Zucchini Brownies “Zeebies” – gluten-free, dairy-free, and healthy!

Zucchini Brownies


tower of zucchini browniesHappy Zucchini Season!!!

I have been making this recipe for years: Brownies that are full of zucchini!!! My kids clamor for more! All four of us love them, zucchini and all!

I love zucchini. All three of my kids hate zucchini, but all three kids love these brownies!

If you use the version of the recipe that is sweetened with dates instead of refined sugar, then this is one healthy recipe. I even ate it for breakfast this morning. Yum!

The initials for Zucchini Brownies are ZB, so my family calls these “Zeebies.”

The original recipe that this is based on is Cassie’s Zucchini Brownies from allrecipes.com, though my version is fairly different. I big pan of zucchini browniesmade it gluten-free, added lots more zucchini, replaced the walnuts with chocolate chips, removed the salt, and added an option to sweeten it with dates instead of refined sugar.

Tip: These brownies look much better if you use a classic green-colored zucchini in them. Yellow summer squash tastes fine too, but looks a little alarming.

Here is the recipe!

Zucchini Brownies "Zeebies" - gluten-free, dairy-free, healthy, and can be vegan!
 
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My zucchini-hating kids adore these brownies. They are healthy and delicious, gluten-free, and can be vegan. YUM!!!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24 brownies
Ingredients
  • EITHER 2 cups of all-purpose flour, or 2 cups of gluten-free flour mix (I use 1/2 cup each of: teff flour, quinoa flour, potato starch, and garbanzo bean flour -- but any flour mix should work)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • EITHER 1 cup of white sugar OR 1 cup of dates, pits removed
  • EITHER 2 eggs OR 2 flax eggs
  • 2 to 6 cups grated zucchini -- don't salt it or drain it or anything, just grate it. A food processor is perfect for speedy grating.
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If you are using flax eggs, mix those up first, and let them sit for a couple of minutes.
  3. Oil the bottom and the bottom inch of the sides of a 9x13 inch baking pan -- a "lasagna pan".
  4. If you are using dates as the sweetener, put them into a food processor together with the eggs or flax eggs. Blend for several minutes, until it looks like a creamy and smooth mixture with some bits of date-skin in it. Then add the oil and blend just until mixed.
  5. Now put all of the ingredients, including the dates (if you are using them) and eggs or flax eggs, into a large mixing bowl. Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly. Check for pockets of unmixed flour, and stir those in too.
  6. The wetness of the mixture should be someplace between a dough and a batter. If it seems too stiff, stir in some water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, until it has the wetness of a dough.
  7. Put the mixture in the greased pan. Smooth it out with a spatula, so that the surface is flat and the mixture evenly covers the whole bottom of the pan.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes.
  9. Let cool, or serve hot -- just beware that when it comes out of the oven it is really molten hot, so I suggest letting it cool for at least a few minutes to stay safe.
  10. Cut into squares or bars.
  11. Tastes great either warm or at refrigerator temperature.

 

Hamentaschen – gluten-free and can be vegan!

Hamentashen

Hamentashen are a traditional Jewish cookie, served at the holiday Purim. They are shaped like the three-cornered hat of Hamen, the villain in the Purim story.

Oh today we’ll merry, merry be.
Oh today we’ll merry, merry be.
Oh today we’ll merry, merry be.
And nosh some Hamentaschen.  :)

How to shape the dough

How to shape the dough

Years ago, I wanted to try making gluten-free Hamentaschen. So I searched the web and found a recipe by someone named Ellen Switkes. It works great! I have been making this recipe for years. The Hamentashen come out tasting a bit more like cookies and a bit less like bread dough than traditional Hamentashen — they are very yummy.

This year my daughter and I tried making this recipe vegan. The Hamentashen came out great that way too!

Hamentashen

Hamentashen after baking

The one thing that I will do differently next year is that this year I used some teff flour in my flour mix, and teff makes dough look brown and whole-wheat-y. So next year I plan to use a flour mix next year that doesn’t have any teff in it, so that the Hamentashen come out looking more of the color of traditional Hamentashen.

