Dreamy Dairy-free Lemon “Crème” Brûlée with Fresh Berries

We had just finished picking like a gagillion berries from a local organic farm (shout out to Whitley Farms in Sharpsburg, GA), so I had to find something special to make with them.

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I’ve been mentally masticating on custards lately. Some of my attempts have not been so successful. But I wanted to keep at it until I got it right. Nothing brightens berries like lemon, so why not a fresh take on crème brûlée? – lemon with berries it is. And of course, I wanted to make it dairy free 🙂 As a bonus, it’s basically paleo-friendly (look for my suggestions at the end to make this full on paleo).

This recipe is super easy, but will certainly impress your friends with even the most discerning palates.

Prep for this one is minimal and custard cook time is about 10 minutes. The custard takes about 35-45 minutes to bake, and then an additional 2 minutes or so to finish. You could easily make the custard ahead of time, keep in the fridge, and bake just before you’re ready to serve.

For this recipe, you will need:

2 1/3 c. full fat coconut milk
2/3 c. nondairy milk
1 t. lemon oil
1 t. vanilla
1 T. tapioca flour
3 eggs + 3 egg yolks
5 t. fresh lemon zest
1/4 c. + 2 T. evaporated cane juice
a few tablespoons of brown sugar for finishing
1 1/4 c. chopped strawberries
1 1/4 c. blackberries
1 1/4 c. blueberries

You’ll need 8 small ramekins (8 oz. capacity). Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

First, zest about 4 lemons – you want at least 5 t. fresh lemon zest.

Next, prepare your eggs and egg yolks for your custard.

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In  a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk, nondairy milk, vanilla, and 1/4 c. of evaporated cane juice. Add the tablespoon of tapioca flour and whisk until smooth. Scald the milk – i.e. heat the milk on medium heat until the milk just starts to bubble at the edges. Turn the heat down to a simmer and stir constantly until the mixture thickens.

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How do you know when it’s done? The custard will just coat the back of a wooden spoon such that if you make streak, it holds shape.

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Remove the custard from the heat and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes.

Next, beat the eggs and egg yolks well.

It is key that you do not curdle the eggs/egg yolks with a milk mixture that is too hot. How do you avoid that? Temper the beaten eggs with a spoonful of the milk mixture at a time. Add one spoonful of the milk mixture to the egg mixture and mix, allowing the egg mixture to rest before adding more milk mixture. You’ll continue to do this until you’ve added about 3/4 of the milk mixture to the egg mixture. Add the remaining milk mixture and mix well.

Next, add the lemon oil and 3 t. of lemon zest – mix.

Pour the custard into the ramekins and add fresh berries to each ramekin (about 2 T. for each ramekin).

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To bake the custard, place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the sheet in the oven and fill the bottom of the baking sheet with at least 1″ of water (more if you have a deeper baking sheet/pan).

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Bake the custards for 35-45 minutes, until the center is set (i.e. it doesn’t jiggle when you move the sheet or pan). Remove the custards when set.

Preheat the oven to a high broil. The final baking step of the custards is to add a sprinkle of brown sugar to each ramekin and broil for about 2 minutes (to carmelize the sugar and create the sugar crust that crème brûlée is so well known for).

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In a small bowl, combine the remaining berries, lemon zest, and evaporated cane juice and toss. This is your fresh berry topping.

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Top the crème brûlée with the fresh berry dressing and enjoy warm!

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I promised I would add a few notes on how to paleo-ize this dish. Substitute palm sugar for the brown sugar and substitute honey or maple syrup for the evaporated cane juice. Note, if you’re using honey or maple syrup, you’ll need to reduce the amount of nondairy milk that you use to account for the extra liquid.

And viola! Bon appetite 🙂

– Nicole

 

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Hello Summer Strawberry Rhubarb and Oat Scones (Gluten-free)

Strawberries have been coming to the end of their season as summer comes into full swing and the stores have been full of bright red, perfectly ripe and sweet strawberries. We couldn’t resist buying two quarts. To boot, rhubarb was also on sale and I immediately thought of my grandmother’s strawberry rhubarb oatmeal crisp. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it! The contrast of the tart rhubarb with ripe, sweet strawberries has got to be one of my all time favorite flavor combinations.

I’ve also had scones on the brain. A while back I tried making vegan apricot and anise scones and they didn’t tun out so well – think hockey puck 😦 But I’ve been determined to redeem myself. This recipe is not only gluten-free but also egg-free. You can make it dairy-free by substituting vegetable shortening or coconut oil for butter (I like to use Nutiva’s Palm Shortening).

Be sure to bake these on the day you plan on devouring them, because their delicate biscuitness takes on moisture, and by the next day it resembles something altogether different.

This recipe is based on Fannie Farmer’s Cream Scones recipe. I got mine from the 1936 edition. Pretty cool. For the record, a cream scone is basically a biscuit.

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For this recipe, you will need:

2/3 c. oat flour
2/3 c. tapioca flour
2/3 c. almond flour
4 t. baking powder
2 t. honey
1/2 t. salt
4 T. butter, softened
1/3 c. nondairy yogurt
2 stalks of rhubarb, sliced into small pieces
1 c. chopped strawberries
5 strawberries for decoration
honey for drizzling
parchment paper

First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

If you haven’t done so already, chop the rhubarb into 1/4″ or smaller pieces.

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In a small saucepan, combine 2 t. of the honey with the chopped rhubarb and cook on medium heat until the rhubarb is tender.

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Set aside and allow the mixture to cool.

Next, in a medium sized bowl, combine the flours, salt, baking powder and whisk (to mix).

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Cut the softened butter into 1/2″ sized pieces and add to the dry ingredients.

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Use your fingertips (or two forks) and cut the butter into the flour mixture. I like using my hands for this but make sure to always keep a light touch so that I don’t inadvertently melt the butter or shortening.

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It doesn’t have to be perfect for the scones, so don’t stress about the texture being a super fine meal.

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Now, add the yogurt and mix until just combined. The dough will be fairly wet.

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Add the 1 c. of chopped strawberries and the rhubarb with honey and stir until just combined.

Because the dough is so wet, it makes cutting out shapes difficult and just plain messy. Go ahead and pull out two pieces of wax paper.

Lay one piece of wax paper on a baking sheet and sprinkle with flour (I used oat). Spread the dough out so that’s it’s basically a 1/2″ thick rectangle.  Don’t forget to sprinkle with a bit of flour again.

