Baking Cookies Everyone Will Enjoy

Closeup of a tray of fresh baked cookies, Chocolate Chip, oatmeal raisin Chocolate and white chocolate chip cookies on baking sheet and parchment paper -Baking Cookies Everyone Will EnjoyMost everyone enjoys a good cookie. But if you were to take a poll, and ask people what is a good baked cookie for them? Some might say, a cookie that is thin and crispy, another may say, soft and chewy, and yet another, light and cakey.

Crisp and Thin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Image Credit: Thin & Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies by: Handle The Heat

Do you have cookie lovers in your home who may prefer a cookie that is made the way they like it, that is crispy, or chewy, and possibly light and cake like? We have the solution to please all cookie lovers in your life.

To get a Thin & CrispySoft & ChewyLight & Cakey cookie, you need to make a slight modification to the ingredients in the cookie recipe.

Let’s use a basic Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. The following ingredients do not include the butter and sugar, as these ingredients are what determines what your cookies out come will be.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temperature

12 ounces chocolate baking chips

soft and chewy whole grain peanut butter cookie

Image Credit: Soft & Chewy Whole Grain Peanut Butter Cookies – by: An Oregon Cottage

If you want a Thin & Crispy cookie, you add this amount of butter, and sugar, with the addition of brown sugar.

2 1/2 sticks butter, softened

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

If you want a Soft & Chewy cookie, you add this amount of butter, and sugar, with the addition of brown sugar.

2 sticks butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

soft and chewy whole grain peanut butter cookie

Image Credit: Soft & Chewy Whole Grain Peanut Butter Cookies – by: An Oregon Cottage

If you want a Light & Cakey cookie, you add this amount of butter, and sugar, with the addition of brown sugar.

Take note, that in this adjustment you use unsalted butter.

1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

Baking Cookies 101

How does sugar effect cookies? To answer, we will share a little Cookie 101.  All sugars, either granulated, brown, powder or confectioners, have the ability to attract water. By doing so, sugars attraction of moisture helps keep it away from structure builders of the cookie, like the starch and proteins that are present in the flour and eggs.

The adjustment in the amount of sugar you do or do not put will determine the structure or substance of your baked cookies.

Another suggestion that will help to please your cookie lovers is using room temperature ingredients, particularly the butter and eggs.

How many recipes have you seen that call for room-temperature butter and eggs? Quite a few. Bon Appetit says that it’s a step you should not ignore, as many baked goods start by creaming together butter and sugar, which is made infinitely easier with gently warmed ingredients.

Is creaming the butter and sugar a big deal? Yes it is. Bon Appetit says, “Creaming together butter and sugar with a handheld or stand mixer, for example, should be done before the addition of wetter ingredients, like eggs. Why? The fat in butter holds air, and when whipped, expands. In the creaming process, sharp sugar granules slice through the butter, creating air pockets that ultimately give the pastry lift. Skip that step (or do it half-heartedly) and your end result will be dense and heavy (BonAppetit).

Here is Amanda Grant, editor of The Co-operative Food magazine to show us how to properly cream butter and sugar together.

Now you know how to make a cookie, that all cookie lovers in your life will go for. And you may just become, the Master Baker At Baking The Perfect Cookie.

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Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Bread

Gluten Free  Blueberry Lemon BreadGluten intolerance is experienced by not few, but many individuals. In the USA  gluten sensitive affects 6% of the population, or about 18 million people.  Around 3 million Americans, or about 1% of the US population have Celiac disease, and must also avoid gluten.

Magazine DigestionA recently published study (May 2015) in the journal “Digestion” found that 86% of individuals who believed they were gluten sensitive could tolerate it (Resource).

Stefano Guandalini, MD, director of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, says that gluten sensitivity, a condition that doctors once dismissed but now is recognized as legitimate complaint from patients (WebMD).

The most common symptom to gluten intolerance is bloating right after eating any flour product, like bread, that contains gluten.

This is why the author of Splendid Recipes and More eats gluten free as much as possible. The only gluten free products we buy prepackaged, are pastas make with a legume flour, quinoa or brown rice flour.

Sourdough Bread on Cutting BoardAlso sourdough bread has only about 3% max gluten after the fermentation process. We prefer this bread over any other, as we do not bloat after eating it.

You might think, what is wrong with bloating some for a bit, as it will go away? This maybe true, but bloating is a symptom of digestive issues as well as inflaming the digestive tract.

Also if you find yourself wanting to fall asleep after eating gluten containing foods, that is a symptom that your digestive tract is having difficulty digesting the food.

We have a Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding, that will put me to sleep while it is digesting. But if I make the dessert with sourdough bread or a gluten free loaf of bread, that doesn’t happen.

