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gluten free focaccia with sage & brown butter

Ratio Rally: Focaccia

This post is part of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally, a group of gluten-free bloggers inspired and empowered by Ruhlman‘s Ratio and started by Shauna at Gluten-Free Girl. We get together each month and post many different takes on the same theme. This month that theme is Gluten-Free Tarts and the rally is being hosted by Heather from Discovering the Extraordinary.

gluten free focaccia with sage & brown butter

Yeast breads make me nervous. Very, very nervous.

Most likely because I never made yeasted bread before going gluten-free. I don’t have a lot of experience knowing how the dough or batter should behave.

Cakes, I got. Muffins & pancakes? We are good to go. Gluten-free cookies? Just call me an expert. Bread? Well, I am still learning. But I would qualify today’s recipe as a success.

The ratio: 5:4

Gluten free flours:liquids. Add a splash of oil for flavor. Call it winning.

I am serious. This is the easiest yeast bread I have made, and one that has a great flavor. There is an egg in there as part of the liquid, but it also helps beef up the structure and add a wee bit of lift.

Yes, this dough is wet. And a little sticky. You just have to trust me. It works. And it is darn good.

The flavors

Brown butter in place of the traditional olive oil. Sage on top. A sprinkling of sea salt. The yeasty flavor that you only get from home made or artisan loaves.

This is some seriously delicious bread.

It would make good sandwich bread when sliced in half. (Do I see paninis in my future? I sure hope so…)

Want a different flavor? Use good olive oil in place of the browned butter. Swap out the toppings. Mix something into the dough.

This months participants

Heather | Discovering the Extraordinary made Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia Bread 
Carol / Goodness Gluten Free made Gluten Free Garlic and Parmesean Focaccia 
Morri | Meals with Morri made Sweet Cinnamon Raisin Focaccia Bread
~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R) made Focaccia Bread 
Silvana / Silvana’s Kitchen made Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Focaccia
TR | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies made Gluten Free Cheesy Herb Focaccia
Shauna| Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef made  Gluten-Free Cherry and Almond Focaccia

Ratio Rally: Focaccia

Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 8
  • 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) warm water
  • 13 grams (1 1/2 tablespoons) active dry yeast
  • 3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) sugar
  • 45 grams (3 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 500 grams (3 1/2 cups) GF All Purpose Flour (I use Cup4Cup)
  • 2 teaspoons xantham gum (omit if your flour blend contains this or a similar ingredient such as guar gum or Expandex)
  • generous sprinkling of chopped fresh or dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees. Turn it off once it is warm.
  2. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper and grease well with olive oil or butter.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water, yeast and sugar.
  4. Melt butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook until it turns brown and starts to smell slightly nutty. Be careful not to burn the butter. Let cool slightly.
  5. Add the egg and browned butter to the bowl of the stand mixer, and mix until just combined.
  6. Stir in the flour, salt and xantham gum (if using). Mix on a low speed for 3 minutes. You will have a slightly shaggy and tacky dough.
  7. Spread the dough into the baking dish with a spatula, trying to make it even.
  8. Cover the pan with a towel and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven, and heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  10. Sprinkle the dough with the sage and sea salt.
  11. Put the pan in the oven, then drop the temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped.


Chicago is my kind of town. (and gluten-free tiramisu)

I have seen a lot of cities. In fact, more than once I have threatened a move to Munich or Nice or Paris. (But never in a million years could you pay me to move to New York City).

I might love the look of medieval buildings mixed in with twentieth (and twenty first) century life and architecture.

I might imagine my life to be as romantic and full as Amelie Poulin.

But, really, nothing beats my city. The one whose humming energy greets me every morning when I get off the train. The city where the baseball team you cheer for could make or break a friendship.

The city with a strange taste in public art (Cow Parade or Color Jam anyone?).

The city that has State Street, that great street and the Magnificent Mile.

The city that was home to the first Ferris Wheel and the birthplace of the brownie.

“Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on
job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the
little soft cities;” -Carl Sandburg, Chicago

This weekend reminded me even more how much I love this place.

This place where you have to pause a conversation as an El train passes overhead.

The energy and the pace here are intoxicating. Fast but not frantic. Busy, but not overwhelming.

Sit next to a stranger on the train and they are liable to tell you their life story. And they’ll want to know yours.

This weekend I got to do some very Chicago things.

I started the weekend with some leftover tiramisu and a gluten-free beer. I went to Gluten-Free Awareness Night at Comiskey Park US Cellular Field. I had gluten-free pizza from a place on Taylor Street. I had a cocktail in the Signature Lounge at the Hancock Building.  I bought my mom orange pants for Monday Night Football. All in all, it was a very Chicago weekend.

Good times.

Now for some good food.

If any gentlemen happen to read this blog, know this: tiramisu is a romantic, impress the ladies kind of dessert.

And this version is oh-so-easy.

20 minutes start to finish plus an hour to chill. I cheat (a little) with some store-bought gluten-free lady fingers, but that is what makes this dish so easy. You could substitute the purchased cookies for a home-made genoise if you prefer.

Gluten-Free Tiramisu
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 8
Adapted from the New Basics Cookbook & Mammacake’s notes
  • 1 1/4 cups strong espresso or coffee, room temperature
  • 3/8 cup triple sec
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup marsala
  • 16oz marscapone, room temperature
  • 30 gluten-free lady fingers (2 boxes of [url href=”http://www.schar.com/us/gluten-free-products/ladyfingers/’]Schar gluten-free lady fingers[/url] are perfect here)
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate
  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the espresso and the triple sec, set aside.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and powdered sugar until light buttery yellow and they have thickened, about 3 minutes with a hand mixer. Slowly add in the marsala and beat until combined.
  3. Add the marscapone 1/3 at a time, making sure that it is completely incorporated before adding more. If your marscapone is cold, you could end up splashing a lot (and messes are no fun).
  4. Soak the lady fingers 3-4 at a time in the coffee until they have started to soften (but not disintegrate), and turn over. It is about 45 seconds a side.
  5. Line the bottom of a trifle bowl or 11×7 glass baking dish with 10 espresso-soaked lady fingers. Top with 1/3 of the marscapone mixture. Grate chocolate over the layer with a microplane (or grind it in a food processor and sprinkle 1/3 of it now). Repeat twice more, resulting in 3 layers each of lady fingers, marscapone and chocolate.
  6. Make sure the top has a little extra chocolate.
  7. Let sit, covered, in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 48 hours.

This post is linked to: Gluten-Free Mondays




Spice up your life! (A recipe for gluten-free spiced brownies)

It is really easy to get stuck in a routine.

Wake up. Get coffee. Get on the train. Read 30 pages in a novel. Walk a few blocks. Finish coffee. Get to the office. Pour another cup of coffee. Answer emails. Do design-y stuff. Walk a few blocks. Get on the train. Catch up on twitter. Go home. Eat dinner. Do blog-y stuff. Go to bed.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Routine is comfortable, familiar. Known.

I have to say, I like my little routine. I read 9 novels this summer and I only read while on the train. Ok, I might have developed an unhealthy dependence on coffee. (Blame Mammacakes. I started sneaking sips of her coffee when I was 4 and she would leave a mug on the table). But the routine is mine.

But it is just that. A routine. Like a treadmill (the world’s most torturous piece of gym equipment).

Sometimes, you just have to do this:

(Yes. Really. A Spice Girls video.)

Maybe that means ordering a latte when you normally order a chai.

Maybe that means just going for it , whatever it happens to be. A new job. A date . A new cooking technique. Ordering something other than the usual.

A good friend told me that I need to just take a day and go for it. Do something I normally wouldn’t. Have fun just because I can. Shake things up to see where the pieces fall. Not a calculated risk. No weighing pros and cons. Just making things happen.

So, here’s to spicing things up.

