What I baked today: Peanut peanut butter cookies

Peanut Peanut Butter Cookies IWhen a customer asked if I could add roasted peanuts to my signature peanut butter cookies I happily obliged. All this time I’ve been adding strawberry jam, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips but I’ve never thought to add peanuts. That is until now. These cookies were a smash and are now permanently reside on my bakery menu.

Peanut Peanut Butter Cookies II

fresh from the bakery: multigrain sandwich bread

multi-grain breadSo after many months of procrastination our multi-grain sandwich bread is finally here. This bread has been on my to do list for months and between expanding the bakery, networking, baking, resting (wash rinse and repeat) I finally committed myself to the task. Fortunately for me, this bread was a success after the first attempt and didn’t require endless sessions of trial and error. Being a Type A, I take it as a personal challenge to get things right the first time and fall into a fistful of tears when I bake something and it comes out less than stellar. I know that this is the whole point of experimenting and trial and error but I usually can’t help myself. This bread is a hit. It has a slight earthy taste but in the best of ways due to the amaranth flour which is a type of perennial plants (I learned in all my research). It is the seeds of this plant that are harvested and used for flour. It is lower in carbs and higher in protein than our white bread and the addition of flax seed meal and amaranth flour give it a boost of healthy fiber. I used organic honey as the sweetener, it is dairy free,  but not vegan. (sorry 🙁 )

The combination of flours that we used are a perfect mix which I have found to be a common thread in my world of gluten free baking. The key is to get the right balance or mix; as you cannot rely on only one flour. This is where most people go wrong. If you stumble across a gluten free recipe that only has one flour listed and not a blend, it probably is not a good recipe. This bread is officially on our menu available for order. I have the pleasure of devouring the first ever loaf with homemade apple butter, jam, and peanut butter; not in one sitting of course! 🙂

Happy Baking,

the gluten free chef

Rest, scones, and balance

Howdy Folks,

It has been a few weeks since the last post. This week saw me resting, laying, sleeping, aching, flaring and all of the above. Of course, there was some baking thrown in for good measure, but after a whirlwind March the first week of April found (how funny the 1st was a Monday) me needing to slow down a lot. Wednesday was the worse day, but I hope to be over the hump.

Living and baking with chronic illness means making my minutes matter and working smarter not harder; adages that I learned back in my teaching days but they aptly apply to all aspects of life. We baked up a delicious batch of blue berry scones just as a test and of course  forgot to take pictures. Silly me. This mind is just as shot as my body, well maybe not as bad. Back to resting I go.

Be Well,

the gluten free chef

Photo courtesy of La Petite Brioche

Breads, owls and vampires: OH MY

Bread, bread, and more bread. Yes. That is what seems to be most popular these days. So far this week, I have logged five orders of my gluten free sandwich bread. The bread maker is getting quite the work out and so am I. This week is my busiest yet, with the V-day special and cookie Groupon running concurrently, orders are streaming in. I wanted to make time to work on my cook book and test bake, but I have been limited on energy and low on function. fibromylagia and cfs (purposely lowercase to take away some of their power) do not discriminate and my days have been a wash with me, my blanket, and pillow in the bed dead to the world. I have been drunk on fatigue and high on lethargy.

I feel like an owl, bat, or vampire tucked away in my uncontrolled cocoon conserving power and energy to muster just a hair of strength at night to bake these orders. Jehovah gives me just enough strength to carry out my mission and for this I am thankful. I get a tiny window of strength at night to bake these orders and go back to bed for the cycle to repeat itself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining a sliver of stamina at night is more than I had 5 months ago so I’ll take what I can. I didn’t want to talk “fibro” on this blog, but it would be a lie since fibro effects ALL areas of my life, including eating, sleeping, cooking, baking and yes even food blogging. (Darn you fibro!) I am hoping that Living with Fibro is up and running with the new design by week’s end. We will see!

