Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, a holiday that always stresses me out. It seems like lots of people try to have big, blow-out, memorable evenings — and the effort that goes into planning far outweighs the fun they wind up having.

Accordingly, I thought we’d go for the opposite type of recipe today: recipes whose deliciousness far outweighs the planning required for them. Pumpkin Spice Waffle Cookies from The Daily Dietribe and Chocolate Espresso Angel Food Cake from Real Sustenance. Added bonus, they both look quite fancy: perfect for impressing someone as we start 2012.

Aside from their prettiness, these two recipes have very little in common. Well, except that they’re gluten-free. And isn’t that all that really matters?

First up, the gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Cookies from Iris, which are pictured up above.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole psyllium husks
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/8 cup teff flour
  • 1/8 cup coconut flour
  • 1/8 cup potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening (pretty sure you could sub butter/Earth Balance/coconut oil, but haven’t tried it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the flaxseed meal, psyllium husks, and pumpkin puree in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the quinoa flakes, flours, starch, and spices. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, shortening and vanilla. Beat in the pumpkin mix, then gradually beat in the dry ingredients until completely mixed.
  4. Turn your waffle iron to the highest setting, spray with oil to prevent sticking, then drop batter onto iron by the tablespoon full (one cookie per waffle segment). I find it’s helpful to let the cookies bake about 30 seconds longer than when the iron says it’s done. Put the cookies on a cooling rack and serve warm or keep in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes about 20 cookies.

Secondly, Gluten-Free Chocolate-Espresso Angel Food Cake from Brittany. I recommend visiting the recipe on her page if you want to check out a video tutorial on whipping egg whites (properly whipped whites are essential for angel food cake).

Ingredients

  • 12 Egg Whites (DO not use a boxed egg white variaion- only real eggs will do the job)
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 1/4 Tsp Cream of Tarter
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 1/4 Cup Confectioners Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Sweet Rice Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Tapioca
  • 1/4 Cup Potato Starch Flour
  • 1/4 Cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 TBS Expresso Coffee Grinds (Finely ground)
  • 1 Tsp Xanthan Gum (or Guar Gum for Corn Free)

Directions

Before I share the recipe- there are a 10 guidelines that I want to share that are essential in making a successful Angel Food Cake. They are easy to do – BUT extremely important. Breaking any one of these guidelines could equate to your cake losing its fluffy height and we wouldn’t want that.

  1. You cake must be baked in a GREASE FREE pan. Make sure also that you are not using a pan that has a non-stick surface. The cake needs to stick to the pan!
  2. An undercooked cake will flop. Give it the full time that I suggest.
  3. Make sure to incorporate the flour well into the egg foam- not doing so could create issues when baking. The fact that this recipe calls for cocoa powder will make it easy for you to see that everything has blended properly.
  4. Sifting the flours together makes a BIG difference. You want the flours perfectly blended- and with gluten free as you know we use more than 1 flour- Sift and blend your flours before you start the egg whites.
  5. The Eggs need to be at room temp before you whip them. Cold eggs will not function as well as those that are room temp.
  6. DO NOT open the oven during the cooking time. Not even once- this most likely will make your cake fall.
  7. Bake the cake on the lowest rack in your oven.
  8. Gently remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool FULLY before removing it from the pan.
  9. Use a bread serated knife when it comes time to cut and serve the cake- this will allow it to remain fluffy and beautiful!
  10. Whipping the eggs to the perfect stiffness is important- watch the following Video ((head over to the site for links)) to get a visual understanding of what the Eggs should look like.

I Selected the flours I’m using for this recipe very carefully. Sweet Rice Flour has become my go to Cake Flour- NOTHING compares in the beautiful texture it creates. You could try using regular rice flour here- but honestly I would just stick to the recipe I have provided . (Unless of course you are an experienced gf baker and have faith in your ideas.)

OK- Lets make a cake! Follow these directions in their exact order.

  1. Remove your eggs from the fridge and allow them to sit on the counter until they have come to room temp.
  2. Sift together the Confectioners Sugar, Sweet Rice Flour, Tapioca Potato Starch Flour , Unsweetened Cocoa Powder Coffee Grinds and Xanthan Gum. Set aside.
  3. Seperate the egg whites from the yolks. Place the Egg Whites in a Stainless Steel Bowl (this could be the bowl of a stand mixer)  Discard the yolks (or save them in the fridge for another use)
  4. Preheat the oven to 325 Degrees and make sure that your oven rack is at its lowest point.
  5. Double Check to see if the yolks are at room temp. If they are- add to them Salt. Begin whipping. Once the egg whites are foamy add the cream of tarter. Whip more (On high)
  6. Once soft peaks begin to form you may start adding the white sugar- do this a little at a time. (add, mix, add mix until you have added all of the sugar)
  7. Beat until Stiff Peaks Form  (watch video to see a visual of this)  Add in the Vanilla Extract and beat another second more and then turn off the mixer.
  8. Using a spatula gently fold in the flour mixture- little by little. The key here is GENTLE movements so that you do not destroy the peaks- but also understand that it is crucial that the flour is mixted in thouroughly. Your peaks are going to lose a little bit of their volume while you do this- that is ok!
  9. Place the fully incorporated mixture into your UNGREASED Angel Food Cake Pan. Using your spatula smooth out the top.
  10. Place the Cake into the oven and Bake for 1 Hour and 10 minutes. Remember- DO NOT open the oven even once to check on it until that full period of time has passed.
  11. Gently remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool before you even think about removing it.
  12. To Remove the cake- run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake and flip it on to a serving platter. As I mentioned above- don’t cut the cake unless its cool- and use a serated knife to keep it light and fluffy.