Flourless Orange & Hazelnut Cake with Caramelised Walnuts {gluten free}

Flourless Orange &  Hazelnut Cake

It’s been a long while since James and I had a proper baking session, so we decided to whip up this insanely moist gluten-free cake on Saturday. Most of you are probably familiar with the classic orange and almond cake, so we decided to put a little spin on it. We used ground hazelnuts in the recipe instead of the usual almond meal, a concept that has served me well in the past. This cake is a little time-consuming to make, mostly because you’ve got to boil and then purée a couple of oranges before you even start on the cake batter. But it’s all worth the effort, guys. Believe me.  Continue reading “Flourless Orange & Hazelnut Cake with Caramelised Walnuts {gluten free}”

Flourless Peanut Butter Flaxseed Cookies with Barley Flakes {low carb}

Flourless Peanut Butter Flaxseed Cookies

Here’s a quick recipe for sweet, golden cookies with all the crunch and flavour of chunky peanut butter plus all the health benefits of flaxseeds (linseeds). Oh, and you only need five ingredients to make them! Six, if you want to sprinkle some lovely barley flakes over the top, but they’re really just there to make the cookies look prettier. The lack of flour ensures that these cookies remain low carb, while the high peanut butter content turns them into an awesome source of protein. And of course, the addition of ground flaxseeds give these an extra fibre boost! Continue reading “Flourless Peanut Butter Flaxseed Cookies with Barley Flakes {low carb}”

Chewy Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks {flourless}

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

It kind of snuck up on us, but hey! This blog just hit 1500 followers and it now has over 70000 page views. That’s a pretty neat feat! I wish I could update this space more often, but it gets a little tough when you’ve got so many other things to juggle. That said, James and I have been researching things to do in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Mount Kōya and Osaka. We’ve booked everything for our November-December Japan trip and I’m happy to announce that we have a very packed itinerary already planned. James will be going to Vanuatu for Christmas as soon as we get back, and then he’ll be meeting me in Singapore to welcome the New Year! Looks like the final few weeks of 2014 are going to be pretty hectic for us.

Organic Coconut Oil Chopped Dark Chocolate Oats, Barley and Coconut Honey

We made cookies a few weeks ago. I decided to experiment with a new ingredient: rolled barley flakes! Now, I don’t think I have ever mentioned barley on this blog before, so let’s talk a little bit about that. When cooked, barley has a chewy, pasta-like consistency and a subtle nutty flavour. I was brought up in Singapore, so I am most familiar with the grain being used as an ingredient to make barley water, a refreshing drink sweetened with rock sugar (and sometimes flavoured with lemon) that has time and again been touted for its healing properties. Not many people are aware of barley’s health benefits and write it off as just another typical cereal grain. However, barley actually has some pretty impressive attributes that surpass even oats.

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

Health Benefits of Barley:

  • controls blood sugar better
  • lowers glucose levels
  • lowers glycemic index
  • better insulin response
  • beats oats in glucose response study
  • reduces blood pressure
  • significantly lowers total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides
  • significantly reduces visceral fat

Source: http://wholegrainscouncil.org/

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

These cookies consist of a blend of rolled oats and rolled barley, a good deal of desiccated coconut, some coconut oil, a drizzle of honey, two eggs, and a wild smattering of dark chocolate chunks. If you think about it, that’s not really a whole lot of ingredients. These are the chewy, crumbly kind of cookie — dense, textured and tightly packed with wholesome grains, a breakfast cookie if you will. Flavour-wise, they remind me of soft and chewy Anzac biscuits that aren’t overly sweet and are maybe just a little bit healthier for you. The distinctive taste of coconut and the smooth richness of dark chocolate perfectly complement the hearty mouthfeel of the oats and barley to create a wonderfully satisfying snack.

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

Chewy Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks
adapted from The Healthy Chef’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies; yield: ~12 large cookies.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup rolled barley
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
60g coconut oil, melted
60g honey
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100g dark chocolate, chopped

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, barley, desiccated coconut, coconut oil, honey and eggs. Thoroughly mush everything together using clean fingers so that the ingredients clump together.
  3. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes, then add the chopped chocolate and combine.
  4. Carefully form the mixture into 12 large cookies and place them onto the prepared baking tray, flattening each cookie slightly. The mixture is quite sticky – dampen your fingers with some water to prevent it from sticking to you while you shape the cookies.
  5. Bake cookies for approximately 20-22 minutes, or until golden and fairly firm on top.
  6. Remove tray from oven and leave cookies to cool before serving. They will be crumbly when hot, but will firm up when they cool.

