Salted Caramel Popcorn and White Chocolate Chip Cookies | gluten free

We are nibbling our way around Las Vegas at this very moment, but oh the memories of this cookie are lingering, and I’m planning on a batch as soon as we get home.

Chewy gluten free cookies full of salted caramel popcorn morsels and sweet white chocolate chips. These are a combination of two of my favourite childhood treats!Salted Caramel Popcorn Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeHave you ever had the pleasure of eating Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs? If you haven’t, I’m sorry, but I do hope you have your own favourite sticky, caramel-coated popcorn treat. Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs were an 80s favourite, but they’ve never gone out of style.

For these cookies I made my own salted caramel popcorn because it’s super, super easy (that’s dangerous knowledge for our waistlines I know) and then I mixed it into chewy, brown sugary, buttery, cookie dough with some white chocolate chips. The caramel popcorn coating melts slightly as the cookies bake creating pools of sticky salted caramel perfection. Drooling.Salted Caramel Popcorn Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI sent these home with my Mum and Dad to thank them for being our taxi to and from the airport. A day later I got a photo of the empty container. All gone. Yes, they are that good. And my parents have a sweet tooth. See! It’s genetic! Every butter, caramel-soaked, white chocolate studded fantasy you have is answered in these cookies. And I only got to eat one. One. And my house smelled like these cookies for days. If you aren’t into scented candles or air-spray contraptions, just bake a batch of these. You will drive your neighbours wild. And probably find yourself sneaking to the cookie jar for just one more…Salted Caramel Popcorn Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeBite into this cookie and your teeth first meet chewy cookie dough, then crunchy popcorn pieces, super sweet chocolate chips and, if you are lucky, a little pool of molten caramel. Be generous with these cookies. Share the happiness and gobble up some of this biscuits of bliss! Although, it is totally acceptable to hoard the whole batch for yourself and eat them while hiding in your closet with a good book and a glass of cold milk. I won’t tell anyone.Salted Caramel Popcorn Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Salted Caramel Popcorn and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten free | Makes about 18 cookies | Preparation Time: 30 minutes | Cooking Time: 20 minutes | Cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to four days.

Tip: to make these extra quick you can use pre-made caramel popcorn.

Warning: this recipe involves melting sugar. Molten sugar is incredibly hot. BE CAREFUL when handling the caramel and if making this with kids be sure to keep little fingers out of the way. Take it from someone who had third-degree burns from making caramel, okay?

Ingredients

For the salted caramel popcorn

  • 4 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 50 grams butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

For the cookies

  • 50 grams sorghum flour
  • 50 grams buckwheat flour
  • 40 grams brown rice flour
  • 35 grams white rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 120 grams butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. First, make the popcorn. Place the air-popped popcorn into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Place sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. The sugar will begin to melt in a few minutes. Gently shake the pan to mix the molten sugar around the pot. When it starts turning a deep honey colour remove from the heat and whisk any un-melted sugar until it dissolves.
  4. Add butter and whisk until is incorporated. Add salt. Pour caramel over popcorn and use two wooden spoons to toss and mix the popcorn until it is coated in the caramel mixture. Do not use your hands as the sugar will be incredibly hot. Set popcorn aside to cool while you make the cookie batter.
  5. Weigh sorghum flour, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, and baking soda into a medium mixing bowl and whisk them until well combined.
  6. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer) beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  7. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well incorporated.
  8. With mixer on low speed add whisked dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
  9. Using a wooden spoon mix in popcorn and white chocolate chips.
  10. Using your hands form heaped tablespoonfuls of batter into balls and place on prepared baking trays. Leave about 6cm between cookies to allow for spreading. You may need to bake the cookies in two batches depending on the size of your baking sheets.
  11. Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes or until they are spread out and the edges are golden. These cookies will still be incredibly soft when they come out of the oven. This accounts for the chewiness. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the trays before removing and serving or storing.

Salted Caramel Popcorn Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Banana, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins | Gluten Free

Soft and sweet miniature banana, peanut butter, and chocolate chip muffins make the perfect afternoon snack. These tiny sweet treats are super simple to make, and healthy too!

