Tag Archives: gluten-free holiday recipes

Daring Bakers: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Christmas Stollen

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book…and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

I have heard of Stollen, but have never made it. I’m not a fruitcake person, really, but I do love dried fruit and nuts, and this was more of a bread than a cake. I was excited to give it a try, but knew I only had 1 shot at getting it right. Instead of trying to guess which gluten-free flours would make a perfect bready texture (and I’m out of several of them, and have to wait for my online order to arrive), I opted instead for Pamela’s Bread Mix. I’ve used it multiple times for pizza crust and hamburger buns, and it bakes up fluffy and light. As for the dairy-free substitutions, that was a breeze – I used So Delicious coconut beverage  for the milk, and palm shortening for the butter. I opted to not use red glace cherries, instead substituting dried cherries and bumping up the amount of dried fruits in the bread.

The verdict? I was worried it wasn’t rising at first. I made the dough and let it rest in the refrigerator for 2 days, and when I let it warm, rolled it out, and rested it, it really didn’t look as though it rose. I know gluten-free dough has a tendency to have difficulty rising (that lack of gluten!), but I had concerns it was going to bake into a doughy lump. But once it was in the oven, it rose, browned, and looked delicious and crusty. And when we ate it – heaven. Yum. Not too sweet, crusty on the outside, and a soft interior studded with sweet cherries.

I would love to make this again. Next time, I’d love to soak my dried fruit for longer (I only soaked for about an hour), to really bump the flavors, (and probably use rum instead of bourbon) but overall, a lovely Christmas treat.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Christmas Stollen Wreath

1/4 c lukewarm water (110 degrees F)

2 packages dry active yeast (Red Star is gluten-free)

1 c non-dairy milk

9 T palm shortening

5 1/2 c of your favorite gluten-free flour blend

1 T xanthan gum, if your flour blend does not already include it (mine did)

1/2 c sugar

3/4 t salt

1 t cinnamon

3 large eggs, beaten

Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange

2 t vanilla extract

1/2 t almond extract

1 t lemon juice

3/4 c candied orange peel (make your own!)

1 c golden raisins

1/4 c dried cranberries

1/2 c dried cherries

3 T bourbon

Juice from zested orange

1 c sliced almonds

Melted non-dairy butter for coating the wreath

Powdered sugar for dusting the wreath

In a small bowl, soak the raisins, dried cranberries, and dried cherries in the bourbon and orange juice. Set aside while you work on the rest of the stollen.

Add the yeast to the warm water and stir to dissolve. Allow to sit for a few minutes to “proof”.

In a small saucepan, combine the non-dairy milk and the shortening and melt the shortening over medium heat. Remove from heat and let stand until lukewarm (about 110 degrees F).

Lightly beat eggs with extracts in a small bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, xanthan gum (if using), sugar, salt, cinnamon, and zests. Then stir in the yeast mixture, eggs, and the lukewarm milk mixture. Mix until dough comes together. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Add in the candied peel, the soaked dried fruit, and the almonds and mix with your hands or with a mixer (with a dough hook) on low until well-incorporated.

Sprinkle some additional gluten-free flour onto a clean counter, and turn dough onto flour. With floured hands, knead dough for approximately 8 minutes. Dough should be slightly sticky, but not excessively so. The raisins and dried fruit might fall out of the dough a bit as you knead – this is good. Just keep pressing them back in. Gather the dough and make a ball. Lightly oil a large, clean bowl, and place the dough ball in it, rolling it around to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature on the counter for about 2 hours. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on the counter and turn dough onto it, and place another large piece of parchment on top. Roll dough out into a rectangle about 16 X 24 inches and about 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top sheet of parchment, and starting with the long side, roll dough up tightly into a cylinder.

Transfer the cylinder roll to a sheet pan. Form the roll into the shape of a wreath, using a bowl in the center as a guide, if needed. Pinch the ends together. Using kitchen shears, make cuts along the outside of the circle, about 2 inches apart, and about 2/3 of the way through the dough. Roll these pieces towards the outside of the wreath so that the cuts separate somewhat. Cover wreath loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate 180 degrees. Bake for another 30 minutes or until dough reaches 190 degrees F in the center and wreath is deeply browned. Remove from oven and brush with melted non-dairy butter. Using a sifter or a fine-mesh strainer, sprinkle powdered sugar over the wreath in an even layer. Allow to soak in for a minute, and sprinkle another layer of sugar. Allow to cool for 1 hour before serving, or store in a plastic bag once completely cool.

Serves about 12.


Filed under Baked goods, breakfast, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian

Chocolate Banana Muffins


Shortly after removing gluten from my diet, I set out to conquer the mystery that is gluten-free baking. There have been successes, and oh yes, there have been failures. Gluten-free baking is tricky. You have to throw all of your “wheat flour” baking knowledge out the window. There is no kneading of bread doughs. Bread doesn’t “rise” in the same manner. The batter for cakes doesn’t always look like typical cake batter. Gluten-free batters and doughs react differently. The earliest tests of gluten-free baking either resulted in overly moist, crumbly messes, or dry-as-a-bone bread that you had to choke down. These occurrences happen less and less frequently as I practice, but in the interest of full disclosure, they still do happen from time to time.

