I wanted to share this recipe for gluten-free, low FODMAP peanut butter chocolate chip cookies with you. We’ve known about my husband’s gluten intolerance for a number of years, so I’m well versed in creating gluten free recipes. But in the autumn he also went onto the low-FODMAP diet, to try to help us work out what other food intolerances he has. So I’ve also had the fun of trying out low FODMAP baking for the first time. I think these peanut butter choc chip cookies are a great treat even if you don’t have any dietary requirements! Plus they’re really easy to make.
This recipe will make around 9 – 14 gluten-free low FODMAP peanut butter choc chip cookies. It takes about fifteen minutes to prepare and another 12 minutes to bake. You can also freeze these cookies and reheat them later (10 minutes in an oven preheated to 160 degrees C).
Gluten-Free Low FODMAP Peanut Butter Choc Chip Cookies
You will need the following ingredients for your gluten free low FODMAP peanut butter chocolate chip cookies:
225g salted butter
225g caster sugar
2 egg yolks (or one egg – but two yolks gives a more chewy, cookie-ish consistency)
100g dark chocolate drops or chopped dark chocolate
Gluten-free Peanut Choc Chip Cookies: The Recipe:
1. First, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then mix in the egg, a little at a time.
2. Sieve in the flour and xanthan gum, add the peanut butter, oats and vanilla extract and mix well.
3. Lastly, add your chocolate chips and mix until well combined into a thick dough… See the picture of the cookie dough below.
4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
5. Next, roll the cookie dough into balls, a little smaller than golf ball size. Put the balls onto a baking sheet, well spaced apart.
6. Bake your cookies for around 12 minutes, until they are slightly brown at the edges. They will look a bit undercooked in the middle – that’s okay.
7. Cool the cookies on the tray for 2 – 3 minutes, then transfer onto a cooling rack.
Tips and Tricks for your Gluten-free Peanut Butter Choc Chip Cookies:
The aim is to make peanut butter chocolate chip cookies with a slightly soft, chewy centre. This is harder to achieve with a gluten free recipe! The use of egg yolks, oats, peanut butter and xanthan gum should help to give more of a chewy texture, but the most important thing is not to leave them in the oven too long – if you do, they’ll still be delicious, but they’ll have more of a crunchy biscuit texture.
Another thing that helps with the chewy texture is putting the cookie dough onto the baking sheet in balls rather than dough that’s already rolled flat – so make sure you don’t skip that step!
To keep things low- FODMAP, make sure you use dark chocolate chips. Also ensure that your peanut butter doesn’t contain high-FODMAP ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup.
These bite-size gluten free jam tarts are great for a picnic, and the sugar glaze helps to keep them light and sweet with the salty puff pastry and tangy jam! It is such an easy recipe to bake with little kids, who will love cutting the pastry and spooning out the jam (fair warning, you will have jam everywhere). Little Man is still a bit small to get very involved in baking, but he enjoyed watching me drizzle the sugar glaze and sticking his hands into a lemon tart… Oops.
Plus, it’s so nice if you have a gluten free family member who doesn’t usually get to enjoy pastry treats! There’s virtually no washing up, and it only requires four ingredients. So let’s get going!
Gluten-free Sugar-glazed Jam Tarts Recipe
Ingredients for your gluten free jam tarts:
Genuinely you only need four ingredients:
Gluten-free puff pastry (available in most supermarkets these days – I use Jus-Roll gluten free pastry which you can find everywhere!)
Jam or lemon curd (or both!)
How to make your tarts:
1. Use a biscuit cutter to cut circles out of the pastry and put them into the cake spots in a cupcake tin. This creates a nice shape for your tarts. Using a fork, prick holes in the base of each one – this will stop it puffing in the middle and spilling jam everywhere!
2. Put a small teaspoon of jam or lemon curd in the middle of each tart. Don’t get too generous, as the filling will bubble up when baking!
3. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees C, for 12 – 15 minutes (until the pastry is nice and golden).
4. Carefully remove your tarts from the tin and place on a cooling rack. Mix two tablespoons of icing sugar with two teaspoons of water to form a runny white glaze, and drizzle it over the tarts once they’re cool.
