Friday, April 27, 2012

a tasty treat

It's Friday Y'all! It seems as though I may have been focussing a lot on really light, healthy foods around here lately. Maybe because I've been in the cleansing frame of mind while teaching a Kundalini Yoga Detox series. But I promise you, we do get down and dirty in the kitchen from time to time. And I must confess, I have to muster up a bit of courage to venture into the land of pastry and baking. Perhaps due to my long hours put in steaming over gigantic vats of lemon curd and filling countless éclairs in what felt like a 100 degree pastry kitchen while a wee intern. It's not easy. All of the measuring and precision kind of cramps my style. When it comes to sweets, I'm the first to line up to consume, and less of a  pioneer in the pastry kitchen itself. But sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do (mainly to satisfy her husband's sweet tooth as of late!).

I finally got a Donna Hay book after almost a decade of being introduced to her elegant simplicity and no-nonsense way of putting food together. I have been cooking my way through the book the past couple weeks and love every single concoction. The best part is how ridiculously easy and truly "fast" (as the title suggests) the preparations are.

Little Chocolate Brownies. I made round #2 today after round #1 last week disappeared in 2.5 days. But I did make half of the quantity called for in the book so we sort of behaved in that respect. I adapted the recipe in a couple of ways: it is gluten free and I used almond flour for a nutty flavor. Plus I dressed them with strawberries and cream. What could be more tasty? 

Here is how I did it:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

5 oz. butter, softened until just starts to melt
1 cup pure cane sugar

Blend until light and fluffy in a mixing bowl.

Add ingredients and mix:

3/4 cup organic raw cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup Red Mill gluten free all purpose four
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder

First of all, you're wondering, "xanthan gum"? what the???? I was always suspicious of this ingredient and thought it was something chemical to preserve processed foods. Totally wrong answer. It's a thickening agent for gluten free foods. Mystery dispelled and after successful incorporation of the product, I feel confident using it and you should too. If you can't be bothered to make them gluten free, simply substitute the "gluten free all purpose flour" for regular all purpose flour and don't use xanthan gum. And if you don't have almond flour, use 1 whole cup of flour.

After mixing everything together, it becomes thick and stiff. Not what you are used to from store-bought brownie mix. It's ok, proceed to spooning the mixture into a non-stick muffin tin. Since my recipe was half of what I gave you, I used my mini muffin tin. Personally, I feel like mini treats are so much more gratifying and much less guilt-inducing. But these are organic, gluten free, antioxidant rich treats anyway, so who cares? Proceed to baking for 10-12 minutes.

Let cool before removing from tin. Some may come out whole, other's caps may come off in the process, but not to worry. Pop a whole one in your mouth if you can't control yourself once out of the oven, but to really treat yourself right, do them up proper style. I top the whole ones with crème fraîche and sliced strawberries.

The ones that don't come out whole from the tin, I make little tartines (open-faced sandwiches) spread with crème and strawberries. Happy Weekend!

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