Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Macadamia Brownies

So, I’m in love…once again…with my oven…and this new creation.

I mean, how can I not be?

It’s the holiday season…

And I’m all about tryin’ n’ testin’ and cookin’ and bakin’ Sweet Nothings…

In my lil apartment…loving life…

Humming to Frank Sanatra’s Christmas carols…

And eating these…

Yes, I enjoyed them.

Too many of them.

They’re delish.

Gluten-Free.

And simply fabulous.

Go ahead, give ’em a try…I bet you’d never know they were gluten-free.

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Macadamia Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sweet potatoes, mashed
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup stevia for baking
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, toasted
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut flakes

Directions

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, combine sweet potatoes, butter and stevia.  Cook over medium heat; bring to a boil and stir for 7 minutes.
  2. Remove 1/2 the mixture; transfer to a mixing bowl to cool.  Add baking soda and sea salt; mix well. Transfer mixture to a baking pan and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven.
  3. Add macadamia nuts, chocolate chips and coconut to stovetop sweet potato mixture; mix well. Drizzle over cooked portion.  Bake for another 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, set aside to cool.
  4. Slice into brownie bites.
  5. Enjoy!

Speaking of Healthy Desserts, please vote for my recipe, Whole Wheat Paprika n’ Orange Chocolate Cookies for the Healthy Holiday Dessert Recipe Contest:

HERE

And, I’m thrilled to announce my Cookie Recipe is featured in Silvana Nardone’s Gluten-Free Holiday Cookie Countdown!  Silvana is such an inspiration and a fabulous gluten-free baker and cook that I had the pleasure to meet earlier this year…she is so talented and her recipes are brilliantly delicious.

Be sure to check out all the delicious gluten-free cookie recipes from my favorite gluten-free bakers as well as some fabulous giveaways on  Silvana’s  Gluten-Free Holiday Cookie Countdown!

Also…I stumbled upon this fun foodie site….

Take a looksy at this creative foodie pairing website what I just discovered, FoodPairing that incorporates unlikely flavors…I love it…

Such great inspiration for my recipes n’ cookin’…

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Thanks to POM Wonderful…’Taste of The Nation NYC’…Here I Come…

Thanks to POM Wonderful, I will be attending the Share our Strength’s Taste of the Nation event here in Manhattan on Monday, May the 17th and I can hardly wait!

Speaking of POM Wonderful, last night I created a POM extravaganza in my kitchen…Ever heard of POM Pine Nut Banana Bread, POM Macadamia Nut Brownies or POM Pineapple Lime Dressing?  All three of these tasty POM Wonderful recipes are gluten-free and diary-free…Read on for the deliciousness…I assure you, your taste buds will thank you…and be sure to check my recipes out on the POM Wonderful website, as well!

POM Wonderful Pine Nut Banana Bread

Ingredients

3 large bananas, peeled and mashed

4 Tbsp. POM Wonderful

1/3 cup dates

2 teaspoons almond extract

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 1/2 cups rice flour

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of chili powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine bananas, POM Wonderful, dates and almond extract; mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine pine nuts, rice flour, olive oil, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and chili powder; mix well until smooth.
  4. Transfer batter into a baking pan; bake for approximately 1 hour or until bread is firm.
  5. Enjoy!

POM Macadamia Nut Brownies


Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup coconut milk

2 teaspoons almond extract

1/3 cup POM Wonderful

1/2 cup chunky apple sauce

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup macadamia nuts

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine coconut oil, honey, coconut milk, almond extract, POM Wonderful and apple sauce into a large bowl; whisk well to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine buckwheat flour, sea salt, cocoa powder and baking powder.
  4. Gently fold dry ingredients into wet; stir to combine.  Slowly add chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
  5. Transfer batter into a baking pan; bake for 20-25 minutes or until fully cooked inside.
  6. Enjoy!

POM Pineapple Lime Dressing


Ingredients

1/4 cup POM Wonderful

1 cup frozen pineapple chunks

1 Honey Crisp apple, peeled, cored and sliced

2 teaspoons lime juice

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1 Tablespoon lime zest

1 teaspoon honey

Pinch of chili powder

Directions

  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients; process until smooth.
  2. Serve chilled atop salads, pastas, frozen yogurt or lean protein.
  3. Enjoy!

Be sure to tune in for my Taste of the Nation recap on May the 17th thanks to POM Wonderful!

Tu-Lu’s Gluten-Free Bakery, NYC and My Secret Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

I recently had the pleasure to sit down with Tully, the proud owner of the fabulous Tu-Lu’s Bakery here in Manhattan.  Like me, Tully is gluten-intolerant, as well.  Tully graduated from Le Courdon Bleu school in Texas and enjoys creating her own mix of gluten free baked goods. I love Tully’s treats because she offers a vast array of gluten-free and vegan treats that are incredibly tasty.

