A Little Indulgence – Dairy Free Sugar Free Chocolate Icing

dairy free sugar free chocolate icingI have a secret to share with you. It’s one of those don’t tell my kids or I’ll never live it down kind of secrets. I have a bit of an addiction. You know that chocolate icing that I made to ice the cupcakes? Yeah there was some leftover…there’s not anymore…

When I found this recipe for dairy free sugar free chocolate icing I was in heaven. It’s super simple to make and totally delicious! One would never know that it was anything near the sugar free area, let alone no dairy. It is creamy, smooth and definitely chocolatey! It is so good I sometimes eat it with a spoon. Hence, why there are no longer any leftovers in my fridge. Once in a while, when I have that craving for sweet I just dip in and take a spoonful or two…ok sometimes three. I often think to myself I will just freeze the rest and then when I need icing I can just pull it out and use it without having to make a whole new batch (the recipe is quite big – even when I half it I have generous leftovers). But unless I pop it into the freezer right away, yeah, I eat it, in big heaping spoonfuls and hope that my kids don’t find out (because I don’t want them to do it to! I know hypocritical).dairy free sugar free chocolate icing

This simple recipe requires only 4 ingredients and your food processor or blender. I use cacao powder for that extra superfood boost – as cacao is high in magnesium, B vitamins, protein and fiber – but you may also cocao, though not as beneficial nutritionally. And I use this icing recipe for all kinds of things, not just cakes and cupcakes. We put it on ice cream, fruit and last summer we discovered that it is a great substitute for some of those good old camping recipes, like s’mores, or the new one we discovered at Scout camp – a combination of banana, nutella (we use the chocolate icing instead), butter and toasted on a bun – yum!

So regardless what you are going to use it for, whether it be a little indulgence eating it with a spoon, cake or a camping treat, enjoy this quick easy dairy free sugar free chocolate icing guilt free.

Dairy Free Sugar Free Chocolate Icing

dairy free sugar free chocolate icing1 cup cacao powder

3/4 cup Earth Balance vegan spread

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup pure maple syrup (high in minerals such as maganese, zinc, potassium and no artificial ingredients compared to imitation syrups containing high fructose corn syrup, added and artificial ingredients, contain no minerals)

Process all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy.

Use immediately or may be stored in fridge for up to one week or frozen (unless you eat it all first).dairy free sugar free chocolate icing

Kids Healthy Cooking – Plain Pancakes

plain pancake recipeIn the spirit of celebrating Pancake Tuesday recently in February, I decided to make pancakes in my Mini Chefs class at Trico Center. Pancake Tuesday is a holiday I love, also called Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, it is the day before the beginning of Lent, and in the times of no refrigerator, it was a time to eat up all the foods that were considered fatty, would go bad and that people would ‘give up’ during the Lenten season.

Besides what child does not love pancakes? I do not know many, so I knew that they would be a hit with all my kids, even some of my more particular eaters. I decided to go with a basic plain pancake recipe, as I feel this should be a staple in every home, plus it is easy to ‘dress up’ in a variety of different ways. Of course, there is the traditional maple syrup and butter, but you can also have fruit toppings, ice cream and whip cream to name a few options.

plain pancake recipePlain pancakes are also really easy to make with kids, as there is a lot of measuring, scooping and mixing involved. It actually takes longer to cook the pancakes than it does to make the batter! I had each of the kids take a turn measuring an ingredient and dumping it into the bowl. Then a few of them had a turn mixing it up, which honestly this job is easily done by one person, but I find the kids really love to mix stuff. I could easily occupy them all day with mixing (parents something to think about lol).

plain pancake recipeThe kids were also very interested in watching the pancakes cook. I had them all stand at a safe distance from the pan and they watched as I poured the batter in and then waited for them to cook. For those that were interested, I pointed out the bubbles that were forming on top and that when they had lots of bubbles it meant it was time to flip them over. One little girl thought this was fascinating.

Once we had all the pancakes cooked we sat down to enjoy them! I had cut up fruit in advance, bananas, apples and strawberries and told them were we going to make faces on our pancakes with our fruit. Chloe who had done this before at our house, demonstrated what to do and then picked up her pancake and started eating. I was surprised to see all the other kids follow suit, with not a single one asking where the maple syrup was – which I actually did have to go with our pancakes that day. But since they did not ask for it, I just tucked it away and let them enjoy the pancakes and fruit faces they made. It was pretty easy and it was super fun.

