gingerbread joy

gingerbread cookie pops by Mili

This holiday treat is a mandatory part of our family’s “countdown to Christmas” traditions.

I’m sharing my classic gingerbread cookie recipe, a gluten-free version and how I make royal icing. You’ll also learn my tricks to making fuss-free, cut-out cookies and different ways to assemble and decorate special, gift-worthy treats with gingerbread.

First the recipes, then the steps for how-to.
fun with gingerbread - recipe on milissweets.com

Mili’s Sweets Gingerbread Cookies (Classic Recipe)

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup (one stick) salted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup organic molasses *

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups all-purpose flour (the gluten-free recipe can be found at the end of this post)

2 tablespoons filtered water

* INGREDIENT TIP: I confess that before this beautiful, unsulphured, organic molasses from Wholesome Sweeteners came along, I couldn’t even stomach the smell of molasses. I love the aroma and taste of this product. It simply outshines anything else I’ve used, and I have tried a handful of other brands of molasses. I highly recommend it, for the best results and the best tasting gingerbread cookies.

gingerbread cookies and the best molasses by Mili

Here’s what you’ll do: 

In a standing mixer, with the standard paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking soda until mixture is smooth. Add molasses. Blend in flour and water to make a stiff dough.

MIXING TIP: As per the third photo below, you’ll know you’re done mixing when the dough completely lifts from the bowl.

fun with gingerbread - recipe on milissweets.com

Cover the cookie dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until you are ready to start rolling out the cookies.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. (I understand that most cookies bake at 375. However, this is too hot for my desired, end result. I prefer my gingerbread cookies to have a chewy center and have a crisp outside, without burning.)

fun with gingerbread - recipe on milissweets.com

ROLL TIME:

Here’s the easiest way to roll cookies, with less fuss, so that you don’t have to transfer cut cookies onto your cookie sheet, which typically leads to distorting the cut.

fun with gingerbread - recipe on milissweets.com

* Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the inside of your cookie sheet. Lightly dust it with flour.

* Hand-kneed enough dough to cover your sheet and place in the center with a floured rolling pin.

* Roll out your dough to fit inside the parchment paper. I like to have the dough down to a smooth, 1/8 of an inch.

* Place as many cuts with your cookie cutter(s), without having the cuts touch.

* Lift off  and remove the uncut portions of dough from the parchment paper.

* Move the cut pieces, so that they can bake with enough room, and without touching.

* Hold the paper by opposite corners of the parchment paper and place it inside your cookie sheet.

fun with gingerbread - recipe on milissweets.com

BAKE TIME:

My cookies bake perfectly in my home oven for 13 minutes. You will want to check them after 11 minutes. It will also depend on how thinly you roll the dough.

The number of servings will depend on the size cutter you use.

Leave out to completely cool before decorating.

Cut-Out Cookie Pops

Now, let’s make something super cute for treat-giving. My daughter and I came up with the simple idea of creating a sandwiched cookie onto a pop, using royal icing and pretty sprinkles. I love this as an idea for a gift the kids can make for their friends at school, since it’s a treat most anyone (even those with food allergies) can enjoy. This recipe is nut-free, egg-free and can be made gluten-free.

un with gingerbread - how to make gingerbread cookie pops - recipe on milissweets.com

Here’s what you’ll need:

* Baked and cooled gingerbread cookies in the same shape, two for each pop

* Lollipop sticks – I use ones sized 4 1/2″ x 1/8″

* Prepared royal icing (please see my recipe below)

* Colored sprinkles – for this project, we used white and silver crystalized sugar.

* Your work station should have parchment paper, with a cooling rack to allow your cookies to set and receive their sprinkles, and a bowl under the rack to catch the extra sprinkles.

How to assemble:

This is super fun and simple. I allowed my daughter to do all of the “work.” I recommend making one pop at a time.

First, place the two cookies upside down. Pipe an outline and center line on each. Place the stick on one of the lines and then put the cookies on top of one another, creating a lined-up sandwich.

Next, pipe royal icing to completely cover one side of one of the cookies.

