Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake

Have you all recovered from the holidays? Eaten and drank your way through a gazillion pounds of salad and fruit? Good, now you’re ready to get back to real life, and just in time too, your poor body is starving for chocolate (I’m basing this solely on a singular experience, mine, and generalizing because I can’t possibly be alone in this, right?).

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The Devil resides here.

I compromise with my body, I get to fill my desperate chocolate craving and it gets to stay healthy. ish (the word on the healthyness of chocolate is not terribly convincing but it MAKES US HAPPY).

It’s time for a little devilish play.

This cake recipe is free of all grains (and therefore gluten free, yes I’ve been asked that),  free of dairy, free of nuts, it uses coconut sugar and maple syrup to sweeten (except the donut glaze). It does contain eggs, I haven’t been successful (yet) in the grain free vegan catagory.

This cake calls for coconut milk yogurt, see my excellent recipe here and here to make delicious additive-free VEGAN yogurt at home. You will also need tiger nut flour which is a wonderful flour made from a pre-biotic fibre rich teeny tuber, so you’ll want it anyway.

And it makes killer donuts:

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The Devil as a donut.

I don’t have pretty step-by-step pictures. You’ll be fine.

CHOCOLATE DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE

(grain free, dairy free, nut free)

Makes one round cake, 8 cupcakes or 12 donuts

Dry ingredients:

1 cup tiger nut flour

1/3 cup good quality cocoa powder

1/2 cup arrowroot powder

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar

2 tsp psyllium husk powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon (if desired)

Wet ingredients:

3 eggs at room temperature, beaten

1/4 cup maple syrup (or coconut nectar)

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup coconut milk yogurt 

Method: Pre-heat oven to 350*

Coat your chosen pan with a baking spray or coconut oil (8-9 inch springform, donut mold, or muffin tin for cupcakes, or use liners).

In a small bowl whisk to combine all dry ingredients, pressing out any lumps, set aside.

In a medium bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk room temperature eggs. If your eggs are cold the coconut oil will not emulsify into the wet batter (you can warm cold eggs by placing them in warm water 30 minutes before cracking them open, changing the water after 15 min). Add remaining wet ingredients and whisk until fully blended and thick, a minute or two.

Combine dry and wet ingredients blending until completely incorporated. Pour batter into spring form pan or spoon evenly into donut mold, filling nearly full.

Bake cake for 50-60 minutes, bake donuts 20-30 min and bake cupcakes 30-40 min; until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with crumbs but not wet. Let cool before unmolding.

Leave cake whole or, once cooled, slice in two through the center to create a layer.

Coconut Milk Ganache

Makes enough for a cake with one layer, cupcakes, donuts with some leftover (but that is no problem, right?)

1 cup dairy free chopped chocolate or chocolate chunks

1 cup full fat coconut milk, using all the firm coconut milk and enough of the thin milk to equal one cup

2 Tbsp coconut oil

Method:

Place chocolate and coconut oil in a heat proof or stainless bowl. Bring coconut milk almost to a boil then pour over chocolate. Stir well to combine, let cool to room temperature then refrigerate.  Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the ganache until thick and fluffy. This ganache will soften at room temperature, so keep it refrgerated until ready to use.

Once cake or cupcakes have cooled use a spatula to spread frosting fancifully.

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Coconut Milk Glaze with Raspberries

2 cups organic powdered sugar (plus more if needed to acheive desired consistancy)

1/4 cup warm full fat coconut milk (stirred well)

2 Tbsps crushed freeze dried raspberries, plus more for topping

Method:

Whisk powdered sugar into warmed coconut milk, add crushed raspberries, adjust consistency by adding more powdered sugar a teaspoonful at a time, or adding water a few drops at a time. The glaze should be thick but still pourable.

Once donuts are cool enoungh to pop out of their molds, place them on a rack set over  parchment paper or a baking sheet. Spoon glaze over each one, letting it drip down the sides a bit ( it shouldn’t be so thin that it runs over the donut). Press freeze dried raspberries onto tops of donuts.

EAT. Share. Enjoy. 

 

 

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Apple Gingerbread 

“give me juicy autumnal fruit, ripe and red from the orchard” walt whitman (give me the splendid silent sun)

I grew some glorious sunflowers this year, breathtaking in height and sunny color. I harvested 8 (before the birds did!) and laid them on a floor to dry. Small caterpillars came crawling out, those rascals who thought they’d eat their way through until winter.