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Cover with the second piece of wax paper and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes – this allows the dough to stiffen a bit, enough for cutting out shapes.

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Thirty minutes later, pull out the dough and cut with a knife or biscuit cutter.

I opted for triangles. First cut the dough into rectangles, and then cut diagonally across each rectangle for triangles. I was able to get about 24 small triangles (two-three bites each).

Place the triangles onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Finally, I sliced up the five strawberries I had set aside for garnish and placed one slice on top of each scone.

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Bake at 450 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes.

The scones will puff up a bit and golden around the edges.

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I added a sprinkle of palm sugar at the end. You could also drizzle them with honey.

Serve these babies while they’re warm and enjoy! 🙂 It’s like early summer having a party in your mouth.

– Nicole

 

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Charoset and Horseradish Passover Cupcakes

This year I was invited to my first seder. It was a Passover seder. What an awesome experience! And such an honor to have been invited – thank you Abby and Steve for letting us crash it with my mom 🙂 I loved the storytelling, I loved the questions, I loved the company, and I loved the singing (even if I didn’t know the tune).

And of course, I really enjoyed being introduced to new foods. I got to try charoset, huevos haminados, gefilte fish, and the best lamb I probably ever had. Afterwards, I was sent home with leftover charoset and horseradish root and of course my mind immediately started to churn ideas on what to do with them. Well, I can tell you, if I was ever on Chopped and they gave me charoset and horseradish, I’d crush it.

There are six symbolic foods used in the Passover seder (mind you, this is not a lesson about Passover). They are horseradish (maror), romaine lettuce (chazeret), charoset, parsley (karpas), roasted lamb (zeroa), and a hard boiled egg (beitzah). Since I was sent home with charoset and maror – well, this recipe is what came out.

The other big food related item with Passover is unleavened food, particularly bread. That’s where matzah bread comes from. So, with this recipe, it was important that the cupcakes be unleavened – that also meant no egg because of it’s properties as a leavening agent.

If you’re not familiar with Passover, you might ask, what’s in charoset? There are lots of variations for charoset, but it is typically a “paste” made of fruit, nuts, and wine. Abby’s recipe included chopped apples, walnuts, raisins, apricots, Manischewitz wine, and spices. Delish!

Lastly, I had to incorporate the horseradish. If you going to eat something sharp and bitter in taste, then coating it in cream cheese and sugar should lighten it a bit 😉 Every bite or so, you’ll still get a bite of horseradish 🙂

Did I mention that this recipe is gluten-free and grain-free?

For this recipe, you will need:

Cupcakes
2 c. charoset
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
3 flax eggs
3/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground allspice
1/4 c. + 2 T. almond flour
1/4 c. + 2 T. tapioca flour
3/4 c. coconut flour
1/4 c. + 2 T. evaporated cane sugar
2/3 c. nondairy milk (I used a 50/50 mix of almond and coconut milks)

Icing
8 oz. cream cheese
2 t. vanilla extract
3 t. fresh grated horseradish
3 c. of powdered sugar

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcakes tray(s) with 12 cupcake liners.

Prepare your flax eggs by combining 3 T. of flax meal with 9 T. of almost hot water. Water temperature is important here as it helps to activate the mucilage of the seeds, making the mixture “snotty”. Initially the mixture will appear watery.

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Stir and let it sit for a few minutes. It will start to bind together, literally like snot. That’s good – it’s going to help bind the cupcake batter so that it doesn’t just fall apart when you take a bite.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients (spices, flour, and sugar).

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Next, measure out your charoset and applesauce, and add to the flour mixture.

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Add the oil, vanilla extract, and nondairy milk and continue to mix the batter until well combined.

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Portion equally into your cupcake liners. Note, you can fill them to the top because we haven’t added any leavening agent. Now that doesn’t mean that your cupcakes won’t rise some, but they definitely won’t billow over the liner.

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Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

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The cupcakes get a bit golden brown. Mine fell after a minute or two; they probably could have baked another  2-3 minutes.

I, of course, saw this as an opportunity for icing spackle 😉

After about 10 minutes, remove the cupcakes from the tray and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.

Now, while the cupcakes are cooling, go ahead and make the icing.

The icing is a simple cream cheese icing with the addition of finely chopped horseradish.

Peel and chop about 3-4″ of a smaller sized root, 2-3″ for a larger sized root.

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I wanted a much finer chop so I decided to break out the mini food processor. I first added about 4 oz. of cream cheese and 2 t. of vanilla extract to lube the horseradish.

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Keep processing until you almost can’t see little pieces of horseradish.

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But I promise you, they’re there 😉

Next, transfer the cream cheese mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add 1 c. of powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add another 2 oz. of cream cheese. Mix until smooth. Add another 1 c. of powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Repeat this one more time until you’ve added a total of 3 c. of powdered sugar to your cream cheese/horseradish mixture.

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I didn’t get all fancy pants when I iced these – mostly because we were in too much of a hurry to eat the cupcakes. Ice them as you see fit of course.

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A few words about this cupcake recipe – this is an extremely moist cupcake. It is also a very sweet cupcake. That’s all intentional. If you want a drier cupcake, up your flour content by a few tablespoons and/or remove the applesauce. Sweet works here, but if you want more balance, by all means add some kosher salt to the batter and the icing (about 1/2 t. should do it).

These cupcakes are basically paleo-friendly. You can always omit the cream cheese and make a standard vanilla icing with the horseradish using vanilla, powdered sugar, and grass-fed butter. To make it vegan, just substitute your favorite vegan cream cheese in the icing.

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Finally, enjoy! Mazel tov!

– Nicole

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Spicy Carrot Top Kimchi

This year, I am exploring my love (and ability) for all things fermented. So far, Monkey Man and I have made a few different varieties of kombucha, and I have a few different varieties of gluten-free levains going in the fridge. Fermented beverage? Check. Fermented baked good? Check. I decided it was time to take the plunge and try making my own kimchi. Fermented condiment? Check 🙂

Traditional kimchi is a fantastic fermented cabbage condiment that originates from Korea (third century C.E.). Originally, it was made mostly from fermented radishes but over the years, as trade increased and new foods emerged, it incorporated modern day kimchi’s cabbage and red pepper. Supposedly there are over 200 varieties of kimchi – which either means this is version 201 or I’m repeating someone else’s kimchi recipe unknowingly.

