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Coconut Flour Double-Chocolate Brownies, Gluten Free

Coconut Flour Double-Chocolate Brownies, Gluten Free

 

Coconut Flour Double Chocolate Brownies. Gluten Free, Low Carb Decadence!

Coconut Flour Double Chocolate Brownies. Gluten Free, Low Carb Decadence!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted… and there are several reasons for that.. but instead of going into details with this initial return post, I figured I’d just give you all some chocolate first!

Photo May 02, 7 09 01 AMIsn’t that the best way to kiss and make up??
A little chocolate brownie action to ease re-entry to the blogosphere 🙂

The reason for this recipe, is that after a long while following Wheat Belly, I realized that my system doesn’t do all that well with the straight almond flour recipes. I can have a little here and there, but with digestive issues, I’ve been working on alternatives. Coconut flour is great for this, as its density works well with the texture of a brownie. Instead of going for light like I do in my muffin recipes, this is a more dense texture, and depending how long you choose to bake it, even a bit on the gooey side!

I realize that 6TB doesn’t seem like much flour, but remember that coconut flour is much more absorbent than other grain and nut flours. It cannot be substituted, recipes need to be crafted specifically for coconut flour. If you wish to make this recipe dairy free, substitute coconut oil for the butter, perhaps adding a pinch of salt.

Coconut Flour Double-Chocolate Brownies
(about 72g net carbs for entire recipe; 16 servings 4.5g each,
32 servings 2.25 each. Add more for additional ingredients)

  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

    Ready to bake!

    Ready to bake!

  • 6 TB butter
  • 1/4 C cashew butter
  • 1 TB vanilla
  • 1/2-3/4C sweetener such as Swerve or Truvia
    if you prefer more or less sweet, adjust to your taste
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 TB maple syrup or sugar free syrup if you prefer
  • 6 TB coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder, sifted
  • 2 TB cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 C chopped walnuts, pecans, or nut of choice
  • 1/2 xanthan gum (optional!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a loaf pan by lining with buttered baking parchment, or use a non-stick pan such as the silicone loaf pan I show here.

Combine first 3 ingredients and either melt together in the microwave, or heat over low in a pan on the stovetop, stirring until all ingredients are softened and combined. Remove from heat, transfer to medium mixing bowl and cool slightly. Stir in vanilla, sweetener, eggs and syrup.

Sift together coconut flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and xanthan gum (if using.) Stir dry ingredients into wet mixture. Add chopped nuts. (I sometimes add dark chocolate chips or dried berries, but realize this will raise carb count.)

Spoon mixture into loaf pan, patting top to even it out. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes depending on your oven and level of doneness you prefer. I use a convection oven, and 18 minutes gives me a gooey center, 20 is firm, 22 is a bit stiff and crumbly. Allow to cool slightly and eat, or refrigerate. If desired, frost with cream cheese frosting.

Photo May 04, 1 36 12 PM

 

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Cashew Sandies {Grain-free, Sugar-free, Egg and Dairy-free}

Grain-free Cashew Sandies

Grain-free Cashew Sandies

 

These Cashew Sandies are my take on a traditional Pecan Sandie that I often baked at the holidays. The cashews do a wonderful job of standing in for the sweetness of pecans in this recipe, and it’s a good thing I made them small, as they are quite rich! It’s a lightly sweet cookie, much like a shortbread.

There are times when recipes take lots of tweaking and fussing, and other times where they are the result of happy experimentation… this is the latter  😉  I was using lovely raw cashews to make cashew butter for a brownie recipe (that I will be posting soon), and after processing about a cup of raw cashews to the point of being finely ground, I added 1Tb of Nutiva coconut oil and continued to process until the mixture came together as a “nut butter”. One thing that I noticed right away, was that the texture of the cashew butter was smooth and very similar to the finished dough for pecan sandies… so I added a few more ingredients to add bulk, lift and flavor, and the following recipe is the result. I’ll be adding them to my holiday baking this year, and I hope you do too!

Note: I would normally sift powdered sugar over the top of a pecan sandie, but I didn’t have any powdered Swerve or erythritol on hand, so I just sprinkled a little granulated Swerve on top. Next time I make them, they will definitely look more festive!

