Category Archives: Desserts

Simple Chocolate Truffles (Gluten-free, dairy-free)

I wanted to make a fancy little dessert for some company we were having.  I combined a few different recipes I have seen before and made these delightful little treats!  They are amazing! And with only 4 ingredients, they are easy to make.  Overall, I feel like they really aren’t too bad for you.  At least that is how I am justifying eating way more of them than I should!  Yum!

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Simple Chocolate Truffles

Truffle Filling:
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1/4 c. coconut oil
2/3 c. cacao

Truffle Coating:
1 c. dark chocolate or bitter sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, divided

In a blender or mini-food processor, combine truffle filling ingredients (maple syrup, coconut oil, cacao). Refrigerate until firm. Once cold, scoop out filling into ball shapes. (I used a melon baller for this step making it really simple). Place balls on a sheet of parchment and put in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. If your balls are a little droopy, you can easily reshape them once they are frozen.

Just before you take the balls out of the freezer, melt half of the chocolate chips and coconut oil together. This can be done in a double boiler or in a microwave on a low heat setting. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate.

Remove the filling from the freezer and dip each ball in the melted chocolate and put back on the parchment paper. Once you have used up the first half, melt the second half of the chocolate chips and coconut oil. This just helps to make sure it doesn’t cool down too much before you use it up. Dip remaining truffles in chocolate.

Freeze again until outer shell is hard. Truffles can be kept in the refrigerator until you serve them. I don’t know how long they will last in your fridge because ours only lasted a couple of days. 🙂 Enjoy!!

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Christmas Cookie Round-Up

This year we made some great Christmas cookies and while most of the recipes were from other bloggers, I wanted to keep track of what we made and the minor changes I did to some of the recipes so we can use them again next year.  So, here are the links to what we made and how we made them our own!

*Two notes… First, while I am generally dairy-free as well as gluten and corn free, I have found that I can tolerate some butter so many of the recipes do include it.  Second, in any recipe that calls for an all-purpose gluten free flour, I used the Namaste mix that you can find at Costco.  It worked great and I was even able to sub it one-for-one for regular all-purpose flour in my family’s traditional Belgium cookies.

1. Gingerbread Men and Royal Icing

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I love gingerbread cookies and I love to do cut-outs with the boys each year.  The cookie recipe was fairly simple and the only change I made was leaving out the xanthan gum (my flour mix had it in it already) and using arrowroot powder in lieu of cornstarch.

http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gluten-free-gingerbread-men-cookies/

For the Royal Icing, I needed a recipe that didn’t use confectioner’s sugar as that is made of white sugar and corn starch.  Seriously, corn is in everything!  😦  This recipe uses regular granulated sugar.  While mine didn’t stiffen up as well as the recipe indicated, it got thick enough for the boys to pipe it out onto the cookies.

http://heavenlycakepops.com/2014/02/royal-icing-granulated-sugar/

I think for next year with these two recipes, I would like to work on finding a way to make these without refined sugar at all but for this year, we let go a little and just enjoyed them!

2.  Peanut Butter Balls

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Oh goodness were these delicious!!!  And, truly, they really aren’t too unhealthy for you with just simple ingredients: dates, peanut butter, oatmeal, coconut oil, dark chocolate.  The only change I made to this recipe was that I used an unsalted peanut butter so I added a pinch of sea salt to the mix.  Oh, and we made a double batch of these because they were just so good.  These may become a year-round treat at our house instead of just at Christmas treat!  🙂

http://www.eatingbirdfood.com/2014/12/healthier-peanut-butter-balls/

3.  Butter Crunch Toffee

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One of my all time favorite Christmas treats that my dad always made when we were younger is Butter Crunch Toffee.  I love it!  But, unfortunately it has corn syrup as one of the ingredients.  Boo!  So, I came across the following recipe that was quite similar to my family’s original.  When my dad and I made it this year, he and I agreed that it turned out even better than the original recipe!  And, I love that it uses maple syrup and no refined sugars!  How awesome is that.

The main changes we made to the recipe were using chopped walnuts instead of almonds, and using unsweetened chocolate on both the top and the bottom of the toffee rather than semi-sweet chocolate on one side.  The other thing that we did was use a candy thermometer, getting the toffee to a hard crack before adding the nuts.

