Category Archives: Desserts

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

A few weeks ago, my husband surprised me. Little did I know he’d been tucking away money, but he sat me down, whipped out some cash, and told me that it was for a new VitaMix. I nearly cried, I was so excited. I ordered it right away, and it arrived at my doorstep a few days later.

Of course, the first things I made with it were my morning smoothies. No real recipe there – often I toss a fruit or two, some spinach, some protein powder, and give it a whirl. But now, the smoothies are creamy. No more chewing bits of spinach! This Blueberry Spinach Mint Smoothie is even more of a delight in my new blender. Lately, I’ve been throwing fresh, ripe peaches in the blender and making creamy peachy concoctions. Delish.

But the VitaMix can do so much more than just make smoothies. You can actually “cook” soup in the blender – just blend on high speed for a few minutes, and I promise you, your soup will come out creamy, smooth, and HOT! It’s amazing. But it can also blend batters for baked goods. My first attempt? A chocolate zucchini muffin – without the addition of oils.

I wanted a little treat for breakfasts that wouldn’t be too rich, too sweet, or too indulgent. This muffin definitely delivers. You’d never know there was zucchini in the batter, as the VitaMix takes care of all of those little pieces. The muffin is denser than some, but I found it really enjoyable. Just the right amount of texture for a good, hearty muffin.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

1/4 c brown rice flour (30 grams)

1/4 c potato starch (35 grams)

1/2 c sorghum flour (60 grams)

1 t baking soda

1/2 t baking powder

2 T cocoa powder (12 grams)

1/4 t guar gum

1/4 t salt

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t allspice

1/4 c egg whites

1 t vanilla extract

2/3 c coconut palm sugar (100 grams)

2 c coarsely chopped zucchini (255 grams)

1/2 c chopped pecans

1/2 c raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with papers.

Combine brown rice flour, potato starch, sorghum flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, guar gum, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in a large bowl. Whisk until completely blended.

Place egg whites, vanilla, coconut palm sugar, and zucchini into blender and secure lid. Select Variable 1, then turn machine on and quickly increase speed. Blend for 15 seconds or until everything looks uniform. Stop blender and add dry ingredients. Secure lid and continue to blend for 20 seconds or until everything is uniform. If necessary, use tamper to press any ingredients into the blades.

Stop machine and pour mixture into large bowl. Mix in nuts and raisins by hand. Spoon into muffin papers 2/3 of the way full. Bake 16-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 1 dozen.

This post is linked to Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free, hosted at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.

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Filed under breakfast, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Strawberry-Blueberry Pie

Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef announced on Facebook a few days back that it was Pie Day on July 5. We were to have a Pie Party! Who was I to turn down that opportunity? I love pie. All kinds of pie – fruit pies, cream pies, pecan pies – you name it, I’m up for it. I would take pie over cake any day of the week. So I made plans to make pie this past weekend. Besides, I’ve been working to perfect my pie crust recipe, and so what better time than now?

I found some amazing, deliciously ripe strawberries at the farmer’s market on Saturday. Due to the sweltering heat, however, they weren’t going to last. They were “eat-today-or-die” strawberries. I immediately took that as an opportunity to make a pie stuffed with strawberries. I opted to throw some blueberries in the filling as well, as I didn’t have enough strawberries, and besides, red and blue just seemed appropriate for the Independence Day weekend.

After rolling out my pie crust, stuffing the pie with sweetened berries, and successfully topping it with a second crust (not easy to do with a fragile gluten-free crust!), I anxiously waited while the pie bubbled away in the oven. Which also had the unfortunate side effect of heating up the kitchen – it seems that even though our house is pretty efficient, our air conditioning still can’t keep up with a 100-degree day and the oven, once 4 or 5 o’clock rolls around. It was a somewhat sweaty affair by the end. So you see, I made some pretty serious sacrifices, all in the name of pie.

Once the pie cooled, we dug in. It was juicy, with a crisp, flaky crust. The verdict? Definitely tasty enough to consider a success. However, I’m still tweaking that pie crust recipe – I am considering omitting brown rice flour and using another flour next time. The crust still seems gritty in texture to me. Otherwise, I’m pretty happy with it. It rolls out nicely and with a bit of help from some egg wash, browns well. As for the filling, I think I cut the sugar back a bit too much, but it did make for a lighter dessert. Next time, however, I think another 1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar would do the trick. Regardless, I was happy to enjoy another piece the following evening. And I’m half-wishing I had a slice right about now, as a mid-morning snack. Because after all, it’s pie.

