Gluten-Free Brownie Review

Cooking

Last year my family tried making gluten-free recipes for a while. I must say most were a miss. The baked goods tended to turn out dry, crumbly, or in some way not as appealing as our regular recipes. Since there is a shortage of flour in my area right now, I thought I would re-visit the gluten-free options as I still have some other types of flour in my pantry.

I searched for dessert recipes using brown rice flour, as this is one of the types I had on hand. I came across a recipe for ‘Fabulously Fudgy Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies’. The recipe received good reviews, I had all the ingredients, so I gave them a try. They were really very good. Not dry or crumbly! I did not tell the family that they were gluten-free until afterwards. They all liked them! Hurray!

Did I follow the recipe exactly? Well….pretty much. I used tapioca flour instead of tapioca starch. Is there a difference? Not sure…but that is what I had and it seemed to work. I used the 1 cup of chocolate chips as suggested would work. I also used less vanilla extract. The recipe called for 1 Tablespoon of vanilla! That seemed excessive. Maybe a typo? In any case, I only used 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Here is the link to the recipe for Fabulously Fudgy Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies: https://www.adayinthekitchen.com/chocolate-brownies/

As always, Happy Baking!

P.S.—I think Chickpea Whipped Cream might be a very good topping to these brownies! (see my earlier post for the recipe)

Elegant Apple Rose Tart

Cooking

I saw a photo for an apple rose tart and was blown away. It looked so pretty! I decided to make one for my family.

Looking at the photo I must say I was intimidated. Swirling sliced apples into roses could not be easy. This would surely be a show stopper if I could pull it off.

The recipe, which can be found at: http://www.purewow.com/recipes/gluten-free-apple-rose-tart?media=print, is officially called Gluten-Free Apple Rose Tart. I changed the crust from a pecan crust to a Graham Cracker Crust. The crust recipe I used can be found at: http://www.crazyforcrust.com/perfect-graham-cracker-crust/. I made the baked version of the crust.

The graham cracker crust was super easy. The cinnamon custard for the apple rose tart was also super easy to make. The apple roses were a little challenging but not impossible. The main advice I would give for making the roses is to be sure the apples are sliced super thin. Also, I poured off all the lemon water from the soaking apples and made two batches of 1 cup each to heat instead of just one cup. In this way, I split the apples in two batches so they could be fully covered in the liquid and soften faster.

If choosing to make this dessert, the roses will look their freshest if made not too far in advance of serving. The crust and custard can be made, assembled, and chilled in advance. A topping of whipped cream might also be a nice touch. As always, Bon Appetit!

Borrego Springs

Travel
Big-Horned Sheep
The Badlands
Desert Wild Flowers

The small town of Borrego Springs, California is located in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. This makes a nice day trip for So Cal residents. There is plenty to see and do in the park.

While driving down into the desert valley below, be sure to be on the lookout for big-horn sheep. I was told there were big-horn sheep in the Anza-Borrego Desert, however, I was beginning to question this as I had never seen any in all my years of visiting the park. Then, on my latest trip, I decided to really look as we drove down the steep grade and into the desert below. To my delight, I spotted not one but two big-horn sheep blending in with the rocks on the side of the mountain. I shouted “sheep” and my husband pulled over and we all got out and watched the sheep and took pictures. Then we were even more surprised to see that there were actually four sheep grazing on the mountainside. This indeed was our coolest trip ever to Borrego Springs.

In Borrego, there is a visitor center with trails and a small town with some shops and restaurants. There is also The Art Institute that exhibits artwork that you can purchase. The Art Institute always puts on a nice exhibit. If you are an artist, you can have your work exhibited there if selected in one of their artist calls. We like to bring a lunch and eat at the picnic tables at the round-a-bout in the center of the town. On occasion, there are craft festivals and such at the round-a-bout park.

A trip to the desert wouldn’t be complete without a hike. There are many places to hike in the dessert. Check out the park’s website to find one that suits your needs. I also, recommend visiting the Borregeo Badlands. This section of the desert will make you feel tiny and is amazing to see. The formations were created by water of which they were submerged a long time ago.

Spring is a wonderful time of year to visit the desert, especially if it has been a rainy season. Rain brings wildflowers to the desert. This year the wildflowers were at their best. Yellow and purple carpets of flowers sprinkled over the desert for all to enjoy. Even if the flowers are not in bloom, the desert is amazing and beautiful at any season.

Tips for a pleasant trip to Borrego Springs…Pack plenty of water. Remember it is a desert and while the town itself is small, the desert is quite large, so you don’t want to be caught without enough water. Pack a lunch or snacks. Don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. If you plan to hike, wear hiking boots. Binoculars could come in handy if you are a bird watcher or want to see animals such as the big-horn sheep. Remember, animals blend in with their surroundings. A big-horn sheep could be out there, you just have to find it. Borrego Springs is close to The Salton Sea. (See my previous blog.) Start early and see a bit of both or make a weekend of it.