Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

For someone new at flour less baking, wheat flour that is, can be a trial-and-error process. Flour, when used in baking, adds body, structure, and texture to baked goods. It often acts as a binder, because of the gluten, binding all the recipe ingredients together. When you remove the gluten or flour, you have to add something else in its place that will perform the same function.

Here are some tips to help achieve better baking results when going flour less.

To increase the nutrition value, substitute up to 1/4 cup ground flax seeds plus 1/4 cup water for 1/4 cup flour in a recipe (flax will absorb more moisture).

To add more moisture to your recipe, add gelatin, extra egg or oil. Honey or rice malt syrup helps retain moisture as well. Honey works great when using coconut flour.

Substitute brown sugar for white sugar to retain moisture.

To enhance the flavor of flour less foods, add chocolate chips, dried fruits or nuts and double the amount of spices asked for in the recipe.

For better structure, add dry milk solids or cottage cheese to the recipe. Replace evaporated milk for regular milk.

Add extra egg or egg whites if your recipe is too crumbly.

Don’t over beat or over mix since the kneading time or mixing time is shorter with no gluten to develop.

You can use ground oats in place of flour, but you will also need bananas or eggs to bind the ingredients together.

Eggs can replace many functions of gluten such as binding and enhancing texture and structure of the recipe. Two other starch-based products you can use to bind and thicken are guar gum and xanthan gum. They are interchangeable and used in small amounts, usally about 1 tablespoon. But these two binders can be expensive, and in place of them you can use corn starch, tapioca starch, or arrow root starch.

Guar Gum used as a food thickener in flourless bakingGuar gum is extracted from the bean of the guar plant. The guar plant is native to Pakistan and India. The guar bean is rich in protein and used to feed cattle, and as a vegetable used in Middle Eastern cooking.

Guar gum is also used to help preserve food, and to help it retain flavor, texture and moisture. Guar gum is recommended to use when baking with coconut flour, as this type of flour can case dryness to your baked.

Xanthan Gum used as a food thinkner in gluten free bakingXanthan gum has a substance called polysaccharide, which has the ability to form a gel and bind many times its weight in water, making it a very valuable food thickener.

If you are allergic to corn products, then it is recommended not to use xanthan gum, as it is derived from corn. But it can also be fermented by using wheat, dairy, or soy as well. Just read the ingredients label to see how it was made.

The key to flour-less baking is to experiment. You may have to try different ingredients or amounts to get the flavor and texture you want.

Now for our featured recipe: Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes.

1 ½ cups ground oats

½ cup sugar

½ cup cocao powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 mashed banana

¼ cup avocado oil or lite olive oil

¾ cup almond milk

½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting:

3 cups icing sugar

2 tablespoons of heavy cream, to thicken frosting

1/4 to 1/2  teaspoon peppermint extract

2 drops food coloring, optional

Cupcake Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.

Place oats in a blender and grind until fine.

Add ground oats, sugar, cacao, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk well. Add the mashed banana, oil, milk, apple cider vinegar and vanilla. Continue to whisk until smooth.

Divide batter among the 12 cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes or until they start to firm on the top. Let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Instructions:

Add icing sugar, cream, peppermint extract and green food coloring, if using, to a medium sized mixing bowl. Use electric mixer to blend until smooth. Add more cream, a little at a time as you’re mixing to create the consistency you want.

Gluten-Free-Chocolate-CupcakesAfter you have frosted the little cakes, arrange on a dessert plate, and serve with milk, coffee, or your favorite dessert beverage.

If you like gluten-free recipes, you will also enjoy Gluten Free Tropical Carrot Cake.

 

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Healthier Baking with Sugar Substitutes

Healthier Baking with Sugar Substitutes

Sugar is a tasty ingredient that enhances everything by making it ‘sweet,’ and everyone now and then craves sweets.

It goes without saying, however, that anything in moderation is better, including sugar, because when sugar is consumed to excess it can wreak havoc with the way your body processes it, which leads to a rise in blood sugar levels and insulin secretion from the pancreas.

