Sunday, August 3, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Being a big fan of chocolate cake, I give this one a gold star. This recipe may seem complicated to those of you who may be new at baking gluten free.  Once you have your pantry stocked with various flours, this recipe is very easy and quick to assemble.  I have not tried it with a store bought gluten free flour mix.

Many times the best recipes are created out of using substitutions.  That's exactly what happened here.  I was browsing the net for a way to use extra zucchini. Zeroing in on chocolate cake, there was a road block with every recipe I found. Determined to satisfy my chocolate craving I guessed, melted, measured, substituted my way to this amazingly yummy cake.  We have dubbed it the best chocolate healthy cake ever created.  It's best after being chilled in the frig.  Serve it with icing or just a sprinkle of powdered sugar.  Dreamland!!

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1 cup oil

2/3 cup 63% cocoa chips

4 beaten eggs

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup white rice flour

1/3 cup oat flour

1/4 cup each of these flours: potato starch, soy, coconut and almond

1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa

2 teaspoons soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum powder

3 cups of shredded zucchini

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Melt together chocolate chips and oil then cool and mix in the beaten eggs, set aside.  Measure all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk together until mixed very well, then whisk some more to make sure all ingredients are blended. Add one fourth of dry ingredients to chocolate mixture and stir only until flour disappears, repeat with rest of flours adding only one fourth at a time.  Do not over mix.  Stir in zucchini and vanilla. Pour into an oiled 9X13 cake pan and top with nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Do not over bake.  Cool and chill.  Serve with icing, whipped cream or a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

All Things Blue

Blue is known as a cool color, perfect for June and the beginning of summer heat. It's blueberry month in our part of the world and I love having the opportunity to gobble up handfuls at a time without paying grocery store prices. Last week my friend and I picked over 10 pounds each in a couple of hours, and with blue teeth and smiling faces we paid just $2 per pound!!  Now that's a way to stock your freezer!

I have collected many blueberry recipes over the years and each year have a new favorite. Since I'm trying a gluten free diet of course there's a new cobbler recipe. You will find it at the bottom of this blog post.  Trust me, no one will even guess it's gluten free.
With blueberries on my mind I was thinking of everything blue that brightens up the grounds here at Holly Hill Homestead. Take a peak at a few corners of our world.

Try a Strawberry/Blueberry Cobbler

Blueberry bushes can be used as landscape plants. Did you ever think about edible plantings for your yard? Why water only grass when it's easy to increase your food supply with peaches, plums, apples or cherries?

A simple inexpensive bird bath tucked in an iris bed. Maybe Mr. Toad or a butterfly will take a drink.

Blue hydrangeas add such romance to the gardens. Most years I forget to add lime that will make them pink but one year there were blue, lavender, and pink blooms all on one plant. I used both lime and coffee grounds.

Metal momma bluebird feeding her babies in whirly-gig fashion.
A friend gifted me with my first ever bottle tree. Right now it's at home by the chicken coop.

Lots of color has not been my garden style but with the vintage look being so popular it's been fun to slowly add items to the yard.  Blue really looks amazing with green foliage.  Wouldn't it be fun to build an all blue and white garden?

Most every day there is something new blooming in the Holly Hill Homestead gardens.  Who can resist cutting fresh blooms to enjoy inside.  Just before these hydrangea wilt they will be hung upside down to dry.
A word on drying hydrangea: Wait until the weather heats up around the first of July or so.  At this time there is less moisture in the plant and the blooms have begun to lose their moisture as well.  This is when I have the best luck in drying them inside.  Simply cut and hang upside down. Touch up with spray pain when they begin to lose color.

Keep June cool, keep it happy with pretty blue.

The promised "Gluten Free Blueberry Cobbler" recipe follows.

