Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel Trifle

Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel Trifle

Chocolate cake, pudding, whip cream and caramel: This dessert is not only delicious, but it's easy to create and fancy enough for company. You can make all or some of the parts from scratch. I like to make my own gluten free chocolate cake but I usually save time on the other steps by using instant pudding, cool whip, and gluten free caramel ice cream topping.

I'm sharing my favorite chocolate cake recipe today. It's easy to make and comes out moist without being heavy or dense. If you want to make Chocolate pudding this recipe for chocolate pastry cream is amazing! You'll need to reduce the corn starch to 2 Tablespoons so it's not too thick.

As always, read your ingredients carefully to make sure they are gluten free. Enjoy!

This recipe has a few simple steps before assembling the trifle. Start with the cake so it can cool while you prepare everything else. If you are making homemade pudding, make it while the cake is baking so it too will have time to cool.

Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel Trifle
(serves 12-16)

-9x13 gluten free chocolate cake cooled and cut into 1 inch squares (recipe below)
-3 cups gluten free chocolate pudding or large box of gluten free instant pudding, prepared
-8 oz whip cream, prepared or cool whip, thawed
-7 oz gluten free caramel ice cream topping (hot fudge would be good too)

In a large trifle dish or bowl (9 or 10 inch diameter) layer 1/2 of the chocolate cake squares. Put them on their sides (the inside of the cake facing up) so they will absorb the caramel and pudding. Drizzle 1/3 of the caramel topping over the cake squares then cover the caramel with 1/2 of the chocolate pudding. The pudding gets covered by 1/2 of the whip cream and then you start over with a second layer of chocolate cake. Continue with 1/3 of the caramel, the rest of the pudding and the whip cream. Finish with a final layer of caramel topping.  If desired garnish with chocolate shavings or toffee pieces. Cover and refrigerate 1-4 hours before serving. Or overnight. If you have any left over (doubtful) store in the refrigerator.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
(Slightly adapted from Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake)

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups Gluten Free Flour Mix
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350°F and spray a 9x13 cake pan with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl stir together sugar, gluten free flour mix, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be very thin and you'll think you've forgotten something - just keep going). Mix on medium for one more minute. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. I often find my cakes need the longer amount of time to bake (35 minutes) but every oven is different so watch and check your cake those last 5 minutes. Don't be afraid to add a couple minutes if you think it needs it. Remove cake from oven and cool completely.

Favorite Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

In 2008 I spent a good portion of time perfecting my favorite sour cream sugar cookies to be gluten free.  They are soft and melt in your mouth delicious.  For the past 4 years this has been my go to recipe for sugar cookies.  The last month there have been a lot of different sugar cookie recipes floating around pinterest including this one from Annie's Eats for "drop" sugar cookies.  Sugar cookies are one of my favorite, but they take so much time that I don't make them very often.  How great would it be to not have to roll them out!

I tried adapting Annie's recipe to be gluten free, and they really were fabulous.  The problem?  They were so soft and delicate that even when I made them small (think 3 bites to eat) and increased the bake time they would fold in half when picked up.

Not to be discouraged, I started researching recipes and experimenting to find a sugar cookie recipe that was quick, easy, and pantry friendly (no sour cream or fancy ingredients).  This recipe fits the bill and is our new family favorite.  My husband, who isn't the biggest fan of sugar cookies kept sneaking into the kitchen for more - now that's saying something!!!

Fresh from the oven

While these are not "technically" drop cookies, I had success with the following:  Use a cookie scoop to drop the dough on your cookie sheet and then flatten them to 1/4 inch thick with the bottom of a glass dipped in gluten free flour. (This is so the glass doesn't stick to the cookie dough.) I used cornstarch.  You don't even have to let the dough chill in the refrigerator. Bake as directed for the rolled sugar cookies and frost when cooled.

This only makes about 10-12 cookies which is perfect for me because I can't stop eating them unless they're gone! You'll probably want to double the recipe if you're serving more than 2-3 people.

Favorite Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
makes about 12 (I made six 4 inch hearts and six 2 3/4 inch circles)

6 Tablespoons butter at room temperature
6 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups gluten free flour mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

Corn starch for work surface
frosting (see below) or use your favorite
sprinkles or candies for decorating (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugars for 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.  Add in the gluten free flour mix, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum. Stir until well combined.  At this point you can cover the dough and let it chill in the refrigerate 1-2 hours or overnight before rolling or dig in and get to work.  I've done it both ways and they both turn out great.  The chilled dough is a little easier to work with.

