Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

gluten free cupcakes

Is there anything that will cheer you up better than a cupcake? There are few things that can put a smile on my face quicker than a delicious mountain of frosting perched atop a perfectly individually sized hunk of cake.

That being said, when I found out a good friend of ours had been "couched" with a ski injury, I knew just the ticket to make him feel at least a little better about the whole ordeal.

CUPCAKES!!!


It's fortunate for him that I suffered a wheat allergy and had plenty of random, non-wheat flours hanging around the house. And it's fortunate for me that I got to use some of them because I'm certain they don't last forever!

Since I'm not a full-time non-wheat-eater, I haven't spent great amounts of time practicing and testing different combinations. I mostly stick to good ol' Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour when I am baking because I know the combination works the way I need it to. Well, of course I wouldn't have anymore of THAT in my box! So I had to improvise. And I have to say, I'm pretty dern proud of how they came out.
gluten free cupcakes


Gluten Free (and also, as luck would have it, vegan) Chocolate Cupcakes with (not vegan) Peanut Butter Frosting


2 cups Mr. and Meatless' all purpose gluten free flour (see recipe below)

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce


1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 cup coconut sugar (feel free to go ahead and use regular old white sugar if you wish. I use this because my mom is allergic to the white stuff and she usually likes to taste test)

sprinkling of salt

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

3/4 cup almond milk

Yep, that's it. Now throw it all in your mixer and let 'er rip! Scoop into a lined muffin pan and sort of flatten it out in there (use all the batter among the 12 spots). I also opened the oven and patted them into the correct shape just as they started getting firm on top, just to make sure they didn't come out all hoaky. The batter is THICK, and it seems wrong, but it'll be okay. Have a lil faith. Anyway, bake for about 20 minutes...the tops will be firm and you can poke them with a toothpick and the pick will come out not soupy. Let them cool all the way before frosting.

Mr. and Meatless' all purpose gluten free flour


2 cups brown rice flour

1 cup sweet sorghum flour

1 cup coconut flour

1 cup potato starch

Whisk all the flours and starch together. Use what you need, then store the rest in an airtight container in the fridge for ultimate freshness.

Peanut Butter Frosting


I have a hard time with frosting recipes. I keep adding stuff until it tastes right, but this is more or less the gist of it.

1 stick of butter, softened.

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup  milk of your choice

5 cups powdered sugar

Combine the butter and peanut butter in a largish bowl. Next add the powdered sugar and milk and stir until just mixed. It IS possible to overmix and then your butter gets all melty and your frosting is too soft and it's all a big mess. This is also why I use a spoon and not my mixer. If you've mixed a reasonable amount and your frosting is too thick, add a little bit more milk...like a splash at a time. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar.
gluten free cupcakes

Wasn't that amazingly easy? I've always been intimidated by gluten free baking. But these, my friends, were both incredibly easy to make and completely delish. Enjoy!
gluten free cupcakes

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Thirteenth Tale: Book Review

[caption id="attachment_1196" align="aligncenter" width="318"]thirteeth tale source[/caption]

We read The Thirteenth Tale for book club two months ago (yes, I'm a little behind writing the review. That's  just me. I'm learning to accept it; you should too), and I think we all agreed we enjoyed it, but we also seemed to agree that it was....quirky.

The story is about an amateur biographer, Margaret Lea, who is hired by a famous author, Vida Winter, to write her life's story before she passes away. It travels from present time to Vida's childhood and back throughout the book, chronicling the ins and outs of Ms. Winters' troubled childhood growing up in a rural English manor house and the family secrets that made her the person she became. For the sake of giving away too many details about the book, I'm going to leave the description at that. If you need more info, feel free to visit Goodreads.

The hardest thing for me about this book was my inability to really grasp the characters in present time. Margaret is troubled, melancholy and has potential to be very interesting, but she seems to fall a bit flat to me. Likewise, Ms. Winter has moments where she becomes very interesting, but just as I was starting to feel a connection to her or some sympathy for her, the author snapped to a different direction, leaving that bit of feeling hanging in the wind.

I have a hard time really describing my feelings about this book. I felt very compelled to continue picking it up, continue devouring the story, but at the same time, I felt continuously disappointed. And sad. It was truly a sad story. Each character either died or lost everything that meant something to them...or both. And at times it was hard to follow exactly what was going on in the story. There were a lot of instances where you simply had to assume that what you thought was happening actually was happening. There wasn't always confirmation in the following sentences or chapters.

Overall, I'm glad I read this book. I'd been wanting to read it, and now I can say that I have. I won't say it changed my life or gave me a new perspective on the world or on literature or anything like that, but it was entertaining enough to get me from start to finish without giving up.