Category Archives: Baked goods

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake Balls

Well, just in case you didn’t manage to finish all of that spicy gingerbread cake that I shared the other day, I have a solution. In fact, this might be such a tasty solution, you might hide away half of that cake just for this purpose. Or heck, even make a whole cake. I won’t judge.

Not when there are cake balls at hand.

These may look fancy and complicated, but I assure you, they’re not. And of course, while in this instance, I used gingerbread cake, you could simply apply this process using any cake you choose. Same goes with the frosting used in the cake balls – I used some of The Spunky Coconut’s chocolate date frosting I had left over (Did you know it freezes well? I often freeze leftover frosting, for you never know when you need just a little!) from another cake I made a few weeks ago, but you could use any frosting you desire. These cake balls are all about taking advantage of what you’ve got, and making the most of it.

In this instance, I think the combination of gingerbread and chocolate definitely added up to more than the sum of its parts (which were darn tasty to begin with!). Before these cake balls came to be, I’d never combined chocolate and gingerbread. Now, I think I’m going to forever combine the two. What a dream combination. These cake balls aren’t overly sweet, and not too rich, but they’re decadent enough to satisfy. Of course, after taking these to my office to share around, I’ve had some confess to me they’ve had several. Hearing this from regular gluten and dairy-eaters, this is music to my ears.

Print Recipe

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake Balls (gluten-free, dairy-free)

½ of a baked gingerbread cake

½ t ground cinnamon (optional, but helps to boost that “gingerbread” flavor once the chocolate mixes in)

½ t ground ginger (optional, but helps to boost that “gingerbread” flavor once the chocolate mixes in)

¾ c your favorite gluten-free chocolate frosting (I used The Spunky Coconut’s Chocolate Date Frosting)

About 5 oz dairy-free bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Sprinkles or candied ginger for decorating (optional)

 

In a large bowl, crumble the cake with your fingers. Add the cinnamon and ginger and mix in. Add the frosting and stir into the cake crumbles until everything is smooth and comes together well.

With your hands, roll the cake balls into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate. You can do so by placing a double boiler (or as I do, place a metal bowl over a small saucepan with about 2 inches of water) to simmer over medium-low heat, and place all but about an ounce of the chopped chocolate into the bowl. Melt the chocolate, stirring. Finally, add the remaining chopped chocolate and stir until melted completely. Reduce heat to the lowest setting.

Remove the cake balls from the freezer, and one by one, dip into the chocolate, rolling to coat completely. Place back on the baking sheet, and top with candied ginger or sprinkles before the chocolate hardens. Repeat with the rest of the cake balls.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. They should stay firm out of the fridge, but the chocolate may go a touch soft if you have the heater cranked in your house.

Makes about 2 ½ dozen.

Spicy Gingerbread Cake

For just about my entire life, I have never been much of a cake person. Most cakes, in my opinion, were dry, and much of the store-bought variety had tooth-achingly sweet frosting. Mostly, I preferred pies and cookies as my desserts of choice. For most every birthday, my Mom would instead make me an angel food cake, one of the only cakes I truly liked.

Fast forward to gluten-free adulthood. During my adult life, I’d managed to enjoy a few other cakes that I rather enjoyed, but I didn’t really spend much time thinking about cake until I went gluten-free. And then, suddenly, cake seemed like a good idea! Not only good, but great!

Only now, cake wasn’t so easy. Oh sure, there are mixes out there, and some aren’t half-bad. But if I’m going to make cake, I want it to be superb. Heavenly. It doesn’t have to be all dolled up with frosting, or even have to be complicated at all. But it has to deliver.

So here we are, and it’s almost Christmas. I’ve seen gingerbread everything around lately, and the allure of those spices were calling my name. So I set to work making a gingerbread cake. The first rendition failed – it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t good enough to relish. I wanted a cake I would be glad to share with family and friends alike. So after more trials, I arrived at this.

