Adventures In Dairy Free Caramel Experiments: Part 3, Sunflower Butter Caramel Cups

Today is candy day!

Now, whether you are religious or not, I think that we can all agree that this weekend is basically the weekend of chocolate gluttony.

However, if you have a collection of annoying allergies such as myself, the five million aisles filled with egg and bunny shaped chocolate goodies is a total no go. 😦

If this makes you a sad velociraptor (WHY a velociraptor you ask? Because today is Velociraptor Awareness Day!!!) like it does me, then this recipe is for YOU!

I call these babies Sunflower Heaven Cups.

NOW, these are INCREDIBLE!

Think of them as the mating of a Cadbury Caramel Egg and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Yep, they rock.
And the best part is there are no pesky allergens in this recipe!

There are three separate steps to this recipe. Say what?

First, you need to be sure you grab your Dairy Free Caramel that we made (and hopefully you still have left over) previously in Part 2 of this three part series of candy making. Since it needs to be stored in the refrigerator, you’ll have to nuke it a bit to get it to the right consistency again. I heated mine for roughly one and a half minutes.

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Now, this recipe itself is pretty easy. In all, it requires only six ingredients. I know, it’s pretty awesome. Also, the whole process between prep work and assembly only takes about thirty minutes total.

What you’ll need:

10 ounces of Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup Sunflower Butter
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
2 tablespoons Freshly Brewed Espresso
1 teaspoon Vanilla

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First, let’s prepare our chocolate. I used a food scale to measure out my chocolate.

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Don’t forget to hit tare!

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Now, if you’re like me, and you are a total failure at melting chocolate in a pan without scalding it, there is an easy solution guys.

What? You ask.

Setup a ghetto double boiler system, like so:

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You want to be sure that there is enough of the hot water on the bottom of the second bowl to melt the contents. Otherwise, it will take quite a bit longer to melt your chips if you are relying purely on steam to get the job done. It will work, but it will take longer.

Now, while your chocolate is working on melting, it’s time to prepare your sunflower butter mixture.

Take one cup sunflower butter and mix it with 1/2 cup powdered sugar. I warn you, this is going to become VERY THICK, and will be difficult to adequately mix together.

Which is why now, we will introduce two tablespoons freshly brewed espresso to add a little extra flavor, but also loosen it up a bit more.

This mixture is supposed to be THICK though, so be sure you don’t add too much. If it becomes too runny and less dense, you need to add more sunflower butter and powdered sugar. It needs to have a thickness similar to a cookie dough, in order to stay properly intact in your cups.

Add the 1 teaspoon vanilla to the mixture, and set off to the side for the moment.

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Once your sunflower butter mixture is finished, and your caramel is all heated up, all you need is for your chocolate to be completely melted and smooth. Don’t add anything to the chocolate. Because it’s difficult to find baking chocolate that is dairy, egg, soy, and nut free, Enjoy Life is the optimum brand, but their chips already come with all the additional tasty stuff, so we are good to go.

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So at this point, all of our ingredients for assembly are ready to go!

Take your muffin tin with cup liners, your melted chocolate, your sunflower butter filling, and your caramel, and line them up on the counter.

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Now, I like giant chocolate treats. So I am using a big muffin tin. If you happen to have a mini tin, and mini muffin liners, this recipe will obviously yield tons of Sunflower Heaven Bites (what I like to call the mini version).

First, fill the cup with a bottom layer of chocolate. It needs to be decently filled, otherwise you’ll have your insides sinking to the bottom and the chocolate gushing around it. No bueno.

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Once you have your bottom layer of chocolate, we’re good to add the first layer of filling: sunflower butter.

Take a small ball, about a tablespoon, and round it out, and flatten it.

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Place it in the chocolate. DON’T press it in there, just gently set it on top of the chocolate layer.

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Take a spoonful of caramel (just a spoonful of sugarrrrrr. Name that song!) and cover your sunflower butter layer.

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Now for the final layer: chocolate again.

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This recipe will yield roughly 8 Sunflower Heaven Cups. Obviously, depending on how much filling you include you can yield more. I, however, like lots of sunflower and caramel filling, so I used more chocolate to cover it all up.

When everything is done, be sure to put it in the fridge for at least an hour for the chocolate to harden.

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And finally, when all is said and done, you’ll have an absolutely delectable treat that is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, peanut free, and nut free.

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I suggest hiding them. I’m not good at sharing.

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ENJOY!

Sunflower Butter Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, it should be known that I have a horrible sweet tooth. I’m a certified choco-holic, with a particular love for cookies and baked goods. With that being said, I’ve been missing my tasty sweet treats as of late.

Since my diagnosis of like a bajillion new allergies, I have yet to eat any cookie worth the name of a cookie. As a consequence, I have spent my day off from work gathering random kitchen supplies to bring to you cookies so delicious, you won’t be able to tell that they are dairy, egg, soy, peanut (all legume), and gluten free!

Now let me tell you peeps, while making these cookies I thought they would turn out alright, just a bit decent; but I was pleasantly surprised. These turned out so delicious that I turned into a veritable Cookie Monster.

Five cookies mysteriously disappeared. No idea what happened to them guys.

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So what we have here is a collection of delicious cookies. I’ll give you the recipe for how to make them dairy, egg, soy, peanut, and gluten free, however, I’ll also give you the way to make them full of all those goodies, if you happen to be so inclined.

What you will need:
1 box of King Arthur cookie mix (processed in a factory free of the 8 common allergens, so it’s safe and gluten free)
1/2 cup applesauce (or butter if you can)
1 egg replacer (or 1 egg)
2 tablespoons of freshly brewed coffee (I used espresso for a stronger flavor)
1/2 cup Sunflower Butter
1 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips

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First things first, preheat the oven to 350 degrees,and then you’ll want to take half of your flour mix (about 1 and 1/2 cups) and mix it with your applesauce (or softened butter). Once you’ve created a nice smooth mixture. While that is all mixing together, mix together your egg replace (1 1/2 teaspoons of Energe egg replacer to 2 tablespoons warm water).

Once you mix in your egg replacer (or egg), you’ll also want to mix in your 2 tablespoons of freshly brewed coffee, and add in the remainder of your flour mixture.

Now, it’s of vital importance that you let this all mix together for at least a good two minutes. With gluten free flours, they tend to be grainier than wheat flours due to the difference in textures. The most common ingredients in gluten free flours are tapioca starch, potato starch, tapioca flour, and xanthum gum (for your binder). Now, these have a slightly grittier texture than wheat flour, and subsequently, you need to BLEND THAT MIXTURE until it is nice and smooth.

Here is the fun part: measure out a 1/2 cup of Sunflower Butter and mix it until smooth. Now, the sunflower butter will make the batter very thick. At this point in time, I actually added an additional tablespoon of espresso, because my batter was a bit too thick, so be sure to follow what you need.

Once your sunflower butter is mixed together thoroughly, you will want to add in the chocolate chips. I’m a big fan of chocolate chips, so I added in a good 1 cup and change of chocolate chips.

At this point in time, don’t over mix. If you mix to vigorously, your chips will actually start to melt a whee bit, and we definitely want to wait for that to happen in the oven.

Now, you’re ready to put them all on the cookie sheet, roughly 2 inches apart. Be sure you’ve lined your cookie sheet with parchment paper, or else you will never get those babies off the cookie sheet.

Your cookies will need to cook at 350 for roughly 10-14 minutes depending on your location.

When they are golden on the very edges, you will need to take them out, and place them on a cooling tray.

This recipe will yield about 24 cookies.
Or you can bake half of them, and place the remainder of your dough in an airtight container for a rainy day (which is what I did).

The best part of these cookies is you can eat them as still warm and gooey, because there isn’t any egg to risk salmonella!

Eat and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee. 🙂

This recipe is: gluten free, egg free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, peanut/legume free.
Remember, if you aren’t allergic to the world, modify your cookies to contain all those tasty allergens for a truly premium cookie!

An Experimental Breakfast: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pancakes

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Let me start off my saying, that a bought of insomnia spawned these babies this morning: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pancakes free of dairy, egg, soy, peanut, and gluten.

What you’ll need to start off:
-2 cups Namaste (or brand of choice) gluten free/soy free pancake flour mix
-3/4 cup of Rice Milk or water
-Energe (soy free) egg replacer (1 1/2 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons warm water mixture = 1 egg)
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
-2 large spoonfuls of organic apple sauce (don’t forget to check your labels!)
-2 teaspoons all natural, gluten free organic vanilla (mine is a gigantic bottle from Mexico, mm mm good!)
-4 teaspoons brown sugar
-2 tablespoons homemade cinnamon sugar

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First things first…get all your wet ingredients prepped first.

Pour the oil in your medium sized mixing bowl of choice.

In a small cup, measure out your egg replacer. This recipe calls for two eggs. What this equals is: 6 teaspoons of Energe Soy Free Egg Replacer to 4 tablespoons of warm water. DO NOT mix your replacer together quite yet, just set off the dry mixture to the side for a moment.

It is very important that you use warm (NOT HOT AND NOT COLD) water, or else your mixture will not have the same physical texture of an egg, and will not have that magical “egg” like quality that allows your baked goods to poof up a bit.

Pour in your vanilla, and then dump in your two spoonfuls of apple sauce.

Once you’ve poured in your vanilla, you’ll want to add the 4 tablespoons of warm water to your Energe Soy Free Egg Replacer. Be sure to stir it for a good thirty seconds to get rid of any clumps that may form in the mixture. When it’s properly mixed, it will resemble something along the lines of a frothy milk/cement glue mixture (tasty image I know, but it’s pretty accurate).

