Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Gluten Free Zucchini Cookies (Also Vegan!)

I took my Grandma Tiny's Zucchini Cookies recipe and decided I needed to make it gluten free so I could enjoy them again.  It’s zucchini season!  These are perfect for the abundance of zucchini and pretty simple to make—you don’t even need a mixer.  I changed up the sugars a little so I wasn’t just using refined sugar and I used grape seed oil.  All changes I made worked perfectly and I’m happy that these are healthier and gluten free and they just happen to be vegan, so Parker was happy, too.  Sometimes the changes I make to things (especially when I make them gluten free AND vegan) make baked goods a bit dry and crumbly.  I’m still working on that issue.  But these cookies turned out great.  Parker even noticed and mentioned it.  And Kevin ate quite a few of them and he usually doesn’t eat something he knows is gluten free or vegan.  Win!
What more—since they’re vegan—you can eat the cookie dough!  (Not that in my past I’ve never eaten raw cookie dough of any kind.) ; )



Gluten Free Zucchini Cookies (They’re vegan, too!), by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

In a medium sized bowl, stir together with a whisk: (No electric mixer needed.)
1//2 cup organic cane sugar
¼ cup organic coconut sugar
¼ cup organic agave nectar (Note—I’ve used 1 cup of brown sugar before instead of the 3 sweeteners listed)
1 cup grated zucchini (I use the fine grater)
1/2 cup organic grape seed oil (or any other oil of choice)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift together in another medium sized bowl:
2 cups gluten free flour blend (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 blend)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped (or walnuts)—optional
1/3 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips—optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined.  Stir in the nuts and raisins.
Drop by spoonfuls on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove cookies to wire rack to cool.

Life is crazy and busy and probably a little boring around here.  I’m still here.  We had a great summer with lots of fun trips and everyone is happy to be back in school.  Shh, probably me more than anyone.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

TEN YEARS BLOGGING! Gluten Free Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake 2-15-18

Hello, Everyone!  Would you believe it’s been 10 years since I started my blog!  Ten Years!  That’s so crazy to me.  Even crazier—I started my blog just before my baby turned one.  Yep, he’s almost 11 years old!  I keep wishing I could take the time to share things with you like I used to way back when.  Times have changed.  Blogging isn’t the same.  My boys aren’t the same and I think I’m definitely busier with three teenagers and a 10 year old.  My health isn’t the same.  So much change.  In my heart though, I’m the same—I still love food (treats especially) and want to share my favorites here with a good dose my life and family.  Sigh.  So here I am, blogging sparingly, but still here nonetheless.

gfchoczucchinicake9 

I still have this idea to revamp some of my favorite treats into healthier and gluten free versions, so I’ve done it again today with this Gluten Free Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake—which I’ve taken from this heavenly Chocolate Zucchini Cake.  Took a few tries, but THIS recipe I’m sharing here today is great!  It’s not as healthy as it could be, but it’s still gluten free and refined sugar free and I’m happy about that.  I will work on another version that is grain free and maybe dairy free, but I’ve sure decided with baking lately and trying to make things vegan for one of my sons, that baked goods benefit greatly from eggs and butter!

Never, ever would someone even guess this decadent chocolate cake has a vegetable.  You cannot tell there is zucchini in it. 

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake 2-15-18


Gluten Free Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 ¼ cups gluten free flour blend

6 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon xanthan powder (even if your flour blend has some, add this extra)

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup coconut sugar

6 tablespoons raw honey

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup milk (I used 2%)

1 cup finely grated zucchini, liquid squeezed out in a tea towel

½ cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips


Ganache—

3 ounces heavy cream

4 ½ ounces Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with non-stick foil (optional, but I love doing this for easily removing the baked cake from the pan), spray with cooking spray (here I prefer the no-propellants coconut oil spray). Set aside. Add gluten free flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan and salt to a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. Cream the butter, coconut sugar and honey in mixer for 3-5 minutes, until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and eggs and beat another couple minutes, scrape the bowl to make sure all is combined. Add the zucchini and mix together. While the mixer is going, add part of the dry ingredients, then some of the milk, then more dry ingredients, the rest of the milk, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Beat it in the mixer for 3-5 more minutes. Since it is gluten free, it will be fine! Stir in the chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean with just moist crumbs. Let cake sit on a wire rack to cool.

