Friendly Food Snobs

sweets

gluten free sweet potato muffins

Hi friends. Toronto is in our third lockdown as I type and baking healthy treats is bringing me a lot of joy at the moment.

Enter these gluten free muffins made with sweet potato. Perfect for chilly spring mornings with a mug of something hot.  The texture is fluffy and you can’t even tell they’re gluten free.

I make these two ways by varying the add ins. The first version is stirring in pepita seeds and dark chocolate chips which my kids love. And the other version is with just chopped walnuts – my fave.

Recipe makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients:
1 cup baked sweet potato
1 cup all purpose flour or gluten-free flour (I love Bob’s Red Mill cup for cup)
3/4 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup or brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg

Optional Add ins:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pepita seeds

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Wash the sweet potato and poke a few holes in it with a fork. Wrap in foil and bake for 45-55 minutes until soft. Let cool and slice in half and scoop out one cup. [Note: I often bake the sweet potato the day before I plan the make the muffins.]

Combine the oil, egg, milk and vanilla with the syrup or brown sugar. Combine remaining dry ingredients in a separate large bowl. Pour wet mixture over dry and stir until just combined. Spoon into lined or greased muffin tins. (I grease mine with coconut oil or non-stick spray.) Bake at 375 degrees for 18 minutes.

Delicious with butter or nut butter for breakfast. Or drizzled with honey for dessert. 

If you like baking these healthy muffins you may like these no-sugar banana muffins or this protein-packed super seedy banana bread.

dark chocolate mendiants

Dark chocolate mendiants are little chocolate treats topped with whatever you desire – I love flaky salt, nuts and dried fruit. It’s about two weeks until Christmas here in Toronto and I am just starting my Christmas dessert making. I love one or two of these mendiants in the afternoon with tea when I get a mini break from my boys.

They are super simple to make. Melt the chocolate and spoon it onto waiting parchment paper to form little discs and then top.

A few topping ideas:

  • dried fruit like cranberries, blueberries, apricots, raisins or figs
  • goji berries
  • pistachios, walnuts, cashews, peanuts or hazelnuts
  • coconut
  • candied ginger
  • smashed candy canes
  • pretzels
  • flaky salt

Mendiants hail from the French – and the history of the treat represents a coin, and the toppings the four monastic orders. They are traditionally made in Europe at Christmas time. They are so pretty on a dessert tray or as a holiday gift tied up in a clear bag with ribbon. The recipe below makes 20-24 small mendiants. To make 10-12 mendiants, just use one chocolate bar.

Ingredients:

  • 2 x 100 gram dark chocolate bars (70% or 80% cacao)
  • prepped toppings ready to sprinkle

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Have the toppings ready. For example, chop the nuts or slice the candied ginger. You have about ten minutes to top before the chocolate firms up. Melt the dark chocolate either in a double boiler or in the microwave.

To use the double boiler method: bring a pot of water to a low boil. Place a heat safe bowl on top of the pot. Break up the chocolate bars and stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate melts.

To use microwave: break up the chocolate bars in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave in 20 second intervals stirring after each one. Once the chocolate is almost entirely melted just keep stiring and the heat from the bowl will melt the rest.

Use a teaspoon to spoon 20-24 chocolate discs on the parchment paper. Use the back of the spoon to help spread the chocolate into circles.

Top with whatever you like. Let set in the fridge or on counter until chocolate hardens.

Need holiday cooking inspiration? Check out these chewy ginger cookies and my savory thyme cheddar shortbread. And this is the holiday salad – with arugula, pear, walnut, Parmesan and pomegranate seeds I make every year.

oatmeal coconut cookies (gluten free)

Has this social distancing changed how you cook? For me working and parenting simultaneously means leftovers are mandatory for any meal I make. And every week I bake a batch of cookies or muffins to have a healthy treat when a sweet craving hits. (Usually me at around 3pm!) These cookies are chewy, oaty and coconuty and just the right amount sweet. I love having one with tea after lunch. Sometimes if the boys are hungry they only last a day or two before all 24 cookies (that’s how many this recipe makes) are gone.

Sweetened with banana, and a bit of maple syrup, there will be no sugar crash like a store-bought cookie. You can make them with what you have in your pantry. I give a few options in the recipe. Chocolate chips and pepita seeds are excellent. That is what is in these photos. Currently my favourite combo is chopped dried apricots or raisins, and chopped almonds or walnuts. They taste like comfort food and that is all I’m craving right now cooking in a time of quarantine.

oatmeal coconut cookies (gluten free)

Ingredients:

Notes: Recipe makes 24 small cookies. Feel free to use regular flour if you don’t have gluten free.

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup flour (I love Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 2 ripe bananas mashed
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips or raisins/chopped dates/apricots
  • 1/3 cup chopped nut (like walnuts or almonds)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine all wet ingredients in one bowl. Mix all dry ingredients in another bowl. Combine wet and dry and stir until just mixed. Scoop golf ball size balls of dough onto a baking sheet. Gently press down to flatten with your palm. Bake 13-15 minutes until cookies set and bottoms are lightly brown. Enjoy!

peach galette

Can you believe we are in the last weeks of summer? Stone fruit is still in season here in Ontario to make this dreamy and simple dessert. Technically a galette is just a rustic pie. All you have to do is make a crust, roll it out into a messy circle, fill it with fruit and fold up the edges. It is so easy and looks beautiful. I like most things in life a little undone, so no wonder I have loved baking galettes this summer. Peach shown here in photos and a blueberry + blackberry combo were my faves.

