Chocolate Energy “Truffles”

Chocolate Energy “Truffles”

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the 7th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival. As a gluten and dairy free taster, I was very pleasantly surprised to see so many different vegan and gluten free chocolate treat and energy snack options. My favorite item of the day is called “The Bliss Bar”. These are great little energy bars made from raw and organic cacao, honey, pumpkin seed and other various ingredients. If your interested in trying them yourself, check out their website (www.theblissbar.org).

These and most other good organic energy bars tend to be a little on the spendy side. Instead of buying an entire case of these (cause they are yummy), I decided to try to make my own version.

What I came up with is a bit different in texture from the bliss bar.  I was going for something more like an indulgent chocolate truffle that you need not feel guilty about.

Chocolate Energy “Truffles”

Chocolate Energy “Truffles”

1/4 c. Raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 c. Raw cashews

1/4 c. Raw pecans

2 Tb. Chia seeds

3 – 4 Tb. Cocoa

1 – 2 Tb. Honey (use 2 Tb. if you want it a little sweeter)

4 Re hydrated dates

4 Re hydrated apricots

1/4 c. Coconut flour

Mixture of nuts, seeds, cocoa, honey, dates and apricots.

In a food processor, combine seeds, nuts,  3 Tb. cocoa and honey.

Blend well, until all the ingredients come together.

Remove mixture from food processor and set aside.

Add re-hydrated dates and apricots to food processor and mix well.

Mix date/apricot paste into the chocolate nut mixture and blend well.

If the mixture is too sticky, add 1 Tb. cocoa.

Roll nut and fruit mixture into small balls, about 1″.

Should make about 10 – 12 truffles.

Roll in coconut flour.

Good served at room temperature or chilled in the fridge.

Chocolate Energy “Truffles” rolled in coconut flour.

Recipe Makeover #1: Aunt Pat’s M&M Oatmeal Brownies

Aunt Pat's M&M Oatmeal Brownies

This first recipe makeover is for one of my favorite cousins, Morgan. She is trying a new gluten free diet and the original recipe for these treats comes from her Grandmother, my Aunt Pat.

For someone with celiac, M&M’s are a tricky thing. First, check the package to make sure that particular kind was not processed in a factory with other wheat products, such as the pretzel m&ms. Also, if you have trouble digesting dairy, substitute a dairy free m&m type candy.

Aunt Pat's M&M Oatmeal Brownies

Aunt Pat’s M&M Oatmeal Brownies

M&M Oatmeal Crust

1/2 c. Brown rice flour

1 1/2 c. Gluten free oats

1/2 c. Brown sugar

1/2 c. Walnuts

1 c. mini M&Ms, or regular size chopped

1/2 tsp. Baking soda

1/4 tsp. Xanthan gum

1/2 c. Coconut oil or butter, melted

Brownie in the middle.

Brownie Mix

(You can substitute prepared brownie mix if you like)

4 Eggs

1 c. Evaporated cane sugar

1 c. Brown Sugar

8 oz. Butter or coconut oil, melted

1 1/4 c. cocoa

2 tsp. Vanilla extract

1/2 c. Brown rice flour

1/4 tsp. Xanthan gum

1/2 tsp. Sea salt

1 c. Chocolate chips or chopped nuts (optional)

Aunt Pat's M&M Oatmeal Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease 9 x 13 inch baking pan with coconut oil or butter.

Combine all ingredients for M&M Oatmeal topping.

Set aside 1 cup of mixture and pat the rest into baking pan.

In large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and sugar, until sugar is dissolved.

Add cooled, melted butter or coconut oil to egg mixture and combine well.

Add all additional ingredients and mix well.

Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly over oat mixture.

Sprinkle with remaining cup of oat mix.

Bake at 350 F for 30 – 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

**Baking times may vary due to altitude.

Aunt Pat's M&M Oatmeal Brownies

Chocolate Caramels

Chocolate Caramel

Christmas is going to be here before you know it. This year, instead of trying to scrape together extra money to buy everyone presents, I’m making homemade candies to give as gifts. This is the first in my caramel candy research.

