Tag Archives: gluten free

Hermit Bars with Lemon Glaze

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Hermit BarsI am a sucker for spiced cookies and these Hermit Bars are one more example.  You need only look at the Honey Diamonds, Pfeffernusse, Triple Ginger Crisps, and Plantation Spice Cookies.

This is one of the most addictive cookies I have ever eaten. The original recipes, which seems to be the norm in books and on the internet made a rather sodden, heavy cookie with no icing. Changing a few of the ingredients made one of the most moist, spicy cookies that last forever in a closed tin. The Lemon Glaze, which is the perfect foil for the spicy cookie and sprinkles are optional but add another dimension to the bars.

The bar on the left is the traditional bar, the one on the right is the updated version which is higher, lighter and more moist.

Difference between two Hermit Bars

Making them even more attractive is the ease with which it is prepared.  This has to be one of the easiest, most rewarding cookies ever.  It can be cut into bars or cut those in half for a smaller cookie. Continue reading

Hot Peppered Pecans

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Hot Peppered PecansIt’s TV time again and the Hot Pepepred Pecans fit the 4 minute segment to a tee.  I originally discovered these Hot Peppered Pecans when the St. Louis Art Museum wrote their cookbook, “Artists in the Kitchen”. Some of the testing was done in my bakery kitchen.

These Hot Peppered Pecans are a standout. Heat Alert –  they are hot!!  So if you don’t favor a lot of heat, tone down all the pepper and the hot pepper sauce. Start with half and go from there.

These pecans make a great holiday or hostess gift. Choose little containers or put them cellophane bags and tie with decorative ribbons. They are also great on a cheese tray, crumbled in a salad or included in any recipe calling for pecans, including sweet ones.  The kick they add to chocolate chip cookies is amazing. As an added bonus they are gluten free. Continue reading

Almond Macaroons

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Almond MacaroonsAlmond Macaroons are simplicity itself and one of the easiest, fastest, most delicious cookies you can make.

Be sure to use almond paste and not almond filling or almond marzipan when making these.  Each of those has other ingredients in them.  Almond paste is made of almonds, sugar and almond extract with water to hold it all together.  It is very smooth and is used to make marzipan which in turn is used in Europe to cover wedding cakes and make shaped candies or candy centers.

It is possible to make your own almond paste and several methods can be found on the internet.  At the bottom of the article several sites are given if you are so inclined. Because we made a lot of these at the bakery we used pre-made almond paste and I still do.  Several consumer brands are available in my area, the largest being Solo Pure Almond Paste and Odense Pure Almond Paste. Continue reading

Amaretti Cookies

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Amaretti Cookie photoI haven’t found anything to date made with almond extract that I don’t love. These Amaretti cookies which are Italy’s version of a macaroon are a perfect example. Crunchy, gluten free and low in fat, these are the perfect accompaniment to lightly sweetened or macerated fresh fruit or ice cream.

While these can be found in Italian grocery stores, it can be difficult to find them in state side grocery stores. But Amaretti cookies are so easy to make you don’t have to search them out anymore.

There are several ways to make them. I prefer to use almond paste rather than ground almond. No matter how much the almonds are pulverized  in the processor, they will never be as smooth as almond paste with its distinctive bitter almond flavoring. Do not use marzipan. While almond paste is an ingredient in marzipan, it is not pure almond paste.  My store carries an eight ounce package which is perfect for this recipe. Continue reading

Meringue Shells

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished 4One of the easiest and most versatile dessert shell is the Meringue Shell. Only three ingredients, egg whites, sugar and an acid along with  a bit of time in a low oven transforms these simple components into feather light, melt in your mouth containers for almost anything you want to put in them.

From Schaum Tortes of Vienna filled with a lightened lemon curd to ice cream balls, and the national dessert of New Zealand and Australia, Pavolova, these Meringue Shells make the perfect do ahead dessert. I remember well when I was young my mother making Schaum Torte on special occasions. She would make a large nine or ten inch shell and fill it with the most delicious lemon filling. I was always first in line for a piece. Well, one year my uncle came to our house to help transfer the mountain of food my mother made including the Schaum Torte, croissant and other treats to our grandmothers where we al ate. As he stepped off the curb, he slipped and while he remained upright, alas, the lemon filled treat fell from his hands into the curb. I don’t think he ever got over it. I’m sure my mother didn’t. I know for sure I didn’t.

There are many types of meringue from the soft pillows that cover a lemon meringue pie to buttercreams based on various meringues to crisp cookies or shells. The type of meringue depends upon the amount of sugar used. For a crisp meringue a two to one proportion of egg whites to sugar is used. For these crisp shells a base formula of 1 egg white to 1/4 cup (50 grams or 1 2/3 ounces) of sugar is used. An acid such as 1/2 teaspon cream of tarter or 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar helps stabalize the meringue. Continue reading