Friday, 24 May 2013

{Sweet Victory} Part 2 - The Great Brownie Trial

I have said before that I don't crave chocolate BUT my husband and mother do, so when Jesse came across a recipe for flourless brownies posted by the wife of Mark Gungor Show co-host Ross Allen Skorzewski, I decided to put my new starch and sugar-free baking skills to the test.

I find it amazing how much I've learned about an entirely new chemistry process with just a few recipes. The differences between almond flour and coconut flour have become very obvious and the modifications that can be made to each for texture have become a growing curiosity "what if I added this to that?!"

The three that you see above are all variations of this recipe from   The first recipe was the closest to the original with butter instead of coconut oil and 1/2 cup xylitol instead of coconut sugar.  Click here to read an article about rethinking the use of coconut sugar (aka coconut palm sugar, palm sugar or coconut syrup).

Recipe two had a bit of coconut flour and applesauce thrown in, but the WINNER with rich chocolate flavour, silky texture and just the right amount of fudgyness was recipe number three:

This recipe made a tiny loaf 2.5" x 5" or so but can easily be doubled or tripled.  I would also try to keep them less than an inch thick in whatever pan you choose for a true brownie feel (they don't rise very much at all).


2 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa (I used Hershey's because that is what mom had on hand)
1/2 cup Xylitol
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons almond flour***
1/8 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350ºF
In a food processor or blender mix all the ingredients until velvety 
(I used my mom's new NINJA blender - a great buy for less than $100)
Line your baking pan with parchment paper (this is a must)
Pour into your baking dish and smooth the top of the batter.  How you leave the top will be the final result it does not smooth out while cooking.
Bake for 20-30 min and let cool COMPLETELY before cutting into them.

*** I cook with almond flour that I make, not almond MEAL which is what people are usually referring to in recipes.  I have not found almond FLOUR available to purchase anywhere yet.  Here are the directions to make almond milk and flour if you want to - don't worry its EASY!


Now, there was a fourth batch I made.... I thought it would be good to give a completely different recipe a try to see the differences.  Initially we were NOT impressed, the brownie was dry and the texture was mealy. 

Then in an effort not to cut into the other three contestants yet and not see this brownie go to waste we put some sugar-free vanilla ice cream on top.  The sky parted and the angles sang!  This recipe is incredibly good with ice cream - somehow the texture morphs into the perfect flaky crunch.  So, it is worth making if you are specifically making it for an ice cream cake or the like.  Not worth making just to eat plain, in my humble opinion anyway.

Here is my version - again we made some basic substitutions.  (maybe it's brilliant without my substitutions - who knows!)

2 eggs
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1/6 cup heavy (whipping) cream
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
1/3 cup xylitol
1 teaspoon vanilla.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Line baking dish with parchment paper.
Mix dry ingredients in mixing bowl.
Mix eggs and other wet ingredients in a blender until very smooth.
Whisk wet ingredients into dry until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Pour batter into your dish and smooth out the top.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out with just a few crumbs. 
Cool for 10 minutes.

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

{Sweet Victory} : Part One : Impressive Blueberry Muffins

Ahhhhh..the joys of guiltless baking!

For years I have avoided baking anytime but Christmas because ... I have willpower problems. I know myself and know that if I have baking in the house I will find a way to eat it.  However, in our quest to eat healthier, cutting out STARCH and SUGAR has led me to some fantastic food blogs and a great baking adventure.

A couple of weeks ago, during a visit to my parents house, I decided to kill two birds with one stone: introduce this no-starch baking concept to my family AND try some new recipes.

First on the list was a blueberry muffin recipe from the great (click here for the original recipe.)

I did modify the recipe slightly the first time, and then a bit more the second time I made them, here are my changes.

-First off, I used cream, not coconut milk - that was what I had on hand.
-Second, I subbed in 1/4 cup xylitol for the honey since we are currently trying to avoid all sugar.
-Third, the recipe just seemed too dry, so I added in another 1/3 cup of cream, and this worked though   the batter is still very firm, and not at all runny.

With these two changes the muffins were VERY tasty, looked PERFECT but were a little too fluffy (if that is possible) they fell apart quite easily. This was still fantastic in my mind because typically coconut flour is quite dense.

It is the applesauce that makes all the difference in density so, for the second batch I just added 2 more tablespoons of coconut flour to bring the density up just a hair. The texture of this batch was perfect, however, the blueberries I used at home (Trader Joes Organic Frozen Blueberries) were not anywhere as sweet as the frozen berries I had picked up from the local grocer in Colorado, and I would add a bit more xylitol to compensate for that if I use that brand again.

I find that if you are cooking with xylitol it will lengthen the baking time, and if you have a convection oven you will want to turn the temperature down 25 degrees to avoid the outside cooking too fast and getting too brown.

Here is the recipe with my changes:
Makes about 18 muffins

For the batter: (I use organic ingredients wherever possible)
6 large eggs
2/3 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 cup xylitol (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon canilla
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (if you only have salted butter on hand that is ok, just omit the added salt)
1 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/2 cup applesauce (one single serving "cup" is perfect)
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries (no need to thaw them)


Preheat oven to 375ºF or 350ºF if for convection ovens and adjust the rack to the middle position.
Line muffin pan with muffin liners.
Whisk eggs, cream, xylitol, vanilla and butter in your stand mixer bowl if using.
Sift coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a separate mixing bowl.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk until no lumps remain.
Fold in applesauce and then fold in blueberries.
Spoon batter into muffin cups (I use a large cookie scoop)
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until perfectly brown on top and a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze for later.

Stay tuned for Part Two : The Great Brownie Trial!