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Posts Tagged ‘gluten-free cookies’

Here in northern California, we’ve been experiencing the full wrath of Mother Nature, who is clearly fed up with the overall lack of respect and abuse humankind has given her. In addition to devastating fires and intense heat, we’ve had seriously bad air quality since mid-August. Well, we did have a few days reprieve last week, where we all went outside, rubbing our eyes unaccustomed to bright sunlight, looking like people emerging from underground bunkers after a blitzkrieg.

Unfortunately, the reprieve was short-lived, another fire sprang up, and we find ourselves advised to stay indoors once more. It’s also very warm, again, so I’ve been hesitant to use the oven. It’s not like I can just open the windows to cool down the house at night—due to the bad air quality, and since hot temperatures are historically unusual for my area, almost no one has AC in their homes.

I try to cook dinner in a skillet whenever possible, and we’ve been consuming a lot more salads. Good news is, I have several new favorite salad recipes to share! However, those salad recipes will need to wait because right now, I want to share a delicious recipe for peanut butter and chocolate rice crispy treats! My kids–like so many others, love traditional rice crispy treats, but I can’t stomach all the sugar found in regular recipes nor do I like the fact that there is nothing remotely beneficial in them.

I’ve been tinkering around with making a peanut butter chocolate version, but was struggling to get the flavor profile right along with the right “glue” to hold the rice cereal together. One version used honey, which overpowers in flavor. One version had the chocolate blended in with the peanut butter, which helped to hold the rice cereal together, but I prefer it when the chocolate gets to hold its own, so if you’re a peanut butter and chocolate lover like me, you get two distinct flavors. I also wanted a recipe where you make your own chocolate layer from scratch instead of just melting down a bunch of chocolate chips. For one, you can better regulate how much sugar is in the chocolate.

These bars are super easy to make, super yummy, and they don’t require you to turn on your oven!

Ingredients

3/4 cup creamy organic peanut butter

1/4 cup coconut nectar

1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup, divided

2 tsp pure vanilla extract, divided

1/4 tsp sea salt, divided

4 cups organic brown rice crisp cereal

1/2 cup raw cocoa

1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk

1/4 cup coconut oil

Preparation

Line a 9-inch x 11-inch baking pan with parchment paper, folding the paper in the corners and making sure the paper comes up the sides.

In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, coconut nectar, maple syrup, 1 tsp of the vanilla, and 1/8 tsp sea salt. Fold in the cereal and stir until thoroughly combined. Scoop the mixture into the pan and press it down firmly and evenly. If you don’t press enough, the the bottom of the bars may crumble when you’re eating them. Place the pan in the fridge.

In a small saucepan, over low heat, whisk the raw cocoa powder, coconut milk, and coconut oil until everything is smooth and glassy. Add a little more coconut milk if the mixture looks too thick to spread over the cereal mixture. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and 1/8 tsp salt.

Spoon the chocolate over the cereal mixture and spread evenly with a rubber/silicone spatula. Return to the fridge until the chocolate is hardened. Cut into squares–I usually cut mine into 9-12 squares. You can store these cookies for 4-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Enjoy!

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I apologize that I haven’t posted anything in nearly two weeks… Sometimes life just gets in the way, as I’m sure you’ve experienced. I also go through periods of what I think of as “food homeostasis”–where I’m not trying many new dishes or experimenting with recipes, and I want, and hence cook, the same 5-7 dishes for a week or two. This typically occurs when I’m trying to stick to a restrictive diet (e.g., no gluten, Paleo, no sugar) or when I have loads of work to do and want the comfort and consistency of my standby meals.

But all that aside, over the past few weeks, cravings for butterscotch and caramel flavors keep sneaking into my head. Of course, there’s nothing healthy about butter and brown sugar, so I’ve been pushing the cravings down as best I can. But at some point, I determined that the cravings were a good excuse to make a healthier-than-normal version of British flapjacks.

