Banana Chocolate Chip Bars #CreativeCookieExchange

Wow. I don’t know what’s happened to my brain these days, but I am all out of focusing power. Since I have the summer “off” (fellow teachers know that’s a huge lie), I’ve been stuck in the mentality that I’m “multitasking” during the day when in reality I’m doing a lot of things and getting none of them done. It’s been hot as blazes the past week or so too, meaning that the oven is off 90% of the time (which also saves us on energy costs), whatever fruit I glean from the farmers market with the eventual goal of turning into jam is banished to the freezer, and the ice cube trays are getting a workout. That said, I have learned that frozen lemon slices are perfect for chilling large cups of water, T-shirts make great re-usable shopping bags, a pair of socks can turn into an owl and I’m better at altering clothing than I thought.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bars



Normally at this time of year I’d also be regaling you with stories about the garden’s glorious bounty. While the produce and herbs are coming along perfectly fine themselves, we unfortunately have attracted a family or two of voles, which have decimated all my early harvest lettuce, kale, heirloom peppers and some of my prized heirloom tomatoes. Until those pests are under control for good, I’ve decided to patrol my little plot every morning, filling in holes and mourning my losses. Needless to say, this year’s haul might be somewhat spartan, and this realization has slightly deadened my usual drive to live the kitchen, heat be damned.

What has convinced me to crank up the oven lately are the almost weekly BBQ cookouts my family has. Voles aside, we have a spacious, well taken care of and (if I say so myself) rather pretty backyard, and now that our gazebo is once again securely anchored and screened in after an early season windstorm, it’s a decently comfortable location for a small group to dine. While mom takes care of making the burgers, corn, salads and fruit trays, she’s often too pressed for time to think about a secondary dessert option. I’m not saying fruit isn’t a good Summer sweet, but one can only have so many slices of watermelon in an afternoon, and when there are kids involved you know eventually one of them is going to pine for “real dessert”! 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bars

In the interest of pleasing both the sweet teeth of all our guests as well as the goals of many of the adults to stay svelte this season (and their desire to limit the kids’ sugar consumption) I devised these thin, cake-like banana bars. Essentially squares of indulgent chocolate-chip banana bread, they get a dense crumb and light tang from cream cheese that makes them perfect for a backyard BBQ or picnic lunch. The recipe makes a big pan’s worth and freezes beautifully, making the most of your oven time in the midst of the summer heat. With all the chocolate chips peppered throughout, you’d never suspect they were vegan, nut free and full of fibre from oats and whole wheat. If you need to dress it up, just spoon over a handful of seasonal berries and grab a fork! 

For #CreativeCookieExchange this month, we’ve decided that cheese makes everything better – even cookies! Sweet or savoury, you can find all sorts of inspiration here!

You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

If you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Banana Chocolate Chip Bars
Makes one 15×10 inch jelly roll pan, 36 pieces
¼ cup non-hydrogenated shortening
½ cup cream cheese (I used Tofutti)
⅓ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp Lyle’s golden syrup (or corn syrup)
4 mashed over-ripe bananas
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup rolled oats
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips 

  1. Heat the oven to 350F and line a 15×10″ jelly roll pan with parchment.
  2. In a bowl, beat together shortening, cream cheese, sugars, vanilla, golden syrup and bananas until smooth.
  3. Whisk together the flours, oats, nutmeg, baking powder and salt and add to the banana mixture, mixing to combine.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until firm.
  6. Cool completely in the pan before slicing

 Amount Per Serving
Calories: 104.5
Total Fat: 3.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 20.5 mg
Total Carbs: 18.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
Protein: 1.6 g

Blue Raspberry Chia Jam: Toast Topper #68

Sometimes the simplest things are the most delicious. Around here, especially in the height of summer, our table sings with the bounty of both our backyard and the local farms that sell on the market days. It’s a time that flies by way too fast in my opinion, since it seems like only yesterday I was hauling my first load of rhubarb from and planting my tomato seedlings in the garden, and now we’re halfway through July!

