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Pistachio Almond Blondie Brittle

Pistachio Almond Blondie Brittle  {Gluten Free} Christmastime is near.  And that often calls for trays of something sweet to munch on, for which blondie brittle is perfect.  Neither ridiculously sweet nor tricky to pick up, this Pistachio Almond Blondie Brittle is an ideal party guest.Pistachio Almond Cookie Brittle {Gluten Free} | Swirls and Spice

And it would make great company for my Hot Chocolate Cookie Brittle and Double Chocolate Cookie Brittle with peanuts.  All of three them can also be made gluten free!  A great trio for last-minute gifts!  There’s nothing to cut out or painstakingly decorate either, fun as that may be.  Just mix, bake, and let the pieces of cookie blondie brittle cool until crisp and light.

Pistachio Almond Blondie Brittle {Gluten Free}

  • Time: 30 min plus cooling
  • Print
Ingredients:Pistachio Almond Cookie Brittle

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup oil, such as grapeseed or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 3 Tablespoons blanched almond flour
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened fine coconut flakes, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 C). In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, blend together egg whites, brown sugar, cocoa powder, oil, and vanilla.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients into the egg and sugar mixture until a smooth batter results. Stir in coconut if using.
  3. Line two baking sheets with very lightly greased parchment. Spread batter onto parchment as a thin, even circle in the middle of each sheet. Sprinkle batter with pistachio nuts.
  4. Bake for 18 minutes. Remove blondie brittle from oven and allow it to cool on the tray. Once the blondie brittle is completely cool, break it apart into shards and separate the pieces. Return the pieces on the baking tray to the oven and bake at 250 degrees F (120 C) for about 15 minutes. Allow the pieces of blondie brittle to cool completely so that they are crisp. Store in a sealed container until ready to serve.

Adapted from my recipe for Double Chocolate Cookie Brittle with Nuts

I’ll be sharing my recipe here.

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Pomegranate Gem Orange Bars

Pomegranate Orange Bars {Gluten Free}

Sparkling red pomegranate atop tangy orange bars make a lovely and refreshing addition to the dessert table.  For extra fun, I spelled the word “JOY” with pomegranate arils.  But what you write (or don’t write) is up to you!  The bars look even more colourful with a generous sprinkling of pomegranate rubies.  May your heart and home have room for joy this holiday season.

Pomegranate Gem Orange Bars

Pomegranate Gem Orange Bars

  • Servings: 9 medium-sized bars
  • Time: 2 hours, including chilling
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 + 1/4 cups orange juice, preferably fresh squeezed, divided
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils
  • cookie crumb crust *, pressed into a 9 by 9-inch (22 X 22 cm) baking dish

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch.  Stir in 1 cup orange juice and water.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently to avoid clumping.  Turn heat down to simmer until a thickened sauce forms.  Remove sauce from heat.  In a medium bowl, lightly beat two egg yolks and gradually pour in the hot orange sauce, whisking to mix them well.  Return orange sauce with yolks to the pan and heat to a gentle boil.  Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Pour hot sauce onto cooled cookie crust in baking dish.  Let cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes.  Cover and chill for 1 hour or more.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 1/4 cup orange juice with 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch.  Bring to a boil in a small saucepan or microwave-safe glass measuring cup.  Stir until smooth.  Let cool in refrigerator until a slightly thickened sauce forms.
  3. To assemble orange bars, spread cold filling with orange sauce.  Cut into 9 or more squares.  Sprinkle with pomegranate arils or form letters as desired.  Serve bars while still cool.

*Note: To save time, you can grind up purchased gluten free cookies for the crust.  To make your own cookie crust, use the recipe below.

