Grain-Free Peppermint Brownies

This time last year I shared a recipe for Triple Chocolate Peppermint Brownies and since they were a big hit, I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could recreate them to be closer to my current “diet.” I was going to try and make them AIP compliant, but since Willow isn’t the biggest fan of carob, I thought I better stick to good old cacao.

So what adjustments did I make?

Instead of gluten-free all purpose flour, I used cassava flour.

I used coconut butter in place of raw tahini (oh, how I miss tahini!).

Instead of aquafaba, I subbed in pumpkin puree.

My first trial was too heavy on the cassava flour which not only left you with a somewhat overpowering taste in your mouth, but they were also on the dry side. Second trial got a little closer, but not up to my perfectionist standards 😉 Third time’s a charm and I knew that I finally nailed it when Willow took a bite and already asked for a second one…and said, “Mom, can we make these for Christmas?”

YAY! On that note, when we asked Willow what she wanted us to make for dinner on Christmas Eve, she replied: “Cookies.” I swear she does eat more than baked goods!

These brownies are NOT for the faint of heart as they’re super….

RICH

CHOCOLATEY

SWEET

CHEWY

FUDGY

Grain-Free Peppermint Brownies

GRAIN-FREE PEPPERMINT BROWNIES

{gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, seed-free, oil-free, vegan}

Makes 8 large brownies or 16 smaller ones

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/3 cup Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar*
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree*
  • 1 Tablespoon NuStevia Cocoa Mint Syrup*
  • 1 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 4 Tablespoons gum-free, unsweetened coconut milk*

*If you’d prefer to skip the stevia syrup, add an additional 1/4 cup coconut sugar and use 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract. You can use sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin (I recommend using white sweet potato) or you can do a combo of both. For the coconut milk I recommend either Trader Joe’s canned or Native Forest’s Organic Simple Coconut Milk.

HOW TO:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 8×8 baking dish.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cacao, coconut sugar, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a double boiler, gently melt together the chocolate chips and coconut butter; stirring frequently. Once smooth, remove from the stove and add it to your dry ingredients…along with the pumpkin puree, coconut milk, and stevia syrup.
  4. Once everything is combined, fold in the remaining 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.
  5. Transfer the mix to your baking dish and either using your fingers or a spatula, flatten it out into an even layer. This batter will be very thick due to the cassava flour and you’ll be tempted to add in more liquid, but please don’t!
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before cutting.
  7. Enjoy!

If you have leftovers, I recommend warming them slightly before eating to allow the chocolate + coconut butter to soften a bit!

Grain-Free Peppermint Brownies

Grain-Free Peppermint Brownies

Merry (almost) Christmas, my friends! Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday!

Thanks for stopping by!

One-Bowl AIP Sugar Cookies

One-Bowl AIP Sugar Cookies

Ah, the glorious world of grain-free, nut-free, vegan baking. Have you tried it? It’s definitely NOT easy and I bow to those who are seasoned pros because after just a few trials I was ready to pull my hair out and throw in the towel. But I’m glad I didn’t because otherwise I wouldn’t be sharing our new favorite cookie recipe with you!

What’s your cookie type?

Are you a crunchy or soft cookie kind of person?? For me, it depends on the cookie. I love a pillow-y, melt-in-your-mouth, soft snickerdoodle or peanut butter cookie, but when it comes to sugar cookies or chocolate chip cookies, I’m a sucker for the crispy ones. It brings me back to my childhood and my Mom’s fabulous chocolate chip cookies.

I tried experimenting with coconut flour, cassava flour, arrowroot, tapioca flour, but hit fail after fail. It wasn’t until my friend, Rebecca shared her recipe for snickerdoodles that I was hit with the realization that I hadn’t tried using tigernut flour! I’ve used it to make pancakes (which Willow didn’t like, but Josh & I did), so I decided to give it a try in cookies.

Obviously the tigernut flour worked, otherwise we wouldn’t be here today with this recipe (it only took three trials)! And the best part is….only SIX ingredients and ONE bowl! Super simple. Thank you for the inspiration, Rebecca!!! xo

Josh thought I should title these: So Good You’ll Want to Go AIP Sugar Cookies…kind of a long title, don’t you think? 😉

One-Bowl AIP Sugar Cookies

These have a wonderful crispy exterior with a soft center and they absolutely melt in your mouth with a buttery deliciousness! I gave myself a tummy ache testing these out since I still can’t tolerate sweet too well, but with the holidays fast approaching, cookies are a must! I’m happy to report that they got a thumbs up from all who tried them!

