Cooking/Recipes

Fudgy, Gluten-Free, Honey-Sweetened, Brownies

Posted by on Apr 13, 2014 in Cooking/Recipes, Desserts | 0 comments

Gluten-Free Brownie

Ever since I started eating chocolate again, I have been on the search for a healthy brownie option.  Not that I don’t love traditional brownies, because I certainly do!  But I know all of that white sugar and white flour is not the best thing for my body, so I began to do some recipe searching and experimenting.

In the last several years I have made black bean brownies (yum!) chick pea brownies (not so good) and numerous variations with multiple flours and natural sweeteners.

But these are, hands-down, the BEST brownie I have tried.

Gluten-free, they get their fudgie texture from avacados.  Not that you would know they are in there!  The original recipe called for one cup of white sugar, which I quickly subbed for honey and after a few trials came up with these yummy treats.

Ready to begin?

Fudgy Avacado Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs (or 3 egg whites and one full egg)
  • 1/2  - 2/3 cup honey  (1/2 cup is mildly sweet,  2/3 is as sweet as you would expect a brownie to be)
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (or whole almonds and a food processor or high-powered blender)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe avocados

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease an 8×8 pan.

If you don’t have almond meal, it’s really easy to make your own in a food processor or high-powered blender.  Simply place whole, natural, almonds in and whiz until they turn to fine crumbs.

Almond Meal

Beat the eggs well.  Mix with the honey until very well combined.  I mixed mine in my new Vitamix (I LOVE that thing!) but it’s just as easy to do with a mixer or a strong arm. :)

Eggs in the Vitamix Add Honey

Using the Vitamix as a mixer

Melt the chocolate chips and add to the egg mixture.

Melted Chocolate

Stir in everything else but the avocados.  If you are using your blender, this is a good time to pour out the ingredients into a bowl.  Once the avocados are added things get really thick and it’s a bit of a job to get everything to mix and then scrape everything out of a blender.  (Speaking from experience!)

Gluten Free Brownies

Mash the avocados well until there are absolutely no lumps.  (I ran them through the Vitamix with a little of the batter to keep things moving until they were really smooth.  A food processor would work well too.)

Avocados

Fold the avocado into the chocolate mixture.  Pour into the pan.  Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Eat, and enjoy!

Fudgy Avacado Brownies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs (or 3 whites and one full egg)
  • ½ – ⅔ cup honey
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe avocados
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan.
  2. If you don’t have almond meal, it’s really easy to make your own in a food processor or high-powered blender. Simply place whole, natural, almonds in and whiz until they turn to fine crumbs.
  3. Beat the eggs well. Mix with the honey until very well combined. I mixed mine in my new Vitamix (I LOVE that thing!) but it’s just as easy to do with a mixer or a strong arm. :)
  4. Melt the chocolate chips and add to the egg mixture.
  5. Stir in everything else but the avocados. If you are using your blender, this is a good time to pour out the ingredients into a bowl. Once the avocados are added things get really thick and it’s a bit of a job to get everything to mix and then scrape everything out of a blender. (Speaking from experience!)
  6. Mash the avocados well until there are absolutely no lumps. (I ran them through the Vitamix with a little of the batter to keep things moving until they were really smooth. A food processor would work well too.)
  7. Fold the avocado into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the pan. Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

What recipes have you been experimenting with lately?

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Parsnip and Apple Muffins – Yum!

Posted by on Dec 12, 2012 in Cooking/Recipes | 0 comments

This is a picture I took late one frosty November evening after I completed the final fall harvest.  Carrots, parsnip and salsify.  And yes, that is quite a bit of parsnip.  And yes, some of them seem to be monstrous in size. (I couldn’t wrap my hand around a few of them!)  And no, hubby does not like parsnip and with its distinctive flavour it is a hard vegetable to hide.  Trust me.  I’ve tried.

So I gave some away to some parsnip-loving friends, and still my fridge drawer is full.  I love them roasted in the oven with a little olive oil, garlic and spices.  But there is only so much parsnip a girl can roast!

Enter parsnip muffins.  I found a great recipe through Whole Foods, and then, of course, I changed it.  My version is made with a mix of whole wheat and spelt flours, uses butter instead of oil, and honey instead of sugar.  And they are yummy.  Spiced like carrot cake, moist, but not too moist, with the sweetness of raisins and the heartiness of nuts.  If you don’t have parsnips, I am sure you could substitute carrot and still have stellar results.

 

Parsnip and Apple Muffins  

Makes 18 muffins

  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 cup whole white flour
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (or any milk)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and grated
  • 1 large apple, peeled and grated (without the core, of course!)
Roast nuts at 350 until browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes.  Let cool and chop.

Grease muffin pans or line with paper liners.  Combine flours with baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.  Stir in raisins and nuts.  In separate bowl combine eggs, melted butter, milk, honey and vanilla.  Add into flour mixture along with parsnip and apple.  Stir until just mixed.

Fill muffin tins and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

What vegetables do you have to find creative uses for?

 

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Dark Chocolate Pudding made with Coconut Milk and Honey

Posted by on Nov 13, 2012 in Cooking/Recipes | 0 comments

One of the benefits of all of the crazy things that have been going on with my health lately is that I have discovered  that I no longer have an allergy (or at least a reaction) to chocolate.

This is one thing that has been fun to add back to my diet (in small amounts of course) and I am enjoying being able to try out some new recipes that I would have had to pass by only a few short months ago.

But I am still eating mostly dairy-free, and now that I have managed to go several months without refined sugar I am reluctant to fall back on baking or cooking with it.