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMy afternoon pre-gym snacks have been a little lacklustre lately: carrot sticks, celery sticks, plain rice thins – not exactly the sort of power snack that inspires a powerful workout after riding a desk all day. The key to a successful afternoon snack I feel is a combination of a few elements: something slightly sweet (to get over that 3pm slump); something healthy (to support my health goals); and something light but still filling (to stop the tummy rumbles but not weigh me down).

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese adorable little bites contain all of my favourite pre-run nibbles: crunchy creamy peanut butter, sweet ripe bananas, and oh-so-nice milk chocolate chips. Yes, chocolate chips are a perfectly acceptable pre-run nibble on occasion. And when paired with protein and healthy fat packed peanut butter and complex carbohydrate containing banana in my mini muffins they are just the cherry on-top of a healthy little nibble. You can leave them out of course, at your own risk….

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMy Banana, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins are super quick to make too. I whipped these up on a busy Tuesday night so that I would have running fuel for the rest of the week. They also make a great quick and easy breakfast. Simpy grab a few mini muffins and some yoghurt or fruit and you have a great on-the-go breakfast. If you are making these for kids who go to a no-nut policy school you can simply substitute the peanut butter for sunflower seed butter, or use two extra tablespoons of yoghurt instead.

Get out that mixing bowl and spoon tonight – you are only twenty minutes away from a sweet healthy treat for your lunchbox tomorrow!

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Banana, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Gluten Free | Makes about 24 mini muffins | Best eaten within two days | Freeze leftovers tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 1 large banana, well mashed
  • 1/3 cup Greek yoghurt (or plain, natural yoghurt)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and spray a 24-hole mini muffin baking tin with baking oil.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl beat together mashed banana, yoghurt, egg, oil, vanilla extract, peanut butter, and brown sugar until smooth.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together sorghum flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Add chocolate chips (reserve a few for dotting onto the top if you’d like) and stir until distributed through batter.
  6. Divide batter between holes of mini muffin tin. Fill only to 2/3 of the way to avoid the muffins spilling over the top.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then tip out to cool completely.

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Gluten Free | Vegan

Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what little baked treats are made of. In my house, spice reigns supreme especially when the nights grow darker and winter deepens. Warm yourself by the oven and make a batch of my Ginger and Apple Muffins to share with some sweet friends.

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWere you taught the ‘what little girls are made of’ rhyme as a child? I remember hearing ‘sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what little girls are made of’ now and again as a little girl. As a grown woman, I like to think that I have grown up to be a good mix of sugar and spice, but I just know my personality errs on the spicy side most of the time. Oh, and I have a surprisingly salty vocabulary (that’s what comes from being an ex-Navy cook’s daughter) that comes in handy from time to time (especially when you forget to use a tea towel to grab a sheet pan out of the oven…

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten FreeWhen it comes to baking I am definitely a spice lover. Opening each different jar or grating and grinding the fresh spices instantly whisks me away. Spices connect us to other places and times. The scent of cardamom is my Danish grandmother’s kitchen where abelskiver are cooking on the stove. Cinnamon is the bakery in New York where my best friend and I recovered from a long flight. And ginger, ginger is my Mum dunking gingersnap cookies into ice cold milk on a summer afternoon. Ginger is home.

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese muffins are for cold mornings in the kitchen, tramping around in stocking feet and brewing strong black builder’s tea, chopping dusky skinned apples and waking up slowly to the aroma of ginger and brown sugar warming in the oven. These Ginger and Apple Muffins are damp and sweet from brown sugar and golden syrup and studded with chunks of tart apple. They bake up tall and generous and make a house smell like home. Invite someone over, anyone, these muffins are gluten free and vegan so everyone can enjoy them, or eat them alone with only a book and the slow-rising sun for company.

