Tag Archives: agave nectar

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (and a Giveaway!)

Yes, you read that right! Gluten-free oatmeal raisin cookies. Once I had decided to make these, my heart warmed at the thought. Oatmeal raisin cookies were among my favorites as a kid. My mother loved to make cookies, and I fondly remember helping her, always stirring the dough in her big stainless steel bowl with her well-worn wooden spoon. (And yes, sampling the raw dough along the way…shhh, don’t tell anyone!) I haven’t had oatmeal raisin cookies since going gluten-free. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve had them in years. It was time.

But these cookies aren’t just ordinary oatmeal raisin cookies gone gluten-free. They’re even more than that. They’re also rich in whole grains – meaning lots of good-for-you fiber and protein – and they are sugar-free. Instead of sugar, agave nectar sweetens these babies. You see, the other day I was contacted by Xagave and asked if I would like to give their product a try. I like using agave nectar in recipes, and have been looking for more ways to incorporate it, so I figured, why not? They promptly sent me a bottle of Xagave nectar, along with a copy of their recipe book, Where Delicious Meets Nutritious. The box arrived shortly after Christmas – and as I always do when I receive new books, I immediately opened it to sift through the recipes.

This book has a load of wonderful recipes, both sweet and savory. It also discusses the benefits of using agave nectar, but what I found most helpful are some of the tricks/hints for baking with agave nectar they shared. This will save me countless hours of failed recipes! You do have to account for the fact that the recipes were engineered in an altitude higher than 3500 feet above sea level (for me, this means I must bake longer and at higher temps), but I adapted without issue.

Anyway, back to the cookies. I came across an oatmeal cookie recipe in the Where Delicious Meets Nutritious cookbook. Score! I would have to convert it to gluten-free, so I opted to substitute buckwheat and coconut flour for the whole wheat flour called for in the recipe. My gluten-free oats were rolled oats and not instant, as the recipe stated, but no matter – I’ve seen other oatmeal cookie recipes call for rolled oats, so I figured these would be just fine.

Let me tell you, after a long hiatus from oatmeal raisin cookies, these are more than fine. They were scrumptious. They were soft and pillowy when still warm (Yes, I couldn’t wait to have one!), but became chewy as they cooled – the way a good oatmeal cookie should. The cinnamon and vanilla softly flavor these cookies, and they put a smile on my face the way only the memories of a childhood cookie can.

The best part? These cookies are healthy enough that you actually could eat one for breakfast. (I’ll let you in on a little secret – for these past few days, that’s exactly what I’ve done, alongside my green smoothie, of course!)  Without all that sugar and refined flour, these cookies don’t cause a sugar high – or crash – after eating them. A definite bonus for me!

Okay, well, I said in the paragraph above that the option to have these for breakfast was the best part. That’s not entirely true. What’s the best BEST part? Xagave has generously allowed me to give one of my lucky readers the same gift they sent to me – a bottle of Xagave nectar, plus the Where Delicious Meets Nutritious cookbook. (This is when you exclaim “Hooray!”) In order to be entered in the giveaway, please leave me a comment below, letting me know what you would most like to make using agave nectar. The giveaway will be open until January 20, 2010. At that time, I’ll choose one random commenter using Random.org. Please make sure to leave your email address in your comments, so I can contact you if you win.

Would you like to increase your chances to win?

Then in addition to leaving me the first comment, you can:

1. Tweet about this giveaway, and leave me an additional comment telling me you did so.

2. Mention this giveaway on your blog, and leave me a comment (and a link) telling me you did so.

3. Subscribe to my blog via email or reader, and leave me a comment telling me you did so. Or if you already subscribe, leave me a comment letting me know that, too.

This means you have the ability to enter 4 times. Sound good to you? I am curious as to what types of recipes you mention in your comments! I’m always looking for different sources of inspiration.

And now, just in case you thought I forgot, here is the recipe for gluten-free, sugar-free oatmeal raisin cookies.


Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, adapted from Delicious Meets Nutritious

1 c butter, softened

1 1/4 c agave nectar (I used Xagave)

2 eggs

1 T vanilla extract

1 c coconut flour

1 c buckwheat flour

1/2 t baking soda

1 t sea salt

1 1/2 t ground cinnamon

3 c gluten-free rolled oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 c raisins

In a medium bowl, cream together butter, Xagave, eggs, and vanilla. (I opted to use a whisk to ensure everything was blended.) Combine flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in another bowl. Stir dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats and raisins. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop by spoonfuls 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and flatten each cookie. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 2 dozen.


Filed under Baked goods, breakfast, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Vegetarian

Kids in the Kitchen: Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes

They were free this time around. Free to choose which meal of the day to prepare. Free to choose what they wished to make.

So of course, Brittany immediately chose something with an insane amount of chocolate. As any 11-year-old girl would, I suppose!

She wanted to make chocolate pancakes. But not just that. She wanted chocolate chips in the pancakes, and to sandwich the pancakes with a layer of peanut butter. And top with more chocolate chips. I knew I had to find a way to make this breakfast just a touch healthier than it would seem. But I had to be sneaky. These were supposed to be fun pancakes, after all!

So I turned to my two friends – coconut flour and agave nectar. I love using coconut flour in baked goods – it’s gluten-free, lower in carbohydrates, and high in fiber. It also seems to create fluffier, lighter baked goods than some other gluten-free flours – always a good thing when we’re talking pancakes. Agave nectar has less of an impact to blood sugar levels than sugar – an added bonus for you when you’re serving a sweet treat to kids – no crazy, out-of-control, hyped-up-on-sugar children! These weren’t health food by any means, but I did feel a bit better knowing I was making a few tweaks for the better.

These pancakes were pretty tasty – just the right amount of chocolate, and they were very filling. And for once, all of the kids enjoyed the meal! (If I haven’t told you before, I live in a house with some picky eaters.) I say that means these are definitely a keeper.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes

5 eggs, separated

5 T butter, melted

1/3 c milk

2 T agave nectar

1/2 t salt

1 t vanilla extract

1/3 c coconut flour

1 T unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 t baking powder

1/4 c chocolate chips, plus more for topping pancakes

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Separately, beat egg yolks until foamy. Fold together, along with melted butter, milk, agave nectar, salt, and vanilla. Whisk in coconut flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Stir in chocolate chips.

Heat a nonstick pan to medium heat. Spoon 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan. Allow to cook for 3 minutes or so and carefully flip. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes more or until cooked through. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve with toppings such as peanut butter, maple syrup, and whipped cream, and top with additional chocolate chips. Makes about 9 pancakes.


Filed under breakfast, Gluten-Free, Quick and Easy

Black Bean Brownies

black bean brownieThis recipe is from the archives. These brownies were made for my mother for her birthday dinner back in March, but as I was thumbing through my recipes (you know, the ones that I have stowed away with the best of intentions to post) I stumbled across them, and decided they were just too good not to share with you. Besides, they are full of fiber, gluten and sugar-free. But aside from health benefits (if you can call it that – this still is, after all, a brownie), these babies are brimming with rich chocolate flavor. (And if you’re wondering, no, they don’t taste “beany” at all!) They make a wonderful, simple dessert as is, but they could always be adorned with a ball of ice cream on top (for my Mom’s birthday, I used them as a base for a hot fudge sundae). I found this glorious recipe from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks, who found it through Ania Catalano’s Baking with Agave Nectar. If these brownies are any indication of how awesome Ania’s recipes are, perhaps I need to pick up a copy of this book myself!

Black Bean Brownies, adapted from Ania Catalano

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 c unsalted butter
2 c canned black beans, drained well
1 c walnuts, chopped
1 T vanilla extract
¼ c (granulated) instant coffee
¼ t sea salt
4 large eggs
1½ c light agave nectar (or honey)

 Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 11- by 18-inch (rimmed) baking pan with parchment paper and lightly oil.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on high. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely. Place the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a couple of spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Blend about 2 minutes, or until smooth. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, instant coffee, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the agave nectar and beat well. Set aside.

Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well.

Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy. Drizzle over the brownie batter. Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. (They will be soft until refrigerated.)

 Makes about 28 3-4 inch brownies.

Update: I am so excited about the flexibility in this recipe. A Dash of Sass created a raspberry brownie cake with this recipe, and it looks absolutely amazing! I was so inspired, that I’m in the process of making this for my mother-in-law for her birthday!  Check it out – it looks divine!


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