Chocolate Peanut Butter Bon Bons – Last Minute Christmas Goodies!

Hello all! It’s only two days until Christmas and I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season so far. I haven’t been able to post the last little bit due to being sick as a dog and then having family up to visit us but I wanted to share a recipe with you today! These are great little chocolates that you can whip up as home made gifts or to take as a dessert to Christmas dinner.

To make the Peanut butter filled chocolates you’ll need:

  • Your favorite type of chocolate (I used milk chocolate but this would work really well with dark)
  • 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 2-4 Tbs powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • candy mold in the shape you’d like. The mold I have is actually for cherry cordials but I like making bon bons from it.

Your first step is making your peanut butter filling. I used natural creamy peanut butter but you can use crunchy or regular smooth. Take about a half a cup of peanut butter and add in a teaspoon of vanilla and about 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and mix them together. If it’s still a little thin you can add in some more powdered sugar. You want it to be a consistency you can roll into little balls without it sticking to your hands. It’ll look something like this:

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It should also taste like the filling for a Reese’s cup and I had to hold myself back from just eating it right out of the bowl. Now that the filling is done you can start on your chocolate. You might be tempted to have the chocolate melting while you make the filling but don’t. Just wait and do it separately because it’s easy to accidentally scorch your chocolate. I used the double boiler method, but I’ll explain how to melt your chocolate in the microwave as well.

For a double boiler:

Take a medium saucepan and fill it about a third of the way up with water and set it on medium/low heat. Take about two cups of your chocolate and put it into a large mixing bowl and then set the mixing bowl onto the saucepan, like this:

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Make sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water in the saucepan. You want the steam from the water to gently melt your chocolate. You don’t need your water at a boil either, I tried to keep mine just shy of boiling. Another word of caution, if you can use a bowl with a large lip on it like the one I used, definitely use it. You want to keep the steam and water away from your chocolates at all costs, otherwise the chocolate will seize up and it will be unusable.  It took me about seven minutes to get from this:

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to this:

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I used a whisk but it would be better to use a spatula to keep the chocolate from getting caught in the center of the whisk and melting slower. I also used chocolate chips but you can get molding chocolate wafers that melt much nicer that just plain chocolate chips.

Microwave method:

If you are melting your chocolate in the microwave start out with about 15 seconds, take it out and stir, then pop it back in for 10 second increments stirring in between until the chocolate is all melted.

After your chocolate is all melted its time to start filling your molds. If you used wafers and your chocolate is nice and thin you can use a spoon to fill each of your chocolate molds, let it set for a few seconds, and then pour the excess chocolate back out. My chocolate this time was a little too thick to pour in and out so I just used a pastry brush and brushed the insides of my molds to create a chocolate shell. Let the shell harden a bit while you separate out some peanut butter filling. Roll small pieces of your peanut butter into a ball and drop it into the center of your mold. You want them small enough that they don’t stick up over the top of your mold. Here are all my molds filled with peanut butter:

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Next you simply want to spoon a bit of chocolate over the top of each mold to seal in your peanut butter. After you’ve covered all your chocolates you need to tap your mold repeatedly onto the counter top to get rid of any air bubbles. This also helps the chocolate to settle around the peanut butter a bit better and makes sure your mold is completely filled. Finally either let your chocolates cool and harden at room temperature or stick them into the freezer for about ten minutes and they should be hard enough to pop out of your mold. You can wrap them in colored foil or put them straight into a decorative tin for a Christmas dinner dessert!

If you’d like you can also make a simple chocolate ganache filling. You simply heat one cup of heavy cream in a saucepan until it’s steaming, but not boiling. Remove the pan from the heat and pour it over 8 oz of your chocolate. You can let the mixture set up, then spoon out small pieces to drop into the center of your chocolates, or you can chill the chocolate shell while the ganache cools a bit and then pour the ganache into the center, let it set up and then put the bottom layer of chocolate on. The ganache does take a bit of time to set, let it sit in your fridge for at least 1.5-2 hours.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and that you have a wonderful Christmas. I’m going to do my last exercise blog this week to wrap up how I felt about the 30 day shred and then I’m going back to doing my once a week posts because life has been hectic lately with holidays and the weather!

Stay warm and I’ll see you next post!

Amber

Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings

Hey friends!

Since all of the recipes I’m posting this month are Christmas/Holiday themed, I wanted to share with you what we had for dinner just last night, gluten free chicken and dumplings! One of my favorite things about Christmas dinner growing up was my great grandma’s chicken and dumplings and it’s something I’ve really missed since going gluten free. You could make these as drop dumplings, but I prefer to roll mine out and cut them into squares. I also used boneless skinless breasts because it’s what we had in the freezer but feel free to use any type of chicken you prefer.

For the chicken:

I like to roast my chicken while I make the stock and dumplings and then chop it up and add it in. You can chunk up your chicken and put it directly into the pot and cook it but I feel like roasting/baking adds more flavour.

You’ll want 2-3 pounds of chicken, and I generally like to rub it with basil, oregano, thyme, and a little bit of salt and pepper. If you’re using chicken with the skin on I love mixing all the herbs with a little bit of butter and massaging it under the skin. Then I wrap it loosely in aluminum foil and bake it at 350 for about 15 minutes, peel back the foil and roast it for another 5-10 minutes. Having the foil around the chicken helps keep all the juices in a nice little packet that you can add into your pot

For the dumplings:

  • 2 cups gluten free flour (I like to use a 60/40 mix of brown/white rice flour)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T softened butter or Earthblend for lactose free
  • 1 cup water, milk or other lactose/dairy free milk (I would stick with rice or soy, almond or coconut could give it an odd flavour)
  • 1/4 tsp parsley

Add all of your dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, then add in the egg and softened butter. Mix by hand or on low until the mixture turns crumbly and the egg and butter are incorporated. Slowly add in your milk/water just until the dough comes together. You want it to look a bit like this:

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After I mixed the dough I covered it and set it in the fridge while I started on the broth.

