Tag Archives: brownies

Random Acts of Udi’s

udi's gluten-free

A box of Udi’s gluten-free products, some new and some old favorites.

Recently, the folks at Udi’s sent me a box of gluten-free goodies as part of their “Random Acts of Udi’s” promotion. They sent bloggers different sampler boxes of Udi’s gluten-free treats to use or to give to friends and then to describe their experiences.

Although we were initially tempted to keep the goods to ourselves, it was a lot of fun to share them with our gluten-free friends. I always feel an instant bond with anyone who has celiac, so we were thrilled to be able to share the love.

Because I divvied up the products — giving friends baggies of different items, instead of giving them a whole box to take home – it was hard for them to keep track of what was what. If I had to do it again, I would have given them the whole box and not divided it into “bits and bobs,” as my British friend would say. That’s our fault for being greedy and wanting to try a little bit of everything.

In the box were some new Udi’s products, like boxed cookies with a gourmet flair, like Salted Caramel Cashew Cookies (one of my younger daughter’s favorites), Maple Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies and Coconut Peanut Butter Cookies (the coconut taste really comes through). The cookies say “soft baked” but they were a regular crisp cookie texture, which was fine with us. In the plastic tubs of cookies (usually found in the freezer section of the grocery store), we enjoyed the Snickerdoodles, Chocolate Chip Cookies (another favorite among friends) and the Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites. My daughter liked the surprise of finding mini chocolate chips in the moist brownie bites — another of her faves. The tubs of cookies say “soft and chewy,” and they were.

Our kids and our friends also liked the new Udi’s chips, with ancient grains like millet, amaranth and quinoa and fun flavors that pop in your mouth. The Jalapeno Cheddar chips were quite spicy and flavorful, and we also liked the Aged Cheddar ones. The new “Active” granolas were good, too, with a few added nutrients (missing from some gluten-free diets) like zinc. I have to say, though, that the Mighty Bagel with millet, flax, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds didn’t appeal to most people. I am a traditionalist when it comes to bagels — even gluten-free bagels.

Overall, it was fun to share the items, and our friends had fun testing them out. As my father-in-law noted (thanks, Pop), the exciting part is how much more tasty and complex gluten-free foods are getting. Udi’s has added some fun flavors, ancient grains and nutrients to spice up gluten-free products, giving them more pizzazz, for which we are thankful.

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Fudgy Cream Cheese Brownies and Three-Cheese Eggplant Roll-Ups

fudgy cream cheese brownies

Fudgy, flourless cream cheese brownies, gluten-free

eggplant rollatini

Three-cheese eggplant roll-ups, gluten-free

While the rest of the community whines about giving up wheat on Passover, we gluten-free cooks have it pretty easy. We’re used to cooking without wheat and looking for creative alternatives to grains. While others try to make food with matzo meal, we stay away from the tasteless stuff. This frees us to be more creative with grain-free recipes that taste great during Passover and year-round, like these gluten-free flourless, fudgy cream-cheese brownies and three-cheese eggplant roll-ups.

On Passover, one of my favorite products is Temp Tee Whipped Cream Cheese — it’s airy, fluffy and spreads easily on matzo, especially on fragile gluten-free matzo that crumbles easily. I usually buy several containers (so does my neighbor Dani, who buys 10 Temp Tee tubs to last well after Passover). So when Temp Tee and Joy of Kosher asked bloggers to create recipes with Temp Tee cream cheese, I jumped at the chance. (Check out all the recipes at Joy of Kosher’s “matzah fatigue” page.)

I recently created fudgy, flourless brownies that not only are gluten-free but also are kosher for Passover. I ramped up the “wow” factor by adding a rich cream cheese swirl, using fluffy Temp Tee Whipped Cream Cheese.

To counter the sweets, I came up with gluten-free eggplant rollups (or eggplant rollatini, if you want to sound fancy) with a three-cheese filling of cream cheese, cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese.

But let’s start with the sweets, since that’s the best part.

choc chips and butter

First some prep: Place 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips and 6 tablespoons butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on half-power for 1 minute, or until melted. Stir until well-combined and set aside to cool a bit.

Then line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, extending up the sides of the pan. This will come in handy later, when you lift the brownies out of the pan to cut them. (One of my favorite baking tips.)

brownie ingredients

With your mixer (or by hand), beat 2 eggs and 3/4 cup sugar until combined. Slowly mix in melted chocolate. Then add 1/4 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and mix well. Stir in 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, because don’t you think we need more chocolate? And then spread the batter into the baking pan.