5. Try not to let your baby son stick his mucky hands all over them…
So the 16th February is, of course, Pancake Day. And let’s face it, what with lockdown and coronavirus, we’ve not got much to look forward to this year. Which means (in my mind) that Pancake Day should now be treated as a major holiday and celebrated as such. To that end, I’m bringing together some of my personal favourite recipes and ideas for incredible pancakes – including sweet and savory recipes, gluten free pancakes, and some slightly outlandish ideas as well… By the time I’m finished, I might just have to turn it into Pancake Week!
Pancake Day Inspiration and Ideas
Big Fat Pancakes
Ah, big fat pancakes. You know the ones. The kind of fluffy pancakes you find stacked up like the Empire State Building and smothered in syrup, on a plate that’s much too small, in a cheap American diner…. Om nom nom. Here’s a recipe for big fat pancakes from BBC Good Food – the normal flour can be directly substituted for gluten-free flour. And see below for ideas on how to make them a bit more exciting…
These kind of American pancakes really work well with additions to the batter. If you’re a fan of the Hawaiian pizza, I highly recommend scattering shredded ham and small pieces of pineapple into the pan along with the wet batter. They will cook into the pancake and, served with a little melted cheese on top, create a delicious (if slightly unorthodox) Hawaiian pancake treat! Unless you are my husband, in which case you will think it is the pancake of the devil. Fair enough.
If you are of my husband’s mindset, with regards to the combination of ham, pineapple and cheese, then there are of course big fat savoury pancake alternatives. Another great choice is to keep the shredded ham in the batter (but drop the pineapple!… not into the batter…) and then top your pancakes with smoked cheese and chives.
The obvious choice is, of course, to drop blueberries in your pancake batter and serve with syrup or, if you’re feeling especially extravagant, blueberry yoghurt and maple syrup. I think pretty much any fruit + yoghurt combination works – I’m not the biggest ever fan of blueberries but I love these pancakes with raspberries and yoghurt (in fact you can see that exact combo in one of the pictures on this page!). Ice cream is a more than acceptable yoghurt substitute if you don’t care about pretending that your breakfast is remotely healthy.
Another amazing big fat pancake is a cinammon swirl pancake. These are perfect breakfast pancakes! Basically it’s a normal American pancake but with an addition of sweet cinammon butter, swirled into the batter. I make them at home on a semi-regular basis and they are super delicious, but fair warning: I have never managed to get them looking particularly attractive (hence the absence of photos). To this day, I have no idea how the folks over at BBC Good Food managed to get theirs looking so perfect. But who cares? They don’t last long enough to photograph anyway.
I also weirdly love the combo of banana, bacon and maple syrup for the ultimate sweet and savoury twist.
Skinny Flat Pancakes
Let’s be clear. By ‘skinny’ pancakes, I mean pancakes that are physically slender, not ones that are in any way healthy to eat. That is not in the spirit of Pancake Day. The best thing about skinny flat pancakes, a.k.a. classic French crepes (basic recipe here, straight swap the flour for gluten free flour if needed), is that you can eat a lot more of them before you’re full! As we all know, on Pancake Day one should maximise the quantity, as well as the quality, of pancakes consumed…
Crepes work super well with savoury flavours. My favourite is to spread the crepe with cream cheese, sprinkle with cracked black pepper, smoked salmon, a squeeze of lemon and a generous scattering of chopped chives. It’s sort of like a smoked salmon blini, but much much bigger!
Having started with a savoury crepe (or two, or three) obviously you need to move on to dessert. When I was a kid, my mum always served up crepes spread with strawberry jam, and/or a sprinkle of lemon juice and sugar. Sometimes the classics are the best!
But these days I often dish up a range of sweet fillings, so people can pick and choose their favourites and maybe have a few different combinations. Strawberries and banana are the perfect versatile fruits to have available to fill your crepes, along with Nutella (other chocolate spreads are available…) or caramel sauce.
Fun and Fruity Pancakes
Speaking of fruit, my husband was the one to first introduce me to banana pancakes. Before he came along, I thought ‘banana pancakes’ were the same as ‘banana and pancakes’ – I clearly didn’t pay enough attention to Jack Johnson in my youth. Boy, was I missing out! Proper banana pancakes are now a staple in our house, and Little Man loves them too.