Sprinkle your work surface and rolling pin with gluten free flour and spread it around with your hand.  I used cornstarch.  Divide your dough in half, putting one part on the floured surface and the rest back into the refrigerator.  Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick.  If the dough is sticking to the rolling pin or work surface don't be afraid to sprinkle on more cornstarch/gf flour.  I usually need 2-4 Tablespoons for the amount of dough in this recipe.

Use cookie cutters to cut dough into desired shapes and use a thin spatula/turner to pick up unbaked cookies and place them onto a baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart.  You can turn a drinking glass upside down to make circle cookies if you don't have cookie cutters - or even if you do!  Form the dough scraps into a ball and re-roll to 1/4 inch thick to cut out more cookies.  Continue with remaining dough; rolling and cutting as many times as needed. (this all depends on how big or small your cookies are and the shape they are in).

Bake cookies at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 7-8 minutes.  You don't want the cookies to brown so watch them carefully.  Allow the cookies to cool for 1-2 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.  Cool the cookies completely before frosting.

Sugar Cookie Frosting
adapted from Annie's Eats

1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4-6 teaspoons milk
food coloring (optional)

Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and half of the milk. Whisk until smooth.  If using food coloring stir it in until you get the color you desire.  Add more milk as need to reach the consistency of cake batter or the thickness you prefer.  It's basically a thinner version of buttercream, but not as thin as icing.  This frosting will harden as it dries.  Frost cookies.  If using sprinkles add them immediately after frosting each cookie so they will stick.
Decorating fun

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Mmmm...chocolate and peppermint.  An excellent pairing any time of the year, but especially perfect for Christmas baking.  Thanks to Caroline at the G-Spot for hosting this months ratio rally.  You can check out the bottom of my post for links to all the fabulous gluten free cookies created by ratio this month.

Ruhlman's ratio for cookies is 3:2:1 of flour:sugar:fat, but this produces a shortbread type cookie and I wanted to do a drop cookie.  Ruhlman suggests a ratio of 1:1:1 for drop cookies.  I was a little skeptical.  1:1:1 seemed like a lot of sugar and fat and I don't like cookies that leave a fatty film on the roof of my mouth (even if they taste good).  Since I am new to baking by weight, I decided to figure out the ratio for my favorite chocolate chip cookies and see how they compare to Ruhlman's.  It turns out that Ruhlman knows what he's talking about (surprise, surprise).  Shame on me for doubting!  My chocolate chip cookies have slightly more sugar and a tad less fat than the 1:1:1 ratio, but they were pretty close.  For these chocolate peppermint beauties I decided to compromise and do a 1:1:2/3 (or 3:3:2) of flour:sugar:fat.  To make chocolate cookies I used cocoa powder as part of my flour mix and I chose to use shortening as the fat because I didn't want a flat cookie.  You'll notice that there isn't any peppermint in the cookie.  My husband is not a fan so I only added peppermint to the frosting.  You could certainly add a bit to the cookie dough if you'd like.  These cookies have a slightly crunchy edge and a soft center.  They are delicious frosted or plain and would be fantastic with any kind of chip added in.  They'd also be really good if you sandwiched the frosting between 2 cookies.   I don't know how they are the next day - we ate them all within a couple of hours!

Gluten Free Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
yield: 15-20 cookies

100 grams brown sugar
66 grams shortening
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
75 grams gluten free flour mix
25 grams cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cream the sugar and shortening together.  Add the egg and mix until well incorporated.  Add vanilla and mix.  Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.  Drop dough by tablespoon onto an ungreased baking sheet.  I used a small (2 teaspoon) cookie scoop so they'd be the same size.  Bake for 10-11 minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and cool before frosting.

Please forgive me for not weighing the frosting.  My 2 year-old was helping and I got distracted trying to keep the ingredients inside the mixing bowl...

Peppermint Frosting
1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 teaspoons milk
1/4-1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (less if using oil)
Crushed candy cane for decorating

Combine powdered sugar, half of the milk and half of the peppermint extract in a mixing bowl.  Give it a little taste to see if you need more peppermint.  Add a drop of food coloring if desired.  Mix well.  Add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until you get the consistency you like.

Frost cooled cookies and sprinkle with crushed candy cane.  Allow the frosting to set (about 5 minutes) and enjoy!