Plain Pancakes

2 c. whole wheat flourplain pancake recipe

6 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 egg

2 ¼ c.  non-dairy milk of choice – almond milk, coconut milk, etc.

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl. Pour ¼ c. batter on hot griddle. When bubbles form on top, flip pancakes over. Cook for another 3 minutes. Top with favorite fruit or enjoy with pure maple syrup.plain pancake recipe

 

Coming up next in Kids Healthy Cooking Mini Pizzas!

A Warm Drink on a Cold Day

warm capuccino-saidaonlineThere’s nothing like coming in on a cold day and enjoying a nice warm drink. Cuddling up on the couch, your hands surrounding the mug for warmth as the steam floats up and you inhale the beautiful scent of coffee, hot chocolate, tea or hot apple cider, to name a few.

It doesn’t matter what you have been doing, if you’ve been enjoying some time outside doing outdoor activities, toboganning, skating, skiing or even just shoveling the walk, there is something about that warm beverage that offers you comfort like nothing else.

My kids love cuddling up on the couch with their drinks and maybe some cookies or other treat and watching a movie, tucked up under blankets. Nice and cozy and relaxing.

warm-drinksOf course when we decided to eliminate sugar at our house we could no longer default to the hot chocolate mix we bought at the store (and we used to buy the big can, you know that one that is super tall and would last for months). I know in the good old days hot chocolate was simply milk heated with cocoa mixed into it, but it had been a long time since I’d done that. In fact I remember one time when I was little and my aunt was looking after us, she did just that, and my sisters and I looked at her like she had 3 heads and asked her what the heck she was doing. In the end she ended up making the instant stuff but I know now what I missed out on.

I really like the milk heated version as I find it to be richer and creamier, even though it does take a little bit more time and work to do so. What I do now for the kids is actually a little fancier than that (something I discovered in my Raw Chocolate Making class), but it is soooo yummy and also very good for you.

Now I use a mix of almond milk, cacao powder (considered a superfood and high in minerals such protein, zinc, and iron), natural sweetener of choice and depending on the day some added spices. It’s actually quite easy to do and tastes delicious! I also like that I can make it different every time depending on what I am feeling like that day.

Dairy Free Hot Chocolate

4 c. almond milk (or your choice of dairy free milk)HBC-DJ12-hot-chocolate-shrstock-48722137

3-4 tbsp. cacao powder

3-4 tbsp. natural sweetener (I usually use pure maple syrup, but you can use honey, stevia, etc.) *amount of sweetener depends on sweetener used and personal preference

spices – sprinkle of to taste cinnamon and cayenne, or lucuma powder and mesquite powder

Place all ingredients into blender. Turn on low, then turn up to high, blend well. Pour mixture into pot. Heat on medium to desired temperature. Pour into mugs and serve.

Serves 4

What other delectable hot drink recipes do you enjoy?

Something to add to your Christmas Brunch Gingerbread Waffles

IMG_4336I don’t know about you but I get a lot of newsletters. I like to try new things, so if I come across something I try it out and before I know it I have been automatically signed up for their newsletter (though I realize the new anti-spam laws are meant to prevent this).

From time to time I go through and weed out the ones I don’t really read or pay attention to and unsubscribe. Others I scan periodically looking for those little gems and remember why I signed up for it in the first place; then keep it in my inbox. Those gems are what keep me hooked, keep me reading the newsletters and staying on.

The ones that keep me hooked the most are the ones with yummy recipes that I discover and want to try, something I may not have thought of or come across otherwise. These are my favorite discoveries, some delectable dish just waiting to grace my plate and win my approval.

IMG_4329I found one of those gems earlier this week, when scanning the most recent Sobeys flyer. Luke and Chloe were with me, sitting on my lap, when I discovered these gingerbread waffles. I love gingerbread and I love waffles, so I was sure gingerbread waffles would definitley be a fabulous combination and treat. I ooed and awed and quickly clicked on the link, spreading my excitement to Luke and Chloe, as we waited in anticipation to see what was on the ingredient list. Looked easy enough, so we planned to try them.