Anyways, my latest foray into the farmer’s market netted me with two boxes of wild Ontario blueberries, which (after careful taste testing!) were carefully stashed away from prying fingers. I had picked up a bag of frozen Ontario raspberries the week before, and had been grabbing the occasional handful right out of the freezer after a few hours in the 35C heat in our backyard, and it occurred to me to combine the two fruits in a lightly sweetened, lightning-fast Toast Topper. After all, we had a fresh loaf of Pain au Levain to gild!

Blue-Raspberry Chia Jam

I’m not kidding, either, when I say this recipe is an exercise in simplicity – or frugality. It can be as easily made in the dead of winter with frozen berries as in the height of summer with fresh, and doesn’t contain any added sugar – the minimal boost in sweetness for this batch came from a boiled apple syrup I cooked down from fresh juice and tempered with added lemon juice and zest. To thicken the medley of berries, a dose of chia seeds went to work, making for a spread that is not so stiff that you have to cut through it with a knife (yech!) but thick enough not to run off your bagel in the morning. While the mixture is less alien today than a year or two ago when the chia craze first hit, I’ve still yet to find many people (outside of my Home Ec classes!) that have truly tasted it like this. Hopefully this recipe will spark another group of eager eaters!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Blue Raspberry Chia Jam
Makes 2 cups, 16 (2 tbsp) servings
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
3 tbsp Boiled Apple Cider Syrup (I made my own but you can use this too)
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp raw sugar (optional, I didn’t use any)
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp chia seeds

  1. Combine berries, syrup, zest and sugar (if using) in a medium pot and bring to a simmer, mashing the berries slightly. Cook 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and chia seeds.
  3. Process in a waterbath for 25 minutes.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 16.8
Total Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.4 mg
Total Carbs: 3.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
Protein: 0.4 g

Pain au Levain avec Banane #BreadBakers

Pain of whatnow?

Relax, the fancy-schmancy French name I gave the hearty, crusty boule made for this month’s #BreadBakers event simply means Banana Sourdough. There’s only six ingredients – five if you don’t count water – and there’s no added sugar at all. All the sweetness comes from the namesake fruit, and in lieu of added butter or oil, a scoop of all natural cashew butter adds the “peanut butter and banana sandwich” nuance along with everlasting moisture.

Pain au Levain avec Banane et Blé Entier

Of course, sourdough anything, regardless of the sweetener or fat used, is usually far from being a mindless pursuit. There’s a starter to maintain (sort of… mine pretty much lives in the fridge unless I decide to bake one morning), baking stones to heat in the oven, and hours upon hours to wait for each rise. I’m not denying these steps exist with this loaf, either. They do – from almost a full day, followed by an overnight, rise as well as multiple stretch-and-folds in place of a one-shot knead. However, all this fuss and time allows the relatively heavy dough to strengthen, rise and eventually shape nicely into it’s final round.

Looking at it, of course, it’s not impressive. In fact, the perfectly baked loaf is pedestrian at best, not large or beautifully embellished with washes, score marks or egg paint. It’s something that would sit in the breadbox, untouched by passerby – and definitely nothing that would fly out of a boulangerie. The secret to this bread only reveals itself when it’s cut into – and even without butter or any other Toast Topper I dare you to declare it’s not delicious!

Pain au Levain avec Banane et Blé Entier

All our naturally sweetened breads:

BreadBakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

In brackets, I have included the baker’s percentages so you can easily scale up or down as you need.

