Baking, Uncategorized

Gluten and Dairy-Free Almond Brownies

As a college student, I had a roommate with celiac disease. We would make gluten and dairy-free meals together, and it generally tasted pretty delicious! However, I can honestly say that gluten and dairy-free desserts are generally made of chalk and disappointment. At least, the ones I tried with my friend.

But fear not, my friend! This gluten and dairy-free brownie recipe is not comprised of dusty chocolate or sadness. These brownies hold their shape super well, and they can be either delightful and fudgy or light and cakey!

I created this recipe for a potluck we went to. I know how disappointing it is to go places and not be able to eat any dessert, so I wanted to have a way for everyone to enjoy a treat.

I applied the knowledge I have of brownie making to a basic almond flour recipe I found on the internet and improved it! For all the secrets to making these brownies delicious, look in the notes below.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups almond flour
  • 1 Cup white sugar
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons of Instant Clearjel powder (Or cornstarch)
  • 1 Cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of baking soda (for more cakey brownies) or 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda (for more fudgy brownies)
  • 4 Eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 Tablespoons ghee (for just lactose-free), melted vegan butter, or olive oil
  • 1 Cup of semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together.
  3. Add in the wet ingredients and stir until everything is combined.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Spread the brownie batter in the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. If you want more fudgy brownies, take them out closer to 25 minutes when they are slightly jiggly in the middle. If you want more cakey brownies, I would take them out closer to 30 minutes or until the middle isn’t jiggly anymore.
  6. Let them cool completely. This is a key step! The texture won’t be perfect until they are cool.

Notes:

  • Instant ClearJel Powder can be found in many different stores and everywhere online. It is often used in pies and jellies, but it gives a wonderful texture to baked goods and keeps them moist. This is the secret to the texture of these brownies! It is essentially cornstarch, so you can use cornstarch in a pinch, but I do suggest using the Instant ClearJel powder.
  • Baking soda can be completely omitted from this recipe for the fudgiest brownies, however, the texture of the almond flour comes through more and is slightly grainy. I highly suggest adding 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to the brownies.
  • I have not experimented with gluten-free flour in the recipe. If you do, please let me know how it turns out!
Baking

Dairy-Free Monster Cookies

Cookies come in so many shapes and sizes- so why not monster size?

Jokes aside, these are some seriously delicious cookies. Chocolate chips, allergy-friendly M&Ms (Known as No-No’s!), peanut butter, and oatmeal make up these amazing treats.

There are many versions of the monster cookie, but this one just happens to be gluten-free and dairy-free! The incredible thing is that you can’t even tell- and this is coming from someone that made sawdust cookies with my roommate who has celiac disease. (Unfortunately, the cookies we made left much to be desired.) Thankfully, these are moist, chewy, and chocolatey!

Recipe

Instructions:

  • 1 cup shortening, lactose-free margarine, or vegan butter
  • 2 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 9 cups oatmeal (use gluten-free oats if you need that!)
  • 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1 cup No-No’s from No Whey!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cream shortening/margarine/vegan butter and peanut butter together.
  3. Add sugars and mix well.
  4. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. At this step, make sure your mixture is nice, creamy, and fluffy! This is an important step to any good cookie.
  5. Mix in dry ingredients. Since there is no flour in these, mix the dough until well-mixed. (If you mix flour-based cookies they can get tough if you overmix the dough.) In fact, the better mixed the dough is, the better the cookies!
  6. Scoop the cookies onto the cookie sheets- I used my 1 1/2 tablespoon scoop for nice big ‘monster’ sized cookies!

Side Notes:

  • If you have a peanut allergy or just don’t like peanuts, I bet you could use sunflower butter in its place. If you just aren’t a fan of peanut butter… still give this recipe a try! My husband doesn’t like normal peanut butter cookies, but he thoroughly enjoyed these.
  • I love the brand No Whey! but this post is not sponsored. I highly recommend their products, and it brought me so much joy to bake with vegan/ allergy-friendly candy-coated chocolate! You can find their website here.
  • I used 1/2 cup of lactose-free margarine and 1/2 cup of shortening (because it’s what I had) and the cookies turned out delicious as ever! This is a forgiving recipe.
Baking, Breakfast

Dairy-free Poppyseed Muffins

Muffins have such a wide range, from almost-cupcakes to healthy breakfast options. In the past, I have struggled with finding ways to make muffins dairy-free. They generally have sour cream or Greek yogurt, butter, milk, or a combo of all three.

