Monday, February 27, 2012

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

A friend of mine had her birthday a few days after MSPI Mama reader Julie shared a recipe for a gluten-free chocolate cake over on my Facebook page. And wouldn't you know it? That friend of mine has celiac disease, so I decided to try out that cake recipe from Julie and give them to my friend as a birthday surprise.

My friend's reaction? She LOVED them! And I loved the fact there were no specialty gluten-free flours. Just garbanzo beans!

I tweaked the recipe just a little bit, so I'm sharing my version here.

Thanks, Julie, for posting such an easy and delicious recipe. Please share more!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Source: Adapted from

1½ cups MSPI-friendly semisweet chocolate chips (I used a 10-oz. package of Enjoy Life chips.)
1 (15.5-oz.) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup white sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper cups. Set pan aside.

Place the chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl. Cook in the microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds after the first minute, until chocolate is melted and smooth. If you have a powerful microwave, reduce the power to 50 percent.

Combine the beans, eggs and vanilla in a blender. Process until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture into a medium mixing bowl and mix in the sugar and the baking powder. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix until smooth. (If you have a food processor, there's no need to transfer the mixture to a separate bowl. Everything can be mixed in the food processor's bowl.)

Divide the batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 23-27 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the cupcakes to a wire rack to completely cool. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. 

Tip: If you are needing to make this completely gluten-free, be sure to read all labels for the gluten-free designation. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Homemade Tootsie Rolls

I've been busy this morning whipping up a delicious batch of these homemade candies to give to my kiddos' teachers tomorrow for Valentine's Day. After taste-testing a few of these myself (quality control!) I can say with absolute certainty that they are going to love them!

This recipe is super easy to make. Only four ingredients! However, there is a lot of hands-on work with rolling and wrapping the candies, but it is so worth it. Everyone will love them! You can experiment with the flavoring. I used orange extract, which is just delicious, but peppermint, vanilla and raspberry would be so good, too.

And trust me on this one, if you're planning to give any away, make a double batch! That way you'll have plenty for yourself!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Homemade Tootsie Rolls
Source: Slightly adapted from Balancing Beauty & Bedlam

12 oz. package MSPI-friendly semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup light corn syrup
¾ tsp. warm water
1½ tsp. orange extract

Melt the semisweet chocolate in a sauce pan on the stove over low heat or in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and scrape the chocolate mixture onto the paper. Spread the mixture to about ½-inch thick in the pan. (Don't worry if it's an irregular shape.)

Cover the mixture with a second piece of wax paper and let the chocolate mixture set over night at room temperature; it will be stiff, but still flexible.

Turn your candy out onto your work surface and cut the mixture (a pizza cutter works really well!) into whatever size sections you prefer. Then roll the pieces between your hands into little logs.  

Set the candies aside to firm up before wrapping, since the mixture warms up and softens as you handle it.

Roll each candy up in a square of wax paper. Twist ends to secure.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Whole Grain Apple Oatmeal Pancakes

We've all been there. It's 5 o'clock at night, and you have absolutely no clue what to make for dinner. Thanks to the MSPI diet, take-out isn't that great of an option ... since you're sick and tired of the one or two places you can safely eat at ... not to mention your budget can't take it! And all the hunks o' meat you have on hand are frozen solid, since you forgot to thaw them.

So what's a mom to do? ... Make breakfast!

These pancakes are just plain yummy and are a wonderful change from the usual. They puff up quite thick, yet maintain a slight chewiness from the oatmeal. They're fluffy and dense all wrapped into one. They remind me of oatmeal muffins. Yummy and comforting!

We drizzled honey on the top of our pancakes and served it with a side of Fruit Salad and grilled smoked sausage. The perfect breakfast-for-dinner!

Whole Grain Apple Oatmeal Pancakes
Source: Adapted from Zesty Cook, via Picky Palate

1 cup quick-cooking oats
2 cups hard white whole wheat flour * (see tip)
½ cup peeled and shredded apple
2 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups rice milk
¼ cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. honey

Whisk together the oats, flours, baking powder, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the rice milk, oil, eggs, vanilla, apple and honey. Pour the wet into the dry mixture and stir briefly, just until combined. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the oats in the batter to soften while you preheat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. (I used an electric griddle and set it at 300 degrees.)

Add a little tiny bit of oil to the pan or coat it with cooking spray. Spoon the batter into the skillet. (The batter will be thick! Perfectly round pancakes likely won't happen!) Allow to cook for a few minutes. Once bubbles form on the outside of the pancake and do not fill in again, flip the pancakes over and cook on the other side. Remove the pancakes to a baking sheet and cover them with a towel while you prepare the remaining batter. (You can put the baking sheet in an oven on the lowest setting, if you like. My oven has a Warm setting, which is around 150-175 degrees.)

Serve with honey, syrup, powdered sugar, fresh fruit or any other favorite pancake topping.

Tip: You may substitute any combination of flour you have on hand for the hard white whole wheat flour. The original recipe called for 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup regular whole wheat flour. I have recently started using hard white whole wheat and love it!