Friday, June 10, 2011

Gluten-Free Coconut Macaroons

This recipe is from "Gluten-Free Baking with the Culinary Institute of America" ... I have adjusted the baking time a little. These little macaroons are perfect if you're craving a Bounty bar! They are delicious, but best eaten the day you make them, as they dry out quite quickly. This should not be a problem because they are awesome!!

6 egg whites
2 cups granulated sugar
5 3/4 cups + 1 tbsp Dried Coconut (I use unsweetened)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine egg whites & sugar in a metal mixing bowl (one that will fit over a pot of simmering water, or use double boiler)
Heat the mixture over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 120F on a candy thermometer. Make sure the sugar is dissolved, then remove bowl from heat.
Add coconut & vanilla and blend well.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop up cookie dough firmly with a tablespoon - use another spoon to form into a ball and place on prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until bottom edges are golden brown. Do not overbake! Centers should be moist.
Cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Optional: Melt chocolate & dip bottoms of cookies - place on clean piece of parchment paper & set aside until chocolate is firm.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Working with Whole Wheat Flour

It is very important to remember that whole wheat flour is different from white flour in a few different ways. Often, whole wheat flour can be used instead of white flour with little or no consequence, but it will behave differently throughout the course of the recipe.

1) Whole wheat flour absorbs liquid more slowly than white flour - you must give the flour a few minutes to soak up the liquid, or even add an additional tablespoon of liquid.

2) Whole wheat flour is more dense than white flour. While you can make your cakes with whole wheat flour, you shouldn't expect to have the same results as using white flour.

3) When making breads with whole wheat flour it is important to allow your dough to rise to at least double the volume. This can take 1 1/2 to 2 hours - so be patient! (It will be worth it)

Remember to consider what you are baking when you make the decision to sub in whole wheat flour: Cakes, pastries and other delicate goods are known for their light and airy textures. Try using whole grain pastry flour, but remember that it will taste different than white flour! Generally, I have found that you can use whole wheat flour in the following baked goods with little or no difference in the final product:

~ Muffins
~ Banana/Zucchini/Carrot Breads and cakes
~ Bread (as long as you knead the dough for longer, and allow it to fully rise)
~ Cookies, especially ones containing oats, bran, coconut, etc.

There are other goods that you may want to consider using half white flour and half whole wheat, such as:

~ Pancakes
~ Baking powder biscuits
~ Cinnamon buns and other "fluffy" bread products

With a few things in mind, you can easily use whole wheat flour in place of white flour. Sometimes you need to experiment in order to eat healthy food - but in the end it is always worth it when you can make your cake and eat it too ~ with no guilt! We all do what we can when it comes to making better choices, and using whole wheat flour - or other flours - is a great way to start!

*For anyone out there wondering about gluten-free flours, I am in the experimental stages of this myself, and I will be sure to keep you updated!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tips for Making Muffins

Welcome to the new Baking By Design blog! The purpose of this blog is to inform potential customers of the goods I have to offer, as well as to get your feedback if you've tried my goodies before.

For my first blog post, I'd like to offer some tips to those at home who prefer to bake their own goodies. Today I am focusing on Muffins. Here are some simple tips to get the best muffins:

1) Throw away the paper liners ~ Instead, liberally spray cooking oil on your muffin pans, including the top surface.

2) Don't overfill ~ Some recipes instruct you to fill the muffin cups right to the top. I find that the muffin top ends up sticking, leaving you with the frustrating task of trying to pry them free. Fill muffin cups one half to two-thirds full.

3) If you don't have enough batter to fill all the cups in your tin, fill the empty ones halfway with water ~ this helps the muffins to bake evenly, and also provides extra moisture while baking.