Me and Tully at Tu-Lu’s Gluten-Free Bakery, NYC

How did you come up with the idea for Tu-Lu’s Bakery?

I had been cooking professionally for about 4 years at catering companies in NYC. I left my job and enrolled in NYU’s Food Studies masters program. While taking a food entrepreneur class, I came up with my business plan to start a wholesale gluten-free company. After being 3 months in business, I quickly decided that I wanted to open a retail shop to sell my baked goods fresh and be able to interact with my customers.

Tell me about your typical day at Tu-Lu’s Bakery.

I think people have the misconception that my day is spent in the bakery. I actually spend most of my time in the office! Placing orders, emailing, dealing with payroll, paying bills, etc. take up most of my time. The best moments are playing with new recipes and talking to customers.

What is your favorite gluten-free dessert?

A Chocolate soufflé.

What is your favorite gluten-free meal to cook?

Parmesan polenta with roasted chicken and oyster mushrooms.

What is your favorite New York City restaurant?

It’s so hard to choose one! From fancy to casual, my picks are Eleven Madison Park, Little Owl, and Caracas Arepa Bar.

What is one kitchen tool that you couldn’t live without?

A microplane.

What do you see in the future for Tu-Lu’s Bakery?

I would love to expand the online ordering to include many of our other treats and perhaps cupcakes.

Describe your kitchen at home.

TINY! It’s crammed with all sort of cooking ingredients and gadgets. I’m thankful I have a dishwasher though.

Even though you are a famous baker, do you consider yourself to be more of a cook or a baker at home?

Well…I wouldn’t call myself famous! I am definitely a cook. I did not go to culinary school to specialize in pastry, but when I went gluten-free all I wanted was baked goods. That’s how it all started.

What is your best kitchen advice?

Prep all your ingredients (chopping, grating, etc.) before you being so you complete the recipe quickly and correctly.

What inspires your baking?

I try to think of what people miss eating the most. We just came up with a delicious peppermint chocolate cookie that resemble another cookie whose name I won’t mention. I hope that people will be thrilled to find treats in my bakery that they used to love!

Did you always have a passion for food growing up as a child and throughout your adolescence?

Growing up I loved being in the kitchen with my mom and taking cooking lessons. I’ve always read cookbooks like novels.

What is always in your pantry?

Olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, agave, sliced almonds, dried cherries, polenta, brown rice pasta…and so much more. Remember? I have a small kitchen that is about to burst!

Desert island cookbook?

Any of the Barefoot Contessa books. I love the simplicity of her cooking.


The next time you find yourself in the East Village of Manhattan, stop into Tu-Lu’s Bakery and taste Tully’s delicious baked goods…my favorite are the chocolate chip cookies and dark chocolate brownies..they’re quite delish and by far the best freshly baked gluten-free treats I’ve come across here in Manhattan.

And, to go along with the ‘Gluten-Free Bakery’ theme of today’s post, I thought I’d share my secret Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookie recipe with all of you…Enjoy!

The Healthy Apple’s Secret Gluten Free Peanut Butter Nibbles

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground flax seeds
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Optional: Pinch of Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. organic smooth peanut butter

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat egg, sugar, baking soda, almond extract, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon on medium-low speed with an electric mixer.
  • Slowly add in peanut butter.
  • Spoon teaspoon sized amounts onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack for cooling.
  • Enjoy!

Raw Cacao Tofu Brownies

Even though Valentine’s Day is over, I’ve been busy in my kitchn’ testing raw cacao recipes…this weekend I created gluten-free and dairy-free tofu-rific brownies…they were fabulous to say the least.  I loved the combination of buckwheat flour and pumpkin puree…these special treats have the perfect touch of sweetness complimented by flax n’ chia seeds as well as a pistachio crunch.

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
  • 3/4 cup stevia or raw sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. flax and chia seeds

Wet Ingredients

Optional Garnish

  • 2 Tbsp. raw pistachios, shelled

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray an 8 x 8 inch pan with nonstick baking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients by hand; set aside.
  • Using a food processor, combine all wet ingredients; process until it forms a smooth consistency.  Slowly add dry ingredients and pulse until well moistened.
  • Transfer mixture into baking pan; sprinkle with optional garnished pistachios.
  • Bake for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Set aside for 20 minutes to cool.  Remove from pan, serve and enjoy!

