Gluten Free Pull-Aparts: Garlic & Parmesan or Pizza Pull Aparts

Gluten Free pull-apart Garlic Bread

I have a confession to make.  I’m addicted to Pinterest.  I haven’t started a Gluten Free Board – YET! – because I know once I do, it will just all be downhill until then.  I will never have to get off my duff to be creative again.  But you know what? … It is perfect reading and browsing for those of us with insomnia (or who can’t fall asleep at night because… well.. because our brains don’t shut off…).

(For those of you who are uninitiated, Pinterest is a visual version of adding bookmarks to your computer – but they remain online and accessible from wherever you have internet access.)

The truly addicting part for me, however, is NOT that I can bookmark my favorite things to do (a bucket list of crafts is what I’m accruing there) and/or teaching ideas (of which there is plethora of great ones, for those of you who teach) but several of my friends whose boards (bookmarks) I can “follow” (much like twitter or Facebook) are pinning some amazing looking food from bloggers.  And OH MY – the lemon bread?  Yes!  It was easy to convert to gluten free so it started the ball.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of “pins” (as they are called) for pull-apart breads.  Exactly like a Monkey Bread (I have an early (2007) gluten free recipe for a monkey bread here).  The difference is mainly that pull-apart breads seem to be savory rather than sweet (although I recently made one to taste like lemonade for the girls – OH MY – do that again soon!).  I knew with my previous monkey bread experience that this was totally do-able, meaning: easy for me to convert to gluten free!

The recipe below we have used for the following flavors of Pull-Apart breads and is truly only limited by your own imagination and taste buds:

Garlic and Parmesan (was a great accompaniment to our pasta: recipe below)
Lemonade (fresh lemon, lemon juice and drizzled with grated candied lemon peel and icing)
Turkey & Cheese stuffed pull Aparts (topped with garlic and parmesan)
Pepperoni Pizza Pull Aparts (stuffed with pepperoni slices and cheese, topped with pizza sauce and more cheese)
Dill and Feta Pull Aparts (added tons of dill and a bit of feta to the dough, topped with garlic and drizzled with butter)

Pepperoni-Stuffed Pizza Pull Aparts (Kid-Created:  They made the dough, I stuffed, the topped)
Cheesy gluten free pull apart pizza bread
You see the drift here:  Basically whatever you want.  I can’t wait to see what you guys will do with this.  Please be sure to come back and inspire me too!  Let me know what you make.  Everyone can use the kitchen-inspiration.  😀

Gluten Free Garlic & Parmesan Pull Apart Bread

Makes one standard pie-plate of pull apart bread (about 12 balls that are 2 inches in diameter or so).  Download/Print a PDF copy of this recipe here.

Basic Recipe Ingredients:

1 cup warm milk (or water or soy milk or rice milk), between 110*-115*F
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 Tablespoon honey
4 Tablespoons melted butter (for dough) + more (for rolling dough balls in)
1 egg
2 1/4 cups Gluten Free Flour Mix (70% whole grain/30% starch)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

For Garlic-Parmesan Pull-Aparts Add:

1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1/2 cup shredded parmesan


  1. Flip your pie plate upside down onto a piece of parchment paper.  Trace the outer edge.  Cut the parchment to fit your tracing.  Flip your pie plate right side up.  Lightly butter the inside bottom of your pie plate (to help the parchment stay in place).  Press the now circle-shaped parchment into the pie plate.  The edges will wrinkle up a bit, but they will make it so much easier to get the pull apart out of the pan when you are done.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  3. Mix together your warm milk (110*-115*F), yeast and honey.  Set aside to proof.
  4. In the bowl of your mix, blend your dry ingredients:  GF Flour mix, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt.  If you are making the garlic parmesan version, add the granulated garlic now.
  5. Add your wet ingredients:  egg, melted butter and proofing mixture (it should have foamed up by now) of milk/honey/yeast.
  6. Mix on low until blended.  Then turn mixer up a little faster (#4 on my KitchenAid is our standard with little people helping) and mix for an additional 2-4 minutes.  This is what your dough will look like.

The dough and waiting pan

  1. Melt a couple of Tablespoons of butter into a cereal bowl.
  2. Divide your dough into 12 balls (about 2-2 1/2 inches in diameter).  Roll each in the melted butter than place into your parchment lined pie dish.  Continue until all the balls are coated and placed into the pan.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  3. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until the crust of the balls are golden brown and the internal temperature registers between 195-204*F.   (See the picture above)
  4. Serve warm with an appropriate dipping sauce (if you’d like).  We ate these like garlic bread (the garlic-parmesan, obviously) while our kids liked dipping them into pizza sauce and/or their favorite dipping sauce.