Make the ganache. In a glass microwave safe bowl, heat the cream in 20-30 second intervals until it’s bubbly around the sides (this can also be down in a pan on the stove). Pour the chocolate over the cream and let sit for a minute. Slowly stir the chocolate and cream until smooth. Remove cake from pan with the foil edges. Carefully remove the foil from the bottom, let cool completely while ganache cools more and thickens slightly. Spread the ganache evenly over the cake. Store in an airtight cake holder. Cut into nine squares and serve. (Next I’m going to bake this cake in a 9x9 inch pan for the cake to ganache ratio to be a little better!)


Here’s what’s happening with my family lately--scottanddiana

Scott proposed marriage to his girlfriend!  He told us on Christmas, even though he asked Diana to marry him back in August.  Little sneak!  They are happy and plan to get married in a couple years after they get things more set financially. ; )

nickelmania

Parker has been busy with his first job at Target during the holidays.  He works at a thrift clothing store right now, but plans to go back to Target when they hire him back in March.  He’s also busy with school trying to get enough credits to graduate a year early.  He’s ready to go places!

tayloricecream

Taylor is busy in 8th grade with percussion and loves drumming!  He’s actually taking drum lessons on the side through someone Kevin knew at UVU.  It’s nonstop drumming around here, on drums and drum pads and counters and anything!  He was selected with a couple others to be in the school drumline and they got to go to all the home boys’ and girls’ basketball games and play during timeouts and halftime.  He loved it!  I enjoyed going and watching him and recording lots of his beats!  He’s actually written a couple of his own cadences.

tsdrumline  taylordrumming

Sam recently “earned” a trip to Disneyland with me, so we went and had a blast for two days with my friend, Bonnie, and her four girls.  Sam had never been to Disney or California.  We flew over in a flash and played hard and it was over before we knew it.  Sam LOVED Guardians of the Galaxy at California Adventures (me, not so much).  He also loved the Raging Waters ride.  That one WAS pretty fun—and wet.  My favorite at C.A. was Soaring Around the World.  So awesome!  It was fun to see Mickey and a bunch of other characters and lots of fun hanging with friends!

samandmedisney

bonnieandme

samguardians

samragingwaters

samteacup

mickey


You might be wondering about my health.  My MS (multiple sclerosis) is 100% stable and I’m doing well!  I’m super blessed and the medication I get (by a two hour infusion every 36 days) seems to be doing it’s job of keeping the MS in remission.  Lots of prayers and fingers crossed!  Again, I cannot believe ten years have passed since I started this blog.  It breaks my heart to not be doing as much as I used to with it, but we just go with the flow of life and do what we can, right?  I’m still going to keep updates around here from time to time and hope to keep sharing my healthier changes to the treats and desserts I make.  I still make “regular” things as well.  When I have something to share, I hope to get it done.  February 17, 2018—can you believe it? 






Thursday, January 25, 2018

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Banana Cookies with Chocolate Chips

glutenfreepbbananacookies

***Note—this wouldn’t post on National Peanut Butter Day for me.  sigh

Let’s not talk about how long it’s been since I’ve blogged.  There’s not really an excuse anyway.  Let’s talk about these cookies!  Hurry, National Peanut Butter Day is almost over!  That said, you have my permission to make these cookies anytime you’d like.  They are perfect for using up those two or three overripe bananas you have on the counter.  Admit it, you have some, don’t you?  Well, I always do.  I buy more than I think will get eaten just so there are plenty to freeze for my morning smoothie AND for making all kinds of banana treats--muffins, banana bread, coffee cake, and cookies!

I was thinking earlier today that I’d love to do something for National Peanut Butter Day.  And I remembered these Banana Peanut Butter Cookies I made from Picky Palate that long ago, like nine years ago, I dubbed as possibly my favorite cookie ever.  I’ve realized over the years I have many favorites and they change all the time.  

