Tahini Banana Bread (vegan, flour-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free)

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“Mmmm.”

“It’s…different. The banana really comes through.”

Egg-free coconut flour recipes are a challenge! This is one of the few that works.

2 large bananas (the browner, the better)
½ cup tahini
⅓ cup maple syrup
⅓ cup coconut flour
¼ teaspoon ground vanilla bean
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 bar (250 grams) very dark chocolate, chopped (optional but recommended!)
Optional: other add-ins such as chopped walnuts, pecans, or dates

  1. Blend everything.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 30 minutes, or until browned on top.

Special thanks to anonymous Banana Bread demonstrator!

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Almost Paleo Chocolate Cake

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Adapted from the Paleo Chocolate Cake recipe at MyHeartBeets (excellent website!).

Tastes better than the “real thing”!

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Cake:

  • 1 cup almond flour or ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped 90% dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Chocolate filling:

  • 1/2 bar 90% dark chocolate
  • coconut oil and coconut sugar (or sweetener to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup

Sugar-free buttercream frosting:

  • 100 g Swerve icing sugar (erythritol/stevia-based powdered sugar substitute, recently arrived in the UK!)
  • 50 g butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • small splash of Sainsbury’s “valencia orange extract” (in the baking section, optional), or similar flavouring if desired)

Sprinkles:

  • Non-paleo, store-bought sprinkles (however, there is a recipe for healthier homemade sprinkles at the ChocolateCoveredKatie website)

Cake:

  1. Mix ingredients (except for chopped chocolate) well, adding eggs last.
  2. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. (I used a large rectangular pan, and then cut it once horizontally, and once through the middle to make the layers. It held up to being cut well.)

Chocolate filling:

  1. Melt chocolate. Add maple syrup.
  2. Stir in coconut oil and coconut sugar or sweetener to taste, depending on how intense of a chocolate flavour you want – many people find 90% chocolate too strong. I would say I used about 2 tablespooons of coconut oil and about 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar.
  3. Spread between layers of cooled cake and, if desired, on top (beneath the frosting).

(Note that the cake at MyHeartBeets called for 10 oz of chocolate to make a chocolate ganache, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to invest more than half a pound of chocolate in frosting. I’m sure it’s good, however!)

Sugar-free buttercream frosting

  1. Mix everything with a fork or hand mixer until well blended.
  2. Spread on cooled cake.

Enjoy!

Amazing Apricot-Pistachio Cake – gluten-free, (optionally) sugar-free

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Amazing flavour far beyond that of an ‘ordinary’ cake! Moist and delicious.

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1 cup finely ground almonds
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup coconut sugar, sugar substitute, or regular sugar (or a blend of them)
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup fruit-sweetened (or sugar-free) apricot jam
7 eggs
Extra apricot jam for garnish
Ground pistachios for garnish

For people accustomed to ‘regular’ desserts, this cake can be made with regular sugar; however, in that case, a blend of regular sugar and coconut sugar is recommended to deepen the flavour.

The apricot-pistachio flavour was inspired by Persian pastries with apricot filling and pistachios.

1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, and add in the wet ingredients. (This can be done by hand.)
2. Pour into a square baking pan. Bake at 350 F/180 C for 40-50 minutes, or until done.
3. When cool, spread remaining apricot jam on top of cake and sprinkle with pistachios.

Based on the low carb marmalade cake at http://buttoni.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/marmalade-cake/ (an excellent site for low carb recipes).

Photo taken by the founder of Recitries!

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Very Vanilla Earl Grey Gluten-Free Shortbread & Chocolate Chunk Shortbread (Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Nut-Free)

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Very Vanilla Earl Grey Shortbread

Rather than being “plain”, real vanilla is its own sophisticated flavour which is best appreciated on its own or lightly paired with a suitable flavour to bring it out!

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup natural or artificial sweetener (I used coconut sugar, sorbitol, and the two mixed with regular sugar all with good results)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (or 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground vanilla bean
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid vanilla extract or flavouring
  • dash salt
  • liberal dash of dry Earl Grey tea leaves
  • (a touch of orange flavouring would go quite nicely in these as well)

(Note: Homemade vanilla ice cream with Earl Grey tea leaves is also delicious!) 

Chocolate Chunk Shortbread

Chocolate masks the subtleness of the vanilla…but is its own rich, deep flavour. You will not be disappointed by this!

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup natural or artificial sweetener (I used coconut sugar, sorbitol, and the two mixed with regular sugar all with good results)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (or 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground vanilla bean
  • dash salt
  • 30 g chopped sugar-free (or regular) dark chocolate

One of the few coconut flour desserts which does not require eggs!