Amanda | Gluten Free Maui | Simple Shortbread
Amie Valpone | The Healthy Apple | Grapefruit Sugar Cookies
Brooke | B & the boy! | Candy Cane Shortbread
Caleigh | Gluten Free[k] | Mulled Spice Cookies
Caneel | Mama Me Gluten Free | Cardamom Date Cookies
charissa | zest bakery | Coconut Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Caroline | The G-Spot | Double Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies
Claire | Gluten Freedom | Chai Latte Cashew Cookies
Erin | The Sensitive Epicure | Spritz Cookies with Jam
gretchen | kumquat | Classic Sugar Cookies
Irvin | Eat the Love | Apple Brown Butter Bay Leaf Spice Cookies
Jean | Gluten Free Doctor Recipes | Reindeer Cookies
Jenn | Jenn Cuisine | Basler Brunsli
Jonathan| The Canary Files | Vegan Salted Oatmeal Cherry Cookies
Karen | Cooking Gluten Free! | Mexican Wedding Cakes
Lisa from Gluten Free Canteen | Molasses Rum Raisin Cookies
Mary Fran | frannycakes | Pinwheel Cookies
Meaghan | The Wicked Good Vegan | Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Morri | Meals With Morri| Stevia & Grain-Free Thumbprint Cookies with Apricot Preserves
Pete & Kelli | No Gluten, No Problem| Belgian Speculaas Cookies
Rachel | The Crispy Cook | Melomakarona
Silvana Nardone | Silvana's Kitchen | Old-School Italian Jam-Filled Hazelnut Cookies
Shauna / Gluten Free Girl / Soft Molasses Cookies
T.R. | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies | Cinnamon Lemon Cookies
Tara | A Baking Life | Walnut Shortbread

Blueberry Pie

I've been looking forward to the pie ratio rally for months!  Pie has always been scary for me and I was determined to find a delicious and flaky crust that I could come back to year after year.  I also found a great deal on a Cuisinart food processor and was excited to incorporate it into my pie making routine.  I experimented with 3 different flour combinations and found one that I absolutely love.  Yeah!!!  I want to say that trial and error led to my pie success, but it was probably the food processor!

The pie crust ratio is 3-2-1 (flour-fat-water).  And once you find a great crust there's nothing stopping you from creating just about any kind of pie you can dream up.  The only negative is that an 8 or 9 inch pie is too much for our family.  We usually only eat half of the pie.  Enter the 6 inch pie dish.  When working with ratios you can easily scale a recipe to fit your needs.  Now I've got a recipe that is the perfect size for our family.  I'll be making pie year round!

This pie is for a double crust 6 inch pie plate.  If you'd like to make it to fit a 9 inch dish multiply everything by 3.

Gluten Free Blueberry Pie
6 inch pie

40 grams gluten free oat flour
40 grams white rice flour
40 grams corn starch
40 grams cold shortening, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
40 grams frozen unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
40 grams ice water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine flours, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until aerated.  Add shortening and butter and pulse 10 times or until mixture resembles course meal with a few larger pieces remaining. Slowly pour in the ice water and pulse 5 times or until the mixture just begins to come together. If mixture is dry add additional water 1 teaspoon at a time.

Divide dough in half, place on plastic wrap and form into a disk. Wrap each disk in the plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.  Make filling (below).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Remove chilled dough from the freezer and let rest on the counter for a few minutes before rolling.  If it's been in the freezer longer than 30 minutes you'll need to let it thaw a bit longer before rolling.  Unwrap the disk from the plastic wrap but keep the disk on the plastic wrap while you roll.  Roll out dough to an 8-9 inch circle (about 1/8 on an inch thick) and place into your 6 inch pie plate.  If dough rips gently press it back together.  Fill the pie plate with the blueberry filling.  The filling will be higher than the pie plate and might start to spill over but when it cooks it will shrink so you want more than you think you'll need.  Roll out the 2nd dough disk just like the first and gently place it over the filling.  Fold it under the bottom crust and use a fork to crimp the edges. Cut a few slits in top of the crust to let out the steam. Brush the crust with a little cream and sprinkle with sugar crystals if desired. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit on the oven rack one notch lower than the middle for 20 minutes.  You'll probably want to bake it on a cookie sheet to avoid blueberry juice spilling in your oven.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes.

2 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Stir together until all of the blueberries are coated.  Place in bottom pie crust.

For links to more amazing gluten free pie recipe visit this months host Lisa over at Gluten Free Canteen.

Gluten Free 7UP Biscuits

These soft biscuits are delicious and so simple.  You only need 4 ingredients including a gluten free baking mix.  I used Pamela's but you could use the gluten free baking mix of your choice.  We like them smothered with honey or homemade jam.

Gluten Free 7UP Biscuits

2 cups Pamela's gluten free Baking and Pancake Mix
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7-up
1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut sour cream into Pamela's mix and stir in 7UP until just combined.  Dough will be sticky.  Flour your work surface with additional Pamela's mix and pat dough out to 3/4 inch thick.  Place butter in a 9 inch square (or round) pan and place in the preheated oven to melt the butter.  Cut into nine 2 inch circles (I used a drinking glass to cut them).  Remove pan with melted butter from the oven and place cut biscuit dough into the pan.  Return pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Serve warm with topping of your choice.