Friday, August 22, 2014

2-Bite Healthy Puff Muffins for Recipe Redux

It's that time of the no, not that time! It's the 22nd of August which means it's time to share my entry for this month's Recipe Redux! For those of you unfamiliar with the Recipe Redux, it is the first monthly recipe challenge founded by a group of registered dietitians. I am an official blogger member of the group, meaning every 22nd day of the month I will share a creative and ultra nutritious recipe based on the group's recipe challenge for the month. 

This month's challenge was healthy and delicious bars and bites for lunchboxes. I enjoy making petite healthy desserts so this challenge was right up my alley! I had some success recently with a recipe I shared a photo of on instagram -- #puffmuffins. These little cloud like muffin tops are as cute and delicious as they are nutritious. They are not quite chocolate chip cookies or chocolate chip muffins, they are lost on a delicious cloud in between. I'm so glad that I get to share the recipe today!

These mini muffin tops are:
  • high fibre
  • full of healthy EFAs (essential fatty acids)
  • light and super cute
  • refined sugar free 
  • mostly fruit and stevia sweetened
  • high protein
  • vegan
  • nut free
  • soy free
  • dairy free
  • easy to prepare
  • very chocolatey
If my little list above doesn't have you busting out your sheet pan, I have no words! You need to make these cute little muffin top babies. They're perfect for dessert, snacks, even breakfast!


Oh and by the way, if you were not aware already, my new $4.99 ebook (pictured above) is out and its full of healthy recipes that are allergy friendly, just like this one. For you food porn fanatics, the book pictures are far superior to any I have shared on my blog to date! It also features affordable superfoods in every recipe. Be sure to read this post for details and purchase information. For now, enjoy these puff muffins!

Puff Muffins
(vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar free, nut free, soy-free)
  • ⅔ cup quinoa flakes
  • 1.5 cans organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • pinch pink salt
  • ¾-1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp pear or apple butter
  • 2-3 tbsp deodorized or virgin coconut oil
  • ½-¾ tsp baking soda
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • liquid stevia (to taste)
  • ⅓ cup mini vegan chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand is soy-free but contains brown sugar so opt for cacao nibs to keeps these totally refined sugar free if you prefer that)
Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Blend all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor until fairly smooth. My batter was slightly more wet than cookie dough, but less wet than cake batter. If it seems too wet to you, add more rice flour and blend. Taste the batter! Add extra stevia if necessary to ensure that the batter tastes like sweet cookie dough to you. Once satisfied, add the chocolate chips and pulse them in evenly. Spoon your dough in blobs as wide as your thumb touching your middle finger tip (about 2 inches wide), spacing them out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in center of oven preheated to 375F. Bake until risen with golden brown edges. Test for doneness by taking a bite. /it should be soft like a muffin but not wet. Bake until soft and slightly moist (not too dry!). Remove and allow to cool slightly before digging in.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Healthy Steamed Chocolate Molten Cakes

I love chocolate cake. I'll take it every which way, no complaints. Hot, cold, layered, iced, plain, drizzled...Raw, Baked, fried...steamed. Who turns down chocolate cake?

This summer has been pretty sweltering, leaving me not in the mood to bake or even turn the oven on. Our little house gets so hot when we cook that I have been eating mostly raw foods for months. Maybe it's that time of the month but I had an irresistible craving for cake this week. I have been pretty busy with work so I haven't had a chance to make any. But today I had a blissful day off and I decided to put my bamboo steamer to good use.

Allow me to introduce you to my new favourite chocolate cake recipe. Meet my steamy little friend -- my healthy chocolate buckwheat molten mini cake.

That oozy filling captured in the above image on the right is incredibly rich. It's like I baked a chocolate bomb into these little cakes. Best of all, this recipe serves exactly two people! Not leftovers, no waste, just pure chocolate indulgence.

This picture illustrates the steam cooking technique. These are the two little cakes right after steaming. I steamed them until they were fairly firm to the touch, they springed back. I wasn't sure what to expect, it seemed like they were fully cooked through cakes, but surprise surprise, they were still deliciously molten inside.

