Well hello everyone! It’s been a while, which is to say, oops, I haven’t posted for over a year. I’ve had some stern words with myself, given myself a right talking to, and now feel suitably chastised and repentant and ready to continue, brimming with enthusiasm
The last year has been a rather busy one. I’ve taken a husband (he’s been here for a while, so taken seems incorrect word usage, but there you go, the mysteries of the English language), and then taken said husband and myself on the road. A mixture of exploring new places, and revisiting my childhood haunts, led us from Nairobi down to Cape Town, and then around South Africa for a few weeks. Luxury travel it was not, but what the trip lacked in facilities and running water it more than made up for in rich experiences. A particular highlight for this baking and chocolate making enthusiast was a visit to the Spice Islands of Zanzibar. Spices! Growing everywhere! On the trees, out of the ground, being crushed underfoot as you walked and drifting fragrance down from above. A truly amazing sensuous experience. I chewed cinnamon bark fresh from the tree, ginger cut from the dark earth, nutmeg pulled from overhead, and, um, peppercorns straight from the vine. That last one left an aftertaste I can assure you. I brought back hibiscus flower, vanilla straight from the pods, and a wealth of inspiration.
Catering the day on my wedding (although not the meal in the evening; I aim high, I’m not delusional) saw me spending a great deal of time in the kitchen last year, but not much with a camera or keyboard. Rest assured I have been experimenting and refining a wide range of gluten free delights and will be sharing them, with recipes, soon. Along with creating my own gluten free recipes, I’ve been experimenting with recipes from others that I admire. Difficult as I find it to follow a recipe through to the end without amending it, in much the same way as I never read an instruction manual for anything all the way though, I have kept a rein on my experimental urge and found some wonderful ideas to share.
Without further ado, do allow me to share with you the delights of some gluten free Rocky Road Cookies, which are frankly superb. This gluten free recipe comes from Fifteen Spatulas, and credit where it’s due, the results are delicious and the recipe easy. Rather than reprint her recipe, I urge you to visit her site, and use the recipe she posts here: http://www.fifteenspatulas.com/ooey-gooey-rocky-road-cookies/ There’s even a video to show you how the batter should look, quite useful if like me you occasionally find yourself looking into the mixing bowl, convinced you’ve created inedible slime/granite.
My recreations looked like this, but only briefly, as they soon looked like an empty tray.
These are Mr Halo’s new favourite treat. I’ve made them both with and without the flaked almonds, and can certify that they will work nut-less if you are baking for allergies.
A few tips of my own, now that I have made this gluten free recipe a number of times and yes, experimented with it!
Firstly, use high quality chocolate chips. I use the same couverture ones that I use for quality chocolate making. They do make up a substantial part of the recipe, so their taste will impact strongly on the entire cookie.
Secondly, for those of you who are UK based, just as a note, powdered sugar means icing sugar. Mr Halo had a very frustrating trip to the shops before I clarified that with him…
These cookies, very similar to meringues and macaroons, can have a tendency to stick, limpet like, to the baking parchment. This is especially true if you attempt to lift them from the paper whilst they are still warm. Or indeed, hot. As hot as if you’ve just removed them from the oven and immediately attempted to peel one off to eat as they look so divine. That way tragedy lies, with broken cookie shells on the counter and the cookie insides oozing over the tray. The lesson to take from this? Leave the cookies alone until they are cool, then they should peel off relatively easily. Hard, but there’s always the left over chocolate chips to scarf down whilst you wait?
As a final note, be warned that these beauties do spread substantially whilst baking. Don’t cage them in, leave them room to grow! Don’t hold a cookie back from being all that it can be.
With promises of more recipes soon, and some exciting news on a new venture, Halo from the Halo Baking Emporium and Chocolaterie in Birmingham UK is ooey-ing and gooey-ing off.