Paleo Cranberry and Seed Crackers
Have you been looking for a good grain free cracker that is crispy and crunchy like a cracker should be? Me too. I like my previous crackers very much. They were almond and flax based and very tasty. These crackers however are completely different. No almonds in sight. They are very crispy and crunchy and will stand up to being heavily smeared with goat cheese. I served these at a dinner party last weekend to a bunch of non paleo, gluten eaters and there wasn’t a crumb left over. I think that speaks volumes. I got the idea for this after making Carol’s Gluten Free Seed and Nut Bread. I made it exactly as written which is a rare thing for me and it was amazing. I got thinking that it reminded me of a GF cracker I had this summer in Whistler, BC. These crackers are the best GF cracker I’ve ever had but they are not grain free and the only variety that is GF is impossible to find in stores which I personally think is a mistake on their part. So with Carols bread recipe and that cracker in my head I came up with this amazing little cracker. This is 100% exactly what I wanted it to be.
1 cup sunbutter (as in peanut butter made out of sunflower seeds instead of peanuts. Trader Joes carries it.)
2 T coconut oil
2 T honey
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 T chia seeds
1/2 cup dried whole cranberries**
12 unsulfured dried apricots diced to about the size of the cranberries
1 cup whole roasted pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a standard sized loaf pan with coconut oil then line the pan with wax paper. Cut off the paper that hangs over the sides of the pan. This doesn’t have to be pretty. It just helps the loaf pop out easily. With a hand mixer combine the sunbutter, eggs, oil, honey and salt. Mix in the tapioca and chia seeds. When that is well mixed hand stir in the apricots, cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Put the batter in the pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 45 minutes and cool. Slice the loaf as thinly as you can. I cut each slice in half so that they are smaller. Line a cookie sheet with parchement paper. Lay the crackers out on the pan. Bake in a 300 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes or until they are lightly browned, dry and crispy. Let them cool completely. They become more crunchy when they are cooled.
**I have used dried cherries in here too.
Ok, this recipe is not in any way paleo. Not even close. That said, despite the fact that I have been mostly paleo/primal for the last 2 years this blog gets more traffic from my bread recipes (see here, and here) than anything else. So, for those that want great gluten free bread that is better than anything you can find in a store, that is moist and tender and doesn’t have a grainy texture or fall apart if you look at it funny, here it is. This is a slightly sweet bread and is really nice for a change. I hope you enjoy as much as I did.
1/3 cup expeller pressed melted coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1 1/3 cup very warm water
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 T yeast
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup ivory teff
1/2 cup dark teff
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 T plus 1/2 top xanthan gum
1/2 cup chopped raw pecans
Preheat oven to 200 degrees and then turn it off keeping the oven light on. Heat water (it needs to be pretty hot because when you add it to the eggs etc it will cool down considerably. After adding the water to your other wet ingredients you want the temperature to end up being about body temperature.) Add cranberries to soak for a couple of minutes while you get the other wet ingredients assembled. In the bowl of your stand mixer add the eggs, melted coconut oil and honey and mix well. Add water and cranberries and yeast and stir until combined. Let it sit so the yeast will proof while you assemble your dry ingredients and prepare your pans. Using mini loaf pans lightly grease with coconut oil and then line with wax paper. This doesn’t have to be pretty or exact. It won’t matter in the end. Roughly trim the edges of the paper so it doesn’t hang over the sides too far. In a large bowl sift all of your flours with the xanthan gum and salt. When your liquid ingredients look all foamy add the dry ingredients with the mixer on medium low. Mix well. Scrape down the sides. Mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until well combined. Add pecans and mix through. Divide the dough between the two pans. Coat your hands in melted coconut oil and smooth the tops of the loaves. Make sure your oven is turned off with the light on and place the pans on the middle rack to rise for 25 minutes. When the time is up turn on the oven to 350 degrees and set the timer for 38 minutes. No need to pull the bread out to pre-heat the oven. When they are done remove from oven and let cool on the counter top, in the pans. When they are cool enough to touch you can remove from the pans and slice and serve.
It has been freakishly cold here today as it has in the rest of the country. When it is miserable outside I get this need to bake. It’s the only thing I want to be doing. Last week I ordered, for the first time, from Honeyville. I ordered blanched almond flour. I really needed to see if it was a whole lot better than the almond flour that I make. I thought it was going to be more expensive than it was. There is very little convenience in my kitchen so it is nice to be able to have the almond flour ready. Is it better than mine? It depends on what I’m making. If I were making chocolate chip cookies or my Almond Coconut Cookies I would certainly use my own almond flour. I like the slightly coarser texture. The Honeyville Blanched Almond flour is really fine and powdery as well as lighter in color. I made these Cinnamon Bun Muffins yesterday and they were fabulous. I, of course, used coconut oil in place of the grapeseed oil and used coconut sugar and less of it in place of agave. The muffins were very light in texture. The recipe made 8 muffins and they were all gone in a matter of 2 hours. I now need to figure out a bread recipe that uses almond flour. Anyway, back to the chocolate chip scones. I wanted something today that was only slightly sweet. I think the next time I make these I will use only 1 T of coconut sugar. The sweetness of the chocolate chips should be enough. This recipe made 8 scones and they were absolutely perfect with a cup of green tea on this “cold” Arizona day. These are gluten free, grain free and dairy free. If you could save a couple of these for the following morning they would make a great breakfast. See mom, here is another breakfast without toast! 😉
Chocolate Chip Scones
1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
2 T granulated coconut sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp (I used slightly more) sea salt
3 T melted coconut oil
1/4 cup Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In medium bowl combine first 4 ingredients. Add melted coconut oil and lightly beaten egg. Mix well with a fork. Fold in chocolate chips. Transfer dough to parchment lined baking sheet and form a ball. Press ball down until it is about 1 1/2 thick or about 8 inches in diameter. Cut into 6wedges. Separate the slices evenly on the sheet. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the edges are starting to brown slightly and the centers are firm to touch. Let cool to room temperature and serve.
