Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gluten-Free Irish Coffee Brownies (Vegan)

I know that healthy eating is my thing. But I'm not even going to try to tell you that these brownies are healthy. Far from it. They're moist and chewy, and every bite is filled to bursting with layers of sweetness. Made with a unique list of ingredients that includes Irish whiskey, coffee, raisins, and cocoa powder, the flavors all blend together in a symphony that just melts in your mouth. I guarantee you will not be able to resist them. 

Did I mention sugar? Oh yes...the magical ingredient. Of course, you can use any granulated sugar you want in these, and I've made them more than once, with both coconut palm sugar and cane sugar. They're delicious either way! And I use a full cup, which for me, is quite a lot in one recipe. But I'm not skimping here. Oh no. It's St. Patrick's Day, and the Irish in me comes out for this holiday. My last name is Higgins, after all!

Care for a shot of Jameson's with your brownie?

Gluten-Free, Vegan Irish Coffee Brownies (Print-Friendly Option)

1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup whiskey
1/4 cup warm or hot coffee
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon whole psyllium husks (not powder)
1 cup sugar (coconut palm or any granulated sugar)
1 cup brown rice flour (130 grams)
1/3 cup cocoa powder (26 grams)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8 x 8 inch baking dish. 
  2. Add the raisins, whiskey, coffee, oil, and psyllium husks to a food processor. Process until the raisins are pureed. 
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, processing completely to ensure the ingredients are all mixed together well. 
  4. Spoon the thick batter into the baking dish and spread evenly. 
  5. Bake for 35 minutes. 
  6. Let cool completely before slicing. 
Makes 16 brownies. 

Okay, now my favorite part! Let's talk substitutions! Below, I'm going to list some ideas for as many of the ingredients as I can. Based on my kitchen intuition, this is what I think would work. But note that these are just guesses designed to help you have as much freedom in the kitchen as possible. I haven't tested every one of these substitutions, so if you try something and don't love the results, please don't come at me with a pitchfork or mean words. I'm just one lone blogger dancing in the kitchen. I can't do it all.

Raisins: You can use any dried fruit with a similar consistency, such as dates, prunes, or apricots.
Whiskey: Try rum, liqueur, milk (dairy or non-dairy) or even water here.
Coffee: You can replace this with milk, but I have noticed that coffee tends to make the brownies somewhat chewier, so the texture (and of course flavor) may be affected.
Grapeseed oil: Use any oil you prefer here. Canola oil, extra light olive oil, or melted coconut oil will all work.
Whole Psyllium Husks: Ground chia seeds work fine here.
Sugar: Coconut palm sugar or any granulated sugar - except for brown sugar - will work well.
Brown Rice Flour: Go ahead and use any of the following flours or a combination: white rice, sorghum, quinoa, garbanzo bean, millet, buckwheat or teff. Keep in mind the flavor and texture will change depending on the flour you use. Do not use almond flour or coconut flour.
Cocoa Powder: You can use carob powder to make carob brownies. Or you can try using a starch (tapioca, potato, arrowroot, or cornstarch) and they'll just be Irish Coffee Blondies. I haven't tried this yet, although I plan to in the future, so you can be safe and wait for me to test it out, or be brave and give it a shot. Coffee blondies sound a little bit strange to me though, so I would probably switch out the coffee for milk if I were doing this. If you sub out the cocoa powder for a starch, you'll want to replace the baking soda with an equal amount of baking powder.

Happy St. Patrick's Day and happy baking! I'll be in California getting ready for my sister's wedding on St. Patrick's day, so I'm sending you the Irish love in advance.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chocolate Glazed Apricot Brownie Bites (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free)

I've been teasing my Facebook fans with these little goodies for months. But I couldn't share the recipe because they're from The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guide, Part 2, my cookbook with co-author Brittany Angell. Well, Book 1 is out, and book 2 is being sent to the printer as we speak. And since Book 2 is a little bit behind, I've decided to give you all a treat with one of my favorite recipes from the buckwheat chapter: Chocolate Glazed Apricot Brownie Bites.

I'm sharing our recipe over at The Balanced Platter, my favorite new blog for healthy eating tips. Co-founders Maggie Savage and Amy Green invited me to share some of my own tips on healthier baking, "healthifying" I like to call it! So stop by, say hello to Maggie and Amy, and get in the kitchen to make these brownie bites immediately! Your friends and family will thank you!

Click here for the recipe!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guides Giveaway Extravaganza Winners

This is my least favorite part of giveaways. I hate picking winners because I want to be able to give something to everyone. This is why there's a pretty picture of brownies above. I can at least give you all something fun to look at!

In no particular order, here are the winners. Because there are multiple people who entered with the same name, I'm going to put the names down here, but e-mail you if you won. So if your name is something relatively common (like Stephanie), you'll have to wait for an e-mail to make sure you're the Stephanie I picked. Sorry, that's a tease, but I couldn't figure out a better way to do it!

Signed Copy of Book 2: Barbara B
Wholesome Sweeteners Gift Pack: Kboorky Gift Pack: Blessednannab
Dakota Prairie Gift Pack: Laurelvb
Simply Organic Gift Pack: Kathleen Conner
Triumph Dining Gift Pack: Knoll
Big Tree Farms Gift Pack: Ufg8trj
Navitas Naturals Gift Pack: Stephanie
Cassava: Eatrecyclerepeat, Cara, Kaitlyn, Vicki W, Jonathan
NuNaturals Gift Pack: Shelly Richardson, Ellen, Desi, Jeremyndelila

So what's coming up in the month of March?
Tomorrow, I'm working on some whole-grain rolls that will hopefully be up on the blog soon. I'm attempting a recipe that can easily be made with or without yeast. And for St. Patrick's Day I have a recipe so yummy I had to ask my housemates to hide the leftovers from me! Hint: it's in the photo above!

Later this month my baby sister is getting married! This means I'll be away from the computer and my kitchen for a week, so whole-grain rolls and St. Patrick's Day Brownies may be all you'll see from me in March. But hopefully you'll all have copies of The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guides to keep you busy in the kitchen (sorry, I couldn't help myself).

Be sure to stop by Real Sustenance to see if you won over there!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guides Giveaway: Final Day To Enter!

Lemon Squares: From the Sweet White Rice Flour chapter of book 2

Today is the big day! My brand new cookbooks, The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guides, are officially available and will begin shipping out today. My co-author, Brittany Angell, and I spent nine months learning everything we could about gluten-free baking so that we could save you time and money in the kitchen. With these books as your guide, you will no longer have to wonder which flours can be exchanged for each other, how to adapt recipes to be vegan, or how to work without xanthan gum. All these answers and more can be found in our guides, along with over 100 recipes between the two books.

To celebrate we are giving away our favorite products. We want you to have only the best of the best ingredients when you are making our recipes.  On Tuesday we gave away gift baskets from Navitas Naturals and Big Tree Farms. That giveaway is still open, so be sure to go enter there! Yesterday we gave away gift baskets from Triumph Dining, NuNaturals, and Simply Organic. That giveaway will also be open until midnight tonight so enter now if you haven't already! And today, you can enter here to win one of four possible prizes!

Chocolate Glazed Apricot Brownie Bites: From the Buckwheat Flour chapter of Book 2

What are we giving away today?

Our guides go into extensive detail about various types of unrefined sugars, and how we use them in our baking. Wholesome Sweeteners Agave Nectar and Sucanat were both products that we recommended to our readers, and we know you'll enjoy this gift basket they will be sending to one of you!

 Gift Pack:
Brittany learned about when she first began getting into grain-free baking. They are an amazing resource for gluten-free flours, and we were lucky enough to be able to test out their flours during our photo shoot. Today they are giving away two gift packs. Brittany will be giving away flours on her blog that correspond to the flours in book 1, and I will be giving away flours from book 2! So that means you can enter here to win a gift package filled with sorghum, buckwheat, teff, rice,  and potato flour, PLUS tapioca starch, potato starch, and organic chia energy squares! To win the gift basket for book 1, comment over at Brittany's blog!

Organic Chia Energy Squares

Dakota Prairie Gift Pack:
Dakota Prairie has a dedicated gluten-free facility that produces finely milled flours. We loved working with their flours in our recipes, and found that their rice flour produced baked goods with a wonderfully light texture. Like with, Dakota Prairie wants to help you get started with baking all of our recipes, so they are giving away two gift packs, one corresponding to each book. You can leave a comment here to win flours from book 2: sorghum, sweet white rice, buckwheat, teff, rice, and potato flour, PLUS potato starch, arrowroot starch, and tapioca starch. Leave a comment at Brittany's blog to win the flours from book 1.

Cassava flour was a new product for Brittany and I. Early on in our baking process, we spoke with Carter Foss from American Key Food Products, and he told us about his amazing new product. After trying a bite of his cassava flour cupcakes at The Gluten- and Allergen-Free Expo in Dallas last year, I knew we had to include this flour in our books. Because we know it will be new for most of you as well, AKFP is sending 5 winners each their own bag of cassava flour so you can try the recipes in the book right away! 

One copy of The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guide Part 2!
I will be signing this copy from the first printing and sending it to one winner! Some of my favorite recipes from this book are:
Lemon Squares (Sweet White Rice Flour Chapter)
Chocolate Glazed Apricot Brownie Bites (Buckwheat Chapter)
Vegan, Yeast-Free Sandwich Bread (Sorghum Flour Chapter)
Pizza Roll-Ups and Whole-Grain Dinner Rolls (Teff Flour Chapter)
Mini Pizza Pockets (Potato Flour Chapter)

To win a copy of book 1 signed by Brittany Angell, stop by her blog and leave a comment.

How to enter: (This giveaway is now closed)
All of these giveaways are open to addresses in the continental U.S. only. There will be eight winners for this giveaway (winners posted on Friday), and five winners for the same giveaway on Brittany's site today as well! You have until midnight today so start getting those entries in! Here are all the ways you can enter. Please leave a separate comment for each entry, and you MUST leave an e-mail address or way for me to contact you.

  1. Leave a comment telling me which gift pack you would like to win.
  2. Visit one of the sponsoring companies and tell me something you like about them (they are truly awesome companies).
  3. Post about the giveaway on your Facebook page and/or like my FB page (2 possible entries).
  4. Tweet about this giveaway and/or follow me on twitter (2 possible entries).  
  5. Help us promote the book launch by pinning our book covers onto Pinterest from the book information page that can be found here (2 points for this one).
All of the winners from this week's giveaways will be posted tomorrow! Good luck, and thank you all for your support over the years. I'm only about a month away from my three year blogiversary!


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