The Boy Makes… Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Banana Cookies

The hottest day of the year yesterday and today? Pah. Gloomy, murky, rainy! What the dickens is going on? It’s July for goodness sake. Well there really was little else for it we needed to bake today and something comforting on this warm/cold/murky/grey July day. Happy British Summertime.

Like many of our forays into the kitchen I looked in the cupboards, saw what we had, and googled the ingredients for inspiration. That’s when I found this recipe over at the awesomely name Yammie’s Noshery. The beautiful photos won me over and I just had to give them a go.

So I got the bowls out, called Oscar over and told him to get get a chair to stand on. And he did! Lets just take a moment there to marvel at that fact. Ahhhhhh. Right, so anyway the cookies, yes?

Peanut Butter and Banana Cookies

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These were great to make with the boy as unlike recent attempts in the kitchen they required no melting or hob work. Perfect for little hands who just love to dump stuff in a bowl and mix.

Ingredients

The original has these in cups, but I’ve converted to grams, cos I’m super nice like that. I’ve also made a few tweaks, including using gluten free flour as usual. Should you prefer standard flour then just omit the Xanthan Gum

  • 130g peanut butter (I used crunchy which I think works amazingly, but smooth would be good too, particularly if these are for small children)
  • 50g softened unsalted butter
  • 220g soft brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 200g gluten free plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Granulated sugar for rolling (I used caster, but any kind would be good)

Apologies for the lack of photos of the boy helping me. I promise you he did, but I’d left my phone in the other room and you know how they are once they start something!

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c or Gas Mark 5.
  2. Mix the peanut butter, butter and sugar together.
  3. Mash the banana. Add to the butter mix along with the vanilla extract and stir well.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined into an easy to work dough.
  5. Take walnut size pieces and roll into balls. Roll each ball in the granulated sugar and place on a baking sheet covered in baking parchment.
  6. Press lightly with the prongs of a fork to make the chequered pattern. The cookies will spread, so don’t put too many on a tray or too close together. I used two baking sheets to make 19 cookies.
  7. Bake for around 10-15 minutes or until golden.
  8. Leave to cool on cooling racks before snaffling greedily behind the kitchen door so the children don’t see you.
Press lightly with the back of a fork this way and that to get the criss cross pattern.

Press lightly in to the uncooked dough with the back of a fork this way and that to get the criss cross pattern.

I am totally going to have to make these again (not that the waistband on my jeans wants me too – they’re so good). The boy loved mixing the ingredients and the mixture is so tactile. Rather like very soft play dough. And so quick. From ingredient to grateful munching in around 20 minutes. I can see them being really good with added cinnamon and rolled in demerara sugar closer to Christmas.

So next time you have a friends coming over and there’s a gluten free eater among them, whip up a batch of these. Everyone will be grateful you did.

Delicious Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Banana cookies. Great with a coffee!

Delicious Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Banana cookies. Great with a coffee!

Free From Farmhouse

The Boy Makes…..Cut Out Biscuits

Like most nurseries (I guess), Oscar’s preschool celebrates each and every birthday in their midst. They invite the parents of the birthday child to come in and watch their child’s special day be celebrated by their friends (my guy’s school also carries out something of a rather abstract birthday ritual. The child carries a globe round a circle of children as many times as they are years old, whilst they all sing a song about the world. Yeah I’m not sure either, but the kids seem to like it). Said parents are also invited to provide a little treat for the children. I was so excited when I heard about this. What a lovely thing to be able to do and it was definitely something Oscar and I could prepare together. However, as is to be expected, the nursery have pupils with all kinds of specific dietary requirements. Oscar himself eats gluten free and he has a little pal who has a serious broad spectrum nut allergy. Meaning anything we chose to make had to be pretty well thought through. To the Googles!

As Oscar got so many lovely cookie cutters for his birthday, I decided it would be fun to let him try them out. That’s when I found a great biscuit recipe on the American site Momables.com. It was written to be purely gluten free however, I checked with Oscar’s pal’s mum and found the recipe was also completely free of nut contaminants too. Perfect.

A simple recipe

A simple recipe

I followed the original recipe, which being American, was measured in cups. However, because I’m nice like that, I have converted it to grams here for the baker who favours the scales.

