Lean Green Mommy Machine

Thoughts on health, wellness, living green and motherhood


Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies – Finally!

 

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I’ve tried a variety of gluten free items from pizza crust (still looking for THE one) to cakes. One thing I had yet to find was a recipe for a fudgy gluten free brownie. Every recipe I made turned out more like cake rather than a dense, moist, delicious brownie.
As you can tell, I have specific feelings on how brownies should be. I already have a regular brownie recipe that is my go-to dessert. It’s quick, easy – and most importantly – fudgy deliciousness.
Since none of the gluten free brownie recipes were hitting the spot I decided to look at a few of them, and my favorite gluten-containing one and see what I could come up with.
And I will tell you this: it.is.fabulous.

 

Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup, minus 1 tbsp coconut flour
1 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp xanthum gum

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking dish.
In a medium bowl, sift dry ingredients together and stir until combined.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips (if using).
Pour/scoop batter into greased pan and spread evenly into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with dry crumbs (not wet batter) on it.
Allow to cool completely before cutting (or as long as you can resist!).

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

The flecks of white are the consequence of not using a mixer to beat the cream cheese. I need a mixer!

The flecks of white are the consequence of not using a mixer to beat the cream cheese. I need a mixer!

If you’re anything like me, you skip all of the touching and adorable stories that bloggers list before their recipe. I just prefer to get right down to business. Delicious business.
So here you go!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Crust
1 1/3 cup walnut meal/crumbs (pulse walnuts in a food processor or blender)
1 Tbsp almond flour
4 Tbsp coconut flour
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients for crust thoroughly and pour into a greased 8×8 baking dish. Smooth and spread evenly. Place in refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Filling
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can pumpkin puree, 15 oz (only ingredient being pumpkin)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
4 eggs
4 Tbsp coconut flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl beat cream cheese until soft and smooth (this is MUCh easier with some sort of mixer, I made mine without one). Beat in the sugar. Mix in pumpkin, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and greek yogurt. Mix in eggs one at a time. Lastly, stir in coconut flour.

Remove crust from fridge and pour filling into pan on top of crust. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. The center may look slightly jiggly but it will set as it cools.
Allow to cool completely before cutting. Best if allowed to set in fridge for at least a few hours.


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Gluten Free Carrot Cake

GF carrot cake

My fabulous husband just celebrated a birthday. But not just any birthday, he turned 40! I certainly couldn’t let my new gluten free status ruin his birthday tradition of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I began searching for the perfect recipe for gluten free carrot cake. But I was pretty picky about ingredients so it was harder than I thought. I can’t use a standard GF flour blend, as they all seem to have potato starch in them and I am unable to eat that. I also didn’t want almond flour since I have noticed when I eat almond flour baked goods I get horrible stomach pains and gas (this makes sense if you think of the number of equivalent almonds you would have eaten). I also didn’t want one of those recipes that used seven different starches and flours that I have to order online because my tiny hometown won’t possibly carry them.

I’m not asking too much here, right? I know…I am. Essentially I was looking for a recipe that used just coconut flour. I have some GF friends who seemed a bit unsure that this would happen. The truth is, it didn’t. Any recipe I found had the wrong ingredients, or many bad reviews, or something just seemed off with the recipe.

I decided I was determined to at least attempt to creat a GF carrot cake but I would not subject my husband to it on his 40th birthday. That would be cruel! So I made my traditional carrot cake for my husband and 4 kids.

After that was finished I found a recipe for a GF yellow cake that uses just coconut flour and seems like a good recipe. Although yellow cake is actually my favorite, I now had my heart set on carrot cake and I was NOT going to let that go. So I proceeded to look at three recipes to figure this out: the GF yellow cake recipe, the traditional yellow cake recipe, and the traditional carrot cake recipe.

And so my Gluten Free Carrot Cake was born!

Before we begin though, a few thoughts on coconut flour: It can be kind of temperamental. People have told me it doesn’t really work out for them. Coconut flour is VERY absorbent. A little bit goes a long way at sucking up liquids. I have had a lot of success with it but I have noticed that when it’s particularly humid out my cakes seem more crumbly and stick to the pan more. Definitely grease AND flour your baking dish and you may want to even line with parchment paper.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
3/4 cup finely shredded carrot
1 cup coconut flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour (and possibly line) an 8×8 or 9×9 square or round baking dish.*

In a large bowl mix butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, eggs, and milk. Mix in carrots. In a separate small bowl mix the remaining ingredients. Add the dry to the wet and mix thoroughly.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. I’ve found that when I bake with coconut flour it seems to take my oven much longer than the recipes state. I cooked my cake for about 45 minutes. You want the center to be set and a toothpick inserted in the center to come out clean.

For me, there is only one way to top a carrot cake – cream cheese frosting! I used the left overs from my husband’s cake, which was a traditional recipe of butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar.

*I made my cake in an 8×8 square pan but you could even do 2 layers and frost in between. They will be thinner than a traditional layer cake but will probably cook faster and it would be fun. These would also do well as cupcakes, just shorten the baking time to about 25 minutes and I would spray the cupcake liners.

When I was searching for a recipe I even Googled “best gluten free carrot cake”. I have finally found it!

Enjoy!

Single bite carrot cake


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Rich and Chocolately Brownies Made with Whole Wheat and Zucchini

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This recipe is not over-the-top healthy, which my kids appreciate. As my almost 16-year-old said, “You don’t have to do that to EVERYTHING, mom!”. These brownies are rich and fudgey but have the added bonus of using 100% whole wheat flour and some shredded zucchini. It’s just enough to make you feel a tad less guilty over the dessert you are serving up.
Brownies with Whole Wheat and Zucchini

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp melted butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unbleached, white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup finely shredded zucchini, packed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking dish.
In a medium bowl mix melted butter and cocoa powder until smooth. Mix in sugar until fully combined. Add eggs one at a time, stirring completely after each addition. Mix in vanilla extract. Stir in flour just until combined. Try not to over-mix. Fold in zucchini. Spread into baking dish and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting.