“7” Minute Frosting

My mother’s favorite! Traditionally this was the frosting used on wedding cakes, made of course with egg whites. This revamp contains no eggs but anyone tasting this frosting won’t be able to tell the difference. Can be used just like the traditional frosting on cakes or cookies.

To make the frosting, in the top of a double boiler (or a heat proof bowl over a pot), over boiling water add:

1/4 to 1/3 cup agave nectar (or you could use coconut nectar)

1/3 cup aquafaba

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Using a hand mixer on high, beat the mixture, over not in the boiling water. Reduce the heat if the water starts to steam over the edge of the double boiler or bowl. Continue beating for 7-10 minutes. The mixture starts out totally liquid and turns into a foamy, fluffy marshmallow like substance, amazing! When the mixture is fluffy and thickened, remove from heat, add:

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Continue beating the mixture on high for another 2-3 minutes.

Easy Pear Ginger Sauce (dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan)

A very easy thing to do with fruit that is getting too ripe and has to be used is to make a sauce with it. I had two pears that were getting over-ripe yesterday and decided to make some pear sauce. I had a small piece of ginger left over from the gingerbread waffles so I grated that into the sauce as well. Great idea, added to the taste as well as giving the sauce a little tang. And tastes great on top of the gingerbread waffles!

I used pears but any fruit would work with this recipe, with or without the ginger. If I hadn’t added the ginger, I would have used some cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, or cardamom. And it easily adjusts to the number of pieces of fruit that are ripe.

To make about 1 cup of sauce, use:

2 medium ripe pears

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (or any other spice your family likes)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Wash, core, peel,* and dice the pears into a small saucepan. Add the spice and salt, cover and simmer over medium low heat until the pears are soft, about 10 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to medium to boil off excess liquid, cook for about 5 minutes or until there’s no longer any visual excess liquid. Remove from heat and using a potato masher or just a fork, mash into a sauce like consistency. If making a larger batch, use an immersion blender. Serve hot or cold. The sauce also freezes very well.

If the fruit isn’t sweet enough for your taste, feel free to add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, agave or coconut nectar, or date syrup to sweeten.

*In the case of pears, if they are organic, I don’t bother to peel them because that’s where most of the fiber is in pears. But other fruits such as peaches definitely peel.

Yule Log (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free, vegan)

One of my favorite desserts when I was younger was a rolled cake. That’s all a Yule Log is — a rolled cake that’s made to look like a tree log.  I remember when I first made them in the 1960s, we used almonds to make the bark; today, one just uses a fork or toothpick to make the frosting look like bark, much easier than lining up all those almonds slices!  I struggled a long time to develop a recipe for a sponge cake that doesn’t use any eggs but I finally came up with this one.  It makes a small roll so if you want something bigger, make the recipe twice (I don’t recommend doubling it, instead just make 2 batches).  This will serve 8 normal people (in my family my two brothers would have demolished it all by themselves!).  

Preheat oven to 400 degree.  Grease a small cookie sheet with sides.  Place a piece of parchment paper on top and grease the paper.

In a large mixing bowl add:

  • 3/4 cup aquafaba
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Beat on medium speed until peaks start to form and then increase speed to high.  Add, a few tablespoons at a time:

  • 2/3 cup date sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

When the sugar is completely combined, fold in by hand:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot or tapioca flour

Again, add the flour slowly, a few tablespoons at a time.  Fold in gently just until combined.  If your merengue falls, add 1 teaspoon baking powder to the mixture. [You can go ahead and use it but it will make a tougher sponge.] Spread in the prepared pan – makes about a 6″x8″ cake.

Obviously, if you’re doubling the recipe, you’ll want to use a larger pan and it will spread to approximately 12″x16″.  Bake 10 minutes in preheated oven.  When done, turn out onto a CLEAN dish towel (doesn’t matter what fabric towel it is as long as it isn’t too thick and its clean).  Let sit for about 1 minute and then roll long side to long side including the towel.  Let cool completely before filling and frosting.

I used the Carob Buttercream frosting but any brown frosting would work including a Nut butter and cream cheese (or tahini and cream cheese) frosting.  

