Tag Archives: baking

Seed Crispbread

Seed crispbread fresh from the oven

Seed crispbread fresh from the oven

Yet another recipe inspired by Swedish celebrity Annika Sjöö’s rather wonderful collection of recipes “Annikas Paleokök“.

Here a tasty, nutritious, and filling collection of seeds is bound together by the magic that only chia seeds can do, and then simply baked in the oven, with the lack of egg as a binding agent naturally enough making them perfect for our vegan chums.

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Almond Flour Crispbread

Almond flour crispbread with tuna salad

Almond flour crispbread with tuna salad

The potentially thorny subject of “bread” was brought up again here the other day.

Mrs. Paleovirtus was wondering about the options for making a Paleo / LCHF friendly Swedish-style crispbread, or “knäckebröd”.

I agreed with her that having the option of a good knäckebröd recipe to hand would be A Very Good Thing Indeed. Knäckebröd plays such an important part in Swedish food culture, especially so at this time of the year, when our thoughts turn towards Julbord, the festive season’s variation on the Smörgåsbord of legend. Julbord without the Christmas Ham on knäckebröd? Unthinkable!

With that thought in mind, I began trawling the net, looking for suitable recipes. As per usual, I was looking out for simple recipes, with as few ingredients as possible. As I’ve said before, I feel that this makes the testing and troubleshooting process a lot easier, as there is simply less that can go wrong. Once you have a solid base to build upon, then you can start adding other ingredients, etc.

In this case this also makes good sense because traditionally knäckebröd was made with just 3 ingredients – flour, water, and salt.

The recipe I decided to try was “Grain Free Almond Crackers”, from “Caveman Food”.

For a list of ingredients as well as the method, etc, please refer to the original article, which can be found here.

Notes

I found that the dough came together really well, not at all as overly gloopy or sticky as some had reported in the original article’s comments section. This made rolling it out to the required thickness very easy, too.

With this being a first attempt, I was trying to judge the time baked by colour and smell. My first test batch were in the oven for 30 minutes. After cooling, this gave a knäckebröd that was certainly crisp and hard, and snapped cleanly, although this seemed to be quite sensitive to thickness – where the dough had been rolled only slightly too thick, a hint of softness was starting to creep in.

This might have been because I ate them as soon as possible – the minute they were cool enough. I think that with a little more cooling and drying out time the already good crispness would improve. I may even go so far as to build a small jig in order to ensure that they can only be rolled out to a pre-determined thickness.

Now that I have a solid base to build upon, I’m going to experiment with the addition of other ingredients. A starting point here is likely to be sesame seeds.

My “test lunch” was the knäckebröd plus a simple tuna salad of tuna, cucumber, finely chopped chives, salt, pepper, and a splash of lemon juice. The knäckebröd passed this test with flying colours!

My first test batch of almond flour crispbread

My first test batch of almond flour crispbread

Linkage

The original article I used for the knäckebröd recipe over at Caveman Food can be found here.

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Baking updates – cookies and muffins

New toys to play with

New toys to play with

Yesterday was a wet, windy, damp and thoroughly miserable day outside, perfect, in other words, to stay indoors, close to the warmth of the oven, and bake things.

A new muffin form was bought and tested, along with a slightly new version of the muffin recipe. Read about it here.

I also chose to ride the Cocoa fuelled crazy train, and max out the chocolatiness of the banana and coconut cookie recipe, just as I had recently threatened to do.  The results of that particular Frankenbake can be seen here.

Banana coconut chocolate cookies

Banana coconut and chocolate cookies fresh from the oven

Banana coconut and chocolate cookies fresh from the oven

For latest updates to this recipe, please scroll down….

This recipe builds upon my earlier post about banana and coconut cookies, which can be found here.

That post in turn was inspired by an article over at “Grok Grub”, which can be seen here.

The idea behind this experiment was to bless the cookies with the gift of chocolatiness. Delicious, velvety, chocolatiness. Darkly bitter, tantalising chocolatiness.

