Sunday, May 24, 2009

Carrot Cake Bread

Leaving school was hard, but it also gave me an excuse to bake this bread! I had to use up some of the ingredients that I couldn't leave behind. That, and with some assistance from the cafe (thank you Bon Appetit), this bread was born!

Better yet, several of my friends were able to try it. I didn't tell them the bread was gluten free, yet they knew I could eat it, and THEY LOVED IT. Rave reviews all around. It made me so happy!

The thing I love about this recipe is that it is so easy, yet a little complex and most important, HEALTHY. I have always found that to be one thing carrot cake recipes lack. They seem to always be soaked in oil and drowning in sugar, which is not the case here.

Also, this recipe uses coconut flour, a great naturally gluten free flour that is extremely low carb, packed with protein and fiber and supplies you with some of your daily intake of healthy fats. Its a win-win situation! Because of all the fiberous ingredients in this bread however, go slow. Don't eat half the loaf just because it's that good ;) - we've all done it. The fiber will fill up your stomach and in 20 minutes you will wonder how such an innocent piece of bread could make you feel so uncomfortable. Fiber is good for you, but don't over eat or you will be overly full.

Healthy Carrot Cake Bread

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal - mine was normal brown, not golden
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup oat bran
2 T teff grain - not teff flour
2 T quinoa - the white variety, but you could use red and it would look and taste fine
4 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil - melted
1/3 cup amber agave
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp stevia
1/2 cup medium shred unsweetened coconut
1 1/2 T vanilla extract
1 cup organic raisins
1/4 cup walnuts - mine were whole, but you can grind them, I enjoyed having chunks for a change
2 1/2 cups grated carrots
2 cups mashed bananas - this was about 6 medium sized bananas, NOTE: my bananas were ripe for eating, but not ripe ripe BROWN ripe
2 tsp baking soda
1 heaping tsp baking powder
roasted organic sunflowers seeds for the top - I used raw, but I actually like toasted better

To make the carrot cake bread:
This recipe is really easy. In two separate bowls mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients. Mix together, then fold in the chunkier ingredients like raisins, carrots and walnuts. Sprinkle sunflower seeds on top, and push into the dough slightly with your fingers. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour. On my recipe sheet I actually never wrote down how long it took?! Just watch it and then you will know when it is done.

This recipe makes enough for two small loafs in normal sized loaf pans, enough for several mini loaf pans, or like I did, enough for a medium sized loaf pan and a normal sized loaf pan. I don't know the measurements of all those pans, but I am sure you can tell what I mean :)

It also has enough protein (along with fiber) to keep you full and satisfied with only one slice!

Don't be afraid to have this for breakfast, lunch, snacks and picnics and parties on the lawn! I really loved this bread with fruit juice-sweetened raspberry jam from Sorrel Ridge.

Enjoy, enjoy!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Daring Baker Challenge: Apple Strudel, May 2009

After a long and hard semester, I am home. Home. I actually have time to bake again! The last few weeks were extremely busy and I did not have time to do any real cooking. I did manage to make some wonderful gluten free, soy free, yada yada Carrot Cake Bread from my own recipe, and I am happy to say it didn't disappoint. But I need to stop tempting you with bread, and begin tempting you with strudel.

It's Daring Baker challenge time again!

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

I have been wanting to make some apple strudel for a while now, mostly because of heritage and family significance which I will not bore you about here. However, I have never made apple strudel before, nonetheless gluten free, which will make the dough an interesting endeavor because gluten free flours lack the gluten protein from the wheat, which makes dough hold its shape and enables it to be elastic and stretchy. If all else fails, the end result may look funny but still taste delicious!

Apple strudel

from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers


Preparation time

Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes

15-20 min to make dough

30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling

20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough

10 min to fill and roll dough

30 min to bake

30 min to cool

^Basically, this is a LONG process



1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon water

3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar – I used organic cane sugar and the 1 tablespoon I used organic brown sugar

1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs

strudel dough (recipe below)

1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts

2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/8 inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking) – I used 2 each of: Granny Smith, Cortland, and Golden Delicious

1. Mix the vanilla and water and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugars in another bowl.

2. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Sprinkle the dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts. I did not use all my apple mixture, so I made a crisp out of the leftovers!

3. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself, holding the apples in place so they do not move. Roll up. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with about 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil.

4. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.


Strudel dough:

from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1 1/3 cups (200 g) flour- My GF mix was:

¼ cup brown rice flour

¼ cup sorghum

¼ cup blanched almond flour

2 Tablespoons quinoa flour

2 Tablespoons arrowroot flour

1/3 cup tapioca flour

2 tsp xantham gum

1/4 teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed

2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


1. Combine the flours and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary; make sure it is not too sticky, press in a little more flour as needed with your hands.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on a floured work surface (my dough was a little sticky so here is were I kneaded in my extra flour). Knead for about 2 minutes or until no longer sticky.

Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly – I used organic safflower oil. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better) – mine stood for at least, if not over, 90 minutes.

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm) – my kitchen has an island J. Cover your working area with a pastry cloth/sheet/mat, dust it with flour (I used sorghum) and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can with a wooden rolling pin.

4. Roll the dough as thin as possible. Mine was not very big – 18 x 18 and was oddly shaped. The dough is now ready to be filled.

I brought this over for Memorial Day dessert with my family. They really enjoyed it, but I wasn't happy with the outcome. There are several ways that I would like to change this recipe, but I will leave that discussion for when I make it again. Just know that THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS, and this is NOT the final recipe. Normally I wouldn't share something like this quite yet, but as a Daring Baker I have to post it to meet the requirement.

The pictures were taken by two different cameras. I wasn't very happy with the quality of the first photo, but I decided to include it anyways so you can have a better understanding of the recipes process.

Happy Memorial Day!