GBBO week 2 this year was biscuit week. Now, while most biscuits are easily convertible to gluten & dairy free, I wanted to set myself a challenge.
One of Britain’s most loved biscuits (believed to originate from France), the Florentine. A family favourite, especially at Christmas, makes the perfect gift and is loved by most of the family… of course with a hot cuppa!
So, being one to not make things easy I decided that I would make a Florentine and convert it to suit my dietary requirements – free from wheat, gluten, nuts, dairy and refined sugar… Da, Da daaaa! Yep… what a challenge. Baking a Florentine gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, nut free and free from refind sugar is certainly a different kind of bake!
Traditionally they are combined using sliced almonds, saltanas, caramel and a dark chocolate coating, so I wanted to stick to as close to the original as possible. You can of course change the ingredients as you want to. Mango cheeks, apricots and any other dried fruit make superb additions. The thing to consider when removing the nuts is that you need to create a crunch, which I was able to replicate using the selection of ingredients.
Shaping your Florentine: If you want a uniform look, you can use a silicone tray or cupcake/muffin pan. If you grease it and line it with strips of parchment paper you can lift the biscuit out once it has cooled. If you would like a thinner (and crispier), more rustic and traditional Florentine, line 2 trays with parchment paper and plop spoonfuls of your mix onto your tray, leaving a 2″ (5cm) gap between each one as they will spread.
I think this goes without saying but hot sugar is like molten lava! Do NOT touch these when they come out of the oven!! They will be piping hot and will burn you. Leave them to cool and harden.
Nut Free Florentines! GBBO Week 2, Biscuit Week.
Time: 10 mins prep time, 20-22 mins cook time. TOTAL = 30-32 MINUTES
Grease the 12 hole muffin pan with butter and place a strip of parchment about 1″ thick across each hole or by lining 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
In one bowl, mix the dry ingredients together: oats and/or granola, glace cherries, sour cherries, organic sultanas and orange zest.
Separately in a medium saucepan add the coating ingredients: butter, sugar, flour, and Algarve Nectar (or honey or golden syrup). Melt them together over low heat until all the densities have dissolved together creating one mixture.
Pour the caramel coating over the dry mixture and stir it well to combine. You will find the more you mix, the more the lumps of wetness combine with the remaining dry mix.
Take two spoons, drop spoonsful of the mix into your prepared tray.
Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden in amber gold in colour. Here’s the catch… you need to catch them before they are so crispy you could use them as frisbees, and after they are still soft and flapjacky. It does that a little bit of trial and error to know when this point is, so, if you are a beginner, bake one at a time until you get the timing perfect, at this point cook the whole batch together.
Allow them to cool completely in the trays (remember HOT MOLTEN LAVA), use the ends of the tabs and gently pull them out. You may need to smooth of any stuck edge bits gently with a knife.
Melt the chocolate (I melted mine for 30 seconds, stirred and then in intervals of 10 seconds stirring in between). Gently holding the top edges of your biscuit, dip the base of the biscuit into the melted chocolate, turn them upside down and place them back on a try a or cooling rack to harden.
As always, I love to see what you bake at home and to hear your feedback. Please do share your homebake photos with me by tagging me in @ecofootprintsuk
If you think of a Great British dinner, your going to think of one of 3 things. Fish & Chips, Pie & Mash or Roast Dinner. And of course, no roast is complete without Yorkshire puddings.
Trying to cook gluten free yorkies is a challenge, until of course you know how. Simply converting a standard recipe to gluten free doesn’t work, they of course do not rise properly, and you miss the crisp texture of traditional Yorkshires. This is where my flour mix comes in… you get light, fluffy, crispy Yorkshires with soft bottoms. #perfect!
It took me a while to perfect the recipe, since then we have been using this recipe for years.
TIP: Do ensure your oil is piping hot. If the oil is not hot enough it will result in thick cakey like bakes, still edible of course, but they will be heavy.
I hope that you and your families enjoy it too! Please tag us in or share your photos with us, we love to see what you have made.
The Best Ever Gluten Free Yorkshire Puddings!
Servings: Hmm, depends on how many you eat! If you have 1 each then 12, 2 each then 6 servings.
Time: 10 mins prep time, 20 mins cook time. TOTAL = 30 MINUTES
Difficulty: Easy peazy lemon squeezy
6 organic eggs – mixed weight is fine
300ml dairy free milk (I have used many types of soya and coconut over the years, all work equally well)
50g gluten free plain flour
50ml extra virgin olive oil (vegetable oil will suffice, but won’t be as creamy)
Pre-heat your oven to 220C/200C fan/400F/gas mark 6.
Add a small dash (just under 1tbsp) of olive oil in each of the cupcake pan holes.
Place the pan in the centre of the pre-heated oven for about 10-15 minutes. The oil needs to be super hot and bubbling!
While you are waiting for the oil to heat, crack the 6 eggs into a mixing jug (if you do it in a bowl then you will need to transfer to a jug or something easy to pour with once the mixture is complete), whisk, add the flours and whisk to combine.
Gradually add the milk, a little dash at a time until fully combined. Doing it gradually ensures that you minimise the risk of lumps and ensure it is all combined well.