Obviously, this makes it a little hard for me to easily find a muffin recipe on pinterest. I don’t always want to make vegan muffins- sometimes I just want a dairy-free muffin!

Thus, I took a muffin recipe that my husband already liked and I tweaked it to fit my needs. I was a little worried that the coconut milk would flavor the muffins too much, but you can’t tell that I used coconut milk at all!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup oil of your choice (I used olive oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Turbinado sugar (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt to a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, mix the coconut milk, oil, eggs, poppyseeds, and extracts.
  4. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ones.
  5. Stir until just mixed.
  6. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin pans two-thirds to most of the way full.
  7. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top. (Optional)
  8. Bake for 13-16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then move to a wire rack.

Side Notes:

  • If you are a person that doesn’t like coconut, never fear! You can’t taste the coconut in these muffins.
  • For the coconut milk, you can either: 1) Leave a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight and scrape the cream off the top, then add a little liquid from the can to make a thick yogurt texture. 2) Shake up a can of coconut milk. I have tried it both ways, and the muffins turned out delicious no matter what!
  • I have added sliced almonds to these muffins, and they turned out great! I would use a 1/4 cup of sliced almonds.
  • You can replace the almond extract with lemon extract and add a teaspoon or two of lemon zest to make these lemon poppyseed muffins. Yum!
  • This recipe makes 12-16 muffins.
  • I have not tried using a flax egg in this recipe to make it vegan. If you do, please let me know how it goes!
Baking, Lactose-Free Dairy, Uncategorized

Lactose-Intolerant Friendly Chocolate Chip Ranking

If you are like me, chocolate is a versatile (and delicious) pantry staple. I always have chocolate chips in my cupboard in case I have an urge to make some chocolate chip cookies or I want to try my hand at tempering some chocolate to make truffles for a party.

Being lactose-intolerant can make it difficult to find chocolate chips that are smooth, decadent, AND friendly to my stomach. I went to a couple different local grocery stores near me and grabbed the options they had for chocolate chips that didn’t have dairy in the ingredients.

I tried out 9 different chocolate chips. Four of them are from Guittard at varying percentages of cocoa and two of them are from Simple Truth Organic. I was curious to see how the recipes varied between the types of chocolate. You might be surprised to know what I thought!

I evaluated them right out of the bag and then later in an oatmeal cookie. I chose to bake them in an oatmeal cookie for the mild flavor so the chocolate chips would stand out.

My verdict:

  1. Guittard – 55%: hard chip texture, nice light cocoa flavor, lightly sweetened, very nice vanilla flavor. BAKED: Smooth after being baked, good amount of presence without being overbearing. A good amount of bitter and sweet.
  2. Guittard 46%: Buttery texture in the mouth, sweet without causing a toothache. BAKED: Sweeter than the other chips, but a stronger chocolate flavor. Still not too sweet, which I appreciate in a cookie.
  3. Guittard 48%: Also buttery smooth, pleasantly sweet, prominent vanilla flavor. BAKED: Has a richer flavor than expected for its percentage. Since the chips are bigger, it is a good amount of chocolate in a bite. I thought these would be my favorite, but after comparing them all… maybe I like the 55% or 46% better?
  4. Guittard 63%: Harder chip texture, doesn’t melt as easily on the tongue, robust cocoa flavor and very lightly sweetened. BAKED: Doesn’t have as powerful of a presence as others. I like the level of cocoa.
  5. Kroger’s Private Selection 62% cacao: Harder texture of chip, deep cocoa flavor and sweeter than the Guittard 63%. BAKED: Lighter flavor than the Ghirardelli, but I prefer it in a cookie. It is just as of a rich flavor, but not as bitter.
  6. Ghirardelli 60% cacao (contains milkfat): Very smooth chip, more buttery on the tongue, not very sweet. BAKED: Almost an oily texture? Nice dark flavor, but not so dark that it overpowers the cookie. After baked, they are even more velvety and smooth than before. Not my favorite chip- a little too bitter for me. Not sure why they taste more bitter than the 62% and 63%- maybe the vanilla they used?
  7. Simple Truth Organic- semi sweet: Typical level of sweetness for a regular chocolate chip, no bitter flavor, soft with a nice chew. BAKED: Not super sweet, has a weird tang to it? Almost fruity? Not my favorite.
  8. Simple Truth Organic- allergy friendly: They are sweeter than Enjoy Life, true semi-sweet, has a bizarre bitter flavor. BAKED: Barely any flavor when inside a cookie- no recognizable chocolate flavor- I can feel the texture of the chips, but it it overpowered by the mild cookie flavor
  9. Enjoy Life- semi sweet mini chips: Instantly starts melting on the tongue, it has a bitter flavor- potentially from the vanilla? Not very sweet for a semi-sweet chip. BAKED: Very light flavor- can barely taste it in the cookie. It has a very fruity aftertaste. There is a slightly funky flavor that I can’t identify.

