Toddler down for a nap, big kids occupied with iPad, and peace at last! When quiet time rolls around I often just want to ‘check out’ for a bit! That means watching shows that don’t exactly require a lot of ‘brain power’ to follow along. Cooking shows don’t exactly have a ‘plot’, so those fit the bill quite nicely. The only problem is that there are NO gluten-free or allergy-friendly cooking shows out there! If I want to make something I see on TV I have to do some major tweaking of their recipes, which can be REALLY intimidating! I mean, these guys are trained chefs with a team of staff to perfect their recipes!
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Be Bravely Gluten-Free
I know I tell you ladies to be fearless in the kitchen. How often do I tell you to let go of the fear of failure and just embrace the changes that need to be made to fit your needs? Even so, it still leaves me a bit nervous to take something from a celebrity chef and make it my own! I HAVE to do it, though. It’s not like there are famous chefs on TV who seem to actually get it when it comes to GF and allergy-friendly recipes. We moms are just going to have to take the bull by the horns, let go of the fear, and do it ourselves! A while back I saw these pinwheels on The Chew. They required puff pastry which is neither GF nor lactose-free. The old me would have run in fear, but the fearless me decided to give them a try!
I was only about 50% confident, at best, that these might turn out. Truthfully, part of me was sure they were going to be an epic fail! But, I powered through, determined to at least give it a valiant attempt. Since puff pastry is out for gluten-free baking I had to figure out how to get pliable, flaky dough to use in its place. Thankfully, Nicole from Gluten Free on a Shoestring has many biscuit recipes that could fit the bill. It also called for cream cheese and Swiss cheese, which aren’t naturally lactose-free. I definitely had my work in store for me with adaptations to make this a dish my whole family could enjoy!
- Start by preparing the filling from The Chew’s Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Pinwheels and setting it aside until your biscuit dough is ready. Be sure to get your butter and cream cheese fully softened or this won’t mix right. If you need your pinwheels to be lactose-free you can either use Earth Balance margarine or the new real-milk, lactose-free butter by Green Valley Organics. For cream cheese we use the lactose-free, real cow’s milk cream cheese from Green Valley Organics. This stuff is fabulous! If that isn’t available near you, there are several brands of dairy-free cream cheese on the market. Use whatever cheese meets your family’s tastes and needs. We commonly use Cabot extra sharp white cheddar. As a bonus tip, should you maybe have forgotten to get fresh thyme at the store, one batch of this filling would call for 1/2 tablespoon of dried thyme. Don’t ask how I know. 🙂
- Make one batch of Nicole’s Gluten-Free Biscuits: Cinnamon Bun Style. Don’t worry, you’ll be skipping the cinnamon bun topping. This is just my favorite biscuit recipe on her blog so I make it whenever I want flaky cut-out biscuits. To make the biscuit dough lactose-free use your favorite ‘safe’ milk and butter replacements.
- Go through the recipe, including the folding and rolling out into a long rectangle. Stop here. DO NOT cut these into biscuits! At this point, spread the cream cheese mixture on the biscuit dough. Since I made a double batch I got to do some experimenting. The best method seemed to be placing little dollops all over the sheet of dough and then spreading it (somewhat gently so you don’t murder your beautiful dough) with a rubber spatula.
- Lay about 4 ounces of ham lunchmeat across your dough sheet, on top of the cream cheese mix. Basically it should be enough to do a single layer of ham all the way across the dough sheet. I used Land O’Frost ham, but you can use whatever GF ham you prefer. The key is to be sure it is VERY thinly sliced so that it doesn’t interfere with rolling.
- Here is the step I was MOST nervous about. I was fairly certain it was at this point everything would turn into a swirling disaster as I attempted to roll the dough. I was wrong! There are a few keys here. First, go SLOW! This isn’t a moment to try to rush through and get things done quickly. Second, be GENTLE. You don’t want to roll this up super tight, because our gluten-free dough isn’t as stretchy and forgiving in this situation. The gluten protein, once activated, gives elasticity to dough. That’s why gluten-free dough is more prone to tearing when bakers attempt to stretch it. So, roll your dough tight enough that it’s not totally floppy, but not into a tight, skinny roll.
- Use a LARGE knife to cut through this. You want it to be able to fit all the way across the width of your roll easily so that you aren’t having to ‘saw’ back and forth to cur through it. After some tinkering, I believe cutting them into slices about 2-3 inches thick seemed to work best for baking purposes. Be sure to put them on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking pan. There can be some leaks from the cream cheese filling.
- I chose to bake at 350* like the biscuit recipe calls for, rather than the 400* that the pinwheel recipe calls for.
Prepare To Enjoy
When these come out of the oven you will be so happy! Imagine a cinnamon roll’s savory cousin. For those of us that need a bit of protein in the morning, pre-baking these and having them ready for a grab-and-go breakfast is perfect! The extras from the photo shoot for this post became my breakfast yesterday morning. Just remember, don’t let the fear that it might not turn out stop you from giving it a try!