After a while the pancreas stops producing insulin because of extreme sugar consumption, and that’s never a good outcome for anyone. High sugar foods are also very fattening, and loaded with calories and is a culprit increasing the risk of  type II diabetes and heart disease.

For the sugar-health-conscious, there are quite a few sugar substitutes that people have been using for years to counter the effects of an over consumption of white processed sugar.

Sugar is used in so many food products that it can be difficult to avoid. However, there are many healthy choices that can be substituted for sugar when cooking.  All the sugar substitutes listed below are viable, practical and health-wise alternatives to processed sugar.

The difference in nutritional value alone should make anyone at least want to try to begin substituting and hopefully after a while sugar alternatives will become a way of life. It only takes a little bit of time to get used to living a sugar free lifestyle, and once you kick the habit, your body will love you for it.

Natural Sugar Substitutes

Pure Maple SyrupThis is an excellent substitute as it is wholly natural, tapped straight from its source, the maple tree and it has a boat load of antioxidants to keep your body in-tune while it fights off those nasty buggers called free radicals as they roam the body. Be sure, however, it is 100% pure maple syrup and not a ‘white sugar’ laden substitute.

Honey – An obvious choice, as it too is loaded with antioxidants and has been used for years by tea lovers around the world, but, don’t stop at your teacup. This gem can be added to anything that calls for plain white sugar and is undeniably a better choice. To get the most out of your honey, you may want to consider buying some that is locally and strawberriesorganically produced without any additives or preservatives. This will give you the best nutritional value from the honey in your cooking.

Pureed Fruit: Fruit has sugar, but, it is a natural sugar and so not nearly as harmful as the processed variety. Using pureed fruit in baking instead of sugar is a great option for healthier baking. Bananas, apricots and berries work great.

Apricot Puree: Apricots are high in nutrients with vitamin C, fiber, and iron. Add to baked goods in lieu of sugar, also eat it as a snack by mixing with plain non-fat Greek yogurt or enjoy it with hearty whole-grain bread.

No Sugar Added Applesauce: Another excellent substitute, as it’s sweet, natural and some bakers even prefer it to processed sugar because baked goods such as cookies are more because of it.

Raisins: Perhaps raisins used as a sugar substitute may not be your first plan but think about it. They’re sweet wholesome and delicious and when broken down in a food processer and added as a sugar substitute to your favorite dishes you may be pleasantly surprised how good your recipe tastes using raisins instead.

Cinnamon: This spice is grand for flavoring your favorite drink, hot or cold and many baked goods that you would normally add sugar to. Plus it has no calories and is great for an cocoa-powderimmunity boost, too.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: This one is another great sugar alternative, plus it satisfies the chocolate craving. If you want to kick it up a notch create your favorite beverage, unsweetened, and toss in cocoa powder with a dash of vanilla. It will soothe the senses without the extra sugar buzz.

Cranberries: If you love cranberries this is the sugar alternative for you. They’re tart and sweet at the same time. Enjoy delicious multigrain pancakes, scones or muffins loaded with cranberries instead of sugar. Cranberries, too, are loaded with antioxidants, so give your taste buds a treat and remember cranberries aren’t just for the holidays.

Dates & Figs: Both add flavor, dimension and tons of nutrition as a sugar substitute to a slew of recipes. Baked goods such as cakes, muffins, even hearty breads will soon become a staple in your breakfast, lunch or dinner regimen using figs and dates as a substitute for sugar.

Orange, Lemon or Lime Juice: If you love citrus you’ll do well to squeeze a handful of either into your next hot or cold drink and forego the sugar, besides your body will show its appreciation, especially around flu season, as citrus is loaded with vitamin C.

Coconut Sugar: One great alternative to refined sugar is coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is made by heating the sap from coconut palms until it has been reduced to granules that can be used in the same way as regular sugar.

coconutIt has a similar flavor to brown sugar, but a lower glycaemic index, which means that it has less effect on blood and insulin levels within the body.

If you adore coconut, here’s a way to enjoy some without the guilt. Simply swap out the refined sugar with coconut sugar added to your favorite smoothie and clothes your eyes. You’ll think you’re on a tropical island and best of all it’s full of potassium, and let’s face it, are any of us really getting enough potassium in our diet, chances are a big ‘no.’  This also makes a great substitute in several baked goods.