Serve it with ice cream or fresh whipped cream. Or you can slice it up and let everyone pick it up and eat it like a pizza slice. That feels like summer to me. No utensils and eaten outside or in my dining room with early evening sun beams streaking in.

Berries or peaches are my preferred fruit but anything works (apple, plums, strawberries). I sort of cheat with the filling and use a few tablespoons of good quality jam, like the new Bonne Maman intense preserves . I recommend using wild blueberry jam for a berry galette and apricot jam for this peach galette.

I love the addition of a little spelt flour or almond flour to make a nuttier and healthier crust.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 1 cup white all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour (or spelt flour or whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup cold tap water
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • for topping the edge of the crust: 1 tbsp milk and 1 tbsp raw sugar (or regular white sugar)

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 3 cups sliced peaches
  • 2 heaping tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Put the stick of butter in the freezer to chill. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add vinegar to the cold tap water (leave to the side). Using a dinner knife chop up the cold butter in small chunks and sprinkle it over the flour. Add five tablespoons of the ice water + vinegar mixture to the bowl and start to mix the dough. I use a fork at first. Then I use a pastry cutter or my hands.

Rub the dough between your hands to get the dough similar to butter + flour pebbles. Don’t work the dough too much – about two minutes or less. I find it helpful to keep a bit of flour on my hands. Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on counter and scoop the dough onto it. Create a ball pressing as you wrap up the plastic wrap around the dough and put in fridge for 30 mins. 

While the dough chills, wash and slice the peaches. In a clean bowl mix the peaches with the jam and sugar.

Spread a piece of parchment paper on your counter. You’ll prep the dough on this and then bake the galette right on it. Sprinkle flour on the parchment. Unwrap the dough and place it on the floured parchment. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough.

I like to cover the dough with a fresh piece of plastic wrap and roll it out that way, keeps it smoother and less messy. Start to roll the dough from the centre out, taking on the rough shape of a circle. It’s rustic, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Dough should be about 1/8 inch thick when you’re done. Place fruit in the middle. Begin to fold the dough around the fruit, pinching at every fold to keep the fruit and juice in.

Brush the outside of the dough with tablespoon of milk using a pastry brush or your finger and sprinkle raw sugar over the spots where you wet the dough with the milk. Lift it up and set on a baking sheet.

Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and fruit bubbly. Let cool before slicing in. Enjoy and share it if you can! Happy last weeks of summer.

zucchini spelt muffins

It’s near the end of summer and local fruit and veg is abundant. I love to hit the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings this time of year. Grab some zucchini next time you go and make these muffins. They are moist, easy to make and the spelt flour gives them a fluffy texture and nutty flavour that I love.

No spelt flour? Just use regular white flour or gluten free cup for cup flour. The recipe below calls for one cup + 3/4 cup spelt flour. Feel free to substitute flour for the one cup, and oats or almond flour for the 3/4 cup. I have done this before and it works well.

I started baking with spelt flour recently and I am officially a convert. Why? Spelt flour is easier to digest than regular flour, it’s less processed, has more protein and fibre and gives a nutty flavour and fluffy texture.

I also am a HUGE fan of one bowl cookie and muffin recipes like this one. If you sprinkle the baking powder, soda and spices over the flour it works every time! And one less bowl to wash.

Ok back to the recipe. These zucchini muffins have a walnut and raw sugar crunchy topping that is divine. And I also list a couple different additions below, think raisins, chopped dates or chocolate chips. Not gonna lie the dark chocolate chip version is pretty incredible and my family gobbled them in less than two days. Recipe makes 12 muffins or one loaf. Hope you love it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 TSP cinnamon
  • 1/4 TSP nutmeg
  • 1 and 3/4 cups spelt flour (I love Bobs Red Mill)
  • 1 TSP baking soda
  • 1 TSP baking powder
  • crunchy topping = 2 TBSP chopped walnuts + 1 TBSP raw sugar for sprinkling on top before baking
  • Note: I have made this same muffin recipe with a few variations. You can add 1/2 cup of any of the following: walnuts, coconut flakes, raisins, chocolate chips or chopped dates.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Combine coconut oil, eggs, milk and maple syrup in bowl along with the grated zucchini. (By the way, I never squeeze out the moisture in the zucchini, I know some recommend it, but why squeeze out all that goodness that will make your muffins moist!?) Mix all these wet ingredients well.

Sprinkle over top all the dry ingredients, doing the spelt flour first and then sprinkling the spices and baking soda and powder evenly as best you can.

Stir until just combined. Then add any nuts or add ins.

Grease your muffin tin with non stick spray or liners. Use a tablespoon to scoop the batter into the muffin cups and sprinkle the chopped walnuts and raw sugar over each muffin.

Bake 375 degree oven for 15 minutes until puffed up and golden brown.

Recipe also makes one loaf. Just bake at a lower temp, 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Check by inserting a knife in the middle. It should come out clean when done. Let bread cool in loaf pan for for an hour.

Enjoy the last weeks of summer friends!

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