Wednesday, November, 20, 2013
In my last pumpkin post, I mentioned it was almost time for me to become cranberry-obsessed.
That time has officially arrived.
I eat cranberries year round, but love this time of year when more folks are interested in joining me in the combination of sweet and tart that goes just as well in desserts as savory dishes. I’m kicking off the cranberry fest this year with cookies. Because, well, cookies. That’s enough, right?
A few notes on ingredients: I used dried cranberries from Eden Organics in these cookies. They are sweetened with apple juice instead of refined sugar. While I’m not completely eliminating any trace of refined sugar in this recipe, I am reducing it where possible. For white chocolate, there are a couple of options. The cookies in the photos were made with Lieber’s white chocolate decorating chips, which are dairy-free. I order mine from Vegan Essentials. Because I tolerate goat milk better than cow milk, I sometimes splurge and buy a bar of Davao White Chocolate from Askinosie. Unlike most “white chocolate,” Askinosie’s white chocolate is technically chocolate. It’s also technically divine and made with three simple ingredients: organic cane juice, cocoa butter and goat milk powder. It’s almost too good to eat any other way than straight out of the wrapper, but I put it in cookies for special occasions. For the crystallized ginger, I used the Crystallized Ginger Chips from The Ginger People. You can use any crystallized ginger, just dice it finely.
Ok, let’s dive in to the recipe and get this cranberry obsession rolling…
White Chocolate Cranberry Ginger Cookies (Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free)
- 3 cups almond flour (I use Honeyville)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil (coconut oil, liquified, is also fine)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (I use Grade B)
- 2 Tablespoons flax seed meal in 1/3 cup hot water (egg replacement)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips or chunks
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup finely diced crystallized ginger
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line large baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, combine flax seed meal and hot water. Set aside, allowing it to gel.
- In large mixing bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda and sea salt. Set aside.
- In medium mixing bowl, combine oil. maple syrup, flax seed meal (which is now a slurry), and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
- Add the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir to combine.
- Fold in white chocolate, cranberries and ginger.
- Drop batter by heading tablespoons* full onto baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes. Edges will be lightly browned. After removing from oven and cooling on baking sheet for a few minutes, move to cooling rack. Allow to completely cool before moving to an airtight container for storage.
- *I use OXO's medium cookie scoop for this size cookie.
Thursday, November, 07, 2013
Have you ever made cookies with a cake mix? Back in my gluten days, I made and ate a few of them. Not a crunchy cookie, not cake either but somewhere in between.
By mistake, I created a cookie that has the texture of a cake mix cookie. Except I didn’t use a cake mix. I can’t remember the last time I had a cake mix in the house. I’m not opposed to them, I just like scratch baking best right now. These were a happy surprise if you like a soft cookie with an almost cake-like crumb to it.
Because these are a soft cookie, they aren’t great for shipping as holiday gifts but are sure fun to share with the neighbors. Enjoy!
Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cookies Without the Cake Mix (gluten-free, dairy-free)
- 2 1/2 sticks Earth Balanace non-dairy butter substitute
- 2 cups coconut sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 cups Johnna's favorite gluten-free flour blend
- 10 oz. Enjoy Life chocolate mini chips (a scant 1 1/2 cups)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
- In bowl of stand mixer fitted with standard blade, cream Earth Balance and coconut sugar together for approximately 2 minutes.
- Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until incorporated.
- In a smaller bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet in the electric mixer bowl 1/2 cup at a time, allowing each addition to incorporate before adding the next.
- Add the chocolate chips last, mixing just to distribute evenly in the batter.
- Scoop batter out in approximately 2 Tablespoon size mounds on baking sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 11 minutes.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
Friday, October, 11, 2013
A friend recently celebrated her birthday, her first as a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free gal. Her super thoughtful hubby asked me if I would bake a box of treats for her. He quite specifically said, “Chocolate, anything chocolate.” I pressed for a little more direction and he said chocolate and raspberries would work.
