Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gluten Free Lemon Meringue Bites ...tastes like spring!

OK, sooooooo Mother Nature appears to be struggling a little.  One day is sunny - blue skies - temps a rising, the next day, there's frost on the windshield. But you know what.... I'm ok with that (for now).  I mean, it's like a "tease" of what's to come... annnnnnnd with the promise of warmer weather...lesser clothes... means more motivation to try and kick things up a notch in the workout department.  That ALSO means every good push... deserves a lil' reward.  These are bite size - gluten free, with the real ZING of freshly squeezed lemons.  Have I mentioned how much I looooooove lemon "stuff" before?!  The tops of lightly toasted meringue, oh aaaaaaaaaand the melt in your mouth -taste of lemon pie - all in a tasty lil' package.
How can you go wrong?!

Gluten Free Lemon Meringue Bites

  • 1 prepared batter of Gluten free Cake Mix (I used the GF- Betty Crocker golden cake mix)
    • prepare cake batter exactly how it's recommended on back of box
  • mini cupcake liners
Lemon Filling:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup pasteurized egg whites 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Optional tool - kitchen blowtorch...LOVE THIS TOOL!  (though if you don't have one, oven broiler works too)

OK, some of you may wonder why I didn't post "how to" make the GF cake batter.  Well, that's because, each mix tends to request/use slightly different ingredients and such, so please use your favorite  Gluten Free Cake Mix, follow their directions on their box and then continue on with this recipe.... (this is the one I used....)

To Prepare the Lemon Filling:
- In medium heat proof bowl, set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together  eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice.

- Stir constantly until a space remains after spoon is drawn  through it.  About 8- 10 mins.
- Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl.

- Cover with plastic wrap, making sure wrap is directly on the surface of the lemon curd to avoid a skin forming.  Place in the fridge to cool.

- Preheat oven to 350F
- Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan, and fill 1/2 way with prepared cake batter

- Bake in 350F oven until golden, and toothpick inserted comes out clean, (about 8-10 mins)
- Remove from oven, and let cool on rack.  (fill more cupcake liners if batter remaining and repeat cooking process!)

- Fill each cake with a spoonful of prepared lemon curd

- Set filled cakes in fridge to continue to cool
To Prepare the Meringue:
- Using your stand mixer with the whisk attachment,  beat egg whites until soft peaks form
- Gradually add in sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form

- Using a pastry bag fitted with plain tip (or zip lock bag with corner snipped), pipe meringue on top of each filled cupcake, make sure meringue covers top of lemon filling completely. 

- Using your kitchen torch (loooove this thing!) *carefully* toast the tops of the meringue until golden. If you don't have a torch, place on cookie sheet, and toast under oven's broiler on high.  KEEP AND EYE ON THEM, they toast QUICK!

You can now enjoy these lil' mouthfuls of pure lemony bliss!  (or make ahead and store in an airtight container for up to 24 hours) No need to thank!  I'll be enjoying some more too! haha
Ok folks,  until next time.... hmmm... next time...  sweet or savory, savory or sweet..... wonder where my cravings will take me next!  


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gluten-Free NO BAKE Cookies-n-Cream Cheesecake,,,it's been how long!?!

OK OK... sooooo I've been a slacker.  I take full blame...  That being said, a lot has happened over the last few months in this thing called "My Life".  There's been UPS... downs (lots!)... buuuuuttttt I appear to be grasping onto that ladder...and seemly headed back UP. whew.  I can add another "activity" (or 2) to my "list" of hobbies... and have recently achieved something I never thought possible... YUP... this "Chick" can "Run".... and THAT my friends, deserves a lil' treat.....  Gluten-Free NO BAKE Cookies-n-Cream Cheesecake -Bite Size! 

These babies are melt-in-your-mouth, not too sweet, not too light, juuuuusssstttt right, and did I mention... NO BAKE!?  and GLUTEN FREE ?! Shut the front door! If I didn't mention the whole "GF" part...  as a taster... you wouldn't know.  I promise!   Super easy - minimal guilt - (I mean, they are "bite size"... the calories don't count when it's bite size right?!) haha

Over the past 6 or so months, I've gotten close with an amazing group of women.  It took the encouragement of one in particular that words cannot describe how grateful I am that she believed in me, took the time to "dummy" it down, push, and then run right beside me as I finished my first ever 10km race.  Love to hate... Hate to Love these awesome ladies!  NOPE... I wasn't the fastest (heck, not even close - TURTLE TURTLE), however was determined.  I was able to run, the entire race - non-stop, with my super amazing friend right beside me, pacing me, and making sure I didn't give up.  I'm down a few "sizes" in the looks department, and for the first time... in a long time...  am unafraid to wake up and look in the mirror.  I actually CRAVE exercise now.  weird.  who knew that could happen?!  Anyways...  mushy stuff aside... I am truly blessed to have this group in my life!  #YOLO.
I will say, my eating habits have changed... no no...  I wouldn't call it a "diet" (hate that word), what I'm trying to accomplish is a lifestyle change... no depriving myself of the yummy foods I love.. or the occasional indulgence in a glass (or 4) of vino...  I welcome you to join me on this next journey of mine... as I continue my training...  who knows where I'll take it...I'm just going to see where it goes... So far I've got a 10km, and a "7 Miler" (11.26km-ish) under my belt... and already looking towards another run in May...
BUUUUTTTT now... back to the YUMMY stuff.... hey, I've earned it!  Have you?!

Gluten-Free NO BAKE Cookies-n-Cream Cheesecake Bites

  • 1 pkg Gluten Free "oreo" type cookies 
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) Softened Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup Whipping Cream ( Heavy Cream)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • mini-cupcake liners (if using the mini muffin pan, if not - regular cupcake liners to match size of pan)
- Line muffin pan with liners, set aside

- Put 12 of the GF Oreo-like Cookies in a medium sized ziplock bag, using a rolling pin, elbow, whatever works ... crush cookies into fine crumbs

- Divide the crumbs evenly between the cupcake liners, pressing with your thumb to form a solid base for your mini-cheesecakes

- Using the Whisk attachment with your mixer, whip the Whipping Cream on high speed until stiff peaks form.

- Scrap with a spatula into a medium sized bowl, set aside.
- Place cream cheese, vanilla, sugar in the mixer bowl.  Using paddle attachment, mix on high until well blended and smooth.

- Place remaining cookies in ziplock bag,  this time,  crush so that there are larger pieces left (for the yummy chunky bits in the cheesecakes)

- Fold in the chunky cookie bits into the cream cheese mixture

-Fold in the Whipped Cream

- Spoon mixture onto top of crumb base. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour.

 Feel free to lick spoons.. bowls.. fingers..... while you are waiting for them to set in the fridge!
Being that I was headed off to a dinner with GF (Gluten Free) friends.... I couldn't just stop at one sweet treat!  ...  heck, it had been awhile.. I was on a roll.... here's a SNEAK PEAK... at the next upcoming post....  Gluten Free Lemon Meringue Bites...... See ya'll soon!