Recently I went to the Common Ground Fair in Maine, a mind boggling haven for agriculture and localy crafted foods and arts. There I saw a demonstration on saving sunflower seeds, how to make a simple frame with wire fencing to scrape the sunflower heads on and pop out the seeds. Some are black oil seeds, true black color with tiny bits of seed meat in the hulls, best for small animal food, but the rest, like this beauty above, are for us. I’m hoping it’s not more work than they’re worth.
But let’s get to the apples.
Which, truly, I have been craving ever since the end of August when we drove through 3 New England states practically bursting with glorious apple trees. I wanted to stop at every one and grab them off the side of the road (I couldn’t, I wasn’t the one driving).

 Fedco Trees had an impressive display of heirloom apples, some so rare they have “wanted, alive” signs.
I came home with crabapples picked in New Hampshire off trees in front of our inn, heirloom apples from my daughter’s in Maine. I harvested concord grapes then made crabapple & grape jelly (HELL YES, and I’d like to make a case for it being Paleo, since both those fruits are kind of miserable to eat on their own don’t you think our ancestors would have mixed them? With a little honey?) Then used the crabapple pulp with fresh apples to make apple sauce.

The thing with abundance is it must be used fast or it becomes waste. Which brings us to this recipe, because now I have applesauce to last all winter and we really don’t eat it.

Baking with applesauce, or any fruit or squash mash, is truly a brilliant thing to do. The fruit adds moisture, replaces fat, adds flavor and is sweet on it’s own, which means you can cut down on the sweetener in a recipe, if you want.

Tiger Nut flour is something completely new to me. A tiny tuber that is dried and ground, much like Cassava (not tapioca), or a nut flour. It’s an excellent source of prebiotic resistant starch, it’s resists digestion and lands in our gut where it attracts probiotic bacteria (the good guys). Apparently our Paleo ancestors where hip to good gut flora, as the claim goes Tiger Nuts were in use about 2 million years ago. (Back when they learned to mash crabapples and concord grapes together with stone kitchen tools). I’ve had great experiences using this flour, my sensitive gut responds happily (maybe owning to the prebiotic nature of it). I’ve had trouble with cassava and tapioca both, I avoid nuts flours and coconut flour,  so it’s a game changer to find this. Though a teeny bit gritty, I find the flavor to be pleasant, sweet and melds well with all the baking I’ve tried. Definitely give it a try.

Hibernating warm and cozy with baked goods all winter truly appeals. (Leave me recipe ideas to develop in comments!).

  I used Organic Gemini TigerNut Flour, found at my local health food store. (I give the recipe for the Banana Bread version below).

Apple Gingerbread 

Pre-heat oven to 350*.

Oil a loaf pan.

Dry:
1 cup tiger nut flour

1/2 cup arrowroot flour (or tapioca)

1/4 cup quinoa flakes (or a nut flour)

3/4 cup coconut sugar

2 tsp psyllium husk powder

2 tsp flax meal

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp dried ginger

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves
Wet:

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup applesauce

3 Tbsp molasses

1/4 cup melted coconut oil
Optional:

1/4 cup chopped nuts
Method:

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

Whisk wet ingredients together well. Pour wet into dry and stir thoroughly to mix.

Scoop it all into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, until edges pull slightly away from sides and a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
Let cool before slicing in, the loaf will release from the pan easier.


Banana Bread or Muffins (with chocolate) option:
Replace applesauce with mashed banana and molasses with coconut nectar or honey. Omit nutmeg and cloves, use extra cinnamon in their place if you’d like.
For supreme deliciousness add 1/2 cup chocolate chunks and 1/4 cup raw cocoa nibs. Definitely not Paleo.

Flat Bread  aip & paleo style 

FLATBREAD! and AiP you say?! Yes. Yes.  (If you are not familiar with the AIP diet please read about it here).

Well, truth is, it’s basically my Lefse recipe with several twists (see that here).

I bought myself a bag of Cassava flour from Otto’s Naturals and have been playing around with it. I started with cookies (I need to play with that more), moved on to crackers (good!) and then used it in fried chicken (coming soon!). So far (and this is not a paid-to-endorse message) I like it, quite a lot, in small amounts (hence my remake of cookies). Cassava flour is not tapioca starch, which is highly processed from the cassava plant, but it does have the naturally occuring starch in it along with all the fibre from the whole, peeled, cassava root. So it is a root flour, widely cultivated throughout South America, Africa (yuca, manioc), Polynesia and Mexico. Otto’s is from Brazil, which has been cultivating it for about 10 thousand years. So,  they know their cassava. Having never had cassava before I will have to take Otto’s Naturals word that most varieties of the flour are gritty and have a kind of “sour or musty smell and taste”, except theirs, which was pretty gritless, but does have a faint nutty-fermented smell to it, not unpleasant at all.

