Nutella Pretzel Brownies

So I decided my blog needed a little face lift… I am loving this new theme! I will be playing around with layouts etc. over the next few days so you will have to let me know what you think.  To launch the new look, I figured we could celebrate with brownies! (I mean, any sort of celebration that involves brownies has to be simply fantastic).  I was very excited when I came across this recipe… I really love chocolate covered pretzels so I knew these treats would be awesome.  Oh man.  These were to die for.  You can also make these gluten free by substituting an all purpose gluten free flour mix and gluten free pretzels.  I made both versions and both turned out great!

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Ingredients for the Pretzel Crust:

  • 1/2 cup pretzels (gluten free if using this option)
  • 3 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

Ingredients for the Brownies:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup nutella (yes, nutella is gluten free if you buy the nutella brand)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 2/3 cup flour (gluten free blend if using this option)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

PLUS: extra Nutella for frosting and extra pretzels for garnishing

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Directions:

  • To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Place the pretzels in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until broken up into tiny pieces. Add the sugar and pulse until combined, then pour in the butter. Continue pulsing until combined.
  • Press the pretzel mixture firmly into the prepared pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges are golden and the crust feels firm.
  • While the crust is baking, make the brownies batter:
  • Cream butter and sugar together.
  • Add eggs and blend well.
  • Add vanilla, salt, and nutella. Mix until combined.
  • Add cocoa and flour.  Make sure you don’t overbeat!
  • Pour into pan over pretzel crust and bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes. Or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow brownies to cool for at least 45 minutes before frosting with nutella spread and garnishing with pretzels.

Enjoy!

Source: Recipe adapted from Nutella Pretzel Brownies by Chef in Training

The Ultimate Brownie (Gluten Free Edition)

Last week I posted a really decadent brownie recipe and thought it was only fair to also post a gluten free version.  I’ve tried a few gluten free brownie recipes and this one from the Gluten Free Goddess is by far my favourite (FYI: If you are in a pinch, Bob’s Red Mill Chocolate Brownie Mix is also really, really good).

I barely changed a thing with this recipe other than adding some crushed up Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups (naturally).  Feel free to add nuts, M&Ms, white chocolate chips… whatever suits your fancy.  Also, if you haven’t visited the Gluten Free Goddess blog yet, check it out! She is a total gluten free guru and has all kinds of fabulous recipes.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 cup sugar (brown or white)
  • 5 tablespoons good quality cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup extras (M&Ms, nuts, dark chocolate chips etc.)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Melt the butter and then slowly stir in the other ingredients, saving the extra add ins for last.
  • Spread mixture into an 8 x 8 square pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until brownies have set.
  • Cool.  Cut.  Devour.

Enjoy!

Source: Recipe taken directly (you don’t mess with perfection) from Dark Chocolate Brownies by the Gluten Free Goddess

Gluten Free CocoBanana Muffins

I’m very excited because Josh, my family and I will be leaving for Mexico in a few weeks for some much needed relaxation and sunshine.  I’ve definitely started dreaming about the ocean, the sand… the pina coladas (yum).

That being said, I needed to replenish my stock of breakfast muffins so I wanted to put together something that would remind me of my oh so close visit to the tropics.

frozen bananas… check.

fresh pineapple… check.

can of coconut milk… check.

So here you have it! Gluten free coconut banana muffins with pineapple pieces.  Delish.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons butter (make sure its been slightly cooled)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk (don’t shake the can! Spoon up the thick creamy layer that separates from the milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 bananas, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped or crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin tins with paper liners (or spray the muffin tin if you don’t have liners on hand).
  • In a medium size bowl whisk together flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg, brown sugar and vanilla.
  • Slowly add the melted butter and coconut milk to the egg mixture and mix until well blended.
  • Add half of the dry ingredients and mix until the dry ingredients are barely incorporated.
  • Add the pineapple, bananas and coconut.  Stir mixture until barely incorporated.
  • Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (be careful not to over mix!)
  • Distribute the batter evenly between the 12 muffins cups.
  • Bake at 350 for approx. 20 minutes or until muffins have set.  Cool the muffins slightly before removing from the pan to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Baked Zucchini Sticks

I recently met an elderly gentleman who has a summer home near our cottage and keeps one of the most fabulous vegetable gardens I have ever seen.  Just yesterday I had the opportunity to have “the grand tour” of his garden and learn a few valuable gardening tips.  He had so many different types of vegetables: Garlic, turnips, corn, peppers, squash, beans, tomatoes etc.  He promised me next summer he would teach me how to grow produce after I informed him I have never really home grown anything in my life!  I’m such a big fan of eating locally grown food so why not learn how to grow it myself? That and produce can be pricey.  My friend Jenn and I did some canning this week and it wasn’t cheap having to buy most of our veggies at the grocery store.

My neighbour did not send me home from my tour empty handed as I left with a big basket full of purple potatoes, zucchinis, corn, tomatoes, peppers and onions.  I was in home grown heaven!  To make the most of some of my delicious fresh veggies I whipped up a recipe this afternoon for gluten free baked zucchini sticks.  These were really tasty! The nice thing about this snack is that the zucchini is crispy and crunchy without needing to be deep fried.  I served these sticks with a side of creamy ranch dressing for dipping.


Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini, cut crosswise in half and then quartered lengthwise
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley (or 1 tsp. dried)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. grated parmesan (not fresh, use the stuff from the jar)
  • 1/2 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (plus more as needed)
  • 1/4 cup fat free Ranch Dressing

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Lightly grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Mix bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan and salt and pepper on a large plate.
  • Dip zucchini sticks in the egg whites, then in the coating mixture.  Make sure the sticks are evenly coated.  Place sticks in a single layer on baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until sticks are crispy and golden brown.
  • Serve sticks with ranch dressing.
  • Recipe makes 4 servings.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Chocolate Almond Butter Cookies

I really felt like being creative today so I decided to fool around with some of my favourite cookie recipes to try and come up with something new.  I’ve been a little hesitant thus far to try anything TOO creative as I’m still figuring out the right xanthan gum and gluten free flour ratios but I thought I’d give it a shot! One of the recipes I really like from Simply Sugar & Gluten Free is the chocolate almond butter.  I find almond butter can sometimes be a little bland, so this cookbook offers a recipe that serves as a great modification to this protein packed spread.  While the recipe makes the almond butter from scratch, I cheated a little and simply threw a cup of almond butter into the food processor and added 2 Tbsp. cocoa, 1 Tbsp. honey and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  If the butter seems a little grainy, you can always add just a little bit of canola oil to smooth it out a bit.  Despite my uncertainties, these cookies were fabulous! I added some chopped almonds and mini chocolate chips for a little extra sweetness and crunch.  I will test these on Josh later to see if he notices they are gluten free :)


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate almond butter (see above for this quick recipe)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp. gluten free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. gluten free baking soda
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat together the butter, almond butter, sugars and the egg until creamy (a hand held mixer would work here too).
  • Add the flour, xanthan gum, vanilla, baking powder and baking soda.  Mix well.
  • Stir in chocolate chips and and chopped almonds with a large spoon.
  • Roll the dough by hand into 1 inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet approx. 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies look slightly puffy and are lightly browned on the bottom.
  • Recipe yields approx. 2 dozen.

For an extra special treat, serve as ice cream sandwiches with a scoop of chocolate or rocky road ice cream between two cookies.

Enjoy!