Did I fail to mention the benefits of these beauties? Let me break them down for you. These decadent tasting chocolate molten cakes are:

  • free of refined sugar and sugary sweeteners
  • fruit and stevia sweetened
  • gluten free
  • vegan
  • nut free
  • wholegrain
  • made mostly of buckwheat and brown rice flour
  • reduced fat (I used only a small amount of coconut oil and olive oil)
  • a good source of vegan protein
  • full of healthy essential fatty acids thanks to the chia seeds, coconut oil and olive oil
  • rich in antioxidants and magnesium
  • high fiber
What's not to love about these delicious cakes! I fully support eating them for dessert or breakfast since they are as balanced as a bowl of fruit and stevia sweetened porridge! These cakes will please your palette while they help to fuel your body for a busy day.Their like rich and decadent chocolate cake without the sugar rush and crash.

I set out to make these chocolate cakes with buckwheat due to my ongoing fascination with baking with buckwheat groats.I have been intrigued by baked buckwheat porridge on instagram and have had great textural success when I added buckwheat to a recent batch of cookies. 

There's a lot to love about buckwheat. It is an amazingly healthy food. It is not related to wheat as is gluten free. It is high in protein and is not a grain but rather a pseudo cereal more closely related to rhubarb! It is very nutritious and helps the body develop lean muscle. Learn more about buckwheat's benefits here.

Buckwheat is a seed. Seeds are very nutritious in their raw and cooked forms but are generally more nutritious when they are soaked or sprouted before consumption. For this recipe I pre-soaked my raw buckwheat with salted water and a little vinegar. This easy process makes buckwheat and other seeds more digestible and makes the nutrients and vitamins it offers more available to the human body. I have often experienced unpleasant digestive issues when it comes to seeds and nuts so I try to soak them first. Soaking seeds makes a huge difference for me and for most people so I highly recommend not skipping this key step in the recipe.

These chocolate cakes are really easy to make and they won't heat up your kitchen/home making them an ideal summer dessert. Because they serve only two they are perfect for date night so save this recipe for that special someone. You can thank me later! 

If you try this recipe, please take a picture and tag #bakingbackwards on instagram or wherever you like to share food pics. I'd love to see what you bake!

Healthy Molten Chocolate Cakes
  • 2/3 cup raw buckwheat groats (soaked six hours or longer in salted water with a touch of white vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp brown rice flour
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4-1 cup or more coconut water
  • 1.5 tsps unsweetened pear or apple butter (or sub maple, agave, rice syrup, coconut nectar or raw honey if desired)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 pretty ripe banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1.5 tsp evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 3 heaping tbsp or more raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • stevia to taste

Strain and rinse your soaked buckwheat until your water runs clear. Drain well. Add the buckwheat to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the coconut water and blend well. Add all remaining ingredients except the stevia and blend until very smooth. Taste! Add just enough liquid stevia to sweeten the mixture to your desired sweetness. If the batter is not very chocolatey or tastes too much of banana, add more cacao and blend. Taste again and sweeten more with stevia if necessary. Stop adding stevia and cacao when your cake batter flavour is reminiscent of real chocolate cake batter.

Fill the bottom one third of a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Top with a bamboo steamer. Grease two ramekins with a little coconut oil and divide the batter between them evenly.

Place the filled ramekins in the steamer. Cover and steam gently over medium to low heat until the cakes are risen and semi firm or firm to the touch. Try not to uncover the lid during cooking as the steam will escape.  Instead, wait until the cakes are fragrant before checking for doneness.  The more semi firm to the touch the cakes are, the more molten they will be inside. You can test for doneness with a toothpick. My cake centers were somewhat molten even though the cake tops were firm to the touch. If you don’t want a molten cake but a fully cooked cake, wait until your toothpick inserts and comes out clean with no crumbs or goo. Serve your cooked cakes warm with spoons.

OPTIONAL: Top with coconut whipped cream or frost your finished cakes if desired.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

No Machine Vegan Viennetta for Recipe Redux!

Last month I received some exciting news...Baking Backwards has partnered with The Recipe ReDux! Today's post is my first recipe to share with The Recipe ReDux community and it's a keeper!

