Archive for the 'Wheat-Free' Category

Mini Gingerbread Loaves for a Sweet New Year

I haven’t updated my blog in forever. I’m so sorry dear readers! Teaching has consumed so much of my time/life/energy/thoughts/dreams/being. When I do leave school, I may still have inspiration for baking but I have few daylight hours to take pictures and sometimes I just can’t bare to be on the computer any longer than I have to, as I crave adult contact and outside adventures! Over winter vacation though, I have had ample time to relax and recuperate, and be outside to my heart’s content. I have baked up a storm, although it wouldn’t seem like it from the small number of pictures I’ve taken. I did capture these delicious Orange Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaves, and I’m happy to share them with you. My lovely housemate gave me these mini loaf pans for the holidays, but the recipe is versatile and you can bake the batter into a larger loaf pan or a cake pan if you want. The orange juice gives a nice spicy flavor, and really highlights the ginger.

Bake these delicious treats to ring in a sweet new year! Have a happy holiday, everyone!

Gingerbread Ingredients and Recipe:

1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup dark molasses
1 cup orange juice
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (you can use plain white flour, or do as I did: Easily make it gluten-free by using Bob’s Red Mill brand Gluten-Free Baking Mix)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. powdered ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger (optional)
1 Tbsp. orange zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Mix pumpkin and molasses. Add orange juice.
Sift together the dry ingredients and combine everything together.

Pour into a non-stick 8×8 inch baking pan, or a loaf pan.  Bake 60 minutes. Bake the mini loaves for only about 18 minutes. If you stick a knife into the middle, it should come out nearly clean but not quite – you want it to be a little sticky.

Honey Lavender Hazelnut Cookies

These cookies went so well with the Lavender Coconut Agave Ice Cream I made, that it was slightly ridiculous. We ate them all in one sitting! Mmm. And these cookies couldn’t be easier. In fact, the rich, toasty hazelnut and honey-infused batter is so easy to whip up, you can make them in only five minutes. And if you’re pressed for time, you don’t even really have to bake them, because they are so great raw. So, all it takes is five minutes to mix up the batter, and then however long it takes you to eat them (should really be only a few minutes, if you have a group of hungry party guests). Instant happiness!

Feel free to sub the honey for agave, although you might want to cut down the amount just a tiny bit depending on how sweet you want the cookies to be.

Honey Lavender Hazelnut Cookies Ingredients:

2 cups hazelnut flour (you can grind up whole hazelnuts if you need to)
1 cup honey, or 3/4 cup agave
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. dried lavender

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the hazelnut flour, honey/agave, salt, vanilla, and lavender in a large bowl. Mix until smooth (you can do this by hand or in a food processor).
Eat raw, or roll the dough into 3/4-inch balls and place on pan. Lightly press the down so they get a little flatter.
Bake until firm to the touch, about 20 minutes.

A Second Date…

…In case anyone was wondering, I’m still alive. Very much alive. Just totally consumed by teaching 3rd grade, and spending about 12 hours every day in my classroom. And when I stop teaching, planning, thinking about teaching and planning, assessing student work, thinking and re-thinking about every interaction with my students, and realizing that none of it is ever going to “be enough”, I can barely move, let alone think about updating my blog. But I have been finding rare moments to bake (because how could I not??). However, I haven’t been taking as many pictures of my creations as I am used to, so I have less to show for my time than usual. And to boot, as a re-emergence post, this blog entry is a repeat recipe. But a delicious repeat! Remember my Carob Date-Nut Cookies? Well, I recreated them for Talia’s birthday back in September and this time I ground the nuts to a fine powder before mixing them with the other ingredients – this created a much smoother effect and the cookies ended up looking and tasting a little bit different. I’m not sure I recommend one way over the other, they were just different sensations. I’d recommend you go make these cookies right away though, because no matter how you grind the nuts, these cookies are still my favorite snack and hit the spot!

For a gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan decadent birthday celebration, we sandwiched these cookies around homemade Lavender Coconut Agave Ice Cream. Couldn’t have been better; except that I made a second batch of cookies! I whipped up some Honey Lavender Hazelnut Cookies to mix-and-match ice cream sandwich flavors with. Stay tuned for that new recipe, coming soon!

 

Ps. Becky, this post is for you. Thanks for being my #1 fan, and motivating me to update!

Lavender Coconut Agave Ice Cream

It’s the end of summer (school started, and I’ve become very bad at updating this blog, sadly!) but the beautiful warm weather we’ve been having in the Bay Area has made it hard to be inside. Being outside each day while the students are playing at recess does not really feel like being outside, especially since our playground is underneath the BART tracks!  To make up for being in school while the sky is clear and blue outside my classroom windows, I’ve resorted to summer activities on the weekends. Yesterday, that included taking a hike in the Redwoods, doing my teaching planning outside in my backyard, and making ice cream. Who knows what summer fun I’ll be fitting into my day today!

