Thursday, April 9, 2009

Banana Maple Pecan Muffins (Gluten-Free)

If you ever had wondered what to do with overripe bananas, you can stop now. I have come across banana bread nirvana. Original recipe credit goes to Chris on the Delphi forums.

I bought about 20 pounds of bananas from Kroger for $1.00 and have been trying several recipes to use them up. I made 2 different banana breads and some banana butter. The first banana bread I made turned out rather dry and tasteless; the banana butter fixed that but I was still searching for something more. This particular recipe was my favorite creation by far and my favorite banana bread to date. I delivered 8 of these fresh out of the oven to my mother and her coworkers (about 10 minutes away, I drove quickly).

I doubled the recipe and ended up with 39 regular sized muffins. After baking the first half of the batter, I ran out of pecans for the topping. To top the remaining muffins, I devised a cream cheese frosting. Both toppings are absolutely delicious. I made one or two muffins with both toppings and they were especially sinful. This could probably be made into a loaf instead of muffins, but the batter is rather dense and would probably not work well.

  • 3 ripe Bananas
  • 1/3 cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped Pecans
  • 2 cups Gluten-Free Flour*
  • 1 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1 cup packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (equal parts cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger)
  • 2 tbsp Dry Buttermilk Powder
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 cup Water
Maple Pecan Topping:

  • 3/4 cup chopped Pecans
  • 1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 6oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup packed Brown Sugar
* For the flour mix, I used Bette Hagman's Mix with great success: 2 parts garfava flour, 1 part sorghum flour, 3 parts cornstarch and 3 parts tapioca flour. Feel free to experiment with your own mix.

  1. Combine mashed bananas with 1/3 cup maple syrup and 1/2 cup pecans. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Combine flour, xanthan gum, sugar, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and dry buttermilk. Alternatively, if you do not have premixed pumpkin pie spice, use equal parts cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg (I used extra cinnamon). Mix together well.
  3. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients. Combine eggs, oil, and water in separate bowl. Pour into center of dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon just until dry ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Use a spatula or knife to make three or four "troughs" in the dough/batter. Spoon banana mixture into troughs. Gently fold bananas into dough with knife.
  5. Spoon dough into muffin cups. If using maple pecan topping, sprinkle muffins with maple pecan mixture prior to baking. If using cream cheese frosting, beat ingredients together and spread on tops of muffins after they are baked, not before.
  6. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until they test done. Try not to underbake, I baked mine for a little longer, maybe 22-23 minutes. Makes about 18 good sized muffins.
Be sure to post a review of my recipe on Recipezaar:
You probably don't want to know the nutrition information...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bull's Eyes

I haven't had a Goetze's Bull's Eye caramel in over 2 years. For some reason, they have wheat in them. I have tried searching for a copycat recipe that I could modify to be Gluten-Free but came up empty handed. I could only find copycat recipes for some sort of BBQ sauce (not exactly what I had in mind). So instead I made my own! I used a recipe for caramels and a separate recipe for the cream filling. The resulting caramels from this recipe are much more creamier than authentic Bull's Eyes and I think they taste better for it. These are also terrible for you, so don't eat too many.

  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Condensed Milk
  • 2 cups Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Butter, softened
Cream Filling:
  • 1/8 oz unflavored Gelatin (1/2 an envelope)
  • 2 tbsp Cold Water
  • 1/2 cup Shortening
  • 2 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Powdered Sugar, for dusting
  1. Prepare a 9x9 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the cream and condensed milk in a small saucepan and place the saucepan on a burner set to the lowest heat setting. Do not allow to boil, just keep warm.
  3. In a medium-large saucepan combine the corn syrup, water, and granulated sugar over medium-high heat.
  4. Stir the candy until the sugar dissolves, then use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan to prevent sugar crystals from forming and making the candy grainy.
  5. Insert a candy thermometer and reduce the heat to medium. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and cook until the thermometer reads 250°F.
  6. Add the softened butter and the warm milk-cream mixture. The temperature should decrease about 30°F.
  7. Continue to cook the caramel, stirring constantly so that the bottom does not scorch. Cook it until the thermometer reads 244F, and the caramel is a beautiful dark golden brown.
  8. Remove the caramel from the heat and immediately pour into the prepared pan. Do not scrape candy from the bottom of the saucepan. Allow the candy to sit overnight to set up and develop a smooth, silky texture.
  9. When you are ready to cut the caramel, place a piece of waxed paper on the counter and lift the caramel from the pan using the foil as handles. Flip the top of the caramel onto the waxed paper and peel the foil layer from the bottom of the caramel.
Cream Filling:
  1. Dissolve unflavored gelatin in cold water.
  2. Set in heat proof cup in pan; Simmer until clear.
  3. Let cool.
  4. Cream together shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
  5. Add cooled gelatin and beat for 10 minutes.
  6. Here comes the time consuming part. Cut a large amount of wax paper rectangles. Try around 3" x 3", adjusting once you get the hang of it.
  7. Take a small piece of caramel, about half of a cubic inch, work into a doughnut shape.
  8. Take a small amount of cream filling, about the size of .5" diameter sphere, and press into center of caramel. Dust caramel with powdered sugar. This will prevent the caramel from sticking to the paper and your hands.
  9. Shape the caramel into a less flat figure and place into center of wax paper square. Wrap paper around caramel.
  10. It will take you a few tries to get the technique down. Don't worry about less than perfectly shaped caramels, just eat them! (My stomach hurt after making these, heh).
  11. I ended up with 105 caramels and used about 4/5 of the cream filling. It took me 2.5 hours alone to wrap all of them. I'd recommend enlisting some help. Try bribing some children with promises of candy...