 

 

Twice I have made Rainbow Hamentashen. Someday I will post the recipe! The batch in the picture below was particularly neat because all of the coloring was done with food: beets, cocoa powder, and spinach. Yum!

 

 

Ellen Switkes says: Don’t wait until Purim.

rainbow hamentashen

Hamentaschen - gluten-free and can be vegan!
 
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Hamentashen are a yummy traditional dessert food for the Jewish holiday Purim. These are gluten-free, and optionally vegan. Happy Purim!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 29 Hamentaschens
Ingredients
Dough
  • 2 eggs or 2 flax eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups flour mixture (for example 3/4 cup each quinoa flour, garbanzo flour & potato starch - or whatever flour mix you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum (only if you used gluten-free flour, and only if it doesn't already contain this)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (or 2/3 teaspoon baking soda + 2/3 teaspoon cream of tartar)
  • 1/2 cup oil (eg. organic canola oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
Filling
  • chocolate chips, or other traditional Hamentashen filling such as jelly or stewed dried apricots
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If you are using flax eggs, mix them up and let them sit while you mix the rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients, to prevent lumps.
  4. Add the wet ingredients, including the eggs or flax eggs. Stir well.
  5. The dough should have the consistency of fabulous fresh playdough, straight from the can. If it is wetter or dryer than that, add some flour mix or a tablespoon of water and stir again, and repeat until you have a dough with the perfect consistency.
  6. Break off a blob of dough that is about 1 inch in diameter. Roll it into a ball, then pat it into a flat circle on a fabulously non-stick cookie sheet. The circle should be about 2 1/2 inches wide. Carefully pat any raggedy edges together, so that you end up with edges that are perfectly smooth and round.
  7. Put 1-2 teaspoonfuls of filling in the middle of the circle. Less filling works better than more -- you can always add another dab of filling after the cookie is shaped if you want to. Then carefully fold each of the three sides upward, forming a triangle. Pinch the corners together, so that it will hold its shape. If it cracks, just pat it back into shape, seal the crack, and it should be fine.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Yum!
  10. Ellen Switkes says: Don't wait until Purim.

 

Chocolate Mousse – gluten-free, vegan, raw, awesomely healthy, quick, and my kids love it!

Chocolate Mousse

When I first tried this recipe, I wrote in the cookbook, “Drop-dead FABULOUS mousse!!!!!

Because it is!!!!!

It is also easy to make, healthy, vegan, and my kids and I love it. What more could you ask of a recipe? :)

The pictures show the mousse with fruit. I like to use the mousse as a topping for fruit. My kids like plain mousse without fruit added. That’s perfectly fine — the mousse itself is made of fruit, so it is healthy even if you don’t add more fruit to it.

In addition to fruit, my favorite way to serve it is with a pinch of cardamom on top. I love cardamom — it is a magical addition to this mousse.

The original version of this recipe came from the cookbook “Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People” by Jennifer Cornbleet. (I have linked to a newer edition of the book than the one that I have — an edition that I have never seen.) I changed the recipe by replacing maple syrup with more dates, and by increasing the quantities in the recipe so that it uses two avocados instead oChocolate Moussef one and a half.

A food processor works much better than a blender for this recipe. And you need a good sturdy food processor for this. I have a Braun Multiquick food processor that I really adore. I am convinced that Braun makes the best food processors, much better than any other brand, because theirs are sturdy and have a lot of attention to important details. Like for example, I used to have a KitchenAid food processor where the edges of the lid fit onto the outside of the bowl, which meant that splatters all ran down the outside of the bowl. The Braun has a lid that fits inside the bowl — which means that any splatters run down inside the bowl, which is where I want them. Best of all, the bowl on the Braun has no hole where the blade connects to it, so you can put easily twice as much food into the Braun compared to the KitchenAid. Anyway, I can go on and on about why I like Braun food processors, but I won’t ask you to wade through any more about it. The link from this blog to Amazon will send me a tiny percentage of the purchase price if you buy what I linked to, but other than that I have no relationship with Braun except as a satisfied customer. But so far my total income from Amazon for this blog has been exactly zero, so this is not exactly a get-rich-quick undertaking. :-P

This recipe uses dates. Dates vary a lot, from tougher dry ones to wetter soft ones, but any dates should work fine in this recipe. Make sure to remove the pits, if yours have pits, and check every date for bits of stem to remove, because sometimes a date will still have a collar of hard stem attached to it. Also, even pitted dates sometimes still have a pit, so it’s helpful to check for that, too.

