Monday, November 30, 2009

Gluten Free Low Carb Coconut Fudge Brownies

These coconut brownies came out very fudgy. They are almost more like fudge than brownies! They are pretty sweet, and this is a recipe that your whole family will be fooled by.. the brownies don't taste like they are missing anything! These do not contain any dairy either, for those of you following the GFCF diet.

Because I used virgin coconut oil, it has a very nice coconut taste that even my husband loved even though he really does not like coconut. So, I sprinkled coconut on just half the brownies and he ate the other half.

SUB INFO: You could replace the erythritol with agave nectar or stevia, and if you do, please post and tell me how they came out. 1/2 cup erythritol = 1/4 teaspoon stevia powder or 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of agave (or you could just try a scant 1/2 cup). Also, you could probably use any nut flour or even unblanched almond flour for this recipe because it is not going to rise. I used blanched almond flour because it is smoother.

I think these brownies are actually on the verge of being good for you. They won't raise your insulin, they contain healthy medium chain fatty acids (coconut oil), and with walnuts, healthy omegas! And don't forget all the antioxidants and stress reducing health benefits of chocolate!!!

Gluten Free Low Carb Coconut Fudge Brownies

10 Tablespoons High Quality Virgin Coconut Oil like Tropical Traditions
1/4 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon of good tasting stevia powder
1/2 cup erythritol
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
2 ounces of 72% or 85% chocolate bar like Green & Black's or Lindt (I just guesstimated the amount out of a 3.5 ounce bar, don't worry)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cold eggs
3/4 cup blanched almond flour
2/3 cup walnuts or pecans
1/4 - 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)

parchment paper
8" square or round baking pan
wooden spoon

Line the bottom and sides of baking pan with parchment paper, letting it hang over on two sides.

Combine VCO, stevia powder, erythritol, agave nectar, cocoa, chocolate, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set it in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. You may have to turn the simmer higher after it is smooth to get it that hot. Remove bowl and set aside until the mixture is only warm. Preheat oven to 325˚F.

Stir in vanilla with the wooden spoon. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one until well blended. Add the almond flour and beat until well mixed. Then, beat vigorously for 40 strokes. Add in nuts. Spread evenly in pan. Sprinkle with shredded coconut, as much as desired.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the brownies comes out slightly moist, about 30 minutes. Lift up edges of liner, and let cool on a rack, then transfer the same way onto a wooden cutting board to cut brownies when cool.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

gluten free low carb ICE CREAM!!!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!!! Ice cream is my weakness. I love it! Of course it's usually gluten free.. but low-carb? Hardly! I got an ice cream maker- one of those kind where you freeze the bowl, fill it up and then just turn it on for 20 minutes. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND! Especially since I am now going to give you a great recipe!!
Of course to make this healthy, you'll want to use raw milk and cream. Definitely use fresh organic eggs- pastured if you can find them... they will be used raw in this recipe. If right now, you are eyeing your store bought organic eggs and wondering if they are fresh enough- here is a link on How to Tell If Your Eggs are Fresh. But really, once you can get your hands on fresh pastured eggs, you will never want to go back to anything else.
For GFCF people, try this with coconut milk- it has about the same consistency of 2/3 cream, 1/3 milk, so I think it could work. Let me know...
My Deni ice cream maker has this little removable plastic top in the cover, so I used that to pour in the chocolate to make a ribbon. If you don't have that, for instance if you are making ice cream in an ice cream ball (want mine?), then you can instead make chocolate chips, and add them in the end.
TIP: Do not substitute erythritol for xylitol in this recipe. It is DISGUSTING. Believe me, I had to toss a lot of expensive raw organic ingredients when I tried it. Horrible. You can sub agave nectar, or honey (use 1/3 less) although it will add a lot of carbs to this recipe.  You can sub more stevia (1/4 level teaspoon good tasting stevia  or 1/2 teaspoon NuNaturals Powdered Stevia) but it may harden strangely in the freezer, use the vodka trick (haven't tried it with all stevia ice cream yet).

2011 TIPS: you can add vodka to this recipe to keep it from hardening too much in the freezer.  About 1.5 teaspoons will do it.
Uh, if you are pregnant, sub for xylitol. My baby kicked me a LOT so I had to swear off the xylitol! I wonder if it is too strong for him, I feel bad. :( oops!

