Amazing Chocolate Tofu Cupcakes (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

tofu cc2

I know what you’re thinking. Tofu cupcakes…is she serious? I know…it sounds disgusting. Stop that train of thought immediately though because this is soon to be your favorite cupcake recipe!

Tofu Cupcake Collage

These cupcakes are so moist and chocolatey they are going to knock your socks offTofu gets a bad wrap, but that’s mostly because people don’t understand it. It completely blows my mind how many people still don’t really know anything about tofu. There is a common knee-jerk reaction when I mention tofu, it usually goes along the lines of “ewww, tofu is gross”. Tofu is essentially a block of soy. So yes, if you were to go grab it out of the fridge right now and start chewing on it, you might think it’s a little gross…and I might agree with you.

Long before all of my gluten issues surfaced, I was a vegetarian for 7 years and tofu became my best friend. It can be yours too. What I adore about tofu is:

  1. The texture, it reminds me of my favorite food in the world – cheese!
  2. The fact that it takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. Tofu is a chameleon ingredient that adds protein to whatever you cook or bake it with. To me, it doesn’t get any better than that!
  3. Tofu qualifies as low FODMAP, hooray! (It is listed here on Kate Scarlata’s blog, she’s a registered dietician and another FODMAP blogger I love).

Tofu Mix Collage

On that note, enjoy tofu, but if you have IBS don’t overdo it. I find that if I go tofu crazy it does cause issues for me. One week I made this amazing tomato sauce and I decided to slather it on my tofu. It was so good I ended up eating it for dinner every night that week! Needless to say, it caught up with me and I haven’t touched that combo since. That being said, moderation is key to any low FODMAP diet success…which is exactly why it is so hard for me. I am an ALL or nothing kind of girl…but hey, I’m working on it!

Now, back to the yummy chocolate tofu cupcakes. Here’s my recipe, which was inspired by Kim Sanders at Gluten Free Real Food, she’s a girl after my own heart; it’s all about keeping it simple with this recipe! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup Firm Tofu (drained but not pressed, I like Nasoya brand…you can even buy it already cubed if you want to!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil (you can sub Earth Balance if you prefer), melted
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/8 cup Tapioca Starch
  • 1/8 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. Sugar (weird measurement, I know…just bear with me!)

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 3 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. Rice Milk (or Almond milk if you prefer)
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. Earth Balance, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. Cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar (aka Confectioners Sugar…this is making me feel old!)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°
  2. Drain the water from the tofu package and cut it into small cubes (don’t bother pressing it, you want the extra moisture and don’t let your perfectionism win here, it doesn’t have to be pretty, you’re going to smash it up!).
  3. In a blender, food processor, or whatever you have (I used my magic bullet) blend the tofu cubes and the egg together until smooth.
  4. Combine the tofu mixture with the melted coconut oil and vanilla in a medium sized bowl.
  5. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  6. Line and fill your muffin tin. Each liner should be 2/3 of the way full, I was able to get 7 cupcakes from this batch.
  7. Bake cupcakes 11 – 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you burn them…well they are chocolate, they will still look pretty!
  8. While the cupcakes are baking make the frosting.
  9. Combine all of the frosting ingredients except the powdered sugar. Once your frosting base is mixed, slowly add the powdered sugar until it reaches the consistency you prefer. You might end up using more or less powdered sugar.
  10. Chill the frosting in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before attempting to frost the cupcakes.
  11. Once the cupcakes have finished baking let them sit in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to allow them to cool completely.
  12. Make sure they are completely cool before frosting them, otherwise your icing will melt into a puddle…don’t you watch Cupcake Wars?!

Recipe Notes/Thoughts:

  • I know, getting the blender dirty in addition to the bowl goes against everything I stand for. But in this case you really do have to liquefy that tofu otherwise you’re going to get chunks of it in your cupcakes. I am trying to build a better reputation for tofu here, people are not going to like chunky tofu cupcakes, that I am sure of. If you are into it though, definitely try it and let me know how they come out…you are a rebel!
  • You don’t have to melt the coconut oil or earth balance beforehand for the cupcakes or the frosting. I do it because it makes mixing by hand a lot easier. If you are the queen of using an actual mixer, then don’t bother melting anything, you just do you!
  • Don’t worry, there WILL be extra frosting!
  • If you prefer vanilla frosting over chocolate frosting simply omit the cocoa.
  • If you don’t have an issue with dairy, I would use cream cheese in the frosting. Seriously, 1 oz of cream cheese will change the entire frosting experience!
  • Using the coconut oil in the cupcakes didn’t seem to change the flavor but you can definitely taste it in the frosting. If you aren’t a fan of coconut flavor I suggest substituting  the 3 Tbsp. of coconut oil with earth balance. I personally love the smell of coconut oil but the taste doesn’t do it for me.
  • You can put tofu in the frosting if you want to…again, keep me posted!