1. Melt butter and cool. Add olive oil if using.
2. Stir in sweetener until fully blended. You may need to add a small amount of water if the sweetener is not water soluble, or you could use a hand blender.
3. Add the vanilla flavourings and salt. Stir.
4. Stir in coconut flour until fully blended. It will take some time for the dough to come together; it will be crumbly. If necessary, add a little water.
5. Stir in the Earl Grey tea leaves or chocolate chunks.
6. Work the dough slightly in your hands to help it stick together before patting it down and cutting into desired shape (a small glass works well for round shortbread).
7. Bake for 7 minutes in pre-heated 350 degree (180 degree C) oven. Do not overbake!
8. Remove from oven and cool for 1 hour. (This helps them set.)

These can be crumbly. Adding water will help them stay together, but the more water that is added, the less of a shortbread consistency they will have. Add as little water as possible!

Small sizes are recommended since, unlike regular shortbread, they are very filling. I had best results making 16 small round cookies.

Recipe adapted from Empowered Sustenance (http://empoweredsustenance.com/paleo-shortbread-cookies-coconut-flour/).

Looking for a traditional option? Try Maida Heatter’s famous chocolate shortbread recipe at http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/2011/09/maida-heatters-chocolate-shortbread-cookies.html.

(Maida Heatter is, in my view, the undisputed chocolate expert of our time. When I was a child, I had the great fortune to chance upon an old and tattered baking book of hers at a second-hand shop, with not only outstanding recipes but also great baking tips!)

Healthy BANANA BREAD (gluten-free, refined sugar-free, Paleo-friendly)

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1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
3 medium bananas
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup coconut sugar, honey, or other sweetener (mixing sweeteners is recommended)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon ground vanilla bean
splash almond extract (optional)
pinch of salt
100 grams dark chocolate (optional but good!)

1. In food processor or hand blender, mix almonds, flour, and butter. (If you need to grind the almonds, do so before adding the flour and butter.)
2. Add sweetener, cinnamon, vanilla bean, almond extract, baking soda, and salt, mixing after each addition.
3. Add bananas to food processor and mix until pureed. (Puree separately if necessary.)
4. In separate bowl, whisk eggs for a couple minutes until they begin to have body. Add mixture from food processor.
5. If using chocolate, run it through the food processor until it is in fine pieces, then stir into batter.
6. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 40 minutes or until it smells and feels done.

(All this can be done by hand too, but a food processor is easier!)

How do you know if it’s done?
Smell test: When the scent of baked goods begins to waft from the oven, it’s almost done!
Feel test: It feels solid.
Fork test: Pierce it with a fork, and if the fork comes out clean, it’s done.

Recipe adapted from Slim Palate – here is their classy and well-presented picture of the banana bread!

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Moist, fluffy, healthy CARROT CAKE (gluten-free, refined sugar-free)

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Coconut flour cakes can be dry and disinteresting. This cake is moist, fluffy, and full of healthy things!

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  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup natural or artificial sweetener (I used a mix of sorbitol and coconut sugar)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water (or as much as necessary to make a batter. Omit if using a liquid sweetener such as honey or maple syrup)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice (to activate baking soda)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 medium carrots
  • raisins and chopped walnuts (to taste – if unsure, use 2 tablespoons of each)

1. In food processor, chop carrots finely. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the walnuts and raisins) one by one to the food processor, and blend after each addition. Stir in the raisins and walnuts.

2. Bake in 350-degree oven for 40 minutes, or until done.

This made one 9″ x 6″ pan. If you want more cake, double the recipe! However, keep in mind that coconut flour cakes have a satiety factor that wheat flour cakes don’t have.

Enjoy!

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Really Great Tomato Soup

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Who could resist a recipe called “Really Great Tomato Soup”?

This recipe is (lightly adapted) from The Grain Brain cookbook, which promotes grain-free living for neurological health and protection from Alzheimer’s.

Like the name promises, this really is “really great” soup!

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  • 6 pounds tomatoes (the riper, the better!)
  • 8 ounces chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (for economy’s sake, you could substitute olive oil for some of the butter, but use at least some butter for the flavour)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: a bit of chopped green chilli, or a dash of red chilli pepper flakes
  • optional: a touch of sweetener or sugar

(For a medium-sized saucepan, or about 3 bowlfuls, you can use 2 pounds tomatoes, 1/2 medium-large onion, 1/2 clove garlic, and 1/3 cup salted butter.)

Note: No water!

1. Melt the butter over low heat in a large soup pot. Add the onions and garlic, and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until soft and fragrant but not coloured. Add chilli (if using) when the onions are almost done.

2. Chop and core tomatoes. (Or, if you like, just chop them.)

3. Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Raise the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes are mushy and the mixture soupy, about 25 minutes. (The tomatoes will produce their own water, so you do not need to add any water or broth.)

4. Puree with a blender. If company’s coming, pour it through a fine-mesh sieve into a non-reactive saucepan. Add salt and pepper to taste, and, if you wish, a tiny dash of sweetener/sugar to bring out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes.

5. Garnish with toppings of choice, if desired. Basil would be an ideal choice. The soup in this photo is garnished with crumbled buffalo cheese, dried oregano, and black pepper. The soup also holds up well to any number of creative add-ins!