chocolate

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

Posted by on Oct 11, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, chocolate, gluten-free, healthier, main dish, muffin, pumpkin | 0 comments

I continue to revisit old favorite pumpkin recipes to incorporate more experience and better photography. This week’s recipe is for Pumpkin Pucks.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

These happen to be gluten-free and paleo, if you follow those diets. More to my needs, they are high-protein, avoid processed flours, and are DELICIOUS.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

They are rather like mini pumpkin pie custards with a slightly nutty taste. Do note that this can be made with whole wheat and/or all-purpose flour, if you don’t care about it being gluten-free… but I by far prefer the taste with almond flour.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

I have also used different nut butters. Almond butter tastes the strongest–in a very good way–though cashew butter was fantastic, too.

Once, I only had 3/4 cup of pumpkin, so I made up for the difference with applesauce. I found no major difference in taste or texture.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

I find that two of these make for a delicious breakfast. The size makes them very kid-friendly. I have kept them in the fridge for upwards of a week. Also, these are fantastic to freeze. Just be sure to remove the muffin cup liners and use waxed paper between layers.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

You can alter the flavor with different toppings, too. Mini chocolate chips are my favorite! Pepitas and dried cranberries work well, too; note that the cranberries are tart but mellow after time in the fridge.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

Enjoy this healthy recipe, and be warned that next week takes a decidedly sugary turn with a recipe for Pumpkin Roll!

Modified from Paleo Parents.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

This delicious recipe makes a kind of gluten free, paleo-friendly dense pumpkin custard in a muffin pan. Store these in the fridge for upward of a week; they can also be frozen, with the muffin liners removed, and kept between waxed paper.

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree [canned, NOT organic]
  • 1 cup almond or other nut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup almond flour [or wheat or all-purpose flour]
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Topping choice: 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips, OR chopped nuts or pepitas, or dried cranberries

Place muffin cup liners in pan, then spray the insides with nonstick spray. Preheat oven at 350-degrees.

If your almond butter is very stiff, measure it out, place in a microwave-safe bowl, then zap it for 15 seconds or so to soften it. Mix pumpkin puree and the almond butter together.

Add honey and maple syrup. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add the dry ingredients until everything is just combined.

Fill the muffin cups to 3/4 full; a tablespoon scoop makes this easy, as it's almost exactly 2 tablespoons to fill the cups. Top with mini chocolate chips or nuts or cranberries, if desired.

Bake at 350-degrees for about 20 minutes. Pumpkin pucks will not rise much. The tops of some may start to crack. Remove them from pan and allow to cool, then store in fridge.

OM NOM NOM!

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Bready or Not: Caramel Mocha Cookies

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, chocolate, cookies | 0 comments

It’s been too long since I featured a hardcore chocolate recipe, so let’s make up for that in a big way with these Caramel Mocha Cookies.

Bready or Not: Caramel Mocha Cookies

“I have this great looking recipe I want to try,” I told my husband. “Can you make it without nuts?” he asked, citing that a co-worker was allergic.

Bready or Not: Caramel Mocha Cookies

So I set about modifying the recipe, and realized this would be a good use for some leftover caramel bits I had in the cupboard. As I read over the full magazine clipping for the recipe, though, I noticed something weird.

Bready or Not: Caramel Mocha Cookies

It had a truly egregious typo: it asked the baker to start preheating the oven in step one, then to place the dough to chill for several hours or overnight. Oops.

Bready or Not: Caramel Mocha Cookies

Therefore, this is greatly modified from the original in the December/January AllRecipes magazine.

If anyone ever comes across an error like that in one of my recipes, please let me know!

Bready or Not: Caramel Mocha Cookies

These are chocolate cookies that will delight any chocoholic: dough loaded with melted chocolate and espresso powder, then packed with more chocolate chips. The caramel adds a touch of a different sweetness, and a different texture besides.

Bready or Not: Caramel Mocha Cookies

Bready or Not: Caramel Mocha Cookies

These cookies feature dough loaded with melted chocolate and espresso powder, and chocolate chips, too. Use caramel bits or chopped caramels. Note that this recipe needs several hours up to a day of chilling time.

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup caramel bits

Melt 1/2 cup of the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave. Stir until smooth; let cool. In another bowl, mix together the espresso powder and water.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy. Add the hydrated espresso, followed by the egg. Pour in the cooled melted chocolate. Gradually stir in the dry mixture until just mixed. Fold in the remaining 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and the caramel.

Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and let it chill for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Scoop tablespoon-sized dough balls onto a cookie sheet, with space for each to spread. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand to set 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

OM NOM NOM!

