Monday, October 31, 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Fear not the night of allergic treats! Homemade Candies for your Trick-or-Treat-ers.

There is a trick to making these, but they turn out a TREAT!

Some years, rather than harvest candy, my kids collect for Unicef. Many years, they make trades with Mom & Dad of the candy they can't have for candies or prizes I've purchased for just the occasion.

The past 2 years, it's been a bit different. Mom & Dad partake neither of sugar nor of gluten any longer! Last Halloween, a la the "innernet" we still plied our progeny with Halloween treats after their nighttime foray... we just didn't make "trades".

This year, I'm trying something different. Instead of relying all the now tiresome sugarfree hard candies (which come in POUND size bags-- which I've not yet run out of from last year!), I'm giving homemade a try. Last minute, of course! Funny how of the two recipes, the one I thought would be a "sinch" turned out to be the tricky one...

Tootsie Rolls & Almond Butter Cups.

Note on the Tootsies:
(reduced sugars & reduced carbs, dairy, peanut, & gluten free. corn syrup free. obviously not nut free. or grain free, or corn free. but could be the latter two! just leave out the rice milk powder.)

These Tootsie Rolls are not tested; I'm writing this as I go, this being Halloween afternoon! This recipe is inspired from but DOES NOT TRANSLATE WELL FROM many tootsie recipes on the internet. Splenda for baking does not easily replace Sugar for structure. So of course, Splenda based simple syrups for coffee neither can replace corn syrup. Vanilla Rice Milk powder is ok, and while somewhat of a subsitute for dairy milk powder, because of the flavor, is probably not something I'll use next time I try this recipe.

Tootsie Rolls

3 cups Splenda
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder, unsweetened
2 T Arrowroot Powder
*6 T Almond Flour (or experiment with flour/starch of your choice, starting with smaller amounts.)
3 T cup Rice Milk Powder (contains corn)

3 T Butter Shortening
1/4 cup Vanilla or Chocolate Flavored Sugarfree Syrup (for coffee) such as Torani
1/4 Vanilla Almond Milk (or dairy free milk of choice)
1 t Vanilla

Whisk together dry ingredients except almond meal in a bowl. Heat liquids, excepting Vanilla, but including butter shortening, in a pan on medium. When simmering, stir in *almond flour and reduce heat a bit, stirring frequently. Simmer watchfully for several minutes, until mixture is reduced by almost 1/2. Add Vanilla. Vigorously stir in remaining dry ingredients until combined. Reduce heat to LOW. Stir frequently scraping bottom well while continuing to cook and reduce, until mixture forms a ball. (This took more time than anticipated. I was anchored to the kitchen to a degree.)

To test doneness, put a small dish in the freezer. When chilled, test a small amount of the dough on the little dish, even returning to freezer to bring temp down more quickly. When workable in to a ball with hands I say it's done. It will remain sticky. Remove from heat.

When cool completely, or enough to touch, remove to a clean work surface. Parchment works well. Knead "dough" a bit to make sure texture is conistent, soft, smooth, and firm. Roll into snakes or logs about 1/2 inches in diamenter, and cut into 1 inch pieces.

Wrap in parchment or waxed paper cut into 3 inch squares, or in paper lined holiday foils from candy supply. Chilling the the wrapped cut pieces a bit helps when it comes to twisting the ends without squishing. (I used parchment; its both slick and thick!) Remember to twist with the direction of the overlap!

Sport these in a spooky dish and enjoy!

Almond Butter Cups

4 Rice Milk Bars (Enjoy Life Brand) (just under 6 oz.)
1 Ghiradelli Baking Bar (4 oz.)
1 t Butter Shortening

1/3 cup Salted Almond Butter (I used Trader Joe's)
1/3 cup Splenda for Baking
(2 t Almond Flour -- only if necessary and almond butter is not firm enough)
1 pinch salt
(I had leftover almond butter mixture. Will save this for another use SOON!)

Melt 3/4 of the chocolates together over double boiler, or in microwave stirring in between 25-30 second cooking times until melted. Add last quarter and stir until melted to temper, only adding back cooking if last addition does not melt after being allowed to sit with melted portion for several minutes.

If already very stiff, you can warm almond butter in microwave briefly. This will help soften it and aid in stirring to come. Add dry ingredients and stir vigorously to incorportate. May be quite stiff. That's ok, as long as you can still mix it completely.

Prepare mini baking cups/candy cups to a tray. Add melted chocolate just under 1/3 of the way up to several cups at a time, then about that amount of almond butter mixture on top. Top with chocolate. Chill briefly. The actual amounts depend on whatever different sized cups you may be using. I liked to work this several at a time to make sure I have enough chocolate.


Monday, October 17, 2011

From Fall's Harvest... Rustic Apple Tartlette

I wish you could smell this tart.... You wouldn't believe the heady intoxication it brings. The apples are just picked. They smell like you would imagine Winesaps would-- the exact reason they were likely named, but are just one small golden delicious, and one small Granny Smith. The flavors are the simplest; apples at their peak, a simple rustic crust, spicy cinnamon, a macy lacing of nutmeg.

The tartlette crust is inspired by Living Without's coconut shortbread recipe. I subbed Amaranth and Almond flour for the traditional Gluten Free Mix. I decreased the liquid by 2 Tablespoons (since I was using a combination of Splenda and Vanilla Simple Syrup instead of Honey), upped the salt a tad. The crust rolls out beautifully. Of COURSE you could use the sugar of your preference. There is so little in the recipe...

The apples take centre stage.

Low carb, Gluten Free, Vegan.



One quarter tartlette = 14.5 carbs, approximately.

Even better, some carbs are offset by the healthy portion of fiber these flours contain.

Pure enjoyment.

Happy Fall, to All!