I’m not a big cereal person but my friend Nicole at Gluten Free on a Shoestring loves the stuff. Before I knew it, words were exchanged and we had an official Fruit Loops throw-down (take that, Bobby Flay).
And since she was busy writing a cookbook (due out October 2012 – order early and often) and the manuscript was on a deadline, I got a head start. And boy did I need it. Let me just say that a Fruit Loop looks an awful lot more simple in that box at the grocery store. My first batch looked more like puppy kibble than Fruit Loops.
But after I got into the challenge of recreating a Fruit Loop it was almost fun -geeky fun, even. You have to consider not only flavors, but color. Would we need color? Would we need a boost for flavors? Perhaps they could use more color, but I kind of like knowing they are full of real (freeze-dried astronaut snack pack) fruit and whole grains with a little bit of starch and sweetener.
For those who know me, I am dough-rolling-challenged. Nothing (and I mean nothing) ever comes out the same depth when I roll dough. But thankfully, Fruit Loops are forgiving and you want them to be slightly not uniform. But the part that had me doubled over in simultaneous fits of giggles and tears of frustration was cutting them out. Could someone please invent a Barbie sized donut cutter? Seriously. I actually shopped for one online – in desperation.
Instead I used a piping tip to make the round cut-outs and the back of a pastry paintbrush to form the holes. My way smarter friend, Nicole used a straw for the holes and that might have saved my sanity had I asked her first.
And I can hear my grown up children gasping as they are reading this. I never officially allowed a Fruit Loop in our home when they were kids. None that they knew about anyway (summer camp, kids. did you ever wonder what mommy and daddy ate while you were away?).
The process is not hard. But it does take a little bit of time. You can save yourself some grief by breaking up the steps. Make the dough one day and refrigerate overnight or even longer (my dough was in the refrigerator for quite a few days and I even stashed some in the freezer). Roll out one fruit flavor at a time if you want to parcel out the effort.
Feel free to divide the initial dough blob (evenly) into however many fruit flavors you want to make. I used four fruit flavors which made for an easy division of the dough. The kitchen scale comes in handy here and I highly recommend you get one. I like this one here.
Fiori di Sicilia is a really great flavoring – vanilla with citrus notes. It is pricey but I bought the small bottle more than a year ago and still have plenty left. A little tiny bit goes a long way. It really helped create that familiar Fruit Loop smell and flavor – I think. Lemon Peel Powder from Penzeys is an all around great addition to many baked goods. I buy it regularly (the tiny jar). Penzeys Spices is a great place to get fresh spices and herbs for a reasonable cost – even mail order if there isn’t a local store.
Read all about Nicole’s Fruit Loops here. You’ll be glad you did.
|Fruit Loops, Gluten Free||
- 560 grams GF flour (300g superfine brown rice flour, 110 g tapioca starch/flour, 100 g corn starch, 50g superfine white rice flour) (about 4.5 cups GF flour)
- 100 grams superfine white sugar (about ½ cup)
- 100 grams regular white sugar (about ½ cup)
- 4 tablespoon Saco buttermilk blend
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon lemon peel powder (Penzeys)
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 packages/flavors freeze-dried fruit (2 oz. packages 100% natural)*
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar (1 tablespoon per bag of freeze-dried fruit)
- 8 tablespoons Spectrum shortening
- 4 tablespoons solid coconut shortening
- 200 grams (about a generous ¾ cup) coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia (King Arthur Flour)
- Preheat oven to 350. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.
- Weigh flours together. Whisk. Add superfine and regular sugar to flour. Add buttermilk blend, baking soda, lemon peel powder, nutmeg and salt. Whisk. Divide evenly into four bowls – about a total of 205 grams to each bowl (for four fruit flavors).
- In a small food processor working with one bag of fruit at a time – whiz each with one tablespoon of powdered sugar. When completely powdered, add to one bowl. Repeat with each fruit.
- To each bowl add two tablespoons of spectrum shortening and one tablespoon of solid coconut shortening. Using a fork, mix in the shortening leaving large clumps. Create a well in the center of each bowl.
- Weigh the coconut milk and stir in the flavorings. Using the scale add 50 grams of the milk mixture to the well in each bowl. Using a fork, mix until the dough leaves the side and forms a rough ball of dough. Using parchment paper, roll each dough separately to about ⅛ inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap for easier rolling. Cut out circles and holes and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with sugar. Freeze for about 5 minutes. Place in oven and bake for about 6 minutes. Rotate baking sheets and turn oven to 325. Bake for about 6-9 minutes more or until the edges start to turn golden. Cool completely.