I absolutely adore the combination of chocolate and raspberries. Even though we can buy raspberries year round here in the midwest, the best tasting ones are long gone this time of year. Instead of fresh, I decided to use the freeze dried raspberries available at Trader Joe’s and in lots of stores dried fruit departments. I love this frosting for many reasons, the first being that I can keep the freeze dried fruit in the pantry and make a fruity frosting without a trip to the store. Another reason is that the frosting takes on the prettiest color of pink with no food coloring added.
The frosting recipe below will work with any freeze dried fruit, not just raspberries. I’ve also used strawberries and blueberries, both from Trader Joe’s. The blueberries required a bit of smooshing before using, unlike the raspberries and strawberries. Just put them in a ziploc bag and give them a good whack with your rolling pin. A little stress relief goes great with baking.
One last quick note on this recipe: Most of my dessert recipes these days are free of refined sugar. I have been using a lot of coconut sugar and maple syrup lately. That said, the frosting below contains good ol’ powdered sugar. I’m not going to apologize for it, as it’s delicious and meant to be an occasional indulgence. If you prefer to avoid refined sugar, these whoopie pies are delicious without the frosting. I like them with a schmear of nut butter instead of frosting. Everyone’s welcome to eat in my kitchen, regardless of their stance on ingredients.
This recipe makes six complete whoopie pies. You'll make twelve halves with the batter. Enjoy!
- 2 cups Johnna's favorite gluten-free flour blend
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1 stick non dairy butter (I use Earth Balance)
- 1 cup unsweetened, non-dairy milk
- 1 T. apple cider vinegar
- 1 T. flax meal in 3 T. of hot water
- 1 1/2 t. baking soda
- 1 t. guar gum
- 1/2 t. baking powder
- 1/8 t. sea salt
- 1 t. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a small dish, combine flax meal and hot water. This will combine to make a flax slurry, equivalent to one egg. Set aside and allow to gel while moving on.
- In a liquid measuring cup, add almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Allow to sit while moving on to the next step, creating a buttermilk substitute.
- In bowl of stand mixer, beat together Earth Balance and coconut sugar. Beat on medium for 2-3 minutes until well combined and slightly fluffy. Add the flax meal slurry, milk/ACV mixture and vanilla. Mix until incorporated.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine gluten-free flour blend, cocoa powder, baking soda, guar gum, baking powder and sea salt.
- With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients to the ingredients in the mixer bowl. Mix until just combined. The dough will be batter-like, more like a cake batter than a cookie dough.
- Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
- Once dough has chilled, scoop out scant 1/4 cups (3 T. is perfect) of batter onto baking sheet. This makes 12. Go for a round shape but don't worry about them being perfect.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 9 minutes. The edges will start to appear dry. Overbaking happens quickly with these so keep an eye on them.
- Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets until cool enough to touch. Then move to a cooling rack to completely cool before adding frosting.
- Make the frosting (see additional recipe) while the pies are cooling. To assemble, pair up the pies into six pairs of similar shape and size. Pipe frosting onto one flat side and cover with its mate creating a sandwich.
Raspberry Frosting for Chocolate Whoopie Pies
- 1/2 cup freeze dried raspberries (or other freeze dried fruit, break up full blueberries a bit)
- 1/2 shortening (I use Spectrum Organic)
- 1 t. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup unsweetened, non-dairy milk (I use almond)
- 1 lb. powdered sugar
- In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix the freeze dried raspberries until they are slightly crumbled. They do not need to be pulverized into a powder, just smaller pieces than what you started with. I let the mixer run for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add shortening and vanilla bean paste. Mix on medium until well incorporated. Add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, allow each addition to incorporate.
- Once all of the powdered sugar is mixed in, add the non-dairy milk a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Once you get to the consistency you like, you can turn the mixer up on high and let the frosting whip for a couple of minutes to make a lighter, fluffier frosting.
- Pipe or spread on the flat half of one whoopie pie and then sandwich its mate on top. Enjoy!
Wednesday, September, 18, 2013
I love the simplicity of bars. Quick to make, fun to share and of course, perfect to soothe a bit of a sweet tooth.