You might ask, why carrot tops? Well, Monkey Man and I have been pretty keen on grilling carrots as one of our veggies with dinner. But I’ve always felt guilty about throwing away the carrot tops that inevitably come with the carrots. Of course I could compost them – if I had a compost (don’t judge me). Well, why not turn them into kimchi? And so this post was born 😉 In fact, I don’t use the typical kimchi veggies – napa cabbage and daikon. Instead, I used carrot tops, brussel sprouts, and bok choy. Hey, why not?

I’m pleased to say that it turned out well, and I’ve already enjoyed one of the three jars that this recipe made. Note, this recipe actually takes one week to make (it has to ferment of course!), and there’s an overnight brine – so plan accordingly.

For this recipe, you’ll need:

2 c. carrot tops, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 head of bok choy, matchstick cut bottoms and roughly chopped green tops
1 lb. brussel sprouts, roughly chopped
2 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1/2″ – 1″ pieces
1/4 c. sea salt
Cold water
1 T. minced garlic
1 t. grated ginger
1 t. honey
2-3 T. fish sauce
2 T. red pepper flakes
1 T. hot paprika
1 T. chili powder

This recipe is also a great way to recycle washed glass pasta sauce jars or large jam jars. I used one canning jar and two pasta sauce jars. You can also use plastic jars, the material shouldn’t affect the fermentation process itself.

Prepare your vegetables.

Rinse and chop everything – carrot tops, bok choy, brussel sprouts and scallions.

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Carrot tops

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Bok choy

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Scallions

It ends up being about 2 cups of chopped carrot tops and 2 cups of chopped bok choy.

 

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Carrot tops and bok choy

I mandolined the brussel sprouts and then placed them in a large casserole dish with the other chopped veggies (bok choy and carrot tops). You could place them in a large bowl, either works. It needs to be large enough that you can cover the veggies in salt water to brine overnight without splashing all over the place 😉 Add cold water until the veggies are covered/submerged, then add the 1/4 c. salt and mix well.

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Brining veggies

Now, set aside the veggies in the fridge overnight.

The next day, drain the brine and allow the veggies to drain any excess water in a colander.

Go ahead and mix your kimchi paste by combining the garlic, ginger, honey, fish sauce, red pepper flakes, paprika, and chili powder, and mixing until well combined.

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Kimchi paste

Here comes the messy part. I might recommend using gloves if you have them, otherwise your hands may stain a bit. Of course I like being messy, so I was all in with ungloved hands (yes, I liked making mud pies as a child).

In a large mixing bowl, combine the drained, brined veggies, the chopped scallions, and dollops of the kimchi paste.

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Here comes the messy part

Now, mix very well, ensuring that every bit is coated in the kimchi paste.

Finally, pack tightly your jars. The more tightly they are packed, the better the fermentation will be. Truthfully, two of my jars were not completely full and it still fermented just fine.

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Tightly packed kimchi jar

Now you just have to be patient. Set the jars in a dark, warm room. For me, that was the garage (we had highs in the 70s and 80s), but that could also be the laundry room (that’s where I keep my scoby), closet, you get the idea. It’s best if the room is at least 70 degrees and does not get direct sunlight.

After 24 hours, twist the lids and release the gas that has built up in the jars (you’ll hear a poof when you do this). Tighten the lids and leave the kimchi be for one week.

If you hold the jar up to your ears, you’ll hear little bubbles of gas being released inside the jar. Pretty cool – that means you’ve got a nice active culture!

After fermentation, store your kimchi in the refrigerator. If you don’t, the fermentation process will continue; that’s perfectly fine if you want a more sour kimchi, it’s totally up to your personal preference.

Personally, I eat some every morning to give my gut flora a boost of natural probiotics. And the spice is a great way to help me wake up 😉

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Spicy carrot top kimchi

Enjoy!

– Nicole

A few notes:

I only brined my veggies for 2 hours originally. This wasn’t enough for the salty kimchi flavor I love, so I added brine at the end. You can also do this if you don’t feel like brining overnight.

If you want a really mild flavored kimchi, only ferment overnight with an initial brief brine. But then you’re missing out on some of the great probiotics that develop with a longer ferment.

Play around with different veggies combinations! Why not try adding french finger radishes or purple cabbage for a pop of color?

Want to make it vegan? Just omit the honey and use agave nectar or cane sugar.

Lastly, this is a SPICY kimchi. If you want less heat, just reduce the amount pepper added.

 

 

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Tired of Pumpkin? Try Spiced Clementine Cake with Rum Soaked Dried Fruit Sauce

To me, Thanksgiving is all about pumpkin pie. Really. I could pass up on just about everything else (exception = mashed potatoes) but I live for pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Growing up my mom and grandmother made three types of pumpkin pie. Did you even know there are three types of pumpkin pie?

But I realize not everyone feels the way I do about pumpkin, so I thought I’d post an autumn inspired dessert, worthy of Thanksgiving, but sans pumpkin. It’s a spiced version of the Clementine Cake I posted in January, with a dried fruit and rum sauce that make this so not Walter Mitty’s mother’s cake. This cake is great because it is gluten-free and can be grain-free with a simple substitution.

It takes about 3 hours to prep and 45 minutes to bake, and needs time to cool completely before serving. I made this one day before I was planning to serve it.

I really enjoyed this recipe and I hope you do too 🙂

For this recipe, you will need:

Rum Sauce and Candied Clementines
3/4 c. dried dark fruit (any mixture of cherries, currants and prunes)
1 1/2 c. spiced rum
2 1/2 c. cane sugar
1/2 c. water
1 T. vanilla extract
3 clementines

Spiced Clementine Cake
1 1/4 c. almond flour
1 c. finely ground corn meal
3/4 c. candied clementine syrup
1 T. vanilla extract
4 clementines
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. allspice
pinch of cardamom
6 large eggs, brought to room temperature

First thing is first. In a small bowl, soak the dried dark fruit in 1 c. of spiced rum. Set aside and allow it to soak for about 2 hours. I used 1/4 c. of dried cherries, 1/4 c. of currants, and 1/4 c. of prunes. You can really use any combination you’d like, but I strongly encourage you to have some cherries in that mix – I think they made the sauce.

Next, if you have not pulled the eggs from the fridge, do so now and let them come to room temperature.

