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!


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! ;)


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!)



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  These muffins were inspired by that bread, but I changed many things and came up with these darn-tootin' good muffins.


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.


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


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

Friday, July 01, 2016

MELT Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and MELT Buttery Baking Sticks and Spreads

MELT Grain Free CCC's

Have you seen or heard of MELT Organic?  It’s a company that makes organic coconut oil baking sticks and spreads. They sent me some samples.  They are really good!  They are made of all organic ingredients and are vegan.  This is good news for me, since my 14 year old is trying out being vegan right now.  Not sure how long he’ll go on with that diet plan, but it’s been interesting for me to try to keep him fed.  He seems to be living off peanut butter sandwiches right now.  But I hadn’t realized these baking sticks and spreads were vegan, so I can’t wait to tell him to have some toast!  It’s kind of a family joke—whenever the boys tell me their stomach hurts and that they’re hungry, I tell them to have toast.  It became such that they were really annoyed every time I’d say that.  So now lately whenever they have any issues at all, a stubbed toe, sunburn, headache, you name it, I tell them the best thing for them is to have toast.  They LOVE it. (eyeroll)  Try it next time you have any ailment, have some toast.  Try it with MELT.  I’ve made a couple grilled cheese sandwiches with it (with gluten free bread for me).  Good stuff!


MELT Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Hello, back to cookies—you know, really what life is all about. Winking smile

Since I have My Favorite Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies already, I simply used the MELT Organic baking sticks in place of the coconut oil in the recipe and they turned out delicious and perfect.  I love them.  They are all for me. Winking smile  One thing I realized as I made them a couple days ago, they seem to be better with age.  Which is quite the opposite with regular chocolate chip cookies.  If you’re looking for a grain free, refined sugar free chocolate chip cookie recipe, you should definitely try mine that I’ve linked here.  Try them with MELT! 

MELT Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies


Want a cookie?  I’ve got plenty.


MELT Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

But hurry, they won’t last long…………..

MELT Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies 4


Guess what, MELT also makes a Chocolate MELT Organic Spread!  (It’s not vegan, as it has some honey), but it’s good!  I actually haven’t tried it on just some toast, but all the sudden that sounds really good and now I must.  MELT Organic mention that even their spreads can be used for baking, so I have tried the Chocolate MELT Spread a couple times with a brownie recipe.  But I’m still tweaking it.  I don’t think it’s the MELT that is causing me to not be perfectly in love with the recipe yet, I think it’s my substitutes for regular granulated sugar (using coconut sugar and raw honey) that I haven’t gotten just right yet.  My goal (and we should all have goals, right?) is to keep making brownies, brownies, brownies until I get it right.  Then I’ll share the recipe.


Thanks for the samples, MELT!  Toast, cookies, brownies and grilled cheese sandwiches, gluten free and all pretty healthy.  Sounds good to me!  Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies—Grain Free, Refined Sugar Free

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies

One of the best goodies I’ve made that I can eat right here and I love the taste and texture.  I have a simple, little secret to tell you—I made the dough of My Favorite Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I wanted to add nuts, because for years now, I haven’t been putting nuts in cookies, even though I totally think they should be there, because people around here at my house don’t like them.  Then it dawned on me that I can put all the nuts I want into my own goodies because I am generally the only one around here who will eat them.  So good, healthy, grain free, refined sugar free chocolate chip cookies, with walnuts, needed to happen.  After making the dough, I didn’t feel standing around baking the cookies. 


So I hurried and threw the dough into a baking pan and baked them.  Hello?  Easiest thing ever—and these blondies were born.  I know, takes a lot of brain power for that one.  I love the texture and I love having nuts in my own treats.  So win—win.  I wasn’t sure how they’d actually bake, but I decided after 20 minutes to call it good and I let them cool completely.  I thought they’d sink down after taking them out of the oven, but they stayed nice firm.  Not sure I’ll ever make chocolate chip cookies for me again, because this was sure easy and I have 16 blondies to enjoy over the next little while, you know, if I wouldn’t eat three or four of them a day. ; ) No, I think the most I’ve had the first day was three.  They were great stored in an airtight container for a few days.  Now the rest have been in the fridge and are still great. 


Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies, Grain Free, Refined Sugar Free (2)

These have a perfect soft, chewy texture that you want in a blondie and work the same magic that having a cookie would have in the cravings department.


Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies, Grain Free, Refined Sugar Free, by Katrina Smith, Baking and Boys!