A gingerbread cake so light, airy, but yet full of rich molasses flavor and spicy cinnamon and ginger. I was amazed that I could make such a light cake with only one egg, but there it was in all its glory. With a sprinkle of powdered sugar, it was definitely fit for any holiday get-together. Personally, I could see it being the perfect little treat after dinner, in front of a fire with family, a cup of coffee in hand (decaf for me, thank you!).

If for some reason you don’t manage to finish it all, don’t despair. Because, you see, my friends, this cake does double-duty. Leftovers can be made into fancier holiday fare. Stay tuned, for more gingerbread goodness is to come!

Print Recipe

Spicy Gingerbread Cake (gluten-free, dairy-free)

½ c tapioca starch

¾ c teff flour

¾ c brown rice flour

1 ½ t guar gum

1 ½ t baking soda

½ t baking powder

1 T cinnamon

1 T powdered ginger

¼ t ground cloves

½ t salt

1 c raw turbinado sugar (or coconut sugar)

6 T blackstrap molasses

½ c maple syrup

1 large egg, room temperature

10 T vegan butter, room temperature

1 c water

Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan and set it aside.

In a large bowl, combine the tapioca starch, teff flour, brown rice flour, guar gum, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, Add the sugar, molasses, maple syrup, egg, and vegan butter. Turn on food processor to blend, stopping to scrape down sides. Add the flour mixture and continue to blend. Last, add the water and pulse to incorporate at first. It will be lumpy to start, but once you’ve pulsed the food processor a few times, then turn it on to blend the water in completely. Blend until smooth.

Scrape the batter into your prepared pan and smooth it out. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Sprinkle powdered sugar over for serving.

You are welcome to try to remove the entire cake from the pan, but personally, I enjoyed slicing it directly in the pan, and serving the slices straight from there.

Chocolate Almond Fig Biscotti

Years ago (in the pre-gluten-free days), I didn’t get biscotti. Why would anyone want what amounted to, in my mind, a stale cookie? Fast forward to present day, where I love a crunchy, not-too-sweet treat to accompany a cup of coffee or tea, especially if it’s studded with dried fruit and nuts. I suppose over time, one’s tastes can change! But now, since I no longer eat gluten or dairy, biscotti are a rare occurrence.

So I made my own.

These are a perfect holiday treat either for yourself, family, or friends. Make some as an evening dessert, a breakfast treat, or wrap them up and give them as edible gifts. They’re gluten, dairy, and egg-free, and are sweetened slightly with honey (which could be substituted with agave nectar to make them vegan), making them friendly for just about anyone’s diet. The combination of chocolate, almonds, and dried figs is indulgent without being overly rich. And while I’m not usually a fan of dipping any cookie, I must say, these are quite satisfying dipped into a cup of coffee.

I might just have to have another.

Print Recipe

Chocolate Almond Fig Biscotti (gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free, vegan-adaptable)

1 1/4 c blanched almond flour

1 T + 1 t unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutched)

2 t tapioca starch

1/4 t salt

1/4 t baking soda

5 T honey (for vegan, use agave nectar)

3 T chopped almonds (I used roasted Marcona almonds, but any will do)

3 T chopped dried figs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond flour, cocoa powder, tapioca starch, salt and baking soda. Pulse to combine. Add the honey and pulse again until the dough comes together in a ball. Remove the dough and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (you’ll be using this as your workstation as well as the baking sheet), and press the dough together with your hands (kind of like kneading dough, but not nearly as strenous!). Add the almonds and figs and mix in with your hands too. The dough should be barely moist enough to come together. If it is too moist, add a bit of tapioca starch. If too dry, add a sprinkle of water.

Once the almonds and figs are mixed in, pat the dough together on the baking sheet into a log about 2 1/2 inches wide and 10-12 inches long. Place in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool on the baking sheet for at least 30 minutes. Lower the oven to 300 degrees.

Once cooled, slice the dough with a serrated knife into pieces about 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal. Separate out the biscotti onto the baking sheet and bake again for 10-12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely before serving.

Makes about 10-12 biscotti.

Want more gluten-free holiday cookie ideas? Join us this Wednesday, December 5, 2012, at 8PM EST for a Live Chat at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community! We will be swapping gluten-free holiday cookie recipes!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

 

Quinoa Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Pecan Glaze

I know it’s been pumpkin-mania around the internet. We can’t help ourselves. After all, who can resist that creamy goodness, especially when it’s only in season for a few months out of the year? Personally, I love to put it into anything and everything right now. I’ve snuck pumpkin into enchilada fillings, chili, soup, shepherd’s pie, and even cookies. But why stop there? After all, as far as I’m concerned, the months of October and November were made just so we could eat pumpkin.

And not just pumpkin. Other winter squashes are just as welcome. Butternut, acorn, kabocha, delicata, turban…I could just keep on going. I love them all, and this time of year, I hoard them, buying way more than I need, and squirreling them away in my pantry. They all get used, of course, in due time. With the latest squash roasting, I decided to use the puree for a new breakfast treat – donuts.

Because if there’s one thing that can top pumpkins this time of year, it’s donuts. Pumpkin donuts.

These are on the healthier side, however, as they’re baked, gluten and dairy-free, and are made with quinoa flour, which is packed with fiber and protein. But don’t let all those “healthy” things make you think they’re not delicious. With warming fall spices, the pumpkin, and the maple syrup glaze, they certainly score points in the “yum” department.

Print Recipe

Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Glaze and Pecans

For the donuts:

1 c pumpkin puree

¼ c melted coconut oil

½ c maple syrup

2 eggs

2 t vanilla extract

¼ t vanilla stevia extract

¼ t apple cider vinegar

1 c quinoa flour

½ c tapioca starch

1 t guar gum

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

2 ½ t cinnamon

¼ t nutmeg

¼ t cloves

¼ t allspice

1/8 t salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease donut pans and set aside.

In a stand mixer or food processor combine pumpkin, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, egg, apple cider vinegar and stevia. Beat or process until smooth and fully combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients . Add to wet ingredients and beat or process until batter is nice and smooth.

Spoon batter into donut pans. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and remove the donuts from the pan and set on a cooling rack.

While the donuts are baking, make the glaze:

2 T maple syrup

¼ t cinnamon

½ c organic powdered sugar

1-2 T almond milk

Whisk together in a small bowl until a thick glaze is formed.

Chop about ½ cup pecans and set aside.

While still warm, dip each donut halfway into the glaze, and then sprinkle chopped nuts on top. Place on a cooling rack with a paper towel underneath to catch drips.

Makes 9 donuts.

Buckwheat & Hemp “No-Oatmeal” Raisin Cookies

For the past month (okay, nearly two months now, but who’s counting?), I’ve been playing around with this new Erewhon cereal. Back when I attended the Gluten and Allergen-Free Expo in Dallas in September, I had the pleasure of meeting Anneleis. We’ve “known” each other online from past Attune Foods events and the like, but it’s always wonderful to meet someone face-to-face. Anneleis gave me a box of their newest cereal, Buckwheat & Hemp, to try out. I was excited. While I rarely eat cereal, I do enjoy the Erewhon gluten-free varieties.

This cereal is heartier than any of the others I’ve tried. The flakes are crunchy and light, but manage to hold up quite nicely in my almond milk. They remind me of a version of Grape Nuts and Raisin Bran flakes, if that makes sense. I loved to munch on a few flakes at a time just on their own, and actually enjoyed a few little bowls of them with almond milk, but eventually knew I should bake something before I went through the entire box.

Of course, I gravitated towards cookies. They are my sweet treat of choice, after all, and I find them easier to bake than many other things. One of my childhood favorites was the oatmeal raisin cookie. I loved its chewy texture and hearty flavor, and the sweetness wasn’t overpowering like other cookie varieties. My Mom often would make a batch for us to pack in our lunch for school, and they were a definite way to put a smile on my face. Of course, nowadays, I rarely eat oats, as they aren’t easy on my tummy, so oatmeal raisin cookies are generally out. I opted to try to recreate a new version of this childhood favorite with my newest favorite cereal instead.