Posts will trickle in this week few and far in between, I apologize in advance. I hope everyone is eating healthy, wise , and whole since there is so much garbage in our food and in our environment. But I will save that for another post. Perhaps next week.  Again, we will see!

Signing Off,

the gluten free chef

from the bakery: peanut butter and jelly thumbprints

peanut butter and jelly thumbprintsThese cookies are one of my favorites and I was able to bake a few batches to fulfill an order. A perfect play on the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the middle is filled with strawberry jam and drizzled with a peanut butter glaze. They are pretty addictive, and I sure can’t eat just one which is why I don’t keep any around unless I am fulfilling an order.

from the bakery: gluten free sandwich bread

gluten free sandwich breadSo I finally tried my hand at homemade bread. I was very nervous at first especially starting out with a gluten free recipe. This past Saturday I purchased a second hand bread machine that came without instructions and I had no idea how to use it. I must say it was quite the adventure and ended being an all day process. The assembly of ingredients was simple, and then one hour was spent trying to put the machine together. Machine assembly has never been my forte, and I almost gave up right there. But a deep breathe and internal pep talk was all I needed to do to tap into my common sense. Finally, 5 hours were wasted with the dough being on the wrong setting so it was double kneaded, double risen, then kneaded again.

Fortunately, I found the instruction manual online (don’t you love Google) and was able to figure out the settings so around 8pm I got the machine to the right setting. Four hours later, my round loaf was finished. I didn’t slide it out of the pan until this morning, held my breathe and I was blown away. I finally had a soft, chewy textured bread that looked , felt, and tasted just like any other bread; like gluten filled bread but this bread was gluten free.

Hooray for me! My first attempt at gluten free bread with a recipe that I calibrated was a success. Ironically, I have my first meeting tomorrow with a local deli as they are interested in purchasing my bread, in fact the only reason I test baked the bread was for this meeting. Was it fate that sent me to buy the bread machine on Saturday? I don’t know. I don’t believe in fate, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason and as they should.

the gluten free chef


Fresh from the oven: crispy double chocolate thumbprint cookies

I originally saw these cookies during one of my daily perusals (is that a word?) on Tastespotter and I knew  at first glance that I had to make them. I quickly copy and pasted the recipe without bothering to include its source. Of course weeks later when I went back to it, I had no clue where the recipe came from. This happens all to often in my world.

Even though I love baking, living with Fibromyalgia often has me trying to find ways to cut corners and steps in the kitchen and I prefer recipes with as few ingredients and directions as possible. I initially thought that this recipe met that criteria, but once in the middle of mixing the dry ingredients I realized the directions called for chilling the dough for 30 min, then again for 15 min and all of this before the cookies even made their way to the oven. Needless to say, I was exhausted long before these started baking.

Once baked, cooled, and then tasted, I was initially disappointed. The cookies are super choc lately and not as sweet as I thought, really reminding me of  biscotti. I thought, well maybe I messed up the recipe, but once I found the site and recipe it all became clear. The original recipe is from Scientifically Sweet blog by Christina Marsigliese based in Australia. The cookies are suppose to be super crunchy, not really sweet, and extra chocolatey. In fact, the post that the recipe is attached to is all about the differences in the preference of cookies in America and Australia. In Australia crispy and not too sweet is the standard, whereas in America soft, chewy, and sweet is preferred.

Alas, it all makes sense. My taste buds were not off and I didn’t mess up the recipe. My initial thoughts of the cookies being like biscotti were spot on, well before I went and found the recipe and actually read the accompanying blog post. The cookies were better to me on the second day with a hot mug of hot chocolate. So instead of cookies, I now have the perfect Biscotti recipe, which is what I will convert this recipe to moving forward. So, I guess my moral of this post is to carefully read the recipe and accompanying post before proceeding with your baking.

Since I made no changes to this recipe you link back to Scientifically Sweet to look it up as well as read her post. I love Christina’s blog and it is part of my daily rotation. When I make them again as biscotti, I will post my revised recipe. Happy Baking !

the gluten free chef