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Dump it in the mixing bowl, and stir it all about…

Then add in your Rice Milk (or dairy free replacement of choice).

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At this point in time, you’ll want to mix everything in together, so that all your liquids are really well combined.

WE’RE ALMOST DONE!

It’s time to pour in the final ingredient: THE FLOUR!.
Now, I personally like to pour my flour in small quantities so that everything mixes together and is smooth, rather than having clumpy spots.

So, if you would like to follow suit, pour in your flour in 1/2 cup increments.

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Once all of your flour is mixed in with your liquids, it’s time to add the sweet bits!

-Add in 4 teaspoons of brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of homemade cinnamon sugar. Be sure to mix it all together really well.

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I know it’s been a process just to get some pancakes, but stick with me, because we’re almost done, and you will be well rewarded!

At this point in time, you want to fire up a small skillet, grab your ghee, and your mixing bowl.

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Now, if you’re like me and you had NEVER heard of ghee until either this recipe, or just recently, we’ll take a very minor detour on a history of butter.

Ghee is a classic Indian process of taking butter (which is processed from cow’s milk), and clarifying it through boiling the butter, straining it multiple times through cheesecloth, and setting it aside to process on it’s own.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Allison…dairy…cows…butter…WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!?”

Well, I’ll keep you updated, because this is my first time trying ghee. Ghee is supposed to remove all of the complicated dairy bits of butter, and leave you with basically a solidified oil/fat that can retains some of the aromatic deliciousness that comes with butter.

BACK TO THE BAKING!

So, take just a sliver of ghee and heat it in your skillet. You don’t need much, it only takes a teeny tiny amount to create this oily mess (honestly, much more effective than normal dairy-filled butter).

Then put in about 2 1/2 large spoonfuls of batter into the pan. Let your listless pancake sit for a bit until you see a multitude of bubbles frothing forth in the batter, and you have some nice golden edges going on around the sides.

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NOW FLIP THOSE BABIES!

Once you’re done, you’ll have some nice, golden, crispy (albeit a bit thin) pancakes.

Be sure to top them with a bit of soy free, dairy free butter (I’m a bit fond of the Earth Balance Soy Free brand), and top your brown sugar cinnamon pancakes FREE OF EVERYTHING with a bit of locally made and organic strawberry syrup. My favorite brand is from a local store here in Colorado as you climb the canyon to Estes Park, known as The Cherry Store, because they always use organic, locally grown products, with no unnecessary additives!

Butter, syrup, and om nom nom away!

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This recipe will make about 10 pancakes that are really great when reheated in a toaster, or in a skillet again.

Becoming Allergic to the World

Let me introduce myself. My name is Allison, and I’ve recently become allergic to life. Well, not so much life as the world in general.
Now first off, I’ve always been allergy prone, which in and of itself is no fun growing up. Now, life got a bit rocky my freshman year of college, 2009, when I went through a series of horrible allergic reactions. I couldn’t breathe. I lost all stamina and energy. I was constantly covered in painful itchy hives, and generally miserable.
After six months of misery, I was diagnosed as being highly gluten intolerant. Now, adjusting to being gluten free as a freshman in college is pretty damn difficult.
Along with my studies, I also had to learn how to re-eat. I became one of “those” people that were semi-shunned in an eating out scenario, before gluten free became the new Hollywood fad diet. Now, after five years of coping as gluten free, the bitter joys of life, who have a twisted sense of humor, tossed me a new curveball.
In January of 2014, I very suddenly became incredibly ill, covered in painful itchy hives all over my body. I simultaneously felt like I was dipped in acid, looked like I had contracted leprocy, and existed in a constant antihistimen haze of delusion, pain, and itchiness. I was popping Benadryl like they were M&Ms, and stockpiling Claritin, Zyrtec, Singular, Allegra, and any other over the counter antihistimene I could get my hands on. I could barely function between the pain, the itching, and the drugged haze I now existed in. Basically, I looked like Violet from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. 
Once I was able to get into my doctor, they were astounded as well. No one, including myself, knew how I was able to function on so many sleepiness inducing allergy meds, nor how my body was still functioning at any level. The most concerning side effect was my constant wheezing and shortness of breathe, as well as a ring of welted hives wrapped around my neck. For any of you severe allergy sufferers out there, you all know that difficulty in breathing and reactions around your throat are typically the first signs of anaphalxysis. Consequently, we proceeded with allergy testing: a full food allergy blood panel sent off to the Mayo Clinic.
After two weeks of waiting, I learned that suddenly I have developed deadly allergies to: dairy, egg, soy, peanut, codfish (who the hell is allergic to CODFISH!?), on top of already being gluten intolerant.
So, being a girl in love with baked goods, pastries, and anything that makes my taste buds dance in gastronomical delight, I have endeavored to start a journey toward learning to eat and cook in a world filled with deadly allergens. Join me on my journey toward delicious food that will aim to be gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, and peanut free.
Welcome to the World of the Allergic Baker!