  • 200g sugar
  • 115g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk (or water)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your flour already has it, mine didn’t)
  • 250g gluten-free plain flour

I use Dove Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour and Xanthan Gum to great effect. You could also add spice such as cinnamon, if you were making these near Christmas

I used my Kitchenaid mixer, but you could do this by hand

  1. Cream the sugar and butter together
  2. Add egg, milk, vanilla extract and salt mixing well
  3. Add flour and xanthan gum if using. Mix at a low speed until well combined. Dough should come together well and not be too sticky.
  4. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour
  5. Preheat the oven to 180c or Gas Mark 5 and cover two baking sheets with baking paper
  6. Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, as thick as you want. Mine were about 0.25cm.
  7. Cut out the dough with cookie cutters, and place the biscuits on the baking sheets. Ensure the cookies are not touching.
  8. Re-roll and re-cut dough until it’s all used
  9. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a cooling rack.
  10. Cool completely before decorating. If you’re so inclined. They’re lovely with or without decoration
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Add butter to sugar

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The boy loves turning on the KitchenAid

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Scrape that dough down!

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Using his birthday cutters from his Aunty & Uncle

In the end I chose to make all heart biscuits as I reckoned they were a decent size. I got 24 out of this recipe, plus a handful of the smaller shapes you can see Oscar cutting above.

I decided to “decorate” them with a simple water icing. Unfortunately I had to do this when Oscar was in bed, but I totally plan to let him have a go next time! I think I used around 60g of icing sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water mixed to make a smooth paste, runny enough to drizzle. I used a couple of drops of Wilton colouring to get the amazing blue, then just drizzled the icing from the end of a spoon onto the biscuits at an angle. It did take a while to dry though so be factor this in when planning timings.

Lay the biscuits on baking paper before drizzling the icing over the biscuits. Leave until they are totally dry.

Lay the biscuits on baking paper before drizzling the icing over the biscuits. Leave until they are totally dry then lift them off and throw the paper away. No messy clean up!

They went down a treat with Oscar and all his pals. As one of his little friends told her mum “they had blue on them and they were yum”. What more could you ask for?!

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Gluten Free Biscuits – Happy Birthday Oscar

 

 

BakedPotato Mummy
Free From Farmhouse

Slimming World Update – Week 82

Hi chaps

How has this week gone for you? If you’re anything like a large proportion of my group last night, its been a tricky one! I don’t know what it is, maybe its the cold weather or the feeling of deep winter, with no view of summer in sight? Either way I know a lot of people have been struggling with life, let alone a weight loss journey. And I can count myself among them.

The last week has been such a week of contradictions. My meals have often been wonderful. Smack on plan and completely food optimised. I’ve tried new recipes and used ingredients I’ve never cooked before. We had Cottage Pie one night, a recipe from the Slimming World Lifeline Online. It had kale mixed through it, which I’ve only ever eaten as crisps before. It was delicious, although next time I wont be mixing fromage frais through the mashed potato. It just didn’t work for me. I also made my interpretation of a friend’s Quinoa, Bean and Tuna Salad recipe. I used dried quinoa, rather than the ready cooked packets. As with a lot of things, cooking it from scratch makes it a free food (the packets often have syns, some as many as 6.5, which is fine if you have the syns to spare and want something lightening quick) and it was so easy to cook, I have no idea why I’ve never tried it before. I’ll definitely be making it again but possibly with less beans and tuna. The quinoa has such a nice flavour it would have been nice to be able to taste it a little more!

My first attempt at non packet Cottage Pie with carrots and broccoli. Delicious!

My first attempt at non packet Cottage Pie with carrots and broccoli. Delicious!

But then there’s been the cookies. We discovered last week that Oscar loves (and I mean loves) baking. It’s such a fabulous past time and helps with his attention and speech. However it does also result in delicious cookies. And I have been tempted more than once (or twice or three times 😉 ). I meant to send them off to work with Ben, but somehow they ended up staying in the house! School boy error I suppose. Then there were other lapses, when eating with friends or trying to recover from the mother of all crappy mornings. But for the most part these were choices I made, knowingly and with full understanding of what I was doing and why. And I did chose reduced fat cheese on my pizza! 😉

Cookies. So many cookies!