This toffee was so good that we ate it all up well before Christmas even happened and needed to make a second batch. Yum!!!!

http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2013/12/almond-roca-with-maple-syrup-graincorn-syrup-free.html

4.  Belgium Cookies

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When I first started cutting out gluten, one of the foods I most mourned not being able to eat were our family’s traditional Belgium Cookies.  While it is a family recipe and I am not going to publish it here, I just wanted to make note that by using Namaste flour mix one-to-one in the original recipe worked great.  They are such a treat!!! I LOVED that this recipe turned out and tasted so close to the original that even my dad, the Belgium Cookie maker of the family thought they were a close match.  Yay!

 

Red, White, and Blue Brownie Skewers

Another Fourth of July BBQ treat was our Red, White, and Blue dessert. I have used the brownie recipe below several times and really like it. I think I prefer it with honey instead of stevia but it is nice to have options. The boys LOVED these skewers and I felt pretty good about it too knowing that it wasn’t a totally sugared up type of dessert!

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Red, White, and Blue Brownie Skewers

Brownie Recipe

Recipe adapted from http://www.slimpalate.com/brownies-paleo-grain-free-gluten-free/

1 c. almond flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp. liquid stevia plus 1/3 c. water or 1/2 c. honey
3 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 glass baking dish with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

In a small bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add other liquid ingredients and mix well.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Combine. Mix in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Red, White, and Blue Brownie Skewers

1 pan brownies, cut into 1 in. cubes
1 pint strawberries
1/2 c. blueberries
1 banana, sliced
wooden skewers

Clean blueberries and strawberries (removing tops from strawberries). Assemble fruit and brownie bites on skewers. Do not put bananas on until just before serving as they will brown if you do it too soon.

Healthy Cookies – Gluten-Free

Tonight I am hosting a kick-off event for my church’s Team World Vision team. We are a group of mostly non-runners who are training together to run a half marathon in October.

Why would non-runners do this, you ask? Well, that is a great question! We are doing it to raise money to bring clean water sources to people living in Africa who do not have such access, specifically the country of Zambia.

Did you know:

*4,200 Children die each DAY from dirty water

*3.75 million people die each year from water-related causes.

Clean water is so integral in our lives and we take it completely for granted here in the US. When I think about how much water I used just in washing up my dishes, wiping my counters after baking, and throwing in a load of laundry this afternoon and how some people don’t even have enough clean water to drink or cook with, I am even more motivated to help! For $50 dollars, a person in Zambia will receive clean water access for LIFE. That’s right – less than the cost of a tank of gas!!!

 

If you would like to support this cause, you can visit my personal fundraising page at www.teamworldvision.org/goto/heatherwilford.

There you will see all kinds of information about this cause as well as how World Vision is going about bringing water into the communities in need.

So, what does this have to do with a food blog?  Well, like I said, I am hosting the kick-off event for our team.  And, I needed some good snacks for it.  Being that we are training and running, I couldn’t just do a regular cookie… I figured I should at least make it healthy, right?  So, I found a few different recipes for healthy cookies, breakfast cookies, whatever you want to call it and ended up with this one.  It’s pretty delicious and it taking a lot of self-control right now for me to not go back over to the counter and scoop up more!!!

Before you make this recipe (and you are going to want to make it), please take a second to think about how much water you use every day and how little it could take for you to help out someone else who doesn’t have that.  Then, go to www.teamworldvision.org/goto/heatherwilford and save a life by making a donation.  Then, go and make these cookies!  🙂

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Healthy Cookies

Recipe adapted from www.minimalistbaker.com

3 Tbsp. flaxseed meal with 6 Tbsp. warm water
2 medium bananas
1/2 c. natural crunchy peanut butter
2 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. honey (if vegan, sub agave nectar)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch sea salt
1 1/2 c. gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 c. oat flour (grind from g/f oats)
1/2 c. almond meal
3/4 c. dark chocolate chunks (I broke a 85% cocoa dark chocolate bar into small chunks; if vegan, choose dairy-free chocolate chips)

In a large bowl, combine water and flaxseed meal. Allow to sit for a few minutes to “gel” together. Mash bananas into flaxseed mixture.