Chickpea Brownies (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free)

These are probably the best brownies I’ve ever eaten.  Fudge brownies are good but difficult to master when you’re making gluten-free and egg-free brownies.  These are always moist, unless you really overcook them, as well as rich and oh so decadent while they are still so good for you!  Unbelievably good.  Instead of using a baking pan, I put some parchment paper on a cookie sheet, spray it with my olive oil spray and spread the batter on it.  It makes a thinner brownie that bakes faster and I’m less likely to overcook it.

In your food process add:

  • 1 drained 12 ounce can of garbanzo beans
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup tahini (or you can use any nut butter if you can have nuts)
  • 1/2 cup protein powder
  • 8-12 pitted dates OR 1 teaspoon monk fruit powder OR 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup carob powder (or cocoa if you can have it)
  • 1 cup of cold water, after adding 3/4 cup, add a little at a time (1 tablespoon) until you have a smooth, mashed potato like consistency — if you use the honey, you’ll have to use less water

Process until smooth and then process for a couple more minutes.  I’ve found that even when I think all the garbanzo beans are processed, there are still some larger pieces in the mix; and if the garbanzo beans are reduced, the dates may still have some large pieces.  So keep processing it even when you think its done for at least 2 more minutes.  During these last couple of minutes add:

  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp hulls
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax

Spread your batter in your prepared pan; either cookie sheet or large 9×12″ baking dish.  I like to sprinkle carob chips on top but that’s optional.  Bake 20-25 minutes if you’re using a cookie sheet and 35-40 minutes for a baking dish.  Cool before cutting.

Gluten-free Pancakes (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free)

I do love pancakes, one of my favorite breakfasts on Sundays, the only day I allow myself something other than a smoothie.  Its been hard to find a recipe for gluten-free pancakes that doesn’t result in a gummy pancake.  This one fits the bill.

In a small bowl mix:

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, preferably unsweetened
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

In a medium size bowl combine:

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax (I use the golden and it doesn’t change the color of my baked goods)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

In a small (4-cup) bowl, whip:

  • 2 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon monk fruit powder

Whip on medium until stiff peaks form and then increase speed to maximum and whip another 4-5 minutes.

Add to the flour mixture:

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil OR 1/4 cup fruit puree
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Add the milk mixture and stir until combined.  Gently fold in the aquafaba mixture.  Drop by 1/4 cups onto greased, heated skillet and cook until bubbling and then turn over and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add some maple syrup and enjoy.

 

Gluten-free Waffles (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free)

One of the most difficult recipes to adapt, in my opinion, has been waffles and pancakes.  If they taste great, they’re gummy.  Not these — light and fluffy and at the same time very crispy and oh so good.  And I learned a great tip for cleaning my waffle iron (that doesn’t come apart to wash) — after you’re done cooking your waffles and the iron is still hot, place a flat wet paper towel inside the iron and close the lid and it will steam clean your waffle iron.  In my 4-waffle iron, this batter made 8 waffles.

In a small bowl combine:

  • 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

In a medium size bowl place:

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Stir dry ingredients to mix.  In another bowl (4-cup capacity), beat on medium:

  • 3 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon monk fruit powder

Beat until stiff peaks form and then increase speed and continue to beat for another 2 minutes until they become marshmallow like.  Increase to highest speed and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add:

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup applesauce or other fruit puree
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil

Add the milk mixture and combine until well mixed.  Gently fold in the aquafaba mixture.  Grease your waffle iron and make sure it is hot.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter (per waffle) into your waffle iron and cook.  You may need a little more than a 1/4 cup — as you can see from the picture, mine could have taken a little more batter to completely fill the waffle iron.  Add syrup and enjoy!

Savory or Sweet Seed Crackers (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, egg-free)

Sometimes the best comfort food is something small, quick and within reach.  These seed crackers fit that need for me since I can’t have anything pre-made like store-bought cookies or crackers.  The savory crackers go well with hummus, guacamole, or other dips and even with some non-dairy cheeses.  The sweet ones are tasty by themselves or with some hemp cream.  And with both of them, you can vary the herbs and seasonings to fit your taste.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For the savory or sweet crackers, put in your food processor:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup water

Process until blended and the rice is broken down, adding small amounts of water as needed.  The amount of water used will depend on the moisture in your rice and quinoa. The mixture should have a dough consistency.  Remove half from the processor and form into a ball.  Make a hollow in them middle and add herbs such as:

