Soaked Spelt Doughnuts!

Doughnuts are notorious for being the ultimate “junk food”. With Hanukkah fast approaching, I was wondering if I could actually make a nourishing version of this holiday treat. Yes, it is possible! Made with freshly ground spelt, soaked to reduce phytates, fried in coconut oil, and very lightly sweetened (only 1 tsp. of honey per doughnut!) these are something I actually feel good about serving my family. Not to mention how delicious they are!

In a stand mixer, cream together first 6 ingredients. Dough should be pretty sticky. Cover with a towel and let sit at room temperature for 7-12 hours.
When ready to fry, start heating up your coconut oil in a dutch oven. It should reach about 350-375 degrees.
Add the egg to the soaked dough, along with baking powder and salt. Turn on the mixer, and add unbleached flour a couple tablespoons at a time, until the dough is only slightly sticky. Turn onto a floured surface and roll out to 1/4 in. thickness. Cut with a small glass, and work a hole in the middle with your fingers. Drop one doughnut into the hot oil, to make sure it doesn’t brown too quickly (lower heat if it is too hot). Working in 2 or 3 batches, cook doughnuts for about 3 minutes, flipping halfway through, then remove to a paper-towel lined pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or organic sprinkles, if desired.

Grain-Free Probiotic Tiramisu

Rich and decadent without being overly sweet is the best way to describe this classic Italian dessert. A velevety custard and cream surround an espresso soaked spongy cookie with a generous sprinkling of cocoa on top to compliment.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and honey until well blended. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat until mixture boils, stirring constantly. Allow mixture to boil gently for about a minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before covering and placing in the refrigerator to cool for about an hour.
In a medium bowl beat cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
Beat mascarpone into egg yolk mixture until smooth and creamy.
At this point, you can choose whether to fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture, or to keep them separate (as I did-directions follow) and layer them. I think it’s easier to layer them and it keeps the cream fluffy.
Split the ladyfingers in half lengthwise and drizzle them with the espresso.
Arrange half of the soaked lady fingers in the bottom of a 7 x 11 inch dish. Dust with half of the cinnamon. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers, then half the whipped cream oven that. Repeat layers and dust the top with a generous sprinkling of cacao powder.
Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours or until set.

Chocolate Maté Truffles

Chocolate, cinnamon and yerba maté mix to create a strong, distinctive and slightly bitter (that’d be the yerba maté) truffle. Yerba maté is said to help rejuvenate the body, increase libido, focus, creativity, strength, energy, and endurance.

Fill a saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place a small metal bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler. Add the chocolate to the bowl and melt over moderate heat.
Pour the coconut milk into a second medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the tea and cinnamon, cover and remove from heat for 5 minutes.
Using a fine-mesh strainer and cheesecloth, strain the coconut milk mixture directly into the chocolate. DIscard the tea leaves.
Whisk the chocolate mixture until the chocolate is uniformly melted and the coconut milk has been incorporated. Refrigerate the chocolate until firm, about 2 hours.
Sift cocoa in a bowl. Using a measuring spoon, scoop up 1 tsp of chocolate and quickly roll into a ball about 3/4-inch across. Drop into cocoa; roll each truffle in cocoa to coat.
Serve chilled. (Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)

Grain-Free Pate a Choux or Cream Puff Pastry

This recipe is so versatile! You can fill them with many different fillings, dip them, slice them and stuff them…add a little parmesan to the dough to make them into gougeres; the possibilities are endless.
Freezable and definitely a hit at parties, you must learn to make them! Personally, I think the grain-free version actually holds up better than the AP flour one.