It was so cute this morning as we came downstairs to make them for breakfast. Luke and Chloe got their chairs and wanted to help make them. Luke kept chatting away about trying them and we’ll see if they turn out and it was ok if they didn’t. Quite interesting chatter for a 4 year old. They were definitely excited.

IMG_4330Making all the appropriate adjustments (dairy and sugar), these waffles turned out fabulously! Perfectly golden brown, fluffy, with a subtle (not overwhelming) taste of gingerbread, they are not only delicious but very filling! After only having 2 waffles I was quite full.

The kids loved them of course and were also quite happy with how they turned out. We even broke out the Christmas dishes to enjoy them! Now I have another fantastic waffle recipe to add to my reperatoire of delectable waffles (plain, chocolate, orange) and new options for breakfasts and brunches, especially Christmas morning breakfast. Who wouldn’t love to have gingerbread for breakfast on Christmas?

I would like to try this recipe using coconut milk instead of almond milk (though really the almond milk version turned out very well), just to see what the difference is and if we like it even more. You never know til you try! So next time I make them we’ll give it a go.

In the meantime, enjoy these yummy dairy free, sugar free, gingerbread waffles, topped with pure maple syrup they are sure to be a hit this holiday season!

Gingerbread Waffles

1 1/4 c. whole wheat flourIMG_4334

1c. all purpose flour

2 tbsp. coconut sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1 1/2 c. almond milk

3 eggs

1/4 c. barley malt

1/4 c. Earth Balance vegan spread, melted

In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices).

In a small bowl, whisk together almond milk, eggs, barley malt and melted Earth Balance. Add barley malt mixture to dry ingredients and stir until well combined.

Fill a greased waffle iron with approx. 1/2 cup (125 mL) of batter per waffle. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 3 min. per waffle. Repeat until all batter is used. Serve with Pure Maple Syrup.

Makes approximately 12 waffles

Fabulous Baked Beans

IMG_2839Growing up I always loved a can of baked beans. They reminded me of sitting around the campfire and enjoying them usually with hot dogs. But when we changed our diet canned baked beans was another thing that had to go! 🙁 Usually made with brown sugar and molasses (molasses being the worst culprit; which is 50% sucrose and is actually a by product of making refined white sugar, with the added chemicals) I had to forgo baked beans for awhile.

In fact, I never thought that I could make my own. Funny enough I thought they come in a can so how could I? Yet one day we went for supper at my neighbors house and he had made them from scratch. Thinking nothing of it, a little while later my mother said she wanted to make baked beans for the camping trip that she and my father were taking my oldest son Matthew on. I then remembered that my neighbor had made them and kindly asked for his recipe.

eden-foods-barley-malt-24412By this time I knew enough about different natural substitutes to make the necessary changes in ingredients. Barley Malt is often substituted for molasses and we had found a ketchup, that was not only organic but sweetened with honey. It was perfect!

And of course I love using my slow cooker, putting something in in the morning and let it cook slowly all day, the sweet smells wafting through the house as it cooks. By the time they are ready to eat our mouths are watering in anticipation!

The recipe turned out beautifully and so delicious! I often make them myself when we go camping and just reheat when we get there. I even make them at home from time to time and they are always gobbled up! I have a friend who I introduced them to, who now says that he will never be able to go back to the canned ones. Which I guess is good and bad 🙂

True, this is not a recipe that you can whip up in 30 minutes, but it is totally worth the time it takes to make them. And really it only takes a little prep and preplanning.

IMG_2836Now the original recipe calls for only 1/3 pkg. of bacon but I use the whole thing. In fact I buy the cheapest and fattiest brand I can find, which is probably why mine are better than my Mum’s even though we are using the exact same recipe! (sorry Mum)

So whether you are looking for something around the campfire or warm comfort food at home these beans will not disappoint! Once you’ve tried this recipe please return and share your comments about how they turned out.

