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This is my new favorite way to make polenta. It is so simple and versatile. I found the basic recipe at I’ve only ever made half Sabrina’s recipe because it makes too much for us. Even so, I’d say half her recipe still serves six people. I think we could get away with halving it again, but I’ve been pretty happy using up the leftovers (think eggs over polenta-yummy!). I think any kind of cheese would do, it just depends upon what you’re going to serve with it. I’ve used Parmesan. I’d like to see a slightly firmer product, but I’m working on it. I buy polenta, but Sabrina says you can use corn meal. Lastly, she also says you can stir in a lot of different things, like shallots or garlic or lemon. I haven’t yet tried that.

Since there are no wheat products in this, I think we can safely say it is gluten-free. I use polenta in the same way I use mashed potatoes.

Mushroom Steak Tips over Creamy Cheesy Baked Polenta
  • Ingredients
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup polenta
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • Dash pepper
  • 1 or 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together water, polenta, salt, pepper, and butter in a 2-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream and cheese. Return to oven and bake another 10 minutes, uncovered. Serves 6.


This is a mishmash of several recipes. I am serving a family member with a wheat allergy, so gluten-free flour has solved that. I make sure to read the flour ingredients so there is no part of wheat in it. It starts with  agirldefloured‘s adaptation of Hershey’s chocolate cake. I’ve made this twice now and they are really rich cupcakes.

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups gluten-free flour (I used Namaste Perfect Flour Blend)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 30 cupcake pans with paper liners.

Whisk the dry ingredients together well. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Whisk in the hot coffee. The batter will be runny. Evenly distribute into cupcake pans and bake until the centers bounce back when tested with finger, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

The next step is to make the mocha filling. That recipe is from myrecipes.

5 Tbsp. gluten-free flour (I used Namaste Perfect Flour Blend)

2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 Tbsp. instant coffee granules

1 cup half-and-half

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

In a small saucepan whisk together the GF flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee and half-and-half. Over medium heat continue whisking for about 5 minutes until it is thick. Remove from heat and pour into a dish. Cover with plastic wrap, push it onto the surface so a skin does not form. Let stand for 30 minutes or until cool. I did not chill this and in retrospect I do not think it would work well if you did chill it. Stick with the directions.

Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add cooled mocha mixture, one tablespoon at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla and beat mixture until it’s the consistency of whipped cream.

And the final piece is the coffee liqueur ganache found at myrecipes.

12-oz. bittersweet chocolate baking chips

1-1/4 cups whipping cream

1 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. coffee liqueur (Kahlua)

Place chocolate in bowl. Heat whipping cream just to boiling and pour over chocolate. Stir until smooth. Stir in butter and liqueur. Let stand until spreading consistency. It took longer than 45 minutes, keep testing this.

Assembly: Remove centers from the cooled cupcakes. I used a teaspoon to dollop mocha filling into the centers. I let the cupcakes then sit for a few minutes before using a tablespoon to pour the ganache over each cupcake. It firmed up fairly quickly then.


Credit goes to Annalise at Completely Delicious for the basic recipe and the idea for this piece of heaven. I am mostly posting this in order for me to remember how I did it.

WineCupcakes-w-RhubarbFillingMy husband is a home wine maker. He usually buys kits that include a hermetically sealed bag of juice that he dilutes by adding water. His latest kit was called Strawberry White Merlot. It’s a low-alcohol-content “wine cooler.” What’s different about this particular wine is that he reconstituted his bag of juice with birch water that he tapped from our birch trees. Then oh, la, the wine was ready at the same time the rhubarb was ripe. A match made in heaven.

Rhubarb Filling Recipe:

You’ll have to wing this part, it’s what I did. I made my filling the night before I baked and finished the cupcakes. I wanted to give the filling a chance to really thicken. In a large saucepan, add 3 or 4 cups chopped rhubarb, 1 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp. water. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer until it’s thick. How thick? Filling thick. It was sort of like jam. Let cool and then chill, if possible. I was disappointed the next day to see liquid around the edges of my filling, like it had seeped. But in the end it was really fine. No problem at all.

The cupcake recipe:

Prepare for 15 cupcakes. I used paper liners, but you could spray or grease 15 regular “muffin cups”. However you usually do it. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup blush-colored wine

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1-1/2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Cream together the butter and the sugar in a mixer until it’s light and fluffy. In a separate bowl beat eggs and egg yolk, mix in the wine and almond extract. In another bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Into the butter mixture stir in about 1/3 of the flour mixture, then stir in 1/3 of the egg mixture, repeating by thirds until it’s all stirred in the mixer together. Beat briefly until it’s incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners or greased cups. Each cup will be about 2/3 full. I found this recipe to be true to quantity. Nice!

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Test by pressing lightly in the center of one of the cupcakes. If it bounces right back, it’s done. Mine took 18 minutes exactly. Like I said, this was a really true recipe.

Remove from the oven. I always let mine cool in the tins. That’s probably wrong, but I never have any raw centers. Let the cupcakes cool to room temperature.

Caveat: I can’t take pictures for anything.



Remove the centers from the cooled cupcakes. I have this REALLY handy device that cores the cupcakes. I kid you not. It’s a cupcake corer. Makes the task really simple. Before I got it, I used a piping tip (upside down) to cut out the center and then scooped out the rest with a small spoon. It’s not hard. The challenge is keeping people from popping those centers into their mouths. But why should you care, you’ll only throw them away once they dry out, right? So, go for it. Eat away. I envision someday making a trifle out of cupcake centers, custard, and fruit. Okay, now I’m thinking this through, it would be great with rhubarb!


Why rhubarb? What you see laid out on the lawn is a very small percentage of what’s growing at my house. That’s why!


So, once you’ve got the cupcakes made and cored, the filling ready to go, fill them. I used a teaspoon to scoop filling out of the bowl and then dribble it into the holes in the cupcakes.


Frosting recipe:

1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature

4 cups powdered sugar

¼ to 1/3 cup rhubarb filling

1-2 Tbsp rhubarb syrup (optional)

Pink food coloring (optional)

Once again, you’ll have to wing it. I put the butter into my mixer and softened it, adding 4 cups powdered sugar and then adding rhubarb filling a tablespoon at a time. I had earlier made a rhubarb syrup and I slowly added a couple tablespoons of it. [I had meant to make a simple syrup, but lost track of time and ended up with a very thick rhubarb reduction, not jelly but definitely not simple syrup. It is more like a rhubarb sauce without pulp. That’s it.] I also added a few drops of pink gel food coloring. Once you have frosting at the appropriate consistency for spreading, frost your cupcakes. I piped mine because I knew trying to use a knife over that loose rhubarb filling in the centers would be a mess, no thanks. So, as much as I hate piping because I’m so bad at it, I piped.


I took half a batch to my daughter’s workplace and they loved them! They are really good.

**Note: the next day, because I had leftover filling and frosting, I made another batch of cupcakes, but this time I used Namaste Perfect Flour Blend instead of all-purpose flour. I have a relative with a wheat allergy. They browned across the top, but it did not affect the flavor or the moisture. The cupcake corer didn’t get enough friction to remove the cores easily, so the cake’s crumb is much lighter than regular wheat flour, I guess. Everything else about it was good and they were enjoyed! See picture below . . .


As you can probably see, I didn’t have enough filling, or frosting, to do a second batch properly, but they were delicious none the less.