- Heavenly GFCF Brioche
Have you ever come across one of those recipes that at first glance it instantly makes you drool and crave? Then the feeling of such intense need overcomes you that you completely forget about your diet or promise to yourself to eliminate sugar and grain? Well this is what happened to me yesterday, at 5pm, while I should have been making dinner. I found this recipe quite accidentally. I certainly wasn’t looking for a Brioche recipe but there it was and I had to make it – right then. The original recipe comes from The Culinary Life. It looks like she got the recipe from a cookbook called Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. How this particular bread could be deemed healthy is beyond me but I’m not going to worry about that today because this bread is OUTSTANDING. We all need a little treat sometimes, right? Anyway, the original recipe was not dairy free. It also contained brown rice flour which I have never purchased before so I had to make several changes to the recipe to suit our needs. The result was surprisingly light, moist, sweet and flavorful. It looks like and smells like wheat bread. Best yet it has the texture of wheat bread. It is soft, fluffy, tender and elastic. The original recipe made 3 loaves and the directions explained how to make the dough and store it in the fridge so you could have 3 fresh loaves days apart. I purposely made enough for only one loaf. This stuff would be dangerous to keep around the house. Here is what I did with the recipe.
Brioche – Gluten and Dairy Free
1/3 cup teff flour
1/3 tapioca flour
1 1/3 cup corn starch
2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
2 small eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup melted coconut oil (I used expeller pressed)
1 tsp vanilla
raw sugar for sprinkling on top
melted coconut oil for greasing pan and for handling the dough
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine wet ingredients. Add dry into wet and mix until there are no lumps of dry flour. Scrape down sides of bowl a couple of times during mixing. Using a spatula, form dough into a ball in the bottom of the bowl. Cover mixer bowl with a clean dish towel and let it rest and rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Meanwhile prepare a nonstick loaf tin (8.5 x 4.5 inch) by greasing with coconut oil. After the 2 hours, liberally coat your hands with melted coconut oil and form dough into a ball with your hands. Transfer dough into loaf pan and gently shape and smooth the loaf to fit the pan. Smooth the top of the loaf (something I could have done better). At this point I sprinkled some raw sugar on top and allowed the loaf to rise for another 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is a caramel brown and is firm to the touch. After cooling a bit remove it from the pan. Now here is the really difficult part, the part in which I failed: let the loaf cool before slicing and eating. Hope you have better luck than I did. Because I was impatient, I compressed the loaf a bit during the slicing. It would have appeared fluffier had I waited. I didn’t care, it tasted great.
Since I finished this loaf just before 9pm I refrained from eating more than one slice which took an enormous amount of willpower. In the morning this Brioche became amazing french toast. The recipe for that is coming soon!
If this recipe is up your alley go check out The Culinary Life. She has some amazing looking recipes. The next time I have a blow it day I am going to try her Brioche Cinnamon Rolls. They look amazing.
I accidentally made way too many baked sweet potatoes the other night. Now I have to try to find a use for them. Muffins of course are in order. These were great. They are not typical muffins in that they are only subtly sweet. They are not like the muffins you would buy in the stores that are really cake. They are soft, moist and tender. They are grain, gluten, sugar and dairy free. For a muffin, they are really low carb. I loved them both warm out of the oven or a day later smeared with virgin coconut oil. The kids liked them with butter and a little honey. These made a great breakfast or snack.
Sweet Potato Muffins (Coconut Flour)
1/4 cup sifted coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla
2 T coconut oil
2 T coconut milk
3/4 cup roasted mashed sweet potato
1 T maple syrup **optional**
1/2 cup chopped pecans (reserve some halves for the tops)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 7 regular sized muffin cups. Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl (except for the nuts). Mix all wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour dry into wet and mix well. Fold in nuts. Divide evenly into muffin tins and decorate with reserved pecan halves. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. **I did not use the maple syrup but think at would really complement them if you are okay with the added carbs.**
This recipe has been entered in Real Food Weekly Jan 20/11 over at The Whole Gang.