All I know is after cutting gluten from my diet, I feel much better. No bloating, and some weight loss, as much as 22 pounds. Though going gluten free was not done so as to lose weight.

Now for our featured recipe – Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Bread – and here is what you will need.

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt

4 eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil or clarified butter, melted

bowl of fresh blueberries1/3 cup honey or maple syrup

3 tbsp. lemon juice

zest from 2 lemons

1 1/2 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease a glass loaf pan and cut a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom.

Combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs, coconut oil, honey or maple syrup, lemon juice, and lemon zest until well combined.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until well incorporated.

Spread one third of the batter onto bottom of prepared pan.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the blueberries on top.  Spread another third of the batter and another third of the blueberries.  Repeat one more time with the remaining batter and berries.

If you wish not to do this step, just mix the berries into the batter.

Next place baking dish into the oven and bake 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cover with foil if top begins to brown too much.  This is one draw back of gluten free baking, is the top of the cakes seem to brown fast.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Gluten free baking is really an art. How so? Will if you are use to baking with gluten containing flours, from a grain, and not flour from a nut, it can be caught difficult, if not to say stressful. We say stressful, because of all the effort and time you spent on preparing and baking, to only have a flop as they say, is stressful.

Slice of Gluten Free  Blueberry Lemon Bread topped with Organic ButterIf your first gluten free dessert doesn’t turn out perfect, just try again, like we did. Link here to view our very first gluten free dessert here at Splendid Recipes and More.

It was delicious, though the texture was not right. We kept trying and have come out with some good results.

Desserts made with almond flour and even coconut flour, taste really good with a good Italian or French roasted coffee, or even an Espresso.

Serve the dessert bread warm with a dab of organic butter or coconut butter.

Please leave us your thoughts on going gluten free.

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Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Lasagna

Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Lasagna

Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Lasagna

Do you worry about weight gain? If your nutrition currently comprises of processed food products, like those that contain simple sugars and refined flour, changing to gluten free eating could help result in weight loss.

Even if you do not have celiac disease, but still experience bloating, vomiting, weight loss, constipation, chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain, and including sneezing, runny nose, headache, and moodiness after eating a product with gluten, then maybe you are allergic to it.

Are you an Autistic adult, have a autistic child? Then a gluten free diet would be to your advantage. Autism is known for causing communication difficulties and social impairments. It is believed that autism among other things, could involve the digestion of peptides, which are similar to proteins, making changes in your diet could help with autism treatment.

Even though evidence is inconclusive, many autistic adults and parents with children who are autistic have found that gluten free eating helps in controlling some behaviors linked to autism, and helping to manage the condition.

Medical science notes that while gluten consumption may not necessarily cause the disease, but it does inflame these conditions (celiac disease and autism) or contribute to flare-ups.

If you love pasta (which contains gluten), you can still enjoy it, eating gluten free. Give our featured recipe, Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Lasagna , and see for yourself.

Here is what you will need.

8 ounces lasagna noodles, gluten free (we used a no-boil ready to cook product)

1.5 pounds of shredded, cooked chicken

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

1.5 – 18 ounce bottles BBQ Sauce (without soy or canola oil or any gmo product)

15 ounce can black beans, rinsed

1 1/4 cup corn kernels, frozen

1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, chopped

1 teaspoon chili powder

3 cups shredded Italian 3 cheeses

1/4 cup spring onions, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

ingredient mix in a large bowlPrepare and add the chicken, red onion, spring onion, corn, black beans, and roasted red bell pepper to a large mixing bowl.

mixing in chili powder and BBQ sauceNext add chili powder and BBQ sauce, and mix until well incorporated.

coating bottom of pan with BBQ sauceNext coat the bottom of a 13×9 inch glass baking pan with some BBQ sauce. Now layer in some gluten free lasagna pasta. Next spoon on the chicken mixture, top with cheese, and continue with two more layers, finishing with a hefty layer of cheese.

Bake for 55 minutes in heated oven covered with foil, and then uncover and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

just out of the oven - Gluten Free BBQ Chicken LasagnaRemove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes.

Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Lasagna - detailed close upPlate and serve.

 

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Gluten Free Penne with Caponata Sauce

Gluten Free Penne with Caponata Sauce

You have no doubt heard of people who eat a gluten free diet. A gluten free diet excludes gluten, a protein found in wheat and related grains, like barley and rye. Gluten causes health problems in those who suffer with Celiac disease (CD) and in some cases those who may have allergies to wheat.

Some have argued we need carbohydrates and wheat needs to be eaten. Also others have voiced that eating Gluten free is just a fade diet. Are these statements true? We would say no.