1/2 c. pecans, chop in food processor - then add:
1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. oat flour
1/2 c. white rice flour
5 T. cold butter and 2 T light olive oil
Pulse to process until butter is in fine pieces.  Press about half the crumbs in the bottom of a 9X9 inch baking pan, use just enough to make a thin crust.  Reserve the rest of the crumbs.
Bake crust at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until barely brown.
Meanwhile mix together:
3/4 c. sugar
3 beaten eggs
3/4 c. sour cream
3/4 c. gluten free baking mix (or use regular flour and 1/2 t. baking powder)
1/2 t. salt
3 c. blueberries (or use half strawberries, yummy)
1 t. vanilla
Pour over hot crust.
Mix together remaining crumbs and 1/4 c. brown sugar and 1/4 c. oatmeal.
Sprinkle over filling and bake at 350 degrees about 40-45 minutes or until set and not jiggly.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tea at Three

Spring time seems to be a popular season for tea parties.  I enjoy hosting out-of-doors but what ever the setting a tea party stirs up excitement among females. There may be ladies that have never attended a REAL tea party, only dreamed of grown up parties from the days of dollies and tiny cups.  Are you a coffee lover?  I think you will enjoy a little tea time.

 If you have never invited your friends for tea, consider the options.  Formal or informal, elaborate or simple, several friends or tea-for-two; no need to feel intimidated by the idea of hosting. Make someone feel special by inviting them for a chat over a steaming teapot.  Special moments with friends and family are cherished.

 Here are three recipes from my "Tea Party" files.  I keep a note card with new ideas, recipes that will freeze nicely, names of tea flavors to try, and party themes to consider.
Mint Ruffles Brownies
It's best to keep recipes simple, to save a lot of stress when preparing for large groups.  My Mint Ruffle Brownies are a basic brownie recipe, cut in tiny squares and topped with an easy butter cream icing that I flavored with 3-4 drops of mint. (use peppermint oil for cooking not peppermint extract, drops only) I used a leaf decorating tip to make the ruffles.
Lemon Macaroons 
 This Lemon Macaroon recipe is simply the basic macaroons recipe on the package of coconut.  Make an indentation in the dough before baking about 20-25 minutes, cool well and store airtight at room temperature. Fill with lemon curd the day of serving. So very, very easy. Use purchased lemon curd or make your own from my Easy Lemon Curd recipe.
Norwegian Bonbons
 These are a really special cookie, not quite as simple as others but so worth the effort. You can make them a few days ahead or freeze them with success, thaw while still wrapped then dip in thin icing.

1 c. butter
1/2 c. powdered sugar
Blend butter and sugar together until fluffy.
3/4 c. cornstarch
1 c. flour
1/2 c. chopped and toasted pecans
Add to butter mixture, mixing until well combined.  Chill about 30 minutes and roll into 1 inch balls.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until they just start to brown.  Cool well on wire rack.  Dip in icing and set on a cake rack to dry.
2 c. powdered sugar
1/8 t. salt
1/2 t. almond flavor, vanilla or lemon
1-2  T. milk
Mix with 1 T. milk then add more milk to make a thin pour-able icing.  Drop cookie into icing, turn over gently with a fork and lift out; use a fork in each hand.

Consider tea time just for your self, alone on a quiet afternoon.  Keep a few special teas on hand and indulge in a favorite snack, even toast and jam. I'm guessing that you have pretty tea cups and saucers, hopefully not forgotten in the back of the china closet.  I'm a coffee lover but there is something special about the ritual of tea served on a pretty tray. Add a new magazine to browse through in the porch swing and your stress level will drop at least 50 points.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Meanwhile Back on The Hill

Oh my, where does the time go? So much has happened since my last post. The Bed & Breakfast has been very busy and I am nearing the end of redesigning our gardens. The most exciting news as for additions is our cabin. Parkers Crossing Cabin, open now for a year and a half. We had a builder frame it for us and attempted to do as much of the finish work as possible. Tim did an amazing job with the wiring and plumbing. I got to do boring things like insulation and painting, sanding, more painting, more sanding. We love our little hideaway and lots of other folks do to. 
Parkers Crossing Cabin

Monday, January 3, 2011

More Cookie Exchange Recipes

If you missed the cookie exchange I'm sharing these wonderful chocolate cookie recipes. One is no baking and one fast and easy....great to get the kids involved...all delicious!

