Recipe: Raspberry Filled Chocolate Candy (free from egg, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, and gluten)

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Well, I set out to replicate a peppermint patty, using this wonderful looking recipe from Primal Palate as my base and ended up going in a different direction with it.  I still intend to do the peppermint patty eventually, but for now, I’m really glad we went with these.   They are the perfect decadent treat.

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Ingredients for chocolate:

1 bag Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels

1 tbsp Coconut Oil

1/4 tsp. raspberry flavoring, like this one from Frontier Natural Products Co-op

Ingredients for filling:

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1 tbsp. honey (sub maple syrup for vegan option)

1/4 tsp. raspberry flavoring

1/4 tsp. clear vanilla extract

5 mashed fresh red raspberries  (frozen will work, but thaw completely first)

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Use a silicone candy mold for shaped chocolates or a mini muffin pan with liners for chocolate cups, similar to the soy nut butter chocolates found here.  I tried both ways and they were equally easy and delicious.

Melt together chocolate morsels, 1 tbsp coconut oil, and 1/4 tsp. raspberry flavoring in a small pot over low heat or a double boiler.  Spoon small amount of melted chocolate into the bottom of each liner or candy mold.  Place in freezer to harden for about 10 minutes.

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Combine all filling ingredients in a medium bowl and combine until all ingredients are completely incorporated.  Remove hardened candy layer from freezer and add a small amount of filling to each mold/cup.  Do not flatten, but press down if the filling is above the level of the mold.  Fill the rest of the cup with melted chocolate to cover the raspberry filling.  If your chocolate has begun to thicken, just reheat and stir until smooth before filling.  Place your candies back in the freezer for about 15 more minutes until hardened.  Remove from molds and enjoy!

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From silicone heart shaped mold

Recipe: E&B’s No Nutz Buttercups (Egg, Dairy, Peanut, Tree Nut, Gluten Free and Vegan)

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I feel like I have struck gold with this one.  It’s hard to admit this, as an allergy mom, but my all time favorite holiday candy has always been the peanut butter cup.  I used to get so excited when the special edition holiday shapes came out because those were always the freshest and yummiest versions of all.  I don’t actually remember the last time I had one, but I would guess it has been a couple of years.  Then I stumbled upon this recipe for homemade chocolate peanut butter cups.  These looked so easy, delicious, and best of all, perfect for our usual substitutions.  This recipe is definitely a game changer.

How easy are these to make?  All you need is a microwave and a freezer.  In fact, you could probably do it without either.  That’s right, I’m pretty sure that if you were stranded on a desert island with nothing but these ingredients and some cupcake liners, you could still make these.  Although, good luck getting an internet connection to view the recipe.

I used a mini muffin pan and mini cupcake liners.  You could make these full sized, but they are very rich, so the minis are definitely the way to go.  Also, there is no serving size.  Eat as many as you want.  I know I do.

Ingredients:

1 10 oz. bag Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup Wowbutter (or your favorite safe peanut butter alternative)

1/4 cup powdered sugar (watch for hidden wheat in the ingredients)

2 tbsp. Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread, softened

Directions:

Line muffin pan with mini cupcake liners.  If you don’t have a mini muffin pan, you can just put the liners on a cookie sheet.  Melt Enjoy Life chocolate chips.  I microwaved them for 1 minute, stir, 45 seconds, stir, then 30 second increments until smooth.  Spoon just enough melted chocolate into the bottom of each liner to cover the bottom.  Be careful not to use too much or you won’t have enough to cover them.  Place the pan in the freezer while you make the filling.

For the filling, mix Wowbutter, powdered sugar, and EarthBalance.  Taste the filling and you can add a little more powdered sugar if it needs it.  I added about a teaspoon more, then it was perfect.  After these ingredients are combined, check the cups in the freezer to see if the bottom layer is firm.  When firm, remove from the freezer.  Spoon about 1/2 tsp. of filling into each cup and press it down to fit the space.  After you have filling in each cup, spoon enough melted chocolate on top to cover the filling.  The thinner the chocolate is, the easier it is to get the amount right, so warm it for a few more seconds if it has begun to thicken.  Then pop them back into the freezer and wait about 10 minutes, if you can.

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I had more filling than I needed, so I wrapped it in plastic wrap and popped it in the fridge to make more the next day.  You can also freeze it and thaw for a quick treat another time.

If you do happen to exercise some self restraint and have a few of these left over, you have some options for storage.  You can keep them in the refrigerator, but it’s not necessary.  In fact, I tried both ways and we liked room temperature storage the best.  The chocolate doesn’t melt, but it stays a bit softer, which I prefer.

