Dessert, Snacks

Chocolate-dipped Cherries

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Just two ingredients … but they are two of my favorite ingredients!

Chocolate-dipped Cherries

200 g cherries (with stalks attached)

150 g dark cooking chocolate

Makes about 25 chocolate-dipped cherries.

Wash and dry the cherries, then place on a tray in the freezer for an hour or until you are ready to dip them.

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl over simmering water, stirring occasionally, until completely melted. Set aside to cool for a minute or two.

Dip the cherries one by one, then place on a tray or plate lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate until serving.

For a lighter version, only dip the cherries halfway.

 

 

 

 

 

Dessert, Snacks

Chocolate coconut squares

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These chocolate coconut squares are free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar, but are nonetheless one of the most intensely chocolate flavoured desserts I have ever eaten. I had intended the recipe to be for chocolate coconut bars, but they came out so rich I had to downgrade the size to squares. These are lovely with a cup of coffee or as an after-school treat for hungry children.

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Chocolate Coconut Squares

360 g pitted medjool dates

100 g organic cacao powder (I use Creative Nature)

60 g dessicated coconut + extra to sprinkle

50 g chopped almonds

2 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons water

pinch of salt

Makes about 30 squares.

Line a 20 x 20 cm baking tin with parchment paper.

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth.

Tip the mixture into the tin and spread out evenly. Press down and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon. Sprinkle a bit more coconut over the top and press into the surface.

Refrigerate for at least one hour, then cut into squares. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Dessert

Cranberry Sorbet

CRANBERRYSORBET

Looking for a lighter Thanksgiving dessert that happens to be gluten and dairy free? Here is a tart and refreshing cranberry sorbet – very easy to make and perfect with a slice of pumpkin cake. It would also make a delightful Christmas dinner palate cleanser.

As well as being delicious and vibrantly colored, cranberries are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. There’s something to be thankful for!

Cranberry Sorbet

600 g fresh cranberries

200 g caster sugar

pinch of salt

350 ml water

1 vanilla bean

juice of 1 lemon

Serves 8

Place the cranberries, sugar, salt and water in a large pot that can go on the hob. Slice the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the mixture, then add the beans as well. Bring to the boil, stirring well to dissolve the sugar, then simmer for about 10 minutes until the cranberries have popped. Cool to room temperature and remove the vanilla beans.

Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice and taste – if it is too tart add a touch more sugar. Place a fine sieve over a bowl and pour the cranberry pulp into the sieve. Strain well, rubbing the pulp through the sieve with a spoon. Discard the remaining pulp. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Switch on your ice cream machine and pour in the fruit mixture. Churn until the sorbet is firm enough to serve, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately or freeze in a plastic container.

 

Dessert

Pumpkin Cake

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I have been busy testing some new dessert ideas. I have not yet managed to produce a gluten and dairy free pie that meets my family’s approval – maybe next year? – but fortunately this Pumpkin Cake was judged a winner and I will be baking it again on Thursday. It is a moist almond-based cake with no gluten or dairy, but plenty of spiced pumpkin flavor. It would pair well with vanilla ice cream (try Booja Booja for a good non-dairy version, or make your own), although I am thinking of making some cranberry sorbet to eat alongside the cake.

I also recommend my Cranberry Amaretti for Thanksgiving or, for a dessert with no refined sugar, my Spiced Pumpkin Mousse Pots. 

 

Pumpkin Cake

2 medium bananas, peeled – about 150g

175 g pumpkin puree (I used Libby’s)

200g caster sugar

6 large eggs

200g ground almonds

1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground five spice blend

ghee or oil to grease the cake pan

Serves 8-10

Preheat your oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

On a plate or cutting board, mash up the bananas into chunks using a fork. Scrape into a bowl, add the pumpkin puree and blend in the sugar until smooth (I use my handheld mixer to do this).

In another bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. Pour into to the banana/pumpkin mixture, and mix well.

Fold the ground almonds, spices and baking powder into the batter, then pour the batter into a 23cm springform cake pan, lined and greased (I used ghee but you could also use a bit of oil).

Bake for one hour. Cool on a rack, then remove from the tin.