Too much chocolate can keep me awake at night, so I often replace half of the cocoa powder in this recipe with carob.  I like Foods Alive organic carob powder. This recipe tastes almost exactly the same when it is made with half carob and half cocoa powder — and it is much less likely to keep me awake at night.

The most important ingredient in this mousse is perfectly ripe avocados. If you have never tried a recipe like this, using avocados in this way may sound very strange to you. But it works really well in this recipe. There is no green color or avocado-y flavor. The finished mousse tastes like a rich, chocolate dessert.

To check the ripeness of an avocado, do not poke it with your finger. That will leave black spots inside the avocado. Instead, hold it in your hand and see what the avocado’s skin feels like. If it feels hard, the avocado is not ripe. If it feels soft and smooth, like touching human skin, then the avocado is ripe. Also the skin of most avocados turns black when it is ripe, so that is another way to recognize one.

Avocados go quickly from ripe to overripe, so once you have ripe avocados it’s necessary to use them within about a day, or you will lose them to overripeness. You can put ripe avocados in the refrigerator to delay this process — they can last for up to a week there.

Variation: To make this recipe chocolate-free, I have replaced the cocoa powder with a little ground cardamom — maybe 1/4 or 3/8 teaspoon. This makes a bright green mousse that my kids won’t touch, because of the color. But I love it that way. And if the kids won’t touch it, there is more for me!  :)

Chocolate Mousse - gluten-free, vegan, raw, awesomely healthy, and my kids love it!
 
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A rich, fabulous chocolate mousse, made from entirely healthy, raw, vegan ingredients -- mostly fruit! And only four ingredients! Even my picky eater kids adore this recipe.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: French
Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup dates, with pits removed -- also check each date for any hard stem pieces and remove them
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 perfectly ripe avocadoes -- remove pits, skin, and any black spots
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder -- or 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 1/4 cup carob powder
  • optional: fruit or berries, such as cherries, blueberries, or strawberries
  • optional: a pinch of ground cardamom for each serving
Instructions
  1. Put the dates and water into a sturdy food processor. Blend for several minutes, until they form a smooth syrup. You will still be able to see bits of the skins from the dates, but the syrup itself should be smooth. Depending on your food processor and your dates, you may need to add a little extra water to get this to blend. Tip: I start blending this at slow speed, then raise the speed to high, to cut down on splashing and noise inside the food processor. The most important step to getting the mousse to come out really smooth is to blend this mixture until it is really smooth, even if it takes several minutes.
  2. Add all other ingredients to the food processor -- except for the optional ones.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Serve plain, or with fruit, and/or with a pinch of ground cardamom on top.

 

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust – gluten-free, raw, vegan, beautiful and yummy!

Fresh Fruit Pie With Chocolate Brownie Crust

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust This summer when the market was full of beautiful fruit and berries, I bought lots and made them into a series of beautiful pies. These pies take about 20 minutes to make, need no baking, look gorgeous, and taste delicious. Yum!!!

I fell in love with this recipe this summer, so I made it again and again, all summer long.

The chocolate brownie crust is adapted from a recipe in Chocolate Covered Katie’s cookbook.  And the cardamom cashew cream filling is adapted from a recipe in an older edition of the cookbook Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People by Jennifer Cornbleet. I love cardamom and think that the hint of it in the cashew cream really makes this pie recipe over-the-top amazing.

Two more pictures and then the recipe!

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust - gluten-free, raw, vegan, beautiful and yummy!
 
