Almond Cookies with Salted Caramel Filling

I’m back today with the recipe I promised you in my last post. If you’re looking for a soft, quick and easy to make cookie, look no further than these Gluten Free Vegan Almond Cookies with Salted Caramel Filling, of course!

Gluten Free Vegan Almond Cookies with Salted Caramel Filling | pastelbakery.ca

I originally came up with this recipe while working on another one. So really, it was a mistake…a very delicious mistake that is.  And did I mention how super easy these cookies are to make?? Have a late night hankerin’ for cookies? No problem! With only 3 ingredients needed, these Gluten Free Vegan Almond Cookies come together in a snap. I love recipes you can whip up super quickly! There’s no need for store bought cookies, when you can make your own with limited ingredients and know exactly what goes in them. Beauty.  Now, if you don’t feel like making the Salted Caramel Sauce to fill these little guys (or if you’re like me, and gobbled it up by the spoonful before it even had a chance), these soft chewy cookies are still delish on their own.

Gluten Free Vegan Almond Cookies with Salted Caramel Filling | pastelbakery.ca

These go perfect with your favourite cup of coffee, tea…or even milk. Which for me lately, has been the BFF to my cookies, given I’ve gone coffee free, since I am expecting. First time mom = freak out mode ALL THE TIME! The BIG day is approaching…and fast (just about 3 months to go).  If I’m this crazy and paranoid now, I can only image what I’m in for once little one arrives.  It’s ain’t gonna be pretty.

I debated whether or not to share the exciting news here. Wondered if anyone would actually be interested, or, if it’s just about the gluten free goods. But, I figured it’ll be pretty busy for me come the fall, which means my blog may be abandoned for a while. And maybe you, the reader, will wonder where I am? Would you? Anyway…so excuse me if I disappear for a while in the next coming months. Not to worry though, I will have a few more recipes to share with you before I go missing, so please be sure to come back and visit. Don’t leave me hanging.

Gluten Free Vegan Almond Cookies with Salted Caramel Filling | pastelbakery.ca

Pure deliciousness!
Enjoy,

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Gluten Free Vegan Almond Cookies with Salted Caramel Filling

Bake Time: 10 minutes

Makes: 10 cookies or 5 sandwich cookies

These soft almond cookies are quick & easy to make & filled with a creamy salted caramel sauce

Ingredients

    For Cookies:
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup (additional 1 tbsp only if dough doesn't stick together)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, softened
  • For Filling:
  • Refer to my last post for Salted Caramel Sauce recipe

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients until fully combined. Roll out 10 balls (about 1/2 tbsp of dough for each) and place on prepared sheets. Note, dough will be sticky.
  3. Bake for 10-12 min or until lightly golden around edges.
  4. Let cool on sheet for 5 min, before carefully transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Fill with Salted Caramel Sauce for a delicious sandwich cookie.
http://www.pastelbakery.ca/gluten-free-vegan-almond-cookies-with-salted-caramel-filling/

Salted Caramel Sauce

After you try this sauce, you will need to sit down. Trust me. This Gluten Free Dairy Free Salted Caramel Sauce is sooo creamy and sooo delish, your knees will buckle! Hard to believe it’s made with just a few simple ingredients. Plus, no cooking – bonus!

Gluten-Free-Dairy-Free-Salted-Caramel-Sauce | pastelbakery.ca

I’ve made this sauce several times already, and each time, I gobble it up in a matter of days. It’s perfect for spreading on warm toast, using in another gluten and dairy free recipe of mine (coming soon!), or what I recently tried out…a grilled caramel banana sandwich! Oh…yeah *cue the drool*. Just like making a grilled cheese sandwich, you just spread a bit of dairy free buttery spread on the outside of your bread slices. On the inside, spread about half a tbsp of sauce on each side, and line one side with banana slices. Then close up the sandwich, place on a warm frying pan and grill each side for about 5 min. Oh. My. Gosh. This is the best, THE BEST sandwich to have! And hey, I like to think it’s pretty healthy. Almond butter – good. Maple syrup – good. Coconut oil – good. Bananas – good. So it can count as lunch, right? Well, even if not in your book, it does for me.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Salted Caramel Sauce-1 | pastelbakery.ca