Pain au Levain avec Banane 
Adapted from The Fresh Loaf
Makes 1 loaf, 20 slices

350g 100% hydration, recently fed (preferably rye) sourdough starter    (100%)

350g whole wheat bread flour  (100%)
246g mashed banana  (70.18%)
55g smooth cashew butter (this is my current fave) (15.79%)
49g water  (14.04%)
11g salt (3.16%) – use less if your cashew butter is heavily salted

  1. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
  2. Mix ingredients on low speed for 2 minutes, just to combine, then cover and let rest 20 minutes.
  3. Knead for 12 minutes on medium-low speed. 
  4. Cover and let rise 2 ½ hours, stretching and folding (30-40 times) every 50 minutes.
  5. Cover and let rise, undisturbed, for 2 hours.
  6. Place in the fridge overnight.
  7. Bring to room temperature, shape into a round loaf and let rise 4 hours on a sheet of parchment.
  8. Meanwhile, place a baking stone in the oven and heat to 410F.
  9. Transfer dough (on the parchment) to the stone and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Reduce temperature to 375F, tent with foil and bake another 25 minutes.
  11. When fully baked, the loaf will be 190F internally.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 118.6
Total Fat: 1.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 1.6 mg
Total Carbs: 23.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.8 g
Protein: 3.7 g  

Kheer #SundaySupper

Is there anything more comforting than a big bowl of rice pudding? While the bulk of my experiences with the grainy dessert growing up were the result of opening and dumping a can into a couple bowls, dad and I were suckers for the stuff (nobody else, by the way, even remotely likes it here). Today, if you were to ask me to name what I crave in times of stress, you’d hear me wax poetic about the thick, creamy pudding warmed up in the microwave and shoveled down as fast as I could. Heck, even cold, a spoonful from the fridge could cure wonders.

I wanted to bring the great memories of sharing rice pudding to my Home Ec class this past year, and since we were working on a “food around the world” theme, I turned to the only other country with a rice pudding that I knew of – India. Kheer, as it’s called, is not always 100% rice based though – recipes vary from using wheat, tapioca, or vermicelli noodles as the starch and anything from cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, saffron, nuts and sesame seeds to flavour it. The version I made for class was culled from one of my old college professors and was what was served at her son’s first birthday – leftover cooked rice elevated by re-cooking it in thickened milk, coconut milk, saffron and sweet spices before being garnished with softened raisins and dates. It sounded absolutely incredible – even to someone allergic to coconut such as me!

Making this exotic comfort food is even easier than making rice (to me, anyways… I’m stovetop-rice challenged). The kids – from 6 to 8 years old – all had at least one heaping spoonful, and some even took extras home after polishing off thirds! What made it home with me was eagerly purloined by my dad to rave reviews (probably a good thing, otherwise I’d be making ice cream with the thick, custardy mixture and trying to figure out what to do with it then!). If you and your family can tolerate dairy and coconut, I really wouldn’t worry about the leftovers sticking around too long though!

A #bowlful of #Coconut #Raisin Kheer (rice pudding ) for a #glutenfree #snacktime

You know what else uses a lot of coconut? Piña Coladas! National Piña Colada Day is today, and those in the know are toasting the combination of coconut, pineapple and rum with their own libations. To our credit, the #SundaySupper gang is sharing over 40 coconut recipes today, with both sweet and savory dishes, breakfasts and drinks, almost anything you could think of! Check out our offerings below and don’t forget to leave a comment telling me your favourite coconut dish!

Great Starts

Dive in with Sides and Appetizers

Coco-Nutty Main Dishes

“Col-lots-a” Desserts

Sweet to Sip Beverages

Sunday Supper Movement

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Kheer
serves 8

1 ½ cups whole milk
¼ cup whole milk powder
pinch saffron (optional)
1 cup cooked brown basmati rice
¾ cup full-fat, canned coconut milk
¼ cup coconut sugar
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
⅓ cup raisins, soaked in warm water and drained
¼ cup chopped soft dates (soak with the raisins if they’re too dry)
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the milk, milk powder, saffron (if using) and cooked rice, whisking well.
  2. Heat until the mixture begins to boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until the mixture begins to thicken – about 5 minutes.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and add the coconut milk, coconut sugar, cardamom and cinnamon.
  4. Continue to cook, stirring, until the mixture just begins to thicken again, approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. When mixture begins to thicken, remove from the heat and stir in the raisins and dates.
  6. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled – if chilling, cover the surface directly with plastic wrap to avoid forming a “skin”.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 148.0
Total Fat: 5.3 g
Cholesterol: 8.5 mg
Sodium: 39.5 mg
Total Carbs: 22.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
Protein: 3.7 g