What resulted was a chewy, subtly nutty and hearty cookie, studded with raisins and tasting lightly of cinnamon. I could hardly stay away from them, and I must confess – I had more than one. They would definitely be welcome as a lunchbox treat, or in the afternoon with a little glass of almond milk.

Now, if I could just get out to the store to find some more Buckwheat & Hemp cereal. I’m out.

Print Recipe

Buckwheat & Hemp “No-Oatmeal” Raisin Cookies (gluten-free, dairy-free)

2 eggs

1 c almond butter

1 c coconut palm sugar

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 c raisins

1 1/2 c Buckwheat & Hemp cereal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Stir in the almond butter, coconut sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and vanilla until a uniform dough forms. Stir in the raisins and cereal. Scoop into mounds about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place 2-3 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden at the edges. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing and placing on a rack to cool completely.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen.

What is your favorite type of cookie? Share at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community! We’re always looking for inspiration (and cookie recipes!)

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: Tasty Yummies

I am hosting Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger again for the month of September. Sea is still in Japan working on her dissertation, and we must keep this baby alive, so here I go again! Sign-ups are still open, by the way, until this Friday, so sign up here!

I decided to adopt a relatively new-to-me gluten-free blogger, Beth of Tasty Yummies! Honestly, I first came across some of her recipes because they were pinned on Pinterest by another gluten-free blogger friend (Are you on Pinterest? If so, follow me! I love to pin lots of recipes – gluten-free, dairy-free, need-to-convert-to-gluten-free, health stuff, and anything else that strikes my fancy!), and they were so beautiful (Just look at her photography! Mad skills!) that they caught my eye. As I looked at them a bit more, I realized that many of her recipes fit really well into the way I like to eat. They’re gluten-free, of course, dairy-free, and many times grain-free. I wanted to make them all!

Unfortunately, time constraints only allowed me to make one recipe, so I chose Beth’s Apple Crisp (which is gluten-free and vegan). I’d make another right this minute, only I’m sitting in a hotel room and I don’t think I can do much with my stash of safe snacks, (some sugar snap peas, apples, raspberries, KIND and LARA bars, sardines) a salad from Whole Foods, and only a microwave, refrigerator, and a plastic knife. I love to take on “what can I make with what’s left in the fridge?” challenges, but MacGyver I am not. So this apple crisp will have to do. Good thing it was amazing.

In fact, so amazing that as I sit here in this aforementioned hotel room, my mouth is watering recalling the yummy fall flavors of this little treat. I might have to make a repeat when I get back home. You see, while fruit crisps appear easy, there is a big difference between an “okay” one and a truly great crisp. A truly great crisp has a perfect balance of sweetness, just enough cinnamon, is crispy but also rich enough to satisfy, and the fruit has to be just so – can’t be too watery or overcooked. I used some Granny Smith apples I got at the farmer’s market (they weren’t exactly local – from Arkansas – but I’m in Texas, so there aren’t a lot of apple orchards around. They were organic and at the peak of freshness though!) so they’d provide a good amount of tartness, and I substituted quinoa flakes for the oats, and coconut palm sugar for the date sugar, as that was what I had on hand. (I also cut the recipe down to 1/4 so there wouldn’t be leftovers in the fridge while I was out of town.) Otherwise, the recipe was left in tact. The coconut oil, cinnamon, and maple syrup really made this dish. After enjoying more than my fair share, I’ll say I’m definitely ready for fall!

Be sure and grab Beth’s apple crisp recipe here! And if you haven’t signed up yet for this month’s Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger and wish to, do it today!

How To Make Sunflower Seed Butter

Are there members of your family that must be peanut-free? Many people and families are peanut-free due to allergies, health concerns, or even because the kids have a peanut-free or nut-free school. For many, this means no peanut butter cookies, no PB&J, no peanut butter and apples. I don’t know about you, but those types of foods were an integral part of my childhood, and I’m a bit of a peanut butter fiend. I’d hate to deprive anyone else of that salty-sweet, creamy, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth goodness.

