Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rustic Buckwheat Cinnamon Raisin Scones (gluten free)

I just love scones. A good, hearty, not-too-sweet, a tad crumbly, baked piece of heaven. As I mentioned in an earlier post on my strawberry scones, I used to enjoy scones every morning with a cup of coffee on my way to early morning classes in college. This recipe is probably my favorite gluten free scone version I have ever had. When I say rustic, I mean rustic, just how a good scone should be. The buckwheat flour is really what gives it that over-the-top rustic feel, along with the warming cinnamon spice and chunky bits of raisins.

And this scone recipe is not-too-sweet, seeming almost more biscuit-like than dessert-like. With only a tablespoon of agave and the raisins alone to provide the sweetness factor, it's not overpowering with sugars. Since I gave up refined sugars a year or so ago, my taste buds have become particularly sensitive to sweetness in any food. Some desserts I simply cannot eat anymore, because they are just "too" sweet for me. It's actually amazing to me that once you give up refined sugars (and decrease sweeteners of any kind, even kinds that don't raise blood sugar levels, such as stevia, xylitol, agave, etc.), your body just doesn't crave them anymore. Don't believe me? Try fasting sugars and sweeteners for at least 21 days and just see what happens (after the initial detoxing period of a week or so is over!).

I can't take the credit for this recipe. It comes from Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten Free's cookbook. It was the first of her recipes from this book that I tried, and have made a few versions of it, trying to get my perfect version. I use a different flour blend than Amy; one of my flours of choice here is buckwheat flour. And I offer substitutions to the butter and cream if you want to keep it dairy-free. I personally like using butter in this recipe as opposed to coconut oil because I feel the butter really enhances the richness factor (but either are good). I have also tried this recipe without the xanthan gum, just to see what happens. It's still good, but definitely a lot more crumbly. I opt to keep it in.

Probably my favorite thing about these scones is the smell. You'll swear you are baking cinnamon rolls when these bad boys are in the oven!

Rustic Buckwheat Cinnamon Raisin Scones

3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1/2 cup arrowroot powder (could substitute tapioca starch)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
pinch salt
5 tablespoons chilled butter or solidified coconut oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup coconut milk beverage (such as So Delicious), almond milk, or cream
1 tablespoon agave
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
egg wash (1 egg, lightly beaten, with 1 teaspoon water added)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Xylosweet (xylitol)

Put a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. (Alternatively, you can use a baking sheet, and no need to preheat it in the oven.) Lay a 10 inch wide section of parchment paper on the counter.

In a small bowl, add the warm water and raisins.

In a food processor, add buckwheat through salt. Pulse several times to combine. Add butter or coconut oil in chunks and pulse a few more times until resembles a crumbly mixture. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the coconut milk, agave, and vanilla. Add egg mixture to food processor and pulse a few more times until a soft dough forms. Drain raisin soaking water, add raisins to processor, and pulse a remaining few more times until raisins are coarsely chopped and blended into dough.

Form the dough into a ball and place on the piece of parchment paper. Wet your hands and gently press the dough ball into an even 8 inch circle. Score the circle into six even slices with a sharp knife. With a paint brush or silicone brush, brush the egg wash over the entire circle, making sure to get all sides coated lightly. In another small bowl, combine the cinnamon and Xylosweet, then sprinkle over the scones with a spoon.

Remove the pizza stone from the oven and place the parchment paper with the scones on top of the stone (or put the parchment paper with the scones on the baking sheet). Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cut through each scored scone as to separate them completely. Place back in oven and bake for additional 3 minutes.

Let rest about five minutes before enjoying.

Makes 6 scones.

This post is a part of Simply Sugar and Gluten Free's Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Power Bites (gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, raw)

I have been in love with Larabars every since my raw food days. Simple ingredients, sweet- yes (thanks to the dates), but packed with protein and fiber. I keep a Larabar in my purse at all times in case of a hunger emergency. The only problem with Larabars is the cost. At most grocery stores, they retail for about $1.29 per bar, although I can frequently find them on sale for around $1.00 (at which times I purchase about 20 to stock up!). Nonetheless, I've been on a mission to create my own, homemade version of the Larabar. I knew it must be an easy recipe to re-create, with the list of ingredients so few and no baking required. Then all of a sudden, bloggers started posting recipes for their own versions, and came up with names ranging from energy bars, power bars, power balls, superfood bars, etc... Elana has posted quite a few in the last month or so (she's often a source of gluten free inspiration for me), an I've taken queues from this version in creating mine. And when she says they taste like cookie dough, she's right!

I've made so many batches of these, changing up the ingredients slightly each time, and this version is one of my favorites. I love the sunflower seeds in here. It almost gives these little guys a peanut-y taste (without the peanuts). I don't know how long they last in the fridge (I assume it would be a week or two) because we eat them all within two days... :)

So simple to make- it literally takes about five minutes- you have no excuse for not having an energy food on hand when you need it most (at about three o'clock for me!). Also makes a great pre-workout snack!

Chocolate Cherry Power Bites

1 cup Medjool dates (about 8), pitted
1 1/2 cups walnuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
pinch salt
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons dried cherries

Place dates, walnuts, sunflower seeds, salt, and vanilla in a food processor and process for about a minute, until a course meal consistency is reached. Stop processor and add chocolate chips and cherries. Pulse for about 30 more seconds, until chocolate and cherries are coarsely chopped and integrated into the batter. Using a spoon, scoop about 1 tablespoon of mixture into your hands and form into balls. Repeat with remaining batter. Freeze for about 30 minutes, then store power bites in the fridge.

Makes about 18 power bites.