Place the pop on the cookie rack, over a bowl. Completely cover the royal icing with sprinkles. Allow to set until firm to the touch. (The drying process should take no more than 5 minutes.)

gingerbread joy - how to make gingerbread cookie pops - recipe on milissweets.com

Here were the Cut-Out Cookie Pops on my auntie’s Christmas dessert table. The ladies absolutely loved how delicious and fun these were to eat.

un with gingerbread - how to make gingerbread cookie pops - recipe on milissweets.com

Good, Old-Fashioned Fun with Gingerbread Cookies

It’s time to make a memory. Once you introduce the joy of decorating cookies with your loved ones, you will want to be sure it’s an annual holiday tradition.

When you are decorating cookies with kids, remember that you’ll need a broom. There’s no way to do this without making a sweet mess, so be prepared for it and remember to enjoy this precious time! They are only kids once, so simply embrace it and have fun!

The trick to succeeding with this project, is to let go of total control. Each child should have their own piping bag, with royal icing. If you don’t have piping bags, I recommend gallon-sized, plastic freezer bags, cut down to size for small hands.

fun with gingerbread - recipe on milissweets.com Using piping tips is too complicated and unnecessary. I recommend cutting a very small hole at the tip of the bag. Show the kids once, how to get the icing out of the small hole, with having as little as possible come out of the “big hole” on top. They’ll figure it out. 

It’s great to offer as many sprinkles as possible. This was a nice way to share my stash of way too many sprinkles and candy decorations. They were so excited! You have to allow the kids to “test” them, to make sure they are yummy.

Make sure to have your camera ready. There are going to be a lot of smiles, pride and joy in their little creations! You’ll have to snap quickly, before the cookies magically disappear. I adore all children and these are the moments that I just want to hug and kiss each of them for being so adorable!

fun with gingerbread - recipe on milissweets.com

Royal Icing Recipe

(I use a version from Wilton.com.)

Here’s what you’ll need:

4 cups powdered/confectioners sugar (I do not sift.)

3 tablespoons Meringue Powder **

9 tablespoons warm, filtered water

Here’s what you’ll do:

Using a standing mixer, with a scraping, paddle attachment, place all of the ingredients in the bowl and start mixing at a low speed until ingredients are incorporated together. Increase to a medium speed, for 5 minutes.

Spoon icing into piping bags and use immediately. Royal icing dries quickly so anything not used should be placed in a air-tight container.

** ALLERGY TIP: If you are allergic to eggs, do not use Meringue Powder, as it’s made with pasteurized, dried egg-whites. Instead, I recommend substituting this ingredient with either OrgaN, No Egg, Natural Egg Replacer, or Bob’s Red Mill Vegetarian Egg Replacer powders.

Cookie Ball Pops 

Another lovely idea for gingerbread is to make cookie ball pops. I understand the desire to have a pretty treat on a stick so I came up with cookie pops, to replace cake pops, that I do not make.

fun with gingerbread - recipe on milissweets.com

Here’s what you’ll need: 

9 x 13 pan

non-stick cooking spray

lollipop sticks

royal icing or melted/tempered white chocolate

small bowl of crystalized sugar sprinkles

parchment paper

Here’s what you’ll do:

Prepare the Classic Gingerbread recipe (above) and without refrigerating the dough, flatten it into a 9×13″ pan, prepared with non-stick cookie spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until completely baked through.

Do not allow it to completely cool. Use a butter knife to cut serving-sections of the baked cookie. Roll one section of dough into your hands, to make a ball. Place the lollipop stick in the top center and onto the parchment paper to cool. This is the tricky part, as most people can’t handle the heat to their hands that I can endure. If you aren’t sure and do not want to burn your hands then don’t attempt it. If you wait too long, or allow the cookie to cool, then it will not roll and cool in a ball.

Dip the ball of cooked dough, cooled onto a lollipop stick, into prepared royal icing or melted/tempered white chocolate. Cover with sprinkles.

Mili’s Sweets Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookie Recipe 

Please note that gluten-free flours allow for a different textured dough, that you’ll have to manipulate to get the results you need.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup (one stick) salted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup organic molasses

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill, Gluten-Free, All Purpose Baking Flour ***

1/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum (Place this ingredient when you add the flour.)