Making banana pancakes can be as simple as two ingredients – banana and egg – making them naturally gluten free, although I prefer recipes that include baking powder for a little extra lightness. My go-to recipe is here, but I usually add a tablespoon of gluten-free flour – because I find the addition of flour makes the pancakes much easier to flip! Banana-only pancakes can be very runny, and you end up with rather unattractive melty blobs (although to be fair, they are absolutely delicious melty blobs). I recommend serving them hot from the pan with either maple syrup or golden syrup – both are delicious.
I’ve heard a rumour that you can make other types of fruit pancake, but honestly why would you bother?
The classic boozy pancake is, naturally, the Crepe Suzette. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a delicious recipe, but also requires a certain amount of confidence and fancy chef-y skills like making caramel and then setting it on fire. The BBC conveniently have an easy version recipe which they call Cointreau Pancakes (other orange-flavoured liqueurs are available).
I love a yummy crumble when the weather is cold. But this autumn, my husband started on the low FODMAP diet to try to work out if he has any food intolerances other than gluten intolerance, which we know about. And on the low FODMAP diet, you’re not allowed to eat apple. So what the hell do you put in a delicious winter crumble? Well… Why not turn it into a summery sunshine crumble instead, with this delicious recipe for gluten-free, low FODMAP pineapple raspberry crumble!
To make your gluten free, low FODMAP pineapple raspberry crumble, you’ll need the following ingredients. This is a store cupboard crumble recipe, so it’s made with ingredients you can keep in the cupboard or freezer – but you can of course use fresh fruit if you’re feeling fancy!
For the filling:
1 tin pineapple rings
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
50g caster sugar
(1 tbsp spiced rum – this is optional as rum is high FODMAP due to the sugar content! However you may choose to risk it for a biscuit, as a single tablespoon of rum spread over 6 – 8 portions of crumble is a very small amount per serving)
For the crumble topping:
250g Gluten free plain flour
125g Sugar (golden caster is perfect)
50g Dessicated coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
Pineapple Raspberry Crumble: The Method
1. First, make the crumble topping. Put the butter, sugar, and flour into a bowl and rub the ingredients together with your fingertips until you have a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs. Sir the oats, cinnamon and desiccated coconut through the mixture.
2. Drain the pineapple rings, putting the juice from the tin into a saucepan. Chop the pineapple rings into bite-sized pieces, and line the bottom of a 15cm x 30cm casserole dish with the chunks.
3. Stud the casserole dish with frozen raspberries (no need to defrost) – see picture above. Put the leftover raspberries into the saucepan with the pineapple juice.
4. Add the sugar to the saucepan and stir over a gentle heat. For an extra bit of flavour, add the spiced rum at this point. Bring to a simmer and keep stirring over a low heat until it reaches the consistency of double cream.
5. Pour the cooked-down raspberry pineapple mix over the fruit in the bottom of your casserole dish. Don’t worry, you’re not expecting it to cover the bottom of the dish – the fruit will release more liquid when you bake it.
6. When you’re ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
7. Cover the fruit with crumble topping, and bake for around 40 minutes or until the crumble is nicely browned. Serve immediately.
Tips and Tricks for your Pineapple Raspberry Crumble
If you fancy a more grown-up sort of pineapple and raspberry crumble, you can of course increase the rum content! Or, if you do need your crumble to be low FODMAP, you can add spiced yodka instead – vodka is low FODMAP (unlike rum, sadly) so you can have as much as you like! Here’s a recipe to make your own spiced vodka at home.
If you need to be strictly low FODMAP, be careful what you serve your crumble with, as both custard and ice cream are sadly high FODMAP. You can get lactose free custard – we’ve tried some oat custard, which was pretty tasty – or lactose free ice cream.
I was kindly gifted this sweet cocoa collagen by Wellness Lab Ltd. You can use their collagen powder in drinks, smoothies and baked goods, so they asked if I could come up with a new ice cream recipe using it. And after a little experimenting, I’ve created this recipe for delicious malted chocolate ice cream with sweet cocoa collagen!
It’s high in protein, and comparatively low in sugar – with about 1/3rd of the sugar content you’d usually get in an ice cream, if you leave out the Malteasers. (But why would you leave out the Malteasers? They’re delicious!)
What the hell is collagen and why would I want it in my ice cream?