I realize that there are chocolate chips here when they’re supposed to be sugar cookies, but that’s what happens when you have a four-year-old chocoholic helping you. So you have the option to make just sugar cookies OR chocolate chip cookies…both are equally delicious.

One-Bowl AIP Sugar Cookies

Makes 10-14 depending on size of cookie scoop

What You Need:

  • 1 cup TigerNut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil (solid)
  • 2 Tablespoons Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (optional or for AIP use carob chips)

How To:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. Using a stand up mixer with the paddle attachment, combine all of the ingredients (except the chocolate chips). Once everything is well incorporated and there aren’t any signs of coconut oil,  you can fold in the chocolate chips. If you don’t have a stand up mixer, you can use a fork and spatula to mix the dough.
  3. Roll into balls or use a small cookie scoop and place onto the baking sheet. These cookies will spread out some, so be sure to space them out.
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet. ENJOY!
  5. Best stored in cookie tins or a cookie jar to maintain the crispiness.

One-Bowl AIP Sugar Cookies

One-Bowl AIP Sugar Cookies

Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Nutty Cookie Bars

RECIPE: Nutty Cookie Bars

If you open our refrigerator, you’re bound to find jars filled with just about every variety of nut (and seed). Not only are they packed with protein, but they also make excellent milks, cheeses, desserts and much more. I was experimenting with a new cookie recipe and was feeling a bit lazy…rather than taking the time to roll them into individual balls, I chose to just spread the dough into a baking dish and call it a day. Simple, buttery and another way to get a chocolate fix.

RECIPE: Nutty Cookie Bars

 

I had the best little helper assisting me through each trial of these…I think she enjoyed sneaking the chocolate chips the best.

DSCN2128

NUTTY COOKIE BARS: {gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free, vegan}

Yields 8 large bars or 16 smaller bars

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup blanched almond flour*
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut flour**
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt (omit if your nut/seed butter contains salt)
  • One flax egg (1 Tablespoon ground flax + 3 Tablespoons warm water)
  • 1 cup nut/seed butter (I did half peanut butter, half raw tahini)
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (or more) Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used raw pecans and walnuts)

*We buy a 3-pound bag from Costco for an awesome deal.

**I used left over pulp from making hazelnut milk and dried it in my dehydrator, then ground it in a nut grinder.

RECIPE: Nutty Cookie Bars

All spread out and ready to bake!

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Prepare your flax egg in a small bowl and set aside for a few minutes to thicken.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients (except chocolate chips and nuts). Use the whisk or spatula to break up any clumps from the almond flour.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the nut/seed butter, maple syrup, vanilla and flax egg until smooth.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir until well combined (no visible flour). Then fold in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
  6. Spread the mixture out into a lightly greased (or can use parchment paper) 8×8 baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges are golden. Remember, my oven requires extra baking, so times will vary depending on your oven.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the baking dish. If you can be patient enough, I recommend allowing them to cool completely to make for easier cutting. Cut into bars and enjoy!
  8. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

 

RECIPE: Nutty Cookie Bars

RECIPE: Nutty Cookie Bars

RECIPE: Nutty Cookie Bars

 

RECIPE: Nutty Cookie Bars

Did I mention that they’re toddler approved?

Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

Who’s ready for another donut recipe?! This may or may not be the last one I share for a while…we’ll see. I’ve been eating WAY TOO many sweets lately – one of the downfalls to running trials for dessert recipes. So, I’m thinking I’ll focus on savory after this 😉 If you follow me on Instagram, you got a sneak peek for this recipe…I think the chocolate-y goodness on top lured you in. I wrote this recipe almost six years ago and have drastically changed it and also added one of my favorite teas! The first few trials I ran, I steeped a couple of tea bags in almond milk and then added it to the batter, but the flavor just wasn’t there. It was also being covered up by the strong garbanzo bean flavor (from the all purpose flour) and a couple other ingredients, so after several trials, I finally got the flavor down – it also helped that I took a chance and ground the contents of the tea bags and added it to the batter. Once again, I intended to create an oil-free recipe, but all of the ingredients I tried substituting, took away from the chocolate-earl grey flavor. BUT this recipe is (as always) gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free AND can easily be made nut-free!