About one hour into the dried fruit soak, you can start making the candied clementine slices. You’ll use these to line the bottom of your spring foam pan.

Thinly slice three clementines (a 2 or 3 setting on a mandolin, or about 1/8″ by hand).

 

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Make sure that you save the ends that you are not candying – set them aside in a bowl. Make sure you’ve got the right amount by laying them out on the bottom of a parchment lined spring foam pan bottom.

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Next, you’re going to candy the slices. This makes them soft, soft enough that you can easily eat them (i.e. cut with a fork). In a large saucepan, bring 1 1/2 c. of cane sugar, 1/2 c. of water, and 1/2 c. of rum to a boil until all sugar is dissolved.

Add the slices of clementine to the sugar water and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

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Lightly spray the bottom of your parchment lined spring foam pan (9 or 10″).

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, gently remove the slices from the syrup and line the bottom of your parchment lined spring foam pan.

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Save the syrup that candied the clementine slices. Add 1 T. of vanilla extract and set aside (should be about 3/4 c.) to cool.

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After removing the pithes, quarter 4 clementines and place in a medium bowl with the extra ends and pieces left over from preparing your candied clementine slices.

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Cover them with a plate and microwave for 3.5 minutes on high. Next, “mash” the clementines in a food processor.

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In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, mix the dry ingredients (almond flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt, spices). Note, if you want to make this cake grain-free, simply substitute almond flour for all of the corn meal.

Now, here is where you pause from cake prep and switch gears to rum sauce prep.

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small pot, add the dried fruit and rum, 1 T. vanilla extract and 1 c. cane sugar. Bring it to a boil (to cook off the alcohol and dissolve the sugar) and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

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The sauce will darken and thicken and the fruit becomes very soft.

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Blend in a food processor until smoothish.

Spoon some of the rum sauce onto the bottom of the spring foam pan, over the sliced clementines.

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Now that the sauce is done, switch gears back to the cake batter.

The syrup should be cooled. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Via slow drizzle, add the cooled syrup to the eggs, whisking on low speed. Once you’ve added all of the syrup, increase the speed to medium-high until the volume of the mixture has doubled (about 5 minutes).

Switch the whisk to a paddle and add the mashed clementines until combined. Next, add the flour mixture until combined.

Pour the batter into the spring foam pan.

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Bake for approximately 45 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).

Cool the cake on a wire rack. Once the cake is mostly cooled (a little warm is okay), transfer it to a serving plate. Drizzle or pipe the remaining rum sauce onto the cake. Be sure to have some drip down the sides of the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.

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And enjoy!

– Nicole

 

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Savory Meets a Little Sweet – Creamy Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

This is the time of year where all things squash, pumpkin, and allspice seem to hit the shelves of the grocery store (and every other store for that matter!). Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I love it, love it, love it! Fall is my favorite time of year, in part because I love the seasonal flavors.

In the span of two weeks I had had some type of butternut squash soup – once from Whole Foods (try the Triple Squash, it’s amazing) and once in England. Twice was enough for me to consider it my destiny to make some at home 🙂

This soup is fairly easy to make (bonus) and full of vegetables (double bonus). It is creamy, but don’t be deceived – there’s no dairy in this recipe. And if you subscribe to a vegan lifestyle, no worries – just substitute coconut oil for the butter and vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Note, it is savory but with a mildly sweet finish (that’s because of the maple syrup and brown sugar). If you’re not sure if you like that, then be very modest when adding the syrup and sugar. I’d start with half of the syrup and adjust to your liking. For the brown sugar (or palm sugar), add one tablespoon at a time and adjust to your liking.

In total, it takes about 1 hour to make the soup, but most of that time is allowing the vegetables to simmer 😉

For this recipe, you will need:

2 c. peeled and sliced carrots
4 c. peeled and cubed butternut squash
4 stalks of celery, trimmed and sliced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 T. butter
3 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. water
1 T. thyme
1 t. ground black pepper
2 t. minced ginger (or ginger paste)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 c. coconut cream
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 T. brown sugar (or palm sugar)
1 t. ground allspice
1 t. salt

Aside of the simmer time, prepping the vegetables takes a bit of time (all that slicing and dicing). Slice the carrots about 2mm thick (1/8″) and cube the butternut squash into approximately 1″ cubes.

Cuber butternut squash

In a large stock pot, melt the 2 T. of butter on medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper, and thyme and cook for about 6 minutes.

Cooking the vegetables - Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

You want the vegetables to brown just slightly.

Browning the vegetables - Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

Add the squash, broth, water, ginger and garlic.

Simmer down now - Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

Simmer for 40-45 minutes on low heat.

Once the vegetables are tender, drain the liquid into a pourable bowl or large measuring cup and set aside.

Transfer the vegetables into a food processor (or blender).

Get ready to blend! - Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

Blend until the mixture is basically smooth.

Blended - Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

Now, add the coconut cream, maple syrup, allspice and brown sugar and mix well.

Finally, add the broth back into the soup one cup at a time, blending at least one minute between additions, until you reach the desired consistency. For me, that was about 2-3 cups of broth.

Serve warm with a dollop of coconut cream and a sprinkle of ground allspice – and enjoy!

Creamy Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup🙂  Nicole

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Fall Harvest Bundt Cake with Apple Cider Glaze and Salted Caramel Drizzle

I love Fall. It is hands down my favorite season. The air is crisp, the days are sunny, the nights are cool, add in an evening fire and I’m in heaven.

For the past two weeks or so, I can’t seem to keep my eyes off of the apple cider, apples, parsnips and sweet potatoes in the grocery store. I guess that where’s the inspiration of this post comes from. There were a lot of directions this recipe could have gone, but in the end it was a mix of a sour cream pound cake, sweet potato cake, and apple-parsnip cake. I hope you enjoy it as much as Monkey Man and I did 🙂

For those of you with kids that have trouble getting them to eat fruits and veggies, this recipe cleverly hides  one apple, one large parsnip, and one medium sized sweet potato (bonus!). And while I made it as a bundt cake, you could easily turn it into muffins. This cake could be served as breakfast (with pumpkin spiced coffee…yum!) or as a dessert.

There are three components to this recipe: 1) the cake, 2) an apple cider glaze, and 3) a salted caramel drizzle.