Filling adapted from Taste of Home

Gluten Free Vanilla Cookie Crumb Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup light buckwheat flour or rice flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional
  • 3 Tablespoons almond flour
  • 2 Tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 C). In a small bowl, combine flours, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, blend together egg whites, sugar, oil, and vanilla.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients into the egg and sugar mixture until a smooth batter results.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with very lightly greased parchment. Spread batter onto parchment as a thin, even layer.
  4. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove warm cookie brittle from oven and allow it to cool completely on the tray. Then break the cookie brittle apart into shards and separate the pieces. Flip the pieces over on the baking tray and return to the oven and bake at 275 degrees F (135 C) for about 10 to 15 minutes. Allow the pieces of cookie brittle to cool completely until they are crisp.
  5. In a food processor or with a rolling pin, pulverize the cookie brittle until small crumbs are formed.
  6. Measure out 1 cup of crumbs and mix with 2 tablespoons of melted butter or coconut oil.  Press into pan or baking dish.  Bake at 300 degrees F (150 C) for 10 minutes or less.  Allow the pan to cool completely before filling.  Save remaining crumbs in a sealed bag or container for future crusts.

Pomegranate Orange Bars

I’ll be sharing these bars at Allergy Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays,

Fiesta Friday, Savoring Saturdays, and here.

22 Comments

Almond Supreme Cookies {Grain Free}

Almond Supreme Cookies are a splurge meant for the holidays. Packed with almond paste and almond flour, chewy almond goodness awaits you after crunching through the almond coating.Almond Supreme Cookies

Do you like baking with almond flour?  Because you will after tasting these cookies.  Usually I hesitate to make recipes that call for almond flour alone, because it is more expensive than other flours.  But some recipes are worth the indulgence.

I am actually glad I have held off making almond cookies until now.  It’s good to save such rich cookies for the holiday season, because that makes them more of a special treat.  And not all treats have to be loaded with icing or frosting either.  These cookies are the perfect level of sweetness.  I suggest you make them to share or give away, because it’s possible to keep eating them without feeling the need to stop.  All that almond goodness just keeps beckoning.

Almond Supreme Cookies | Swirls and Spice

Almond Supreme Cookies {Grain Free}

  • Servings: 22 to 24 cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond paste (I used this almond paste recipe to make my own)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • icing sugar (powdered sugar) for dusting, optional

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, break apart the almond paste.  Add sugar, salt, and almond flour.  Mix until relatively even crumbles form.
  2. Add the egg white and extracts and mix on low speed until smooth.  Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 170 C (325 degrees F).  Line baking trays with parchment.  Pour slivered almonds into a shallow bowl.  Scoop out dough in 2 teaspoon portions and roll the dough into balls.  Then roll each ball in almonds to coat.
  4. Transfer each ball of cookie dough to the baking sheet, spacing them at least 2 cm apart.  Lightly press the almonds into the cookie dough.
  5. Bake cookies in a preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until almonds and cookie edges are golden.  Remove trays from oven and keep cookies on the tray for about 5 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.
  6. Dust cookies with icing sugar before serving.

Adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

Almond Supreme CookiesI share recipes here, at Allergy Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, and Savoring Saturdays.

35 Comments

Cranberry Pineapple Panna Cotta Parfaits

Elegant striped parfaits make a festive holiday dessert that is gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo-friendly–but no one can tell by looking!  Cranberries colour the red layer, and coconut milk in the white panna cotta layers adds creamy richness.  And the taste is perfectly sweet, thanks to a medley of fruit, a touch of coconut sugar, and pure honey.

Cranberry Pineapple Panna Cotta Parfait Shots | Swirls and Spice

These parfaits are the ultimate make-ahead dessert.  That means less stress on a day that you have company coming or are bringing food to a party.  However, when you are in the kitchen preparing these, make sure to leave time for each layer to thicken until almost set.  Don’t rush them, or your parfaits will not have neat layers.  I learned this the hard way when making a larger gelatin “salad” for a potluck.  Instead of a pretty layers of red and white, what I carried in was a pink, swirly conglomerate that tasted far better than it looked.