Gluten free pull apart garlic bread - one piece, split


Gluten Free Apple & Carrot Mini Muffins

Gluten Free Mini Apple and Carrot Muffins

Today was errand day.  On the way home from work, I dreamed of taking a nap.  I’ve caught the ubiquitous “Welcome Back to School” sinus infection.  Thinking clearly is not my strong suit.  This statement is more true than false, especially between about 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM.  I don’t know why.  My gray matter just seems to shut down on me and I make decisions on limited information.

My example?  Grocery shopping.

I didn’t do too badly.  I got everything on the list.  (Okay… and one chocolate bonbon for the ride home….)  However, my fruit selecting skills were apparently on the fritz.  I wanted to pick up some crispy, sweet fall apples.  After all, I live in apple land.  It should not have been that hard.

Uh huh.  Sure.  I still managed to come home with 6 beautiful Jonagold apples that are NOT crispy in the least.  While they held up to the texture, smell, no worm-holes tests, apparently I didn’t test them well enough.  I snuggled under a blanket while the jambalaya for dinner was simmering away on the stove to enjoy an apple.  And in one bite, I knew.  I’d blown it.  The texture was not nice.  No crispy crunch met my lips at all.  Oh, so disheartening!

I brought my apple up to the kitchen and chopped it up, sprinkled it with lemon juice and put it in the fridge.  It was going to have to wait until after jambalaya.  (Which, by the way, was a killer recipe given to me by a student’s mom.  I think I’m in love…. OH MAN it was GOOD!)

After chowing down and packing up leftovers for lunches, I set to work on my not-so-crunchy apple.  It wasn’t super sweet either.  And while I love a great apple muffin (sweet ones that taste like apple fritters), I really wasn’t in the mood for something that sweet.

I ran across this recipe from Whole Foods for their Whole Wheat Flour Carrot Apple Muffins.  And that sounded like a great combination:  carrots and apples.  And… hmm… what about some ginger?  Yeah!  That’s it!  I’m making muffins!

These are tasty treats.  Their nutritional value isn’t bad either.  These come in with less fat and less calories that the Whole Foods muffins too!  I had to vary my recipe from theirs substantially because (1) the whole wheat flour, (2) I just didn’t want to use milk or applesauce and (3) I really wanted to add some candied ginger.  Oh yum.  I’m glad I did too.

These muffins are tasty and moist.  Since I made mini muffins and regular muffins, I have to say this:  I think I prefer the mini muffins.  Two bites and breakfast is done.  Perfect for the non-breakfast eaters in the world (like me).

Here’s the nutritional data for TWO mini muffins as made with my recipe below:  72 calories, 2g of fat (1g saturated fat, 0 trans fats), 10g Total Carbohydrates, 2g Dietary Fibers, 6g sugar, and 3g protein.  Not too bad, huh?  (Thanks for catching my incorrect listing, Ginny! I’ve fixed it now.)  🙂

Here’s the recipe.  I hope you get a chance to try it.

Gluten Free Apple & Carrot Mini-muffins
Makes 36 mini muffins (1.5 – 2 Tablespoons of batter per muffin)

2/3 c. sorghum flour
1/3 c. tapioca starch flour
1/4 cup flax seed meal (ground flax seeds)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
4 ounces baby carrots (about 2/3 cup, loosely packed)
1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped into pieces
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 Tablespoons butter, melted (or olive oil)
2 ounces candied ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla


  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. In the bowl of your food processor, finely chop the candied ginger into small pieces.  Continue to process until the ginger begins to ball up into a small ball of sticky ginger.  Scrap into a mixing bowl.
  3. Now place the baby carrots into the food processor.  Process until fine pieces.  Add the apple slices with the lemon juice and process to combine well.  (In total, this will be one cup of apple and carrot mush.)  Scrap this into the mixing bowl with the ginger.
  4. Mix together the apple/carrot and ginger.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of sugar, 4 tablespoons melted butter, vanilla, and  2 eggs.  Mix until even again.
  6. Sift together sorghum, tapioca, ground flax seeds, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and xanthan gum.
  7. Dump dry ingredients in to wet and mix together on low until combined.  Increase speed to medium-high and beat together for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Line/prepare muffin tins.  If using mini-muffin tins, fill each with 1 1/2 tablespoons (or so) of the batter.  If using large muffin cups, fill 2/3 of the way with batter.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on top.  A toothpick inserted in to the center will come out clean when the muffins are done.
  9. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container on the counter top.  (These muffins may freeze nicely as well.)

