Sunday, July 29, 2012

Gluten-free Lady!

Hello, again!!!  It’s been awhile since I last posted on my blog.  It seems that having an undetermined illness takes up a lot of extra time.  Between doctor’s visits and tests, and feeling under the weather, along with working full time, its been nearly impossible to sit down and do some fun crafts, and especially take the time to write about them!  But FINALLY I have some answers.  I, like many others recently, have discovered I have a sever sensitivity to gluten.  And let me tell you, discovering that and cutting gluten out of my life has made a world of difference!
Gluten is in so many areas of a typical diet, more prominently in breads, pastas, and bakery items, (all of my favorites!)  One would think that this would be a really hard diet to stick to, but I haven’t found that to be the case.  I cook dinner most of the time, we rarely go out to eat.  That’s the only aspect that tends to be a little trickier.  I am so grateful that there are so many gluten-free options available these days.  I’ve found some great breads, pastas, and all purpose flours that work great for baking.  
Not only have I noticed that my stomach is feeling much better everyday, but I seem to have more energy to go along with it!  I don’t have that sluggish feeling I would get after eating a meal that included bread or pasta.  I am naturally starting to lose my cravings for those types of things, the longer that I go with out it.  Instead, I find myself hungry for a fresh vegetable and protein, and more of a fruity type of dessert. 
Desserts happen to be my weakness. Especially cheesecake brownies.  And without using good judgement I just had to go off and try to make some gluten-free cheesecake brownies.  To my dismay, they were heavenly.  Now I know I’m going to make them all the time.  Refined sugars are something that I still crave and gravitate toward.  My next goal is to learn to use more of the natural sweeteners such as honey, agave, and stevia when baking, because baking is therapeutic for me, and its just not something I’m willing to give up.  I’m heading to the library to pick up some books to do a little research on the matter.  I will keep you updated on what I discover!!
So, until I figure out the sugar situation, here is the recipe for gluten-free zucchini nut bread cookie sandwiches, interpreted from Martha Stewart’s recipe.  I hope to shared a gluten-free recipe with you each week.  And trust me, you would never know these are gluten-free!!  They are scrumptious!!

Gluten-Free Zucchini Nut Bread Cookie Sandwiches
1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour mix
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Coarse salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup finely grated zucchini
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt into a bowl. Beat 1 stick butter and the sugars until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
. Beat flour mixture into butter mixture. Mix in zucchini, oats, and walnuts. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop (about 2 tablespoons), drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges are golden, about 17 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
. Beat together remaining 1/2 stick butter, the cream cheese, and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread 1 heaping tablespoon filling onto the flat side of 1 cookie, and sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining filling and cookies.
If you wanted these to be dairy free, you could sub the frosting middle for coconut ice cream, or cool whip even!  The options are endless!  Enjoy and let me know what you think!!!

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