Archive for the ‘Gluten free desserts’ Category

My house smells like pumpkin pie. It’s one of the things I love about Fall–along with burning leaves, chilly rainy days and wearing socks again. On this particular rainy fall day I had a hankering for pumpkin something…pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread. I went with muffins because a Pioneer Woman recipe was so tantalizing, I couldn’t resist.

I’m no pioneer woman. If someone told me I had to live on a ranch and raise cattle, I might cry. I’ll stick to my little animal-free bungalow in Indianapolis. Either way, gluten free pumpkin spice muffins are never a bad idea. I dolled a couple of them up for the kids–they’ll eat anything involving candy corn…and frosting, so I knew they’d at least give it a try. Big hit, muffin and all. They’re super moist and great all by their lonesome (sans candy corn and frosting).

Pumpkin Spice Muffins
(adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

  • 1 cup Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup (heaping) canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Topping
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease 12 muffin tins or use muffin cup liners.

Mix baking mix, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together oil, pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Fold gently until mixture is just combined.

Pour into a greased muffin pan, about half full. Sprinkle each unbaked muffin with cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool. To frost or not to frost…I’ll leave that up to you.


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I’m going to apologize in advance for this one. I’m sure it has been done before, but for me, a Nutella sandwich with chocolate chip cookies as the “bread” is a natural outgrowth of two favorites: chocolate and nuts. It’s impossible to have just one. Hence, my apologies.

I used the Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix chocolate chip cookie recipe (see below). Shortly after I take them out of the oven, I drop a big, luscious dollop of Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread) on the underside of one cookie and top it with another cookie. Good gracious–watching that velvety chocolate squish out between the cookies is almost enough. Almost. It’s honestly one of the most simply delicious desserts I’ve had. I’m sure a scoop of vanilla ice cream wouldn’t ruin the flavor party. These would also be very cute as mini cookie sandwiches.

Pamela’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter
(I have substituted 1/4 cup of the butter with 3 tablespoons canola oil.)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, large
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix
1-1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (I like to use mini chips.)
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts


Yield: approximately 20 cookies
Preheat oven to 350°. Soften butter, add sugar, egg and vanilla, then beat together. Add Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix, chocolate chips (and nuts) mix thoroughly. Place tablespoon sized scoops of dough on a lightly greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Flatten. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until edges start to brown. Let cookies cool slightly and use a spatula to remove from cookie sheet.

Load ’em up with Nutella and enjoy!

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I’m one of those people–the ones who go on-line to get ideas for their kid’s birthday cake. They look at the pictures and say, “Hey, I could do that. And I bet I could do a better job, too, because these look like a mess.” There’s a reason they look like a mess–it’s super hard.

Dear little Owen turned 5 on Friday and something special had to be done. A Lego cake seemed like the logical choice as he lives and breathes Legos. That decision was my undoing. How difficult could it be to make two rectangles with little circles on top to replicate a Lego piece? I mean, really.

Not only was I making the Lego cake, but I decided it should be gluten-free so Amelia and I could partake. Who wants to make two birthday cakes? Not I. I ended up making two 8×8 Betty Crocker gf chocolate cakes to ensure I would have enough cake for the 10 people who would be eating it. If you’ve ever made the Betty Crocker cake, you may have experienced how it sort of puffs up in the middle. Not a big deal–until you’re making a LEGO cake. I needed two flat rectangles, so I had to carve out the shapes I needed from each cake to achieve said rectangles and still have enough usable pieces to make the circles to top the rectangles. It’s as exhausting and frustrating as it sounds. And I hadn’t even frosted it yet.

I made buttercream frosting and tinted half of it yellow and half of it green. I did a “crumb coat” first, something I learned when taking a Wilton cake decorating class a decade ago. (A lot of good that did me.) It allows you to not worry about getting crumbs in the final layer while still getting a good base coat of frosting on the cake. I chilled the cakes after the crumb coat and prepared for the final coat. Already I was aware that the rectangles were resembling ships rather than Lego pieces, but I forged on. No one was going to tell me that I couldn’t make a decent child’s cake. Someone should have.

It didn’t occur to me that it might be a touch difficult to frost between those little circles I had so painstakingly cut out with a knife. My smallest offset spatula didn’t fit between the circles so I turned to the handle of a plastic fork…not the best choice, but all I could find. It sufficed, but the results were less than exemplary. And then I ran out of icing. I was saving the undercarriage of the circles for last and barely had enough to cover–I could have used another half cup of icing, but so it goes.

Five hours later and half an hour before we walked out the door to the party, I decided to pipe the word “LEGO” onto each circle in white to make it more obvious what these big bulbus lumps of green and yellow icing were. To no avail. When I walked into my mother-in-law’s kitchen wielding the cake, she said, “Oh, cute! Are they submarines?”

So I won’t be attempting another child’s birthday cake any time soon. I even hesitate to show a picture, but in the interest of full culinary disclosure, I feel I have to reveal it.

When I showed it to Owen, he said very enthusiastically, “Thanks, Mom!” And isn’t that all that matters?

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I’m feeling a little upside down and inside out these days. The kids have started back to school, but tomorrow marks the first time they will both be in school all day every day. I’m sad. Just when I’m learning to accept that Amelia has flown the coop, Owen is waddling his cute little behind out of the nest. I’m not ready.

Cake will help, right? Cake always helps. Despite what Oprah tried to teach me for 25 years, sometimes I eat to comfort myself. Don’t judge.

The Betty Crocker Gluten-free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake was just what the doctor (me) ordered. I opted out of the pineapple rings with cherry centers and chose pineapple tidbits and pecans instead.

