The Best Flourless Brownies

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I’m so sorry.

INCREDIBLY sorry.

I have been M.I.A. for a month. I need to grovel and ask for your forgiveness….

soooo….. I made brownies.

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Nothing says I love you and I’m sorry for being away like chocolate + butter + nuts. Am I right?

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I’ve been a little off kilter lately and super busy with life and work.  It became increasingly difficult to find additional time (and motivation) recently for posting new recipes.  Maybe it was lack of sun and seasonal depression. So I took a break. I went back to just cooking for the fun of it. I stopped worrying about whether or not it was good enough for the blog or whether I had to cook it at the right time so that I had enough natural light to photograph it.  I just cooked for me.

I think I go through this every winter. I have to realign myself with what is important to me.  Give myself a new focus. In turn, I have also given this blog a renewed purpose.

I want to thank those of you who reached out to me and encouraged me to continue cooking and creating in this space.  I received some lovely emails and words of encouragement.  This is supposed to be a space of creativity and sharing.  I want this space to be several things moving forward and not just a food blog. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely still want it to be a space where my inner grandma gets to cook, feed others, and then sit back and bask in the joy of nourishing the one’s I love.  But I also want to focus on discovering, exploring, and escaping comfort zones.

Thank you for letting me cook for you and provide nourishing recipes for the past three years. Also, thank you for giving me satisfaction and fulfillment.

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

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And with that…. let’s talk CHOCOLATE AND BUTTAH AND HAZELNUTS.

Get out that good butter and good chocolate. Turn on your oven. We are also going to throw in hazelnuts into our brownies to add some flare!

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V.D. is coming up… I mean, Valentine’s Day. And what better way to celebrate your loved ones and friends (or just you) than to serve up a plate of uuuuuuuhmazing gooey gooey brownies.  These brownies are adapted from a past recipe of mine (Paleo Flourless Brownie Bites) and a recipe from my favorite pastry chef, Dave Leibovitz.  The results are fabulously out of this world.  But, as LeVar Burton would say…. Don’t take my word for it.  Make them yourself and share the love.

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Flourless Brownies (Grain Free)

  • Servings: 12 to 16
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter (or use unsalted and add 1/8 teaspoon salt)
  • 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup coconut palm sugar (or unrefined cane sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup chopped nuts (I used roasted hazelnuts)
  • coarse or flaked sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 8X8 baking dish and set aside.
  2. Add coconut palm sugar, arrowroot powder, and cocoa powder to the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 1 minute to make sugar mixture super fine. Set aside.
  3. In a metal saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until it begins to crackle.  Add 2/3 of the chocolate chunks (about 8 oz) and remove pan from heat. Whisk constantly until chocolate is completely melted.  Add eggs one at a time and whisk constantly.
  4. Pour chocolate mixture into food processor with sugar mixture.  Process for at least one minute. Mixture will be glossy and thick. Add 1/2 cup of nuts and pulse once or twice to distribute. Use a rubber spatula and spoon out mixture into greased baking dish. Sprinkle remaining nuts, chocolate chunks, and flaked sea salt on top. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F, or until just set.  Do not overtake.

Note – If you do not have a food processor, then you will need to adapt the recipe slightly.  Add the sugar to the butter and chocolate mixture before you add the eggs. Remove the saucepan from heat. Add eggs one at a time, then add sifted cocoa powder and arrowroot powder straight to the saucepan.  Stir with a whisk briskly for at least 1 minute until the mixture becomes glossy and begins pulling away from the sides of the saucepan.  Stir in your nuts and then spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate and bake as directed above.

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Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons (Grain Free)

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Sorry for the long delay in between posts. Recently life has been tough at times but life also has been very good. When I am going through a roller coaster of emotions and dead lines and choices and what not, I consume chocolate and peanut butter. Doctors orders.

But when life is good…I also eat chocolate and peanut butter.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

The combination sends warm fuzzies through my body. It’s a choco-pb hug for my soul. I get my best soul hugs from those crack-like addictive Reese’s PB eggs that spring forth from every corner around this time of year. I can stay away from Reese’s (nearly) the rest of the year, but throw them in an egg shape! Holy frijoles, I can’t stop. My eyes pop out of my head all googley and I froth at the mouth and I protect them like a squirrel, hiding my Reese’s eggs in weird and unassuming places.

These cookies are the wonderful love child of two of my favorite cookies: No bake cookies + macaroons. Whoa. Whoa.

Let this happen.

Make them egg shaped. They are better for you than those other choco-pb eggs and just as addictive.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It will make you love life even when there are a few major down moments.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons (Grain Free and Diary Free)

Adapted from Against All Grain

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons natural creamy unsweetened peanut butter*
  • 1 egg white
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Place a piece of parchment paper onto a rimmed baking sheet. Set the baking sheet aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the coconut, honey, cacao powder, peanut butter, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Place egg white and another pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Using a whisk or electric beaters, beat the egg white for about 2 minutes until soft peaks form. Combine meringue with other ingredients in the large bowl.
  4. Using a melon baller, scoop out cookies and place them onto the parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 1 hour on a wire cooling wrack.

