Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies

If you love peanut butter, then you will love these cookies. They’re gluten-free and can be dairy-free if you use a dairy-free chocolate or make a chocolate-glaze from cacao butter. But don’t worry – all the recipe details will be at the end of this post.
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IMG_4112[3].jpgToday I wanted to talk about the America’s Got Talent winner – Grace VanderWaal. She’s only 12 years old and is an absolutely amazing singer as well as ukulele player. Being Australian, I haven’t seen any episodes of AGT, but on YouTube I saw Grace in a Jimmy Fallon interview and so that’s how I heard her. She deserves to be known worldwide.IMG_4115.jpg
Words cannot describe how phenomenal her voice and personality is. I cried during her audition when she sang I Don’t Know My Name and her finale performance – Clay – was very good as well. The thing which amazes me so much is that her songs are originals! She writes her own songs! And Simon Cowell even said that she could be the next Taylor Swift!!!
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So Grace’s passion is singing and mine is baking, but everyone has some sort of dream they wish to pursue. Beyond Our Sky has always been one of my many dreams, and it feels like the only thing that is real and true to myself. I have to admit, at the moment I am feeling very sick. I know what you’re thinking – how are you cooking when you’re feeling sick? Well, I’m not the type of person who can just sit around and do nothing all day – even if I have little to no energy and haven’t been eating. But these cookies are very easy to make and take little to no effort. You simply mix everything together (as you can see in the image above) then you refrigerate the dough, roll and bake it.
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You can roll the dough between two sheets of baking/parchment paper to get more uniform, circular cookies or you can roll it into balls for a more homemade, rustic look. Which is what I did because I was too lazy.
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These may be peanut butter cookies but I didn’t have any peanuts to garnish them with. So I used toasted almonds instead. I actually prefer the taste of almonds rather than peanuts when eating them on their own. But if I were to chose between almonds and peanut butter – then I would chose peanut butter.
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So basically you bake the cookies, melt your chocolate and chop the nuts. Then the fun part comes- dipping them in chocolate! It may get a bit messy and I am a very messy cook; although my Mum is the one that needs to wash up. We try to put everything into the dishwasher, but things like cooling racks or baking trays are too big to fit in there. She gets annoyed at me sometimes (or maybe all the time) for making a mess and I don’t have a good excuse for why I don’t wash up. But if I do wash the dishes, she will redo it anyway because they’re not clean enough in her standards. IMG_4165V2.jpg
One thing I do clean is the table I take photos on, and I even vacuum the floor so it is free of crumbs. I hope my photographs are improving. I’m getting better at using the Canon camera. I also asked my dad and brother to move the table so its right next to the window, and do you know what that means? Natural light! IMG_41477.jpgI am thinking about creating a post on food photography and styling, but am I really good enough to do that? Do I know enough knowledge to write an entire post? I know my food photography/styling could do with a little work. There are so many bloggers that have beautiful plates, table surfaces and set-ups – and I would be lying if i wasn’t jealous. I do prefer the simplistic look. I like the food to truly shine so the background can’t too busy or have any unnecessary distractions. I take my food in an all-white setting, and some people do what is known as a “moody shot” – which is an all-black setting (see Call Me Cupcake). I wish I had a marble bench top, but you have to work with what you’ve got.
IMG_4210[6].jpgI may not be the best at what I do, but I am happy with how far I’ve come compared to where I was 6 months ago (see my first post here!). Wow. I actually started my blog exactly 6 months and 4 days ago from today. It feels like I’ve been doing this for ages. So I recommend you make these. They are very chewy, peanut-buttery and wonderfully delicious. Please use the hashtag #beyondoursky so I can see your creations!