If you know me, you know I LOVE Numi teas – they’re one of the few companies I trust when it comes to tea. They’re organic, fair-trade, nothing artificial (no “natural” flavors), just pure ingredients AND use safe, non-toxic packaging materials (no genetically modified corn, pesticides or carcinogens). I buy a wide variety of their teas from Natural Grocers and occasionally from Whole Foods. Here’s the ingredient list for their Organic Chocolate Earl Grey:

Fair Trade Certified organic cacao powder, Fair Trade Certified organic Assam black tea, organic orange peel, organic vanilla beans, organic bergamot oil.

numi

Numi Organic Tea - Chocolate Earl Grey

Before and After

Enjoy Life’s All-Purpose Flour & King Arthur’s Gluten-free Multi-Purpose Flour (they do not contain garbanzo bean flour). Both are pricier than your standard flour. I have found that Vitacost carries the Enjoy Life flour for the best price and Natural Grocers currently has the King Arthur Flour on sale…so go grab a box!

BAKED CHOCOLATE EARL GREY MINI DONUTS {gluten-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free option}

Makes 24 mini donuts

What you need:

{DRY}

  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour that doesn’t contain garbanzo bean flour (I use King Arthur or Enjoy Life)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or your choice of granulated sugar)
  • 3 bags of Numi’s Chocolate Earl Grey tea*
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt

*You can use chai tea or espresso powder instead. For those who only use loose leaf tea, use a tablespoon of finely ground tea.

{WET}

  • 1 flax “egg” (1 Tablespoon ground flax + 3 Tablespoons water)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plant milk (I use almond)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup(optional)**

**If you like a really sweet donut and have no plans to glaze them, I recommend adding the maple syrup.

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease your donut pan(s).
  2. In a small bowl, prepare your flax “egg” and set aside for at least five minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients (milk, ACV, vanilla, flax “egg” and avocado oil). Whisk until thoroughly combined. I used my stand-up mixer.
  4. Next, cut open the tea bags and empty out the contents into a spice grinder (or coffee grinder). Grind until it resembles a fine powder (see photo above). Should amount to approximately a tablespoon’s worth. Add this and your other dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until just combined. I recommend sifting your flour & sugar to get the clumps out. The batter will look a bit like pancake batter or creamy almond butter (not as thick and sticky as my previous donut recipe).
  5. Spoon a tablespoon’s worth of batter into each donut “cup” – somewhere between 1/2-2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick (tester) comes out clean. My oven is awful and always requires a longer cooking time. The donut should spring back to the touch.
  7. Remove the pan(s) from the oven and allow to set for five minutes. Then transfer the donuts to a cooling rack.
  8. Enjoy plain or with a simple chocolate glaze (see recipe below). I store my leftovers uncovered on a cooling rack in the oven, but you can also leave them on the counter (on the cooling rack) with a piece of parchment paper loosely draped over them. Plastic airtight containers will change their texture significantly.

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

Simple Chocolate Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened plant milk (I used almond)

Over low-med heat, melt the mini chips and milk in a double boiler – stirring frequently. Once melted, remove from heat and dunk the tops of the cooled donuts in the chocolate. Eat right away or allow them to set longer for a firmer glaze. Make sure the chocolate glaze has firmed up before storing them away.

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

This is how the chocolate glaze looks once it has been set.

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

My little helper (and photo assistant) took some photos of her own – she was so proud of them, I had to share them with you!

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

How many of you actually love your job? I’m talking passionate, happy, excited and motivated by the life you’ve chosen. Sadly, I don’t know too many people who would raise their hands. The last paying job (early 2010) I had just about broke me. I was at an all-time low – physically falling apart with numerous ailments, mentally and emotionally unwell and I remember day dreaming about things I wish I could be doing. I felt defeated. Sounds depressing, doesn’t it? I promise, this story has a happy ending…obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be typing this, right? After connecting the dots and realizing that my job was the cause of my unhappiness, I gave my notice and quit. I needed to take control of my life, health and well-being, as well as find my true passion…my calling. I brainstormed all sorts of ideas – everything from homemade jewelry to opening some sort of vegan, gluten-free bakery or food cart. So, I started experimenting in the kitchen with homemade donut recipes. I spent a couple of months running various trials and scribbled my creations down in an old notebook which later got lost during one of our moves. Luckily (and I owe thanks to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book) I found a few of my recipes from almost six years ago!

