Chocolate macaroons were one of the first recipes that I learned to make. Not the pillowy meringue kind from France but the humble, chocolate sticky kind that require little planning and only some patience while you wait for them to harden in the refrigerator. The kind where you scrap the pot with a wooden spoon to get that last bit of chocolatey sauce. The kind that if left in a warm spot, become a gooey mess and you’ll probably still eat them! Years ago, I started added Cadbury mini eggs (no other brand will suffice) to them at Easter and wham! They are an Easter classic at my house. The children love them and they also satisfy Easter cravings for those who are gluten-free.Read More
Bean brownies had their time in the sun about 10 years ago. At least, that was the time that I first made them from a random recipe on the internet. Completely healthy, moist, dense, chocolate-like but not exactly brownie-like. I made the mistake of telling my family prior to eating them that the main ingredient was… wait for it… beans! Disastrous results ensued. They were not well-liked by my father or husband. The moment went down in history as “Shauna’s baking fail.”
Fast forward many years and I’ve tried out more versions of these brownies though, have not shared them with the aforementioned people. I’ve tried going completely refined sugar free (no dice). I’ve used coconut oil and it felt to lack taste. Salt free, no way. I think the recipe below strikes a balance between being a healthier option (consider that most brownie recipes have 3 to 4 times the refined sugar added to them) and still satisfying the brownie craving. They’re gluten-free as well. The addition of walnuts adds a nutritional punch and crunch (ahem…). I like to think that dark chocolate also adds nutrition or at least happiness.
Ultimately, I did add a little refined sugar. Refined sugar gives them the chewy texture that forms the basis for this baked good to be called a ‘brownie’ (otherwise, the name hockey puck or protein bar might be given to these). Following the same line of thought, Sarah Kieffer (@sarahkieffer) of The Vanilla Bean Baking Blog aptly tweeted “It always confuses me when people get upset at baking books for having butter and sugar in them.” I agree with Sarah on this one. So, I did not create a “healthy” brownie as it is still a treat. I created a gluten free brownie in hopes of adding more diversity to the diet. In the end, healthier, yes. Guilt-free, no.
Oh, and my husband didn’t even notice this time… until my face turned bright red.Read More
My first experiments in gluten-free and egg-free baking resulted in less than edible results. These experiments took place long before the blogging and Instagram world exploded which, is probably a good thing because in retrospect, those initial attempts were neither pretty nor tasty. My confidence in baking didn’t waver too much though as I had very supportive and loving friends who thought that the results were delicious.Read More