Friday, February 05, 2016

World Nutella Day—Homemade Healthy Nutella


Homemade Healthy Nutella on Toast

Happy World Nutella Day!  What does that mean for me?  I’ve always liked Nutella.  But it has lots of sugar and I don’t eat it anymore.  What did I do about this dilemma?  I made my own!  And you can, too!  It’s super easy and taste pretty darn good.  Is it exactly the same?  According to my boys, NO!  But for me, it works and I’m happy.

I made the Nutella  copycat and decided I needed to have it on some toast.  I don’t often have gluten free bread, but happened to have some I’d recently bought at Costco.  It comes in an interesting shape.  After slathering on the Nutella, I noticed it kind of reminded me of a ghost.  Then since it’s not Halloween, which would be super cute and fun to make these then, I made a second piece of toast and another cute ghost with a red mouth (although it looks more like a nose)—perfect!  Now they look like a perfect Valentine pair—don’t they?  Ready to dance the day away!

Homemade Healthy Nutella

The recipe made a half quart (so 2 pints, it’s the wider but shorter jar), right?  Yeah, I know, I could check on the world wide web or ask my mom, but I’m too lazy and just can’t wait to tell you about this.  I know homemade versions of Nutella have been done before and I looked at some of them, but ultimately decided on my own amounts and ingredients.  Some had added coconut oil and regular sugar, etc.  I didn’t think that was necessary.  I like the maple syrup I used in this, but I’m interested next time in trying to make it with raw honey, too.  It’s definitely not too sweet, I’m now so used to things not being very sweet since I don’t eat much sugar/sweet things anymore, so this was just right for me.  I believe it would even be considered Paleo and vegan.

Homemade Healthy Nutella

Homemade Healthy Nutella, by Katrina, Baking and Boys! (Paleo, vegan, refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free)

1 ½ cups toasted (and skinned) hazelnuts, chopped (I bought some that are already toasted and chopped, which I prefer over toasting and skinning them myself.)

½ cup cocoa powder

½ cup almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

½ cup Grade B maple syrup (Grade A is okay)

Put the hazelnuts in the bowl of a blender (I have a Blendtec, which is super powerful!). You could also use a food processor, but note that it does take a lot longer to grind the nuts into a butter, maybe 10 minutes. Pulse nuts in the blender, scraping down the sides every 10-20 seconds. In the Blendtec this literally only takes about 2 minutes until it’s a pretty smooth butter. Add the cocoa powder and half the almond milk and pulse to combine. Add the rest of the almond milk, vanilla and salt and pulse to combine well. Add about half the maple syrup and combine, taste and add more to your liking, up to half a cup. I used the full amount.  I am going to try it with raw honey next time, I just like the flavor better. Store in a jar in the refrigerator. Makes half a quart/2 pints. This would be perfect to put in little jars for gifts, but it would be hard not to eat it instead.

Homemade Healthy Nutella on Toast 2

I mean, really, this looks like it totally needed a companion.  And I needed a second slice of toast with this Homemade Healthy Nutella on it, too.  So it was a win for both of us.  Until this started happening……..

Homemade Healthy Nutella being eaten on toast

Sorry ghosts on toast, it had to happen. ; )

You can find a whole lotta Nuttela greatness and love on the Facebook page and on Twitter#WorldNutellaDay  You can also find a lot more Nutella laden recipes (and mouth-watering photos) on my blog.  I’ve been posting something for World Nutella Day since 2009!  And guess what—my blog will be 8 years old in less than two weeks!  How cool is that!


Friday, January 22, 2016

Chocolate Chip Ginger Cookies (Gluten Free)

