Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake—Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free

Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake

I have some zucchini (who doesn’t?!).  I decided to make something, and after making my “famous” Grandma Tiny's Zucchini Cookies so I could give them to some friends, I felt that I needed to make something I could eat, too.  Taking notes from the recipe for Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Brownies I made two years ago, I changed up a few things figuring these would be a little less brownie-like and have more of a cakey texture—and they do.  They are good.  I challenge anyone to test them out and see if they’d have a clue these are gluten free, have no refined sugar and are made with coconut oil instead of butter.  I even think they wouldn’t know they have zucchini, too.  I’m happy with my new snack! 

Part of the reason you can’t even tell they have zucchini is because when I make baked goods with zucchini, I prefer to use the finer side of the grater.

grated zucchini

See the difference?  If you set the grated zucchini on paper towel while getting the rest of the ingredients ready, a lot of the liquid is drained from the shreds which helps you not end up with a wet mess when you’re baking with them.  When I made the cookies earlier, I forgot to use the smaller grate, so I put the zucchini (along with the brown sugar and oil I’d already mixed in with it) in the food processor and chopped it a little finer by just pulsing it a few times.  I think it worked perfectly!

Grandma Tiny's Zucchini Cookies

I think it’s okay and necessary for the zucchini to be visible in zucchini cookies, same with zucchini bread, but for some reason not in chocolate things like brownies and cake.  Just don’t tell people who don’t want a vegetable in their baked goods and they wouldn’t even know.  ; )

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

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup raw honey

1/4 cup organic coconut oil

1/2 cup raw cacao (or cocoa powder)

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup almond flour

3/4 cup gluten free flour blend (with xanthan gum)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 cup finely shredded, drained on paper towel for 20 minutes, packed zucchini

1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (or chips of your choice)

1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped, lightly toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9x9 inch baking pan with nonstick foil with edges creased down over the sides and grease lightly with coconut oil.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut sugar, honey, and coconut oil.  Add the cocoa powder and stir together until well combined.  Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.  Add the almond flour, gluten free flour blend, baking powder and salt.  Stir with a spatula until just combined.  Stir in the zucchini.  Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.  Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  Bake for 23-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just moist crumbs.  Let sit on wire rack until cool.  Remove from pan using the foil edges.  Set on a cutting board and cut into desired sized pieces.  Snack away.

Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake

Mmmm!  Do you see the zucchini in there?  No.  You can’t tell it’s there, but veggies in cake equals healthy! ; )

Thursday, August 20, 2015

PB2 Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free, Make with Coconut Oil)

PB2 Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)

Yay for cookies!  Sometimes I really miss cookies.  I’ve made some in the past (that follow my new requirements of gluten free, refined sugar free, healthier, etc.), but I don’t get to make and enjoy them as often as I used to and that was sure a fun part of my life.  Yes, I still make cookies for others and I love doing that, but it’s not the same as trying a new recipe, or coming up with something that I can actually eat, too.  So when that happens, it’s a big YAY for me. 

I like that I am eating healthier (for my health’s sake) these days, but I just miss grabbing something, trying things I haven’t had before and not worrying about it.  We all have things like that in our lives that come up and we just have to deal with it.  But blah, blah, this is getting boring—I made cookies!  And they are so good!  They are still a bit of a splurge for me, but I don’t feel guilty about having 1 or 2 now and then and it’s nice to know I have a little treat when I need one, okay—WANT one. ; )

PB2 Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)

I cannot and will not take all credit for these.  Jane at The Heritage Cook, a great gluten free pal of mine, whose blog I love visiting and finding great recipes, recently posted some cookies she made using PB2, which is a powdered peanut butter (healthier with all the oil removed, less fat, but still pretty darn tasty).  I had just bought some for the first time last week for our trip to Chicago as I wanted to be able to put peanut butter in my chocolate Shakeology shakes I make for breakfast every morning while we were there.  Normally at home, I just put in a tablespoon of peanut butter, but the PB2 seemed like a great thing to try while travelling.  It was perfect with my shakes and making them in the handheld blender I bought just for the trip with a little added banana I’d get from the hotel continental breakfast.  The link to Jane’s blog above has her recipe!

PB2 Chocolate Chip Cookies 2These cookies are perfectly chewy and have a great salty peanutty taste with just a few bites of chocolate here and there.  

We got back from our trip and a few days later Jane posted cookies she’d made with PB2.  Well, I took that as a big sign that I needed to make cookies with it, too.  I totally followed her recipe, but did make some changes.  Besides using a gluten free flour blend (which Jane did also), I used coconut oil instead of butter and some honey instead of some of the sugar.  I also added more PB2 than her recipe.  Definitely credit and props to her and I can’t wait to make these again.  “Oh, Honey, I’ll need some MORE PB2 soon!”  Maybe I’ll try the chocolate version of PB2 next.  It does have a little added sugar in it, but for two tablespoons of the powder (1 serving) it only has 1 gram of sugar, so it isn’t much and I’m calling it good enough for me.

PB2 Chocolate Chip Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Jane at The Heritage Cook

1 cup gluten free flour blend

3 tablespoons PB2 powdered peanut butter

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup organic coconut oil

1/2 cup organic brown cane sugar (not tightly packed)

1/4 cup raw honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large backyard fresh egg

1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

1/3-1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (or any chocolate of your choice)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.  In a medium sized bowl, combine the gluten free flour, PB2, salt, baking soda and baking powder.  Whisk together.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil, brown sugar, and honey and stir together until well combined.  It takes a little stirring by hand until the coconut oil is all combined, but don’t give up, it happens.  Add the vanilla and egg and whisk until well combined.  Stir in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Stir in the peanuts and chocolate chips.  Using a cookie scoop, cookie dough into cookies spaced about 2 inches apart on baking sheet.  Bake for 9-10 minutes.  Remove from oven let sit on baking sheet for a few minutes.  Move the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.  I used a medium sized (regular sized) cookie/ice cream scoop and got 15 cookies.

PB2 Chocolate Chip Cookie You know you want a bite!  Or your own cookie! ; )