Coffee Almond Stracciatella (Dairy-Free)

Dairy free coffee ice cream loaded with toasted almonds and Italian style chocolate chips

I know it’s the middle of winter but I’m one of those crazy people who thinks Ice Cream is a food group and should be enjoyed regularly in any season!  My fondest memories of traveling to Paris to visit my son in college are the ridiculous amount of trips we made all over town seeking out the best gelato…I tried the Stracciatella, Amorena and Pistache at each shop we visited, those are my three favorites.  This is my best attempt thus far at recreating Stracciatella.  You can easily add the Stracciatella to any flavor of ice cream you choose to make, it also goes beautifully in a cherry almond ice cream!

Coffee Almond Stracciatella

Ice cream base:

2 cans full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (or equivalent sweetener of choice)

2 Tbsp. instant coffee (I used 2 packets of Starbucks Via)

4 egg yolks

1/4 tsp liquid stevia

2 Tbsp. dark rum (optional)

Mix-Ins:

3/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

4 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped and melted

Heat the coconut milk, sugar and instant coffee in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until the sugar and coffee are dissolved and the mixture reaches 170 degrees.  In a separate bowl whisk together egg yolks, stevia and rum until smooth.  Temper the egg yolks by slowly adding 1 cup of the hot coconut milk mixture to the bowl while whisking continuously.  Slowly add the tempered yolks back into the remaining coconut milk mixture, stirring or whisking constantly.  Continue to heat the coconut milk mixture until it reaches 180 degrees, it will be steaming but not quite boiling.  Pour the mixture though a mesh strainer into a bowl set over ice water and cool for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from ice bath, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.  Pour chilled mixture into ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturers directions.

During the last few minutes of churning add the sliced almonds and then the dark chocolate (stracciatella).

Stracciatella – melt dark chocolate over low heat or in the microwave until smooth.  Drizzle a very thin stream of the warm chocolate into the ice cream during the last few minutes of churning.  If the chocolate is clinging too much to the dasher you can drizzle the chocolate over the ice cream as you layer it into the storage container, stirring it slightly while you are pouring.

When the ice cream is finished churning and mix-ins have been added transfer to a chilled air tight container and place in the freezer until firm (about 2 hours), recipe makes about 1 quart.

Scooped right from the freezer…

Advertisements

Gooey Sunbutter Brownies

I love to get my Clean Eating Magazine in the mailbox every month…I am totally guilty of immediately opening the magazine to the last page (seriously, every time.) which is cleverly titled “happy ending”…where there is always a “clean” dessert recipe.  Clean Eating Magazine has beautiful recipes that are easily adaptable to most styles of eating be it gluten, grain, dairy or refined sugar-free.  The “happy ending” in this issue uses spelt flour, peanut butter and organic evaporated cane juice which I substituted coconut flour, Sunbutter and a combination of coconut nectar and palm sugar to make it grain, legume and refined sugar-free.

Grain free, refined sugar-free brownies…sounds less than decadent, right?  Not so with this recipe that I adapted from the Peanut Butter Brownie recipe featured in this months (October 2012) Clean Eating Magazine.  These brownies have a “gooey” texture…not too dense,  eggy or cake-like.  The generous swirl of sunflower seed butter adds an extra layer of decadence to these “clean” dark chocolate brownies. Enjoy!

A decadent and guilt-free happy ending to any meal!

Sunflower Seed Butter Brownies

Ingredients:

4 oz dark chocolate (70% or greater)

4 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil

3 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup coconut nectar

1 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted

2 Tbsp. cacao powder

3 Tbsp. smooth sunflower seed butter, room temperature

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish with coconut oil and line with parchment paper leaving 2 inches hanging over 2 opposing sides.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate and butter.  Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds.  Stir and cook 30 more seconds; repeat until chocolate and butter melt, being careful not to overcook. (Alternatively, bring a pot of water to a very gentle simmer; place a stainless steel bowl over pot and add chocolate and butter to bowl.  Cook, stirring until melted, 2 to 3 minutes.)

Stir in eggs, coconut nectar, palm sugar and vanilla until combined.  Add flour and cacao powder and stir until just incorporated and no white streaks remain; do not over-mix.

Pour into baking dish, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula.  Working in small dollops (about 1/2 Tbsp. each), dot the surface of batter with Sunbutter.  With a butter knife or spatula, swirl Sunbutter through batter.

Bake until toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs when inserted in center, 15 to 18 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 20 minutes.  Remove brownies from dish by lifting parchment paper.  Slice into 12 pieces.

Recipe Variations:

  • Substitute your favorite nut butter for the Sunbutter
  • Substitute honey, maple syrup or agave for the coconut nectar
  • Add chocolate chips
  • Add chopped nuts or seeds that complement your favorite nut/seed butter
  • If you are not grain free, omit one egg and sub 1/3 cup quinoa flour for the coconut flour
  • Make in a 12 cup muffin pan, be sure to use paper liners.