Shot glasses are an advantage here, because they cool fairly quickly.  So you can do some kitchen clean up or another project for about 20 minutes between each layer.  And once the parfaits are assembled, they will keep nicely for several days in the refrigerator with the tops well wrapped.  I tend to procrastinate, but preparing ahead helps nix holiday stress so we can fully enjoy the season!Cranberry Pineapple Panna Cotta Parfait Shots | Swirls and Spice

Cranberry Pineapple Panna Cotta Parfaits

  • Servings: about 12 parfait shots or 3 to 4 large parfaits
  • Time: 3 hours (includes chilling)
  • Print

Cranberry Pineapple Panna Cotta Parfaits

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup fresh or canned pineapple, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries, sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk (canned)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or dairy milk if you prefer)
  • 5 Tablespoons pure honey or granulated (white) sugar
  • 2 packets unflavoured gelatin, 7 grams each
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract

Directions:

  1. In a medium sauce pan, stir together diced pineapple, cranberries, and orange juice.  Bring to a boil, stir, and then reduce heat and simmer with the lid on for 8 to 10 minutes, until fruit has softened*.  Let cool before transferring to a blender.  Blend until a red sauce forms, leaving some texture, or until smooth if you prefer.
  2. Meanwhile, into a small bowl, pour 1/2 cup cool water and then pour 1 packet of gelatin powder.  Let the gelatin soften.  Return the cranberry pineapple sauce to the pan, add coconut sugar, and bring the sauce to a simmer again.  Turn off heat.  Stir in the wet gelatin until completely dissolved.  Transfer the mixture to another bowl and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Soften the other packet of gelatin by pouring it over 1/4 cup water.  Scald 3/4 cup almond milk or dairy milk by heating it in the microwave or in a small sauce pan until almost boiling.  Whisk together the hot milk and wet gelatin until the gelatin is completely dissolved.  Then whisk in 1 cup coconut milk, honey, and almond extract until thoroughly blended.  Let the white mixture cool to room temperature.
  4. Pour a layer of cranberry pineapple sauce into short clear glasses or shot glasses.  Chill until almost set.  Add a layer of white panna cotta sauce and chill again until almost set.  Add another layer of cranberry pineapple sauce and chill again.  Top with a final layer of white panna cotta sauce.  Chill until all layers are set.  If making the parfaits a day ahead, wrap the top of each glass with plastic wrap after they are completely cool.  Serve the parfaits chilled, garnishing with additional fresh cranberries if desired.

*Note: It is important to fully cook the fresh pineapple or the gelatin will not set.

 I’m bringing these parfaits to Fiesta Friday this week.

{I share recipes here, Allergy Free Wednesdays, and at Savoring Saturdays too.}

15 Comments

Gluten-Free Lentil Samosas with Tomato Onion Chutney

Bite into a lentil samosa and let warm spices of India chase away winter’s chill. Tomato and onion chutney provides a rich companion sauce with a hint of natural sweetness. Lentil Samosas with Tomato Onion Chutney As a holiday starter, game day appetizer, or enticing buffet option, gluten free samosas offer flavour, protein, and crunch.  While I still love the bold flavours of Tex-Mex this time of year, Indian samosas are a refreshing change of pace.  Especially when they are seasoned with one of my favourite spice combinations–ginger and cumin.

The enchantingly simple rice wrapper packages the lentil and veggie filling with ease.   It avoids both wheat flour and the hassle of preparing dough.  After success with rice wrappers for Gluten-Free Pigs in a Blanket, I suspected they would work well for samosas.  And they did, though in this case I prefer to fry the samosas to get a crispier covering.  But baking also works, and it’s a simpler option. Here’s what the non-fried samosas look like after baking: Baked Lentil Samosas One word of caution though.  The samosas are too hot to eat right away, especially after baking.  They will firm up and be easier to eat as they cool down.  Try not to bite into them too soon!  Wait at least 5 to 10 minutes, and your patience will be deliciously rewarded.

These samosas also freeze and reheat beautifully in the oven.  I made a big batch of samosas and wrapped them up individually in plastic wrap so they wouldn’t stick together.  Then I popped them in a zip top bag; convenient homemade samosas were awaiting me whenever I needed them.  I needed some today. They were just as delicious inside as the day I made them, and even crunchier on the outside.  It’s a perfect recipe for this time of year because you can make, freeze, and easily enjoy samosas whenever you need an option that’s quick and easy. Gluten Free Lentil Samosas with Tomato Onion Chutney

Gluten-Free Lentil Samosas

  • Servings: 10 to 12 samosas
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 200 to 300 grams ground chicken, optional*
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower
  • 2 Tablespoons green peas (I used frozen peas), optional
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric, optional
  • sea salt to taste
  • cooking oil
  • 12 rice wrappers (more if adding chicken)