Chufa Chocolate Chippers

Are you a “chunky” type of chocolate chipper? Growing up, you’d never catch me with chunks of anything other than chocolate in my cookies – raisins, chopped nuts and seeds, granola were verboten by us kids, and my poor chocolate chip-pecan-oatmeal cookie loving mom obliged year after year, batch after batch. Eventually I started to come around to the “heartier” side of things, but I never really liked the semi-bitter flavour that walnuts and pecans brought to the sweet party, not to mention I could barely bring “nutted” goodies anywhere anyway, after the explosion of allergies in schools, camps and even some offices.

Chufa Chocolate Chippers

Luckily, as years passed and I started paying attention to alternative options, I devised a recipe that had all the texture my mom (and many others) desired, but was allergy-friendly too. In the end, the basic formula switched extremes in a way – from being packed with nuts, eggs, dairy, refined sugar and gluten to lacking every single one of those. My secret was a blend of sorghum flour, ground chufa nuts (AKA Tigernuts) and sunflower seed flour for the base “dough” – making for a sweet and earthy cookie – then adding chopped Tigernuts for texture and a stevia/agave mix for sweetening. A few batches in and I was starting to get requests for them – leading to a bag of them in everyone’s Christmas boxes last year!

A note, which applies to almost all gluten free baking and certainly good chocolate chip cookie manufacturing: let the dough rest. In this case, it’s not to relax the gluten (there isn’t any!) but to allow the dough to hydrate – no sandy gluten free cookies!
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Shared with Gluten Free Fridays (#200!)

Chufa Chocolate Chippers
Makes 24
¼ cup canola oil
¼ tsp stevia extract powder
½ tsp vanilla
⅓ cup water
1 tbsp agave nectar
100g tigernut flour
50g sunflower seed flour
50g sorghum flour
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
½ tsp guar gum
pinch nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
⅓ cup miniature chocolate chips
¼ cup chopped tigernuts (optional)

  1. In a bowl, beat together the oil, stevia, vanilla, water and corn syrup until blended.
  2. Beat in the flours, flaxseed, nutmeg, salt and baking soda.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips and tigernuts.
  4. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F and line cookie sheets with parchment.
  6. Scoop 1 tbsp balls of dough and flatten slightly.
  7. Bake 15-18 minutes. Cool on the sheet.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 85.9
Total Fat: 5.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.2 mg
Total Carbs: 9.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.9 g
Protein: 2.3 g

Graham-Like Crackers

I loved deconstructing my s’mores as a kid. I know it’s totally sacreligious to the camping set (of which I am decidedly not a member), but to me, there was nothing better than devouring a slightly charred, ooey marshmallow before licking the chocolate off the cracker and finally biting through the base. I ate my Viva Puffs the same way – nuke them for about 10 seconds, eat the marshmallow, then chocolate, then cookie. The cracker was always the best part of the s’more for me, the perfect light sweetness that just so slightly softened when you bit into it (especially if chocolate had melted onto it!). These days for me, graham crackers and I aren’t the best of friends – but I’m loathe to shell out at the health food store for allergy-friendlier ones (although these ones are delicious!). When my classes were making batches of Key Lime Truffles for mother’s day, the one other celiac in the school tugged on my heartstrings, and I decided that I’d try my hand at concocting my own, gluten free and (almost) vegan version.

