Friday, January 28, 2011
High Maintenance By Choice
I think I was one of the last people on the planet to see the movie When Harry Met Sally. I didn't see it in theaters. I didn't rush to rent it when it came out on video. I didn't even request it from the library. I think I taped it when it aired late night on TV. And then I laughed. A lot. Because I finally got the joke.
Several years ago, when my sister got married, she had a lovely chocolate wedding cake, with a large tureen of chocolate sauce on the side. Not knowing I hadn't seen the movie, she didn't understand why it didn't make me laugh. In case you've never seen the movie, with the scene of Meg Ryan ordering a chef salad and pie in a restaurant, the sauce on the side signified that my sister was high maintenance.
In my own way, I'm high maintenance, too. I order my salad with the blue cheese on the side. It makes me gag, but my husband loves it. I bring my own hot water along because I use filtered water and the nasty chlorine taste of tap water spoils my tea. If the toast is brown at all, it's overdone. And don't even get me started on bad cookies- I can't bear to waste the calories on yucky baked goods.
Those are all matters of taste, though. There are some people who are high maintenance and just can't help it. Allergies and medical conditions make it necessary for them to politely, sometimes apologetically, ask for special treatment. One of my favorite people to bake for, my chiropractor, is one such person. He's on a restricted diet and can't have gluten. Does that mean that he's a second class citizen, restricted to nasty, cardboardy baked goods? Not if I can help it!
I wanted to try to make a gluten-free version of a cupcake and since he's a huge peanut butter fan, I remade a recipe from Cupcakes to fit the bill. I substituted Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free Flour for the all-purpose flour. I hadn't worked with it before and was surprised at how different the batter tasted. It was strongly bean-flavored and I was afraid the whole batch would have to go into the garbage can. Surprisingly, though, baking dissipated the bean flavor, and any that lingered was covered up by the delicious peanut butter frosting. All in all, I would call them a success.
Sadly, though, I can't make them again for the good doctor. He's been put on a no yeast, no sugar regimen. Sigh. If you have a yummy recipe that's gluten, yeast, dairy, and sugar-free, let me know. Because otherwise he's on his own!
Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookie Cupcakes
- adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
for the cupcakes:
1-3/4 cups Bob's Redmill Gluten-free Flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp xantham gum
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup natural creamy peanut butter
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
for the frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1- Preheat oven to 375 deg. F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners (about 20).
2- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and xantham gum.
3- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Beat in peanut butter until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Beat in sour cream.
4- Fill each lined cup about 2/3 full. Bake until pale golden and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 13 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely before removing the cupcakes.
5- With a mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and butter until pale and fluffy. Stir in peanut butter by hand.
6- Spread 1 to 2 Tbsp frosting onto each cupcake. Refrigerate until frosting is firm, about 10 minutes. Using a fork dipped in confectioners' sugar, make a crosshatch pattern in the top of the frosting.
Store cupcakes in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.