Cashew Sandies

  • 1C raw cashews finely ground into nut butter
    with 1Tb coconut oil added for smoothness
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3Tb Swerve sweetener (or your choice to taste) plus more for sprinkling
  • 4Tb almond flour
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1Tb Nutiva virgin coconut oil (can use refined or butter in its place)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a food processor, combine all ingredients until a soft dough forms. (I made the cashew butter in the food processor and then added the remaining ingredients.) Form into 1” balls, and flatten slightly on baking parchment. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to brown delicately at the edges (I turn pan once during baking.) Remove to a rack to cool. Sprinkle sweetener over the top or sift with powdered sweetener. Do not try to lift cookies from parchment until they have cooled and become more sturdy. Makes about 24 cookies.

Cashew butter made from raw cashews and coconut oil

Cashew butter made from raw cashews and coconut oil.

Slightly flattened 1" balls on baking parchment

Slightly flattened 1″ balls on baking parchment

Cooled and delicious Cashew Sandies

Cooled and delicious Cashew Sandies

Cashew Sandies: Perfect after-school treat for my hungry teen!

Cashew Sandies: Perfect after-school treat for my hungry teen!

 

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Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffins {Grain free!}

Grain-Free Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffin with Cream Cheese Frosting

Grain-Free Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffin with Cream Cheese Frosting

 

These are moist, tender and full of flavor…
and best of all, no grain or gluten in sight!!!

Fall has officially begun, and the yearning for pumpkin flavored warm yummy goodness isn’t going to be derailed by our grain-free lifestyle! These pumpkin muffins are a cinch to make, and are a treat with a nice hot cup of coffee after spending the afternoon in the autumn sun, or on cool fall evenings. The maple extract is completely optional, but it added a nice depth of flavor to complement the pumpkin. The topping is also optional, but the slight crunch from the pecans was delicious.

Grain free pumpkin muffins fresh from the oven. A nice rise and crunchy topping make these hard to resist.

Grain free pumpkin muffins fresh from the oven. A nice rise and crunchy topping make these hard to resist.

 

After searching the net for grain-free pumpkin muffin recipes, I decided to take a bit from several and just give my own version a try. As luck would have it, these turned our great the first time around (AND the second!) My son can’t believe how delicious these taste, and at 4-5g net carbs per muffin, they are low-carb and Wheat Belly compliant!

Simply mix all ingredients together at once.

Simply mix all ingredients together at once.

Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffins

  • 2C almond flour
  • 2Tb coconut flour
  • 2/3C canned pumpkin (unsweetened)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4C cashew butter (or almond butter)
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (or 1Tb pumpkin pie spice;
    omit cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg)
  • 3/4tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2tsp maple extract (optional)
  • 4Tb Swerve (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 20 drops liquid Stevia
  • 3Tb coconut oil (melted) or butter
  • 1Tb vanilla extract
  • 4-6Tb heavy cream
Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffins, au naturel!

Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffins, au naturel! So tender and moist.

Pecan Topping (optional):

  • 1/3C chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • 1-2 Tb butter, melted
  • 1Tb Swerve sweetener
  • pinch of salt

Cream Cheese Frosting (optional):

  • 4oz softened cream cheese
  • 1Tb Swerve
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3C heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 6 drops liquid Stevia

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Mix together all ingredients and fill muffin liners.
  3. If desired, top with nut topping (mix all ingredients together.)
  4. Bake 15 minutes, rotate pan, and bake another 10 minutes for a total of 25 minutes.
  5. Remove and allow to cool. If desired, top with butter, cream cheese frosting (fold together all ingredients) or lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Grain-free Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffin

Grain-free Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffin; Simply delicious!

 

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HFLC Fat Bombs! Zesty Lemon Cream and Chocolate Almond Butter {Grain-free, Gluten-free, Low-carb}

Fat Bombs

Fat Bombs… Although they look and taste as decadent as something from a forbidden confectionery boutique, they play a crucial role in the HFLC diet, providing an important source of energy in the form of healthy fats. YAY!!

 

HFLC: translation, High Fat Low Carb Diet!

I never thought I would use the words “fat bomb” in a sentence that had to do with my daily food intake, but there it is! If you are an experienced low-carber, you may familiar with the concept… and if you have been hanging around the Wheat Belly Facebook page lately, you may have already seen amazing versions of these two recipes.