Probably the only thing in those cookies from yesteryear that I still eat is the bananas.  So I went to work changing them up to be similar and reminiscent of those peanut butter cup filled banana cookies and I threw all the ingredients together and am so happy with how they turned out on the first try!  No, they don’t have peanut butter cups and they aren’t even rolled in sugar, but they amazingly taste just like them, except that they have all good things—gluten free, refined sugar free, natural peanut butter and of course chocolate.   They are flying off the cooling rack and will be gone before I know it.  You now, usually when I make something and tell the boys they are gluten free and don’t have regular sugar, they won’t even try them, but they went for it with these and I’m a little sad they won’t last.  Never fear, I will make them again soon!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Banana Cookies with Chocolate Chips Gluten Free Peanut Butter Banana Cookies with Chocolate Chips, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 cup pureed/mashed bananas

¾ cup coconut sugar

¼ cup raw honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg, room temperature

½ cup natural peanut butter (I used crunchy)

1 ½ cups gluten free flour blend (with xanthan)

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Add banana, coconut sugar and honey to a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Add vanilla and egg whisk well. Stir in the peanut butter. Add the gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until combined. Mixture will almost be like a muffin or thick cake batter. Scoop cookie dough onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes. Let sit on baking sheet for a few minutes before moving them to a wire rack. Cool completely, store in an airtight container.

glutenfreepbbananacookies2

Hurry, you can whip these up in no time—there’s still tie for National Peanut Butter Day, that said, nothing will stop me from making these any day of the year!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Gluten Free Apricot Betty Bars, Gluten Free Apple Betty Bars, Or Any Fruit Oat Bars

Gluten Free Apricot Betty Bars

Gluten Free Apricot Betty Bars (no refined sugar)

These fruity oat bars are so good.  You must try them.  I’ve adapted a recipe for Apple Betty Bars and made them gluten free and used coconut sugar and some raw honey so they are also free of any refined sugars.

You’d never know it.  I know I keep saying that.  But really, I’m serious!

I made a quick apricot jam with just apricots and some agave nectar.

You don’t have to be limited by apricot jam only.  I also made a quick apple filling.

Gluten Free Apple Betty Bars

Gluten Free Apple Betty Bars (no refined sugar)

My 16 year old son is vegan right now.  So I also made a version of these using coconut oil instead of butter and that is also the reason I made the apricot jam with agave instead of honey (which is my preference).  They turned out beautiful.  Tasted great, too.  But the ones with butter—BETTER!  Everything is better with butter, I’m a believer. ; )

Apricot Betty Bars, gluten free, refined sugar free, vegan

Gluten Free Vegan Apricot Betty Bars (no refined sugar)

The vegan version is perfect for serving the day you make them.  The coconut oil makes them not stay as sturdy and they are pretty soft after the first day, so just don’t plan for leftovers.

The gluten free ones with butter are delicious for days after, so they are perfect for packaging up as grab and go treats.


Gluten Free Apricot Betty Bars, Gluten Free Apple Betty Bars or Any Fruit Bars, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!


2 cups gluten free flour blend (xanthan gum included), Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 is great

1 ½ cups gluten free quick oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup coconut sugar

¼ cup pure maple syrup

1 cup butter or for vegan version use coconut oil, melted

1 cup Easy, Sugar Free Apricot Jam* or any fruit preserves/jam of your choice

Apple Filling**


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together in a large bowl, the gluten free flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Add the coconut sugar and maple syrup and combine well. Stir in the melted butter or oil until mixture is all wet and combined. Press half the mixture (about 14 ounces) into a ¼ sheet pan (9x13 cake pan works, the short sides of the sheet pan are great, no need to butter or spray pan). Bake for 15 minutes.


*Easy, Sugar Free Apricot Jam, by Katrina, Baking and Boys! (Vegan, No Refined Sugar)

8 cups apricots, cut into pieces, pits removed

½ cup agave (raw honey is great, too, for non-vegan version)

¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Add the apricots, agave and almond extract to a blender. Blend until pureed. Pour into a large saucepan and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until it thickens a bit. Pour into glass jars and seal. Store in the refrigerator (it is not sealed for shelf storage but will last a good couple weeks in the refrigerator). Makes about 4 ½ pints.