1 cup almond flour

¼ cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons coconut oil

½ cup coconut sugar

¼ cup raw honey

6 tablespoons almond butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)

1 large egg

1 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, or chocolate of your choice (ingredients in the chocolate—evaporated cane juice, natural chocolate liquor (non-alcoholic), non-dairy cocoa butter—dairy, soy, nut and gluten free)

1/2 cup lightly toasted, chopped walnuts (or nut of your choice)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9 inch baking pan with nonstick foil, lightly oil with coconut oil (probably don’t have to have the foil, but I like using it). In a medium sized bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the coconut oil, coconut sugar, honey and almond butter. Beat until well combined. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts with a spatula. Spread all of the batter  evenly into the baking pan and bake for 20 minutes.  Check the center of the bars with a toothpick that comes out  mostly clean, but a little bit of crumb/chocolate is okay. Let cool on wire rack completely.  Remove the bars from the pan using the foil edges and cut on a cutting board into 16 squares.   Store the ones not eaten immediately in an airtight container.


Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies, Grain Free, Refined Sugar Free 3 

Deliciousness!  Can’t wait to try them with pecans.  Also going to try them with peanut butter instead of almond butter and put some peanuts in them.  Oh the endless possibilities!

Thursday, April 07, 2016

No Bake Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Oat Bites

No Bake Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Oat Bites

A perfect, easy, sweet treat!


These would be great for any Almond Joy lover, but someone looking for something a little more healthy.  Like me.


I know, it’s been a month since I posted anything.  I’ve been in a bit of a baking, sweet sharing slump.  I’ll never be gone for good, but seem to just be slowing down a bit with things I must share.  I whipped these super simple no bake bites up today and decided to get them posted for you. 


I will say, I got my inspiration for these from a blog, The Beaming Baker, when her No Bake Peanut Butter Coconut Bites showed up on Pinterest and Facebook.  I changed up her recipe since I’d just made some homemade almond butter and had finished off a jar of peanut butter.  These will sure be nice to have around for a snack as sometimes I can’t find anything I’m hankering for and it needs to be somewhat sweet.  Otherwise, I eat sugar snap peas like they are Lays potato chips and I can only eat so many of them before I’ll have pea sprouts coming out my ears or something. ; )


No Bake Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Oat Bites

No Bake Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Oat Bites, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free


3/4 cup almond butter (I made homemade with raw almonds, but you can use a purchased one also)

1/4 cup raw honey (I also added another tablespoon of honey after decided it needed a bit more, start with 1/4 cup)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

3/4 cup gluten free old fashioned oats

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/4 cup chopped almonds

6 tablespoons Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips


In a medium sized bowl, combine the almond butter, honey and vanilla.  Stir together well.  Add the coconut, oats, flaxseed, almonds and chocolate chips.  Stir until all combined.  Decide if it needs a little more honey by making a ball of the mixture in your hands and squeezing it together.  When I make almond butter, it’s a little thicker than the store bought kind, so using a runnier one may make the mixture wet/sticky enough to combine.  Using your hands, form the mixture into about 1 inch balls, squeezing the mixture together so it stays in its shape.  Lay them on a waxed paper lined sheet.  Makes 16-20 depending on size.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


No Bake Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Oat Bites 3

Easy peasy and yummy!

Monday, March 07, 2016

My Favorite Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

My Favorite Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
I have had My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe for years now.  I’ve tried so many different recipes over the years, even since finding THE one, but the one I always make holds true.  It is a perfect cookie dough and makes perfect cookies.  I’ve used the recipe to add all kinds of things to the cookie, including peanut butter yumminess, coconut and nuts, and freeze dried raspberries, just to name a few.  I adapted the Jacques Torres/New York Times recipe years ago and have made this one my go-to.  Everyone loves the cookies.  Check out the link for lots of mouth-watering pictures.  There was a problem—now that I don’t eat gluten and refined sugar, I knew I was really missing out on one of my favorite things.  In the meantime, I’ve tried many gluten free and grain free chocolate chip cookie recipes.  They are usually okay.  They usually “do the trick” for me, you know, get me over that “I need a chocolate chip cookie” fix. 

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

I need to tell you though—I’ve found My Favorite Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookie and need to share it with you all here.  I almost always make the regular ones into huge cookies, they are just perfect that way.  I give them away to lots of happy people and hear many compliments.  I recently needed to give some good gluten free chocolate chip cookies to someone who can’t have gluten (at all, I cleaned everything well and kept it well away from anything gluten), so I created this one and it’s the best one I’ve made.  Perfect combination of chewy on the inside and crisp edges and the flavor is great with what I think is just the right amount of sweetness from coconut sugar and a little honey.  Must make these again!

