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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Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and SauceMost yellow summer squash is gmo now days, but not the ones we used. We got these fresh from a vegetable garden, harvested from non-gmo seeds. Without the grated cheese, this can be a Vegan meal.

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce - Shaving Squash into SpaghettiThere are several gadgets on the market that one can use to turn a yellow summer squash into spaghetti strands. They can range from $3.99 to about $100.00 depending on the one you buy. We bought a OXO Good Grips Julienne Peeler Stainless Steel Blade , and the cost was $9.99 at Macy’s.

You wash the squash, remove the blade protector cap, grab the squash in one hand and the peeler with the other hand, and start peeling until you reach the seeds.

You can mulch the rest of the vegetable after discarding the seeds or remove the seeds and steam the vegetable flesh in a steamer, and enjoy with a little butter and Italian seasonings.

But before you peel the squash into spaghetti strands, let make some sauce. What you will need is:

1 15 ounce can of stewed tomatoes, with no other flavors or added salt

1/2 cup fresh basil

3 cloves fresh garlic

2 tbsp. tomato paste, no added salt

1/2 tsp. Himalayan salt ( or sea salt) optional

5 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. garlic powder

Open can of tomatoes and pour into a food processor. Add basil, chopped garlic, and puree.

Side not: allow garlic to set 10 minutes after chopping before adding to processor. To get the health benefits of garlic, oxygen needs to active the enzymes within the garlic, to give us it s health benefits. When ever using garlic after mincing, or chopping it, allow it to set for 10 minutes before using it, your body will be thankful you did.

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce - Preparing SauceNow add the puree tomato sauce to a medium sauce pot over a med-high heat. You will note that the tomato sauce will be a little soupy. Just add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and stir in, and see how it thickens. Lower heat to simmer and place lid over pot. Just before pouring sauce over sqauch pasta, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan salt, but is optional.

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce - Sautéing Yellow Squash in Olive OilOn med-high heat place a (1) large ceramic coated frying pan, and pour 4 to 5 tablespoons of olive oil into pan. Allow to heat some, then add 1 teaspoon of powdered garlic.

Next, (2) add squash pasta to pan, put timer to 5 minutes, and stir now and again.

Note (3) the olive oil has stuck to the squash, if it hasn’t, then you added to much olive oil. Continue to stir now and again.

After 5 minutes (4) turn squash pasta onto a flat plate or pie pan and set aside for 2 minutes. Then turn pasta squash into a strainer to drain off any water, that may have accumulated, but do not rinse.

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce platedPlate squash pasta, top with spaghetti sauce and with your favorite Italian cheese and serve.

Forking Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and SauceIf you can fork the squash pasta like traditional pasta, then it was cooked right. But if  squash cannot be forked and falls apart, it was cooked to long and in too much oil.

 

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What We Do When We’er Not In The Kitchen

Cooking on the Stove

On our About page of Splendid Recipes and More it explains saying, “We offer recipes with regards to taste, your health, and feeling good while eating. The “More” in our web-site title is all about what we offer besides delectable recipes.”

If you are a regular reading of our site, you know all about the extras we have posted about besides food recipes. We’ve even had a few blog guests.

We who love and enjoy to cook and bake in the kitchen do so because we want to make others happy, and it is a stress reliever, oh and not to forget, eating is a lot of fun.

But do we have other interests besides cooking and baking? Some of you who read this blog are writers, you collect and write about news topics or short stories and the such. Some of you even write poems, or just take photo shots and post about them.

But I guess I can say that we all have other interests. Those of us here at Splendid Recipes and More have several interests, including a hobby outside the kitchen, and as a matter of fact, outside in my back yard.

View the video to find out. Let us know as well as others, what your interests are outside the kitchen, by leaving your comments below!! Please enjoy the video!!

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Add a Little Zest

lemon zet

When a recipe calls for “zest” of a citrus fruit, it’s referring to the colorful outer part of the skin, not the inner white part, which is known as the pith. The zest contains all of the aromatic citrus oils and provides a hint of citrus tang to the recipe. A simple method of obtaining a fine zest is by rubbing the fruit against the smallest holes of a cheese grater.

Usually a recipe will call for 1 to 3 teaspoons of citrus zest. If you happen to not have an orange or lemon in the kitchen, then you have to run to the store to get yourself one. This can be time consuming and not to mention the gas you have to use.

grating lemon zestHere is our solution:  After squeezing or juicing lemons or oranges do not toss the peels. Freeze the peels or rinds in a freezer bag and whenever you need zest of a lemon or orange, you can grate it from the frozen peels.

The flavor is just the same as if the peel were fresh.

It will save a trip to the store just to buy a citrus fruit for a small amount of zest. This tip works well if you make cheesecake often in your kitchen.

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