Coconut Flour Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chunks (Gluten Free Recipe)

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies made with Coconut Flour

I came across this recipe a few days ago when I was looking for baking ideas for my brother who has lived a gluten-free diet for the last few years.  At first, I was nervous about baking with coconut flour as I knew such little about using it as a wheat flour alternative.  Our family uses coconut regularly, either as an ingredient in cooking(cream coconut, dessicated etc), drinking coconut water for health benefits,  or just eating pieces of raw coconut, but have never used coconut flour.  I’ve got to say they were delicious and hopefully will be making them again real soon! They are moreish yet chocolatey and have a melty yet soft grainy texture. I had modified the orignal recipe because it being a last minute bake, I used what I had in my pantry.  I also kept mine chunky looking by using a mixer instead of a food processor like the original recipe calls for.  You can ofcourse, do everything by hand using a wooden spoon.   I may try the food processor method the next time just to get a different texture and for experiments sake, but really, I just loved how these came out the way I made them and that’s the recipe I’m going to share with you.

Makes 10 Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 a cup of peanut butter.  I used chunky by Whole Earth.

1 tablespoon softened butter

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 table spoon soft brown sugar

2 medium eggs

1.5 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup PLUS 1 tablespoon coconut flour

75g chocolate chips/chunks (I used 72% cocoa bar which I chopped into chunks myself)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C.  Line a cookie sheet with non stick baking paper.
  2. Place the peanut butter, butter, oil, sugar into a bowl and blend together using a mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat to combine.
  3. Add in the salt, cinnamon, baking soda and coconut flour and beat together thoroughly.  Gently fold in the chocolate chunks.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop, divide the cookie dough into 10 equal sized cookies onto the baking sheet.  Flatten slightly with a spoon as these cookies no not spread much as they bake.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes, check to see if they are cooked.  If they are, remove from the oven and allow to cool.  If like me, you like a more browned, crumbly texture, reduce the oven temperature to 120C and cook for a further 5 minutes before removing from the oven and allowing to cool.

The chances are we all know somebody who prefers to stay away from wheat products but who loves to enjoy the odd cookie now and again.  These are a great bake for them and a slightly guilt free way for the rest of us to enjoy more than one!

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Carrot and Cream Cheese Cupcakes

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Wow, that’s a lot of “C’s”!  Being in the midst of Autumn, and heading towards the season of spice, these cupcakes make the perfect evening dessert item.  This recipe is from one of my long time favourite trusted go-to chefs, Anna Olsen.  I have, as usual, adapted it a little to suit ingredients that are easily available in the UK particularly in my own pantry!

Ingredients:

2 cups loosely packed,  grated carrots

1/2 cup sunflower oil

2 Eggs

2/3 cup packed soft light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup castor sugar

1 1/3 cup self raising flour

1 heaped tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

2/3 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground clove powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/3 tsp salt

1/2 cup raisins

1/3 cup chopped nuts (eg mixed nuts, finely chopped blanched almonds, roughly chopped pecans or walnuts). I’ve used all these combinations and they all work great.

For the cream cheese frosting:

1/2 cup softened butter

1/2 cup cream cheese ( I use mine straight out of the refrigerator)

1.5 to 2 cups of icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Method

To make the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 165C.  Line a 12 hole muffin/cupcake tray with cupcake cases.
  2.  In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour.  Add the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, the spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and clove powder) and the salt.  Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add in the grated carrots and mix to coat the carrots with the dry flour mix.  This step is to prevent the carrots clumping together in the mix and to absorb any of the wetness from the carrots before the wet ingredients are added.
  3. In a separate bowl, place the oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the wet mix made in step 3 into the dry mix in step 2. Mix until well combined.
  5. Add in the raisins and nuts. Stir gently to combine.
  6. Evenly divide the batter between the cupcake cases.
  7. Bake for about 20 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  I use the fan assisted oven setting and I often check my cupcakes through the over door at 15 mins.  If I think they may be cooked, I will open the door and do the toothpick test. They usually require a minute or two more.
  8. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the frosting:

  1. Cream the softened butter until pale and creamy (about 30 seconds using an electric mixture).
  2. Add 1/4 cup of the icing sugar at a time and beat well after each addition until you have added 1 cup of the sugar.
  3. Add the vanilla and another 1/4 cup of icing sugar and beat well.
  4. Add the cream cheese and whip for 30 seconds
  5. Add the remaining sugar in 1/4 cup phases until the desired consistency is met.  It should be at between soft and stiff peak (piping consistency).