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies (with Dairy-Free option)

Adapted from Clean and Simple Eating by Lorna Jane

Ingredients
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats (optional)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup (280g) smooth peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g dark chocolate, melted (see dairy-free option below)
  • 100g toasted almonds to garnish (or any nuts of your preference)

Chocolate Glaze (dairy-free recipe): 

  • 125g (4 ounces) cacao butter, shaved
  • 1/2 cup (50g) cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup to taste
Method
  1. Whisk together oats, brown sugar and caster sugar until well combined. Add the peanut butter, egg and vanilla extract. Then stir until soft dough forms. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 170 C/300°F and line trays with baking paper.
  3. Roll dough into balls and place them onto lined trays. Make sure there is room between the cookies as they spread out. Flatten slightly.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes and allow to cool on the baking sheet (don’t be alarmed if they’re still quite soft when you take them out of the oven – that’s how they’re meant to be for a chewy cookie)
  5. Once the cookies have cooled, dip them in melted chocolate/cooled chocolate glaze and sprinkle with nuts. Allow the chocolate to set, then serve and enjoy!

Chocolate Glaze:

  1. Place cacao butter into a heatproof bowl over a bain-marie or a pot of simmering water (make sure the bowl isn’t touching the water!). Once melted, take the bowl off the heat. Then stir through the cacao powder and sweetener. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Set aside until cookies are completely cooled.


*NOTES: For more uniform cookies – roll the dough between two pieces of baking paper and use a two-inch/5cm ring mold to cut circles out. 


Apple Tea Cake

If you need a cake to bring to a bake sale or just to eat whenever you want – then you should make this Apple Tea Cake or the Blueberry Cake a I posted a few months ago. This is because they’re quick, easy and most of all delicious. IMG_3999.jpg
This apple tea cake features a very light and fluffy sponge, whilst the top is embellished with apple slices and sprinkled with A LOT of cinnamon sugar. Who doesn’t love the combination of apple and cinnamon? They go hand-in-hand and it is what makes this cake so delicious! img_3963
I even created a stop motion video. It doesn’t demonstrate all the steps and isn’t the best stop motion since the movement is quite jerky and could be a lot smoother. The music used is House of Gold by Twenty One Pilots. It is no doubt one of my favourite songs.

Please watch in HD!


When I was young, I use to help my mum make this cake. She would always have the pesky task of slicing the apples whilst I did the easy part – making the cake batter. You probably wouldn’t believe me when I say this, but the hardest part is peeling and slicing the apples. You can use a mandolin slicer which is what I usually do, or you can do it with a sharp knife. Either way it doesn’t matter.
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Food has honestly changed so much over the years. Sometimes, when I try new recipes, make fancy desserts or create these layered entremets (French layered mouse-based dessert), it doesn’t taste as good as the old recipes. I always find myself going back to the basics and the stuff my mum use to make. So much so, I’ve watched every season of Masterchef Australia and the very first year the show started –  it was more about good-quality home cooking. Then the next seasons came and the croquembouche got introduced, the macaron craze began and who knew you could use liquid nitrogen in cooking!?! So basically food has evolved. img_3991
The way I see things is that – if it tastes good, then it’s good food. Simple. It doesn’t matter if it only involved three steps or you used two ingredients – good food is good food. There’s no changing that. You don’t have to be some creative, crazy or innovative chef to invent a marvellous dish. You can just be you. Surprise yourself. You don’t always have to follow the recipe, and in a way it is similar to life’s notion. Life doesn’t come with a list of instructions that you have to live by. Just do what you want, see how it goes and learn. Learn from your mistakes. IMG_4013.jpg
I didn’t want these photographs to be perfect, you know, I wanted them to be a bit more chaotic and rustic than what I usually do. I didn’t want you, you the viewer, to think oh she so good at taking photos, I wish I could do that. Everyone at school seems to be under that perception. But let food be food. I’m a bit chaotic. I’m at bit rustic. I’m messy. It’s a representation of me. So to me, in a way, these images are perfect. Food doesn’t have to look good to taste good. IMG_3696.jpg
Of course I want you to make this, isn’t that the reason you’re here? You were looking for an apple tea cake recipe. Well, you have come to the right place because I can guarantee that this cake is amazing. I always try to evoke some kind of message in my posts. Not all the time, but if there’s something that needs to be said – I say it. I want this blog to be different. So this is one of my favourite quotes: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” (by Ralph Waldo Emerson).
img_4024I never mentioned what recipe I used so I’ll do it now. My mum found the recipe in this magazine from 8 years ago and decided to keep the page. I don’t know what magazine it’s from to be honest. It doesn’t really say. But there’s a Pauls Ice Cream and Coles advertisement, and on the other side there’s a page about Lean Australian Pork. But don’t worry – I happened to find the link to the recipe online.

 

Apple Tea Cake

Adapted from 9 Kitchen’s Norweign Apple Cake

Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 125g butter, chopped
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) milk
  • 1½ cups (225g) self-raising flour
  • 3 medium (450g) Granny Smith apples, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to moderate (180°C/160°C fan-forced). Grease a 20cm x 30cm lamington pan, line base with baking paper.
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until mixture is thick and creamy. Add vanilla extract.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the butter and milk in a small saucepan; bring to the boil, then remove immediately from the heat. Add the butter mixture gradually to the egg mixture, while beating. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl; fold in sifted flour.
  4. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Overlap the apple slices over mixture.
  5. In a small bowl combine the 3 tablespoons of sugar and ground cinnamon, then sprinkle generously over apples slices.
  6. Bake in a moderate oven for about 35 minutes or until cooked when tested. Cool cake in pan.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

 

 


Gluten-free and Low FODMAP Pancakes with Berry Compote

I’ve tried numerous gluten-free pancake recipes over the past few weeks including the 2-ingredient egg and banana pancakes, buckwheat flour pancakes and another recipe involving coconut flour. But none of them had that light and fluffy texture you’re looking for in a pancake.IMG_3460[1].jpg
So just recently, I downloaded the Monash University Low FODMAP Diet App (read more about the Low FODMAP Diet here). If you don’t have the app, you should definitely download it since it provides FODMAP-friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The app also helps you out so much and this morning, when I was browsing through the recipes and wanted something other than toast for breakfast – I decided to try this recipe named pancakes with fresh strawberries and vanilla. IMG_3462.jpg
And I was thinking, are these going to taste weird like all the other pancake recipes I’ve tried? Are they going to work? It was either pancakes or toast for breakfast and why not give it a try? So my verdict is that these are honestly the best gluten-free/Low FODMAP pancakes I’ve ever had! They’re light, fluffy, easy to make and cook really well. I wouldn’t be posting it if the pancakes didn’t taste good!
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I decided to serve mine with a berry compote and maple syrup of course (everything tastes better with maple syrup!) The original recipe featured on the app served these with vanilla bean and fresh strawberries – and I didn’t have either them. But I DID have frozen blueberries and raspberries so I thought a berry compote with these pancakes would be delicious.
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I am literally so grateful that I tried this recipe. It was a great way to kick-start the day especially when they’re served warm with that berry compote. Words cannot describe how delicious it is. I actually had two pancakes already before I took the photos!

 

Gluten-free and Low FODMAP Pancakes with Berry Compote

Ingredients

Pancakes:

  • 1 cup gluten-free plain flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 6 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 2/3 cup lactose-free milk (such as Zymil, soy milk, almond milk  or any other milk of your prefrence)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 30g butter melted and cooled, or 30ml olive oil or coconut oil

Berry Compote:

  • 150g of fresh or frozen berries (I used a mixture of raspberries and blueberries)
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar (adjust according to sweetness of berries)
  • 2 tsp of lemon juice
Method

Pancakes:

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in sugar.
  2. Make a well in the centre. Mix the eggs and milk until well incorporated. Whisk thoroughly to get rid of any lumps.
  3. Then mix the vanilla and butter until a smooth batter is formed. It should be a dropping consistency (hold the whisk up and the batter should drop off)
  4. Heat butter or oil on frying pan and dollop the batter onto the hot pan (I used about 2 tablespoons for small pancakes. Add more if you want larger ones). Cook over medium heat until the surface forms bubbles or when the bottom is golden brown. Then flip. Remove from the heat until thoroughly cooked through and both sides are golden brown.
  5. Continue with the rest of the batter.

Berry compote:

  1. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 8-10 minutes until berries have softened and released their juices.
  2. Set aside to cool while you finish cooking the pancakes.

Serve pancakes with berry compote and maple syrup, then serve and enjoy!