If you need to, pour the batter into a jug or something easy to pour with.
Right, now here is the bit to watch for. When you pull the cupcake pan out of the oven you need to be QUICK! The oil needs to be as hot as possible while pouring the mixture in. You want to fill each pan about 3/4 of the way and get it back into the oven ASAP. You should see the mixture beginning to sizzle as you are pouring.
Put the tray back into the oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and risen. They should rise to over double their size so make sure you don’t put it in the oven immediately below another shelf. Do NOT open the oven during the bake as they will flop, the heat needs to be consistent, so make sure your oven door is clean and you can see through it.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and serve with your yummy roast.
Week 3 of GBBO 2020 was bread week. Whilst bread can be a fun challenge for some, for me… I could not think of much worse. I am working on perfecting my gluten free bread baking, plus with Fibromyalgia and ME even the thought of doing something so labour intensive can be a turn off.
So, this week the challenge for me was twofold. 1 – create something bread based and yummy (gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, yeast free & vegan) , 2 – make it as least labour intensive as possible! I give you Naan bread baked with 2 core ingredients, and 2 additions (these can be purely be at your own discretion, I fancied something reminiscent of the Peshawari Naan I used to buy from my favourite Indian growing up.
Now, my husband is what we would call a ‘normal eater’, he still indulges in normal food when we are out, and he is fussy. If he doesn’t like it, he won’t eat it, simple. Well… what a surprise this was…. I got 1 naan… yep… 1 lonely naan to enjoy with my veggie tacos… he ate 2 on the first night and the remaining 3 with a lamb Rogan Josh the next night. I didn’t get a look in.
Flour: of course you can use any but.. if you want soft and squidgy naans then you MUST use self-raising flour… using a plain or non-raising flour will result in flat and hard breads.
Yogurt: Greek yogurt is the secret ingredient to not using yeast. It must be Greek and should not be a look-a-like. It doesn’t matter if you use vegan, full fat, reduced fat or low fat. If you need to you can use a standard plain yogurt, but, be aware the end result will be subpar.
Yeast Free Naan Bread! GBBO Week 3, Bread Week.
Time: 5 mins prep time, 5 mins cook time per naan. TOTAL = 20-30 MINUTES
Difficulty: Easy peazy lemon squeezy
1 3/4 gluten free self raising flour
1 cup vegan Greek yogurt (non-fat, reduced fat or full fat is ok)
1tbsp vegan butter of your choice (I choose salted to brush the naans afterwards to make them all buttery and yummy)
1/4 cup organic dried apricots
1/4 cup organic sultanas
Using a large mixing bowl, combine your ingredients: flour, salt (if using it), apricots & sultanas, add the Greek yogurt last, mixing until combined. You will start to feel the ingredients forming a ball, when this happens use your hands to form a large ball of dough.
Lightly dust your kitchen side or a chopping board with flour. Place your dough ball on the floured surface and sprinkle a little extra flour on top. Flatten the ball into a circular shape with a rolling pin and divide into 6-8 even portions. Take each portion and flatten into a rectangular shape (replicating a classic Naan bread).
Heat a non-stick saucepan on medium heat. When hot, put a couple of pieces of flattened dough in at a time and cook for 3 minutes, before flipping and cooking for a further 2 minutes. Repeat until all the naan bread is cooked all the way through. Repeat until the batch has been made.
OPTIONAL: I made my naans in advance of dinner, I reheated them in the oven on a medium heat for 5 minutes, after dusting with a sprinkle of water.
Once cooked, if desired, lightly brush the tops of each naan bread with melted butter.
These will keep for a few days in the fridge and are suitable for freezing. To reheat sprinkle some water onto the naan and heat in a warm oven (on medium heat) for 5 minutes. This is gives your naan a crispy exterior and squidgy inner, just like the real thing. ;o)
As always, please feel free to share your bakes with me, I love to see your versions. Enjoy Jojo xXx
It’s that time of year again, GBBO is upon us. Yay!
Not only does it mean we get to mercilessly watch our screens each Tuesday evening, with our mouths watering and an endless trail of thoughts in our minds “I wish there would be a gluten free baker”, “that wouldn’t look like that if it was gluten free”, “you think that tastes bad… you haven’t tried the gluten free version”. 😂
I’m going to come out and say it…. it also means 12 weeks until Christmas!!! I mean, come on, I am certainly not the only one to think it, I just might be the only one crazy enough to say it out loud.
Week 1 of The Great British Bake-off started off differently this year… straight in with my favourite week, cake week and you wouldn’t believe it… There is a gluten free baker, Peter! I hope he continues to make the gluten free bakes, in honour of all of us non-wheat eaters! It was great to see him out and proud with his free-from bakes.
Cake week is often my favourite week. I enjoy the challenges, successes and failures. Baking has changed significantly for me over the years. Now I am allergic to wheat, gluten, nuts and intolerant to dairy, I have to miss out on some of my favourite foods. Battenburg being one of my favourites, has been hard to let go… so I thought, lets make a version I can eat!