These caramels are not only gluten free, but dairy and corn free as well. Coconut milk from the box is a great substitute for heavy cream.  Our house is almost 100% corn syrup free. We only use non-gmo organic corn when we do have it. So, for my caramels I used brown rice syrup as a substitute. As it cooks it smells like brown rice cereal, and the flavor is great. These caramels have just a little bit of chocolate added to make them taste like a tootsie roll.

I was also able to get organic 74% dark chocolate from a local factory, literally down the road from my house. 🙂 Dagoba chocolate is gluten free, but does contain trace amounts of soy. They make some of the best chocolate I’ve ever had.

Make some of these caramels for your holiday party or to give as gifts, either way they’ll never know it’s gluten, dairy and corn free.

YUM 🙂

Chocolate Caramel

Chocolate Caramels

1 c. Evaporated cane sugar

(FYI – If your looking for evaporated cane sugar, it is in granulated form. It is the sugar left when the the water evaporates from the crushed cane.)

1/2 c. Brown rice syrup (can substitute corn syrup or honey)

1 c. Coconut milk, plain or vanilla (or regular heavy cream)

(use the kind in the carton or box, it has the proper consistency)

2 oz. Bittersweet chocolate, chopped

(I used Dagoba organic 74% Dark Chocolate)

1 + Tb. Coconut oil (or butter)

 

Line a 8 x 8 inch baking dish with parchment or foil. Grease with coconut oil. Set aside

In a large, heavy bottom saucepan combine sugar and brown rice syrup thoroughly.

Bring sugar to a low boil over medium heat without stirring. Sugar will start to turn a light caramel color and bubble slightly after about 5 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in coconut milk. Be careful, it may bubble up.

Return to medium heat and let simmer.

Just after adding coconut milk and returning to simmer.

Stir occasionally and bring up to 240 – 244 F on a candy thermometer.

About 15 – 25 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate and coconut oil.

Pour in to prepared pan.

Let cool for at least 2 hours. If your in a hurry, pop in the fridge.

Cut into 1 inch squares and wrap in 3 inch square parchment papers.

Cut caramels into squares and roll up in parchment.

I got a little impatient and wanted to firm up my caramels to wrap them. The white you see in the creases is just a little excess coconut oil.

Caramels rolled into balls, before being wrapped in parchment.

Chocolate Caramel

Butternut Chocolate Chip Cake Bars

Butternut Chocolate Chip Cake Bars

I’ve recently found myself with a plethora of butternut squash from my Uncle’s garden. Most often, I cook my squash very simply by roasting them in the oven with a little salt and pepper and olive oil or butter. I almost always have a little bit left over, so I decided to concoct this recipe. It’s very similar to using pumpkin in your baked goods, but with a slight difference in taste.

These bars won’t last long before they are gobbled up. So, if your feeding a larger crowd, this recipe easily doubles to fit a 9 in. x 13 in. pan.

Butternut Chocolate Chip Cake Bars

Butternut Chocolate Chip Cake Bars

2 Tb. Coconut oil + extra for greasing pan

1/2 c. Butternut squash, cooked & mashed

1/4 c. Evaporated cane sugar

1/4 c. Brown sugar

1/2 tsp. Vanilla or Anise Extract

1 Egg

1 1/4 c. Brown rice flour

1/2 tsp. Baking soda

1/2 tsp. Xanthan gum

1/4 tsp. Sea salt

1/2 c. Chocolate chips

1/4 c. Walnuts, toasted

 

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Lightly coat 8 inch x 8 inch baking pan with coconut oil.

In medium mixing bowl, cream coconut oil, squash, sugars, vanilla, and egg.

Sift in flour, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. Combine well.

Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

Pour batter into pan and bake 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown and passes the toothpick test.

 

Butternut Chocolate Chip Cake Bars

Easiest Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie

Easiest Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie

This is the easiest, most delicious, tradition gluten free brownie I’ve ever had.

Just mix, bake and serve. YUM YUM YUM 🙂

Like I said, the boyfriend got pretty much any dessert he wanted this past week.

Lot’s of brownies! 🙂

Easiest Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie

4 Eggs

1 c. Evaporated cane sugar

1 c. Brown Sugar

8 oz. Butter or coconut oil, melted

1 1/4 c. cocoa

2 tsp. Vanilla or Peppermint Extract

1/2 c. Brown rice flour

1/4 tsp. Xanthan gum

1/2 tsp. Sea salt

1 c. Chocolate chips or chopped nuts (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Grease 8in. x 8in. baking pan with coconut oil or butter.

