Gluten free lemon biscuits

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Winter has certainly hit Sydney. Looking out onto a dreary garden scene, I observe a sun-deprived browning lawn, fallen twigs and leaves from recent strong winds and the remnants of summer herbs. The bright spot in my view is the lemon trees. We are enjoying an abundance of citrus but there are only so many cakes, biscuits and slices you can bake.

My next food goal is to ‘put up’ (as would they say in the old days) some Moroccan/Middle Eastern preserved lemons. In my minds eye, I envisage opening a jar of homemade bottled sunshine to chuck into a slow-cooked tagine or sprinkle atop an autumnal salad. Bathing in a feeling of culinary superiority, wearing muted linen colours, my well-manicured hands clutching a coffee mug in the very latest in ceramic serving ware. Totally ‘Instagrammable.’

Back to reality, I hoist my daggy tracksuits up around my waist. These biscuits are delicate, zesty,  wonderfully easy to make and are much akin to shortbread. Next time (there will be a next time), I will double the recipe.

Gluten free lemon biscuits

WHAT YOU NEED
100g butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbl lemon zest (I used the rind of 1 large lemon)
1 3/4 cup gluten free flour
1/4 cup rice flour

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat the oven to 180C and line two baking tray with baking paper.
Combine the butter, sugar, juice and zest in a bowl and beat until combined.
Sift in the gluten free flour and rice flour and stir until smooth.
Form the dough into a ball, wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove from the refrigerator and pinch off about 1 large tablespoon of dough and roll into balls. Place them on the trays, 5cm apart. Flatten them with a fork ever so lightly.
Bake for 15-20minutes or until they start to brown around the edges.

Makes about 18 bikkies.

Recipe from the following website, with a few small adaptations.

http://allrecipes.com.au/recipe/26080/gluten-free-lemon-biscuits.aspx

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More gluten free lemon muffins

Forget finding the meaning of life, running a marathon or even attempting to read an entire book without skipping to the last chapter. My personal Holy Grail (minus the white steed and medieval suit of armour), appears to be an ongoing quest for the perfect gluten free lemon muffin recipe.

Sadly, this is not it. But it ain’t half bad. It is not the fault of the original recipe but merely the curse of using gluten free flour and the tendency for such bakes to dry out quickly. (Especially when the don’t include fruit or some kind of nut flour.) The Yak really enjoyed them and they are certainly at their best on the day of or day after baking. I am most proud of our three bountiful small lemon trees that continue to provide the citrus that is the zingy backdrop to my culinary life.

The search continues but it is good to finally know my true purpose.

GLUTEN FREE LEMON MUFFINS

WHAT YOU NEED
210g gf flour
1 tbl baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar (I used brown sugar for this batch but caster sugar is fine too)
4 eggs
1/3 cup Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup grapeseed or olive oil
2 tbls finely zested lemon rind
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Syrup
2 tbl lemon juice
1 tsp brown sugar

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 180C and place muffin papers in a 12 hole muffin tin.
In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar and eggs until pale and smooth, this will take about 2-3 minutes.
Beat in the yoghut then beat in the grapeseed or olive oil along with the lemon zest and vanilla essence.
Add the flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling each about 1/3 full.
To make the syrup, place the lemon juice and sugar into a small bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds until the sugar is dissolved.
Bake the muffins for 15-20 minutes until golden or until a cake skewer comes out clean.
Transfer to a rack to cool and then immediately, poke a few holes with the cake skewer into each of the muffins. Drizzle some of the syrup onto each muffin until all the syrup is gone.

Makes 12 small muffins

A gluten free adaptation of the following recipe:

https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/05/lemon-olive-oil-muffins-recipe.html


Gluten free lemon yoghurt cake

Very soon this blog will have to be re-named ‘fear-germ’ as everyone will be too scared to read it, for fear of finding yet another sad story. Unfortunately, that’s all I have for you again today but it is slightly sweetened by the addition of a wonderful Donna Hay lemon yoghurt cake recipe. I am hopeful for gentler and happier waters ahead.

