Friday, October 16, 2015

Gluten Free Foraging

This week had been rough, and I'm behind on all of my work. It's been hard enough to get up off of the couch, much less get dishes and laundry done. All thoughts of figuring out recipes and blogging them has been out the window. This baby is sitting on my sciatic nerve and the physical pain is exhausting. And yet, inspite of all of that we did manage to work on the recipe I've been developing, and here I am writing.

This recipe was first handed to me in the form of a cookie, via facebook, from my sister. She claims that her entire family ate almost the whole batch. I took a look at the article and thought that if it worked I would be making them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But I didn't read her post, just the recipe. Probably not the best way to go about it (After making it for three weeks I just found out that you really don't need to add flour no matter how runny it looks. More on that below).

I don't buy almond butter cause it costs and arm and a leg (and would be prohibited the terms of this blog), but I do everything with peanut butter and can't live without it. I had run out of maple syrup (I like to use it in my granola and it's a little cheaper than honey), but Nick had just bought some brown sugar. I hate chopped walnuts in anything and never have them, and cranberries are a special "mommy treat" that I only buy a few times a year. Otherwise I had everything I needed.



So I popped a sweet potato in the microwave, skinned it, and mashed it. Then I added half a jar of peanut butter and some brown sugar. I put that back in the microwave cause peanut butter mixes better when it's warm and I wanted the brown sugar to melt. Then I added the eggs, spices, baking soda, and chocolate chips. The batter was still warm enough to melt the chocolate chips, and it was very runny. So I thouoght I would add a touch of almond flour, and a touch of corn stach, just to fill it out.

It still came out like a cake batter, and I decided that the best thing to do would be to try out my new mini-muffin tin (it's the first mini that I've had, was a gift, and I am excited everytime I use it).

What came out of the over was astounding. From the muffin tin I pulled, and ate, an absolutely perfect, moist and fluffy, chocolate cupcake! My mind was racing; all that it needed was some shredded zuchinni. Chocolate Zuchinni Cupcakes are one of my all time favorites, and sweet breads have been the hardest thing to give up when I had to stop eating wheat. But here, in my hand, was the answer.

Over the next few weeks I worked on the recipe, varying the ingrediants, trying different things. This week Maximus convinced me that no matter how tired I was he could make them for me. We were a little short on things, and he managed to come out with a chocolate cookie. The one thing I've been unable to do was get any pictures, one batch makes about fifty mini cupcakes (Max only got about twenty-four cookies) and they are gone as soon as I pull them from the oven. I kid you not. My kids love them that much, and have the hardest time saving any for me or Nick (and while they've accepted that some gluten free foods are not terrible, they still have not realized that these cupcakes are healthy for them. Mwauhahaha...).

Anyway, after a long rabmble about my culinary adventures, I give you the final recipe! I hope that I haven't had a series of happy mistakes, and that you love them as much as I do.

Gluten Free Chocolate Zuchinni Cupcakes

1/2 C nut buttter
1 mashed sweet potato (medium to large)
1 shredded zuchinni (medium)
1 shredded carrot (small to medium)
1/3 C brown sugar (or syrup)
1/2 C chocolate chips
1/3-1/4 C almond flour**
1/3-1/4 C cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon*
1 tsp nutmeg*

Warm up the butter, potato, and sugar and mix well. While still warm add the zuchinni, carrot, and chips. Add in the eggs, flours, baking soda, salt and spices* and mix well. Scoop into muffin cups and bake at 350degrees for 12-15 minutes.

**The addition of the flours add a firmer texture to the batter and give it a more cake like springy-ness. Almond flour and coconut flour can be interchangable in most recipes. I have not tested this without the almond flour, but it could possibly be done with only a few tbsps more of cornstarch (I tried that for its elasticity, and it worked the way I thought it would, so you could probably try the recipe with just that). You can try the recipe without the flours at all, like she says int he original post, but the texture probably won't be the moist and fluffy cake that we are going for.

*These spices were meant for the sweet potato and walnut cookie. I find that they do add a very subtle flavor to the cupcakes, and I did notice (and didn't like) the absence  when I tried it without them. I don't really notice the specific taste of sweet potato in the cupcakes, but I think that these spices help to balance things out nicely.

Someday I will have to give you my original recipe for chocolate zuchinni cupcakes, but right now the kids are in bed and I am taking the opportunity to relax on the couch and get some virtual work done. Please share what worked (or didn't) for you.

Happy Cooking!
Zizi

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