To assemble

Place the carrot cupcakes onto a serving plate or cake stand.  Pipe the cream cheese frosting onto the cupcakes using a tip of your choice.  I used one end of a coupler (about 1.5cm in diameter) as a round tip.  If you do not have any tips, you can spoon a tablespoon of the frosting on and use a butter knife to smooth it at the top. I dusted my cupcakes with cinnamon as we are a spice loving family!

 

 

 

 

Tiramisu Cake Slice

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Serves 12

This bakery style tiramisu cake slice will impress even the most narrow eyed cake critic (provided they like coffee!)

Inspired by Cake Boss

Ingredients:

For the chiffon cake:

2 cups self-raising flour (sifted)

1 1/2 cups castor sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sunflower oil

7 eggs separated

3/4 cup water at cool room temperature

2 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 seeds from 1/2 a vanilla pod

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar

Extras for cake assembly:

2 heaped tablespoons of instant black coffee made up with 3 cups of boiling water, sweetened with 3 teaspoons of sugar.

2 to 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder

For the cream frosting:

800 ml of double cream

3 tablespoons of icing sugar

1 teaspoon caramel flavoring (optional)

200 g of mascarpone cream cheese

 

Method

To bake the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.  Grease, line and flour two 9 inch square cake pans.

NOTE: the original recipe did not grease or line the pans.  I assume this is to help the cake rise by catching on to the sides of the pan and to stop it deflating inwards when you remove it from the oven.  As I didn’t want to take a risk of not lining my pans, I decided to grease, line AND FLOUR.  The flour will allow the cake to catch onto the sides better and rise.

2. Separate the eggs and place the whites in a completely grease free bowl.

 

3) Add the cream of tartar into the egg whites and whisk until stiff peaks.  Leave aside

 

4) In another large bowl, place the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Make a well in the middle and add the oil, egg yolks, vanilla, lemon extract, water.  Whisk this well for about 3 minutes until it becomes a pale creamy colour.

 

5)Fold the eggs whites into the yolk batter

 

6) Divide the mixture between the two pans

 

 

7) Reduce the temperature of the oven to 165 degrees C and bake in the center of oven for 35 minutes. Check it after 25 minutes through the oven door to make sure it’s not browning too much.

 

If it is, check with skewer it may be cooked! If it wobbles when you open the door, put it back at 160 degrees C for 5 to 6 minutes.  A cooked cake will spring back when you gently press on it or an inserted skewer comes out clean.

8) Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.

 

9) When cool enough to handle, remove from the pan and cool completely on a cooling rack.

To prepare the cream frosting:

The cake is filled and covered by the same frosting.  Place all the double cream (minus about 2 tablespoons) in a large bowl and whip until just at soft peaks.  Add the mascarpone, flavourings, sugar and the rest of the cream. Whip gently to combine (careful not to over whip, it should still be at soft peak consistency.  Loosen with a little milk if necessary).

To assemble:

1) Place one of the cake sponges onto a serving plate or cake board. Make up the hot coffee as described in the instructions.  Using a tablespoon pour enough coffee to soak the top 5 mm of the surface.  Wait a few mins and repeat to cover any dry spots.  The sponge should not be completely soaked as it will make cutting neat slices difficult.

2) Carefully spread 1/3 of the cream filling onto the soaked layer.

3) Using a fine sieve, dust the entire top of the cream filling with cocoa powder.

4) Place the second sponge on top of the dusted cake.

5) Repeat the soaking step.

6) Cover the entire cake with the rest of the cream frosting. Using a palette knife, try and keep it as neatly square and level as possible.

7) Cool in the refrigerator for 30 mins

8) Remove from the refrigerator and now it’s time for the the fun decoration part! The top of the cake needs to be dusted with cocoa powder.  You can either dust the entire top of the cake with cocoa powder using a fine sieve or, use a stencil to add a pattern. I created a grid pattern by using a piece of an educational game (well washed and thoroughly dried) as a stencil but you can use any cake stencil or make one using cut outs from parchment paper or card.

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9) Place the completed cake into the refrigerator to set up for at least 2 hours

To serve:

Using a large serrated knife, carefully cut the cake in half horizontally so now you have two cakes each being approximately 9 inches by 4.5 inches.  Cut each cake into 6 slices (or more or less depending on how many slices you want or how big you want each slice ;P).  CLEAN your knife after each cut made.

The cake is ready to impress!! It really is so delicious and light that some people may want two slices from the ready!

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Marble Cake

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This wonderfully moist sponge cake is based around a chiffon cake recipe. An icing-free cake, just dust this cake with icing sugar and its ready to delight the taste buds!

There are a few recipes online for chiffon cake. This one is an adaption of a recipe given to me by a friend.  I couldn’t find the source but all the recipes online are similar.

Ingredients:

2 cups self-raising flour (sifted)

1 1/2 cups castor sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sunflower oil

7 eggs separated

3/4 cup water at cool room temperature

2 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 seeds from 1/2 a vanilla pod

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar

1 to 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

Icing sugar to dust (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.  Grease, line and flour a 10 inch round cake pan.

NOTE: the original recipe did not grease or line the pan.  I assume this is to help the cake rise by catching on to the sides of the pan and to stop it deflating inwards when you remove it from the oven.  As I didn’t want to take a risk of not lining my pan, I decided to grease, line AND FLOUR.  The flour will allow the cake to catch onto the sides better and rise.

2. Separate the eggs and place the whites in a completely grease free bowl.

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3) Add the cream of tartar into the egg whites and whisk until stiff peaks.  Leave aside

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4) In another large bowl, place the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Make a well in the middle and add the oil, egg yolks, vanilla, lemon extract, water.  Whisk this well for about 3 minutes until it becomes a pale creamy colour.

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5)Fold the eggs whites into the yolk batter

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6) Divide the mixture into 2 and sieve the cocoa powder into one of the batters

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Fold the cocoa powder in gently so now you have one vanilla batter and one chocolate batter.

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7) The next part you have to work a little quicker so I couldn’t take any pictures! Using a separate ladle for each batter, alternate a ladle of batter at a time.  Start with vanilla,  Pour a ladle of vanilla batter as close to the middle of the pan. Next, ladle the chocolate batter in the same way on top of the vanilla batter. You don’t want to cover the layer underneath, just aim for the middle and the batter will spread itself.   Repeat until all the mixture is finished.  It should look like this:

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8) reduce the temperature of the oven to 165 degrees C and bake in the centre of oven for 45 minutes. Check it after 35 minutes through the oven door to make sure it’s not browning too much.

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If it is, check with skewer it may be cooked! If it wobbles when you open the door, put it back at 160 degrees C for 8 to 10 minutes.  A cooked cake will spring back when you gently press on it or an inserted skewer comes out clean.

9) Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.

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10) When cool enough to handle, remove from the pan and cool on a plate or cooling rack.

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When cool, cut through to reveal the glorious stripes! Dust with icing sugar and serve.

 

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English Lemon Cheesecake with Berry Compote

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This is an egg free, no-bake cheesecake which has the perfect sweet/tangy balance.  There are many recipes out there with a similar basic recipe but I have (as i do) adapted this one for my own taste palate and tin size!

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients

For the base:

16 digestive biscuits

120 g melted butter

For the cheesecake filling:

300 g condensed milk

300 ml double cream

300 g cream cheese

2 lemons

NOTE:   To increase the number of servings, I occaionally increase the measurements of condensed milk, double cream and cream cheese by 50g  if I have extra amounts handy.

For the compote

1/2 cup frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, summer fruits, forest berries or mixed)

1 tbsp jam or conserve (I use raspberry conserve)

1 heaped tsp sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

Method

  • Grease an 8 inch loose bottom cake pan
  • Crush the digestive biscuits leaving some larger bits (do not over crush).  Melt the butter in the microwave in ten second bursts.  Pour the butter into the crushed biscuits and combine.  Press this mixture into the cake pan and flatten down using the back of a spoon. Refrigerate while you make the cheesecake mixture.
  • Place the double cream in a large bowl and whip  until soft peaks.  Set aside.
  • Wash and dry 2 lemons. Roll them on a hard surface to soften slightly.  Grate the rind using a very fine grater. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze to collect the juice (no pips please!).  Mix the rind into the juice and set aside.
  •  In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese for 30 seconds until soft and smooth.  Slowly beat in the condensed milk until silky smooth.  Add in the double cream and whisk to combine. Add the lemon juice in gradually while mixing with the whisk.  You will notice the mixture thicken significantly.
  • Pour the cheesecake mixture over the biscuit base and chill for at least 6 hours.
  • To make the compote, place the frozen berries in a colander and briskly rinse under a tap.  Without losing the water and juice from the berries, quickly place them into a saucepan and set to heat on a low flame. Add the sugar and bring to the boil.  If it looks dry, add a table spoon of water at any stage.   Add the tablespoon of lemon juice and the jam and heat until it thickens slightly.  Take off the heat and pour into a serving bowl to cool down before placing into the refrigerator to chill.
  • To serve, remove the cheesecake from the pan and place on a serving dish.  Cut a slice onto a small presentation plate and add a heaped dessert spoon of the compote on the side.  Make sure after serving your guests, you take a nice piece for yourself and enjoy every last bite!

 

 

 

 

Coffee Buttercream Recipe

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This deliciously smooth frosting is one of my favourites.  It goes very well with any cake flavour but best pairs up with coffee cake.  For a good coffee cake recipe click here.  If you do use this recipe, increase all the ingredients by 5o% so use 6 eggs, 12 oz flour etc.  Bake in two 9inch round pans. Then use the below frosting recipe to fill between the two cakes and cover. That will yield 12 generous servings.

My recipe for the coffee buttercream is slightly adjusted to the one in the link.

Ingredients:

250g salted* butter softened to room temperature

2 cups of icing sugar

2 teaspoons of instant coffee (I used Columbian arabica) dissolved in a tablespoon of boiling water.

Method:

1. Beat the butter on medium high speed for 2 minutes.

2. Add the icing sugar 1/3 cup at a time, scrapping down the bowl regularly and beating with each addition. Occasionally a little less or more icing sugar may be needed to reach the desired consistency.

TIP: icing sugar has a tendency to fly everywhere so place a damp tea towel near the mixture to catch the dust.  If your mixer does not have a splash guard, place a damp tea towel on top too or stir each addition in carefully before starting the beaters.

3.  Slowly pour in the dissolved coffee with the beaters running.  Scrape down the bowl and give it a final beat on high for a minute or until whippy.

*I find salted butter produces a better result in baking and in frosting recipes compared to unsalted.

Most frosting recipes may look simple but can be tricky to get to the correct consistency.  This particular frosting is very easy to get a perfect consistency and taste.  Happy baking!

Frozen Berries and White Chocolate Muffins

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This recipe is great when fresh berries are not available (either out of season or one of those ‘I need muffins now!’ times).  It uses frozen mixed summer fruits but I only used the blueberries, cranberries and raspberries.  I’ve made my own muffin wrappers which not only looks fabulous but allows me to make them extra large!

To make the muffin wrappers;

I made some using greaseproof paper and some using lined parchment.  The method is the same for both.  The greaseproof paper one looked more authentic (I’d like to try with white baking paper next time) but the lined parchment had the benefit of holding its shape better and didn’t show any grease marks.

I used this link to make these but the method is outlined below

Cut the wrappers paper into approximately 15 cm squares.  Place the paper centrally on an inverted glass just smaller than the diameter of the muffin tray holes and fold the paper around the glass.  Repeat for all 12 wrappers.

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Lined Parchment

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I also made some using greaseproof paper

 

Frozen Berries

Frozen berries will release a lot of fluids once thawed.  This can make your batter runny but worse still, it can cause pink and blue streaking in your batter discoloring the final result. Fresh berries do not cause this but as we are using frozen berries in this recipe, it is important to drain excess fluid from the berries.  To do this, place the berries in a colander, wash briefly under cold water and leave to drain for 30 minutes.  Most of the fluid will drain off as they thaw.  As an extra precaution, dry slightly on paper towels while you prepare the batter.

 

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Liquid released from berries as they thaw

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Drying excess liquid on paper towels

 

 

Ingredients

For the Crumble:

2 heaped tbsp plain flour

2 heaped tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tbsp butter

For the muffins:

3 cups self raising flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

100g white chocolate chunks or drops

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla flavoring

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 1/2 cups frozen berries

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 165º C.  Place the ingredients for the crumble in a bowl and use the tips of your fingers rub the butter into the sugar and flour to make crumbs

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    Crumble consistency

  2. In a large bowl place all the dry ingredients (flour, sugars, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and chocolate chunks).  Mix to combine.
  3. In a jug, place the oil, milk, vanilla, eggs and mashed bananas and whisk using a simple whisk.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and use a whisk to combine. Gently fold in the berries, to distribute, taking care not to streak the batter.  A little bit of streaking may occur but it doesn’t show up when baked.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop to put two scoops into each muffin case.
  6. Top with a teaspoon of the crumble topping.

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    Top each muffin with the crumble mix

  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

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    After 30 minutes of baking. These muffins are BIG!

Cool the muffins to room temperature and store in a air tight container. Consume within 48 hours.

These make great lunchbox items or afterschool snacks!

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My daughter enjoying her muffin while walking home from school