2 tablespoons filtered water

***  I contacted Bob’s Red Mill, asking about this product and their facility, so that I had a clear understanding of what is done to be sure there was no cross contamination with tree nuts. They were gracious enough to provide me with a prompt answer. The great news is: There are absolutely no peanuts used at/in their facility. There are some tree nuts used in their facility, which I would be concerned about, had I not received the explanation of their process between production runs. It’s my understanding that there is no cross contamination. However, if you have tree nut allergies, you have to decide for yourself, whether or not this product is for you.

Here’s what you’ll do:

Please review my how-to mix and cut-out instructions, via the classic recipe version, posted above.

Refrigeration: This dough is much softer than the classic recipe-version, so I recommend wrapping your finished dough in plastic wrap and refrigerating for at least one hour, or until you are ready to roll out cookies.

Bake Time: This recipe requires less baking time. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In my home oven, they are perfectly baked in 10 minutes. I would check your cookies at 8 minutes, and see what works best for your oven.

Take care and enjoy!

xox

[…] sweet. I love a good drizzling of royal icing to start. To see my same classic recipe paired with Gingerbread Cookies or iced Shortbread Cookies, please go to my recipe […]

cookies for Santa » Mili's Sweets - December 22, 2014 - 9:52 am

[…] the days before Christmas, we make and decorate Santa’s cookies. On the must-have list: gingerbread and sugar cookies (which are also egg-free shortbread.) Please go to my blog-links for my […]

Rachelle Nolan - May 21, 2016 - 2:25 pm

Hello! I was just researching allergen-free royal icing and came across your recipe from the gingerbread recipe. You mentioned using BRM vegetarian egg replacer instead of meringue powder. My question is, do you sub this at an exact ratio? Also 3 tablespoons? Anything else you add or omit?
Thank you SO much!
Rachelle

sweetsbymili@gmail.com - May 24, 2016 - 10:33 pm

Hi Rachelle,

Sorry for my delay. I’m not on the blog as often as I’d like to be! I use any egg replacer as instructed on the packaging. The best one I’ve found is available at Sprouts. If you ever have other specific questions, please feel free to text me anytime! (760)571-9876

Thanksgiving specials

Over the years, many of my family’s special recipes come back into play for Thanksgiving. Through handcrafted food, we create a home filled with love, care and tradition.

Later this month, we’ll celebrate another Thanksgiving together. It is my family’s main event. It is the day when my husband and I roll up our sleeves to start cooking at 5am for a 1pm meal, with a ton of prep done in the days beforehand and all hands on deck from the kids. It doesn’t matter if we are feeding our family of six or our extended group of more than 30 in our home – our menu is typically made up of about 15 dishes, plus desserts and assorted appetizers. We love it and pace ourselves for one of the best days of the year.

As you begin your grocery-shopping plan and menu, let me share a few of my tried and true Thanksgiving menu items that you might claim as your own for this holiday and many more to come.

never bored of blueberry pie: recipes for cupcakes, muffins, tartlets, via milissweets.com

Let’s talk pie. It’s a mandatory part of our celebration. I always make no less than three. One has to be pumpkin, one has to be apple and the third has to be a berry pie.

Cherry Pie: gluten-free, with a flakey, butter crust. As you know, all of my recipes are completely free of peanuts and tree nuts. But more than likely, you will be attending Thanksgiving this year where at least one person has a food sensitivity or chooses not to eat gluten. Well, even if you don’t love the idea of cherry pie, (Could that be possible?) you’ll want to use this crust for other fillings.

cherry pie updated: gluten-free and all-butter crust. Recipe via milissweets.com

Another wonderful berry pie offering: Blueberry Pie.

never bored of blueberry pie: recipes for cupcakes, muffins, tartlets, via milissweets.com

The pie filling is the ultimate! If you aren’t sure about making a pie to bring or serve, let me suggest a very cool gift: just the pie filling. Make this incredible filling, as per my recipe, place the goodness in a sealed mason jar and offer it to the host/hostess as a thank you for the invite.

never bored of blueberry pie: recipes for cupcakes, muffins, tartlets, via milissweets.com

I’m a little obsessed with meringue. If I’m going to go there, I want to have a ton of it. It’s amazing on pumpkin pie. If lemon is your thing, try making a Lemon Meringue Pie. My recipe for fluffy vanilla meringue is on this same post.

lemon meringue pie, lemon curd and vanilla meringue - recipes via milissweets.comAnd then there’s pumpkin pie. It’s a must. I tried to take it to another level with a phyllo crust. For the recipe, please see my post, where I share how to make my Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate-Pumpkin Layer Pie with Phyllo Crust. I love the way this looks but really love and prefer a traditional crust with my pumpkin pie.

pumpkin & chocolate-pumpkin layer pie, with phyllo crust - recipe via milisweets.com

If for any reason, you’re not in the mood to make pies for Thanksgiving this year, then please allow me to do the baking for you! Now that Mili’s Sweets is at retail, I’m offering pies for the holidays. On the menu: either classic, gluten free or vegan Apple Pie and either classic or gluten free Pumpkin Pie. If you live in San Diego County or are willing to travel to MiaBella (the shop where I work and offer my products) then you can place the order and pick up as late as Wednesday, November 25th.

If you love pumpkin, but are not a fan of pie (personally unthinkable), maybe you’d like to try other pumpkin treats to offer for dessert? Try my recipes for Pumpkin Flan (another great offering for your gluten-free family and friends) or Pumpkin Spice Churros.

Next up, My favorite Cranberry Sauce. It’s not about having a lot of it, but it’s a must-have menu item for our Thanksgiving. Over the years, this is our favorite way to prepare it, with orange juice and zest, and bites of Granny Smith Apples.

sweet side: favorite cranberry sauce by Mili

Now, it’s really up to you, but in our family, Buttermilk Biscuits are a must-have on our Thanksgiving table. They are the very last item to go into our oven. The “crowd” goes wild for them!

how to make the best buttermilk biscuits by Mili

If rolls are more your style, then I say go for Trinity Rolls. We save these for our Christmas meal, but they are good for any special occasion.

Trinity Rolls - recipe on www.milissweets.com

Last but not least, you will want to have some special spreads for either your biscuits or rolls. Check out my recipes for Beautiful Butter. Orange Butter is my personal favorite and one I try to offer my family throughout the year.

butter trio, recipes by Mili

I hope you enjoy a very blessed Thanksgiving!

Please contact me if you have questions about any of my recipes. If you do try them out, let me know how it turned out!

xox, Mili

Ashley Norris - November 30, 2014 - 12:05 pm

Hi Mili! I just wanted to let you know I made your blueberry pie and cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving, and they both turned out fabulous! I’ve had a lot of problems making berry pies in the past and getting the consistently of the filling right and not too liquidy. It turned out great! Everyone loved the cranberry sauce too, so I’m sure that will become a staple for our Thankgiving’s from now on. Thank you for the awesome recipes!

sweetsbymili@gmail.com - December 13, 2014 - 9:51 am

Thanks for your note Ashley! It means so much to me! Take care and great big hugs!

old fashioned caramel for apples & jars

Mili

Making caramel the old fashioned way is a labor of love. Deciding to make it happen depends on how badly you want it. There are plenty of short cut recipes for sauces and dips that taste similar, but they can’t compare. Once making caramel this way, it’s really hard to turn back to store bought versions, that tend to be thin, runny and lack real flavor. I like the thick texture and richness of the real thing.

MiliTo avoid running out, I typically make big batches and put the goodness into sealed glass jars. I’m going to share the recipe that was passed down to me for making caramel apples or to store in glass jars for later.

Mili

Once you take the time to make the caramel, all of the hard work is behind you. Warming it up into a sauce once stored in a jar, takes only 30 seconds in the microwave!  Caramel is candy. It requires both work and precision for the right results. It’s amazing.

I’m giving the recipe and showing what it takes to get the candy to “Soft Ball,” or 240 degrees. This is the temperature and texture I use for canning and for setting onto caramel apples. One of the beautiful thing about this sweet concoction is, once it has reached the stage/temperature you wish and has been set and cooled, you can bring it back to a pot and cook it for not much longer, to achieve “Hard Ball” or “Soft Crack,” to be used as wrapped candies or to set other flavors to it. (I’ll share tricks for candy caramel in a future post.)

All right, let’s get to work!

Mili

Caramel Recipe for Canning and Caramel Apples

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 cups light corn syrup

4 cups granulated sugar

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 and 1/2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup butter (2 sticks) salted butter, cut into pats

1 teaspoon vanilla (Reserve for after caramel has reached “Soft Ball” stage.)