Making the choice to take gluten out of your diet is for health reasons, and it has nothing to do with losing weight, as most fade diets proclaim. Secondly, you can obtain the same amount of carbohydrates as you would in wheat products as you can in eating fruits and vegetables.

De Boles Gluten Free  pasta for - Penne with Caponata SauceThe fact is most substitutions used for wheat do have some carbohydrates in them. Such as the product we chose to prepare are featured recipe.

This product De Boles is not exclusive to just using white or brown rice flour or corn flour, no but rather it uses brown rice flour with whole grain quinoa flour and ground flax seed flour, as well as the rice bran.

This gluten free product has 4 servings with 41 grams of carbohydrates per serving. As there is whole grains, and bran, it will not raise blood sugar levels.

Now for our featured all organic recipe: Gluten Free Penne with Caponata Sauce and here is what you will need.

1 red onion

1 red sweet pepper

1 yellow sweet pepper

3 small purple carrots

2 zucchini

1 medium egg plant

2 cloves garlic, minced

14 ounce can roasted tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 – 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preapred vegtables for - Gluten Free Penne with Caponata Sauce

Cut all the vegetables into chunky dices, but mince the garlic.

Sauting carrots, onions and garlic in olve oil

In a large skillet, saute oil, onions, garlic and carrots for 3 minutes. Next add the eggplant and peppers, and cook 3 minutes more, stirring frequently.

Now add the zucchini and cook 3 minutes more, and again stir frequently.

Adding roasted tomatoes to suateed vegetablesAdd roasted tomatoes….

adding oregano

Add the oregano and stir in, till well incorporated. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Cooked pasta for - Gluten Free Penne with Caponata Sauce

Mean while, cook the gluten free pasta according to package instructions. Drain do not rinse. By this time the vegetables should have completed the 10 minutes of simmering.

Gluten Free Penne with Caponata Sauce

In a large serving bowl mix vegetables and pasta together. Plate and serve with a favorite meat, such as fresh ground turkey basil and feta sausages, from the Whole Foods Market. Enjoy!!

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Pumpkin Bacon Pancakes

Pumpkin Bacon Pancakes

According to the Health News Library, you don’t have to wait for Autumn when pumpkins are normally harvested to enjoy their cancer fighting benefits. They write saying that research performed at Tufts University with pumpkins showed that 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin or fresh cooked pumpkin has five times the daily quota for beta-carotene (vitamin-A) per day.

If you were able to read our article Curried Apple Pumpkin Soup, and was able to prepare it, you would find yourself with some left over pumpkin. Well, no worries, as the 1/2 can of left over pumpkin can be used in our featured recipe: Pumpkin Bacon Pancakes.

Here is what you will need…

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Pumpkin Bacon Pancakes - close up3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup pumpkin purée

2 large eggs

2 tbsp. coconut sugar

1 tbsp. coconut oil

4 to 5 strips crumbled cooked bacon

 

Whisk together in a large bowl the first 6 ingredients, and set aside.

In a separate medium bowl whisk together buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, coconut sugar, and coconut oil.

Gently stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture. Heat a cast iron griddle coat with butter over medium heat. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto griddle to form a 3 to 4 inch pancake. Drop some of the crumbled cooked bacon. Cook until golden, about 2 minutes each side.

Plate and drizzle with real maple syrup.

Prevention magazine (October 2012 issue) says, to better absorb the beta-carotene in the pumpkin add a healthy fat to the recipe, and in this case it  is the coconut oil. If you choose, you can use olive oil. If you cannot get your hands on some coconut sugar, then you can substitute raw honey.

 

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Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry Bread

Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry Bread

What is Xanthan gum? We ask because it is used as a substitute for gluten, with recipes using gluten free flours, either it be wheat flour with the gluten extracted, or garbanzo bean flour, fava flour just to name a few.

According to the Gluten free Bible Cookbook, xanthan gum is the result of the mixing of corn sugar and a bacteria. It is used in many recipes as a thickening agent and a replacement for gluten in many gluten and wheat free recipes. Xanthan gum is easy to digest.

The cookbook goes on to say if your making dessert breads that 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum is used per cup of gluten free flour. Cakes are 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, and cookies is 1/4 teaspoon.

xlarge_97834 The Gluten Free BibleThe author of the Gluten Free Bible Cookbook says, though it isn’t an exact science, the amount of xanthan gum you use will also determine the location or area you live in. If you living in a more humid location, you may need more gum to achieve the results you’re looking for.

If the location is arid, you may likely require less. The key to being successful at gluten free baking, is to experiment until you get a recipe that gives you the desired result. Start with a smaller amount than you think you need, and move your way up based on the results.