Let’s start by spicing up some chocolate decadance.

gluten free mexican spiced brownies

At my super fabulous day job (yes, I am going to keep rubbing in how much I love it), we do fun things. Like brewing (gluten-free) beer and taco potlucks.

Last week, we had one of those potlucks. And I forgot to sign up. Because, really, would you expect me to bring anything other than dessert?

A concerned coworker asked if I was going to participate. Of course I was going to. I asked him what he wanted. His answer? Mexican Spiced Brownies.

It was the perfect excuse to make a new variation on one of my favorite treats (I even have my go-to gluten-free brownie recipe memorized) .

Fudgy bits of chocolate heaven, with a kick. They were such a hit at the potluck, all I got was that little corner of a brownie. I blame [my coworker] Shellie. (She swears that ice cream eaten with the brownies makes them even better).

gluten free mexican spice brownies being eaten

Gluten-Free Mexican Spiced Brownies
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 16
Oh baby. Decadent, fudgy brownies with a kick. Please and thank you.
  • 310 grams (11 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 230 grams (8 ounces/ 2 sticks) butter, chopped in 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 grams (2 tablespoons) cocoa powder
  • 300 grams (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 110 grams (1/2 cup) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 150 grams (1 1/4 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour like Cup4Cup*
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (spicy if you have it)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 grams (1/2 teaspoon) fresh, finely grated ginger
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium pot over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate and salt.
  3. Once melted, remove the pot from the stove and stir in the vanilla, cocoa powder and sugars.
  4. In a sperate bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, cinnamon, ginger, chipotle and paprika.
  5. Add the eggs to the melted chocolate mixture in 2 groups, stirring to incorporate. As soon as the eggs are mixed in, add the flour in 2 groups.
  6. Be careful not to over-mix the batter. You want to incorporate as little air as possible into the batter or else you will end up with a brownie that is less chewy and more cake like.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. They are better a little under done than to be over cooked.

I use Cup4Cup flour or Jules’ Nearly Normal Flour when I use all-purpose flour. If you want to make your own bend for this recipe, use 10 grams ground flax meal, 40 grams sorghum flour, 20 grams brown rice flour, 20 grams white rice flour, 30 grams tapioca starch, 30 grams sweet white rice flour


This post is linked to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesday


gluten free chocolate chip cookies

Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, a classic treat

gluten free chocolate chip cookiesLittle black dresses. Peep-toe pumps. Red lipstick. Cucumber sandwiches. Sunday Roasts. French vanilla anything. Chocolate chip cookies.

I am a fan of classic things.

I have a go-to red lipstick. A perfect pair of pumps. Almost all of my dresses are little black dresses. I know how to swing dance and salsa. I can waltz and cha cha. (I cannot for the life of me do the Cha Cha slide.) I still wear Chanel No. 5 whenever I put on a suit.

When I need cheering up? Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Some Celine Dion. (Ok, fine, and maybe some 90’s pop)

Classics endure.

Like brownies, Sunday roasts and chocolate chip cookies. All things that are always a good choice.

Yes, there happen to be 2 other recipes for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies on frannycakes (one a birthday cake cookie with chocolate chips, the other a toffee chocolate-chip cookie), but neither of them is just a classic chocolate chip cookie.

Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, a classic treat
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Cookie
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 36
  • 350 (2 1/2 cups) grams gluten-free all purpose flour*
  • 1 teaspoon xantham gum**
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 215 grams (1 cup, firmly packed) dark brown sugar
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 225 grams (2 sticks or 1 cup) cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 350 grams (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper, but do not grease them.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the gluten-free flour, xantham gum if using, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend the sugars at medium speed.
  4. Add the cold butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. You are not looking for light and fluffy, you just want to mix until they are evenly combined.
  5. Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix at medium speed just until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and do not over mix.
  6. Add the flour mix in 2 parts with the mixer at a low speed just until mixed. Then stir in the chocolate chips until just combined
  7. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet, two inches apart.
  8. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer while the oven preheats.
  9. Preheat oven to 375° F. (Or 300° F. for a flatter, more spread out cookie).
  10. Bake 12-15 (20-22 for the cooler temperature) minutes until golden. Transfer cookies immediately to a wire rack to cool.

