Saturday, September 24, 2011

Short and Sweet


Since I am very busy preparing for the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, this blog post will be short...but sweet. I found some great new recipes I felt I had to share!

For those uninitiated, people are supposed to eat sweet foods, such as apples and honey, sweet raisin challa and sweet kugels on Rosh Hashana to symbolize a "sweet" new year. When Lillie saw all the round (a traditional shape for new year's challa) raisin challa's I had made for the rest of the family on the cooling rack, she declared she wanted raisin challa too. Her favorite brand of oat challa is Katz's, and they do carry a 10-ounce raisin challa. I felt that was a bit too big for Lillie, so I ventured to make my own. Since Lillie has what may be called a "discriminating palate", she had rejected my numerous oat challa attempts in the past in favor of store bought. But I decided to give it one more try. Instead of using 100% oat flour I mixed it with my favorite gluten free all purpose brand, in a 50/50 ratio. Oat flour is the only gluten free flour upon which one can make "Hamotzi", the blessing on bread said before Shabbat and Yom Tov (holiday) meals (and any other time bread is eaten). So I couldn't use solely the all purpose gf flour. I adapted a recipe from Jules Gluten Free blog with surprisingly good results.

If you are frantically preparing for the holiday like me, and have a page long list of things to cook, you may want to buy desserts. No fear if like most people, you don't have a gluten free bakery near you, try some of Katz's new items. They kindly sent me some samples of their delicious new offerings. Included were a traditional Apple Pie. Lillie liked the crust best, I liked the filling, which had a homemade feel and was not too sweet and gooey---the way I like it! The new Coffee Bundt cake had a very good look and texture, and is worth the $10 price, in my opinion. It came with a separate container of icing, which I felt had a very strong coffee flavor. So if you like that then use, if not, serve plain or dust with powdered sugar. The Sugared Snack Poppers evoked a Proustian memory in me when I "popped" them in my mouth---Kichel! Now on their website Katz's writes "Kichel" in parenthesis. These are light little cookies with a sugary dusting. The website is currently offering a special of free shipping on orders over $30.

Katz is generously giving away a box of 5 of their gluten free baked goods. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite holiday baked good, and your e-mail address (so I can get in touch with you if you win), and you will be entered in the giveaway. The deadline for entering the giveaway is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, October 3rd, 2011. The winner will be picked at random from entries that contain an e-mail address.

Another Rosh Hashana tradition is to eat simanim, or symbolic foods, which corresponds to different good tidings for the new year. One of them is dates. I generally buy a big container, and they are popular for a few days, then sit hardening in my cabinet until Tu b'shvat. I happened to come upon a great recipe to use up extra dates.

So I wish you a Shana Tova...a sweet, happy and healthy new year!

Sweet Raisin Challa

Adapted from Jules Gluten Free blog

non-stick cooking spray
1/3 cup warm water
1 packet (2 1/4 tsp.) rapid rise gluten free yeast
1 tsp. granulated cane sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
4 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey, agave nectar or molasses
2 cups all-purpose Gluten Free Flour* (I used Jules brand)
2 cups gluten free oat flour
4 teaspoons xanthan gum
3 Tbs. + 2 tsp. granulated cane sugar
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, optional

*If your all-purpose gluten free flour blend contains xanthan gum (like Jules) or guar gum, reduce xanthan gum in recipe to 2 teaspoons.

Preheat your oven to 200º F, then turn it off; if you have a warming drawer, you may set that to low/moist setting instead. Spray baking pan (see below) with non-stick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix together the warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar to proof the yeast; set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the remaining wet ingredients and mix until combined. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. After 5 minutes of proofing, stir in the yeast-water mixture into the wet ingredients (note: if your yeast isn’t bubbling at this point, throw it out and start again with fresh yeast). Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until fully integrated, then mix 2 minutes more on medium speed.

Spoon batter into prepared pans.

To achieve the round challa shape for Rosh Hashana here are some options:
*"Texas Size" giant muffin pans (about 6-8)
*Cupcake pan (about 12)
*Mini-Bundt Pan (about 6)
*Place a ramekin or custard cup in center of a round cake pan, spray all well with non-stick cooking spray, pour batter around ramekin (2 medium)
*Pour batter into 2 8-inch round cake pans
*Bundt pan (2 small, 1 large)
*Gently form dough into a rope with (gluten free) floured hands and roll into a coil on a parchment lined baking sheet (2 small, 1 large)

Place in a warming drawer set to low heat, or into the warmed oven for approximately 20 – 30 minutes. (Don’t expect the bread to rise much at this stage). Once risen slightly, brush with egg wash, if desired.

Bake in an oven preheated to 350º F (static) or 325º F (convection) for 20 minutes. Remove to cool on a wire rack.

May be wrapped in foil or frozen in a zip-top plastic bag. Warm before serving.

Chewy Date Bars
from The Top 100 Recipes for a Healthy Lunchbox by Nicola Graimes, p 127

Non-stick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped, pitted, dried dates
1 cup water
1 cup all purpose gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
4 Tablespoons sunflower seeds
4 1/2 ounces unsalted butter or non-hydrogenated margarine

Spray an 11x7 inch baking pan with non stick cooking spray.

Put the dates and 1 cup water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes until dates are soft and water has been absorbed. Puree the dates in a blender and let cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F degrees.

Meanwhile, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, oats, and seeds in a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter or margarine until the mixture is soft and crumbly. Spoon 3/4 into the prepared pan and press down to make an even layer.

Spoon the date mixture over the oats in an even layer, sprinkling with the remaining oat mixture, and press down lightly. Bake 25 minutes until golden, then leave in the pan to cool. Cut into 16 squares and remove from the pan. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Yield: 16 bars


  1. Hmmm...favorite holiday baked good is probably a pie or torte, although you mentioned a bundt cake in your blog and I love those, too!

  2. Sounds great! My brother has celiac's and i'd love to give him these to try!

  3. I love a good batch of gluten-free honey cookies, but a yummy gf chocolate cake is great anytime, too!