But honestly? I feel more comfortable baking now than I ever did prior to my gluten-free days. Why? The need to experiment has freed me. When I used to bake, I felt that I had to strictly adhere to the recipe, or else disaster would result. I did not have an understanding of the roles each ingredient played in the finished product. Not that I’ve since come to a complete understanding of the science behind baking, but the use of alternative flours has opened my eyes. There are so many textures and flavors available. As long as I understand that I’ll need leavening, something to bind ingredients together, and a certain level of moisture, usually I’m pretty good to go. Not “Gee, I don’t even need a recipe anymore” good, but I can honestly say I’m a better baker now than I have ever been.

My current obsession is to take any ol’ recipe and convert it to gluten-free. I’ve had some success with this in the past (remember the tres leches cake?), but I’m still working on it. My hope is to not feel as though sacrifices have to be made because a gluten-free diet is required. We can have our gluten-free cake and eat it too, so to speak!

With this in mind, I present to you these chocolate banana muffins. The recipe is several generations away from its original inspiration (Elise’s banana bread recipe at Simply Recipes). These are some of the best gluten-free muffins I’ve ever made, if I do say so. They were moist and chocolatey, not overly sweet, with a tender crumb that held together well. Perfect for a holiday morning treat, or for any time of year.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Banana Muffins, adapted from Simply Recipes

3 ripe bananas, smashed

1/3 c melted butter

3 T peanut butter or almond butter

½ c white sugar

½ c light brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 t vanilla extract

1 t baking soda

2 t cinnamon

½ t nutmeg

2 T unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ t salt

½ c teff flour

½ c sorghum flour

½ c tapioca starch

1 t xanthan or guar gum

1-2 T turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In mixing bowl, add bananas, melted butter, and peanut butter. Mix on low until combined. Add sugars, egg, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sprinkle baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder and salt over banana mixture, and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, mix flours and xanthan gum. Turn mixer on medium-low and add flours in two batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed, until well-combined. Pour into prepared muffin pan  and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a minute or two, and remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool. Makes 12 muffins.

Want a chance to win a free 2010 North Texas Food Bank calendar and some other cool stuff? Check out my other blog, Feeding North Texas, for information! The giveaway ends December 18, 2009.


Filed under Baked goods, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian

Holiday Food Fest – Join in the Fun!

holiday-food-fest[1]Join us as we celebrate the holiday season by sharing your favorite recipes at our Bloggy Holiday Food Fest. We want to see your favorite dishes of the holiday season.  So if you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any other holiday, please link up or stop by.

This is a celebration of good food and friends – regardless of how you cook, you are invited to join in the fun. Good home cooking, gluten-free, sugar-free, raw, organic, frugal – everyone is welcome to participate.

There will be a fantastic give-away each week too, including fun aprons and great kitchen gadgets.  To enter, you can link up, leave a comment, tweet, or link back.  We’ll be tweeting about Holiday Food Fest too, so make sure to follow us.

Thanksgiving Fall Desserts – November 5th

Stop by and see Liz at Hoosier Homemade for the best of the blogosphere’s fall desserts.  Share what you’re going to make this Thanksgiving or what you’ve been making already since the leaves have started to change and you’ve pulled out your fall sweaters.  Follow Liz on Twitter @HoosierHomemade.

Thanksgiving & Fall Dishes – Thursday, November 12

We know you have your favorite tried and true Thanksgiving or fall dish that your family and friends just can’t live without. Share it with us at Tasty Eats at Home, hosted by yours truly. You can follow me on Twitter @TastyEatsAtHome.

Gifts of Good Taste – Thursday, November 19

The best part of cooking is sharing it with others.  How are you going to give your edible gifts this holiday season?  We can’t wait to see your favorite gifts of good taste and how you wrap them up.  Phoebe at Cents to Get Debt Free is our gracious hostess.  Follow Phoebe on Twitter @GettingFreedom.

Holiday Cocktails, Mocktails, and Appetizers – Thursday, December 3

What are you serving your holiday guests while they’re anxiously anticipating the main course?   Share your favorite holiday cocktails, mocktails, and kiddie drinks, too.  Hosted by Amy at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free. Find Amy on Twitter @Amys_SSGF.

Holiday Dishes – Thursday, December 10

Join Shirley at Gluten-Free Easily as we share our favorite holiday dishes with each other.  Anything goes – sides, main dishes, soups.  Follow Shirley on Twitter @ShirleyGFE.

Holiday Desserts – Thursday, December 17

Jessica, a.k.a. Fishmama, is hosting the final day of Holiday Food Fest 2009 at Life As Mom.  Bring your favorite holiday dessert for everyone to enjoy. Follow Jessica on Twitter @FishMama.


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