As for finding my true passion or calling, I’m living my dream now. Being a stay-at-home mom and being able to have fun with my hobbies (recipe creating and product making) is more than I could ask for. I actually wake up in the morning excited for what the day holds, for what adventure awaits. I feel truly blessed.

I’ve spent the last few weeks refining these recipes – adjusting the ingredients to my current way of eating and making them even “healthier” than they were originally. In the last few weeks I have gone through MANY trials and attempted to make these oil-free, but I gotta tell you, this is an instance where a little oil takes it from: “It’s OK” to “Whoa. This. Is. Amazing!”  I am SO excited to share this first donut recipe with you!

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

BAKED COCONUT PECAN MINI DONUTS: {vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free}

Makes 24 mini donuts

Soft, cake-y, sweet and almost melt in your mouth delicious! The combination of ground pecans and coconut oil create a buttery treat.

What you Need:

Mini Donut Pan(s)

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

All of the ingredients needed. Our kitchen table is always covered with large brown paper so we can doodle while we sit together…it’s also a great distraction for Willow while she waits for meals.

{DRY}

  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/4 cup finely ground raw pecans (almost flour-like, not butter)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

{WET}

  • Flax “egg” (1 Tablespoon ground flax + 3 Tablespoons filtered water)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 rounded Tablespoons raw coconut oil (no need to melt)

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

I almost didn’t post this photo because of how messy it looks, but I felt it was important to show the process – it doesn’t need to be perfect.

How To:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit & lightly grease your donut pan(s) with either coconut oil or avocado oil.
  2. In a small dish, stir together the ingredients for the flax “egg” and let it sit for five minutes.
  3. Measure out your milk, ACV and vanilla; add it to a large mixing bowl (preferably to a stand-up mixer or you can use a handheld mixer). Add in the coconut oil and flax “egg,” then mix until well combined.
  4. Next, add in all of the dry ingredients – works best if you sift your flour, sugar and finely ground pecans, but my sifter recently broke…that’s what happens when a three-year-old plays with your kitchen stuff!  Mix until just combined (be careful not to over mix). It will be a somewhat sticky, pudding-like consistency.
  5. Using a piping bag or tablespoon, fill each donut “cup” 1/2 – 2/3 full – do not fill to the brim as they will expand as they bake. Bake for 15-19 minutes. They should spring back to the touch and your tester should come back clean (no wet batter).
  6. Remove from the oven and allow the donuts to rest in the pan for five minutes before removing.
  7. You can enjoy as is OR indulge and coat them in this delicious Cinnamon-Maple Sugar mixture (see below).
  8. As for leftovers, DO NOT store in a plastic container (such as Tupperware or a Ziploc bag) otherwise they will get “wet” and sticky. They’re actually best kept on the cooling rack with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper draped over them loosely. Best eaten within the first 2-3 days.

***UPDATE*** For an oil-free version, simply omit the coconut oil and replace with coconut milk (I used full fat) – so, 3 Tablespoons of coconut milk. You might have to adjust the baking time, but start with the suggested time above.

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

You can see which donut “cups” I overfilled! Ha! That’s OK, they got eaten pretty fast!

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

A couple of the donuts before being tossed in the Cinnamon-Maple Sugar mix.

CINNAMON-MAPLE SUGAR:

If you’ve never had maple sugar before, you are missing out! We used fresh maple sugar from Graham Farms Maple in Vermont and I’m not kidding when I say, it is the BEST I’ve ever had. Rich, sweet and oh so maple-y. The smell is absolutely intoxicating. Pure heaven. If you don’t have access to maple sugar, you can substitute it with either coconut sugar or regular sugar, but I recommend whirling it through a spice grinder or coffee grinder to get it a bit finer. I’m sure you could use brown sugar too.

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

A close up of the maple sugar.

  • 3 Tablespoons Pure Maple Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Ceylon Cinnamon

Measure out the maple sugar and cinnamon – then add it to a medium-large Ziploc bag. After the five minutes of setting in pan, remove the donuts and shake them in the cinnamon/sugar mix. I only had a small bag, so I did a couple at a time.

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

My little helper and taste tester patiently waiting for a donut!

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

RECIPE: Baked Coconut Pecan Mini Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Sugar

Thanks for stopping by!