Tools: one large pot (the taller, the better), long wooden spoon, clip-on candy thermometer

Mili

Before you get started, plan ahead with the understanding that you will have to tend to stirring the pot for approximately 3 hours! You might need a good helper or two to take over from time to time. Otherwise, you are guaranteed to have soar feet and possibly soar shoulders/arms if you aren’t used to constantly stirring in the kitchen. As I mentioned above, you have to really want caramel to make it! xox

Here’s a little math so that you can plan ahead, based on what you are hoping to use the caramel for. I tend to make at least two batches at a time, but what I’m sharing with you is a single batch. It will make about 64 oz of caramel, that can be placed in the size of glass jars that you see fit or can be used to dip apples as soon as it has reached the “Soft Ball” stage. When giving a gift, I pour it into pretty 4oz. glass jars. When keeping it in jars for my pantry, I tend to use 8 oz jars and there’s nothing fancy about them. It takes between 1.5oz. – 2 oz. of caramel to cover one standard sized apple for caramel apples so you should be able to dip about 32, if that’s what you are going for.

Here’s what you’ll do:

Combine all of the ingredients, except for the pure vanilla extract, into a large pot and place at medium heat. Clip on the candy thermometer. Cook and stir constantly until candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees, or “Soft Ball” stage. Seems simple and it is simple. It’s just that some good things come to those who wait and this project requires a lot of time and patience.

MiliHere’s what to expect:

Making caramel this way takes planning ahead and some serious time-dedication. It can actually be a really fun tradition and around this time of year, it’s a family-activity. Be prepared for a lot of stirring.

When the butter melts and all of the ingredients are starting to heat, the thermometer will read 200 almost right away. The mixture will be a creamy white color. You’ll notice a warming of color when the mixture reaches 220. However, it will stay at 220 for what seems like an eternity! All the while, you need to stir with the wooden spoon. It can overheat and come over the top of your pot if it is not large enough, so make sure that there is ample room in the pot when you first pour in your ingredients. You don’t want a messy or dangerous accident. You can’t leave the caramel cooking by itself, so make sure you have a caramel-buddy to hang out with, in case you need to leave the room.

When the caramel finally starts to reach above 220 degrees, you’re in the home-stretch. It will take about 30 minutes more to reach “Soft Ball.” You are going to think to yourself two hours into it, ‘It must be ready . . . it looks like caramel!’ But trust me, the thermometer is your friend and without it, this job is almost impossible. If you shut it off too soon, you won’t have the result you were hoping for.

You will feel thrilled and accomplished when you see it has reached 240 degrees. Remove from the heat right away. Allow it to stop bubbling and to cool for a few minutes. Add the teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Use the wooden spoon to combine.

Mili

FOR CANNING:

If you are placing the caramel into glass jars, do so when the caramel is hot. Line up the cans and use a ladle to pour in the caramel. Cover tightly with a metal lid. Within moments, the heat will create a seal that you can hear. It will only work if you are using new lids that are not punctured and are meant to fit perfectly with the jar. You can use either a mason-jar type lid or other metal lid. You will know it’s sealed because you can hear it close and there is no air to pop the lid. You will only hear the lid after the seal has been broken or it has been opened.

Label the container and be sure to add the expiration date. You can give the caramel a one month shelf life if they have set and sealed properly. Once they are opened, or the seal is broken, the jars must be refrigerated. To be safe, you can give as a gift, and write “keep refrigerated.” Add the expiration date as one month after the made-date. If always refrigerated, it should last up to six weeks, but that is assuming that it doesn’t disappear after the first taste.

Mili

FOR APPLES:

If you are making caramel apples, you’ll want to have your apples ready to go as soon as the caramel stops boiling and has reached the 240 degrees. I recruited some little hands to help clean and dry Granny Smith apples. To be safe, we made the skewering a team-effort. These were the only jobs my 7 year old son wanted to do, or could do without getting hurt.

I use prepared, 5.5″ wooden skewers but you can use any wooden dowel, as long as they are cut to size and there there is one end with a sharper side. The easiest way to create the point is with an electric pencil sharpener. As long as the sharper side is not totally blunt, it will work. It’s not a good idea to make it too sharp, so be careful.

