Gluten Free Ho-Hos
Recipe Credit: Gluten Free on a Shoestring
- 1/2 cup (70 grams) all-purpose gluten-free flour (I use Better Batter)
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if using Better Batter)
- 1 tablespoon (5 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- dash (1/8 teaspoon) kosher salt
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (divided)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 extra-large eggs, beaten
- 6 tablespoons warm water (plus more, if necessary)
- 1 packet (1 scant tablespoon) unflavored powdered gelatin
- 1/4 cup cool water
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, plus more for dusting
- 3 tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
- Grease a quarter sheet pan well with unsalted butter. Line with a sheet a wax paper, and grease the paper with unsalted butter, and set the pan aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium-sized bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine well.
- In a separate large, microwave-safe bowl, place 3 ounces of chopped chocolate and the butter. Microwave on 50% power for 45 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Allow to cool briefly. Add the granulated sugar and vanilla, and mix well. Add the eggs and water, and mix until well-combined. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture (see photo), and mix until well-combined. The batter should be pourable. If it seems too thick, thin it with another tablespoon or two of water.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and shake from side to side and back and forth to distribute the batter evenly in the pan. Smack the bottom of the pan against the counter to burst the air bubbles, and place it in the center of the preheated oven.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cake is just set and is firm to the touch. Check at 8 minutes, and watch carefully.
- While the cake is in the oven, place two large pieces of wax paper (or 2 tea towels) flat on the counter side by side and sprinkle both generously with powdered sugar. As soon as the cake is removed from the oven (before it has had a chance to cool at all), turn it out onto one sheet of wax paper (or one tea towel) and remove the pan. Carefully pull back what is now the top layer of wax paper and discard it. Cut the cake in half width-wise (see photo). Remove one half of the cake to the other sheet of wax paper.
- Working quickly, dust the top of one half cake with more powdered sugar, and, starting at a short end, begin to roll the cake away from you as tightly as possible (see photo). Gently squeeze the cake with your hands to secure it as rolled. Place the roll, seam side down, still wrapped in wax paper on a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining half cake.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the filling. In a small microwave safe bowl, place the contents of the packet of powdered gelatin and the 1/4 cup water, and mix to combine. Allow to sit for a few moments until the gelatin swells. It will be lumpy. Microwave the gelatin mixture for 30 seconds, stir (see photo) and set it aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream and 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar on high until soft peaks form (see photo). add the slightly cooled gelatin mixture, and whisk again on high until the mixture has thickened (see photo again). Place the filling in the refrigerator to chill while the cakes finish cooling.
- Once the cakes have cooled completely, gently unroll one cake and peel back any wax paper that has adhered to the top of the cake. The cake will almost certainly have cracked in various places, and it’s fine. Spread an even layer of filling about 1/4 inch thick over the entire surface of the cake, spreading it more thinly as you reach the edges. Reroll the cake tightly, and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining cake. Place both rolls in the refrigerator to chill. You will have left over filling — not a particularly troubling problem.
- While waiting for the rolls to chill, make the chocolate topping. In a medium-sized microwave safe bowl, place the remaining 5 tablespoons of chopped chocolate and the 3 tablespoons of shortening. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat for 45 seconds at 50% power. Stir the mixture, and heat again for 45 seconds at 50% power. Stir and repeat if necessary until all the chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Remove one chocolate roll from the refrigerator and unwrap and discard the plastic wrap. With a very sharp knife, slice the roll into four equal pieces by cross-section. Dip the tops and sides of each roll in the melted chocolate mixture, and place each roll on clean parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining chocolate roll from the refrigerator. Allow the rolls to sit until the chocolate sets – either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. The chocolate coating will seal the rolls, and they will last at least at least a day or so on the counter, or a few days in the refrigerator.
My instructions may be long, but it’s only because they’re explicit. Follow them to the letter, and you’ll be successful. Try not to modify the recipe at all the first go ’round, until you get the feel of it. And remember – cream filling heals all cracks, and chocolate topping covers the ones it doesn’t.