Flourless Chocolate Cake

The only two claims this cake has to a health food are that it is gluten free, and it will make you happy. I’m convinced happiness is part of good health.

2014-03-24 22.22.47

I made this cake for a class I hosted at my home: Intro to Essential Oils. The cake got almost as many rave reviews as the class. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ten days later, I was hosting another class, this time teaching. Of course I made the same fabulous dessert.

Here’s the recipe:

Preheat oven to 300 and oil a 10 inch spring form pan.

Heat in saucepan on stove until melted, then set aside:
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup organic unbleached sugar

Melt over double boiler:
2 packages (5.5 oz each) dark chocolate, Belgian (from Trader Joe’s)
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (Trader Joe’s

2014-03-23 20.49.22

Transfer melted chocolate into a mixer bowl. Use beaters on low speed to blend in:

1 cup unsalted organic butter, cut up and added in piece at a time. Blend in sugar/water mixture. Add one at a time:

6 eggs (I used 5 duck eggs)

Pour into pan. Bake at 300 for 45 minutes. The center will look wet. Allow to cool some before transferring to the refrigerator overnight.

2014-03-23 21.28.12

To serve, I just removed the sides of the pan and placed the bottom of the pan on a cake plate. I sprinkle with a lovely flaky finishing salt, and a side of whipped cream with 3 drops of pure peppermint essential oil. Enjoy!

2014-03-24 22.22.29

Awesome Almond Flour Muffin

I’m going out on a limb here and naming this the “Awesome Almond Flour Muffin” because it’s so yummy and versatile. This has become my go-to breakfast and mid morning snack for the kids and myself on Friday mornings as we rush off to Friday School (homeschool co-op).

Below is the recipe for Carrot Spice Muffins, but you can use the basic recipe for zucchini muffins, blueberry muffins, apple spice muffins, or banana muffins. And it’s a kissin’ cousin to my Chocolate Cupcakes. See below for variations.

2013-03-21 21.43.53

Carrot Spice Muffins

Heat oven to 350, and prepare 2 muffin tins (24 count) with greased paper liners (yes, greased).
Place in food processor with S blade:

5 large carrots, chunked

Process until mostly fine, then add:

3.5 cups almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill; almond meal from Trader Joe’s works too, but is just a little more crumbly)
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt (Real Salt)
1TBS. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves

Pulse to incorporate dry ingredients into carrots. Add:

1 tsp. vanilla
1 TBS. apple cider vinegar
4 large eggs
1 cup honey (can go down to 3/4 cup if you prefer)

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Don’t over-blend.

Ladle into greased muffin papers. Bake for about 25 minutes in 350 degree oven, or until beginning to brown, but firm in middle. Remove to wire racks. Allow to cool (ha, ha) before serving with butter. Yum!

20120315-103240.jpg

Variations:

Zucchini Spice Muffins
Replace carrots with 2 medium zucchini, processed with S blade until fine at outset of recipe. Omit ginger. Add 2 TBS coconut flour with dry ingredients to help absorb additional moisture from zucchini.

Apple Spice MuffinsOmit carrots and ginger. Add 2 TBS coconut flour with dry ingredients to help absorb additional moisture from apples. Add 2 cups chopped apple at the end, after blending all ingredients smooth. I like to fold it in with a spoon after removing bowl from food processor. Add an additional 3/4 cup raisins if desired.

Blueberry Muffins
Omit carrots, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and vanilla. Add 2 TBS coconut flour with dry ingredients to help absorb additional moisture from blueberries. Add 2 tsp almond flavoring. Add 2 cups blueberries (frozen is fine) at the end, after blending all ingredients smooth. I like to fold them in with a spoon after removing bowl from food processor.

Banana Muffins here.

Chocolate Cupcakes here.

Clean Eating Day 5 [SCD, GAPS, Whole30]

20130107-225456.jpg
Breakfast
Hot tea, Banana crepes, grapefruit, berry compote, turkey sausage, fried eggs
Lunch Snack
Salted almonds, bananas, applesauce crushers
Dinner
Crock Pot Squash Chili garnished with avocado and olives, green apple slices

We have been “visiting” France in our Homeschool cultural studies, so I wanted to make a crepe-like meal for the kids. I think Whole30 technically calls for no baked goods even from approved ingredients, but…oh well! ๐Ÿ™‚ And they were delicious. (I tripled this recipe.)