Enter Dark Chocolate Pudding made with coconut milk and honey.  Dairy free, and free of refined sugar.

This is a very rich pudding, slightly bitter, and full of dark chocolate flavour.  The original recipe called for just 2 tablespoons of honey, but I added a couple more for a slightly sweet dessert.  Hubby added spoonfuls of sugar and a drizzling of chocolate sauce to his bowl and it still wasn’t to his liking, so this might be one for dark chocolate fans only!

Dark Chocolate Pudding made with Coconut Milk and Honey

The original recipe comes from this cookbook .

  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate (I used an organic dark chocolate bar)
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 large egg yolks
Combine the first three ingredients with a few tablespoons of coconut milk and whisk together.  Heat the rest of the coconut milk over medium heat until simmering.  Stir in the chocolate until melted, then whisk in the cocoa powder mixture.  

Whisk egg yolks.  Pour in a small amount of the hot coconut milk mixture, whisking continuously, then pour the eggs into the pot and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and it coats the back of a spoon.  (I use a candy thermometer to make sure the pudding has reached at least 160 degrees to kill any bacteria that might be hiding in the egg yolks.)

Pour into ramekins or small bowls, place a piece of plastic wrap against the surface so it doesn’t form a skin, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy!


 

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Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Posted by on Nov 6, 2012 in Cooking/Recipes | 3 comments

I LOVE these cookies. I love what they don’t have in them (no oils, no refined sugar, no dairy, wheat) and I love what they do have in them (oats and spelt and honey and peanut butter), but most of all I just love them because they taste good. And Hubby gives them the thumbs up too, which is saying a lot for a generally healthy cookie.

They are based on this recipe, but adapted to exclude wheat and dairy.   The original recipe calls them “breakfast cookies” but I think they make a yummy dessert or snack too.  And change up the nut butter, the dried fruit, and the liquid and the possible variations are endless! (How about cashew apple raisin?  Or almond orange cranberry?)

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1/2 cup mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1  tbsp almond milk (or other liquid)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour (or other flour)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)

Combine the banana, peanut butter, honey, vanilla, and almond milk until smooth.  In a small bowl, stir together oats, flour, cinnamon and baking soda and then combine with the peanut butter banana mixture.  Fold in raisins.

Drop spoonfuls onto greased or parchment-lined pans, and flatten with a wet spatula.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Cool on wire racks.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Applesauce Muffins – Gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and honey-sweetened

Posted by on Jul 27, 2012 in Cooking/Recipes | 2 comments

 

I am slowly getting the hang of this new way of eating.  One of my friends said to me the other day that watching me do this has made her more aware of just how much wheat she eats.  All I can say is, me too.  Bread, muffins, biscuits, cookies, fruit crisp, cake, oh how I miss my baking!

I have also discovered that there is definitely a learning curve to baking without wheat.  Especially when you also aren’t eating eggs.  But…ta-da!  Some moist, delicious, yummy, muffins!  The inspiration came from here.  I used ground flax instead of eggs and after reading a lot about guar gum and xanthan gum I have decided they aren’t something I want to add into my diet.  But chia seeds to the rescue!  I read here that you can substitute chia (or ground flax) for gums – hooray!  And so, muffins are back into my life!  I made this batch with raisins and almonds, but think I might experiment with some fresh fruit for the next batch.

Applesauce Muffins

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 water
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 tsp chia seed mixed with 1 1/2 tsp hot water
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 cup nuts or seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit
Combine oil, applesauce, honey, water, flax and chia mixtures (this is very easy to do in a measuring cup!)  In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture until moistened.  Fill 6 greased muffin cups with batter and bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes, or until done.  Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.  
Enjoy a happy snack!

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Make Your Own Baked Tortilla Chips

Posted by on Jul 20, 2012 in Cooking/Recipes | 0 comments

As I am working at adjusting to this new way of eating, there are certain foods I crave more than others.  Nachos is one of them.  Crispy tortilla chips, topped with spicy beans, salsa, veggies, laden with cheese and baked in the oven until it becomes a hot, melty mess.  Yum.

But nacho chips are not on my list of acceptable foods at the moment.  (and please, let’s not even talk about cheese, ok?)

So imagine my excitement when I learned I could make my own, healthier, baked version of this favourite food!  (Insert dance of joy!)

This is so easy to do, and unlike some “healthier” substitutes, it does not taste like a poor version of the real thing, but has the same great corn crunch as the orginal.

Ready to see how easy this is?

Baked Tortilla Chips

First, you need corn tortillas.  If you are lucky, you can buy these at your local supermarket.  If you are even luckier, you can buy sprouted corn tortillas at your supermarket or health food store, which are even better for you.  Not being able to find either, I, of course, learned how to make my own.  (This is also ridiculously simple – I promise I’ll share the recipe later, but if you can’t wait to make your own I found the recipe on my bag of Maseca – the flour the tortillas are made from)

Heat your oven to 375.  Use a pizza cutter to cut your tortillas into quarters.

Toss with olive oil and herbs or spices of your choice. (I used chipotle chili, garlic, and a sprinkle of salt.)

Lay out the tortillas in a single layer on a baking pan.

Bake for about ten minutes, or until crispy.  (Thicker tortillas may take longer.)

Done!  Cover with your favourite nacho toppings and enjoy!

That bright orange processed-looking cheese is actually a sauce made from cashews and roasted red peppers and it is delicious.  You can find the recipe here (this was my inspiration for baked tortilla chips, too!)

Any other nacho fans out there?  What are your favourite toppings?

 

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