Strawberry-Blueberry Pie (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Pie Crust (adapted from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free)

1 c brown rice flour (considering using millet flour next time, or a mix of different flours)

1/2 c sorghum flour

1/2 c potato starch

3 T sweet white rice flour

1/2 t fine sea salt

7 T palm shortening, placed in freezer for about 20 minutes to harden

1 cold large egg

2 T apple cider vinegar

2 T agave nectar

1/4 c ice water

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, sweet white rice flour, and salt. Remove the shortening from the freezer and dice into small pieces. Place it evenly around the flour, and with a pastry blender, a fork, or your hands, mix until the flour has a mealy texture and the largest pieces of shortening are the size of small peas.

Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. Add the vinegar and agave to the egg and beat well. Pour egg mix into the flour mix and stir until just incorporated. Next, drizzle some of the water over the flour mixture and stir in, just until the dough starts to come together. Add more water as you need, but don’t make the dough too wet. It should look “shaggy”. Push the dough together with your hands and place on a large piece of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a ball, and flatten with your hands. Wrap the plastic wrap around the dough and place in refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or up to overnight.

If it’s been several hours since your dough was placed in the refrigerator, allow it to sit out on the counter for 15-20 minutes before working it. Otherwise, place a handful of the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap (tape bottom piece to the counter for easy rolling) and roll out in a large circle about 1/8 inch thick. (You can store the rest in the refrigerator while you work on the dough piece by piece) If the plastic gets wrinkles in it, you can pull it up from the dough and lay it back down to keep rolling.

Peel top piece of plastic wrap from dough, and un-tape the bottom piece from counter. Place 8-inch pie pan upside-down on top of dough, and lifting from underneath the bottom piece of plastic wrap, quickly flip the dough and pie pan simultaneously so that the pie crust is now laying on top of the pan, right-side up. Press the dough down into the pan, and carefully peel away the plastic wrap. Pinch away the excess pie crust. You should have enough to roll out another, slightly smaller, circle using the same technique.

Filling

1 lb strawberries, hulled and cut in half

1 lb blueberries

1/4 c coconut palm sugar (considering doubling next time)

1/2 c potato starch

2 T lemon juice (or juice from 1 lemon)

2 t lemon zest (or zest from 1 lemon)

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

Combine filling ingredients together in a medium bowl. Fill bottom pie crust with filling. Place second crust on top, and crimp around edges to seal. Cut holes in center to vent.

1 egg +2 T water, whisked (for egg wash)

Brush crust with egg wash. Bake at 425 degrees for 35 minutes or until crust is browned and berries are bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing. Serves 8.

This post is linked to Real Food Weekly at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free

Daring Bakers: Baklava

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

When I read this, I felt that lump creep up in my throat. Baklava? It’s one of my most favorite of treats. Sweet and sticky with honey, flaky, with a bunch of lovely nuts in between the layers. But gluten-free? I’ve never seen it – and certainly never tried it. One of the keys to those flaky layers in the phyllo dough is that stretchiness in gluten. If there’s no gluten, how do you recreate the stretchiness?

So I googled. I looked for gluten-free phyllo dough. I wasn’t finding much, and not everyone out there in the internet world was successful at making it. This was an elusive thing for sure. But I perservered. I found some instructions on Glutenfreeda.com and opted to try my hand at it.

After I started to roll out my layers, I started to feel more confident. I could roll out pretty thin sheets of dough with success. I rolled each layer on parchment, but as time went on, found that it would peel from plastic wrap even easier than parchment, so I changed to using plastic wrap. One daunting task achieved – I could roll thin dough.

I then made the filling – this was easy. Just a blitz in the food processor and I was ready for the next step.

Then came the assembly. This went well, which further bolstered my confidence. I could peel the dough, layer by layer, brushing with vegan butter in between, layering the nut mixture as well, until I had a completely layered dish. Even cutting the pieces was pretty easy. All that was left was baking and allowing it to sit. And so I did, crossing fingers.

Once it came out of the oven, this was when I was concerned. No flakiness. It looked virtually the same coming out as it did going in – only a wee bit more brown. I went ahead and poured the syrup over and allowed it to sit, hoping for the best.

Unfortunately, the baklava didn’t live up to expectations. The layers were dense. Bordering on gummy and chewy. From far away, it still looked like baklava, but upon closer inspection, it wasn’t. (However, the filling was still delicious, if you peeled off the layer of dough and just ate the filling. Not that I would know or anything.)