Banana Crepes
1 ripe banana
2 eggs
Dash salt
Blend till frothy, pour into crepe pan heated with ghee. Add ghee before making each crepe. Fill with sliced bananas, wrap, and top with blueberry compote.
Makes about 3 crepes.

20130107-231320.jpg

20130107-231335.jpg

Turkey Sausage
1 lb ground turkey (not breast only)
1tsp salt
1.5 Tb Frontier Herbs Poultry Seasoning (it’s sage, thyme, onion, marjoram, black pepper, cayenne pepper)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
Knead until incorporated evenly. Best to make at least 8 hours ahead to let flavors combine in the fridge before frying.

20130107-230337.jpg

Crock Pot Squash Chili
Layer in the crock pot:
2 cups fresh Pico de gallo (Costco)
2 12oz cans diced tomatoes (TJs organic)
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp cumin
2 lbs ground beef, fried with legal taco seasoning (grassfed from my freezer, Oregon Spice Co. Taco Seasoning from Azure Standard)
3 cups diced butternut squash (Costco)
Heat on high for 1 hour, then cook on low for 4-6 hours.

20130107-230932.jpg

We are trying to schedule non-food treats for our children this month. Today we took them to OMSI, a children’s science museum. We ate the snack lunch while there, but were pretty hungry when we arrived home. Great to walk in the door to a hot crock pot meal all ready (and smelling wonderful)! Makes me feel like supermom.

And squash is a surprisingly good substitute for beans in chili.

Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log [SCD, GAPS]

20121202-164515.jpg

I made this Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log for church potluck in December; there are about 8 other people (besides the 6 in my family) in my small church also following an scd/gaps diet, which makes potlucks a joy. This dessert turned out to be a little more effort than I had envisioned, but it made it worth it to share it with others (adults!) who appreciate the quality and effort behind such a delicious treat.

So give the recipe already, right? Here you go:

There are 4 parts to this log: the chocolate cake, a pudding filling with coconut and hazelnuts folded into it, a topping of caramel, and a frosting of Creme Fraiche and honey.

20121203-102934.jpg

Chocolate Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt in saucepan on stove:
1/4 stick butter
4 Tb cocoa
1 Tb water
Combine in food processor with s blade:
1.5 packed cups almond flour
2 Tb coconut flour
1/4 tsp Real salt
3/4 tsp soda
2 tsp cinnamon
To the dry mixture, add:
Cocoa/butter mixture from stove
2 large eggs
1/4 cup scd yogurt (homemade yogurt fermented 24 hours)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup honey
1/2 dropper stevia liquid (I used English Toffee flavor)
Pulse until smooth, scoop batter out into a greased baking paper in a sheet cake (jelly roll) pan. Use a piece of seran to flatten/squish the batter to an even thickness across the pan, about 1/2 in thick. Remove Seran and bake until fork comes out clean, 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before rolling into a log.

(Because it will smell fabulous, and you/your kids can’t help yourselves, trim uneven edges off, and munch on the scraps.)

Hazelnut Filling
1/2 cup honey
1 stick butter
1/4 tsp salt (more if butter Unsalted)
Melt this together in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. When it begins to simmer, add:
1 cup almond milk (or coconut milk)
Meanwhile (don’t you love that I said ‘meanwhile’ while you are stirring constantly?), separate:
3 egg yolks (or 4 if small yolks)
from their whites into a glass bowl (save the whites for adding to another recipe). Whisk the yolks slightly, and when hot mixture is simmering, add half of it to bowl with egg yolks, whisk then pour back into the rest of mixture and whisk until yolks cook/mixture coats a spoon.
Remove from stove and stir in:
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
1 Tb rum, hazelnut flavoring, or vanilla

Allow to cool until not runny, then spread on top of chocolate cake layer. Then carefully roll the cake lengthwise and place on your serving platter.

Caramel Topping
Use this recipe for Caramel. Allow to cool about an hour before drizzling over the top of the yule log.

Craime Fraiche Frosting

This requires homemade Craime Fraiche (whipping cream cultured with yogurt starter for 24 hours).

1 pint Craime Fraiche, chilled
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup honey (approximately)

Using handheld electric beaters, whip cream until it thickens just as when making whipped cream. Add vanilla, then slowly add honey until all combined and light and firm peaks form.

Frost over top of Yule log. Garnish with more chopped hazelnuts.

Enjoy!

Winning Pie

20120916-072729.jpg
We went to a wedding last night; a friend got married in a park with a BBQ reception to follow. Fun, unique, and super casual. In lieu of serving wedding cake, they held an old fashioned pie contest.

