Carrie Fehr

Kitchen Garden Food and Fitness

Tag: gluten-free

Mochi Muffins

Mochi Muffin

I love these brown butter mochi muffins! They are quite different from any other muffins out there. When you bite into one, you’re rewarded with its soft, chewy texture and intriguing little burst of flavor that is the best version of mochi I’ve ever eaten. Ringing through them all, is the nutty taste of brown butter, then butterscotch with a resonant intensity of burnt caramel, and finally the crunch of sesame seeds that pop out to startle you. I think it’s safe to say, one batch probably won’t stay around very long, but if you are blessed with some leftover muffins, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2-days.

Brown Butter Mochi Muffins

Makes 1 dozen medium-sized muffins or 2 dozen mini-sized muffins.

Recipe adapted from Brown-Butter Mochi at The New York Times by Samin Nosrat. Inspired by Third Culture Bakery at Berkeley, CA.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pans

1 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups mochiko sweet rice flour (I use Koda Farms Blue Star Mochiko)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

black and toasted white sesame seeds for topping muffins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F

Grease cupcake tins with butter, including the rim around each muffin cup to help remove the muffins after baking.

To brown the butter, melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Swirl the saucepan occasionally, until the butter turns golden brown and begins to smell nutty. This will take about 5 minutes total, be careful not to let it burn like I did with my first attempt.

Remove from heat, and add coconut milk and brown sugar. Whisk until sugar and coconut milk melt. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Add eggs and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together mochiko flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the milk mixture, and mix until smooth.

Scoop batter into prepared cupcake tin completely filling it to the top. Sprinkle the tops with black and white sesame seeds.

Bake about 45 minutes until they just feel set in the center and the tops are golden brown. If using mini-sized muffin tin bake for about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack before serving.

Comfort In Cookies

Double chocolate cookie keto

In unsettling moments, one place that always provides sanctuary for me, is in the kitchen.  An unexpected turn of events, recently led me down the coast of California to visit my son, who lives in Los Angeles. We spent the day sharing things we enjoy together: a walk around the lake, breakfast at a new restaurant, conversations on life, while also savoring the quiet moments, and spending time in the kitchen baking cookies, naturally.

Late in the afternoon, at the end of our visit, my son offered to bake some keto-friendly chocolate cookies. The smell of baking never fails to improve my mood and on this particular day, it might just bring a little comfort for a tender heart.

Besides I was really curious, eager to find out how my son would turn out a batch of cookies sans sugar, and minus all of the carb-laden ingredients that make cookies delicious. Keto, or ketogenic is a low-carb diet based on eating real foods that offer healthy benefits. The idea intrigued me. A lot.

And I have to admit, there is something really satisfying and comforting, about watching my son embrace the cooking process in his own kitchen, watching him engage in a dialogue with food that unfolds his story.  I find myself standing beside the kitchen island filled with awe, when a realization suddenly hit me and I digress for a moment, becoming conscious of a difference that stands out like night and day—- my son’s cooking style is the polar opposite of mine!

Step inside my kitchen and the first thing you’ll notice when I’m preparing a recipe, is that it’s very organized. Every bowl, measuring spoon, and ingredient is lined up and ready to be creamed, mixed, or chopped and sent off to its final destination. I also mentally prepare in advance for the cooking adventure, absorbing myself fully in the process, like a method actor exploring a character. I completely immerse myself in the recipe, dissecting every angle imaginable, as I visualize and breathe my next creation.

My son’s approach to cooking sharply contrasts with mine. A creative thinker, he allows his existential journey through food to be guided by delight in haphazard curiosity and spontaneous improvisation. “What do you think if I combine ghee with butter?” he calmly asks, realizing there’s not enough butter in the refrigerator. Or, “I just found some cocoa powder I can throw in,” he says thrilled by his discovery. “Maybe add a few salted nuts?”

He relies on a recipe like a set of guidelines to forge his own culinary path, rather than a roadmap with constrictive rules. It adds a bit of suspense to the process and also serves as a nice reminder that recipes, like life, can’t always be perfect.

Tasting along the way, his cooking style is more defined by feel rather than exact measurements. None of his ingredients are precisely measured, as he casually scoops the concoction of cookie dough from the bowl onto the baking pan with sheer pleasure and satisfaction.  He pops the cookies into the oven, trusting his own intuition and senses to guide him when they will be ready to come out. Like an ear for languages, it’s a talent.

