Category Archives: Desserts Not Otherwise Categorized

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunk Brownies & How to Avoid Box-Mixes

Stacked fudgey brownies
Stack ’em up and eat ’em! (I honestly cannot eat just one. #transparencypost)

A lot of people these days are on gluten-free diets, either because they can’t eat gluten, or because they feel healthier without eating it. But have you ever looked at the ingredient list of some of the gluten-free brownie mixes available in stores? Poly-ethyl-blah-blah-blah…no thank you! But how to avoid it? Well, let me tell you the secret ingredient that will make your life so much easier (and also more brownie-filled!): OAT FLOUR!

That’s right! In this recipe for Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunk Brownies, we’re subbing out the refined white flour (gluten-filled) for some oat flour, on a 1-to-1 basis. And bonus, YOU CAN MAKE IT YOURSELF IN ONLY 5 SECONDS! No need to buy a package of oat flour – just take some regular gluten-free oats and whizz them in the blender (or coffee grinder or spice grinder) for 5 seconds until it’s all powdery. Voila, oat flour! Easy, peasy, amirite?

Ok, so I’ve told you how to avoid gluten when making brownies, but you still like the convenience of store-bought mixes? They are pretty easy to toss together, aren’t they? What if I told you could toss together this brownie recipe in two minutes – the same time it would take to mix up a batch of store-bought brownies? So maybe it takes 30 seconds more to make these brownies than a box mix, but if 30 seconds is the price to pay for healthier food, well, sign me up!

Want to make some gluten-free (not that you’d know it) brownies? Let’s!

Yield: 12 brownies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunk Brownies
These gluten-free brownies are super-moist, super-fudgey, full of chocolate chunks, and best of all, preservative-free!

Ingredients

  • ½ c. honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ c. butter melted
  • ½ c. oat flour
  • 1/3 c. cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ c. chocolate chips (or chunks)

Instructions

  1. Mix honey, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla together.
  2. Add in oat flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, and mix until combined. Don’t worry if you think you can see a few oat bits – it won’t be visible in the final product.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips, and pour mixture into a well-greased 9x9 baking pan.
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven, sprinkle a few more chocolate chips on top, let cool in pan, and then cut into squares. Enjoy! (And try not to nom all of them at once. If you can. I may have eaten them for lunch while developing the recipe. That’s right, my lunch was brownies. Je ne regrette rien!)

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 square

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 185 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 51mg Sodium: 133mg Carbohydrates: 21g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 16g Protein: 3g

These brownies are deliciously moist and chocolatey. And if you leave out the chocolate chips, they’re even refined sugar free! How awesome is that?

If you like super-fudgy brownies (like me!), take the brownies out of the oven 3-5 minutes early. They’ll seem a bit undercooked, but just let them cool completely before cutting them into squares. Then, revel in those delicious, moist, and fudgy brownies!

If you make these gluten-free brownies, let us know in the comments how you think they stack up compared to store-bought mixes! Isn’t it a good feeling knowing that your yummy gluten-free brownies are also preservative-free? And can you believe how easy it was to make that oat flour? Shockingly easy, right?

If you liked this recipe, please share it on social media! I’m determined to share the word about how easy it is to go preservative-free – health is wealth, after all!

Next Post: Pillar content! 5 Preservative-Free Lunches You Can Make This Week, as promised in last week’s post. Hopefully this week the baby allows me to spend a few hours doing the recipe reformatting necessary to make that post! Ah, that baby…so demanding, yet so cute!

Cherry & Vanilla Oreo No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes and Why I Will Not Be Losing Weight This Week

Creamy, delicious, and infinitely addicting. Also, please forgive the less than perfect muffin tray — I have better things to do than scrub out every spot, don’t you?

I’ve been trying to cook extra delicious things lately, to pique the appetite of my mother-in-law who is visiting us (really, she’s visiting her grandchild. We’re kind of incidental to that. It’s rather sweet!). I think I’ve got the meal bit down pat, but I’m trying to come up with delicious desserts as well, to put some meat on her bones (she’s ill, unfortunately). So I came up with these admittedly calorie-dense Cherry & Vanilla Oreo No Bake Mini Cheesecakes, but can I just say, they’re worth every calorie!

Dedicated readers will know I have a thing for Oreos, given that I’ve made Surprise Inside Oreo Cupcakes, as well as my own Copycat Oreos. But let me tell you about these Cherry & Vanilla Oreo No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes! These little morsels of deliciousness have a vanilla Oreo base. You don’t even need to do anything — it’s a literal vanilla Oreo cookie base. Then, we top it with a no bake cream cheese cheesecake mixture, made even more delicious by the addition of the cream filling of the vanilla Oreos. And then we top that with cherry pie filling, for a sweet, creamy, tangy, and crunchy mouthful of deliciousness! You have been warned, they are addictive! I made a dozen one evening. Forty-eight hours later, they were all gone. (And my mother-in-law had eaten a full serving!)

Are they delicious? Well, I gave one to my sister and she loved it. And I gave one to my mother at dinner, and then pressed her to take another home with her. Normally she would decline appreciatively, but this time she accepted. So they must be extra delicious! And addictive. Have I mentioned that they’re addictive? They are definitely full of sugar, and when that sugar hits your brain, your dopamine sensors will happily go haywire and want more! So not really the sort of treat to help you meet any New Year’s weight loss goals, but definitely the treat you want to eat if you want comfort food. Mmm…so creamily delicious! Worth temporarily stalling my post-partum weight loss for!

Let’s get to making some!

 

5 from 1 vote
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Cherry & Vanilla Oreo No Bake Mini Cheesecakes

These deliciously rich mini cheesecakes are the comfort food your stomach deserves!

Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 vanilla Oreo cookies
  • 345 g cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 can condensed milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 can cherry pie filling

Instructions

  1. Open up the Oreo cookies, and separate the cream filling from the actual cookies. Set the cookies aside.

  2. Mix the cream fillings with the cream cheese (must be softened, to avoid a lumpy cheesecake batter), condensed milk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Blend with a mixer until completely smooth.

  3. Line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake liners (foil ones are best). Place two of the Oreo cookies in the base of each cupcake liner (i.e. each of the two sides of a single Oreo cookie, without the filling).

  4. Divide the cheesecake batter over the 12 muffin cups, and place in fridge to set up for 12 hours.

  5. Once the cheesecakes are set, divide the cherry filling into 12 portions, and spoon over top of the cheesecakes.

  6. Serve with a spoon and enjoy the rich deliciousness!

Please note that these are soft cheesecakes. They have to be served cold, and they really do need the 12 hours in the fridge before they can be served, unless you layer them in a custard cup and serve them that way. But if you want to serve them in cupcake liners, foil ones would be best. I used regular paper liners, and just made sure I had the cheesecake set for the full 12 hours. But you do you, boo!

As the main flavour of the cheesecake is vanilla, you could easily switch up the topping to whatever flavour is your favourite. Blueberry? Or perhaps a swirl of whipped chocolate ganache? Or a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of multi-coloured non-pareils? If you make this recipe, let us know in the comments how you topped it!

Next Post: Probably my Easy Tex-Mex Potatoes. So easy. So, so easy. And vegan! 

Linking Up at Full Plate Thursday!

Very Cherry Crumble Bars: A Delicious Way to Use Up Frozen (or Fresh) Fruit!

So incredibly delicious! Seriously. Make these!

This week’s recipe is for Very Cherry Crumble Bars! I tend to have an over-stocked freezer (I don’t have a deep freeze, just an over-the-fridge- freezer) as I’m always stuffing in pre-made meals to pull out for later. At any given time, I can usually pull out Carrot Ginger Stew, Easy Enchiladas, homemade bread, ingredients for smoothies, and various fruits and veggies that I’ve bought and frozen. As I want to stock the freezer in anticipation of baby’s arrival, I decided to use up some of my single ingredients. Today, that ingredient was local cherries, that I had pitted and frozen!

With school lunches approaching for a lot of people, these bars can easily be baked, individually wrapped, and kept for the week’s lunches. I personally try to pack them for my work lunches, but…they tend not to stay around too long. Unless I freeze them in layers, and that kind of defeats the purpose of clearing out my freezer.

I came up with the recipe after mashing together and then modifying a few different recipes. I liked the easy crust from one recipe, but changed a few ingredients, and the streusel from another recipe (again changing a few ingredients), and then just made up my own filling, based on what I know about fruit pie fillings. See? It really is easy to play around in the kitchen. If you’re a bit hesitant about switching up ingredients, you can start out with simple substitutions. If you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll also get a free copy of my e-book, This for That: Easy Kitchen Swaps and Hacks. You can find the sign-up on the right-hand side of the blog.

