3 Gluten Free, Spiced Winter Desserts You’ve Got to Try

Gourmet, Recipes v January 19, 2016

Remember this: spices enliven. They enliven the items you put them in, they enliven your sense of taste, and they enliven your creativity. Some of them can even enliven your body with healthy antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and polyphenols. Spices can settle indigestion, reduce swelling and skin irritations, and help regulate mood. Each spice imparts its own personality, jazzing up or rounding out other flavors. A baked apple is delicious, but, let’s face it, boring. Want taste? Add cinnamon, ginger, or cardamom, or some combination of the three to the baked apple.

Also, it’s winter and after the indulgent eating of November and December, many of us are trying to eat a bit healthier while still creating delicious food. Use fresh, bright spices and it’s so much easier. For winter baking, nothing beats cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla for combination of taste and aroma.

Cardamom: these little green pods contain small black seeds. For baking, the seeds are removed from the pods (The Kitchen Imp does this for you), and then crushed or ground. They impart a warm, sweet, utterly unique flavor that’s wonderful in cookies, puddings, or breads

Ginger: a warming, spicy-sweet rhizome (root) that can be used fresh, crystallized, or powdered. Enjoy it in savory dishes, like soup or stir-fry, in oatmeal, or in baked goods.

Cinnamon: our Ceylon cinnamon is cinnammum verum, or “true cinnamon,” a delicate, warm and sweet spice. Many folks like a little added to coffee grounds before the water is dripped through.

Vanilla: the vanilla bean grows on a species of orchid that’s very difficult to cultivate, which, along with its dizzying flavor and heady aroma, cause it to be one of the world’s more expensive spices. The Kitchen Imp’s vanilla sugar contains the essence and seeds of the cut vanilla beans in the jars.

 


Here are three recipes whose souls come from the spices within them:


 

Cardamom Almond Custard Tart with Apples

Almond Cardamom Custard tart

 

Ingredients:

3 cup milk

4 ounces almond paste

2 tablespoon powdered sugar

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch (4, if you prefer a firmer custard)

3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

a dash salt

a store bought or home made tart shell

one fat apple or pear

 

Directions:

Prebake the tart shell to a light brown. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees.

Grind the almond paste in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. If it’s a damp almond paste, grind it with the powdered sugar and granulated sugar. Heat the milk to steaming.

Add 1/3 of a cup of the milk to a bowl and whisk the cornstarch into it before adding the cornstarch slurry back into the milk. Whisk.

Add the rest of the ingredients and cook, whisking constantly, on a low simmer, until thickened. Slice the apple or pear into thin slices.

Pour the custard into the shell and place the fruit slices atop the custard in a pinwheel. Cook 20 minutes, until the custard still jiggles but has firmed up.

 



Ginger Teacake

Gingerbread teacake Parkin

 

Ingredients:

1 egg

4 tablespoons milk

7 ounces butter

1/3 cup golden or corn syrup

¼ cup molasses

½ cup brown sugar

¾ cup + 1 tablespoon oat flour (or a scant cup of oats ground in a food processor or coffee grinder)

1 ¼ cup almond flour, a scant cup white rice flour+ ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum (or 2 cups all-purpose flour if you don’t want to do gluten free)

1 ¼ baking powder

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

heaping ¼ teaspoon cloves

dash salt

 

Directions:

Butter a 9″ square pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Beat egg and milk.


Melt butter with corn syrup, molasses, and brown sugar. Mix for 2 minutes or until the brown sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.


Blend flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.


Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix well.

Add milk and egg. Mix well.

Cook at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a cake tester comes out of the middle without crumbs adhering. (Note: if you wish to omit the golden or corn syrup, add an extra 1/3 cup of brown sugar and an extra tablespoon of milk.)

Eat with hot, strong tea or coffee.

 



Nanaimo Bars

nanaimo bars

 

Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cup crisp rice cereal
½ cup almond flour
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

1 ¼ cups powdered sugar

¼ cup vanilla sugar
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon ½ & ½ or whole milk
½ teaspoon almond extract

 

Directions:

Butter an 8×8 pan and line with parchment.

For bottom layer, combine:
½ cup (4 ounces) butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt

Toss together:
1 ¼ cup crisp rice cereal
½ cup almond flour
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

Add the butter mixture to the rice cereal mixture and stir together. Press into the pan. You may want to cover the mixture with plastic wrap or parchment to pack it down evenly.

For the middle layer, beat together:
½ cup soft butter
1 ¼ cups powdered sugar

¼ cup vanilla sugar
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon ½ & ½ or whole milk
½ teaspoon almond extract

Spoon the buttercream in dollops evenly across the bottom layer, then spread it evenly over the cookie base. Pop the pan in the fridge. For at least an hour. If you don’t, the buttercream will melt when you add the top layer.


Melt 1 – 1 ½ cups chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate. Let cool until still spreadable and spread over the top. Refrigerate until solid. Cut into bars. Try not to eat them all.

 


Guest Contributor: Melissa Aaron of The Kitchen Imp

the kitchen imp logo

The motivating spirit behind The Kitchen Imp is that people should have access to delicious, organic teas and spice blends. The Kitchen Imp was founded in 2013 by Melissa Aaron, a former high school teacher and long time cook, in Seattle, Washington. She believes deeply in the importance of drinking and cooking foods that not only are delicious, but also good for us, the people who grow them, and the environment. To that end, each spice blend, pure spice, and tea is carefully crafted for taste and health benefits.

Spices and teas are a window into other cultures via their foods. They are also a way to create community. We drink tea together; we cook for others. By so doing, we can contribute to our physical and emotional health. The Kitchen Imp provides spices to do so, and recipes to help you along.

 

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