Archive for the 'Refined Sugar-Free' Category

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!

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.

Raspberry Maple Madness

The end of May is filled with birthdays. You’ll be seeing many cake posts here soon, as I find time to post all of the birthday cakes that I have made in the last couple weeks, and continue to make. So many friends to love, and bake for! My 25th birthday was last week, and I decided to have a week of celebrations filled with family and friends. I’ve eaten so much good food, gone on birthday-related adventures, and relaxed in the sun so much, that it was hard to find time to post! I’m starting the birthday cake posts with my own birthday cake, which I baked with my friend Julie. It is vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and delicious. So delicious.

Chai Maple Cake Ingredients:
Makes one 9-inch three-layer cake

4 cups brown rice flour
2 cups garbanzo bean flour, sifted
1 Tblsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/3 cups canola oil
3 cups water
3 Tblsp. unsweetened nondairy milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tblsp. plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups maple syrup

Pre-heat the oven to 350º F.

Line the bottoms of three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper, or grease thoroughly. Set aside.

Combine the brown rice flour, garbanzo bean flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, water, milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and maple syrup. Slowly whisk the flour mixture into the oil mixture until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter* into the prepared pans and bake until the cake springs back when you press the center with your finger, about 30 minutes. Once the cake has cooled, you can assemble with your jam filling and frosting.

*Beware: the cake batter itself does not taste very good – it has a distinct garbanzo bean aftertaste. I was worried about how the cake would taste after it baked, but in the end it was incredible, and had absolutely no garbanzo taste. So, don’t stress if you don’t like the batter!

Filling Ingredients:

Raspberry Jam, sugar-free if you need it to be. We made our own by heating frozen raspberries in a small saucepan until they were melted. Then, we added a touch of agave syrup, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a teaspoon of cornstarch to help thicken the jam. It came to a great consistency after it cooled. If you don’t have time to make your own, you can buy it at the store. Then, spread on top of your cooled cakes, place the cakes on top of each other, and frost with Maple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. Top with fresh raspberries.

Maple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

This frosting was dreamy. I didn’t believe I could make a delicious buttercream frosting without powdered sugar, but it’s totally possible! I found the recipe on a website that…dun dun dun…I cannot find again. Dang! I’ll keep looking. I altered it only slightly and when I find the website I will add it back into this post for you – I’ll also make sure to include my additions.

***EDIT***

I found the recipe! Here it is, in all it’s glory. Just click this link. I added about 1/3 cup extra maple syrup, and at the last step I added about 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. I also added 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, to enhance all the flavors. MAKE THIS ICING. DON’T STOP AND THINK ABOUT IT. JUST MAKE IT. IT’S DELICIOUS. I had some left over and I tasted it tonight, and it was still really good. Really, really good.

French Bread; Two Variations

Nothing lures you into the kitchen like fresh baked bread. The roasting garlic, onions, and olives in these two loaves only increased the olfactory pleasure. When it was warm and fluffy, straight out of the oven, it was delicious. I was especially a fan of the olive bread, but I think this basic French Bread recipe would also be great on it’s own, without any mix-ins added. Make it how you want, get creative!

Basic* French Bread Ingredients:

6 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tblsp. cornmeal
3 Tblsp. water

*This recipe makes delicious bread. You could certainly make it and eat it as it is described here. You can also add whatever other ingredients you want, for instance, one loaf I made had chopped raw onions and garlic  mixed into it, and the other loaf had chopped olives (a mixed variety of green and black) folded into the dough.

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast and salt. Stir in 2 cups warm water, and beat until well blended using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, or a wooden spoon. Then, using a wooden spoon or your hands, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes total. If you want to add any extra “flavor” ingredients to your dough, this is the time to do it. If you want two different flavors of your bread, then divide your dough in half, and knead the mix-in ingredients into the dough. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Punch dough down, and divide in half (unless you already did this). Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends.

Grease a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Brush on some of the water. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, 35 to 40 minutes.

With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated 375° F oven for 20 minutes. Brush again with water. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread tests done (you can tell if the bread is done by lifting it off the pan and tapping the bottom – it should sound hollow). If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from baking sheet, and cool on a wire rack.

Raw Banana Pie, Take 2

It’s been a year since I made this delectable dessert; I know because last year I made it for Passover and this year I’ve done it again! This frozen treat is surprisingly sweet and you won’t feel like you need anything with processed sugar or even “real” ice cream to compete! The healthy sweetness and creamy texture of the frozen blended banana will satisfy any sweet tooth, I promise. And, if you need a chocolate fix, you can always melt down some dark or semi-sweet chocolate and drizzle it on top – I bet no one would mind.

You can find my recipe from last year here; the only changes I made this year were to add blueberries on top and leave out the lemon decoration. The strawberries and blueberries taste great with the banana, almonds, and dates, and they add a different, juicy texture to the top of the pie.

Here’s what the almond-date crust looks like before adding any filling into the pie shell. I like the uneven texture, however, you can grind your nuts into a finer and more consistent texture if you want to.

Banana Bread – Two Variations

Spring is here! It makes me simultaneously incredibly joyful and a little bit sad. It makes it really difficult to study, teach, and sit in class while it is warm and sunny outside…So I plan on making this post quite short in my effort to stay on the computer and inside as little as possible when I don’t have to.

