Monday, October 15, 2012

Gluten-Free Grasshopper Pielettes and Glutino Gluten-Free Chocolate Vanilla Creme Dream Cookies

Not Pies, but Pielettes

I've been meaning to make a Grasshopper pie for months. But these months have been busy, and there wasn't quite the right time for a pie.

Then fall arrived and suddenly it seemed late in the year. But, I decided, not too late.

We needed a dessert to bring to a picnic. Of course I'm going to bring something that is gluten-free. That's just what I do.

And, would you believe, there are now a few people who expect me to do this. They, too, are gluten-free.

I looked for recipes for grasshopper pie. Of course none of them were gluten-free. No problem. I know how to make the necessary adjustments.

In any case, all the grasshopper pie recipes I found in the house contained alcohol. Creme de methe and creme de cacao, to be precise.

And none of these recipes call for baking the pie.

That means the alcohol will not be cooked off.

Now, we were supposed to be bringing a dessert to a picnic with lots of children in attendance. I would never presume to serve all those children a dessert with a significant quantity of alcohol.

I needed to find an alcohol-free recipe for grasshopper pie. I had to resort to the internet.

But I didn't end up using any one particular recipe. I pieced together bits from a couple of different recipes. Therefore, I will now claim this as my own gluten-free, (almost) alcohol-free grasshopper pie recipe.

Except we didn't want to take a pie.

Serving a pie at a picnic is no picnic. It doesn't serve easily. So, I also decided that I would make mini pies or pielettes.

Gluten-Free, almost Alcohol-Free, Grasshopper Pielettes

I wanted to make twenty-four pielettes, so that there would be enough to go around at the picnic. That, and my daughter won this great cupcake carrier that holds two dozen cupcakes. Perfect.

I wasn't sure how much of the ingredients I was going to need, but just by rough guesstimates, it seemed that one pie recipe would likely make twelve pielettes. Therefore, I planned the ingredients for two pies.

Here's my recipe for one gluten-free, almost alcohol-free, grasshopper pie. Double this if you want 2 dozen pielettes like me.

1 package Glutino Gluten-Free Dream Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 7-oz. jar marshmallow creme
1 Tbsp. mint extract (not peppermint)
2 tsp. chocolate extract
3 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
green liquid food coloring

I started by laboriously separating each of the gluten-free chocolate vanilla creme cookies and scraping out the middle icing. Separate and scrape all of the cookies. Yes, the entire package.

No cheating. No sneaking. You need all those wafers for the recipe. But you can use the icing somewhere else. You won't be needing it for this recipe.

These cookies are good on their own, but I didn't want the pielettes, specifically the crusts of the pielettes, to be too sweet. So, out came the middle icing, which is very, very sweet.

Then I took all the chocolate wafers and put them through my food processor, several at a time, to grind them up into crumbs. This takes just a few pulses and a few seconds for each batch.

Reserve about a quarter cup of dry crumbs for later.

Melt the butter. Stir butter throughly into the larger portion of wafer crumbs.

Line a muffin/cupcake pan with cupcake papers. Distribute buttery crumbs evenly between twelve paper cups, about two tablespoons worth each.

Using your fingers, press the buttery crumbs flat across the bottom of each cup. Pack the crumbs down tight, working to keep the tops of the crumbs level.

Using a mixer, combine the marshmallow creme, both extracts, and green liquid food coloring and beat on low speed until combined. You get to choose the color intensity. I used four drops and it looked good, so I stopped.

But I forgot that I would be adding a whole lot of more white in the next step. Be advised: You might want to shoot for a slightly darker green, because it will lighten when the whipped cream is added.

In a separate bowl, whip two cups of the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form.

Fold whipped cream into marshmallow and extract mixture. Do this by hand and work gently. You don't want to stir wildly and have your whipped cream lose all of its air.

Here's my mixture at this point.

Can you see that it is green? Me neither. I aimed low with the food coloring and it got much paler once I added the whipped cream.

I guess that makes up for the obnoxiously green lime pie I once made....

Now, carefully spoon the whipped mixture into each cup, gently pushing it around to fill the space. I made mine nearly level with the top of the cup, because I knew I would be adding the next step. But not yet.

Now freeze these, just like this for at least five hours. That's right. Five or more hours. I froze ours overnight.

When you are ready to finish these off, whip the remaining cup of heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Using a spoon, plop a dollop of whipped cream on the top of each pielette.

My daughter, always the intrepid taster, was ready to help out.

"Can I taste the whipped cream?"


"Eewww! Yuck! It's awful! Did you sweeten it?"


"Tastes terrible."

No, actually, it tastes like pure, unsweetened whipped cream. Just as I planned.

I guess she had never tasted unsweetened whipped cream before. Oh, and she was expecting it to be sweetened. Ha!

I didn't want these pielettes to be overly sweet, so I cut out the cookie icing and left out the sugar from the whipped cream. I assured her that it would taste fine when the whole thing was eaten together.

We had yet to see if my daughter would agree that the finished product was done right.

Next, we sprinkled the tops with the reserved chocolate wafer crumbs (unbuttered). Just a few will do. Then we topped them all off with a spearmint gel candy.

I was generally happy how these ended up looking. The pale green filling was too pale for my liking and didn't stand out at all against the white whipped cream on top. But the crumbs and the candy finished them off nicely.

I was quite pleased with these in terms of taste. Not too sweet. Not too minty.

And as for that unsweetened whipped cream?

My daughter agreed that when the whole thing was eaten together, it was good. The cream by itself was not, but together, it was right. Just right. Excellent!

But the spearmint candies were horrible, in my opinion. Just some garden-variety grocery store spearmint candies. Not everyone hated them, but more than one child of mine (that means all of them!) said they tasted like toothpaste. Yes, could be. I will definitely look for some other toppings next time.

The texture of the pielettes in general ended up being very soft, once they sat out for a bit and defrosted. The middle whipped cream mixture was just as soft as whipped cream. This made them a bit challenging to eat, since the crusts were quite firm and crunchy.

And, finally, the reason that these are almost alcohol-free is that those extracts have alcohol in them too. But by using them instead of the drinking liqueurs, the alcohol quantity is greatly reduced. No one pielette gets very much alcohol from those extracts.

All in all, these were a success. A bit more green coloring and some different candy toppers next time, and these will be real winners!

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