tofu cc1

           Are you willing to take a chance and try tofu in your cupcakes?

“Spaghetti” and Meatballs (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

spaghetti and meatballs

Oh Mama Mia; spaghetti and meatballs how I have missed you! Finally a gluten-free dish just as tasty as the real deal. And don’t just take my word for it (I know, I know, it’s been a long time since I had real gluten filled pasta) my crazy-for-gluten family can vouch for the legit faux gluten flavor! Seriously, they won’t eat anything gluten-free that tastes sub-par and this was a hit all around the table. Wait, you say, this isn’t spaghetti, this is fettucine! Well I consider it both…to me the sauces determine the title. For those of you who can’t live with this potentially life altering inconsistency (I get it, I’m particular too!) please note my quotation marks around “spaghetti” and feel free to sub in actual gluten-free spaghetti, angel hair, linguine…whatever YOU consider your “spaghetti” to be!

Rice Pasta Brand

I am in love with these Tinkyada brown rice fettuccine noodles, seriously love. I bought a package months ago and I have been terrified to try them. I pretty much stare at them daily in my cupboard, but I was just too scared to try them for fear of the potential disappointment and inevitable let down of faux pasta. All of that anguish was for nothing! I found out I’ve only been denying myself unbridled fettuccine joy because these noodles rock, yummm!

rice chex

crushed rice chex

I also convinced the “fam” that crushed rice chex in the meatballs would be all we need to bind them (this was also a horrifying idea, thank goodness I was right, lest I be burned at the stake…err…dinner table!) instead of traditional bread crumbs.

Here is the recipe; try it out secretly and see if your family can tell it’s gluten-free or include them in the cooking process and make it a family affair; group cooking is fun!

Ingredients (Serves 6):

Meatballs:

  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp parsley (fresh or dried)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder (or fresh chopped garlic) optional, see note**
  • 1 cup Rice Chex, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp Canola Oil
  1. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients and mix together with your (clean!) hands.
  2. Place a saucepan on the stove, coat the bottom with a thin layer of canola oil.
  3. Form the meatball mixture into small meatballs and place them into the saucepan on medium heat.
  4. Cover the saucepan and cook the meatballs until they are cooked through, approx. 20 – 30 minutes, rotating them periodically to cook evenly and prevent from burning.
  5. Once cooked, remove meatballs from pan and place on a serving platter.

**A note about the garlic; no it’s not FODMAP friendly. I usually leave it out but I had protests from the entire crowd at dinner about that, so I used just a little. If you can avoid the peer pressure then definitely leave it out!

meatball mix

meatballs in pan

cooking meatballs

meatballs

Gluten-Free Pasta:

  • 1 14 oz package of Tinkyada Fettucini style gluten-free brown rice pasta
  • 1 jar of Classico Tomato and Basil pasta sauce (or another GF flavor, check, not all flavors state “gluten-free”…or make your own, go for it…but don’t forget to share the recipe with me!)
  1. Boil 4 quarts of water and then add the pasta.
  2. Cook for 13 – 15 mins stirring occasionally, the water will get cloudy and it won’t smell like traditional pasta, but trust me, you’re in for a treat!
  3. In a medium microwave safe bowl, add the jar of sauce and heat covered in the microwave  3 – 5 minutes or until hot.
  4. After cooking the pasta, strain and rinse with cold water. Serve immediately (mix the sauce into the pasta if desired).
  5. Plate the pasta, sauce, and meatballs; enjoy!

Rice Pasta

spaghetti and meatballs

I’m so excited for your feedback, can you tell this is a gluten-free dinner?