Collagen is a protein that is found throughout your entire body, in connective tissue like cartilage, bone, skin, ligaments and tendons. Your body naturally produces collagen, but as you age your body produces less of it. It’s been suggested that taking collagen supplements can help improve skin elasticity, and reduce joint aim and wrinkles, by helping your body to produce this important protein. Although it’s still early days in terms of the science, there are some indications that collagen supplementation may help with joint health in osteoarthritis.
Collagen supplements are really popular right now – not only because of their possible health benefits, but also because they’re high in protein and can easily be added to other foodstuffs.
What does collagen taste like?
I had never tried collagen supplements before, so I was interested to see what the flavour was like! In the sweet cocoa collagen powder, the collagen seems to give it a slightly malty flavour, which is what inspired this recipe. If you enjoy Horlicks or other malted chocolate drinks, you’d probably really like the powder just as a hot drink (you can just add hot water and stir!). I’m personally not such a fan of malty hot drinks, I prefer the flavour in baked goods and puddings… And especially in ice cream!
Where can I get hold of powdered collagen to try?
If you’d like to try the Wellness Lab powdered collagen (which comes in sweet cocoa, vanilla, or unflavoured varieties) click here and use code SICKLYMAMA for 10% off (Full disclosure: if you do make a purchase I will receive a small commission!).
Malted Chocolate Ice Cream With Sweet Cocoa Collagen Recipe
For this recipe, first you’ll need to gather the following ingredients:
– 300ml whole milk
– 300ml double cream
– 6 egg yolks
– 100g milk chocolate
– 5tsp of sweet cocoa collagen from Wellness Labs (use code SICKLYMAMA for 10% off!)
– 1tsp vanilla essence
– 2 handfuls Malteasers (optional, but delicious)
Ideally, for this malted chocolate ice cream recipe you’ll need an ice cream maker. If you don’t have one though, don’t worry – I’ll explain how to make the recipe without one as well.
Here’s the list of equipment you’ll ideally want to gather, in addition to your ingredients:
Ice cream maker
Container to freeze your finished collagen ice cream in (an old ice cream tub is perfect!)
Malted Chocolate Ice Cream With Sweet Cocoa Collagen: The Method
As with all ice cream recipes, there are two stages to this: first you make your custard base, then you turn it into ice cream. You can do both stages in one day if you have the time, or split them out over two days. Each stage itself doesn’t take that long – but leaving the custard to cool and the ice cream to churn is what takes the time!
Stage 1: Make Your Custard
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk your egg yolks with the vanilla essence. In a saucepan, gently heat the cream and milk together until just boiling. Keep back three tablespoons of milk for later.
2. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Slowly pour the hot milk and cream over the egg yolks, while whisking the yolks constantly.
3. Once combined, return the mix to the saucepan and heat over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the mix is the consistency of thin custard.
4. Remove from the heat and cool. You can do this quickly by placing the custard in a bowl over a larger bowl of ice water, or leave to cool more slowly. Ideally, you want your custard chilled by the time it goes in the ice cream maker – so make sure it gets some time in the fridge. You can even leave it overnight in the fridge if you want.
Stage Two: Make Your Ice Cream
5. Set up your ice cream maker to churn, and add the custard.
6. Meanwhile, set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Add three tablespoons of milk. Wait until the milk is warm, then add the chocolate, broken into pieces. Stir until the chocolate is totally melted into the milk. Remove from the saucepan and set aside to cool.
7. Take your sweet cocoa collagen and place it in the mug. Add 2 – 4 tablespoons of hot water, stirring to mix until you have a chocolatey sauce. Set aside to cool.
8. Once the ice cream has churned for 25 – 30 minutes and has thickened to the texture of soft serve/Mr Whippy ice cream, add the cooled chocolate and the cooled cocoa collagen mix. Allow to churn for a further 5 – 10 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, crush your Malteasers and place them in your ice cream container. Add the finished ice cream into your container and stir until the Malteasers are well mixed in.
10. Freeze your malted chocolate collagen ice cream for at least 2 hours, and serve when you’re ready.
Your collagen recipes:
Have you tried cooking or making ice cream with collagen? Share your recipes in the comments!
