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Posts Tagged ‘baked good’

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This may seem a bit off topic, but I have a massive obsession with Pinterest. Holly, a friend of mine sent me an invite a few weeks ago, since she knew I would love it, and she couldn’t have been more right. Basically, as you come across images on the web, you can virtually “pin it” onto your different boards on Pinterest. The appeal is that not only does it act like virtual inspiration boards, but it also works as a way to remember and store links to projects, recipes and other fun things you want to try out. I like that I can access my pins and boards from any computer or device. I have been coming across some super fun images for inspiration and a ton of exciting and easy to do DIY projects for both work and for fun. Not that I don’t already have enough to do, but I love a good crafty project, especially once the weather cools down. You can also see other people’s boards and you can repin their items into your boards. It is so addicting.

This recipe is one that caught my eye on my daily internet travels a week or so ago, but when I had come across it, I didn’t have the time to make it, but I really wanted to remember it. Rather than print the recipe out, waste paper and have it get lost in a sea of papers in my office, I “pinned it” to my recipe related board on Pinterest. A few days later I hit the farmers market, grabbed some cherries and was ready to get baking.

These muffins were bursting with flavor and were so easy to make. I have fallen in love with almond flour, it is so easy to bake with, you don’t need to add tons of other flours or any gums, and on top of it, it has a lovely nutty taste. The other bonus is that almond flour is protein packed and low in sugar. I love by keeping the cherries in halves you get a big burst of tart, sweet flavor in every bite.

If you are on Pinterest you can follow my boards here. If you are looking for an invite, post your email address and I will send you an invite.

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Cherry Almond Flour Muffins
makes 6 large muffins
Adapted from So Good and Tasty

2 cups blanched almond flour*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 local farm fresh large brown eggs
1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)
1/4 cup grape seed oil (or olive oil)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

in a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add in the honey, vanilla and oil and whisk until well combined.
Add the dry mixture to the wet, stirring until combined. Carefully fold in the cherries.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling to the top if you want a nice muffin dome, or as us ladies know it “muffin tops”. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the muffin pan on a wire rack for five minutes. Gently pop the muffins out to continue cooling on the rack (don’t cool them longer than 5 minutes in the hot pan they’ll definitely get soggy). Enjoy a muffin after they have cooled 10 minutes, you know you want to.

I find storing muffins covered tightly in the refrigerator or freezer to be the best, especially in the heat of summer. Just pop one out as you want it, heat slightly in the microwave if you want to take the chill off and go.

* Something I have learned from baking on my own and from reading Elana’s Pantry, is that not all almond flour (or meal) is created equal. Bob’s Red Mill makes an almond flour, though easy to find, that doesn’t seem to react quite the same as other almond flours. It doesn’t seem to rise as much and it just seems to leave recipes flat. On Elana’s recommendation I now buy Honeyville brand almond flour in a 5-lb bag from their website.

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If you are gluten-free you NEED this book!

I came across Elana Amsterdam’s blog, Elana’s Pantry, quite a while ago and I have been playing around with many of her recipes ever since. They are all so wonderfully simplified, not loaded with tons of strange flours or gums. Just simple and healthy gluten-free adaptations of classic recipes, many times featuring almond and coconut flours. After making many of Elana’s recipes and always being impressed, when I found that she was releasing a Gluten-Free Cupcakes cookbook I knew  I had to have it. I preordered the cookbook so I would have it the minute it released. I went through every single page the minute it showed up this spring and made a game plan for which recipes I would make first. With it being such a busy spring and summer I haven’t been doing nearly as much baking as I would like, but every single time I passed Elana’s book on my shelf, I salivated thinking about making gluten-free cupcakes from scratch, in my kitchen. I am not one of those people who freak out over cake (like my husband, Mark), even before being gluten-free I almost always passed it up at birthday parties, but there is something about a deliciously made and adorable little cupcake that always gets me. It’s the perfect amount of cake for me. Whenever I am in NYC I always make it a point to travel out of my way to Babycakes, for that very reason.

Since it had been so long since I had made a cupcake or any cake for that matter, I decided I wanted to go with the classic, chocolate cupcake with vegan chocolate frosting. Elana’s book has all of the sweet classics as well as some really fun new twists on cupcakes like Raspberry Cheesecake, Vanilla Fig, Pina Colada and so many others, there is even a section of savory treats like Scallion Goat Cheese Muffins, Chive Pepper Muffins and more. All of the recipes in this book feature coconut flour, almond flour or both. So no need to buy strange flours that you’ve never even heard of.  Elana’s book also has vegan versions of many of the cupcakes as well as a variety of frostings both vegan and not. I decided to try the vegan frosting since it sounded easy to make and I was very curious to taste it. Not surprisingly, it was some of the best frosting I have ever had, super-rich and very chocolatey. I may have had a spoonful or two (or 5) of the frosting right from the jar, it’s that good.

