Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Recipes: Sweet Potato Praline Cake

I want you to run, not walk, to the grocery store and make this cake as soon as possible.  You may need to run some more after you eat it because it is a calorie fest!!  I made this cake for a friend of mine who was visiting from China.  She won't be here for Thanksgiving so she was really hoping to have some holiday and fall foods and this cake totally fit the bill!

The one and only picture I took of it was with my terrible phone camera, but the good news is that I have a new phone on the way with a great new camera so that will no longer be my excuse for terrible pictures, ha!

Sweet Potato Praline Cake

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 3/4 cup gluten free flour (you can use any blend you like, try mine, or for this recipe I used Better Batter)
  • 1 3/4 granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato (you can even use canned, but not sweetened!!!)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • Cream cheese frosting and more pecans for the top


Heat oven to 325.  In a medium sauce pan, stir together butter, cream, and brown sugar.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, just until butter is melted. Pour into two ungreased 9- or 8-inch round cake pans; sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup pecans.

In large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the oil and granulated sugar.  Add the sweet potato, milk, oil and eggs to the beat cake mix, pumpkin, water, oil, and eggs until well mixed.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until blended, about 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly over the praline mixture in each pan being careful not to displace the pecans too much.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack (surprisingly it will come right out of the pans easily! Cool completely, about 1 hour.

To finish the cake, frost the first layer (praline side up) with cream cheese frosting on its top only.  Then place the top layer on.  I prefer only to frost the tops of each layer to add to the rustic look of the cake.  Besides, its pretty rich without too much frosting!  Add a few more toasted pecans on top for decoration!  Here is a great cream cheese frosting recipe from Martha, but feel free to sub your own.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

In Gluten Free News...

Just a couple of cool pieces of GF news to share. First, I finally found the new GF Rice Krispies in the 713!  I snagged a box at the Kroger on West Gray earlier this week.  I have to say they taste just like I remember!

Also, I recently learned that Subway has introduced gluten free buns in a couple of test market cities.  I believe Dallas and Portland.  I was never a huge fan of Subway before becoming gluten free, but I'm always excited to see main stream restaurants like Subway offering gluten free options.  And its always handy to have more convenience options like that.

So, has anyone tried the Subway bread yet??

Last, but not least, Williams Sonoma recently began carrying a gluten free flour!  It is an all purpose blend called Cup4Cup.  It looks a bit expensive, but is probably really good.  I can't wait to try it out and let y'all know how it is.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Restaurant Reviews: Z Pizza

First of all, I just need to say "yaaaayyyy!!!!"  I'm so sorry for the extreme lack of blog posts of late, but yesterday I just finished up the three day marathon that is the Texas Bar Exam.  Before that, I was holed up studying 10 hours a day for the last month.  Not fun but it feels so good to be done.  Now you may be wondering "so Laura, you just took the Bar... what's next?"  Well, to read about that, visit my personal blog here.  Now on to what you really care about... pizza!

I feel like all I've been reviewing lately is pizza, but there are so many new gluten free pizza options in Houston, so it's a great problem to have!

A follower recently introduced me to Z Pizza in West U so we headed over for a casual dinner the other night after bar studies.  It is a VERY casual place, which we weren't expecting but actually appreciated because Peanut just did not want to sit still.  The prices are not cheap frankly for the tiny little pizzas you get, but the service was very quick and the pizza was good.

I would say the crust is most similar to Pizza Fusion if any of y'all went there before it closed.  Thin, but nicely browned.  I really liked it!

As usual I started eating a forgot to take a picture of the whole pizza!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Apologies

I just wanted to say I'm sorry everyone that I haven't been posting much lately and probably won't for the rest of the month.  I'm knee-deep in studying for the Texas Bar Exam and haven't had any spare time to write.  I do have some great reviews and recipes to share though, so I hope to be back up and blogging in August... thanks for understanding!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Restaurant Reviews: California Pizza Kitchen

Yummy CPK Barbecue Chicken Pizza with bacon on the new gluten free crust!

I shared with y’all a few weeks back when I learned that California Pizza Kitchen would soon be debuting gluten free crusts.  Well I’m so pleased to say that yesterday was the first day of the new crusts at our local CPK and we were right there to taste them so I could share this review with you!  I’m so selfless I know, ha!

The new menu is great and clearly indicates which items (besides the pizzas) are gluten free.  There are a good number of appetizers and salads that are marked GF and even a dessert option.  All of the pizzas except one could be made GF and with no upcharge!


