Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Angie's Brittle - Happy Holidays

Angie's Brittle - Happy Holidays |

Oh man, It has been a rough few weeks! Traveling, work, Christmas shopping, more work, baking (and mailing), even MORE work, so many December birthdays, and not to mention I dropped a full bottle of vinegar on my toe (which is now bruised and probably broken). I kind of just want to throw my hands in the air and say "I give up world!" But, I can't because..............SANTA'S COMING!!!!

This is absolutely, hands down, my favorite time of year! Spending time with family, holiday parties, TONS of cooking and holiday treats, decorations, presents and best of all, traditions. We have several established traditions in our family, but we're always creating new ones. One of the best traditions though, are the holiday goodies that our families make. We always get delicious Italian Pizzelles from the Hubby's Mom and Spicy Chex Mix (aka Trash) from my Mom. One of my favorite traditions that crept into our family several years ago is Angie's Brittle.

Angie's Brittle - Happy Holidays |

Angie is an old family friend of ours who knows how to make brittle! My mom fell in love with the brittle and started making it every Holiday. I now have taken over the tradition and wanted to share with everyone! Salty, sweet and very chocolatey, it is a cracker-based brittle. Usually I make this with saltine crackers, however since going gluten free, I now use a basic GF cracker and had no issues. If you don't have a gluten issue, then go with the saltines. You can also top the brittle with a different type of nut like almonds, pecans or cashews. Sometimes I add on dried fruit, like goji berries.

Angie's Brittle - Happy Holidays |

On behalf of the Hubby, myself and our families, we wish everyone a wonderful  Holiday Season and many delicious treats!!

Angie's Brittle - Happy Holidays |

Angie's Brittle

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

2 sticks butter (16 Tablespoons)
1 cup brown sugar
Cooking spray
1 sleeve saltine crackers (or gluten free crackers similar to saltines - I used these)
16 ounces favorite chocolate chips (dark, milk or bittersweet)
1 cup walnuts (toasted and chopped)
Sea salt (suggested if using GF crackers)

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray (the more you spray, the easier it will be to remove the brittle).
Spread the crackers in a single layer on the lined baking sheet.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. This will start to thicken and turn brown like a caramel. Pour the butter mixture over the crackers and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook as the brittle will burn easily.

Remove the brittle from the oven and pour the chocolate chips on top of this immediately. Let the chips sit for a minute, and as they melt, start to spread them out with a spatula. This will create the chocolate layer. Sprinkle the walnuts (or favorite nut) and sea salt. Let this cool for about 10-15 minutes and then place in the freezer to harden.

When frozen, carefully remove the foil from the brittle and break into pieces. Store in a freezer bag or container in the freezer until ready to serve. This keeps the chocolate from melting!

Angie's Brittle - Happy Holidays |

Monday, December 15, 2014

Chocolate Almond Oat Cookies (Gluten Free)

Christmas Cookie Time!!!

This is my third year participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and I finally had the guts to participate in the gluten free category. I love receiving and buying gluten free cookies, but had not yet mastered the art of gluten free baking (except for my one go to recipe for Oatmeal Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies). Since I had already posted that recipe on my blog, I couldn't use it for the 2014 Cookie Swap. 

Chocolate Almond Oat Cookies (Gluten Free) |

I started by testing a new version of the Oatmeal cookies. Instead of peanut butter, I used almond cocoa butter, which pretty much just resulted in a very flat, spread out crisp, so I kept testing. 

It took me about 5 tries, but I finally perfected the thin, crispy, chocolate-y cookies I like to call Chocolate Almond Oat Cookies! I was determined to make something good enough for my fellow gluten free food bloggers and stand up to the US Postal Service and their "delicate" shipping methods.

Chocolate Almond Oat Cookies (Gluten Free) |

Regardless of the hurdles, I prevailed with a successful recipe and many cookies to spread around to friends, family and coworkers. 

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is so much fun, something I look forward to every year. I love the camaraderie of the food blogger network and the encouragement and praise (and social media frenzy) of all the recipes and cookies! This year, I was extra excited to receive my cookies in the mail because I knew they were all going to be gluten free! This year I received:
All I need now is a tall glass of cold milk!

Chocolate Almond Oat Cookies (Gluten Free) |

Chocolate Almond Oat Cookies 

Yields: 3-4 dozen 
Prep Time: 15 minutes 
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes

1 cup almond cocoa butter (used Trader Joe's)
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup gluten free oat flour (used Bob’s Red Mill)
3 cups rolled oats (gluten free)
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted and chopped
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a SilPat.

In the bowl of a standing mixer combine sugar, brown sugar and cocoa almond butter and beat until creamy. 

Add in the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and baking soda and mix well before added in the oat flour. Turn the mixer off and stir in the oats, chocolate chips and almonds by hand. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Using a teaspoon, form small balls of dough and spread out at least 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Keep a bowl of water near by to dip fingers in when forming the dough balls since the dough will be sticky.

Bake the cookies for about 8 minutes until they puff up. Remove from the oven and let sit on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before removing and cooling on a rack.

If you like really crispy cookies, bake for a total of 10 minutes.

Chocolate Almond Oat Cookies (Gluten Free) |