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Ginger and Apple Muffins

Vegan | Gluten Free | Makes 12 large muffins

Ingredients

  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 80 grams buckwheat flour
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil e.g. grapeseed)
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 100 grams brown sugar
  • 2 medium apples (Sundowner are my favourites)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line a 12 cup muffin tin with baking papers.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, white rice flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together almond milk, oil, golden syrup, and brown sugar until smooth and well combined.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Quarter and core one of the apples, and chop into cubes. Mix into batter until distributed.
  6. Divide batter between muffin papers.
  7. Quarter and core the second apple. Cut into thin slices and place a few on top of each muffin.
  8. Bake muffins in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then remove. These are best eaten the day they are made, but can be wrapped in plastic wrap (once completely cooled) and frozen for up to two months.

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Sprinkle Birthday Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting | Gluten Free

Tomorrow is my Christopher’s birthday. For 28 years this tall, smiley, ginger-haired man has been bringing light and laughter to the world, and for the past 2 ½ years I have had the greatest blessing to be in his life and by his side.

Sprinkle Birthday Cake Cupcakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeChris, you bring the sparkle, you are the party, and you know how to drop the Boom! There is no one who knows how to live in the moment and love every minute of it better than you. You inspire me to leave the heaviness behind and remember the joy of life. You are joie de vivre personified. My sweetheart, you are my safest harbour, my surest compass, and my greatest adventure. I am so proud of the man you are. Happy birthday my love. Here is to many more years of midnight ice cream runs, snuggles in front of the television, sunset harbour walks, and dancing in the kitchen.

Oh, and many, many more cupcakes.

Sprinkle Birthday Cake Cupcakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI made these cupcakes a few weeks ago as part of a super-secret special project that I will share with you soon. Chris loved them! Fluffy, sprinkle-speckled cupcakes topped with birthday cake flavoured frosting showered with more sprinkles. Message: you can never have enough sprinkles, or frosting. In honour of the birthday boy I had to share the recipe for these super-festive cupcakes with you all!

Sprinkle Birthday Cake Cupcakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWhen you take your first big bite of this cupcake you will be taken back to childhood days of boxed mix sprinkle cakes (funfetti for my US readers) – this special memory conjuring flavour comes from the addition of almond extract as well as vanilla extract. These cupcakes are just like Betty Crocker makes, only better! The buttercream is my super fluffy birthday cake buttercream frosting covered in even more sprinkles! Yes, they really do taste just as pretty and perfect as they look (no, modesty is not a problem I suffer from when it comes to cupcake making). Imagine the best bakery vanilla cupcake you have ever had – the lightness of crumb, the perfect lip-smacking sweetness of the fluffy whipped buttercream frosting, the sugary crunch of a rainbow of sprinkles – this is that cupcake, now yours to make at home.

I couldn’t believe how quickly these disappeared when I brought them along to a family lunch. All that was left was a few wrappers and lots of buttercream-induced smiles! Need a treat for an upcoming birthday party? My Sprinkle Birthday Cake Cupcakes are sure to make the party! You can change the sprinkles up to suit your colour palette too. Try red and pink for a little girl’s party, or how about red and green for Christmas!

Sprinkle Birthday Cake Cupcakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese cupcakes are gluten free but you would never know it – and you don’t need any special gums or ground chia seeds to get the perfect light and fluffy (not crumbly, gummy or gluey) cake – the secret: Greek yoghurt and the perfect balance of flours. A few notes of getting the perfect cupcakes everytime:

  • Make sure your butter, eggs, and yoghurt are at room temperature. This is really important for the texture of your cupcakes.
  • Believe me when I tell you to whisk all of your flours together. Evenly whisked/sifted flours make for a fluffy crumb, and ensures that your leavening ingredient (baking powder in this case) are distributed throughout the batter so you get consistent happy cupcakes from every batch!
  • Really cream your butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes. You want fluffy cupcakes? Put that mixer to work! Cream that butter and sugar until it is pearlescent for the best results.

Enough technical baking stuff! Now, you need to turn your oven on, get our your prettiest sprinkles and some matching cupcake papers and get to work because every day deserves a little celebration!

