Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Almond Flour Coconutty Cookies

Almond Flour Coconutty Cookies
When I decided to adapt my coconutty cookies to replace almond flour for the regular or gluten free flour, I didn't realize which direction these would go in. They were much flatter than I thought they'd be, and they were also packed with way more flavor that I thought they'd have. 

They don't look all that impressive, and I can't put into words exactly what makes them special. Just know that when they're just underbaked, they have an incredibly chewy texture and a fabulous buttery caramel flavor. Mmm. So good.

My husband took two downstairs to snack on, and when he'd finished the second one, he was actually a little bit sad when they were gone. 

So, all that to say, if you like coconut and nuts at all--even if you are not gluten free--you should try these cookies. I'm pretty sure you'll love them.

Almond Flour Coconutty Cookies

Ingredients
  • 14 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspooon baking soda
  • 1 teaspooon salt
  • 2 teaspooons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups almond meal/almond flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (I lightly toasted mine)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds (also lightly toasted)
Instructions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.  Cream butter and sugars.  Beat in baking soda and salt.  Beat in vanilla extract and eggs.  
3.  Mix in almond flour. Then stir in coconut and nuts.
4.  Scoop by tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving two inches between cookies. 
5.  Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, or until cookies are mostly baked and starting to brown at the edges. Bake them less for chewy cookies, and longer for crisp cookies.
6.  Allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: I like to keep my cookie dough in the fridge, or make and freeze dough balls.  These cookies withstood the freezing of the dough very nicely.

Makes about 4 dozen 4-inch diameter cookies, I think.

They kind of look like oatmeal cookies
Cookie dough balls ready for the freezer






Sunday, February 11, 2018

Homemade Chocolate Pudding



Homemade Chocolate Pudding: Sweet, simple, and satisfying


I've been on a chocolate pudding kick the last couple of weeks. I modified a chocolate cream pie filling recipe, and since this is the third time in two weeks I've made this pudding, I figured it was time to commit to putting it in a blog post here. 

This pudding probably tastes similar to what you could buy at the store in those little plastic cups, or what you could make with Jell-O pudding powder, but this feels healthier because I know and can pronounce every ingredient I put into it.

It's just a simple, relatively easy to prepare sweet treat that makes me happy. Try it and see if it makes you happy too.

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients:
  • 1/6 cup (about 2 3/4 tablespoons) white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk (2% is best, I think)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips (I like Nestle's Dark Chocolate Chips)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whipped cream, optional
Instructions:
  • Place 6 glass cups on a plate or small tray. (Each serving will be a little less than half a cup, so pick your size accordingly. I used my Pampered Chef 1-Cup Prep Bowls)
  • Place sugar, cornstarch, and salt into a medium size heavy bottomed saucepan.
  • Whisk together the milk and the egg yolks, and then whisk the liquid into the saucepan with the dry ingredients.
  • Turn the heat to medium, and cook until liquid has thickened, stirring constantly with the whisk. It will take about 3-5 minutes to thicken to a gravy-like consistency. 
  • Turn off the heat, add the chocolate chips and unsalted butter. Whisk to melt chips and butter, and add the vanilla. Continue whisking until smooth.
  • Use a silicone spatula to stir/scrape the corners to make sure everything is incorporated.
  • Carefully pour about a scant half cup of pudding into each dish.
  • Cover each dish with a bit of plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is in direct contact with the pudding.
  • Place in refrigerator until completely chilled (at least two hours).
  • Top with whipped cream, if desired.
Makes 6 servings
Recipe is easily doubled 

Just poured--a little messy
Ready to go into the fridge



Gluten Free Cinnamon Muffins

Gluten Free Almond Flour Cinnamon Muffins


This is a complete experiment, as I am still attempting to go mostly gluten free and still bake delicious things. 

As I was looking for muffin recipes using almond flour, I really just wanted a rich, sweet muffin without the gluten, but all I could find were paleo recipes that called for stevia, honey, and almond milk. I don't want a healthy muffin--I want a delicious gluten free muffin.

So, I found a basic recipe on Allrecipes.com, and made some modifications.

At first I used a mixture of almond flour and gluten free all purpose flour for the muffin, and it was fine. Then I tried all almond flour, and it was great--but I'd forgotten the sugar. Sigh.

Next I tried all almond flour again, but the topping turned out weird, so I threw those out and changed the amount of butter in the topping...

After two tries on one Sunday, I have settled on the recipe you see below.

Did I end up with a delicious gluten free muffin? Well, yes. Yes, I did. 

They are just sweet enough for me--the crumb topping makes up for the sugar I omitted from the batter. These muffins are very moist and crumbly when warm, and you'd never know they're made with almond flour. 

Alright. There you go: a delicious, not-so-healthy almond flour gluten free muffin. Well worth the effort and anguish I put into them. Enjoy.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Muffins
    adapted from AllRecipes.com

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour/meal
  • 1/3 cup sugar (original recipe calls for 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cold and sliced thin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Line or grease about 8 muffin cups (the original recipe says it makes 6 muffins; reviews say it makes 12; I got 8).
  • In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • Whisk together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla.
  • Combine the wet with the dry ingredients and spoon or otherwise distribute batter into the muffin cups.
  • With your fingers, mix the 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup gluten free flour, and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl with the butter until butter is evenly distributed and you have crumbles.
  • Place as much of the crumble mixture over each muffin as you can (I had abut 2 tablespoons left over).
  • Bake muffins at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 16-18 minutes*.

Makes about 8 regular size muffins







*I may try baking them longer at a lower temperature, or maybe in a darker pan, as some of them were a little underdone in the middle. I thought they tasted fine, but my husband did not care for the underbaked center. They were just a little moist and dense toward the middle, but they were cooked all the way through.
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