Happy Muffin-making!

GF: Healthier Eggs Benedict

GF: Healthier Benedict, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

When I was little, my family would sometimes go to brunch at a fancy hotel restaurant when my dad had colleagues in town. One of my sisters would always order eggs Benedict. And oh man, those were good! I sometimes ordered the Benedict too, but often caved for the waffles piled high with fresh strawberries.

Alas, Eggs Benedict are not exactly the healthiest with all that lovely hollandaise sauce. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t still indulge every once in a while. And once gluten free, I would simply substitute home fries or oven baked potato wedges for the traditional English muffin base.

But now I skip the hollandaise all together. The flavors come through so much more nicely with just a drizzle of delicious, crisp olive oil and tangy balsamic vinegar in lieu of the hollandaise. I don’t think you will miss a thing!

For a little change up, we use smoked salmon, or honey-glazed turkey breast if we don’t have Canadian-style bacon on hand.

Instead of the English muffin, lately we’ve been using arepas (pronounced: Ah-ray-pahs). Arepas are easy to make – you just need to make sure you have the correct flour. Do NOT substitute regular masa harina or corn flour (not corn starch) for the precooked corn flour called for in the recipe. However, some area recipes also add fresh corn to the mix to add a little more texture and enhance the corn flavor. That’s a delicious too!

I was introduced to arepas about 10 years ago while teaching in Chicago. One of my students was from Colombia and his mom made arepas for a class party. Oh man, were they GOOD. Flash forward a few years to my diagnosis, and I started wondering about the arepas. I forgot about them for a little while I was occupied with finishing my Master’s and getting married (yes, on the same weekend…LOL). Then when we moved out to the Pacific Northwest, I began teaching Spanish at the local University. One of my students made another version of arepas again for me (this time a Venezuelan version) and my love of arepas just kept going.

Karen, at Gluten Free Heaven, wrote a wonderful post about arepas. She gives GREAT details about the flour and has some pictures that are going to make you drool. (Just a warning… I thought I was going to bite the screen when I saw her post the first time.) I will forever be indebted to her for reviving arepas at our house. *muaw*!

Shauna, at Gluten Free Girl, also got the arepa-craving moving along further with her post and photos too. Although, the arepas I make are a little different than the ones either of them make. But that is the beauty of arepas – versatile! easy! individual! Piece of cake! (Or Corn cake in this case!)

When I saw their posts, I was reminded how a simple, easy dish can make the world of difference for a gluten-free eater. (And, I’m happy to report, these little babies were devoured by our Chinese family members not once, but THREE times while they were here – at their request. I even sent them home with the recipe and flour in a bag. They made more arepas for my sister-in-law when they arrived in Colorado just a few short days after leaving us. See? It’s an addiction! LOL)

I use equal parts of precooked corn flour, queso cotija (Pronunciation help: “Kay-so” “co-tea-ha”) (Mexican crumbling cheese – sometimes called Queso Anejado) or parmesan and water. The recipe below makes 4 small-ish arepas. Since everything is in equal portions, it is super easy to double, triple or quadruple the recipe to serve large groups (like I did when our family was in town. Arepas for 8? 2 cups of each: precooked corn flour, queso cotija and water).

I will post the Venezuelan version and another with corn if anyone is interested another day. For now – here’s are the recipes for basic arepas and the Healthier Eggs Benedict. (Here’s a version of a recipe with fresh corn in it from Whole Foods.)

The other little benefit? This version of Eggs Benedict doesn’t make me feel like I need to do five more Step Classes to just break even on the calorie count! PHEW!

Gluten free: Arepas
Makes 4 small arepas. (Increase quantities if you want 4 Arepas that can be stuffed for sandwiches, etc)

1/2 cup pre-cooked corn flour (See this Gluten Free Heaven post for pictures of the bags)
1/2 cup crumbled queso cotija or queso anejado (Mexican crumbling cheese) OR parmesan cheese
1/2 cup tepid water


  1. Mix together all ingredients until a soft dough forms. Divide into 4 equal portions.
  2. Form the arepas by gently shaping them into round patties about 1/2 inch thick (for Benedict) or thicker (for opening/stuffing for sandwiches). (My students call them “South American edible hockey pucks” if that helps you with the shape idea. LOL)
  3. Heat a pan with a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat and preheat the oven to 400F.
  4. Lay the arepas in the pre-heated pan/olive oil on the burner and brown each side (about 3-5 minutes per side).
  5. Remove the arepas from the pan and place in an oven-proof dish. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  6. Serve and eat immediately. (Or follow the Benedict recipe that follows)

Arepas can be served with any topping you desired. When my family was here, I filled the table with the following and everyone made their own area sandwiches: avocado, bacon, turkey, tomatoes, a variety of jams, scrambled and poached eggs, smoked salmon, sour cream, mustard, ham, cilantro, basil, pepperoncinis, etc. (We pretty much emptied the fridge this way of leftovers too. LOL!)

Gluten Free: Healthy Eggs Benedict
Makes 4 Benedict stacks (Serves 2 for brunch)

4 eggs
1 medium ripe avocado
8 slices of Canadian-style bacon, smoked salmon or turkey breast
4 Arepas (see recipe above)
Olive oil, for drizzling
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling


  1. Prepare arepas. While the arepas are baking:
  2. Poach eggs.
  3. Remove arepas from oven (when done) and create the Benedict stack. Place an area on the plate. Top with meat of choice, then avocado slices and finish with a poached egg.
  4. Drizzle the top of the Benedict with good-quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

¡Buen provecho!

GF: Sweet Potato & Apple Coffee Cake

Who knew Costco sold sweet potatoes! OH! I’m in trouble now!

Actually, it’s just going to give me a chance to try Mary Frances’s sweet potato fries (OMG) and a few other sweet potato dishes. We make some to-die-for candied/brandied sweet potatoes around here, but I’m trying to branch out.

I’ve also been craving a great coffee cake. Every week for faculty and/or department meetings, we are served huge trays of some tasty-looking cinnamon rolls. They are huge! Thankfully, I’m not much of a breakfast eater, so for 7:30 AM meetings – I can easily ignore the cinnamon rolls by sitting as far away from them as possible. 🙂 However, my department has a grand total of 7 teachers. It’s harder to hide from the cinnamon rolls, donuts, coffee cakes, muffins, etc that come through the door into our meetings on those days. So I decided to make my own and come prepared to battle with the aromas.

I made this great coffee cake to have a sweet-bread taste beyond just a sweet topping to stop me from craving any of the sweet-looking dishes that my colleagues were munching on. This coffee cake was made on Monday night and lasted super well through the next few days. I kept it on the counter covered with foil. While it was still moist, I did put my piece(s) into the microwave to reheat before eating. NOT because of the bread/moisture, but because that’s how I prefer to eat my coffee cakes – warm!

Don’t worry if you are not a sweet potato fan. This coffee cake hides the mild flavor very well.

Sweet Potato & Apple Coffee Cake
For the coffee cake:
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 /3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (HEAPING) mashed sweet potato (or pumpkin)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup your favorite GF flour mix with xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum IF your mix doesn’t have it
1/4 cup warm milk

For the apple topping:
3-4 Braeburn apples
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons “pumpkin pie spice” OR
1 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg + 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the icing:
1/2 cup powered sugar
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice


  1. Cream together butter and sugars.
  2. Add eggs (one at a time) until well incorporated.
  3. Add vanilla. Beat together and until fluffy (2-3 minutes)
  4. Add mashed sweet potato. Beat together again (2-3 minutes)
  5. In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients (baking powder, salt, and GF flour). Add to wet ingredients until just blended – don’t over mix!
  6. Add 1/4 cup of warm milk until well-blended, but not over mixed.
  7. Spread onto silpat or parchment paper into a 1″ thick oblong (mine was about 12 inches wide and 9 inches long).
  8. Peel, core and slice the apples into 1/4″ wide slices.
  9. Sprinkle the apple slices with lemon juice and toss well.
  10. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and spices.
  11. Sprinkle over apple slices and toss to coat evenly.
  12. Evenly spread the apple slices on top of the coffee cake batter.
  13. Bake at 350F for 35 – 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick insert into the middle comes out clean.
  14. While the coffee cake bakes, stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice.
  15. Allow the coffee cake to cool for about 10-15 minutes before drizzling with icing (or the icing will just melt into the apple topping).

The next time I make this, I will reduce the amount of sugar in the coffee cake as it was too sweet for my love and much more cake-like (sweet-wise) than I really wanted. It hit the spot though and got a lot of queries fo r the recipe from my gluten-eating buddies!


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