Erythritol: This is a sugar alcohol that comes in powder form and made from a plant. It has been deemed safe and approved by the FDA.

 

 

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Enjoying Flourless Baking

Enjoying Flourless Baking

At the end of our featured article there is a recipe: Simple Almond Cookies (baked without flour)

Many people have gone flourless for specific health reasons. Some do so because they the gluten in flour aggravates other medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis or asthma. Others believe avoiding flour can help them feel better.

Celiac disease is one of the main reasons for going flourless. It is one of the most common autoimmune diseases. In fact, in the last 50 years, one in 133 people have been diagnosed with the disease. Another reason for eliminating flour in your baking is to reduce carbohydrates. White flour is high in carbs, though 100% whole wheat flour has less.

Removing flour from your diet can improve your health. Going with an all-natural diet like the Paleo Diet, can help free the body from chronic diseases such as:

  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Type II diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, etc.)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Acne
  • Myopia (nearsightedness), macular degeneration, glaucoma
  • Varicose veins
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Diverticulosis, gastric reflux
  • Gout

Other reasons to go flourless could be due to an allergy to wheat or gluten. You may want a more natural diet that reduces many diseases and health problems. Maybe you just want to reduce the amount of carbs you take in every day. Going flourless may be very beneficial and just what the doctor ordered.

Tips for Flourless Baking

Flourless baking can be a real trial-and-error process. Flour, when used in baking, adds body, structure, texture and flavor to baked goods. It often acts as a binder, attaching ingredients together. When you remove the flour, you have to add something else in its place that will perform the same function.

Here are some tips to help achieve better baking results when going flourless.

  1. To increase the nutrition value, substitute up to 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds plus 1/4 cup water for 1/4 cup flour in a recipe (flax will absorb more moisture).
  1.  To add more moisture to your recipe, add gelatin, extra egg or oil. Honey or rice malt syrup helps retain moisture.
  1. Substitute brown sugar for white for more moisture.
  1. To enhance the flavor of flourless foods, add chocolate chips, dried fruits or nuts and double the amount of spices called for.
  1. For better structure, add dry milk solids or cottage cheese to the recipe. Replace evaporated milk for regular milk.
  1. Add extra egg or egg whites if your recipe is too crumbly.
  1. Don’t overbeat since the kneading time is shorter with no gluten to develop.
  1. You can use ground oats in place of flour, but you need ingredients like banana or eggs to bind the ingredients together.
  1. Eggs can replace many functions of gluten such as binding enhancing texture setting the structure of the recipe. Two other starch-based products you can use to bind and thicken are guar gum and xanthan gum. They are interchangeable and used in small amounts.

The key to flourless baking is to experiment. You may have to try different ingredients or amounts to get the flavor and texture you want.

 

simple almond cookies

Image Credit: Recipe.com

Simple Almond Cookies

Makes 32 cookies

 

Nonstick cooking spray, optional

2 1/4 cups whole almonds

3/4 cup sugar

2 egg whites (video included, showing a simple way to separate whites from yolks)

1 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla

32 almond slices (2 tablespoons)

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spray two large cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper (best choice). Set aside.

Finely grind whole almonds and sugar in food processor.

Add egg whites and almond extract and process until mixed well.

Shape a large measuring teaspoonful of mixture into crescent shapes or balls. Arrange 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Top with an almond slice.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until just brown on the top

Cool on wire racks.

When cool, drizzle tops of cookies with melted chocolate.

 

See our article: Healthy White Flour Substitutes 

 

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Healthy White Flour Substitutes

Healthy White Flour Substitutes

These days everyone, will almost everyone is concerned about their diet. One way to improve your diet is by pinpointing appropriate healthy substitutions to use in foods you love.

One of the biggest misconceptions in our society’s diet is based upon the nutrition values of white flour. It is used in all types of recipes, breads, baking and gravies.