Interview with Babycakes NYC Vegan Bakery Founder, Erin McKenna

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Babycakes NYC, a vegan bakery here in Manhattan, is my favorite spot to cure a sweet tooth The Healthy Apple way: Refined Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Soy-Free, Casein-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan and Kosher.  What more can a Manhattan gal ask for?  This is bakery heaven for myself and many of my clients who suffer from food intolerance’s and allergies.

Good Morning, Erin.  Thank you so very much for your time; I am a huge fan of Babycakes—not only am I a frequent visitor of your Manhattan bakery, but I use your Babycakes cookbook to bake all of my treats!

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What is your food philosophy?

I am a fan of food combining – not pairing protein with carbohydrates and eating fruit alone.  I also eat food that is as close to its natural state as possible.  The fewer ingredients, the better.

I agree, completely as I always eat as close to the natural source as possible.  What inspired you to start baking gluten-free, vegan baked goods?

I have a sensitivity to wheat, dairy and sugar so I was inspired to create desserts that I could enjoy.

What made you decide to open Babycakes? How did you come up with that adorable name?

I opened the bakery because there was nowhere in New York that I could go to for sweets and I wanted to create it.  I wanted it to be a place that I would want to go.  The name came from the idea that the ingredients in the baked goods would be so carefully chosen and mindful of sensitive digestive systems, that even a baby could eat them. Hence the name, BabyCakes.

Many of my clients (myself included) suffer from gluten and dairy intolerance so I know the frustrations in trying to find foods free of allergens and additives.  I know that you avoid wheat, dairy, soy, caffeine and refined sugars largely due to stomach and digestion problems.  How did you know that you had trouble with all of these foods?  Did you cut all of these out of your diet at once?

Yes, it was by cutting them all out, all at once, that I found a great improvement in my digestion.  That along with food combining really helps me.

I am curious to know what your symptoms were from eating soy.  How did you to realize soy was another of your ‘problem’ foods?

Soy actually isn’t a food I’m sensitive to, but I make my desserts soy-free because it’s a problem for so many others.

Since you avoid refined sugars, what sweeteners do you use?

Agave nectar in the baked goods and I personally use a lot of stevia in drinks at home.

I agree; I’m a big fan of using agave nectar for baking and stevia in my hot beverages.  What is the one food you can’t live without?

Nuts!  Any and all kinds.  I don’t know that I could ever cut them out of my diet – I eat almost a cup of nuts a day!

Do you do all of the recipe testing yourself?

Yes, I’m a bit of a control freak regarding recipes.

Wow; very impressive.  Did you always dream of opening your own bakery?

Never!  I wanted to be a costume designer for a sketch comedy like SNL.  The bakery happened because it needed to.

What is your favorite meal to cook?

I’m not vegan because I eat fish so my favorite meal is as follows.  I put a white fish in parchment paper along with cherry tomatoes, garlic, zucchini and whatever fresh herbs I have – sometimes rosemary, thyme, basil or sage.  Pour olive oil all up on it and sprinkle salt, pepper and chili flakes.  Then, I secure the parchment closed and bake it for about 20 minutes until the fish is done.  When you open it up, everything is infused with the herbs and it is so simple and delicious.

Sounds delicious; I love parchment baked fish fillets.  Have you inspired friends and family to be gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan?

No, I’m not on a mission to change people.  I just want everyone to see that it can be delicious if they choose to ever go gluten-free or vegan.

You must be thrilled to open your L.A. location!  What are your future plans for Babycakes?

I’m very excited for LA, it’s like having a second baby.  I have big plans for the future, but can’t discuss them just yet!

babycakes

Thank you again, Erin for taking the time to meet with The Healthy Apple.  Good luck with the launch of your new LA location—you’ll have the West Coast taste buds dancin’ for joy in no time!

Agave Zest RAW Brownies

This Raw Brownie recipe is one of my favorites and I have been using it for years to bring to all of my friend’s BBQ’s and dinner parties…so here it is…the long awaited recipe for my special raw brownies.

My special brownies are no longer a secret, ladies and gents…enjoy!

bronieeee

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup carob powder or cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 4 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of chili powder
  • 1/4 dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup coconut
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • Zest of 1 small orange

Directions

  • Line a square pan with wax paper.
  • In a food processor, chop dried cranberries until they are in tiny pieces. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine agave nectar, wheat germ, coconut and carob powder.  Mix well.
  • Add cinnamon, vanilla extract, chili powder. Mix well.
  • Add chopped cranberries, sesame seeds and orange zest.  Mix well.
  • Spoon this brownie mixture into the wax papered square pan.  Flatten surface and spread evenly.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour. Keep brownies in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • Enjoy!

How do you feel about eating raw foods? I enjoy eating raw as much as possible everyday and I love the way the phytochemicals and antioxidants make me feel—they give me a ton of energy and keep my skin glowing year round!