The cookbook also states it is better to bake in an aluminum baking pan over metal or glass. Doing so will result in a cake or dessert bread baked through and through completely, the middle portion will not be guy or dough like.

We didn’t know this when baking this dessert bread, and we used a metal pan, with almost poor results. We did bake other gluten free breads in glass, but we used corn starch, an except able substitute, in place of xanthan gum, with great results (link here to view Gluten Free Tropical Carrot Cake).

Splendid Recipes has decided to stick to corn starch or arrow root starch with our gluten free baking from now on.

Now for our featured recipe: Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry Bread

Here is what you will need.

1-1/2 cups Sorghum Flour

1/2 cup Garbanzo Fava Flour

½ cup potato starch

1/2 tsp powdered ginger root

1 tsp sea salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp Xanthan Gum or any starch, arrow root, corn, or tapioca

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

1 cup Brown Sugar packed

1/3 cup avocado Oil or coconut oil

1 cup Greek yogurt, plain

3 cups zucchini shredded

½ cup pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9 x 4 inch glass baking pan with butter and sugar, set aside.

mixing in pecans and cranberries to make Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry BreadCombine flours, xanthan gum (or other start of your choosing) , baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and ginger together in a bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixer bowl beat together eggs, sugars, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Add flour mixture slowly until just blended. With a large spatula, stir in zucchini, cranberries, and nuts.

Organic Zucchini used in the Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry BreadWe used non-gmo and organically grown zucchini. We did purchase them at the Whole foods Market and they did contain a produce tag and the numbers begging with 4, which indicates an organic vegetable.

baking pan ready to bake - Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry BreadPour batter into baking prepared pan ½ inch from top.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Bake cupcakes for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Remove cake from pan.

Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry BreadPlate and serve.

 

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne Pasta

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne Pasta - close up

Dinner was wonderful tonight with this gluten-free Penne pasta dish. It was mixed with a Brown Butter Sage sauce.

Sage has a history of being used in folk medicine apart from culinary uses. It is most commonly drunk as a tea, as the herb is good for the nerves, digestive system and for balancing estrogen levels in women.

Sage can help calm a fever, and is also natural blood purifier. It can also be useful for aiding the liver for detoxification purposes. Sage is also a natural nerve tonic to relieve a nervous headache.

Do you have joint pain, lethargy or a weak digestive system? Sage could be the answer for you.

Sage is usually an herb that accompanies chicken, and that is what the sausage is, a chicken sausage mixed with apple and cinnamon. The Penne pasta used in this recipe is a multi-grain gluten-free pasta. The grains include brown rice, quinoa, and amaranth. The quinoa seed is native to Peru, and the amaranth seed is native to Mexico.

Quinoa is not a true grain but a seed, and it contains the most protein when compared to any other grain. Both quinoa and amaranth also are great for keeping your blood sugars leveled.

Now for our featured recipe, “Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne Pasta” in a “Brown Butter Sage Sauce”. Both the chicken sausage and pasta are organically grown ingredients. Here is what you will need:

4 tbsp. olive oil

1 package chicken sausage

3 cups multi-grain gluten-free, Penne pasta

2 cups cubed, butternut squash

1 tbsp. dark brown sugar

½ cup pecan pieces

1 stick, salted butter

8 sage leaves, small

½ tsp. Himalayan Salt

½ tsp. black pepper

Slide a small baking sheet into your oven and preheat it to 400 degrees.

Cook gluten-free pasta according to package instructions. Any brand will do. We used De Boles.

preparing butternut sqaush for Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne PastaPeel and cube up two cups of butternut squash. In a bowl, toss the squash with olive oil, salt, pepper and dark brown sugar. Remove heated baking sheet from oven, add the squash to the aluminum folded lined hot baking pan and place back into the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once during the cooking time. Remove once the squash is tender.

searing chicken sausage for Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne PastaIn a large medium heated skillet, add olive oil and sear the chicken sausages on all sides. Remove, slice and add back to the pan to cook the centers.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sausage, pasta and butternut squash, and set aside.

We provided this 39 second video as an illustration  for making the “Brown Butter Sage Sauce.”

Heat a 10 inch skillet on medium heat. Place the stick of cold butter into the hot pan, lift and swirl the butter. Add in the sage leaves and keep swirling until the butter has completely melted, should be a deep brown color, but not to the point of burning.

adding pecan pieces to Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne Pasta

After you have poured the brown butter sage sauce over the pasta, toss to mix well. Sprinkle pecan pieces over top and mix in.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne Pasta - close upPlate and serve.

 

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