*Note – To make these Paleo friendly, use either almond butter or sunflower seed butter in place of the peanut butter. 

Grain Free Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes (Paleo Friendly, Diary Free, Grain Free) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I tend to have issues with making big decisions. I freeze when provided with too many choices. I try to logically narrow down the choices. I over think it. I marinate and choke over it.

I do this with nearly e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Cars. Houses. Jobs. Kids. Men. Shoes. Food. Does this come with a picture menu?

Apples at the store…. Pink lady? Gala? Fuji? Granny smith? wait..what do Rome apples taste like? or Empire? crap… or do I like Jonathon? no…wait… golden delicious are on sale… sold.

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes (Paleo Friendly, Diary Free, Grain Free) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Sometimes I want cake. Other times I want something more creamy…pudding? Ugh… decisions. So here is where this cake is a winner on all fronts in my mind. It gives me the best of both worlds. This cake is the amazing love child between the most airy cake and the creamiest lemon curd-like pudding. I get pudding AND cake all in one bite. I get sweet AND tart all at once. I made these little Meyer lemon pudding cakes in two small 6-ounce ramekins and 1 larger gratin dish.

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes (Paleo Friendly, Diary Free, Grain Free) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

There is one tiny problem: trying to not devour the whole cake at once. They taste like sunshine bursting through a cold blustery day and warming you to the bone. Meyer lemons have a thinner rind, are slightly orangish in color, and are a bit sweeter than their bright yellow typical lemon counterparts. The first bite of these Meyer lemon pudding cakes was like capturing childhood in tiny ramekins. Cabin fever shmabin fever! These Meyer lemon pudding cakes will make you forget the dull skies that loom.

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes (Paleo Friendly, Diary Free, Grain Free) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I loosely based my recipe on a Food and Wine recipe. To make this recipe grain free and dairy free (paleo friendly), I used coconut oil instead of butter, palm sugar instead of white sugar, almond milk instead of dairy milk, and a combination of almond flour/coconut flour in place of AP flour.  The cakes have a carmel-like color which I attribute to the dark coconut palm sugar.  Despite the caramel and faint yellow color of the pudding, these lil’ cuties are ridiculously good and will surely perk you up from any winter blues that you may be experiencing.  Cheers.

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes (Paleo Friendly, Diary Free, Grain Free) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Grain Free Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake

Adapted from Food and Wine

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (or grass fed butter), at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 3 large eggs, yolks separated from whites in separate bowls
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (such as coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Meyer lemon zest (plus extra for serving)
  • 1/3 cup almond flour (such as Honeyville)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional Toppings: lemon zest, powdered sugar, coconut whip, or greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly butter six 6-ounce individual ramekins or a 9-inch pie dish. Set  the dishes inside a larger roasting pan and bring a kettle of water to a boil to create a bain-marie to evenly cook the pudding cakes.
  2. In another bowl, whisk the coconut oil (or butter) and palm sugar until creamed. Add one egg yolk at a time until combined. Gently whisk in the almond milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest until well combined. Stir in the almond flour and coconut flour and whisk until smooth.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt until  stiff and soft peaks form. Gently fold in half of the beaten egg whites into the cake batter using a rubber spatula to lighten it. Carefully fold in the remaining egg whites. The batter should be light and fluffy at this point and will not resemble normal cake batter.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking dishes. Since this cake will not rise, fill the dishes to the top if necessary.  Place the baking dishes into the larger roasting pan. Pour the boiling water from the kettle (step 1) into the roasting pan so that the water comes halfway up the outside of the ramekins or pie dish.  You can also fill the roasting pan with water while it is in the oven to keep from splashing water into the filled ramekins.
  5. Bake until the cake is puffed and golden, 50 to 60 minutes for a single pie dish, or 30 to 35 minutes for 6 small cakes. The top will become golden and the middle of the cake will barely jiggle when shaken. Pull out of the oven and allow to cool for 20 to 30 minutes on a wire rack. Serve the cake warm and fresh from the oven sprinkled with extra lemon zest.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Candied Hazelnuts

Grain Free Chocolate Flourless Cake

We moved to Kansas City nearly five years ago. FIVE years. what?

When we moved here, we knew no one. It was just me, Kiley, and our furry son Guinness. My aunt and uncle live within an hour from KC, which helped the transition of moving away from my family in Oklahoma. Our first winter was long and cold. Ice crystals formed on the INSIDE of the windows in our drafty rent house. Kiley and I sat around in matching blue Snuggies hoping that our fingers would thaw out eventually.

