10 dic. 2016

Gluten-Free Christmas Bread

Here I am with a new recipe to enjoy these holidays! Oh man, I'm really in full Christmas mode this year; probably because I've been commissioned to do several festive recipes and they all look blog-worthy to me. So I'm pleased to share with all of you my fellow bakers this delicious Christmas bread which happens to be gluten-free! Yay! I never thought I could get the hang of GF baking...but so far all the recipes I've tried have been more than good, even the first batches.
This is a spiced bread sweet enough to enjoy as a breakfast with almond butter and blueberry jam (try this combo, it's super delish), also simply toasted, but you can even pair it with savory foods like cheese or some herb-garlic cream/mousse. That's what makes it a nice bread to serve at your holiday gatherings, it'll wow your guests for sure.
I love to eat it just as it is because it has a lot of yummy chunks inside and don't really think it needs anything more, only a warm cup of tea or my beloved rooibos chai latte. Talking about chunks, these are the ones I combined: dates, raisins, dried apricots, pecan nuts, almonds and dark chocolate. The addition of psyllium husk powder helped a lot to give the dough more flexibility, which means easier handling and also adds structure and fluffiness. I think I've found my secret weapon to make GF breads chock full of chunks that won't fall apart and still have a nice crumb.

Receta en español muy pronto en la web de El Granero Integral.

Gluten-Free Christmas Bread
(Yield: 1 loaf)


1/3 cup panela/rapadura.
1/2 cup Medjool dates (or natural dates), pitted.
1/4 cup raisins.
1/2 cup pecan nuts.
1/2 cup blanched almonds.
1/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped into medium chunks.
4 or 5 dried apricots.
1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt.
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon.
1 teaspoon ground ginger.
1 cup white rice flour.
1/4 cup oat flour.
1/3 cup buckwheat flour.
2 tablespoons millet flour.
2 tablespoons cornstarch.
2 teaspoons baking powder.
2 teaspoons psyllium husk powder.
1 cup oat milk.
1 soy yogurt (125 g).

- Panela (in spanish), also known as Rapadura (in portuguese) is unrefined whole cane sugar. It provides a rich caramelized taste and since it is not refined it retains all its minerals and nutrients.
- I measured all the chunks (minus the dark chocolate) before chopping them. Remember to measure first and chop them later.

Preheat oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF) and lightly grease a 20x10cm (8x4-inch) loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper making sure you leave a couple inches overhang on both sides to easily lift the bread once it's baked.
Chop the dates, dried apricots, pecans and almonds. Set aside along with the rest of the chunks.
In a large mixing bowl and using a wire whisk mix the sugar, the flours, cornstarch, spices (cinnamon and ginger), salt, baking powder and psyllium. Stir in the nuts, dark chocolate, raisins, dates and apricots.
In a separate medium bowl vigorously mix the milk and soy yoghurt. 
Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a silicone spatula until a thick dough forms.
Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown, firm on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
Let it rest in the pan for 5 minutes approximately, carefully remove from the pan lifting the sides of the parchment paper and cool on a wire rack.
Store the bread tightly wrapped in plastic wrap inside an airtight container and it will keep well for at least a week.

1 dic. 2016

Christmas Bundt Cake

I think we can officially say it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, december is finally here and that means we are only one month away from the new year. How did 2016 pass so fast?! Now I'm sure a lot of things from my to-do list will have to wait until next year (like organizing my closet, aka 'the black hole') cause right now all I can think about is: 1- what kind of xmas gifts am I gonna buy for the family, and 2- baking like there's no tomorrow because I wanna share with all of you as many recipes as possible before the year ends.
My Instagram feed is full of mince pies, hot chocolates, people decorating their trees and glittery makeup tutorials, so I'm definitely feeling that festive spirit. But it's starting to become like an impossible mission to sneak a workout into my super busy schedule. I so need to exercise every day!...or at least 3-4 days a week. Even if it's a quick 30-minute session, it helps me a lot to unwind and feel better. I should not feel guilty or stress about skipping a workout, though. So here's a little reminder to myself: patience Gem, remember that a shopping day with the sis is like running a marathon!
To kick off december here's a super spiced bundt cake that will make the house smells like Christmas and delight your taste buds. It's very aromatic, has a lovely tender texture and pairs so well with a warm cup of chai tea. Add a blanket, your favorite tv series and you'll have the perfect winter blues remedy.

