Baking Weekend

133A39C3-C79D-4636-8CAE-EF16CF131F86_1_201_aIt’s April 2020, we are in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic, and without much to do outside of my home, I start baking, again. My full time job keeps me busy during the week, but the weekends – and sometimes the evenings, are mine to re-discover my love for baking sweets and desserts for my family. It’s like finding an old and familiar rhythm, a therapeutic and cathartic movement in a world that is temporarily on hold.

So, I am not sure what I will bake or how frequently I will post pictures and recipes. I’ll use what I have in the house, and bake what inspires me. I’ll be happy to respond to suggestions from you and adapt recipes that you might crave, and I certainly hope to sweeten this isolations of ours.

Yesterday I asked my husband, “What are we going to do with all this pastry?” and he came up with a great idea. We will freeze what we don’t eat, and once this is all over we will have a party with friends and family to enjoy it all.

So, I’m inviting you to join me in this Stay Home Gluten-free Adventure of mine.

Friday afternoon

My baking weekend started on Friday when I searched for a recipe to use up pistachios I had in the pantry. I found a Sicilian Pistachio and Nutella Cake, which looked perfect for our dinner dessert. Ready with all the ingredients, I started working.

Gluten-free Sicilian Pistachio Nutella Cake

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For the cake

  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • granulated sugar 1 cup (7 oz) 
  • unsalted butter, melted 2/3 cup (5.3 oz)
  • vanilla extract 1 tsp 
  • almond extract 1 tsp
  • food grade vegetable glycerin 1 Tablespoon – it gives moisture to the cake
  • Simona’s Flour Mix  3/4 cup (4.2 oz)
  • baking powder 2 tsp 
  • pistachios, crushed 1 1/2 cups 

For topping

  • pistachios, crushed 1/2 cup (optional)
  • Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread 3/4 cup (7.4 oz)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and line a 9 inch square pan.

In a large bowl combine egg yolks and sugar.  Whisk vigorously until the mixture forms ribbons when you lift the whisk. Add melted butter, vanilla and almond extracts and glycerin.  Mix well. Stir in flour and baking powder and mix until just combined. Add the crushed pistachios and stir.

Using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold half the egg whites into the batter with a spatula.  Stir in the remaining egg whites until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool about 15 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. When the cake is cooled, use an offset spatula to cover the top and sides with Nutella.  Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with crushed pistachios if using them.

Saturday morning

My younger son loves his Chocolate Banana Muffins in the morning and I had neglected to make them for a while. So Saturday morning, before he woke up, I decided to whip up a batch, ready for his breakfast.

Gluten-free Banana Chocolate Muffins

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  • Bananas 3 large or 4 medium
  • 1 large eggs
  • light brown sugar sugar 2/3 cup (6 oz) 
  • vegetable oil 1/4 cup (2 oz)
  • vanilla extract 1 tsp 
  • Simona’s Flour Mix  1 and 1/2 cups (8.3 oz)
  • baking powder 1 1/4 tsps 
  • baking soda 1/2 tsp
  • salt 1/8 tsp
  • semisweet chocolate chips 1 cup (6.2)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and line a regular muffin pan.

In a large bowl mash the bananas and with a help of a whisk combine with brown sugar, egg, vanilla and oil. Mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until  combined. Add the chocolate chips. With the help of a large cookie scoop, if you have it available, fill the baking cups to their rims.

Bake in the oven for 20 to 24 minutes, until the muffins look firm to the touch. Let them cool on a cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes before taking them out of the pan.

Sunday afternoon

On Saturday afternoon we discovered a leak in our freezer. We had to move all the frozen food to the fridge in our basement – a relic from my bakery years. Though, because of its smaller size, some of the food couldn’t find its place and needed to be used quickly. Frozen cherries were among the chosen to be sacrificed. I didn’t have enough cherries for a pie, and I wanted to do something quick. Looking for inspiration I found this recipe for blondies.

Gluten-free Cherry Chocolate Blondies

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  • unsalted butter, melted 1/2 cup (1 stick)
  • light brown sugar sugar 1 cup (8 oz) 
  • 1 large eggs
  • vanilla extract 1 tsp 
  • almond extract 1 tsp
  • food grade vegetable glycerin 1/2 Tablespoon
  • Simona’s Flour Mix  1 cup (5.5 oz)
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • cherries 1 cup (fresh or frozen)
  • semisweet chocolate chips 3/4 cup (4.6)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and line a 8-by-8-inch pan.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 60 seconds. Add the melted butter to the brown sugar and stir to combine. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extracts and glycerin and stir to combine. Add the flour, salt, and stir until combined. Fold in chocolate chips, fruit (I didn’t halve the cherries: I like them chunky and big), and pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula or offset knife if necessary.

Bake for 27 to 32 minutes, or until edges begin to slightly pull away from sides of pan and center is set. Baking time will vary based on types of fruit used, fresh, frozen, and the moisture content of the fruit; and how gooey you like your blondies. A toothpick inserted into the middle may not come out clean due to the chocolate chips or juicy fruit. Allow bars to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.

ENJOY!

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Sally Winings says:

    Yay! So excited to see you, virtually! Thanks for posting your weekend baking, Sally Winings

    On Sunday, April 26, 2020, Turning gluten-free, one recipe at a time wrote:

    > simonaglutenfree posted: “It’s April 2020, we are in the middle of the > COVID19 pandemic, and without much to do outside of my home, I start > baking, again. My full time job keeps me busy during the week, but the > weekends – and sometimes the evenings, are mine to re-discover my love” >

  2. Rosalind Torrey says:

    Yay!!! Simona is back baking! What fun and it all looks delicious. I hope you and yours are all doing well xoxo

    On Sun, Apr 26, 2020 at 9:15 PM Turning gluten-free, one recipe at a time wrote:

    > simonaglutenfree posted: “It’s April 2020, we are in the middle of the > COVID19 pandemic, and without much to do outside of my home, I start > baking, again. My full time job keeps me busy during the week, but the > weekends – and sometimes the evenings, are mine to re-discover my love” >

    1. Thank you Roz!! Yes, we are all doing well, here and in Italy. How are you all doing?

  3. Cathy Bednarski says:

    Hello Simon’s, this is wonderful! I will enjoy trying some of these and reminiscing about your great children. I hope you are all doing well. Cathy Bednarski

  4. Cindy Smith says:

    Hi Simona, it is good to hear from you. I hope you and your family are well. Thanks for sharing some gf recipes with us. This morning I made the banana chocolate muffins and that recipe went right into my baking book. The muffins are delicious and easy to make. Homemade is the best.
    Cindy Smith

    1. Hi Cindy! I’m so glad to hear. More recipes to come! And if you have any request, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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