King Arthur Cookie Mix

IMG_8041I love chocolate chip cookies.

No, really, I LOVE LOVE LOVE chocolate chip cookies. You get the point.

Cookies are my weakness….and brownies too, but that’s for another experiment.

It’s a real bummer that I’ve taken it on myself to try all the different cookie mixes and review them. Oh darn…. 😉

Today, I decided to try the King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Cookie Mix. It’s base is rice flour blend, which I’m learning is my favorite gluten-free blend.

The was as easy as any other mix…pour in a bowl and add a bunch of stuff to it. The recipe called for 1/2. butter/oil, which I substituted 1/4 c. applesauce for half of the oil. The mix is a cookie mix, so you can technically add up to 3 cups of your favorite mix-ins. I was thinking this recipe would be great with walnuts, cranberries, and white chunks. But I didn’t have all that and was in the mood for chocolate.

So, chocolate chip cookies was the final out come. I used the Enjoy Life dairy-free chocolate chunks.

Final verdict on the cookies: PURE AWESOMENESS! Excellent fluffy cookies without the “gluten-free” flavor. Basically, it tastes like the ‘real thing.’

These are not sugar-free, but they taste great for the occasional gluten-free treat. I do NOT however, like the price for the mix. Ugh! I think its was over $4.50! Ah, all for the sake of the blog… 😉  Back to my quest for the perfect homemade flour blend!!! 🙂

Kelly

Double Chocolate Nut Butter Oaties

If this title isn’t enough to draw you in, I am lost at marketing.

Anytime I hear the words “chocolate” and “nut butter” in the same title, my mouth starts drooling. I love chocolate and peanut butter. This heavenly combination is one of the many reasons why, a mere 18 months ago, I was at my heaviest of almost 200 pounds. (AH!)

I have a sweet tooth….really bad. I think that’s why I’ve been drawn to alternative baking. My sweet tooth has changed over the past year and a half. I now crave the sweetness of fresh fruit and enjoy lightly sweetened treats. Refined sugar is now too sweet for my taste buds. But, I think, that is the way nature intended it to be.

Yesterday, Shirley (from glutenfreeeasily.com) posted an excellent recipe that I had to print off right away and try. Super simple, quick cookies that got 5 stars from everyone in my family.

The recipe calls for “nut butter,” (which can mean your favorite butter) and I would probably put in peanut butter as my first choice, if Julia didn’t have an allergy. I substituted “nut butter” for Sunbutter, which is sunflower seed ground up to make a butter. To me, it tastes very similar to peanut butter, but without oil and obviously, peanuts.

I also substituted Stevia/Cane sugar for the sugar in the recipe. The recipe calls for 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar, but trying to be as sugar-free as possible, I opted for 1/4 cup of Stevia/Cane sugar. I found this to be the perfect amount of sweetness. It took the bitterness of the cocoa powder away, and added a touch of sweet. Perfect!

Another item on the recipe list was “oat flour.” I didn’t have any pre-made oat flour. You can purchase some at the grocery store for some crazy price. I chose to not purchase it and just make my own.

Making your own flours is very cost effective. Unfortunately, I do not have a food processor, so making almond flour, for example, is out of the question for me…..until I get a food processor, *wink*! Today was my first attempt at making my own oat flour. I have a so-so quality blender. It’s nothing fancy but today it did a great job on making some homemade oat flour. (yay!)

To make oat flour: pour old fashioned oats in the blender, put the lid on, and press the “on” button. Blend for a few minutes, and then *TA-DA*: oat flour.

Popped the cookies in the oven, and the finished product was: TOTALLY AWESOME! 🙂

You can get the recipe here at Gluten Free Easily: Double Chocolate Nut Butter Oaties.

Enjoy!!

Kelly

 

Applesauce Cake

I was craving something sweet, so I decided to try a new recipe from the book I got on our trip called “Wow, this is Sugar Free!” When I picked the book up and opened it, I was really expecting a book full of fake-sugar (a.k.a Splenda) recipes. I was surprised to find that all the sweeteners used in this book are things like applesauce, raisins, apple juice, Stevia, and barley malt….which I have to admit, I have NO idea what barley malt is….

The other attraction to this book was that all the recipes are wheat-free. All of the recipes use “whole-grain flour.” However, she is not very clear on what that means for us standing in the grocery store baking aisle. I am still not quite sure what “whole-grain flour” means. (Wow, this post is making me sound clueless….) 😉

“Whole-grain flours contain the entire grain kernel (bran, germ, and endosperm)… [The difference is important to the body because] by consuming these types of grains verses refined grains (white flours), whole-grain-flours slow down the rate at which sugars enter the bloodstream.” (taken from pg 192 “Wow, this is Sugar-free.”)

Even after reading this, I was still a little clueless as to what this means in baking terms. All I knew is that wheat is a no-no in our house, and I wanted to use my new book to make a cake!

So, I did what any lazy baker does…start throwing things in the mixer! 😉

I decided to go with spelt flour, since that seemed to be the closest to a “whole-grain flour” and doesn’t make my family react. Throw it into the mixer… (perfect!)

Next, comes the almost 2 cups of applesauce, along with cinnamon, nutmeg, and Stevia….(almost there…)

(oops, forgot the first step! GO BACK!) Yes, this lazy baker got ahead of herself and forgot the first step: “Combine in a large saucepan raisins and water and cook until soft.” says the recipe on page 91. I had never done this before….cooking raisins…..but it made for a great soft texture in the cake! I’m very glad I didn’t skip over this part!

Finally, finished the cake and popped it in the oven.

Yum, applesauce cake!!

Kelly

Chocolate Earth Balls

I found this recipe on wholefoods.com back in 2006. When I printed it, I thought “oh wow, I need to make these.” Well, it only took me six years….and I didn’t actually make them. I gave the job to Miss Hannah Grace (age 8). The recipe was simple and she enjoyed gathering and mixing all the ingredients. Perfect summer snack; no baking required!

Hannah Grace mixin’ up some Chocolate Earth Balls

We made ours with peanut butter, but Julia is allergic to peanuts so she was not able to try them. The next time around, I’m going to try it with almond butter (which she can eat). I think they will taste just as yummy! If your looking for a “nut-free” version, try Sunbutter.

Chocolate Earth Balls (taken from wholefoods.com)

  • 1 cup organic peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tsp carob powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (we used Nestle Mini Chocolate Chips)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped organic nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.)

Mix the peanut butter, honey, and carob or cocoa powder until well combined. Stir in the raisins and only 1/8 cup of the coconut. Stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Place the remaining coconut, sesame seeds, and nuts into 3 separate bowls. Using a spoon, scoop small heaps of the peanut butter mixture from the bowl, roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. Rolling is easier if you form a rough ball, roll in the coconut, and then continue rolling into a more perfect shape. Roll each finished ball in more coconut, sesame seeds and chopped nuts. Arrange balls on a plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

“Ta-Da! Earth Balls Mommy!”

They are SUPER yummy! Kind of like a less fancy version of grown-up truffles.  🙂

Enjoy,

Kelly