So what was the verdict?  Well, it was delicious!  We were prepared for it to be just so so since it was the first day and we thought they might still be working out the kinks, but the pizza came out quickly and tasted great.  The crust is on the thinner side, but not crispy.  We enjoyed the pear gorgonzola pizza and the classic barbecue chicken pizza.  Both were absolutely wonderful.

Since the CPK on West Grey is just down the street from our house, I know we will be going a lot.  I still prefer the flavor of the crust from Pink’s Pizza, but at a lower price tag with a dine-in option, I know CPK will definitely be in our regular rotation.

Here are a few more pictures of the new pizza I captured with my blackberry camera… I apologize there are no pictures of the entire pizzas because like a little piggy I started eating before I remembered to take a picture!

Pear, Gorgonzola, hazelnuts, and mixed greens on GF crust.

I wasn't the only one who enjoyed it!

Stop by and try it soon.  I can't wait to hear what y'all think!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Recipes: Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

I recently shared this easy weeknight recipe on my family blog and I thought I should bring it over here to share as well since it easily converts to gluten free.  This comes together in less than an hour but tastes like it's been baking all day!

Skillet Chicken "Pot Pie"
Serves 4

Pie Filling:

  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken (I use thighs because that's what we prefer, but breasts are fine too - or if you are feeling super lazy, just pull apart a rotisserie chicken)
    • salt, lemon pepper to season
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 shallots minced (but you can use any onions you have on hand)
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (or in my case left over flat champagne, ha!)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de provence (if you don't have that use thyme)
  • 2 cups frozen pea, carrot, corn medley
Biscuit Crust: 

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (I use my standard blend, but insert any gluten free all purpose mix you like and make sure that if it doesn't have it, you add 1 tsp xantham gum)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Begin by making the biscuits.  Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together.  Stir in the cheddar cheese.  Stir in the cream with a wooden spoon until the dough forms.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured area and form a ball.  Knead the dough briefly until smooth.  Then, cut biscuits (I use the top of a glass) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake about 15 minutes.

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and lemon pepper.  Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Brown chicken lightly on both sides and transfer to a plate.  Add the remaining butter to the skillet and heat on medium until melted.  Add shallots and salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch with the wine.  When the onions are ready, stir the liquid mixture in with the onions for about 1 minute.    Slowly whisk in the broth, cream, and thyme, and bring to a simmer.  Place the chicken back into the pan, cover, and cook over medium low about 10 minutes.

Transfer fully cooked chicken to a plate.  Stir veggie mixture into the sauce and simmer about 2 minutes.  Once chicken is cool, shred it into bite-sized pieces and return it to the skillet.  Season filling with salt and pepper to taste.  Either place biscuits on top of the filling and serve from the skillet, or put individual servings into ramekins and top with a biscuit.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ask five different people and you'll hear five different versions of the ideal chocolate chip cookie... so I don't know if this will be your hands down favorite, but I do know that everyone who has tried these cookies has loved them.  You can of course customize them a bit for your own taste.  Don't like nuts?  Leave them out.  Don't like dark chocolate?  Use all semi-sweet.  The dough is very thick and takes a bit of muscle to pull together so enlist a friend (or husband!) if you can, haha.  Lastly, I made these recently but didn't take pictures, ugh... guess I'll have to make them again!  If you're not feeling up to this level of effort for your cookies, I'll be featuring a head to head review of a few gluten free chocolate chip cookie doughs later in the week.  Enjoy!

World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free Of Course)
Makes about 24 large cookies 

  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs Beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups Gluten Free Flour (I Used 1.25 Cups Rice Flour, .5 Cups Potato Flour, .25 Tapioca Starch)
  • 2 cups Gluten-Free Oat Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 bag Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (12 Oz Size)
  • 4 ounces, weight Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup Chopped Pecans
  • 1 cup Chopped Hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350F and put rack in middle position. Cream together butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Meanwhile, combine gluten free flour and oat flour and stir.
In a small bowl, stir together xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and then add to the flour mixture. Whisk the whole mixture together. Add the chocolate chips and nuts and stir into the flour. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly (this will take some arm strength and it may seem like there’s not enough liquid but hang in there!).
Using an ice cream scoop, place dough about 1.5 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet (I get 12 cookies to a sheet). Chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, remove, and then bake for 15-17 minutes until the cookies look just set. Cool the cookies completely on the cookie sheet.