As I said,  I like it in small amounts. I found for me personally that it contains too much fibre, carbohydtrates and starch when used alone (as in cookies, I’m so dissappointed!) It’s terrific for basic gluten free and grain free/paleo baking, I am limiting starches on the AIP diet, and not consuming tapioca starch at all, too much is not good FOR ME. You, however, are not me.

This recipe uses aip approved arrowroot, along with white sweet potato and cassava flour. I differed it from the lefse recipe in technique as well. Like the lefse, it makes a thin ‘bread’ that is slightly sweet and chewy. I did bake a few to be super crunchy, cracker-like.  I also made several large ones and used them as a ‘pizza’. 

 

Flat Bread Aip, Paleo, Grain Free

2 cups COOKED, mashed white sweet potato (or white yam)

3 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 cup arrowroot flour plus more for rolling

3/4 cup Cassava Flour (I used Otto’s Naturals)

1 tsp salt (or more to taste)

Salt and pepper to sprinkle on before baking, if desired (try other toppings, drizzle with oilive oil and add za’atar, herbs, curry, cinnamon…)

*The white sweet potato (or yam) needs to be mashed and cooled completely before continuing.

Pre-heat oven to 400*

Place sweet potato mash in a food processor fitted with blade, add coconut oil, flours and salt, pulse until a dough ball has begun form, then stop, before it becomes over pureed (this can be made by hand, make sure the sweet potato is mashed until pureed with no lumps). Turn it out on to an arrowroot (or cassava) floured surface. Roll the ball in to a log and cut in to 6-8 even pieces, depending on how large you want your flat breads. Roll each section in to a ball.

Lightly oil 2 baking sheets. Place 2 dough balls evenly apart on sheets, then press one ball into a flat round disc, pressing dough lightly out to sides and evening out the disc. Do this with each dough ball, flouring your hands as needed.

Bake in oven 10 minutes then rotate pans. Bake another 10-15 minutes, checking for browning on edges.

If you wish for crunchy , flip the breads over after 15 minutes of baking and bake until nicely browned on both sides edges, another 15 minutes.

For thin Pizza crust use the dough to make 4 large flat breads, bake 20 minutes, until egdes brown, then remove, flip over and place ‘dry’ toppings on it. Again, since I eat AiP I do not use tomato sauce or cheese, so I’m not sure how well the breads hold up under wet toppings, but baking until it’s crsipy should help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plantain Tortillas (AIP Paleo)

Plantains are a beautiful and versatile starch full of fiber and potassium, often overlooked by cultures where they are not grown. They are considered a ‘cooking’ banana, not intended for raw eating, which is just fine because they cook up wonderfully wether yellow-ripe or green.

While in Tulum last winter we ate at Hartwood  where, among many incredible dishes (the Pulpo Platter, holy smokes!) we had plantains roasted in a wood fired oven, drizzled with honey and cinnamon, proving plantains can be incredibly luscious. My love for plantains was complete. ( If you are vegatarian and ever go there, order two).

In my quest to create bread-like foods on the AIP/Paleo diet I did a quick internet search and discovered quite a few recipes for plantain tortillas. I picked one that made the most sense to me,  I made them but was not wholly pleased. Being hopeful and full of perseverance,  I tried again, altering until it worked. With good green plantains these are foolproof.

We eat these every week, sometimes for breakfast.

Plantain Tortillas 

3 green plantains (make sure they are not turning yellow)

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup coconut oil (no need to soften)

1/4 cup arrowroot flour

1 tsp salt

Optional: try substituting 2 tbls of water with fresh lime juice. Add 1/2 tsp spices such as smoked paprika, cayenne or chipotle.

Heat oven to 400*. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Peel green plantains (you may need to cut some of the fibrous inner peel off the plantain) and slice them in to 1 inch rounds. Place them in your blender or food processor. I have found the Vita-Mix to work the most efficiently, try pureeing half the plantains and water at a time in a less powerful machine.

Add the remaining ingredients and puree until you’ve achieved a smooth applesauce-like consistency. If your plantains were tough to peel they may be dry, add additional water 1 tbsp at a time, too thin and the tortillas won’t come together properly.

Scoop a spoonful of batter on to your parchment lined baking sheet spreading  it around until a thin 1/8-1/4 inch thick circle is formed (or any wonky shape will do) about 4 inches around. I use a soup sized spoon, you can make them bigger if you like. They do not spread during baking, so go ahead and put 5 or 6 on each sheet.