VARIATIONS: Sweet Cream Ice cream: reduce vanilla to one teaspoon and omit the chocolate.
Mint Chocolate Chip: reduce vanilla to one teaspoon and add a few drops of peppermint oil to taste.  I used Young Living Oils brand- 3 drops.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
makes one quart

2 large pastured organic eggs
1/4 level teaspoon good tasting stevia (1/2 teaspoon NuNaturals Powdered Stevia)
1/2 cup of xylitol (or sub)
2 cups raw organic cream
1 cup raw organic milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 to 2/3rds of a 3.5 ounce 85% chocolate bar. I like Green & Black- it's organic & low-carb

If you are using an ice cream maker like mine, make sure it's been in the freezer for over 24 hours, longer if possible. You want to make sure it is really really frozen.

In a large metal bowl, whisk the eggs 1 - 2 minutes, until frothy. Add stevia and xylitol and whisk until blended. Add cream, milk and vanillaand mix well.  Cover and cool in fridge for 2 hours (important).  A metal bowl (preferred) or glass bowl helps cool faster. You'll need this to be very cold to come out creamy in your ice cream maker.

Prepare the ribbon (or chop your chips if you can't make a ribbon): Put water in the bottom of your double boiler (read this post if you don't have one), making sure the inside of the top pot is absolutely dry. Boil the water on low, then either turn your stove top off, or on very very low. Break the pieces of chocolate into the bowl and stir with a rubber spatula to melt. As soon as fully melted, take the top off the water and heat and put aside to cool down.

Assemble ice cream maker and pour in vanilla ice cream mix. Turn on, and set your timer for 15 minutes. After 15-20 minutes, when the ice cream is frozen in a soft serve consistency, add or chips and mix in or add a chocolate ribbon. Ribbon: While the ice cream is turning inside, pour the melted chocolate in a small tiny stream slowly into the ice cream, sopping and starting often. Go slowly. It's probably still pretty warm... and you don't want to make large chunks which could stop your ice cream from churning (this happened to me- I had to remove the ice cream, reposition the inside churner and pour it back in). Best method is dribbling it in. Make sure you don't overfill the ice cream maker. Let it keep churning for 10 more minutes or so (you have just heated the ice cream a little), then transfer into freezer to harden. VOILA!

Remember, portion control! If you are not used to xylitol, eating too much can have a laxative effect. (ack!) So go easy. I believe you will be safe with 1-2 scoops. :)
Now, see this post to win a free giveaway of Green & Black Organic 85% chocolate bar!!

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Great Chocolate Article and A Free Giveaway!

I just loved this article on the Examiner about chocolate's goodness: Eat Dark Chocolate, Reduce Stress. It talks about how dark chocolate can have a negative effect on cortisol- you know, that nasty stress hormone that makes you gain weight around your middle... like eating too many carbs will, as well.

Of course, it says dark chocolate is good for you, not loads of sugar. I love these 85% chocolate Green & Black Organic chocolate bars.. they are great for baking and all things chocolate. They have very little sugar in them. Net Carbs are 9g a serving, which is 12 squares (there are 2.5 servings in the whole bar, or 22.5g net carbs). I also like Valrhona 85% chocolate bars, which I buy at Trader Joe's. But Green & Black is organic and environmentally conscious, too. Check out my link (above) to look at their gorgeous website!

I am giving away 2 bars of Green & Black's Organic 85% Chocolate Bars! To enter, you must do one (or more) of the following between now and Friday November 20th. I will announce it on Tuesday the 24th (to give Amazon some time to put the reviews up) so check back then and you can send me your contact info then if you win.:

1) Post a review for my blog on my Amazon Page for Kindle (you don't have to have a Kindle to review)
2) Post a comment on my Facebook Fan Page
3) Posts a comment on this blog, on any post (I will be notified, no matter where you post)

I will choose one person from the Amazon reviews and one person from the Facebook and Blog comments. If you do all three, I will enter you twice in the Facebook/Blog entry and once in the Amazon entry... but you can only win once.
Thank you! I appreciate you all! Tell me what you think!!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gluten Free Oatmeal Lace Cookies

I have been craving oatmeal lace cookies. My first attempt to making a GF recipe turned out to be more like oatmeal cookies than oatmeal lace. Oatmeal lace cookies are really delicate and more about the carmelized sugar than the oatmeal. My second attempt to make these, I used erythritol and they were really weird. Erythritol sometimes makes a minty cool flavor on the tongue, and it completely ruined these cookies. So this time I used stevia, and coconut palm sugar, with a little darker colored agave. You could use all agave, or all honey if you don’t mind the carbs. It should equal to 3/4 cup of sugar.  They are really delicious! And they are low G.I. if you make them like I did.

