Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread | Gluten Free

My new favourite quick bread recipe. Each bite is earthly sweet with hazelnut meal, brightened with winter sunshine captured in home grown oranges, and fluffy, light, and tender as can be. Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread  | Gluten Free |Thoroughly Nourished LifeSaturday morning in Toowoomba dawned cold and bright. Chris and I snuggled in a cloud of blankets and squishy pillows, still lulled by glasses of Jameson and slices of cheesy pizza the night before. When we tiptoed down the hallway we were instantly sighted by Tilly (the energetic black staffy owned by Chris’s sister Rosie, and her boyfriend Jordan) who shot towards us like a bullet and gifted us with a flurry of puppy kisses. There’s no greeting like a puppy greeting. Warm mugs of sweet English breakfast tea in hand we stood out in the fresh morning air and looked out over the fields behind their house. The mist of the morning clearing under the warm steady strength of a winter sun. Warm from the inside out with a cool breeze on our face. It was a moment too good to ruin with Instagram. The world was at peace.Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread  | Gluten Free |Thoroughly Nourished LifeBefore we left for Brisbane that day Jordan harvested oranges and lemons from his flourishing citrus trees and even a dusky green head of broccoli. Bounty from family gardens is a special gift. Imperfect globes, nubbly, and all manner of shapes. They are garden perfect and sweet.

Sunday morning in Brisbane dawned cold and bright too. While Chris snuggled in I set out for a walk along the bay. I tipped my face up to the sun and let the sea breeze carry me all the way home. All the way home to my warm little kitchen with the windows open to the ocean and the sun-warmed porch and chair. Home to grate orange zest and rub it into sugar to help it release precious aromatic oils, to beat together eggs, yoghurt, and milk. Pour into a bowl with hazelnut meal and wholemeal flours. Spread into a pan, baked while I read in the porch chair curled tightly into the story of Werner and Marie-Laure. The bread rises and bakes through, and steams when I cut the first slice, which I eat standing in the kitchen, smelling oranges and feeling the world, my little world, totally at peace.Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread  | Gluten Free |Thoroughly Nourished LifeI love making gluten free quick breads. They are so easy and the flavour options are endless. They make great weekend breakfasts, or weekday lunch box treats. With few ingredients and a simple method, quick breads are a great place to start your gluten free baking journey. My Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread is based on, you guessed it, hazelnut meal, and the hazelnut flavour is further enhanced with a touch of Frangelico. You can leave out this hazelnut liqueur if you would like. Just replace it with a tablespoon of orange juice instead.  Orange zest is our second major flavour. The secret to bright orange flavour? Rub the orange zest into the sugar to help release the essential oils! Like many of my quick bread recipes yoghurt keeps this bread light and airy, but moist, with a slight tang. Greek yoghurt is a major player in successful gluten free baking as it replaces some of the protein (usually provided by gluten) that is important for structure in baked goods.

This moist and airy gluten free quick bread is best on the day it is made, or the next day. It is also delightful sliced, toasted and spread with butter. And, if you have some, this bread would be brought to heavenly heights with a swipe of Nutella…Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread  | Gluten Free |Thoroughly Nourished Life

Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread

Gluten Free | Makes 8-10 slices | Will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days | Freeze well-wrapped for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 100 grams brown rice flour
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 100 grams hazelnut meal
  • 60 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • Zest 2 oranges
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon Frangelico (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Butter and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin. Set aside until required.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, hazelnut meal, buckwheat flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. In a separate medium mixing bowl rub orange zest into caster sugar until combined. This helps release the oils from the orange skin and enhances flavour.
  4. Add milk, yoghurt, eggs, rice bran oil, vanilla essence, and Frangelico (if using). Whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared tin and smooth top slightly.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  8. Remove loaf from oven and allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool on a rack before slicing.

Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread  | Gluten Free |Thoroughly Nourished Life

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free

These brownies are what I imagine it would taste like to be caught inside your house during a snowstorm with a mug of hot chocolate and a candy cane in hand beside a crackling fireplace. Candy cane and white chocolate pieces sprinkled throughout the batter, a thick coating of fluffy chocolate frosting, and a shower of candy cane pieces make these brownies into a festive treat sure to please the sweetest of teeth.

