(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.
These delightful lemon lovelies are dairy free and a childhood favorite of my boys.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the flour, Earth Balance, and powdered sugar in a bowl. Press the dough into an ungreased 8-inch square pan. Press the dough onto the sides of the pan as well. (Flour your hands if the dough is sticky.) Bake for about 20 minutes. Mix the remaining ingredients together until frothy. Pour over the hot crust. Bake an additional 25 minutes, or until light golden brown. Allow to cool before cutting. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
3-INGREDIENT BROWNIES (Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free)
3 medium, overripe bananas (approximately 1 cup or so)
1/2 cup smooth almond butter (or any smooth nut butter)
2 T – 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder (more = richer taste)
You may like to add a small amount of coconut oil to make these a bit moister.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small cake pan or loaf pan and set aside.
In a small glass bowl (for microwave) or in a pan (for stovetop) melt your nut butter. In a large mixing bowl, add the banana, nut butter and cocoa powder and mix very well. If you prefer a smoother texture to your brownies, use a mixer or blender.
Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into pieces.
These are best refrigerated–or frozen, my favorite–and they keep longer too. They may spoil rather quickly if kept at room temperature.
Banana Oat Muffins (Gluten and sugar free)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the dates in a small bowl and pour ½ cup boiling water on them. Let dates soak for 5 to 10 minutes to soften.
While the dates are soaking, prepare the dry ingredients. Place the oats in a blender or food processor and pulse until you have a coarse powder. Pour into a bowl and add the almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
Once the dates are soft, drain the water, and leave them very wet. You need to smash them, and the easiest way I found is to put them in your blender or food processor with the 2 eggs and pulse until you no longer have large date pieces. Pour this mixture into a bowl and add the coconut oil, bananas and vanilla. Mix on medium high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, a little at a time, mixing after each addition.
Drop by tablespoonful or small scoop into muffin tins lined with baking cups. Bake until a toothpick or tester comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.
*Variations: Add ½-1 teaspoon cinnamon, and/or some chopped nuts. I may even add chocolate chips at some point. I’m sure those would be tasty, although then you would have “added sugar” and they are not as healthy.