So what’s a peanut-free person to do? There are soynut butters out there, but many people also avoid soy. You can buy commercial sunflower seed butter, and I have done so before (it’s pretty darn delicious), but it does contain sugar. Also, it’s not always easily found if your grocery options are somewhat limited, unless you order online. So why not make it yourself?

I promise, it’s easy!

In fact, I find making all sorts of seed and nut butters pretty easy, and I make a lot of different ones myself. The food processor does all the hard work, and besides, I can then control the sweetness and salt levels – a great thing, in my opinion. It’s also generally less expensive than buying a jar of the already-made stuff.

The same is true of this sunflower seed butter. The organic, raw sunflower seeds I used for my sunbutter cost me less than $3/lb. A jar at the store, which is usually around a pound, typically costs around $6. Once you start making this yourself, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s worth a few little steps. Besides, you’ll be on your way to sunflower seed butter cookies, using sunflower seed butter in a yummy peanut-free dip for satay, or even in a peanut-free “PB&J” vegan ice cream. Or just on a spoon, straight from the jar. Your choice. I won’t judge.

First, you start with 3 cups of raw sunflower seeds (don’t buy the already roasted ones, as a lot of the moisture is already gone from them and your ”butter” will be mealy or grainy – trust me, I’ve made that mistake). Toss them into a skillet (I prefer my cast-iron skillet, but any skillet will do) and toast over medium heat, moving them around often so they don’t burn. You’ll do this for 5-10 minutes, or until the sunflower seeds show some toasting. Don’t over-toast – if they look similar to this, you’re good. (Over-toasting will also cause that mealy texture in your final product)

Then throw your sunflower seeds, plus about 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon of salt, into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

(See all those scratches on my food processor? That’s a sign of true love – love between a girl and her food processor. We’ve been through a lot together.)

Put the lid on your food processor and turn it on. At this point, you will be processing until it becomes sunflower seed butter. Of course, saying that sounds easy, but truth is, many people worry that they’ve done something wrong at some point in this process, because it just seems to take SO long. You’ll be processing for almost 10 minutes.

In case you want to peek at it throughout the process to be sure it’s all going well, in the first minute or so, your sunflower seeds will turn into a fine meal.

Keep going.

A few more minutes will pass, and you’ll see the “meal” climb up the sides of the processor. Eventually, the oils will release from the seeds, and your “meal” will start to clump to one side of the processor.

Keep going. Just leave that clump there. Eventually, enough oils will release that it will spread itself back out. Don’t add any oil at this point, or it will never become smooth.

Soon, you’ll hear the food processor become quieter, and everything will spread out and start to look like a real sunflower seed butter. Like this.

Now, if you desire, you can add sweetener and oils. I personally only add about a tablespoon of oil (usually olive or coconut – olive makes it more spreadable at cooler temperatures, as coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but I love the flavor of coconut oil), but it’s up to you how spreadable you want your butter. You can also add a tablespoon or two of sugar, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, or whatever sweetener you choose. Or you can choose to omit sweeteners entirely. Up to you.

Then continue to process for another minute or so, until everything is completely smooth. Then scrape your sunflower seed butter into your desired container (I prefer glass jars – I have a ton of them) and store in the refrigerator.

That’s it! See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Hooray for a quick, inexpensive, healthy alternative to peanut butter!

Print Recipe

Sunflower Seed Butter (gluten-free, vegan)

3 c raw sunflower seeds

1/2-3/4 t kosher salt

1 T oil of choice (olive oil or coconut oil are my favorites)

1-2 T sweetener of choice (sugar, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup are all good here)

Toast the sunflower seeds in a large skillet over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted. Place sunflower seeds and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process into a smooth, spreadable butter – this takes about 10 minutes. Add oil and sweeteners as desired and process again until smooth.

Makes about 2 cups.

This post is linked to 5-Ingredient Mondays over at The Daily Dietribe.

Red Savina Habanero Brownies (And a Melissa’s Produce Giveaway!)

 

Update: This giveaway is now closed. The winners of the Red Savina Habaneros have been announced here.