For the broth:

  • 2.5 litres chicken broth
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (optional)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 T corn starch
  • 1/4 c. cold water

Add all the ingredients except for the water and corn starch into a large pot and bring to a boil. Save the cornstarch and water for later.

Add in the dumplings one by one, making sure that they don’t touch each other until they’ve begun to cook. (I always roll out my dumplings so I haven’t tried this recipe as drop dumplings.) If you want rolled dumplings take the dough and roll it out between two sheets of wax paper until they’re between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick, then cut into 1 1/2 inch squares using a pizza cutter. Don’t get to upset if they’re not all the same. They’ll look a bit like this:

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The dumplings will puff and rise to the surface as they cook. After all the dumplings are in the pot cover and cook for about five minutes, then add in your shredded chicken. If you’re lactose free like me you can’t add in cream of chicken, so I like to use cornstarch as a thickener instead. Mix the corn starch into the cold water and slowly pour into your soup, stirring constantly. The soup should start to thicken up instantly and thicken a bit more as you let it set. If you’d like your soup a little thicker you can add a bit more cornstarch when you make your mixture. I like to let it set for five minutes or so to make sure it’s thickened up. Now serve and enjoy! Not much more can get me in the holiday spirit than a bowl of chicken and dumplings on a cold night.

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I hope you enjoy this and I’ll see you all next post!

Amber

Sugar Cookies for Everyone!

Hey friends! I’m going to share some baked goodies with you guys! It is that season after all! I altered this recipe from one I found here at babble.com. Originally they were for vegan cookies but I’m also gluten and lactose intolerant so I altered them to something I can eat. They came out wonderful and so did the chocolate icing I put on them.

Ingredients:

3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. white rice flour (you could probably also substitute tapioca flour)
1 1/2 t. xanthan gum
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. earthblend or other vegan/lactose free butter
1 t. vanilla
a few T. water until it holds together. I ended up using about 3 or 4 tablespoons

Directions:

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a stand mixer or large mixing bowl.

Chunk up the butter and add it to the bowl, mixing it until it’s all combined.

Add your vanilla and mix on low, slowly adding in a tablespoon of water at a time until the dough comes together, but isn’t sticking to the sides. I’ve found that with gluten free cookies it takes a bit more work to get everything to come together properly.

Once it’s all together in a ball, work it into a log shape on some plastic wrap and seal it up.

Put it in the freezer until it solidifies a bit, or keep it in the fridge overnight. Gluten free dough is more crumbly than regular cookie dough, so if you freeze it, it may fall apart when you try to cut it.

After its set up slice the log into about 1-4-1/2 inch slices and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. The original recipe called for rolling out the dough and cutting it with cookie cutters. You can try to do this but the dough is pretty fragile and might not hold up so well. When rolling, place the dough between two sheets of wax paper to prevent it sticking. This also helps hold the dough together a little better.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

For the Icing:

1 c. powdered sugar1 1/2 T. cocoa powder1 t. vanilla2 1/2 T. water.

Put the powdered sugar and cocoa together in a bowl and add in the vanilla. Slowly add in the water until you get a thick but spreadable icing consistency.

It’s always tricky when I make icing because I don’t always want the same consistency depending on what I’m making. I’ve found that this gives me and icing that’s spreadable enough to put on warm cookies and cools to a nice firm and glossy icing layer. You may want to add more or less water depending on how thick you want your icing to be.

Quick Lactose Free Vanilla Pudding

I haven’t posted in a couple weeks, I’ve been neglecting the site something awful. I was going through some of my recipes and re writing them to be a little neater and thought I’d share this one with you all. Especially since it’s getting colder outside eating this pudding while it’s still warm is a treat. This is just how I like to whip it up some times and is a recipe that I’ve come up with on my own but I based it on a fairly simple regular pudding recipe. I suppose this also counts a vegan as it omits using any eggs. (Fact of the day: adding in eggs would make it a custard!)

Lactose Free Vanilla Pudding:

Ingredients:

1/3 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons corn starch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups vanilla soy or vanilla almond milk (you can use just plain milk here but I love the extra vanilla and sweetness)

1 cup coconut milk

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Add the coconut milk and 1 1/4 of the soy/almond milk to a sauce pan and bring it just to steaming . Set the remaining milk aside in a bowl, we’ll use that later.

In your sauce pan stir in the vanilla, sugar, and salt until they are dissolved. Bring the mix up to boiling and while that is coming to temperature mix the cornstarch and the remaining milk.

Take the pot off the burner and slowly stir in the cornstarch mixture until it begins to thicken. Make sure that you are stirring constantly or the cornstarch could clump up on you and leave big globs in your pudding.

Let it cool a bit a thicken some more, then either enjoy it warm or put it in the fridge with a layer of saran wrap over the top. A trick to keeping it from forming a skin is to just let the saran wrap touch the surface of the pudding, that way no air comes in contact with it.

Hopefully you guys enjoy and I’ll post some more of my recipes up soon! Till next post,

Amber