Month: August 2015

Finally, Gluten Free Mandel Bread!

One thing I’ve definitely felt left out from, due to my diagnosis with Celiac when I was only five years old, is my grandma’s mandel bread. Everyone gets a little tin when they go to her house, and the other grandchildren had tins sent to their college dorms/apartments, but not this gluten-free girl.

For those who don’t know what mandel bread is: Mandelbrodt, also known as mandel bread in English-speaking countries and kamishbrot in Ukraine, is a Jewish cookie popular amongst Eastern European Jews. The Yiddish word mandelbrodt literally means almond bread, a reference to its common ingredient of almonds. It is typically formed by baking a loaf which is then cut into small slabs and twice-baked in order to form a crunchy exterior. The cookies were popular in Eastern Europe among rabbis, merchants and other itinerant Jews as a staple dessert that kept well.

Thanks to Enjoy Life Foods, and their incredible new line of top 8 allergen free baking mixes, I had the perfect probiotic-infused, protein supplemented, all-purpose flour to make my own version of mandel bread. A special thank you to Gluten Free Diva and her mandel bread recipe for the recipe outline I followed.

*Disclaimers: Enjoy Life provided baking mixes to me as one of their bloggers, but all opinions are my own. While their mixes are top 8 allergen free, my recipe uses eggs and optionally uses almonds.*


adapted from Gluten Free Diva

[See photos below the recipe!]
3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups Enjoy Life All-Purpose Flour
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon

Filling Options:
Your choice of fruit preserves
Chocolate chips

[Chopped almonds]
1. Beat eggs in medium sized bowl.

2. Add oil, sugar, and vanilla to the beaten eggs.

3. Combine the E.L. all -purpose flour, baking powder, and xanthan gum into a separate bowl, then add it into the egg mixture. The dough will be extremely gooey and sticky, and looks a bit like nut butter. The flour doesn’t seem like it will full combine, but just keep mixing!
4. Mix the 3 tbsp. sugar, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, and 1 tbsp. cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

5. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Take one of the 8 sections and pat it out into a ‘rectangle’ on non-stick cookie sheet (I lined with parchment paper). Repeat with 3 more sections of the divided dough. It will seem impossible, and look ugly, and I might have even been happier if the recipe tasted terrible in the end, because I wouldn’t deal with the mess again, but IT IS WORTH IT!

6. Spread the filling of your choice on top of the 4 pieces. I did one raspberry sugar-free jelly (Smucker’s), one chopped almonds, one cinnamon sugar, and one jelly and almonds (like a sandwich!)

7. Section the remaining dough into four pieces and flatten it over the top of each of the four flattened, filled dough sections.

8. Sprinkle the top of all with the cinnamon sugar for a yummy taste! (Optional, but I must say–delicious! I had more cinnamon, less sugar per personal preference)

9. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove and let rest for 15 minutes.

10. Cut the logs into slices, and lay on sides on the parchment paper-covered sheets. Bake for another 10 minutes at 250 degrees.

11. Remove, let cool, and Enjoy Life!

Egg/oil/sugar/vanilla mixture!
Flour mixture!
Nut-butter-looking dough, ready to go!
A total mess, but stick with it!
Time for the oven!
Ready for the second baking!
Yummy mandel bread! The crumbs are delicious on ice cream, as well:)

Take it easy, but take it.


Channeling My Inner Child in the Kitchen

I happened to run into Tiffany Hinton, author of many beautiful gluten free (+many other allergen-free!) cookbooks, at the Bountiful Eatery (gluten free, healthy quick food restaurant in Chicago) anniversary party a few weeks ago. She graciously offered to send me an electronic edition of her recent publication, Kid Approved: Mom Certified,  as long as I promised to hit the kitchen with it! Here’s my review of a recipe I made (with some adjustments to make it more diabetes-friendly): Apple Crisp!

To lay out my alterations up front, I used about half of the recommended amount of sugar, half of the brown sugar, extra cinnamon (yum) and Chex Instant Oats! I noted the recipe called for 1/2 cup of GF rolled oats, but (first) I didn’t have oats sitting around and (second) the only bag at my local grocery store was enormous and almost 20 dollars! I eat the Chex oatmeal packages often before I hit the gym, so I made the substitution for convenience and cost-sake.

A few things I learned from my creation experience–while the cook book is made to be kid-friendly, many of the recipes (including the crisp) definitely need adult help for things like peeling and cutting apples. I also made note to cut the apples thinner next time, rather than just the width that comes from an apple slicer. The instructions weren’t specific, so it was a learning experience. Lastly, the recipe needs to bake much longer to have the delightful gooey apple consistency. I left the glass dish in the oven for 70 minutes, but I believe it could have used at least 20-30 minutes longer.

Overall, the cookbook let me channel my inner kid, as the recipes were simple yet enticing with many ‘kid-food’ ideas,  and I look forward to exploring Tiffany’s publications that are more geared toward someone who is a more experienced cook/baker!

See below for some pre- and post- pictures of my baking! Don’t forget, serve a la mode (I used Lactaid Vanilla 🙂 )

Take it easy, but take it.


Pre-Cooked Top View
Pre-Cooked Top View
Pre-Cooked Side View--look at those layers!
Pre-Cooked Side View–look at those layers!
Browned and ready to eat!
Browned and ready to eat!
Love baked apples! (ps- they really don't need a lot of addition sugar, regardless of recipe!)
Love baked apples! (ps- they really don’t need a lot of addition sugar, regardless of recipe!)