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe idea for these brownies came to me last week while I was completely uninterested in actually eating food, but still of course dreaming about food! Mint and chocolate is a classic Christmas combination, and what better way to combine the two than in a brownie – with frosting and candy cane sprinkles!

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese brownies are based on my Melt and Mix Chocolate Brownies, but this time they are gluten free and all gussied up for Christmas. You will love these brownies for the following reasons:

  • they are full of chocolate (white and dark) goodness,
  • you can taste the peppermint in each bite,
  • they are a contrast of chewy, under-cooked brownie and fluffy sweet frosting, and
  • you can put them together quickly (only one bowl required) so that you have more time for all your other Christmas tasks – Santa’s not the only one who has a list!

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I made these brownies for the people who run the farmers market coffee shop. Every week rain, hail or shine they are there making us perfect cups of coffee and bringing warmth and caffeinated cheer. There were eye rolls of pleasure as they bit into the chewy brownies and licked my best fluffy chocolate peppermint buttercream off their fingers. Some of my colleagues saw the photo on Facebook and were most disappointed that there weren’t any left to share! Never fear guys and girls, there are plenty of treats coming your way this week!

Frosted Peppermint Brownies 6

You are going to love how easy these are to make. One bowl, one spoon, one pan to bake it all in! Wash your bowl and spoon and use them to make the frosting once your brownies have cooled down. The less extra mess in the kitchen this December, the better.

You are also going to love the chewiness here. The small amount of gluten free flours in ratio to the chocolate, butter, and eggs makes for chewy, dense brownies – the kind that are so rich that one should do, but never does. Add crushed candy canes, white chocolate bits, and a cap of peppermint frosting and the Christmas flavouring is complete!

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Frosted Peppermint Brownies

Gluten Free | Makes 16-20 (depending on how big you cut them) | Store for up to three days in the fridge

Ingredients

For the brownies

  • 8 medium candy canes
  • 125 grams dark (60-70%) chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 100 grams butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 40 grams hazelnut meal
  • 40 grams buckwheat flour
  • 40 grams white rice flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

To frost and decorate

  • 100 grams butter, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160C (320F) and line an 8-inch square baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Place candy canes into a plastic freezer bag. Place bag inside a doubled over tea towel. Use a rolling pin (or meat tenderiser) to crush candy canes into small shards. Divide into two even piles and place aside until required.
  3. In a large saucepan melt butter and chocolate together over a low heat. Stir until smooth.
  4. Remove pan from heat and stir in all remaining ingredients. Reserve half the crushed candy canes for decorating the top of the brownies.
  5. Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
  6. Bake until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. This should take about 30-35 minutes.
  7. Allow brownies to cool completely before frosting and decorating as desired.
  8. To make the frosting: place butter in a large bowl and use a handmixer or wooden spoon (earn those brownies!) to beat until smooth and light. Add icing sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla essence, peppermint extract and 2 tablespoons milk. Beat until smooth. You may have to add the extra tablespoon of milk if your frosting is too stiff.
  9. Spread frosting over cooled brownies and sprinkle with remaining crushed candy canes.
  10. Slice into pieces as desired and serve.

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

For more peppermingoodness try these:

Mandarin Strawberry Chia Bread

Meet my latest quick bread creation – a combination of mandarin, strawberry and crunchy chia seeds!

I love quick breads. When you need something easy, sweet and not-too-fancy a quick bread is the perfect solution. Quick breads easily adapt to the season at hand and make a great breakfast, snack, or dessert solution. At the moment my inbox is being flooded with amazing pumpkin and sweet potato creations from my northern hemisphere internet friends, and I am trying to stave off seasonally-inappropriate cravings by focusing on the fresh spring flavours that are appearing in my local markets. It’s all about focusing on being grateful for what nature is laying down right in front of you.

Strawberry and Chia Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This Mandarin Strawberry Chia Bread is what happens when you combine the freshest spring strawberries with peak of the season mandarins. I think we already know that I love any citrus and poppy seed combination (see here, here, or here), so chia seeds are a fresh new take on my seedy trend provide the subtle crunch I crave among the fluffy moist crumbs.

