Gluten Free Salted Caramel Cookie Cups

I know Christmas is impending when the traffic within a ten mile radius of the mall is at a stand still. Thankfully, I went to yoga this morning and got my patience all sorted out, which made the traffic less bothersome.

Other signs of Christmas have included, but are not limited to:

-my mother cleaning the house, despite the cleaning ladies arriving the next day,

-my cat eating through the cord of Christmas lights (and is surprisingly still alive, currently digging through tissue paper),

-the arrival of family from all across the States,

-fifty degree weather (just kidding, not a sign of Christmas),

-a fridge filled with appetizers and salads up the wahzoo,

-eating cheesecake for dinner.

Just to add to the cookie craziness that has been in my kitchen and on my blog, here’s another recipe for the collection! One of my best friends is gluten intolerant, so with the help of another best friend, we adapted this recipe, Turtle Tassies, to suit a gluten free diet. These caramel pecan cookie cups are decadent, sweet, and perfectly bite-size. Not to mention, it was impossible for me to tell that these were gluten free. The package of cookie mix calls for vanilla, so if the gluten intolerant person you’re serving is severely gluten intolerant, make sure to use GF vanilla. Be careful taking the cookies out of the trays, as a few of mine weren’t baked enough and couldn’t support the caramel (my oven also cooks unevenly…).

1 package GF Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Butter, egg, vanilla (as noted on cookie mix)

3/4 cup GF semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 (14 oz) bags of caramels, unwrapped

1/3 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a mini cupcake pan with cooking spray. Make dough according to cookie mix box. Make 36 balls of dough about one inch in size. Press each ball into pan, press up sides to create a shell. Bake 8 to 9 minutes until edges start to brown. In a small saucepan, place caramels and cream and heat until melted. Reduce heat to low. Remove pans from oven and use the back of a wooden spoon to press gently on the sides and bottom of each cup. Bake shells for 2-3 more minutes. Remove from oven, place 2-3 chocolate chips in each cup. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of caramel into cups, top with pecans and a sprinkle of sea salt.

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Flour-less-ness

For my seventh grade French recipe project, I made a cooking video of me making flourless chocolate cake. My cake was a success. My video was not.

Unbeknownst to me, I had created something gluten free. This was before gluten-intolerance seemed prevalent and before I knew that some of my friends would later not be able to eat gluten products. My time in Australia thus far has shown me that eating gluten free can be easy because here, like some diets or fashionable eating lifestyles, gluten-free is in. Now there is a whole argument for whether this is any healthier for you, but I have neither the expertise nor willingness to discuss that here.

That being said, there are certainly delicious ways to eat without gluten, including these Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies. Toasting the walnuts beforehand will give your home a warm aroma. It reminded me of the roasted chestnut stalls that you see in cities like Paris and New York. The lack of flour and the use of egg whites gives these cookies a meringue-like taste.


Source: Smitten Kitchen

2 3/4 cups walnut halves
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 350. Place walnut halves on baking sheet. Toast in oven for about 9 minutes, until they are golden and fragrant. Let cool slightly, then transfer the walnut halves to a work surface and coarsely chop them.

Lower oven temperature to 320. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk the confectioner’ sugar with the cocoa powder and salt followed by the chopped walnuts. While whisking, add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is just moistened.

Spoon the batter onto the baking sheets in 12 evenly spaced mounds, and bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked. Let cool.