Spread one cup of the jam evenly over the partially baked bars. Scatter the remaining crumb batter evenly over the top of the jam. Bake for 25-35 minutes until nicely browned. Cool. When cooled, the bars should slide out of the pan nicely or you can cut them into pieces and remove each from the pan. Let them sit for a few minutes on a double paper towel to absorb an excess butter/oil (I have found this is sometimes not necessary, see what you think).


**Apple Filling

4 apples, peeled, cored and cut into cubes

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste

¼ cup raw honey or agave for vegan

¼ cup water

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and cook for 20-30 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Mash or blend with an emersion blender, leaving some chunks of apple. Makes 1 ½ to 2 cups. Spread evenly over first layer of oat bars.

Gluten Free Apricot Betty Bars

These would be great with any jam or fruit filling.  I want to try raspberry or blackberry.  I love the hint of tart.  The apricots provide that, too.  What would be your favorite fruit filling?

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Healthy Butterfinger Brownies and Healthy Homemade Butterfingers Candy, Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free

Healthy Butterfinger Brownies

Healthy Butterfingers?  Healthy Brownies?  What?  I know, hear me out—these, believe it or not, are made with no refined sugars and are gluten free.  The Butterfingers candy is even vegan.  Not that I really care about that, but my son who is vegan does and he admitted these taste great and just like the candy bars!  While deciding to start blogging again, I thought of an idea.  I collect cookbooks and love following along with favorite bloggers.  With my diet changes, I can’t just make every recipe I want anymore.  Well, I can make them, I have just chosen not to eat certain things.  It’s been kind of boring.  I’ve missed just indulging!  My new idea is to make something in a cookbook or from a blog that I think looks great and make the recipe as written once, then change it up to suit my needs another way and share it here. 

I recently got to purchase The Recipe Girl Cookbook from one of my longest known food blogger friends, Lori from Recipe Girl.  Looking through her cookbook, which you can still get on the link I left for Amazon, besides drooling at all the pictures, I was drawn to one that I remember from way-back-when that I made when she first came out with the recipe not long after I started blogging in 2008 for these Butterfinger Brownies.  I remembered that they were so good and decided I wanted to make them again.  I made her full recipe for Butterfinger Brownies as written in her book and found on her blog (linked).   Here’s the Recipe Girl’s Butterfinger Brownies.  

recipegirlbutterfingerbrownies


They are great and were eaten up by others around here.  But I decided to take the idea and make some I could eat, too.  I did a little homework on finding some Butterfingers that were made healthy, I knew I could find some from somewhere online as there are a lot of fantastic bloggers and recipes for candies made healthier out there.  I found these Healthier Homemade Butterfingers at Megan’s blog, Detoxinista. She mentions they can be made with either honey or maple syrup.  I tried them with both.  I definitely like them better with maple syrup and made them twice that way.  The honey ones didn’t set up the same.  Maybe I didn’t let the boiling honey come to the correct temperature, but the maple syrup Butterfingers taste GREAT!  They ARE healthier, but probably should still be eaten in moderation!

Healthy Butterfingers 8-2-17


I made just a few small changes in the way I made them so I will post that, but all inspiration and detailed instructions that I used came from Megan’s post, so definitely read it before just diving in to my simplified version.  Once you add the peanut butter to the boiled maple syrup, it begins hardening to that crispy Butterfinger goodness.  I realized I was adding natural peanut butter that I store in the fridge to that hot syrup and it would seize up quickly.  So I now warm the peanut butter so it is smooth and a little runny and it mixes a lot nicer and is easily spread into the pan.  Megan scores hers before chilling so they are easily cut into bars before dunking them in melted chocolate, but since I was just using mine for chopped up mix-ins, they didn’t need that.  I just spread the melted chocolate over the whole panful, then removed it from the pan and foil and broke it into pieces and chopped the pieces with a knife. 

Healthy Homemade Butterfingers (vegan, refined sugar free)

I tried a few different brownie recipes that I adapted, but ultimately chose one that I adapted from my favorite brownies.  These are made with coconut oil, coconut sugar, a little raw honey and a gluten free flour blend.  I’m telling you, I don’t think anyone would have a clue if you didn’t tell them.  I love how these brownies turned out, so I made them again and added the chopped Healthy Butterfingers.  Heavenly!  They are fudgy and have a perfect chocolate and peanut butter ratio.  I was actually going to put a chocolate-peanut butter drizzle on the brownies, but decided they didn’t need it.

Healthy Butterfinger Brownies

Healthy Gluten Free Butterfinger Brownies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

½ cup coconut oil

½ cup cocoa powder

¾ cup coconut sugar

¼ cup maple syrup or honey (I liked the results with honey better but both worked)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

¼ cup gluten free flour blend

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

¾ cup, divided, *Healthy Homemade Butterfingers candy, chopped


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with nonstick foil. Spray lightly with coconut oil or brush it on. Set aside. In a medium sized saucepan, melt the coconut oil and cocoa powder over medium-low heat. Remove it from the heat when just barely melted. Let sit for a few minutes. Add the coconut sugar and honey or maple syrup and the vanilla and whisk together. Whisk in the eggs and combine well. Stir in the salt and flour. Fold in ½ cup of the chopped Butterfingers. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Scatter the remaining ½ cup of Butterfingers over the top of the batter. Bake for 23-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Let brownies cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to cut and serve. Refrigeration not necessary, but gives them a great fudginess.


*Healthy Homemade Butterfingers, (vegan) by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Detoxinista

1 cup Grade A or B pure maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup natural peanut butter, warmed and stirred until smooth

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (or chocolate of your choosing), melted

In a tall saucepan, combine the maple syrup and cream of tartar. Attach a candy thermometer to the saucepan. Set heat to medium. Let the mixture come to a boil, do not stir, this could take 5-10 minutes. Prepare a 9x9 inch square pan with nonstick foil. When the syrup has reached 300 degrees on the thermometer, remove from heat and add the warmed peanut butter and salt. Stir quickly to combine well. Spread mixture in the prepared pan. Spread the melted chocolate over the top of the Butterfinger mixture. Cool/harden in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Remove from pan/foil and break into desired sized pieces for sharing and snacking.

healthybutterfingerbrownies

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Gluten Free Banana Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake Recipe, Vegan, too!

Gluten Free Refined Sugar Free Banana Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake (Vegan)

Hello?  Is anyone here?  I’m here!  My last post was exactly one year ago.  What in the world have I been doing?  Just being a busy mom of three teenagers and a ten year old.  That and I just felt like I needed a break.  Not sure why.  I have missed blogging terribly.  I started feeling like a part of who I am was missing.  I love baking and I love sharing it with others.  My health is great!  I cannot complain at all.  With my diet changes of going gluten free and refined sugar free (and my 15 year old deciding to be vegan!), I think I had just been in a rut on what to do, what to make, what to share and post here.  But I decided I really want to try again with this little part of me that was missing.  I’m not in it for hundreds of thousands of visitors.  I’m not going to be making videos.  My blog is WAY outdated.  But I don’t care.  I need to do it for me.  A lot of it is that I’ve just decided I need to keep documenting things I love somewhere else besides just scribbled in a notebook.

notebookrecipe

 

My idea the last couple months has been to take some of my favorite tried-and-true recipes, whether they be from here on my blog, or favorite blogs or cookbooks and make them gluten free, refined sugar free, and sometimes vegan and share them with you.  I’ve made a number of things already and am so happy with how they are turning out with simple changes like gluten free flours, unrefined sugars (coconut sugar, raw honey, agave, etc.).  I plan to share links to my favorite cookbooks, blogs and recipes as they were originally made, then post my changed results here.  Does that sound good?  I think so.  I’ve asked a few people and they think it’s a great idea.  So I’m here to try it!

