Celebrating The Chow Down with Cake Batter Puppy Chow!

Sprinkles! Sugar! White Chocolate! It’s time to celebrate with some Cake Batter Puppy Chow! Sweet, crunchy, and over the top delicious – and it’s gluten free too!

Cake Batter Puppy Chow | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis is one of the most festive recipes I’ve ever made! Look at those sprinkles! And I’m in a festive mood today because we are celebrating my friend Lynn’s cookbook: ‘The Chow Down’. Lynn is the owner, baker, photographer, recipe writer, and general awesomeness-maker behind the wonderful blog Fresh April Flours. Her first book is filled with over 20 puppy chow recipes for every occasion – and I can’t wait to try them all! ‘The Chow Down’ is currently available for pre-sale (get your copy today) and will be officially released on June 1st. If you head over to Fresh April Flours today you can buy the book, or enter Lynn’s giveaway competition – and see her first video!

Cake Batter Puppy Chow | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeBecause Lynn is such an amazing lady a few of us have come together to throw her a little blog party featuring our own interpretations of her famous Cake Batter Puppy Chow! Leah from Grain Changer has created red, white, and blue Patriotic Cake Batter Puppy Chow ahead of the US Memorial Day Holiday; and Cate from Chez Catey Lou used her Cake Batter Puppy Chow as a crunchy sweet topping for chocolate ice cream.

And me, well I’ve chosen to enjoy this dessert – breakfast hybrid in the ultimate dessert-breakfast way. Piled into delicious little bowls and topped with ice cold milk. Oh yeah – brea-ssert.

Cake Batter Puppy Chow | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAnd this little treat is so dangerously easy to make. Following Lynn’s recipe I used a crunchy, plain cereal (I couldn’t get Chex here in Australia so I used this gluten free cereal from Freedom Foods). The cereal is coated in a mix of melted white chocolate and butter, vanilla and almond essences, sprinkles, and a dusting of sweet powdered icing sugar. The result: the most moreish, nibbleish, can’t-stop-won’t-stop snack-dessert I’ve ever tried. So easy, so popular at parties, and so customisable too! I can’t wait to make a Christmas-themed batch later this year!

Lynn, my sweet friend, congratulations on the launch of your first book. You have worked so hard to make this dream come true, and we are all so happy for you! Dear readers, head over to Fresh April Flours today to enter Lynn’s Giveaway, watch her video, and BUY a copy of her delicious book!

Cake Batter Puppy Chow | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCake Batter Puppy Chow

Gluten Free | Makes about 5 cups | Store leftovers in an airtight container at temperature for up to a week.

Note: use good eating white chocolate not chocolate chips because you need a smooth, consistent melt.

Try different colours/shapes of sprinkles for different occasions! Make this recipe your own!

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups gluten free cereal (like this)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 250 grams white chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sprinkles
  • 1 cup gluten free icing sugar
  • Milk, to serve, if desired

Method

  1. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with baking paper or aluminium foil. Set aside until required. Also ready a large, lidded container.
  2. Measure cereal into a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Place butter, white chocolate, almond extract, and vanilla extract into a small saucepan. Melted butter and chocolate over a low heat, constantly stirring, until smooth. Once the mix is smooth remove from heat.
  4. Pour chocolate over cereal and mix carefully until cereal is coated.
  5. Put coated cereal into lidded container along with sprinkles. Tightly close lid and shake gently, but thoroughly, until the sprinkles are mixed completely throughout the cereal.
  6. Add icing sugar and put the lid on, shake to coat.
  7. Spread puppy chow over the prepared baking sheet and allow to cool completely.
  8. Enjoy! Serve as a sweet treat snack, or pour ice cold milk over and enjoy as a special breakfast or dessert!