When restricting oneself to a very low carb diet for the purpose of burning body fat, it’s important to replace those carbs with fat as the primary energy source. Intellectually, I “know” this, but I have been struggling with getting enough fat in my diet. While the methods I started a couple of weeks ago to break my weight loss stall did work and I lost 2 new pounds, I still feel that I am too low in my intake of healthy fats.

Enter the FAT BOMB! They are concoctions of healthy fats (coconut oil, butter, cream cheese, nut butters) that taste great and help us to get enough fat in a day. These are just 2 variations on a theme, and I do not take credit for originating them at all… I merely tweaked them, photographed my outcome, and am passing on information to others who are likely going through the same learning process that I am. I already have other variations in my mind (maple extract and toasted pecans instead of lemon juice? cashew butter instead of almond? we’ll see!) Feel free to tinker with these yourself, but be aware, they are addictive!

Do you have any favorite combination of ingredients for Fat Bombs?

 

Lemon Fat Bomb with Walnuts and Lemon Zest

Lemon Fat Bomb with Walnuts and Lemon Zest

Lemon Bombs

  • 4oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4Tb butter, softened
  • 4Tb coconut oil (I used unrefined, virgin)
  • 2Tb sour cream
  • 1/2 lemon (@4tsp juice)
  • 4tsp Truvia or sweetener of choice to desired sweetness
  • nuts or zest, or any other mix-ins (optional)

Start by creaming together the cream cheese and butter, then add other ingredients one at a time and mix well in between. I like mine sweet/sour, so you may have to adjust your flavors to your taste. I have made them using the wells of a small muffin-top pan (pictured) but also have used mini muffin cups. Freeze until firm, pop out and refrigerate.
Note: The first time I made them plain but topped with almonds; this last time I added in some chopped walnuts into the mix and a little dried lemon zest on top. I really liked the crunch from the walnuts. I got 8 from this, and I figure it’s less than 1g carb per bomb!! (I think 5g for the batch.)

 

Nut Butter Bomb with Dark Chocolate and Walnuts

Nut Butter Bomb with Dark Chocolate and Walnuts

Nut Butter Bombs

  • 4Tb butter
  • 1/2C plain almond butter
  • 1/2C coconut oil (I used unrefined, virgin)
  • 3 tsp Truvia
  • couple pinches of kosher salt
  • Dark choclate melted if desired
  • Nuts or other toppings, mix-ins (optional)

I warmed it in the microwave for maybe 30 seconds and then whisked together. I used a muffin top pan and got 8 out of this recipe. (Plain, about 2.5g net carbs per… with a little melted dark chocolate, it was 4.25g)

 

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G-free Peanut Butter Cookies!

Mmmmm Coooookiessss!!! (voice of Cookie Monster)

We pretty much all grew up loving cookies. The taste, texture, the wonderful associations of a loving kitchen and all the dreamy smells… anticipating dunking it in a glass of milk while still slightly warm. Cookies are a part of our heritage, and yet, when made the traditional way, some would argue that they are toxic. OK, I would argue that they are toxic. That doesn’t mean that when we abandon gluten, we also have to abandon treats… we just need to revamp them into healthier creations that actually satisfy and provide nutrition.

This peanut butter cookie recipe is adapted from Elana’s food blog. I LOVE her site and recipes, she is a true talent in the kitchen. The original recipe is HERE… and my version follows.

G-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1C blanched almond flour (try Nuts.com!)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 C crunchy roasted peanut butter
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 2 Tb butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl, whisk to blend, and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, using a whisk to ensure everything incorporates well. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet, mixing thoroughly. Scoop dough by rounded tablespoons full onto a parchment lined baking sheet. You may want to shape the scoops into balls with your hands to get a nicer shape. Gently press a wet fork into the top of each cookie to make a criss-cross pattern. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly while still on parchment, before removing to a cooling rack, as the the cookies are very fragile when they are first out of the oven. Makes about 15 cookies.

 

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Cheesecake and Energy Bars, Salvaged from Bitter Brownies

Serendipity?

So most cheesecakes probably start with a yummy craving or perhaps a special occasion in mind…  this one started because of a flopped batch of brownies! I am admittedly new to gluten-free (wheat-free) baking, and I have to readjust what I have learned about how ingredients work together, because the dynamics are different. Several days ago I made a batch of brownies that turned out, well… let’s say much more bitter than sweet! I am a major fan of dark chocolate, but this recipe had WAY too much unsweetened chocolate and not enough of everything else to counter-balance it. I almost think the recipe may have been printed incorrectly. They looked great and smelled great, but even with a dollop of whipped cream, we could not enjoy them. Grrrrrr!

