1 cup bittersweet (at least 70% cacao) chocolate, chopped or wafers
1 cup raw almonds
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the almonds out in a single layer on the sheet. Toast in the oven until golden brown and aromatic, about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Bring a few inches of water to boil in the bottom half of a double boiler. Place the chocolate in the top half of the double boiler and set it on the bottom half. Heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is almost melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk until completely melted. Add the almonds and stir to combine.
Drop the nut clusters by spoonful onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Allow to cool and harden. May refrigerate to speed up the process. Store in an airtight container in layers separated by wax paper for up to 2 weeks.
Any raw nut or combination may be substituted for the almonds. Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes may also be added. Higher quality chocolate results in tastier clusters.
This recipe first appeared in the February 2021 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.
The Best Dark Fudgy Brownies
(That happen to be gluten and dairy-free)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil/grease an 8” or 9” square pan. Whisk together cocoa, sugar, salt, baking powder, flour, and chips. Stir in eggs, oil, and water. Mix until well blended. Using a rubber scraper, scoop the mixture into pan, smoothing the top. Bake brownies for 45 minutes (for 8” pan) or 35 minutes (for 9” pan), until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Cool on a rack for about 1 hour before slicing.
If using a glass pan, reduce baking temperature to 325°F and bake 5-10 minutes less.
2 ½ cups Namaste Perfect Flour Blend
5 eggs, separated, room temperature
5 Tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, room temperature
½ cup coconut oil, melted
2 cups sugar (may decrease sugar to just a little more than 1 ¾ cups and you won’t notice)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 cup reconstituted goat milk (or other non-dairy beverage) with 1 Tbsp. white vinegar or fresh lemon juice added
1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup (1 stick) Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, room temperature
One 8-ounce container vegan cream cheese, out of the fridge for 1 hour (like Kite Hill plain cream cheese)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 to 5 cups organic powdered sugar
*Other gluten free flours may work well, although I usually use Namaste.
*You can cut the sugar in a cake recipe by 10%. It won’t affect the consistency and it’s sweet enough—especially with frosting.
*Adding vinegar or lemon juice to goat milk creates “buttermilk.” My favorite goat milk is Meyenberg Whole Powdered Goat Milk. The powder keeps well in the fridge for months and you can make fresh when needed.
*The first time I made this cake, I underbaked it a bit. Once the toothpick comes out clean, I bake it for a few more minutes, as long as it’s not getting too brown. Gluten free products sometimes need a little more cooking or baking time. Also, the more I make it, the better it seems to turn out. Like everything, practice makes perfect. So, if your first cake doesn’t quite hit the mark, try again.
Cake recipe derived from Namaste.
Frosting recipe derived from Minimalist Baker.
(This recipe first appeared in the August 2020 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.)
Note: These have the taste and consistency of brownies made with cocoa. There are variations that lean to the healthier side that I’m happy to share if you wish to contact me. Reducing the sugar by about 10% is a good first step and will not affect consistency.
This recipe yields two 9-inch pie crusts.
In a large bowl combine the gluten free flour blend and salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly and the particles are the size of small peas. (You could use a box grater to shred the butter into the flour or cut into small pieces, then mix using a pastry blender, fork, or your fingers.) Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the beaten egg. Gently work it in with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Be gentle and work quickly to keep the dough as flaky as possible. Overworking your pie dough results in a tough crust.
Add the iced water to the center, one tablespoon at a time, working it in by hand until you have a moist, crumbly dough. The crumbles should stick when squeezed together. Gluten free crust should be made with more liquid than a traditional pie crust, or else it will become very dry.
Shape the dough into a large ball and cut in half. Place each half onto a sheet of parchment paper that has been sprinkled with a bit of gluten free flour blend. Form each half into a smooth disk. Sprinkle with more flour blend and cover with another piece of parchment.
Roll each disc between the parchment paper until it is 2 inches larger than the pie plate. Carefully peel off the top layer of parchment. Pick up the rolled pie crust by the under layer of parchment, center it over the pie plate, and quickly flip it over onto the plate. Carefully pull the bottom layer of parchment off the pie crust. If the crust breaks in a few spots, and it probably will (so don’t panic), pinch the dough back together in those spots.
Note: If you plan to have the dough sitting out in a ball while you are preparing the filling, keep it covered with a lightly dampened paper towel, as it tends to dry out quickly. Gluten free pie dough is fragile, so a little cracking when transferring it to the pie plate is normal.
FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, toss together the strawberries, arrowroot, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Transfer to an 8” x 8” baking pan. Mix together the ingredients for the topping in a mixing bowl. Spread it over the strawberries as evenly as possible. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the strawberries are juicy and bubbly, and the topping is golden-brown.
You could substitute other fruits for the strawberries, depending on what’s in season.
This recipe makes a delicious substitute for peanut butter cookies that avoids many of the common food allergens. And they’re vegan and gluten free.
Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Earth Balance, almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla. Add oats, almond flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
Drop by teaspoonful or small cookie scoop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently press the dough flat. You may use the bottom of a glass dipped in cane sugar, if desired.
Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cookies barely start to crack at the top. Be careful not to overbake. Allow them to cool on the pan for at least 5 minutes before moving them so they don’t crumble and break. Store in an airtight container. I freeze them so they last longer. Makes about 3 dozen.
You could toss in some raisins and/or chocolate chips if you like more goodies in your cookies.
This slightly sweet recipe will give you energy on and off the trail. The nuts offer protein, fiber, and fat, along with some vitamins and minerals. A handful, about ¼ cup, makes a great snack any time of day.
Place nuts, sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla in a crock pot and mix. Place on High for 45 to 60 minutes and stir occasionally to prevent burning. Turn to Low and continue cooking for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, stirring a time or two. Place the nut mixture on paper towel to absorb excess oil, and let cool at least 15 minutes before mixing in the chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, almond butter, pumpkin, sugar, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Slowly mix the dry ingredient mixture into the wet ingredients. Combine until cookie dough forms, then stir in the chocolate chips. If dough is too sticky and difficult to work with, chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
Once dough is chilled, roll into balls, or use a small cookie scoop. Place scoops on cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper, for easy cleanup. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they are set. Be careful not to overbake. Remove from oven and let set for about 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator or freezer. I store my cookies in the freezer, as they are always soft enough to eat immediately.
*Homemade pumpkin pie spice: 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine peanut butter and honey. Heat for about 90 seconds until it stirs easily. Add protein powder and Rice Krispies and mix thoroughly (The mixture will be thick). Press into a 9 x 13 inch pan. Refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until solid enough to cut into bars. Store in refrigerator or freezer. These keep well for weeks in the freezer.
Note: You can obviously be as creative as you like with these. Have fun experimenting, as the options are numerous as to what you could add or substitute. I like Arbonne protein because it tastes great, is easily digestible, is gluten and dairy free (if either of those are an issue for you), and contains no artificial sweeteners, colors, or sweeteners. For more information on, or to acquire Arbonne products, send me an email.