Bready or Not: Caramel Mocha Cookies

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Bready or Not: Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, chocolate, cookies | 0 comments

If you like some saltiness with your sweet, oh, do I have the cookies for you: Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Bready or Not: Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

As you might imagine, my husband’s co-workers get to taste a wide variety of cookies from me. But these, several declared, ‘were the best cookies they’d ever placed in their mouths.’

Bready or Not: Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

I consider that pretty high praise.

Bready or Not: Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

What makes these cookies different is the combination of flavors and textures. The pretzels add a lot here–bits of crunchiness and saltiness that is lovely cuddled with chocolate and caramel.

Bready or Not: Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can use whatever candy bars you want in this. I used Hundred Grands, but you can go for anything with chocolate and caramel, like Twix. Or you can use more chocolate chips and caramel bits.

Bready or Not: Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

You could play with the chocolate, too, and use whatever kind you want: milk, semi, dark. Or use a combo.

Bready or Not: Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whatever combination you choose, I hope you’ll consider these among the best cookies you’ve put in your mouth, too.

Modified from Two Peas and Their Pod.

Bready or Not: Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bready or Not: Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

These mind-blowing cookies combine salty, sweet, and crunchy in an extraordinary way. Choose whatever caramel-chocolate candy bars you want here, or add in chocolate or caramel bits; use whatever types of chocolate chips you want, too. Any combo will be fantastic.

  • 1 cup chopped pretzels
  • 1 cup chopped caramel-chocolate candy bars (about 6 ounces)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup (2 cubes) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • extra sea salt or pretzel salt to sprinkle on top

Prepare your add-ins. Use a food processor (or chop by hand) the pretzels and candy bars. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet by greasing well or lining with parchment. (Remember, melted caramel can get sticky.)

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually add in the dry ingredients. By hand, stir in the chocolate chips, pretzels, and candy bars.

Use a tablespoon to dole out dough balls onto cookie sheet, taking care to space them out; try to tuck visible caramel inside the dough to prevent too much oozing. Sprinkle some salt on top of the cookies.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies set on sheet for about 10 minutes before moving to a rack to finish cooling.

Store cookies in a sealed container between layers of waxed paper or parchment. Keeps well for up to 5 days.

OM NOM NOM!

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Bready or Not: Matcha White Chocolate Cookies

Posted by on Aug 23, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, chocolate, cookies | 0 comments

I continue the matcha-in-baked-goods theme to celebrate the release of Call of Fire last week, this time with Matcha White Chocolate Cookies.

Bready or Not: Matcha White Chocolate Cookies

The weird thing about these cookies is that the green tea’s color didn’t carry through in the baked results, but the taste is still there.

Bready or Not: Matcha White Chocolate Cookies

In fact, when my husband took these to work, a guy kept going back for more. He finally asked, “What’s in these?!”

“Green tea,” said my husband.

Bready or Not: Matcha White Chocolate Cookies

“Oh, does that make these healthy?” the man asked, making a face of disgust as he grabbed another cookie.

I won’t go so far as to say these are healthy, but these do have caffeine, and maybe those provided him with a much-needed jolt.

Bready or Not: Matcha White Chocolate Cookies

The flavor of these is unusual and hard to describe. The sweetness of the white chocolate is bold, and behind that is a mild and pleasant aftertaste from the matcha. It’s enough for you to know there is something unique about the cookies, but not to identify what it is.

Bready or Not: Matcha White Chocolate Cookies

If you want to be sure that the green color comes through in this recipe, maybe add a little bit of food dye before mixing in the white chocolate chips.

Or you may be content with your cookies coming out as mine did: pale yet undeniably delicious.

Bready or Not: Matcha White Chocolate Cookies

Bready or Not: Matcha White Chocolate Cookies

These firm-but-chewy cookies combine the fresh, mild taste of green tea with white chocolate. If you want to be certain the cookies will turn out green, add a few drops of food coloring before adding the white chocolate.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon matcha
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 cubes), softened
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips (most of a bag)

Preheat oven at 325-degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, matcha, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a big bowl, cream together the sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs.

Gradually add the dry ingredients until just combined, then mix in the white chocolate.

Use a teaspoon scoop or spoon to dole out cookies on a sheet; the cookies will spread, so be sure to space them out. Bake for 13 to 14 minutes. Let set on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then move them to a rack to finish cooling.

OM NOM NOM!