Now it’s time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While it’s heating, wash out your mixing bowl and make the cream cheese topping. Beat 8 ounces whipped cream cheese with a mixer. Add 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and mix until it’s all smooth and creamy, with nary a lump.

cream cheese swirl

Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter. Drag a knife through the batter several times to create a marbled design. (You may need to dredge up some thick brownie batter from the bottom to get a good marbled effect.)

Bake for 35 minutes until the brownies feel firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan (or refrigerate) so they’ll be easier to cut. When cool, lift the brownies out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper. Place the parchment paper on a cutting board and cut the brownies into 25 squares.

Now on to the three-cheese eggplant roll-ups. Wasn’t it fun to have dessert before dinner?

eggplant

For the eggplant roll-ups, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and cut 2 medium eggplants into thin slices. Trim the top and lop off the bottom of the eggplant, so it can stand up on the cutting board without wobbling. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into slices that are 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Now we’ll need to soften the eggplant, so put the eggplant on baking sheets lined with aluminum foil. Brush the eggplant with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the eggplant is soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix 1 egg, 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese, 1/2 cup small-curd cottage cheese (low-fat is fine), 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper until well-blended.

rollups

Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Place a spoonful of the cheese filling at the bottom edge of each eggplant slice and roll up. Lay rolls seam side down in the baking dish, placing the rolls close to each other. Pour 1 cup marinara sauce over top of the rolls and sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella. (If you like a little spice, you can sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes over the top.) Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling.

For the complete printable recipes see the Joy of Kosher website:

Fudgy cream-cheese brownies

Three-cheese eggplant roll-ups

This post is sponsored by Temp Tee and Joy of Kosher.

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Brown Sugar Blondies, Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

blondies

Gluten-free, dairy-free blondies, with dark chocolate chips

A confirmed chocoholic, I always figured, why have a blondie, when you can have a brownie (especially my recipe for the best gluten-free brownies ever)? But these gluten-free, dairy-free brown sugar blondies tossed that theory out the window.

These blondies taste like chocolate chip cookies, but they are more moist and more cakey. Studded with dark chocolate chips, the blondies still deliver a strong chocolate dose, proving that maybe blondes do have more fun.

I made the blondies dairy-free by using coconut oil and applesauce, instead of a stick of butter. Be aware that the chocolate chips sink to the bottom forming a chocolatey crust; next time I will try mini chocolate chips to see if I have better luck keeping the chips afloat.

This month’s Kosher Connection challenge (see links to other blog posts below) was to make treats for mishloach manot baskets for Purim. On Purim, we have a tradition that’s the opposite of trick-or-treat: Instead of emphasizing getting food, we give friends and family gifts of food — usually a basket with at least two different kinds of foods. I thought the blondies would make a good Purim treat — dairy-free, nut-free and studded with a chocolate surprise. Also, check out my tasty, tender gluten-free, dairy-free hamantaschen recipe.

Click for Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Blondies recipe

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The Best Gluten-Free Brownies Ever

brownies, gluten-free

Moist, fudgy gluten-free brownies.

Without a doubt, brownies have to be the best all-around dessert. Rich, dense and fudgy, they satisfy the cravings of any chocoholic. Plus, they’re easy to make for parties, potlucks and holiday get-togethers. Most importantly — at least as far as I’m concerned — they are easy to make gluten-free, especially with this killer recipe for the best gluten-free brownies ever.

The better the chocolate, the better the brownies. I’ve made this recipe several times, but the best was when I used semisweet Callebaut chocolate, which added a deep, decadent intensity. My older daughter, who helped bake the brownies with her friend, was rapturous after she took one bite. Seriously, they are that good.

The recipe comes from Grandma, who adapted her family brownie recipe to be gluten-free. We are so lucky to have two sets of supportive grandparents who always go to great lengths to make delicious gluten-free food for us. I am thankful to have family members that “get it,” so we never have to worry about finding safe food at their homes.

A note about cutting the brownies: Before you start cooking, line the baking pan with parchment paper, so the parchment paper covers the bottom and sides of the pan. After the brownies are cooked and completely cooled (or refrigerated), lift up the the parchment paper with the brownies, put them on a cutting board and then cut the brownies into squares.

For vegan, gluten-free brownies, I’ve tried substituting one egg in this recipe with 1/3 cup applesauce, and it turned out deliciously. I have not yet tried substituting both eggs, but I bet it would work well.

Click for the recipe for Grandma’s Best Gluten-Free Brownies Ever

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