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Domestic Goddess Tip: Bouquet Garni (Spice Packet)


A safety tip for recipes which call for using a spice bag (or also called bouquet garni) is to tie that string off on the handle of your sauce pot. Mine happens to have a handy dandy hole in the handle, which makes for a perfect way to secure the string far away from my flame!
If you don’t have a hole, you can wind the string up the handle and loop it under itself to keep it safe.
Not only is this a great way to not set a fire, but the string makes for an easy way to pull the Bouquet Garni out of the hot liquid.
If  your recipe calls for a spice bag-bouquet garni, simply take a piece of cheese cloth, double lined, bundle it up like a coin purse, and tie it off with a long piece of kitchen twine or string. Traditional bouquet garni has you simply tie the bundle of herbs together tightly, but some recipes call for loose items like the allspice and peppers in my cranberry sauce, so using the cheesecloth works better in these cases. You can use this technique for both.

Now you have a way to infuse your liquids and sauces easily and safely.

(Click here for the Best Cranberry Sauce Ever!)

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Gluten Free Stuffed Pumpkin Snickerdoodles


OH YEAH BABY. Just look at those cookies! Are you drooling yet? Well, trust me, they are drool worthy. I’m not kidding here, these are totally worth every single calorie in them!
While these tasty nuggets of pumpkin, spice, and everything nice, are fantastic anytime, they would also be a massive hit on your Thanksgiving Dessert Buffet. Why not think ahead? Santa would be happy to down a couple of these before dropping off presents! Do you have an upcoming Christmas Cookie Exchange? Well, these taste amazing, are a wonderful gluten free option, and probably due to the pumpkin, keep extremely well, getting softer over time. So feel free to pre-bake and take, knowing they will be even better a day later!

Gluten Free Stuffed Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

For the cookie dough:
3 3/4 cups Gluten Free Flour blend. (I always use Pamela’s Artisan Flour)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Cream of Tarter
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1/4 tsp Nutmeg, ground
1/2 tsp Ginger, dried ground
1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened *see note
1 cup Sugar, white (i use organic cane sugar)
1/2 cup Brown Sugar, dark
1 Egg, large
3/4 cup Pumpkin Puree
2 tsp Vanilla extract

For the stuffing:
8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Sugar, white
2 tsp Vanilla extract

For rolling the cookies:
1/2 cup Cinnamon Maple Sugar *see photo below
1/2 tsp Ginger, ground
(If you cannot find Cinnamon Maple Sugar, simply add cinnamon and ginger to maple sugar OR mix together cinnamon, ginger and white sugar to taste. Approximately 1/2 cup sugar + 1 tsp Cinnamon and 1/2 tsp Ginger)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Line baking sheets with a Silpat silicone liner or Parchment Paper

First, whisk together the dry ingredients: Flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
Then, in your stand mixer (or hand mixer) beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy, add egg, pumpkin puree and vanilla. Mix well.
(*Note: I don’t always remember to soften my butter. So I cheat: Dice up the butter, add part of your sugar, then begin to mix on low. Add the rest of the sugar and continue to beat. The sugar will ‘cut’ up the butter and soften it, along with the friction of the beaters. It’s not the ideal method, but it works in a pinch.)
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing well. (The flour has no gluten, so no worries about over mixing, they will remain tender)
Set these ingredients in the refrigerator while you make the stuffing.

In a clean bowl, beat the softened cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla. Do not over mix this. You are not whipping it, just mixing it altogether.

Now is the tricky part, though not difficult. This dough is a little soft, but not super sticky, you’ll understand what I mean when you make them. They are softer than a traditional snickerdoodle, so if your kitchen is not cool, that little time in the fridge does wonders to firm up the dough a bit.


Using a teaspoon or dough scoop (I use a small  muffin-cookie scoop which is kind of like an ice cream scooper), take 2 small wads of dough (a little under a tablespoon each) and slightly flatten. Then take a tsp of the cream cheese mix, lay it in-between the 2 pieces of dough and gently press/pinch the seams together to make a slightly flattened ball. My first batch, I rolled into a circular ball like I would a traditional snickerdoodle, and the cookies baked up too tall. When I used this flatten/pinch-to-seal technique, the end result was a more traditional looking cookie. Can you see the difference in the picture below? The one on the top was a wad of cheese that I wrapped the dough around. The flatter, more traditional cookies are a result of my modified technique.


Roll (or flip) the dough ball in the maple cinnamon sugar. Place on your baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes. They may, or may not develop cracks. The cookie will be moist but not raw when done.

Remove to a cooking rack and let cool, if you can wait that long. Half were gone before I finished baking them all!

