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Gluten-Free Thin Mint Cookies

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Gluten-Free Thin Mint Cookies

Guess what I made this weekend? Girl scout cookies! My favorite flavor too: thin mint, of course. And wow, those cookies were delicious. I stumbled across an amazing recipe just the other day and I had to try it for myself. Here is my experience with it:

Mint and chocolate goodness. What’s not to love?

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar*
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup amaranth flour
  • 2 cup chocolate chips*
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract

*I put an asterisk next to some ingredients, because the kind you get determines how healthy this recipe is! I use Organic 365 powdered sugar because it’s made with tapioca starch instead of corn starch. I use Nestlé’s Dark Chocolate Morsels for chocolate chips, because they are soy free.

It doesn’t look like much, but once rolled out, you’ll get lots of cookies!

The first step is to make the dough. It’s pretty easy. Start by creaming the butter in a large bowl. Slowly add sugar and mix well. Next, add the cocoa powder, salt, starches and flour. It’s going to get pretty thick. I finished mixing mine with my hands, just like kneading dough. Wrap it up in floured (white rice flour is what I use for sprinkling and rolling) wax paper and stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes.

The dough is a lot easier to work with than I expected.

Next, preheat the oven to 350F. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and set aside. On a clean work surface, sprinkle white rice flour and start flattening the dough with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch. Using a cookie cutter, get as many cookies as you can! You’ll have to reroll the dough a few times. No wasting allowed!

Bake in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes.

Note that if you don’t have more than one cookie sheet, you will have to do 2 or 3 batches.

Also, when the cookies come out of the oven, let them cool for a good 15 minutes. They fall apart when hot, but hold together surprisingly well when cold.

The next step was a real pain in the butt for me, until I watched this awesome video on how to temper chocolate. Basically, just heat your chocolate in the microwave, 20 seconds at a time, stirring and dispering  heat equally. I only needed 40 seconds total to get a perfectly smooth texture. Don’t forget to add a teaspoon of mint extract.

Be patient!

Next, drop the cookies in the chocolate and spoon away the excess. Place them on a sheet of wax paper to dry. Keep them at least 5 minutes at room temperature, so the chocolate sets with minimum humidity.

When you’re all done, peel the cookies from the wax paper and store in an air tight container. I kept mine in the freezer. Not that I needed to, I ate them all in 3 days. Shhh!

Shrimp Spring Rolls

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Shrimp Spring Rolls

I found shrimp on sale at the store and I was really excited. I wasn’t too sure what to make with them, but I’ve made a few asian inspired meals lately so I thought spring rolls sounded like a nice challenge. Rice paper can be a little tricky to work with, but other than that, this is a very simple meal. No cooking. Well unless you buy raw shrimp, but mine were already cooked. Here’s what you’ll need:

The peanut butter dipping sauce really enhances all the delicious, fresh flavors of the spring roll.

Ingredients for the spring rolls

  • 1 lb cooked shrimp
  • 2 ounces cellophane noodles
  • 1/2 cup Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup carrots, grated
  • 1 green apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 16 mint leaves
  • 16 cilantro leaves
  • 16 rice paper sheets

The red pepper flakes add a little bite!

Ingredients for the dipping sauce

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 Tablespoon substitute soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste

Make the dipping sauce ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until the spring rolls are ready to serve. It’s pretty easy, just add all the ingredients to a bowl, then add hot water and mix well. Words of advice: fresh ginger doesn’t last very long and you can’t really buy just a little of it, so I keep mine in the freezer in an airtight bag and grate it frozen whenever I need it. Also, choose your peanut butter carefully. I like mine to have only one ingredient: peanuts. No oil, especially not hydrogenated. It has a very strong taste and makes the sauce taste even better. When you add the red pepper flakes, make sure to taste the sauce, so you have the desired amount of heat. I used almost half a teaspoon.

Plate the veggies, herbs and apple so they are all easily accessible.

Now, prep all your veggies and fruits. Thinly slice the cabbage and cucumber, grate the carrots (I used 1 carrot to get about 1/3 cup, maybe a little more), get whole mint and cilantro leaves from the bunch. For the apple, after it’s been sliced, put a little lime juice on it to keep its nice color and add a pinch of salt for taste. Apples and salt may sound a little weird, but I find it brings out really good flavors.

Cook the cellophane noodles (also called bean thread noodles). Place them in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let them sit for 10-15 minutes and they’ll be ready to use.

Place the shrimp in another bowl. If they are big, cut them in half, lengthwise. If they are small like mine were, just use them as is.

Now, it’s time to put the spring rolls together. Get a deep dish and fill it with hot water from the tap (not boiling, just hot). Immerse one sheet of rice paper in the water and after a little less than a minute, it should become very soft and malleable. Carefully place it on a clean work surface and get some of the extra water out with paper towel. When you take the rice paper sheet out of the water, put a new one in, so you can work faster. You may have to add more hot water once or twice during the process.

Be careful when you take the rice paper out of the water, it is very thin and fragile.

Now, it’s time to actually make some delicious spring rolls. Place your filling on the rice paper sheet, about 1/3 of the way in. I used 4 small shrimps, 4 slices of apple, 2 slices of Napa cabbage, 2 slices of cucumber, 3 shreds of carrot and about a Tablespoon of cellophane noodles per spring roll. Obviously, you can adjust this to your liking. Also, don’t forget 1 mint and 1 cilantro leaf. If you want big bites of flavor, you can keep them whole, but I prefer when it is a little bit more subtle; fresh mint is very fragrant. But not a problem, I just chopped my herbs.

And there! You’re all done. Don’t forget to serve it with the peanut butter dipping sauce. I can’t wait to make these again. It’s such a fresh and healthy meal, full of delicious flavors.

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