A bit of a sweet tooth? Yep, that’s what I said. I’ve made this one close to free of refined sugar, as seems to be my habit lately. For me, less refined sugar means less puffiness or bloating. I also am discovering that lots of refined sugar just tastes too sweet to me these days. Said the girl who started writing about food because of donuts…
While this recipe features chocolate and strawberries, it works well with any fruit spread/jam/preserves. You don’t have to do the melted chocolate part. You can instead spread a bit of the Justin’s chocolate hazelnut spread on the bottom crust. (Think Nutella but with less sugar and no dairy plus amazing flavor.) What I’m getting at is that this is a good basic recipe. I started with a Martha Stewart recipe and modified to make it gluten-free and egg-free, but it is essentially a basic ratio that is needed to make a shortbread bar. Make it yours!
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Shortbread Bars
- 2 cups Johnna's Favorite Gluten-Free Flour Blend
- 2 sticks non-dairy butter, room temperature (I use Earth Balance)
- 1 cup chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar or jaggery
- 3/4 cup strawberry all-fruit spread, jam or preserves
- 1/2 cup non-dairy chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8 x 8 baking dish by spraying with non-stick cooking spray. I use coconut oil spray.
- In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle blade, combine gluten-free flour blend, non-dairy butter, coconut sugar and nuts. Mix on low to medium-low until it is crumbly.
- Measure out two cups of the crust mixture and press into the baking dish. Place the baking dish into the freezer.
- Next, melt chocolate chips using either a double boiler or the microwave. I use the microwave, heating for only 30 seconds and then stirring.
- Once chips are melted, remove the crust from the freezer. Gently spread melted chocolate chips over the crust. Return to freezer for 15 minutes or until chocolate is set.
- When chocolate chips have set, gently spread strawberry fruit spread over the chocolate-covered crust. Spread to about 1/4" of the edge.
- Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture over the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
- Allow to completely cool before cutting. Not kidding here, attempting to cut before they are completely cool will result in something more like cobbler than bars. I know because I have trouble waiting on something as delicious as these bars to cool before digging in. Enjoy!
Monday, September, 02, 2013
It’s that time of year again…the time when I’ve spent a couple of weeks in Kentucky and have all sorts of bourbon-influenced kitchen ideas.
Some of the ideas don’t hold much promise, like the bourbon spiked kimchi idea that came up in conversation with Debi. Admittedly, I had consumed a couple of bourbon drinks when this idea fell out of my head. I decided to call it Ken-Chi. Get it? Ken, like Kentucky, the great state from which bourbon hails? Turns out bourbon doesn’t have a place in kimchi. I’m gonna keep working on that idea…
But bourbon ball cheesecake? Oh yes, it definitely was a good idea. A friend commented that you best not drive after eating these, not safe and not a chance you would pass a breathalyzer. While I could not confirm the breathalyzer part (not for lack of trying to locate a Kentucky state trooper who would indulge me), I did include instructions in the recipe for adjusting the bourbon to your liking.
So you say you don’t like bourbon? Really?!? Well, ok. Then I’ll make a confession. I tested this recipe with Sailor Jerry rum, too. It was just as good as with bourbon. And then I decided to make it yet again, this time booze-free for my teetotaling friends. Turns out it makes a delicious dessert without any alcohol. I like a versatile dessert recipe.
All of that said, guess what the very first thing was I bought in Kentucky? Nope, it wasn’t kale. It wasn’t zucchini either. It was BOURBON! The Trader Joe’s I frequent at home doesn’t have a liquor section, so I took a peek into the one in Louisville. I had no idea they had private label booze. So here it is, Trader Joe’s Bourbon. I like it. That’s all.
P.S.–This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, almost free of refined sugar depending on your stance on alcohol. If you want this to be raw vegan, eliminate the booze and chocolate chips. If you want this to be grain-free, also eliminate the booze and chocolate chips. Basically, I’m saying this works for many folks. Don’t be afraid to modify to make it work for you!