*Visit the link above to see pics of the process.*
So not be intimidated by this recipe. It’s as easy to make as whipping up a batch of cookies. Promise.
First thing is first. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Mise en place. Translates, everything in its place. This is an important step in this recipe because there is not any in between time to rush off and try to gather ingredients to measure out. Get all you ingredients measured and supplies together.
Begin melting your butter or coconut oil in the saucepan over medium heat.
While your oil is melting, mix together your arrowroot powder and water into a slurry. Be sure to incorporate all of the arrowroot powder. Set aside.
Once oil is completely melted and is getting hot, not smoking yet, but nice and hot (there’s no necessary temp to reach here), give your slurry another quick stir to make sure none of the arrowroot settled to the bottom and slowly pour the slurry into the hot oil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
Continue stirring as the batter thickens. You will likely need to hold the handle with one hand as you stir with the other because it gets pretty difficult. The batter will come away from the pan and eventually resemble “The Blob”. The blob will be pretty stiff. Once you have a blob, remove from heat and transfer to your stand mixer or bowl.
Turn your mixer on medium speed. Add one egg at a time, mixing well between each one. Turn mixer on high and beat the dough until it becomes pale in color, no more lumps appear, and the dough appears sticky.
To test your batter, take a pinch between your fingers and pull them apart. If your dough stretches, then you’re ready. If not, return to the mixer and beat for another minute or so. At this point you can use the batter right away, or refrigerate it up to a day until ready to bake.
Place your dough into a piping bag or gallon sized zip lock. Snip the tip, or corner of the bag, respectively. Pipe out 12, 1 ½ - 2 inch blobs onto your baking pan, using up about ½ of the batter. They don’t need to look pretty. Alternately, drop spoonfuls of the dough onto the baking pan. It’s not crucial to pipe, they just may not be as perfectly round.
Note: Use a wide, flat-tipped fitting on your piping bag and pipe out thick lines to make éclairs.
Place the pan into the hot oven and cook for 10 minutes at 450 degrees F. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes. Bake only one sheet at a time. Put remaining dough in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. Remove from oven and let cool completely before filling.
Best if filled before storing (if filling can be frozen), but can be stored unfilled. Store in the freezer up to a month. Freeze by placing filled puffs on a baking sheet and freezing for an hour. After an hour, can be placed in layers in a parchment lined freezer safe Tupperware, separated by layers of parchment. Alternatively, store layered separated by parchment papers in an airtight container in the refrigerator a few days. Do not leave unfilled pastry on the counter. It will become hard and brittle. To defrost, simply take out and let come to room temperature.
Fill with desired filling by puncturing a hole in the side with the tip of a piping bag and squeezing in the filling, or slice in half and sandwich the filling between two halves.
Sweet Ideas: Fill with sweetened whipped cream, pastry cream, sweetened whipped coconut cream, strained sweetened yogurt or kefir, custard, thickened jams/jellies/preserves, butter-cream, fresh fruit or dip them in bittersweet chocolate or carob.
Savory Ideas: Fill with herbed cream cheese, dip in pate, fill with shredded seasoned meat, seasoned ground meat, egg salad, tuna salad, smoked salmon and cream cheese, or marinated vegetables.
WARNING: Do not try to put vanilla or honey into the batter. It will not puff! I’m not sure why, but this has been confirmed.

Gingerbread House

Making this gingerbread house has been a family tradition for us for many years. Now that our little ones have grown up, I make it with the grandchildren. I have adapted a recipe that was originally published in the Relief Society Magazine in 1967. Our tradition is to make it in early December, and then on New Year’s Day, the children are allowed to divide it up and eat it! (They never seemed to mind the dust.) 🙂

Please refer to the link above to my blog to get the pattern for cutting out the gingerbread house pieces, and also to see pictures of the assembly process.
Mix all of the gingerbread ingredients thoroughly with an electric mixer. Place the dough in a covered dish and refrigerate it for 24 hours.
Use a large baking sheet (they call it a “half sheet”) and either line it with a Silpat, or, grease it and then line it with aluminum foil. Grease the foil, or the Silpat, as well.
Place the chilled dough onto the pan. Grease a rolling pin and wrap it in plastic wrap. The dough is a little sticky, and this will prevent problems. If you roll in the right direction, the plastic wrap will stay on the rolling pin. Turn it around when you need to go the other way!
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Roll the dough out carefully, to cover the pan. Be patient. It will take a little while to get it all rolled out evenly.
Place your parchment paper pattern onto the rolled dough, and folding it, use a small paring knife and gently score the cutting lines into the dough. There is no need to cut all the way through.
Beat an egg well, and paint the dough using a pastry brush or a piece of paper toweling dipped in the egg.
Bake at 300 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cut through the pieces all the way while still warm. Allow to cool completely.
Next, carefully remove the house pieces from the baking sheet and place them on wire cooling racks. Place the racks in the oven and let the gingerbread bake for another 10 minutes.
Royal Icing
Traditionally, Royal Icing is made from powdered sugar, cream of tartar and raw egg whites. This is a little different.
First, combine the Sucanat and xanthan gum, and one half at a time, grind it to a powder in an electric blender.
In the top of a double boiler, over simmering water, place all the icing ingredients and mix with an electric mixer, while cooking, until the icing is stiff. Keep the pan of cooked icing covered with a damp dish towel at all times when working, as it dries out very hard.
Assembling the Gingerbread House
Again, please refer to my blog post on how to assemble the gingerbread house. I found that I could use a piping bag for the icing, but it was rather difficult, and I resorted to using a table knife to spread the icing where I needed it.
The decorations include popcorn, crispy pepitas, crispy almonds and raisins. (Crispy nuts and seeds are made by soaking them in salt water for at least 7 hours and then dehydrating them. This gets rid of the anti-nutrients and makes them much more digestible.)
Our family tradition has been to make a gingerbread house in early December, and then the children would divide it and eat it on New Year’s Day!