If you are unfamiliar, The Recipe ReDux is the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians. It's aim is to generate amazing healthy recipes to share with the public. Each month, the official Recipe ReDux bloggers are challenged by a new recipe theme. On the 21st and 22nd of each month, two groups of these official bloggers share their creations on their own blogs and link to each other so that blog visitors (like you!) can discover all of the delicious creations (and partner blogs) involved in the month's theme challenge. It's like a big party where everyone brought something amazing along that won't wreck your diet. Win.

This month the ReDux challenge was to create a recipe featuring extracts or spirits. I don't use a lot of alcohol in my baking and cooking these days but I do love vanilla extract and peppermint extract so I paired them in today's recipe. BE WARNED: A little peppermint extract goes a VERY long way so add it in tiny quantities until you achieve your desired mintiness.

When I planned out this recipe I intended  to make a frozen chocolate peppermint slice but accidently created a delicious vegan "Viennetta" ice cream cake! If you don't remember Viennetta, this video should jog your memory! It was a branded delicious soft ice cream "cake", really more like a slab or a log, with thin crispy layers of chocolate that cracked when you sliced it. Mmm.

The recipe for today has two parts. Part 1 is a creamy and silky "ice cream" made from coconut cream and golden yam, flavoured with peppermint extract and sweetened with stevia and just a touch of maple syrup. Part 2 is a silky and sweet peppermint raw chocolate shell made from coconut oil and raw cacao powder, sweetened with stevia and a hint of maple syrup. This dessert offers a healthy dose of fibre from the yams, lots of antioxidants from the raw cacao, healthy fats from the coconut oil and cream, and is quite low in sugar and free from refined sugar. It tastes very rich and satisfying for such an innocent ice cream cake. In fact, I'm hesitant to call it "ice cream" since the creamy coconut layer would also make a delicious healthy soup if you left out the stevia and mint! By why make soup when you can just as easily indulge in a delicious cake like this without the huge slice of guilt?!

I have made many vegan "ice creams" over the past few years and am often disappointed with the results. This is an exception. The texture is really creamy and delicious and the flavour is dreamy. Don't skip the peppermint and vanilla extract, they really make the coconut layer taste like ice cream. This recipe is very easy to make and doesn't require an ice cream maker. I enjoyed the recipe both soft and firm. It is very reminiscent of Viennetta if you only freeze it for about an hour and a half. For a more traditional firm ice cream that you can scoop, freeze overnight or for at least 4-6 hours. 

I hope you give this recipe a try, its a new favourite! To anyone just discovering my blog via the Recipe ReDux community, welcome to Baking Backwards, where delicious food goes hand in hand with healthy eating. Y'all come back now.

(vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free)
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped golden yam, steamed until soft
  • 1 can organic coconut cream
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch pink salt
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • stevia to taste
  • 1/8 tsp acv
  • 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil

Blend together very well in a high speed blender until thick like a cream soup. Taste and adjust sweetness as desired with more maple or stevia. Set aside

  • 5-6 tbsp deodorized or virgin coconut oil
  • 5-6 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • tiny pinch pink salt
  • liquid stevia to taste
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp peppermint extract

Whisk together all part 2 ingredients in a double boiler over low simmering water, just enough to gently melt. Whisk until smooth. Taste. add extra stevia if not sweet enough.

Spread half the chocolate mixture evenly along the bottom of a parchment or plastic wrap lined bread pan. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes to set. If you are impatient you can add the coconut mixture to it right away which will marble the two layers together. Pour the coconut mixture on top of the set or unset chocolate layer and spread out evenly to the sides. Place in the freezer to set firm. Once set, top with the remaining chocolate mixture (first melting the mixture again over low heat if it has solidified in room temperature). Freeze another ten minutes to set solid. Carefully remove the parchment lining shell by lifting the whole thing up holding each side and transferring it parchment and all to a plate. Slice with a sharp knife and serve.

Monday, June 30, 2014

My EBOOK / BOOK is on sale NOW!

Today is a good day. Though I feel a little rough (stayed up very late taking care of business), I am so pleased to be able to write that my new EBOOK and new printed COOKBOOKS are now on sale at !!!

The image above is the cover page of my new healthy cookbook, Every Day (SUPER)food.  The book is available on for purchase and here, on Baking Backwards, in my own little online store. I am selling the ebook for only $4.99 which is a bargain considering it is 130+ pages of my best recipes and photos!

Every Day (SUPER)food is a 130+ page printed book and ebook devoted to affordable SUPERFOOD recipes for every day of the week. The recipes span breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and drinks. They ALL involve healthy superfoods. They are all allergy-friendly. They are all vegetarian. They are all gluten-free. They are all dairy free.  They are all sou free. Almost ALL of the recipes are vegan. The majority of the recipes are grain-free. Several recipes are paleo-friendly. Several recipes are raw vegan.

This book is for anyone who enjoys delicious and healthy recipes. This book is for people who enjoy food porn and food photography. This book is for anyone who eats a gluten-free diet or wants to experiment with gluten-free cooking. This book is ideal for anyone with food allergies and sensitivities. This book is for anyone who is interested in AFFORDABLE SUPERFOODS and recipes.

The EBOOK version of my book is $4.99. BUY IT HERE
The PRINT version of my book ranges from $60-$79 (due to the high volume of colour photo spreads and printing quality, I do not control this price) depending on how you want it printed (softcover, hardcover with image wrap, hardcover with dist jacket). 

*There are VOLUME DISCOUNTS at blurb for the PRINT version of my book.*

Buy it for yourself or give it to a friend! If you do purchase this book, I hope you love it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Rhubarb in my taco

I really enjoy rhubarb and I love that more and more bloggers are embracing the versatile vegetable too. I've seen rhubarb syrups and cocktails, rhubarb oatmeal creations, and pies and crumbles galore. While browsing instagram a few weeks ago I saw a picture of stewed rhubarb on oatmeal. It looked delicious but also mysteriously resembled pulled pork! I started to think...could rhubarb stand in for meat in a vegan "pulled pork" style entree?! Why the hell not! So, into the kitchen I went, rhubarb in hand, to get to work on a very new, very cool new way to use this delightful vegetable.

I started by roasting the rhubarb in the oven. I decided to throw a few fresh figs in as well assuming they would lend a nice sweetness and softness to my dish. They smelled delightful in there as they caramelized and shrank in the intense heat of my oven.

Once they were both oozy and roasted, I threw them in my food processor along with some ingredients to mimic barbeque sauce flavour. Pulse pulse pulse. I was left with a chunky and delicious barbeque-esque mess. It was a little soft and wet at this stage for my taste though so I threw in a couple medjool dates for binding and density, as well as a lot of beautiful candy cane beet which I grated. The beet shreds made the mixture more substantial and absorbed a lot of the excess moisture from the rhubarb and sauce ingredients. One spoonful, quickly turned into five, I was hooked. Before I devoured it all in one sitting, I decided I should enjoy it as a plantstrong 'taco' by spooning it into some raw collard green leaves (appropriately Southern). I rolled them up and enjoyed them like tiny burritos (minus everything you would expect in a burrito). They were really, really good.

I won't lie, my husband was scared at first. This was one kitchen experiment he had no desire at all to taste test. I shoved it in his face and hoped for a bite. Victory, he loved them too. Don't relegate rhubarb to your next pie, it is so much more than a pseudo-fruit.

Rhubarb Tacos
gluten-free, vegan, plantstrong, paleo
Part 1:
  • 3 cup rhubarb, chopped
  • 3 fresh figs, quartered, top knot removed

Preheat oven to 400F. Add chopped fig and rhubarb to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast in the hot oven until figs are golden at the edges and rhubarb has released most of its water.

Part 2:
  • 1 large chiogga beet, grated, skin on
  • roasted rhubarb and figs
  • 1/3-1/2 cup organic tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp chopped white onion
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • pinch pink salt
  • 1 tbsp or more garlic powder

Add all part 2 ingredients to a food processor and pulse until sloppy wet. Transfer to a bowl.

