✭ Happy New Year ✭ and a Recipe: Caramel Nut Clusters (Turtles)
Starting a fresh new year can be exhilarating but I’m always sad when the Holidays come to an end. I know I’m going to miss my kids which is a weird thing for me to say because they are all grown up and they live nearby…in fact, the youngest still calls this house Home.
The Mom in me is hanging on, so before I let go of the 2011 Holiday Season, I’ve got one more Christmas thing to share with you.
This was my first Gluten Free Christmas and I did pretty good at avoiding awkward situations without accidentally being exposed to gluten. I think these Gluten Free Sweet Party Platters really helped. We took a platter with us when we went visiting over the Holidays. Once there, I encouraged the Hosts to open the cellophane wrapping to share the treats with their guests. Wanting to avoid any risk of cross contamination, I made sure to help myself to some of goodies before the trays got passed around.
The Platters were a big hit, with many people exclaiming “you made these things gluten free?”. Yes people, being gluten free these days, does not mean going without. In fact, there are some things, like my Best Crispy Rice Treats that take no extra effort to make GF and I swear they taste better than the glutenful Kellogg’s Rice Crispy Squares I used to make for the Holidays.
Unfortunately I was sick for New Year’s Eve with some Gluten reaction type symptoms but I don’t know what caused my reaction. Do you think toxins just build up over time? I was being careful when we went visiting but now when I think back on it, I’m wondering if the exposure could have been here at home. The non-GF Hubby was home all week and we had visitors (the kids) staying over more often than usual. With Mr Fox being more of a morning person than me, he would be up most mornings to fix wheat flour pancakes or toast for his and their breakfasts.
I don’t want to believe I’m that sensitive to Gluten but who knows, maybe I am. The wheat flour pancakes and toast are the very few Glutenful things the Hubby still has once in a while at home and usually only when we have company. Otherwise, he eats GF like me. How about you, how diligent are you? Have you had to abolish everything Gluten from your home? Do you have to worry about wheat flour getting into the air? What about crumbs on the cutting board, dishes and dish cloth?
Oh well, I’m starting to feel a bit better today. I tell you, after having been sick constantly for a couple of years, getting sick once in a while for a few days (it usually takes about 5-6 days to completely clear my system) doesn’t seem so bad.
Happy New Year, bring it on 2012!
Here are some pictures of my Gluten Free Sweet Party Platters. I definitely plan on doing the same thing next year.
Each of my Platters included some of the following Gluten Free sweets:
Caramel Nut Clusters (Turtles) see recipe below
Candied Almonds based on Candied Pecans recipe by Caneel at Mama Me Gluten Free. I switched up the kind of nuts, used Parchment paper instead of Wax paper and sprinkled coarse sea salt on the candied nuts before they cooled.
Caramel Nut Clusters (Turtles) inspired by Cassidy at Cooking Gluten (& Dairy) Free. I didn’t change the original recipe much, just added a chocolate base for the caramel and used mixed chopped nuts instead of peanuts.
Gluten Free | Grain Free | Dairy Free (option) | Egg Free | Vegetarian
- 2 Tbsp butter or dairy free substitute of choice
- ¼ Cup coconut palm sugar, or brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp honey, or agave nectar
- ¼ tsp vanilla
- pinch of salt (optional)
- ¾ Cup nuts (chopped) peanuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia
- 1½ Cup chocolate chips, divided (use dairy free if needed)
- 1½ tsp coconut oil
- In a heatproof bowl, add ½ cup of the chocolate and ½ tsp of the shortening. Then, place over simmering water being careful that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir until completely melted. Alternate Method: put in a microwave-safe bowl, microwave for 60 seconds. Stir the chocolate chips, return to the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds, depending on how close they are to being melted. Repeat as needed, stirring each time. Stop heating the chocolate chips when they’re slightly more than half melted and stir until smooth.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop teaspoon-sized amounts of the chocolate on the paper. Smooth down into about a one inch circle. This will serve as the base for your chocolates.
- For the caramel sauce: In a small saucepan, mix together the butter, sugar, and agave over medium heat. Stir continually and bring to a boil, allow to boil for a few minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, and nuts.
- Drop tablespoon-sized amounts of the nut caramel mixture on each chocolate base you created earlier. Don’t worry if the nuts spread over the sides of the chocolate bases.
- Place uncovered in refrigerator while you make the chocolate coating.
- In a heatproof bowl, add the rest of the chocolate and shortening. Then, using your preferred method, melt the chocolate.
- Drop 2 teaspoons of the chocolate over each caramel cluster, spreading gently to coat.
- Place pan back in refrigerator until set… 30 minutes to an hour.
- Store in a sealed container in the fridge.
Wishing you Peace, Health and Happiness in the New Year!
To see a text listing of Laureen’s gluten free recipes, click here
For dairy, egg, nut and gluten free flour substitutions, click here
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