Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes (Mystery Man Part 3)

Buttermilk PancakesThis week is Mystery Man’s birthday and one of the things he will be enjoying is pancakes for breakfast. Unlike most gluten free pancakes, these are light and airy, and there is not a hint of grit or heaviness. I took a page from my Best Buttermilk Waffle recipe and whipped the egg whites to add extra fluff. I dare you to compare these to ‘the real thing’.

Mystery Man Part 3

Ever since he showed up in my store on Valentines Day, Mystery Man never left my thoughts for long. I hated that I thought of him so often and tried to squelch these thoughts with futile rebuttals.

‘He is such a great friend, I don’t want to ruin it’.

‘I love being his dance partner. I can’t risk losing that for just a fling’.

The mental excuses ran on and on and on. For months, upon months, and we continued to dance together nearly five nights a week.

One of our favorite places was a club called El Diablo Lounge. The owner dabbled in Swing dancing himself, and the interior was a cross between a tiki lounge and swanky 1940s Rat Pack Swing club, with sidewalk seating out front and a billiards room in the back. The booths were red leather, lighting low, and in the center, a small but inviting dance floor. We met every Thursday around nine o’clock, and joined Spunky Girl among others to dance off some energy, socialize, and catch up.

It was the middle of summer and the humidity was high. There was a particular energy in the air and the DJ was hot, playing one favorite after another.

He dipped me at the end of the song, and as I went to walk away, the first few notes of a Rumba, and the hand of Mystery Man drew me back onto the floor. He pulled me slightly closer than usual, and I smelled his aftershave and could feel the heat coming from his body. I didn’t know much more than the Rumba basic, so we whispered to me now and then.

“Walk forward”   “Come back to me”   “Follow me around”   “Step back”

For more than five minutes I followed his every lead. Felt his every touch and heard his every whisper. All the other couples on the dance floor melted away from my vision and the only thing I saw was him.

At the end of the song, breathless, and fully aware, yet unaware of what just happened, he dipped me. Once on my feet again, I squeaked out a “thank you” and we headed opposite directions – me to the billiards room, him to the front sidewalk seating.

I entered the room with my head spinning, my body overheating, and my face flushed. Spunky Girl looked at me and asked if I was O.K. “yeah. I don’t know what just happened there…” I trailed off. It was then she knew exactly what had just happened.

Mystery Man walked out to the front sidewalk, took out his handkerchief and patted his brow. Spunky Girl’s partner was standing there taking in some cooler air. “I’m not quite sure what just happened there,” he said. 

It would take Mystery Man and I another six months to figure it out on our own.

Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients

10 1/2 ounces gluten free flour blend*
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, separated
4 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil

*Gluten Free Flour Blend

24 ounces white rice flour (4 ½ cups, pus 1/3 cup) (one bag of Bob’s Red Mill brand)
7 ½ ounces brown rice flour (1 2/3 cups)
7 ounces potato starch (not potato flour) (1 1/3 cup)
3 ounces tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour) (3/4 cup)

Method

Mix flour blend, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium to large bowl. In a 2-3 cup liquid measuring cup, measure buttermilk. Add eggs and blend well with a fork. In a thin, steady stream, add melted butter while stirring. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk very well until little to no lumps remain.

Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites on low/medium for about one minute. Increase speed to medium high for an additional minute. Gradually add sugar and whip until stiff peaks form (about 3 additional minutes).

Gently fold egg whites into pancake batter until just a few white streaks remain.

Heat griddle to 350 degrees or a skillet on a medium/high burner. Brush with one teaspoon of vegetable oil. Once hot, add pancake batter 1/4 cup at a time – or make any size pancakes you wish. Wait until the pancakes have bubbles on top that have popped, and they look slightly dry around the edges. Flip to other side for about two more minutes, or until they are the desired color. Add vegetable oil to griddle or skillet as needed.

Serve with your favorite toppings!

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Chocolate Caramel Surprise Cookies (Plus BONUS Gluten Free Version)

Chocolate Caramel Surprise Cookies1

It was Independence Day and we were gearing up for our annual BBQ and Ka-Boom Party. It took me a while to get everything in order since fatigue would set in without notice. Once it was finally all set, I anxiously awaited our guests, especially Spunky Girl.

Mystery Man and I had been keep my pregnancy a secret, as most people do for the first trimester. But, she was the one friend that I looked forward to sharing my news, and I knew she would keep it quiet until I was ready.

Friends and neighbors started piling in. Family by family they handed me covered dishes, grabbed a cold drink, and headed out to the heat of the back deck to the smell of meat on the grill.