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

Flourless Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Cake

Flourless Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Cake

Gloomy, dismal weather is always a good excuse to indulge in something ultra sinful. Ground hazelnuts, brown sugar, chocolate, coffee and butter figure prominently here. Combine them with a handful of other ingredients and we are able to create an amalgamation of gorgeous tastes and textures that form this marvelous dark chocolate cake. It is sophisticated enough to impress your friends and yes, for those concerned, this one’s entirely gluten and grain free.

Cocoa Powder Mixture Hazelnut Meal and Brown Sugar Mixture

Soft, moist, dark, rich, dense and nutty in all the right ways, this cake is a chocoholic’s dream. The underlying coffee and kinako (roasted soybean flour) notes make this decadent dessert all the more potent. The ground hazelnuts contribute to the earthy flavour and gritty texture of the cake, while the bittersweet taste of dark chocolate sits on your tongue as each bite melts slowly in your mouth.

Lindt Dessert 70% Cocoa Specialty Cooking Chocolate Lindt Dessert 70% Cocoa Specialty Cooking Chocolate Lindt Dessert 70% Cocoa Specialty Cooking Chocolate

While entirely an optional addition, one of my favourite ingredients used in this cake is kinako. Made by finely grinding roasted soybeans into powder, it is used as a healthy topping or flavoring in many Japanese sweets and cakes. I would like to justify my decision to add some of it to this cake by insisting that it has an absolutely gorgeous flavour reminiscent of peanut butter and its light, nutty fragrance is extremely comforting. The flour is perhaps a little difficult to purchase outside of Japan, but you may be able to find some at your local Japanese grocery store. I urge you to try adding some kinako to this dreamy chocolate cake. It gives it that extra something.

Flourless Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Cake

Gooey and fudge-like in consistency, I think this cake is so rich that small portions are the way to go, or you might end up in a chocolate coma. If there ever exists a method of drowning yourself in chocolate, this is it. Pair a warm slice with a large glass of milk and you have the ultimate comfort food combination.

Flourless Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Cake

Flourless Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Cake
a self-indulgent gluten free and grain free recipe.

Ingredients:

1 cup hazelnut meal
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons kinako (roasted soybean flour), optional
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/3 cup milk, warm
150g dark chocolate*, melted
150g unsalted butter, melted
4 eggs, separated
Some extra cocoa powder, for dusting

* I used Lindt Dessert 70% Cocoa Specialty Cooking Chocolate.

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line the base of a deep 8 inch across springform cake pan with non-stick baking paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar, hazelnut meal, soy flour and salt. Mix well, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder, coffee granules and warm milk. Stir until the cocoa and coffee have dissolved.
  4. Stir the melted chocolate and butter into the cocoa/coffee mixture until well combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix well, then add the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
  6. Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  7. In 2 or 3 increments, gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
  8. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for about one hour, checking often after 45 minutes. When a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, remove cake from oven.
  9. Let the cake cool in the pan completely before inverting onto a wire rack.
  10. Dust with cocoa powder and serve with chocolate sauce or thickened cream, if desired.

Flourless Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Cake

Flourless Peanut Butter Chia Seed Buttons

Maybe I’m weird, but I find chia seeds beautiful. Aesthetically beautiful. If you observe the them up close, you might understand what I mean. Chia seeds are also ridiculously healthy, with sources claiming that they contain eight times more Omega-3 than salmon, making it the highest known plant source of the healthy polyunsaturated fat. This superfood is very versatile as an ingredient in cakes and muffins and because they don’t have an overly strong taste, their inclusion in recipes makes it easy to increase the nutrition value of your baked goods. Want to know more? This website shares the top 10 benefits of chia seeds.

Moving on, I have a simple recipe here for flourless peanut butter chia seed buttons. It’s an old recipe of mine that’s been sitting on a shelf somewhere and has only now come out of hiding. Good news is, these are flourless and gluten free. Better news? They’re also low carb and healthy… so long as you use Natvia and natural peanut butter (made of 100% peanuts). Or you can make some kind of compromise if you wish. Play around with quantities and ingredients if you feel like experimenting!

Ingredients:

1 cup crunchy peanut butter (natural unsweetened & unsalted for a healthier cookie)
1 egg, whisked
3/4 cup Natvia natural sweetener (or 1 cup granulated sugar)
2 to 3 tablespoons white & black chia seed mix

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, Natvia and egg.
  3. Fold the chia seeds into the mixture.
  4. Roll dough into teaspoon-sized balls and flatten them slightly with the palms of your hands. Place on prepared baking tray.
  5. Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Remove from oven and let sit on tray for 5 minutes before placing them on a wire rack to cool.
  7. Cookies will come out very soft (after all, heat softens peanut butter!), but will harden once completely cooled.