Grain Free Chocolate Flourless Cake

Trying to make friends as you get older is a funny and actually hard thing. It’s like dating all over again. But we don’t have college as a buffer. I found myself trying to pick up strangers in the grocery store… “So…you like avocados too? Ya…. Want to be friends?”

I didn’t know how to make friends. I’m awkward. I’m an engineer. I suck at small talk. My cousin gave me pointers on making friends…I kid you not.

Grain Free Chocolate Flourless Cake

Grain Free Chocolate Flourless Cake

Join a club. Go to a class. Ya. Ok… I knew I could do it, right? I’m friendly. I like people. Right?

So I went to a gardening class, a cooking class, canning and preserving classes, knitting classes. Basically I met every 70 year old in KC. I planted sweet potatoes with all of them too. They are awesome (the sweet potatoes and my grannies), but they don’t make great “couple” friends. And they eat dinner at 4pm. I eat at 5pm people…who eats at 4pm and at a buffet. I do NOT do buffets. They have jello surprise. *Shudder*

Candied Hazelnuts

Grain Free Chocolate Flourless Cake Needless to say, after five years I feel incredibly lucky to have developed quite a family of friends. Friends that feel as though we known each other for ever. Friends that feel more like family ever day. Friends that all wear blue on the same day by accident to have a great joint birthday celebration for my girlfriend Tessa and my husband.

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And just like my 70 year BFFs taught me, you always have to make birthdays special. My grandma taught me well and that’s why I always like to make a fabulous birthday cake for anyone on their special day! This Flourless Chocolate Cake was adapted from the ever inspiring and talented Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen.  I tweaked a few things, added a pinch of cayenne and also topped with addictive candied hazelnuts. This cake has a wow factor that will impress anyone. So consider whipping this up for anyone that is special in your life that you want to just say….

“I’m so thankful that you are alive. This world is a better place because of you…so let’s have CAKE.”

Grain Free Chocolate Flourless Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Candied Hazelnuts

(adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)

Cake Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted grass-fed butter
  • 5 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate (I used 70% cocoa), diced into pieces
  • 4 large eggs, separated (at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne (optional)
  • candied hazelnuts for topping (see recipe below)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8-inch round springform pan with a circle of parchment paper and generously butter the sides of the pan. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, brown the butter by melting it and stirring frequently. Allow the butter to continue to cook and foam. Brown bits will begin to form at the bottom of the saucepan after about 3 minutes. Remove the saucepan with the browned butter from the heat and add the chocolate pieces. Stir until the chocolate is entirely melted. To cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature, transfer the melted chocolate mixture to a heat resistant bowl (glass is best) and nest it in a larger bowl of cold or ice water. Be careful to not allow the cooling water to get into the melted chocolate. Stir the cooling chocolate frequently so that it cools evenly.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the room temperature egg yolks, maple syrup, and vanilla together until the mixture becomes thick. Slowly mix in the chocolate mixture, cinnamon, and cayenne to the egg yolk mixture until it becomes extremely thick.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixture, beat the four egg whites and salt until firm peaks form. Gently stir in one third of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture until evenly combined. Gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture and try to keep the batter as light as possible.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven in the middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top has formed a thin domed crust. To test, stick a skewer in the middle of the cake and it will come out clean when done. Cool for five minutes and then invert the cake onto a serving plate. Sprinkle with crushed candied hazelnuts.

Candied Hazelnuts

(Note – can be made up to 1 day ahead of time and stored in an airtight container)

  • 1/3 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar or evaporated cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • pinch flaky sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread the hazelnuts onto a baking sheet and toast them for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to allow for even toasting. Remove the hazelnuts from the oven and allow to cool. Remove the skins by rubbing the nuts in a dry dish towel or between the palms of your hands.
  2. Place parchment paper over a plate and have a set of small tongs ready to be used. In a small heavy saucepan, cook the sugar and water (do not stir) over medium heat until the sugar melts and turns a caramel color (about 3 to 5 minutes). Add the sea salt and hazelnuts. Stir and allow the caramel to coat the hazelnuts. Turn the heat off. Remove the hazelnuts one by one with the tongs and place them onto the parchment paper, making sure that they do not touch each other. Cool the nuts completely (or place in the fridge). Once cooled, the nuts will easily fall off of the parchment paper.
  3. To break into pieces, place the candied hazelnuts into a ziplock bag and seal. Use the bottom of a glass or a hammer, and smash them (don’t pulverize) into large chunks. Keep in an airtight container until ready to use.

Paleo Banana Ice Cream Cake

It’s already the middle of July and this weekend was the first time that I put a bathing suit on.  Honestly, between you and me…this doesn’t have to happen again.

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Why do bathing suits have to be so UNFLATTERING! Ugh.