For this recipe you will need:

Bundt Cake
1/2 c. butter, cut into pieces and softened
1 c. sour cream
1 1/4 c. cane sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 1/2 c. sweet potato, peeled and mashed
4 eggs
1/3 c. apple cider
2 t. molasses
2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. coconut flour
1/2 c. + 2 T. tapioca flour
1/2 c. + 2 T. almond flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. ground ginger
1 apple, peeled and shredded
1 large parsnip, peeled and shredded
3/4 c. chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a bundt pan with coconut oil – I always keep a can of coconut oil spray around for this specifically.

There’s a bit of prep to get out of the way first. Peel and cube the sweet potato. You can either boil the potato to cook and soften (about 15 minutes), or microwave with a small amount of water in the bowl (about 11 minutes). Once the potato is cooked and softened, mash it. I used a hand masher but you could also use a food processor. Set aside.

Next, peel and core the apple and peel and trim the parsnip. Shred both using either a hand grater or a food processor. I used the larger holes rather than the smaller ones.

Apple and Parsnip - Fall Harvest Bundt Cake

In a large mixing bowl, add the softened butter, sugar, and sour cream and cream until light and fluffy.

Butter and Sugars - Fall Harvest Bundt CakeCreamed - Fall Harvest Bundt Cake

 

 

 

 

 

Next, add the mashed sweet potato and mix on medium speed until very well mixed.

Sweet Potato Mixture 1 - Fall Harvest Bundt Cake

The mixture will start to look curdled. It’s okay. Add the eggs, one at a time. Allow the batter to mix for 1 minute on medium speed after the addition of each egg. It will look even more curdled….really, don’t worry 😉

Sweet Potato Mixture 2 - Fall Harvest Bundt Cake

In a medium sized bowl, mix the flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices.

Flour Mixture - Fall Harvest Bundt Cake

Add the flour mixture in 2-3 additions to the sweet potato mixture. Mix well. The “curdling” goes away here 🙂

Batter - Fall Harvest Bundt Cake

Add the vanilla extract and molasses to the apple cider, and then add to the batter and mix for another 1-2 minutes on medium speed.

Finally, add the parsnip, apple, and chopped pecans to the batter and mix until just blended. Add the batter to the greased bundt pan and smooth out the top with your spatula.

Ready for the oven - Fall Harvest Bundt Cake

Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. I had to foil the cake at about 40 minutes to make sure the top did not brown too much.

All done! - Fall Harvest Bundt Cake

Cover the cake with a piece of wax paper or parchment paper and the cooling rack, and invert to release the cake from the pan to cool.

Cooling Cake - Fall Harvest Bundt Cake

Now, you don’t actually want the cake to cool all of the way before you glaze it, so while it’s cooling from hot to warm, go ahead and prepare the glaze and salted caramel sauce.

Glaze
3 T. apple cider
1 c. confectioner’s sugar

In a medium mixing bowl, add 3 T. of apple cider to 1 c. of confectioner’s sugar. Whisk well – make sure there are no lumps.

Salted Caramel Sauce
1/2 c. cane sugar (or palm sugar or brown sugar)
6 T. apple cider
1/2 t. salt
1 T. butter (or ghee or coconut oil)

For the caramel sauce, add the sugar and 3 T. of apple cider to a small saucepan. On high heat, bring the sugar and cider to a boil. Allow it to boil for about 4 minutes, but be sure to not let it burn. Add the 1 T. of butter and 1/2 t. salt and mix well. The sauce will lightly coat the spoon.

Salted Caramel Sauce - Fall Harvest Bundt Cake

Now here’s the gig – the caramel sauce will start to thicken (and harden if you let it sit). As it does, but while it’s still very stir-able, add 1 T. of apple cider every 10 minutes or so to prevent it from seizing. The sauce will darken in color a bit. If it does harden significantly, just reheat the caramel until it is fully melted and add the apple cider.

Salted Caramel Sauce 2 - Fall Harvest Bundt Cake

Before you drizzle it on the cake, it should be thick enough to basically stay put. You can test this by coating the spoon and lifting it from the pan – rather than just drip from the spoon, it should pull with the spoon a bit.

Now, if your cake is still on the rack, transfer it to a plate for serving. Pour the glaze over the cake, ensuring that it runs over the sides. Allow it to harden a bit before adding the caramel drizzle.

Glazed - Fall Harvest Bundt Cake

Next, drizzle the caramel sauce over top of the glaze.

Caramelized - Fall Harvest Bundt Cake

Now here’s the best part – enjoy!

Fall Harvest Bundt Cake

A few things you can do to change this recipe up (if you’re so inclined):

  1. add 3/4 c. of golden raisins or currants
  2. add chopped walnuts instead of pecans
  3. substitute 1 c. pumpkin for the 1 1/2 c. of mashed sweet potato
  4. add rum to the caramel sauce for added depth of flavor
  5. replace the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg with allspice, clove, and cardamom (just a pinch though!)

If you need to make this recipe dairy-free, omit the sour cream and use shortening instead of butter. Then increase the shortening by 1/2 cup, so 1 cup total.

If you try any of these variations let me know how they worked for you 😉

– Nicole

Posted in baked good, breakfast, dessert, has dairy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Homeade Sausage Breakfast Casserole with Crispy Root Vegetable Crust

Long story short, I had breakfast sausage and carrot souffle on the brain – this is what ended up coming out.

I decided to combine the sausage and carrot into one dish rather than having to serve them as two distinct components for breakfast. I like an easy breakfast routine 😉 This casserole reheats very well and is a great option if you like to do food prep early in the week for leftovers throughout the week.

And as a bonus, it served as the impetus to make my own sausage 🙂 This recipe uses pork and beef, home grown herbs, dried cherries, shredded sweet potatoes and carrots, eggs and dairy (yogurt and cheese).

This recipe can be easily made dairy free – just exclude the yogurt and cheese and add more egg. You can also substitute TSP for the meat for your sausage if you’re an ovovegetarian. You could even use some sort of egg replacer for the eggs, sub the yogurt with vegan cream cheese and omit the shredded cheese if you are vegan. If you need it to be low FODMAPs friendly, simply replace the dried cherries with blueberries. Lots of options here. This recipe IS gluten-free and Paleo-friendly.