Baked Beans

2 cups red kidney beans (soaked overnight)

1 pkg. bacon

1 onion chopped

1/2 c. Honey Bunny Bodacious Ketchup

1/3 c. pure maple syrup

1/4 c. barley malt

1 tsp. dry mustard

Soak beans overnight in water. Use a large container and add in generous amounts of water as beans will soak up quite a bit of it. Cover with lid.

Boil gently soaked beans until soft. Put beans into crock pot. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl and pour over beans. Cover and put on low. Cook all day (for a minimum of 8 hours)

*if you prefer a sweeter recipe you can adjust maple syrup and barley malt to taste

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

IMG_2805Yesterday many of us celebrated Pancake Tuesday. A tradition that began in the Middle Ages this day has grown and enjoyed by people around the world.

Enjoying pancakes for supper is one of my favorite things (in fact I love anything breakfast for supper, there are so many fabulous breakfast foods out there) but on Pancake Tuesday I like to spice it up a little and make a recipe that is more than just your regular plain pancake – though those are just as delicious!

There are so many kinds of pancakes to choose from. Some of our favorites are pumpkin and oatmeal banana. There are gluten free options, dairy free, coconut and fruit options. You name it, you can basically find it and make it.

Yesterday I decided to try out an apple cinnamon pancake recipe (at the suggestion of my mother who was here on the weekend). I didn’t have one so I quickly googled it and found a number of apple cinnamon recipes to choose from. My favorite was on dairygoodness.ca, where they suggested using maple syrup as the sweetener as well as a mix of flours.

Of course I had to make a couple of other quick substitutions to make it dairy free (as that is part of our diet as well) and went to work mixing up the dough. The most time consuming part was shredding the apples but otherwise is a quick and easy recipe to make.

It was a huge hit! Everyone loved them. They had just the right amount of apple, not overwhelming and with a little bit of syrup…Yum! They were fabulous. My modified dairy and sugar free version is below.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

1 1/2 c. all purpose flourIMG_2808

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. sea salt

3 eggs

2 1/2 c. almond milk

1/4 c. Earth Balance vegan spread, melted

2 tbsp. pure maple syrup

1 1/2 c. shredded apple

In a large bowl mix flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, almond milk, melted Earth Balance and maple syrup. Pour over dry ingredients and add apples. Stir gently until just combined – a few lumps may remain.

In a large non stick skillet, heat a small amount of butter. Scoop about 1/3 c. of batter per pancake into skillet. Cook approximately 2 minutes or until bubbles form in batter. Turn over and cook 1 to 2 minutes more until golden and fluffy. Repeat with remaining pancake batter.

 

Pancakes for Supper

Pancakes 1I love that one night a year I can make pancakes for dinner! Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins in the Christian faith.

Beginning in the middle ages, it was the last day for celebration and feasting before the period of fasting required during the lenten season. Food items like meat, milk, eggs and fats were restricted during this time; so to keep these foods from being wasted people would have big feasts on Shrove Tuesday in order to consume these items and prevent them from being wasted (as they would not keep over the next 40 days).

mardi-gras-2The English were the first to make pancakes on this Tuesday as it was an easy way to use these ingredients before Ash Wednesday began. In France, consumption of these fats or fatty foods on this day coined the phrase “Fat Tuesday” or Mardi Gras.

I always find these things fascinating and share them with my kids. My oldest often asks why we have Pancake Tuesday and though I know the traditional reason I had no idea of it’s origin.

And though we may not always observe all the traditions of the Christian faith we certainly enjoy and don’t mind observing this one! Usually I make the traditional plain pancakes and add some fruit on top, but with all our dietary changes and my hunt for new recipes, I have added to my repertoire of ‘kinds’ of pancakes.

So today if you are on the hunt for a little variety in your pancakes, give one of these recipes a try (and if you are not making pancakes for dinner then try them some other time, they are all delicious!) You’ll love ‘em and so will your kids. They are all sugar and dairy free and the last one is gluten free as well.

Pumpkin Pancakes from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

1 1/2 c. flour (I used half whole wheat and half white)

1/4 c. date sugar

pic3R054P

Pumpkin Pancakes

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

4 eggs, separated

3/4 c. canned unsweetened pumpkin

1 1/2 c. rice milk (I use a brand called Ryza as it has the least amount of additives and no sugar or you can make your own) or almond milk

4 tbsp. Earth Balance, melted

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Maple syrup for serving

In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until medium peaks form. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, pumpkin puree, rice milk, Earth Balance and vanilla until well combined. Whisk the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture just until the batter is smooth and no lumps of flour remain. Fold in egg whites in 2 additions.

Heat griddle over medium heat until a few drops of water flicked onto the surface skitter across it. Lightly grease the griddle.

Pour 1/4 c. pancake batter onto griddle. Cook until bubbles form on top and the batter is set, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the pancakes over. Cook until golden brown on the other side, about 3 minutes more. Keep warm until all pancakes are cooked.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes from purecanadamaple.com

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups rice milk or almond milk

2/3 cup old fashioned oats, not instant

2 overripe bananas, mashed with a fork to a fine pulp

2 egg whites, whipped to stiff peaks

2 teaspoons canola oil or non-stick pan spray

Gobs of crunchy or creamy peanut butter

Pure maple syrup

In a mixing bowl, combine both flours, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a non-reactive mixing bowl, combine milk, oats and bananas. Fold in dry ingredients. Fold in egg whites and mix until just combined.

Heat one teaspoon of oil in a 12-inch non-stick skilled over medium high heat. Drop batter by the scant ¼ cup full into pan and cook, turning once until lightly browned. Hold pancakes warm on a platter until you’ve got them all cooked.

Spread a teaspoon or so of peanut butter on each pancake and then the Pièce de résistance of course…a generous drizzle of maple syrup.

Makes 15 pancakes.

Pancakes

This recipe is sugar free, dairy free, gluten free and is yummy! Courtesy of Ryza rice milk.

1 egg

1 cup Original or Vanilla Ryza

2 tbsp oil

1 3/4 cups brown rice flour

3 tbsp tapioca starch

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

Beat egg until frothy. Add Ryza and oil; beat until well blended. In another bowl mix brown rice flour and the remaining dry ingredients. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquids. Stir until well blended. Do not over stir. Batter will be slightly thin. Lightly grease a frying pan. Pour small circles and fry pancakes until golden. Serve with pure maple syrup.

You can also try apple cinnamon pancakes or if you prefer a simple plain pancake try this recipe.

What are your favorite pancake recipes? Share in the comments below.

Yummy Easy Vegan Treats (with chocolate!)

I love shopping at Community Natural Foods, a local organic and natural food store. Not only do they have a wide variety of products available and good prices, they often have someone there sampling yummy recipes. Not only do they provide the samples for you but they also have the recipe printed out and ready for you to take a copy!

Not only are the recipes delicious they are good for you, often a vegan recipe with natural sweeteners and usually a little pinch of some kind of superfood in there. This is where I have gotten the Cinnamon Salted Caramel Brownie recipe that I made and shared with all my friends in Kananaskis last January – which everyone loved and would never have known that it was no dairy, no sugar unless I had told them. So I was quite excited when I went in on Saturday and discovered 2 yummy recipes to try.

I was so excited I came right home and made them both, even having to run back out to the store to grab a missing ingredient. Fairly quick and easy they both turned out fabulously! I even shared a sample with a couple of my neighbors who quickly asked for the recipe.

I love it when I find good recipes like this as I think that a lot of people feel that eating healthy means more fruits and vegetables and that you have to give up a lot of the sweet treats, which just isn’t true. You can find many, if not even more delicious in some cases, treats that not only satisfy your ‘treat fix’ but provide many essential vitamins and nutrients that our bodies need. It’s great, have a sweet and it’s actually healthy and beneficial for you!

No Bake Chocolate Macaroons

1 banana

1/4 c. coconut oil

1/4 c. pure maple syrup

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

6 tbsp. cacao powder

1.5 c unsweetened coconut

1 tbsp. chia seeds

small pinch sea salt

In a medium size bowl mash banana well until there are no clumps. Stir in melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Sift cacao powder and stir into banana mixture. Stir in chia seeds, coconut and salt.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop a teaspoon at a time onto parchment paper. Put in freezer for 20 minutes or until firm. Store in freezer until ready to enjoy.

Makes approx 15 macaroons.