Ready for some chocolate?

As if that’s actually a question. If you’re like me, you’re always ready for chocolate. Especially brownies. Brownies are essentially the greatest form of chocolate-based sweet. And I’m a fan of all types of brownies, although the fudgy, unadorned, chocolate-only ones tend to win my heart.

Until now, that is.

Meet the habanero brownie. Sure, it looks sweet and innocent, what with its chocolate-y chocolate-ness, with some more chocolate on top. But there’s a surprise lurking in that baby. A little kick. It catches you off-guard as you take a bite and start to melt into the richness of the brownie, forcing your eyes to widen a bit and making you utter “oh!” before taking another bite. And another.

See, that’s the way with these babies. They’re very “more-ish”. The heat is there, but it’s not so much as to throw off the balance of sweet and rich. And that little layer of chocolate frosting? Some might call it gilding the lily, but I just call it good.

These brownies were inspired by a special delivery I received recently. Melissa’s Produce, an online distributor of some amazing-looking fresh specialty produce, contacted me. Apparently they knew I was a bit of a chile addict (I guess posting a habanero-pear jam recipe kind of gave it away), and they offered to send me some of their new Red Savina Habaneros to try. They’re not for the faint of heart – these babies pack a serious punch! But the heat is somewhat sweet, which gave me the inkling to try them in a dessert. Once I learned how much heat they provided (after adding waaaay too much in a bloody mary recipe – ouch!), I knew just what to do.

After all, chiles+chocolate=match made in heaven.

So I whipped up these gluten-free, dairy-free brownies and stirred in some roasted habanero. Let me tell you, the batter alone was delicious. But once baked, the resulting brownie was fudgy but not too dense, moist, and rich. And of course, it came with a touch of heat. Swoon-worthy, if you ask me. I couldn’t have picked a better chile to add that heat too - the Savina Habanero came across clean, sweet and warm. I immediately had to pack the remaining brownies up and take them to the office, lest I devour them myself.

Ready to make these brownies for yourself? Well, Melissa’s Produce has graciously allowed me to give away some Savina Habanero chiles to 3 of my lucky readers! Simply leave me a comment below telling me what you’d love to make with some of these amazing Savina Habaneros, and I’ll choose 3 winners* at random.

The giveaway will end on Saturday, September 22, 2012, so time is of the essence!

(*Winners must be at least 18 years of age and must reside in the United States to be eligible.)

Okay, okay, and now, the recipe.

Print Recipe

Red Savina Habanero Brownies (grain-free, dairy-free)

1 Savina Habanero (or other habanero)

2/3 c coconut oil

6 oz quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

1 1/2 c raw turbinado sugar

6 eggs

2 t vanilla extract

1/2 t ground chia seed (I grind whole chia seeds in my coffee grinder – you can substitute ground flaxseed as well)

1/4 c coconut flour

1/4 c almond flour

1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 t kosher salt

1 t baking powder

Preheat broiler to high. Place chile under broiler (I do this on a foil-lined baking sheet) and broil until lightly blackened, turning every minute or two. Remove and place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or foil. Set aside. This will help “steam” off the charred skin of the chile. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Oil an 8X8 inch metal pan and line with parchment paper. Oil the paper. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add coconut oil, chocolate, and sugar. Place over medium-low heat and heat until completely melted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once chile has been in the bowl for a few minutes, remove. Put on some gloves (highly recommended!) and peel the skin from the chile. Remove the stem, and the seeds. Finely mince the chile and set aside.

Once the chocolate mixture has cooled for a few minutes, whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and ground chia seed until well-blended. Whisk in coconut flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder until well-blended. Finally, whisk in the chiles. Scrape the batter into your prepared pan, smoothing out the top.

Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least an hour. Frost with frosting, and chill for an hour to allow it to firm up. Serve.

