No bake corn flake bars with chocolate(gf)

corn flake barsRecently,I discovered the new Kellogg’s  gluten free cereal and I am in love with it! The touch of brown sugar,slightly sweet,enough to start your day with energy.

As a kid,I disliked corn flakes and any kind of cereal in general. My mother forced me many times to eat them,because as we all know,breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I wish I would listen to her! However,as the years were passing by,I went to study,in Rhodes,an island in Greece which is far away from home,I had to start eating breakfast,because that school was no joking around,no absence,waking up early in the morning and the discipline of a military school(Kind of!).

Nowadays,as a grown up adult and a mother of a 3 year old,I had to find a way to make cereal more fun! I found an amazing recipe. The recipe calls for  corn syrup. To be honest,I am not a fan of corn syrup.We don’t use it in Greece,I read about it,though and I still don’t like it. There are healthier options than that.

My little one loved it! Crunchy,topped with chocolate and the hint of almond and orange. Great way to start your day!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 cups of gluten free corn flakes,crushed
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

Directions:

  1. Heat the almond butter,sugar and honey and orange zest in a saucepan over medium low heat.
  2. Remove from heat and add crushed corn flakes and pinch of salt.
  3. Press mixture into a greased 8”x 11” pan or you can use muffin tins.
  4. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds,until melted. Use a microwave safe bowl.
  5. Stir chocolate until smooth and spread over the corn flake mixture.
  6. Keep it in the fridge until firm.

corn flake barss

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Blueberry-lemon muffins with lemon glaze (gf)

blueberries2There is a love-hate relationship between blueberries and me. I kind of dislike them when raw,but I love them so much in cakes,muffins,sauces and when there are cooked. My daughter loves them,and I am so happy about it. She loves fruits and veggies so much!

Last week, Anna and I went to my friend Natasha for a coffee and play date. Of course,I can’t go with empty hands when the kids are home. They always expect something sweet! I made these muffins and they devour them within few minutes!

Blueberries and lemon is the perfect,heaven on earth flavor combination! The tart fruit is getting so sweet when baked and it keeps just the right amount of tartness and the lemon brightens up the muffins.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 olive oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven at 350 F. Line muffin cups in a muffin tin and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl mix dry ingredients:the rice flour,cornstarch,almond flour,baking powder,the salt and  the poppy seed.
  3. In another  medium bowl beat with a hand mixer the eggs and sugar for two minutes,until you get a pale thick cream.
  4. Add the olive oil,yogurt,lemon juice and the zest,vanilla extract and beat again until thoroughly mixed.
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat for a minute.
  6. Add the blueberries and with a spatula  mix the batter carefully.
  7. Fill the 2/3 of the muffin tin and bake for 18-20 minutes until the op is golden brown.
  8. To make the glaze,simply mix all the ingredients until you have a smooth and slightly thick glaze.

Note: Before you add the blueberries,you can first toss them in the dry ingredients and set them aside. That way,they won’t sink in the bottom of the muffin.

 

 

blueberry

blueberries

blueberry and lemon


Grilled Nectarines with whiskey- pecan caramel sauce(gluten free)

grilled nectarines and caramelRecently,I start grilling fruits. I was very hesitant at first,the thought of grilling something naturally sweet especially a fruit,does not belong in Greek cuisine. In Greece we grill mostly meat,vegetables and fish,but I discovered few young and surprisingly old chefs,who adopt a more contemporary cuisine and that makes me happy. I think most of the Greeks should come out of their shells and be more open minded when it comes to new techniques.

I was looking for something sweet but without the fuss of baking. Something juicy,fruity and a kick of alcohol. By grilling the nectarines, you bring out all the natural sweetness. The touch of cayenne pepper, balances the sweetness of the caramel sauce and nectarines.

Topped with whipped cream and the whiskey-pecan caramel sauce,it’s just party in your mouth!

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 nectarines,ripen
  • 1 cup whiskey-pecan caramel sauce
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • 8 teaspoons brown sugar

For the whiskey caramel sauce:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/3 cup whiskey (I used Jack Daniels)
  • 1 tsp. fresh orange juice
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup pecans,chopped

Instructions:

To make the whiskey-pecan caramel sauce:

  1. Combine the sugar, water, whiskey, and orange juice in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook, gently swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and starts to turn color.
  2. Increase the heat to thigh and boil until the syrup turns a deep amber color, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Watch carefully, as it can burn quickly.
  4. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour in the cream and salt.
  5. Use a wooden spoon to carefully stir in the cream, as caramel has a tendency to hiss and splash as the cold cream hits it.
  6. Add the chopped pecans.
  7. Place the pan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the caramel thickens, 5 to 7 minutes.
  8. The mixture should be very thick. Let boiling sauce cool until it is just warm before serving.

Assemble:

  1. Heat you grill,or grilled pan. You want your grill or grilled pan to be hot.
  2. Wash,dry,cut in half the nectarines and remove the core.
  3. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of brown sugar in each half.
  4. Grill on each side until nice grill marks appear, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  5. Move the fruit to a serving platter,top it with a dollop of whipped cream and drizzle with the caramel sauce.

grilled nectarines

grilled nectarine


Apricot Amaretto choux (gluten free)

apricot choux 2

This one was adapted from my childhood memories as a little foodie! My mother’s well-known desserts among others was cream puffs or choux as french say. Airy,light little delights! There are so versatile. You can do sweet choux and savory.Oh my goodness!