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Bready or Not Guest: Spencer Ellsworth with Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, brownies, chocolate, gluten-free, guest, guest recipe, healthier | 0 comments

I’m happy to welcome Spencer Ellsworth with a Bready or Not guest post! His debut novel is out today. I was lucky enough to read A Red Peace a few months ago, and blurbed it: “This is space opera candy!” Seriously, if you love space opera, GET THIS. It’s fresh and fun, mixing up cozy tropes in fantastic new ways.

Which is pretty much what Spencer does with this recipe today, too. He shares a recipe for gluten-free brownies that look absolutely delicious. I bet they’d be perfect to eat in accompaniment with a brand new space opera novel…


I’m Spencer, and I have two big things in common with Beth: we both like to write a good swashbuckling adventure (here’s mine) and we both like to bake.

Unlike Beth, I have celiac disease, which means, although I bake all the time, I use gluten-free flours. I was diagnosed way back in the dark ages of 1985. I did all of elementary school in the 1980s gluten free. Let us all turn and salute my mother, who had to bake “special cupcakes” every time someone else in the class had a birthday and brought in gluten cupcakes.

*Salutes Mom*

Ahem.

Celiac disease is, like Crohn’s, arthritis and lupus, an autoimmune disease. Our immune systems, upon consumption of gluten, attack and inflame our intestinal lining, preventing the absorption of any food. Because autoimmune disease is on a spectrum, people often have reactions to gluten that are tricky to diagnose without an endoscopy or colonoscopy.

There are two great lies about gluten-free food

1) you can just substitute GF flour mix in most recipes

2) gluten-free food just doesn’t taste as good

1 isn’t true because different proteins act differently in different grains. Gluten-free flours are not sticky like wheat. You don’t need to knead any gluten-free bread product; you just need to mix the dough and let it rise. You may find certain GF flours, like sorghum or millet or brown rice, less palatable than wheat. But most celiacs can find a preferred flour mix.

Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

This picture shows plain rice flour (the fine-textured flour), a gluten-free mix, and a gluten-free pancake mix (the one with dark specks).

However, that leads me to…

2 isn’t true because there are a LOT of celiacs out there making a LOT of amazing food. But you do have to do some baking on your own. The best gluten-free food is made at home, with patience. Commercial kitchens can’t take the time and ingredients necessary.

So if you’re new to GF baking, here’s an un-ruinable recipe to start. Peruse Gluten-Free & More (formerly known as Living Without) for anything else you need, or just contact me through my website.

Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

 

Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

These are totally un-ruinable because they can be made with just about any gluten-free flour, flour mix, or pancake mix. They will have a slightly different consistency depending on the flour, but they work with anything from plain rice flour to Pamela’s pancake mix.

Your celiac friends will appreciate the attempt to make real brownies, rather than those flourless peanut butter cookies or rice krispie treats we ALWAYS get.

Make sure to clean ALL your work surfaces very well first. All counters and bowls should be scrubbed clear of any trace of gluten. Use non-porous materials like Teflon or glass. Make sure they are scrubbed completely clean of every last scrap of anything that ever contained gluten. (Even better, use the excuse to treat yourself to a new dish and new mixing bowl.)

4 eggs
1 cup sugar (add more to taste, especially if not using chocolate chips)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup cocoa powder (I much prefer the darker, richer Ghiradelli’s over the chalky Hershey’s)
1/2 cup butter, margarine or coconut oil
1/2 mushy avocado (this is weird, but it makes the whole endeavor much fluffier)
1 cup of any gluten-free flour, baking mix or pancake mix
2 tsp baking powder (if not already included in your mix)
Chocolate chips & nuts to taste

Set oven to 350.

Beat the eggs with the sugar and avocados.
Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

Melt the butter or oil in a saucepan or microwave-safe dish, and add the cocoa powder and beat until smooth.

Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

Allow the butter/cocoa powder mix to cool a bit, then mix into eggs, sugar and avocado.

Mix your flour in with the rest. Add baking powder if you simply have a basic flour mix.

Pour into a greased baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes on 350.

Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

Bready or Not Guest: Spencer Ellsworth's Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

These are totally un-ruinable because they can be made with just about any gluten-free flour, flour mix, or pancake mix. They will have a slightly different consistency depending on the flour, but they work with anything from plain rice flour to Pamela’s pancake mix.

Your celiac friends will appreciate the attempt to make real brownies, rather than those flourless peanut butter cookies or rice krispie treats we ALWAYS get.

