Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gluten Free "Spreads"

I have quite a bit of a sweet tooth.  It is not something I am proud of - it just is, so I learn to deal. I deal by drooling over wonderful blogs and cookbooks, which probably is not a good use of my time but alas, I indulge.  I see something that looks so yummy and easy but is full of gluten, I really want to make it over so it is gluten free.  Now I leave the hard conversions to Nicole over at Gluten Free on a Shoestring, because she has some kind of magical recipe converting super powers or something.  Please go and check out her blog because you will be wonderfully woo'd by her prowess.

Any who, I have seen this "spreads" recipe a few times. It is originally from the Pioneer Woman and I'm pretty sure I saw it on her Food Network show.  It also shows up in her "holiday" cookbook that is only sold at Target.  It looked so easy and utterly scrumptious that I just had to make it gluten free.
My first step was to find the recipe fast. Yes I had the cookbook but I'm at my computer 90% of the day so I googled, "Pioneer Woman Spreads" and *BAM* it showed up on her blog too.  I promptly printed it out and took out some butter to come to room temp.

By now, you are probably on the floor laughing from that last paragraph.  I have many sarcastic jokes readily available about the name of this recipe and just realized that my Google search is down right dirty sounding.  I'm so sorry Ree, truly I am - I mean no disrespect! Honest!

Now back to the recipe, two sticks of butter is A. LOT. of butter, so I used light butter. I do not think you can notice a difference at all. I know some people get pretty uptight that light butter is not real and has a bunch of additives but honestly, it's all pretty normal stuff and some ingredients that I already use in gluten free baking so, I'm good with it.  Others find that light butter has too much moisture content and that it can mess with your recipe.  Maybe, but unless you are making frosting, I find that light butter can substitute quite nicely with less fat and calories.

I also have really been digging the gluten free flour blend over at Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats.  It consists mainly of brown rice and sweet sorghum flours which are considered whole grain. The flour blend is roughly 70% these two flours and 30% starches, which really is nicer than blends that have white rice as the main component.  It doesn't always work in all situations and that's ok, we have other blends to use for those times.  But for today, I used this blend and it worked great!  One of the main reasons why it worked great is because I aerate the flour with a whisk in the container before measuring.  Then I lightly spoon the flour into the cup and carefully level it with a butter knife.  This ensures that you are not 'packing' the flour blend into the cup and makes for light and fluffy baked goods.

Gluten Free Spreads

1 cup (2 sticks) light butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 whole egg
2 cups of gluten free flour blend (I use this one and see note above on measuring.)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon good vanilla
6-12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (I ended up using the whole bag - I know, right?)
1/4 cup toffee crumbles/chunks (I used Heath brand.)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 1/2 sheet pan with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. Place butter into your mixer bowl and start whipping it with the paddle attachment.
  3. Add the brown sugar and continue whipping.  It will not look like regular butter and brown sugar will, it's ok - stay with me.
  4. Add one whole egg and keep whipping.
  5. Add the vanilla and keep whipping.
  6. Add the salt and keep whipping.  Mix well.
  7. Stop the mixer and put the flour into the bowl and slow start mixing the flour in.
  8. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  9. Turn the mixer to medium speed and let it whip for about 2 minutes.  It will turn into a very light and fluffy batter.
  10. Pour the batter onto the parchment paper and spread (this is where the name comes from!) it on the pan as uniformly as you want to so that it is about 1/4" - 1/2" thick.
  11. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes (I think I baked it for about 17 minutes).
  12. Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the big cookie.
  13. Place pan back into the oven for 2-3 minutes.
  14. Remove pan and spread (there's that term again!) the chocolate chips evenly over the large baked cookie.
  15. Immediately sprinkle the chocolate with the toffee crumble/chunks.
  16. Let the chocolate set and the cookie cool before cutting into pieces with a pizza cutter.

ENJOY!  My whole family loved this treat and kept asking for more.  It is so easy and very quick if you are looking for something to hit your yearning belly fast.

Until next time,
J.K. Sasse

Friday, May 2, 2014


Wow! It's been a super long time since I've written a piece for the blog but man has life been crazy.