If course my mother never added any Amaretto in her desserts,just cognac and some rum as we were growing up.

The Amaretto and the fruity pastry cream pear so perfectly! It’s a perfect dessert for summer! The chocolate ganache adds a note of richness. These cream puffs will satisfy everyone!

INGREDIENTS:

    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup gf flour blend
    • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
    • 4 eggs
For the Filling
  • 14 oz milk
  • 3.5 oz granulated sugar
  • 2.1 oz cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 oz butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup fresh apricots,pureed
  • 1 teaspoon Amaretto

 


Instructions:

Make the Apricot cream:

  1. In a heavy sauce pan,at a medium-low heat the milk. Don’t boil it,just heat it!
  2. In a medium bowl,whisk cornstarch and sugar,add the eggs and vanilla extract.
  3. Add a ladle  of the warm milk into the egg mixture and whisk quickly,to temper the eggs.
  4. Add the mixture in the saucepan with the milk and whisk vigorously.
  5. When it’s thick enough,remove from the heat,add the pureed apricots and the Amaretto.
  6. Let it cool for 10 minutes,cover it with plastic wrap film and refrigerate.

 

 To make the choux :

    1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat bring the butter, water, and salt to a boil.
    2. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the GF flour blend and xanthan gum, working quickly to avoid large lumps. The dough will pull away from the sides of the pan and appear quite gummy.
    3. Let cool at least 10 minutes and then beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth. (I find using a mixer, heavy duty hand or transferring the mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer, is easiest.)
    4. Load the dough into a piping bag fitted with your tip of choice (I used a french tip) OR a large ziploc bag with the corner snipped off.
    5. Preheat your oven to 400F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
    6. Pipe your dough onto the prepared baking sheets leaving at least 3 inches between shapes.
For Cream Puffs
    1. Pipe approx 1 heaping tablespoons worth of dough into a ball shape (hold bag perpendicular to pan, pipe and then release. You can smooth the top off using a slightly wet finger)
    2. Bake for approx 30 minutes, the dough will be a darker golden brown and firm to the touch and the puffs will have risen quite a bit. If you make larger eclairs or larger cream puffs they may require slightly longer baking time.
    3. Let cool completely. Split in half, scrape out any soft dough, and fill with your desired filling. Alternatively fill using a pastry bag fit with a round tip.
    4. Drizzle with the ganache sauce.
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Ready to be baked!

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Baked and cooled!

 

 

 


White chocolate bars with pistachio,tahini and orange filling

Who doesn’t love chocolate! Personally,prefer semi sweet and dark chocolate,but I love making any kind of chocolate,with flavor combinations that nobody every thought about,but actually work terrific together!I love the whole process  making chocolate bar. It’s a tedious job,but it’s a labor of love!The house bathes with the aromas of the roasted cacao nibs. It smells like brownies! The tempering of chocolate,that rich,dark full of aromas  goodness!

This time I made a white chocolate bar filled with pistachio, tahini and orange. These are some of  the flavors I grew up with. Greece has a big produce of pistachios and tahini. I remember as a kid,My grandmother,eating for breakfast tahini spread on a slice of bread and a grapefruit. “It’s healthy and it’s good for the cholesterol!” she has always said. She was forcing me to eat those,too but to me was so disgusting. I would prefer some Nutella instead of tahini! I found a way to make her happy,and let her know that I ate tahini,by incorporating pistachios,cranberries and orange. The cranberries give that natural sweetness that the filling needs and the orange brightens up the whole chocolate bar and the salt balances the sweet and rich flavors.

It’s great flavor combination,it reminds me of Middle East flavors packed in rich white chocolate.

 

white chocolate bars

 

 

Makes 6 4×1 inch chocolate bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • chocolate bar molds

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup pistachios
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tbsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • juice from one orange
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Instructions:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and add 1 tsp canola oil. That will make the chocolate smoother and will not harden fast. Or you can melt it in a bain marie (a hot water bath,fill up with water the 2/3 of a medium size pot and let it simmer on a medium heat. Place a metallic or glass bowl that fits on the top of the pot,add the chocolate and the canola oil and let it melt. Mix while it’s melting,butdo not over mix,because it seizes. Don’t let your eyes off of it!)

To make the filling:

  1. In a food processor,add the pistachios and pulse until you get a smooth paste,almost like a pistachio butter.
  2. Add the tahini and the rest of the ingredients except dried cranberries. Pulse until you get a smooth and thick paste. Place the mixture in a medium bowl and mix in the cranberries. Put the mixture in a piping bag(or Ziploc) and cut the tip-off.

To assemble:

Take your chocolate molds,add a tablespoon of the melted white chocolate,try to get all over the molds,leave it for a minute.

Turn the molds upside down and try to scrape with a spatula the remaining white chocolate,while it’s still upside down. Clean the sides of the molds. It’s a little bit of a messy job at first,but it’s actually very easy to make!

white chocolate process 1

With your piping bag,pip a little bit in every well of the chocolate mold.

white chocolate process 2

Try to fill almost the 2/3 of the well. Let it  sit for a minute or two. Drizzle the rest of the white chocolate and smooth it with a wet spatula.

white chocolate process 3

Place the chocolate molds in the freezer until hardens.

Note: If you don’t have chocolate bar molds,you can use you muffin tins and make white chocolate cups,or chocolate barks instead.