The kind of chocolatiness that fills your waking hours with subconscious whispers that simultaneously tempt, encourage, and suggest, and that also haunts your dreams in that hinterland between midnight and dawn, so that you wake restless, with the taste of a cocoa bean you never ate still in your mouth…

Ahem. I might have got a bit carried away there. I really do like chocolate, though. Just give me a minute to compose myself…right, I feel better now…

So, what we are going to do is take our standard recipe’s ratio of 1 banana : ¾ cup dessicated coconut and add 100% cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla essence to it as follows…

  • 1 tbsp 100% cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

The actual preparation and baking remains otherwise unchanged – see original post for details.

Banana coconut and chocolate cookies enjoyed with a pot of Oolong tea

Banana coconut and chocolate cookies enjoyed with a pot of Oolong tea

Results and notes

Me like. Me like lots. Oooh yeah, baby, me like lots!

Mrs. Paleovirtus liked them so much that she declared them to be nearly as good as my blueberry muffins, which coming from her is high praise indeed.

The next great leap forward might be to try for a complete and utter choccy overdose and incorporate some cocoa nibs in them, or perhaps even give them a paleo-friendly chocolate topping…

I think I like where this is going…watch this space…

Update – 8th. October, 2014 – MORE Chocolate!

I’ve experimented with the addition of 100% cocoa nibs to the base recipe in the ratio of 25g of cocoa nibs to 1 banana, etc.

The results were superb! Spot on, in fact! I now declare this recipe nailed, finalised, cast in bronze, graven in stone, beyond improvement, parfait, Mesdames et Messieurs…

Now with added cocoa nibs

Now with added cocoa nibs

Linkage

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Lemon Pound Cake Mk. II

Lemon pound cake, Mk. II version

Lemon pound cake, Mk. II version

This is my second attempt at a Lemon Pound Cake, following on from the Mk. I version, which I posted about here.

As you may be able to tell, this version makes use of one half of the amount of almond flour, coconut flour, coconut oil, honey, and eggs that was in the Mk. I version.

As per Mrs. Paleovirtus’ request to make the Mk. II version more lemony than the Mk. I version, I kept the original amount of lemon juice and zest, effectively making it twice as lemony as previously.

This also had the effect of increasing the overall amount of liquid in the recipe, which in turn gave the cake mixture a less dense, compact texture (see notes below).

Before attempting the Mk. II version, I did quite a bit of research into other Lemon Pound Cake recipes, both Paleo and non-Paleo, and came to the conclusion that the Mk. II version should contain vanilla essence for flavour, and baking powder to assist with the texture, which was one of the areas flagged for improvement after trying out the Mk. I recipe.

To give a more pleasing shape I also bought a 450g / 1lb loaf tin.

My research also suggested that I needed to bake the cake for a longer period of time in a slightly cooler oven – 1 hour in a 160° C oven.


 

Ingredients

  • Juice and finely chopped zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, plus extra for greasing your cake tin
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp baking powder

Method

  • Pre-heat your oven to 160 deg. C.
  • Prepare a 450g / 1lb non-stick loaf tin by greasing it up well with coconut fat.
  • Sift the 2 flours in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  • If needs be, melt your coconut fat and honey in a microwave or over low heat.
  • In a smaller bowl, mix the eggs, the lemon juice, and the lemon zest. Stir in the honey and the coconut oil. Mix well.
  • Add the “wet” mix to the flours, and whisk together until you have a smooth cake mixture.
  • Pour the cake mix into the loaf tin. Work it with a rubber spatula until you have a smooth, even layer.
  • Bake for 1 hour or thereabouts, or until the cake passes the “clean-skewer” test for done-ness.

Notes

Mrs. Paleovirtus felt that the amount of lemon in the Mk. II version was spot on, and flavour wise it only needed a wee bit more vanilla in order to make it perfect.

The combined effect of the extra liquid, the baking powder, the new shape due to the loaf tin used, and the longer baking time in a cooler oven, greatly improved the texture of the Mk. II version.