Strawberry and Chia Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeQuick breads are one of the easiest gluten free treats to make too! If you are new to gluten free baking I would definitely recommend starting off here. When you take away the gluten present in wheat flour structure and sustained rise can be an issue: quick breads still contain eggs for binding and structure, and baking powder for rise. When you use the right combination of gluten free flours (see my preferred mix below) your end product will be just as fluffy and moist as a gluten-containing product. No soggy, gluggy messes here! Just fresh mandarin flavoured batter studded with sweet strawberries with the crunchy goodness of chia seeds.

Of course, if you are not baking for gluten free tummies then you can substitute the total weight of gluten free flours for plain flour.

Strawberry and Chia Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mandarin Strawberry Chia Bread

Gluten free | Makes one 9 x 5 inch loaf tin | Leftovers will keep well-wrapped at room temperature for up to three days, or well-wrapped in the freezer for up to two months

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams brown rice flour
  • 100 grams almond meal
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 60 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds (I had white ones, but black would work too)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 mandarin
  • Juice of 1 mandarin
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 250 grams small strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon white rice flour

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a 9×5 inch loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the brown rice flour, almond meal, white rice flour, buckwheat flour, salt, baking powder and chia seeds.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together buttermilk, eggs, rice bran oil, vanilla, mandarin juice, mandarin zest and caster sugar until completely smooth.
  4. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Toss strawberries with white rice flour, this will stop them from sinking in the cake. Gently stir strawberries through batter.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place in oven and bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and take out of tin. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Strawberry and Chia Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Ginger, Apple, and Almond Cake

I wish I could invite you over for coffee and cake. Just like last time I had a good, weighty, spiced cake to share over a cup of tea, there is much to talk about. Not big exciting things or changes in my life, but ideas and thoughts beyond my own sphere of experience. The mind knows no bounds and out there are ideas for us to capture, absorb, understand, and discuss. Ideas like – how would you live, how would you choose to live, in the shadow of an unpredicted, unexpected stroke that might reoccur at any moment, or, never again? Geoff Dyer provides insight. Lighter, happier ideas like wishing that this was my new kitchen, just look at those gleaming benches and that magnetic blackboard wall!

Ginger, Apple, and Almond Cake | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

We would pour cups of freshly percolated coffee and I would serve you thick slices of this moist gingery cake with an angel dust coating of icing sugar, and over mouthfuls of soft sweet apple and roasted almonds we would talk about the intricacies of the creative brain or how neither of us can believe it took me so long to read this book.

Ginger, Apple, and Almond Cake | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

At our worn wooden table we would share the thoughts that have made us smile, what has kept us up into the wee hours of the morning. What has made us grateful to be here, and all the future plans that we are looking forward to bringing into reality (hint: suitcases are hopefully involved!). One slice is not enough to enjoy the heady ginger scent and the richness of brown sugar, nor is it enough to talk about all that occupies our hearts and minds. Oh, won’t you knock on the door and come over for a coffee and a chat?

Ginger, Apple, and Almond Cake | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Ginger, Apple, and Almond Cake

Serves 10-12. Makes one 8-inch bundt cake

Note: if self-raising flour is unavailable use 2 1/2 cups plain flour and 1 tablespoon baking powder. To toast nuts: measure 1/2 a cup, spread over a tray and place in an oven heated to 180C (350F) and roast in oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then chop.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups self raising flour (see note)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100 grams butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped (see note)
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease an 8-inch bundt tin very well. Set aside until required.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt.
  3. In a medium size bowl whisk together melted and cooled butter, golden syrup, milk, yoghurt, eggs, and vanilla essence.
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just mixed.
  5. Add almonds and apples and stir to distribute. Pour batter into prepared tin and smooth top.
  6. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in tin for 15 minutes. Then turn out onto a plate and allow to cool completely.
  8. When cake is cool mix together icing sugar and cornflour and sift over cake.
  9. Serve with whipped cream or by itself.

Ginger, Apple, and Almond Cake | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chai Spiced Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Did you know there is a man employed by NASA to smell everything that becomes part of a space mission? From the freeze-dried food to the material that covers the seats to everything in between, it all has to pass the test of the Staff Sniffer. The smell of the smallest things gets important when you are going to spend weeks or months breathing recycled air.