As you know I have a full time job, that I actually like, find interesting, and I am always learning new things.  I also get to telecommute from my home office all. of. the. time., which really is a dream come true. With that said, I have been swamped with new business since January while helping other teams out as well, so needless to say, it has been crazy pants.

When it gets crazy pants for me, I have to work out in some fashion.  I am not obsessed nor am I one of those nut jobs that has to work out or I'll die (god forbid).  But I have learned through an injury in February when I had to "rest" that I really need to make time to work out.  It just makes me feel better all around and my mood gets a boost too which helps during stressful work times.  So this has become a pretty big priority in my life, I'm sure my heart thanks me.

We continued with kids activities, dance for #1 and wrestling for #2 and they both were in swimming lessons.  #1 actually has tested out of the YMCA swim program so we are now looking for a swim team for her.  She wants to be in the Olympics some day. #1 also celebrated her first holy communion with a nice Sunday brunch with our family and close friends.  The cake I made for that did not turn out as well as I had hoped, but I did run out of regular sugar and had to use raw sugar.  That may have contributed to it being very dry.

Our other main activity during these MIA months for me was Girl Scouts.  February and March are consumed with selling girl scout cookies. I mean, it is almost every weekend with cookie booths or some other girl scouting event.  This year it completely paid off as our troop was the second top selling troop in our service unit and our girls are going to be honored at our service unit award ceremony next week.  I'm excited to see the girls get this special award in front of their peers, they worked hard and so did all of our troop parents.

March also brought the arrival of our nephew, Brayden Joel.  He is about the most perfect little thing ever.  I hardly put him down the day that we went to visit him for the first time.  I am so proud to be an Auntie again and the kids were thrilled to have a cousin that lives in the same state.  They are already planning sleep overs and all sorts of things with Brayden as their guest.  It's cute to hear them talk about it.  They love him so much.

April brought #2's fifth birthday. It was a doozy I tell you.  We went all out with a Thomas theme again.  I made bright blue frosted cupcakes for the kid party and a Thomas pan cake for the family party.  We treated the kids to a night out at Jumps & Downs, an inflatable jumpy house place with pizza for dinner.  The next day our family and close friends came and I served several different gluten free pasta dishes that I created.  They will make their way to the blog here some day soon. He was so happy with all of his gifts and he received a ton of legos.  I made a special thank you card to go a long with his Thomas themed ones:

For Easter this year we took a trip to Las Vegas to visit our new niece Ella Dawn who was baptized on holy Saturday.  It was a great event and she is such a sweet chubby little girl. We all fell instantly in love with her.  We also had a great time swimming in the salt water pool that had a water fall and hot tub. We took the kids to the strip one afternoon to play games at Circus Circus.  That was a blast and #2 won this huge bear at the game where you throw a softball into a milk can.  A game almost impossible to win and here a little five year old has it in the bag.  To say the least we were all shocked and it was a great moment for our little guy.  I also tried my hand at some other games and won #1 a minion (so cute!) and some other stuff.  They enjoyed it a lot.  We ate that day at Vince Neil's diner and it was great for every day burger/fries type of food.  Later that night, Thew and I went to see La Reve, the dream at the Wynn.  All I have to say is that the Wynn is very beautiful and the show was great.  I had an awesome time out with my sweetie.  

On Easter morning the kids were surprised to find that the Easter Bunny found them all the way in Vegas.  After a breakfast of colored hard boiled Easter eggs, we went to my sister-in-law's church for an egg hunt.  The kids had a blast.  We spent the rest of the day hanging out with family, eating a great meal, having another egg hunt, and just enjoying our niece (even if she did have a blow out onto my white capri pants!!!).

This pretty much brings us up to date.  I'm hoping to be able to post at least a few times a month as I've been baking and cooking up some pretty yummy gluten free meals and treats.  I hope you all had a great first quarter of 2014 and if it depresses you that the year is already a quarter over with, go outside and take a walk or jog, you'll feel better, I PROMISE!

Until next time,
J. K. Sasse