Directions:

  1. Heat 1.5 cups water to boiling and add lentils.  Reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils soften.  Drain excess water.  Stir in sea salt to taste, then chili powder, ginger, and turmeric.
  2. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to a skillet and saute onions, carrots, and cauliflower until tender.  Add ground cumin and cook for one more minute.  Combine vegetable mixture with lentils.  Add cooked ground chicken if using.  Let filling cool for a few minutes.
  3. Add about 1 cm of very warm water to a dinner plate.  Dip one rice wrapper in the water until it is completely moistened on both sides.  Carefully move the softened rice wrapper to a flat work surface and place filling in the center of the wrapper (click on the slide tutorial below).  Wrap the filling to form a triangular samosa.  Continue making samosas until filling is gone.
  4. To fry samosas, heat 2 cm oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat.  Carefully place as many samosas as will fit without touching each other. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until crispy.
  5. To bake instead of fry, baste each samosa with oil.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190C). Place samosas onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for about 15 minutes, until wrappers are slightly crisp.
  6. Serve samosas warm, with chutney sauce on the side (see chutney recipe below).

NOTES:

*If adding ground chicken, brown it in an oiled skillet, add salt and curry powder or curry paste to taste, and continue cooking until cooked through.  Stir into cooked lentils.

** The fried samosas freeze well!  Wrap them individually before putting them in a freezer bag or sealed container.  Unwrap and reheat in the oven at 375 degrees (190 C) for about 10 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Tomato Onion Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red onion, sliced and quartered
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • ground ginger, to taste
  • paprika, to taste
  • ground cumin, to taste
  • ground chili powder, to taste
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons cooking oil, such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, or sunflower oil

Directions:

  1.  Over medium heat, heat oil in a medium to large skillet or wok.  Add onion and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add garlic, and cook for another minute.  Add tomatoes and cook them until they are soft, about 7 to 10 minutes.  Season with spices and salt, stirring to mix well.
  2.  Turn off heat and transfer the tomato and onion mixture to a heat-proof bowl.  Let cool for 5 to 10  minutes before pouring everything into a food processor.  Pulse the chutney until the desired smooth or chunky texture is reached.  Spoon into a serving bowl to accompany the samosas.  Or serve as a spread for naan bread.

I’m sharing this at Allergy Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Savoring Saturdays, and here.

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Hot Chocolate Cookie Brittle {Gluten Free Option}

Hot Chocolate Cookie Brittle
Holiday baking season is upon us, and easy recipes come in very handy when I am called to bring a plate of cookies somewhere.  Last week I made some cookie brittle using hot chocolate mix and decorated it with colorful candy coated chocolate bits.  Though I usually skip baking with food colouring, I could not resist their charms this time.  My kids beg for coloured candies and sprinkles all year long; during the holiday season I am willing to indulge from time to time.

Earlier this year I made Double Chocolate Cookie Brittle with Nuts, which is every bit as delicious.  Now I have two ways to enjoy cookie brittle–one that’s dotted with rainbow colours and the other sprinkled with nuts.  We plan on enjoying more of both kinds of cookie brittle as Christmas approaches.

It would be great for ice cream sandwiches too, don’t you think?
Hot Chocolate Cookie Brittle

Hot Chocolate Cookie Brittle

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour, gluten-free rice flour, or buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup plain hot cocoa mix
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • 1/4 cup candy coated chocolate bits, plain M&M’s, chocolate Smarties, or plain chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 C).  In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, blend together egg whites, hot cocoa mix, oil, and vanilla.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients into the egg and sugar mixture until a smooth batter results.  Stir in sunflower seeds if using.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with very lightly greased parchment.  Spread batter onto parchment as a thin, even layer.  Sprinkle batter with candy coated chocolate bits.
  4. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.  Remove warm cookie brittle from oven and allow it to cool completely on the tray.  Then break the cookie brittle apart into shards and separate the pieces.  If the texture is still somewhat moist, return the pieces on the baking tray to the oven and bake at 250 degrees F (120 C) for about 10 minutes.  Allow the pieces of cookie brittle to cool completely until they are crisp.  Store in a sealed container until ready to serve.

I share recipes here.

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