White flour is high in carbs, has less nutrition than whole grain products, very fattening and harder for the body to digest. By using healthier flour choices you can avoid this unnecessary mess you are inadvertently creating for your body to handle.

The following are a few substitutions to white flour you can consider next time you are baking or cooking!

Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour is a healthier choice than white and can be used as a substitute in baking and cooking.

Check out our recipe using whole wheat flour and oat bran: Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping 

Almond Flour

blanched almond flour This is a great option for people following a gluten-free diet. Its density and ability to rise can make it a perfect substitute for most baked goods. It also has a fraction of carbohydrates as compared to white flour.

Ideal for pancakes, muffins or cookies, this substitute could be what you have always been looking for in regards to a healthy alternative to white flour.

The natural almond flavor helps to add sweetness to your recipe. This is something unique to almond flour and a great food to keep in your pantry. Furthermore, if used in large quantity the flour can act like a cake batter and create a light cake like consistency for you to work with.

Check out our recipe that uses almond flour: Orange Almond Cake

Barley Flour           

This type of flour is an exceptional food for use in baking breads. Barley is rich in fiber and zinc and can be mixed together with other flours. Barley is also ideal for thickening gravies and sweetening sauces.

A little added trick is to lightly toast the flour before use to accentuate the hidden flavors that barley flour secretly has. Also, if used in the right way, it can add a little sweetness to your recipe as well.

Keep in mind that barley flour is not gluten free, but still makes a great wheat flour substitute for baking.

The following white flour substitutes are gluten free flours.

Buckwheat Flour

Despite the name, buckwheat flour is gluten free and wheat free. This makes it a good option for whole wheat substitutes. The thing that you need to watch out for in this product is its dense qualities and strong flavor.

This means it is great for use in products, such as, pancakes or pastas but you cannot use it as a thickener for a sauce because it will be too rich. Its earthy flavor can be good at times, but, can also overpower any good recipe, so try combining buckwheat with white flour in recipes.

Chickpea (Garbanzo) Flour

Chickpea (Garbanzo) Flour

Image Credit: Nuts.com

When it comes to gluten free substitutes, this is a common go to for vegans and those with Celiac disease.

This flour is high in protein and calcium which allows you to balance out your diet. Its uses are abundant, including, for crepes, flat bread or hummus.

Check out our recipe that uses Garbanzo flour: Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry Bread

Oat Flour

This is probably your classic and most dependable option when it comes to healthy flour substitutes. Oat flour is all natural and helps to create a whole what product.

Depending on which company processes it, this product can be gluten-free or low-gluten. It is optimal for use in cookie and other baked goods recipes.

In summary, these are all great options for you to use as a substitute to white flour but it is important to remember that gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.

Unless you have Celiac disease, your body can naturally handle a bit of gluten on a regular basis, but, you should focus on the whole wheat and nutritional aspects of your diet if you are going to begin substituting for white flour. Remember, the key to being healthy is balance.

 

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Toasted Whole Grain Orange Muffins

Toasted Whole grain Orange Muffins

I found this recipe in the April 2014 magazine –  “Better Homes and Gardens“. The recipe is called Toasty Whole Grain Orange Muffins. But I changed the recipe a little, and I liked the Toasted better then the Toasty.

To me toasty is when you are around a camp fire on a cool night in the mountains and you want to get your hands and feet toasty warm. Or when you pull back the stick with a marshmallow on it, and someone says, “Isn’t that a bit toasty?’

The grains the recipe called for, I toasted them in the oven. So that’s why I used Toasted in place of Toasty.

We did use cooked Quinoa. This recipe is great to prepare, when you have had some quiona with your dinner, and there is some left over, quiona that is.

Quinoa  is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. It also has nine times more fiber than any other whole grain.

This muffin would be great for breakfast for the reasons just mentioned, protein, and fiber. Fiber slows digestion, giving you longer sustained energy, as well as the protein.