Really there is no way to make this dairy-free. So sorry for all followers who are following a GFCF diet. But I really believe the butter gives these cookies their flavor. Well, for dairy eaters… Be sure to use pastured organic butter to get plenty of CLA in your diet! I used Kerrygold.

These are not very sweet, and I like them that way. I am still not sure about this palm sugar.. though it is lower G.I. (almost half the G.I. of honey), it is still sugar. I made just half the batch to be safe.

You may melt a little dark chocolate in the top of a double boiler on low heat and then dribble onto the cookies if you like. These cookies are so fragile that it's hard to dip them like you sometimes see at the bakery.. so I dribbled.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Lace Cookies

½ c. almond flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon high quality stevia extract
1/4 c. coconut palm sugar
½ c. gluten free oats (make sure it actually says that or it’s not)
2 TBSP agave nectar or honey
1/3 c. melted organic pastured butter
2 TBSP organic cream
1 TBSP + 2 teasp vanilla extract
a few squares of 85% dark chocolate (optional) or 72% if you can handle extra carbs

Heat oven to 375˚F. Mix together flour, baking powder, and sugar sub (palm sugar/stevia, etc). Mix. Then add oats, agave/honey, butter, cream, and vanilla. Blend.

Put parchment paper on a baking sheet. Scoop out batter in very small lumps- about a ½ teaspoon or lesss each- and keep each cookie about 2 inches away from the next. The smaller these cookies are, the easier they will stay together.

Bake for about 5 minutes but keep an eye on them. The cookies will brown on the edges and make bubbles (lacy holes). When edges are dark brown or even black and they look lacy enough, remove from oven. Pick up parchment and place on a cookie sheet to cool completely. Remove carefully from parchment paper with a spatula. Mine came out black on the edges but did not taste burned. You can take them out before that happens, but they will be less lacy. If you did not use Stevia, but instead more of another sweetener, you might have a different outcome (if so, please post!). Store in an airtight container (if they last that long).

Optional: After cookies are cooled. If you don't have a double boiler, you can take a small pot and a small bowl that fits together- you want the small bowl to fit inside the pot with the bottom not coming more than 2/3rds the way down the inside of the pot. Now you have a makeshift double boiler. You want it to be snug- water that is boiling cannot splash into the bowl or you will ruin the chocolate. Now, we are not going to temper the chocolate, that is very difficult. We are going to ry and melt it very very softly so that we can hopefully retain some of the temper that is already in the chocolate so that it will harden. Fill just 1/3rd of your bottom pot with water and put the bowl/top boiler on top, making sure there is not a drop of water inside the bowl/top pot. Turn the heat on simmer or very very low and place a few squares of chocolate in the top- break them up so they will melt faster. Then wait until they start to melt, help them along by using a rubber spatula to stir them. Lay your cookies back out on parchment paper. When chocolate is melted, take a spoon and drizzle chocolate on the cookies and then let dry.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Coconut Palm Sugar

This looks very interesting. Coconut Palm Sugar is made from the sap and nectar of coconut palm trees. It's a very sustainable sweetener, as palm trees use one-fifth of the water and nutrients that cane sugar does and can grow in dry climates. It has a G.I. of 35, which is pretty low, though not really stunning- around (or a few points more) the same as agave nectar. I bought it from Emerald Forest, where I buy my erythritol and xylitol. I thought I'd try it out and tell you what it's like. It is advertised to be the same as brown sugar, as it has a caramelized flavor and it tastes nothing like coconuts. I'm hoping if it's too much G.I. for me, I can at least convince my husband to use it in place of brown sugar in his baking. I'll let you know...
Has anyone else ever tried this? And if so, please comment, I'd love to know what you think! I think I might try it in a cookie recipe that I'm unable to use erythritol in (my test cookies tasted too cold-minty, when I used erythritol).

Here are the G.I. counts again:

Sugar 60 - 65

Pure Maple syrup 54

Honey 58

Coconut Palm Sugar 35

Agave Nectar 27- 46 or higher, depending on the brand!

Erythritol 0

Stevia 0

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