Happy Halloween!

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I am a fan of blackstrap molasses right now, particularly in baked goods. So when I found a recipe for ginger cookies that used molasses I was super excited. The first time I made them it occurred to me that the dough was perfect for cut cookies, so I tried it out the second time and I was very happy with the results. There was a slight bit of tweaking needed, but nothing too difficult.

I’ve made these several times now and, I have to say, they’re going on my list of favorite cookies. They’re also a big hit when I take them places to share.

Anyway, happy Halloween! I hope you all have a safe and fun time filling buckets with sugar tonight!

Molasses Ginger Snaps (GF)

  • Servings: about 12
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup sucanat
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and molasses and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Combine with the sugar/butter mixture and mix until smooth.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and cover with another piece of parchment. Roll to 1/8-1/4 inch thickness, depending on how crispy you want your cookies to be. Chill for 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F when the dough is finished chilling.
  4. Cut your shapes out and transfer them to a cookie sheet lined with parchment. A metal spatula works best for this. Re-roll scraps to preferred thickness and repeat.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating halfway. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

You can also make these as drop cookies rolled in extra sucanat. If you prefer to make them this way, be sure to use the underside of a measuring cup to squish them so that they bake evenly.

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls.

IMG_0713 There are certain things I miss about wheat breads. Dinner rolls are one of them and I was excited to find a recipe for them in the Test Kitchen book. But they were disappointing when I made them, which isn’t something I say very often about the recipes in this book, so I experimented a little.

The first thing I wanted to get rid of was the powdered milk. Powdered milk is basically oxidized cholesterol which is bad news, Bill. Dietary cholesterol isn’t necessarily the villain it’s been made out to be, but oxidized cholesterol deserves all the bad rap normal cholesterol got.

IMG_0714The second thing I wanted to do was use some soured raw milk I had sitting in my fridge. So I gave it a shot. These might also be good using broth instead of the milk, but the soured milk gave it a bit of extra leavening I think, which was needed because these were super dense the first time I made them.

The third thing I did was use coconut oil instead of butter. Not for any reason other than butter disappears ridiculously fast at our house. Coconut oil makes baked goods more dense, so I was nervous about it, but I didn’t have any other options so I just went with it. These rolls (despite the coconut oil) were less dense than the last two or three times I had tried them. I count that as a success, but I bet they would be even more delicious if I had used butter.

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 2hr 15mins
  • Difficulty: medium
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1 1/3 cups warm (110°F) sour raw milk (or cultured buttermilk)
2 tsp lemon juice (or lemon water kefir)
1 egg plus one yolk
15 ounces (3 1/3 cups) flour blend minus milk powder
2 Tbs powdered psyllium husk
2 Tbs sucanat
2 1/4 tsp instant or rapid rise yeast
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbs butter or coconut oil

  1. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with coconut oil or butter.
  2. Whisk the milk, lemon juice, and egg plus yolk in a bowl. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle mix all the dry ingredients until combined.
  3. Slowly add the milk mixture and let the mixture come together, about 1 minute. Add butter/oil and increase the speed to medium beating until sticky and uniform, about 6 minutes.
  4. Working with a little over 1/3 cup of dough at a time, shape into rounds using wet hands. Arrange rolls in the greased pan: 1 in the middle and 7 around the edge. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a draft-free place until rolls double in size, about 1 hour. Risen rolls can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove plastic wrap and bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating pan halfway.
  6. Let rolls cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn them out onto the rack and flip them over to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Gluten Free Banana Muffins.

IMG_0712I love banana bread. It’s even better if it’s made in an easy to grab form like a muffin. I look for overripe bananas every time I’m at the store, specifically for these muffins. They make an awesome snack to take along to parks or road trips. You can also eat them for breakfast, but be prepared to eat three or four in one go.

I’m at a point in my pregnancy where blackstrap molasses sounds incredibly good. If you’ve ever had blackstrap molasses you will know how strange that is. I haven’t grown a taste for eating it by the spoonful yet, but I want to add it to everything I can, like mashed sweet potatoes or anything I bake. So the last time I made these and I only had 2 bananas I added some blackstrap to the batter because it was too dry, and why not? They turned out really well, so I’m including the adjustments as a variation at the end of the recipe.

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
1 3/4 cup flour blend (I use this one sans milk powder)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter)
1/8-1/4 cup sucanat
2 eggs
3 bananas

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Put paper muffin liners into a muffin tin.
  2. Beat sugar and oil until creamy. Add eggs and mix until combined.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, mash the bananas.
  4. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the bananas to the sugar/oil mixture. Start with half the flour, mix until combined then add the bananas and mix until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Scoop batter into muffin cups lined with paper liners. Bake for 17-20 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway. Allow to cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Variation:
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup blackstrap molasses
2 bananas

Winter is Coming.

IMG_0708   I try to garden. I’m not very good at it yet, but I’m getting better each year that passes. Last year I tried out cover crops, and I liked the result. I had less of a weed problem in the bed I grew the cover crops in, so we’ll see if that holds true for the other bed I’m trying this year.

I picked Winter Rye and Austrian Snow Peas as my two cover crops because Colorado gets fairly cold, so I needed something hardy. I also wanted to mix crops, and I wanted one of them to be a nitrogen fixing crop. Next year I’m going to grow some variety of beans or peas for nitrogen, but since I haven’t been doing anything for it I figured getting a cover crop to do the work would be a good idea.

IMG_0709The bed I planted the cover crops in this year was my beet/onion bed. The onions never grew very big because I dropped the ball with weeding, so I figured I’d let them overwinter and see what happens. There’s also one baby beet I’m trying to overwinter, we’ll see how it goes. The reason it matters at all is because I harvested all of the beets last month and planted the cover crop seed and the rest of my beds are still planted because we haven’t had a hard frost yet (weirdly enough). I think September is the best time to plant the cover crop here, because I didn’t get to it until October or later last year and the snow peas didn’t grow very well. They lived, but they weren’t terribly happy plants.

Another benefit to growing cover crops is that you get green all winter long, rather than various shades of brown. Brown is nice and all, but green is even better.

IMG_0711I also had two of my carrots go to seed. I find this odd because everything I read about carrots said they’re biennial which supposedly means they only go to seed in their second year of life. So I’m not sure how it happened, but I’m not complaining: I have hundreds of heirloom carrot seeds for practically no cost ready for next year.

IMG_0710I never knew what carrots look like when they bloom until I got my volunteers this year. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Each carrot has multiple flower bunches. They start out in a dome shape with all of the blooms facing out for pollination. Bees and flies are the primary pollinators. Mine got mostly flies because I planted them in the back right next to our trash bin so the flies were already there. Once they’re pollinated they fold inward and start forming seeds. You can see in the picture on the right that the middle is green and the edges are brown: the heads are ready to cut when the middle has browned.

It takes about a month for this all to happen and the heads don’t all bloom or turn into seeds at once so you have two months or so of seed harvesting to look forward to. The harvesting itself is pretty easy: once you cut the seed head from the plant you wait a few days for it to dry out and then you turn it upside-down and rub the seeds. They just fall out. It’s best to do this into a white container so you can actually see the seeds. It doesn’t take long at all, and I actually sort of enjoyed it.