Graham-Like Crackers

I started with a solidly awesome recipe from Cara (Fork & Beans) and switched up a handful of things based on what I had around. My modifications resulted in slightly thicker crackers, needing slightly longer cooking time, but they were beyond worth it for the flavour (not to mention the solidity for double-stuffing smores… just sayin’). While they were completely nut free (a rarity I found with GF cracker recipes), the crispy treats were made with a rich-tasting blend of whole grain flours and ground flax for that “toasty, nutty” flavour. Sweetened with decadent honey and molasses, they’re delicious on their own, in s’mores (or camperless ones!) and absolutely perfect for making crumbs!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays 

Graham-Like Crackers
Makes ~40
1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup sorghum flour
¼ cup tapioca starch
¼ cup buckwheat flour
¼ cup teff flour
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup dark brown sugar
⅓ cup non-hydrogenated shortening
½ tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp fancy molasses
2 tbsp honey
⅓ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used quinoa / rice)

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients together (flours, flaxseed meal, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar) in a medium bowl.
  3. With a pastry blender or fork, incorporate the shortening into flour until the mixture has coarse crumbs.
  4. Add the vanilla, molasses, honey and milk and mix to make a workable dough.
  5. Between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out the dough to no thicker than ¼'”. Place on a baking sheet and peel off the top paper
  6. Using a pizza cutter make cuts to form squares or rectangles.
  7. Dock each cracker 2-3 times with a fork.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes, or until browned.
  9. Cool in the oven for 10 minutes, then cool to room temperature on the pan.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 62.4
Total Fat: 2.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 4.5 mg
Total Carbs: 11.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
Protein: 0.8 g

"Caramel Doughnut" Cake #SundaySupper

As a Canadian, I always forget that my friends to the south celebrate their “long weekend” – Memorial Day – a week after our Victoria Day holiday. In my household, at least, July 1 (Canada Day), not late May is the herald of Summer’s beginnings – in fact, this year’s blast of near 40°C (104°F) heat is a total anomaly that we didn’t even see in the middle of July last year!

Because of the swath of heat and humidity we got this week (not complaining at all!), we’ve been grilling outdoors or making no-cook meals more than usual. That said, the sweet teeth around here sometimes just need a baked treat. Nothing super-sweet or rich, but toothsome enough to fill that craving whenever it strikes. Coffee cakes, in my opinion, fit that purpose to a T – especially when they’re homemade, since you can keep the sweetness below tooth-aching storebought levels, add your own spices and ingredient twists, and (of course) know that it is perfectly fresh.

Remembering the Summer road trips my family took when I was young, where we always stopped at a local doughnut shop halfway to our destination, I decided to recreate the flavours of the “old fashioned” doughuts and muffins we used to savour all through the Summer. I decided to switch up the sweetener, ditching granular sugar for my favourite vegan caramel sauce (made with soy milk this time) to give it a richer, rounder flavour that worked perfectly in the 100% whole grain batter and heightened the spiciness of the nutmeg and light smokiness from the salt. To get the “edge” of savoury that comes along with the true “old-style”, tallow-fried doughnuts, I added just a hint of nutritional yeast – the popular vegan “cheesy flavour” secret for sauces. Thankfully, the cake doesn’t taste anything like those sauces – just delicious! Of course, being topped with a decadent streusel doesn’t hurt either! 

This #SundaySupper we’re helping celebrate Memorial Day and the beginnings of Summer by sharing our BEST recipes for our summer gatherings! How do you mark the start of hot, humid, happy weather and fun times? Take a look at all our recipes this week, hosted by T.R. Crumbley of Gluten Free Crumbley

Appetizers

Sides and Salads

The Main

Desserts

Plus Lemon Yogurt Pound Cake and Best Potluck Dishes from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

“Caramel Doughnut” Cake
Makes one 9″ cake, 12 slices
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
½ tsp smoked sea salt
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ cup vegan “buttery sticks”, cut into cubes
¼ cup shortening, cut into cubes
¼ cup large-flake rolled oats
2 tablespoons coarse raw sugar
¾ cup unsweetened soy milk
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
⅔ cup Simple Salted Caramel Sauce – made with soy milk for nut free

