Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bread

One day a friend sent me a Snapchat of her peanut butter bread.  It looked so good I decided to bake one too!  I took the idea of the pumpkin spice bundt cake posted in December, replaced the almond butter with peanut and omitted the pumpkin spices.  Just to note, you can’t taste the pumpkin puree; it’s just there to give the bread bulk and make it moist.  I have seen recipes use bananas or zucchini to achieve the same results.

Since we are on the topic, I wanted to mention a few things about peanuts and peanut butter. These products are high in omega-6 fatty acids which, if consumer in a higher than recommended ration to omega-3 fatty acids, increase the risk of inflammatory diseases.  Also, peanuts are technically not nuts, which grow on trees, but in fact are legumes.  They grow in the ground, which makes them susceptible to toxic mold, which is believed by some to be the cause of peanut allergies.  They are also one of the crops that are heavily sprayed with pesticide.  Finally, many commercial peanut butters are made with unhealthy trans-fats, added sugars, and other unnecessary ingredients.  I do not say all this to discourage peanut butter consumption, but simply to help you choose the highest quality product.  So, when buying peanut butter, be sure to read the label.  Ideally it should only contain one ingredient: peanuts. Also always buy certified organic and look for Valencia or Jungle peanut variety, which are less likely to contain toxic mold.

2 cups organic peanut butter
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup coconut sugar or 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
½ - 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a well-greased or lined loaf pan.  
Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until an inserted knife comes out clean.  

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake

This, dare I say, healthy dessert will easily satisfy any sweet tooth and fill your home with the aroma of warm pumpkin spices this winter.  It is free of refined sugar and flour, yet it is so decadent that no one will ever believe it's grain-free.  So this holiday season, prepare to have your cake and eat it too!

My sister, Veronika, introduced me to this recipe, which can be made into muffins, a simple loaf, or in my case, a bundt cake.  If you don’t have a pumpkin spice mix, you may substitute with 2 tsp cinnamon and ½ tsp ground nutmeg.

2 cups almond butter
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
2 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin spice mix
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking soda
½ cups dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 F.  
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a well-greased and floured (use a GF flour mix) bundt cake or loaf pan.  Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.  For muffins, decrease baking time to about 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Meringue Gelato Cake

Here’s a perfect dessert – quick, easy and delicious, on a warm summer night.  This is a frozen version of Eton mess, a tradition English dessert of crumbled meringue, whipped cream and strawberries.  I kept it pretty simple and served it with fresh fruit, however there are many variations to this basic recipe.  Your imagination is the limit, when it comes to what you can add to the gelato base: any fresh fruit or berries, shaved chocolate, cacao nibs, nuts, coconut flakes, etc.  For the garnish you can drizzle it with a chocolate sauce, fruit coulis or fruit compote.

1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp rum
5 - 6 oz meringue cookies (store bought or homemade)
8 oz fresh fruit/berries of choice

Whip the cream until thick but still soft.  Add the rum and fold into the cream.  Crumble the meringue cookies and fold these in as well.  Add any other ingredients if desired.  Pack the mixture into a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap, pressing it down with a spatula.  Cover and freeze until solid, preferably overnight.  To serve, pull the ice-cream brick out of the pan, unwrap and place onto a serving platter.  Garnish with fresh berries, slice to serve.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

If you’re a chocolate lover like me, it doesn’t get any better than this.  Here is a rich, dense and fudgy cake that is quite simple to make and it’s gluten-free.  As always, use high-quality ingredients whenever available and affordable. This recipe is adopted from At Home with Madame Chic by Jennifer Scott.

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
½ cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar, unrefined/organic
3 large eggs, free range/organic
½ cup unsweetened organic cocoa powder, sifted

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Line the bottom of a round baking pan (I used a 7’) with parchment paper.  Grease sides of the pan and top of parchment paper with butter or coconut oil. 
Chop the chocolate into small pieces.  In a double broiler, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring constantly until smooth.  Remove the top of the double broiler and whisk the sugar into the chocolate mixture.  Let cool slightly.  Whisk eggs into the mixture.  Sift the cocoa power and whisk until combined.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 25 minutes.  Let the cake cool in the pan and then invert onto a serving dish.  Garnish with favorite berries and serve.

Raw Cherry Cheesecake

We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day, but I’ll use any excuse to make a dessert.  I have a weakness for cherries.  If a recipe mentions cherries it will get my attention, as did this fully raw cherry "cheesecake," which is really not a cheesecake at all.  It is vegan, dairy-free, grain-free, no-bake, easy, delicious and dare I say...a healthy dessert!  This recipe is adopted from Fully Raw Kristina.

½ cup raw nuts (almonds, pecans or walnuts)
½ cup soft Medjool dates
¼ tsp sea salt

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
3 bananas, frozen
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup cherries, fresh or frozen and defrosted

Place nuts, dates and sea salt in a food processor.  Chop until the mixture holds together slightly, yet is still crumbly.  Evenly press the crust mixture into a 7” cake pan lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap.
In a clean food processor or a high speed blender, combine the cashews, bananas, and lemon juice.  Blend on high until completely smooth.  Pour the filling mixture over the crust and smooth top with a spatula.  
For the glaze layer, blend cherries until smooth. Pour over the top and even out with a spatula.  Garnish with additional cherries. Freeze over night or until solid.  
To serve, remove from freezer 30 minute prior to serving.  Run a sharp knife under hot water before using to cut the cake.