Mini No-Bake Bourbon Ball Cheesecakes
For the Crust:
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- 15 large medjool dates, pitted
For the Filling:
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, liquified
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup Bourbon, Rum or water (use 1/2 cup total liquid, adjust proportions water to liquor to your liking)
- 1 T. vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract or one scraped vanilla bean
- 3/4 cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
For Topping (optional):
- Mini Chocolate Chips (I use Enjoy Life)
- Pecan Halves
- You will need two cupcake tins. This makes 18 mini cheesecakes.
For the Crust:
- Place pecan pieces in food processor fitted with "S" blade. Process until pecans are a meal, a coarse flour.
- Add dates. Process until mixture comes together in bowl.
- Pat mixture into bottom of each of 18 cavities of cupcake tins.
- Refrigerate while you make the filling.
For the Filling:
- Drain cashews.
- Place all ingredients in bowl of food processor fitted with "S" blade. Process until very smooth and creamy.
- Pour on top of crusts.
For the Topping (optional):
- Sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips on top of each mini cheesecake, along with one pecan half.
- Freeze for 3 to 4 hours.
- Invert entire pan and give the back of the pan a good whack with a wooden spoon. Cheesecakes will pop out.
- These are best served slightly cold. Store in the refrigerator.
Monday, July, 15, 2013
Today’s the big day, the day Hostess snack cakes return to store shelves after an 8-month absence.
It’s apparently a BIG deal for those who eat the Standard American Diet. It’s all over the news. People are hosting Twinkie parties. Wal-Mart got their shipment two days early and local news crews were interviewing people. Not kidding, I saw a woman on TV in tears because she could buy Twinkies again.
Well, I think us gluten-free folks should have our own party. I’ve rounded up enough gluten-free Hostess-inspired recipes to fill a bakery shelf. I can’t guarantee any of these will have the “new and improved” 45 day shelf life of a Twinkie, but would you want that anyway?
Since the Twinkie seems to be the Hostess product most missed, let’s kick this round-up off with Gluten-Free Twinkies from Elana’s Pantry. These are gluten-free, dairy-free and free of refined sugar!
Also high on many people’s Hostess wish list is the Ding Dong. Alta at Tasty Eats at Home shares these, which are grain-free and dairy-free. They also have a chocolate ganache on the outside that will beat anything coming out of a Hostess package!
I live in the Midwest and we have Ding Dongs here, but maybe you come from a place where you have Ring Dings? Lisa at Gluten-Free Canteen has made these Gluten-Free Ring Dings. I do believe one would be perfect with a cup of coffee!
While I haven’t verified this, it is my guess many of the Hostess products are pretty similar, just shaped differently. Ding Dongs and CupCakes are the two that most make me wonder about this. Next up is my version of the Hostess CupCake. I call my version Fauxstess Cupcakes. They are gluten-free and dairy-free.
How about HoHos? They were one of my favorites in high school. I remember peeling off the waxy chocolate coating, eating it first and then gently unrolling the cake to eat it. Jeanne from Art of Gluten Free Baking has made this version, inspired by the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. There are plenty of photos showing how to make these, super helpful!
Next up is the Raspberry Zinger, my all-time favorite Hostess treat. This one comes from me and I just shared it yesterday! You’ll find my gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, Raspberry Zingers in the post, as well as a bit about what the raspberry zingers that I bought at the Hostess outlet on its last day of business look like today.
This round-up wouldn’t be complete without a version of the Donette. From Sweets of Style, a baked version of Donettes! I’m torn between which my favorite is, the chocolate or the powdered sugar.
And now it’s your turn! What was your favorite Hostess snack cake? Got a gluten-free version you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it and share with readers.
Thursday, June, 20, 2013
Ever have one of those days when the phone won’t stop ringing, UPS and FedEx are both at the door, the dogs are barking at every.single.noise, the email inbox is overflowing, the to-do list is a mile long and it’s all just overwhelming?
Whew. Me, too. And you know what I do when that happens? I stop the whirling mess by baking pie.