  1. Heat the oven to 350ºF and grease a 9” springform pan.
  2. Whisk the flours, nutritional yeast, salt, nutmeg, baking soda and baking powder.
  3. Add the margarine and shortening, cutting into the flour mixture to create coarse crumbs.
  4. Reserve ½ cup crumbs, add the oats and coarse sugar and set aside.
  5. Combine the milk, vinegar, vanilla and caramel syrup, then stir into the remaining flour mixture until just combined.
  6. Spread in the pan and top with the crumb mixture.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes in a preheated oven. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
  8. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then release the sides and cool completely.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 237.3
Total Fat: 8.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 149.6 mg
Total Carbs: 39.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.5 g
Protein: 4.5 g

Aquafaba Meringues

I know it’s coming around to the Summer “bikini season” when the treats in our staff room start getting less rich and more on the “pseudo-virtuous” side of things. While nothing that appears in our small haven away from the children could truly be classified as a nutritious choice (except the veggie tray which appeared – once – and was subsequently ignored), lighter tasting treats like raspberry coffee cake and “low fat” biscotti are cropping up to tempt our palates. With the seasonal change, it was the perfect time for me to try out a recipe that I’ve had saved away for a while now – vegan meringues.

Now, a few years ago, the concept of a “vegan meringue” was only contemplated by molecular gastronomes, if not considered outright laughable. However, a combination of genius, science and experimentation by several people eventually resulted in the Aquafaba (literally, “Bean Water”) Meringue recipe. Since then (early 2015), subsequent other uses for the starchy cooking liquid have been tried and shared on the Vegan Meringues – Hits and Misses Facebook page – including a spiced Bundt cake that I’ll be sharing soon!

Whether it’s the (minimal) protein content, the starch, magic or a combination of all the above, the liquid you normally drain away from canned chickpeas and other beans whips up perfectly into a light and fluffy foam that stiffens into glossy meringue with the addition of cream of tartar and sugar – resulting in light-as air, fat free, gluten free, vegan cookies. In my opinion, using aquafaba is actually easier than using egg whites (you don’t have to be as uber-careful about fat, and it’s impossible to overwhip them), not to mention any “common” allergy issues would be null as well.
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“Cake Batter” Flavoured Funfetti Meringues

The question I first asked when thinking about using aquafaba was whether or not the finished meringues, etc would taste like beans. Well, thankfully, nothing I’ve made with it (regardless of the bean type) has tasted remotely of the legume it surrounded – if anything, it’s exceptionally bland, taking on any and all flavourings like a sponge. The first time I whipped up AF meringues, I used the standard chickpea brine, adding pure vanilla and mint extracts and vanilla sugar, while the “cake batter” variety got a pinch of nutmeg and sprinkles with the flavour extract. Black bean aquafaba made its way into brownies (not unlike the ones from this book) and the liquid left over from cooking up some Tongues of Fire beans made a perfect carrot loaf cake. I can’t wait to play some more!
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Shared with Gluten Free Fridays 
 

Aquafaba Meringues
Vanilla-Mint Meringues


Aquafaba Meringues
Makes ~45
2/3 cup aquafaba*
¼ tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup + 1/2 tbsp (150 g) superfine sugar
flavouring / colouring of choice
coloured sprinkles (optional, for “funfetti” meringues)

  1. Heat the oven to 215F (190F convection).
  2. Combine the aquafaba and cream of tartar in a stand mixer and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form – about 15 minutes.
  3. Slowly beat in the sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating at least 10 seconds between additions.
  4. When all the grittiness is gone, add 1 tsp of your flavouring of choice (I’ve used vanilla, mint, and even “Cake Batter”) and colouring (if using) and whip to incorporate.
  5. If using sprinkles, fold in by hand.
  6. Drop or pipe the foam onto a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet (I don’t recommend SilPat for meringue, it deflates it for some reason).
  7. Bake for 2 hours. Do not open the oven door during this time.
  8. Turn off the oven and cool inside for 30 minutes, then crack the door and let meringues cool to room temperature.
  9. Store the completed meringues in an airtight container.