No Bake Cookie-in-a-Bowl (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Cookie in a bowl

Here is another quick, easy, and addicting sweet treat! I wouldn’t call this super healthy but when you’re having a sugar/chocolate/texture craving this will be your new go to. Plus it fills you up!

This recipe has some interesting roots on it. It was an odd favorite when I was growing up; I think it developed from times when we were low on groceries in the house…dessert is still necessary (daily!) so we got creative. It all started with watching my dad put peanut butter on his store-bought chocolate chip cookies (weird), then my brother mixing a bowl full of semi-sweet chocolate chips with peanut butter (weirder), which finally led to me adding oatmeal to peanut butter and chocolate chips (weirdest, but SO good!).

I thought I would share this simple joy, plus if you need a sweet pick-me-up you almost always have these 3 ingredients at home. I’ve modified this recipe just a little for my allergies, but it still tastes like it did when I was a kid! It’s all about the texture here, and hey oatmeal adds fiber! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Gluten-Free Oats
  • 1/4 cup Enjoy Life Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter

Instructions:

  1. In a cereal bowl mix the oats and peanut butter.
  2. Work in the chocolate chips and that’s it! You’re done! Eat up!

Recipe Notes/Thoughts:

  • You can make this mixture in any amount that you like, big or small. These are rough measurements. The general rule of thumb is 2 parts oats/chocolate chips to 1 part peanut butter. This will also keep well if you can actually stop yourself from finishing it in one sitting! Life’s too short…just eat it!

What crazy recipes have you come up with in a pinch when you are severely in need of a good sugar fix?

Incredible Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

THC Pile

Chocolate chip cookies…yummm! The epitome of childhood happiness (well at least it was for me!). It takes me back to those cold and snowy winter nights growing up when my mom was completely stir-crazy from being cooped up inside for too long. She would channel her anxious energy into baking up her very own storm! She used to religiously bake Nestle Toll House cookies for us, and in our house nothing less than a double batch would do. Maybe that explains why every time I get in the kitchen no matter what I create, it always seems to make enough to feed an entire neighborhood!

There are a lot of gluten-free chocolate chip cookies out there and so far this recipe is the first one that actually made my nostalgia come back! I will warn you that this recipe isn’t as simple as the recipes I usually bake; but I did try to un-complicate it a little. It’s still a one bowl wonder as long as you use a bowl that you can microwave (hooray for glass mixing bowls!!). My gluten-free baking is getting more daring; I think it’s a good thing. I adapted this recipe from Mama Pea’s version at Peas and Thank You which ultimately lead me back to Alton Brown’s version, so I need to give him a shout out as well. Some seriously amazing gluten-free work is going on out there!

THC Lone Dense

I made these cookies dairy-free also, as my quest to find out if dairy is making me sick continues. I have to say, once I adjusted to the dairy free chocolate chips they started to taste pretty freaking awesome (my husband still doesn’t completely agree with that, but he loved these cookies and hey he can still have the “real thing”, so disregard his opinion right now!).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 Sticks/16 Tbsp) Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, melted
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup White Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp Tapioca Flour
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oat Flour
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Sorghum Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Enjoy Life Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup chopped Walnuts

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl microwave the Earth Balance sticks until melted.
  3. Add the wet ingredients: sugars, eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Start adding the dry ingredients: salt, cornstarch, tapioca flour and baking soda. Mix well.
  5. Then mix in the oat flour and sorghum flour. Don’t overmix from here on out; oat flour can get overworked.
  6. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts. Complete a final light mix (almost folding them in if you will).
  7. See recipe notes/thoughts on refrigerating the dough (below); chill dough for 1 hour or spoon onto baking sheets immediately, your choice.
  8. Bake unchilled dough for 11 minutes, refrigerated dough for 13 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven when they are browned to your preference; let cookies cool on the pans for at least 2 minutes before moving them.

Once they are completely cooled, store in an airtight container and continue to enjoy day by day!

