WOW! Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake

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Every once in a while, I get a real thrill when baking for this blog, and this is one of those times. Why? Because what I’ve made not only exceeds my expectations, it proves that gluten-free cakes and breads can be just as good as those that include wheat. (Other thrills were cornbread, a loaf of yeast bread, and non-yeast mini-bread loaves.)

So…ta-da! I’m utterly thrilled and delighted to be able to bring you a gluten-free angel food cake that rose beautifully in the oven and didn’t sink while cooling. This success was wonderful in itself because I’ve tried other angel food cake recipes and had major flops (pun intended).

Best of all, this cake tastes like the real deal—sweet, moist, light, and delicious. Mmmm.

The credit for this marvel goes to the Taste of Home website and what you see here is 99.9% of their recipe (somewhat rewritten for clarity). My .1% contribution? I added cocoa powder because one of my mottos is “Chocolate Whenever!”

Speckled swirls?

Speckled swirls?

I thought I could get a black/white swirly thing going. Instead I got a speckled somewhat swirl, but…well, who cares? It’s still…Mmmm.

However, I have plans for this recipe. Right now, it is not a low-carb version. It has 1¼ cups of sugar and, if you slice this 16 ways, each piece has 23 g of carbohydrate. (For more nutrition info, see below.)

I’d like to bring the carbs down because I’m pre-diabetic and need to be careful about my carb intake. I plan to experiment with creating a cake that has a sugar/xylitol or sugar/erythritol combination.

Both of these sugar alternatives have the crunch of sugar but are much lower on the glycemic index and, thus, will have less impact on my blood sugar levels. An added benefit? A lower calorie version as well.

I’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, bake…eat…enjoy!

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Navy Bean Brownies with Carob Chips (no flour, no dairy)

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How’s your Chocolate Monster? Mine is alive and well, thank you very much.

In fact, I would say that she has been on a bit of a rampage lately. I’ve made two batches of brownies in 3 days. I eat them for breakfast, snacks, and dessert.

Breakfast! you exclaim. Brownies for breakfast? 

Yup, unless you’ve got something against eggs and beans first thing in the morning. No kidding. These brownies* are not only delicious and filling, they’re good for you—high in protein, low in carbs, and low in calories.

So how can your Chocolate Monster or mine resist?

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Quinoa Brownies for Serious Chocoholic Dieters (no flour, no oil)

Hit by an intense and unceasing chocolate craving? Fear not, these brownies will come to the rescue.

They are moist, rich, and chocolate-y to the nth degree.

They’re also healthy, chockfull of protein, and good for your diet.  Plus, a cinch to make.

Sounds impossible? Read on!

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Quinoa Pudding: Basics and Variations

Mango-Banana Quinoa Pudding

The fruit season is just upon us here in Canada, and I’m looking forward to expanding my list of quinoa puddings.

These desserts are a low-cal favourite in our family. Or to put it another way: the spouse eats them faster than I can make them.

These recipes are all variations on the same theme: cooked quinoa, puréed fruit or squash, milk, eggs, spices/extracts, and sweetener. Once you know the basics, it’s easy to try new ones.

I thought it might be useful to bring my favourite recipes together in one post so you can see how they work. I’ll keep adding to the variations as I make them and, if you create one worth sharing, let me know and I’ll post it here.

For Weight Watchers: The point value depends on the milk that you use, but the recipe makes roughly 10 ½-cup servings with a point value of about 2 per serving.

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Low-Calorie Snacks

Snacks and dieting…dieting and snacks. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, these are two things that don’t go well together.

In my pre-diet days, I loved the oh-so-easy snacks. I’d just grab something from the fridge or cupboard that would quickly satisfy my carb or salt cravings.

Snacks on a diet don’t have that happy-go-lucky quality. For me, snacks now require careful planning from the grocery store right up to the finished product. Even a simple nosh like an apple requires making sure I always have apples in the house.

But this post isn’t about the simple snacks. I don’t know about you, but sometimes an apple, a handful of carrots, or a bowl of popcorn (how to make your own in the microwave, oil-free) just won’t cut it. I want a snack more interesting in taste and texture that is also

  • Low in calories, i.e., has little or no fat. (Sugar isn’t a problem for me; I use artificial sweetener.)
  • Healthful because it has nutritious ingredients.
  • Filling so that I don’t get hungry again so quickly.
  • 2 Weight Watcher (WW) points or less so it doesn’t overwhelm my daily count. (Roughly 100 calories.)

To that end, I am now experimenting with snack recipes, mine and others’, with the express purpose of keeping the calorie count down. As part of this effort, I decided to compile a list of all my low-calorie recipes to better understand how to replace empty calories with good ones. I thought you’d find this list helpful.

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Butternut Squash Brownies (oil-free)

Butternut Squash Brownie
served with yogurt and clementine

Looking for a yummy and filling brownie that’s also low-calorie? This one has no oil, and that makes a big difference. I am always amazed when calculating Weight Watcher point-values how fast they go up when you add in the oil—3 points for every tablespoon. Whew!

You can substitute other gluten-free flours in this recipe, but that may change the amount of liquid (in the form of eggs or milk) that you may need. Different flours are thirsty in different amounts.

If you do decide to vary the recipe, mix batter without the egg and add, as necessary, in ¼ cup batches. The batter should be thick but spreadable.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate-Orange Bean Bake

This bean bake has…

  • A light chocolate flavour.
  • A hint of orange.
  • A cake-like texture.

 

It’s delicious, and I’ve been eating it for breakfast.

