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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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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