Gluten Free Granola Bars

GF Granola 1

These granola bars are like half granola and half cake, on account of how soft and crumbly they are (especially when warm). I tried to make them healthier by substituting a mashed banana for the sugar, but there’s still butter and chocolate chips, which makes these more like a (somewhat healthy) dessert. To make these bars healthier, use a mixture of coconut oil and applesauce instead of the butter, and substitute dry fruits and nuts in place of the chocolate chips, and then you’ll have healthier, yet still delicious granola bars!

Recipe adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/11382/chewy-granola-bars/

Ingredients:
2 cups Gluten free oats
1/2 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup softened butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey
1 large banana, mashed

Procedure:
Preheat the oven to 165°C. Grease and line a square 9″ pan.

In a small bowl, mix the oats, flour and baking powder together. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, honey, mashed banana and vanilla extract together. Add the oat-flour mixture in batches, mixing well after each batch. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon into the prepared pan, and press flat and even with the back of a spoon (make sure its well pressed at this stage). Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Let the granola cool for 10 minutes, and then cut into pieces with a sharp knife. Then, enjoy! (PS – these bars taste great when they are warm and quite soft).

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Gluten Free and Eggless Boston Cream Pie

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Finally baking after so long! I made this cake for my parent’s anniversary, and they loved it! ‘Boston cream pie’ is a bit of a misnomer as this dessert is not a pie, but is instead a cake. This is a gluten free and eggless take on a classic dessert, and tastes almost as good, having tasted this and the original a few months back. The custard here is homemade (for the most part), but feel free to use instant vanilla pudding if you like.

Vanilla cake recipe adapted from: http://www.joyofbaking.com/VanillaCake.html

Ingredients:
Vanilla cake:
1-1/2 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
Egg replacer equivalent of 2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature (microwave for 30s if your milk is straight from the fridge)

Vanilla custard:
1-1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 tablespoons custard powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Chocolate ganache:
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream

Procedure:
For the vanilla cake:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a square 9″ pan with parchment paper (you could use a round pan also). In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until its soft and creamy. Add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg replacer and the vanilla extract, and beat until well combined.

Add half of the dry flour mixture into the large mixing bowl, and beat until just combined. Add the milk, and mix further. Then, add the remaining flour mixture, and fold by hand using a wooden spoon (to prevent overmixing).

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached. Let the cake cool.

For the vanilla custard:

In a medium saucepan, whisk the custard powder and the sugar together. Add half cup of the milk and whisk well, to form a thick paste with no lumps.

Add the rest of the milk gradually, whisking well to prevent any lumps from forming. Place on medium-high heat and whisk until it starts boiling around the edges (it wouldn’t have thickened considerably by this time). Then take off the heat, and let it cool before assembly.

For the chocolate ganache:
Heat the cream in a small saucepan, on medium-high heat, until it starts boiling about the edges.
Place the chocolate chips in a bowl, and pour the heated cream over the chocolate chips. Wait for 2 minutes, and then stir until thick and glossy.

For assembly:
Make sure all of the components have cooled before assembly.

Cut the cake horizontally in half, to get two thin layers. Place the bottom half on a cake stand, and spread a thick layer of custard over it. Top with the second cake layer. Then, spread an even layer of the chocolate ganache on the cake.

Let the cake sit in the fridge for an hour, and then enjoy!

Boston creme pie cake 4

Gluten Free and Eggless Lemon Blueberry Cake

Lemon blueberry cake 2

This is a beautifully bright and sunny cake best eaten warm, right out of the oven. Its a very homely cake, with all of its cracks and bumps, but let me tell you – it tastes great. The lemon adds a bright cheery undertone to the cake, and the blueberries give it a pop of color and flavor that just escalates this cake to the next level. Its super easy to make, and its not too sweet either, and so each slice is satisfying without being too heavy or overbearing.

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
Egg replacer equivalent of 2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup milk, at room temperature (or warmed in the microwave for 15s)
Zest of 1 lemon
About 3/4 to 1 cup blueberries (125g)

Procedure:
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 9″ round cake pan with parchment paper.

