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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Grain-free, dairy-free baking with Raya

I've never been huge on baking with my kids. Kids are gross and I like my food to be free of germs and other child-related debris. That being said, I do like to do a little bit of baking here & there with one kid at a time. Raya has helped me a handful of times but she's usually either not interested or else I don't want her touching or being near the ingredients I'm using because of her food allergies. She and I stayed home from church today though and I decided it was a good time to do a test run of the recipe I'm hoping to use for her birthday cake. I've had a pinterest board for a while that's all recipes that would either work for Raya as-is or could be easily modified to work around her allergies. We picked out a muffin recipe and a cupcake recipe and got to work.

Props to whoever started the paleo diet craze. It's making it WAY easier for me to find recipes that work for Raya. Looking for gluten-free recipes doesn't always work since most gluten-free recipes have some form of rice or other grain flour in them and we don't have ANY grains that she can have right now. Paleo people like their coconut and that works for us. :) The muffin recipe we used is for a basic muffin made with coconut flour that can have different fruits & spices added to change the flavor of the muffins. We did applesauce since she can have apples. The recipe is from a website called Healthy Living How To (click link for original recipe).

Here is the original recipe, along with the changes I made. I also halved the recipe and made it in a mini muffin tin since Raya doesn't eat very much food at a time.

Basic Coconut Flour Muffin 
Base-Dry Ingredients
  • 1/4 C coconut flour {original called for a specific brand, I used the stuff from Sprouts' bulk section}
  • 1/2 C flaxseed meal {original called for a specific brand, I was out of flaxseed meal & had to grind some whole flaxseeds in the Magic Bullet & make my own}
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt {Note: coconut flour has a naturally salty flavor to it so I either halve it or leave it out completely}
  • 1/8 tsp stevia extract powder {I don't have any so I used about 2-3 tsp of sugar but honey would be good too}
  • Spices (see options) {I used 1/2 tsp cinnamon}
Base- Wet Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, butter, or ghee, melted {I used coconut oil because of dairy allergy}
  •  1 tsp extract (see options) {I used vanilla extract}
  • 1/3 C water, coconut milk or almond milk {I used coconut milk since Raya's allergic to almonds and water seemed boring}
  • 1/4 C fruit puree (see options) {I used applesauce}
Options: {original recipe has several different versions, like banana muffins, pumpkin muffins, blueberry muffins, etc.}

Sift together dry ingredients in a medium bowl & set aside. Mix wet ingredients thoroughly in another bowl. Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well so there are no lumps. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Full recipe makes 6 regular sized muffins; half recipe makes about 9 mini muffins. Bake at 350 for 23 minutes for regular sized muffins and for about 12-14 minutes for mini muffins.

Here is my little baking buddy with her pan of muffin batter, ready for the oven.
(She gets to wear whatever she wants to on days when we don't leave the house.)

The funny thing about a lot of grain-free recipes is that they don't bake up quite the same way that "normal" baked goods do so they usually come out of the pan looking exactly like they did when they went in. The muffins pretty much looked like dry lumps of batter when they were done. I was feeling pretty excited & festive when I pulled them out of the oven so I dug out a fancy plate from the cupboard and gave her a muffin.
She liked it! Probably because when I asked her what it tasted like, she said potato chips. She would eat anything that tasted like potato chips. She ended up eating the whole thing, along with several of the larger chunks of ice in her cup. Girlfriend loves her ice. :) This week, she'll be having muffins for snack at school instead of beans and baked potato. :) The only thing I have left to do now is to plug the recipe in to a website that calculates nutrition information so I know how many calories the muffin was worth & all that other good stuff.

When we finished with the muffins, we got started on the cupcakes. The recipe we used is from sweet + natural and is called Mini Chocolate Cupcakes + Chocolate Peppermint Frosting. I'm not posting the whole recipe here because the only changes I made on the were that I didn't have any agave nectar so I subbed 1/3 C honey for the 1/2 C agave nectar and I used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. I also just used a pinch of salt instead of the 1/4 tsp called for in the recipe because like I mentioned before, coconut flour tends to give a salty flavor to baked goods and I wanted the cupcakes to taste sweet like cupcakes. The recipe says it makes 16 mini cupcakes but my mini muffin tin only holds 12 so ours were probably a little bigger than the ones in the original recipe since I just crammed all the batter into the 12. :)

I also halved the frosting recipe since this was just a trial run for her birthday and I didn't really want a huge batch of frosting sitting around for me to eat by the spoonful. Not that I would do that... The only changes I made (on purpose) from the original were leaving out the peppermint extract and using vanilla coconut milk instead of soy milk since we had vanilla coconut milk in the fridge (and I'm sort of anti-soy milk...). I made some accidental changes like accidentally pouring too much powdered sugar in and forgetting to halve the amount of cocoa powder, and then having to compensate by adding a little extra coconut milk, but it worked. The frosting turned out to be DELICIOUS! Here are some crummy cell phone pictures from our grain-free/dairy-free cupcake baking adventures.

Pure joy ♥
The muffins are pretty sad looking but look at those GORGEOUS chocolate cupcakes!
After I explained to her what a beater was and that she was supposed to lick the frosting off of it, we had a moment of mother-daughter beater-licking bonding. Never done that before with this kid!
She started out just licking the frosting off so I had to show her how to bite the cupcake AND frosting at the same time, bless her little heart. I guess if you've never had a cupcake before you wouldn't know that. She still prefers and has an easier time with having one texture in her mouth at a time so it's really different for her to bite both the cupcake and the frosting together.

The cupcakes are much more moist and have a more normal texture than the muffins. Probably because there are 3 eggs in the cupcakes and no flaxseed, which gave the muffins a more whole grain-ish texture & taste. I am totally impressed with these cupcakes. They are really tasty, with and without the frosting. (but really, who eats cupcakes without frosting...)
She may have just been a little full from her muffin and formula but she didn't finish the cupcake. She did lick every last speck of frosting off of it though and I suspect she'll eat the cupcake later when there's room in her stomach for it. Overall, both recipes were a huge success and I'm breathing a sigh of relief that we now have a Raya-friendly birthday cake recipe!

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