Sprinkle Birthday Cake Cupcakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Sprinkle Birthday Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Gluten Free | Makes 15 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 70 grams brown rice flour
  • 60 grams sorghum flour
  • 50 grams white rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 80 grams butter, softened
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond essence
  • 2/3 cup plain Greek/natural yoghurt
  • ¼ cup multi-coloured sprinkles

For the frosting

  • 125 grams softened butter
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond essence
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • Sprinkles, to decorate

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line two 12-hole cupcake tins with papers for 15 cupcakes.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together brown rice flour, sorghum flour, white rice flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer) beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs one at a time and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions.
  5. Add vanilla extract and almond essence and beat in.
  6. Add flour in two parts alternating with the yoghurt. After each addition mix until just combined.
  7. Use a wooden spoon to mix in sprinkles.
  8. Spoon batter into cupcake liners fill only two-thirds of the way to avoid spill-over.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched.
  10. Remove cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool before frosting.
  11. To make the frosting place the butter in the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer) and beat until light in colour and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  12. Add icing sugar, vanilla extract, almond essence and milk and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  13. Fit a piping bag with your choice of decorating tip, spoon frosting into bag and decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Sprinkle Birthday Cake Cupcakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Gluten Free One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream

You are going to love my latest homemade gluten free  cupcake creation. These fluffy, moist, deeply chocolate cupcakes use only one bowl in their creation but they taste like they came straight from a fancy bakery. I have topped these deep, dark chocolate cakes with rosewater buttercream for a fairy-floss contrast perfect for any celebration.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSunday is International Women’s Day and it’s time to celebrate the wonderful, inspiring, intelligent, amazing women in our lives. I made these cupcakes to celebrate some of the women I am grateful to call friends and family. These cupcakes are my new favourite thing. So moist, dark and chocolate filled but so easy to make. We start with a foundation of gluten free flours: hazelnut meal, buckwheat, brown rice, and white rice. Each of these plays its own special part in making sure the final product is moist and fluffy, and not sandy or crumbly. Getting the right balance of gluten free flours is important when you set out to create a classic and these four make for a moist, tightly crumbed cake that resembles your favourite childhood chocolate cupcake, with a darker adult twist. If you are new to gluten free baking, these are the cupcakes I would recommend. They are super easy (literally, dump everything in one bowl and hit mix) and they are guaranteed to turn out perfect, just-as-you-remember-them cupcakes that are friendly to your sensitive tummy.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe rich chocolate taste in these one-bowl chocolate cupcakes is due to two special reasons. One: use the deepest, darkest cocoa you can find. Two: a strong cup of coffee is one of the wet ingredients. When coffee meets chocolate in this way you can hardly taste the coffee, but oh-boy it makes the chocolate shine through. These cupcakes are a dance between a brownie and a cupcake, and we get to enjoy the splendor bite-by-bite.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI topped my cupcakes with the lightest, prettiest rosewater buttercream in the colour of International Women’s Day. When Chris tasted this buttercream he smiled and said ‘it tastes like fairy floss’. Perfection. Rosewater can be too sweet for some people, and sickly in the wrong amounts. Start with the lesser amount listed in the recipe, and adjust to your taste. Another rosewater buttercream secret is to add a pinch of salt. Don’t be afraid of a little salt in your sweet, like the coffee in the cupcakes it enhances the main flavour rather than obscuring it. These one-bowl cupcakes are a new classic: bittersweet meets fairy floss sweet for an upgrade on the usual chocolate and vanilla combination.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese cupcakes are a lot like the women I know. Deep, complicated, and complex with foundations and memories that run the tender edge between bitter and sweet; and, at the same time sweet, pretty of spirit and capable of lifting your spirits in just a moment. Good women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream

Gluten Free | Makes approximately 15 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 50 grams hazelnut meal
  • 45 grams buckwheat flour
  • 45 grams brown rice flour
  • 45 grams white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (200 grams) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water (not boiling, just warm from the tap)
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Line two 12-hole cupcake tins with papers for 15 cupcakes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer) whisk together the hazelnut meal, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until very well mixed.
  3. Mix together warm water and instant coffee and add to the bowl along with the egg, rice bran oil, milk, and vanilla extract.
  4. Mix on medium until just combined, then increase speed to medium high and mix until smooth and glossy, about three minutes.
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake papers. Fill only to halfway full to avoid your cupcakes spilling over.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Rotate trays from top to bottom halfway through baking time.
  7. Remove cupcakes from oven and cool completely before frosting and decorating as desired.