For this recipe, you will need:

Ingredients for the sausage

Sausage:
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef
1 t. salt
1 t. fresh ground black pepper
1/2 t. ground white pepper
2 t. chives
2 t. cayenne pepper
4 t. paprika
2 t. finely chopped fresh sage
1 t. finely chopped fresh thyme
1 t. finely chopped fresh lavendar
1 t. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 t. ground allspice
1 c. diced dried cherries
3 T. garlic infused oil

Root Vegetable Crust:
3-4 medium sweet potatoes
1 c. carrots, ends trimmed
3/8 c. melted coconut oil
sprinkle of salt (if desired)

Egg Filling:
12 large eggs
1 c. yogurt or cottage cheese
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

First, in a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the sausage and mix thoroughly. For this part, I use my hands – it’s pretty messy but effective.

Add 3T. of garlic infused oil to a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the sausage mixture to the skillet and cook the sausage completely (i.e. browned with no pink).

Cooking up the sausage

Once the sausage is cooked, drain the fat. I laid the sausage on a stack of paper towels to cool – this also helps absorb any extra fat.

Cooling the sausage

Now, while the sausage is cooling, you can prepare the sweet potato and carrot crust.

First, grab a large, glass casserole dish or a large spring foam pan. I tried both formats and both work well so the choice is yours.

Put 3/8 c. of coconut oil is a small bowl and heat for about 30 seconds in the microwave to melt the oil.

Clean the sweet potatoes and carrots and trim ends or unsightly spots.

Sweets and Carrots

Using a food processor (or by hand), shred or grate (use the large grate, not fine) the sweet potatoes and carrots.

Add the coconut oil and mix well. Add to your casserole dish or spring foam pan. If you’re using a spring foam pan, you may want to spray the pan with some additional coconut oil spray to prevent sticking (and a parchment paper disc on the bottom of the pan).

Casserole dish lined with shredded sweets and carrots Spring foam pan lined with sweets and carrots

There are two important things to note here – you want the thickness of the crust to be fairly uniform throughout, and it needs to also cover the sides of the dish or pan. How far up the side of the pan or dish should it be? Here, 1″ was perfect, but I’d actually say 1 1/2″ (I split my filling between two pans). Note, the spring foam pan shown here has a 6″ diameter and the glass casserole dish is 9″ x 13″. If you are using only a spring foam pan, I’d recommend using a 9″ spring foam pan.

If you like salty food, sprinkle the unbaked crust with a bit of salt.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Grate 8 oz. of sharp cheddar cheese (large or fine grate).

Shredded Tower of Cheese

Crack the eggs into a large bowl. (I always crack my eggs into a separate bowl in case there are any shell bits that need to be fished out….)

Add the eggs to a blender, along with the yogurt and blend well.

20150814_083016

My blender kind of sucks – so I added the cheese to the egg mixture in a large mixing bowl. By all means, if you’re blender will handle it, add the cheese to the blender and mix.

Egg, yogurt and cheese mixture - Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Before you add the sausage to the egg mixture, be sure to crumble the sausage – you don’t want huge chunks of sausage to overwhelm a bite, so make sure they are bite size or smaller pieces.

Fill the casserole dish and/or spring foam pan.

Ready to go! - Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Place in the oven on a middle rack and bake until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean – about 50-60 minutes.

Make sure you let the casserole set for about 5-10 minutes before serving.

Finished Sausage Breakfast Casserole

You can see that the crust browns and crisps nicely at the edges (the first piece is turned upside down) 🙂

20150814_10112620150814_100839

And enjoy!

– Nicole

Posted in beef, breakfast, has dairy, main dish, pork | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Triple Pickle

So, things have been crazy on my end – hence the lack of posts. My apologies. To be honest, it’s been a rough few months for various reasons. One of the reasons is my finicky stomach; that makes cooking and baking not a lot of fun, not to mention restrictive. Restrictive how? Well, I’ve been on a low FODMAPS diet since the beginning of June. Unfortunately I have not had a ton of improvement, but it’s interesting to learn about it. So long story short, it’s changed my perspective on food a bit lately.

What else have I been busy with? Well, this year Monkey Man and I started a vegetable garden in our back yard. It’s been a successful experiment so far 🙂 We planted garlic, shallots, scallions, herbs, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, kale, lettuce, swiss chard, beets, melon, squash, cucumbers, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and potatoes. Not all of the seeds sprouted, so we’re learning; but we recently harvested 10 pounds of fingerling potatoes and the cucumbers are just downright prolific.

In the garden - cucumber plants

You can only eat so much cucumber on a salad, or eat so much cucumber salad. So what do you do with the rest (aside of give it away)? Make pickles 🙂

This post actually contains three pickle recipes – Sweet Gherkins, Bread and Butter Pickles, and Dill-ish Spears. These are refrigerator pickles, so they are 1) super easy to make, 2) ready to eat in a few days, and 3) not meant for long term storage. Should you want to make pickles for long term storage, you can use the same brine, but the process is a bit different.

Sweet Gherkins were my favorite pickle as a kid and I can’t tell you how pleased I was for these to turn out well!

For the Sweet Gherkins, you will need:

Sweet Gherkin ingredients

200 g small cucumbers (about 1/2″ in diameter)
2/3 c. water
1/3 c. white distilled vinegar
1/3 c. champagne vinegar
2 t. sea salt, uniodized
1/2 c. cane sugar
1/2 t. fennel seed
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. celery seed
7-8 whole cloves
1/4 t. mustard seed
1/8 t. ground tumeric

I reuse jars – pasta sauce jars, jelly jars, any jar really. I clean them and sanitize them in the dishwasher before pickling. I was a bit lazy about the labels this time – so excuse them please. But if you want, just soak the jars in hot, soapy water for about an hour and the labels will come right off.

Check your cucumbers and trim any stems, remove any flowers, etc.

Small Cucumbers

Pack your cucumbers into the jar to make sure they’ll fit. This was a small sauce jar.

Making sure the jar is filled

Next, add all of the spices, sugar, salt, vinegars and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Making the brine - sweet gherkins

The salt and sugar should be completely dissolved. I usually transfer the brine into a large measuring cup (4+ cup capacity) to make pouring the brine into the jar a bit easier.

Getting the brine into the jar - sweet gherkins

Fill the packed jar with the brine, making sure to fill the jar to the very top – don’t be afraid to let some spill over.

Fill it to the top - sweet gherkins

Place the lid on the jar and close tightly and place in the refrigerator for about 2 days prior to eating. They’ll pick up more flavor the longer they sit on the jar 😉 Don’t forget to gently turn the jar to move the spices around – they tend to sit at the bottom.