My Favorite Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookie

My Favorite Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, by Katrina Smith, Baking and Boys!

1 cup almond flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons coconut oil
½ cup coconut sugar
¼ cup raw honey
6 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
1 large egg
1 ¼ cup Enjoy Life chocolate chunks and mini chips (ingredients in the chocolate—evaporated cane juice, natural chocolate liquor (non-alcoholic), non-dairy cocoa butter—dairy, soy, nut and gluten free)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium sized bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the coconut oil, coconut sugar, honey and almond butter. Beat until well combined. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks/chips with a spatula. Scoop the dough into cookies on the baking sheet and bake for 10-14 minutes (depending on size of cookies). Let cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
My Favorite Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookie 2
You know you want a bite.  Or maybe even your own cookie (s )!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Eight Years of Blogging! Chocolate Drizzled Toasted Almond Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate Drizzled Toasted Almond Coconut Macaroons, Gluten Free, Paleo

Today it has been eight years since I started my blog!  I cannot believe it—eight years!  When I started it, just to keep track of and share happenings of my boys and my life with my family and friends, I had no idea I’d still be at it this many years later.  My boys are sure growing up!

Smith Boys


It’s strange to think back to 2008.  Sam wasn’t even one when I started my blog.  He’s now almost nine!  Scott is 17, Parker is 14, and Taylor is 12!  Bah!!!  It’s too much to keep thinking about, so let’s talk macaroons instead.


I love coconut.  I don’t think I’ve ever met or made a macaroon I didn’t like.  But I think I’ve made one that might be my favorite now….and for always?  These have toasted almonds, ground nice and finely.  They are made with coconut sugar and raw honey, unsweetened coconut and egg whites.  Perfectly gluten free and refined sugar free, but you must believe me—they are so good.  Perfect, if I must say so.  Yes, they are great plain, as is.  But if you know me, I have to add a little chocolate to just about everything.  So I melted some Enjoy Life chocolate chips and drizzled it over the tops of the cookies, then sprinkled some more of the freshly ground toasted almonds on top.  Heavenly!


Coconut Macaroons

They really are great without the chocolate.  I know, I ate a few of them before the chocolate came along.  But come on—everything is better with chocolate.  It had to be done.  I just wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t.  You want the recipe, I know, that’s really why you’re here. 


Chocolate Drizzled Toasted Almond Coconut Macaroons

Can you guess which one I ate first?  That’s right—the one where the bigger drizzle of chocolate fell upon it. ; )


Chocolate Drizzled Toasted Almond Coconut Macaroons, by Katrina, Baking and Boys! (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar Free)


2 large egg whites, room temperature

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup raw honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 cups unsweetened (dessicated) shredded coconut

1/2 cup freshly toasted, then finely ground almonds*

3-4 ounces Enjoy Life chocolate chips (3 ounces is 1/2 cup)

1/2 teaspoon coconut oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites and begin beating them on high speed with the wire attachment until foamy.  Gradually add the coconut sugar then the honey. Scrape the sides of the bowl.  Add the vanilla, almond extract and salt and beat until soft peaks form.  Fold the coconut and ground almonds into the egg white mixture.  Using a cookie scoop, put the coconut mixture into mounds on the baking sheet, using your hands/fingers form each firmly together on the tops.  They can be fairly close together on the baking sheet as they do not spread.  Makes about 16 cookies.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheet until almost cool.  Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Melt the chocolate in a glass dish in the microwave in 20-30 second intervals, stirring in between.  When it is almost completely melted, add the coconut oil and stir until melted and combined.  This only takes about 90 seconds total.  Using a small spoon (or add the chocolate to a sandwich-sized plastic zip top baggie with the corner snipped off), drizzle the chocolate over each cookie.  I happened to have some extra ground almonds and sprinkled it over each cookie. 


Drizzled Chocolate Toasted Almond Coconut Macaroons

I took the inspiration and basic recipe for these from a recipe for some macaroons I made a couple years ago that were also the bomb--White Chocolate Lime Coconut Macaroons and Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Coconut Macaroons.  These were also delicious!  Try them!  Credit goes again to What Jew Wanna Eat for the original recipe.


Happy Eight Years of Blogging to me.  Who knows—maybe another eight year or more?  I don’t even want to think about how grown up my boys would be then—and how old that would make me…..

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 large egg
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.