Here is what you well need.

ingredients for Toasted Whole Grain Orange Muffins

1 cup regular rolled oats

1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled

1/3 cup finely chopped almonds

1 tablespoon avocado oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

½ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

 

toasting grains for Toasted Whole Grain Orange Muffins

In a large bowl toss oats, cooled cooked quinoa, and almonds, add oil and toss some more to coat.  Place mixture onto a nonstick cookie sheet or baking pan. Spread out into an even layer. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until toasted, stirring once. Remove; place pan on a wire rack and cool.

Grease a cup cake pan with twelve wells that are 2 1/2-inches round; set aside.

In a large bowl stir together all but 1/4 cup of the quinoa mixture, the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.

whisking wet ingredients

Here is what you will need for the wet ingredients:

2 teaspoons zest of orange

1 ½ teaspoons of orange oil

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons butter, melted

 

In a 2-cup measure whisk together buttermilk, eggs, sour cream, butter, orange oil, and orange zest. Add all at once to flour mixture. Gently stir just until moistened, the batter should be lumpy.

close up of muffin pan filled with wet muffen mixture

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each well, ¾ full. Sprinkle with remaining quinoa mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in muffin pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Toasted Whole grain Orange Muffins

Serve warm. If desired, serve with orange marmalade.

 

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Best Ever Strawberry Short Cake

Strawberry Short Cake

The days are getting longer and a little warmer. It still isn’t time yet for out door barbecuing. But strawberries are in season again. I bought 4 pounds at Costco for about $6.00. The time is right for Strawberry Short Cake. The recipe is adopted from the Better Homes and Gardens Magazine (BHG).

At our place we like to top the cake with real vanilla ice cream, but you can use whipped cream as well. The BHG recipe did use real whipped cream. Yummy!!

They also gave other ingredients you could add to the batter for other great flavors, such as

  1. Strawberry Lemon-Poppy Seed Shortcake
  2. Mixed Berry or Mixed Fruit Shortcake
  3. Strawberry-Nut Shortcake

Just link here if you want the recipes for those variations: Better Homes and Gardens.

The original recipe includes real cream to whip up as part of the topping, but I omitted it, as we use real vanilla ice cream.

Here is what you will need:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup cold butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (we used plain Greek yogurt)
3 tablespoons milk
5 cups sliced fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease an 8 x 1 1/2-inch round baking pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl combine flour, the 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Using the back of a spoon, make a well in the center of the flour mixture. In a small bowl stir together egg, sour cream, and milk. Add egg mixture to flour mixture all at once, stirring with a fork just until moistened.

Spread dough evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a small metal spatula or knife, loosen sides of shortcake. Place a wire rack on top of pan; place one hand on top of rack and other hand under pan and carefully invert pan with rack (use pot holders to protect your hands). Lift pan off shortcake. Cool on wire rack until completely cool.

Meanwhile, combine 4 cups of the strawberries and the 3 tablespoons sugar and set aside.

To serve, cut shortcake into 4 to 6 individual slices. Then cut  each slice in half horizontally. Place in a bowl and top with desired amount of strawberries and 1 to 2 scoops real vanilla ice cream.

strawberry short cake (2)

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Cooking With Honey – The Healthy Sweetener

honey

 

If you want to be able to cook sweets without the negative health effects of refined sugar, honey is an excellent option. Among other reasons, honey is metabolized more slowly by your body, meaning that you are less likely to get a sugar “high” after eating something made with honey.

Honey can be challenging to cook with, though, for several reasons. So many people don’t cook with it because they don’t know how. But once you know how to use honey in your favorite kitchen creations, it’s not hard at all to use.

The first challenge that honey presents is that it burns easily than sugar does. This problem is usually eliminated by doing your cooking or baking at a slightly lower heat. To prevent burning lower the temperature 25 degrees than what the recipe calls for.

honey is like liquid The main hurdle to cooking with honey is that it is a liquid. Replacing sugar with honey will ruin some recipes if you don’t make an allowance for the extra liquid that the honey adds. Reduce other liquids in the recipe by 1/4 cup for every cup of honey used after the first, depending on the recipe.

Also when replacing honey for sugar, it will be equal amounts. That is 1 cup of honey for 1 cup of sugar.

With most muffins, simple quick breads, and yeast breads, you can make the substitution without any adjustment. Cakes, cookies and some other recipes you should decrease the amount of liquid in the recipe to account for the honey.