Of course I couldn’t resist taking a couple entries, although I sometimes wish people understood how unfair it is to stack gluten-free, sugar-free baked goods against the “real” thing. Nonetheless, I wanted to have a couple of pie options which my kids could eat at the wedding, and when my oldest son heard that his friend Todd was planning to enter a pie, I suddenly had a band of eager kitchen helpers.

Roman helped me make a banana cream pie, GF and starch free, sweetened with honey, and topped with honey toffee bits. It was delicious, but unfortunately did not set up (without corn starch I tried increasing egg yolks, but it didn’t work). So we scooped all the banana cream “soup” out of the crust, and tried it a second time, with more yolks, and had something worth taking, although pretty running. It was still delicious and every bit was taken. And an scd friend gave me a good idea for how to make it more successfully in the future (folding a cooked custard into whipped cream rather than cooking the cream in the custard).

Because of all the uncertainty about the banana pie, I decided to make a second pie; chocolate peanut butter. Hudson helped stir and melt and press, so he was super excited to have his pie win 3rd place (out of about 30 homemade pies)!

20120916-074150.jpg

I was amazed at how well this pie crust held up, especially with the abuse of being used twice for the banana cream pie. Served well out of the pan, too.

SCD Pie Crust
Blend together:
1 packed cup blanched almond flour
1 Tb coconut flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Add:
2 Tb soft butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 small egg
1/8-1/4 cup honey

Blend just till smooth, press into a greased pie plate, using seran to spread smoothly on bottom and sides.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown begins to show on edges, 10-12 minutes. Cool before filling.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Filling
Melt in double boiler:
10 oz. very dark chocolate

I don’t have an actual double boiler, but a glass Pyrex bowel over a saucepan of simmering water works great.

Spoon half of melted chocolate into pie crust and spread over bottom and sides of crust. Place pie pan in freezer to harden.

Using beaters, whip together:
3/4 cup soft creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2-3/4 cup honey

Spread over hardened chocolate, drizzle remaining melted chocolate in stripes over top of pie.

Chocolate Cupcakes (GAPS, SCD)

ImageThis recipe was a real hit for my two year old’s birthday! I developed it from a family recipe which has held many, many candles since I was a kid, and even before I was born. This new version is just as tender, but with less sweetness as I substituted honey for sugar.

Image
This cake has a great crumb for a flourless cake!

Chocolate Cupcakes
Melt in saucepan:
1 stick butter
2 Tb. water
6 Tb. cocoa powder

Pulse/mix in Cuisinart with blade:
3 packed cups almond flour (fine, blanched)
2 Tb. coconut flour
1/2 tsp. salt (less if butter is salted)
1 1/2 tsp. soda
1 Tb. cinnamon

Add to dry:
butter/cocoa mixture
1 cup honey
1/2 cup yogurt (24 hour yogurt to keep this lactose free and GAPS/SCD approved)
1 1/2 droppers English Toffee flavored stevia (Sweet Leaf brand)
2 lg. eggs (I used duck eggs)
1 tsp. vanilla

Blend just until smooth. Divide into 2 paper lined cupcake pans (24 count). Bake @ 350 for 25 minutes.

Top with Cream Fraiche and/or Raspberry Compote:
1 1/2 fresh/frozen raspberries
1 Tb. honey
juice of 1 lime
Simmer on stove until reduced and thickened.

Spiced Pear Tart

20120617-202147.jpg

My son requested “apple pie” for his birthday cake this week. I felt that I could fake a single crust pie better than a two crust pie while using almond flour rather than real flour.

So it was going to be an apple tart, until the kids ate up all the apples the day before the birthday. So then it became a pear tart. We did have one half of an apple remaining, which took center stage, literally, in the center of the tart.

At this morphed stage of the birthday pie, I was thinking fondly of a spiced pear tart recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which is where my inspiration came from to make it upside down in a cast iron skillet.

20120617-203001.jpg

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large, clean (no savory flavors left over…if unsure, scramble eggs in butter and remove…there shouldn’t be flavors left after that) cast iron skillet, melt and stir:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. orange zest (I didn’t have this, but I’m adding it here because I think it’d be great) ๐Ÿ™‚

Stir this syrup while it bubbles, about 5 minutes. I had my 8 year old daughter stir this while I cored, pealed and sliced:
2 pears (about 12 slices for large pears)

Lay the pear slices in the syrup, in a circular fashion, starting in the center.

