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Mini Apple Pies

Mini Apple Pies

These gluten free mini apple pies are just like McDonald’s or Hostess fruit pies, but baked and not fried, with a warm chunky apple filling.

These gluten free mini apple pies are just like McDonald's or Hostess fruit pies, but baked and not fried, with a warm chunky apple filling. 

Growing up, we didn’t have a McDonald’s nearby, which now seems completely strange. Like anything else you experience as a child, it was totally normal to me at the time. But somehow I still adored McDonald’s apple pies.

The thin cookie-like crust and the thick, chunky apple filling were heavenly. And in my memory, they were actually warm in my hand when I ate them. Hostess apple fruit pies were a close second in the competition for my affection.

These gluten free mini apple pies are just like McDonald's or Hostess fruit pies, but baked and not fried, with a warm chunky apple filling. 

I wonder if McDonald’s still makes those apple pies. All I know about McDonald’s these days is that they basically have the very best coffee in the world. And it’s so cheap!

These gluten free mini apple pies are just like McDonald's or Hostess fruit pies, but baked and not fried, with a warm chunky apple filling. 

A different sort of crust.

This is not your typical apple pie, and it’s not made with your regular gluten free pie crust. The point of this crust is for it to be more cookie-like than flaky like you would use for a regular pie.

You can, of course, use a pastry-style pie crust, but then it would just be a miniature version of apple pie. I adore that sort of apple pie, but this is just a bit different. After all, McDonald’s makes it different, so we make it different.

The filling is made up of diced apples, not sliced like apple pie filling, and it’s cooked ahead of time on the stovetop. This way, you don’t have to bake the pies too much just to soften the apples. And the apples keep their shape and texture.

Watch this short how-to video (1 min 30 seconds)

Just click play ▶️ to see how easy these mini apple pies are to make! The video doesn’t show you how to cook the apple filling on the stovetop, but that’s just a dump-it-in-the-pan sort of situation.

And in the video, I use a super basic but very handy pie-creating contraption. It is absolutely not necessary, of course, but if you’re interested you can find it here (that’s an affiliate link but you don’t pay anything extra and I earn a few cents). The 6-inch cake cutter I use comes in super handy, too, and you can find that here (same deal with that link).

These gluten free mini apple pies are just like McDonald's or Hostess fruit pies, but baked and not fried, with a warm chunky apple filling. 

Ingredients and Substitutions

As always, I haven’t tested this recipe with any of these substitutions. They’re just my educated guesses for how to satisfy other dietary restrictions and preferences!

Dairy-Free: Try replacing the butter with Earth Balance Buttery Sticks gram for gram. Leave out the salt in the crust, then, as Earth Balance is super salty. The milk in the crust can be replaced with any sort of unsweetened nondairy milk. My favorite is always almond milk, as it’s relatively neutral in flavor and has some fat.

Egg-Free: Since it’s only 1 egg in the crust, I’d recommend trying a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds with 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). The egg wash can be replaced with a high-fat milk.

Corn-Free: It should be pretty easy to replace the cornstarch with another simple starch, like arrowroot or potato starch. Be sure to use a corn-free confectioners’ sugar for the glaze, or just skip the glaze entirely.

These gluten free mini apple pies are just like McDonald's or Hostess fruit pies, but baked and not fried, with a warm chunky apple filling.
Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 10 miniature pies

Ingredients

Filling
3 firm apples (Granny Smith works great), peeled, cored and diced

2 tablespoons (18 g) cornstarch

1/2 cup (108 g) packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon lukewarm water

Crust
2 1/4 cups (315 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I like Better Batter here), plus more for sprinkling

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 to 6 tablespoons (2 to 3 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature

Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon milk, beaten)

Glaze
1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon meringue powder

3 to 5 teaspoons warm water

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • Prepare the filling. In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, place all of the filling ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and the mixture has thickened (about 6 minutes). Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

  • Prepare the crust. In a large bowl, place the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, egg, vanilla and 4 tablespoons (2 fluid ounces) of the milk, and mix to combine. If the mixture seems dry, add more milk by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to bring the dough together. Knead until smooth. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and sprinkle very lightly with more flour. Roll out into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out rounds 6 inches in diameter with a cake cutter or the underside of the lid of a pot. Gather and reroll scraps to get about 10 rounds.