To make this pie, you’ll need either one 8 or 9″ pie crust OR two 5″ pie crusts. I buy 5″ pie pans at Sur La Table. It’s my favorite size pie to share with the neighbors. The pans are just a couple of bucks each, so if it doesn’t get returned, no big deal. Of course, it increases the chances of me dropping by with pie again if the pan does get returned.
I’m including my basic pie crust recipe and wanted to share a couple of pointers with you. You’ll only need half of this recipe to make one big crust or two little ones. So what to do with the other half of the recipe? Well, you could make more pies…OR you can freeze the pie crust. I freeze crust two ways: flattened into discs, wrapped in plastic wrap or rolled out and placed in a pie pan and frozen. Either way, you’ll be that much closer to homemade pie the next time the urge hits. I keep discs of frozen crust most often but during the holidays I spend a bit of time making crusts and rolling them out into pie pans then freezing. This makes baking a pie for a gift super quick and easy. It”s the convenience of a store bought crust but with better ingredients and flavor!
One last tidbit before the recipe: this pie could be easily made raw vegan/Living Foods by switching out the crust. The fillings are raw vegan and this is the crust I would use to make it raw.
Johnna's Red, White & Chocolate Pie, aka ChocoRaspaNilla, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan
- One 8" or 9" pie crust OR two 5" pie crusts, fully baked
For the Vanilla Bean Filling:
- 2 cups cashews, soaked overnight and drained
- 1/2 cup cashew butter (or other nut butter)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, liquified
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 t. Vanilla Bean Paste or vanilla extract
- 2 pints fresh raspberries
For the Chocolate Filling:
- 3 avocados
- 1/2 pound pitted Medjool dates (about 13 dates of the Trader Joe's variety)
- 1/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
- 2 T. maple syrup
- 1 T. coconut oil (does not have to be liquified)
- 1 t. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
For the Vanilla Bean Filling:
- Place all ingredients in the bowl of food processor, fitted with "S" blade.
- Process for 3 to 4 minutes, until smooth and creamy
For the Chocolate Filling:
- Combine all ingredients in the food processor, fitted with "S" blade.
- Process until smooth and creamy.
To assemble pie:
- Bake two pie crusts until completely cooked and lightly browned.
- In baked pie crust, fill with vanilla bean filling, about half way. You may have a bit more filling than you need. If you do, put it in a ramekin and treat yourself!
- On top of vanilla bean filling, place raspberries. Give them a gentle push into the filling. Place pie into refrigerator for about an hour to allow filling to set up. Reserve a handful of raspberries for garnish.
- Remove from the refrigerator. Top with the chocolate filling, reserving 1/3 of the chocolate filling for decorating.
- Pipe remaining chocolate filling on to top of pie and decorate with a few fresh raspberries.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Johnna's Basic Pie Crust, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan
- 2 1/2 cups of Johnna’s Favorite Gluten-Free Flour Blend
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 T. granulated white sugar or coconut sugar, which will make your crust a darker color
- 1 t. guar gum
- 1/4 cup shortening (I use palm shortening OR coconut oil, not liquified)
- 1 1/2 sticks of Earth Balance Vegan Butter Substitute, cold and cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup very cold water* (I believe this is the trick to a good pie crust, water and butter must be cold)
- *I start with ice water and measure out 1/2 cup after the water has been with ice for a few minutes.
- Mix flour, salt and sugar together.
- Add shortening and break up with a pastry cutter.
- Next add the butter substituteand mix with pastry cutter.
- Begin adding the cold water, just a little at a time until you reach the texture of pie crust dough.
- Divide dough into two equal balls and chill between two sheets of plastic wrap for 30 minutes.
- Roll out 1 ball of dough for one regular size pie crust. Freeze other half of dough for use later.
