Gluten, Dairy & Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Gluten, Dairy & Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Christmas time for me is all about family, but food comes a very close second! This will by my first Christmas since embarking on my healthy eating and gluten, dairy, and refined sugar free lifestyle. My personal philosophy towards diet is that everything comes in moderation- so I’m sure a few molecules of gluten will cross my lips (some things are worth tummy aches!) at some point in the day, but I am determined to make sure that I support myself as much as possible to make good food choices. That means finding good alternatives has been my mission for the last few weeks- and these gingerbread cookies aren’t too shabby if I may say so myself!
for the cookies
2 cups Almond Flour
1/4 cup Coconut Oil, melted
1/8 cup Agave Nectar or Honey
1/8 cup Maple Syrup
1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
2 tablespoons Ground Ginger
2 tablespoons Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Baking soda
for the icing
1 can of chilled coconut cream (leave in the fridge over night- you want the creamiest part that sets at the top of the can)
2 tablespoons Natvia
Honey or Agave as needed
Natural food colourings in desired colours
1. Sift all the dry ingredients together into a medium sized bowl
2. Mix all the wet ingredients together in a smaller bowl
4. Lay out some waxed baking paper and pour the dough onto it. Shape the dough together and refrigerate for an hour or so.
5. Preheat oven to 165°C. Unwrap the dough and pat out on the baking paper. (You can use a rolling pin if you like but using your hands is much easier, and you’ll get less cracks).
6. Cut out your cookies carefully using a cutter. Bear in mind that they will need to be gently unstuck from the cutter each time, so be mindful not to crack them. If you do break them, either use the tiniest amount of water on your fingertips as glue and push the edges back together, or alternatively mush it up and start again
7. Lay cookies out on baking trays, on the baking paper, and bake for approximately 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them if you have made very small or very large cookies, as you will need to adjust the time depending. They should be soft brown on the bottom when they are ready.
8. Leave on a wire rack to cool while you make the icing.
9. Scoop the creamiest part of the coconut cream that has set at the top of the can, and place it in a small bowl. Be careful not to get any of the coconut water mixed in- this needs to be pure cream.
10. Use a mortar and pestle to finely grind up the Natvia until it is a similar consistency to icing sugar
11. Mix the food colouring in, and add any Agave or Honey if you would like more runny icing, or add more powdered Natvia if you are after something a little firmer.
For Chocolate icing, simply add cocoa until the desired colour and flavour is reached.
This scrub is amazing, just saying. I have been using various versions of this scrub for a while now, and it can be made with just about any combination of oil and exfoliant (like sugar). I hadn’t made it in a few months when I decided it would be an awesome DIY Secret Santa gift so I made this particular mix with strawberry extract and it was just divine! I almost forgot how amazing this was until I used this one on my skin the other day and the coconut oil and mild exfoliation really helped clear my skin up literally over night!
You can make this a lip scrub by using finer sugar, or if you want it a bit more heavy duty for the rest of your body then use larger granules. Obviously this is a pretty Secret Santa gift, but I promise I won’t judge if you keep it for yourself 😉
In case it’s not apparent to everyone, I have a little bit of an obsession with cashew cheesecakes at the moment. Needless to say that I have tonnes of cashews coming out my ears at home. I have tried a few chocolate mousse recipes (see here) but this time I wanted something that was going to be really filling and give me a little bit of energy- mainly so that I would have an excuse to argue it’s appropriateness as a suitable breakfast food with my mother who is getting pretty good at discrediting most of my food choices:
“Didn’t you have pancakes yesterday?”
“But they’re PALEO, they have good protein!”
“Are you eating a chocolate tart for breakfast?”
“It’s pretty much all nuts!… No sugar, I swear!”
You can see what I mean…
However, this chocolate “mousse” is packed with cashews, which are definitely a healthy breakfast choice!
Cashews are full of protein, but are less fatty than many of their nutty counterparts, and the majority of their fat is unsaturated and comes in the form of oleic acid which promotes good cardiovascular health. Just a quarter of a cup (so about the size of one small serving of this mousse) also provides for 25% of your daily magnesium needs (which is a big one for those with muscular pain, menstrual cramps, and chronic pain issues like Fibromyalgia), as well as 28% of your RDI for tryptophan and 37% of your RDI for copper .
Bananas are a great source of readily available carbohydrate to get you through the day. Plus, they are also one of the best sources of Potassium, which is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and also promotes good heart health. They also contain Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and manganese so they are definitely nutrient packed .
Coconut oil, while high in saturated fats, contains a particular type of fat- MCTs, or Medium Chain Triglycerides which are medium length fatty acids, absorbed differently than their longer counterparts. MCTs go directly from the liver to the digestive tract, and become a quick source of energy (ketone bodies), which also have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like Alzheimer’s. “One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totalling about 120 calories per day” .
Cacao is a great source of magnesium (part of the reason we crave chocolate at that time of the month!), as well as copper, iron, calcium, zinc and potassium .