Cookies. So many cookies!

So last night’s maintain was thoroughly OK with me. I was astonished I didn’t gain if truth be told. So I remain at 6 stone 6lb lost.

Anyway I came home from group last night to the news that I’ve got an important family occasion to attend in three weeks time. Ben’s grandparents are celebrating their 60th (60! I know! Amazing!) Wedding Anniversary and have invited us to join them for a meal and an overnight stay at Buckland Tout Saints in Devon. Its such a lovely idea and I cant wait to see the family again. It does of course mean I’ll need a nice new frock to wear. And that’s got my mind firmly back in the game! Shopping always does! Hahaha only joking, it’s the thought of being able to walk in, proud and confident, at least a stone lighter than the last time I saw them. And I’m going to use that visualisation to help me this week. I do have a night out with the girls on Friday, but I’ve already decided on various strategies to minimize any impact that could have, including eating an early dinner at home before going out and sticking to long drinks such as Spritzers.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Have a great week, wearing your very best positive pants (eh Sara? 😉 )

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The way the cookie crumbles

Since I was a little girl I’ve loved baking. I may have mentioned this before 😉 . My first foray into the kitchen was an independently made Victoria Sandwich at around the age of 7 and I’ve never looked back. Of late my baking has taken something of a back seat, due to a focus on healthy eating and losing weight, but I still love and occasionally miss the process of taking a seemingly innocuous bunch of ingredients and turning them in to something that look, smell and taste amazing.

Last week we had a couple of days where the weather wasn’t so great and decided to stay indoors, not something you do lightly with a ball of energy toddler. First plan was to make a new batch of Moon Sand (our first attempt at which I wrote about here). This time however Oscar showed much more interest in the actual process of making it. To the point where I got him a chair, pulled it up to the work surface and let him pour the cornflour in to the pan. He even, after a while, gave the whole thing a stir. He was mesmerised by the process and that got me thinking.

On Thursday it snowed. Not particularly badly, but enough to stop this wimp of a mother wanting to go out and so I decided to let the boy have a crack at baking. I chose a recipe that utilised what I had in the house (which did not include eggs. I know, eggless baking? Challenge accepted!) I found this recipe for Oatmeal Raisin cookies over on the blog, TransatlanticBlonde, whose son is allergic to eggs. It was a great one to start Oscar on, as the measurements were in cups, which needs minimal fuss (although I can’t help it, I prefer grams and scales. I guess it’s just what you’re used to). We switched the plain flour for Dove Farm gluten free plain flour (as Oscar is eating GF at the moment) and left out the vanilla (as we didn’t have any!) Any who, I scooped the ingredients out and Oscar poured them into my giant Maslin pan. I chose to use this rather than a mixing bowl because of its wide base and large capacity, meaning Oscar could really see what was going on as the mixture took shape.

Adding ingredients

Adding ingredients

Enjoying the process

Enjoying the process

And look at what was going on, he really did. I can honestly say I’ve never seen him so attentive to an activity we’ve done together. And we really did do it together. I’d measure, he’d pour and we’d stir. He was even repeating words I was saying, such as “OK, “so” and “now”. Believe it or not he even had a crack at “Cinnamon”! At no point did he get bored or look away or want to do things ‘his way’. Even when I was scooping the mixture onto the baking sheets, he watched until the very last one was done and in the oven. And he watched as I took them out the oven, interested in what happens now. And when I let him have one, well… Let’s just say his new word of the week is “cookie”!

Egg free, gluten free, oatmeal raisin cookies

Egg free, gluten free, oatmeal raisin cookies

I never expected baking to be such a resounding success with my boy, but that’s the thing I guess. You never know until you try. It’s been such as success in fact that we’ve just made another batch, using a (slightly more complicated) recipe from Jamie Oliver. He was just as involved and interested as the first time round. And really what could be more gratifying than throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pan and having cookies come out at the end?

I think we may have found a shared love. I can’t wait til he’s old enough to stay up for Bake Off with me!

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Gluten free Oat and Raisin Cookies

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A shared love

 

 

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