Sunday, December 11, 2011

Recipes from The Gluten Free Baker and more from Paleo Comfort Foods

For Turkey Day I went temporarily crazy and decided to make six recipes, some that I've done before and some that I've never made. Mind you, Thanksgiving was not even at my house, but I had all these new cookbooks to try out, so I just went for it. I did a lot of combining of recipes, due to my goal to get everything gluten and dairy free, and most of them turned out great. Actually all of them were enjoyed, but I'm picky, so there's one I want to have another go at. Here are the winners.

First up, Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie. This one was great because it was easy. The only thing you have to bake is the crust. The rest is no bake. This one was a big hit at the dessert buffet. Agar Agar flakes, for those of you who are like me and have no idea what or where that would be located, are in the Asian food section of the grocery store.

As for the two books used for this one, I am still enjoying the recipes from Paleo Comfort Foods. I appreciate that there are pictures with everything. The simplicity of the recipes is excellent. I haven't tried too many recipes from The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook, but so far I'm liking it. I wish there were more pictures. That's my only complaint. They're so helpful in showing you the outcome.

Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie
Recipes taken from Paleo Comfort Foods, by Julie & Charles Mayfield and The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook, by Elana Amsterdam.

Dark Chocolate Pie Crust
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate  (73% cacao), melted over very low heat
1 pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the almond flour, pecans, and pinch of salt in a large bowl
3. In another bowl, combine the oil, honey, vanilla extract, and melted dark chocolate.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until completely combined. Using your fingers, press the dough into a 9 1/2 inch pie pan.
5. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. (Make sure you don't over bake it!)
6. Remove, making certain to let cool completely before filling.

No Bake Pecan Pie Filling
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons agar flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups agave nectar (I used honey)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups whole pecans, toasted (I did not toast mine...I forgot)

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the agar flakes and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until the agar flakes dissolve. This will take roughly 10-12 minutes.
2. Decrease the heat and whisk in the salt, agave nectar/honey, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Continue cooking over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until all ingredients are well incorporated.
3. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and stir in the pecans.
4. Pour the mixture into the cooled pie crust. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until pie has set.

This one everyone liked, except me. Don't get me wrong, it tasted good, but I don't actually like my sweet potato's tasting sweet - like dessert sweet. I've never been a fan of putting brown sugar or marshmallows or anything on them. I like them tasking like potatoes. This recipe makes them dessert sweet, so if you're a fan of that kind of potato, you will love this.

Sweet Potato Casserole
Recipe taken from Paleo Comfort Foods, by Julie & Charles Mayfield.
2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/4 cup coconut milk (I used the canned version)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into equal sized cubes. Place all in a large sauce or stock pot, cover with water, and boil until potatoes are very tender.
2. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
3. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Using a handheld mixer, blend in coconut milk.
4. Add eggs, vanilla, oil, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest.
5. Place sweet potato mixture into 9x9 pan, or oval baker.
6. Sprinkle crushed pecans on top.
7. Bake 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

This one was my very favorite. I loved the blend of ingredients and the extra oomph the coconut gave it. The frosting was a tad tricky, but so worth it. Also, I discovered that my baking pans were different sizes, so I had to get a little crafty with the outcome, but I think it was pretty, if I do say so myself. When choosing your raisins, go for the nitrate free ones. When choosing your coconut flakes, go for the real ones - pure coconut. It makes a world of difference.

I have only kind-of, sort-of tried baking from The Gluten Free Baker. I like that it's GF, but I don't like some of the ingredients, like the sugar, so I find myself changing the recipes. I'll have to give it more of a fair try, though.

Carrot Coconut Cake
Recipes taken from The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook, by Elana Amsterdam and The Gluten Free Baker, by Hannah Miles.

Carrot Coconut Cake
3 cups almond flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (I used avocado oil instead)
1/2 cup agave nectar ( I used honey)
5 large eggs
2 cups carrots, grated
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup apple, cored and grated

1. Preheat over to 325 degrees . Grease two 9 inch cake pans with coconut oil and dust with almond flour.
2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the grapeseed/avocado oil, agave nectar/honey, and eggs.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined.
5. Fold in the carrots, coconut flakes, raisins, walnuts, and apple. Scoop the batter into the prepared cake pans. *I put my walnuts on top of the cakes for a more layered look.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in pans for 1 hour.

Coconut Frosting
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I used the canned kind)
1 cup agave nectar (I used honey)
1 cup coconut flakes
1 pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cups coconut oil, melted over very low heat

1. In a medium saucepan bring the coconut milk, agave nectar, and salt to a boil, stirring to combine.
2. Whisk the ingredients together then decrease the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. In a small bowl, dissolve the arrowroot powder in the water, stirring to make a paste. *This is where it got tricky for me. Make sure you are stirring this non-stop until you are ready to add it to the sauce, otherwise it becomes a nightmare. Then make sure it dissolves entirely or else it gets hard and chunky.
4. Raise the heat under the saucepan to medium high. Add the arrowroot paste to the coconut mixture, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute. *For me this was longer than 1 minute.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and very gradually blend in the coconut oil with a handheld mixer.
6. Place in the freezer for 30-35 minutes, until frosting solidifies and turns opaque white.
7. Remove from freezer and whip with handheld mixer until more fluffy.
8. Add in the cup of coconut flakes and stir together evenly.*Mind you, it will be a little chunky due to the flakes. 
9. Frost the cakes and place one on top of the other.
10. Add whole walnuts around the edges to make it pretty, if you want. Or if you have two different sized pans like I did.

This next one we did for dinner one night. By we, I mean Justin made it and I ate it. I've always heard good things about cauliflower mash, but never tried it, and I must say it's pretty darn good.

Mashed Cauliflower
Recipe taken from Paleo Comfort Foods, by Julie & Charles Mayfield.
1 head fresh cauliflower
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed

1. Cut your cauliflower head into small chunks of the florets and stem.
2. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan or Dutch over and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat to medium, cover, allow to cook for 20 minutes or so, until the cauliflower is very tender and easily mashed with a fork. You may need to add more stock if everything is dried up...or if you have a lot of liquid still remaining, pour most of it off and into a bowl and reserve. Much better to start with too little liquid than too much. Cauliflower holds a ton of liquid, so start with less than you think necessary.
4. Carefully pour cauliflower and all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, or keep in pan and use a hand mixer to mash. If the mashed cauliflower seems too dry, add in some of the reserve liquid or additional chicken stock.

The recipe I need to re-do, and will soon is: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Maple Cinnamon Sage Sauce.
My version of it is three recipes is one, based mainly off of Giada's original, which is amazing, but not gluten or dairy free. I promise to report back.

Do you have any favorite Thanksgiving recipes?

Related Posts
Paleo Comfort Foods: Review and Recipes
Food Allergies and The Great Gluten Debate

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