I may not be an aeronautical engineer, or a cosmonaut, but I would like to proffer my home made solution for keeping people happy with the scent of their environment: Chai Spiced Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Chai Spiced Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Believe me, if you were stuck in space with the smell of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and brown sugar you wouldn’t mind. You might get extremely hungry, but you wouldn’t mind as long as someone handed you a piece piled high with spiced cream cheese frosting. (Side note: do they give astronauts freeze-dried cake?)

I wanted you to be able to really taste the chai spices in this cake, so I infused the milk with teabags, and also boosted the spices by adding them in powdered form to the batter. The result was a soft, light-crumbed cake with a heady aroma and deep flavour. Cream cheese frosting spiked with its own dose of spices is the perfect cap to the sweet cake below. This cake is a little bit of everyday fancy too. The batter comes together quite quickly and then all you have to do is wait and enjoy the scents filling your home.

Chai Spiced Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The spices in chai tea, and this cake, certainly remind me the most of home. Cinnamon from fresh baked buns or fruit toast breakfasts; ginger from the gingersnap cookies my Mum loves with a cold glass of milk; and cardamom, which features heavily in Danish sweets and calls to mind the traditional baked goods my grandmother made as treats. I can guarantee the scent of the warm spices emanating from your oven will call to mind your own fond memories, or perhaps over a slice or two of this you can create some sweet moments in the present. NASA – you should definitely send this into space with your next mission.

Chai Spiced Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chai Spiced Cake

Gluten Free | Makes 1 x 9-inch round cake | Leftovers will keep up to four days in an airtight container in the refrigerator

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • 120 grams butter
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 60 grams white rice flour
  • 75 grams almond meal
  • 60 grams brown rice flour
  • 60 grams buckwheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup plain Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 125 grams cream cheese (full fat is best), softened
  • 50 grams butter
  • 3-4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (a decent sprinkle)
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Method

  1. Heat your milk gently in a saucepan until steam starts to come from the surface. Do not bring to the boil. Add tea bags and steep for twenty minutes. Allow to cool. Once cooled remove teabags, cut open and empty contents into spiced milk mixture.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C. Butter the sides and base of a 9-inch round cake tin. Line bottom with baking paper. Set aside until needed.
  3. Place butter in a large microwave safe bowl. Melt butter by heating in 30 second bursts in the microwave and stirring well in between bursts. When butter is melted whisk in sugar and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together white rice flour, almond meal, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom.
  5. Mix eggs, yoghurt, and vanilla extract into cooled milk mixture.
  6. Whisk flour mixture and milk mixture into cooled butter mixture. Do not overmix but ensure there are no large pockets of flour. This batter is quite loose, don’t worry it bakes up very well.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan and place in preheated oven.
  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched and a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in cake tin. Then remove from cake tin to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  10. To make frosting: beat together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add 3 cups of icing sugar, spices and milk. Beat until combined. You want a slightly stiff mixture. If frosting is too loose add extra cup of icing sugar. Spread evenly across the top of the cooled cake.
  11. Serve and enjoy.

Chai Spiced Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Peanut Butter and Millet Muffins (gluten free)

Thanks to all your kind comments on my last post and the decision I have made regarding university and choosing to pursue my writing goals instead. Each one meant so very much to me.

Peanut Butter and Millet Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIf we were having a coffee date this morning I would tell you all sorts of things. I tend to share deep thoughts with people very quickly. Susan Cain would tell you that this is because I strongly identify as an introvert. My Dad would tell you its because in my family no topic is off limits. Both of these things are true. I don’t do very well with sticking to moderate topics of conversation for very long, and give me too many glasses of wine and very shortly I will start asking you all sorts of questions that get down to the deep and sticky parts that make you who you are. Lucky for me I met Chris, who is also a deep and sticky sort of conversationalist. Made for each other I tell you. Sometimes talking this way makes people uncomfortable. I think that if you enter into deep conversations without judgement, and give people a willing ear, then they are more likely to open up and tell you the truth that perhaps they have been longing to speak, but just haven’t found the right person to listen to them.

If we were having coffee this morning I would also be sure to bring along a plate of these muffins fresh from the oven. We would tear them open and smell the cinnamon in every crumb. We would enjoy the crunch of the seeds inside the soft fluffy gluten free crumb and ‘mmmm’ over the peanut butter background. Once we had eaten our fill I would tuck the rest of the muffins into a napkin for you to take home, because that is how I would say, without words, that I care about you.