This ice cream is a perfect summer dessert; it’s creamy and rich, and the lavender offers a sweet aftertaste. Since lavender scents are often used to promote relaxation, this is a great summer treat!

Lavender Coconut Agave Ice Cream Ingredients:

5 cups full-fat coconut milk, chilled
3/4 cup agave
1/4 tsp. sea salt
4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. dried lavender, ground finely

Blend all ingredients in a blender, or mix vigorously by hand until combined thoroughly. Pour into the already frozen container of an ice cream maker and churn for 25 minutes. The ice cream will be soft at this point. Put ice cream in an airtight container and place in the freezer for a few hours to harden.

A Crunchy Start

For some reason, I was under the impression that granola was difficult to make. I have a friend who makes granola quite often, and I’m always extremely impressed with her ability to create something I want to eat in the morning for breakfast, snack on mid-day, and eat for dessert again in the evening. My new housemate also makes incredible granola, and after I ate the remaining scoop of her creation, I felt like I had to step up to the plate and try my own hand at granola-making. I used a Deborah Madison recipe, but since I can’t leave well-enough alone, I made a lot of adaptations. My version is posted below. I like this granola a lot; the quinoa gives it a crunchy texture and with the quinoa and nuts it’s a protein-packed breakfast that is just perfectly sweetened. You can make whatever substitutions you want depending what kinds of nuts or dried fruit you have at home, or add more or less juice (just keep the total liquid amount about the same, but you can play around with ratios of sweetener to juice to oil…). I’m sure you have lots of ideas of how to eat granola, but my recent favorite granola-pairing has been with homemade applesauce! My housemate likes to eat her granola as a topping on smoothies, and in the winter I love it as a sprinkled addition to a hot bowl of oatmeal.

For some people, school has started already, and this granola would be a perfect way to start your kids’ mornings or pack in a baggie for a mid-day snack. Monday is the first day for my school district, so tomorrow I will have 24 eight year olds in my classroom and I’m hoping that starting my day with a bowl of this hearty granola will help me keep them at rapt attention and create a strong learning environment from the get-go!

Granola Ingredients:

4 cups rolled oatmeal flakes (use gluten-free oats if you want)
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened fruit juice – I used orange
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup large flaked unsweetened dried coconut

Preheat the oven to 300º F. Mix the oatmeal, quinoa, spices, and nuts together, then add the vanilla, juice, oil, and sweeteners. Toss well to moisten evenly, then toast on a sheet pan until browned, about 30 minutes, stirring a few times. Add the raisins and coconut once the cereal is cooked.

Going On The Perfect Date, With A Pecan

A few months ago when I was in New York, I made a variation of these cookies with my friend Marika. We ate so much batter, we couldn’t stand the idea of baking the rest into cookies that night. She met me for yoga the next day, and brought the cookies (freshly baked that morning!) for an after-yoga snack. These are the perfect energizing treat, and without wheat, gluten, refined sugar, and packed chock-full of nuts and dried fruit, they feel healthy. In fact, they are healthy. But, they don’t taste healthy!

So, when Marika visited me in California last month, she brought the recipe with her. I hadn’t had a chance to make them until a few days ago, when Talia and I wanted to whip up some goodies. They are so easy and fast to make – and don’t require specific fancy ingredients! You can use whatever kinds of nuts you have in your house, or leave out the carob chips, or substitute another liquid sweetener (honey instead of brown rice syrup?), or adapt them to whatever your preferences are. Make sure to eat a lot of the batter before baking them, just because.

Carob Date-Nut Cookies Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats
1 2/3 cup pecans (can substitute walnuts)
1 1/3 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
6 Tblsp. olive oil
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup pitted dates (soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, then drained)
1 cup grain-sweetened carob chips


Preheat your oven to 350º F.
Bake the oats and pecans on a baking pan for 10 minutes.
Food process the rice flour and half of the oats till they are thoroughly combined and finely ground. Add half of the toasted pecans to the food processor and grind to a fine meal. Add the rest of the oats and pecans, as well as the cinnamon and nutmeg, and pulse once or twice (leaving some whole oats and chunks of nut).
Mix the wet ingredients together, and add to the dry. Fold in the dates. Pulse in the food processor till fairly smooth.
By hand, stir in the carob chips. If the nuts and oats were still warm when you added them to the batter, the carob chips may melt and be incorporated into the batter – if not, they will stay whole and you will get lovely chunks of carob in each bite of delicious cookie!
Drop tablespoons of the batter onto lightly greased cookie sheets, and top each cookie with a whole pecan.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until browned around the edges.

Under The Sea

Ariel: [singing] Up where they walk / Up where they run / Up where they stay all day in the sun / Wanderin’ free / Wish I could be / Part of that world…

In the midst of wedding cake preparation craze, I have baked a sweet treat to take to my friends Kate and Lesley’s birthday party. And, more miraculously, I have found the time to take pictures and post them with a recipe for you, before the event! I am never this timely with my posts, sometimes waiting days or even weeks before posting the recipe and pictures. However, somehow I have managed to get these uploaded onto the computer and they’re itching to get to your screens, eyes, kitchens, ovens, and finally into your mouths and bellies.

The party is taking place at a local lake (okay, okay, so “Under The Lake” would probably be a more correct title for this post…), and I know these fabulous women from my elementary teaching credential program, so it seems like a fitting occasion to bust out my Little Mermaid cupcake wrappers and crack a few smiles when I deliver them tomorrow! Hopefully, the cupcakes will also crack a few smiles on my friends’ faces and in their tummies – one of them is gluten-free, so these cupcakes are too. A crunchy rich Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcake topped with a Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Frosting, and extra toasted hazelnut crumbs sprinkled on top…Well, I can’t imagine a better birthday dessert!

Scuttle: It’s a dinglehopper. Humans use these little babies… to straighten their hair out. See? Just a little twirl here and a yank there and voila. You’ve got an aesthetically pleasing configuration of hair that humans go nuts over.

Ariel: Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? / Wouldn’t ya think my collection’s complete / Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl / Girl who has everything / Look at this trove, treasures untold / How many wonders can one cavern hold? / Looking around you’d think / Sure, she’s got everything / I’ve got gadgets and gizmos aplenty / I have whoozits and whatzis galore / You want thingamabobs? I’ve got twenty / But who cares? No big deal / I want more.

I have a few reliable fall-back gluten-free cake recipes that I always use. However, I wanted to add a hazelnut twist to a chocolate cupcake, and to do that I wanted to add both hazelnut meal (to get a little crunch) and hazelnut butter (to disburse and reinforce the flavor). I had to change the amount of liquid, oil, and flours to accommodate for the nut butter addition to the recipe, and I honestly wasn’t sure what was going to happen when I put these babies into the oven. When I was finally brave enough (and couldn’t stand the suspense anymore!) I peeked into the oven…and the cupcakes had risen beautifully, created lovely cracked tops, and didn’t show any signs of sinking down middle syndrome! They are a little dense because of the hazelnut butter, but dense in a good way, if you know what I mean. Like, nutella-dense. Mmm.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcake Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
1/3 cup hazelnut butter
1/4 cup tapioca flour
2 Tblsp. ground flax seed
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup toasted hazelnut meal
1/3 cup sweet white sorghum flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/2 tsp. xantham gum
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Pre-heat your oven to 350º F. Place cupcake wrappers in a muffin tin. Set aside.

Measure out your almond milk into a medium sized bowl, and add the vinegar. Mix vigorously, and set aside to curdle. Once it is curdled, add the oil, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract and mix to combine.

In a large bowl, sift the tapioca flour, cocoa powder, sorghum flour, quinoa flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the xantham gum, flax seed, and hazelnut meal. Stir together so everything is evenly distributed.

Create a well in the dry ingredients, and pour the wet mix into it. Mix with an electric mixer, or by hand with a whisk until there are no lumps. Because this is a gluten-free recipe, you don’t have to worry about mixing too much. Once there are no more lumps, add the hazelnut butter by the spoonful, and continue mixing until the batter reaches a smooth consistency.

Fill your cupcake tins about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Sebastian: Ariel, please! Will you get your head out of the clouds and back in the water where it belongs?

Look at these beautiful brown toasty hazelnuts:

Ariel: I’ve never seen a human this close before. Oh… he’s very handsome, isn’t he?
[Scuttle looks at the dog and scratches his neck]
Scuttle: I don’t know, he looks kind of hairy and slobbery to me.
Ariel: No, not that one. The one playing the snarfblatt.

Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine, room temperature
1/2 cup Earth Balance shortening, room temperature
3/4 cup Tofutti Cream Cheese, room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

Beat the margarine, shortening, and cream cheese together with an electric mixer. When you have a smooth, fluffy consistency, add the vanilla bean paste and confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time. Mix until fully combined. Add more sugar if you want a thicker frosting, but be aware that it can get quite sweet quickly!

I piped the frosting directly onto the cupcakes, and then sprinkled some extra hazelnut meal on top to make a pretty addition, as well as add some extra flair and crunch to every bite.

Sebastian: Down here all the fish is happy / As off to the waves they roll / The fish on the land ain’t happy / They sad ’cause they in the bowl / But fish in the bowl is lucky / They in for a worser fate / One day when the boss get hungry…
Fish: Guess who gonna be on the plate?


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Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Maple Raspberry Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Maple Raspberry Cake

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