It’s that happy season where everyone is posting about Christmas, Christmas, Christmas… In my house, the Christmas season doesn’t start properly until the 7th December, as my husband’s birthday is the 6th December and clearly takes precedence over the other festive season! But that doesn’t mean the preparations haven’t started, so I thought I’d share my Christmas round-up post, including ideas for festive baking, food and drink, gift ideas and family activities…
If you have young children, the festive season is a lovely opportunity to get them involved in baking (and eating, of course!). These easy no bake sweet treats are just the right kind of safe and fun recipes to make with your kids at Christmas. Slightly older will love this Mars Bar fudge recipe for slow cookers, which is also a lovely, simple recipe that they can get involved in creating.
Christmas drinks and cocktails
Cranberries are one of those ingredients that I really associate with Christmas, but other than cranberry sauce with your Christmas dinner, it’s hard to come up with much to do with them… I’m planning on using cranberry juice and orange juice to make some tasty morning mocktails over the festive season – just what you want to wake up to!
On the alcoholic side of things, earlier this year I made some delicious hawthorn gin which should be ready for Christmas – I can’t wait to enjoy it in some prosecco in a festive hawthorn fizz. You can find my recipe for hawthorn gin here. I’ve also tried making some Christmas pudding vodka – so I’m pretty excited to see how that turns out!
Christmas Gift Guides
Buying presents can be so tricky, and especially this year when lockdown and the Covid tiers system means it’s not easy to get out to the shops and just browse.
If you’re buying gifts for a tea lover in your life, I have a guide coming soon on the blog – keep your eyes peeled!
Fun Christmas Activities
Christmas is definitely time for relaxing in front of the television… But it’s nice to use your time off over Christmas to do some other fun activities – and as we’re all going to be staying indoors this Christmas, I’m trying to plan some fun activities in advance.
I love nachos. So does my husband. But we don’t have them often, because a) they’re super unhealthy and b) a lot of tortilla chip varieties are not gluten free. I came up with this variation, which is much healthier but I think also hits a lot of the same buttons in terms of flavour. I call them ‘sweet potato nachos’ for that reason – but really you could also call them loaded sweet potato fries. This recipe is super easy and can be made quickly if you have a microwave – about 20 – 25 minutes, or 55 minutes if you’re baking the sweet potato in the oven. They’d also be great made in an air fryer.
As well as being gluten free, this recipe can easily be made low FODMAP (mainly by keeping an eye on portion sizes) so I’ve also provided instructions for anyone following a low FODMAP diet – and I’ve given some notes on making vegan nachos at the end of this recipe as well.
Sweet Potato Nachos Recipe
To make your gluten free sweet potato nachos, you will need:
Sweet potatoes (40g serving per person if you are following a low FODMAP diet)
Cream cheese (for low FODMAP ensure you’re not having more than 40g cheese overall when you add together the mozzarella and cream cheese)
Spring onion (for low FODMAP, only use the green part)
Vegetable oil or garlic infused oil if you have it!
Method for making sweet potato nachos:
1. Peel your sweet potatoes. If you have a microwave, pop them in on a high heat for 5 minutes, turn them over, and heat for a further five minutes. You’ll know they’re done when a fork easily goes through the potato flesh. If you don’t have a microwave, ignore this and go straight to the second step!
2. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C. Cut up your sweet potatoes into chips and place on a baking tray. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil and a generous sprinkle of the salt and cayenne pepper. Toss the sweet potato chips through the oil and seasonings, then pop in the oven. If you pre-cooked your chips in the microwave, bake for about ten minutes, turning halfway through. If you didn’t pre-cook, bake the chips for about 40 minutes, turning halfway through.
3. When the sweet potato chips are ready, group them together in a pile on the baking tray. Dollop over the cream cheese and sprinkle with finely chopped spring onion. Then, top with mozzarella.
4. Stick the tray under a hot grill until the cheese on your sweet potato chips has browned nicely. And serve!
Ideas for your sweet potato nachos
These nachos are an ideal snack, or make a larger quantity for lunch. Just like traditional nachos, they work well for parties or social events – and it’s also a really kid-friendly recipe, and a sneaky way to get your kids eating some vegetables. If you’re trying to be a healthy mummy (or daddy), don’t go overboard on the cheese (or just don’t eat them every day!).
You can play around with the toppings for your sweet potato nachos as well. Tomato salsa would be a tasty addition (but not if you’re looking for a low FODMAP treat, thanks to the onion content), as would black beans or avocado/guacamole (again not good ingredients for low FODMAP diets though!).
