My youngest son & me

My youngest son & me

About me

My name is Tanja (Sater) Miller and I'm excited about sharing my journey of converting my favorite recipes to gluten free! I am not a fancy cook - I prefer just a casual, fun meal. I am married with grown children (and have small grandchildren) & 3 dogs. I work full time as a registered nurse & I am a geek. Yes, I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Fringe, Firefly, Farscape and most of the other Scify shows. You will probably see a little of my geek side come out once in a while! Please join me on my journey of cooking, baking & converting every day recipes into yummy gluten free meals that everyone can enjoy (not just those with a gluten allergy!) Don't be shy about checking out my recipes....I have the gluten free version along with the regular recipe that I adapted from!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Cheesecake Delight

Cheesecake Delight! Yummy and sweet with a little tart twist to it. My kids and I all LOVE any type of dessert that involves cheesecake. We especially like the ones where the crust is crispy but the inside is creamy. I generally use a graham cracker crust but it is sometimes difficult to find gluten free graham cracker crumbs. My Sprouts store doesn't always have them and I have never made them from I decided to make a shortbread crust instead. It was delicious! (You could use this crust for any type of dessert base also....or just make cookies with them!)

I have found that being gluten free requires a lot of adapting things that you have found works well into other recipes. You have to improvise and think outside the box to make recipes work especially if you can't find an ingredient that you need for a particular recipe. I was not going to miss out on having cheesecake because I couldn't find gluten free graham cracker crumbs! (I have a lot of different varieties of cheesecakes using different types of crust so I am sure you will see them posted in the near future! Since we have friends visiting that have a nut allergy, I am making a crust that doesn't contain nuts) If you do not have a gluten allergy then just substitute regular flour in the shortbread crust recipe.

No Bake Cheese Cake Filling:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups of Cool Whip or 1 packet of Dream Whip prepared
  • 1 tsp. of lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 tbs. lemon zest (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together until fluffy and smooth. Put the cheesecake mixture into the refrigerator while you prepare the crust. (Note: If you are using a generic brand of Cool Whip and the texture seems a bit runny, just add one tablespoon of cornstarch or tapioca starch to thicken slightly. I have found the some of the generics are getting cheaper and whipping in extra water and the texture is NOT the same as it used to be. I am not generally a stickler for name brands but lately I have noticed a HUGE difference in generics. The quality is NOT the same anymore! Sometimes you get what you pay for!)

Shortbread Crust Recipe:
  • 1/2 cup butter (if using margarine then use one that contains 65% fat or higher. This is important for baking. If you use any type of light butter or margarine that doesn't contain at least 65% fat then it contains too much water and it will not bake correctly! In a pinch, you can use Crisco or lard).
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used raw sugar but you can use regular or even brown sugar)
  • 2 tbs. lemon zest (optional)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or lemon extract (I used lemon baking emulsion)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend (like my recipe below or you can use a store bought brand like King Arthur or Trader Joe's. I don't care for the flour blends that contain sorghum in my sweets. It gives it a funny after taste). I added my flour blend recipe below.
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum or guar gum if you gluten free flour blend does not already contain it! (If you are using regular flour then you can omit this)

Mix the butter, sugar, lemon zest, extract together. Beat in eggs one at a time until creamy. Gradually add salt and flour. Dough will be thick. At this point you can refrigerate it if you prefer. I just lightly greased the bottom of my pie plate and pressed the dough into the bottom and up the sides. I baked it  in a preheated 350 degree oven until lightly golden which took about 16 minutes in my oven. (Check your crust after about 12 minutes. Each oven temperature and altitude can vary baking times). Remove and let it cool completely.

After the crust is completely cool, then add your cheesecake filling. At this point you can top it with whatever you like or just leave it plain just like it is. I decided to go with some extra zippy flavor and add lemon curd as my topping since we all like the tart flavor. (I got my jar of lemon curd from Trader Joe's because I was too lazy to make it from scratch today!) But you can use pie filling, jam or fresh fruit to top this recipe if you desire.

NOTE: If for any reason your shortbread does not turn out exactly perfect or is too crumbly, do not throw it away! Just layer the crushed shortbread & cheesecake filling into wine glasses or little parfait cups. It will still be an elegant and delicious dessert. (Okay, another confession....usually if you see a dessert served parfait style at my was a goofed up crust of some sort that tasted okay but was crumbly and I "recycled" it into a parfait! My husband calls me the "recycler baker"). I just figure that if I put that much time and expense into a recipe and if  it still tastes okay...I am not wasting it! :)

My Homemade Gluten Free Flour Blend Recipe:
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 cup white rice flour (I used sweet rice flour for this batch)
  • 1/2 cup glutinous rice flour (made from sticky rice, gluten free)
  • 1 cup potato starch (not flour)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk, make sure it is very fine in texture
  • 1 cup corn starch or tapioca starch (I used corn starch for this batch)
  • 3 tbs. xanthan gum
Combine all ingredients together well. You can put it in the blender for an extra smooth texture if desired. I store mine in a glass container and use it in place of regular flour in all my recipes. This particular blend I really like for baked sweet goods. 

See how creamy the center is? If you want it stiffer, just add a little cornstarch or tapioca starch

Gluten free casually

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