Spreading tortillas

Place your baking sheets in the pre-heated oven set a timer for 10 minutes, at that point you need to check for loosened edges and dry centers, it may take up to 14 minutes a side. Carefully flip the tortilla and bake another 8 minutes or so. Baking time depends on what your goal is, you can have soft foldable tortillas or crisp tostadas. So versatile!

Store in a bag in the fridge or freeze if desired. Reheat in the oven, microwave or, my preference, quickly on a low open flame.

A final note: if you do this recipe with ripe yellow plantains (when the skins are close to black that means ripe) you can make them thicker and eat as sweet pancakes 🙂

 

 

Sweet Potato Lefse (AIP Paleo Breads)

 

Even on a good day, even if you have crazy good cooking skills and creative juices flowing, wake up with ‘seize the day’ gumption, restrictive diets can really bring you crashing down. The AIP diet is one such challenge, with a CAPITAL C, seemingly designed to not only alter your immune system, but your whole arsenal of coping skills (If you’re not familiar with it read here and here for starters, no need for me to go into what has already been so eloquently and thoroughly described). To prove my point, here is one of my first FAILS

lovely zip banana waffles

aip banana waffle mess.

I was not swayed. I’m always behind the trends, may not seem so to my loving family and kind worded friends, but it’s truth. So naturally I took to the internet in search of those who have been here before me. I’ve baked gluten free for years, some pretty memorable goods (Sourdough Breads, Chocolate Marble Bundt Cake, OOH and Hand Pies!). Now I’m AIP Paleo. Big shift. Even so, I can only talk myself out of wanting something for so long..

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My search for bread like things took me to a great Sweet Potato Lefse recipe from Sweet Treats Baking, my inspiration! It’s like a combination of flat bread and this sweet potato pancake I make (gf, with tapioca or millet) from Food 52. Since tapioca flour is now considered a Gluten Cross Reactor it’s not recommended on AIP ( bonus: arrowroot is the easiest starch to digest AND it can be used as an egg replacer, I adore who ever came up with that!)  I added proper .oz measurements for those of you without kitchen scales, I left the out sweetener (I find sweet potatoes sweet enough) I second Laura’s notes on doubling the recipe (the batter doesn’t keep well, neither does the sweet potato pancake recipe if you’re going to try it) but I did double the sweet potato and held off adding the dry ingredients until I was ready to cook the Lefse, having extra in the fridge made breakfasts easy for three days straight.

Sweet Potato Lefse  (adapted from Sweet Treats Baking)

2 cups cooked cubed WHITE sweet potato, from one large

1 cup arrowroot flour * plus more for rolling

2 tbsp coconut flour

3 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp salt

Boil sweet potato cubes until soft, drain in a sieve and let cool there so all moisture evaporates. Place sweet potatoes into a medium bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Add 3/4 cup arrowroot starch, 2 tbsp coconut flour, 3 tbsp oil, 1 tsp salt and stir until all ingredients are incorporated. Let this batter sit for 10 minutes, this allows the arrowroot and coconut to absorb moisture (but not longer because the batter will break down and be more difficult to work with).

When you are ready to roll out breads add 1/4 more arrowroot flour to batter and flour your work surface. Scoop out a large tablespoon of batter roll it into a ball then pat it flat on your floured surface and roll it out to a 1/4 inch thick  round with your rolling pin (sorry folks, I have no photos of process other the top one) making sure the lefse doesn’t stick to the rolling pin or work surface (I carefully use a bench scraper to lift it from my marble to the skillet). Heat a cast iron skillet or a non-stick pan over medium heat, add a little coconut oil, once hot add the lefse and cook a couple minutes per side, flipping when the bread seems to loosen around the edges (like a pancake, these really are a kind of crepe). While this is cooking you can quickly roll out another, remembering to flour your work surface and rolling pin. Take the cooked lefse off the skillet, set aside and start again. This is time consuming but pretty easy, and more fun if someone is helping you (*especially if you want to double this! wait until the whole first batch is finished cooking before mixing dry ingredients into second batch of sweet potato).

rolling out in beautiful sun light always helps

rolling out in beautiful sun light always helps

Some serving suggestions:

My husband says “shove in mouth, chew” right off the skillet.

Drizzle with an AIP amount of honey, sprinkle with cinnamon and roll up sliced banana in them.

Paleo, nut butter with a little dried fruit or cocoa nibs or toasted coconut flakes.

Use as a sandwich wrap for your lunch ‘salads’.