Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

This week I have put myself on a self-imposed fast from chocolate.  You may or may not have noticed that a lot of my recipes have chocolate in the title, and if not there, in the ingredient list.  In an effort to stop the cycle of “needing” chocolate, I’m going to take a week off, and then see if it still tastes as good.  My money is on the fact that it most certainly will, but we’ll see.  🙂

*Post edited to be honest – I stayed off chocolate for 36 hours.  I am weak.*

Fortunately for me, I did some baking on Saturday.  Since it’s still fall, and it seems to have become a new tradition that everything from hot chocolate, to lattes, to pies, to cookies must include pumpkin, I wanted to see if I could incorporate pumpkin into a brownie recipe (and at the same time convince myself that it they had pumpkin in them, they MUST be healthy, and therefore could be eaten at will…..)

The result was good!  Not a cake-y brownie, but more fudge-y in texture.  I frosted them with a simple buttercream icing.  I think they’d be fine without icing, or with a few chocolate chips sprinkled on top right out of the oven, so they would  melt and you could spread them in a delicious thin layer.

 

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. pumpkin (not pie filling)

1 cup sugar

2 chia eggs

3/4 cup gluten free flour mix (recipe here)

1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

Melt chocolate, and let cool slightly.  Stir into pumpkin.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Bake in a greased 8 x 8 pan for 25-30 minutes at 350*.

Pumpkin brownie

The batter will seem WAY too thick to make a decent brownie, but as you can see in the picture, they will turn out fudgy and delicious!

*I used Camino unsweetened chocolate

*2 chia eggs = 2 tbsp. ground chia seed + 6 tbsp. water.  Mix and let set for 10 minutes or so.

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Chocolate Potato Cake

That’s right!  Potato cake.  But first, the back story.

Thanksgiving was last week, and I hosted.  I tend to figure that if I’m making one meal, I should make enough so that I don’t have to cook the next meal i.e. we can have leftovers the next day.   On Thanksgiving we were having nine adults and two children, and my calculations were slightly off in regards to how much food we would need.  Suffice it to say, we all ate, people took leftovers home, my husband and I had leftovers for more than one day, and we had a gorgeous pot of soup as well.   We could not handle another serving of potatoes, so I wracked my brain as to how I could use up some of those little veggies.

And then I remembered – once I had seen a recipe for chocolate cake made with potatoes.  Knowing that my husband will eat almost anything (he grew up in a family of eleven children, so if you didn’t eat what was in front of you, someone else would!), I decided to give it a go.  The results were very impressive.  It made a bundt cake that was moist and delicious.   When given to people as a taste test, no one guessed my  mystery ingredient.  Bonus!  You can tell yourself that eating a piece of cake is just fine, because you’re also eating vegetables.

3/4 cup mashed potatoes (not mashed potatoes with milk and butter in them, but simply cooked potatoes, mashed)

2 cups sugar (I used organic)

1 3/4 cups gluten free flour mix (recipe at the bottom)

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. xanthan gum

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and slightly cooled

4 ounces softened butter or margarine

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 chia eggs

1 tbsp. lemon juice + non dairy milk to make 3/4 cup

Combine the dry ingredients.  Add potatoes, melted chocolate and vanilla, and combine on low speed with a mixer.  Raise the speed to medium and beat for 2 or 3 minutes.  Mix together the chia eggs and liquid, and add slowly to the batter.  Combine completely.  Scrape batter into a greased bundt or tube pan.  Bake in a 350* oven for about an hour, until it tests done with a toothpick.  Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, and then remove cake from pan and finish cooling on a rack.

 

I put a simple glaze on this cake – just some chocolate chips melted down with a little flax milk, drizzled over the top.  A dusting of icing sugar would be nice too, or it would be fine with nothing.  Your choice!

(and of course, it goes without saying that a lovely cup of tea would make this just about perfect.)

Potato cake two Potato cake one

 

Notes:

Potato – I put mine in the food processor just to make sure there were no little lumps

Gluten Free Flour Mix:  2 parts white rice flour, 2/3 part potato starch, 1/3 part tapioca starch.  I make this up in bulk so it’s on hand when I need it.

