Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just for fun I have been experimenting with grain-free baking. Flour is such a key ingredient in baking, and it is so interesting that we assume it has to be grain-based. Many non-grain flours are very commonplace anymore. Almond flour, coconut flour, bean flours, buckwheat flour (buckwheat is in the rhubarb family), and more. 

These cookies are made with the divine combination of almond flour and coconut flour, with some buckwheat flour and potato starch to lighten things up. The buckwheat flour has an interesting spicy flavor, similar to cinnamon, but not quite. I noticed that the day after the cookies were baked I could no longer taste the buckwheat. It must have mellowed into the other flavors. You cannot really identify any one of the flour flavors. They combine into a delicious cookie with a soft texture identical to grain-flour cookies.

Good news! Spectrum Organic Shortening now is available in butter flavor. Perfect for baking!

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
from: giddyupglutenfree, dorothy allard 2011

3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup potato starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup shortening (Spectrum butter-flavored)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs (or egg replacer for 2 eggs)

1 tbsp almond milk (or other dairy-free milk)
2 tsp vanilla extract (gf)

2 cups chocolate chips (dairy-free)

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350º. 

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

1. Sift together dry ingredients, set aside.

2. Combine shortening and sugar in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer on medium high speed. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until creamy. Stir in milk and vanilla.

3. Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients. You may have to stir the last bit of dry in by hand because the dough will be stiff. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough in refrigerator for at least one hour.

4. Scoop up 2 inch dollops of dough (no need to be precise), and drop 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Ingredients note: Use organic ingredients when you can, and evaporated cane juice instead of refined sugar.



Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Gluten and Dairy Free Carrot Cake
We just celebrated a couple of birthdays at my house. Mine and my husband's. Our birthdays are one day apart. Which means we usually share a cake. This year we chose Carrot Cake. 

This recipe is adapted from a tried and true family recipe, one that we don't make often enough. This gluten-free version of the cake is indistinguishable from the original. It is very moist and the blended flavors are divine. The frosting was a little more challenging to replicate. Cream cheese frosting is traditional with Carrot Cake. There are some dairy-free "cream cheese" products out there, but they are soy-based and I know that many of you avoid soy. So I developed a frosting that is the same texture as cream cheese frosting and added some lemon juice to give it little tang, sort of reminiscent of cream cheese. It works.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
Celebrate spring with this moist and delicious cake. 
3/4 cup sorghum flour

3/4 cup millet flour
3/4 cup potato starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt 
1 cup vegetable oil (or light olive oil)
2 cups organic cane sugar

3 large eggs (or egg replacer for 3 eggs)
2½ tsp vanilla extract (gluten free)
2 cups grated carrots
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple (do not drain the juice) 
1 cup raisins (optional)
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease and flour (gf) a 9" x 12" baking pan.

1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together thoroughly the flours, starch, xanthan gum,
baking soda, baking powder,  salt, and cinnamon.

2. In a large bowl blend oil and sugar with a hand blender at medium speed until incorporated. Add eggs and vanilla, mix until incorporated. By hand stir in carrots and pineapple (with juice).

3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stir well. Fold in nuts and raisins. Mixture will be thin. Pour batter into prepared pan.

4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.  Cool well before frosting. 

Carrot Cake Frosting 
1/4 cup Earth Balance (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup Spectrum Organic Shortening
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp So Delicious Coconut Milk

4 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 cups powdered sugar

Whip butter, shortening, vanilla, coconut milk, and lemon juice well. Mix in powdered sugar in thirds. Frost cake when it is cool.


Fresh Ginger Cake, GF/CF

Do you ever look at a recipe and think "No way. That can't be right."  I found this recipe in Joy of Cooking for a ginger cake that calls for 1/2 cup of grated fresh ginger. That's right. One half cup. That seems like a lot of ginger. Even for a ginger freak. 

But in Joy I trust. So out came the microplane and on it went the peeled ginger root. The warm and exotic aroma of freshly grated ginger is amazing. It made me wonder why I don't use fresh ginger more often. 

The ginger is not complicated by other spices in this cake. It is the star. Baked in a pie pan and sliced in wedges this cake is simple and charming, but with a very sophisticated flavor. One half cup of grated ginger is just right.

Fresh Ginger Cake, GF/CF
Adapted from Joy of Cooking to be gluten free and dairy free

A moist and lively treat for a cold winter day

1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
1/2 cup finely grated ginger
1/2 cup (one stick) Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Stick
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease and flour (gf) a 9" pie pan.

1. Whisk together thoroughly the flours, starch, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt.

2. In another large bowl whisk together brown sugar, molasses, honey, and egg. Whisk in grated ginger.

3. Combine butter and water in a small saucepan, heat until butter melts.

4. Whisk butter mixture into molasses mixture. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth. Scrape batter into prepared pan.

5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Slide a knife around the cake to detach it from the pan. Sprinkle top with powdered sugar, cut in wedges, serve.


Mocha Almond Scones, Gluten-Free

Wake up and smell the scones.
What I like about scones is that they are fast and easy, and so versatile. A good basic scone recipe is a blank canvas for so many creative incarnations, just by varying the flavors of the liquid and adding whatever dried fruits and/or nuts that sound good. Today I wanted to make a scone with the flavors of a coffee drink. An almond latte. With chocolate. And nuts. And I wanted it to be vegan.

I have been trying all sorts of ways to substitute eggs in my baking recipes. Not because I am vegan. I'm not. Far from it. I like to use eggs in baking. They are like magic. But I realize that many of you are vegan or have egg allergies and are always looking for ways to replace eggs. I've tried different combinations of liquid/fat/leavening. I've tried the boxed egg replacement stuff. I've tried flax meal. No, no, and no.

Here's what works the best. Fruit purees. I have successfully used applesauce as an egg replacement in cookies. You would not know the difference. Substitute 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce or other fruit puree for one egg. It does what it is supposed to do. Amazing. All this time the answer was right in my own backyard. Seriously. I have an over-active apple tree and make jars and jars of applesauce every fall. 

These scones are veganly egg free thanks to a little applesauce. If you would like to use an egg instead, feel free. Just lower the amount of baking powder from five teaspoons to four.

Scones are not the most photogenic food. These rustic wedges look like they are made of clay. They're not. They are light and soft and tasty. Look beyond the face and into the soul of these beauties and you will see a lovely mate for your morning coffee or tea.

GF/CF Almond Mocha Scones (vegan) 
giddyupglutenfree, dorothy allard 2011 

1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup organic cocoa powder
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 tsp xanthan gum
5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (one stick) Earth Balance Vegan Butter, cold, cut into chunks

3/4 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup slivered almonds, roasted (bake at 300º for 15 minutes)

demerera sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350°

1. In a bowl combine flours, starches, cocoa powder, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt. Whisk until combined, then sift into another bowl. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. 
2. In a small bowl whisk to blend milk, applesauce, espresso powder, vinegar, vanilla, almond.  Add to flour mixture along with almonds. Stir with a fork just until evenly moistened. Don’t over-mix.
3. Scrape dough onto a (GF) floured surface - dough will be sticky. With lightly floured hands, work it into a 7-inch round disc. Cut dough into eight equal wedges. (a pizza wheel works great for this).  Arrange wedges 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle scones with demerera sugar.
4. Bake scones 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes on baking sheet.

Makes 8 scones. Store in an airtight container after cooling.

More scone recipes from the giddyup corral:
Blueberry Lemon Scones
Cherry Chocolate Scones
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.