By contrast, I’m one who slavishly counts the seconds with my kitchen timer, in case I get distracted and forget something in the oven. Plus, I like to play by the rules. So many factors go into baking, it’s as much a science as an art. I’ve learned that the smallest alteration in the ingredient or method can completely change the cooking chemistry outcome. Thinking to myself, I begin to wonder about my son’s baking result.

But by the time the sweet smells of chocolate begin to fill the house, I quickly abandon all conventional baking wisdom, and my sense of anticipation is rising from the seductive aromas emanating from the kitchen.

Still warm from the oven, I eagerly reach for a cookie and gently break it apart with my hands. I can’t wait to taste it! I bite into the brownie-like cookie and taste a hint of flaky salt that carries the intensity of the stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips melting in my mouth. It reminds me of a super moist lava cake dripping in a silky river of chocolate. I find myself eating slowly, savoring the way the sweet and salty flavors ricochet around each other. Each bite makes me want another. I want more —- a lot more.

Although my son and I have very different culinary styles, we share the same philosophy about cooking, and appreciate the meditative sanctuary that our kitchen offers us. The intrinsic value of a dish, the product of a labor of love— is the joy it brings to each other.

Cooking is about engaging in the moment. It meets us wherever we are, like a yoga practice. It opens a path that is within us, like a treasure waiting to be discovered.  It is a tactile balm that soothes our heart. It waits to unfold slowly, like a lotus flower blooming.

We find stillness and quiet reflection in our kitchen sanctuary. It is a respite, a contemplative temple of food, where we can retreat, when the noise of life becomes distracting.

Double Chocolate Cookies (Keto)

Makes 1 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

½ cup, plus 2 Tbls unsalted butter, softenened

½ cup, plus 2 Tbls swerve sweetener

2 eggs, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract or almond extract

1 ¼ cup almond flour

¼ cup cocoa powder, sifted

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup stevia sweetened chocolate chips, plus a little more for topping

Flaky sea salt or fleur de sel for sprinkling on top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine softened butter and swerve sweetener until  creamy and well-blended.

Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.

Stir in the almond flour and mix until combined. Add sifted cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips.  The batter will be sticky.

Using an ice-cream scoop, form tablespoon-sized mounds of dough onto the baking sheets and press the tops down a bit with your fingers, or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle several chocolate chips and a little flaky salt over the top of each cookie.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Carrot Almond Torte

Carrot Almond Torte

Spring is in the air, and I head to my kitchen filled with thoughts of love.

Maybe it’s the romantic long-stemmed French tulips of spring, or the seductive perfume of the season’s first strawberries that enliven my senses, or simply the allure of purple-tinged carrots piled high, dangling under the canopies at the farmers’ market that look like a still-life painting.  The lightness of spring gives way to the glamour of nature around its passion for love.

In the kitchen, we infuse this passion of love into our recipes.  It could be a dessert, or a dish that will become a family favorite, or a romantic meal shared with loved ones around the table.

A lively bunch of carrots, mixed with a few ordinary ingredients will turn out a gorgeous Carrot Almond Torte that is truly spectacular.  You’ll fall in love with it!  Don’t even get me started. Trust me.

Made with tender sweet carrots, coconut, and almonds–it’s so rich and moist, it’s hard to believe it has no butter, and is gluten-free.  If you want, drop a dollop of crème Chantilly on it.  A thin layer of cream cheese icing would not be such a bad thing either, though personally, I like it au naturel.

It’s a perfect dessert for Passover, or afternoon tea, and if there is any leftover in the morning, feel free to indulge in a slice for breakfast.

In the spirit of love.

Carrot Almond Torte

Ingredients:

4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

Zest of 1 orange

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups carrots, peeled and grated

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 ½ cups ground almonds

1/2 cup coconut

9-inch springform pan with sides buttered.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the middle.

Mix together the egg yolks, 3/4 cup of sugar, orange zest, salt, and almond extract. Sprinkle the grated carrots into the bowl, but don’t mix them in.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat on medium until the whites hold a soft shape. Gradually sprinkle in the reserved two tablespoons of sugar, beating at high speed until the egg whites are stiff.

Scrape one quarter of the egg whites on top of the carrots and batter. Using a rubber spatula fold the whites and carrots into the batter. Scrape the remaining egg whites into the bowl and pour the ground almonds and coconut over them. Fold the egg whites, almonds, and coconut into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45 minutes until the torte is golden brown.  Cool the torte in the pan, on a rack.

