I know, I know… it’s January 5th and everyone is dieting, trying to eat healthier and going through sugar detox from the holiday season. But what if you could have your “cake and eat it too?” Sorry, couldn’t resist that one!
I was going through my recipes that have been piling up and this one in particular caught my eye. My 2 year old is a bonafide chocoholic so I had a thought for 2010, I am going to be putting his love for chocolate to good use! I will be occasionally using chocolate as the delivery vehicle for good nutrition. Chocolate actually has a few great health benefits, but I am talking about REAL chocolate (Dark Chocolate) and not the milk chocolate or “chocolate flavored” junk that is often marketed toward children in the form of candy bars, etc. Now just because dark chocolate can be a mostly guilt-free dessert option, moderation is still very important!
What really piqued my interest was the fact that the recipe calls for a single gluten-free flour and not a blend of GF flours. The flour you ask? Quinoa, my friend. Check out this page on a website called Body Ecology regarding quinoa. Did you know that quinoa was a relative of spinach? Very cool! I have always heard that of all the whole grains (even though it is a seed and not an actual grain), quinoa is the cream of the crop.
The recipe also does not call for xanthan gum so I was really interested in seeing how they would turn out! Anyhoo, this recipe was printed on the back of the bag of Quinoa Flour that I bought by Bob’s Redmill.
Sour Cream Fudge Cupcakes
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter (I used Smart Balance but Earth Balance, which is dairy free, would work great too)
1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa, click here for a link to Hershey’s allergen statement)
1 cup Sugar
1 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Quinoa Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Eggs, separated
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 cup Sour Cream (I used Lowfat Sour Cream because I always try to follow a recipe exactly as written the first time I make it, except for butter because I rarely use the real stuff. Next time, I am going to try these with plain Greek yogurt or maybe even the Chocolate Coconut Milk Yogurt, which is dairy free, by So Delicious… Luke LOVES it!)
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Place the butter (or equivalent) and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and whisk in the cocoa powder.
- Sift together the sugar, quinoa flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. (I like to throw all of the ingredients that I need to sift together in a bowl first. I then use a whisk to incorporate everything first THEN I sift. I also do not use a “sifter.” I have gone through 4 in the past 5 years and they either rust, get jammed or something. I actually just use a mesh strainer and the handle of a wooden spoon to swirl the flour thru. I have come to love re-purposing items that I already have, saves money and precious space!).
- Add the cooled cocoa mixture, egg yolks, vanilla and sour cream (or equivalent) and blend well.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter.
- Spoon into a muffin tin lined with paper cupcake liners.
- Bake for 20 minutes (mine were done in 15 minutes using a convection oven), or until a cake tester (toothpicks work great!) inserted in the center comes out clean.
I was a bit skeptical when making these. Quinoa flour has that earthy/nutty aroma that for whatever reason makes me think of a barn, just like sorghum, millet and amaranth does for me. But, once the cupcakes were completely cool…that taste was barely present so the chocolate worked for Luke and for me! Very sneaky indeed. I think I am going to also try adding some shredded zucchini, pumpkin puree, sweet potato puree or even mashed bananas next time to add more moisture and nutrition.
I did add frosting to some of the “muffins” too, which was quite the side adventure in itself. The recipe calls for 3 cups of powdered sugar and I only had one, so I took the opportunity to try and make my own powdered sugar! I followed a recipe I found on Recipezaar but I used arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch so if it worked, then it would be a good option for those that are allergic or sensitive to corn… or if you have watched the film King Corn, like me, one too many times! Click here for information on thickeners, arrowroot is a 1:1 replacement for cornstarch.
Homemade Confectioner’s/Powdered Sugar
For each cup of powdered sugar that you need add the following together (so if you need 3 cups of powdered sugar, you will need 3 cups of granulated sugar plus 3 Tbs. of arrowroot powder or cornstarch)
1 cup Sugar
1 Tbs. Cornstarch (or Arrowroot Powder)
Combine the two and process in blender (I used my food processor) until powder forms. I stopped after 10 minutes when I realized the homemade powdered sugar was not going to be the same consistency as the store-bought powdered sugar. While the taste was great, my food processor did not produce that “powdery” texture. If anyone has any tips, I would love to hear them! So as you will see in the cupcakes, the frosting has a certain “texture” from the granulated sugar. It tastes like frosting but if you are a texture person, you may not like it.
While I do monitor the boys intake of sugar, I am sometimes a *little* lax because at least 95% of what they eat is homemade and does not contain preservatives, etc. They also do not eat at McDonald’s and the like, in fact we rarely eat out at all (only on special occasions), so I figure there is room for a little sugar here and there and it makes for great parent bribery! But seriously, homemade has a lot of advantages. Not only can it save on fat, calories, and chemicals/preservatives, but you can save SO much money, which can really offset the expense of a gluten-free diet! I would really like to start incorporating a cost breakdown for cooking at home. My husband is a financial advisor so I am going to try and put his number crunching skills to good “domestic” use!
Here is something new that I want to start doing from time to time. I have been having a lot of fun finding new uses for products that I already have. I recently came across another blog; Curious Gypsy, and the author had an entire list titled “Fun Facts – Useful Household Hints.”
One of the items listed (#2) was to use Pam cooking spray (Original, Butter Flavor and live Oil are gluten-free) to dry nail polish! This is actually a pretty cool thing for people that are either:
A.) Really sensitive to gluten where even coming in physical contact with it can cause a reaction like a rash, etc. (If you are newly diagnosed with celiac disease, talk with your doctor about this. I think it is still up in the air on skin care products containing gluten. Some people say it is absorbed through the skin and could cause problems for celiacs. On the other hand, my GI doctor told me that if I do not ingest the substance that contains gluten, then it cannot hurt me. The biggest risk factor then of course is cross contamination by having a lotion, etc. that contains gluten on your hand that ends up on your sandwich that then ends up in your stomach, etc. I personally prefer to err on the side of caution and omit gluten whenever and wherever I can. I do not mess around with Lip Sticks and Lip Balms, mine are ALWAYS gluten-free).
B.) For any celiac that gets manicures where nail enamel dryer is used, which could lead to gluten cross-contamination if you put your hands in your mouth or on something that will end up in your mouth, after being sprayed. While I do not know about all brands, I do know that DeMert (see photo below) contains Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein (among other things like Butane…)!
If you have any cool ideas like this and would like to share them, I would love to hear about them! Also, feel free to email me with questions, recipe ideas or if you need help “tweaking” a recipe of your own, I would be happy to try and help! My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
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