A letter to our dog Elvis

I find you in unexpected places. Your ball tucked behind a chair, your jacket hanging over a balustrade.

I go to save you a snippet of cheese, salmon or sausage and realise you are no longer here.

I watch our boys reach down to where you once sat but you are gone. They recoil in confusion and tears well up in their eyes. Every night before bed, Kid 1 goes to your pillow and breathes in deeply, stating that it smells of you.

Children are more easily distracted. They move in and out of grief fluidly but when it strikes, they are hit hard. For us ‘so called grown ups’, who made the call, based on the opinion of an unknown emergency vet late on a rainy Friday night, there is second guessing and a deep unease. And for me, who spent more time with you than all of us, losing you is far worse than I could have ever imagined.

We had you fourteen beautiful years but we are greedy and it doesn’t seem long enough. The unconditional love you provided soothed all of us at varying times. Our boys learnt about responsibility, loyalty, trust and compassion through having you in their lives. (And well, buying you as a tiny puppy after our first miscarriage, The Yak and I did too.) The lads are now learning another life lesson on loss and bereavement.

We think we hear the jingle of your collar, the pitter patter of your petite paws.

Night falls, I tell the Yak to remember to take you out for a wee but you are no longer here.

Sitting on the couch, there are no more gentle snores, no more ‘hello I am here’ visits. As I go through my work-a-day-life, passing through our home, there are no more doggy-lying sunshine spots.

I could burn this house down for it’s emptiness. You were a member of our family and part of our heartbeat. You were our baby before our babies, a patient and fun-loving brother to our boys, our Happy Birthday singing diva, our cheese-loving fluffy puppy, sneaky cake-eating canine, fence-jumping pooch, Houdini style escaping hound, our ball-chasing high energy muppet, my sweet compadre and house shadow.

What will we all do without our morning lick and cuddle? We are undone, you will live in our hearts forever. I dedicate this cake recipe to you sweet dogger, in the memory of the many cooling cakes you sneakily partly devoured. We love you Elvis and we always will.

If you are looking for a tender, human and canine pleasing, tangy gluten free cake recipe then this is for you. Using lemons from our own trees surely made it more delicious. There is a link to Donna Hay’s original recipe after the photos. Enjoy.

GLUTEN FREE LEMON YOGHURT CAKE

WHAT YOU NEED
3/4 cup (180ml) vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
2 eggs
1 tbl finely grated lemon zest (I used about 1 1/2 tbls)
1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
1 cup (280g) Greek yoghurt (I used vanilla bean yoghurt)
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
300g gluten free self-raising flour

Lemon Icing
1 cup sifted icing sugar
1 tbl lemon juice
1/2 tsp boiling water

WHAT YOU DO
Preheat oven to 160C and grease and line a 24cm springform baking tin.
Place the oil, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, yoghurt and caster sugar in a large bowl and whisk together to combine.
Sift the flour over the mixture and stir to combine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Allow the cake to stand for 5 minutes before removing from the tin.
To make the icing, combine the icing sugar, lemon juice and boiling water.
Turn the cake out onto a cake stand and pour the icing over the cake whilst the cake is still warm. (I didn’t do this, I iced the cake when it was cold.) Let it stand for ten minutes for the icing to set then cut it and well, tuck in.

A slight adaptation of a Donna Hay recipe, link to the original recipe is provided below.

https://www.donnahay.com.au/recipes/desserts-and-baking/lemon-and-yoghurt-cake


Lemon sour cream muffins

Kid 1: If I was to be killed and eaten, I would like to be put to sleep so I couldn’t feel anything, then have every part of my body used, eaten and nothing wasted. Kind of like a soft shell crab.

He really is showing an extreme commitment to the concept of nose to tail eating. During the school holidays, Kid 1 watched a junior baking show on television where ten year olds created intricate baked goodies. This put a fire in his belly and he insisted on baking these muffins completely by himself (under my supervision.) His egg-cracking ability has come along in spades and it’s lovely to observe his burgeoning kitchen confidence.

This is a standard recipe in our household and they are very good. The sour cream moistens the muffins and contributes towards a tender crumb and light golden exterior. They are tangy, creamy and moreish. The only thing that will be be left is the muffin wrapper.