Chocolate Frosting (grain-free, dairy-free)

4 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

3 T non-dairy butter, such as Earth Balance

1-2 T non-dairy milk

3/4-1 c organic powdered sugar

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate for 30 seconds. Stir until completely melted (microwave for longer if you must, but be careful not to burn). Scrape into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk. Add non-dairy butter, milk and powdered sugar and mix on high speed until completely blended, adding additional milk or powdered sugar as needed to achieve a thick, spreadable consistency. Immediately spread a thin layer of frosting over the brownies.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

 

Meet Cara of Cara’s Cravings (and Gluten-Free Chicken ‘n’ Waffles!)


As you can probably imagine, I read a lot of other food blogs and I chat with a lot of fellow food bloggers. Many of you reading this fall into that category, in fact! I love the community we have, and I love reading about other recipes, food, and cooking. (What can I say, it’s my passion!) But every now and then, I stumble upon a blogger that really has a unique-yet-intriguing approach to their food and recipes. Cara of Cara’s Cravings is one perfect example. Cara focuses on sharing healthy living tips, but most importantly (in my mind), she shares recipes for healthy versions of truly craveable dishes. That’s what really catches my eye and keeps me coming back for more.

Since then, Cara and I have conversed quite a bit and have gotten to know one another a bit better. Since many of you may not know Cara, (and some of her readers may not know me) we decided it was high time we do a little spotlight on one another! We asked each other some questions, and of course, we played around with one another’s recipes! So before I move on to talking about chicken and waffles, here’s some fun facts about Cara! (And please see Cara’s blog for my answers to these questions!)

- What is your proudest fitness achievement?

It’s a tie between running a half marathon and doing chinups. Since I was overweight and unathletic until my early 20′s, both were quite the feat! Here are my tips for women who want to work up to doing chinups: start with negative chinups. That is, jump up on the bar and lower yourself slowly as possible. That’s one rep. Rest 45-60 seconds and do it again. Once you can do 3 reps dragging each one out for at least 20 seconds, you’re ready to try to a full chinup!

- Latest clothing or accessory splurge?

A huge Coach tote bag for traveling. After three trips in a row in April, I realized I was sick of carrying around a laptop bag in addition to a big purse every time we were in an airport. Next vacation planned? It will be our 5-year anniversary in March, and we’re looking at Costa Rica or St. Lucia. Anyone care to chime in?

- If you could have dinner with your mom tonight, what would you ask her to make?

It’s going to sound gross, but Cincinnati Chili from the Campbell’s Soup Cookbook. This was the cookbook my mom used most often, and while today I try to avoid processed foods as much as possible, I still have a soft spot for that cinnamon-spiced sweet chili made with condensed tomato soup, smothering a bowl of pasta with sharp cheddar.

- What do you do when you’re not blogging?

For 6 years I was a full time chemical engineer. Now I’m a part time engineer and part time blogger/freelancer :)

Tell us about your exercise routine.

Exercise has been a big part of my life ever since I lost weight. It makes me feel good and allows me to constantly challenge myself. My workout of choice is heavy weight lifting. Many women shy away from the squat rack, but I embrace it! Contrary to what you might think, lifting heavier weights for lower reps will not make you “huge” (we ladies just don’t have the right hormones for that) and will keep your metabolism working very efficiently. I still throw in some cardio, but it’s usually quit HIIT workouts or jogging no more than 4 miles. I am usually working out 5-6 days per week.

- Where is home?

I’ve lived in Massachusetts my entire life, even went to college here. Sometimes I wish I got to experience something different for a while… but deep down, I really love being close to family. My husband and I actually grew up in the same town (though we didn’t meet till I was in college and he had already graduated) and we live about 35 minutes from both sets of parents. It’s pretty convenient!

- Who else lives under your roof?

My hubby, of course! We’ll be married five years this October. This year we expanded our family to include an adorable black lab / beagle mix. She is absolutely gorgeous and a true member of the family.

I am seriously impressed with your chinups, Cara! I’m working on them myself, but I have a ways to go before I get there! I’m definitely motivated now! And my hubby and I celebrate an October anniversary as well – what a coincidence!