  • With wet fingers, moisten the border of one round of dough, and place about 1/3 cup of filling toward the center. Fold the crust in half, enclosing the filling, and pinch the edges closed securely. Trim any excess crust from around the edges and slash the top of the pie with a sharp knife in 2 or 3 short strokes. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rounds of crust and filling, placing the pies about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Brush each one lightly with the egg wash.

  • Place the pies in the center of the preheated oven and bake until set on top and very lightly golden brown (about 12 minutes). The edges will brown more, but the tops won’t ever become dark. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

  • Once the pies are cool, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder, and 3 teaspoons of the water and mix to combine well. It should form a thick paste. Add more water by the half-teaspoonful to thin the glaze until it falls off the spoon in a thin ribbon. Place the cooled pies on a wire rack and pour the glaze over them and spread it into an even layer. Allow the glaze to set before serving.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2012. Pretty much everything has been changed. Recipe as written adapted from Hostess-Style Apple Pies in Gluten Free Classic Snacks: 100 Recipes for the Brand-Name Treats You Love.

Love,
Nicole

Gluten Free Swiss Roll Cake

Gluten Free Swiss Roll Cake

This giant gluten free Swiss roll cake recipe proves once and for all that it’s not too hard to make a beautiful rolled dessert. Dress up any holiday table with this rich gluten free chocolate cake.

This giant gluten free Swiss roll cake recipe proves once and for all that it's not too hard to make a beautiful rolled dessert. Dress up any holiday table with this rich gluten free chocolate cake.

I first published a recipe for gluten free “ho-hos” in 2011. I had been blogging for just over 2 years (a blogging baby!) and I was ridiculously proud of myself for coming up with a copycat recipe for a serious personal favorite treat.

Growing up, my brother and I were obsessed with Yodels. Well, he was way more obsessed than I was. I’ll leave out the details of how I know that but it has something to do with saving the foil wrapper from his very first Yodel but I’m not telling that story to protect the innocent. But when he asked me to bring over a dessert to help celebrate all of the fall birthdays in our family (there are a ton of them!), a giant Yodel was basically a no-brainer.

This giant gluten free Swiss roll cake recipe proves once and for all that it's not too hard to make a beautiful rolled dessert. Dress up any holiday table with this rich gluten free chocolate cake. 

The filling

I made two versions of this lovely gluten free chocolate cake (more chocolate cakes!) to bring to my brother’s house. I think the crowd was kind of split down the middle for favorites. One version was filled with marshmallow creme (the homemade kind has my heart), and the other was filled with no bake cheesecake filling.

In Gluten Free Classic Snacks, the Little Debbie Swiss Rolls are filled with a 7-Minute Creme Filling. That filling is extremely similar to marshmallow creme, as it’s made with egg whites, sugar and water.

To make 7 Minute Creme Filling, rather than cooking the sugar to 240°F on its own and then whipping it with the egg whites while it’s still hot, everything is mixed together and then cooked over a double boiler until it reaches 160°F. Then the mixture is beaten for 7 minutes until light and fluffy. Six of one, half a dozen of the other—except the marshmallow creme recipe seems somehow easier to me.

This giant gluten free Swiss roll cake recipe proves once and for all that it's not too hard to make a beautiful rolled dessert. Dress up any holiday table with this rich gluten free chocolate cake. 

This general rolled cake technique isn’t new to us here. We’ve made a Pumpkin Cake Roll and a Yule Log, but this is the first time you’re watching me make it in a video, step by step. Sometimes, a bunch of still photos are enough. But sometimes, and I think this is one of those times, you need to see it frame by painstaking frame—especially when the whole video is still super short.

Watch this short video (1 min 30 seconds)

Click play ▶️ to watch this video that, in only 1 minute 30 seconds, will show you just how easy it is to make a gorgeous rolled cake.

 

This is the very same technique you’ll use for any rolled cake. Bake the cake until it’s just done (don’t overbake or your cake will crack!), roll it right out of the oven with a flat weave (tea) kitchen towel, and allow it to cool as coiled. The cake develops a “memory” for rolling. Like a young dog and new tricks, to torture a metaphor.

This giant gluten free Swiss roll cake recipe proves once and for all that it's not too hard to make a beautiful rolled dessert. Dress up any holiday table with this rich gluten free chocolate cake.

Ingredients and Substitutions

As always, unless I specifically state otherwise, I haven’t tried this recipe with any of the following substitutions. They’re just my educated guesses!

Dairy-Free: I think that Earth Balance buttery sticks would work quite well as a butter substitute in this recipe. Since it’s so salty, though, I’d leave out the salt in the dry ingredients. Just make sure the chocolate you use for the glaze is dairy-free and you should be all set.

Egg-Free: If you can’t have eggs, I’m afraid I don’t think you can have this cake. My standard “chia egg” substitution recommendation just won’t work when we’re talking about 4 eggs. The egg whites could maybe be replaced with aquafaba, but the egg yolks can’t.

Chocolate-Free: Hahaha you weren’t really going to ask if you could make a chocolate cake without chocolate, were you? 😉

This giant gluten free Swiss roll cake recipe proves once and for all that it's not too hard to make a beautiful rolled dessert. Dress up any holiday table with this rich gluten free chocolate cake.
Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 cake/8 servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup (70 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

5 tablespoons (25 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder

1 tablespoon (9 g) cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 eggs (200 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, separated into yolks and whites

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon warm water

Confectioners’ sugar, for rolling

Marshmallow creme (homemade or store-bought), for filling

14 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

3 tablespoons (42 g) virgin coconut oil

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 13-inch x 18-inch rimmed baking sheet (a half-sheet pan) with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • In a medium-size bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt, and whisk to combine. Set the dry ingredients aside. In a large bowl, place the egg yolks, 1/2 cup (100 g) of the granulated sugar, the butter, and the water, and whisk vigorously until smooth and pale yellow. Add the dry ingredients to the egg yolk mixture, and whisk to combine. The mixture should be thick but smooth. Set it aside.

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large bowl with a hand mixer, place the egg whites and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 cup (50 g) of granulated sugar and continue to beat on medium-high speed until glossy peaks form. Add the egg white mixture to the large bowl of egg yolks in two parts. After adding the first part, whisk to combine well. After adding the second part, carefully fold in the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. The batter will be fluffy. Pour it into the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer with a spatula.

  • Lay a flat-weave kitchen towel (a tea towel) flat on a large, clean flat surface and sprinkle it generously with confectioners’ sugar. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the cake springs back when pressed gently. Remove the cake from the oven and, working quickly, immediately turn the warm cake onto the center of the prepared tea towel. Carefully remove the parchment paper from what was the underside of the cake. You now have a bare cake on a sugared tea towel. Fold the exposed ends of the tea towel over the cake and roll it tightly away from you, with the towel. Place the cake, as coiled in the towel, on a wire rack to cool completely. Once the cake has cooled, unroll it on a flat surface and spread the marshmallow creme filling on top of the cake, leaving a 1/2-inch clean border all around the cake. Reroll the cake tightly and place seam-side down, on a wire rack.

  • Prepare the glaze by placing the chopped chocolate and virgin coconut oil in a small, heat-safe bowl and melting either in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring well in between, until melted and smooth or in a double boiler. Allow the chocolate to sit at room temperature briefly until it begins to thicken a bit. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake on the wire rack. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature before slicing and serving.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2011 (!). Recipe as written adapted from Little Debbie-Style Swiss Rolls on page 119 of Gluten Free Classic Snacks: 100 Recipes for the Brand-Name Treats You Love.

Love,
Nicole

Gluten Free Apple Bisquick Coffee Cake

Gluten Free Apple Bisquick Coffee Cake

This gluten free apple Bisquick coffee cake is a riff on the famous velvet crumb cake, made with everyone’s favorite crumble topping. Perfect for brunch, or a snack!

This gluten free apple Bisquick coffee cake is a riff on the famous velvet crumb cake, made with everyone's favorite crumble topping. Perfect for brunch, or a snack!

There are a few flour blends that I have in sealed containers on my counter at all times. They are, in order of use:

One. My gum-free gluten free flour blend. I use this blend all. the. time. Every roux I make (every step I take) is made with this simple, 3-ingredient blend of superfine rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch.

Two. An all purpose gluten free flour blend. This is often Better Batter, but if I’m feeling industrious enough to build my own blend, I’ll make my “Better Than Cup4Cup Blend.” If someone were even more industrious, they would build that blend and sell it commercially. I would buy it. It’s the best gluten free flour blend.

Three. My D.I.Y. Bisquick-style gluten free pancake mix. Built on the back of my gum-free gluten free flour blend, this is the mix that I use whenever I want to make pancakes or waffles. Sometimes I make little itty bitty pancake bites.

This gluten free apple Bisquick coffee cake is a riff on the famous velvet crumb cake, made with everyone's favorite crumble topping. Perfect for brunch, or a snack!

Even if you could the flours used to make the gum-free blend, this blend has only about 6 simple ingredients. In fact, it’s little more than a self-rising-style flour blend, with a bit of salt and a bit of sugar. Since it’s not too salty, and it’s not too sweet, it’s a perfect blank canvas to make, say, this gluten free apple Bisquick coffee cake.

This gluten free apple Bisquick coffee cake is a riff on the famous velvet crumb cake, made with everyone's favorite crumble topping. Perfect for brunch, or a snack!

The classic on-the-Bisquick-box recipe for this coffee cake, I believe, is made with a somewhat simpler, very cinnamon-heavy topping—and doesn’t have any apples. I’ve tried this recipe every which way by now, and this is my favorite.

If you ask me, you pretty much can’t beat a nubby, sweet crumble topping. And since I already have the Bisquick mix at the ready, I thought I’d give it a try to see if I could use the pancake mix to make my favorite crumble topping like I make for my apple crumble. I’m happy to say that it worked beautifully.

Watch this quick 1-minute how-to video

Just push play ▶️ and watch me make this easy cake. With our homemade Bisquick mix, it couldn’t be easier!

This gluten free apple Bisquick coffee cake is a riff on the famous velvet crumb cake, made with everyone's favorite crumble topping. Perfect for brunch, or a snack!

Ingredients and Substitutions

As per usual, I haven’t tried these substitutions. These are just my best-educated guesses. Good luck!

Dairy-Free: In place of unsalted butter in both the topping and cake, try using Spectrum butter-flavored nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. For the milk, use any nondairy milk you like. You’re best off with something that has some fat and is unsweetened.

Egg-Free: Since there’s only one egg in the cake, you should be able to replace it with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel).

Bisquick-mix: If you really want to make this cake easier than it already is, I bet you could use the commercially-available Bisquick brand gluten free pancake mix. But I’ve tried that, and it is soooooo gritty and not at all comparable to conventional Bisquick mix. Like, at all.

I know a lot of readers really love Pamela’s gluten free baking mix, which isn’t an all purpose gluten free flour but is a pancake mix. I bet that would work in this recipe. Try it and let us know how it goes!

This gluten free apple Bisquick coffee cake is a riff on the famous velvet crumb cake, made with everyone's favorite crumble topping. Perfect for brunch, or a snack!
Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 8-inch cake

Ingredients

Crumble Topping
1 cup (140 g) gluten free Bisquick mix

1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons (168 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Cake
2 cups (280 g) gluten free Bisquick mix

2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar

1 cup (8 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

2 small or 1 large green apple(s), peeled, cored and sliced

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease and line an 8″ square pan and set it aside.

  • Prepare the crumble topping. In a medium-sized bowl, place the melted butter. Add the Bisquick mix, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and mix to combine well. The mixture will be thick. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes or until firm (or the freezer for about 5 minutes).

  • Make the cake batter. In a large bowl, place the Bisquick mix and 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk to combine. Add the milk, butter, and egg, and mix until just combined. Transfer the cake batter to the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Place the apple slices in a single, even layer on top and press gently to adhere. Sprinkle the apple slices lightly with ground cinnamon. Break up the chilled crumble topping with the tines of a fork into irregular pieces. Scatter the pieces evenly on top of the apples, and press gently to adhere.

  • Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven. Bake until the apples are fork-tender, the crumble topping is very lightly golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs attached (about 25 minutes). Allow the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve.

Love,
Nicole

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