1/2 tsp vanilla

3-4 T. coconut milk

1/8 to 1/4 tsp salt, according to taste

 

 

Chocolate Truffles

I am seeing a theme in my posts.  Apparently I make a lot of chocolate things.  I was flipping through an appliance cookbook and realized very little had to be changed in this recipe.  Watch out!  They are very rich, so I suggest making them with the intention of sharing with others :-).

 

Ingredients:

8 oz. cream cheese (I used Tofutti but Daiya has a great taste too.)

1/4 c. Smart Balance butter, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 tsp salt

2/3 c. cocoa powder

3 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (We liked pecans the best.)

 

I used a stand mixer for this whole process, but you could probably do it with a hand mixer.

Directions:

Cream together the cream cheese and butter.  Add the vanilla, salt, and cocoa and continue whipping.  Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and continue to whip it until it is creamy and combined.  Use a spoon to help you scoop about 1 T. together into a ball.  You can just put them in clumps and shape them after they are cooled.

Freeze for one hour and then reshape as needed.  Roll in chopped nuts.

I left some without nuts and they still tasted good.  I think they would also be delicious if dipped in baking chocolate, but I didn’t try it this time.

 

Recipe adapted from Hamilton Beach Recipes and User Guide p. 26.

I know, right?  Weird source.  By the way, if you are in need of a stand mixer, I have found that my Hamilton Beach one works well so far.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

My husband and I hosted Christmas at our house for the first time this year.  I felt so grown up :-).  I also felt quite in the mood for Christmas-y things and was looking for a way to use some of the peppermint pieces leftover from peppermint ice cream.  My sister and I made this hot chocolate and thought I’d share!

Ingredients:

1 mugful of coconut milk (from a carton- I prefer the original flavor)

3 T. Ghiradelli Double Chocolate hot chocolate mix (may contain traces of allergens if that concerns you)

1-2 T. peppermint stick, crushed (sold pre-crushed in a bag in the baking aisle)

1-2 T. SoDelicious whipped topping or your own homemade topping

 

Directions:  Microwave the coconut milk in the mug until hot (2-4 minutes depending on your microwave).

Stir in the hot chocolate mix.

Stir in 1+ T. peppermint sticks crumbles to taste.

Top with whipped topping and a few more crumbles of peppermint stick.

Enjoy!

 

This recipe works just as well with regular milk and regular whipped topping, so use what you need.