a day in the life of – and favourite (gluten-free) oatmeal cookies

I’ve made several batches of this recipe – all variations on a theme. I think I have it perfected. I LOVE these cookies. They’re soft, chewy, and loaded with flavour, fibre and protein. They keep well and there are no strange ingredients. And as cookies go, these are healthy. Plus they are infinitely variable. You can add Reese’s pieces like I did here or chocolate chips or seasonal m&m’s or Smarties or just skip the chocolate altogether (WOT?!) and add raisins or cranberries or walnuts or pumpkin seeds. But really, don’t skip the dates – that hit of sweet, soft fruit works so perfectly in these cookies.

I don’t have to eat gluten-free but I’m trying to reduce wheat and gluten in my diet to keep my migraines under control. Amazingly, it’s working. But I’m having to learn a whole new way of baking.

I won’t go on but I wanted to include a couple of recent photographs, taken from the walking trail in my neighbourhood where I walk my dog, Lola, almost every day.

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the marshland along the path where I watch for owls

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trail through the naked woods

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November sun glinting on Butternut Creek

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and this is Lola on her bed (she likes the animal prints!)

best ever gluten-free oatmeal cookies

  • Servings: a couple of dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1/2 cup butter, coconut oil, or margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 4 cups quick cooking oats (use gluten-free here if required)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup chopped dates – I used Medjool dates because they’re SO good and worth every cent
  • 1 cup mini Reese’s pieces

Beat together the butter (I used half coconut oil and half margarine) and the sugars. Add eggs, vanilla essence, and peanut butter. Beat until mixed.

Stir in the oatmeal and sea salt. Add the dates and chocolate.

Drop by the spoonful on buttered cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until browned. Remove cookies a wire rack to cool.

molten chocolate cupcakes

Individual Gluten and Dairy Free Molten Chocolate Cakes

For a non-gluten-free (i.e. regular wheat flour) version click here.

  • 4 tbsp margarine (or butter if not dairy-free)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup finely ground almond meal
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted gently
  • icing sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 6 small ramekins or line a muffin pan with 6 jumbo muffin liners.

Beat together the margarine and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each. Add vanilla.

Combine the almond meal, cornstarch, and salt. Stir into the egg mixture. Mix gently. Stir in the melted chocolate. Do not over mix.

Divide batter between muffin liners or ramekins– should make about 6 molten cakes.

Bake for 8 minutes. The tops should be just set – the centres should be runny – molten…. Set the timer. Take the plunge. Pull them from the oven even if you’re not completely sure.

Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar, and with fresh raspberries and whipped cream or suitable alternative -or just enjoy au naturel.

 

 

paleo balls

Not Paleo?

Neither am I.

I am interested in food though – all food – and especially healthy, tasty food.

And I’m interested in food trends even though I sometimes scoff at them. But when I was sitting in the dentist’s office and flipping through a magazine and saw these Paleo Balls – I just really liked the look and sound of them. So I made a quick note of the ingredients.

This is my version of the recipe. You can either make this Paleo or not – the Paleo version should have almond butter – but if you’re not Paleo – go ahead and use peanut butter if that’s easier. (Paleo diet does not allow legumes.) I added dark chocolate chips to my version even though the original recipe didn’t have any. I’m not really clear if the actual chips I used are Paleo or not because that’s not important to me.

What is important is that these balls are really delicious. They’re easy to make – remarkably healthy – and filling. So many great ingredients packed into them. They would be really good for packed lunches. Equally good with tea mid-afternoon. Perfect for travelling. Gluten and dairy-free. And seriously yummy.

Paleo or not – these are well worth trying.

Paleo Balls

  • Servings: 20-24 balls
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1/2 cup almond butter (can use peanut butter for non-paleo version)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp liquid honey
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • shredded coconut – amount will vary – see instructions

Mix all the ingredients together. If the batter is not stiff enough to roll into balls – add a tablespoon or two of coconut. Roll into balls about 1 inch (2.5cm)  in diameter. They are better smaller rather than larger so don’t err on the size of being overly generous. Should make between 20 and 24 balls. Roll the balls in coconut. Bake at 350 degrees F for 3 minutes. Yes – 3 minutes. The coconut should be a little toasted. Remove from oven and let cool before serving or storing.

 

 

chocolate peanut butter crockpot granola

I’ve taken to making granola in my crockpot / slow-cooker. It’s ridiculously easy. I think it’s the niftiest possible way to cook granola. In addition to being so tasty that I can’t stop eating it, I also love that I can make this in the middle of summer without heating up my kitchen.

I use a large crockpot /slow-cooker on the low setting. Don’t put this on and leave the building. It doesn’t take long – about two and half hours. Time will vary depending on your slow-cooker. A smaller crockpot will take quite a bit longer. Insert a wooden chopstick or equivalent (a wooden skewer, a wooden pate knife, etc.) between the lid and the crockpot – to allow the humidity to vent so you don’t end up with peanut butter chocolate porridge.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crockpot Granola

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
  • 3 cups large flake oats
  • 1 cups shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds if you’ve got them
  • 1/4  cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter (I used crunchy)
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seed oil
  • 1/4 cup liquid honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dried sour cherries (or dried cranberries)

Mix the oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, flax, peanuts, walnuts, and salt in the crockpot. In a separate bowl, mix together the peanut butter, honey and sunflower seed oil. Toss through the oat mixture, stirring well. Set heat to low. Put a chopstick between the lid and the crockpot to vent the humidity. Stir the mixture briefly after an hour. Check again in another hour. Etc. I don’t like my granola super well done so mine took about two and a half hours. But there is huge variability in crockpot temperatures so just judge accordingly. If you prefer to use the oven – try spreading this in a large baking dish or two – and cook at about 275 for about an hour or just longer, stirring it well about every 15-20 minutes.

 

When the granola is browned and cooked to your satisfaction, turn the slow-cooker off and remove the lid.  Toss in the dried cherries (or cranberries). Leave the lid cross-wise on your pot and set the timer for about 30 minutes. When the timer goes off – add the chocolate chips. If you add them too soon, they melt and disappear into the granola. If you add them too late – they don’t melt at all – and you won’t get the fabulous little clumps of chocolate-y granola goodness.

 

 

#100happydays: chocolate peanut butter brownie molten pots

Have you heard about the #100happydays project?  Continue reading “#100happydays: chocolate peanut butter brownie molten pots”

chocolate and fig shortbread

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” Continue reading “chocolate and fig shortbread”

rhubarb coffee cake

Things are a little frantic in my life just at the moment. Between day jobs, and daughters graduating from university, and travelling, and a recent writing retreat,  and a large, needy dog, and a massive renovation project on an 1840s  limestone rowhouse – there really hasn’t been time for all that much activity in the kitchen. Continue reading “rhubarb coffee cake”