Cake Batter Puppy Chow | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

10 Gluten Free Sweet Ideas for Father’s Day

Recent weekends with my Dad have included both of us romping with the dog Molly, putting our heads together to design a bar cabinet for the new house, the whole family shovelling dirt to help with my parent’s backyard renovation, and watching Monster Trucks or Austrian detective shows. You could say we are an eclectic pair. (Rocking it old school in the photos below – I would still wear that dress actually…)

Dad and I

Growing up, my Dad was the perfect father for two daughters. He taught us how to make shortbread and how to hold a hammer. He (and my Mum) was a great example of feminism: he taught my sister and I that there is nothing you can’t do as a woman, or as a man. He told bedtime stories (my favourite was Stuart Little); sang us songs that he made up on the spot (I still think of them when I can’t sleep); and fixed everything from broken jewellery to broken hearts. My Dad is my friend as well as my father, and I only hope I can live up to the example of being a great person with big ideas, big love, and a big heart that he has set me. Love you Dada, and Happy Father’s Day.

Another thing my Dad and I have in common is a huge sweet tooth. Put a bag of freckle chocolates in front of us and the only thing that will stop us is the bottom of the bag!

So when it comes to treating Dad for Father’s Day I know that sweet baked goods are the way to go. I’m working on something new for this weekend, but here are ten of my favourite gluten free ideas to help you treat your Dad to something this weekend.

When my Dad says something is ‘terrible’ it means he loves it. These Oatmeal Caramel Cookies earned that label and the batch disappeared very quickly.

Oatmeal Caramel Cookies | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Want to give your Dad something he can enjoy for breakfast the whole week long? Try my fruit studded Breakfast Bread. Perfect with a man-size cup of tea in his new ‘Best Dad’ mug.

Breakfast Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

You might not be able to send Dad away on a tropical vacation, but you can give him all the flavours of a beachy cocktail in Banana and Coconut Doughnut form, which makes it even better in my opinion.

Banana and Coconut Baked Doughnuts | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

My Dad loves coconut (can’t you tell) – definitely where my sister and I get it from, and we used to buy him coconut ice every Father’s Day. No need to buy it anymore though with this super special Sprinkled Coconut Ice (Dad tested and approved).

Sprinkle Coconut Ice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Gluten Free

My Dad and I can easily inhale a bag of Peanut m&ms while watching car racing, and these Chocolate Peanut Cookies are the spirit of Peanut m&ms in a cookie.

Chocolate Peanut Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Now, take that Peanut m&m and turn it inside out. Add a little extra crunch and now you’ve got these Peanut Butter and Millet Cookies. I ate a whole batch on my own. You need to remember to share with your Dad this weekend!

Peanut Butter and Millet Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Are you having an extra special morning tea for Dad? These Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream are a perfect treat for the whole family and there are plenty to share!

Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Dad and I love to share a pot of coffee sometimes when I am home on the weekends. These Espresso Hazelnut Flourless Chocolate Cookies are perfect for the coffee and chocolate loving Dad and are so easy to make!

Espresso Hazelnut Flourless Chocolate Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Speaking of coffee, these Coffee-Vanilla Sandwich Cookies are an extra special treat if you have a little more time. Bonus points if you find an awesome biscuit tin to present them in!

DSC00804

And for the grand finale, this is definitely what you should bring to the big family party. Impress them with your skills (but keep it a secret that this is super easy), and treat Dad to the perfect springtime flavour combination with my Citrus Poppyseed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Citrus Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (gluten free) | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I hope I’ve given you a little gluten free sweet treat inspiration for treating your Dad this Father’s Day weekend!

Tell me dear reader, what are some of your favourite memories of your Dad? Anyone else have a special ‘Footloose’ dance or is that just us?

Sprinkled Coconut Ice

I know a sweet recipe is good when my little sister, who is usually collected, healthy and wholesome about her diet, loses her control and eats two or three pieces in one fell swoop. When I was thinking about an Easter gift for Jess I knew that chocolate eggs wouldn’t be her style, and then I remembered her delight over the presence of coconut ice at a wedding we attended recently – I knew what I needed to make immediately.