In a medium sized bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a separate large bowl, using an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg replacer, vanilla and lemon zest, and mix until creamy.

Add half of the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, and mix until well-combined. Add the milk and the lemon juice, and mix well using the mixer. Then, using a wooden spoon, fold in the remaining flour mixture (to prevent over mixing). Carefully fold in the blueberries.

Spoon/pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, or until the top is a light golden brown. When it comes out nice and warm, quickly cut up a slice and enjoy!

Lemon blueberry cake 1

Gluten Free Healthy Chocolate PB Banana Bars

Chocolate PB Bars

So my exams are going on right now, and one thing I find myself doing a lot during exams is eating. It sort of makes the examination process more pleasant? (Thats my highly questionable logic).
So sick and tired of (a) not being able to find anything nice to eat during said exams (and opening my fridge constantly expecting some nice food to magically appear each time I open the fridge), and (b) eating something unhealthy and something I don’t necessarily like, I decided to finally take control of my life, and make some dessert that actually tastes good and is healthy.

Cue these bars. I found the recipe linked below, and started thinking of ways to make these already pretty healthy bars even more healthier. One change I made was to swap out some of the sugar for a banana, as that both reduced the need for a sweetener, and adds flavor to these bars as well. Plus chocolate, bananas and peanut butter are a pretty iconic flavor combo. And so I made these bars, and they taste so good! Apart from being delicious, the oats and the banana in the bars also provide the energy boost I so desperately need during exams, or say an early Monday morning.

Recipe loosely adapted from: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2016/09/26/no-bake-bars-chocolate-oatmeal/

Ingredients:
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
165 grams dark chocolate (I used 70%)
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large banana (either chopped into small pieces, or mashed)
2 cups gluten free oats

Procedure:
Line a 8″ or 9″ square baking pan with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan, mix the peanut butter, coconut oil, brown sugar and dark chocolate together. Place on low heat, and stir with a wooden spoon until mostly smooth (if you used crunchy peanut butter, there will be peanut pieces). Add the salt and vanilla extract.

Take the saucepan off the heat. Add the chopped/mash bananas and stir well. Add the oats, half cup at a time, stirring well each time.

Add the mixture to the prepared pan, and press down with the back of the spoon. Place in the freezer until firm, and then cut into pieces. Store in the fridge, and then enjoy!

Chocolate PB Banana Bars

Gluten Free and Eggless Neapolitan Trifle

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So you may remember my old version of the neapolitan trifle (found here), but this recipe is the new and improved rendition of this spectacular trifle. Like your better looking, more talented cousin for instance. This new version is more sophisticated, and encapsulates the essence of the neapolitan flavor combination much better. Though the neapolitan flavor used to be reserved for ice creams, it now refers to any dessert containing the classic combination of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. And this trifle takes this iconic  combination to the next level by incorporating these three flavors in many different components – vanilla cake and whipped cream, chocolate pudding and chocolate milk, and strawberry mousse and fresh chopped strawberries. And the fusion of these different components, flavors and textures really does bring to the spotlight this wonderful classic neapolitan combo. Serves 6-8.

Vanilla cake recipe adapted from: http://www.joyofbaking.com/VanillaCake.html
Chocolate pudding recipe from: https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/en_US/recipes/2804/quick-creamy-chocolate-pudding.html
Strawberry mousse recipe from: http://www.yummytummyaarthi.com/2014/12/eggless-strawberry-mousse-recipe.html

Ingredients:
For the vanilla cake:
1-1/2 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
Egg replacer equivalent of 2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature (microwave for 30s if your milk is straight from the fridge)

For the chocolate pudding:
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the strawberry mousse:
1-1/2 tablespoons custard powder
3/4 cup milk
5 tablespoons sugar
1 cup whipping cream
250 grams strawberries, roughly chopped
Few drops of pink food colouring (optional).