Recipe Notes/Thoughts:

  • I’ve been using the Enjoy Life brand for dairy free chocolate chips, my only complaint is that I can’t get the correct size of chip that would compare to Nestle’s and it does make a difference (to me anyway). For this batch I started cutting the mega chunks in half (I made it through half a cup but I get bored easily, yes…it’s another issue I’m working on!) and I had about 1 cup of mini chips left so I combined the two.
  • I don’t bake with xanthan gum…I bought two packets that I constantly stare at in the pantry, but I haven’t had the nerve to try them yet…I just have this sixth sense that it’s not going to do good things in my stomach…
  • I used eggs and nuts in this recipe. For those of you who can’t eat them I’m SO sorry, definitely make your needed substitutions, but as for me I’m embracing them for as long as I still can!
  • This was my first experience with Sorghum flour. I can see how it might get overly sweet very quickly. When I tried these cookies hot out of the oven I was nervous; it reminded me of an overly sweet gluten-free flour mix, but don’t worry, as they cool the over-sweetness will disappear!
  • I mixed it by hand and it was just fine…
  • I’m not one for multiple bowls and I will do crazy things in just one bowl; but mix how you feel best…be true to yourself.
Left - Unrefrigerated         Right - Refrigerated

Left – Unrefrigerated                                                                                                                          Right – Refrigerated

  • Regarding refrigeration: Both of the recipes I consulted recommended refrigerating the dough for an hour prior to baking. I am 1.) completely not patient enough for this and 2.) I think I might like them better unrefrigerated, but I tend to like a denser cookie. I scooped the first batch onto a pan and popped it into the oven right away then I threw the dough in the fridge while they baked – 11 minutes. Once I had a few cookies in my  stomach (yes they were very hot!) I regained some patience and let the dough chill out for a while. However, I noticed that the rest of the batches took 13 minutes to cook and the cookies seemed “fluffier” (yes, that is a very technical baking term). The next day (which is when I tend to prefer gluten-free cookies the most, I think they must need to settle overnight to achieve the best flavor??) the refrigerated cookies were soft and had a more delicate texture while the unrefrigerated batch seemed crisper, almost denser with a more crunchy texture. So I put the decision in your hands; if you like a crunchy cookie then don’t refrigerate the dough, if you want a softer version then let it refrigerate before cooking (warning, the refrigerated kind can be a bit crumbly, so careful when you pack them up).

THC side by side inside

I hope you like my modifications…now go, get in the kitchen and happy baking to you! Let me know if you choose to refrigerate or not; yes, it is one of life’s bigger decisions, you alone hold the fate of these cookies in your hand…errr…refrigerator!

“Fake-els” Faux Bagels (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free) (Part 1)

Banana Creature

By now you know how much I like to say “life is a journey”? Ummm yeah, well so is gluten-free baking! I am not going to just give you perfect, delicious, amazing gluten-free recipes…nope, I’m not that girl. I’m also not the “recipe fairy”. We are in this together you and I, so here we go, brace yourself because there will be good and bad but we will eventually get there, I promise. Where is there you ask? To the land of perfect recipes of course!

This recipe is definitely a “creature from my oven”. I want a gluten-free, dairy-free bagel. I want it to be simple and quick and I want it to taste fantastic. I am not there yet. Bagels should be crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. They should taste great alone or with toppings. Did I mention this is not that recipe? Well not yet anyway! I was feeling very inspired by Foodie Fiasco’s Easy Grain Free Bagel recipe, but there were a lot of things I just couldn’t eat in there, like applesauce, garlic (oh how I miss garlic!) and xanthan gum. So this is my version; here we go!

Trial #1 – Banana “Fake-els”

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 medium banana, mashed
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground flax
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. In a medium bowl mash the banana, then mix in the eggs one by one.
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients and voila´, batter complete!
  4. On a baking sheet covered with parchment paper form 4-5 bagel-esque looking creatures.
  5. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes; the weird antenna’s on the “fake-el” will turn brown (yes, I am aware that normal bagels do not have antenna’s!)
  6. Let your creatures cool on the baking sheet, then attempt consumption in whatever manner feels right to you. They WILL slice in half, like a real bagel…resemblance ends there…

Recipe Notes/Thoughts:

  • I thought the banana was genius; until I realized that the “fake-el” would be banana flavored! That being said, if some sugar was added to the batter it may have resembled banana bread…don’t worry, it’s on my list of things to do and I’ll keep you posted.
  • The batter was very wet, hence adding more and more coconut flour, plus tapioca flour. “Fake-els” were a bit grittier than I was hoping for, but the flax did seem to help.

Banana Creature 2

                          How did your “fake-els” come out? What did you change?