Tuesday, June, 04, 2013
Major excitement ensued last week when a friend said someone had mentioned on Facebook that Trader Joe’s now has Gluten-Free Joe-Joe’s. A quick phone call confirmed that indeed, Gluten-Free Joe-Joe’s had arrived earlier that very same day. Off across town I went to find these cookies…
I should explain the excitement. See, I’m not a huge fan of Oreo-like cookies but I will eat them. It’s my favorite fella that causes such a commotion about chocolate sandwich cookies. Ever since his first trip to a Trader Joe’s on the West coast several years ago, he has had a Joe-Joe obsession. “These are so much better than Oreos,” he tells me. “See the vanilla flecks in the cream filling?” During the holidays, he has paid to have boxes of Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s shipped here. The problem is that we try to keep our kitchen gluten-free so any Joe-Joe’s that he eats are kept in the basement, like some sort of illicit substance that must be secretly consumed under cloak of darkness.
So a Gluten-Free Joe-Joe could be a great solution. He could eat cookies with wild abandon in the kitchen, I wouldn’t have to worry about cross contamination. But how would these stack up?
Well, they certainly aren’t the same as regular, gluten-full Joe-Joe’s but they are a good sandwich cookie. The vanilla bean specks are present in the filling. The big difference for me is that the gluten-free version contains eggs. While I do eat eggs, I’d much prefer not to eat eggs that come from chickens I’ve not met. (I know, I’ve got issues, but I really like the idea of only eating eggs from hens that are happy.) The regular version of Joe-Joe’s is free of both dairy and eggs, the gluten-free version is only dairy-free. The cookies are crispy and they get paste-y in your mouth just like any chocolate sandwich cookie. As for comparing them to other gluten-free sandwich cookies, they are just as good as any I’ve tried and at $4 a box, a pretty good deal.
Sometimes it’s possible to figure out who is manufacturing products sold at Trader Joe’s. The gluten-free JoeJoes are manufactured in Canada but the ingredient list doesn’t match up with any of the gluten-free sandwich cookie brands I could locate in my area. If you’ve got a guess as to who is making them, I’d love to hear it!
Here’s a quick snap of the ingredient label:
While at Trader Joe’s to buy the gluten-free JoeJoes, I bought a selection of gluten-free cookies from their current offerings. They have a good sized collection of gluten-free cookies!
First up, a tried-and-true favorite for me. Gluten-Free Gingersnaps. I’ve seen these at Trader Joe’s as long as I’ve been shopping there. Crunchy with just the right amount of ginger. I like using these for pumpkin cheesecake crust.
Next, a cookie I had never tried before: Iced Lemon Rounds. I found these in the bakery area, where loaves of bread are kept. There are seven soft cookies in the clamshell case. These contain milk and eggs. The flours used in the cookies include brown rice flour, potato starch, white rice flour and almond flour. They are lemon-y without having an excess of pucker power.
Up next, the Soft-Baked Snickerdoodles. This cookie is free of the top 8 allergens. It reminds me of the Enjoy Life Snickerdoodle. Hmmm…. There are 12 little cookies in the box and they are very soft. For someone concerned with how a gluten-free product is manufactured, these cookies would be high on my recommended list. While none of the cookies offered at Trader Joe’s claim to be made in a gluten-free environment or are certified gluten-free, this cookie is the one that I would guess could be made in a gluten-free facility.*
Last on my cookie adventure is the Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookie. These come 14 to a package and they are exactly as described, crispy and crunchy. Not for everyone, they contain dairy, eggs and soy. These had disappeared from my local Trader Joe’s for awhile but reappeared recently.
I did buy one more gluten-free item while at Trader Joe’s, the gluten-free Chocolate Chip Brownies. They come two to a package and like the Iced Lemon Rounds, are found near loaves of bread. They contain milk, eggs and soy. The package does clearly say though that they are made in a wheat, peanut and tree nut free facility. I didn’t eat this, my favorite fella did. He said they were soft on the inside with a bit of that crunchy exterior he likes in a brownie. I’ve got nothing else on this except that they looked good and were intact in the packaging. When I first went gluten-free, it was pretty typical to see crumbles of what was once a cookie or a brownie on store shelves. These brownies were in one piece, as were the other cookies sampled for this post.