But back to these delish bars! Let’s get to making some!

VERY CHERRY CRUMBLE BARS

With a shortbread crust, a very cherry filling, and a streusel topping, what's not to love? 

Servings 24 bars

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c. butter, softened
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 3 c. frozen cherries, defrosted and drained
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. almond flavouring
  • 1/4 tsp. almond flavouring
  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. butter, softened

Instructions

  1. Line a lasagna-sized tray with tin foil (for easy removal of bars).

  2. Mix the crust ingredients (the first four ingredients) together with a mixer until a fine crumb (almost sandy) appears. 

  3. Press the crumb mixture into the lined tray.

  4. Mix the fruit filling (the next 5 ingredients) together, and pour over the unbaked base.

  5. Mix the streusel topping (the last four ingredients) together, until a semi-lumpy crumb is formed.

  6. Sprinkle streusel topping over the fruit filling. 

  7. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes, until the topping is golden. 

  8. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 30 minutes (this helps the base and filling become a bit firmer).  

  9. Once cool, either cut in pan, or lift out of pan using the tin foil edges and cut on a wooden cutting board.

  10. Serve and...enjoy!

 

This recipe makes a big batch (a lasagna-sized tray full) so it’s great for a family, a potluck, or just to Netflix with your bestie. If you do freeze some, make sure you freeze them with wax papers between the layers of bars, and make sure the container is well-wrapped to protect against freezer burn.

Oh, and one more hint about substitutions. You can definitely switch out the cherries for other fresh or frozen fruit. If the fruit is super-juicy, keep the flour and corn starch amounts the same, but if it’s a sturdy fruit such as apple or plum, just remove the corn starch (I add it to thicken up any juices that the fruit releases). Also, use an extract that works with the fruit. For example, I would use vanilla extract with apples, but almond extract with apricots. You do you, boo! And then comment on this post to let us know how it turned out!

Next Post: Maybe my Potluck-Friendly Potato Salad. Or perhaps a pasta salad. Or perhaps something else entirely! We’ll see what baby is craving next week. 🙂

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, Happiness is Homemade, and the Clever Chicks Blog Hop!

Creamy Vanilla Pineapple Float: A Yummy Way to Beat the Heat!

Super easy and super creamy!

This summer I have been all about the cold drinks. It’s been steamy hot where I live, and I tend to wilt in the humid heat. If I step outside and my sunglasses fog up in seconds, that’s too humid for me! I like a nice dry heat. So, in order to beat the heat or at least exist with it, I tend to walk around carrying lots of bottles of cold ice water, eat a yummy green smoothie for dinner to cool down, and if I’m still overheated in the evening, this week’s recipe for a Creamy Vanilla Pineapple Float sure hits the spot!

This recipe is modified from one that my mother used to make when I was a child. And as a ice-cream based dessert float goes, it’s pretty healthy! Pineapple juice and powdered milk form most of the base of the float, so you’re getting lots of vitamins and calcium, and then it’s topped with a scoop of ice cream, the least healthiest but super delicious part.

I asked my mother where she got the original recipe from, and she actually doesn’t remember, but thinks it may have been from a magazine ad or so. I’m part of the generation that had an analog childhood but digital adolescence, so while I remember not having the internet of recipes at my fingertips, it still takes me a few seconds to grasp how different it must have been not to have instant access to recipes for everything available at all times. I wonder how my bebe-to-be’s life will be different from mine. Change is the only constant in life, I guess!

Speaking of change, you could easily change up this recipe. You could definitely make the ice cream yourself, if you wanted to cut out all preservatives and such. I have several no churn ice cream recipes on this blog, such as this one and this one. Just make the basic ice cream base (whipped cream and evaporated milk, plus an extract) and away you go! Or why not switch up the juices and extract and come up with your own creamy vanilla fruit juice float?

If you want to make this exact (and delicious!) one however, here’s the recipe!

 

5 from 1 vote
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Creamy Vanilla Pineapple Float

This creamy float is healthier than you'd expect, and sure hits the spot in the summertime!

Servings 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 c. milk powder
  • 3 drops vanilla extract (about 1/16 tsp.)
  • 1 squeeze fresh lemon juice
  • 1 scoop vanilla bean ice cream

Instructions

  1. Blend the first four ingredients together, until milk powder is completely dissolved. 

  2. Pour into a chilled glass, over ice, and top with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. 

  3. Sip and enjoy! 

 

I’ve been drinking this float quite often over the past few weeks. I keep telling myself that if I don’t serve it with a TON of ice cream, it’s really quite nutritious! And even ice cream contains calcium, so…bottoms up!

Next Post: Possibly Easy Cherry Crumble Bars, or my Fan Favourite Potato Salad recipe. Mmm…want to eat them both right now! 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, Happiness is Homemade, as well as the Clever Chicks Blog Hop!

Five MORE Last Minute Gifts from the Kitchen (Plus White Chocolate Macadamia Cookie-Mix-in-a-Jar)

Gifts from the kitchen…may include cookies-in-a-jar mix!

Hello, dear readers! The holidays are upon us and I’m still in the thick of holiday preparations, lots of which involve gifts from my kitchen. I’ve made Chocolate Walnut Fudge and White Chocolate Candy Cane Bark, but there are still lots of easy (and delicious!) gifts that can be whipped up by you and by me. I’ve previously written about last minute gifts that you can give from your kitchen (and even from your microwave), but here are five more!

FIVE MORE LAST MINUTES GIFTS FROM THE KITCHEN

  • Marshmallow Snowman Pops – In case you missed it, I made these tasty snowman pops out of marshmallows, white chocolate, and a few trimmings. You can too!
  • Easy Pickled Vegetables – Want to give something that’s not pure sugar? What about these easy pickled vegetables? Bonus, they’ll also use up whatever veggies you have in your fridge or pantry!
  • Chocolate-Covered Honeycomb Candy – Like the candy bar, but homemade so no preservatives! Also makes a nice large batch so that you can make several gifts at once! Or eat some yourself. Either or.
  • Wine BonBons – Because sometimes you just want to sit and eat bonbons by the light of the Christmas tree.
  • Christmas Peppermint Patties – These delicious treats are easy, tasty, and can be made using whatever cookie cutters you have on hand. Great for party platters, after dinner treats, or just to package up in cellophane and gift to lucky recipients!

Do you have any gifts that you still need to get? If yes, I strongly suggest making some of the above delicious things! Who doesn’t love a food gift, made with love, and fresh from the kitchen?

I think I have most of the gifts I need ready to give to people, but I have one more gift to make and that’s for A Very Special Person, my own DH. Want to know what I’m going to make him? Well, he doesn’t like actual chocolate (I know, egads!) but he does like white chocolate and macadamia nuts, so I thought I’d make him a container of white chocolate macadamia nut cookie mix! That way he doesn’t have to eat them now during this season of delicious, delicious holiday excess, but can keep them to make a month or so down the road when a cookie emergency arises. (What, you don’t have cookie emergencies? No midnight cravings? Ok, so maybe just me.)

WHITE CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA COOKIES — IN A JAR

(Adapted from My Baking Addiction)

  • Layer 1 – 3/4 c. all-purpose flour + 1/2 tsp. baking soda 
  • Layer 2 – 1/2 c. large flake rolled oats + 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Layer 3 – 1/2 c. brown sugar (not packed down)
  • Layer 4 – 1/2 c. white sugar + 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Layer 5 – 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • Layer 6 – 1/2 chopped macadamia nuts
  • Layer 7 – 1/2 c. white chocolate chunks
  • Layer 8 – 1/2 c. fine-milled oats

Mix the vanilla extract with the white sugar. Using a funnel, drop the ingredients in the layers as mentioned above. Write out the following instructions, and attach to the jar, so the recipient knows how to make up these yummy cookies!

When you’re ready to make the cookies, beat 1/2 c. softened butter with an egg. Stir in the entire jar of cookie mix. Bake in a 350 degree oven on a greased baking sheet for 8 minutes if you like softer cookies and 10 minutes if you like crunchier cookies. And, enjoy! 

This recipe is easily customizable! Replace white chocolate with dark chocolate; switch out the macadamia nuts for walnuts; add in raisins or other dried fruit; and so on and so forth. Make it your own! By the way, if you don’t have fine-milled oats, just regular ones will do, or you can briefly (v. briefly) blend the large-flake ones in a blender. If you make this recipe, let me know in the comments if you subbed out any ingredients! 

 Next Post: Probably the Cappuccino Cupcakes I mentioned previously. Mmm…cappuccino goodness! Just the thing to keep my awake to wrap all of my presents!

Linking Up at Full Plate Thursday!