Maca is also a great ingredient to throw in your smoothies, juices, or other concoctions at that time of the month as it helps menstrual cramps. It also is used for energy, and is an ingredient promoted to patients with CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) to help get them up and running  .
This is a lot more dense than your typical dairy chocolate mousse, but that’s what I love about it, as it’s filling enough that you don’t need a whole big bowl of it, and also it can be used in just about anything- on toast (like nutella), in smoothies, or any way you like! So voilà! The breakfast worthy, protein packed chocolate mousse of all chocolate mousses!
[Dairy Free] [Gluten Free] [Grain Free] [Vegan] [Raw] [Paleo] [Primal]
Serves: 5 large portions,or 8 small
Time: 5 minutes
2 cups cashews, soaked
2 frozen bananas
2/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp stevia
2 TBSP agave
3 TBSP coconut oil
1 tsp maca root powder
This is delicious. That is all.
This tart is so smooth and rich, but still manages to be free of all sorts of nasties (for me anyway!) like gluten, dairy and refined sugar! I have been using nuts and dates together for a variety of snacks because they are easy to mould into handy shapes, and they are obviously full of goodness, aside from being just plain delicious! So I was really inspired to try making a chocolate tart after seeing this amazing recipe from the girls at Healthyself, using soaked cashews! (Click here to see!)
However, being a mega chocolate fiend myself, I made a few adjustments to make this a little more suited to my own taste buds and to fit my only tart pan! Please check out Healthyself’s page for more nutrition info and to say hi- They gave me this awesome idea so 100% deserve credit for this stroke of genius, and their original recipe is also nice and mild- which is well suited for those who plan on sharing it with not so sweet-toothed friends! However, I think it goes down pretty well either way, as mine was quick to be devoured at the office!
This recipe is super easy- the hardest part was keeping patient while the cashews soaked overnight!
So without any further ado, here is the super easy no-bake, no-fuss recipe:
Ratatouille (ra-ta-too-ey), or as my father loves to call it “Rattatooley”, is one of my favourite dishes of all time. It is loaded with my favourite veggies, and the best thing is it’s pretty much impossible to mess up! This was one of my staple dishes as a vegetarian, but since I started eating meat I have discovered it goes amazingly with an array of different meats. My personal favourite is with a perfect rare steak on the side, but this time I did it with sliced chicken and it was perfect.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
*Bear in mind you can add literally any mix of these veggies in any quantity you prefer depending on what you like or have available. This recipe is a general guide for how I like it but there are plenty of ways you can make it suit your tastes or what’s in season!
-1 whole aubergine (eggplant)
-3 handfuls of mushrooms
-2 or 3 courgettes (zucchinis)
-2 or 3 capsicums (peppers) in any colour you like
-800g tomatoes, fresh or canned. (2 x cans)
-4 to 5 kumara (sweet potato)
-Meat of your choice: I used 6 chicken thighs, thinly sliced
-Parsely and Basil to taste
1. Chop up your kumara into medium sized chunks and roast them with a little oil on 190°C. Set your timer for 15 minutes.
2. Finely slice up your onions and fry in a large pot on medium high with oil of your choice (I prefer Coconut oil for pretty much everything but used Olive this time)
3. While your onions are browning, slice up your aubergine. If you’re like me and love playing with presentation and you love big gorgeous mushy bits of aubergine, then slice a few full circles from the widest part and set aside. Cube the rest and add to the onion, stirring to keep from catching, and adding extra oil if necessary.
4. Rinse and repeat with mushies; courgette and capsicums
6. Add in a generous bunch of chopped parsley. If Basil is in season then fresh Basil is best, otherwise add a good tablespoon of the dried version at least. Mix it all up and turn down to a simmer.
7. Once your timer has gone off, turn over the kumara and roast for another 15 minutes on the other side. You can boil the kumara, but roasting really brings out the flavour and gives it an amazing consistency.
8. If you’re planning on adding meat (like chicken) to the mix, then cook it now. I pan fried the chicken till just done, and then mixed it through the ratatouille and left it simmering in there to give it some good flavouring.
OPTIONAL: If you want fancy Aubergine slices, pop them in the oven with the kumara on a tray with a bit of oil. They will need about 6 minutes on each side at this temperature.
9. Once the kumara are done (30 mins in total, but check to make sure they are well cooked through) you are going to mash them! I don’t like to add fat at this point as they have already been cooked in a little oil, and I don’t think it’s necessary. I used my kitchen whizz stick, which I find gives them the perfect consistency without needing added fat.
10. If you’re serving with a steak or other such red meat, then fry that up now.
11. Take the aubergine slices out and serve it all in a stack with the kumara on the bottom and the meat on top- nom!
If you’ve checked out my Paleo chocolate recipes then as you can probably imagine, I have been using a tonne of almond butter. At around ten bucks a pop for a tiny jar, this is one thing I just can’t afford to splurge on anymore. Lucky for me, it is one of the simplest things to make, it just takes a little patience. So here’s how you do it:
One and only ingredient: Raw almonds (of course Organic is best, but whatever your budget allows)
Time: 15 minutes
Optional: Roast almonds for 10 minutes with a little oil for more intense flavour. If using in recipes such as Paleo chocolates, I prefer raw.