Part 3:
  • 1 large grated chiogga beet, divided
  • 1-2 tbsp white onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp-2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1-2 small pitted dates (I used two small medjool dates, the equivalent of 1 average sized medjool date)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (optional)

Add all part 3 ingredients (but only half the beet) to food processor and pulse until coarsely mixed. Add the reserved rhubarb mixture and pulse to mix in. Add the extra grated beet and pulse just twice briefly. Adding the extra beet at the end keeps the mixture from becoming way too wet. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to enjoy in taco shells or collard leaves. I like to eat this cold but feel free to heat it up in a frying pan before serving.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

HEALTHY Brookies!

I love it when a plan comes together. I've been really "good" about sweets lately -- hardly indulging beyond a green smoothie and I've been trying to eat mostly raw vegan foods. But last night I cracked. Rather than dive full face into a vat of ice cream I grabbed my food processor and whipped up a really amazing bar -- a virtuous brookie. This bar could be dinner its so healthy. But taste it and you'd never know it was good for you.

If you don't know what a brookie is, basically it's a brownie like bar with a brownie bottom layer and a cookie topping. I went with the classic brookie flavours in my bar recipe --> a gargantuan chocolate chip cookie on top of a fudgey chocolate chip brownie. Delicious. I did not go classic at all for the recipe though -- black bean-sweet potato-avocado brownie meet chickpea chocolate chip cookie dough! I also kept the sugar low and from exclusively healthy sources -- thank you stevia, maple and raw honey!

Perhaps the only unhealthy addition was the chocolate chips, but even they aren't so bad and could easily be omitted or replaced with cacao nibs. I opted to use Enjoy Life brand -- they're sweetened with brown sugar but they're soy-free, nut-free, dairy-free and totally vegan so I dig them big time. Oh and they're mini, who doesn't love that! All in all this amazing bar is loaded with vegan protein (chickpeas, black beans), good fat (avocado), good veg and good starch (sweet potato, brown rice flour), and healthy sweeteners (stevia with a touch of maple syrup and raw honey). As far as I'm concerned, it might just be what's for dinner, tonight.

PS: The recipe is in two parts because the bar has two layers!

The Healthy Brookie: Brownie Layer
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder or cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 ripe avocado(mine was average in size, about the size of a hardball baseball)
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 tbsp raw honey (or sub agave or brown rice syrup to make fully VEGAN)
  • 1.5 tbsp maple
  • 1/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 cup brown rice flour (or more for more dense brownie layer)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Dash cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped sweet potato, steamed until very tender
  • Liquid pure Stevia (to your taste)
  • 1.5 tbsp soy-free vegenaise (or oil of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup mini vegan chocolate chips
Blend all ingredients except mini chocolate chips together in food processor until smooth and thick like waffle batter (thicker than a cake batter, more like a thick pudding). Add more flour if the batter is too thin or more water if the batter is too thick. Taste. Add stevia to sweeten to your taste and blend well. Once you think the batter is sweet enough, add mini chocolate chips and pulse to distribute evenly. Scrape the mixture into a parchment lined 9x9 square cake pan and spread evenly out to edges. Place in freezer while you make cookie topping.

The Healthy Brookie: Cookie Layer
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2-1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Liquid pure stevia to taste
  • 1 tbsp soy-free vegenaise or coconut oil
  • 1.5-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup mini vegan chocolate chips plus a small handful
Preheat oven to 350F.
Blend everything but rice flour and chips until smooth. Add the flour in batches, blending and tasting until the texture is comparable to a traditional, thick and cold cookie dough. Once the cookie dough is thick, stop adding flour. Add enough liquid stevia to sweeten the dough to your taste (add a little at a time and blend after each addition, tasting as you go). Add the ¼ cup of chocolate chips and pulse to distribute evenly.
Remove brownie layer from freezer. Top with dollops of the dough evenly and flatten them out with a spoon. Sprinkle the extra handful of chocolate chips over the top evenly. Bake in the center of the hot oven until firm. The edges need to be firm so look up close by lifting up a corner of the parchment when you think its nearly done to be sure that the edges have fully set. I baked mine about 15-20 mins.
Slice and serve hot. This bar tastes nice room temperature as well after it cools.