Sprinkle Coconut Ice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Gluten Free

Coconut Ice has been a tradition in our family for a long time. Every Christmas as part of our huge Christmas dessert spread there is a crystal plate filled with little pastel squares. The same at Easter, and most other family gatherings. I must admit that we usually purchase our coconut ice, but after making this batch for Jessica’s Easter present I don’t think we will be buying it any more. Coconut ice is easy to make, no pots, pans or oven required. Perfect for making with little kids, especially since they can get their hands dirty while kneading the mixture together (this appeals to big kids too). This colourful offering is an old-fashioned sort of treat, but whenever you bring a dish people can’t help but smile.

Sprinkle Coconut Ice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Gluten Free

The hardest part about making coconut ice is waiting for it to set, and I am not ashamed to admit that I did nibble at a few stray crumbs after I had pressed the majority into the baking tin. (I did go for a run beforehand, balance people). The addition of sprinkles here is entirely extraneous to the flavour, but it certainly adds a festive element. You can leave them out, but when given the opportunity to use sprinkles I think one should always seize upon it. Also, I just happen to be in a sprinkle mood: Exhibit A, my cookies from last week. Jess’s eyes lit up with delight and the jar was soon opened and shared. The sprinkles weren’t extraneous at all, not when I saw Jess’s smile.

Sprinkle Coconut Ice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Gluten Free

 

Sprinkled Coconut Ice

Gluten Free – Check that your icing sugar and sprinkles are gluten free. I use Dollar Sweets Bright Sprinkles because they are certified gluten free. 

Makes about 64 pieces (2.5cm square)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups dessicated coconut
  • 1 x 390 gram can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut essence
  • 2 tablespoons milk (may be required)
  • 1/3 cup multicoloured sprinkles (see head note)
  • Pink food colouring

Method

  1. Line an 8-inch square cake tin or baking dish with baking paper.
  2. Sift icing sugar into a large bowl. Gently whisk in dessicated coconut.
  3. Add condensed milk, vanilla and coconut essence. Mix well until all dry ingredients are included. If your mixture is too dry and you can’t get everything to incorporate you may need milk. You may need to wet your hands and knead the coconut ice by hand.
  4. Divide coconut mixture in half. Knead sprinkles into one half. Colour the other half with pink food colouring to desired tint.
  5. Press sprinkled half into prepared tin/dish. I roll a flat sided glass across the top to banish my finger dents. Then press pink portion on top and roll glass across to flatten.
  6. Cover dish with cling wrap and place in refrigerator for three hours, or until set.
  7. When set remove from fridge and cut into small slices to serve. I cut mine into 2.5cm x 2.5cm.
  8. Coconut Ice will keep in fridge for up to three weeks.

This would make a lovely gift for Mother’s Day! Simply place in a jar and wrap with a big pink ribbon. This would definitely be welcomed by my Mum and Mormor.

Sprinkle Coconut Ice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Gluten Free

Gluten Free Christmas Baking and Gifting

Tis the season to be baking! And giving away baskets and bags and tins and tinsel wrapped parcels of our baked goods. There is nothing I love more than giving gifts from my kitchen. Brownies for a work morning tea, jars of biscuits to our head office, spice biscuits for neighbours, and some special treats for my nearest and dearest (no sneak peeks here guys, sorry). But what about the intolerant or allergic among your friends and family? Never fear, I have compiled a list of gluten free friendly recipes that are perfect for gifting. So spread a little Christmas cheer without worrying about causing sore tummies or rashes. Bake something up today that the whole family can enjoy.

christmas tree

Firstly, a few tips for gluten free safety. I live in a household where I am the only one who cannot eat gluten (this doesn’t stop the cookies from disappearing into gluten-able mouths though…) and my grandmother is a diagnosed coeliac so whatever I bake, I like to make sure she can eat when she visits, so I take extra care in making sure I keep gluten free goods completely gluten free. (Disclaimer: these are my personal tricks for keeping the kitchen safe, but should not replace advice from a registered professional or professional organisation.)