Last week, we had gorgeous weather, and this week it’s looking and feeling beautiful again. However, last Friday was colder, grayer, and rainier, and of course this was the morning that I had off to play. My friend Zoe had fortuitously given me some ripe bananas the evening before, and so, instead of playing, I baked this spicy, moist, fragrant, and ultimately overall delicious Banana Bread. I made two variations; one with chocolate chips, and one without. Both loaves had pecans mixed in. Feel free to throw in whatever other add-ins you prefer. You can also use all agave or all maple syrup instead of the combination I used; just think about what flavors you want to bring out. I brought half a loaf of each variation to my afternoon class, with the intention of slicing and freezing the rest to keep for a future treat. Instead, I (and friends) ate it all within two days! Since there is no refined sugar (except in the chocolate chips) and no oil, it was a delightfully healthy study-break snack. I wish I could keep enjoying it, but alas, it is all gone. Anyone have bruised bananas that they want to gift to me so I can bake more?

Banana Bread Ingredients (recipe for one loaf):

3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup agave
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 cup chopped pecans + some for topping
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to preheated 350°F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

In a medium sized bowl, mash bananas with Agave nectar, maple syrup, applesauce and vanilla until combined and creamy.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Add the wet to dry. Sprinkle in nuts and/or chocolate chips, and stir batter until just mixed.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for one hour.

“Tropical Vacation” Muffins

I could write something cheesy about how these orange blueberry pineapple coconut muffins will send you on a little breakfast tropical vacation, in which you will dream about going somewhere warm, sunny, with ocean breezes and a very able-bodied person answering your every whim. But honestly, I don’t want to exoticize these muffins, and all of that sounds vaguely colonialistic, so I’ll spare you the sit-next-to-a-pristine-pool-with-a-pina-colada-in-hand-fantasy and just give you the recipe for these scrumptious muffins. You’ll want to eat them forever. You might even make a second batch next week. And maybe you’ll even double that, so you can freeze some and continue enjoying them as the days pass…You might even want to eat them for breakfast every day on the way to work so that you can pretend you’re going on vacation instead of to teach and video-tape yourself looking like a fool (and using so many hand-gestures while talking to your students…). Maybe that’s just me. But I think you’ll want to bake these muffins at least once and enjoy every single fruity bite of their goodness. This is kind of a random post, but hey, it’s been a long week and it’s not over yet!

And, let’s just notice that these muffins are purely agave- and fruit-sweetened, so they’re 110% healthy, right? I can eat them all day long?

Tropical Muffin Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. egg replacer
3/4 cup orange juice
1 cup water (carbonated water will make your muffins rise a bit more than regular tap water)
1/4 cup agave
1 1/2 Tblsp. finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup diced pure pineapple
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin or use cupcake papers to line the tin.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and whisk.

In a separate bowl, dissolve the egg replacer into the orange juice, then add the water, agave, orange zest, and oil, and mix until smooth. Combine the wet ingredients with the flour mixture. Fold in the coconut, pineapple, and blueberries.

Pour the batter into the muffin tin almost to the top and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

SweetHeart-Healthy Banana Blueberry Spelt Muffins

Happy Valentine’s Day!


I know it’s a Hallmark Holiday, but I always love to celebrate it with lots of pink and hearts. All the love floating around just makes me smile 🙂

Right now, I’m student teaching in a third grade class, and the students were so thrilled about the holiday – their excitement was contageous! My Cooperating Teacher has really set up a lovely community in the classroom, where the students feel comfortable with each other and with her; the Principal even commented on Friday that the class is just like a family, where there is trust and love and safety – and where the students are so close that they want to celebrate holidays exorbitantly together! These eight and nine year olds didn’t just bring in store-bought cards for their friends for Valentine’s Day, in fact, many of them brought goody bags filled with candy and chocolate and sweet notes for every single student in the whole class! One of our tables was literally covered, piled high with pink boxes of chocolate and red-wrapped chocolate roses, and one student even gave me a foot-long Valentine’s pen! It’s pretty incredible and I plan on treasuring it for a long time. It was hard to get any academic work done on such a celebratory day!

My students inspired me and I stayed up way too late on Thursday night making them all collaged cards and I had so much fun that I ended up making cards for all my friends…And then on Friday evening I had a crafts night with my girlfriends and made more V-day cards…And Saturday I spent the evening baking these delicious Banana Blueberry Muffins with my friend Talia and of course I had to put them in the festive paper liners that my mom bought me as a surprise! Aren’t they cute? Thanks, Mom!

Talia and I are not eating sugar, and she’s currently not eating wheat, so we did a lot of experimenting and adapting, and came up with this muffin recipe using spelt flour and date sugar. We were really into how delicious the batter was, and then how tasty the muffins were after they were baked, but we were a little concerned that they might not pass the test for “normal people” who eat white flour and white sugar all the time. We asked some friends to taste them, and they said they were good! So, this recipe is a great “heart healthy” (for Valentine’s Day as well as your real beating human heart) breakfast muffin, and with all the healthy additions it is certainly a great snack and was approved by all! However, if you don’t have those specialized ingredients on hand, and don’t have the same dietary concerns, then you can easily use white sugar instead of date sugar, and use white (or whole wheat) flour instead of the spelt. You could even make this recipe into a quick-bread, which would be delicious, and you can add in nuts or chocolate chips if you want!

Banana Blueberry Spelt Muffin Ingredients:
Makes 12 regular sized muffins, or 24 mini-muffins

2 cups whole spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup date sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 Tblsp. ground flax seed
3/4 cup water
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease your muffin tins, or line with paper liners.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
In a large bowl, beat the date sugar and oil together, then add the mashed bananas. Stir in the flax. Add the water, non-dairy milk, and vanilla, and mix thoroughly.
Add the flour mixture and stir until all ingredients are just combined.
Gently fold in your blueberries last.
Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full with batter. Bake regular sized muffins for 20-25 minutes, and mini-muffins only about 15 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they begin to brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. Photos, Original Recipes & Text ©cookiesandcandids 2008-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. If you repost any material from this blog, please give credit by including a link back to me. Thank you!