In large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and sugar, until sugar is dissolved.

Add cooled, melted butter or coconut oil to egg mixture and combine well.

Add all additional ingredients, mix well and pour into prepared pan.

Bake 45 – 60 minutes. Test with toothpick.

Let cool, cut and serve. Enjoy!

 

Easiest Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie

Caramel Macadamia Nut Fudge Swirl Brownies

Caramel Macadamia Nut Fudge Swirl Brownie

Last week was the boyfriend’s birthday. So, he was even more spoiled with homemade desserts then usual. At first, he requested mint brownies. After digging through my baking bowl of goodies, I found some macadamia nut butter and his mind changed instantly.  An hour or so later, the Caramel Macadamia Nut Fudge Brownie was born.

Caramel Macadamia Nut Fudge Swirl Brownie

Caramel Macadamia Nut Fudge Swirl Brownie

Caramel Macadamia Nut Swirl:

1/2 c. Coconut milk

1/4 c. Evaporated cane sugar

1/4 c. Water

1/2 c. Macadamia or cashew butter (can substitute peanut butter)

1 Tb. Honey

Pinch Sea salt

1/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Brownie:

1 c. Butter or coconut oil

8 oz. Unsweetened or Bittersweet chocolate

4 Eggs

1 1/2 c. Evaporated cane sugar

1/2 c. Brown sugar

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/4 tsp. Sea salt

1 c. Brown rice flour

1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum

 

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Line 9 x 13 baking pan with aluminum foil and grease with butter or coconut oil.

Caramel Macadamia Nut Swirl:

Heat coconut milk on low in a small sauce pan.

In another saucepan combine sugar and water over high heat and cook until an amber color.

Whisk in coconut milk and continue to cook 1 minute.

Remove from heat and whisk in macadamia nut butter, honey, salt and vanilla.

Transfer to a bowl and let thicken for 30 minutes.

Brownie:

Combine butter or coconut oil and chocolate in a medium bowl.

Create a double boiler with a pot of low boiling water and set your bowl of chocolate over to melt.

Once melted, remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth.

Beat in chocolate and then incorporate flour in 2 sections.

Use a spatula and scrape half the batter into the baking pan.

Use the macadamia mixture and dollop over brownie batter.

Cover with remaining brownie batter.

Use a butter knife to create swirls all around the brownies. Careful not to over do it.

Bake 30 – 45 minutes. Let cool and place in refrigerator to cut easily.

**Baking times may vary due to altitude.

Caramel Macadamia Nut Fudge Swirl Brownie

Caramel Macadamia Nut Fudge Swirl Brownie

Easy Drop Biscuits

 

Easy Drop Biscuits

I made these yesterday because I wanted some warm buttery biscuits. They turned into dessert when my bf brought home some fresh strawberries. I just sugared the chopped strawberries, spooned them on top a biscuit and voila! Strawberry shortcake. I really like it with the biscuit because the saltiness balances the sweet, tangy strawberries. If you’re into dairy, add some whip cream for extra deliciousness, if you’re not, top with some vanilla coconut ice cream (Coconut Bliss).

Strawberry Shortcake

 

Easy Drop Biscuits

3/4 c. White rice flour

3/4 c. Brown rice flour

1/2 c. Tapioca flour

1 tsp. Baking powder

1 tsp. Sea salt

3/4 tsp. Baking soda

1 tsp. Xanthan gum

1/4 c. Butter or Olive oil

3/4 c. Rice or coconut milk

1/4 – 1/2 c. Water

1 1/2 tsp. Vinegar

1 Egg

 

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine flours, baking powder, salt, baking soda and xanthan gum.

Chop chilled butter and add to flour mix. Blend well, so there are no large clumps.

Add rice milk, 1/4 c. water, vinegar and egg to flour mix. Blend well. If mix is dry, add a little more water.

Once dough is mixed, drop medium size  mounds of dough onto parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake about 15 – 25 minutes, depending on size.

Easy Drop Biscuits