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Need herbs into the dough.  Place dough on a piece of greased parchment the size of your baking tray (preferably one without sides so you can slide the rolled out dough onto the sheet easily, before and after baking.  Place a second greased parchment sheet on top and using a rolling pin or heavy can, roll out dough until very thin.  The thinner you can make it, the crispier the crackers after baking.  Place on baking sheet, remove top layer of parchment and bake 20-25 minutes.  Remove from over, flip over (this is always difficult for me and I usually end up with some of the dough underneath so I have to pull it open again but if you’ve cooked it long enough, this is easily accomplished), and cut into cracker sized squares.  Put back into the oven for another 20-30 minutes until crackers are crispy and browned on the edges.  If you have some that are thinner than others (usually the middle of my crackers are slightly thicker), remove the thinner ones and continue cooking the thicker ones until they are dry and crispy.

For the sweet crackers, you should have left half the dough in the food processor.  Return the bowl to the processor and add:

  • 2 tablespoons carob or cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon monk fruit powder
  • 2 tablespoons hemp hulls

Process until well mixed; you shouldn’t need to add more water but if you do, add it by tablespoons being careful not to get mixture too wet.  Remove from processor, and follow rolling and baking directions above.

 

Peach Melba Cobbler (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free, vegan)

One of my father’s favorite desserts was cobbler, didn’t matter what fruit we used, he loved it with some vanilla ice cream on top.  Its a fairly easy, quick recipe that appeals to those who like to think their dessert is also good for them.  This one has the classic combination of peaches and raspberries.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Grease an 5×8″ baking dish.

Combine:

  • 2 cups sliced peaches
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon stevia or 1/2 cup date sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour whisked with 1/2 cup cold water

I spread the peaches and raspberries in the baking dish, then sprinkled them with the cinnamon and stevia and then drizzled the flour mixture over the top.

In a medium size bowl mix:

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon stevia or 1/2 date sugar

Cut into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or a fork:

  • 1/4 cup non-dairy margarine

When the margarine is combined and you have a crumbly mixture, stir in:

  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk

Spread the mixture evenly over the top of the fruit (its okay if not all of the fruit gets totally covered), being sure that the cobbler dough is even so that you don’t have an inch of it in one place and only a 1/2 inch somewhere else so that the cobbler will cook evenly.

Bake 20-25 minutes and cool slightly before serving.  Best served warm.  Serves 6-8.

Leftovers Casserole (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free)

This is a great casserole for using up leftovers after a big meal like Thanksgiving or just a family Sunday dinner.  It takes the meat, gravy, stuffing, vegetables, and potatoes and puts them together into one dish that’s easy and my family loves it.  You’ll want a deep casserole dish so that you can get four layers. You could also make this quick and easy using rotisserie chicken or turkey breast.

Grease a 9″ round, 5-7″ deep casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

The first layer consists of:

  • 2 cups of diced meat (chicken, beef, turkey, pork)
  • 2 cups  gravy (see recipe under Sauces)

The second layer consists of:

  • 2-3 cups of stuffing (see recipe under side dishes)

The third layer consists of:

  • 2-3 cups of leftover vegetables (I used my leftover string bean casserole; see recipe under side dishes)

The last layer consists of:

  • 2-3 cups of mashed potatoes, or in my case, mashed celery root and parsnips (see recipe under side dishes)

Bake 30-45 minutes until the gravy starts bubbling to the top and the top is browned.

Gluten-Free Gravy (dairy-free, gluten-free)

In New England, gravy is a necessity with any roasted meat dinner.  Gravy is very easy to make with some boxed meat stock (or vegetable stock).  I’ve been known to make lumpy gravy but that’s easy to fix by putting it through a sieve.

In a small saucepan:

  • 1 1/2 cups of stock (be sure to use stock for the most flavorful gravy)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 tablespoons of brown rice flour mixed into 1/2 cup of cold stock or water (depending on how thick you like your gravy)

Whisk to mix and keep stirring until the gravy comes to a boil and thickens.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes before serving.

Of course, the best gravy is made from the pan drippings.  I often put some stock in the bottom of the pan when I roast a chicken or turkey and then after removing the bird from the roasting pan, I add more stock and bring the pan to a boil.  Once its boiled for a few minutes, scrape the bottom so that you get all those flavorful pan drippings and then you can pour it into a saucepan, let cool slightly and then pour it through your fat separator.  Put it back into your saucepan, measure out 2 cups (or increase the flour in proportion to the amount of liquid), heat the stock and follow above directions.