November Round Up

I haven’t written in more than a week, huh? I’ve been quite busy and not much in the mood to write.

Lee’s birthday was Saturday. He is officially old now, I think, and told him so several times.

For his breakfast, I made the cinnamon rolls I mentioned in the last post- they were quite good. Here’s the link again for those who missed it: The Best Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls. I was expecting to struggle a lot more with the dough- having had rather poor experiences with gluten free pastry dough in the past but I watched the video and to my amazement, the saran wrap worked perfectly to keep everything from sticking! The rolls were beautiful and unfortunately did not last long enough to get a good picture (the sun doesn’t really get high enough in the sky these days to filter into our basement apartment so it’s quite difficult to get good pictures) but I did get one with my cell phone. I’d like you guys to check out the recipe at its author’s website, but I did make some changes so I will list those here:

1. I don’t like to use “proprietary” GF flour blends because they always require you to mix up huge batches and I don’t want to waste flour because I might never use that flour blend again. So I crunched the numbers and replaced the “AP gluten free flour” (note that it also calls for an additional 1/2 cup of tapioca flour in addition to the below) with:

  • 2 2/3 cups of brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup potato flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch

2. I also had only active dry yeast instead of instant, so I proofed the yeast by mixing the yeast she called for with the 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 of the tablespoons of sugar.

3. I already had a nice cream cheese maple frosting so I didn’t make the caramel topping. I don’t really like corn syrup and I try to avoid it.

For his cake, after much interrogation, Lee decided he wanted a chocolate cake with raspberry filling and white chocolate frosting. The man’s got good taste! I used the same cake recipe that I used for my Earth Shaking Cupcakes but added a cup of hot water to the wet ingredients to prevent the cake from falling- a little sinkhole was ideal for the cupcakes, not so much for a layer cake. I used seedless raspberry jam for the filling and this recipe for the white chocolate buttercream. The frosting tasted good, but wasn’t as fluffy as reviewers said it would be- I attribute that to me being super impatient and adding the white chocolate before it had cooled down much. So it was a very soft frosting that hardened up almost completely in the fridge, but the flavor was good and nobody complained. I grated a fancy raspberry chocolate bar on top and made lettering using melted semisweet chocolate piped into numbers and allowed to cool, and garnished with fresh raspberries. Did not get a good picture of this because… it was gone pretty fast. Sorry!

Not much else to say. I picked up Jeanne Sauvage’s new book, Gluten Free Baking for the Holidays and have been drooling over it for a few days. She uses a flour blend, which you now all know I do not like, but she provides all her measurements in grams so you can easily just make as much flour blend as you want. I just pulled a batch of chocolate mint biscotti out of the oven to bring to another birthday party this evening and it turned out beautifully. Imagine- gluten free biscotti… mi dio! She also has a recipe for cannoli that I intend to try post haste.

I will leave you with this, which required every light in my house.

Cinnamaldehyde and “The Look”

I went to the grocery store today to grab some whole spices for our laboratory project. I don’t usually buy my spices whole because I found it intimidating, but I think I want to try it next time because the chemicals that give spices their flavors are quite volatile and tend to evaporate or degrade while ground spices are sitting on the shelves.

So I’m at the checkstand with my little baggies of cinnamon and cloves, sandwiched between an off-islander buying what must be at least 40 pounds of assorted meats and a harried looking woman with a cartload of things that only barely qualify as “food”. The checker gives me a smile then looks down at what I’m buying.

“Oh this is cool. What is it?”

It’s cinnamon. Cinnamon, people. I get frustrated sometimes by the mental disconnect in this country that surrounds food. People don’t even know what real food is anymore.

I don’t say that, of course.

“It’s cinnamon, the spice. It’s for my chemistry class.”

She raises an eyebrow. “It smells nice.”

“Yes, that’s cinnamaldehyde, it’s a volatile organic compound that we’re studying…”

Then I see it. It’s the look- that vacant glazed-over look that I seem to inspire in people the world over. You’d think I was from Mars the way people stare at me like deer in the headlights.

“…well, anyway it’s for class.”

She says nothing but returns to smiling and scans my little bulk bags of spices then places them in the plastic shopping bags.

“Wait, wait, I don’t need a bag. I mean, they’re already in bags…”

She just gives me The Look.

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cinnamaldehyde

Cinnamaldehyde

I made spice cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting for Halloween (I didn’t get to snap a pic, but use your imagination!) and I have leftover frosting. All this talk about cinnamon has got me in the mood for cinnamon rolls, plus Lee has asked for cinnamon rolls for his birthday, and it’s coming up so I have to to a test run!

I am going to try this recipe: Best Gluten Free Cinnamon Buns by Jeanine from The Baking Beauties. I will report back with the verdict! The recipe seems solid, but working with GF dough can sometimes be a challenge.