Why are they  called E&B’s No Nutz Buttercups?  My daughter, Elena, and her friend, Blake, share a very special bond.  They both have the same food allergy profile (allergic to egg, dairy, peanuts, and tree nuts).  I just love the fact that every time I modify or create a recipe for Elena, I already know of another child who will benefit.  I know they will both enjoy their very own allergen free butter cups!

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*A special thanks to Eric Reavis for coming up with the name.

July 4th Treats: Top 8 Allergen Free

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Here is what we will be bringing to our 4th of July celebration this year.  These are free of the top 8 allergens and are also oh so yummy.  With just a few tweaks on the classic recipe, these are the perfect allergy friendly patriotic treat.

Ingredients:

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10 cups Rice Krispies Cereal or Gluten Free Rice Krispies Cereal, depending on your needs

6 tbsp. Soy Free Earth Balance Spread

8 cups miniature marshmallows

Mix ins:

1 cup dried blueberries

1 cup dried cranberries

2 cups miniature marshmallows

That’s it!  These are so easy.  All you do is melt the Earth Balance and 8 cups of mini mallows on medium heat in a large pot.  I mix everything in the same pot, so I use a really big one.  When it looks nice and smooth, remove the pot from the heat and mix in the cereal.  I have found that a giant spoon-ula works best.

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When you feel like the cereal is well coated, just throw in your mix ins and give it another stir.  It gets a bit stiff, so you can count this as your daily workout.  I do.

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Spoon it all onto a big jelly roll pan.  You can grease your pan with Earth Balance, or just line it with parchment paper like I did.  If the “stuff” sticks to your spoon-ula, just give it a little spritz with safe cooking spray.   I like to put another sheet of parchment paper on top and just press it down with my hands until it’s all flat and smooth.  Then let it cool for as long as your will power allows and cut it into squares.

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The pot can be a nightmare to clean, so it helps if you have a few little kitchen dwellers who are willing to remove the stuck on bits for you.  Mine are always willing.

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The blueberries don’t look super blue, but they have blue in the name, so it totally counts.  Hey, it’s better than eating neon blue food dye, right?

Have a safe and happy 4th!

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Decadent Dark Chocolate Banana Muffins

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Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas (mashed)

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

⅓ cup vegetable oil

⅔ cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

½ cup dark chocolate cocoa powder

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

½ cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°

Combine mashed bananas, applesauce, oil, sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a standing mixer and mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients in the mixer and mix on low speed until all ingredients are incorporated.  Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times during mixing to make sure everything gets blended in.  The batter will be sticky.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide batter evenly among 12 lined muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes.  Use a toothpick or cake tester to check for doneness.

These muffins are very decadent and really taste more like a dessert than a breakfast treat.  They also require major willpower to avoid devouring the whole pan as soon as they’re cool enough to eat.

Reviews from the Critics:

Elena (4 years old):  “Yum Yum Yum”

Olivia (1 ½ years old):  “More cupcake peeeeeeeze”

Justin (32 years old):  “These are incredible.  They taste more like cake than a muffin.”

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Fruit & Oat Cookie Bites: So Easy a Four Year Old Could Do It

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When I heard you could make cookies using nothing but fruit puree and oats, I had to try it.  It turns out, it’s true.  You can make cookies using only fruit and oats, but trust me, nobody wants to eat those things.  The fruit and oat base, however, can be jazzed up with a few add ins to create a cookie that your whole family will enjoy.  Since there is no flour or sugar added, they’re even healthy enough to serve for breakfast.  My girls feel like they’re getting a huge treat when we give them these in the morning, but they’re really not so different from our regular oatmeal.  If you tell them, I’ll deny everything.

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I know people frequently claim that recipes are “easy”.  This time it’s true.  The ingredients and mess are minimal and they take so little time you’ll wonder if you skipped a step.  Just to prove to you how easy these are, I had my four year old make them.  This is not meant to downplay her insane cooking skills.  She can make a pot of sand and leaf soup that would definitely hold up in a Bobby Flay throwdown.  Nonetheless, if she can do it, it must be easy.

The short version of this recipe is:  Mix together equal parts fruit puree and oats and add mix-ins.  Scoop onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350º for 15 minutes.  Done.  Easy Peasy.

Now, here are the details that you need to know to avoid a few trial and error batches.

