Category Archives: baking

Orange sesame muffins

These muffins are adapted from a cake in the book Healthy by Lesley Waters.

Orange sesame muffins

– one large orange
– one banana
– egg replacer for one egg
– 2/3 cup polenta/fine corn meal
– 1/2 cup sesame flour
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1 tsp baking powder

Quarter the whole orange and boil the whole thing for 25 minutes.
Add boiled orange (zest, pith and all) to food processor and blend thoroughly with banana and egg replacer.
Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the food processor; whiz to combine.
Bake at 175c for approx 15-18 minutes.


Effortless Apple Cake

A slightly different version of this cake has appeared in these pages before, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to redo it with these pretty pictures. This is a gluten-free and veganized version of one of my mother’s recipes, which is different from most apple cakes I have eaten in that it really mostly consists of just apples. The original recipe is flavored mainly with cardamom, but here I use our magic ingredient of the moment – apple pie spice. It contains cinnamon, fenugreek, lemon peel, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, and can take any oatmeal or apple dessert to a whole new level. Yum!

Gluten-free, vegan, effortless apple cake

  • 3 small/medium somewhat tart apples, chopped into smallish chunks (No need to peel, unless you really want to)
  • squish of lemon juice
  • 200 ml flour – I used half gluten-free flour blend and half sweet rice flour
  • 150 ml sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar (if using liquid, then mix it with the melted butter)
  • generous sprinkling of apple pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum (you can omit this if using a gluten-free flour blend which already contains some)
  • 60 ml melted butter/butter alternative
  • 3-4 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce, or as needed

Chop the apples into small-ish chunks. It should add up to approximately 1 liter of apple chunks. Squish some lemon over them to prevent browning.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add apples and stir to coat.

Melt “butter” and pour over the apples. Stir. Add apple sauce until you don’t see dry specks of flour anymore and you have a bowl full of apples coated in a relatively thin layer of smooth batter.

Spread into a square pan, flattening the apples into the pan with the back of the spoon. Bake for 45 min or so at 190C, until knife comes out clean and the cake is golden brown. Enjoy!

(sorry, by the time it was done the good natural light was gone..)

Bean and pesto mini muffins (vegan, gluten-free)

I saw a food intolerance doctor this past week, and for the time being, I am eating gluten- and dairy free. Given that several important people in my life already do, the adjustments I am having to make are fairly minor – gluten-free oats for breakfast instead of rye bread, soy/rice milk cappuccino. (This is the worst part, honestly! I am finding that a mix of vanilla soy and unsweetened rice milk produces tolerable results). Communal meals were already gluten and dairy free anyway. The biggest challenge I foresee is snacking outside the house – I need to be careful about bringing snacks, since I can’t eat nuts. It seems to me to be the most readily available gluten-free snack, certainly my husband is always nibbling on nuts.

So I have been trying to cook up some food options for bringing to work and having in my bag this week, hence these little savory mini muffins. The base of these muffins are those white beans with lemon and rosemary I made a while back. You can definitely just replace with plain white beans from a can. Then you might think to add some other flavoring (herbs, onions), but you might not need to, since the sundried tomato pesto is quite overpowering. I had some beans left over in the freezer, so I just defrosted them.

This recipe is gluten free and vegan, and this little ones will work nicely as an accompaniment to soups. I think they would also make a great hors d’oeuvre if you are making a fancy dinner or cocktail party for gluten-free friends.

Bean and red pesto mini muffins

  • 1 cup white beans (mine were already seasoned with onion, garlic and spices, see this recipe)
  • replacement for 2 eggs (I used Orgran No-Egg, 2 tsp no-egg plus 4 tbsp water)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • scant cup of unsweetened rice milk or other unsweetened milk substitute
  • 2 tbsp nut-free and dairy-free sun-dried tomato pesto (or normal pesto, if you like, but they often have nuts in them. At any rate, check that it is without nuts and dairy! I use this one)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp guar gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

In a food processor, add the beans and the other wet ingredients (including pesto). Process until you have a fairly smooth mixture, with few lumps.