LEMON SOUR CREAM MUFFINS

WHAT YOU NEED
1/3 cup vegetable oil (we use grapeseed)
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, 70g
Zest and juice of one medium size lemon (roughly 1 tbl of zest and 1/4 cup lemon juice. If I have extra lemons, I will often add another tbl of zest. We love ‘mega lemon’ flavour)
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour
1 tbl baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat the oven to 200C and place your muffin papers in a muffin tin or on a baking tray. I will often give the muffin papers a light spray with rice bran oil spray to avoid sticking.
In a large bowl, combine the oil and sugar.
Add the eggs and mix well.
Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and sour cream and mix well.
Sift the flours, baking powder and salt into the bowl then fold in gently. Do not overmix or your muffins will be not as tender.
Fill the muffins papers about 2/3rds full and bake for about 15-20 minutes until they are risen, light golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
Eat them.

Makes 11-12 muffins depending on the size of your muffin papers

Slightly adapted from a recipe from Jens Favorite Cookies blog, link to original recipe follows.

Lemon Sour Cream Muffins


Gluten free lemon slice

When life gives you lemons.

Make a margarita.

If it’s too early to drink, you could always bake this. I am no gardener but my little Cheergerm heart swelled like a helium balloon at the bumper crop of lemons my mini-citrus tree birthed this year. Each lemon is picked and used with tender loving care and the deep appreciation that using homegrown produce brings. This is a tangy, delicate and deeply delicious treat.

LEMON BARS, GLUTEN FREE

WHAT YOU NEED
For the biscuit base:
125g butter, room temperature
1/4 (40g) cup gf icing sugar mixture
150g gf plain flour
For the lemon topping:
3 eggs, 70g each
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
35g gf plain flour
Zest two lemons, at least 2 tbl, I like a lot of lemon
1/2 cup lemon juice

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat the oven to 170C fan-forced or 180C conventional.
Grease a 20cm X 20cm non-stick baking pan and cover the base with baking paper, extending the paper over two opposite sides. (This helps in removing the slice once it has cooled.)
For the biscuit base: Beat the butter and icing sugar in a bowl with an electric beater or in your stand mixture, until smooth. Stir in the 150g of gluten free plain flour.
Press this mixture evenly over the base of the prepared pan and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until it has browned slightly. Remove from the oven.
For the lemon topping: Place the eggs, caster sugar, remaining flour, lemon zest and juice into a bowl and whisk until well combined.
Pour this mixture over the prepared base and bake a further 20 minutes or until it is just firm.
Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack and let the slice cool completely in the tin.
Slice into pieces (I cut it into 16 square pieces) and dust with extra icing sugar for decoration.
Not suitable for freezing.

A Cheergerm adaptation of a recipe from the ninemsn website. Link to original recipe follows after photos.

http://food.ninemsn.com.au/recipes/ilemon/8344026/tangy-lemon-squares


Gluten free lemon coconut fridge slice, a happy accident

This recipe was a happy accident. Others accidents I have experienced have been far less joyful. Take for example the time that I gained rather painful third-degree burns on a delicate part of the anatomy, upon backing into a wall heater. In my defence, it was a cold and wintery Melbourne morning and the heater was irresistibly warm. No cheer found there.

Then a few years ago, I boarded a train, holding Kid 2’s pram with one hand and attempted to open the train door with the other. Pushing the door with undue force, I overbalanced and slipped into the gap between the train and the platform. Dangling from the train door handle, I utilised my superhuman strength and propelled myself upwards. My shoulder was badly damaged but I did have the wherewithal to let go of the pram when I slipped. Could have been worse but again, not happy.

Or the time that I haphazardly found myself in the middle of a bar fight that had nothing to do with me and was punched in the face. That experience provided very little glee indeed.

This tasty no-bake slice is just as good using either gluten free or regular store purchased biscuits. The recipe required 250g of biscuits but my pantry only coughed up a mere 160g packet of gluten free Anzacs. What to do? With the temperatures set to unseasonally and prematurely soar to 37 degrees Celsius there was no way that I was getting in the car to go shopping. It was also a public holiday and lassitude ruled the day.

Necessity once again being the mother of invention, my beady eyes happened upon some bags of puffed amaranth and millet. A cup of each was added and Eureka! It worked.

Chewy, cold, buttery and sweet, this fridge slice is balanced by a superb lemony punch. A happy accident indeed and so much more enjoyable than a real punch in the face. Trust me.

GLUTEN FREE LEMON AND COCONUT FRIDGE SLICE

WHAT YOU NEED
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
125g butter
250g milk arrowroot biscuits gluten free or not ( Arrowroot work best but all I had was a 160g packet of gluten free Anzacs.)
1 cup puffed amaranth
1 cup puffed millet
1 tsp grated lemon rind (I used the rind of two small lemons)
1 cup desiccated coconut

Icing
1 3/4 cups icing sugar, sifted
3 tbl lemon juice
15g butter, softened
2 tbl dessiccated coconut

HOW YOU DO IT
Line a lamington tin with nonstick baking paper.
Place condensed milk and butter in a saucepan. Stir over gentle heat until the butter has melted and the mixture has combined.
Crush the biscuits very finely. (Either old school by placing them in a plastic bag and beating the stuffing out of them with a rolling pin or sensibly, as I did, by placing them in a food processor.)
Place the biscuits into a large bowl, add the lemon rind and coconut. Mix well.
Add the condensed milk and butter to the biscuit mixture. Mix well.
Press the mixture into the tin, my slice was about 1.5 cm thick and about 24cm long x 23cm wide, it didn’t use up all the tin. Refrigerate for one hour.
Icing: Combine the sifted icing sugar, lemon juice and butter in a bowl. Mix well until smooth. Spread over the chilled biscuit base and sprinkle with the coconut.
Refrigerate until the icing is set, cut into small squares.

A Cheergerm adaptation from a recipe found on the Allrecipes website.

http://allrecipes.com.au/recipe/12464/lemon-coconut-slice.aspx


Minecraft and a gluten free lemon drizzle cake

When my two lads talk to me about Minecraft, the computer game, this is what I hear:

Minecraft blah blah blah

Enderman blah blah blah

Diamonds, pigs, blah blah blah

Villagers blah blah blah

Me: Oh really, That’s great!

I could feel really bad but then I remember that this is what they hear when I speak to them:

What did you do today blah blah blah

Homework blah blah blah

Shut the door blah blah blah

Wash your hands blah blah blah

Tidy your room blah blah blah

So we are even.

Parenting can be a battlefield but we all need to eat. Every living creature in our house loves this cake. I mean, they really love it. Gluten is not missed and every bite is moist, sweet, tangy and tender. Just like life itself.

GLUTEN FREE LEMON DRIZZLE CAKE

WHAT YOU NEED
125g butter, room temperature
130g caster sugar
Zest of one large or two small lemons
2 large eggs
65 ml milk
1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder (or 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste or essence)
100g gluten free self-raising flour
50g sorghum flour
30g almond meal
2 tsps gf baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Lemon Syrup
2 tbl sugar
Juice of the zested lemon

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat the oven 180 degrees or 170 fan forced, then prepare and line a loaf tin.
Cream the butter and sugar in the food processor.
Add the lemon rind and pulse.
Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until nice and smooth.
(If you do not have a food processor, use a stand mixer, electric hand beater or go old school and use a hand whisk!)
Bake the cake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
For the lemon syrup, whilst the cake is baking, heat the sugar and juice of the lemon until the sugar has dissolved. Set it aside until you need it.
Whilst the cake is still in the tin, place it on a cooling rack.
Pierce the cake all over with a skewer then spoon over the lemon syrup. Use it all, the cake will soak up the syrup as it cools.
Let the cake cool completely in the tin before serving.
Slice and eat it. We did.