* Have more or less than 2/3 cup of aquafaba on hand? Use the ratio of 1 part AF : 1 1/3 parts superfine sugar, plus ¼ tsp cream of tartar for every 2/3 cup AF

More info: http://aquafaba.com/

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 13.9
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.0 mg
Total Carbs: 3.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.0 g

Carrot Oatmeal Raisin Cookies #SundaySupper

I am very leery of declaring that spring has arrived… being an April baby (along with my sister), I’ve heard far too many retellings of the snowstorm that occurred the day before I was born, and definitely remember being snowsuit clad the week my sister entered the world three years later. That said, this weekend has been double-digit (Celsius) for the first time this year, and the rest of the week is supposed to follow suit (fingers crossed). The family has been out gardening, preparing the beds for eventual seedlings and direct-sowing, and I even got my butt in gear to start my tomato, squash and nasturtiums in my indoor greenhouse this week.

Carrot Oatmeal Raisin CookiesNow of course, all this glorious weather has been short-lived, and there’s no way we’ll even be seeing backyard rhubarb for at least another month or two. Therefore, we’re still embracing the freezer stockade of greens, berries and peaches, plus the “storage crops” like carrots, cabbage, onions and potatoes for a lot of our dishes, slotting in (imported) lettuce, hothouse tomatoes, citrus and berries to brighten up the plate. I always think of carrots in the springtime for some reason, probably due to the Easter carrot-cake tradition, and it’s a wonder that I don’t usually turn orange by May after eating them for months!

Ironically, as the days get warmer and sunnier I become more prone to roasting and sauteeing the roots, which brings out the sweetness hidden deep within their cores after months of storage. Since growing my own heirlooms every year, I’m spoiled when it comes to the flavours I enjoy raw – nothing beats the crisp, bright and lightly sugary snap of a bright red (or purple, yellow, white, black orange…) carrot freshly pulled from the (pesticide-free) dirt, rinsed with the garden hose and devoured immediately. So roasting away I go, and often I’ll do a whole 3-lb bag at once to portion and freeze for simple side dishes, sauce extenders or last minute stir fry additions.

When I was given a copy of my school’s “classic” carrot cookie recipe to make for Easter, I immediately started thinking of ways to elevate the recipe from it’s rather spartan, highly sugared, slightly chewy-cakey roots to something worthy of a spring cookie tray. I pulled a couple tricks out of my back pocket that I had learned from years of oatmeal cookie experimenting – namely, chilling the dough as long as possible so as to rehydrate the oats and flaxseed – and used pureed roasted carrots in lieu of baby food for a thicker moisture component. A few extra swaps later and I had vegan, bite sized drop cookies perfect for Peter Cottontail (and his brood).

What I love about this cookie is that it’s a great spice cookie open to possibility in terms of additions and twists. Don’t like raisins? Add craisins, nuts, coconut, white chocolate… whatever floats your boat. Personally, my next step is going to be supersizing the cookies into whoopie-pie like rounds for cream cheese ice cream sandwiches. Oh, to think of ice cream weather!

Spring has arrived at the #SundaySupper table this week, and along with our host Renee from Renee’s Kitchen Adventures our gang is sharing recipes to welcome the season to 2016!

Breakfast:
Appetizers:
Beverages:
Main Dish:
Side Dish:
Dessert:
Plus Spring Vegetable Minestrone and more Spring Recipes from Sunday Supper Movement

 
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Carrot Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Carrot Oatmeal Raisin Cookies 
Makes 30
1/2 cup dairy-free margarine (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup low fat, unsweetened soy milk
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp maple extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup pureed roasted carrots or good quality carrot baby food
1 cup flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 1/2 cups thick-cut rolled oats
1/2 cup instant oatmeal
1/2 tbsp baking powder
2/3 cup raisins