*This recipe works best with Cup4Cup flour from Williams-Sonoma. It will work with other blends that are not bean-based and do not have leaveners already added. Better Batter or Jules Nearly Normal Flour will work well here. You could also use your favorite home made blend.
**Xantham gum is only necessary if your blend does not include a binding agent such as xantham gum, guar gum or expandex.



Ratio Rally: Angel Food Cake

This post is part of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally, a group of gluten-free bloggers inspired and empowered by Ruhlman‘s Ratio and started by Shauna at Gluten-Free Girl. We get together each month and post many different takes on the same theme. This month that theme is Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake and the rally is being hosted by Caleigh from Gluten Free[k].

Today is about finding and celebrating joy.

Because it is here. In every day. Even when it hurts to put on real pants. And some days, I need to remind myself of it.

Joy is seeing art exhibits and taking tours in French of the Art Institute with my aunt.

finding joy in the little things

Joy is my cat telling me it is time to go to bed by sitting on my chest so I can no longer see the computer screen. And then refusing to move until i go to sleep.

Joy is how I feel when I step of the train in the Loop and the promise of a good day is hanging in the air.

Joy is a hug sent via email from a friend on the opposite side of the world. And a phone call from that same friend at exactly the wrong time because someone can’t do math.

This is what I am focusing on today.

And sometimes, all you need is a little cake to bring it to you.

The ratio

3 parts egg whites: 3 parts sugar: 1 part flour (the lighter the better).

Not going to lie, I love angel food cake. And there is a recipe that we have used often in our house – one that is gluten free just because it is. The one from the back of the Swan’s Down Potato Starch. It is quite lovely, and it means, dear readers, that this is a fairly flexible cake. Add cocoa or ground chocolate in place of some of the flour for a chocolate cake. Use potato starch or arrowroot because that is what you happen to have. You will still end up with a magical, light cake.

Well, as long as you resist the urge to brush the warm cake with the earl grey syrup. Because I did not. And I melted my cake. And I know better. At least it still tastes good.

The flavors

Rainier cherries pan roasted with cointreau. Earl grey syrup. Orange extract in the cake. I would say, dear friends, that this is one sophisticated cake. The cointreau and the orange extract in the cake help pull the bergamot flavors to the forefront in the tea syrup. The tea itself gives a complex background for the oh-so-sweet cherries.

I whole heartedly suggest that you try the cake with all of these components. Sure, the cake on its own with fresh berries and home made whipped cream would be a perfectly simple dessert. But this my friends, is a rockstar dessert.

This is not your mom’s tired angel food cake.

This is not the Styrofoam textured cake that you can buy at the grocery store (yes, the filled with gluten kind).

This is a melt-in-your-mouth cake. A curl your toes with delight cake. This is the cake you want to make when you are trying to impress someone with your mad skills but can’t pipe frosting for the life of you. Or if you think you aren’t an accomplished baker.

[toggle title_open=”The others!” title_closed=”See the other posts from this month’s rally” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]The others

Adina | Gluten Free Travelette made Cacao Spice Angel Food Cake
Angela | Angela’s Kitchen made Grilled Lemon Angel Food Cake with Lemon Curd and Berries
Aunt Mae | Honey From Flinty Rocks made  Angel Food Cake with Lemon Glaze
Caleigh | Gluten Free[k] made Almond Angel Food Stars
Caneel | Mama Me Gluten Free made Angel Food Cake “Pudding” with Fresh Cherry Sauce
Charissa | Zest Bakery Saffron Angel Food Cake (and didn’t post a link!)
gretchen | kumquat made caramel macchiato angel food cake
Heather | Discovering the Extraordinary Coconut Lime Angel Food Cake Roll
Jonathan | The Canary Files made Lavender Angel Food Cupcakes
Pete & Kelli | No Gluten, No Problem made Caramel Peach Angel Food Cake
TR | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies made Peach Angel Food Cake

Gluten Free Angel Food Cake with Early Grey & Cherries
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
Serves: 12
Make just the cake, or make it with all the components. Either way you will have an excellent cake.
  • Syrup
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 earl grey tea bags
  • 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
  • Cake
  • 350 grams (1 3/4 cup) granulated sugar, divided
  • 175 grams (1 1/4 cup) gluten-free all purpose flour*
  • 350 grams (12) egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • Cherry topping
  • 450 grams (1 pound) Rainier or other sweet red cherry, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup cointreau
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (or regular sugar if that is all you have)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Make the tea
  1. Steep the tea in the boiling water and let sit while you make the batter.
Make the batter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Whisk together the flour and half the sugar, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites until foamy, about a minute.
  3. Add the the remaining sugar, cream of tartar, lemon juice, salt, vanilla and orange extract to the egg whites.
  4. Increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form.
  5. Now is the time that requires a little patience, fold in the flour/sugar combo 1/3 at a time. You want to make sure that you do not deflate the mixture too much.
  6. Pour batter into a 9 or 10″ tube pan and bake for 30-50 mins. You want a tester inserted into the middle of the cake to come out clean.
Make the syrup
  1. Remove the teabags from the tea. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the strong tea and sugar to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes (you want to end up with about a cup of syrup.
Make the cherries
  1. While the cake is baking, and the syrup is cooking (you do not need to stir it), combine cherries, half the cointreau, the sugar and the salt in a large skillet.
  2. Cook over medium heat until the cherries start to soften. Pour in the remaining cointreau to deglaze the pan and keep cooking until the sauce thickens back up. Stop cooking before the cherries turn to mush.
  1. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for an hour and a half. Resist the urge to brush it with the syrup until it is cool.
  2. When cool, poke some holes in the bottom of the cake and brush with the syrup.
  3. Remove cake from pan, poke the top with holes and brush with syrup again.
  4. Top with cherries and serve. Amaze your friends.

*If you want to use potato starch or arrowroot, please go by weight and not by volume. You will end up with a little more volume wise.
**If you just want a plain cake, skip the orange extract and replace it with vanilla.



gluten free crackers

Ratio Rally: Gluten-Free Crackers

This post is part of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally, a group of gluten-free bloggers inspired and empowered by Ruhlman‘s Ratio. We get together each month and post many different takes on the same theme. This month that theme is Gluten-Free Crackers and the rally is being hosted by Rachel from The Crispy Cook.

This is a post about crackers. Which happen to be another something I don’t care too much for the commercially available options, and I always thought that baking them was incredibly labor intensive.

Read more

gluten free strawberry blueberry salsa

Food Matters: Strawberry Blueberry Salsa

This post is part of the Food Matters Project, a cooking collaboration from a wide range of food bloggers. Each week, I will cook a recipe from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, which places an emphasis on mindful and sustainable eating. Follow along with us! My posts for this project can be found here. This month’s host is Alissa who posted the original recipe and you can see all the other brilliant salsas on this week’s roundup (check the comments).

Read more

gluten free cinnamon raisin bagel bombs

Ratio Rally: Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Bombs

This post is part of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally, a group of gluten-free bloggers inspired and empowered by Ruhlman‘s Ratio. We get together each month and post many different takes on the same theme. This month that theme is Gluten-Free Bagels and the rally is being hosted by Morri from Meals with Morri

I cannot believe that it is May, much less that it isMay 2nd and that it is Ratio Rally day. Because April was one ca-razy busy month.

There was a blogging conference and a gluten-free expo. There was a gluten-free cookie ebook to write. There were high school musicals and there was a design conference and a pastry demo at the French Pastry School.

I am not sure how I got so much done in a month! All I know is that I am beat. And it is Ratio Rally day. And I am hoping and praying that these “bagel bombs” turn out swell.

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