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This beautiful pie is raw, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, free of refined sugar, quick to make, totally delicious, and full of fruit!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 pie
Ingredients
Crust ingredients:
  • 1 cup dates, with pits and any bits of stem removed
  • 1 1/3 cups nuts (for example 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup pecans, and 1/3 cup of almonds)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
Cardamom Cashew Cream Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 dates, with pits and any bits of stem removed
Fruit Ingredients:
  • strawberries, perfectly ripe mangoes, blackberries -- or whatever fruit you have handy, cut into chunks
Instructions
  1. Place all of the crust ingredients in a food processor. Blend until you have tiny bits, much smaller than the head of a pin. The mixture should have tiny bits of nuts visible in it but be soft and mashable. Don't blend it for so long that you turn it into nut butter!
  2. Empty the food processor into a pie plate. Use your hands to press down on the mixture, to flatten it. Push some of it against the sides, too, so that there is an even coating of crust pushed down all over the bottom and sides of the pie plate. I usually don't put the crust on top of the edges of the pie plate, because on a raw foods crust that tends to fall off during serving. Take the time to make sure that the crust is pushed down into the corners of the pie plate and that the edges are finished off neatly. I usually make the edges a tiny bit taller than the pie plate, so that the pie can be deep. If you press down on the pie crust on the insides of the pie plate, the crust will get taller and do exactly this.
  3. Place all the ingredients for the cardamom cashew cream in the food processor. (You don't need to wash it out after making the crust.) Blend until you have a very smooth cream. It should look and taste smooth. I usually let cashew cream sit in the food processor while I work on other parts of a recipe and then come back to it to re-blend it once the blended bits of cashews have had a chance to soften.
  4. Wash the fruit and cut it into chunks. If you are using strawberries, cut out the stem from each strawberry and then cut it in half. You can leave blackberries whole. For a mango, imagine a mango pit with a piece of paper on top and another piece on the bottom, lying down flat. Now imagine that pit inside a whole mango, and use a knife to cut where each piece of paper is, so that you end up with two mango hemispheres, and an oval of mango left behind that includes the pit. Now on each hemisphere, cut 2-3 lines through the flesh in one direction, cutting down to the skin but don't cut through the skin. Now cut 2-3 lines across in the other direction, across the first cuts, making a grid. So you should have a mango hemisphere with its skin still intact and the mango flesh scored into about 12 squares. Then use a dinnertable tablespoon to separate the mango flesh from the skin, so that you end up with about 12 cubes of mango. Repeat on the other mango hemisphere.
  5. Re-blend the cashew cream (which is still in the food processor) until it is super smooth, then put it into the pie crust and spread it evenly over the bottom.
  6. Arrange the fruit prettily on top of the cashew cream, to fill up the pie crust. Tip: A ring of cut strawberries interlocks really nicely, like Lego. :)
  7. Voila! One quick and yummy fruit pie!

 


This recipe is entered in Gluten-Free Fridays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, and Meat-Free Mondays!

Chocolate Chip Fresh Cherry Bread – gluten-free, dairy-free, and addictively amazing!!!

chocolate chip fresh cherry bread


I wait all year for fresh cherries to appear in stores, so that I can make this recipe. I long for this recipe all winter long. It is that good.

This may be the most amazing and wonderful recipe in this entire collection!

Years ago now, I was thinking that a loaf with chocolate chips, fresh cherries, and some cardamom woChocolate chip fresh cherry breaduld be really amazing. So I searched the web to see what I could come up with. I found this recipe for Fresh Cherry Bread, from www.recipesource.com. The recipe credits the newsletter of King Arthur Flour – The Baking Sheet for the original version of the recipe. I modified it by adding chocolate chips, adjusting the amounts of cardamom and vanilla extract, and making it gluten-free.

The one thing I don’t love about this recipe is that it uses refined sugar. I have experimented with making a version of it that is sweetened with fruit, and I will post that someday. But for now, this is the reliable original version of the recipe — and it does use refined sugar.

I hope you will try this recipe — it is soooo good!

Chocolate Chip Fresh Cherry Bread - gluten-free, dairy-free, and addictively amazing!!!
 