 

Now, this cake—I first shared this cake not long after starting my blog in February 2008!  I saw it on a blog, who adapted it from Bon Appetit in a 2003 magazine article.  I adapted it enough that I’m leaving you the link to my post for this Absolutely Delicious Banana Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake.  I made this more times than I can count over the years.  Well, I’ve come up with a new, delicious favorite that everyone here loves, except it’s gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free.  The boys don’t care!  This is a good sign.  A lot of times, they won’t even try something when I tell them it’s gluten free.  This is gone so quickly every time I’ve made it recently, which is like three or four times. 

Gluten Free Refined Sugar Free Banana Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake (vegan) 7-12-17

I made this again yesterday for dinner as we were having the LDS sister missionaries over and one of them has celiacs.  They both went crazy over how good it was and we let them take the leftover cake home.  There wasn’t a lot left, maybe two pieces, but it’s because they had seconds while we were eating it!  Win.  I love when someone is happy with something I’ve made, especially when there are changes that most would think would make something taste strange.  This one is good!  Try it!  It is our go-to when we have overripe bananas.

 

Gluten Free Refined Sugar Free Banana Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake, vegan

Gluten Free Banana Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake (vegan), by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

*Streusel topping:

1/4 cup coconut sugar**

1/2 tablespoons agave nectar

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

 

Cake:

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (xanthan gum included)

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup agave nectar

1/2 cup (4 ounces) coconut oil

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, 2 1/2 tablespoons water, let sit for 5 minutes)

1 1/3 cup mashed banana (about 4 small/medium or 3 large bananas)

3 tablespoons almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Make the streusel topping.  Combine the coconut sugar with the agave, mix together with a fork until it is all moist like brown sugar.  Add the pecans, cinnamon and chocolate chips.  Stir together, set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8x8 inch square pan (9x9 also works fine!) with nonstick foil and spray lightly with a non-propellant cooking spray (I like coconut oil).  In a small bowl, make the flax egg, let it sit while you prepare the rest.  In another small bowl, combine the almond milk and vinegar, let sit.  In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, whisk together and set aside.  In a large bowl, add the coconut sugar, agave and coconut oil.  Whisk until well combined.  Whisk in the flax egg and almond milk mixture and the vanilla.  Stir in mashed banana (sometimes I pulse it in a food processor, sometimes I just mash them with a fork).  Fold in the dry ingredients.  Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Evenly sprinkle the topping over the cake batter.  Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.  Let cool on a wire rack completely.  Remove pan using foil edges.  Carefully remove cake from the foil and put it on a serving plate.

*Note—The original Absolutely Delicious Banana Cake I linked above also has streusel in the middle.  I did make it that way once (photo above), but decided it’s not necessary.  Good, but not necessary.  So if you’d like you can double the topping able and put half of it on half the batter in the pan.  It’s all natural sugars, so no harm done!

**Make your own, all-natural brown sugar.  Combine coconut sugar with agave (use amounts posted above in the streusel for the correct consistency) until moist.  It’s perfect, in my opinion!

 

Coconut Sugar "Brown Sugar" (add a little agave or honey)

 

Make your own healthy, all-natural “brown sugar”.  Combine coconut sugar with a touch of agave, raw honey or molasses, mix with a fork until all moist.  Use about 1/2 cup coconut sugar and 1 tablespoon agave/honey/molasses.  I love it!

Coconut Sugar Cinnamon Chocolate Streusel

If I had some more overripe bananas right now, I’d make this again today.  Guess I’ll have to wait another couple days. 

You may be wondering what is going on with my family.  Quick update, Scott graduated school last year and is 19, has a girlfriend that he spends all his time with when he’s not working at Taco Bell.

scottanddiana

Parker is almost 16, almost done with driver’s ed, aching for a job and will start his sophomore year of high school soon!  He’s currently having “fun” with hair colors.  He did purple and a pink for a while, but his hair is currently an orange color (MS awareness???).

parkerpurple

purpleparker

Taylor is 13 and starts 8th grade soon.  He’s busy being a crazy 13 year old and doing his best trying not to drive me crazy.  He’s pretty funny and still likes lots of creative crafty things.

tpandsam

tandme

Sam is 10 and about to start 5th grade.  This is crazy!  When I started my blog, Scott was 10 and my baby was a baby!  Waaahhhh!  They aren’t supposed to grow up so fast!  Sam loves baseball and discovered this year that he loves being the catcher. 