Almond Butter Rice Crispy Treats

1/2 c. chunky almond butter

1/2 c. brown rice syrup

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. Earth Balance

1/2 tsp. sea salt

3.5 c Erewhon Brown Rice Crisp cereal

Chocolate Drizzle

1/4 c. homemade raw organic chocolate, left in liquid form

1 tbsp. almond butter

pinch salt

Shredded coconut for garnish

Line an 8×8 inch square pan with parchment paper.

In a large pot put in brown rice syrup, Earth Balance, almond butter and salt. Melt over medium low heat until well combined and heated through. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla; then stir in brown rice cereal.

Scoop and spread evenly into 8×8 pan. Press down with finger or roll with a pastry roller (just a note about the pastry roller – I had never thought of using this before and seriously it is the cat’s meow. Way easier then trying to press it into the pan with your fingers and makes it flatter and smoother). Place in freezer for 5 minutes while you make chocolate glaze.

Make raw organic chocolate according to recipe (cacao butter, vanilla, natural sweetener and cacao powder – for full recipe and directions go here). Stir in almond butter and salt.

Remove pan from freezer and drizzle with chocolate. Sprinkle with coconut and place in freezer until firm – about 15 minutes. Slice into squares.

Bars will hold their shape quite well at room temperature but may be stored in freezer or fridge.

 

 

Mmmmm… Chocolate Brownies (and oh yes sugar free)

Usually at this time of year I start preparing for Christmas, decorating and transforming the house into that cozy little sanctuary that is filled with love and laughter, children screaming in delight, sharing meals and good conversation with friends and family.

It is also the time of year that we are bombarded with sweets and treats and many of us tend to overindulge (a little) because there are so many good things to choose from. I usually start baking about now too, getting the treats ready and putting them in the freezer ready to take out when I need them, when company arrives or if I’d like a little treat myself:)

The challenge over the last year has been making some of my favorite recipes, which are full of sugar, and finding the appropriate sugar substitutions still getting the same taste and result. One of the absolute favorites in our house has been Chocolate Peanut Butter Cereal squares, which after a year of figuring out how to adjust it, I perfected the recipe. It was quite challenging as there were a lot of required ingredients that I had to find sugar free replacements for, such as cereal. The recipe calls for both cornflakes and rice crispies which are sweetened with added sugar. But more on that recipe next week when I post it. (Yes I am going to make you wait for that one)

Today I am going to share with you a delicious and very easy brownie recipe. It is a recipe from my Grandma that I used to make all the time, but hadn’t yet figured out what the appropriate substitution for brown sugar was. I had tried date sugar, and though sweet enough does not melt, so does not work in a lot of recipes where you require the sugar to actually melt. My mother was the one who actually found and tried coconut sugar and said it was a great substitution for brown sugar.

I had heard of coconut sugar but for whatever reason had not picked it up and tried it myself. In the summer when my parents took Matthew camping, my Mom was on a mission to adapt a good old camping recipe that we make on the coals of the fire, called a Cinnamon Apple. Delicious, it’s a baked apple with raisins and cinnamon and the brown sugar creates this wonderful sweet syrupy delight. Mmmmm. Anyway, she had found the coconut sugar and tried it in the Cinnamon Apple and it turned out perfectly; because the coconut sugar was not only sweet enough, it melts just like brown sugar. In fact, when you look on the package of coconut sugar, it says right on the package that you can substitute it for brown sugar.

So I started using coconut sugar in more of my recipes and all the ones that I had been ‘waiting on’ a brown sugar substitute. My first trial was with the chocolate brownies. Not only did they turn out, I found them to be more delicious, lighter and fluffier than the original recipe. In fact they are so good that you don’t really need to put icing on top of them, they are delicious all by themselves.

If you would like to put icing on them I am including an easy chocolate icing recipe that will do the trick. So make, enjoy, eat and freeze (so that you don’t eat them all! though that does not always stop me as I Know they are in the freezer).

Chocolate Brownies

1 c. coconut sugar 

1/2 c. melted Earth Balance

1/2 c. flour

2 tbsp. cocoa

2 eggs, beaten

Mix dry ingredients. Add butter, then beaten eggs. Grease 9″ square pan, pour batter into pan and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

Chocolate Icing

1 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup Earth Balance

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup 100% pure maple syrup

Process all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy.