The moment Spunky Girl arrived we headed upstairs to my closest for our continuous exchange of borrowed clothes. I gave here my ‘I know something you don’t’ slanted grin. She took the bait and asked what was up. As I shared the news, suddenly, her face started to change. A ‘I know something you don’t’ slanted grin came over her.

“No!”

“Yes!”

Not only were we both keeping a secret, our due dates were within two weeks.

As we shared in the journey of pregnancy, we also shared our most lethal cravings. Spunky Girl brought these cookies to me and I was hooked with the first bite. You obviously do not have to be pregnant to enjoy, but if you crave a chocolaty, salty, caramel trifecta on occasion, these are your cure.

Keep scrolling for the Gluten Free option…

Chocolate Caramel Surprise Cookies

Makes 4 dozen

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour, plus 1/4 cup
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Heath bars, chopped, or 1 bag Heath chips (or skip the Heath topping and opt for salt flakes)
6 rolls Rollo Caramel Chewy candies

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a stand-mixer bowl, combine butter, brown sugar and 1 cup granulated sugar.. Mix on medium for about one minute or until mixture is fluffy, scraping down sides as needed.
  • Add eggs, one at a time. Then add vanilla. Scrape down bowl if needed.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together 2 1/2 cups flour, cocoa, and baking soda.
  • With the mixer on low, add flour mixture a small amount at a time making sure each addition is mixed in thoroughly before adding more. (if you have a splash guard for your mixer, now would be a great time to use it.)
  • Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Place Heath pieces in a small bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon sugar.
  • Measure out chilled dough with a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop. Wrap each portion around a Rollo candy, totally encasing the candy with the dough and rolling it into a ball.
  • Press each ball into the Heath mixture, covering just 1/2 of the ball (or sprinkle the top with a bit of salt.)
  • Place three inches apart on a cookie sheet, Heath, or salt, side up.
  • Bake 7-10 minutes. Cookies should look cracked and slightly undercooked in the center.
  • Allow cookies to cool five minutes before transferring to a rack. (This is important – if you place them on the rack too soon, the caramel will run out the bottom and through the rack onto your counter.)

NOTES: Can be transformed into a chocolate/mint cookie by substituting mint Hershey kisses for the Rollos, and crushed candy canes for the Heath topping.

GLUTEN FREE Chocolate Caramel Surprise Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

12 ounces semi sweet chocolate (chips, or chopped)
4 ounces gluten free flour blend**
3/4 ounce unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup packed) light brown sugar
1 3/4 ounces (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
2 eggs
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted, then slightly cooled)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 Heath bars, chopped, or 1 bag Heath chips (or skip the Heath topping and opt for salt flakes)
(Check your Heath bar label for gluten contents!)
3  rolls Rollo Caramel Chewy* candies

* Although Rollo Caramel Chewy candies are not labeled gluten free, the ingredient list does not reflect any gluten. As always, do your own research for gluten free items and substitute accordingly.

**Gluten Free Flour Blend

24 ounces white rice flour (4 ½ cups, plus 1/3 cup) (one bag of Bob’s Red Mill brand)
7 ½ ounces brown rice flour (1 2/3 cups)
7 ounces potato starch (not potato flour) (1 1/3 cup)
3 ounces tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour) (3/4 cup)
¾ ounce nonfat milk powder (3 tablespoons)

Preparation:

  • Microwave semisweet chocolate in a bowl at 50 percent power, thirty second sessions, until melted (stirring between sessions). Let cool slightly.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together measured flour blend, cocoa, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum, set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, oil, melted butter, vanilla, and espresso powder.
  • Whisk in slightly cooled chocolate. Combine until smooth.
  • With rubber spatula, incorporate the flour mixture until a sticky dough forms and no white streaks are left behind.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 30 minutes.
    (Do not short change the resting period of the dough, or the cookies will be slightly gritty and not as chewy.)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Measure out chilled dough with a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop. I find applying vegetable spray to the scoop helps keep the dough from sticking. Wrap each portion around a Rollo candy, totally encasing the candy with the dough and rolling it into a ball.
  • Press each ball into the Heath mixture, covering just 1/2 of the ball (or sprinkle the top with a bit of salt.)
  • Place three inches apart on a cookie sheet, Heath, or salt, side up.
  • Bake 12-14 minutes. Cookies should look cracked and slightly undercooked in the center.
  • Allow cookies to cool five minutes before transferring to a rack. (This is important – if you place them on the rack too soon, the caramel will run out the bottom and through the rack onto your counter.)

NOTES: Can be transformed into a chocolate/mint cookie by substituting mint Hershey kisses for the Rollos, and crushed candy canes for the Heath topping. Again, check any substitutions for gluten contents.