Chocolate Coconut Almond Muffins - Grain Free and Gluten Free
By Valerie Harris
I have been experimenting with grain free baking. It's almost Valentines day and every cooking show is focused on chocolate. So naturally I want some chocolate. I made these chocolate coconut and almond muffins today and was very pleased with the results. They were light and fluffy but moist at the same time. These muffins are gluten free but do contain dairy, eggs, and nuts. I used chocolate hemp milk for the liquid just because I had it but you could use almond or cows milk if you like. I added no sugar other than the sugar that was already in the chocolate. I also used organic products as much as possible.
½ cup thick natural sour cream (or full fat Greek Ypgurt)
¾ cup chocolate hemp milk (or any other milk you choose)
½ cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. Baking soda
pinch of salt
generous ½ cup melted semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened dark chocolate powder
¼ cup finely ground coffee beans
½ cup shredded coconut
¾ cup almond flour (meal)
½ cup + sifted coconut flour
This recipe starts with the wet and the last dry ingredient at the very end is the coconut flour. The measurement is approximate because you are going to add it and gauge for yourself if the batter is thick enough. Coconut is so fibrous that a very little goes a long way. The end result is like that of a cake batter.
To start, put the eggs and sour cream in a bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Add the milk and mix again. Melt the coconut oil with the chocolate chips, either in the microwave or over a water bath. Mix them together well and then add a 1/2 cup or so of the batter to begin the tempering. Mix until the chocolate mixture has cooled a bit and then slowly whisk in to the batter bowl. Add your vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, dry coco, coffee grounds and salt and mix until incorporated. Now add your shredded coconut and almond flour and mix well. The last step is to shift in your coconut flour a little at a time and mixing as you go. It will suddenly begin to stiffen. If you have a nice thick batter but still loose enough to pour, you are good. If it got too thick to where you would have to scoop it, add a little milk and thin it back out. If it seems runny, add a tablespoon at a time until it is the desired consistency. Pour in to paper lined cupcake tins, top with almonds and bake at 375 F for approx 20-40 minutes, depending on the size of cup. I noticed that baked goods made with coconut flour take a little longer than wheat flour cournterparts. When they are firm and no longer jiggle they are done (or toothpick test). Allow to cool for a few minutes and set up a little. Enjoy.
Coconut Lemon Bar - Just a little healthier option
By Valerie Harris
Just because it's dessert doesn't mean you can't look for ways to make your treat just a little healthier. I created these bars today when I realized I had some lemons to use up. Traditional lemon bars have butter and loads of sugar in them. I replaced the butter with beneficial coconut oil and cashew creme. There is no flour in the crust, instead high fiber coconut flour and almond flour. The sugar is quite reduced but that can be up to your taste. Enjoy
Coconut Lemon bar
1/2+ cup coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour (fine almond meal)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients together with a pastry cutter until it has a sandy consistency. Pinch some together and if it doesn't hold together then add little bits more coconut oil until it has the desired moisture level. Press in to the bottom with lip up the side of a parchment lined, small square brownie pan for thin bars or in to a bread tin for taller bars like the photo. Bake @ 350 degrees until golden, approximately 15-20 minutes.
1/2 cup of raw cashews just covered with boiling hot water
1 cup (half a can) coconut milk
3/4 cup organic raw sugar or equivalent sugar alternative such as Stevia
3 large eggs
1/3 cup tapioca flour (tapioca starch)
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon (I used a mix of Meyers and Eureka)
The zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
While the crust is baking, just cover your cashews with the boiling water and let them sit for 20 minutes. After the time has elapsed, dump the cashews and their soaking water in to a blender. Blend on high speed for several minutes until they become a very smooth, creamy paste. Add your wet indredients to the blender jar then the dry one at a time, giving them a quick buzz each time. Taste now before adding the eggs and decide if you want to adjust for more sweetener or more lemon. Once you are happy with the flavor balance, add the eggs and give a final buzz. Pour over the crust and return to the oven to bake. Depending on your oven it will take 40 - 60 minutes. They are done when the middle no longer jiggles. While they are still warm, sprinkle the shredded coconut over the top. Let them cool to room temperature and then finish cooling in the fridge until cold. Cut and enjoy!