If you don’t have a high powered blender, you may have to come up with plan B. You’ve been pre-warned. The first time I made this sauce, I tried making it in my crappy, crappy blender. This blender is so crappy it can’t even make a proper smoothie. Always leaving clumps of bananas. What’s up with that? Isn’t a blender supposed to BLEND the ingredients into pure smoothness?? It seems my blender didn’t get the memo on that one. So stupid me, thinking this time would be different, pulled out the crappy blender from my hard to reach cupboard, and went away on making the sauce. Well, let’s just say, I don’t think my blender is gonna come out to play anymore (is it supposed to smell like burning when you run it??). So, if you have a crappy blender like me, either invest in a really good one, or if you’re not looking to spend too much at the moment, may I recommend a Magic Bullet. I picked mine up on sale after my blender fiasco, and it does the job on this sauce. Pretty sad that my crappy blender couldn’t cut it. I’m guessing it would definitely be even easier using a high powered blender, but I wasn’t willing to fork out the money. Plus now I can enjoy a decent smoothie. What have I been missing all these years!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Salted Caramel Sauce-2 | pastelbakery.ca

Stay tuned for my next post, featuring an easy gluten, dairy and egg free recipe, great for using up this Salted Caramel Sauce…if you can make it last that long of course.

Pure deliciousness!
Enjoy,

signature

Gluten Free Dairy Free Salted Caramel Sauce

This sauce is so rich & creamy you'd never guess it was dairy free and so easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond butter (just almonds)
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 tsp fine salt

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into a high powered blender. A Magic Bullet will also work.
  2. Blend on high for about 2 min, stopping to scrape down sides as needed, until it becomes a thick well blended sauce. If using a Magic Bullet, you will need to pulse on and off several times (stopping to scrape down sides), to ensure you don't burn the motor.
  3. Place in a jar with tight fitting lid and store in refrigerator.

Notes

Recipe slightly adapted from Baker Bettie

http://www.pastelbakery.ca/gluten-free-dairy-free-salted-caramel-sauce/

Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

Let me start off by saying…you MUST make this Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn. MUST.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

I haven’t done much in preparation for Halloween this year. Aside from stocking up on candy to hand out to the little ghouls and goblins, and keeping up with the latest Walking Dead episodes, I am not ready this year. Other years by now, I would have watched some of my fave Halloween/scary movies, like Sleepy Hollow, Rocky Horror Picture Show or Nightmare Before Christmas. Yes, I realize the last movie falls between Halloween and Christmas, but it gives me an excuse to watch it more often.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

I had wanted to make some creepy cookies, or sinful cupcakes, but nope…no time. It seems I’ve been so busy prepping/testing a special cake I will be making in a few days, that Halloween just creeped up on me (eek!). Psst…follow me on Twitter to see the progress of this special cake!

That’s why this Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn is so perfect! It is so, so, easy to make! Bonus: you can even make it in advance as it keeps well in an airtight container for up to 1 week! The subtle ooey-gooey marshmallow flavour, creamy caramel crunch and light chocolate drizzle, make it a perfect movie snack!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

If you can’t tell from these pictures just how awesome this popcorn is, let’s blame it on the photos…don’t be a popcorn hater. My camera chose to be the walking dead and I had to shoot these pics using my iPhone.
And if the pics weren’t spooky enough for you, here’s a little ghost indulging in the goods. It may look like he’s spitting them back out, but really he’s using his super ghostly powers to suck them in!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

So before you sit down to indulge in a frightening flick, be sure to make a bowl of this super easy Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn. Pure deliciousness! Enjoy!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

Happy Halloween everyone!