1. Add almonds to your food processor and blend on medium. (I used 2 1/2 cups)
2. After about 5 minutes, crank it up to full speed. The mix will rise up the sides of the processor so stop to push it back down as needed.
3. Keep blending for about 5 minutes and you will get this kind of consistency which looks almost there. DO keep on going, your almonds will release more of their natural oil over the next few minutes to come out with perfect consistency
4. Voilà! Now find a pretty jar and you’re done!
This chocolate is the real deal. I am a chocoholic. And it has also been approved by a bunch of the biggest chocoholics I know. It tastes like chocolate.
I adapted this from the Easy Peasy Paleo Chocolate recipe to make it a bit more authentic chocolate flavoured and a little less “healthy” tasting. It tastes like the real deal. And you can eat it all you want. I am not even kidding, you should have seen me today I was literally BOUNCING around the house and trying to force tasters on everyone who happened to be in the vicinity (mainly my brother- he’s a bit over it now- sorry bro). It is actually that good.
So without further ado here is the recipe for you all to enjoy and indulge! If you’ve already checked out the Easy Peasy Paleo recipe then it is exactly the same method- just some different ingredients, and at the end I will show you some different options for flavours and even for doing fillings! (The BEST are my Dulce Vitas which will be coming up tomorrow to keep you up with a weekend of chocolating!)
-2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
-2 tablespoons Almond Butter
-3 tablespoons Cocoa or Cacao
-1 1/2 teaspoons honey (*OR half and half honey and maple syrup *OR all natural maple syrup to make this fully vegan)
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-Hazelnuts or Macadamia Nuts
-Peanuts (for peanut butter flavoured ie.no chunks, check out the Easy Peasy Paleo Recipe– it tastes like Reese’s peanut butter cups)
-Dulce de Leche (check out my Dulce Vitas coming up tomorrow to see how this works)
-Any combination of the above or pretty much any other filling you can imagine- there are endless opportunities
1. Bring some water to a boil in a small pot on the stove (or you can cheat and boil it in the jug, the point is you have boiled [not boiling] water in a pot
2. Make a double boiler with a metal or glass bowl overtop, ensure the element is off and you don’t let the bottom of the bowl actually touch the water
3. Add in all the ingredients, starting with the coconut oil, then the peanut butter, honey, vanilla and finally the Cocoa for the best texture
4. Mix gently with a spatula until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended, if there are small chunks (likely of the coconut oil) not yet melted when everything else is then take the bowl off the pot and put on a cold surface. Keep stirring off the heat and the warmth of the mix will melt out the rest
5. Prepare your mould- if you want a block, I use a plastic container lid lined with baking paper, otherwise mini muffin cases work perfectly for individual chocolates
6. Add in any flavourings and then pour into your moulds
Don’t forget that these need to be kept cold so make sure you leave them in the freezer or at least the fridge if you are storing them!
Carrying on with the Easy Peasy Paleo theme from my last post, I just couldn’t resist giving these babies a try when they popped up on my newsfeed from the awesome team at MindBodySexy! (You can check them out here!).
After seeing the simple ingredients, which were all conveniently in my pantry, I knew my self control couldn’t handle going without! I made some adjustments as I went along to make it more to my taste (I’m not the biggest peanut butter fan!) so have included those here, but definitely also check out the original if you want something not quite so rich but a bit sweeter!
This comes out tasting a bit like a dark chocolate Reese’s cup but less peanutty and with that hint of honey- yum! But best of all it’s GOOD FOR YOU! It is packed with protein and antioxidants and all sorts of other brilliant qualities you can check out on the MindBodySexy post here, as I used all the same ingredients- just in differing quantities.
-3 tablespoons Cocoa powder or Cacao
-2 tablespoons Coconut oil
-2 tablespoons Peanut butter (Organic, 100% peanuts- no additives or any of that yucky stuff!)
-1 tablespoon honey
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional but so much better with it!)
1. Boil some water in a small pot
2. Place ingredients in metal bowl (large enough to sit on top of the pot)
3. Prepare your recipient ie. chocolate moulds, cupcake cases, or if you want a block like me I used the lid of a clip-it container lined with paper. Just make sure it is something that can go in the freezer, and if it is not flexible you need to line it with paper so you can take the block out at the end.
4. Make a double boiler by placing the bowl over the pot and immediately take the water off the boil
5. Gently stir ingredients using a metal spoon, until they are thoroughly melted and mixed to look like melted chocolate
*NOTE: Take it off the pot as soon as it’s melted through so you don’t burn it
6. Pour into your recipient and leave to set in the freezer for about an hour, or as long as you can wait till you taste it!
*NOTE: If you’re unlike me and you actually have enough self control to not eat the whole lot in one sitting, then make sure you keep it in the freezer so that it doesn’t melt as it will do at room temperature!