In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Stir well to disperse the guar gum in the mixture. Add to the food processor, and process on low speed just until the flour is entirely incorporated.

I baked them up in a mini muffin, at 180C for about 10-12 minutes. You could also make them normal-sized, adjusting the cooking time accordingly. A knife or pin should come out clean.

Black bean espresso brownies.

Black bean brownies, you say? Might not sound very appetizing, but I swear they taste nothing like black beans! I have posted a recipe for really good gluten-free, vegan brownies here before, and these might not quite stack up to those, but they are actually really good, and they are also good for you! High fibre, low fat, low in refined sugar (brown rice syrup does not spike blood sugar). They are definitely fudgey brownies, rather than cakey ones. A totally guilt-free pleasure, which, although not as rich as the sinful brownies from last week, will totally satisfy.

(Apologies for the bad picture, I am currently relying on my iPhone as the DSLR is broken).

Black bean espresso brownies

  • 1 can of black beans, preferably of the kind with no salt added, rinsed very well
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (melted/liquid)
  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup (or other sweetener)
  • one shot of freshly made espresso, or strong coffee
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar, if the banana wasn’t ripe and sweet or if you think the batter needs more sweetness (taste to check)
  • some chopped dark chocolate

Mash the beans and the banana thoroughly, either with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Mix in syrup, espresso and oil.

In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients (cocoa, coconut flour, baking powder). Sift them into the bean mix to avoid lumps, as both cocoa and coconut flour tend to clump. Mix it all in, and then fold in chocolate.

Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes. Cool well before slicing – they are pretty mushy when hot, and you will make a mess if you don’t wait.

Edit 16 Nov 2011: I’ve been making variations of this recipe quite a bit – they are just SO GOOD! And I finally remembered to take a picture too. Not great – it was dark outside and it’s tough in low lighting, but at least it’s better than the above! This is just out of the oven. No espresso, but a bit of orange juice instead. Sweetened with 1/3 cup agave, no extra sugar. Excellent Valrhona chocolate sprinkled over top.

Sinful brownies.

I have had this terrible craving for brownies lately. And I am out of many of the ingredients for my killer vegan coconut brownies. And I am feeling sinful. I have been eating some foods lately with smaller amounts of egg with no particular ill effect, so I figured I could push it a little. The photo is soso, given that we had a camera accident yesterday with the DSLR – there seems to be a spring out of place in the lens and it needs a trip to an expert. Instragram it is..

The recipe is an adaptation of Fanny’s brownies from her old blog Foodbeam (which is also found on Smitten Kitchen, where the measurements are not by weight). Fanny, who now blogs here, is a French pastry chef, and in addition to using lots of ingredients we can’t have in this house, she obviously has better technique than me.. But these are pretty simple. I can’t remember ever putting so much sugar and butter in ANYTHING. They are really incredibly sweet. But very tasty and satisfying in small portions! Even husband dearest only had 1.5 square, and he is usually unstoppable.

The fact of the high proportion of butter, sugar and cocoa made for a fairly easy gluten-free adaptation since you don’t have to change much. I substituted the 65g of flour with 13 g of Orgran’s Gluten-free Gluten, which I had sitting around but hadn’t used much, and 52g of sweet rice flour. (The “Gluten-free Gluten” should replace 20%, ie 1/5 of the flour, hence the strangeĀ  numbers).

The recipe itself is fairly simple, but it does take a lot of stirring. It took longer than I expected for the butter/sugar/cocoa mixture to look the way it was supposed to, and I think I was too impatient and didn’t stir it for long enough over the bain-marie. My back/arm wasn’t too happy about the motion, so I gave up. In the finished brownie, there were still sugar crystals, which I think would have otherwise dissolved.

So I won’t make these kinds of things a habit, for all sorts of health-related reasons. But 10 days before moving across the ocean it didn’t quite make sense to buy a new jar of coconut oil and all when I had all I needed for these.. And they ARE delicious!