Honey is also very easy to use in pies. Since they are already somewhat liquid, you can replace the sugar with honey. If the pie filling seems too runny, just add a little extra thickener before you pour it in your pie shell.

To prevent the honey sticking to the measuring spoon or cups, lubricate the spoons and cups with water, oil or egg white.  This will facilitate easy and accurate honey measurements.

bee pollinating flowersThe flavor of honey can sometimes be an issue that is depending on the flowers the honey bee pollinates. Examples of differing flavors are clove, orange, raspberry or lavender blossoms.

Depending on how sweet or not sweet you want your recipe to be try one of the following :

1.Darker honey for a sweeter, more potent flavor

2. Lighter-colored honey for a more subtle flavor

Cooks.com advises to mix in 1/4 tsp. baking soda for every cup of honey if baking soda is not already included in the recipe. They say you will cut honey’s acidity this way.

When shopping for honey they also state that a 12-ounce jar of honey is equivalent to an 8-ounce cup for liquid measurements.

Remember to store your honey in an airtight container to prevent it from absorbing any moisture outside the container. It will also help keep the honey indefinitely. Also keep it at room temperature to facilitate use in baking, as cold honey thickens and hot honey’s flavor can become distorted.

Article Header Image credit: subbotina / 123RF Stock Photo

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      Chocó Flan

      Chocolate Flan

      This cake is two desserts in one. How so? Will as you see in the image there is a chocolate cake on the bottom and a Spanish Custard or Flan on the top. But it did not start out that way. This dessert is also known by the name…Impossible Cake.

      The reason it goes by that name is because you make the chocolate cake first and pour it into the mold, and then you make the flan or custard part and pour it over the chocolate cake. No, the egg mixture does not go to the bottom.

      But….while it is baking, the custard part does pass to the bottom while the chocolate mixture floats to the top. Therefore, the name Impossible Cake. But how does that happen, one might ask? My explanation is, that oil and water do not mix. Oil floats to the top while water stays at the bottom.

      The cake has oil or fat in it, were as the custard part has water. How is that, you ask? No water was added to the egg mixture. Eggs are 75% moisture or water.

      The header image to this article shows the Flan or custard a bit dry. But it wasn’t. I made that cake in Mexico using a propane burning stove, not natural gas. My experience shows that the two gases bake your desserts differently. It was very delicious.

      To the left side of the image you should see a bottle that is brown and with the name Cajeta Envinada. It is like sweeten condensed milk with caramel sauce mixed in. The Cajeta was made with goats milk, wow so yummy!!

      Here is what you will need:

      Mold:

      12-cup capacity Bundt pan
      butter, room temperature, to coat pan

      ½ cup cajeta or caramel sauce; divided
      Cake:
      10 tbsp. butter, room temperature
      1 cup sugar
      1 egg, room temperature
      1 ¾ cups flour
      ¾ tsp. baking powder
      ¾ tsp. baking soda
      1/3 cup cocoa powder
      1 ¼ cup buttermilk
      Flan:
      1 – 12 oz. can evaporated milk
      1 – 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
      4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
      3 eggs
      1 tbsp. vanilla extract
      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil a tea kettle full of water for a water bath. Coat Bundt pan with butter, then coat the bottom with ¼ cup cajeta and set aside.

       

      Flan: In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream cheese, eggs and vanilla. Blend on high for 30 seconds.

      Cake: Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy; beat in the egg. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa in a medium bowl. Beat 1/3 of the flour mixture, and ½ of the buttermilk into the egg mixture. Repeat ending with the flour mixture. Making sure all cake ingredients are well incorporated.

      Pour cake batter into the prepared Bundt pan; spreading evenly. Slowly pour the flan mixture over the cake batter. Cover with foil and put into a roasting pan. Add hot water to the roasting pan, half ways up the outside of Bunt pan.

      Place the roasting pan into the oven on center rack; bake 1 hour, until the surface of the cake is firm to the touch, or an inserted toothpick comes out clean. When cake is done, remove from the water bath. Remove foil and cool about 30 minutes. Invert a large, rimmed serving platter over the Bundt pan, grasp tightly together and flip over. Plate and serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.