Even the spouse, who is not fond of chocolate (how is that possible?), likes this bean bake—although he did say that it would probably be better if it were topped with whipped cream.

Well, what wouldn’t??!!

Is it not a truth well known to all dieters that everything we can eat would taste much more exciting if it were fried, blended, mixed, chopped, or topped with the foods we can’t eat?

And I told him so in no uncertain terms, thank you very much!

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Light Cocoa Carob Squares

These squares came about because I found myself with 2/3 cup of soured milk that I had forgotten to put in a different bread I was baking.  How did I do that?  Well, I had to give the milk time to sour so I put it to one side as I got the rest of the ingredients put together and then completely forgot about it.  When I mixed the batter, I found the dough—not surprisingly, in retrospect—terribly dry.  Needless to say, this hodge-podge didn’t turn out too well.

Then, of course, I discovered the soured milk.   I couldn’t throw it out, could I?  Nor could I ignore a certain chocolate craving that had arisen because I’d bought some carob chips earlier in the day.  It’s interesting how a craving (which knows it can be fulfilled) just keeps nudging at you, isn’t it?  At any rate, the result is a delight.  Squares that are mildly sweet and light in texture, taste, and calories. 

Cooking note: The original recipe called for ½ tsp. of unflavoured gelatin.  As this wasn’t a “jell0” style cake, I didn’t know what function the gelatin served.  Some research later: In order to avoid having a cake cracking along the top as it cools, you should “Add gelatin to the cake batter as you mix it. The gelatin works to keep the cooling cake intact and it can also add fullness to the baked cake.”  (eHow Food)

Update: I recently bought my quinoa flour at a different store than usual and discovered, when making these squares, that I had to add more liquid.  In fact, I’ve altered the recipe for 1 cup of soured milk.  Feel free to add ¼ or so of water or alternative milk if you still find your batter too dry.

Printer-friendly recipe

Makes 16 squares

Ingredients

  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup quinoa flour
  • ½ cup artificial sugar
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. unflavoured gelatin
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk or 1 soy or lactose-free milk + 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup liquid egg substitute
  • 4½ tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1½ tbsp. oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened carob chips
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. If not using buttermilk, mix alternative milk with lemon juice, let sit for about 5 minutes, and then stir.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients: rice flour, quinoa flour, artificial sugar, tapioca flour, potato starch, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, gelatin, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl mix together all liquid ingredients, buttermilk or soured milk, liquid egg substitute, applesauce, oil, and carob chips.
  4. Add liquid to dry ingredients and mix until it forms a thick batter.
  5. Spray a 9″ x 9″ baking pan with cooking spray.
  6. Pour batter into the pan and bake in a 350° F oven for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool and cut into 16 squares.

For Weight Watchers: Each square is worth 2 points on the Points plan and 2.5 points on the PointsPlus plan.

(Altered from “Irish Soda Bread” by Jefferson Adams at www.celiac.com)

Mmmm-Good Chocolate Pudding Cake

A warm, crusty chocolate cake on the top, dotted with chocolate chips, and a thick chocolate-coffee pudding underneath.  It’s rich and satisfying but not overly sweet.  Mmmm-good, chocolate-good!  (Sorry, but my inner chocaholic just got out and needs to be shoved back.)

Also, this is the first time I’ve used a gluten-free flour mix suggested by a cookbook author as a basic blend for baking.  It was so simple I made 9 cups; now I’ll have more on hand for the next recipe. 

Printer-friendly recipe

Makes 8 servings (approximately 1/2 cup each)

The Basic Gluten-Free Mix (for 9 cups), courtesy of author Bette Hagman, is as follows:

  • 6 cups white rice flour
  • 2 cups potato starch
  • 1 cup tapioca flour

Cooking tip: The original recipe called for ½ cup of milk.  I found that adapting the recipe to gluten-free required ¾ cup.

Taste tip: When served warm, the pudding cake has no artificial sugar taste.  When the cake is cool, the artificial sugar is little less obliging.  Therefore, I suggest serving this warm.  Or you could use an artificial baking mix or use ½ real sugar, ½ artificial sugar.  If you do, remember to add the additional points to the dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Basic Gluten-Free Mix (or approximately 2/3 cup of rice flour, 3.33 tbsp. of potato starch, and 1.66 tbsp. of tapioca flour)
  • 1/3 cup artificial sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ – ¾ cup soy or other alternative milk
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • 1 and 1/3 cups brewed coffee
  • 2/3 cup artificial sugar

Directions

  1. In large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, artificial sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together liquid ingredients: egg, smaller amount of milk, oil, and vanilla extract.
  3. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.  Batter should be thick but not “balled up” in the whisk.  Add small portions of milk as needed.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spray a 1.5 qt. baking dish.
  6. Scrape batter into the baking dish.
  7. Mix coffee and artificial sugar in a measuring cup and pour over batter.  (This liquid should now be sitting on top of the batter.  During baking, the cake will rise to the surface and the pudding sauce will be beneath it.)
  8. Bake in 350º oven until top is solid, not wet, and pulling away from the sides of the baking dish, approximately 40 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.  Pudding will thicken during this time.
  10. Cut cake into eighths and dig all the way to the bottom to make sure each piece has its share of pudding. 
  11. Serve warm.

For Weight Watchers: Each ½-cup serving is 4 points on the Points plan and 4.5 points on the PointsPlus plan.

(Adapted from “Chocolate-Fudge Pudding Cake” in The EatingWell™ Diabetes Cookbook by Joyce Hendley and the editors of EatingWell.)