Christmas Bundt Cake
(Yield: enough to fill a 10-cup bundt pan)

1 cup whole spelt flour.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour.
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder.
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda.
A pinch of Himalayan pink salt.
1/3 cup mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil.
1 cup agave syrup.
1 cup unsweetened soy milk.
2 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar.
1 tablespoon chinese five spice powder.
1 tablespoon (or 1 saquet) rooibos chai tea.
1/3 cup mix of raisins and dried cranberries, roughly chopped.
Coconut flour or confectioner's sugar, for dusting.
Red berries, to decorate.

- Chinese five spice powder is a blend of different spices used in many asian recipes. If you can't find/don't have chinese five spice powder you can mix the following spices in order to create the same aroma and flavor as mine: cinnamon, fennel, star anise, ginger and clove (all ground).
- Instead of agave syrup you can use pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup. I haven't tried it with coconut syrup but since it has a darker color and it's a bit thicker the texture of the bundt cake might vary.

Preheat oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF) and thoroughly grease a 10-cup bundt cake pan.
In a small saucepan combine the soy milk and rooibos chai tea and heat to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let the milk infuse until it reaches room temperature, add in a little bit more milk to make sure we'll have enough milk to measure because the tea will absorb a bit of liquid. Remember to discard the saquet/tablespoon of rooibos before proceeding with the cake recipe.
In a large mixing bowl sift in the whole spelt flour and the whole wheat flour, if the wholemeal flours you usually buy have a lot of fiber I'd recommend to measure the cups after sifting and discard the remainder bran. Using a hand whisk mix in the all purpose flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices.
In a separate bowl whisk the oil, agave syrup, infused milk and vinegar. Whisk vigorously for 1 minute approximately.
Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until a soft batter forms. Gently fold in the dried fruit and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes approximately, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, unmold and cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
Dust the cake with powdered sugar or coconut sugar and decorate with some red berries like currants or cranberries.

25 nov. 2016

Double Lemon Naked Cake

They say time flies when you are having fun and even though running a food blog can be a tad bit stressful (you have to make time even when you don't have it) these six (six!!!) years have passed by so fast. Somehow it feels like it was yesterday when I was publishing my first recipe but at the same time, and after all that I've learned along the way, it also feels like it all started long long ago. It's kind a contradiction, right? Well, Cinnamon Girl turns 6 today and to celebrate my blogiversary I baked this super moist, super lemony and deliciously tender naked layer cake. I called it a 'Double Lemon Cake' because both the cake and the filling are lemon-flavored, plus some shredded coconut because: 1- I love coconut, and 2- coconut and lemon make a damn great combo.
Be careful when assembling the cake because this lemon cream is a bit 'slippery' and can make the layers move and not be perfectly centered. I recommend to gently spread this cream and remove any excess if the outside of the cake starts to look a bit messy. But remember that cakes don't have to always be perfectly frosted, a little chaos and decadence is super tempting too!

Double Lemon Naked Cake
(Makes one 6-in/15 cm three-layer cake)

- For the lemon cream:
2 cups unsweetened soy milk.
1/3 cup organic light brown sugar.
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk, at room temperature.
Peel of 1 organic lemon.
60 g (2 oz approx.) non-hydrogenated margarine.
2 drops organic lemon essential oil.

- For the lemon cake:
(Recipe adapted from 'Naturally: more great dairy-free desserts' by Fran Costigan)
1 cup whole spelt flour.
1 cup white pastry flour.
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.
1 teaspoon baking soda.
1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt.
1/3 cup mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil.
3/4 cup pure maple syrup.
2/3 cup unsweetened soy milk.
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Zest of 1 small/medium organic lemon.
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla powder.
2-3 drops organic lemon essential oil.
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar.
Unsweetened shredded coconut, for sprinkling the top of the cake.

I suggest to make both the pastry cream and cake the day before assembling. Here's how I usually organize myself:
1- Bake the cake. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, unmold and cool completely on a wire rack. Do NOT cut the layers yet.
2- While the cake is cooling make the lemon cream. Let it cool at room temperature covered in plastic wrap.
3- When both the cake and cream are cold, transfer them to the fridge overnight. This way the cake will be way more easy to handle and cut in three layers and the cream will also set and become thicker, which means easier to pipe (if desired).
4- On day 2 cut the cake in three layers and assemble. 

- To make the lemon pastry cream:
In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat stir together the first 2 cups of soy milk, sugar and lemon peel. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and discard the lemon peel and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl stir together the cornstarch and the other 1/4 cup of soy milk, mix well using a fork or wire whisk. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan of infused milk and cook, over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent any curdling. Keep whisking (with a hand whisk) until the mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency, it will take up to 5 minutes approximately.
Once the cream is thick remove from the heat immediately and stir in the margarine and lemon essential oil. The margarine will quickly melt and will add a velvety and smooth finish to the cream.
Let it cool completely at room temperature, covering the surface of the cream with plastic wrap as this will prevent a skin from forming on the top.
Chill in the fridge until ready to use, preferably overnight.

- To make the lemon cake:
Preheat oven to 180 º C (350 ºF). Lightly grease one 6-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir well with a wire whisk to distribute the ingredients.
Whisk the oil, maple syrup, soy milk, lemon juice and zest, vanilla powder, lemon essential oil and vinegar in a separate medium bowl until well blended. Pour into the dry mixture and stir with a whisk until the batter is smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap lightly on the counter to eliminate air bubbles.
Bake for 35-40 minutes approximately (depending on the height of your cake pan), or until the top of the cake is golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean (a few moist crumbs are okay).
Let the cake cool in the pan, placed on a wire rack, for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and carefully peel off the parchment paper. Invert the cake topside up on the rack and cool completely.
Wrap the entire cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before filling and frosting.

- To assemble the cake:
Place the cake on a flat surface and cut in three equal layers. Spread the lemon cream over the top and repeat the process two more times until the cake is completely assembled.
Sprinkle around 1/4 cup of shredded coconut on top of the cake.
Store the cake well covered in the refrigerator, cut the slices while still cold but let it come to room temperature before serving.

15 nov. 2016

Dark Chocolate Marzipan Nougat

Is it too early for a Christmas post? Cause I'm already getting into the festive spirit and ready to bake, cook or prepare all things deliciously decadent even though we are over a month away for Christmas. I prepared this chocolate covered marzipan nougat last weekend and couldn't wait any longer to share it with all of you (even though I still have some pending posts, being one of them a great cake recipe to celebrate Cinnamon Girl's 6th anniversary next week!).
When you are food blogger you know you must start early with all the holiday cooking so you have enough time to prepare your posts and then to get started with all the crazy gift and food shopping...actually, is there such a thing as "having enough time"?! I'm always in a rush! But you get the point, right? November and December are two of the busiest months of the year for anyone who runs a food blog, it's a non-stop cooking frenzy: cooking for the blog and cooking for the family. Santa, you better bring me some awesome gifts cause I'm working my ass off!
Talking about this recipe again, I combined two of the most traditional spanish Christmas sweets, marzipan and nougat, in one yummy dessert. Christmas in Spain wouldn't be the same without these treats and I love to follow those traditions that involve luscious desserts, ha! My favorite type of nougat is soft almond nougat, it just melts in your mouth and has a lovely sweet roasted almond flavour; but there are so many different flavors and each year you can find crazy new combinations by famous chefs. You can find my recipe from last year by clicking here. This year though I wanted to try a different one and that's why I made a marzipan nougat covered in dark chocolate and decorated with soft almond nougat crumbs, caramelized pine nuts and little bit of edible silver dust to make it look more festive. Of course you can choose to leave the nougat all natural or try other decorations such as white chocolate drizzled on top, some sprinkles, walnuts or even dried fruits. Let your imagination run wild!

¡Receta en español muy pronto en la web de El Granero Integral!

Dark Chocolate Marzipan Nougat
(Makes one rectangle of 20 cm x 5 cm /8-in x 2-in approx.)

- For the marzipan:
200 g (7 ounces) raw unsalted almonds, blanched.
1/3 cup agave syrup or brown rice syrup.
Zest of one organic orange.
A few drops of organic orange essential oil.
- Coating:
125 g (4,5 oz approx.) dark chocolate, 72% cacao.
- Toppings:
Soft almond nougat, crumbled.
Caramelized pine nuts.
Edible silver dust, optional.

Place the almonds in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until a fine flour forms, you might need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Measure 1/4 cup of the flour and set aside.
Add in the agave or rice syrup, orange zest, and essential oil and process until a smooth but compact dough forms. It'll be quite sticky but don't worry.
In a large mixing bowl and using your hands mix together the dough with the remaining almond flour, this will make the dough more moldable, easier to handle.
Press down the dough into a nougat (or chocolate bar) silicone mold, alternatively you can roll the dough into a rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap.
Let it set in the refrigerator overnight or if you don't have enough time you can also transfer the dough into the freezer for 45 minutes, until firm.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
Unmold the nougat and place it on a cooling rack, coat the marzipan with half of the melted chocolate. Let it set in the fridge and repeat the process with the remaining chocolate.
Right after the second coat of chocolate decorate with the suggested toppings.
Store the nougat in an airtight container in the refrigerator.