  1. Wash all utensils carefully before you start using them to make gluten free food. There is no need to buy a completely new set, but make sure that you scrub them thoroughly. Check crevices carefully.
  2. Wipe down you bench and other cooking surfaces with disinfectant spray and paper towel.
  3. Only use products that are labelled gluten free. Wheat free does not mean gluten free so check carefully.
  4. Be wary of hidden sources of gluten: cornflour, icing sugar, pre-packaged sauces, and chocolate are some that I have been caught out by recently.

Now, onto the baking! Cookies are a perennial favourite at this time of year and some of my favourites that could easily be made into holiday gifts are:

Almond Butter Shortbread cut into seasonally appropriate shapes. Little gingerbread people, reindeers, Christmas trees – your choice!

DSC00804

Coffee-Vanilla Sandwich Cookies would be a sweet and fancy surprise inside a festive biscuit tin.

DSC00692

If you bring a warm plate of these Chunky Dunkers as a gift for your gluten free hostess/host they will invite you back again and again.

Quick breads make a great gift to bring with you when visiting someone’s house for a Christmas party. This way they have something they can eat for breakfast the next morning, or serve to their next guests. Or perhaps as dessert, lightly toasted with some ice cream…

Coconut Banana Bread is a staple in our home all through the year, and if the recipient can’t eat it now, it freezes and defrosts brilliantly.

This Zucchini, Hazelnut and Cranberry Bread blends the best of the season here in our summery Christmas and the spices evoke calm as their scent wafts from the oven.

Blood orange cake

A wreath-shaped Blood Orange Poppyseed Cake is festive in so many ways try other citrus fruits if blood oranges aren’t available.

For something extra decadent try these treats:

DSC01239

Laced with white chocolate chips and spiked with Frangelico and spices these Spirit of the Season Blondies ‘taste just like Christmas’ as my friend Melissa said in her review.

This Sugary Chocolate Fudge is just as it says: sugary. Be careful to brush your teeth carefully after a piece of this.

DSC01139

These Honey Caramels entice even the most reluctant dessert eaters like my boyfriend’s father who had more than one piece as soon as he realised their sweet appeal. I hope this list will help with your baking and gifting.

It really is the most wonderful time of the year, so why not spread a little joy with homemade treats. The most important ingredient of course is your love.

For more information on gluten free safety have a read of this quick guide from Cooking Light about how to make a safe gluten free kitchen and this resource from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

Honey Caramels

Let’s talk about hidden talents and honey caramels today. These are the things that make life interesting, they keep us from a truly linear progression and they are the spice in the curiousity cabinet of life. Firstly, hidden talents. I love when you think you know someone and then they turn around and completely surprise you. My little sister does an excellent Beyonce/Sasha Fierce impersonation – she unleashes her inner Amazon with amazing power for such a small person. Her Z-snap is almost as impressive as Chris’s (sorry for outing you honey…). My darling Casey can sing the American national anthem in cat (basically her ‘meowing’ to the tune of Star Spangled Banner) – it’s a sight to behold for sure. Then comes my friend Ricky – who knew that this man was a budding apiarist? (That’s a person who tends for bees by the way.) Ricky’s honey has become a huge hit in our house, and we are putting it on/into everything! Now that’s a hidden talent to admire.

DSC01125

My hidden talents? Well there was a party trick that involved my tongue and musk sticks, but we don’t talk about my early twenties any more…let’s really just not go there. Now that I am a sophisticated (ahem) professional (ahem) lady (AHEM!) my hidden talent has become misreading recipes and rescuing them at the last minute to achieve something different and usually as pleasing as the original. These Honey Caramels were born of that hidden talent. Because messing up, when worded correctly, can be a hidden talent. It’s all in the marketing you see.