So the perfect gluten-free baklava still eludes me. It’s still in my dreams, however. Hopefully someday soon, I’ll muster up the courage to try the phyllo dough again. Thanks to Erica for this challenge – I hope to one day conquer it!

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Baklava

Phyllo Dough

½ c sweet white rice flour

1 c sorghum flour

1 c potato starch

½ c tapioca starch

1 T psyllium husks

1 t guar gum

2 large eggs

2/3 c coconut milk

1/3 c water

Whisk together flours, psyllium husks, and guar gum. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, and water. Attach the dough hook to the mixer. Gradually add in the flour, with the machine on low, until the dough is no longer sticky. (add additional tapioca starch as needed) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for 2 hours.

Remove the dough from the bowl and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Cut 8 pieces of parchment paper at least 10 inches wide. Using generous amounts of tapioca starch, roll each piece of dough onto a piece of parchment paper until it measures at least 10 inches by 6 inches, making sure the thickness is fairly uniform. You want it as thin as possible without breaking. Repeat with each piece of dough. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap to keep from drying out.

Filling

2 t cinnamon

1/8 t allspice

¾ c almonds

¾ c walnuts

¾ c pistachios

2/3 c pitted Medjool dates

Pinch salt

½ c combination of melted ghee and melted vegan butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cinnamon, allspice, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, dates, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse several times until nuts and dates are finely chopped (but not turned into dust).

Trim your phyllo sheets to fit your pan by setting the pan on top of each sheet, and using a pizza cutter or knife, cut around the pan. Brush melted ghee/vegan butter inside the pan along the bottom and sides. Carefully peel a piece of phyllo dough (I used a thin, flexible spatula to help me) and place in the bottom of the pan. Brush with “butter” and peel another piece of phyllo dough, placing it over the first. Brush with “butter” again.

Place 1/3 of the nut filling evenly over the dough in the pan. Add another 2 layers of phyllo dough, followed by “butter” on top of each. Add another 1/3 of the nut filling. Add another 2 layers of the phyllo dough followed by “butter” on top of each, the final 1/3 of the filling, and finish with the last 2 layers of phyllo dough, followed by “butter” on top of each. Tuck down any edges that are flipping up on the sides of the pan with a spatula so that the top looks neat.

Using a knife, carefully cut the baklava into pieces as desired. Brush one last time with “butter”, making sure you get it covered completely.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, make syrup.

Syrup

1 ½ c honey

1 cinnamon stick

3 whole cloves

1 2-inch piece lemon peel

¼ c water

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove cinnamon, cloves, and lemon peel.

 When the baklava is finished baking, cut again all the way through. Pour the syrup evenly over all of the baklava. Allow to cool to room temperature. When cool, cover and allow to sit overnight to allow syrup to absorb.

Serve at room temperature.

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free

Lauren’s Gourmet – Gluten-Free Products With Great Taste (And Another Giveaway!)

A few weeks ago, I was at the Chestnut Square Farmer’s Market, doing my weekly shopping, when I walked past a booth filled with bags of various baking mixes. I almost walked right past the booth without a second glance – after all, in that area of the market, there are a lot of vendors selling pasta sauces, homemade pasta, and artisan breads, most of which I cannot eat. (You know how that is, right? Don’t you put on those imaginary blinders when you walk past these things too? And that little voice in your head tells those gluten-filled goodies “lalalalala I can’t SEE you!” This isn’t just me, is it?) But something caused me to turn my head as I walked past, and take another look at what was being sold at this table. There had to be at least a dozen different brown paper bags containing different baking mixes. Upon closer inspection, I read the labels: “Lauren’s Gourmet – Gluten-Free.” Gluten-Free Baking Mixes? At my farmer’s market? I picked one up and started asking about it. I asked where the mixes were made. (In Anna, Texas, just a few miles north of the market.) I asked if they were made in a dedicated kitchen. (They were.) I asked if there were any that were dairy-free, while simultaneously picking up one of the packages and reading the ingredients. (She told me that many mixes contained no dairy and no egg, and I could substitute non-dairy milk and egg substitutes as I needed.) While I’m not much for baking mixes, (if you visit here often, you’ll see that I change up my gluten-free flours in recipes all the time, never sticking to one blend, and mostly making things from scratch. I have more than a dozen different flours in my pantry. It’s kind of a problem when it comes to pantry space.) I was excited. Somebody in my little part of the world was making gluten-free baking mixes! After some consideration, I picked up a bag of Southern Cornbread and took it home with me.