A Cheergerm adaptation from the UK Telegraph website. The link is provided below.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/recipes/8059974/Classic-lemon-drizzle-cake-recipe.html

A wee thanks for the ‘Sunshine’ blog award nomination to Windy Mama who blogs at Wuthering Bites. Go and have a read of her clever award acceptance post.

https://wutherornot.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/the-plays-the-thing/comment-page-1/#comment-575


Good as gold gluten free lemon muffins

Things our Pop (Dad’s father), used to say.

Good as gold.
Right as rain.
That joker down the road.

We miss him. School holidays arrived and baking for both chilluns and the spouse was required. These muffins have a lovely soft crumb, a fabulous sharp lemon zip and an ever so slightly crunchy top that will put the zing back in your zang.

Vanilla is always your friend when baking, gluten free people. (The comma saves this rather odd sentence, rest assured this Cheergerm does NOT advocate the baking of real life gluten allergic/intolerant human beings.) In all seriousness, one cannot advocate the use of vanilla enough when baking sweet goodies using gluten free ingredients.

Being a huge fan of vanilla beans, vanilla bean paste and pure vanilla extract, I am quite excited to try the new vanilla powder that we ordered in our most recent food co-op order. It arrived too late for these luscious lemon ladies but there will be much vanilla powder experimentation in the future.

I regularly bake a gluten laden version of these (with a mixture of spelt and wholemeal flour) and the progeny couldn’t tell the difference.

These muffins are as good as gold, just go ask that joker down the road.

GLUTEN FREE LEMON MUFFINS

WHAT YOU NEED
1 cup self raising gf flour (whatever blend floats your baking boat)
2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt (a weird amount but it works!)
1/8 tsp xanthum gum (ditto)
1/3 cup almond meal
2/3 cup raw sugar ( I used a scant cup. Feel free to use coconut sugar, rapadura or panela)
75 g butter
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Grated rind 1 large or 2 small lemons (we love lemon so I used the rind of 2 large lemons but use your lemon discretion as suits)

Topping
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup raw sugar

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Sift the self raising, sorghum, buckwheat, baking powder, salt and xanthum gum into a large bowl.
Mix in the almond meal and 2/3 cup sugar.
Melt the butter, add the egg, milk, vanilla and lemon rind and beat well with a fork until combined.
Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and combine until the dry ingredients have been slightly dampened.
Divide the mixture evenly between a 12 medium-sized muffin tin lined with muffin cases and sprayed lightly with a non-stick spray.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Stir the lemon juice and sugar without dissolving the sugar and drizzle this over the hot muffins as soon as they are removed from the oven.
Let cool down.

Makes 12 muffins.

A Cheergerm adaptation from Marvellous Muffins by Alison Holst

Muffins tips: make sure all of your wet ingredients are room temperature and don’t overmix.


Frozen cheesecake anyone?

Two weeks ago, whilst searching for a gluten free cheesecake recipe, I came across this little beauty on a great blog, The Gluten Free Scallywag. Now, being immensely fond of the word scallywag, it just had to be tried.

Too much citrus is never enough for this cheergerm, so I added a tad more lemon juice than the recipe said. As a result, when the springform pan was undone, it was a bit too melty to serve. To the freezer I cried! After an hour of nervous nail biting (or completely forgetting it was there due to the odd champers or two) we discovered, a frozen cheesecake! A delicious accident.

Kid 1 and The Yak loved it so much, I churned out another one for a Christmas get together the other night. Frozen cheesecake, that’s how we roll now baby. Before serving, I tumbled some blueberries atop in a very Nigella type manner.

My wee changes:
Grated the zest of one lemon and lime, halved it, added half to the base mixture and half to the cheese mixture.
Not having baked The Gluten Free Scallywags GF graham crackers, I used half GF arrowroot and half GF rice coconut biscuits.
I added 2 tablespoons of lime juice in the cheese mixture and sneaked in 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla paste as well.
Big cheesecake tip,always bring the cheese to room temperature before mixing.
I put the cheesecake in the fridge overnight then popped it in the freezer a few hours befor serving. Make sure you pull it out for about 15 minutes or so to ensure you can cut it.

Go here for the fantastic recipe!

http://www.glutenfreescallywag.com/2010/02/no-bake-cheesecake-gluten-free.html