Add peanut butter, oil, vanilla, honey, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Stir in oats, flour, and almond meal. One well combined, add chococlate chunks.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop drops of cookie dough onto parchment paper using a spoon.

Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 15-17 minutes or until lightly golden on the edge. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Store in an air tight container for a few days or in the fridge for even longer storage.
Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting

It was my birthday.  We had used up the remaining white flour for pizza dough the previous day.  I wanted to make a cake and only had whole wheat flour on hand and no time to run to the store to get any other ingredients.  So, after a quick Internet search, found the recipe below.  It turned out amazing!  The cake was chocolate-y, moist, and light.  And, we even were eating cake leftovers three days later and it was still incredibly moist!  I think I may have found a new permanent cake recipe! 

Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting

Cake recipe adapted from www.100daysofrealfood.com

Cake Ingredients:
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. baking cocoa
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. water
2 eggs
2/3 c. oil
2 Tbsp. vanilla
butter for greasing pans

Frosting Ingredients:
6 Tbsp. butter
3 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk
1/3 c. baking cocoa
2 tsp. vanilla

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325.  Grease two round 9-in. cake pans very well.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. 

In a separate bowl, combine water, eggs, oil, and vanilla.

Make a well or hole in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.  Mix well.

Pour batter into cake pans.

Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, to make the frosting, in a medium bowl melt butter.  Let cool slightly before adding other frosting ingredients.  Whisk well until thoroughly combined and without lumps. 

After cakes cool, frost them.  The frosting is enough to cover the outside and put a layer in between the two cakes.

If you have leftovers, simply cover to store.  We left ours sitting out on the counter.

Husband Rating: I never got one, but does it matter?  It’s chocolate!  (However, he did eat several pieces of it so I think it was probably a hit.)

Food for Thought:  I do think a dark chocolate frosting would be divine on this cake.  I didn’t have ingredients for that at the time.  Next time… I could always go for more chocolate cake!  🙂

Healthy Cookies

Yes, the title is quite contradictory but these are very healthy cookies packed full of omega-3’s, fiber, protein, and antioxidants.  I think they are a great “special treat” for the boys for after dinner. 

Healthy Cookies

Recipe adapted from: Quinoa 365 by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming

2/3 c. water
1/3 c. quinoa
1 c. butter
1 1/3 c. brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. rolled oats
1/3 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/3 c. flaxseed meal
1/3 c. sesame seeds
1/2 – 1 c. dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds (we bought them at Costco but it would be easy to just sub in dark chocolate chips and dried cherries or something like that if you can’t find them)

Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and leave covered for an additional 6 minutes.  Remove lid and fluff with a fork.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter with the brown sugar in a large bowl.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly. 

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.  Add the oats, cooked quinoa, coconut, sunflower seeds, flaxseed meal and sesame seeds to the flour mixture and stir until well blended.  Combine with the butter mixture and stir until well mixed. 

Roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until bottom is just golden brown.  Allow to cool completely on baking sheet before moving.

Makes approx. 5 dozen cookies.

Food for Thought: If you don’t want 5 dozen cookies just sitting around begging to be eaten, simply roll out the dough into balls and flash freeze for approx. 2-3 hours on a plate or baking sheet before transferring to a freezer bag.  Then, when baking, place frozen dough on cookie sheet and bake for about 2-4 minutes longer than regular cooking time.

Chocolate Mocha Truffle Cookies

Chocolate Mocha Truffle Cookies

1/4 c. butter, cubed
1/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 tsp. instant coffee granules
1/3 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten lightly
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 c. flour
2 Tbls. + 2 tsp. baking cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/3 c. toffee bits
1 ounce dark chocolate, for melting

Melt butter and chocolate chips in small pan on the stove over low heat.  Stir until smooth.
Stir in the coffee granules until dissolved and let cool for 5 minutes.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; add to the chocolate mixture and stir well.  Stir in the toffee bits.

Drop onto cookie sheet in tablespoon size drops.  (I found a melon baller works really well for this job.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Cool cookies 1 minute before transferring to a cooling rack.

When completely cool, drizzle with dark chocolate.

Makes 15 cookies.

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