Rosewater Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients

  • 150 grams butter, softened
  • 3 cups icing sugar (gluten free)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon rosewater
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt
  • Few drops of food colouring (optional)

Method

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter until pale and fluffy.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and beat until soft and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Wait until cupcakes are completely cool before frosting and decorating as desired.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Zucchini, Carrot and Walnut Pancakes | Gluten Free

Zucchini bread and carrot cake united in pancake form! Puffy, fluffy, thick pancakes with chunks of toasted walnuts inspired by a cafe favourite, but easy enough for everyday.

Zucchini, Carrot, and Walnut Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI ate a two tall stack of these while reading the newspaper on Sunday morning. Does anyone read the newspaper anymore? I like to grab a copy on the weekend after a long walk and settle in at the kitchen table with a late breakfast and read about what’s happening in the wide world that’s fit to print and, of course, do the crossword. The sun streams in the window and a light bay breeze tickles the leaves of the bougainvillea vine that grows over half of the house. It’s a moment of bliss to be grateful for. On a normal day the internet and the radio are my source of information about the world, but on a Sunday, with a stack of pancakes, the smell and smudge of newspaper print fits perfectly.

Zucchini, Carrot, and Walnut Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese pancakes are packed with cafe-favourite inspired flavours. Carrot cake and zucchini bread combined and smashed into pancakes! Which lends you totally legitimate reason to smother them in maple syrup, or your choice of pancake topper (almond butter, jam, honey, butter – whatever your pleasure), I like to think of it as frosting for your pancakes. Sweet carrot, mixed with cinnamon and crunchy toasted walnuts, all wrapped up in the warm cloud of maple syrup kissed pancake batter: Sunday morning bliss.

Now, I like my pancakes fluffy but substantial and these puffy, flavoursome delights deliver on both fronts. The batter features one egg and two egg whites for extra fluff, and a mix of milk and plain Greek yoghurt for added thickness and a tender crumb. True zucchini bread/carrot cake flavour is represented by a respectful dose of cinnamon, vanilla, and toasted walnuts.

Zucchini, Carrot, and Walnut Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeTo tell you a secret though: there is only a small amount of brown sugar in the mix, and no added fat at all. This is a cafe brunch that won’t have you weighed down for the rest of your weekend, and is perfect for weekdays too. The leftovers from this batch are tightly wrapped in my freezer and are steadily making their way to work in my lunch box as a morning tea treat. Unfortunately no-one has invented a desk-sized bottle of maple syrup. Now that would be newsworthy.

These are a great idea to make with little nourished lifers too! Get them to help with mixing and stirring the batter, and show them how the bubbles on the pancake mean its time to flip it over. I have great memories of making pancakes with my parents, which is probably why they are my Sunday newspaper breakfast of choice. Enjoy!

Zucchini, Carrot, and Walnut Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeZucchini, Carrot and Walnut Pancakes

Gluten Free | Makes about 12 (10cm/4-inch) pancakes | Recipe easily halved
Leftovers will keep, well-wrapped, in the freezer for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 80 grams almond meal
  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 80 grams buckwheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg + 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Method

  1. Use the large holes of a box grater to coarsely grate the zucchini and carrot. Wrap grated vegetables in a few layers of paper towel and squeeze to remove some of the moisture. Set aside until required.
  2. Place walnuts under broiler and turn broiler on medium-high. Cook for 6-7 minutes, shaking tray occasionally to turn walnuts over. Once toasted, remove from the broiler and allow to cool before roughly chopping to use in pancakes.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together almond meal, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl vigorously whisk together yoghurt, milk, egg and egg whites, vanilla essence, and brown sugar until well incorporated.
  5. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  6. Using a wooden spoon mix in grated zucchini and carrot and toasted, chopped walnuts.
  7. Heat a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  8. Using a large ice cream scoop portion out pancake batter onto pan. Use the back of the scoop to encourage the batter to spread into a circle. Remember to leave plenty of room between pancakes for spreading and flipping. I cooked one pancake at a time on a small pan but to speed up the process use a larger frying pan.
  9. Cook pancake for three minutes on one side. Small bubbles will begin rising to the uncooked surface. Once most of these have popped, flip the pancake and cook for another two minutes on the second side. Transfer to a plate and cover with a tea towel to keep warm while you cook the rest of the batter.
  10. Once all pancakes are cooked serve with your favourite toppings.

