Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gluten Free Chewy Bars

Eating on the run has been my biggest issue since going gluten free.  I inevitably find myself out running errands or between meetings when I realize that I’m starving and there is nowhere to buy anything “safe”. 

For a while, I thought I could get away with eating Clif Bars because they didn’t list any wheat products on the label.  When they started to irritate me I did a little research and figured out that the malt ingredients were probably the culprit.  Disappointed that such a convenient, delicious and purse-friendly food was now off limits, I set out to make my own and I think I’ve done pretty well.  They are moist, chewy and dense like the Clif Bar and don’t crumble or fall apart after rattling around in my purse for a few days.  They are also butter and oil free and sweetened with agave which is super low on the glycemic index. 
This is my new baby... other than my Kitchenaid stand mixer, this is my absolute favorite kitchen appliance!


1 cup Gluten Free corn flakes (I love this brand, regular corn flakes contain malt so they are NOT gluten free)
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup dried apples
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup agave nectar

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoo
ns peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place dates in a small bowl, add 1/4 cup hot water and allow to soak for 10 minutes, then drain.  I did some apricots in this batch because I was a little short on dates

In a food processor, combine all ingredients, pulsing until you have a consistent texture but with some pieces of date, apple and pecan still visible.

Press mixture into an 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper.  If you don’t have an 8x8 pan you can use a larger pan but simply not fill the whole thing.  The bars will not spread in the oven so it’s alright to leave some space.

Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Lift from the pan using parchment paper and allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting.  I usually cut into 8-10 bars depending on thickness.

I put a few in a Ziploc bag in the cupboard for enjoying at home and wrap the rest tightly in plastic wrap so that I can throw one in my purse before I head out somewhere. 

These haven’t lasted past 6 days with me because they are so delicious but at that point they still tasted fresh. I would assume you have a good week or so to keep them, as long as they are sealed in plastic wrap or an air tight container.  These can also be tightly wrapped and frozen for longer storage.  Allow to thaw at room temperature.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Flaky Gluten Free Pie Crust & Bonus Gluten Free Greek Pie

For months, I have been looking for the perfect flaky gluten free pie crust recipe.  All of the recipes that I tried could only be described as terrible.  Many GF crusts never came together and called to be “pressed” into the pan like you would a graham cracker crust and didn’t have that layered consistency that produces a flaky, tender crust. 
This recipe is a combination of several that I came across with a few additions of my own.  I have made it 3 times now, always for people who can have gluten and nobody has been able to tell the difference.  Even my mother, the master of traditional pie crust and a self proclaimed pastry snob enjoyed it.
                                                         Gluten Free Apple Pie
This recipe makes enough for 1 double-crust pie.
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan or Guar Gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup shortening, cut into small pieces
  •  large egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar (apple cider or white)
  • 1-3 tablespoons ice water, as needed
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional- great if you’re making a sweet pie)
1.     Combine rice flour, potato starch, corn starch, salt, sugar, xanthan or guar gum and baking powder in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and mix thoroughly

2.     Using a pastry cutter (or two butter knives), cut in butter and shortening until all flour mix is incorporated and in small pea sized bits

3.     Whisk egg, vinegar and honey (if using) in a separate bowl and then incorporate into mix with a fork, follow with 1 tablespoon of water at a time until dough comes together into a ball
4.     Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 1 hour
5.     Divide dough in half (wrap and refrigerate or freeze second half) and roll out between 2 pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap.  Transfer to pie plate by removing top layer of plastic wrap, flipping into plate and peeling off bottom wrap
If making an unfilled crust, prick bottom with a fork several times and bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, otherwise prepare according to pie recipe you are using.  If you only require a single crust, this can be frozen in a ball and thawed and used at a later date.  Be sure to leave time to defrost either in the fridge (ideal) or on the counter.  You never want to microwave pie crust to defrost, it will ruin the consistency.  If you have extra pie plates or use the disposable foil kind you can definitely roll out the crust and freeze in the pie plate.  The advantage of this is you can also cook from frozen!
To get you started, here is my recipe for “Greek Pie”. The flavours in this Quiche are reminiscent of Spanakopita, which is super popular with my friends when I serve it at parties.  This recipe can also be made into mini quiches for a terrific appetizer.
Greek Pie
  • 1 batch Flaky Gluten Free Pie crust (reserve half for later use)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (ideally not fat free)
  • 1/4 cup milk or water
  • 1/3 cup crumbles feta cheese
  • 2 cups spinach, wilted or 1/4 box frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry in a kitchen towel
  • 1 teaspoon dry dill (2 teaspoons if using fresh)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 medium tomato (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1.     Roll out pastry dough and line an 8-inch pie plate or tart pan
2.     Crumble feta cheese into pie, covering the base of the crust evenly.  Add spinach in even layer on top of cheese
3.     In a bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, milk, dill, salt and pepper with a whisk until combined and no streaks of yolk are present.
4.     Pour egg mixture over cheese and spinach
5.     Thinly slice tomato and layer on top of egg mixture in concentric circles to cover entire surface of the pie (I only had cherry tomatoes so mine wasn't as pretty this time)
6.     Bake for 35-45 minutes until puffed and golden brown and fully set in the center