Peanut Butter and Millet Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I made these muffins with a new-to-me peanut butter from a company called ‘Blessed & Lucky‘. A friend (with whom I have had many deep conversations over coffee) recommended their cinnamon spice nut spread to me. After eating spoonfuls out of the jar as a dessert treat over the past couple of nights I really wanted to try to bake something with it. These gluten free muffins are the perfect morning tea treat. They are sweet from the apple purée and brown sugar, and moist from the smooth peanut butter. Each bite is filled with crunchy millet, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds. I used a combination of flours here, and a combination of baking powder and baking soda means the muffins rise high above the papers. These muffins are not like other gluten free creations that turn out stodgy and sticky and glue like on the interior. No, these are bakery level fluffy, moist and flavourful.

Won’t you come over for coffee?

Peanut Butter and Millet Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Peanut Butter and Millet Muffins (gluten free)

Makes 8 medium muffins | gluten free | freeze well wrapped for up to 2 months

note: you can use 150 grams of plain flour to replace the total amount of flours and almond meal instead | if you cannot find Blessed & Lucky Cinnamon Spice Nut Spread, just increase the cinnamon to 1 teaspoon and use unflavoured peanut butter instead

Ingredients

  • 30 grams brown rice flour
  • 40 grams white rice flour
  • 40 grams sorghum flour
  • 40 grams almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup apple puree
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons Blessed & Lucky Cinnamon Spice Nut Spread
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons millet (uncooked)
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C (375F) and line 8 holes in a 12-hole (1/3 cup capacity) medium muffin tray with muffin papers. Set aside until required.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, sorghum flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together apple puree, milk, egg, vanilla extract, nut spread, and brown sugar until smooth and no lumps of nut spread remain.
  4. Use a wooden spoon to stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Add 1/4 cup millet, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
  6. Divide batter between muffin papers. Sprinkle reserved millet seeds over the tops.
  7. Bake muffins for 15 – 20 minutes. Rotate tray halfway through cooking time. Muffins are done when you can touch the tops lightly with your fingertip and they bounce back.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  9. Store in an airtight container for up to two days. Best eaten on the day they are made.

Peanut Butter and Millet Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Honey, Apricot, and Coconut Cookies (gluten free)

One of my favourite things to do while I’m baking is listen to podcasts. As the hosts chatter away among themselves, and educate me about various topics I feel like I am back in the kitchen with my family listening to them chatter away while I cook. I love that kind of company when I am cooking sometimes. The kind of friends who pull up a seat at the breakfast bar and talk to you while you have your hands in the dough and keep you entertained with their stories. I remember sitting at the kitchen table in the afternoons after school and spilling all the secrets, trials and triumphs of my day to Mum while she made dinner. It was the gathering place, the hub of our house, and it still is. When I visit Jess and she is creating something amazing in her kitchen, I pull up a bar stool, make myself a cup of tea and keep her company. My people, my friends and family, are mostly those who center themselves and their lives in the kitchen and this is where the big and small conversations and decisions in life happen. And when you are in the kitchen, keeping the cook company, you usually have the benefit of taste testing their creations first.

Apricot Coconut Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Apricot Coconut Cookies 3

If you had been keeping me company last weekend, you would have been the first to try one of these chewy cookies straight from the baking tin. I would have made us both a cup of tea while they were baking and when they made their appearance all golden and puffed up you would have had first choice of the two dozen cookies. But since I was alone, with my podcast friends, I had first choice. The honey is what hits you first here. You can actually taste it, and most of the sweetness comes from quarter cup of honey in the dough. I also suggest using a strongly flavoured honey. I used a local Manuka honey, dark, thick and slow to pour. A lighter honey will still sweeten the dough, but you won’t get the real hit of honey when you bite into the cookie. The dried apricots, oats, and coconut give the cookie a high chew factor. This is not a snappable ginger biscuit or a delicate melt-in-your-mouth shortbread, this cookie demands that you chew it and savour each bite. These are school bag biscuits, afternoon tea saviours, and the ones you want to keep in your handbag for emergency cookie situations. They are also good for keeping in a biscuit tin to entertain your kitchen table company.