So, what did you think? Clearly, I am a fan of Guittard chocolate. The flavor and quality of the chips are unparalleled. I also love that they contain Fair Trade Cocoa and are made in a peanut free facility. I was disappointed by the allergy friendly chips, since I want a chocolate chip to stand out in a cookie. Maybe they would be better in trail mix, if you can get past the strange bitter flavor.

Let me know what brand of chocolate chips are your favorite! I am always excited to find new brands that are lactose-free and dairy-allergy friendly. I hope the list helped narrow down your search for a tasty chocolate chip!

Notes:

The only chocolate chips that are technically dairy-free are the allergy-friendly chips. Otherwise, the chocolate chips most likely were produced in factory with dairy or might have milk fat in them. Ghirardelli always has milk fat in all of their chocolate products. Milk fat doesn’t contain much lactose, so the chocolate chips haven’t bothered me yet. I would make sure to read the backs of the bars and bags from Ghirardelli because they don’t list milk on the list of allergens although it does have milk fat. To all those with milk allergies, please read labels!

Baking, Uncategorized

Dairy-Free Pie Crust

Pie crust is a versatile ingredient in so many recipes- pot pie, pumpkin pie, quiche, and the list goes on! Who doesn’t enjoy a good pie crust? I particularly love this recipe because of the addition of vinegar. I dislike sweet pie crusts, especially paired with a sweet filling. The slight zing of the vinegar makes everything I put in the pie crust delicious!

My family has used this pie crust for my whole life- and I know why! It’s flakey, delicious, and cheap to make. Best of all, it is dairy-free!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of flour
  • 2 cups and 2 tablespoons of shortening
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Whisk the flour and salt together.
  3. Add the shortening and cut it into the flour mixture with a fork until the shortening is about pea size. Be sure to not work it too much, otherwise it will turn into a strange clump of dough and won’t be flakey.
  4. Crack the egg into a liquid measuring cup and add the vinegar. Beat it slightly, then fill up to the 1 cup line with water.
  5. Pour the liquid slowly into the flour and shortening mixture and stir until it becomes a dough. It might be slightly crumbly, but that is normal. You might be tempted to add more liquid, but I promise it’s enough! Try not to stir it too much or the pie crust will become tough.
  6. Dump the dough out onto the floured counter (Or some parchment paper) and roll it out to the size and shape of your pie tin. It should make three or four 8-9 inch pie crusts. The more times you roll it out, the tougher it becomes.
  7. Place the pie crusts into greased pie tins and poke holes with a fork all over the crust. If you have dry beans or baking weights add them on top of parchment paper and place them in the pie crust for the first 10 minutes of baking. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Let the pie crusts cool and fill with your favorite filling. In these pictures, I chose to use banana cream filling! Yum!

Side notes:

  • As I said, the more you mess with the dough, the tougher it will become. I try to roll out each individual pie crust only once and fold the extra dough down into the pie crust to make pretty edges.
  • One of my family’s favorite ways to use the last bits and pieces of pie dough is to place them on cookie sheets and liberally sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar and then bake them for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees. A delicious way to use up leftover dough! (And it pairs wonderfully with warm homemade pudding!)