The cupcakes were so chocolatey, moist and fluffy, I couldn’t believe that the only flour in the entire recipe was a 1/4 cup of coconut flour. When I read the recipe, I was convinced this had to be a mistake. I went to the front of the book to read more about coconut flour where Elana explains that coconut flour absorbs all of the moisture in recipes, which is why the ratio always seems off. Coconut flour is really quite amazing and unique, it rises so nicely in recipes and a little goes a long way. Most people assume that coconut flour will cause a recipe to strongly taste of coconuts, but this isn’t the case. The little bit of experimenting I have done with coconut flour has always yielded wonderful results, I cannot wait to keep playing and baking with it.

I’m gonna tease you with this recipe from the book, but you really really need to go buy the book yourself and start baking from it, you won’t regret it. I myself need to keep baking from it and start practicing my cake decorating skills. I attempted at first to use an icing bag to pipe the frosting on for the photos. Wow, what a mess, it looked like a 5-year-old did it. So, I stuck with what I am good at and decided to just take an icing knife and swirl it on.

Besides this wonderful book, Elana has an array of beautiful and tasty looking cupcake recipes on her blog, which you can access here.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcake with Vegan Chocolate Frosting

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 9 cupcakes*

1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup unsweetened organic cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 large farm fresh local brown eggs
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup agave nectar

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 9 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, grapeseed oil and agave nectar. With a hand mixer, blend the wet ingredients into the flour mixture in the large bowl, until thoroughly combined.

Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each prepared muffin cup.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes (mine actually took more like 25 to 28 minutes until they were done), just watch them and test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of a cupcake, when it comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, they are done. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for an hour, then frost and serve.

* Looking for more than 9 cupcakes? Elana notes in the book that rather than doubling the recipe, it is best to just make a second batch.

 

Vegan Chocolate Frosting

6 ounces dark chocolate chips (73% cacao) (about 1 heaping cup)
1/2 cup Spectrum all-vegetable shortening
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon water
Pinch of sea salt

Heat the chocolate in a medium saucepan over a very low heat, melt until it is smooth. Allow the pan to rest on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes to cool the chocolate to room temperature.

With a handheld mixer, blend in the shortening, then blend in the agave nectar, vanilla extract, water and salt until smooth. Place the saucepan in the refrigerator for 3 to 8 minutes, until the frosting is spreadable.

If the frosting gets too stiff to work with, reheat the pan very briefly over a low heat and stir until it is softened. If the frosting is too runny, place it back in the refrigerator until it firms up.

Use the frosting immediately or store in a glass Mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Flax-Seed Muffins

Yes, my muffin obsession continues. I can’t stop playing with recipes and trying out new ingredients. But, don’t be fooled, it isn’t all fun and tasty games, even though you don’t see it, there have been some epic muffin failures. Last week I attempted to make strawberry rhubarb muffins with a cinnamon crumble top and they turned out to be a sunken in soggy mess, boo! They were so delicious and full of flavor, but it appears my measurements weren’t correct and they just plain failed. So, we ate the soggy muffins and I vowed to redeem my muffin-loving self with a new recipe this week.

I have been craving a sweet breakfast muffin that was a little bit healthy and a little naughty. I mean, really who doesn’t love the concept of chocolate for breakfast. I actually usually prefer savory over sweet for breakfast but I had been craving something a little sweet, so I went with it. Since I added in chocolate chips, I took the sugar down to a mere 1/2 cup. I figured by taking down the sugar and adding in the flax-seeds, it would balance out the fact that I would be eating chocolate for breakfast. These muffins are perfectly moist and subtly sweet in my opinion. I left the flax-seeds whole, so there would be a nice little nutty crunch, you could grind them first or if you want to skip the flax-seeds altogether, you could just add in your favorite chopped nut or go without. I liked the idea of the flax-seeds since they add in fiber and some of those lovely, healthy Omega-3 fats.

Mark cannot get over that these muffins are gluten-free and every chance he gets, tells me they are better than any gluten-containing muffin like it that he has had. Talk about an ego boost!

*If you wish to skip the eggs to make these muffins vegan, replace the egg whites with 1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 1/4 cup warm water till frothy.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Flax-Seed Muffins

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Flax-Seed Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1 1/3 cups almond flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch or tapioca starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup organic sucanat (dried cane juice)
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 organic free-range egg whites (depending on the size, you are looking to get 1/4 cup of liquid), beaten until frothy*
1/2 cup warm water, more as needed, up to 3/4 cup
1/3 cup organic flax seeds, (I used them whole, you could certainly grind them first)
9 ounces of organic, semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375º F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.

Whisk together the first 7 ingredients (up to and including the xanthan gum). Beat in the sugar, olive oil, vanilla, egg whites and warm water. Beat until it is smooth and like a thick cake batter.
Add in the flax seeds and chocolate chips. Stir briefly, until thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch. A wooden pick inserted into the center should emerge clean.

Cool the muffin pan on a wire rack for five minutes. Gently pop the muffins out to continue cooling on the rack (don’t cool them longer than 5 minutes in the hot pan they’ll definitely get soggy). Enjoy a muffin after they have cooled 10 minutes, you know you want to.

Freeze any leftover muffins in tightly sealed freezer bags and pop one out for a quick and easy breakfast.

*See above note about making these vegan.

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