Chocolate Chip Ginger Cookies, Gluten Free
So I know, the year is practically fleeing before our very eyes and I haven’t even posted yet in 2016.  I have reasons.  They seem like good ones, but still I hate that haven’t had anything to share.  I have plenty of excuses, like my blog issues, still dealing with that as I was in December.  Then my old laptop had some serious problems.  It’s gone.  My awesome husband got me a new, nicer laptop that hopefully I will not have the same kind of problems I had with the old one.  We also made the mistake of not getting the warranty on the old computer which has been a problem since day one.  RIP, year old laptop, that poor thing just never had a chance. 
So I’m trying to get something posted before January 2016 is in the history books.  And I’m not even sure it will post because of the blog issues.  I know most people out there have beautiful, wonderful blogs that looks so good and I know that mine is the same it has been for almost eight years now, but I don’t really have it in me to make those changes.  I would if it was just the snap of my fingers, I would have done it long ago, but alas, it is not to be.  So let’s see if this works.
The holidays are gone, but my love for ginger cookies (and all things ginger flavored for that matter) is not gone.  So a couple weeks ago I made some really good, or dare I say, perfect gluten free ginger cookies.  I was happy and wish I still had some.  I’ll make them again even though the season for ginger is over.  Who decided that anyway?  I’m sticking with what I like any time of the year.  You with me on that?
Chocolate Chip Ginger Cookies, Gluten Free
The cookies have the perfect amount of crisp snap that I like, but are still a little softer and chewy in the middle.  If you don’t know me well enough by now, I put chocolate in just about everything, so these ginger cookies were made perfect for me with the addition of some chopped chocolate (the kind I used just happened be organic dark chocolate and had crystallized ginger in it).  You can use any chocolate chips or chocolate you’d like or if you’re a ginger purest, you can leave it out, but chocolate and ginger are one of those matches made in heaven.  Just saying.
Chocolate Chip Ginger Cookies (Gluten Free), by Katrina, Baking and Boys!
2 cups gluten free flour blend
1  1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1  1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (3 ounces) chopped chocolate or chips
Sugar in the Raw (turbinado sugar) for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a medium sized bowl, combine all the dry ingredients down to the pepper and whisk together.  In the bowl of a mixer, combine the butter, cane sugar and coconut sugar and beat for a couple minutes until creamy.  Scrape the sides of the bowl.  Add the egg, molasses, balsamic vinegar and vanilla and beat until well combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl.  Add the dry ingredients and beat just until combined.  Stir in the chocolate.  Scoop the cookies into walnut sized balls and sprinkle each with some Sugar in the Raw.  (You can roll them in the sugar, but I was going for less sugar.)  Bake for 10-12 minutes (depending on how firm/crunchy you want them).  Let sit on baking sheet for a few minutes then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Makes about 3 dozen.  Store in an airtight container. 
Chocolate Chip Ginger Cookies, Gluten Free 3
I don’t think anyone would have a clue that these are gluten free.  But here at my house, I like to tell the boys when I’ve made something gluten free, it stops them from eating MY cookies because they assume they don’t taste good. ; )  Works for me.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

True No Bake Cookies—The Easiest and Yummiest Cookies Ever

True No Bake Cookies

If you’re looking for the world’s most simple, yummiest treat (you could totally whip these up in minutes and serve them for New Year’s Eve tonight), this is the cookie!  There was recently a very small feud (not really a feud, just an observance) between a fellow food blogger and I about these classic no bake cookies.  This recipe I’ve made and posted today are THE original cookies, THE recipe I grew up making.  There are no other True No Bake Cookies. ; )  That said, Blaise from Blaise the Baker posted a step-by-step tutorial about these cookies yesterday on his Facebook page.  You can get his (not original, hehe) recipe on the link to his blog.  After I saw his post, it dawned on me that every time I have seen these cookies, for years—they have always had peanut butter in them.  I’m here to tell you, even as a chocolate and peanut butter lover, that these should not be made with peanut butter.  It’s wrong. 

Okay, okay, it’s probably not wrong.  But THE True No Bake Cookies I grew up with do not have peanut butter, so it has always seemed wrong to me.  After chatting with Blaise, I looked through my good old recipe box for the recipe.  And when I say old, I mean it—I have in that box recipes from when I took a cooking class in 7th grade, so we’re talking 34+ years ago.  Whew!  Anyway, there I found THE recipe!

And here I share THE recipe with YOU!  Peanut butter not necessary.  If you need the chocolate/peanut butter combo fix, eat a Reese’s. 

True No Bake Cookies

True No Bake Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup 2% milk

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup nuts (I always remember walnuts, peanuts are not an option, haha), optional

1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut, optional

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, combine together the sugar, butter, milk, cocoa and salt.  When it comes to a good rolling boil, boil for exactly one minute.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla.  Stir well.  Add the oats, coconut, and nuts and stir together to combine.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper and let cool.  They don’t even take 30 minutes to cool and set up.  Serve the plateful and watch them disappear.  Makes 18-20.  (The nuts and coconut are optional.  I left out the nuts as my kids don’t love them.)

True No Bake Cookies

You do not need to make these all perfectly uniform.  They shouldn’t be.  That is what makes them “true”.

How do you make no bake cookies?  Wondering if I have other fellow non-peanut butter no bake cookie people out there.  I’m sure Blaise and all the others out there who put peanut butter in theirs still have a great cookie.  Just having a little fun.