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A dessert loaf made with chocolate chips, fresh cherries, and cardamom. I long for fresh cherry season all year so that I can make this awesome recipe!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix, or regular flour (for example, today I used 1/2 cup of teff flour, 1/2 cup of quinoa flour, 1/2 cup of tapioca starch, and 1/4 cup of garbanzo bean flour)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum (omit if you are using regular flour)
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder (or, instead, 1 teaspoon baking soda + 1 teaspoon cream of tartar)
  • 2 eggs - or, for a vegan version, use 2 flax eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cherries (about 1/2 pound), pits removed and cherries cut into quarters or eighths
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Oil a loaf pan, and flour it (for gluten-free, I like brown rice flour for the flouring).
  3. Put all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Stir well.
  4. Add all wet ingredients. Stir well, making sure you find all the pockets of dry flour and get them mixed in. The batter will be thick, like cookie dough.
  5. Pour the batter into a loaf pan. Smooth it flat with a spatula.
  6. Bake for 55 minutes.
  7. Let cool, then refrigerate.
  8. Best served at refrigerator temperature.
Variations:
Mini-muffins: Use one medium cookie scoop (1 1/2 tablespoonfuls) for each muffin, and bake for 13 minutes. Makes about 24 mini-muffins.
Muffins: use 1 1/2 to 2 scoops (2-3 tablespoons) of dough for each muffin, and bake 15 minutes. Makes about 16 muffins.
Muffin-bread: Multiply recipe by 1 1/2. Use a spatula to smooth out the whole batch of dough onto a very nonstick cookie sheet, and bake for 18 minutes.

 

Valerie Brownies – gluten-free, dairy-free, and awesomely yummy!!!

valerie brownies

This is the recipe that I’ve sent to a zillion potlucks and bake sales at my kids’ schools.

I put a lot of work into testing and perfecting this recipe — a process that was a LOT of fun!!!

Valerie Brownies in a ringThis recipe very reliably makes really wonderful brownies.

My theory of potlucks is that people see the words “gluten-free” and get scared off. So I counteract that by adding lots of good adjectives to the sign on my brownies, so that the good words outnumber the words “gluten-free.” So the labels that I put on my brownies for potlucks call them, “Valerie’s Amazing Awesome Gluten-Free Brownie.”

Wall to Wall Valerie Brownies - Yum!For potlucks, I keep a sheet of label images on my computer so that I can print them off on my printer. I keep snack-size ziplock bags on hand. To package up the brownies, I put each brownie into a snack-sized ziplock bag, zip it, then tape on a printed label. That way the brownies are protected from cross-contamination by other foods at the bake sale.

This recipe was long-ago based on a brownie recipe from an old edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook.

Yum!!!

Valerie Brownies - gluten-free, dairy-free, and awesomely yummy!!!
 
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This recipe very reliably makes awesome gluten-free, dairy-free brownies.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 16 brownies
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (I like Arrowhead Mills brand) (if you are not gluten-free, replace this with regular flour)
  • 1/3 cup potato starch (I like Bob's Red Mill brand but would fervently like to find an organic gluten-free potato starch) (if you are not gluten-free, replace this with regular flour)
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa (I like NOW Foods brand)
  • 1 cup sugar (I like the big bags of organic sugar from Costco)
  • 1/3 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum (if you are not gluten-free, leave out this ingredient)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I like Equal Exchange semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 2 eggs (preferably free-range)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract (I like Nielsen-Massey brand)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil (I like Spectrum organic)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Oil (with canola oil) and flour (with potato starch) an 8x8 inch square pan.
  3. Put all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Mix.
  4. Add all wet ingredients. Mix
  5. Pour the mixture into the pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Let cool.
  8. Cut into 16 squares.
  9. Best served at refrigerator temperature.

 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread – addictive, healthy, and gluten-free – great for pot lucks and Thanksgiving!

chocolate chip pumpkin bread

another view of chocolate chip pumpkin breadThe first time I encountered chocolate chip pumpkin bread was when the wife of a colleague brought a loaf of it when their family visited my house. I didn’t think it sounded very good. Chocolate and pumpkin didn’t seem like they would go together very well. So I set it aside and forgot about it. Then, a couple of days later, just to be polite, I tried a bit of it. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I found out how VERY WELL chocolate and pumpkin DO go together!!!

After that I was hooked. They kindly gave me a copy of the recipe. It was originally published in a newspaper recipe column with the name “Mrs. Dugin’s Harvest Loaf Cake.”

pureed dates, raisins and eggs

pureed dates, raisins and eggs

For many years I made chocolate chip pumpkin bread for pot lucks and work events. It got to be kind of synonymous with Valerie. You know, if there’s a pot luck, Valerie will bring chocolate chip pumpkin bread.