Energy Bites: As anyone of you that bakes with the gluten-free flours (almond and coconut) knows, these and other ingredients are relatively expensive, and I was just not willing to toss the whole of it into the garbage, so I set about finding creative uses for the brownies as a base for other things. The first thing I did was use about half of the brownies to make energy bites. I zipped the brownies in the food processor (one of my new best friends these days) along with dates, shredded coconut, dried cherries, walnut butter, and a drizzle of  honey to help bind it together. I pressed it into a pan lined with parchment and froze it for a little while and then cut it into chunks. My son has been eating these energy bites all week! I realize that this really isn’t a recipe, but maybe it can serve as inspiration to others who find themselves with a batch of something-or-other that just didn’t turn out as well as you hoped, to transform it into something else that is edible 🙂 This concoction is not as low-carb as most I post, but my son can definitely handle more healthy carbs in his diet.

Cheesecake: As I was wandering through food blog postings yesterday, I saw Nicole’s post at La Petite Baker. She made a pretty simple and delicious-looking cheesecake, covered in hot fudge, and that sprouted an idea in my head! I decided to use the other half of my failed brownies as a crust by adding a little more sweetener (I use erythritol) and a little butter, blending it in the food processor again, and then pressing it into my springform pan. I altered her filling recipe only slightly, by replacing the sugar with erythritol and using 1 1/2 cups of sour cream, and 1/2 cup plain yogurt, and replaced the sugar in the topping with sweetener as well. Since the crust was chocolate, I decided to use fresh strawberries as a topping instead of the fudge. It turned out lovely! I admit that we should have waited overnight to dig into the cheesecake as recommended, but the guys would have none of that, so it was definitely softer than intended. It has set up very firmly by this morning though.

I had my reservations about altering a baking recipe because baking is much more of a chemistry project than cooking is, and I am also new and hesitant with sweeteners. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, and is not as sweet as sugar, but it is “natural” and doesn’t spike blood sugars the way the real thing does, so it is ideal for low-carb and diabetic diets. I don’t know if I will ever get used to using sweeteners in place of sugar, so it means that sweetened treats will simply be fewer and further between. The cost is also a factor, as erythritol is quite pricey, no matter how you justify it.

Now I am wondering, since I de-glutenized and un-sugared the cheesecake recipe, can I have it for breakfast?? 😉  Muahahaha…..

 

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Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut! GF Walnut Butter

Walnut butter on apple slices is a great mid-day snack.

In researching the wheat-free and gluten-free way of eating, nut butters are frequently mentioned. I love the taste of nuts and the jolt of protein that they provide, but I have to be cautious when eating them because they can trigger flare-ups with IBS for me (sorry if that’s TMI, but this blog is written for health reasons!) Peanut butter is good, but gets boring pretty quickly, so I decided to try my hand at making Walnut butter. I was inspired by a visit to Nuts.com  (this is where I ordered my almond flour, which will hopefully arrive today!) and is a good source if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making it yourself, though I promise it’s easy-peasy!

Walnut Butter

  • 2 cups walnut halves, soaked overnight in water to reduce any bitterness
  • 1 TB organic honey
  • 1 TB walnut oil
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • ground cinnamon to taste

Rinse and drain the walnuts, and then roast them in a 400 degree oven for about 7 minutes, turning them over halfway through. Allow to cool completely. Using a food processor, blend the walnuts until they form a fine meal and begin to stick to the sides of the bowl. It is at this point that I added the honey and oil, and continue to process until the nuts become a bit of a paste, scraping the bowl occasionally. This will take several minutes altogether. Finally add the salt and cinnamon to taste and process to incorporate. Yields about 1 cup. Refrigerate.

I am sure that there are other methods that will result in a good nut butter, and in the future, I will try different variations. One that comes to mind is adding a dash of cayenne pepper and maybe chili powder for a spicy twist to the spread. I do adhere to a low carb diet, but I feel that adding sugars judiciously is within my personal guidelines, however if you prefer to get your carbs from another source, omit the honey. This recipe yields a butter that is not as smooth as commercial peanut butter, but is easily spreadable. Try it on apple slices, celery sticks and as an ingredient in place of peanut butter in some recipes.

 

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