Apricot Coconut Cookies 1

 Honey, Apricot, and Coconut Cookies

Gluten Free | Makes 24 biscuits | Note: if you do not require these to be gluten free you can substitute 180 grams plain flour for the flours listed below |

Ingredients

  •  100 grams  butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey (strongly flavoured is best)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 60 grams brown rice flour
  • 60 grams white rice flour
  • 60 grams sorghum flour
  • 1 cup gluten free quick oats (I used Freedom Foods)
  • 100 grams dried apricots, diced
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line two large cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add honey, vanilla extract and egg and beat until well incorporated.
  4. In a separate medium size bowl whisk together baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown rice flour, white rice flour, and sorghum flour.
  5. Add whisked flours to butter mixture and beat until combined.
  6. Add oats, apricots and coconut and stir until all incorporated.
  7. Place dough in refrigerator and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Once dough has chilled remove from fridge. Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls and place on prepared baking sheets. Allow room for spreading.
  9. Place in preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes. Cookies are done when the edges are lightly golden.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to a week.

Apricot Coconut Cookies 2

Salted Peanut Caramel Chocolate Slice (gluten free)

“Tuesday’s child is full of grace.” June Fourth 1957 was a Tuesday. In Aarhus Denmark my Mama was born, and she has truly lived a life of grace. My Mama has the warmest hugs; when you are enfolded in her arms you feel like she is hugging you with her soul, like nothing can go wrong, and that as long as you have this place to come back to then you can weather any storm. She is kind: whenever I bring home a friend she opens her heart and home to them and has mothered more souls on this planet that just my sister and I.

Salted Peanut Caramel Chocolate Slice 3

My Mum has been one of my greatest teachers and her lessons are more important than anything I learned at university. Treat others the way you would like to be treated; there are always two sides to the story; work to live, don’t live to work; don’t count the days, make the days count; there is no such thing as too many books; popcorn is an appropriate breakfast food on school holidays; and that love is the hardest work you will do, but also the biggest gift you will give and receive in your life.

Salted Peanut Caramel Chocolate Slice 2

This treat is one that Mum used to make with Jess and I on winter school holidays. These were always her favourite, she says, because winter school holidays meant snuggling under the blankets after Dad had gone to work, lying in front of the TV watching our favourite movies (The Princess Bride being chief among these), and doing some extra special baking together. I have taken Mum’s family recipe and changed it a little. I added salted peanuts to the caramel layer, made the biscuit base gluten free, and added coconut and gluten free oats because that’s what the crumbly biscuit base should contain in my opinion. Here the caramel is slightly chewy and the salted peanuts heighten the sweetness. Then the whole thing is coated in a milk chocolate layer because that’s what wintery birthday treats should be about – indulgence and tradition.

Salted Peanut Caramel Chocolate Slice 4

Salted Peanut Caramel Chocolate Slice

Makes 24 squares | Gluten Free

Ingredients

Base

  • 50 grams brown rice flour
  • 50 grams white rice flour
  • 40 grams sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1/2 cup gluten free quick oats (I use Freedom Foods brand)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 125 grams butter

Filling

  • 400 gram tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 60 grams butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup roasted salted peanuts
  • Pinch of salt

Topping

  • 200 gram block milk or dark chocolate of choice

 Method

  1. Line an 11 x 7 inch pan (28 x 18 cm) with baking paper and preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, sorghum flour, coconut, oats and brown sugar.
  3. Place butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second bursts, stirring in between, until melted.
  4. Stir melted butter into dry ingredients until a crumbly mixture forms. Press this into the tin, ensuring that it is as evenly distributed as possible. You may wish to use the side of a flat-walled glass to roll and press the mixture into the tin.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden.
  6. Allow to cool completely.
  7. When the base is cooled place sweetened condensed milk, golden syrup, and butter into a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir until butter is melted and caramel is golden brown in colour and thickened slightly.
  8. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla essence, salted peanuts and a pinch of salt.
  9. Spread caramel peanut mix over the cooled base. Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the top is golden in colour and firm.
  10. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  11. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second bursts, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Spread chocolate over the caramel layer and place in fridge until set.
  12. Once set use a hot knife to slice into squares.
  13. Slice will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. In my experience it rarely lasts that long.