Eva

Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

Bake Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Makes: 8 cups of popcorn

This easy to make Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn is simply irresistible! Perfect for movie night.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup kernels)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dairy free buttery spread (such as Earth Balance)
  • 8 large marshmallows, or about 32 mini marshmallows
  • For Chocolate Drizzle
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life)
  • 1 tbsp dairy free buttery spread (such as Earth Balance)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a large baking sheet (or two) with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place popped popcorn in large bowl or pot. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt sugar, spread and marshmallows. Once fully melted lower heat to low and let simmer for about 2 minutes, keeping a close eye on it to ensure it doesn't burn, and stir frequently. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour mixture over popcorn and toss to evenly coat - it will be sticky!
  5. Spread popcorn onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 1 hour (or so), stirring every 10 min or so.
  6. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, in microwaveable bowl, melt chocolate chips and spread (about 40 seconds). Stir until smooth, returning to microwave if not fully melted. If you do not have a microwave, you can also melt the chocolate chips and spread over a double-boiler and stir until smooth.
  8. Drizzle chocolate over popcorn and let it harden before breaking into clusters.
  9. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week...if it lasts that long!
http://www.pastelbakery.ca/gluten-free-dairy-free-marshmallow-caramel-popcorn/

Caramel Apple Spice Muffins

I absolutely love, love, love fall! Fall is my favourite season of all. No crazy humid days where you drip sweat as soon as you walk out the door. The sun is shining just enough to keep you slightly warm as the crisp fall air passes you by. Comfort food, spiced desserts, cozying up under a blanket while watching an in-home movie, and fall fashion (bring on the knee high socks I say!). Love it! All this fall anticipation made me want to indulge in fall treats and so these Gluten Free Dairy Free Caramel Apple Spice Muffins were born.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Caramel Apple Spice Muffins

The beginning of the fall season means apple picking time in Ontario. I remember my parents taking my brother and I apple picking as kids. My favourite part was hitching a ride from the farm wagon which would drive us through the muddy trails and over to the apples which clinged to the trees, patiently waiting to be picked. Feeling a bit nostalgic, I got into full Fall gear and headed to a local organic apple farm with my sister-in-law Mel, (or as some of you may know her, the brains behind Glutrition). What better way to ring in the Fall season than to spend an afternoon picking apples. Or as we called it ‘Superficial Apple Picking’ – only the cute/good looking apples were right for the picking!

Fresh Organic Ontario Apples

I had never been to Organics Farm, but Mel said the apples were great – and they definitely were!  We could also see the farm was expanding their apple tree selection as there were new rows with baby trees. The farm was a busy place that afternoon. It seems everyone took advantage of the great weather we had this first day of Fall.

Organics Farm Organic Apple Farm Ontario

I realize in my previous post I had mentioned I would post a cake recipe to celebrate my one year anniversary, but I just had to give into this fall temptation. And to be honest, I had originally planned on making these into cupcakes, (and we know frosting is a great way to celebrate!), but once they came out of the oven I realized just how great they were on their own sans frosting. They’re decadent but not overly sweet. The best part (aside from devouring these beauties), was baking them. Smells of sweet vanilla and spices, warm apple and rich caramel filled the house – absolute divine!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Caramel Apple Spice Muffins

Which is your favourite season?

Pure deliciousness! Enjoy!
Eva

Note:  If you prefer a less decadent taste, you can omit the caramel from the muffin batter.  Drizzle any extra caramel over the baked muffins once they are completely cooled.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Caramel Apple Spice Muffins

Bake Time: 22 minutes

Makes: about 12 large muffins

These muffins are so moist, filled with fresh apples and homemade dairy free ooey-gooey caramel!

