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Flourless Walnut Date Cake

14 Nov

Gluten-free desserts seem to be less of a specialty and more of a commodity; there are so many people with a gluten intolerance and Celiac’s disease is more prevalent in our society. Restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries are all taking initiative and offering gluten-free options for those leading a gluten-free lifestyle: progress!

Don’t get me started on why I think there are more and more people who are sensitive to wheat products. I feel that it has a lot to do with how our food is processed and the quality of product coming from our farms. Our food isn’t what it used to be: there are so many preservatives and unnatural ingredients that are being incorporated into what we consume, it’s no wonder our bodies are having difficulty digesting what we eat.

Anyway.

I happened to have bought a big bag of walnuts on a whim. They’ve been sitting in my freezer just aching to be dealt with. I threw a few into some oatmeal cookies (stay tuned), but I was still left with a substantial amount.

As a Jew (I use the term as loosely as I can considering I’m not a very good one) I grew up eating flourless cakes during passover where the use of flour (among other things) is forbidden. I remember them being light and nutty, and rather scrumptious!

This is why I decided that it was time to make a walnut date cake. I’m sure that’s the conclusion any normal individual would come to…

It’s the eggs in this recipe that help the cake rise. Ground walnuts give it body. The dates are there just because they were invited. There’s a chocolate glaze on top for good measure.

Gluten free dieter? Bake this cake. Are you a gluten eater? So am I. You should still bake and consume this cake. It’s delicious and there is very little sugar, no butter or oil….unless you count the glaze but that can easily be omitted or substituted.

It’s a winner. I might even say that I’m NUTS about it. (I’m sorry)

Just make sure you like walnuts! Other nuts can be substituted.

Flourless Walnut Date Cake

3 cups walnut halves

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

4 large eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of kosher salt

3/4 cup chopped pitted dates

For the glaze

2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

4 tablespoon unsalted butter (or coconut oil)

1 teaspoon honey

Toasted walnuts, for topping

 

Put the walnuts, cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor; pulse until finely ground but not powdery.

Whisk the egg yolks and vanilla in a small bowl.

Beat the egg whites and salt in a large bowl until foamy. Beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until soft peaks form for about 8 minutes. Fold in the yolk mixture and dates, then fold in the ground walnut mixture. Scrape the batter into a 9 inch greased spring form pan. Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Let cool.

Put the chocolate, butter and honey in a saucepan until butter is melted. Whisk until smooth. Cool slightly, then pour over the cake. Top with walnuts.

Gluten-Free (And Vegan, NBD) Frosted Brownies

4 Apr

For those of you who have to live a gluten-free lifestyle because of medical reasons….you may want to listen up. I have something to say:

I’m sorry, but I cannot marry you. Thanks for the offer though.

For those of you who live a gluten-free lifestyle by choice: I take my hat off to you. I don’t think I would want to live in a world without gluten. Knowing that I had the option of eating gluten would be absolutely unbearable. Well. I could do it. I’d just be bitter about it.

At August Restaurant, we offer many gluten-free options, so I have dabbled in gluten-free baking for quite some time now. Let me tell you…there have been many gluten-free shamecakes and the like since I’ve been learning about gluten-free baking. Lots of learning about xantham gum, and how you should NOT let it explode everywhere and try to clean it up with a damp cloth. Lots of learning how some flours taste really bad, no matter how much chocolate you put in there.

I decided a while ago, after visiting the bakery in New York City, to purchase the Babycakes cookbook. I must say the recipes are quite specific and well thought out, that is for sure. After tasting what they had to offer in New York, I trusted the recipes and tried out a few. I measured everything to a tee and read the instructions diligently. The results? YUM!

This recipe was adapted from that cookbook. Bless them. They are pretty smart folks at that bakery. These brownies are even vegan!

They came out super moist, cakey yet fudgy, flavourful and downright unacceptably delicious. It’s just not fair sometimes. Add a little lavendar cream cheese icing, and you’ve got yourself a one way ticket to Delicious Town.

Gluten who? You won’t miss that guy in these brownies; no sir.

Gluten-Free (and Vegan) Frosted Brownies

1 cup garbanzo (chickpea) flour

1/4 cup potato starch

2 tbsp arrowroot flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup applesauce (I used a prune puree instead. Don’d judge me)

2 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup hot water or coffee

1 cup chocolate chips (vegan or otherwise)

Mix together all the dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, mix the applesauce, oil, coffee and vanilla together, then pour into the dry mixture until the batter is smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips just until they are evenly distributed.

Bake in an 8″by 8″ square pan at 325F for approximately 20-25 minutes.

Not that either of us should be worried, but they are best served warm and will only keep for a few days covered. You’ll have them gone by then anyway though. Not to worry.

Lavendar Cream Cheese Icing

4oz softened cream cheese

1/4 cup butter

1 cup icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Beat until it resembles….well….icing. Go figure.

Cucumber-Mint Sorbet

26 Jul

Well folks…

I’m so glad that the Fabi that went to the garden centre a couple of months ago, looked at the cucumber plants and thought: “hmmmm…I’ll pass.”

It seems that everyone this year has an abundance of cucumbers. They’re getting thrown at me left right and centre. I like cucumbers. But not THAT much. Solution? I COULD make pickles, I COULD make cold cucumber soup (my mom has a killer recipe)….but I’d rather make dessert. Story of my life. August’s farmer Marc even asked me to make a dessert out of them; it was meant to be.

Cucumber-Mint Sorbet. Refreshing, super easy and super tasty. It was definitely the right choice. At least it felt like the right choice, as I had a couple of scoops last night for dinner in hopes that my sweat mustache would go away. What? Yeah, I went there. Sexy.

I have no air conditioning and I bake in a kitchen with no hood vent. I think I have an excuse there.

I’m also trying to redeem myself for shoving minty high fat dairy products in your face yesterday. See? Ying AND the Yang. I’m good.

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