If you are using the entire batch of caramel for dipping caramel apples, you’ll be able to make about 32, depending on the size of each apple and how much you want to dip them. I like to go toward the top and if I’m not completely dipping the apple, I always make sure the center, where it was skewered, is covered with caramel. Doing so keeps the apple sealed and fresh and the extra little collection of caramel at the top is an extra special treat. Caramel apples are swooped up and enjoyed right away with this caramel, but I like to be sure that they they are enjoyed within two days of making them. You can go up to 4-5 days, if wrapped and kept at room temperature. Of course, they would last longer in the refrigerator.

MiliHere’s what to do if you are making caramel apples with canned caramel:

Use a spatula to remove the caramel from the glass jars, and place into a pot, with a candy thermometer attached. Place at medium heat. It will only take 10 minutes for the caramel to return to reaching the “Soft Ball” stage of 240 degrees. (As promised, all the hard work from making caramel the old fashioned way is behind you!)

Dip the apples right away. If you want to remove some of the access caramel, use a metal spatula or butter knife to take it from the bottom and then place onto a matt of some sort. A waxy or parchment-type of bottom would be best if serving open or wrapping in cellophane. Although the doilies were very pretty, the ones I used didn’t have a waxy finish, so the caramel had a hard time separating from the paper. If you aren’t packing them to share and want to eat them right away, you can allow them to cool onto aluminum foil before serving or placing directly onto a plate.

MiliI loved giving my little nephew his first caramel apple! He loved it too!

Real caramel can take any dessert over the top, and to another level of awesomeness. It’s a staple in my pantry, as I use it for a bunch of different treats: cupcakes, frostings, cakes, breads, fillings and to drizzle onto vanilla ice cream. If you’ve made my banana caramel cake before, this is the caramel you should use for drizzling. To create a sauce from the caramel that has been canned, simply place it in the microwave for 30 seconds first and then an additional 10 seconds at time. A 4 oz will become a sauce in 30 seconds.

If you are bold enough to make caramel with the notes and recipe I posted, please let me know how it goes! Thanks for being here!

Take care and big hugs,

Mili

 

banana-caramel cake » Mili's Sweets - November 6, 2014 - 7:20 am

[…] make and jar my own caramel. If you’d like the recipe, please see my post for old fashioned caramel for apples and jars. It’s a time consuming and tedious process and I’m completely crazy for doing it. If […]

fun, rustic, beautiful – desserts for Lizzie & Nick

As soon as I met Lizzie, I liked her. She came into the shop at MiaBella one day, and I was there, working on orders in the kitchen. We scheduled a tasting/consultation and it was all as easy-breezy as could be.

Lizzie enjoyed a wedding reception with her husband Nick, at the Red Barn located at Walnut Grove Park in San Marcos. They were going for a rustic and beautiful feel, and they had a touch of fun in their desserts, that weddings don’t typically have. They wanted desserts that they liked best. They wanted a party! (I was all in.)

fun, rustic, beautiful - wedding desserts by Mili

Flavors: Her dad had already had and loved my Churro cupcakes, and told her before our meeting that it was a flavor-must have. (My kind of dad!) She was totally cool with it and happy about it. Her husband-to-be loves funfetti and simple flavors, so she wanted me to create a marbled version of my Birthday Cake flavor, with vanilla-chocolate swirled buttercream and half-dipped in birthday cake sprinkles. (I loved that she just wanted him to be happy too!) She also ordered classic Red Velvet with pretty white pearls and something special for a fruity-option: Vanilla Mango, with mango reduction-drizzle. I loved how decisive she was!

fun, rustic, beautiful - wedding desserts by Milifun, rustic, beautiful - wedding desserts by Mili

I’m so glad that Lizzie and her mom took my advice to have an etiquette sign at the dessert table. It’s so helpful since anything “out” can be thought of as a buffet. It’s super important that a wedding dessert table not be touched before the bride and groom see it and before the cake cutting ceremony is complete.

fun, rustic, beautiful - wedding desserts by Mili

 

fun, rustic, beautiful - wedding desserts by Mili

They had their pre-order picked up at  the MiaBella in Vista and delivered by Andi of Now That’s a Party. They borrowed my cupcake tower, decked it out and had their caterer set each one.  They added touches of lace, wood and burlap.