Vegan Sweet Potato Nachos
Obviously this recipe is already vegetarian, but if you follow a vegan diet, it’s also pretty easy to turn this dish into vegan sweet potato nachos. Plenty of stores sell vegan cheese substitutes, so you can swap out the mozzarella and cream cheese for a vegan alternative. Or, you can even make your own – check out this recipe for homemade vegan parmesan or homemade vegan feta cheese substitute, both of which would be delicious sprinkled over the top of your sweet potato fries.
I love making brownies, and much though I love a simple chocolate brownie, I like experimenting with different flavours! As my husband is a total coffee nut, he suggested a marbled chocolate brownie/coffee blondie combination, and I think this recipe is a total winner! Plus, you’d never know it’s gluten free. The only point of debate is whether to call them “chocolate cappuccino brownies” or “mochaccino brownies”… Thoughts?
Gluten-free Chocolate Cappuccino Brownies Recipe
The ingredients for your gluten free brownies:
For this recipe, you will need:
75g dark chocolate
175g caster sugar
75g gluten free plain flour
1tsp vanilla essence
1tsp instant coffee
1tsp baking powder
1/4tsp xantham gum (optional)
How to make gluten free mochaccino brownies:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease and line the base of a 20cm X 20cm tin.
2. Melt the chocolate (I microwave it for 20 second bursts until melted, or you can melt in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water).
3. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy, then beat in the eggs. Add the flour, xantham gum, baking powder and vanilla essence and mix until smooth.
4. Split the mix between two bowls. Mix in the melted chocolate to one bowl, and the coffee to the other.
5. Dollop the two mixtures into the tin and swirl together slightly. Don’t mix too much though, or you won’t get the contrasting flavours of the two mixes!
6. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. 30 minutes will get you a more cakey texture, 25 minutes a more fudgey texture. Let the mix cool in the tin.
Tips and tricks for your gluten free chocolate cappuccino brownies:
This recipe will make 12 – 16 gluten free chocolate cappuccino brownies, depending on how you cut it, and it takes about 20 minutes to prepare, plus cooking time.
If you’re not bothered about being gluten free, substitute the gluten free flour for normal flour and leave out the xantham gum.
You want your coffee brownie mix to taste strongly of coffee in order for the finished product to have a good coffee flavour, so I recommend tasting the batter. If the uncooked mix doesn’t have a good hit of coffee flavour to it, add more instant coffee powder until it does!
It’s autumn! The leaves are brown, the sky is grey, and going outside is starting to feel like a chore rather than a treat. But for me, one of the ways we’re compensated for the chilly weather and the shortening days is the delicious flavours of seasonal autumn cooking. And by that, I mean pumpkin! I absolutely love pumpkin as an ingredient in both sweet and savoury dishes, and I think these gluten free pumpkin muffins are a perfect autumn treat.
They’re made with tinned pumpkin puree, which isn’t always easy to find in the UK – although large supermarkets will often stock it in their international foods section. If you can’t find a tin of pumpkin puree, you can substitute it with homemade puree from a roasted pumpkin or squash – instructions here.
Okay, enough talk. On to the actual recipe!
Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins Recipe
Ingredients for pumpkin muffins:
You will need the following ingredients for your gluten free pumpkin muffins:
250g gluten free flour
225g sugar (I split this between caster sugar, demerara sugar, and dark muscovado sugar – a mix with some darker sugar is ideal for a bit of extra flavour)
120g butter (salted)
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
1 can of pumpkin puree
2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp vanilla essence
Method for gluten free pumpkin muffins
1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C and line a muffin tin with cake cases.
2. Melt the butter. You can do this in the microwave in 10 second blasts, stirring in between, until fully melted.
3. Add all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, and mix until thoroughly combined. Don’t worry if it’s a little bit lumpy though!
4. Spoon the mix into the cake cases.
5. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. You’ll know the muffins are fully cooked when a skewer or fork inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
6. Put the muffins on a cooling tray to cool. Or eat them straightaway – they’re delicious still warm from the oven!
Tips and pointers for your spiced pumpkin muffins:
These bad boys will keep in a tin for 3 – 4 days, although they’re yummiest fresh from the oven! You can also freeze your gluten free pumpkin muffins for up to three months – here are some pointers on freezing muffins. So you can make them now and enjoy them later!