When my family went dairy-free and then gluten-free, I converted the recipe and kept right on making it. This recipe is way too good to lose!

One interesting thing about this recipe is that it is so yummy that you can add all kinds of additional healthy veggies to it and my kids will still eat it. Also, I’m a big fan of converting recipes to use fruit as the sweetener instead of refined sugar. So I’ll give you two versions of this recipe. The first version is classic chocolate chip pumpkin bread, with refined sugar as one of the ingredients, and no sneaky extra vegetables added in. The second version is the wild and woolly version that I make for my family when I want the kids to happily scarf down lots of nutritious delicious food. That version has no refined sugar and lots of added veggies.

chocolate chip pumpkin bread before bakingTravel tip: Frozen slices of CCPB make good freezer bricks that you can put in a lunchbox and take along on an airplane or other travel, to help keep your other food fresh. And then you can eat the CCPB for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or a snack!) while you travel, or at your destination. Though one time I got stopped by the TSA’s scanners because they detected slices of frozen pumpkin bread in my luggage and incorrectly thought that they were liquids in more than a 3 ounce quantity. Oops. But once the TSA agent saw that it wasn’t a liquid, he let me right through.

Chocolate chip pumpkin bread is easiest to slice neatly and it tastes best once it has been refrigerated.

chocolate chip pumpkin bread after bakingIf you cook your own fresh pumpkin for this recipe, you can decide whether to puree it or leave it chunky. I like it chunky, but my picky kids prefer it pureed. Either way, the result is a really delicious loaf.

You can also bake the batter as muffins. Pour the batter into muffin cups and bake for about 19-20 minutes. Check for doneness the same as for a loaf.

I’ve also made a mug cake version, but I haven’t posted that recipe. If you’d like that recipe, please post a comment to let me know, and I’d be happy to post it!


 

First, here is the more traditional version of the recipe, with refined sugar:

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread - the classic version
 
Prep time
15 mins
Cook time
80 mins
Total time
1 hour 35 mins
 
Warning: chocolate chips and pumpkin are a Seriously Addictive combination. This loaf may be habit-forming.
Author: Valerie Mates
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 loaves
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar (see other version of recipe for refined-sugar-free version)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour (I use my gluten-free flour mix, plus 1 3/4 teaspoons xanthan gum or guar gum)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups pumpkin (either canned or fresh)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Oil and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans. (Use rice flour for the flouring if you are gluten-free.)
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Smooth out the tops with a spatula.
  5. Bake for 75 to 80 minutes.
  6. Loaves are cooked when a knife comes out clean (except for some melted chocolate chips), or when a thermometer says it's 195 to 200 degrees inside.
3.2.2885


 

Now, here is the super-healthy version of the recipe. The refined sugar is replaced with ground up raisins and dates — which tastes sweet and not raisin-y or date-y. I’ve added a ton of blended veggies, more flour mix, and cut the spices in half because they taste much stronger when you’re not using refined sugar. Also I use ground flaxmeal to replace the xanthan or guar gum.

If you are feeding this recipe to picky kids, I suggest starting with the original recipe the first time that you serve it, then the next time you bake it add only a few tablespoons of additional pureed veggies, and increase the amount gradually from there. Don’t start out right away with six cups of kale for your supertaster kid.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread - the super-healthy version
 
Prep time
30 mins
Cook time
80 mins
Total time
1 hour 50 mins
 
Chocolate and pumpkin are an addictive combination. This loaf is super-healthy, with lots of added veggies and no refined sugar. My kids scarf this down!
Author: Valerie Mates
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 3 loaves
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins (or dates)
  • 1 1/2 cups dates, with no pits or stem pieces (or raisins)
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup quinoa flour (if you are not gluten-free, you can use regular flour for all the flour)
  • 1 cup teff flour
  • 1 cup garbanzo flour (if you like it, or replace with another flour if you're not sure)
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 2 cups pumpkin (either canned or fresh)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4-6 cups assorted veggies such as frozen broccoli, fresh or frozen berries, the flesh of a mango, a beet, and/or greens -- defrosted, drained of any liquid, and pureed smooth for several minutes in a food processor
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place raisins, dates, and eggs in a food processor. Blend until the raisins and dates are shredded into small bits.
  3. Add the baking soda and spices to the food processor, and blend again.
  4. Place the mixture from the food processor and all of the other ingredients in a big bowl. Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly.
  5. Oil and flour three 9x5 inch loaf pans. (Use rice flour for the flouring if you are gluten-free.)
  6. Divide mixture evenly between the three pans and smooth out the tops with a spatula.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 80 minutes.
  8. Loaves are done when a knife comes out clean (except for melted chocolate chips), or when a thermometer says the temperature inside each loaf is 195 to 200 degrees.
3.2.2885

 

Chocolates – quick, easy, dairy-free, vegan

Chocolates

chocolate daleksBack when my kids were eating dairy-free as well as gluten-free, most candy was off-limits for them. So for Halloween and Easter, we made our own chocolates. Even now that they can eat dairy, we still make our own chocolates. It is super easy!

The fun part is choosing candy molds to make the chocolates. I used to use plastic candy molds, but I worried about chemicals that might leach into the chocolate. So I replaced the plastic candy molds with silicone ice cube trays. There is an amazing variety of ice cube trays available. We have smiley faces, creepy Easter Island statues, peace signs — even Lego minifiguresDaleks, and Tardises (Tardii?) ! Also my local Meijer store sells seasonal silicone ice cube trays for about Minifigs and penguins$2 each. That’s where I got pumpkins, bats, musical notes, hearts, strawberry-shapes, and lots more.

I thought melted chocolate would be scary-hot, but actually if you think about it, chocolate melts at about body temperature, and that’s about as hot as you want to get it — so it is really more just warm than actually hot. To make chocolates, my kids and I melt allergy-safe chocolate chips in the microwave (some dairy-free vegan brands are Equal Exchange chocolate chips and EnjoyLife), pour into silicone ice cube trays, refrigerate for a few hours, and voila — adorable chocolates that were super easy to make.

Holiday Chocolates - quick, easy, dairy-free, vegan
 
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Cute, easy, homemade chocolates. Great for Halloween or Easter with allergic kids.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 cup of chocolates
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Microwave the chocolate chips for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes in a microwave-safe cup or bowl. (I use a Pyrex measuring cup.)
  2. Stir with a spoon.
  3. If the chocolate chips aren't fully melted, microwave for another 30 seconds and stir. Repeat until they are all melted.
  4. Pour into silicone ice cube trays.
  5. Gently tap the silicone trays, or vibrate them, or wiggle them, to get any bubbles out, and to get the chocolate into the farthest corners of the design.
  6. Refrigerate for a few hours.
  7. To unmold, spread out a dishtowel flat on a table or counter. Pop the chocolates out of the mold onto the dishtowel. The dish towel will catch any chocolate scraps.
  8. Tip: You can wrap the chocolates in aluminum foil, and maybe add a sticker for decoration. If you do that, I recommend that you tear the foil with your hands, not with scissors. Cutting foil with scissors will quickly dull and ruin the scissors -- I found this out the hard way!
  9. Tip: Some of the chocolate shapes (such as peace signs) break easily when you remove them from the mold. If you need a certain number of chocolates, make extra to account for breakage.
  10. Tip: If you have silicone trays that are very floppy or very wide, you may wish to put them on a cookie sheet to make it easier to get them into the refrigerator without spilling.

 

Chocolate Decadence Mug Cake

chocolate decadence mug cake

chocolate decadence mug cakeMany years ago, after eating dinner at Seva restaurant, I ordered a dessert that was the most dense and chocolatey confection that I had ever tasted. I loved it — but didn’t remember its name! After that, I spent ten years ordering desserts at Seva, wondering what it was, hoping to some day solve the mystery of what the amazing dessert had been. Finally, it did come up again. I found out that the amazing dessert was called Chocolate Decadence.

Later, I found the recipe for Narsai’s Chocolate Decadence on the Internet and tried making it myself.  (Tip: If you make the original recipe, “bake” it in a glass pie plate in the microwave for six minutes, rather than in the oven, to cook it fully without risking any burned bits.) It came out wonderfully and is a birthday favorite at my house.