Make sure to clean ALL your work surfaces very well first. All counters and bowls should be scrubbed clear of any trace of gluten. Use non-porous materials like Teflon or glass. Make sure they are scrubbed completely clean of every last scrap of anything that ever contained gluten. (Even better, use the excuse to treat yourself to a new dish and new mixing bowl.)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar (add more to taste, especially if not using chocolate chips)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder (I much prefer the darker, richer Ghiradelli’s over the chalky Hershey’s)
  • 1/2 cup butter, margarine or coconut oil
  • 1/2 mushy avocado (this is weird, but it makes the whole endeavor much fluffier)
  • 1 cup of any gluten-free flour, baking mix or pancake mix
  • 2 tsp baking powder (if not already included in your mix)
  • Chocolate chips & nuts to taste

Set oven to 350.

Beat the eggs with the sugar and avocado.

Melt the butter or oil in a saucepan or microwave-safe dish, and add the cocoa powder and beat until smooth.

Allow the butter/cocoa powder mix to cool a bit, then mix into eggs, sugar and avocado.

Mix your flour in with the rest. Add baking powder if you simply have a basic flour mix.

Pour into a greased baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes on 350.

 


Red Peace

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Spencer Elsworth’s Site

A Red Peace, first in Spencer Ellsworth’s Starfire trilogy, is an action-packed space opera in a universe where the oppressed half-Jorian crosses have risen up to supplant humanity and dominate the galaxy.

Half-human star navigator Jaqi, working the edges of human-settled space on contract to whoever will hire her, stumbles into possession of an artifact that the leader of the Rebellion wants desperately enough to send his personal guard after. An interstellar empire and the fate of the remnant of humanity hang in the balance.

Spencer Ellsworth has written a classic space opera, with space battles between giant bugs, sun-sized spiders, planets of cyborgs and a heroine with enough grit to bring down the galaxy’s newest warlord.

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Bready or Not: Maple Walnut White Chocolate Biscotti

Posted by on Jul 19, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, chocolate, cookies, maple | 0 comments

Back in May, I posted my Snickerdoodle Biscotti recipe. This is the next installment: Maple-Walnut White Chocolate Biscotti, modified from a King Arthur Flour recipe.

Bready or Not: Maple Walnut White Chocolate Biscotti

I first made this following the original version pretty closely. I received feedback that it was good, but it was also way too nutty.

Bready or Not: Maple-Walnut White Chocolate Biscotti

Clearly, I needed to rewrite the recipe and make it work. I decided to halve the walnuts, and replace that half with white chocolate chips. This time, I received feedback that they were the most awesome biscotti ever.

Bready or Not: Maple-Walnut White Chocolate Biscotti

In a single bite, it’s easy to see why. The maple flavor is great, the walnuts add a wonderful crunch within the already-crunchy dough, and the white chocolate adds sublime sweetness to bring everything together.

Bready or Not: Maple-Walnut White Chocolate Biscotti

Since these are biscotti, they will keep well, sealed, for weeks. That makes these great for mailing (though perhaps not in the middle of summer, as there is some chocolate in these) or presenting as gifts.

Bready or Not: Maple-Walnut White Chocolate Biscotti

As I noted before, homemade biscotti cannot be compared to the store versions, which could be used as billy clubs to defend households against burglars. Homemade biscotti are crunchy but still chewy… and, of course, taste best if dipped into coffee or tea.

Bready or Not: Maple Walnut White Chocolate Biscotti

Bready or Not: Maple Walnut White Chocolate Biscotti

These twice-baked cookies bring together maple, walnuts, and white chocolate in glorious cookie-stick form. Eat these dipped into your hot beverage of choice. Biscotti will keep well for weeks. Adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe.

  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon maple flavor
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 Tablespoon maple sugar or turbinado sugar for topping, optional

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Toast the walnuts for about 8 minutes, until they're light golden brown and smell toasty. Set them aside in a bowl to cool, but keep the parchment on the pan.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugars, maple syrup, and maple flavor. Add the melted butter, and beat until smooth.

Mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the walnuts next, followed by the white chocolate chips.

Divide the dough in half on the prepared baking sheet. Form each into a log about 4 inches wide and 10 inches long; make sure there is space between the two logs, as they'll grow in the oven.

Sprinkle maple sugar or turbinado sugar over the tops of both logs.

Bake about 30 minutes, until the biscotti is lightly browned with small cracks forming across the top. Remove the baking sheet, but be sure to leave the oven on.

Let the biscotti cool for 10 minutes. Use a large knife, such as a bread knife, to diagonally slice the logs 1/2-inch apart. Use a straight-down motion to cut; don't saw.

Arrange the biscotti spaced out on the baking sheet. Stand them up if possible, or lay them on their sides. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, flipping them over halfway if necessary, to equally crisp both sides.

Cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container as long as a few weeks.

OM NOM NOM!

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