For assembly:
1/2 cup chocolate milk
1-1/2 cup whipped cream
Chopped strawberries, about 10

Procedure: (I suggest making the cake first, followed by the chocolate pudding and then the strawberry mousse)

For the vanilla cake:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a square 9″ pan with parchment paper (you could use a round pan also). In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until its soft and creamy. Add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg replacer and the vanilla extract, and beat until well combined.

Add half of the dry flour mixture into the large mixing bowl, and beat until just combined. Add the milk, and mix further. Then, add the remaining flour mixture, and fold by hand using a wooden spoon (to prevent overmixing).

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached. Let the cake cool before cutting into 1″ cubes.

For the chocolate pudding:
In a large saucepan, whisk the cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch and salt together. Add 1/2 cup of the milk, and whisk well until a thick, homogenous paste with no lumps forms. Add the rest of the milk and mix well.

Place the saucepan on medium-high heat, and stir well. Heat until the mixture starts boiling, and then lower the heat. Continue stirring, and remove from the heat when the mixture thickens (enough to coat the back of a spoon).

Stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Allow to cool before proceeding to assemble the trifle.

For the strawberry mousse:
In a small/medium saucepan, stir the custard powder and 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar together. Gradually add the milk, stirring well to ensure no lumps form.
Place the saucepan on medium heat, and stir until the mixture starts to thicken (until its thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon). Then, remove from heat, pour into a medium bowl and allow to cool.

In a blender, blend the strawberries and the remaining 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar together until a homogenous puree forms. Pour the puree into the medium bowl containing the custard through a strainer to get rid of the seeds (you could omit this step if you don’t mind having strawberry seeds in your mousse). Mix the custard and the strawberry puree together.

In a chilled mixing bowl, using an electric mixer to whip the cream until soft peaks form. If using, add the pink food colouring and fold into the cream.
Fold the cream into the cooled strawberry mixture, to get the strawberry mousse.

For assembly:
Once all the trifle components have cooled, prepare the trifle. You could use individual glasses (like I did), or a large trifle bowl.

In a cake pan or a wide container, place the cake cubes, and pour the chocolate milk evenly over the cubes. This is to soften and moisten the cake cubes (as gluten free cakes often turn out quite dry). Allow to sit for 5 minutes, to let the cake absorb the milk.

In the bottom of your serving dish(s), place a half of the soaked cake cubes. Then, spoon the strawberry mousse on top of the cake cubes. Top with the chopped strawberries, and a layer of whipped cream.

On top of the whipped cream, place the remaining cake cubes (use a spoon as at this point the cake cubes would be very soft). Top with the chocolate pudding, and then another layer of whipped cream. Top with halved strawberries, or drizzled melted chocolate for the top.

Allow the trifle to sit in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving (to allow all these delicious flavors to mingle beautifully), and then enjoy!

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Gluten free and Eggless Baked Chocolate Donuts

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I know – second donut recipe so quickly? What can I say – I’m addicted. After fantasising over a donut pan for so long, I now have to compensate for all those years that I didn’t have one, and have to make as many donuts as possible. And of course nobody I know has an objection to more donuts, so that support helps.

These chocolate donuts in particular are moist and really rich – they may look small, but are deceptively filling, especially with the glaze. These are cake donuts, as is characteristic of baked donuts in general. If you’re looking for ‘doughier’ or chewier donuts, you’ll have to make one with yeast, and then fry it. I do plan to make fried yeast donuts some time in the future, but for now, these magnificent cake donuts will definitely do.

Ingredients:
For the donuts:
2/3 cup milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar (or 2/3 cup buttermilk)
1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Egg replacer equivalent of 1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate glaze:
1-1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 tablespoons milk

Sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, melted chocolate, nuts or white icing*, for decoration

Procedure:
For the chocolate donuts:
Preheat the oven to 180°C, and grease a nonstick donut pan.

In a mug mix together the milk and the vinegar with a spoon to make buttermilk, and set aside for 5 minutes. (If using buttermilk then omit this step).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg replacer, melted butter and vanilla extract, along with the buttermilk. Sift in the gluten free flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk until well combined.