20120617-203928.jpg

Let the pears cook in the spiced syrup for about 7 minutes, until soft, while you make the crust in the food processor:

2 cups almond flour
3 dashes cinnamon
2 Tb soft butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
Blend, then add:
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/3 cup honey
Blend just until smooth. Turn out onto greased parchment paper. Cover with seran and roll to a round the size of your iron skillet (just guesstimate the size), about 1/2 inch thick. Remove seran, turn off stovetop, and invert onto top of pears/syrup. Press down slightly until dough is touching pears all around.

20120617-205509.jpg

It was at this point I wished I had greased the parchment before rolling out the dough. If you do, it may come off neatly at this point. Of course, it may also slip off while inverting it. Anyway, I baked it in the oven with the paper on top. After 15 minutes I pulled it from the oven and removed the paper. Only a little stuck, so not much harm done.

Allow it to cool on your stovetop or a cooling rack before inverting it onto a display plate.

This is quite sweet; we enjoyed it with dollops of smooth and tangy Creme Fraiche.

Quiche and Kale Salad (Honey Bunny Salad)

Have I really never posted the recipe for Kale Salad? Hmm… Shame on me. We call it Honey Bunny Salad -a thinly veiled attempt to entice the children to eat mouthfuls of vitamin-K-rich Kale. They actually do like this salad pretty well.

I served Honey Bunny Salad beside Quiche for Tuesday’s dinner this week; it seems like such a nice contrast of flavors. Since we are doing SCD (no grains or starches), I made an almond flour crust for the Quiche, and it’s fine but doesn’t steal the show like a regular white flour crust. So I made sure what was in the pie was super yummy.

Bacon Spinach Mushroom Quiche

Prepare pie crust earlier in the day, at least 30 minutes before assembling quiche. (See below.)

Grate 2 cups of cheddar cheese, and spread 1 cup in the bottom of the pie crust, reserving one cup. (New Zealand Grassfed is what I used; it took about half the block.)

Fry 4 oz. bacon, snipped into bits, in large fry pan on stove, until crisp. (I used natural pork bacon from Trader Joes. There is a tiny amount of sugar in it, which we can handle, but you might look for bacon from Applegate Farms if you avoid even this small amount.)

Add 8 oz. washed and sliced Crimini mushrooms (button will work, but don’t have as much flavor)

When mushrooms are nearly soft, add half a bag fresh spinach leaves. This will overfill the frying pan, but will soon wilt down.

While the filling is cooking on the stove, whisk together:
7-8 eggs (depending on size)
1 cup SCD kefir or yogurt
1 tsp. good salt (Himalayan Pink is what I used)
1/2 tsp. fresh pepper (Trader Joes Flower Pepper grinder)
2 shakes nutmeg
1 shake paprika

Spoon fried bacon, mushroom, spinach mixture into pie crust, on top of the cheese. Do this when the spinach has just wilted. Leave any excess water in the fry pan. Pour egg mixture over filling; this should just cover the filling, and not spill over the edge. Cover with reserved cup of grated cheese.

Bake in 400 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to set 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

SCD Pie Crust (savory)
In food processor, blend together:
1 cup fine blanched almond meal
1 T. coconut flour
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (pure, no fillers)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tb. soft butter
Add:
1 egg
1-4 tsp. water, just until it all incorporates smoothly

Press into a large buttered pie dish, using plastic wrap to smooth it evenly on bottom and up sides of dish. Bake in 350 preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and cool.

And here is the amazing Kale salad recipe.

Honey Bunny Salad

1 bunch Kale, snipped with kitchen sheers to bite sized pieces, large veins removed (or do Easy: grab a bag of chopped organic Kale as is now available in Trader Joes. Downside: a lot of veins left in there. Hope you like crunch.)
3 handfuls raisins (go for organic!)
2 handfuls raw sunflower seeds, or pine nuts (I used a blend of sunflower seeds and almonds this week)

Dressing: whisk together the following with a fork until emulsified:
1/4 cup honey (mine is raw, and is now crystalized, but it works just fine without heating)
1/8 cup EVOO (the new term for Extra Virgin Olive Oil; always buy organic)
1 tsp. salt
2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed (chopped garlic in a jar won’t work; you’ve got to use fresh)

Pour dressing over salad, mixing very well until it is coating all the leaves, not just the top. This is more like massaging than the proverbial tossing. Don’t worry, it’s gonna taste awesome, and your kids are going to eat kale! (And you are too!) This keeps well in the fridge until the next day.