Due to the nature of almond and coconut flours, this is probably as good a texture as we can reasonably expect from such a cake, which is all well and good, as we’re very satisfied with it as it currently stands.

Banana coconut cookies

Banana coconut cookies

Banana coconut cookies

Sometimes a recipe will appear in the various feeds you subscribe to, and you think to yourself that it sounds and looks great, but then the voice of the Disappointment Elf that constantly sits on the shoulder of the experienced cook and reminds you of failures past chirps up, and urges you to be cautious.

“Two ingredient banana and coconut cookies”, he whispers, “sounds too good to be true, mate”.

“But the photographs look so good“, I insist, “You can almost smell them, and the people posting in the comments seem to have made them work”.

“Up to you, Charlie Mouse”, he replies, “Do I have to remind you about the time you…”

He never gets to finish the sentence, because the Go-For-It Gnome that sits on the other shoulder sucker punches him when he isn’t looking with a good old-fashioned right handed haymaker, and while he’s out cold insists that we have a crack at the new recipe. After all, what’s a banana and a bit of dessicated coconut in the grand scheme of things, eh?

And so, mes amis, it came to pass that a few minutes later I was blitzing banana and dessicated coconut together into a cookie dough, forming them into diskettes, and throwing them into a pre-heated 180° C oven.

Let it be noted that I got a 4 cookie yield from each batch of 1 banana and ¾ cup of dessicated coconut mixture.

25 minutes later they were out and cooling.

The results were very encouraging. A first attempt at a new recipe is always a “proof of concept” job – you really should be keeping things as simple as possible to see if the base recipe itself actually works.

These cookies do!

I think the recipe itself cries out to be used as a starting point or base for experimentation – the next version will no doubt see the addition of honey, coco-powder (100%, of course), and quite possibly cinnamon.

Link

That link again… 2 Ingredient Banana and Coconut Cookies, by grokgrub.com

Banana and walnut bread

Banana and walnut bread, fresh from the oven...

Banana and walnut bread, fresh from the oven…

This was a further attempt to get my head around the concept of Paleo-style baking, and yet another recipe borrowed from chef Daniel Green’s book “The Paleo Diet – Food Your Body Is Designed To Eat”.

As with the case of the blueberry muffins and the lemon pound cake I made earlier, this was a good first attempt, and all three of Clan Paleovirtus were generally satisfied with the results.

I still feel though that there is room for improvement – see my notes below.


 

Ingredients

  • 2 nice and soft ripe bananas
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 100g walnuts, given a quick whizz in a blender. You’re aiming for a rough chop / fairly chunky, not walnut flour!
  • coconut oil / fat to grease the bread tin

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
  • Grease up a 1.5 l loaf tin with coconut oil / fat.
  • In a mixing bowl mash the bananas with a fork.
  • Add the honey and the eggs. Mix well.
  • Add the walnuts. Mix well.
  • Gradually add the almond flour until you have a nice, even mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Bake until the bread is nicely browned and passes the skewer test for done-ness. This will depend of course on your mixture – keep a close eye on it after the 20 minute mark.
  • Allow to cool somewhat before turning out from the loaf tin. Once completely cool, cut off a fine old slice, and enjoy with the beverage of your choice, as well as any other embellishments that seem appropriate at the time. Some extra slices of banana, a sprinkling of dessicated coconut, and a drizzling of honey comes highly recommended.

    Served with banana, honey, and coconut...

    Served with banana, honey, and coconut…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes

The only real change we would like to see in future with this recipe is one concerned with the presentation. I used this silicon loaf / cake mould from Ikea. The bread turned out perfectly, it has to be said, but the dimensions of the mould made the finished bread a little on the flat side.

So, I’m going to be on the lookout for a slightly deeper mould / tin, i.e. one that isn’t quite so wide. This should give the bread more “loaf-like” vital statistics, although I’ve been warned by the family’s baking gurus that I may then have to experiment with a cooler oven and longer baking times.