So there you have it, a look at the new Gluten-Free Joe-Joe’s and other gluten-free cookies from Trader Joe’s. I’m excited to hear what y’all think of these, too.
*Trader Joe’s labels many products with a “g” symbol, indicating no gluten ingredients were used. I have only located one product in their stores that contains information on the label regarding whether or not the manufacturing facility is gluten-free. That would be the gluten-free Chocolate Chip Brownies. Please take this into consideration when indulging in any products, at Trader Joe’s or otherwise. Just because a product is labeled gluten-free does not mean that it has not been subject to cross contamination. I hope one day there will be labeling standards so we know that a product is indeed gluten-free and has been tested so we know for certain it is safe to eat.
Thursday, May, 16, 2013
I have a fascination with Brazilian food. This might surprise you if your idea of Brazilian food is visiting a churrascaria to eat endless mounds of meat cooked on a skewer. What would a plant-based eater have in common with a meat-on-a-stick way of eating?
Nope, it’s not about the meat for me. It’s about the breads, the crepes, the desserts, made without gluten. Naturally gluten-free, always have been.
But here’s the thing (there’s always a *thing* with me and food)…many of the Brazilian desserts I like best are made with sweetened, condensed milk. That doesn’t work well for me, so I wanted to find a way around it. Then I started thinking about how that became the Brazilian way in the first place. How did a processed food become an essential ingredient in the desserts of a country so rich with fresh products, fruits, seeds, nuts? It was because of World War II food shortages. Nestle introduced sweetened, condensed milk and cocoa powder to Brazil to compensate for their shortages of fruits and nuts. Interesting!
Since we aren’t currently short of unprocessed foods, I’m reinventing the Brigadeiro. My version is free of dairy and refined sugar, it’s technically raw and vegan if that’s how you like to eat. You can also make it nut free if you prefer. Instead of rolling the truffles in the traditional chocolate sprinkles, I’ve rolled mine in cacao nibs. You could also roll them in finely shredded, unsweetened coconut. Any way you go about it, these are decadent, luscious bites of chocolate. Enjoy!
Oh! One more thing…there’s still time to enter my giveaway for a signed copy of Michael Pollan’s new book, Cooked. Click here to enter.
Brigadeiros, a raw vegan twist on Brazilian chocolate truffles
- 3/4 cups raw sunflower seeds, soaked in water overnight and drained
- 1/4 cup raw nut butter of your choice OR raw sunflower butter
- 3 T. maple syrup, raw agave or raw local honey
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 2 Tablespoons maca powder (replace with cacao if you don't have maca)
- 2 T. coconut oil, softened but not liquified
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. raw vanilla powder (or scrape 1/4 of a vanilla bean)
- dash of sea salt
- raw cacao nibs for rolling, about 1/2 cup (I break mine up a bit in the food processor)
- Place all ingredients except the cacao nibs in either a high speed blender or food processor with the "s" blade. Process until smooth.
- Put mixture in a bowl and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. It will be firm enough to roll into a ball. Roll into 12 to 14 balls. Roll each ball in cacao nibs.
- Store these in the refrigerator.
I’m linking this post up with Gluten Free Cat’s Raw Foods Thursdays , Wellness Weekend at Diet, Dessert and Dogs and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. Drop by to see all of the goodness folks have shared this week!
Thursday, March, 21, 2013
Yesterday, on my appearance on Better Kansas City, I shared my favorite chocolate cupcake and chocomole frosting. I’ve turned my TV leftovers into a dessert that may be even more decadent than the original!
Leftovers? Leftover cupcakes? Yep. I’m a bit of a perfectionist about my recipes. Not so much that they be impeccably formatted (maybe you’ve noticed) or that they have some specific nutritional balance (just healthy ingredients works for me), but that they actually work and taste great. So every time I’m going to be on TV, teach a class, post a recipe here, I find myself testing a few times just to be sure. Which means I had lots of cupcakes and lots of frosting from my TV appearance. What’s a girl to do with several batches of frosting staring her down every time the refrigerator door is open? Make trifles!