These cookies do not disappoint. I think how many you end up with, will depend on how big of a cookie you roll. I was able to end up with just under 2 dozen cookies.
Enjoy, and as always, I’d love to hear your feedback or answer any questions in the comment section!

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These Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls are the BOMB!


Those who follow me, know I’ve been on a mission to create a Monkey Bread worthy of my very critical tastebuds. While I am obsessed with finding a recipe for light and airy nuggets of cinnamon sugared baked dough balls, which I make ONCE A YEAR, my girls have been missing plain old fashioned cinnamon rolls, which we enjoy year ’round.  While in Seattle recently (my oldest graduated college and it was her graduation wish to take a trip out there) we found a little bakery offering gluten free cinnamon rolls at a little shop in Pikes Marketplace. Finding them, and chatting with the shop owner, we ordered them to be picked up fresh the next morning. Fresh and warm, the flavor was excellent, but they reminded me more of an expertly made biscuit dough, rolled with cinnamon, sugar and butter and baked. Don’t get me wrong, it made me re-think my monkey bread if I cannot figure out a risen dough version. But based on the oooooh’s and aaaaaah’s, along with murmurs  of happiness from my girls, it was obvious cinnamon rolls were highly cherished.

So, when I stumbled on another bloggers risen dough version of a Cinnamon Roll, I leaped at the opportunity to give it a try. Of course, I always throw my own twist in, and this time is no different. Normally, I make a gluten free baked good more than once before throwing it out there for others to enjoy. However, after posting photos on my Facebook page: Michelle Venturo Cooking Coach a friend begged for the recipe. Sooooo, here goes! (Please read the entire recipe before starting!)

I will explain some of the potential pitfalls with this recipe right up front, and share my own tips and tricks.

This dough is sticky. Like, STICKY. Its not unmanageable, but my second batch will utilize the advice I’m giving you to make the process more manageable.
1. Use a Silpat. A lot of recipes use saran wrap to help shape and ease gluten free doughs. Sorry, but just isn’t going to work here. Don’t have a Silpat? Well, go get one. They have a lot of generics out there. Just get one. You’ll thank me later. They have a multitude of uses. Every kitchen should have one!
2. Use a LOT of GF flour on your Silpat. I always have Pamelas Artisan Flour on hand, so I used that. You could use any good gluten free flour blend, or plain white rice flour. I like the blends better for applications like this, but I’m just leaving the option open. If you don’t use enough flour on that Silpat, the dough will stick. No worries, just use a floured bench scraper and gently pry it loose and keep the rolling process going.
3. Unless you melt the butter (see #8 note below), getting the creamed butter to ‘spread’ over the dough rectangle just isn’t going to happen in a pretty way. Granted, its fall/winter and my kitchen is cold, but that dough is soft. I gave myself some grace and just tried to make it work by ‘smooshing’ the butter mixture into flattened wads and laid them over the top. (see photo below)
4. Once you roll your dough log up, you need to cut your rolls. I have always used Dental Floss. It’s easy and gives a clean cut. Only have mint floss on hand? No worries! Just run it under water to wash off the mint flavor and cut a-way! (no way I’m admitting I did that)
5. Grease your pan. I use an organic coconut spray by Spectrum. It works great. but you can use melted butter. (hmmm, i think butter sounds better, don’t you?)
6. Can you use something other than Pamelas Bread Mix? I don’t know. I know that my Perfect Gluten Free Pancakes are amazing made with Pamelas Artisan Flour. I just can’t guarantee they will turn out the same. I do think Pamela’s is a true gift for the gluten free cook. It liberated me when my daughters were diagnosed. I’ve tried all the brands and I like Pamela’s best. I don’t get commission, so I think I can say I like the product and be unbiased.
7. Next time, I will use 2-3 pie pans. I think these were spread too far apart and so they had nothing to ‘grab’ in the rising process. They turned out flatter than I would have liked, and that could be due to over-rising, under-rising, or not crowded close enough together. My daughter assured me she couldn’t find a single thing wrong, so it might just be me, being self-critical!
8. Next time, I might try melting the butter for the spread. Pioneer Woman in her rolls, uses melted butter, white sugar and cinnamon. I am wondering if that would work here. I’m thinking out loud, so if you are adventurous, try it. If not, stick to the recipe. It works.
9. (Last one, sorry for so many ‘tips’!) Next time, I might let the dough rest for half hour in the mixer, gently beat down and then turn out. It works for gluten dough, helping give time for the flour to accept the liquid, making it a little dryer to deal with.

Now that we have covered some of the tips for success, let’s get to baking!