I really love how it all turned out! I am always honored when someone has chosen me to create desserts for their special occasion, especially their wedding. It’s so nice when they take the time to share their photos with me too, because if they know me at all, they understand how much I cared about creating their desserts, just for them.

fun, rustic, beautiful - wedding desserts by Mili

fun, rustic, beautiful - wedding desserts by Mili

I made them a blank-canvas cake – clean and as simple as could be on the outside, since their florist would be placing the arrangement onto the cake, onsite. (I’ve asked Lizzie again, for the name of the florist, to give him/her credit!) Inside were three layers of funfetti cake: Vanilla Birthday Cake at the bottom, Chocolate Birthday Cake at the top, with a middle layer of Marbled Birthday Cake, all filled and covered in smooth, vanilla buttercream frosting. (I told you, they were fun!) The cutting cake was the perfect size (6″) for them to enjoy to themselves, for the cake cutting ceremony.

fun, rustic, beautiful - wedding desserts by Mili

Photographers, Kaitlin Cooper and Nathaniel Kam, did such a beautiful job with the photography!

fun, rustic, beautiful - Lizzie & NickLizzie looked so beautiful! I’ve seen Lizzie since, while working at the shop, and it is a treat for me. I love saying hi to my friends/customers, by popping my head out of the kitchen, when I’m there. I hope to make sweets for her and her hubby again, one of these days soon.

xox, Mili

cherry pie: gluten-free with flakey, butter crust

 

cherry pie updated: gluten-free and all-butter crust. Recipe via milissweets.com

When we made plans to visit our friends for dinner the other night, I wanted to bring something special that I knew they would enjoy. I remember them mentioning how much they love cherry pie. I also knew that for the last couple of years, my friends’ husband has been avoiding all gluten products, as a health-conscious choice.

I can totally understand and respect the need and even the desire to avoid certain ingredients, and decided to give myself a baking-challenge: bake a totally gluten-free pie, with from-scratch crust. It’s what I did and as promised, if it worked out really nicely, I would share the recipe.

First, I’ll share my gluten-free pie crust recipe, that can be used for any and every pie you make.  From there, I’ll share my recipe for my from-scratch cherry pie filling, that I’ve been making for my family and friends to enjoy, for the last 10 years or so.

gluten-free and all-butter pie crust. Recipe via milissweets.com

 

Mili’s Sweets Gluten-Free Pie Crust Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 and 1/2 cups gluten-free, all purpose flour (I used Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend, all purpose, gluten-free flour)

2 sticks salted butter (1 cup, cold)

1/3, plus 2 tablespoons cold water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Tools: pie tin, pastry cutter, parchment paper or silpat mat, bowl, standing mixer, rolling pin

for egg wash (optional): 1 egg white, whisked and applied with a kitchen-safe brush

 

gluten-free and all-butter pie crust. Recipe via milissweets.com

Here’s what you’ll do:

Cut the butter into tablespoon-size pieces. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Place the butter in the bowl and and use your pastry cutter to push into the butter, cutting it into small, pea-sized pieces.

Place this mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer, and place the standard paddle attachment. Add the water and mix at medium speed until the dough completely lifts from the bowl.

Use your hands to form the dough into a ball.

gluten-free and all-butter pie crust. Recipe via milissweets.com

Place the dough onto a silpat mat or parchment paper that has been dusted with the gluten-free flour.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough flat, until it’s smooth and about 1/4″ high.

Using the mat or paper, invert the rolled-out dough into your pie pan.

The dough is very similar to shortbread so it’s elastic and super easy to work with. You can fill in any spaces or mistakes with your hands and like magic, it comes together beautifully.

Once your pie pan is prepared with the dough, set it aside. Form another ball with the remaining scraps of dough and re-roll out the rest, that will be used for the top of your pie.

If you like to use an egg wash, for a golden-brown finish to the crust, simply take one egg white and whisk it in a small bowl. Use a kitchen safe brush to apply it onto the inside and all around the crust. It would be best if you do this just before pouring in the prepared pie filling.