Here’s all you need to do this: a few fresh raspberries, one batch of Chocomole frosting (recipe below) and one batch of My Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes.
I used small plastic punch cups to make these for a couple of reasons. First, I could share these with friends and neighbors and not worry about getting a container back. Second, the shape of the punch cups follows the shape of a cupcake, narrower at the bottom, flaring at the top. These can also be created in small mason jars.
Slice each cupcake in half. Place bottom of cupcake in the bottom of the cup.
Top with a layer of chocomole frosting, following by a layer of raspberries.
Top with remaining half of cupcake.
Finish with another layer of chocomole frosting and a few raspberries for garnish.
Store these in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- 4 ripe avocados
- 2 T. coconut oil
- 1 pound medjool dates, pitted
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup coconut nectar, honey, maple syrup or raw agave
- 2 t. vanilla bean paste
- ¼ to ½ cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk
- If you are using a food processor 11 cups or smaller in size, please consider splitting this recipe in half.
- In food processor, place dates and process until finely chopped. They will turn into a ball of date paste in the food processor.
- Slice the avocados in half carefully. Remove the pit and spoon out the fruit. Place the fruit into the bowl of the food processor.
- Add the cocoa powder, coconut oil, agave nectar and vanilla bean paste to the food processor. Process until smooth, at least a few minutes.
- Slowly add in milk, until desired frosting consistency is reached. Pipe or frost with a knife onto cupcakes.
- This frosting is best kept refrigerated.
Wednesday, March, 20, 2013
This morning I appeared on Better Kansas City, a local lifestyle show on KCTV5. I shared my favorite chocolate cupcakes and chocomole frosting. I really had a terrific time!
Because y’all asked, here’s the video. I can’t watch it, really I can’t…but you go ahead, as long as you promise not to point out my blunders. Like neglecting to mention the vanilla bean paste in the frosting or putting my words in the wrong order. I did manage to not cuss like a sailor, so there’s that… And how cute is Lisa Holbrook? She’s a fun TV host and jumped right in frosting cupcakes with me, even sticking her finger in the frosting for a taste.
Wanna give these cupcakes a try? Here’s a link to the recipe from KCTV5. Tomorrow I’ll share another fun way to use these recipes. Check back, it’s a good one!
Thursday, March, 14, 2013
Happy Pi Day! I love when a food holiday rolls around, giving me an excuse to concoct something that tickles the tastebuds. Today’s excuse: pie. I would like 3.14159269359 slices of this one! It’s got a nice hint of mint and plenty of chocolate flavor thanks to cacao nibs in both the filling and the crust.
Often I use soaked cashews or almonds in making raw/living foods pie. Today I’ve used macadamias. Beyond the amazing flavor of macadamias, they don’t require soaking. This works great for me because I often neglect to plan ahead and find myself ready to make pie but didn’t put nuts in to soak eight hours earlier. Macadamias to the rescue!
Pie for Pi Day, Mint Chocolate Chip Pie (raw, vegan, gluten-free, indulgent)
For the Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts
- 6 medjool dates, pitted
- 2 T. cacao nibs
For the pie filling
- 3 avocados
- 2/3 cup macadamia nuts
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup raw honey (use agave or maple syrup to vegan)
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs
- 8-10 fresh mint leaves or 1/2 t. mint extract, extra leaves for garnish
- Set a 9" pie pan nearby
- Combine macadamias, dates and cacao nibs in bowl of food processor. Process until the mixture is well combined and the nuts are a fine texture.
- Press into pie pan and place in refrigerator while making filling.
For the pie filling:
- Combine all ingredients EXCEPT CACAO NIBS in bowl of food processor or in high speed blender. Process until smooth.
- Stir in cacao nibs by hand.
- Pour over pie crust and chill for at least 3 hours before slicing.
- This pie should be refrigerated. I like it topped with a generous dollop of coconut whipped cream and a mint leaf for garnish
Are you celebrating Pi day? Wanna join me for a slice?