Spoon the batter into a piping bag (or a ziploc bag), and snip off a roughly 1″ hole at one edge. Pipe the batter into the donut pan until 3/4ths full, and then bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the donuts spring back when lightly touched, or until they begin to pull away from the pan. Let the donuts cool before glazing them.

For the chocolate glaze:
In a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the glaze, and add more milk if needed, to reach the desired consistency (optimum dunking consistency is when lifting the whisk leaves a ribbon of glaze flowing down from the whisk).

Then, dunk your cooled donuts in the glaze, and let the glaze set as you wait and stare at your reflection in the glaze of the donuts. Decorate** as you please, and then Enjoy!

*Or gummy bears, crushed oreos, cake crumbs, sliced strawberries, mini marshmallows, cinnamon sugar etc. And thats not even including the savoury toppings, like bacon bits and potato chips. The limitless possibilities in the realm of donuts is enthralling.

** If using toppings that need to stick to the glaze, like crushed cookies or sprinkles, dip the donut in the toppings before the glaze sets. If using icing or melted chocolate to decorate, then wait until the glaze sets.

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Gluten Free and Eggless Coffee Banana Cake

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I made this cake for my grandparent’s wedding anniversary, and they absolutely loved it! Its a beautiful combination of the deep bitterness from the coffee, and the sweet, creamy banana filling. Its beautiful to look at as well (sorry for the odd lighting in the picture), and this elaborate cake would be a great addition to any celebration or event. Its a pretty heavy cake, so cut thin slices. But its also really delicious, so maybe don’t do that.

Feel free to adjust the amount of instant coffee granules you add to the cake, depending on how strong you like your coffee. I added 2 tablespoons, which lent the cake a moderately intense flavour, but you could bump it up to 3, or even 4 tablespoons of coffee for a stronger coffee flavour (and for more of a caffeine kick as well).

Ingredients:
For the coffee cake:
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/2 cup boiling water
2/3 cup milk
3 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-3/4 cup granulated sugar
Egg replacer equivalent of 5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the banana filling
1-1/2 large bananas (or about 2 medium sized bananas)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-1/2 tablespoons custard powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup milk
3/4 heavy cream (whipping cream)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For assembly
1/2 cup strong black coffee (optional)
Sliced bananas
Whipped cream
Cocoa powder/Grated chocolate

Procedure:
For the coffee cake:
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease two 9″ round cake pans, and line with parchment paper.

In a large mug, combine the cocoa powder and the coffee granules. Add the boiling water, and stir until all the cocoa and coffee has dissolved. Add the milk, and stir well. Set aside.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg replacer and vanilla extract, and mix well.

Add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture in three instalments, mixing well after each instalment. Add the coffee-cocoa liquid, and beat until combined (don’t overmix).

Divide the batter equally amongst the two prepared pans. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, with a few crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool, before assembly.

For the banana filling:
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the banana filling. In a small saucepan, stir the custard powder and sugar together. Add a bit of the milk to create a thick paste with no lumps, and then add the rest of the milk, stirring well. Place on medium-low heat, and stir until thickened. Then, stir for one more minute, and then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whip the whipping cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla extract and whip until well-combined. Set aside in the refrigerator.

In a blender, or using an immersion blender, blend the bananas and the lemon juice together until there are no large pieces left. Mix the pureed bananas with the cooled custard mixture, and then fold in the whipped cream.

Assembly:
After all the components have cooled, begin assembly.

On your cake stand, place the bottom half of your cake. Brush with half of the strong, black coffee if using. Then, spread half of the banana filling on the first cake layer. Carefully top with the second cake layer, and brush with the coffee. Top with the remaining banana filling.

To decorate, arrange the sliced bananas in a ring, and sprinkle with lemon juice (to prevent browning). Dollop the whipped cream in the centre of the ring, and sprinkle with cocoa powder/grated chocolate.
Note: I used instant coffee granules for the sprinkling, which was a terrible idea. While it looked pretty for the first 10 minutes, after the coffee dissolved in the whipped cream, the cream looked corroded (really). However, apart from that feel free to decorate the cake as you wish, and enjoy!

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