Carrot cake is one of my favorite cakes. It’s the perfect dessert because it combines vegetables (see it’s healthy!) with cream cheese frosting. Life is better because of cream cheese frosting. Seriously. I’ve made it a few times over the years and my favorite version is a carrot and pineapple cake. But now that I have a gluten free kid, I’ve been converting my favorite recipes to gluten free and hopefully refined sugar free ones. It’s a challenge to find a recipe for gluten free sugar free carrot and pineapple cake. But I really wanted my little one to enjoy carrot cake like I do.
How do you indulge in baked goodies when you are gluten free? Of course we have wonderful, natural option like fresh juicy apples or mildly tart strawberries. But what can you have when you want a baked treat? I started my foray into gluten free cooking with my sticky sweet potato pancakes are a nice start. But I also wanted to make my baked goods sugar free. That can certainly be a challenge because sugar makes sweet treats addictive (really, it is an appetite stimulant!) Natural substitutes like honey can sometimes have a flavor that simply isn’t bold enough. I just want to start my daughter off on the right foot and have her appreciate natural sugars and sweeteners now (she may still devour large amounts of Kit Kats and Cheetos later in life). Luckily, I discovered this recipe for vegan sugar free gluten free cookies.
The blend of flours is always very important to get right in gluten free cooking. Almond flour adds a wonderful rich flavor and moistness (blanched almond flour though, not almond meal!) also eliminating the needs for butter. I really didn’t miss butter at all and loved the softness of these cookies. Potato starch also adds moisture and creates a wonderful light, fluffy texture in baked goods. Rice flour has most closely emulated the texture of wheat flour when I’ve used it in gluten free cooking. It’s not a perfect substitute, but works well. I was a bit afraid I would have trouble finding some of these ingredients, but luckily some are readily available in Asia.
Tip: Rice flour and potato starch could be available at east Asian or South Asian ethnic supermarkets and will likely be more affordable there too!
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Gluten free sugar free baking is my new thing since I want my little one too appreciate baked goods too. So of course I had to try (queue dread). I saw this recipe while I was perusing one of my favorite markets, Trader Joe’s. I have been experimenting a lot with gluten free flour and wanted to ease into it with a gluten free flour mix. The Trader Joe’s gluten free flour is of course well priced and had this recipe on it. I knew that the addition of applesauce would give the muffins great sweetness and moisture. I’ve tried this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill’s mix too and have liked the results too. These are a great, moist muffin with a touch of sweetness (yay for applesauce) and warmth from the cinnamon. This is a fab dessert, snack or even breakfast. I’ll definitely be making it again soon!
Gluten free Sugar free Apple muffins
- 2 cups gluten free flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill and Trader Joe’s)
- 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup applesauce (my homemade version is ALWAYS in the freezer)
- 1/2 cup honey or pure maple syrup (120 mL)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 12 muffins
- Muffin tin
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease (butter and flour) the muffin tin you will be using.
- Mix together all dry ingredients – gluten free flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt – in a large bowl.
- Mix the honey with oil until combined. Stir in eggs, milk, and vanilla extract finally adding in applesauce. Put wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients.
- Put batter into muffin tin and bake for 18-20 minutes until set.
What do you like to eat for breakfast?
Pancakes are always a a breakfast staple – they’re easy, filling and can be doused with maple syrup! What’s not to like about pancakes right? I wanted to be able to give my little one pancakes (it’s her Thursday treat!) but had to get creative once I discovered her sensitivity to gluten. I’ve just started researching the mixes that go into gluten free pastries and treats, but hadn’t quite gathered all of the ingredients (it get complicated!)
So I set about making a simpler version of gluten free pancakes. I was inspired by blogger buddy Alexis and liked creating these easy pancakes. An alternate flour like rice flour or sweet potato flour can be used. These flours produce a pancake that is denser and stickier as opposed to fluffy and crumbly. I’m ok with that and like that it’s just plain easy to create these gluten free sweet potato pancakes. It can be complemented by any of our favorite fruits. We put in home made applesauce or bananas and also use coconut oil in the filling and to cook the pancakes. The result is a hearty, naturally sweet little disk of goodness.
What are the candies you remember from childhood?
I used to love all kinds of candy from fruity, sour Jolly Ranchers to tiny, eat them by the handful, M&Ms. I no longer eat candy as much these days, but definitely have fond memories of receiving candy from my father after he came back home from a trip downtown on a Saturday afternoon. I was talking to an old colleague about easy and delicious bites to serve friends and she brought up this recipe for dark chocolate covered coconut bites.
I was completely intrigued since these are just homemade Mounds bars right? But these are so much easier to make and I can really up the ante with my selection of dark chocolate (I have way too much at home) and a sprinkling of salt – my favorite trick to really kick it up a notch with sweets. I love using coconut now and chocolate covered anything is a hit so these chocolate covered coconut bites were a no-brainer.
Chocolate covered coconut bites
- 4 cups shredded coconut
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 6-9 ounces of dark chocolate chunks (I used 1.5 bags of Scharffen Berger chocolate chunks and had leftover chocolate)
- sea salt
About 30 bites
1. Mix together condensed milk and coconut. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and set aside on a sheet tray. When you are done, place the tray in the freezer for 30 minutes.
2. Melt the chocolate on a double boiler – I like to place one larger pot on top of a small saucepan of simmering water (try not to get the bottom of the larger pot to touch the water). Melt the chocolate in the larger pot (or heatproof bowl).
3. Use chopsticks or two forks and dip coconut balls into the chocolate mixture one by one. Cover chocolate balls with a dash of sea salt.
4. Chocolate will set in a few minutes or you can place this in the refrigerator for up to 30 minutes. Eat and enjoy!
These chocolate covered coconut bites are an easy addition to the end of a great date night.
What is it about bananas and baked goods?
I see overripe bananas and instantly think of banana bread. But I’ve been trying out sugar free and now gluten free recipes (for the little one) and came across this super simple recipe. It makes use of the sweetness of ripe bananas but doesn’t require extra sugar or flour. I love that it’s made with oats and basically contains ingredients I already have at home. It’s our newest snack at home and one I easily whip up in the morning. I never thought that I would be concerned with gluten-free baked goods since I adore making and easting dessert, but since the little one may be a little sensitive to bread, I am trying my hand at wheat and gluten-free cooking. I’m pretty happy with these gluten-free, sugar-free banana oatmeal cookies, especially with the addition of dark chocolate chunks (even the husband munches a few of them then!)
Now j just can’t wait for the next batch of bananas to ripen!
Gluten-free Sugar-free Banana Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
About 4 servings
Who loves eggs for breakfast?
When I was a full time consultant and lived in a hotel for 7 months, I actually had eggs every day at their cafe! More often than not, I would actually request an egg white omelette from the chef (with everything), toast a piece of bread or two, and pack it all to eat at the office. Nowadays, I’ve created a new tradition and have omelettes in a much more convenient form – in the shape of muffins!
Who doesn’t love a healthy treat disguised as a tasty snack right?
I’ve made granola the past from the famous Eleven Madison Park recipe. I loved the texture and taste, but wanted to make it more portable and also reduce the sugar, or better yet, make sugar free granola bars. The last time I made this recipe, I was able to take out the sugar entirely and replace it with a combination of honey and maple syrup. More honey is needed to still create a sweet bite. But I still loved the lightness of the granola bar. Most importantly – this is really easy to make and keep as a snack for a few days.