I used Camino unsweetened baking squares

Chia eggs: – 2 tbsp. ground chia seeds, 6 tbsp. water.  Let soak for 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Squares

Hi all!  It was Canadian Thanksgiving this past week-end, and I hosted.  It was just our immediate family, but still, that is nine adults, one three year old, and a one year old.  So…for the first time that meant putting all three leaves in the table, two people sitting on the piano bench, a high chair pulled up to the table, and one chair extended into the living room (where that person could, coincidentally, keep their eye on the Blue Jays game playing on the muted t.v.  Hubby sacrificed and took that spot.  Ha, ha.)  This is what my idea of making my table fancy looks like….I’m a little more into family, food and fellowship than frills.  🙂

IMG-20151012-00172

 

I figured I would order a fresh turkey, since when I read the Butterball label there were six ingredients.  Seriously???  All I want in my turkey is…..turkey.  So, we ordered a fresh one.  I figured – twenty pounds would be great – leftovers, take home portions, etc.  We went in to pick it up, and thank goodness hubby was with me, because they got me a 24 pound one.  This thing’s thighs were bigger than my granddaughter’s.  Mercy.  However, it was a beautiful turkey, and it made VATS of gravy.  I did not know it was possible to have too much gravy, but at this point I’m pretty sure the gravy will outlast the leftovers.

 

So dinner was yummy, and a traditional turkey dinner.  We always celebrate my youngest son’s birthday on Thanksgiving Day as well, since it usually falls within a day of the big meal.  This year he requested “some sort of peanut butter pie”.  I made him one, but wanted something pumpkin to go with it.  I went back to an old recipe I have for Pumpkin Squares, tweeked it a bit, and it was great!  Word from the family is that it is so good because it is still pumpkin, but not as heavy as pie.

Crust:

1/3 cup margarine or butter

1 1/2 cups gluten free graham wafer crumbs (I use Kinnikinnick)

1/4 cup white sugar

Melt butter or  margarine.  Stir in crumbs and sugar.  Press into an ungreased 8 x 8 pan.  Bake in a 350* oven for 10 minutes.  Let cool

Filling:

1/4 oz. (one envelope) unflavoured gelatin powder

3/4 cup cold water

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ginger

14 oz. pumpkin (not pie filling – pure pumpkin)

1 cup Nutriwhip

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a saucepan.  Let stand for five minutes.  Next heat, stirring, over medium heat to dissolve.

Mix, sugar, salt and spices well.  Stir into gelatin.  Remove from heat.  Add pumpkin and mix.  Chill until it shows signs of thickening.

Whip Nutriwhip until stiff.  Fold into thickened pumpkin mixture.  Spread over crumb crust.  Store in fridge until ready to serve.

IMG_0401

This recipe has been submitted for possible inclusion in Allergy Free Wednesday…..seen here:  http://www.tessadomesticdiva.com/allergy-free-wednesdays

Chocolate Cake with Brown Sugar Fudge Icing

Sometimes a girl just needs chocolate cake.  Sometimes a girl has had a cold/flu bug for multiple days on end, and if she’s going to feel better, she needs cake.  Anybody else ever feel like that?

Yeah – so over the week-end I succumbed to a brutal cold/flu virus which laid me out on the couch for days.  I’ve always caught pretty much everything going around.  I suspect this germ came from a grandchild (they are precious little germ carriers) or a piano student.  However I caught it, it still has not quite released its grip on me.

And so, I have very little in the line of witty things to say, or good stories to tell.  I do, however have a bonus recipe for you – I’m including the really scrumptious icing recipe for this cake. This cake only requires one bowl, and one spoon to mix it up.  Nice and easy for those days when you aren’t up to putting a lot of effort in, or when you’re just feeling a little lazy.

Chocolate Cake

1 chia egg (1 tbsp. ground chia seeds soaked in 3 tbsp. water)

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup margarine (allergen free)

1/1 2 cups flour (1 cup white rice flour, 1/4 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup tapioca flour)

1/2 cup non dairy beverage (I used original flavour flax beverage)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup white sugar (I used organic)

1/2 cup hot water

1/2 tsp. salt

Put in a bowl in the order given.  Do not stir until all ingredients are in the bowl.  Beat well with a wooden spoon until blended.  Bake in a greased 8 x 8 pan at 350* for 30 minutes, or until cake bounces bake when touched.

Brown Sugar Fudge Icing

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup non dairy milk (I used flax)

1/4 cup margarine

1/2 tsp. vanilla

pinch of salt

1/2 cup icing sugar (I used organic)

Bring brown sugar, non dairy beverage, and margarine to a boil, stirring constantly.  Let cook until it thickens a bit.  Cool until lukewarm.  Add vanilla and salt.  Add icing sugar gradually until it reaches a spreading consistency.  You may not need the entire half cup, or you may need a little more.  Pour over the cooling cake – it will continue to thicken as it cools.

Chocolate Cake

 

This icing is a bit of a sugar bomb, so tread lightly.  Ha, ha.  However, the combination of the chocolate cake and the icing is fantastic.

The cake should be cooled completely before cutting.  It holds together very well, but has what my Nana would have called a “tender crumb”.  It’s not a really dense cake.

Applesauce Date Cake

Today was busy.  Very busy.  Piano students, visiting daughter and grandbaby, trip to the grocery store, visit with grandson to hear about his day at preschool, more piano students….yes, today was busy!  And in the midst of all that stuff (most of which was stuff I loved) I remembered that I needed to do a blog post.  Oops.  Fortunately my pre-sensitivity recipe list was extensive, so really it’s just a question of taking mental inventory of what is in the house, doing some quick figuring (will this work as a non-allergy recipe????) and taking the plunge.

I must say, hubby does love blog days, as it seems to  be becoming mostly about desserts, and he knows that even if I’m watching my weight, and monitoring calories, I will still bake something, and he will have dessert – at least until it’s gone.  🙂

Today’s dessert is something I have done before as part of the goodies I serve after a piano recital.  There is one student who is sensitive to a number of things as well, so it makes me happy to bake something for her. While everyone else is eating cupcakes and cookies, she can take part in a snack too.  However, last time I made this I could still have eggs, and this time I had to sub out the egg.  I’m happy to say that it still worked, and still tasted good!

First you need a decent gluten free flour blend.  Here is the one I am currently using:

2 cups quinoa flour (2/3 part)

1 cup sorghum flour (1/3 part)

3 cups cornstarch (1 part)

3 cups tapioca flour (1 part)

Obviously this makes way more than you need.  Feel free to scale it down given the proportions listed.  This mix works in this particular cake well because the cake contains spices that mask the distinctive flavour of sorghum and quinoa flour.

Next the cake! Don’t let the long-ish list of ingredients put you off.  Most of them are just spices.  🙂

1 1/3 cups flour mix

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cocoa powder (or cacao, if you like)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp. cloves

1/4 cup butter or margarine, depending on your tolerance to butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 chia egg (1 tbsp. finely ground chia seed soaked in 3 tbsp. water)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup applesauce (sweetened or unsweetened, based on your desired sweetness level)

3/4 cup chopped dates (I used Medjool – they are just so lovely and soft)

Sift together the flour and all the dry ingredients/spices.  (I stirred with a fork.)  Cream together the butter and sugar.  Use a mixer or, if you’re like me, a wooden spoon.  Add in the chia egg and vanilla.  Into this add alternately the dry ingredients and applesauce, stirring after each addition.  Stir in the dates (I tossed the dates in with the last bit of the dry ingredients before adding them in.  That way they don’t all stick together in the cake).  Spread in a greased 8 x 8 pan.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until you touch it and it bounces back nicely.  Ice with a simple buttercream icing (recipe below).  This time I splurged on organic icing sugar, and I swear it made a difference to the taste and texture.  Even hubby said, “Man, this icing is really good!”

Applesauce Date Cake

Buttercream Icing:
Cream 3 tbsp. butter or marg.  Beat in 1/2 tsp. vanilla and a few grains of salt.  Blend in 2 cups icing sugar alternately with 2-2 1/2 tbsp. of your favourite non dairy beverage.  I used Flax Beverage.  That’s it!