Baked Oatmeal Almond Bars

baked oatmeal bar

Baked Oatmeal Almond Bars make a nice, healthy treat, especially for those who want something as a grab-and-go in the morning, or for an afternoon snack. They hit an excellent balance of crunchy, sweet, and chewy, with an awesome foundation of oats, almonds, and coconut. You can swap out any kind of nut, seed, dried fruit, or berry you wish. A handful of chocolate thrown into the mixture would not be such a bad idea either.

Baked Oatmeal Almond Bars

baked oatmeal bars into oven

Oats, almonds, blueberries, and coconut  mixture going into the oven.

Ingredients:

2 cups oats

1 cup almonds, toasted and chopped

½ cup sunflower seeds, toasted

½ cup coconut, unsweetened

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk, room temperature or gently warm it

1 large egg, room temperature

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups berries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the top third of the oven. Generously butter the inside of an 8-inch square baking dish or a half-sized sheet pan or muffin tin.

In a bowl, mix together the oats, nuts, seeds, coconut, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, coconut milk, egg, butter, and vanilla.

Sprinkle berries over the prepared baking dish, sheet pan or muffin tin. Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. Pour the coconut milk mixture over the oats.

Bake 40 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set. Serve warm, or cool and then cut into squares.

Brown Butter Mochi Muffins

Mochi Muffin

These brown butter mochi muffins are quite different from any other muffins out there. For one thing, they have a chewy soft texture with intriguing little bursts of flavor that is the best version of mochi I’ve ever eaten. Ringing through them all, is the nutty taste of brown butter, then butterscotch with a resonant intensity of burnt caramel, and finally the crunch of sesame seeds that pop out to startle you. I think it’s safe to say, one batch probably won’t stay around very long, but if you are blessed with some leftover muffins, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2-days.

Brown Butter Mochi Muffins

Makes 1 dozen medium-sized muffins or 2 dozen mini-sized muffins.

Recipe adapted from Brown-Butter Mochi at The New York Times by Samin Nosrat. Inspired by Third Culture Bakery at Berkeley, CA.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pans

1 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups mochiko sweet rice flour (I use Koda Farms Blue Star Mochiko)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

black and toasted white sesame seeds for topping muffins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F

Grease cupcake tins with butter, including the rim around each muffin cup to help remove the muffins after baking.

To brown the butter, melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Swirl the saucepan occasionally, until the butter turns golden brown and begins to smell nutty. This will take about 5 minutes total, be careful not to let it burn like I did with my first attempt.

Remove from heat, and add coconut milk and brown sugar. Whisk until sugar and coconut milk melt. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Add eggs and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together mochiko flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the milk mixture, and mix until smooth.

Scoop batter into prepared cupcake tin completely filling it to the top. Sprinkle the tops with black and white sesame seeds.

Bake about 45 minutes until they just feel set in the center and the tops are golden brown. If using mini-sized muffin tin bake for about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack before serving.

 

Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies

Keto Chocolate Chip CookieA super moist cookie full of flavor, with a sprinkling of flaky salt that can carry the intensity of pure dark stevia sweetened chocolate chips. This recipe cuts down on the carbs by using almond flour and swerve sweetener as a sugar alternative. Even if you aren’t on the keto diet, you will love these!

Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

3/4 cup softened butter

2/3 cup swerve sweetener

2 eggs, room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 3/4 cup stevia sweetened chocolate chips

Flaky sea salt or fleur de sel

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350˚.

Combine softened butter and swerve sweetener in a stand mixer and mix on medium until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix well.

Whisk together almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate medium-sized bowl. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Using an ice-cream scoop, set tablespoon-sized mounds of cookie dough onto lined baking sheet.  Lightly sprinkle cookies with flaky sea salt or fleur de sel.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned.

Let cool on the cookies sheets for 15-20 minutes, then remove to cooling rack. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Carrot Almond Torte

Carrot Almond TorteSpring is in the air, and I head to my kitchen filled with thoughts of love.

Perhaps it’s the romantic long-stemmed French tulips of spring, or the seductive perfume of the season’s first strawberries that enliven my senses, or simply the allure of purple-tinged carrots piled high, dangling under the canopies at the farmers’ market that remind me of a still-life painting.

The lightness of spring gives way to the glamour of nature around its passion for love.

In the kitchen, we infuse this passion of love into our recipes.  It could be a dessert, or a dish that will become a family favorite, or a romantic meal shared with loved ones around the table.