DSC01127

The caramels start off with a smooth nutty flavour and then right at the end the honey shines through. They are welcomed eagerly with a cup of coffee after dinner and just as equally at place wrapped up in some pretty tissue paper and put into a tin as a Christmas present. Just remember to save a few for yourself…(my other hidden talent is hiding things, but you didn’t hear that from me).

Honey Caramels

This recipe was accidentally adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Australia, December 2013. Gluten free. Definitely NOT diabetic friendly.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 395 gram can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons glucose syrup (ensure this is made from corn)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 200 grams white chocolate, chopped
  • Icing sugar, to dust, about 1/2 cup

Method

  1. Line an 8-inch square baking tin with baking paper and make a space in your fridge of the same size.
  2. Put sugar, sweetened condensed milk, honey, and glucose syrup into a heavy based saucepan. Place over a medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. Keep stirring or your caramel will burn on the bottom. That is not good.
  3. When the mixture comes to the boil, lower the heat and continue stirring for about 15 minutes or until the caramel deepens in colour and thickens.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste and the white chocolate. Beat until melted and smooth. The mixture will start to thicken so work quickly!
  5. Spread caramel into the prepared baking tin and smooth the top. Allow to come to room temperature on the bench before placing in your pre-prepared space in the fridge. Cool until set. About 2-3 hours.
  6. Remove caramel slab from the fridge and cut into small squares. Dust with icing sugar so that the pieces don’t stick together too much.
  7. Serve, or store in the fridge until you gift them (or gobble them).

DSC01132

Don’t mind if I do…

Sweet Sunday: Sugary Chocolate Fudge

The scent of cocoa and boiling sugar wafting from my stove summons memories from my childhood so vivid that I can almost feel myself shrinking back to six-year-old size with long brown pigtails and a Minnie Mouse printed t-shirt sticking to my back in the summer heat. My Mum is standing at the stove stirring a batch of sweet, sugary fudge that will become a Christmas present for my teacher. She talks me carefully through the process, telling me that I am too small to make the fudge at the moment but one day I can do this for myself. I wait for her to pour the batch into the lined loaf tin, and then she hands me the spoon to lick. A sticky film of fudge clings to the curves of our special spoon. Mum waits for the saucepan to cool a little before she scrapes off the fudge that didn’t make it to the setting pan and we pick at the shards of sugar crystals while the larger batch cools and sets.

Sugary Chocolate Fudge | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This tradition was repeated at many Christmas times, and other moments in between. This fudge to me has always summoned a feeling of comfort from my Mum, an echo from childhood, and also a feeling of competition with Dad – his sweet tooth knows no bounds and you have to be quick to secure your piece before all the rest ‘mysteriously disappears’.

One of my favourite memories of this fudge is when I had my wisdom teeth out. Apart from the aesthetic suffering of looking like a chipmunk who had been in a bar fight (oh, this pasty white face bruises really easily apparently), I was unable to eat as I couldn’t open my mouth very far and chewing sounded like an instrument of torture. Mum had made a batch of this fudge, and in my desperate state, I found that I could slice it very thinly and push pieces into my mouth where they could melt and pool in cocoa and sugar goodness. Not that I told my orthodontist that I was living on fudge for two weeks when I went back to have my stitches pulled out….

Sugary Chocolate Fudge | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

So we came to this Friday evening, our inaugural winter M*A*S*H* marathon, and what better sweet treat to have by our sides than a batch of this fudge. Make it now, or save the recipe for the night when only the sweetest of treats will do.

Sugary Chocolate Fudge | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Sugary Chocolate Fudge

Gluten Free | Makes 24-36 pieces

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Combine sugar, cocoa powder and milk in a saucepan and set over medium heat.
  3. Bring mixture to the boil for 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and add butter. Beat until sugary, which should take about 4 -5 minutes.
  5. Add vanilla essence and stir, then pour mixture into prepared tin and allow to cool.
  6. Once fudge has set cut into small squares.

Sadly, there was no fudge left in our house after morning tea on Saturday. Only sticky sweet memories remain…

Sugary Chocolate Fudge | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life