This recipe is gluten free, however if you’re not in need of gluten free muffins, you can make them with regular flour and leave out the xantham gum. They’re just as yummy when they contain gluten, but do be careful not to over-mix the batter, as it will leave you with tough, chewy little cakes. Over-mixing is not such a problem with gluten-free baking, which is one of the few benefits of cooking for the gluten intolerant!
You can also very much get creative with the spices you use in these gluten free pumpkin muffins. I love a pumpkin spice blend that’s heavy on the cinnamon and ginger and light on the clove (by which I mean has NO CLOVES in it, because they’re disgusting). But a traditional American pumpkin spice mix has a good dose of nutmeg and clove in it, so you may wish to go for maximum authenticity there!
Basically, foraging is like shopping – except everything is free, so it’s better. As I’m on maternity leave, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to pick haw berries this year, so I wanted to share some of the recipes I’m trying out. I’ve heard that hawthorn berry gin has a taste a bit like sherry, so of course that was first on the list to try. Whether you live in the town or the countryside, chances are you’ll have a hawthorn bush nearby, as they’re one of the most common types of plant used for hedges in the UK.
This is a great way to transform a bottle of cheap £10 supermarket vodka into a bottle of fancy hawthorn berry gin you’d pay at least £25 for. Because yes – gin is basically just vodka that’s been flavoured either during or after the distillation process. So hawthorn vodka is hawthorn gin! Who knew?
Fair warning: this is my first time making hawthorn gin, so it’s not exactly a tried and tested recipe just yet! I’ve tried to read through a number of different hawthorn recipes and select the “average” set of instructions to follow…
Hawthorn Gin: The Recipe
1. First, pick your hawthorn berries
It’s the perfect time of year for picking hawthorn berries (also known as haw berries) in the UK! They’re also a great thing to forage, because unlike blackberries or even damsons, they’re not that popular, so it’s unlikely that other people will get there before you and pinch all the ripe berries.
The hawthorn berries are ripe when they’re a lovely bright red, from late August through to October depending on where you live. If you’re not confident identifying hawthorn, you can find a guide here. It’s not likely that you’d mix it up with another plant, so it’s a pretty safe bet for a new forager! Remember not to pick all the berries you find – they’re important food for wildlife too.
Some people say you should wait for the first frost to pick hawthorn berries, but it’s not really necessary for making gin. If you want, you can freeze the berries and defrost before using them in this recipe, to achieve the same effect.
You should also note that although hawthorn berries are edible, the seeds are mildly poisonous, which is why most hawthorn berry recipes involve cooking and then straining the berries to remove the pips.
2. Prepare your hawthorn berries
Sort through the haw berries to remove any that are discoloured, and give them a wash.
Ideally at this point you want to top and tail each haw berry, cutting off the stems and the little brown bit at the bottom. You don’t have to, but apparently if you remove these parts, it reduces the amount of sediment that you have to strain out later. Some recipes leave the berries whole – others cut out the stone in the middle (but that seemed like too much effort to me) – this seems like the most popular approach though.
3. Bottle it
Pack the haw berries into a sterilised bottle or preserving jar, adding sugar between the layers as you go. I find a lot of homemade gin too sweet, so I’ve not been over-generous with my sugar, but some recipes recommend vast quantities of the stuff. It’s basically just there for flavour, so you can add it to taste.
Leave a space at the top of the jar so you can give it a good shake. Then fill the jar or bottle with cheap supermarket gin or vodka.
4. Wait for hawthorn gin/hawthorn vodka
And now… We wait! Leave the hawthorn berry gin for about a month, giving it a shake every few days. Then, strain your gin. You can do this the traditional way through a muslin, or through filter paper.
Next, let it mature for 2 – 3 months before drinking. It will keep for about a year after that, so make sure you label the bottle.
Now, I can’t report back on the flavour just yet because my gin is still infusing, but I will let you know how it turns out when we crack it out in the winter!
Your hawthorn berry recipes
I’ve really enjoyed making this hawthorn berry gin recipe and I’d love to know how else I can use up all these delicious haw berries! Do you have any great hawthorn berry recipes? Let me know in the comments!