Ingredients

    For Muffins:
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp, each ground nutmeg and ground ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup almond millk
  • 1 cup peeled and grated apple (about 1 large, best for baking)
  • 2 tbsp homemade dairy free caramel (recipe below)
  • For Dairy Free Caramel:
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/8 cup almond milk (or more if needed to reach desired consistency)
  • 1 tbsp dairy free margarine/buttery spread

Method

    For Muffins:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line muffin trays with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In large bowl, combine sugar, flours, starch, baking powder and spices. Set aside.
  3. Peel and grate apple; set aside.
  4. In medium bowl, whisk together egg, vanilla and oil. Add half of dry ingredients and half of milk and mix until just combined. Add remaining dry and milk and mix until just combined.
  5. Stir in caramel.
  6. Using spatula, gently fold in grated apples until just combined.
  7. Fill liners 2/3 full. Bake for 22-24 min, or until centers spring back when lightly touched.
  8. Let cool in muffin trays for 5 min before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
  9. For Dairy Free Caramel:
  10. In a small saucepan over med-high heat, boil water with sugar. Do not stir. If you find the sugar is sticking to the sides of the pan, you can gently rotate the pan over the heat.
  11. Sugar will begin to caramelize once it boils.
  12. Once it reaches a rich amber colour, remove from heat. Be careful not to burn sugar.
  13. Slowly and careful, with your face away from the pan, stream a bit of milk down the side of the pan. Stir until mixed.
  14. Repeat and mix until caramel is creamy.
  15. Stir in dairy free margarine and stir until mixed.
  16. Pour into glass container and set aside until slightly cooled. Store in refrigerator. Can be made ahead. If making the same day you are making muffins, make sure the sauce is completely cooled before adding to muffin batter.
  17. You may find you need to add a bit more milk to reach the desired consistency. To test consistency, I coated the back of a spoon and let it sit for a few seconds. If it drys hard, add a bit more milk (about 1 tsp at a time). If it stays coating the spoon and is gooey, you've got yourself some good dairy free caramel!
http://www.pastelbakery.ca/gluten-free-dairy-free-caramel-apple-spice-muffins/

Spanish Flan

Today I’m sharing with you an adapted recipe of a classic dessert from my childhood: Spanish Flan Gluten Free Cow Milk Free. The best part is it only uses 3 main ingredients so it’s super easy to make!

Spanish Flan Gluten Free Cow Milk Free As a child, we had flan often. To be honest, at first it was not one of my favourite childhood desserts, but eventually it did grow on me. Unfortunately though, my mom is not nearby to make me one whenever the craving arises. So I got the courage to try out her recipe but switched the cow milk for goat milk (hence the adaptation).

Spanish Flan Gluten Free Cow Milk Free

I won’t lie; it was a bit tricky putting together this recipe. When I asked my mom for her quantities, I got one of those: ‘a little bit of this, a little bit of that’ responses. Example: for eggs I was told to use the number I wanted. Now I’m sure had it been my mom making the flan, she really could have added the number of eggs she wanted and it still would have turned out marvellously. However, in my case, I guarantee it would have been a huge flop, and I’d be left there standing in a puddle of flan. So I used her quantities from a recent flan she made as my guideline and decided to stay away from the ‘yeah it’ll still work for me if I throw in this extra egg, this way I won’t have 1 egg lying around’ attitude because we all know I’d just be kidding myself.

Spanish Flan Gluten Free Cow Milk FreeI was also advised against melting the sugar and water (for the caramel) in the same pan the custard is baked in (this is what my mom does), but I definitely already knew that. As an amateur Flanador (yup that’s right. I just made up a word for flan maker), I knew I wasn’t going to even try it. One thing is adding an extra egg. Another thing is spilling piping hot sugar syrup all over myself, and then cursing the day I attempted to make flan, while vigorously shaking my fisted hand up in the air (damn you flan!!). Of course, I took the safe route and made the caramel in a separate pot.

