Sunday, 5 February 2012

Gluten Free Tropical Sunset Yo-Yos

I know, that's a long-winded name for this recipe but I felt like it. It's based on a recipe for passionfruit yo-yos (or, as some other states call them, melting moments *snorts with derision*), which is in AWW's Cook (wow, I just realised it costs half now what it did when it was bought for me about five years ago).

I basically did a straightforward switcheroonie of plain flour for plain GF flour and didn't add any xanthan gum (possibly a mistake). I think perhaps I was lucky that it was a warm day and I was having trouble rolling the biscuits into balls (the dough kept sticking to my hands), because otherwise I probably wouldn't have made them in 2 batches and treated the second batch differently, and so the entire thing would have been a screaming failure. The GF recipe is a lot more delicate than the original.

For my colour selection, I was initially inspired by the bright colours of the Great Macaron Craze of 2010 (the period of time when everyone decided baking was cool again and their heads exploded in an effort to learn to bake macarons. Don't ask me why - they're not biscuits and they're not meringues and I prefer both of those things to a macaron! Or perhaps I have just never had a good macaron...). I also love things that look like those retro hand-coloured, Technicolor pictures in old AWW cookbooks. They're wonderful. And who doesn't like pink! And orange! And the fact they had passionfruit in them made me think of tropical sunsets, thus the name.

Something I didn't expect was that the GF version of this recipe tastes a lot more buttery than the normal version of the recipe (although, as I edit this, I'm wondering whether I used a different recipe to the first time I baked them...). I can't explain why, but next time I will certainly be playing with a few more things to improve the recipe and the flavour - perhaps I will add some lemon peel to the dough and some sort of flavouring to the buttercream. In the meantime, here is my "it-kind-of-works-but-it-could-be-better" GF recipe!

250g butter
1/2c icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1-2 drops red gel food colouring (I used Americolour Red Red)
1+1/2c plain GF flour
1/2c non-glutinous cornflour

Beat butter and sugar.

Bemoan the fact that it seems a bit weird to dip your finger into the butter-sugar mix when the sugar is basically non-existent and not at all delcious and grainy :(

Add egg and vanilla and a drop of food colouring and mix well.

Add flour and beat until combined. Add another drop of colouring if it seems necessary.

This part is really important!

Refrigerate dough until firm (at least half an hour).

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 170oC and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Roll into balls 2-3cm across (a super-heaped tsp or a scant tbsp) and place on trays, 3cm apart. They don't spread a great deal but they do spread more than normal yo-yos, so you may wish to use a third tray to be sure that they won't all stick to each other.
Lightly squash balls with a (GF) floured fork.

This part is really important!

Put squashed balls (hehe) on tray in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes to firm them up.

Bake for 12 mins. Leave on tray 5mins then transfer to cooling rack

1tbsp passionfruit pulp
80g butter
2 drops orange gel food colour (I used Americolour Orange)
2/3c icing sugar, sifted.

Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add food colour and beat until mixed in and colour is even. Add icing sugar and beat until combined. Add passionfruit and beat until combined. Avoid the urge to refrigerate the buttercream because if it's too hard it will be difficult to spread. Don't worry, refrigeration will come later.

Now this is where it gets a bit tricky, and you may find yourself concentrating so hard that your tongue comes out the corner of your mouth, like when you were a kid and you were trying really hard to cut something complicated out using scissors.

Once the biscuits are cool you need to fill them. Before you touch them, you need to be aware that the biscuits (especially when they are still warm) will literally explode in your hand if you exert too much force. How much force is too much, you ask? Um, not very much at all. I'm talking, you need to use a spatula to transfer them to the cooling rack otherwise you'll put your finger through it.

It follows that when you are filling the biscuits you need to give them as much support as possible. This means cupping it in your hand and verrrry gently spreading the buttercream on. Next, you top it with a second biscuit and verrry gently push it whilst twisting downwards to make it stick, about 1/4 of a turn. Try to push with 3 fingers flat or the palm of your other hand rather than 2 fingers - it means it is less likely to explode!

This part is really important!

Once they are all filled, pop them in the fridge until they are set. Once the buttercream has soaked into the biscuit a little and the cool has set them they are a LOT more stable. Serve straight out of the fridge. I don't recommend leaving them on the bench for more than about half an hour or so otherwise you'll be back to square one. Ten to fifteen minutes is probably ideal as they'll still be firm but not so cold as to retard the passionfruit flavour.

Here they are, all pretty! Note the evidence of exploded biscuits in the background :(

Things I will play with next time: addition of xanthan gum; addition of a small amount of lemon peel to the biscuit; addition of some passionfruit/other tropical flavouring to the buttercream; playing with refrigeration times; refrigerating the biscuit before squashing and also before adding the filling; and maybe adding a little more flour as it is quite a wet dough.


  1. That seems like a TON of butter - maybe the reason why they were prone to exploding?? The recipe I've used for yoyos has 185g butter rather 250g...

  2. I need to find my mum's recipe for yo-yos - it was different again. I'm pretty sure you had to rub all the butter in by hand, and it used custard powder (which I guess is no different to cornflour with yellow colouring and vanilla flavour!).

    I don't remember hers exploding either, but it's possible she was just extremely cautious when icing them!

    1. I've definitely made a recipe that involved custard powder in the past, too, which makes me think that I have TWO recipes for passionfruit yo-yos! And I think you're right about it being cornflour with vanilla and colouring, and maybe a little milk powder. Maybe that makes them more robust...

  3. You're right on the money there, cos the original recipe is called "buttery passionfruit yo-yo bites"! The do actually **taste** quite buttery, which is why I was thinking about adding lemon zest next time to take the edge off a bit. That was also what made me think that the time I made them 2 or so years ago I used a different recipe, cos the filling tasted the same but I recall the biscuits being less buttery. Guess I'll have to figure out where I got the other recipe from...

  4. When I was cooking GF I found a little chickpea flour in the mix made them a little more sturdy. My mix was equal parts chickpea, tapioca and cornflour.

    LOVE the sound of passionfruit buttercream. I could eat that by the spoonful.

    1. I DID eat it by the spoonful ;) (it tastes better a little refrigerated) Next time I'll add more passionfruit, though, or maybe some passionfruit essence.

      I haven't quite evolved to the level of figuring out which types of GF flour do what, but it's good to know chickpea flour makes things more sturdy - I might try mixing things up a bit next time.


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