1)  Make sure you don’t add so many mix-ins that the cookies won’t stick together.  They should stick together when you drop them on the cookie sheet.  I made 1 cup fruit and 1 cup oat batches and would recommend no more than ¼ cup total of mix ins.

2)  You can use quick oats or whole oats.  I preferred the texture of the quick oat cookies, but the girls didn’t seem to have a preference.

3)  Make these in small batches.  They are best warm and fresh.

4)  Mix-ins can be dried fruits, seeds, spices, or anything you might put in a cookie.  I added some agave nectar because I wanted them to be sweeter than the fruit/oats alone.  The nectar also helps a little with binding.

5)  Be sure to spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Use parchment paper if you have it.  Do not skip this step unless you have some steel wool you have really been wanting to break in or you think hard crusties add character to your bakeware.

Elena’s version is the Cinnamon Raisin Banana Cookie Bite.

Ingredients:

2 medium bananas (very ripe)
1 cup oats (Regular rolled oats in this batch)
¼ cup raisins (or less)
¾ tsp. agave nectar
ground cinnamon (taste test for desired amount)
cooking spray

Remember, you can taste test this at any point because there is nothing in these cookies that would not be safe to eat raw.  In fact, you can just go ahead and chow down without cooking it at all if you would like, but I recommend waiting.  They do come out nicely.

Since we used bananas, there was mashing involved.

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Although I usually just use a fork, Elena prefers a potato masher.  It really gets the job done.

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Just add the mix-ins and stir it all together.  If the batter doesn’t bind well, you can add a little more fruit puree or agave nectar.  If you need it to be more solid, add more oats.

Spray your cookie sheet with cooking spray and drop cookies onto sheet using a cookie scoop.

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They don’t change shape much in the oven and we decided we wanted them a little flatter, so we pressed them down with a fork.  This step is completely optional.

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Pumpkin Apple Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup oats
¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
⅛ cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
1 ½ tsp. agave nectar

Mix fruit purees, spices, and agave nectar.  Add oats and mini chocolate chips and stir together.

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  Drop onto prepared cookie sheet (don’t forget the spray) and bake at 350º for 15 minutes.

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These were crazy good!

Recipe: Sticky Cinnamon Raisin Buns

We went through about 10 different versions of these before we got it just right.  Now we can’t get enough of them.  They are easy and delicious.  This is my first time writing a recipe, so please leave feedback.  Let me know if any part is unclear or if you have questions or suggestions.  These are egg, dairy, peanut, and tree nut free (per our allergies).

 



Ingredients:
2 cans of refrigerated crescent dough (We use Pillsbury Original or Reduced Fat)
1/2 cup dairy free butter substitute(We use Earth Balance), softened
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup raisins
rice milk (enough to cover raisins)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. clear vanilla or orange flavoring
a sprinkle of flour




1) Preheat your oven to 375.


2) Place the raisins in a dish and just cover with rice milk.  Set them aside to soak.

3) Mix sugar and cinnamon.  We do this by putting them together in a small container or baggie and shaking.  this is a great way for kids to help.



4) Sprinkle clean dry surface with flour.  Unroll one tube of crescent dough and lay flat on floured surface.  Press seems together with fingers to seal.  Sprinkle a light dusting of flour over the dough sheet and roll (length-wise) with a rolling pin until sheet is smooth and seems appear closed.  









5) Spread 1/4 cup (half stick) of dairy free butter onto dough sheet.  Sprinkle about 2 tbsp. of cinnamon sugar mixture on top of butter.  Remove half of raisins from milk and sprinkle on top.  Press raisins into dough slightly.  Do not press too hard or you might have trouble rolling the dough in the next step.





6) Roll the dough in the direction that produces the longest result.  Set rolled dough aside and repeat steps 4 and 5 with second tube of dough (Save milk from raisin soaking for use in the glaze).  Lay the first rolled dough sheet on top of the second and roll together so you have one large log.



 

 
7)  With a very sharp or serrated knife, slice rolled dough into 12 equal slices (about 1 inch thick) and place on baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.
 
 
 
 
 
 






8)  While rolls are baking, you will make the glaze.  Measure 1 cup of powdered sugar into a measuring cup with a spout (makes for easy pouring onto warm cinnamon rolls).  Mix 2 1/2 tbsp. of rice milk (from reserve of raisin soaking milk) into powdered sugar.  Add flavoring of your choice.  If glaze is too thick, add a bit more rice milk.  If too thin, add more powdered sugar.






9)  Remove rolls from the oven and pour glaze over top.  Enjoy!!!