Okay, now on to the chicken and waffles. Years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Memphis, Tennessee. We did the whole Beale Street tour, ate amazing ribs, and toured Elvis’ home, but one of my favorite experiences was visiting this little place called Miss Polly’s Soul Food Cafe. We loved it so much, we ate there twice, in fact. They served chicken ‘n’ waffles. To those of you who have never heard of this concoction, let me tell you, you’re in for a real treat. Think crispy, salty fried chicken with crackly skin atop a fluffy, lightly sweet waffle, drenched in maple syrup. Salty+sweet+a little chicken grease = heaven. There was nothing left on my plate at the end of that meal, let me tell you. The memory of that meal will forever be imprinted in my mind.

Unfortunately, a few months later, I went gluten-free, as my health had deteriorated to the point where I simply had to do something. While I was ecstatic to find my health returning (and still am), chicken ‘n’ waffles became nothing more than a food memory. That is, until I stumbled upon Cara’s recipe.

Cara brought chicken ‘n’ waffles back to this gluten-free girl’s kitchen.

A healthier version of the grease, gluten and dairy-laden dish I enjoyed in Memphis, Cara’s dish was no less delectable. A crisp cornflake-coated chicken breast provided savory crunch. Atop a barely sweet, fluffy waffle, drizzled with syrup, and I was reliving that memory once again, without the consequences. Truth be told – the waffle was my favorite part. Crisp edges, fluffy soft interior, and a perfect balance of sweet and that hint of salt, this waffle will definitely grace our table again. But the entire dish was sublime. Thanks Cara, for bringing what I thought was only a distant food memory back to life!

See the recipe for Cara’s Chicken ‘n’ Waffles here!

Review: Learning to Bake Allergen-Free

Over the past few years, I’ve slowly learned how to navigate gluten and dairy-free life. So much so, that many substitutions are old hat by now, and I hardly recognize the difference. However, I only have two real limitations – gluten and dairy. (okay, so I also can’t really do chickpea flour, but that’s easy to get around.) When my family comes to visit, I add corn to that list, but again, I can handle the substitutions. But what if you also have to avoid eggs? Soy? Nuts? Each of these allergens are increasingly common, and are so hard to avoid when baking. It’s enough to make your head spin.

Enter Colette Martin, author of Learning to Bake Allergen-Free: A Crash Course for Busy Parents on Baking, and of the blog Learning to Eat Allergy-Free. Colette navigates quite a few allergens in her household, as her son was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis, triggered by allergies to wheat, dairy, eggs, soy and peanuts. She had to learn how to bake cakes, cookies, breads, and other foods taken for granted by so many others without the staples: flour, butter, milk, and eggs. She so wanted her son to be able to enjoy things like normal children – cakes at parties and cookies for an after-school snack. This required some experimentation on her part!

The results of her hard work show in this comprehensive book. She explains multiple substitutes for ingredients, the pros and cons of those ingredients, and how to best utilize them in recipes. Colette spent a lot of time understanding the science behind the average cake and cookie, and conducted many a trial before she gave us the goods – those long sought-after recipes!

Most of these recipes call for gluten-free flour mixes. While I lean towards making my own blends (I like to tinker), this is approachable for most allergy-free bakers, which are usually parents that don’t have endless amounts of time on their hands to figure out flour substitutions. I find that appealing. She also shares various brands and suggests how to use each of them, so you can swap one out for another to your liking. Also, these recipes are fairly straight-forward, making your transition into allergy-free baking as easy as possible.

I chose to make her chocolate chocolate chunk cookies. These are great for when you want just a few cookies lying around, as the dough is refrigerated beforehand, and you slice off what you need to bake. (And it’s actually best if you refrigerate overnight) They were intensely chocolate-y, not too sweet, and a little crisp. I enjoyed ours in cookie sandwiches with some chocolate date frosting from The Spunky Coconut Cookbook. The entire family enjoyed them (it’s not often we all agree on food!).

This book definitely is a resource, especially for those of us that are not too familiar with allergy-free baking. Colette definitely is on the ball when it comes to solutions for any food restriction!

Learning to Bake Allergen-Free can be found at any of these stores listed on Colette’s site.