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.


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


Jalapeno Potato Gratin


Jalapeno Potato Gratin


Jalapeno Potato Gratin

2 -3 Potatoes, medium/large

3 Tb. Butter

1 Jalapeno

2 Tb. Cilantro

1/4 c. Red or green onion

2 Garlic cloves

1 tsp.  Sea salt

1/4 tsp. Black pepper

1 c. Coconut milk

3/4 c. Rice cheese, shredded (or your favorite cheese)


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Use a tsp. of the butter to grease a 9 inch pie pan.

Combine coconut milk,  jalapeno, cilantro, onion, garlic, salt and pepper in food processor and blend well.

Slice potatoes cross-ways very thinly.

Put one layer of potatoes in the pie pan. Cover with 2 -3 tsp. butter and 1/4 c. cheese.

Repeat with 2 more layers.

Pour coconut jalapeno mix over potatoes. Top with a little cheese.

Bake covered about 45 – 50 minutes. Test if potatoes are fork tender.

Finish baking 5 – 10 more minutes uncovered.



Jalapeno Potato Gratin


Middle Eastern Lamb Steak with Coconut Milk Pan Gravy


Middle Eastern Lamb Steak with Coconut Milk Pan Gravy

I found this lamb steak on sale, but you can absolutely use regular beef steaks for this recipe. This recipe started out with the idea of a simple spice rub. As the steak was cooking, I needed to add some liquid to the pan to prevent burning. Instead of stock, I happened to have an open can of coconut milk in the fridge.  I added the coconut milk slowly and let it reduce. Now I have a super yummy gluten free pan gravy.


Middle Eastern Lamb Steak with Coconut Milk Pan Gravy

2 – 6 oz. Lamb steaks ( Beef steak is fine too)

2 Tb. Olive oil

2 Tb. Coconut brown sugar (or regular brown sugar)

1 Tb. Lemon or lime juice

1 Tb. Cinnamon

2 tsp. Garlic powder

1 tsp. Cumin

1/2 tsp. Coriander

1/4 tsp. Cayenne

2 tsp. Sea salt

1/2 tsp. Black pepper

1 c. Coconut milk


Middle Eastern Lamb Steak with Coconut Milke Pan Gravy


In a medium mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar, juice and spices.

Add steaks and coat well. Let marinate at least 1/2 an hour to an hour.

Heat skillet on stove to high heat. Add steaks and brown both sides well.

Add coconut milk and reduce heat to medium – med/ hi.
Let coconut milk reduce as steaks finish cooking.

Make sure to flip steaks for even cooking. About 6 – 8 minutes per side should get you to medium/medium well.


Middle Eastern Lamb Steak with Coconut Milk Pan Gravy


Vanilla Coconut Birthday Cake with Double Chocolate Fudge Glaze


Vanilla Coconut Birthday Cake with Chocolate Fudge Glaze



Vanilla Coconut Birthday Cake with Chocolate Fudge Glaze


Happy Birthday Uncle D! 🙂

So, today is my uncle’s birthday and my aunt and uncle are coming out to the boonies to have a small birthday celebration. I didn’t think we could celebrate properly without some cake!! I wanted to do a very basic cake but super delicious. This cake has a healthier edge because it uses only coconut oil, even in the glaze. Also, if you want a vegan cake, just use egg re placer for the eggs.

Top this cake with some sugared strawberries and you’ll have a party in your mouth, guaranteed! 🙂

Vanilla Coconut Birthday Cake

1 c. Coconut oil

2 c. Powdered sugar

4 Eggs

1 1/2 c. White rice flour

1 c. Brown rice flour

1/2 c.  Tapioca flour

1 1/2 tsp. Baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. Xanthan gun

1 tsp. Baking soda

1 tsp. Sea salt

1 tsp. Pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. Anise extract (optional, substitute with more vanilla)

1/2 c. Coconut milk

3/4 c. Rice milk (depending on how thick batter is)


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Use the bottom of your cake pan and a knife to cut out 2 parchment circles for your pans.

Oil bottom of cake pans and line with parchment, oil parchment as well.

In large mixing bowl, cream oil and sugar.  With electric mixer slowly blend in one egg at a time.

In medium bowl, sift flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt.

Add coconut milk, 1/2 c. rice milk. vanilla and anise extract to egg batter.

Slowly begin beating in 1 cup of flour mix at a time.

Pour batter evening between two 9 -inch cake pans.

Bake about 35 – 45 minutes. Should be golden brown and pass tooth pick test.

Let cool in pans for about 20 minutes before removing.

Let cool completely, trim cakes for layering, then frost.



Vanilla Coconut Birthday Cake with Double Chocolate Fudge Glaze


Double Chocolate Fudge Glaze

3 oz. Baking chocolate, melted

1 c. Coconut oil

1/2 – 1 c. Cocoa powder

1 1/2 c. Powdered sugar

2 Tb. Lemon juice

1/4 c. Rice milk


Beat chocolate, milk, lemon juice and oil.

Slowly add in sifted powdered sugar and cocoa.

Continue beating until smooth.

Let cool and thicken before frosting cake.


Sliced Cake