A few days later, I made that cornbread to go along with some fresh pinto beans (Which I also picked up at the market – this is one of the many perks of shopping at the farmer’s market all the time. You can buy fresh beans!). I baked it in a glass bread pan, and let me tell you – that was some of the best cornbread to ever come out of my kitchen. It was perfectly crisp on the edges, but amazingly moist in the center, with a hint of sweetness. My husband and I ate a good deal of it that night, and it was delicious the next day as well. I grilled a slice in a pan with a bit of ghee, and drizzled just a touch of maple syrup over it. Heaven.

I was so ecstatic about this new discovery that I searched and found Lauren’s Gourmet online. I then found Lauren’s Gourmet on Facebook. I reached out to Karen, the founder of Lauren’s Gourmet, and asked if I could share more of her great products with my readers. The next day, she called me, and we made plans. I headed up to the farmer’s market the following Saturday and officially “met” Karen.

Karen, founder of Lauren's Gourmet, and her daughter, Lauren

Karen is one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. Her daughter, Lauren, was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008. Like many parents, Karen was overwhelmed with how to manage Lauren’s diet and keep her healthy. Karen wanted to find a way for her and her daughter to embrace the disease, not fight it. So she started researching. And perhaps more importantly, she started experimenting. And now, in three short years, she has started a growing business selling various gluten-free baking mixes in 5 states and online.

Banana muffins

These aren’t just any gluten-free baking mixes, either. They’re egg free. Nut-free. Many are yeast and casein-free. She doesn’t use preservatives. She makes suggestions on her instructions for dairy and egg substitutes to help accommodate her customers and their needs. Not only does she use a dedicated kitchen, but Karen has done her research to ensure that the ingredients in her mixes are tested and are gluten-free – even down to the recycled packaging (which is made partially from corn, not wheat). Karen cares very much about the quality of her product and the happiness of her customers, and it shows.

I was genuinely ecstatic about having the opportunity to review some of these products. I took home some baking mixes and tested them. I baked her Banana Nut Bread (as muffins, swapping out the nuts for dairy-free chocolate chips – Brittany doesn’t like nuts), her Blueberry Muffins (I even swapped out the eggs with “chia eggs” – which is simply 1 tablespoon of ground chia seed meal + 3 tablespoons of water for each egg, whisked together), and her Cinnamon Coffee Cake (where I substituted the buttermilk with dairy-free milk + 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar). Of course, I used non-dairy milk in all of the mixes.

Blueberry muffins

The verdict? They were all delicious. Brittany liked the blueberry muffins most of all, while I fell in love with the cinnamon coffee cake. They were easy to bake – I did have to adjust baking times for the cinnamon coffee cake, as I used a different sized pan, but that was no big deal. These were all baking mixes I’d be happy to keep on hand just in case I had last-minute company, or felt like treating the kids to a special baked treat.

Lucky you, you’ll have the opportunity to try these mixes out yourself! Karen has graciously agreed to give away 5 baking mixes to 5 lucky readers – and you can choose which mix you’d like to win! Just visit Lauren’s Gourmet, and come back here and tell me which mix you’d like to win, to be considered in this giveaway.

If you have additional intolerances beyond gluten, here’s some guidance so you can be sure you choose a mix that is suitable for you:

- All mixes are dairy-free EXCEPT the chocolate chip muffin

- All mixes are yeast-free EXCEPT the pizza crust

- All mixes contain some sugar (some, like the corn bread, pizza crust, and pie crust, contain very little)

- All mixes contain corn

For additional chances to win, leave me an additional comment after you have completed each of the following actions:

1. “Like” Lauren’s Gourmet on Facebook.

2. “Like” Tasty Eats At Home on Facebook.

3. Share about this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter.

4. Subscribe to Tasty Eats At Home via email or RSS feed.

There you have it! This giveaway will end on Saturday, July 2, 2011.

cinnamon coffee cake

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian

A Birthday Cake for Iris (Vanilla Cake with Carob “Buttercream” Frosting)

A few weeks ago, Iris over at The Daily Dietribe posted a Gluten-Free Birthday Cake challenge. My interest was immediately piqued. While birthday cake isn’t really one of my most favorite of desserts, I realize that for some, it’s practically a food group. There is a special place in Iris’s heart for birthday cake, and it’s my belief that no matter what food intolerances or allergies someone has, they should be able to enjoy those foods they love the most. For a special occasion such as a birthday, Iris ought to be able to enjoy a cake that doesn’t cause pain afterwards. I wanted to give her that cake.

