Turtle Bars

From Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering

Peace, love and health to all.

As we head into more time with Coronavirus, I thank parents who are home schooling and honestly am thankful that my son is a single adult with a job.   Many are worrying about kids falling behind, but everyone, worldwide, will be doing catch up. Locally there are many people making cloth masks and people donating fabric, elastic, ribbon.  Another friend is co ordinating collection of single size snacks, drinks etc for local hospitals.  Meals donated to first responders.   I still post recipes on FB and my encore ABC WMUR cooking presentations.

The company my husband works for, makes the thermal imaging thermometers that are used worldwide, so he is even busier working from home than in office.  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/thermal-imaging-cameras-coronavirus.    

Be kind to others, be kind to yourself, we are all in this together and will get through it. Stay Safe.

At this time, a special offer to help this month, 50% discount on my downloadable e-cookbook, full color photos, lots of advice plus recipes.  Go to www.glutenfreecookingwithoonagh.com and click on gluten-free cookbook on menu or picture of cookbook. Scroll to bottom of screen to order with PayPal or Credit Card.  In the ‘description’ of purchase box, type CV19, in price box, type 10. That’s it.

This is a mix of a number of different recipes until I came up with the thickness of base and caramel filling that I personally preferred.  One of my English recipes has a cake base with a caramel filling based on condensed milk.  I am finding that for me personally some condensed milk recipes are just too sweet and catch at the back of the throat.  Locally, Milford NH High School has a Culinary Arts program that I’m involved with, with a public restaurant during the school year. They had made this dessert, called it Turtle Bars and put pecans in the from scratch caramel filling (all my previous recipes never used nuts and were a Twix lookalike).  So I tried making my dessert with added nuts and used their name for it as well as using bought caramel sauce for ease.

Gluten-Free & Egg-Free Turtle Bars
made in an 8×8 pan

Ingredients:

Shortbread base: If you have a favorite sugar cookie recipe or bought sugar cookie mix or tube, you can substitute that. My base is quite thick and uses 14 oz ingredients. Look at your recipe/bought mix and do the math to substitute. 

  • 1 c (4 oz, 112g ) my rice free,  gluten-free flour mix, ingredients at end of this recipe – to substitute, you have to weigh, (approx ¾ c KAF all purpose gluten-free flour with no baking powder or xanthan gum.)
  • ½ c (2 oz, 56 g) gluten-free almond flour (ground almonds in UK), Trader Joe’s, Costco, BRM and KAF all sell almond flour (white) labeled gluten-free and some have almond meal (freckly with skin) also labeled gluten-free. Varying prices. 
  • ½ c (2 oz, 56 g) powdered sugar (Icing sugar in UK)
  • 1+1/2 sticks (6 oz, 168g) butter (or substitute) hard from the fridge and cut into 1 tablespoon slices
  • ¾ tsp (4 ml) xanthan gum

Filling:

  • 1+1/4 to 1+1/2 cups (10-12 fl oz, 300-360 ml) thick caramel sauce (I have used a 10 oz jar of Trader Joe’s caramel sauce labeled gluten free or 13 oz can of Nestle dulce de leche which is caramelized condensed milk.  Your own homemade caramel sauce.  Most ice cream caramel sauces don’t seem to be gluten free and possibly runnier)
  • 1 +1/2 cups (6oz, 168 g) coarsely chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews, macadamias) cooked in 350* oven (unless labeled roasted already) for 10 minutes.  Once you smell them cooking they could be burning, watch carefully. If you like salted caramel, you could use chopped salted nuts.  If you only have salted nuts and don’t want the salt, rinse salt off in warm water and then crisp nuts in oven. 
  • Additional 2 tablespoons milk, cream to thin dulce de leche.
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) gluten-free vanilla extract.  I’ve also added zest of 1 or 2 oranges.

Topping

  • I use semi sweet chocolate, with kids you might want to use milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (6oz, 168g- I use Nestle Tollhouse)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick – 2 oz, 60 ml)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F (180*C) Put flours, sugar and xanthan gum in food processor.  Add hard butter and run food processor until mix resembles fine breadcrumbs.  If you make this with soft butter, it will turn into a paste you have to spread in dish rather than sprinkle like breadcrumbs.  Make it easier on yourself.
  2. Grease 8×8 (20×20 cm) baking pan. If you use a glass pan, then stand it on a metal sheet in the oven, so base cooks better.  Sprinkle in shortbread mix, spread evenly and press down.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes.  You do want the base to be light golden brown all over now or it tastes raw later, with darker brown edges.  This is the only cooking base will get so you want to be sure it is cooked through.  There is nothing worse than a raw base. Remove from oven.  Base will probably have fine cracks throughout.
  4. Open jar of caramel sauce, remove lid and warm in microwave to easier pouring consistency.  For can of dulce de leche, scrape into microwave safe bowl, warm, add some milk.
  5. Add nuts and vanilla, mix well and pour on top of crust in brownie pan, allow to cool.
  6. Melt chocolate chips and butter until smooth.  I give chocolate mix about 44 seconds in microwave, stop and stir.  Continue to microwave in 11 second increments if necessary. Spread over cooled caramel filling, allow to set and then cut into very tiny squares. Don’t try to cut while warm as it will crumble. My husband likes this cold from the fridge when caramel and chocolate are hard.  I like it at a warm room temperature when filling is very creamy.  It is easier to cut the bars while the caramel and chocolate are hard and then serve them hard or soft. Cut by using a sharp knife repeatedly dipped in very hot water to easily glide through chocolate topping. Transfer to storage container.

 

My gluten-free mix: I use for one cup of gluten-free mix. Rice-free. I have slowly been remaking my gluten-free recipes with arrowroot instead of potato starch for nightshade problems for lots of people. It’s basically trial and error, some recipes arrowroot just isn’t a good enough substitute as it’s more floury, but still tasty. 

  • ½ cup potato starch or arrowroot starch for those with nightshade problems. BRM sell a bag of arrowroot, but it is more expensive than potato starch.
  • ¼ c tapioca starch – note there is a difference in tapioca starch from different brands.
  • 2 tbsp amaranth or millet flour: Bob’s Red Mill (millet is roughly one third the price of amaranth, is not so nutritious, but is more readily available.) 
  • 2 tbsp sorghum flour: Bob’s Red Mill.  

Larger quantity
Making about 7 cups total of mix

  • 1 x 14 oz bag potato starch, which is 3+1/2 cups – that’s the size I can buy. Or 14 oz arrowroot by weight. 
  • 1+3/4 c of Tapioca Starch is 7 oz
  • Just under 1 cup of Amaranth or Millet (actually ¾ c plus 2 Tbsps is 4 oz)
  • Just under 1 cup of Sorghum (actually ¾ c plus 2 Tbsps is 4 oz) 

Note that I buy potato starch and tapioca starch from local Asian market, and brands that online say they are gluten-free.

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