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

3 Cups of Pamela’s Bread Mix.
3 large Eggs
1 cup of Buttermilk, warmed to 105 degrees. (no warmer than 115)
2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1 tbsp Organic Cane Sugar
1 package of Unflavored Gelatin, softened in 1/4 cup of water.
1 1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling

1 stick Unsalted Butter (8tbsp), softened
2 1/2 tbsp Cinnamon (I used half Ceylon and half Vietnamese)
1 cup Brown Sugar

**Frosting: see below

First: Add the yeast and sugar to the warmed buttermilk and let stand until it begins to foam up, about 10-15 minutes.

In a stand mixer, combine the flour, eggs and pulse. Add the yeasted-buttermilk mixture, gelatin and pulse the mixer again to combine. Add the apple cider vinegar and beat for approximately 2 minutes. (If experimenting with ‘resting’, this would be a good time to let it rest for a bit. Then give a quick pulse on the machine to ‘knead’ it down and then continue)

When dough is done, turn out onto your well-floured Silpat. Gently pat the clump out into a – sorta – rectangular shape. Then, with a very well floured rolling pin (sprinkle more flour over the top if you need to keep it from sticking) gently roll the dough out to approximately a 16×11 rectangle. (that is the shape of a standard Silpat) Trim the edges.


Then, take your softened butter mixture (FYI: I have sped this process up but beating it with my stand mixer. Beating the butter with the sugar, allows the sugar to cut up the butter and soften it fairly quickly) and gently smooth it as you drop it on the dough. Just try to be as even as possible. Spread it as evenly as possible. (photo above)


Here is the ‘fun’ part: rolling!  Pick up the long edge and gently begin to fold it over on the dough. You are rolling it into the shape of a log. If it is going to stick, this is where it will. Don’t panic, simply take a kitchen knife or bench scraper that has been dipped in your flour, and gently ease it off the mat and onto itself. Keep rolling. If you need to use a bit of flour to ease the rolling process, do it. When the whole thing is rolled up (photo above), pinch the seam together as best you can. Now is when your teeth cleaning skills come in to play….not really! Now is when you use your dental floss to ‘cut’ the dough. Lay it flat and slide it under the log. Then lift both ends up, cross them over and pull, it will cut off a 1.5 inch slice. Take the slice, and place it in your greased 9×13 dish, cut side up. Continue till all the dough is cut.


Cover the pan with saran wrap. I like to put a dish towel over the top and place it in the warmest spot in your kitchen. Since I usually have my oven going, near the oven is best. If that is NOT your case, then bring 4 cups of water to a boil, put a pan in your oven that will hold the water, and pour it in, place your rolls in, and shut the oven door! The warm water will warm up the air. You might want to check the warmth after about 45 minutes. (Rolls can take 45 min- 2 hours to rise, depending upon your kitchen temp) Re-heat the water if you need to.

When the rolls have doubled in size. Heat up your oven to 375 degrees.
Bake for 28-35 minutes. Check them early. They should be cooked through, but not BURNED! What can I say, some baked goods are subjective! Some people like their cookies soft and gooey, some like them hard and crispy. Bread? Needs to be cooked. Err on the safe side for more cooked. My frosting will make up for a multitude of errors!


Make frosting while it bakes:

4 cups Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Maple Extract
1/4 cup Melted Butter (salted)
1-2 tbsp Nespresso. (If you don’t have a nespresso – (Big Man’s fathers day gift) – use a very strong brewed coffee.
Milk added to make the right consistency, thin enough to drizzle, but not too loose. It might be as much as 1/4 cup, could be as little as 2 tbsp.
*whisk together until smooth. When you come back to it, it might have ‘dried out’ a bit, so add a bit of milk or coffee to thin it out.
*if using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt.


Immediately upon removing from the oven, turn out onto a platter. Sounds easy? Yeah. I still find it intimidating! Here is the trick. I have a full sheet pan. (large lightweight platter works too) I place a piece of parchment on it. I take that sheet pan (or platter if you don’t have a sheet pan big enough) and I invert it onto the top of the hot baking dish.  Put on your oven mitts, and with one hand on the sheet pan, one on the bottom of the baking dish, flip. The rolls will slip right out.

Then, while warm, pour frosting over the top. (This is what it looks like flipped over!)


And, here is the final product….after little munchkins have nibbled away at it. By the end of the night, half was gone.


So, I guess that is the best testimony! My daughter says this post will go viral. It will be fun to see if her high marks are agreed upon.
Please, leave any feedback or questions below in the comments. I would love to know how they turned out for you, or if something is not clear enough!


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