The filled jar - sweet gherkins


For the Bread and Butter Pickles, you will need:

Bread and Butter pickle ingredients

250 g cucumbers, 1-1.5″ diameter, sliced into discs
Handful of scallions or chives (green parts only), chopped
1 T. uniodized salt (sea salt)
4 heaping T. brown sugar (not packed)
2/3 c. water
2/3 c. apple cider vinegar
1/8 t. ground tumeric
1 whole clove
1 t. mustard seed
1/4 t. celery seed

First, slice the cucumbers into approximately 1/8″ discs. Discard the ends. Finely chop the chives.

"Bread and butter" cukes

Jar contents - bread and butter pickles

Pack the jar (I used a salsa jar) with the sliced cucumbers and chives to make sure it will fit. Be sure to layer in chopped chives throughout.

Add the brown sugar, water, apple cider vinegar, salt, and spices to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Making the brine - bread and butter pickles

Be sure that the salt and sugar have dissolved completely. Remove from the heat and transfer to a pourable measuring cup. As with the Sweet Gherkins, fill the jar completely – in fact, overfill the jar. Place the lid on the jar, invert a few times, and place in the refrigerator.

Jar of "bread and butter" pickles


Now, the Dill-ish Spears are not traditional Dill Spears for one big reason – I did not use garlic, hence low FODMAPs friendly 😉 But I think you’ll find they are still reminiscent of traditional Dill Spears. If garlic is not a problem for you, by all means add garlic (2-3 cloves).

For the Dill-ish Spears, you will need:

Dill spears ingredients

2 large cucumbers
1 1/2 c. water
3/4 c. white distilled vinegar
3/4 c. apple cider vinegar
Heaping handful of fresh dill
2 T. coriander seed
1/2 t. mustard seed
1 T. chives, chopped
2 T. salt
1 t. ground black pepper

First, cut off the ends of the cucumbers and cut out the seeds (at least most of them).

Cucumber spears

Double check the spears and make sure they fit in your jar. Trim and cut as required to make them fit 🙂

As with the other pickle pickle brine, combine the water, vinegar, and spices in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Place the fresh dill and chives in the bottom of the jar. Fill the jar with the spears and cover the spears with the brine. Place the lid on the jar and place in refrigerator.

Jar of dill spears

Two days later – pickles!

I hope you guys enjoy these. Monkey Man has 🙂

The beauty of pickling is the variety of spice combinations. You can use similar pickling brines for okra, chow chow, green beans, even fruit. Note, the brines in this post go from sweetest to not sweet – i.e. Sweet Gherkins, then Bread and Butter Pickles, then Dill-ish Spears. Both the Sweet Gherkins and the Bread and Butter Pickles call for tumeric (gives the pickles a yellow color) and cloves. These spices also give the impression of sweet. Careful with the cloves – a little goes a long way, so don’t be tempted to add more 😉

Now, I was tempted to use the apple cider vinegar for the Sweet Gherkins, but was afraid  that the flavor would over power them – that’s why I opted to use champagne vinegar. It’s got more depth than white distilled vinegar.

Have fun with it! And enjoy 🙂

– Nicole

Posted in appetizer, snack, vegan, vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bourbon Chocolate Tres Leches with Caramel and Toasted Coconut (Gluten-free!)

(Geez, I think this may be my longest post ever. I really hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. I put this in my show stopper category ;-))

So Monkey Man and I are over at our friends’ house (Chef Tony and Yvonne) for Sunday gravy. Yvonne’s friend Flo brings with her this amazing Tres Leches with toasted coconut brittle and a meringue top. Omg. But it was not gluten-free so basically I stared and drooled while everyone else ate this amazing cake. From that evening forward, I was bound and determined to make a gluten-free (and grain-free) Tres Leches cake.

After looking at a few recipes (I always start with a non-gluten-free recipe as my reference), I found one for chocolate Tres Leches. And so this post begins.

Now, before I list all of the ingredients and go through the steps let me give you an idea about how long this takes to make – a while! Making the cake is not the long part, but you have to soak the cake in the Tres Leches mixture (either 1.5-2 hours or overnight depending on how you do it). So on the short end, we’re talking 4 hours. On the long end, we’re talking 12 hours. But don’t fret – this cake is worth every second spent making it! 🙂 Definitely a cake worthy of a special occasion (or just wowing your friends) 😉

What’s different about this Tres Leches cake compared to traditional recipes? Well, first, it’s gluten-free. Second, it’s chocolate. Third, I use bourbon instead of rum. And fourth, I add toasted coconut and caramel sauce.

For this recipe, you will need:

Toasted coconut topping:
1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
coconut oil spray

Cake batter:
2 t. instant coffee + 3/4 c. water
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 c. coconut flour
1/2 c. tapioca four
1/4 c. almond flour
2 T. ground chia seed
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt + 1 pinch of salt
1/2 c. canola oil (or grapeseed oil)
1 T. vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
8 egg whites
3/4 t. cream of tartar
1/2 c. + 2 T. cane sugar

Caramel Sauce:
1 c. brown sugar + 3/4 c. water
1 T. butter

Tres Leches Mixture:
1 c. half and half or cream
4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (or 65% or greater dark chocolate)
14 oz. can sweetened, condensed milk
12 oz. can evaporated milk
1/2 c. bourbon

Whipped Topping:
2 1/2 c. very cold whipping cream
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. powdered sugar

First thing is first – prepare the cake pans. Grease two 9 inch cake pans (I used coconut oil spray).

Greased cake pan - Chocolate Flourless Chocolate Cake

Then, line the bottom of the cake pans with parchment paper. To do this, trace a circle on the parchment paper with the bottom of your cake pan. Cut out the circle and line the bottom of the cake pan. Spray the bottom with a bit of extra oil spray, just for good measure.

Lined Cake Pan - Chocolate Flourless Cake

Next, flour the cake pans and set aside.

Preparing the cake pans - Boozy Tres Leches

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Now, in a small saucepan, heat 3/4 c. water. Add the instant coffee. Once dissolved, add 1/2 c. of unsweetened baking cocoa. Whisk until there are no lumps and set aside to cool.

Coffee and cocoa mixture - Boozy Tres Leches

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients – coconut flour, tapioca flour, almond flour, ground chia seed, salt (1/2 t.), cane sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.