Happy End of 2015!  And here’s to a wonderful New Year to you all!  Make it a great one!  I plan to do so!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Spicy Mixed Nuts (Refined Sugar Free, Paleo)

Paleo Spiced Mixed Nuts

Looking for a munchy snack for New Year’s Eve?  These spiced mixed nuts are great!  They aren’t just perfect for New Year’s or any other holiday, I’d make them year round.  And they are pretty healthy—there are no refined sugars in them—just good Grade B maple syrup, and not even that much.  A little egg white to add to the protein and some great spices make these perfectly crunchy and delicious.  I’ve loved having them here while others around me are eating so many other treats that I no longer eat. 

I used pecans, almonds, and just a handful of cashews and hazelnuts along with some raw sunflower seeds.  I threw a little orange zest in the mixture and it’s good.  I wish I would have added a little more.  The kick from some cayenne is just enough, but if you’d like it even spicier, add a little more.  I was afraid and didn’t want to make them too spicy since I’m mainly the only one eating them around here.  Love the sweet combo of cinnamon, maple and orange.  It goes well with the cayenne, chili and cumin powder to make a great sweet and spicy flavor.

These made for some nice holidays gifts I also handed out.

Spiced Mixed Nuts

Spicy Mixed Nuts (Paleo, Refined Sugar Free), by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

5 cups mixed nuts (I used a mixture of mostly pecans and almonds, with some cashews, hazelnuts and some sunflower seeds)

2 large egg whites

¼ cup Grade B maple syrup

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon Ancho chili powder

¼ teaspoon cayenne powder

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Put all the nuts in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer for 2 minutes, until frothy. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the nuts) and fold it all together. Spread the mixture evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Or portion them out into cute gift bags and ties.

Spiced Mixed Nuts 3

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Salted Caramel Pecan Turtles Fudge

Salted Caramel Pecan Turtles Fudge

Do you like fudge?  Do you like the classic turtles candy, you know, chocolate, caramel and pecans?  I decided to combine them together and came up with this super easy, tasty fudge!  Decided to add a little salt on the top and think it’s a great addition if you like salted caramel. 

Do you have all your Christmas baking done?  I don’t.  But I never really do.  I always have things I run out of time to make or that I want to try for the first time.  I’ve made plenty of my “signature” Chocolate Chip Cookies, also made the same recipe and threw in a bunch of chopped up Andes Chocolate Mints.  Everyone has loved these, I probably haven’t made enough of them. 

Andes Mint Chocolate Chip CookiesAnyway, I whipped up the easy fudge that is just made with melted chocolate chips and a can of sweetened condensed milk, then decided to add the caramel and pecans.  A friend of mine gives us a nice square of real, homemade, cooked-like-grandma-used-to-make fudge every Christmas.  Even since I’ve been off gluten and refined sugar, I usually take a little taste.  It is divine!  My fudge is delicious, but much easier, and so I suppose I’m lazy.  Really I think it’s just because I’d rather bake cookies than spend time cooking fudge over the stove.

Salted Caramel Pecan Turtles Fudge 12-20-15  Salted Caramel Pecan Turtles Fudge, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

12 ounce package semi sweet chocolate chips

14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

6 ounces caramel, chopped (or unwrapped caramel squares)

2 tablepoons heavy cream

3/4 cup pecans, lightly toasted, rough chopped

Flaked sea salt, optional*

Line an 8x8 inch square baking pan with non stick foil, leaving the edges overhanging a bit, spray it lightly with cooking spray.  Set aside.  In a glass microwave safe bowl, combine the caramel and cream.  Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each.  It should only take 1-2 minutes.  Let the caramel cool to room temperature.  In a medium sized saucepan over medium low heat, combine the chocolate chips and condensed milk.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Add the vanilla and salt and stir until combined.  Add the pecans and stir well.  Take a few spoonfuls of the caramel and carefully stir it into the fudge, without combining it completely.  The fudge thickens quickly, so spread it evenly in the pan.  Pour or spoon the remaining caramel over the top, then swirl it in and around the caramel with a knife.  *Lightly sprinkle salt over the top.  Feel free to leave off the salt if you’d like.  I was out of course, flaked salt and just used a little sprinkle of sea salt.  Refrigerate the fudge for at least an hour.  Remove from the pan using the foil edges and peel the foil off the back.  Cut the fudge on a cutting board into squares. 

Salted Caramel Pecan Turtles Fudge 3

I think it has just the right amount of caramel and salt and again, tasted a little for quality control.  Christmas is almost here!  Are you ready?



Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Testing and more testing.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Merry Christmas!