This recipe is shared at:

Made From Scratch Mondays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Fill Those Jars Fridays, Allergy Free Wednesday, Fight Back Friday, Gluten-Free MondayGluten-Free Wednesdays

Texas Sheet Cake – Gluten and Refined Sugar-Free

Texas Sheet Cake…just like I remember it.

Have you ever heard of a Texas Sheet Cake? Yeah, me neither.  When I grew up we just called it Sheet Cake…of course we lived in Texas so maybe that’s why we didn’t need to include the “Texas” part.  I have very fond memories of this moist, intensely chocolatey (almost brownie like…but not) cake with a super sweet icing that looked almost crackle-y (is that even a word?) on top when you cut into it.   I remember this cake being a part of just about every family celebration we had and after much research on this heavenly cake so do a lot of other southerners!  No one really knows the origin of the “Texas Sheet Cake” that may date back as far as the 1900’s but almost every recipe I came across has a slightly different name (Aunt Velma’s Chocolate Cake, Texas Sheet Cake, Cocoa Sheath Cake, Mexican Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Cookie Sheet Cake…) but nearly identical ingredients.  The most information I found as to why it’s called “Texas Sheet Cake” can be found here, you can follow the links in the post for some fun information on this wonderful traditional southern dessert.

I had a hankering for this dessert today but I didn’t feel like messing around with the recipe to come up with a grain-free version…mostly because I really wanted it to taste, look and feel like the chocolate cake I remember having at my grandmother’s house.  I opted to make a gluten and refined sugar-free version using quinoa flour and coconut palm sugar, all the other ingredients are the same as the original recipe.  Now, one theory on the name “Texas Sheet Cake” is because it makes a cake the size of Texas since it is traditionally baked in an 12×18 half sheet pan, which is HUGE.  I cut the original recipe in half to make a 9×12 quarter sheet cake, which still yields 12 generous servings!

Gluten-Free Texas Sheet Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa flour

1 cup palm sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. cocoa, heaping

1 stick butter

1/2 cup boiling water

1/4 cup buttermilk

 1 egg beaten

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Icing:

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

7 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. cocoa, heaping

3 Tbsp. milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

8 ounces coconut palm sugar, powdered**

**Powder the coconut palm sugar by placing it in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend on high until it reaches the consistency of finely powdered sugar.

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking, make the icing. Chop pecans finely. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together. Add the pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake.

Cut into squares, eat and enjoy!

Just a few thoughts…

This cake turned out just as I remembered it.  I was completely thrilled with this recipe and how well the quinoa flour and coconut palm sugar didn’t change the texture or taste of the original recipe.  With that said…this cake was WAY too sweet for my taste now!!!! Did I love it? Yes.  Did it satisfy the craving I was having for a childhood memory? Yes.  Will I make it again? Yes.  Will I play around with the recipe to make it grain-free and less sweet? Probably not…This will be one of those recipes that is pulled out on a special occasion or when in need of a comfort food fix, anything different would defeat the purpose of this recipe!

Moist and dense…but not too much of either one…

the perfect combination.

See…crackle-y!

The best way to eat it is warm with a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream!

This post is shared at:

Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Fill Those Jars Friday, Fresh Bites Fridays, Tasty Tuesday, Fight Back Fridays, Allergy Free Wednesdays

Proceed with Extreme Caution…Fudgy Brownies Ahead!

Oh my. Glad I start on the Whole 30 on Monday…these will be gone by then!

Fudgy Brownies with Chopped Macadamia Nuts

Megan Keatley at Health-Bent  posted a recipe earlier this year for Paleo Fudgy Brownies and I have been dying to make them!  It was a beautiful fall Colorado day and it just seemed like the perfect time to bake…these were so easy to make and they turned out so yummy!  I made a few adjustments to the recipe which I am posting here, visit Health-Bent (Paleo friendly recipes that don’t look or taste like dog food!) for the original recipe and be sure to take a look at their other mouth-watering recipes as well!

Fudgy Macadamia Nut Brownies

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup sunbutter

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

2 pastured eggs

1 Tbsp vanilla

1/4 tsp. celtic sea salt

1/3 cup raw cacao

1/4 cup pitted medjool dates, packed

1/3 cup chocolate chips (70% or greater)

1/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped and divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 11 x 7 Pyrex dish (an 8 x 8 would work also).  Place pitted dates in a small bowl and cover with very hot water and set aside for at least 10 minutes.  In a medium bowl whisk together almond butter, sunbutter, coconut milk, eggs and vanilla.  Drain dates and process in a food processor or high-speed blender until smooth, whisk into the wet mixture.  Mix in salt and cacao powder and stir until smooth.  Add chocolate chips and half of the chopped macadamia nuts, mix until incorporated.  Pour batter into the prepared dish and sprinkle remaining nuts on top of the batter.  Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, top will start to slightly crack around the edges when the brownies are done, cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

Recipe tips:

  • I think these taste best after resting for several hours and even better out of the fridge!
  • You could substitute 1 cup of any nut butter for the almond/sun butter combo
  • 1/4 cup of any sweetener could be used in place of the dates (palm sugar works great!)
  • If you prefer dairy, sub 2 Tbsp. melted butter and 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. heavy cream for the coconut milk
  • To make the entire recipe sugar-free, use 1/4 cup cacao nibs in place of the chocolate chips, this will give the brownies a nice crunch but they won’t have the added sweetness from the sugar in the chocolate chips so you might want to add 1 ripe banana.

Cooling...notice the slight cracks around the edges...try to avoid digging directly into the pan with a spoon!

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday & Tasty Tuesday

Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Fight Back Fridays

Grain Free Honey Graham Crackers

On the cooling rack...

Sometime life just calls for a treat!

What is better on a cool summer evening than graham crackers, chocolate and toasted marshmallows?  Yep, you guessed it homemade S’mores!  Well, almost anyways.  I’m in the process of perfecting my recipes and I believe that step one, the graham, is ready for a test drive…next up will be the marshmallows (coming soon!).

Waiting for a topping...but equally tasty plain!

This recipe is gluten-free, grain-free and refined sugar-free but definitely not TASTE-free!

Honey Graham Crackers

1 3/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp cinnamon

3/4 cup organic grass-fed butter, softened (or coconut oil**)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

2 Tbsp yacon syrup (optional)

1 Tbsp vanilla

3 pastured eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together all dry ingredients except coconut palm sugar.  In a stand mixer cream softened butter and coconut palm sugar, once thoroughly combined add honey, yacon syrup and vanilla.  Blend until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time until incorporated, add dry ingredients to wet in small batches until smooth dough forms.  The mixture may be a bit crumbly but it will hold together nicely when you roll it out.  Divide mixture between the two cookie sheets, place a piece of parchment or waxed paper on top of the dough and roll out to about 1/8″ thick.  Cut with a pizza cutter into your desired size cracker and them score with a fork.  Bake for 20-22 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet halfway through cooking time.  Remove from oven and cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes (no longer than this or they will get soggy on the bottom) then slide the parchment directly onto the cooling rack until the crackers are completely cool.  Break apart and top as desired!

**If using coconut oil make sure it is soft but still solid, in the summer you may need to put it in the fridge for a while.

All we need now is a campfire and toasted marshmallows...

I hope you enjoy these little golden treats as much as I do!

The topping possibilities are endless.   Here are some of my favorites…

chocolate and marshmallows

peanut butter and honey

almond butter and raspberry jam

sweetened ricotta cheese and walnuts

cream cheese

This post is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday

Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Real Food Wednesdays

Fight Back Fridays

Cupcakes, Cupcakes, Cupcakes

Do you really need a special occasion to make a batch of cupcakes?  I think not, but…when I came upon this adorable cupcake display at Williams Sonoma last month I knew without a doubt that Easter dessert this year would be CUPCAKES!  At least this holiday occasion would give me the opportunity to make several different kinds and lots of them (the display holds 24-36)!!!  From all the wonderful flavors, fillings and frostings to choose from…here are the ones that made the cut…Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is of course a must, being Easter and all…humm, you have got to have something chocolate so I settled on a Chocolate Fudge Cupcake with a Whipped Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting…fruit? definitely, Raspberry filled Vanilla Cupcake with Dark Chocolate Ganache and a light and airy Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Cupcake with Blueberries.  It was so much fun making and decorating these little treats but the real joy was sharing them with my family, especially since they were all grain-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free!

The Final Four

My favorite was the Chocolate Fudge Cupcake with Whipped Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting, for several reasons…1) it’s peanut butter and chocolate, 2) well, it’s peanut butter and chocolate and 3) should I say it again?  it’s peanut butter and chocolate.  This recipe is adapted from one that my grandmother makes called Carol’s Fudge Muffins, I don’t know who Carol is but this woman is a genius, these muffins are rich and fudgy but still light enough to be a cupcake rather than a brownie…Mama always made them with pecans and no frosting but I chose to omit the pecans this time since I was going to use a peanut butter frosting…they are equally delicious both ways!  Now, since I’ve been eating a mostly primal diet I don’t eat peanuts or peanut butter and would normally substitute almond butter in the frosting recipe but for Easter…its just got to be peanut butter!

Chocolate Fudge Cupcake

2 ounces dark chocolate (I used Dagoba Chocodrops 70%)

1/2 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup + 2Tbsp. coconut palm sugar

1/2 cup quinoa flour

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 F and line 12 muffin cups with paper or foil liners.

In a large bowl mix together flour and sugar.  In a small saucepan melt butter and chocolate and whisk until smooth.  Add butter and chocolate to flour mixture and stir until smooth.  Add slightly beaten eggs, stir in – do not beat.  Add vanilla and chopped nuts (if using).  Divide evenly between muffin cups.  Bake 22-25 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

Whipped Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened

2 Tbsp. agave, honey or palm sugar

1 Tbsp. vanilla

pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup cold heavy whipped cream

Beat cream cheese, peanut butter, agave, vanilla and sea salt on medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl beat heavy whip cream until stiff peaks form (for best results chill bowl and whisk in freezer before beating the whip cream).  Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.  Frosting can be made one day ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Be sure cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting.

Chocolate Fudge Cupcake with Whipped Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

%d bloggers like this: