Sunday, October 31, 2021

Hello Again! Back from Hell Summer With Gluten Free Treats and More!

So, it's been a minute. The last time I checked in here, Alan was dealing with having screwed up his piriformis muscle while crawling under the house looking for a rat (a whole other story) and I had an unexpected kidney stone that was evidently caused by some chemo I'd had, and everyone was shocked that I never even felt it. I was beginning to feel like that character in Unbreakable, and who knows? I must have very high pain tolerance. 

In short, the Summer was pretty much a freaking mess.

It all started when the guy next door decided to do a MAJOR rebuild on his house, and since he doesn't live there full time, everything that was living there decided to move next door. To our house. That's what triggered everything and it took about 2 months to straighten it all out for the rats, Alan , and me. Fortunately everything is okay now. The rats went away, the piriformis is fine after much pain and the intervention of the marvelous Dr.Vu, and my kidney stone after ultrasounds of my innards etc came out all clear, it was a one-off. 

That was why I went dark for a while, as while we were dealing with that, we were also doing script changes (notes), I did readings on the BBC for their 9/11 20th Anniversary Remembrance, and we had our Go Bags packed an ready for the endless Red Flag Alerts during this summer's fire season. The Red Flag alerts kept me from using my Homdor Tandoor oven as there was a blanket NO BURN order out. No grilling, no mowing the lawns after 10 am...any spark could start a blaze. That was abruptly ended when the Cat 5 Bomb Cyclone atmospheric river pulled into town last weekend dropping 8 TRILLION gallons of water in about 72 hours. This is the little footbridge over Nathanson Creek just across the road

So the Go bags can go back in the closet, and pretty soon I can fire up the Tandoor again when they officially end high fire season warnings. This was the first year since 2017 that we haven't had to evacuate. This is a good thing.

Sitting in the middle of all this Summer craziness I started to think about dessert, and the fact that the holidays are coming up fast. A few years back I was hired to consult on the menu for Cocoa Planet Modern French Cafe. It was a totally gluten-free restaurant here in Sonoma. There were also a large number of vegan items on the menu.

While I'm not gluten-intolerant myself, many friends are, so I got into the habit of cooking for them and that's when the Cocoa Planet folks hired me to whip up some gluten-free treats for their cafe.

The cafe was sold a couple of years back when the owners moved out of state, so I figured maybe it's time to share these recipes with you. 

One of the main ingredients I've used in my cooking for several years is Aquafaba aka bean water. Aquafaba is the wonderful liquid that is left when one cooks garbanzo beans, or when you use the water drained from a can of 'No Salt Added' garbanzos.  Aquafaba has the same properties as egg whites and can be used in much the same way. It whips up beautifully, and can be used for nearly anything egg whites are. They are great for baking macarons. If you've ever baked macarons you might try using Aquafaba for a change-up, and if you've never baked them then this is a great way to start.

                         ROSE MACARONS

Here's What You Need:

For The Cookie:

1. The water from 1 16 oz can of no salt added garbanzo beans. 

2. 1/2 cup caster sugar

3.1/8 tsp cream of tartar

4. 2 tsp rosewater

5. 1 and 1/4 cup of almond flour

6. 1/2 cup powdered sugar 

7. 4 drops of red food coloring

For The Filling:

1. 2/3 cup of vegan shortening

2. 1/2 cup powdered sugar

3. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1.  Stand mixer

2. Decomax pen or pastry bag and a Silpat macaron mat

These are the two items above. They're pretty inexpensive as they're usually sold as a set. I paid 8 bucks for mine. Believe me they make this entire process super easy!

3. Food processor

4. Cookie sheet

Here's What To Do:

 Drain the water from a 16 oz can no no salt added garbanzo beans. Use the beans for hummus, or whatever strikes your fancy.

 this usually leaves about 3/4 of a cup of liquid.

Put the liquid into a pot, and reduce it over a medium/low flame until it's about 1/3 of a cup.

Set it aside to cool.

The water can be reduced and refrigerated overnight. Some people claim this gives a more egg-like texture. I do it both ways  and I don't seem to find any difference.

Next, place the almond flour in a food processor and pulse it a bit to smooth it out.

Add in 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and pulse it again

Take the contents of the food processor and sift them into a bowl. Toss out any grainy bits left behind.

Attach a balloon whisk to a stand mixer. Pour the reduced cooled garbanzo water into the bowl of the mixer. Blend on medium speed for  about 5 minutes

During that time add in 1/8 tsp cream of tartar.

After 5 minutes  have passed, raise the speed to high and drizzle in the 1/2 cup of caster sugar...

...and 2 tsp of rosewater.

Beat this mixture for about 8 minutes on high.

Toward the end add in 4 drops of red food coloring. You should have stiff glossy peaks when you're done

Take your bowl full of pink aquafaba and fold in the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture in two batches

Make sure to press the almond flour mixture into the side of the bowl each time and scoop it under to fold it in well.

Place  the macaron batter into a decomax pen or pastry bag.

And pipe the batter onto a silpat macaron mat placed on a cookie sheet.

When all the macarons have been piped, raise the cookie sheet a bit and drop it onto a firm surface such as a table or kitchen island to break up any bubbles in the batter.

Now, set the piped macarons aside for at least 2 hours before baking them. The idea here is to let the macaron surface become matte before baking.

Preheat the oven to 210 degrees. Place a rack near the top of the oven.

Bake the macarons on the top rack for 30 minutes.

Turn the oven off and  let them sit ion the close oven for 15 minutes.

Now, crack the oven door a bit and let the macarons sit in there for another 15 minutes .

When the time has passed, take the cookie sheet out of the oven and let it continue to cool before you remove the macarons .

When they've cooled, take them off the silpat sheet and place them on a cooling rack in pairs

 Now for The Icing!!!!!

In a mixing bowl add the shortening and powdered sugar.

Blend them together with a hand mixer.

 Add in the vanilla.

Blend until you have smooth buttercream frosting.

Place the frosting into a pastry bag.

Pipe the frosting on the bottom half of a macaron...

...then top with another macaron half in sandwich fashion.

Do this until all the macarons are filled. You should have 2 dozen macarons.

Now, place them in an airtight container overnight before eating. This is important for the texture of the aquafaba macarons!

The next day bring them to room temperature before eating.

And there you have it . Vegan macarons. Macarons are always gluten-free since they're made with almond flour. Andusing the aquafaba water and vegan shortening makes them totally dairy free!

I'll be posting more gluten free /vegan and gluten free desserts getting ready for the holidays . Chocolate Gluten Free Bouchons are up  next! 

Plus as soon as the burn order is lifted, I'm firing  up the tandoor again! If you want more of these sorts of recipes just hit me up here on on Twitter @kathygori

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