Happy Birthday Mama Chickpea

My beautiful Mama

My beautiful Mama

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies

I made these cookies before I went to a wedding. Because naturally, when one is going to an event where there is going to be amazing food, amazing wine, and then amazing cake, one really needs to eat cookies before one goes. Possibly not. However, Jessica did point out that they are small, therefore they could be considered a snack food, and everyone knows that you should have a small snack before you head out to an event so that you aren’t hungry and therefore angry, and don’t overeat the appetisers and/or bread basket.

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I know that you should really snack on something healthy like an apple and some nut butter, or some low-fat Greek yoghurt. That’s what sensible Amy does on normal days, but there are some days, like a Saturday where your awesome and unintended sleep in gets interrupted by your alarm for an appointment, and then you show up at said appointment to find out that they meant to call you and cancel. Three weeks ago.

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Still, no big fuss. Just go home via the supermarket, pick up some buckwheat flour and chocolate chips, remember that you have some egg dregs leftover from your sensible Friday night dinner of egg white omelette and make yourself some cookies. Three cookies disappeared while I was getting dressed and glammed for said wedding. Mental health snack: sensible. Then you really should proceed to eat the bread roll (because for goodness sake they actually found you a gluten free one) with butter (of course); lick the plate clean when they bring you an amazingly tasty dinner; and then dance with your significant other like a crazy person (Pulp Fiction has nothing on us). Then, definitely remember to have a cookie before breakfast on Sunday while you are trying to make bacon for your slightly hungover significant other in a mildly hungover state yourself. Couch time for most of the day: sensible. Note: I did also go for a cookie-fuelled run in the afternoon. Perhaps not sensible, but definitely required.

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

These cookies are chocolate in the best way. The dough isn’t overly sweet so the cocoa shines through. The milk chocolate chips are little bursts of sweetness among the darker dough. The reason these are called pebble cookies is because they are soft and slightly crumbly and fit in the palm of your hand, smooth and full of chocolaty promise before you gobble them down. I dare you to stop at just one.

 Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies

Note: If you do not require these to be gluten free, simply replace the buckwheat flour and rice flour with the equivalent weight of plain flour.

Gluten Free. Makes 18 cookies.

Ingredients

  • 100 grams butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 75 grams buckwheat flour
  • 75 grams brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C (320F) and line two cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl use a wooden spoon to cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg, yolks, and vanilla essence and beat until smooth.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, buckwheat flour and rice flour.
  5. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until combined.
  6. Mix in chocolate chips until well distributed.
  7. Roll heaped tablespoons of mixture into balls and place on baking trays, allow room for a small amount of spreading.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until edges are firm. The middle may still be soft. This is good otherwise your cookies will be overly hard.
  9. Remove and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Melt and Mix Chocolate Brownies

What would you say if I told you these brownies are so easy you could put them together while dinner was cooking and they would be ready for you when dessert time came around?

You might call me all sorts of names for leading you astray on a Monday morning.

What would you say if I told you that you only need a saucepan, a spoon, and a baking tin to make this fudgy chocolate treat?

You might tell me that I am an enabler, and that I am making it far too easy for you to break the promises that you made to yourself about eating well this week.

Melt and Mix Chocolate Brownies

What would you say if I told you that a balanced diet is all about balancing your indulgences with healthy eating and exercise?

You wouldn’t say anything, you would realise my wisdom (or..er…rationalising), and race into the kitchen to make some brownies!

Melt and Mix Chocolate Brownies

Melt and Mix Chocolate Brownies

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies. Makes 16 2×2 inch brownies.

Ingredients

  • 120 grams dark (60-70%) chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 100 grams butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips, divided

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160C (320F) and line an 8-inch square baking tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large saucepan melt butter and chocolate together over a low heat. Stir until smooth.
  3. Remove pan from heat and stir in all remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over the top.
  5. Bake until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. This should take about 30-35 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool completely before slicing into pieces. Brownies can be kept in an airtight container for up to four days – if they last that long!

Brownies3

 

Tell me, dear reader, what are your biggest temptations on a Monday?