Can anyone tell me what makes a man tick? Because I am at a loss. My husband whom I think is (usually) a genius leaves me scratching my head. Why? Let me tell you how my day started. We have 2 of iPod touches, the ones that have Face to Face which is video calling. First just let me say that I hate the idea of video calling. I don’t want to be bothered worrying about how I look just to make a phone call. It’s great for the kids and Grandma and for the kids and my husband or I while at work. However it’s not great when the iPod rings at 5:20 am because my husband, who was at work, thought I would be awake and he wanted to demonstrate to a male co-worker how the thing worked. Seriously?! I ignored the call and tried to go back to sleep. Then he called back at 6:30. I had just woke up and was barely upright or even thinking yet. I answer the call and while waiting to connect see myself on the screen and ponder what has become of me. Can you now imagine how mortified I am when the call connects and there is Ron’s co-worker staring back at me. Seriously, what was my husband thinking?! Now I know better than to show my face when I answer a call.
One of my favorite blogs is Elana’s Pantry. Nearly everything this woman posts looks great. For me the problem is that she uses a lot of almond flour. I love almond flour, just not the price. She recommends one particular brand, Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour. While I’m sure it is a great product, I just can’t see myself spending that kind of money on flour. As I have said before on this blog, we grind a lot of our own flours. We grind amaranth, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, rice and corn. We save a TON of money doing it this way. Since I am leaning toward a grain free diet lately it got me wondering if I could make my own almond flour. Turns out that yes, I can. It’s quick and easy. I have used this almond flour for cookies, muffins and pancakes. So far everything I have tried with it has worked out great. I have never purchased almond flour so I guess I have nothing to compare mine too but I expect that mine is moister so I need to use a bit less oil in whatever recipe I am using if the recipe calls for commercial almond flour. The only things you need to make this is a coffee grinder (preferably not one that you use coffee beans for) and a wire mesh sieve.
Here’s how I do it.
Larger Pieces Sifted Out
Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of whole raw almonds to the coffee grinder. Grind until you have a fine meal. When you hear the grinder make a different noise and the almond meal inside is not moving well anymore, stop. If you continue you will be making chunky almond butter. Pour the almond meal into a sieve which is sitting in a large bowl. Shake out the almond flour into the bowl. The larger meal and some bigger pieces will be left over. Just leave them in the bowl for now and repeat the process until you have the amount you need. Then add back into the grinder all those small pieces and the courser meal and grind again.
I must get at my day now. The kids found the small head of a salamander in the living room this morning. I have got to locate the rest of him. Yup, that’s desert life!
Cheesy GF Pizza
Since going gluten free do you miss great pizza? Is making pizza at home dependant on whether or not you have a mix in the cupboard? Do you hate the rise time needed for yeast based crusts? If you can relate, I have got the answer for you. This is my pizza crust recipe. It’s super quick to put together, requires no yeast and so therefore no rise time. It doesn’t have that gluten free bread texture (if you’ve ever bought gf bread you know what I am talking about) and I am betting that if you do any gf baking at home you already have all the ingredients in your pantry. Oh and did I mention that it is AWESOME!? A word of warning: if you like cheese you are going to LOVE this and it is really hard to have just one piece. We occasionally go out for pizza and while it is nice to eat out sometimes, it is really expensive. Just yesterday we celebrated my daughters 4th birthday and the bill at the pizza restaurant was $74 for just the 5 of us. YIKES!! Even when we splurge and eat out I hear at least once from someone who says the pizza we make at home is much better. I have to agree. It is much better! The last couple of times we made this we made 4 or 5 batches at once (maybe more, I can’t remember). I put Ron to work doing the mixing and the rolling while I measured and cleaned. We ended up with 18 pizza crusts to freeze. When we want pizza we pull a couple of these out, add the sauce and toppings and bake. They are ready to eat in less time than it would have taken to order in if we had that option – which we do not.
Cheesy GF Pizza Crust (yeast free)
1 cup tapioca flour
1 cup white rice flour
4 cups grated mozzarella cheese (room temperature – helps with mixing)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp italian seasoning or fresh chopped rosemary
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a really big bowl. Mix dough with your hands until the cheese shreds are no longer visible and you have a cohesive dough. If it seems too wet you can add a bit more tapioca flour until you get a smooth dough ball. Divide dough into large orange sized balls. To roll out you can either flour your counter with tapioca flour or rice flour or you can roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper, which I think is easiest. We generally make crusts sized 6-10 inches across. Roll them out until they are a bit thicker than a pie shell. I can’t say how it will turn out if you make it much bigger than that. Transfer crusts onto baking pans. You can leave the parchment paper underneath and save yourself the washing of a cheese crusted baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges start to brown (the center will not be completely baked). When they are at this point you can do one of two things. You can add your sauce or olive oil and toppings and put it back in the oven, still at 350, until the center is hot and bubbly, maybe another 10-15 minutes. Or you can let them cool and then freeze them in ziplock bags. We make the crusts small enough to fit into the large ziplock bags. Then when you need a quick lunch or dinner you can just pull out a couple of pizza crusts, top them and put them in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes or so. Again, it’s done when the center is hot and bubbly.