Spanish Flan Gluten Free Cow Milk Free

Even though the cow milk was swapped out for goat milk, it worked perfectly. The end result is a refreshing dessert which surprisingly is not overly sweet. It may not be my mom’s flan, but I’d like to think, I may be on my way to becoming an experienced Flanador. Gracias mama por la receta 

Pure deliciousness!
Enjoy and thanks for stopping by! Comments are always welcomed.
Eva

Spanish Flan Gluten Free Cow Milk Free

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 30 minutes

Makes: 6 individual servings

Smooth and creamy authentic Spanish Flan. The perfect 'not too sweet' dessert!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups goat milk
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 3 eggs
  • For Caramel
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place 6 ramekins into a baking dish, which is as high as the ramekins; set aside.
  2. In a medium pot, combine goat milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla, and gently simmer over med-low heat. Stir to dissolve all sugar and simmer until milk is warmed, but not boiled (about 6 min). Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan over med-high heat, boil the 2 tbsp water with 1/2 cup sugar.
  4. Once sugar begins to boil, occasionally rotate pan gently over heat. Boil until sugar caramelizes and turns into a rich dark amber colour. Be careful not to burn the sugar. Remove from heat and carefully pour into ramekins, dividing caramel throughout all 6. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, beat eggs with a wire whisk. Pour the milk in a slow and steady stream while continuing to gently whisk the eggs.
  6. Once all the milk has been added, place a colander over the pot previously containing the milk, and strain the egg/milk mixture through. This will ensure any white clumps from the egg won't make it through to the final product. Evenly distribute egg/milk mixture into each ramekin.
  7. Pour hot water around the outside of the ramekins so it comes halfway up them.
  8. Place in center of oven and bake for 25-30 min, or until edges are set, but centers still jiggle slightly.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes before removing ramekins from baking dish to cool to room temperature - be sure not to remove flan from ramekins yet.
  10. Once cooled to room temperature, cover and place in fridge for at least 4 hours or if possible overnight.
  11. Once ready to be served, run a knife around the inside edge of each ramekin. Cover ramekins with a small bowl (or if using a plate, make sure it has a bit of a lip to hold the sauce), hold tightly, and flip over inverting flan into the bowl.
  12. Keep any leftovers in the fridge. Flan is best consumed within 5 days. Enjoy!

Notes

> I baked my ramekins in a light pan vs. a dark pan and found that I needed to bake them for 45 min.

> The flan will taste better if it sits in fridge overnight, so if you can, bake ahead!

> If flan were to get stuck when flipping into bowl/plate, gently tap bottom of ramekin and try again.

http://www.pastelbakery.ca/spanish-flan-gluten-free-cow-milk-free/

Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Drizzle

I recently made a vanilla bean cookie for Easter, but as usual, I wanted to make something else for our family gathering.  Since I wouldn’t be making an Easter themed cupcake, I knew it had to at least be chocolate based.  And that’s how these Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Drizzle were born.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Drizzle

I’ll forewarn you…this is definitely a decadent cupcake, but trust me it’s worth it!  I added Nutri-whip whipped topping to the cupcake batter, and used a premium cocoa.  The result was a light chocolate cupcake but with a rich brownie taste.  If you only have one mixer (like me), you will need to remove the mixed batter from the bowl in order to whip up the Nutri-Whip before folding it into the batter.  Times like this I wish I had a second mixer (hint, hint to my hubby).

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Drizzle

Each cupcake was filled with homemade dulce de leche – providing the perfect level of hidden gooiness and nicely complimenting the chocolate.  Can I just take a moment to talk about my new obsession: dulce de leche? This recipe I found on Spicie Foodie was so easy and super delish!  It looks like caramel…it’s thick like caramel…but baby, it ain’t caramel!  You can definitely eat it up by the spoonful.  Yes, it’s that good!  I did not realize dulce de leche was this easy to make, if I did, I would have made it long ago. The smell of milk cooking on the stove reminded me of my childhood summers visiting my grandparents in Spain.  There was a milk delivery truck which would drive thoughout the town selling milk.  The driver would loudly (and repeatedly!) honk the horn, bringing people to their front doors with pail in hand.  There were many a time I was one of these people.  We would line up at the back of the truck and patiently wait for our pails to be filled with fresh milk stored in the large stainless steel canisters.  My grandmother would then simmer pots of this fresh milk for us to enjoy.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Drizzle

Of course, no cupcake is complete without fluffy frosting.  These cupcakes were topped with a Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream and drizzled with dulce de leche – because you can never have enough of that stuff. 