So I started in my kitchen, experimenting. At first I tried to bake with stevia as the only sweetener. The first cake was terribly dense, and not sweet at all. I then attempted to increase egg whites in the batter, almost like an angel food cake, but the cake ended up so rubbery and chewy it was destined for the garbage can as well. The third cake showed promise, as I incorporated coconut nectar as a sweetener, but it was still rather coarse and tough in texture. The final cake, the one I’m showing you here, was the best gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free cake I made to date. The texture was still a wee bit more coarse than a traditional white birthday cake – I used coconut palm sugar, and I believe that had something to do with it – but it tasted good. The 100% fruit black cherry jam filling and carob “buttercream” frosting sealed the deal. Four tries later, I finally had something that would truly be considered “birthday cake”.

Like any cake, this still isn’t health food – the flours are refined, and it’s still sweet, but it’s a treat. (Especially the frosting, which I could have eaten by itself, by the spoonful…) I hope Iris likes it, and has a wonderfully happy birthday. (I wanted to ship a slice to her, but I imagine cake doesn’t travel well.)

Happy Birthday, Iris!

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Vanilla Cake

2 eggs

1/3 c coconut milk

1 t vanilla extract

1/4 t almond extract

6 T virgin coconut oil or palm shortening

1/2 c sweet white rice flour

1/3 c plus 1 T tapioca starch

1/3 c potato starch

1/4 t xanthan gum

3/4 c coconut palm sugar

1/2 t salt

1 1/2 t baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch cake pan and lightly dust with gluten-free flour. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, extracts, and coconut oil. (warm the coconut oil slightly, if it’s solid, by microwaving for 10 seconds in the microwave.) In a large bowl, combine the sweet white rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, xanthan gum, coconut palm sugar, salt, and baking powder. Mix together the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. Spoon batter into prepared cake pan.

Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan and frosting.

(This recipe makes 1 layer. For a layered cake, double the recipe.)

Carob “Buttercream” Frosting

1/4 c Earth Balance buttery spread or other vegan butter

2 c powdered coconut palm sugar (you can make this by following a recipe from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free by Amy Green – page 180)

2 T coconut milk

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 T carob powder

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, add the buttery spread, half of the powdered coconut palm sugar, the coconut milk, the vanilla, and the carob powder. Turn the mixer on medium speed and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides, until well blended. Add the rest of the powdered coconut palm sugar in batches, whisking in each addition, until the frosting is stiff enough to hold its shape. Frost cake as desired.

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: Gluten-Free Goodness

This month for Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger I chose to adopt Cheryl of Gluten-Free Goodness. Cheryl’s a relatively new bloggy friend of mine; I “met” her through Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl. Cheryl is a Registered Dietitian and nutritionist, as well as a health and wellness coach. She helps a lot of people enjoy a healthy, gluten-free diet. Cheryl has several food allergies, and while that might frustrate some in the kitchen, Cheryl handles it with grace and innovation. She is always coming up with something delicious, healthy, and allergen-free. It definitely makes choosing just a few recipes to try that much more difficult!

Somehow, I managed. I had to choose one of her dessert recipes, and came across these amazing Brazil Nut Chip Cookies. Brazil nuts, however, are not something I adore, so I improvised a bit. (Okay, more than a little bit…but I wanted to use what was on hand.)I used almond butter instead of the brazil nut butter, substituted raisins for the chocolate chips, and used 1 whole banana instead of the avocado. My gluten-free flour blend was 1 part teff flour, 1 part millet flour, and 1 part coconut flour. These came out of the oven tasting like banana-y oatmeal raisin cookies – one of my favorite cookies of all time. I’m definitely making these again and again. They were superb.

Another recipe I have tried (more than once) from Cheryl is her coconut curried greens recipe. I opted to use canned coconut milk, and did not add chicken, as I made this a side dish. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the ingredients here – these greens are craveably delicious. I had to make them twice – after the first time, the flavors haunted me. It’s a good thing collard greens are arriving in my CSA box in large amounts lately!