samcatcher

sambaseball

Kevin and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary in June!  Twenty years—what????  Crazy.  He’s amazing and treats me like a queen.  I don’t deserve him.  He receives awards at UVU for being an outstanding educator.  He got to be in a spread in UVU’s magazine as Captain America.  He’s my hero.  He’s a great professor, just took over as department chair in the business school at UVU, he’s a wonderful dad and the best husband!  So there.

heroesofeducation

kevandigentri

For our 20th, since we didn’t get to take a big trip or anything (he taught for the summer session of school), he surprised me with a bunch of my favorite concerts over the last month, including New Kids On The Block/Paula Abdul, David Archuleta, the Utah Symphony and GENTRI and we got to spend some time together in Salt Lake City.  I’m spoiled.  Love my life.  My health is good.  MS is 100% stable, nothing new.  Besides being tired more than I’d like, I’ve got this.  Glad to be back here and hopefully I’ll post again soon!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe and Zucchini Lemon Cranberry Walnut Muffins Recipe

This original post from 2009 disappeared from my blog.  Not sure how or why.  But here’s a new current repost of it---It's that time of year.  You practically have them growing out your ears.  I'm talking about zucchini.  Some of them are huge.  They aren't quite as good for savory cooking when they get too big.  But they make a dang good killer chocolate cake!  Bah--look at this!

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Yep, believe it or not, there is zucchini in there!  I know.  I hear ya.  You just would NEVER know it's there.  So this means this cake is healthy, right.  Well, we can pretend anyway.  Sigh. 

Yeah, it's not healthy.  But for goodness sake, it's delicious!  (Dad--it's chocolate cake!)

After buying two giant, cheap zucchini at the farmer's market last week, I went on a Google search for just what to do with them.  I already shared with you my zucchini ("apple") crisp.  I knew there were all kinds of quick breads and muffins out there with zucchini and I even knew there were zucchini snack cakes.  But THIS cake, it's not just your run-of-the-mill "snack".  This is big time dessert here.  Kevin was even a little bummed that I didn't have any ice cream to serve with it.  (I know, me, slacking on the ice cream making! ;)

I found this beauty on Em's blog,  The Repressed Pastry Chef.  I actually didn't even know she was a fellow TWD baker.  (What?  I can't read them all.  I wish.  But after finding this cake on her blog and browsing around a bit, I've added her blog to my reader.)  Em found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website.  I halved the recipe and baked it in an 8x8 inch baking pan.  I made some minor changes, so here's the recipe as I made it, but please when you're done with me, go look at Em's!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake, adapted by Katrina from The King Arthur Flour Company and Em at The Repressed Pastry Chef (halved)

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup canola oil

6  1/8 ounces granulated sugar (1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1/4 cup buttermilk (original recipe calls for sour cream or yogurt)

1  1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1  1/8 ounces Dutch-process cocoa

(optional 1 teaspoon espresso powder)  I did not use it

1 cup zucchini, finely grated (middle/seeds removed)

1/2 cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips  (I used 58% cacao Ghiradelli chips)  (I didn't halve the chips)

Ganache Icing--

3 ounces heavy cream

4 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (I used the Ghiradelli chips)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with foil.  Spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Beat in the egg.  Scrape sides of bowl. 

Stir in the buttermilk alternately with the flour.  Then add the cocoa.  Mix until well combined.  Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.

Pour and spread the batter evenly in the baking pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes (mine took 32 minutes), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool the cake on a wire rack.  Remove the cake from the pan using the foil edges.

Prepare the ganache by heating the cream to a simmer.  (I actually used the microwave and it worked great, just do it in 20-30 second intervals and stir in between.)  Pour the cream into a bowl with the chocolate chips.  Let sit a minute or two.  Stir the melted chocolate and cream until combined and smooth.  Spread over cake evenly with an offset spatula.  See how long you can wait before cutting slices of the cake and eating it.  (The ganache hardens as it sits, but doggonit it's good right away! ;)

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You know you want a bite.  I'm not kidding, there's zucchini in there.  (You would never in a million years know it, Bob!)

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Now after all that, take a deep breath, it's going to be okay.  Breathe.  Okay.  I kind of feel like these poor little muffins will take a huge back seat to that cake, BUT just keep in mind, sometimes you feel like a muffin and sometimes a little cake and the muffins really could be considered somewhat healthy and a great grab and go breakfast or perfect snack and they are also delicious if I do say so myself.   You'll have to try them and give them the credit they too deserve just as much as that cake.  Again, in my Googling around, I ran across this Low Fat Lemon Zucchini Bread on about.com.  These muffins were inspired by that bread, but I changed many things and came up with these darn-tootin' good muffins.

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Zucchini-Lemon Cranberry Walnut Muffins, by Katrina

1  3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or could use all purpose)

1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2/3 cups sugar

1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)

1/4 cup coconut oil (or any vegetable oil)

1 large egg

1 egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup low fat buttermilk

1 cup zucchini, seeded and finely grated

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries

turbinado sugar for sprinkle over top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tins with paper liners (this made 14 muffins). 

In medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Whisk together and set aside.  In another bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest, combining it together with your fingers until the sugar is moist, yellow and fragrant.  (I got this idea from Dorie Greenspan and love it.)  Combine the zesty sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk until well mixed with a wire whisk.  Stir in zucchini.  Add the dry ingredients with the wet and fold together just until moist.  Fold in nuts and cranberries.  Fill each muffin cup with a good sized scoop of batter.  Sprinkle each with turbinado sugar.  Bake for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.  Set pan on wire rack and cool for five minutes.  Remove the muffins from the tin and cool to room temperature on wire rack.

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There is some nutty, berry-sweet goodness hiding in there and a wonderful lemon flavor!

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You've seriously got to try these.  Coming soon--more zucchini!  I bought two giant ones remember.  These two recipes didn't even use one whole one.  Did you know you can grate the zucchini and freeze it in plastic bags?  It will last a couple months in the freezer.  Run to your gardens, neighbor's gardens, farmer's markets, grocery stores now and stock up!  You'll for sure want to make this cake and these muffins over and over again! ;) 

Easy Three Ingredient Berry Ice Cream

3 Ingredient All Natural Ice Cream (Strawberry Blueberry Banana)

I know super easy “ice creams” made with frozen fruit, especially bananas has been done many times and I’ve made it many times myself.  I usually make it with only bananas and sometimes add peanut butter and/or chocolate to it, which IS probably my favorite.  But last night I had a hankering for a sweet treat and saw how much frozen fruit I have in my freezer right now so I threw some in the food processor and made this heavenly version.

 

SO easy!  Perfect.  Healthy.  I even was so kind to share some with Parker, who is trying out veganism right now.  Going crazy trying to keep him fed!  This is my kid whose favorite foods were bacon and A1 Steak Sauce and steak.  I’m going crazy and hope this doesn’t last too long for him.  To each his own, but I think someone shouldn’t go all certain-diet crazy unless they can buy their own food and feed themselves!  Back to the delicious treat!

 

I went a little crazy (ha!) and drizzled some melted Enjoy Life chocolate chips on mine.  It was just like Magic Shell, but way, way healthier!  Love!

 

Easy Three Ingredient Berry Ice Cream, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

 

1 cup frozen bananas

1 cup frozen strawberries and blueberries (there were probably more strawberries)

2 tablespoons Enjoy Life (or any of your choice) chocolate chips, optional

 

You can easily do 2-3 cups of any fruit of your choosing.

Add the frozen fruit to a food processor.  Blend for 3-5 minutes until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl every minute or so.

While it is blending, melt the chocolate in a small microwaveable dish in 20-30 second intervals until melted.  Drizzle over ice cream. Yum!

 

Easy 3 Ingredient Berry Ice Cream with Chocolate

I know this probably isn’t a very exciting post and something you’ve seen before but I decided to document it on my blog, which has been suffering from neglect lately. I’m going to try to get back into sharing……and making more goodies!  I miss it!

 

Easy 3 Ingredient Frozen Fruit Ice Cream