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Drizzle

Like I said, this cupcake is decadent.  And if you’re getting ready for swimsuit season, well, fugget about it.  Just close your eyes, lose yourself in this heavenly delight and screw the swimsuit – there’s always next year.  Pure deliciousness!

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

Eva

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Drizzle

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 22 minutes

Makes: About 24 Cupcakes

A decadent chocolate cupcake topped with a vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream and dulce de leche drizzle!

Ingredients

    For Cupcakes:
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened premium cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (chocolate optional)
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup Nutri-Whip whipped topping
  • For Dulce de Leche (recipe adapted from Spicie Foodie):
  • 2 cups goat milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda (added to aid in the browning process)
  • For Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla bean paste

Method

    For Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cupcake trays with liners and set aside.
  2. Place first 7 ingredients in bowl of mixer and stir to combine.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  4. If using one mixer bowl, remove batter from bowl and clean thoroughly.
  5. In clean mixer bowl, add Nutri-Whip and beat until stiff peaks form.
  6. Fold Nutri-Whip into batter until just combined.
  7. Fill liners 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake for 22 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched in center.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool in pans for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
  9. For Dulce de Leche:
  10. In a medium-large pot over medium heat, combine the goat milk, sugar, vanilla and baking soda, and bring to a light boil. Using a wooden spoon, stir to make sure all of the sugar has dissolved.
  11. Cook the mixture over medium heat, for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. At any time should the liquid bubble and rise, continue stirring until bubbles have subsided.
  12. After about 20 minutes or so, the mixture should begin to a darken and thicken into a thick sauce consistency. Continue cooking, stirring frequently until the mixture turns a dark caramel colour and coats the wooden spoon. This may take another 20-40 minutes depending on liquid left in the pot. For me, it took about another 20 minutes to reach this thick consistency which resembled sweetened condensed milk.
  13. Pour into a clear jar and allow to cool completely. If you will be using the dulce de leche immediately, let cool completely before filling and drizzling cupcakes.
  14. Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for a couple of weeks. Before using dulce de leche which has been in the refrigerator, you will need to bring to room temperature, or you can warm in the microwave for about 10 sec. This will make it easier to spread/drizzle. If you will be eating straight out of the jar by the spoonful, no need to wait for it to warm up :)
  15. This recipe makes about 1 cup.
  16. For Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  17. Cut up butter into cubes and set aside.
  18. Add egg whites and sugar to bowl of mixer (ensure it's grease free!), and set over double boiler with water simmering, not boiling.
  19. Whisk constantly but gently until temperature reaches 160°F on a candy thermometer (about 10 min). Clean down sides of bowl every so often with pastry brush or spatula.
  20. Remove from heat and place on mixer with wire attachment.
  21. Whip until meringue is thick, glossy and the bottom of the mixer bowl is neutral to the touch (about 10 min).
  22. Switch over to the paddle attachment and with mixer on low speed, add butter one cube at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  23. Mix until all cubes of butter have been added and frosting has reached a silky smooth texture.
  24. Note: if the mixture curdles, keep mixing it on med-low until it comes back smooth (don't worry, it will come back smooth!).
  25. Add vanilla bean paste and mix until well combined.
  26. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or in freezer for 6-8 weeks.
  27. This recipe makes about 5 cups, enough to frost 24 cupcakes with a bit leftover
http://www.pastelbakery.ca/gluten-free-chocolate-cupcakes-with-dulce-de-leche-drizzle/