During the years I spent living in London, flapjacks were one of my on-the-go treats. I suppose the high content of oats made me feel as though I wasn’t being too naughty, but really, it was just the terribly naughty butter and brown sugar combination that lured me.

So here is a somewhat healthier version of the traditional flapjack. It still relies on butter and brown sugar to make the butterscotch flavor, but this recipe doesn’t use a ton of sugar, and it contains nuts and ground flaxseed to boost it’s nutritional content.

 

Ingredients

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter*

1/3 cup brown sugar (not packed)

1/4 cup coconut nectar

2 cups quick cooking gluten-free oats

1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cardamon

1/3 cup ground flaxseed

*I haven’t yet tried making these with coconut oil, but plan to shortly. I don’t think a straight substitution would work; it would probably require slightly less than 1/2 cup.

 

Preparation

Heat the oven to 350F.

Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

In a medium-size saucepan, melt the butter on medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted, stir in the brown sugar, coconut nectar, salt and vanilla. Stir until everything has melted and blended. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.

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Spoon out into the baking dish, and spread evenly. Pat down with the back of a large, fairly flat spoon. (I use one of my large serving spoons.) Place in the oven and bake for 23-25 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.

Allow to cool for 20 minutes before cutting in quarters, then cut each quarter diagonally for the traditional triangle-shaped flapjack.

 

Enjoy!

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choc closechoc above

These chocolatey, oaty bars make a great afternoon treat. They’re packed full of fiber (from the oats), protein and heart-healthy fats (from the nuts and nut butter) and antioxidants from the dark chocolate.

Yes, you must think about them in advance since they require several hours to set, but they’re a cinch to make and don’t require baking. They’re sweeter made with dates, but raisins make the preparation that much easier. Try it both ways!

 

Ingredients

1 cup almond butter

1/4-1/3 cup honey (depending on how dark your chocolate is)

1 stick unsalted butter, melted, or 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped

6 oz bittersweet chocolate (use at least 65% dark cocoa), roughly chopped

3/4 raisins (or pitted, chopped dates, since I know many people hate raisins)

1/4 tsp coarse-ground salt

 

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Preparation

Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper leaving a little overhang (enough to grab onto).

Melt the almond butter, honey and butter (or coconut oil) in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently.

choc mix

Remove from heat and add in the chocolate pieces, stirring until the chocolate has melted completely. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well until everything is evenly incorporated.

choc mix 2

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly using the back of a large spoon.

choc pan

Refrigerate until the bars harden, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day. Gently tug and lift the edges of the parchment paper to remove the block of chilled “dough” from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

 

Enjoy!

choc stacked

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I received a version of the following recipe from my neighbor last year. Her recipe called for barley flour as the main ingredient, but I wanted to make a gluten-free version since I’m still on my gluten-free kick. (In fact, I’m currently reading “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis, but more on that later.)

I was also trying to find a way to use the leftover ground almonds from my homemade almond milk recipe, and this is a perfect use.*

Ingredients

4 cups oats, pulverized

3 cups raw whole almonds finely chopped in a food processor (I use 2-second pulses on my mini-Krups until the desired consistency is reached)

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon (optional)

1 cup canola or coconut oil

1 cup real Vermont maple syrup or agave

Your favorite jam (apricot, raspberry and strawberry all work well)


Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine all the ingredients except for the jam together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Form into tablespoonful balls and space them evenly on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Using your thumb or index finger, make an indent in each cookie. Fill each indent with a small spoonful of jam. Bake until the cookies are a light, golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Do not overbake (i.e., better to be slightly under- than overcooked). Let cool before eating.

This recipe yields 40-45 cookies, but can easily be halved. You can also substitute 1/2-cup of the oats or almonds with ground coconut flakes.

*I’m ashamed to admit I had been throwing away the leftover almond meal for a while simply because I was too lazy to take the extra step of baking out the moisture in the oven. If you make almond milk, you can simply spread out the leftover ground almonds in a baking dish and bake at 175°F for 30-40 minutes. Bake on convect if you have the option.

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