A lively bunch of carrots, mixed with a few ordinary ingredients will turn out a gorgeous Carrot Almond Torte that is truly spectacular.  You’ll fall in love with it!  Don’t even get me started. Trust me.

Made with tender sweet carrots, coconut, and almonds–it’s so rich and moist, it’s hard to believe it has no butter, and is gluten-free.  If you want, drop a dollop of crème Chantilly on it.  A thin layer of cream cheese icing would not be such a bad thing either, though personally, I like it au naturel.

It’s a perfect dessert for Passover, or afternoon tea, and if there is any leftover in the morning, feel free to indulge in a slice for breakfast.

In the spirit of love.

Carrot Almond Torte

Ingredients:

4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

Zest of 1 orange

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups carrots, peeled and grated

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 ½ cups ground almonds

1/2 cup coconut

9-inch springform pan with sides buttered.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the middle.

Mix together the egg yolks, 3/4 cup of sugar, orange zest, salt, and almond extract. Sprinkle the grated carrots into the bowl, but don’t mix them in.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat on medium until the whites hold a soft shape. Gradually sprinkle in the reserved two tablespoons of sugar, beating at high speed until the egg whites are stiff.

Scrape one quarter of the egg whites on top of the carrots and batter. Using a rubber spatula fold the whites and carrots into the batter. Scrape the remaining egg whites into the bowl and pour the ground almonds and coconut over them. Fold the egg whites, almonds, and coconut into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45 minutes until the torte is golden brown.  Cool the torte in the pan, on a rack.

Coconut Chia Pudding

Chia 2 photoNeed a little breakfast inspiration? Throw together some chia seeds and coconut milk. Add a swirl of honey and voilà— you have a great start to the day.  These magic little seeds are nutritional superstars loaded with omega 3’s and protein that make this creamy pudding ideal as a pre or post workout snack.  A crown of summer berries or any other seasonal fruit is delicious on top of this cloud of chia seeds.  I enjoy it as a morning, noon, or evening treat.  And I’m certainly not above mid-morning or mid-afternoon too.

Coconut Chia Pudding

Ingredients:
2 cups coconut milk
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Directions:

In a medium-sized bowl stir ingredients together.

Set aside in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours or overnight until the seeds puff and expand.

Serve with your favorite fruit, nuts or seeds.

Lemon “Energy” Treats

Lemon "Energy" TreatWhile “better-for-you” energy bars are part of an on-the-go lifestyle, most are hiding a hefty (and expensive) amount of sugar, oil, and calories.  It is no surprise that obesity rates have increased in a society when meals are a rare occurrence in a busy schedule.

The healthiest nutrition bars do not contain added sugar and are full of ingredients that provide slow sustaining fuel, with whole foods such as nuts, seeds and fruits.  A homemade version is even healthier than almost any energy bar that you can buy in a store, and is incredibly simple to throw together, for a fraction of the cost.

Lemon “energy” treats are primarily dates, sesame seeds, and almonds, and are generously flavored with fresh lemon juice, that add a bit of zing to compliment a blanket of snowy white unsweetened coconut.  The later gives this energy treat its pronounced taste that pairs well with the floral-scented lemon.

The inside of this lemony treat is soft and slightly sweet, thanks to the flecks of creamy dates.  Dates not only replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly, but also contain the right amount of sugar to bring glucose levels up. It is no wonder that Muslims break their daylong Ramadan fast with this nourishing fruit.

The very best energy boost ultimately comes from healthy living.  People who eat real foods, (not processed) drink ample water, and exercise daily will have plenty of energy, the natural way.

Lemon “Energy” Treats

Lemon “energy” treats come from a Whole Foods Recipe that I tweaked, just slightly. I substituted toasted almonds for walnuts, and then added a couple of tablespoons of water to the mixture, using a blender to purée it, instead of a food processor.  A small-sized ice cream scoop is handy to portion these energy treats into even 2 “ round shapes. Oh, and one more thing, these raw energy delights are gluten-free and vegan-friendly.

Adapted from Whole Foods

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped pitted dates, (I used Medjool dates)

1 cup toasted almonds

1 cup toasted sesame seeds

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 lemon, zest

1-2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes

Directions:

Place dates, almonds, sesame seeds, lemon juice, zest and water in a food processor or blender and mix until creamy. If using a blender place 1/2 of the mixture into the blender and mix until creamy and repeat with the other half. The mixture will be slightly sticky.

Using a small ice cream scoop, drop mixture in coconut and roll into a ball shape.  Chill until ready to serve. Makes 2 dozen 2” sized balls.