Dessert

Spiced Pumpkin Mousse Pots

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Holidays can be such a challenge when catering for special diets, and Thanksgiving is no exception. I started early this year testing some new Thanksgiving dessert ideas and came up with these Spiced Pumpkin Mousse Pots, which were a a big hit with my testers. I thought I would put the recipe up early as these would also make a fantastic addition to a Halloween-themed party.

Pumpkin is the ultimate autumnal food and I love cooking with pumpkin at this time of year. Pumpkin is particularly rich in vitamin A which aids vision, especially in dim light – definitely a good thing as the days get shorter! I used pumpkin puree from the supermarket in my recipe to keep these pumpkin pots quick and easy, but if you fancy a project you can make your own.

My recipe is adapted from Michelle Tam’s Paleo Pumpkin, Coconut & Maple Custard Cups. I love Michelle’s blog Nom Nom Paleo, and she also has a great app and cookbook. Do check it out if you are interested in Paleo cooking, and most of her recipes are also GAPS-friendly.

Spiced Pumpkin Mousse Pots (adapted from Nom Nom Paleo)

300 ml coconut milk

4 eggs

120 ml maple syrup

300 g pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground five spice blend

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Makes 6-10 pots, depending on the size of your ramekins.

Preheat your oven to 170 C and boil a full kettle of water.

Heat the coconut milk in a pan over low heat on the hob, until warm but not boiling.

Whisk the eggs and maple syrup together in a large bowl. Very gradually add the warm coconut milk while continuing to whisk.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well-blended.

Place your ramekins in a baking dish, and fill the ramekins with batter. Just before placing the baking dish in the oven, pour enough boiling water into the dish to reach about halfway up the ramekins.

Bake for 45 minutes, then cool on a rack for 1 hour. These can be enjoyed at room temperature or chilled, and will keep for up to 3 days on the refrigerator.

Dessert

Cherry Clafoutis (GAPS)

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Over the past few weeks, the internet has been simply awash in recipes for cherry clafoutis. Yes, I realize it is cherry season. I too have been enjoying the sweet and plentiful cherries at the market and in my local shops. But I had not made clafoutis in nearly a decade, since I stopped baking with gluten and dairy. Finally, the other day after the umpteenth clafoutis recipe popped on my screen, I decided it simply must be possible to make a tasty gluten and dairy free version. And since the cherries I had to hand were very sweet, I had a go at making it free of refined sugar as well. Let me know what you think!

Cherry Clafoutis

500 g sweet ripe cherries, pitted

200 ml coconut milk

3 large eggs

75 g ground almonds

75 g pure vanilla extract

a bit of coconut oil or ghee to grease the pan

Serves 6-8

Preheat your oven to 175 C.

Grease your pan with a bit of coconut oil or ghee (I used a 26 cm cast iron skillet), and place the pitted cherries in a single layer in the pan.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender and blitz to obtain a batter-like consistency. Pour over the cherries, and bake for 45 minutes.

Cool for at least 15 minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature.

Dessert

Chocolate mousse

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Before 2014 draws to a close,  I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for following me here, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

In 2015 I am planning to post more healthy breakfast and snack ideas. I am also developing some bread recipes, both GFCF and GAPS, which I hope be able to have ready for you soon. And I would like to cook more desserts that are free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar – so watch this space.

In the meantime, with no apologies, here is a chocoholic’s dream of a recipe for dairy-free chocolate mousse. Enjoy!

Chocolate mousse

300 g dark chocolate (I use Green & Black’s cooking chocolate)

40 g cocoa powder (again, I use Green & Black’s)

80 ml hot water

2 egg yolks

6 egg whites

200 g caster sugar

Serves 8

Break the chocolate into squares and melt in a bowl over a pan of hot water, on the hob.

Mix the hot water and the cocoa powder to form a thick paste. Combine with the melted chocolate and egg yolks and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Whip the egg whites, gradually adding the sugar.

Add a third of the egg whites into the chocolate batter, mixing well, then fold in the rest carefully.

Put the mixture into a large bowl or eight small bowls, glasses or ramekins.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.