Last year my partner gave me the very much fun cookbook Mug Cakes: 100 Speedy Microwave Treats to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth. I enjoyed baking the creative, original, tiny cake ideas from that cookbook.  When you are making a cake the size of a coffee mug, it is easier to take risks and bake something that you might not want to try a full-sized version of, such as a Sesame Ginger mug cake — which, by the way, came out great!

Anyway, I came up with the idea to try making a Chocolate Decadence Mug Cake.  This recipe is the result.  It mixes up in about five minutes, then needs to sit in the refrigerator overnight, and voila!

The night before the first day of school after a long break, I make each of my older two kids a Chocolate Decadence Mug Cake. The next morning, if they get ready for school expeditiously, they can have it. It’s a fun way to motivate them to get moving in the morning. They each stretch out their mug cake to last all week. My son Arlo says that high school is way too early in the morning, and that the only thing that keeps him awake through his classes is Chocolate Decadence Mug Cake!

Anyway, this is a really wonderful recipe, and very easy to make. I hope you will try it!

Some notes on the recipe:

If you mix up the batter in the mug, it is hard to get all of the ingredients stirred through evenly.  It works better to mix it up in something bigger, such as a two-cup Pyrex measuring cup, and then pour the batter into a coffee mug for baking.

I like Equal Exchange semi-sweet chocolate chips in this recipe, because they are organic, fair-trade, and vegan.  (The link goes to a 12-pack of chocolate chips on Amazon.)

Use at least a 12-ounce mug. The batter gets a lot taller during baking, then sinks back down again, so the recipe needs the full twelve ounces of space to expand into. American coffee mugs are usually twelve ounces.

You can also divide up the batter into ceramic ramekins and bake it in there.

 

Chocolate Decadence Mug Cake
 
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An incredible chocolate cake, adapted to coffee-mug size.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 mug cake
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons potato starch or flour
  • 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Put the chocolate chips and canola oil into a two-cup microwaveable bowl or cup, such as a two-cup Pyrex measuring cup.
  2. Microwave for 1 minute.
  3. Stir.
  4. Microwave another 30 seconds.
  5. Stir until all the chocolate is melted.
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients. Use the fork to stir thoroughly. Be detail-oriented with the stirring, so that the egg gets blended very thoroughly with everything else.
  7. Pour into a 12-ounce coffee mug.
  8. Microwave for 90 seconds.
  9. Let sit until cool.
  10. Refrigerate overnight.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies – no gluten, dairy, or refined sugar!

chocolate chip cookie with a bite taken out of it

I searched far and wide for my perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe — and I have found it! This recipe has no gluten — indeed no grain or flour of any kind — and it is sweetened with dates instead of refined sugar. It makes delicious chocolate chip cookies that start out soft and stay that way.

cookie doughThis recipe is based on the Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from the blog Cooking a la Mel. But I’ve modified the recipe to use nuts instead of quinoa flour, replaced coconut oil with canola oil, and left out the refrigeration stage.

dough before bakingFor making blobs of cookie dough, I use an OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop that I bought on Amazon. It makes it easy to turn out a zillion perfect blobs of cookie dough in no time flat — although you can also use a tablespoon to scoop the dough and another one to scrape it off the first one, and that will work fine too.

baked cookiesYou can make these cookies vegan by replacing the egg with a flax egg instead.

My pick for chocolate chips is Equal Exchange, because they are dairy-free, organic, and fair trade.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
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Cook time
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Awesome gluten-free chocolate chip cookies: made from healthy ingredients, stays soft, and tastes fabulous!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 18-22 cookies
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pumpkin seeds (without hulls)
  • 1 cup dates, with no pits
  • optional: 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg (or replace with a flax egg to make it vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips, such as Equal Exchange semisweet
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place all ingredients except for the chocolate chips into a food processor.
  3. Blend for several minutes, until the mixture looks someplace between dough and wet sand. The largest pieces should be the size of the head of a pin.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Place blobs of 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough on a cookie sheet. Flatten the blobs into round cookie shapes. You can put them close together -- they don't expand much during baking.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Tastes best after cooling. Yum!