Okay… so let confess…. I’m not sure it technically is a battenburg as it doesn’t contain nuts. But, what it is, is an equivalent bar of yumminess to tantalise all the senses. 😉
YUMMIEST NUT FREE BATTENBURG FREE FROM WHEAT, GLUTEN AND DAIRY!
Time: 10 mins prep time, 40 mins cook time, 15 mis decorating. TOTAL = 65 MINUTES
1/2tsp Xanthan gum (this is down to preferences, personally I find when you make bakes that are GF & DF your batter binds better)
2tbsp Organic Cocoa
2tsp Natural Mint Flavouring or alternative.
If you wish to colour your mint or coloured side to match the flavour then a dash of coloured food paste
500g Ivory Sugarpaste (I use Sattina as I love the quality and flavour)
For this bake, I admit I cheated and purchased a Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Frosting as my daughter requested a fudge buttercream and I didn’t have the energy to whisk buttercream by hand. It used about 1/2 a tub. If you are making buttercream by hand then about 125g butter, 200g icing sugar, 50g organic cocoa, 2tbsp milk alternative and a dash of organic vanilla.
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4/330F. Grease or line a 7” square tin. I use If You Care recycled baking parchment sheets. Grab yourself a mixing bowl and a spare bowl for when you split the mix.
2. Take the slightly softened and cooled butter and beat the sugar into it until it is lighter in colour, creamy and the sugar has started to dissipate into the batter.
3. Combining 2 eggs at a time, beat the eggs into the mix until it is all combined, add the vanilla in with the last 2 eggs.
4. Sift the flour, baking powder and xanthan into the batter, gently whisking at a steady pace. There is a fine line with gluten free batter between whisking it to add air and beating every ounce of air out of it and leaving yourself with something that resembles a cardboard box once baked! You want to ensure all of the ingredients are combined and then just a few flicks of the wrist to double check and that will be enough mixing.
5. Split half of the batter into a separate bowl.
6. In one bowl sift the cocoa and combine. In the other bowl add the flavouring and colouring.
7. Take your pre-lined tin. You’ll want to separate half off the tin to each flavour so you are effectively making 2 rectangles at this stage. In and ideal world you would use a separate piece of parchment to separate the two. I didn’t want to waste the paper so poured each side of the batter in at a time, all in one tin with no barrier, focussing on pouring along the edge walls. I put the cocoa side in first as that was the slightly denser of the two and I knew that it would hold its placement better, then added the vanilla side in to the other half of the tin once I had created the first rectangle.
8. LETS BAKE! Place the tin in the centre of the oven to bake. Mine took about 40 minutes to cook. Start checking the cake from 25 mins, every 5 minutes. Put a skewer into the centre of the cake, if it comes out with no wet mixture on it then the cake is ready. Make sure there is still some spring in the cake otherwise you run the risk of over baking. Leave the cake to cool for an hour or so.
9. While the cake is cooking mix up your buttercream. Whisk the butter until it changes colour and becomes soft, sift in the icing sugar and organic cocoa, add in your 2tbsp of milk alternative and a dash of organic vanilla and mix it all in one go. Around 3 minutes in a mixer, or 5 minutes by hand. You’ll know it is done when its light and fluffy and has almost doubled in size.
Now we get to the fun part, creating and decorating your masterpiece. Firstly your going to want to trim the top of the cake. You should find that the top of the cake tin is a good guide for cutting in a straight line if you do not have a cake slicer. Trim off all of the outside edges to remove any hard edging. Then, cut each rectangle into 2 pieces. I cut around an inch(2.5cm) section out of the middle where the cakes had overlapped and then cut the remaining on each side into 2 long strips. Effectively making 5 strips but discarding the middle section.
As you can see in the picture I placed all 4 pieces together to create a checkerboard pattern. At this stage you can make sure everything sits square. Trim off any edges if you have anything poking out of your rectangle.
Dust some cornflour onto a clean & dry surface, soften and roll out the fondant icing into a rectangle, aim for a thickness of about 3 or 4mm.
For this bake I didn’t worry about crumb coating so went straight into it. I pasted a thin layer of buttercream directly onto the fondant the same length as the cake pieces, then placed my first pirece of cake on. You then want to coat the side that is going to touch the next side going onto the cake, creating your first layer.
Looking at the picture above, you can see I created the 2nd layer on top of the first, repeating the same process, after spreading a thin layer of buttercream between the two layers of sponge. Spread some buttercream on the rolled out fondant ready to make your first roll.
Using the excess fondant as a rolling Matt, fold the your cake over so the next side rolls onto the fondant. Then repeat this process for the next 2 sides., until you have something that resembles the rectangle cube you see in the picture below.
Last but not least you need to trim the edges. Smooth the cake sides down to where the 2 sides meet and trim the excess off to create your rectangle.
Lastly, cut the excess off both ends to create your square. You will see the edge of the cake line through the icing, use this as your guide and cut straight down. Because I used chocolate buttercream your never going to get perfectly clean edges, but if you used apricot jam like the original you wouldn’t see the excess.
Whilst you may thank mine for the chance to make your own version of this at home, I am going to thank Channel 4 and the GBBO in advance for expanding my waistline over the next 12 weeks! It’s going to be a fun adventure!