I should just wear a T-shirt or a trash bag.

But Oh well….I guess I didn’t get too upset, because after swimming all day, all I wanted was ICE CREAM.  So I promptly made this amazing dairy free and grain free banana ice cream cake to go along with ribs that we smoked.  Maybe this is why my bathing suit is unflattering?  Ice cream cake + ribs?

Naaaaah.

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This cake is amazing. Creamy. Dreamy. Guiltless. It is made with cashews, bananas, dates, hemp seeds, raw cacao powder! Ya…shhhh….it’s good for you.

So I will just serve myself up another slice of cake…banana ice cream cake, that is. And I will eat it in my ugly, weird fitting, old bathing suit. And be happy.

Very happy.

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Paleo Banana Ice Cream Cake (adapted from This Rawsome Vegan Life)

Crust Ingredients

  • 1/2 C raw pecans
  • 1/4 C hemp seeds
  • 2 Tbsp cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 C pitted dates

Caramel Ingredients

  • 1 C pitted dates, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Chocolate Ingredients

  • 1/4 C cacao powder
  • 1/4 C water
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup or agave nectar

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 C frozen bananas (3 to 4)
  • 2 C raw cashews, soaked for 3 to 4 hours (or overnight)
  • 1/2 C water or nondairy milk
  • 1/3 C maple syrup or honey
  • 1/3 C coconut oil
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Crust – In a food processor, place nuts, hemp seeds, raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder), and salt.  Pulse until the ingredients combine to make a flour like consistency. Add dates and process for a few minutes until it forms into a paste.  The mixture should hold together when you pinch a small amount between your fingers.  In a springform pan, place wax paper or syran wrap on the bottom. Press crust evenly into the bottom of the springform pan only slightly coming up the sides. Set in the freezer while preparing the filling.
  2. Caramel Sauce – Clean out food processor. Place soaked dates and 1/4 cup of water in the bowl of the food processor. Process for several minutes until a caramel-like substance is formed.  Add additional liquid as necessary. Add salt. Spoon into a separate bowl. Clean food processor bowl for next step.
  3. Banana Ice Cream Filling – Microwave the coconut oil in a small Pyrex dish for 30 seconds until mostly melted. Place all of the filling ingredients (except the caramel sauce) into the bowl of the food processor and blend on high-speed for several minutes until very smooth.
  4. Chocolate Sauce – In a separate bowl, combine cacao powder and 1 tablespoon of warm water. Stir carefully until a fudgey mixture is formed. Add warm water 1 tablespoon at a time until a drizzleable (is this a word???) fudge sauce is formed.  Stir in melted coconut oil at a tablespoon at a time. Keep mixture warm or it will harden. Pop in microwave if necessary.
  5. Assembly – Remove the crust from the freezer. Pour about two-thirds of the cashew mixture onto the crust and smooth evenly with a rubber spatula. Swirl in half of caramel mixture and alternate with 1/3 of chocolate mixture using a butter knife. Top with remaining filling. And swirl in remaining caramel sauce and another 1/3 of chocolate sauce. Drizzle any remaining chocolate sauce on top. Place in freezer for about 2 hours or until solid.
  6. Serving – To serve, remove from freezer about 30 minutes before serving.  Heat a smooth and sharp knife under hot water and cut the pie into 8 slices. Serve with any additional chocolate sauce. Store any remaining pie in the freezer.

Paleo Cranberry and Apple Cobbler

My heart is heavy on this last day of December and this last day of 2012. I’m staying in my pajamas and watching the snow fall. The snow falls so peaceful outside my window, yet I know that sometimes there is no peace and life is just not fair.  

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My thoughts go out to everyone who has lost someone this year. My thoughts go out to those that are lost. My thoughts go out to those that are enduring hardships that are unfathomable. 

There are so many cruel and unfair things that occur and I always ask “why?”…but sometimes there is no reason. It’s just the way it is.  I only hope that there is something better that hopefully will come out of tragedy.

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So I make this cobbler for my friends that are struggling right now, my friends that are enduring an unfathomable loss, my friends that are lost in life.  I make this cobbler to hopefully bring comfort into their hearts and to warm their souls.

Paleo Cranberry and Apple Cobbler (Grain Free, Gluten Free, and Diary Free) (adapted from Beeckman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook)

Filling:

  • 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
  • 3 medium apples, cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

Topping:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 9X9-inch baking dish with butter, coconut oil or nonstick spray.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, apples, crystallized ginger, water, and honey. Heat over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil and the cranberries pop. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in arrowroot powder. Pour the hot cranberry mixture into the baking dish and set aside.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients. Mix well.  Spoon the topping mixture evenly over the filling.
  4. Bake at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes. The cobbler will begin to bubble and the topping should lightly brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Best when served with vanilla coconut ice cream!