       

      Plated Choco Flan with caramel sauceIf your Chocolate Flan should be a bit dry, not to worry. Just pour some extra Cajeta on each plated dessert served. You and your guests will enjoy this, unless you keep it all to yourself!!

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

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      Orange Cranberry Muffins

      Orange Cranberry Muffins

       

      A wonderful bread recipe that uses the whole orange, not just the zest or orange extract. If you would like to know the health benefits of the orange peel link here to read about it: Benefits of the Orange Peel.

      Here is what you will need:

      Orange Cranberry Bread  Ingredients

      2 small oranges

      1 cup orange juice

      2 eggs, large

      1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)

      1 1/3 cups sugar

      1 tsp. salt

      2 tsp. baking powder

      2 tsp. baking soda

      3 cups flour

      1 cup cranberries, chopped fresh

      The ingredients are for baking the batter in a 9 X 9 inch baking pan. To make muffins or cupcakes cut each ingredient in half (makes 12 muffins).

      Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

      whole oranges and orange jucie in processor

       Wash oranges and cut into pieces. Remove seeds.  Place orange pieces and orange juice into food processor.

      oranges processed

      Process until oranges are finely chopped. Add eggs and butter; process for 3 seconds until combined. You could replace the butter with 1 cup coconut oil.

      Orange Cranberry Bread ingredients in bowl ready to mix

      Sift the remaining 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Next pour processed orange and juice into the center of the dry ingredients, add cranberries; stir until moistened. Do not over mix.

      Orange Cranberry Bread batter in a lined 9 x 9 inch pan

      As was stated at the on set, you can make muffins by cutting the ingredients in half or use the recipe as is and pour the batter into a parchment lined 9 x 9 baking pan.

      Place in oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes (for bread) or 15 to 20 minutes (for muffins)  until a wooden pick comes out clean when inserted. Cool in pan 10 minutes remove to wire rack to cool completely.

      nside view of fresh Orange Craberry Bread

      Here’s a look of how a fresh whole Orange Cranberry Bread looks like on the inside. This cake is packed with 100% of your daily need for vitamin-C. Link here to read more about: Benefits of the Orange Peel.

      Orange Cranberry Muffins

       

      To top the muffins, combine one 8 ounce cream cheese (room temperature) with a few drops of orange food coloring and 1 teaspoon of orange extract. Using a pastry pipe, pipe orange cream cheese over each muffin. Chop 1/2 to 3/4 cup of fresh cranberries and spoon over cream cheese on each muffin. Enjoy!!

      Link here to read: Benefits of the Orange Peel.

       

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      How to Make Really Moist Banana Bread

      Moist Banan Bread

      Mash or puree the bananas? What type of dairy product should you use? How should you incorporate your ingredients? How ripe should the bananas get?  These are a few good questions in regards to making really good banana bread and a moist one at that. There are many places you could have gone for these answers, but you came here to our blog, Splendid Recipes. We want to answer those questions for you so you can have moist banana bread as well.

      The bananas need to be extra ripe. See how black they are here in this image? They have been cut open to show you that the fruit in side is still good. The banana is no longer firm but more pliable to mash and there is more sugar at this stage of the fruits life. These bananas were bought at market with a little green in them and left in the fruit bowl for 5 weeks to get them this black and prepared for baking banana bread.

      extra ripe bananas

      Also using less vegetable oil, only ½ cup and adding ½ cup of Greek yogurt (full fat) will give you the moist bread that you want. Make sure your eggs are room temperature. This allows for the protein in the egg to separate better with the other cake ingredients, also making for moist bread. Always sift the dry ingredients allowing for no large air pockets. Large air pockets do not allow for moist bread. Do not over beat your wet ingredients.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients just before pouring batter into baking dish. Once the baking powder and soda hits something wet it starts to react. You want this reaction to happen as you put it into the oven and not before.

      Follow these no fail tips and you will always have moist banana bread.

      What Other’s are Saying about Banana Bread

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