Thursday 20 February 2014

Recipe time from the Experimental Baker.

When I was growing up, I'd come in to the kitchen to see what delicious masterpiece my mama was cooking up, and when I'd ask her she'd always say "Here's the recipe, but it's an experiment." meaning she was following the recipe, kinda, and adding in her own little bits and pieces. As a result, this is how I cook and how I bake. I learned a lot from my mama, including her deep love for healthy foods, and incorporating veggies into damn near anything. She once tried to convince all of us that we were eating Chicken Parmesan by dimming the lights really low so we couldn't see that it was actually eggplant. You sneaky mom! I am what I like to call a skinny fat girl, aka I eat very healthy by choice (and ungodly fear of GMOs, steroids and chemicals in processed foods), but if you put something fried, creamy or cheesy in front of me, I have a very hard time saying no. Chips? They're like my heroin. I feel like those girls that say "Oh I'm just one of those people that actually don't like creamy or fried foods, just lucky I guess", are liars. You're not lucky, you're a liar. Anywhooo, as a result of this skinny fatism, when I do baking in my house, I always figure out a way to "clean" up the recipe, to satisfy my craving but eliminate the guilt. Recipe calls for butter? Coconut oil it is. 1 cup of white sugar? Nope, maple syrup will do, and we're going to half it. You can imagine I've had some mega fails in this kitchen, but I've also had some serious healthy baking wins (see my Costco chocolate muffin dupes here). Here are two of my recent favorites I've made, to satisfy my sweet tooth without adding unnecessary calories into my day.

"Cookie Dough Balls"

  • Can of Chickpeas, rinsed and patted dry with paper towel

  • 1/2 cup + a little extra (2 tbsp) natural peanut butter - HAS to be natural, the Kraft kind, while delicous, has too much oil in it

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • pinch sea salt

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet dark)


Preheat oven to 350.
Put all ingredients (minus the chocolate chips) in a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping the sides every once in a while to ensure all of the chickpeas are blended
Add the chocolate chips and place on cooking sheet in small balls
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tops are slightly hardened. They will not set like regular cookies
Place in an airtight container in the fridge, and try not to eat them all at once. Makes 12-14, depending on the size of your balls.

Quick about these guys: You really need a food processor to blend the chickpeas up. I used a magic bullet (all I had), and it was pretty difficult to really get them blended so as a result I had to add more liquid to get them to break down, resulting in the dough balls not being as firm as they should have been - hence me making them in a muffin tin to keep their shape. Like I said, I experiment ;)

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Okay, now one of my all-time favorites, because look at how COOL they look! Also, a serving of spinach per muffin that you can't taste? Hello.

"Mighty Green Muffins"

  • 3/4 cup oat flour

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1 egg

  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used maple syrup)

  • 1/2 cup applesauce

  • 1 1/2 cups spinach, liquified

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 

  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a 12 cup muffin tin with
non-stick spray.
2. Add dry ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk together.
3. Whisk to beat egg and sugar together till light (I did this by hand
for just a couple minutes).
4. Whisk in the rest of the wet ingredients.
5. Pour dry ingredient mixture into the wet ingredient mixture, add 1/4
cup walnuts if desired, and stir gently just to combine - do not over-mix.
6. Pour muffin batter into muffin tin cups - about 3/4 full each. If
using walnuts, sprinkle walnuts on top of each muffin.
7. Bake for 14-17 minutes until centers set or a toothpick inserted in
the center of a muffin comes out clean.
8. Cool at least 10-15 minutes before serving.
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