Is it possible to bake without sugar, gluten, soy, and nuts and for vegans? Before you say, no way, read on. Debbie Adler, the author of “Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats: Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes from the Famous Los Angeles Bakery.” and owner of the famous Los Angeles Bakery, Sweet Debbie Organic Cupcakes, makes the impossible delicious. I was given her new cookbook for review and true to its name, the recipes were sweet and divine as well as low glycemic.
“Yeah, and I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn, Anna.”
No seriously. She is the queen.
So what’s Her Secret?
One of the reasons why I was drawn to the book is because Debbie uses Stevia as part of her sugar substitute arsenal in lieu of organic sugar, maple syrup or honey. Sugar intake can be dangerous to your health. Even though the natural sugars are a healthier choice they are still high glycemic . Stevia and coconut nectar are low gyclemic sugar alternatives.
Back to my relationship with Stevia. I grow Stevia. (Of course.) The leaves are very sweet but have a bitter aftertaste. So, I was curious how she was able to use the herb to make it work in her recipes.
After reading many of her recipes I decided she is a food chemist!
She combines coconut nectar, Stevia and sometimes powdered erythritol when the recipe calls for icing in lieu of maple syrup, honey, or other natural sweeteners. ( I am hypogylcemic. So I watch my sugar and carbohydrate intake so I don’t fall asleep after eating.)
Plus, her gluten free flour mix is so different than what I have encountered from other gluten free recipe websites. She doesn’t use rice flour but instead uses a mix of tapioca, teff, sorghum, millet and quiona. These grains are higher in protein than rice flour.
She also uses grapeseed oil which she states is an excellent source of antioxidants as well as essential fatty acids, omegas 3, 6 and 9. The oil smells amazing.
Why Did Debbie Create Allergy Free Baking Recipes?
Debbie has a long winded story of accountant turned healthy baker shop owner to find out that her son had life threatening allergies. So in 2009, she went back into the kitchen to create the allergy free recipes for her shop.
So when I got my Stevia lovin’ grubby hands on the book my eyes were immediately drawn to the Gourmet Dark Chocolate Mesquite Brownies. I admit. I adore chocolate. Make it into a brownie and I will be your friend for life.
Gourmet Dark Chocolate Mesquite Brownies
Reprinted courtesy of Harlequin:
Must Have for Brownies
Grapeseed oil, for greasing the pan (You can buy it HERE)
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
½ cup cacao powder
2 tablespoons mesquite powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon guar gum
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
7 tablespoons grapeseed oil
5 tablespoons coconut nectar (You can buy it HERE.)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅜ teaspoon stevia powder (You can buy it HERE.)
½ cup water
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons coconut nectar
¼ cup powdered erythritol (You can buy it HERE. Debbie uses ZSweets’ variety but it wasn’t listed on Amazon.)
3 tablespoons cacao powder
½ tablespoon warm water
⅛ teaspoon stevia powder
⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with grapeseed oil.
- Whisk together the flour, cacao powder, mesquite powder, baking soda, guar gum and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle.
- Add the grapeseed oil, coconut nectar, vanilla and stevia and stir to combine. Next add the water and stir until it is absorbed and the batter is smooth.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth down with a wet baking spatula or the back of a wet spoon.
- Bake the brownies for 9 to 10 minutes, or until the batter starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Rotate the pan from front to back after 7 minutes of baking.
- Remove the pan from the oven to a wire rack and let sit for about 30 minutes before cutting the brownies into 16 squares.
- To make the frosting, mix together the coconut oil and coconut nectar in a small bowl. Add the powdered erythritol, cacao powder, warm water, stevia and salt and stir until smooth and well combined.
- Frost the brownies when they are completely cool.
- Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.”
These brownies were so yummy!
It’s Isn’t All About the Brownies
The cookbook isn’t just about brownies and cookies. Debbie features muffins, homemade nut butter, cupcakes and mandel bread as well.
Does the names of these recipes make you want to get out the baking bowls?
- Sunflower Buttercup Brownies
- Sweet Cranberry Hemp Bars
- Vanilla Bean Glazed Banana Donut Holes
- Krispy Kane “n” Cheese Soft Pretzel Rods
- Lemon Parsnipannies (Yep. You heard me right. Baking with parsnips!)
I am going to warn you. Although her recipes are to die for, the ingredients are expensive. Grapeseed oil, coconut nectar, stevia, and powdered erythritol can be pricey compared with to alternatives. Before you start baking be a savvy shopper and see where you can buy these products at a good price. As Debbie says, good health is priceless.
Also, use the exact brands Debbie suggest so you can have the same outcome.
Not all Stevias are alike. I tried to use dried Stevia from my garden and it doesn’t work as well. I ended up using a packaged one instead.
Love to bake wholesome sweets or have food allergy family members? Be sure to buy the book HERE. You will be licking your fingers. I promise.
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