Sinful gluten-free cocoa brownies

  • 140g butter (I only had salted butter so I did not add extra salt)
  • 280g sugar
  • 80g cocoa powder (I used Cocoa Camino brand)
  • 52 g Mochiko Sweet Rice flour
  • 13 g Orgran Gluten-free Gluten (GfG)

In a small bowl, mix the sweet rice flour and GfG. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 160C. Line square baking pan with parchment/baking paper.

Measure out the butter, cocoa and sugar (I just put the bowl on an electric scale ad tare after each ingredient, but you probably figured that out yourself).

Place over a simmering bain-marie and stir. It will take some time for the butter to melt and the ingredients to combine properly. Fanny says you should continue until it reaches about 50-60C (ie it feels hot to touch).

Set aside and cool a little.

Add the eggs one by one, whisking for approx 1 minute after each (I struggled with this after the first one, so I whisked extra after the second).

Fold in flour mix.

Bake for 20 mins. Cool before slicing.

Gluten-free pear chocolate muffins (redux)

I’ve made pear chocolate muffins before, but here is a different and somewhat healthier version with less fat and sugar. It is mainly sweetened with fruit.

  • 3/4 cup teff flour
  • 1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk (optional, for fibre)
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour (optional, for fibre)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (you should be fine skipping this too)
  • 1 small pear, chopped
  • 40g of 70% chocolate, chopped
  • 300 ml pear juice/nectar
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp coconut or other vegetable oil (the coconut oil must be melted)
  • 2 tbsp brown rice syrup

Mix all the dry ingredients well and mix in chopped pear and chocolate.

In a blender, mix all the wet ingredients well, including the banana.

Add wet to dry and combine.

Bake for 22-25 minutes at 350F.

Savory gluten-free millet rosemary muffins

This recipe has several things going for it:

  1. it’s simple
  2. it’s quite healthy – all whole-grain
  3. it doesn’t require a lot of strange ingredients, like many gluten-free recipes
  4. Yet it still turned out so well that for a moment I wondered if I had put wheat flour by mistake – so fluffy and light! (then I remembered that if I had, in such a wet batter, it would have turned into a disaster…)
  5. I think the basic recipe could be varied endlessly with different flavors (I’ll report back once this is ascertained!)
  6. Would work great with soup as a gluten-free alternative to a roll

I came up with it as I was trying to think of something to bring to an afternoon at the beach that wouldn’t spoil too easily in the heat. They are inspired by a recipe from Lundberg Farms (the rice company) which features their gluten-free couscous. I had used the last of mine, and it is quite expensive, so I tried to think of something that might work instead. Millet does have a similar texture to couscous when cooked (at a 2:1 water-millet ratio) so I went with that.

I don’t usually use eggs, given that I don’t like them much and don’t feel great eating a lot of eggs. But I am not allergic to them, really, and I can handle it when it is just one. Gluten-free baking is really a lot easier with eggs…

The original recipe called for buttermilk. There is no such thing as lactose-free buttermilk in the grocery store, so I used the same trick one uses for vegan “buttermilk” – i.e. mixing the milk with a teaspoon of vinegar so that it curdles. This would work just fine with a vegan milk alternative and margarine, but what I had in the fridge today was lactose free milk and butter (the husband has transitioned to lactose-free milk – that way we just need to have one carton in the house at a time, given that I don’t like soy etc, and it also makes better cappuccinos etc).

Savory, gluten-free millet muffins

  • 1 egg (preferably organic)
  • 3/4 cup lactose free milk (I use 2%)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 50 g butter, melted
  • 1 cup cooked millet, cooled at least somewhat (you don’t want to cook the egg, I guess)
  • 1 tbsp (yes) baking powder
  • t tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour (or more rice flour)
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • rosemary

Mix the egg, milk, butter and vinegar. Mix in millet and stir to break up and avoid lumps. Mix dry ingredients in another bowl first, and then blend into the wet.

Don’t overfill the muffin liners – they rise quite a bit (I guess 1tbsp of baking powder has that effect, even when it is gluten free!) I got ten muffins from this recipe.

Bake for 23-25 minutes at 400F.