Dry Ingredients - Boozy Tres Leches

In a large mixing bowl, gently whisk the canola oil, vanilla extract and egg yolks.

Wet ingredients 1 - Boozy Tres Leches

Wet ingredients 2 - Boozy Tres Leches

Next, make sure that the coffee/cocoa mixture is cooled, and if so, add to the oil/yolk mixture. If it is not cooled, go ahead and put it in the fridge for a bit. If the coffee/cocoa mixture is not cooled, it could curdle the oil/yolk mixture – yuck.

Wet Ingredients 3 - Boozy Tres Leches

Add the dry ingredients to the coffee/cocoa/oil/yolk mixture – this is the base of your cake batter.

Making the batter 1 - Boozy Tres Leches

Now, in another large mixing bowl, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt and the cream of tartar. The cream of tartar helps the whipped egg whites retain their shape. Once the eggs whites become finely foamy, add the cane sugar in a fine stream while whisking. Continue to whisk until the whites become glossy and the soft peaks hold their shape. Finally, folding gently, add the flour mixture to the egg whites in three additions.

Whipping the whites - Boozy Tres Leches

Folding in the whites - Boozy Tres Leches

Once the egg whites and batter are uniformly combined, evenly fill the cake pans.

Filling the cake pans - Boozy Tres Leches

Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean.

Cool the cakes on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Here I used a piece of wax paper over the top of the cake pan to catch my cake when flipped the cake pan upside down.

Catching the cake - Boozy Tres Leches

Trim a fine layer off the top of the cake. I used a long serrated knife. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be perfect 😉

Trimming the cakes - Boozy Tres Leches

Why are you cutting off the tops of the cakes? This will allow you to pour the Tres Leches mixture over the cake and be absorbed. This step is critical for Tres Leches cake.

Now, clean out the cake pans (i.e. wash them) and place the cakes back into the cake pans – this is the set up for soaking the cakes. This is where laying the cakes on wax paper comes in handy – use it to slide the cake back into the pans.

Set the trimmed cakes in the cake pans aside and make the Tres Leches mixture.

For the Tres Leches sauce, pour the half and half into a medium saucepan. Add the semisweet chips.

Three milks 1 - Boozy Tres Leches

Heat until the chocolate is melted. Then add the condensed and evaporated milks and the bourbon. Using a whisk, mix until smooth.

Three milks 2 - Boozy Tres Leches

I poured this mixture into a large measuring cup (holds about 4 cups of liquid) and eyed the level – it’s about 4 cups. Carefully pour half of the mixture, a bit at a time, over one of the cakes. Give the cake enough time to absorb the liquid before you pour more on top. Try pour the Tres Leches mixture evenly over the surface of the cake. Once the liquid starts to rise up the sides of the cake, they won’t take on much more liquid. It’s okay if you don’t use all of the Tres Leches mixture – though I should note that I basically did. But if you do have extra Tres Leches mixture, save it for the caramel sauce!

Soaking the cakes - Boozy Tres Leches

Now, if you have the luxury of time, place the cakes in their pans in the refrigerator overnight. I did not have the luxury of time, so I placed my cakes in their pans in the freezer for almost 2 hours. Either will suffice. The longer you give the cakes to absorb the liquid, however, the less liquid will spill out from the cakes when you assemble them. Less time = more mess 😉

Before you’re ready to assemble the cake, you’ll need to make whipped cream, caramel sauce, toasted coconut, and chocolate shavings. The caramel sauce requires a little finesse.

In preparation for the whipped cream, the cream needs to be very cold. Go ahead and place it in the freezer while you toast the coconut and make the caramel sauce.

For the toasted coconut, lightly grease a cookie sheet or tray (I used coconut oil spray). Spread the shredded coconut evenly over the sheet or tray and place in a preheated oven (325 degrees F) for about 5 minutes. It should be nicely golden. Set aside.

Toasted Coconut Flakes - Boozy Tres Leches

For the caramel sauce, combine the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil for 5-8 minutes. The mixture will darken in color and become glossy.

Caramel Sauce 1 - Boozy Tres Leches

Caramel Sauce - Boozy Tres Leches

Add 1 T. of butter and mix well. Now, here’s the fun part. Add a bit of milk, or half and half, or leftover Tres Leches mixture to the caramel sauce until you’ve achieved the right consistency. If you don’t, the caramel will seize, making it completely unpourable. Add the liquid bit by bit until the mixture is thick and pourable and does not harden. I then filled a clean squeeze bottle I keep around – it makes drizzling the caramel sauce over the cake super easy 🙂

For the whipped cream, in a large bowl, whip the cold cream with 1 t. of vanilla extract. Once the cream starts to increase in volume, add the powdered sugar. Continue to whip until you have achieved typical whipped cream consistency. The mixture will be softly firm.

Whipped Cream 1 - Boozy Tres Leches

Whipped Cream 2 - Boozy Tres Leches

Finally, I normally have some sort of dark chocolate lying around. If you do, go ahead and make fine shavings with about 2 ounces of the chocolate.

Time to dress the cake!

When you take the cakes out of their pan, you may want to do it by the sink – if there’s a fair bit of unabsorbed liquid it’ll make quite the mess.

Start with one of the cakes.

Dressing the cake 1 - Boozy Tres Leches

Add a generous layer of whipped cream.

Dressing the cake 2 - Boozy Tres Leches

Then drizzle with caramel sauce.

Dressing the cake 3 - Boozy Tres Leches

Then sprinkle with toasted coconut and chocolate shavings.

Dressing the cake 4 - Boozy Tres Leches

Add the next cake and repeat. Then serve and enjoy!

– Nicole

Let’s talk quickly about substitutions.

If you have a nut allergy, you can probably just use a gluten-free all purpose baking flour of your choice (I like King Arthur’s personally).

If you can’t have dairy, well…..substitute coconut milk for the half and half and evaporated and condensed milks, but you’ll have to add sugar (probably about 1/2 c.). You can also make your own whipped coconut milk cream instead of actual whipped cream. Use 1 T. of coconut oil when making the caramel sauce (instead of butter), and again use coconut milk or almond milk instead of dairy.

Finally, if you’re not a bourbon person, use rum, or amaretto, or Frangelico, or Kahlua…..you get the idea 😉

Posted in baked good, chocolate, dessert, has dairy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment