Category Archives: baking

We’re Crazy for spiced Nuts

 

I love nuts! I’m nuts about them. I’ve never met a nut I didn’t like. So I wanted to share a couple recipes with you for two varieties of spiced nuts.

pecans on the tree

 

cashews on the tree

The first recipe for cashews is delicious, with no added-fat, while the second recipe is not for the faint-of-heart since it uses a healthy dose of black pepper for flavoring.

 

cashew nuts

Sugar & Spice Cashews

2 egg whites

1/3 cup natural sugar or ½ cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon each, sea salt, cayenne, cumin and chili powder

¼ teaspoon each, allspice and ginger root powder

6 cups cashews, whole or large pieces

Pre-heat oven to 300-degrees. Line 3 ungreased baking pans with parchment.

In a large bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy but not stiff. In another bowl, mix all the spice ingredients together, then stir into the egg whites. Stir in the nuts. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pans.

Bake the cashews for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, then toss and separate the nuts using a metal spatula. Return nuts to oven, reduce heat to 250-degrees, and bake another 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove cashews from oven, stir again, then place pans on wire rack to cool. Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

 

pecans, loose and in the shell

Peppered Pecans

1/2 cup natural sugar

2 tablespoons sea salt

2-3 tablespoons ground black pepper

4 cups (about 16 ounces) pecan halves

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Heat a large heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat, add the pecans and toss for a minute or so, to bring the nut oils out. Remove from heat.

Sprinkle half the spiced sugar over the pecans until the sugar begins to melt, about 1 minute. Add remaining spice and repeat.

After 1 minute or so, pour pecans onto a baking sheet, spreading to cool. Seal air tight to store.

 

peppercorns

 

black pepper on the vine
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Gluten-free Oat Bread — Finally!

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I am so happy about this new foray in my gluten-free baking endeavors, I really don’t know why it took me so long to get to it.

I think one of the most interesting aspects of baking this recipe for yeast-bread (and I can’t say whether or not the others are like this since I’m just getting started) is that you are not making bread “dough”, it is more like a thick batter. In that sense, I find it a little odd not to get my hands pushing and kneading and smelling the dough, poking my finger in the risen loaf to see if it’s ready to bake… no, this batter goes right into the prepared baking pan, and there is only one rising — no gluten to develop! So, in that sense, it’s a time-saver.

It’s not crusty like a nice French loaf, but it is bread, it is Real, and it doesn’t cost over $7.00 for a fresh loaf at your local health food store. (I love you guys, but $7-something a loaf…)

We got burned out on most of the frozen GF loafs, considering their tiny size and “deflating” texture, although the sprouted-barley bread wasn’t too bad, it actually had a bit of chew.

So, before I share the recipe with you, let me first say that I got the original from Yammie’s Gluten Freedom, a website I haven’t investigated much except for this particular recipe. So allow me to give credit where credit is due. I have adjusted the recipe to make it a little less sweet. When I made the original recipe, the honey-sweetness and the cinnamon really added to the flavor, the essence, of freshly-baked bread. But to use it for sammies, I don’t care for bread to be so sweet. Either way, what a revelation for my and mine! Thanks Yammie!

 Gluten-free Oat Bread
2 scant tablespoons baking yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
2-to-4 tablespoons honey
4 eggs, room temperature (important!)
3-1/3 cups oat flour
1/2 cup corn starch or tapioca starch/flour
1/2 cup rice flour (white or brown)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
pinch cinnamon
(Note: If you do not have oat flour, you can take 4 cups rolled oats and buzz them in the blender as fine as possible to make oat “flour” that way. Measure 3 cups.)
Grease a 10-inch loaf pan.
Place the yeast and warm water in a large bowl, stir, and let sit until puffy — just a few minutes. Next, add the oil, honey and eggs, mixing well. In a different bowl, mix the oat flour, corn starch, rice flour, xanthan gum, salt and cinnamon. 
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until well blended. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and set aside someplace warm to rise for about 1 hour, or until it looks nicely risen.
Carefully score a few lines across the top of the loaf. (I didn’t do this and you can see what happened in the 2nd picture below.) You can also brush the loaf with an egg wash and sprinkle with oatmeal if you like. (I didn’t do the wash and the oats went a-sprayin’!)
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown and smelling like heaven.
 When the loaf is done, let rest in pan for 10 minutes then remove it to a rack to cool before slicing.
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As you can see from the above photo, there is some settling at the bottom. It looks doughy, but in reality it wasn’t. We cut it off anyway. I think it was like that partly on account of not scoring the bread so it got squished down. Or maybe there was too much oil at the bottom of the pan. I’m not sure.
What I can tell you is that it tasted wonderful. I was very happy with my first attempt at gluten-free yeast bread that I’ll even share a couple pix of the rolls I made a couple days later (less sweet, added sorghum flour to recipe) (no, I never can leave well enough alone!). Remember that because it’s batter you need to use a “container” to bake them in, thus the well-used muffin pan. I’d love to have a cast-iron muffin pan!
I hope my experience/experiment with baking gluten-free bread will encourage you to give it a try too. I don’t know what took me so long! P.S. Did I mention the toast?
7 December  2013
Addendum
I made another loaf today, in a smallish round cast iron pot, and it came out good. One difference in what I did today was use “rapid-rise” yeast, mixed in with the flour, instead of plain granular yeast (no need to proof); I also made sure the eggs weren’t fridge-cold. It rose to double in half an hour! And it didn’t collapse when bringing it back downstairs or scoring the top!  I am very pleased with the results, and I’ll tell ya, it’s hard to stay away from this bread.
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