No-bake Choco Oatmeal Cookies (shared by Dorothy Lineberger)
1 c. soft butter
1 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 T. warm water
4 T. cocoa
2 1/2 c. uncooked oats
Cream butter and sugar together. Add cocoa, vanilla, water, and oatmeal. Roll batter into small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet, approx. 12 to a sheet. Flatten slightly with your hand and dust with powdered sugar. Let them remain until firm and set about 30 min., remove and store.

Boiled Cookies (shared by Loreta Durham)
1/2 c. butter
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 t. vanilla
3 c. instant oatmeal
(1/2 c. crunchy peanut butter or 1 c. chopped nuts is optional)
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Combine sugar, cocoa and milk. Stir into melted butter and bring to a boil then boil 1 minute while stirring. Remove from heat and stir in oats, vanilla and peanut butter or nuts. Drop by teaspoon on waxed paper. 3-4 dozen

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies (shared by Gwyn Weatherford)
1 c. soft butter
1 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 egg white
1/2 c. sour cream
2 t. vanilla
3 1/2 c. bread flour
1 T. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. mini semisweet chips
1 c. coconut
Beat butter and peanut butter until creamy. Add brown sugar, beat till creamy. Beat in eggs and egg white, sour cream and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and gradually add until combined. Mix in chips and coconut. Drop by heaping teaspoons, 2" apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10-15 min. or until lightly browned. Let cool on pans 2 minutes then remove and cool on racks. Store airtight up to one week.

Brownie Cookies (shared by Mabel Hall)
2 pkgs. German Chocolate squares (such as Bakers brand)
1 T. butter
2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/4 t. each baking powder, cinnamon and salt
1/2 t. vanilla
3/4 c. chopped pecans
Melt butter with chocolate in a bowl over another bowl of hot water. Beat eggs until foamy then add sugar 2 T. at a time, beat until thick (5 min.) Blend in chocolate. Add flour and other dry ingredients, then vanilla and nuts. Drop by teaspoonsful and bake at 350 degrees till lightly set.

Meringue Cookies

More recipes from the cookie exchange. Lots of folks are changing their eating habits in this new year. Meringue cookies are almost zero fat so you may want to consider these recipes if you are cutting fat intake. Here are three variations of wonderful meringue cookies.

Forgotten Cookies (shared by Margaret Durham)
3 egg whites at room temp.
3/4 c. sugar
1/8 t. cream of tartar
6 oz. minature chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat egg whites until frothy, slowly add sugar mixed with cream of tartar beating until very stiff.
Mix in chips and drop by teaspoonfuls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Turn oven off and put in cookies, leave at least 3 hrs. or overnight. Makes 3-4 dozen.
May substitute coconut, finely chopped pecans or well drained Maraschino cherries.

Chocolate Pecan Meringues (shared by Beth Ausbrooks)
4 egg whites at room temp.
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/4 t. vanilla
1 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/3 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 c. finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Beat first 3 ingredients at high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar and salt, beating until very stiff. Gently fold in chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls 1" apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 225 degrees for one hour placing one pan on middle rack and one on lower rack. Switch pans and bake another 45 min. until cookies are dry but not brown. Cool completely and store in air tight containers up to one week. 3-4 doz.

Surprise Meringues (shared by Shannon Vickers)
3 egg whites
1/8 t. cream of tartar
3/4 c. sugar
1/8 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 c. miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar with salt and vanilla beating until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved, about 5-8 minutes. Fold in chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 min. or until lightly browned. Cool on sheets and store in an airtight container. Yield: 4 doz.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chocolate Chunk Walnut Cookies

2 1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 c. soft butter
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. vanilla
2 large eggs
1 3/4 c. chocolate chunks
1 c. chopped walnuts

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Beat sugars, butter and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each one. Gradually mix in flour mixture, mix in chocolate and nuts. Drop by tablespoons full on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes then remove to cooking racks.

Makes about 5 dozen. Submitted by Frances Kersey