Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chocolate Coconut Fudge Cake

For a recent girls' night, I brought this chocolate coconut fudge cake.  It is chocolatey and fudge-y.  What's not to like?  And I didn't feel guilty about enjoying the leftovers for an after dinner treat.

This cake uses 3 ingredients that I always have on hand:  bananas, cocoa powder, and salt.  The coconut butter, however, is a different story.  The stuff is expensive!  I kept looking at it, but I could never bring myself to buy it.  Instead, I bought some unsweetened coconut flakes to use in making my own coconut butter.  I ordered mine online then found some in my local Walmart the very next day.  Oh well!

Coconut butter is made the same way nut butters are made.  You put a bunch of unsweetened coconut flakes or shreds in a food processor and blend away, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.  The coconut butter took longer to process than nut butters and required much more scraping, but it finally got very smooth and liquid like.  Once it's finished, you pour it into a jar and keep it in the panty.  It will get hard (as in I had to warm it up in the microwave before measuring out a cup to use in this recipe), but that is why it works well to hold the shape of this cake.  Warning:  I used nearly all of the coconut butter that I made from a 12 oz. bag of coconut flakes in this recipe.
Chocolate Coconut Fudge Cake
Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie
Serving Size:  1 Slice
Servings: 8  *  Calories: 254  *  Carbs: 25g  *  Fat: 22g  *   Protein: 4g  *  Fiber: 8g  *  Sugar: 10g

Ingredients:
4 very ripe bananas
1 cup coconut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a food processor.
  2. Once smooth, pour into a cake pan (8 or 9 inch).  Smooth the top.
  3. Let harden in the refrigerator overnight or freezer for a couple of hours.
  4. Slice and enjoy!  Be sure to defrost first if it was frozen.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Peanut Butter Mug Cake

It's challenge time again!  Who can go 5 days without sugar?  No sugar, honey, syrup, etc.  Just fruit if you need a sugar fix (like I usually need).  I know this can be rough at this time of year, but it is possible if you plan ahead and bring a sugar free snack.  If that is not possible, just enjoy the party!  But get back on the wagon the very next day.  The longer you go without sugar, the less you will crave it.

I've thought about the best ways to quit sugar a lot lately.  Cold turkey is certainly an option, but it can make you feel rather lethargic and grumpy for a day (or two or three).  When I quit drinking soda, I took it slowly.  I used to drink a Dr. Pepper every day with my lunch (which happens at 11 in my house).  So the first day of quitting, I wouldn't let myself have one until noon.  The next day, I pushed it back by an hour, so not until one.  If I could go longer than my set time, then awesome!  I actually found that I didn't need one on day 3 until dinner time.  I think this plan could really help with quitting sugar, too.  Just set a time, and push to or past that time before giving in to sugar. 

To help with this challenge, here is a new dessert and a story.

Sometimes I make waffles for my family for dinner.  And when I do, I usually need more egg whites than egg yolks.  I hate to waste things.  So I decided to make myself a little dessert using the leftover egg yolk.

This peanut butter mug cake is sweetened with just 1/2 a banana and applesauce.  I promise that you don't taste the banana thanks to the peanut flour.  I love that stuff!  It gives such a nice, strong peanut flavor to foods.

This recipe can easily be switched to a banana mug cake by replacing the peanut flour with a neutral tasting flour like all purpose or whole wheat.

Peanut Butter Mug Cake
Serving Size:  1 Cake
Servings: 1  *  Calories: 295  *  Carbs: 38g  *  Fat: 10g  *   Protein: 25g  *  Fiber: 7g  *  Sugar: 14g

Ingredients:
1/3 c. peanut flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1/2 ripe banana
2 tbs. unsweetened applesauce
1 tbs. buttermilk*
1 egg yolk**
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
  1. Place all ingredients in a mug or small ramekin.
  2. Mash up banana and mix ingredients together until well blended.
  3. Cook mixture in microwave on high 1 minute at a time to make sure it does not overcook.  It should take about 2-2 1/2 minutes.
  4. Enjoy warm!
Notes:
*I rarely have buttermilk on hand.  I simply mix some vinegar with my milk.  In this case, I put the tiniest splash of vinegar in my 1 tbs. measuring spoon then filled it the rest of the way with almond milk.  I let that sit while I combined the rest of the ingredients.  Then I added it in at the end just before stirring and nuking.

**If you don't have an egg yolk handy or you are worried about the safety of eating the egg when it is only nuked for a short period in the microwave, try replacing it with 1 tbs. oil or extra applesauce (if you would also like to reduce the fat).

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes

My boys finally tired of donuts every morning for breakfast.  Their next request was pancakes.  Luckily for them, I had a pancake recipe in mind to try out.  It is a lovely, fun twist on the grain free pumpkin pancakes.  These pancakes combine my love for all things pumpkin and all cinnamon rolls.

This recipe gave me an opportunity to try out a cinnamon roll filling using date paste.  And it was so easy!  In a true Lorelai Gilmore, "Who's cleaning that?" mindset, I simply put the date paste, cinnamon, and milk right into a plastic bag.  I sealed the bag closed then mashed away.  Once it was thoroughly mixed, I cut a hole in the corner and swirled away on top of the pancake batter.  See, no need to dirty up a bowl to make the cinnamon swirl concoction.

I found the time to try out various cooking methods for these pancakes.  Actually, when you have to make a new batch every few days, it's easy to find the time to try out new cooking methods.  I ladled the pancake onto both parchment paper and a silicone baking mat (they both worked fine).  Then I swirled the cinnamon mixture on top in a traditional cinnamon roll look.  I also poured all of the batter onto a jelly roll pan once.  From there, I zig-zagged the cinnamon mixture on top then took a knife and swirled the mixture in some more.  Like this:
I was all prepared to like the traditional circle pancakes from the ladle method the best, but the jelly roll pan option won out in my book.  I think swirling the cinnamon mixture in with the knife got it better incorporated throughout the dough.  Yummy!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes
Serving Size:  4 Pancakes
Servings: 6  *  Calories: 187  *  Carbs: 24g  *  Fat: 5g  *   Protein: 8g  *  Fiber: 3g  *  Sugar: 16g

Pancake Ingredients:
6 eggs
1.5 tsp. cinnamon
1.5 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or more cinnamon)
2 tbs. vanilla extract
6 tbs. date paste
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 tbs. baking powder

Swirl Ingredients:
4 tbs. date paste
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbs. milk of choice

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Mix all pancake ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into a greased 11 x 17 baking sheet. 
3. Mix swirl ingredients in a small bag. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and have fun piping the cinnamon swirl mixture onto the pancakes.  Swirl with a knife if desired. 
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350F.
5. Cut into squares and enjoy hot or reheat the next day.

Notes: For round pancakes, bake the normal way on a stove or ladle batter onto a silicone baking mat on a baking sheet or a parchment lined baking sheet. Swirl the cinnamon swirl mixture on top of the pancakes. Then bake for 12-15 minutes at 350F.