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gluten free pretzels

Bavarian Breakfast

gluten free pretzelsThe first person to tell me that beer is not a breakfast food, needs to go to Munich in September and experience Oktoberfest. You will then know that, at times, beer is perfecctly acceptable, and possibly even necessary for breakfast.

This story begins with a trip to the University of Illinois’ Meat Sales Room. There was a large sign on the door advertising frankfurters and weiswurst. I had never eaten weiswurst, but they were loading up the cases with some of it, so of course, I had to try it. (Weis in weiswurst is for the color white, not the same as the weiss in weissbier which is wheat). The ingredients made it sound delicious, so of course I had to buy it. So, $3.50 later, I had a new kind of sausage to try. After some googling, I found out that you eat it for breakfast with a soft pretzel, mustard and beer. Blondie was coming to town for the weekend, so I knew what I had to do.

St Peter's Gluten Free Beer Review - pictured with pretzels & mustardI was prepared with a recipe for gluten-free soft pretzels from Gluten-Free Girl & the Chef, I had mustard that my mom had made in my fridge begging to be served with some sausage and I had one wheat beer from the last time Blondie & I did a pick a six at Friar Tucks. We went to go get a gluten free beer for me to have with our breakfast, and while looking for cider (what I normally pick over beer because of the awful flavor of some of the easiest to find gluten-free varieties), I found this ridiculously expensive sorghum beer ($4.99 for a pint). But, I had to try it because it came in such a fantastic bottle, and I wanted the bottle to be a little vase.

Turns out that the bottle is based on ones from the 1770s. This beer is imported from the UK, so it is only available at specialty liquor stores (and not your typical grocery store).

Sunday morning rolled around and we had home-made mustard, our pretzels and our beers. The beer was probably one of the most delicious ones I have tried since going gluten free. It was bright and hoppy. It had a great mouth feel and even Blondie wanted some of mine. I didn’t want to share. It is amazingly better than that mass-produced beer from St. Louis. And totally worth a treat. If you like a good beer, this one is labeled as a pilsner style sorghum beer and is worth every delicious penny.

Ratio Rally: Pâte à Choux pt. 2

gluten free ratio rally logoIf you missed part 1 of my recipes for this month’s ratio rally, you can find it here.

A Marillenknödle is a southern German and Austrian treat made with apricots (Marille) and wrapped in either choux pastry or a potato dough. I wanted to be adventurous, so I added some crystalized ginger chips to the inside and made a cardamom sugar breadcrumb to dust the outside. The sweetness of these depends on the sweetness of your apricots. But they taste like summer should.

I made the regular choux for some chai cream puffs, and they turned out fantastically. My apricot dumplings on the other hand, were a bit more frustrating. I used the same basic choux dough, but all I had was a sticky mess. I did some googling, and although wikipedia and tons of other sites said that choux is used in making Marillenknödle, almost all of the recipes that I could find were ones that used cheese and were not actual choux. Braving it and thinking that maybe wikipedia was right (and all the sites that said that choux was used to make these), I kept looking. Then, I found a blog in French & German where the poster had the same problem: the dough stuck more to her hands than the apricots. Solution: dip your hands in cold water before making each dumpling. It worked like a charm – as long as I didn’t have too much dough.marillenknodel

I made a second batch after figuring out that researching a French pastry term with a German delicacy was going to fail me, I started looking in German, found the correct name for the dough Brandteig. Some German YouTube videos and 20 recipes later, I had it figured out.

Gluten Free Marillenknodel
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Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 8
  • 8 oz (by weight) whole milk
  • 4 oz (1 stick) butter
  • 1.2 oz sorghum flour
  • 1.2 oz brown rice flour
  • 8 oz tapioca flour
  • 8 oz sweet rice flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 oz ricotta, strained to remove extra whey
  • 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 sugar cubes
  • chopped crystalized ginger
  • 8 apricots
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  1. Melt the 4 T of butter in a skillet and add the bread crumbs. Toast until golden and fragrant (about 5 mintues). Mix with 1/4 cup sugar and the cardamom. Set aside.
  2. Slice each apricot along the slit (halfway around) and remove the pit.
  3. Fill the holes with a sugar cube & a few bits of crystalized ginger.
  4. Whisk flours, cardamom & xantham gum together.
  5. Boil milk, butter & salt.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and add the flour all at once.
  7. Stir until ingredients start to pull away from the sides of the pot. Remove from heat & put in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  8. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next one.
  9. Add in the ricotta & mix well.
  10. Chill the dough for at least an hour.
  11. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  12. Get a bowl of cold water out.
  13. Dip your hands in cold water and wrap the choux around your apricots. Dipping your hands between each dumpling. This prevents sticking.
  14. Drop the dumplings in boiling water and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  15. Drain the dumplings on a slotted spoon.
  16. Roll them in sugar & toasted bread crumbs once the majority of the water has dripped off.
  17. Serve warm.
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Spaetzle with Lentils

Spaetzle mit Linsen

Spaetzle and lentils in a white bowlI have been fascinated by spaetzle since my mom made with with a nifty device perched on a pot of boiling water. If you have never had spaetzle, you are living a life of deprivation. They are what I might consider a perfect food. Tender, noodly, carby goodness. And they go with everything. You can eat them with cheese (Kasespaetzle). You can eat them with schnitzle. You can eat them with a brat. Or, you can eat them all alone, pan fried with some herbs and salt.

Today, as this is a meatless Monday post, I am eating my spaetzle with lentils. Red lentils to be exact. Most of the recipes I saw on the internet called for brown lentils – but I think brown lentils are ugly. And, in my kitchen are red lentils.  This dinner includes the use of one of the few processed foods that I keep around – bouillon. You can use bouillon cubes or stock, but your water needs to be seasoned, or the lentils will taste flat.

Spaetzle with Linsen
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Recipe Type: Entree
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 2
Gluten free German dumplings with a lentil stew and crispy shallots, sage and brown butter.
  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum (if not in your mix)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups stock or water and a bouillon cube
  • 1 tablespoon sage
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Whisk flour and xantham gum together.
  2. Make a well in the flour and crack eggs into it.
  3. Pour in milk and mix.
  4. Cover and put in the fridge for an hour or overnight.
  5. When it is time to cook, cook the lentils in the stock as directed on the package. It should be thick, but still liquid. The lentils should have started to break down but should not be completely disintegrated.
  6. Now, if you don’t have a spaetzle maker use a colander and a spatula to push the batter through the holes into a pot of boiling water. Boil the dumplings in batches.
  7. Once the spaetzle is cooked, fry the sage and shallots in the butter.
  8. Remove the sage and shallots from the frying pan and drain the butter.
  9. Sautee the spaetzle in the greased frying pan.
  10. Top with cooked lentils, a drizzle of the browned butter and fried sage and crispy shallots.
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This actually made 3 servings for me, but I eat small, measured portions.