  1. In a bowl, beat together the margarine, sugars, soy milk, flaxseed, extracts, spices and salt.
  2. Add the carrots and beat well.
  3. Stir in the flours, oats, baking powder and raisins until combined.
  4. Cover and chill at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  5. Heat the oven to 375F and line cookie sheets with parchment.
  6. Drop half-tablespoons of dough onto the sheets, spacing about 1″ apart. Flatten slightly with damp fingers.
  7. Bake for 14-15 minutes. Cool on the sheets

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 114.4
Total Fat: 3.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 57.7 mg
Total Carbs: 19.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.6 g
Protein: 2.2 g

Gluten Free & Vegan Garlic Breadsticks #BreadBakers

If there’s one ingredient I refuse to be without in the savoury kitchen, it’s garlic. Fresh, roasted, dried or fermented, I love it every way I can get it, and I’m sure I (as Rachael Ray says) smell like a walking salami because I eat so much of it.

Normally, garlic is avoided in the baking nook – it’s pungency and heat when fresh, dried or pickled doesn’t generally play well with desserts (granted, there are some chefs crazy enough to use various forms of the bulb that way) and the awful flavour it takes on when it toasts even a touch too far makes it a finicky bread ingredient as well. That said, my family (and most of the kids at school) love garlic bread, in particular the Italian restaurant-style breadsticks that seem to be disappearing all too fast these days. For Home Ec, I decided to take on the challenge of making a soft, garlicky, herby dough to shape into breadsticks. Not only did I succeed in making delicious bread, but my class and I did it without using eggs, dairy, nuts or gluten-containing flours – meaning everyone in the class could have one! The flavours of the flours and flaxseed were subtle, but added just the right amount of “whole wheat” flavour so that the herb and garlic oil slicked overtop blended seamlessly. Unlike a lot of gluten free breads (and I don’t claim to be an expert, just someone with a hint of experience), these breadsticks also stay moist for a good period after baking and freeze exceptionally well too, not even needing the usual “toaster treatment” to retain edibility.

Regardless of whether you need to be gluten free or not, if you‘re as much of a garlic lover as I am you’ll adore these breadsticks. Vampires beware! 
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Gluten Free & Vegan Garlic Breadsticks

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page. This month’s theme is Garlicky Breads, in celebration of National Garlic Day in the United States – 19 April. Our host this month is Karen’s Kitchen Stories. Thanks Karen! 

BreadBakers

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.


Gluten Free & Vegan Garlic Breadsticks
Makes ~18

Dough:
4 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
½ cup warm water
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
500 g whole-grain gluten-free flour mix (I used my Artisanal Gluten Free Flour Blend)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp guar gum
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ tsp Kosher salt
warm water

Breadsticks:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves minced fresh garlic
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp dried parsley
Pinch ground pepper

Dough:

  1. Combine the yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl and let stand 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) whisk together the flaxseed, flour, garlic powder and guar gum.
  3. Add the foamy yeast mixture to the bowl and mix for 3 minutes with a sturdy spoon (or using the paddle if using a stand mixer).
  4. Add the oil and salt from Column C to the bowl and mix until the dough comes together into a soft ball and feels somewhat elastic. (If the dough feels too dry, add the warm water in small amounts until the dough feels right.)
  5. Set the dough aside in a warm place and let it rise for 1 hour.
  6. Deflate dough and knead briefly in the bowl. Let rest 5 minutes.

Breadsticks:

  1. Heat the oven to 375F
  2. Combine the oil, garlic and herbs in a small bowl.
  3. Divide the dough into 18 balls and shape into breadsticks (I found it easiest to treat the dough like playdough and squeeze tubes with my hands).
  4. Place shaped sticks on a parchment lined sheet and brush with the garlic oil. Let rise 30 minutes.
  5. Bake the breadsticks for 20 minutes. Cool at least 15 minutes before enjoying!

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 142.3
Total Fat: 6.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 195.9 mg
Total Carbs: 19.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.4 g
Protein: 1.8 g