Tag Archives: glutenfree

Holiday treats – Free of Dairy, Sugar, and Wheat!

 

At this time of year in particular, sugar and wheat filled treats are EVERYWHERE.  It makes everything a challenge for those of us who have kids who are sugar and wheat free.  A visit to Santa means a dye and sugar filled candy cane, or a sugar, wheat and dye filled iced cookie.  Any holiday event at school, with friends, with family, all involve treats of some kind.  Gluten-free is easy enough these days, as there are many commercial options for the gluten intolerant.  But not so much for the gluten AND sugar free.  At Halloween I made chocolate ‘bars’ for Berrik so that he wouldn’t feel left out.  He loved them!  However, they are very dark and bitter chocolates as I prefer to keep any sweetener to a minimum, regardless of what type I am using.  But I know that a lot of people, especially kids, prefer the milder, sweeter ‘milk chocolate’.  Because my kids were dairy free by necessity, they grew up eating very dark chocolate so have a taste for it.  Most kids, not so much.  I decided to experiment a little today, to see if I could create a dairy, sugar and wheat free chocolate treat, that would satisfy even the most diehard milk chocolate vs. dark chocolate fan.

These aren’t perfect but they are unbelievably delicious, and will do the trick in this house. Berrik won’t feel left out at all, as I think these might be better than most of the treats we will come across over the holidays.  Except my mom’s lemon tarts. Those are the best.  But I digress.  Our biggest issue will be keeping enough chocolate in the house to last, as my girls and even my dessert avoiding husband can’t keep their hands off this chocolate!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup cocoa

all the full fat cream from a can of coconut milk (discard the watery stuff, or save for another recipe… I just added it to a smoothie)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

sweetener of choice, to taste.

I use stevia and just add a couple drops at a time until it gets to the desired sweetness (5 drops or so seemed to work).  Other really good and tasty options are pure maple syrup, raw local honey, coconut sugar, xylitol derived from birch, or even just plain old sugar if you aren’t limiting sugar.  I would guess at about 1/8-1/4 cup of these sweeteners, but I would recommend to start low and add a bit at a time, tasting after each addition (best part of the process!!).

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat slowly over low heat, stirring occasionally. When ingredients are mixed, smooth, and starting to bubble, continue to heat for about 2 minutes, stirring the entire time.  Pour into chocolate molds, or small muffin cups and freeze for a couple of hours.

OPTIONAL:

  • add a couple tbsp of nut or seed butter for a yummy nutty taste!  Chunky peanut butter is pretty amazing in this.
  • add gluten free pretzels, nuts, coconut, dried berries or red pepper flakes to each mold or muffin paper before pouring in the chocolate or sprinkle flakes of pink Himalayan sea salt on top

We added pretzels to ours as that is Berrik’s favorite.  These chocolates become soft quite quickly so should be served directly from the freezer.  They are creamy and fudge-like in texture and in flavor. Enjoy!!

 

Back to School Muffin Recipe

coconutbananamuffinsThe girls are off to school…Berrik doesn’t ‘officially’ start until next week, however we have been doing school all summer so it’s not quite the same level of drama and excitement as it was for the girls.  Berrik was up bright and early today and he’s best when he’s fresh, so we got through some language arts and math work including some desk work, so we’re both glad to have that out of the way.  We’re about to do some baking (more math, with measurement….and the way I bake there is plenty of estimation as well…). And on that note, I wanted to share the recipe we are using today.  It’s essentially sugar free (naturally sweetened with fruit), high fibre and high protein.  Perfect for kids as a convenient breakfast if the morning is rushed, a ‘dessert’ in their lunch, or for us, a quick snack for when we are on the go.  All three kids love it, and I feel good about them having one to help get them through choir, dance, karate or whatever other activity they’re involved in.

Coconut Flour Banana Muffins

6 ripe bananas, mashed

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (you can use almond butter, peanut butter, or any other nut/seed butter here…. sunflower seed butter keeps it nut-free which is handy for school).

4 eggs

1 cup coconut flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional, and can be substituted with raisins or nuts if you like).  I use stevia sweetened chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips, but again, whatever type you like will work fine.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Prepare your muffin pans.  I use coconut oil and grease the pan with a little pastry brush, but you could use nonstick cooking spray as well.  My preference is for stoneware for baking…I just find it cooks more evenly. Regardless, watch the muffins closely as baking times may vary – I use convection when baking, so that is likely to reduce the baking time by a bit.

One of my kiddos does not like banana chunks in her muffins (pretty sure anyone who knows us can guess who!!!) so I use my Blendtec blender (Vitamix would work too), but you can use a stand mixer or hand mixer as well.  I love using the blender for baking – just one thing to wash at the end. Downside is no beaters to lick though!

Throw the bananas, nut/seed butter, and vanilla in blender and blend until smooth.  Add eggs and pulse a few times until they are blended in.  Dump in coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and blend until just combined. You can fold in chocolate chips or other additions here if you like, or if it’s going to be a math exercise like it is for us today, you can have your helper count out the chocolate chips and make patterns on the top of the muffins before putting them in the oven.

Pour muffin batter into muffin pan.  I like to fill them up pretty full as these muffins don’t rise as much as wheat flour versions might.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  The centers should be firm and springy when they are done.  Let them cool in the pans.  They will hold together well once cooled, but can sometimes come out of the pan in pieces if they are too warm.

Enjoy!

 

Bread for Berrik….

 

When I first started making bread for my grain free, sugar free boy, I found an almond flour and flax recipe that was absolutely delicious and made a perfect breakfast toast… it was so good that I was eating it too – my favorite was with an egg, tomato and avocado on top.  Berrik stuck to the more traditional peanut butter.  In the beginning, before I discovered that I was overdosing Berrik on almonds via almond flour bread, muffins, and actual plain old almonds, I used this recipe weekly: Paleo Bread – Elana’s Pantry .  At the start of this food adventure I was trying new recipes all the time, and attempting to adapt them to meet Berrik’s specific needs.  There were many epic failures.  If you’re looking to avoid failure as you experiment with gluten free or paleo baking, I highly recommend you start with Elana’s Pantry.  She has a TON of recipes that are FREE (she also has some cookbooks for purchase that are well worth the price), and the beauty of Elana’s recipes is that they NEVER fail, AND she keeps them as simple as possible.  You won’t find a recipe with 17 ingredients on her website.  No crazy out of this world ingredients.  You can find all her ingredients at Safeway.  But I digress….

Once we realized that Berrik needed to significantly reduce his almond flour consumption, I decided to try out another Elana’s Pantry recipe Rochel’s Cashew Bread.  I have never actually made this with cashew butter, but instead have tried it with both Sunflower Seed Butter and Nut & Seed Butter I found at Costco.  I think you can probably use any nut or seed butter and have success.  This is a high protein (lots of eggs) high fat bread, which was perfect for my growing boy.  It’s SO simple to make with only 5 ingredients.  I double the recipe and add about 15 mins to the baking time to make a taller loaf.  I highly recommend using stoneware loaf pans.  I have had ZERO bread failures since ditching my aluminum pans and splurging on a Le Creuset loaf pan.