Now it’s time to prepare the cherry pie filling. This is so delicious and is definitely amazing in other desserts besides pies. For example, it is over-the-top served with vanilla bean ice cream, used as a filling for cupcakes or as a topping for cheesecake. The list goes on and on. . . (I hope you really enjoy this and tell me if you do make this pie.  This recipe, like all of my recipes that I share with you on my blog, is a personal  treasure.)

Mili’s Sweets Cherry Pie Filling Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need:

6-7 cups (or about three, 12oz. bags) of dark, sweet pitted cherries.

1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons all purpose flour (When making gluten-free pie, I substitute with Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons salted butter (added after pie has been filled)

cherry pie updated: gluten-free and all-butter crust. Recipe via milissweets.com

 

Here’s what you’ll do:

Please note that you can find dark, sweet, pitted cherries in the frozen fruit section of your local grocery store. There are also organic varieties. If you have the tools and the time and can pit the many fresh cherries needed for a single pie, then I am amazed! I love the fresh-frozen option and you’ll find that there are better brands than others. I honestly do not want to pit fresh cherries, in fear that I might leave a pit or two in a pie.

Over medium heat, place all of the ingredients (except for the butter) into a large saucepan, including: 6-7 cups of cherries, sugar, cornstarch, flour, salt and water.

Stir to dissolve the sugar. More water will created in the pan as the cherries start to cook. I typically use my wooden spoon to do all of the mixing for fruit pies. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once you see small bubbles forming around the edge of the pan, it’s time to continue stirring. From start to finish, it will take a total of 30 minutes to cook the cherries down to a nice thickness, perfect for pie filling.

cherry pie updated: gluten-free and all-butter crust. Recipe via milissweets.com

 

Once it’s done, pour the hot prepared filling into the prepared pie crust. Now is the time that you’ll add the two tablespoons of butter. Make little pats and place the pieces all around the top.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Next, you’ll cover the pie with the remaining dough. You’ll notice that the dough is delicate, compared to dough that uses shortening. It will make it a little more challenging to lift strips for a lattice. You should have enough remaining dough to either cover the top completely, or to make a lattice.

Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash and if you wish, sprinkle the top of the entire pie with granulated sugar.

I placed the pie in a cookie sheet, in case some filling decided to seep out during baking (which usually happens). It helps to keep the oven clean.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to completely cool before serving.

Some people (like my husband) prefer a cold pie. If that’s what you like too, then cover with plastic wrap and serve when you are ready. Vanilla bean ice cream makes the perfect pair with this dessert. I prefer to eat pie without any sides.

 

cherry pie updated: gluten-free and all-butter crust. Recipe via milissweets.com

I topped the pie with a fake-lattice design, by simply leaving the top strands at the top, without weaving them over and under the bottom pieces. No one noticed, but of course I did. After tasting the pie, I didn’t care either. The crust is light, flakey and absolutely divine. It takes the pie to a whole other level. No one would even care or notice that it’s gluten-free. It’s that good!

xox

Gayle Chase - July 21, 2014 - 6:30 am

You have wonderful pastries.

sweetsbymili@gmail.com - July 21, 2014 - 8:06 am

Thank you Gayle! xox

[…] have shared my best and favorite pie crust recipe with you, when I posted my Cherry Pie Recipe. Please refer to this post, for details on how to create this wonderful […]

Thanksgiving specials » Mili's Sweets - November 16, 2014 - 5:35 pm

[…] Cherry Pie: gluten-free, with a flakey, butter crust. As you know, all of my recipes are completely free of peanuts and tree nuts. But more than likely, you will be attending Thanksgiving this year where at least one person has a food sensitivity or chooses not to eat gluten. Well, even if you don’t love the idea of cherry pie, (Could that be possible?) you’ll want to use this crust for other fillings. […]

[…] can make a pie crust by hand. I have a great gluten-free pie crust recipe, that you can make the same way with all purpose flour, if you prefer. Otherwise, you can cheat […]

my Thanksgiving at home » Mili's Sweets - November 29, 2014 - 6:24 pm

[…] recipes, please see my posts for Cherry Pie and for Pumpkin […]

Laci - June 18, 2016 - 3:28 pm

Can you make this ahead of time and freeze the dough in a ball?

sweetsbymili@gmail.com - July 12, 2016 - 10:02 pm

Hi Laci. Sorry for my delayed reply. I think that pie dough is always OK to freeze! Take care and thanks for reaching out!