Betty Crocker Gluten-free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

9 slices pineapple in juice (from 16-oz can), drained

9 maraschino cherries, drained(I substituted pineapple tidbits and a sprinkling of pecans–no cherries.)
1 box (15 oz) Betty Crocker® Gluten Free yellow cake mix

1/2 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup water

2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla (McCormick)
3 eggs


1. Heat oven to 350°F. In 9-inch square pan, melt 1/4 cup butter in oven. Stir in brown sugar and corn syrup; spread evenly in pan. Arrange pineapple slices on brown sugar mixture. Place cherry in center of each pineapple slice. (Or use the tidbits and pecans.)

2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, 1/2 cup butter, water, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour batter over pineapple and cherries.

3. Bake 38 to 43 minutes or until surface is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately run knife around side of pan to loose cake. Place heatproof serving plate upside down onto pan; turn plate and pan over. Leave pan over cake 5 minutes so brown sugar topping can drizzle over cake. Remove pan; cool 30 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Store covered in refrigerator.

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I can’t do rides anymore. About 10 years ago the thrill went out and the pain came in. The jerking back and forth, stomach in your throat, head banging sort of excitement is lost on me. I used to love it…the Tilt-o-whirl, the Ferris Wheel, the big boat that rocks insanely high back and forth, even the Scrambler. Remember the Scrambler? It’s aptly named. All of this free-flying fun first experienced at the Pine County Fair, along with the illicit gambling at BINGO (I didn’t know I was gambling.) were relished each summer.

No longer. Now I go for the food. Mini Tom Thumb donuts, deep-fried cheese curds, corn dogs, elephant ears and all you can drink milk are some of my earliest State Fair memories from the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”–the Minnesota State Fair. Now I dine on Indiana sweet corn dipped in butter and that curly fried potato. I can’t complain. I shouldn’t complain. But I’m going to.

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that he’s taking a funnel cake tour of the Midwest. Instead of being envious (I so am.), I determined to make my own gf funnel cake as I anticipate this year’s State Fair. I’m still on vacation, so my rations were limited, but friends, I inspired myself with this little dandy. I’m not sure I’ve ever inspired myself, but when the golden brown, lacey-puffed, haphazard donut cake came out of the hot oil, I sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar (all I had) and bit into the delicate fried dough…BINGO!

I used Alton Brown’s recipe as a guide, substituting where I needed to. I’ll include his recipe here and let you know what I used instead in italics.

Gluten free funnel cakes


  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons) 6 tablespoons Land-o-Lakes whipped butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar McCormick cinnamon and sugar mix
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt I omitted because my butter was salted
  • 1 cup flour One cup Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix
  • 1 cup eggs, about 4 large eggs and 2 whites One cup egg beaters
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Powdered sugar, for topping McCormick cinnamon sugar mix


Boil water, butter, sugar, and salt together in a saucepan. Add flour and work it in until it is all incorporated and dough forms a ball. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer and let cool for 3 to 4 minutes. With mixer on lowest speed, add eggs, 1 at a time, making sure the first egg is completely incorporated before continuing. Once all eggs have been added and mixture is smooth, put dough in a piping bag fitted with a number 12 tip. (I used a large ziplock bag and just cut a little hole in the end for piping.) Heat about 1 1/2 inches of oil in a heavy pan. Pipe dough into oil, making a free-form lattice pattern; cook until browned, flipping once (use a spatula and fork together to avoid splattering oil everywhere). Remove cake from oil, drain on paper towels, and top with powdered sugar. Continue until all of the batter is used.

I noticed that the Minnesota State Fair has a 2011 gluten-free list; this is not a commentary on the Indiana State Fair, but it would be great if all the fairs would do this. I look forward to rooting out other gf things to clog my arteries this year, but until then, my funnel cake will more than suffice. I’m so encouraged that even without all the ingredients I needed, it’s still possible to make something delicious. Never give up on trying to convert recipes to make them gluten-free. You won’t regret it!

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Mom: How can you be eight already? I feel like you were just born.
Amelia: It’s okay, mom. Eight is still young.

We had Amelia’s birthday party today (though her birthday isn’t for a week) — five cute little friends at a pottery painting place with a cute little gluten-free chocolate cake to match. Thank you, Betty Crocker. The girls loved it and no one said, “Why does this cake taste funny?” And you know it didn’t because 7 and 8 year-old girls always say what’s on their minds.

How can it be 8 years already? How can it be 8 years since the NICU? Eight years since we found out our lives were going to change completely…instantly…miraculously? Happy Birthday, dear one. We love you.

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“We should have a bake sale and sell these!” Amelia exclaimed.

“No!!!!! I want to eat them all, not sell them!” Owen demanded.

Orange scones scored high praise from little mouths around here. I used the recipe from the Pamela’s Products web site–super easy and delicious (my two favorite words to use together). The zest is all the orange flavor these little babies need, but a shiny dollop of orange marmalade didn’t hurt a thing.

Orange scones

The best part is that after you enjoy these for breakfast, you can split them open, layer them with strawberries and whipped cream, and an impromptu strawberry shortcake can be yours in minutes. I intend to do just that with these perfect, orange-scented pillows.

Orange Scones


2-1/3 cups Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp butter
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk
1 tbsp orange zest


Mix the dry ingredients together. Cut in the butter using a two knives. Add the milk and beaten egg. Mix together with a fork. Dough will be thick. Drop large, tall dollops of dough (scones will spread when baking) onto lightly greased or parchment covered baking sheet. Sprinkle each with sugar. Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 15-17 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

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