Zucchini, Carrot, and Walnut Pancakes | 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

Oat and Apple Pancakes with Stewed Apple

Sunday was one of those quietly blessed days. The sky was a bright blue glass dome and the sunshine was a water-colour stripe across our sunroom floor. We slept easily and well as the sun crept into our bedroom and lit the walls and the wind brushed the leaves of the tree outside against the window panes. We rose, we pottered around and introduced ourselves into the world on that bright cold morning. We escaped from the thickening crowds and entertained ourselves inside our own four walls for the remainder of the day. I stayed close to the stove all day. Warming my body and warming my soul with old favourites and new ideas. It was a simple kind of day. It was a deeply enriching simplicity where you realise that all you have right now is all you really need to make you happy and nourished forever if only you remember to look through the eyes of gratitude.

Apple and Oat Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI dreamed of these pancakes all week and Sunday felt like a brunch day. Too late home from an early morning errand to be breakfast and too sweet and cake-like to be called lunch. I whisked together the batter, waited patiently for each pancake to bubble and be flipped and then wait for its siblings to join it in the plate to keep warm. I listened to Edith Piaf and Dean Martin and padded across the wooden floors on bare, cool feet. A gift of apples from a friend-in-passing became the caramelised topping for the substantial but fluffy pancakes. When all was complete I curled up in a sun-washed chair and devoured my oat and apple pancakes. I looked out across the bay and realised that my heart was calm, my mind was completely in the moment: I felt thoroughly nourished.

These are thick, cake-y pancakes. Hearty, winter morning pancakes for mornings where you linger in a sunny spot with a book and a pot of tea. They are filled with all the best winter things: oats, apples, cinnamon and stand up very well to reheating for an afternoon snack (or second breakfast helping). They also do well when cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer. Perfect for those extra lazy winter mornings, or for a lunch box friendly snack. These Oat and Apple Pancakes are perfect for cooking with children, and you can even make the batter the night before and leave in the fridge overnight. Then all you need to do is heat the pan and cook them in the morning. The stewed apples are worthy of multiplying. Any leftovers are delightful reheated for dessert topped with a scoop of ice cream or some thick Greek yoghurt.

Apple and Oat Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Oat and Apple Pancakes

Gluten Free. Makes 8 large pancakes.

Ensure your quick oats are gluten free. I used Freedom Foods Free Oats. I topped mine with stewed apples, you may wish to add a dollop of thick yoghurt, some golden syrup, or for extra indulgence, some ice cream.

Ingredients

  • 80 grams almond meal
  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 70 grams buckwheat flour
  • 70 grams quick oats
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup greek/natural yoghurt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 heaped tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 medium apple, grated
  • Stewed apples to serve, recipe below

Method

  1.  In a medium size bowl whisk together almond meal, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, quick oats, cinnamon, gluten free baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together yoghurt, milk, eggs, vanilla and brown sugar until well combined. Gently stir in apple.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add apple mixture. Whisk until just incorporated.
  4. Heat a non-stick heavy bottomed frying pan over medium heat and add a little olive oil or butter to grease the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add approximately 1/4 cup of batter to the pan. You may have to spread the mixture out a little in a circular shape. Cook until bubble appear on the surface of the batter, about two minutes, once most of the bubbles have popped, flip pancake over and cook for another two minutes on the other side.
  6. Transfer pancake to a plate and keep covered while you repeat with the remaining batter. You may be able to cook more than one pancake at a time depending on the size of your frying pan.
  7. To serve, top with with stewed apples and other toppings if desired.

Apple and Oat Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Stewed Apples

This recipe is easily multiplied. I suggest making at least a double batch. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium apple, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon water

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan. Place over a low heat and cook, covered until apple is soft.
  2. Uncover and cook until juices have thickened slightly. Serve with pancakes.

Apple and Oat Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

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

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