While this is all I’ve made so far, I definitely found more recipes I want to make in the future. Cheryl has a Nana Skillet Bread that looks comforting and delicious. I can imagine it as tasty breakfast treat. Her Sniffle Stew looks like a go-to recipe, especially in the winter. (I don’t think you need the sniffles in order to eat it – I can imagine it’s the perfect lunchtime soup as well!) And who could pass up her Chocolate Raspberry Pie? That looks killer.

Need some healthy, easy recipe inspiration? Check out more of Cheryl’s recipes here. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Filed under Baked goods, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Daring Bakers: Edible Containers (Maple Mousse in Bacon Chocolate Chip Cups)

 The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

Yes, more edible containers. What’s not to love about a container you can eat? Evelyne suggested making a maple mousse and a bacon cup to hold the mousse. I loved the idea so much, I decided to stick closely to the recipes suggested. I made the mousse (dairy-free, of course), refrigerated it, and got to making bacon cups. I molded bacon around the back side of a muffin tin, secured with toothpicks, and baked, but my bacon cups weren’t really cup-like – they shriveled and had holes too large to hold any mousse. Stumped on what to do instead, I questioned my husband. (Who was walking in and out of the kitchen this whole time, drawn to what I was doing by the aroma of bacon.) His suggestion? Let him eat the bacon. While this is a tasty solution, it doesn’t give me an edible container. (I did share some of the failed bacon cups with him though!)

After some time to think, I remembered that a year or two ago, bacon chocolate chip cookies were all the rage in the food blog world. Having never made them myself, I decided I would play with a chocolate chip cookie recipe, only instead making them in a cup form. I set off making dough and pressing the dough into muffin cups.

I did, however, forget that in spite of pressing the dough only around the edges of the muffin cup (like it was a pie crust), that the cookie dough would rise and fill in the cup entirely. Whoops. So what I ended up with was more like a bacon chocolate chip muffin. Undeterred, I grabbed my melon baller and scooped out a bit of the center, making it a cup once again. (And enjoying the bits of cookie I scooped out – the baker’s treat for sure!)

The rest was easy. Scoop in the maple mousse, top with bacon bits, and refrigerate. Voila – an edible container with a delicious mousse!

The verdict? I think if I try this again, I’ll modify the cookie/cup recipe somewhat. It was a bit dry and crumbly. The mousse, however, was amazing. I could sit down and eat tons of that by itself. As for the bacon-in-a-dessert thing? It’s not bad (it adds a lovely sweet-savory touch, but didn’t taste much like bacon), but it’s not my favorite combination. I could take it or leave it. I think I’d much prefer just to enjoy the mousse unadorned (or maybe with some dairy-free whipped cream).

This was definitely a fun challenge! A big thanks to Evelyne.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cups with Maple Mousse

For the cups:

1 ¾ c gluten-free flour blend (I used equal parts arrowroot starch, brown rice flour, and sorghum flour)

2 t ground chia seed meal

½ t baking soda

½ t kosher salt

1/3 c vegan buttery sticks or oil (I used bacon grease leftover from cooking the bacon plus vegan butter)

½ c coconut sugar

½ c coconut nectar

1 large egg

½ t vanilla extract

½ c finely chopped cooked bacon (about 8 strips), divided

2/3 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, chia seed meal, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add buttery sticks/oil, sugar, and coconut nectar and beat for about 3 minutes or until blended. Add egg and vanilla and mix on medium until incorporated. Stir in half of the bacon and all of the chocolate chips. Refrigerate for an hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin and divide into 8-9 of the muffin cups, pressing up against the sides. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until beginning to brown on the edges and set in the center. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then carefully remove from tin and place on cooling rack to cool completely.

With a melon baller or similarly sized spoon, scoop out the center of each chocolate chip cup. Fill with chilled maple mousse and garnish with remaining bacon.

For the mousse:

½ c grade B maple syrup

2 large egg yolks

½ envelope gelatin

¾ c coconut cream (scoop cream off of the top of a can of coconut milk)

Bring maple syrup to a boil and remove from heat.

In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of maple syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they won’t curdle).

Add eggs to maple syrup and whisk until well mixed.

Measure ¼ cup of the coconut cream and place in a bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Place in microwave for 15 seconds and then stir, and microwave for 10 seconds more if needed to dissolve gelatin completely.

Whisk gelatin mixture into the maple syrup and set aside.

Whisk occasionally, leaving mixture out for about an hour, until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.

Whip the remaining coconut cream in a large bowl. Stir ¼ of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Remove from fridge, whisk, and scoop into bacon chocolate chip cups.

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free