SCD Banana Muffins [almond flour]

Heat oven to 350, and prepare 2 muffin tins (24 count) with greased paper liners (yes, greased).
Place in food processor:

2-3 very ripe bananas
4 cups almond flour (almond meal from Trader Joe’s works too, but is just a little more crumbly)
2 tsp. soda
3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves

Process until bananas are incorporated, then add:

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup honey (can go up to 3/4 cup if you want sweeter)

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Don’t over-blend.

Ladle into greased muffin papers. Bake for about 20 minutes in 350 degree oven, or until beginning to brown, but firm in middle. Remove to wire racks. Allow to cool (ha, ha) before serving with butter. Yum!

Variations: zucchini is a great substitute for bananas in summertime when they are so plentiful. Add some cinnamon for flavor and 1 TB. coconut flour for texture/firmness. You may need to bake these in a slightly cooler oven for a little longer as the zucchini add more moisture to the batter.

Gluten Free Bread/Tortillas/Buns/Pizza

I’ve been enjoying great tasting gluten free bread, tortillas, hamburger buns, pizza crusts, and flatbread, all made from one basic recipe (this makes it easier to only shop for these basic ingredients). I am using the refrigerator rise method given in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (their website is: artisanbreadinfive.com). The recipe has several modifications to make it to my liking:

Gluten Free Basic Refrigerator Dough

Whisking together the flours. This is the only picture I had for this, although I don't rise bread in a metal bowl.

in a large (6 qt +) glass, pottery, or plastic bowl, whisk together:
1 cup organic brown rice flour (decrease to 1/2 cup if making sourdough)
1 cup millet flour
1, 1/2 cups sorghum flour
3 cups tapioca flour
2 Tb. xanthan gum
1 Tb. fine sea salt
2 Tb. yeast (omit if making a sourdough)

beat slightly, then stir in with wooden spoon:
4 large eggs

melt on stove top, then add:
1/3 cup butter (may substitute coconut oil or ghee)

heat to tepid on stove top, then add in divided parts:
2, 2/3 cups filtered water (reduce to 2, 1/6 cups if using sourdough starter)
2 Tb. honey (dissolve in water)

This is my dough which has raised on the counter for 2 hours.

Continue to stir with wooden spoon until all flour is combined. Cover, and set on counter for 2 hours, or until dough has risen. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Dough is ready immediately, or develops a better flavor, great digestibility, and fewer carbohydrates with a longer “soak” during several days in the refrigerator. You will not knead the dough when removing it from the fridge, just carefully break off the amount of dough for baking.

Bread: allow to rest baking stone/bread pan for 1 hour, covered, then bake approx. 1 hour in 350 degree oven, or until the internal temperature is 200-210 degrees. Directions for crusty bread are given on the Artisan Bread In Five site. Cool completely before slicing. Yields 2 medium loaves.

Buns: Let rest 1 hour on baking pan/stone, then bake at 325 for about 35 minutes. Cool completely before slicing. Yields about 12 hamburger buns.

Pizza Crust: place about 1/4 of dough on a large square of freezer paper. Cover with another square of freezer paper. Roll to the size of

Rolling a tortilla between two sheets of freezer paper.

a pizza pan, then place in freezer, for up to a month. When frozen, the crust can be removed, the paper stripped from it and immediately placed on a pizza pan or stone. It will then melt and be ready to bake by the time you have toppings on it. (I preheat my stone to 500, and bake the pizza for 10 minutes.) Yields 4 pizzas.

Flat Bread: using the freezer paper method above, roll the dough to the size of a tortilla, then fry on medium in a cast iron skillet with a Tb. of butter for each side. Yum!

Peeling the paper from a frozen tortilla; ready to cook on the stove top.

Tortillas: Omit yeast from recipe; I also reduce eggs to 1, but it works with 4 as well. Place the amount of a small fist of dough on freezer paper, cover with freezer paper, and roll to a round tortilla, just as in the method above for pizza crust.ย  I keep stacks of these in the freezer. Heat cast iron griddle or skillet to medium heat, then remove tortilla from freezer and paper, cook without oil for about 2 minutes, untilย  you can see the underside has cooked. Flip to cook other side. These are delicious and flexible! Yeild 18-20 tortillas.

My sourdough starter, developing on the countertop.

Sourdough: I have recently been making this bread recipe with a GF brown rice sourdough culture which I purchased from culturesforhealth.com. To do this, I omit the yeast, and substitute 1 cup of active sourdough starter (from a jar on my counter) for 1/2 cup of the brown rice flour, and 1/2 cup of the water. All the other instructions for bread apply.