Lillie came home from school the other day with telltale signs of cupcake consumption ringing her mouth. During one of the copious snow days we had in the past few weeks we made a fresh supply cupcakes for both Lillie and Rosie to take to school and keep in the freezer there in case of parties. They are clearly labeled with their names and what they are "free of", just in case someone glances at the last name and gives Lillie Rosie's or vice-versa.
She told me there was a party for her classmate Rachel, and her mommy came in and played games. Then she went on to describe the flower cake effusively. Not once did she mention that she wanted to eat the cake, or that it wasn't fair that she couldn't have the cake like all the other children. Lillie just took joy in the fact that her friend had a pretty cake, which she enjoyed looking at as a piece of artwork almost. I felt she had crossed a big threshold in terms of dealing with celiac disease. She could socialize and go out in the world and not chant the "no fair" rant when she cannot eat what everyone else is enjoying. Her own cupcake satisfied her desire for cake, and self-acceptance of her situation satisfied her emotionally.
Of course, it is always nice when everyone can eat the same thing. What a joy it was to open Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, and see a section entitled Cakes Without or Almost Without Flour. The "almost without flour" cakes generally called for a mere 2 Tablespoons of flour, which is easily replaced with potato starch or any gluten free flour blend. I have found that potato starch works well for such substitutions and is the cheapest among the gluten free flour choices. With Passover fast approaching, potato starch should be in abundant supply in the supermarkets---stock up! Perusing further into this book I found other gluten-free friendly offerings in other sections of the book, including a brownie made with oats and a flour less cake created especially for the current Queen Mother of England (maybe that's the secret to her longevity). Given the fact this book practically leaped into my hands at the library, I found these recipes even more serendipitous and delightful. They are good for everyone to enjoy, and if made with potato starch are terrific for Passover entertaining (except the oat recipe).
I have simplified the directions for this recipe to make it "busy mommy" friendly. Ms. Heatter uses all the best techniques though. If you are interested in doing it her way, consult the book. I am interested in using the least pans possible in the shortest amount of time.
from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, p.p. 154-5
3 ounces (3 squares) unsweetened chocolate
1/4 pound (1 stick) sweet butter (or margarine)
1/2 cup dark or light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 2/3 cup (gluten free) rolled oats
4 ounces (1 heaping cup) walnut halves or pieces
Adjust rack to the center of the oven and pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving 3-inches of foil hanging over the edge on each side. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Place the chocolate in a medium sized microwave safe bowl and heat for 2 minutes. Stir until completely smooth. Chocolate may be returned to the oven for 15-second intervals if not completely melted. Stir in remaining ingredients in the order listed. Pour into prepared pan, and pack down firmly, smoothing the top.
Bake for 15 minutes in pre-heated oven. Remove pan to wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Then cover pan with a second rack, invert, peel off foil, and invert again, leaving the brownies right side up to cool completely.
Cut into thin bars, or chill first in the refrigerator to make cutting easier.
Yield: 24 bars