Happy Baking!

Coming soon… Chocolate Peanut Butter Cereal Squares

A Halloween Breakfast -Pumpkin Pancakes

pumpkin pancakes

Last year I made Pumpkin pancakes Halloween morning for the kids.  I found these mini Halloween pancake molds at Williams Sonoma -in the shape of a cat, pumpkin, bat and ghost. It came with the pancake recipe so I thought I would try it out. It was so fun! It was a great way to start the day and to make it fun especially when meeting our no sugar requirement.

I am planning to make them again this year, except I will make them the night before and reheat them in the morning. Because Halloween falls on a school day, I would have to get up quite early to make them fresh and I am having a hard enough time getting up on school days as it is 🙂 It’s way too early for me.

Tips for Using Molds for Pumpkin Pancakes

When using the molds there are a few tips and tricks that I would recommend in order to make your pancake making experience successful.

First, is to buy a pancake pen. They are also available at Williams Sonoma and it is well worth the money spent. You fill the pen with batter on one end and then you squeeze it out of the tip on the other when you are ready. It has a cover on the “pen” end so you can stand it up with the batter at the end and ready to go. This is way easier and faster than spooning it into the molds.

Second, make sure that your griddle or pan is hot before you start and that you grease the pancake molds with a little bit of oil. They are non stick molds but you still need that extra grease to keep the batter from sticking, especially in the corners. And even with that I found that I had to gently push around the edges with a butter knife to get them to come out. And grease them EVERY time you put in a new batch of batter.

Third, don’t overfill the molds. If you use the recipe below they will puff up so only fill them about halfway. If you overfill them they will be hard to get out regardless if you grease them.

pumpkin pancakes

Fourthly, they do have little handles on them to help you take them out, but they become hot as they are metal like the rest of the mold – make sure you use a pot holder or oven mitt to handle them.

Interestingly last year I discovered I had no pot holders as I never found them to be useful and were just taking up space, so I gave them all away. Now I have found a reason to have at least one around, as using an oven mitt is too bulky and awkward to handle the molds. Fortunately I found a Halloween pumpkin pot holder on sale after Halloween last year, so I’ll put it to perfect use.

My last tip is be patient with yourself and give yourself enough time to make them; hence doing them the night before. I have to admit they are a bit finicky to make but once you get the first few under your belt you get the hang of it and it becomes easier. By the time I was done my batch I could get the pumpkin and the ghost shapes out without having to use my butterknife around the edges.

And oh they are delicious! The kids loved them. They found the shapes super fun and now ask for them each year.

So try something unique this Halloween for breakfast; even if you don’t have the molds the kids will still gobble them up. You could Hallloween -ish by simply make faces on them using pieces of fruit like sliced bananas, blueberries, strawberries, apples, etc.

I adjusted the original recipe to sugar and dairy free to meet our needs and is the recipe posted here.

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 1/2 c. flour (I used half whole wheat and half white)

1/4 c. date sugar

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

4 eggs, separated

3/4 c. canned unsweetened pumpkin

1 1/2 c. rice milk (we use Ryza as it has no added sugars) or almond milk

4 tbsp. melted Earth Balance

1 tsp. vanilla extract

100% pure maple syrup (for serving)

In a large bowl whisk together flour, date sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until medium peaks form. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, pumpkin puree, rice milk, Earth Balance and vanilla until well combined. Whisk the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture just until the batter is smooth and no lumps of flour remain. Fold in egg whites in 2 additions.

Heat griddle over medium heat until a few drops of water flicked onto the surface skitter across it. Lightly grease the griddle and the inside surface of the mini pancake molds. Set the molds with handles up on the griddle and heat until hot.

Pour 1/4 c. pancake batter into each mold. If necessary use a butter knife of small spatula to spread the batter into the corners of the molds. Cook until bubbles form on top and the batter is set, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove molds, and flip the pancakes over. Cook until golden brown on the other side, about 3 minutes more. Keep warm until all pancakes are cooked. Makes between 24-32 pancakes.

Enjoy! And Happy Halloweening!