I love these gluten free cheese scones! They are tasty, versatile, great for lunchboxes, and only 4g of carbs per serve! I always make a double batch so I have some to freeze. They are also tasty with homemade butter on them 🙂
I wanted to make something that tasted decadently chocolatey but without a lot of added sugar and minimizing ingredients that are common allergies. It can easily be adjusted to make it suitable for any food restrictions in the family, daycare, or school. Lentils contain a wide range of nutrients and are made up of over 25% protein!
Healthy heart Chocolate Fudge Brownies
2 x 400g tin lentils (approx. 2 cups of drained lentils)
1 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup rice bran oil
1/2 cup almond meal + 1/2 cup fine rice flour
(or substitute 1 cup plain flour)
1 cup dutch cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 Tbsp chia seeds
Optional: 90g pureed green vegetables (spinach, peas, courgette)
There are many types of lentils and many online recipes suggest using red lentils. This is probably because they are split, skinless, and can have a sweet nutty flavour. To be honest, I went with what what was affordable and convenient – tins of brown lentils!
How can I replace egg?
I used egg as I wanted the protein but for an egg free alternative, you could pre-soak the chia seeds in 6 Tbsp boiling water for 15-20 minutes or use something like Orgran’s Egg Replacer.
Put oven on to pre-heat to 180’C / 375’F. Grease your brownie tray (I use rice bran oil).
Rinse lentils thoroughly. The lentils will need to be cooked and their cooking time is going to depend on what form you’re using (i.e. dried lentils will need to be simmered for 15-20 minutes).
Put the kettle on to boil while you chop up the dates (the measurement of 1 cup is after they’ve been cut up).
The dates need to be soaked in boiling water until soft. Personally, I took a big pyrex dish, put in my (rinsed) soft brown tinned lentils + my roughly chopped dates + a small amount of water. I then put it in the microwave on High for 2 minutes, stirred, and then put back in the microwave for another 2 minutes.
Pour the hot date / lentil mix into a food processor and blend till smooth.
A metal blade is ideal for smoothness but then you’ll need to change to a plastic blade (or wooden spoon) for combining the rest; if you’re not worried about a perfect puree then you can just use a plastic blade throughout.
Mix in sugar and maple syrup. Taste test for sweetness.
Note: instead of sugar, you could just use 1/3 cup maple syrup. The dates will also add natural sweetness.
Mix in egg and oil.
Mix in almond meal, rice flour, dutch cocoa, salt, baking powder, chia seeds, and any optional ingredients. (I went for green veggies, someone else might go for chopped walnuts).
Bake for 30-35 mins.
The gluten free version comes out as a soft, fudgey, chocolate slice; with normal flour it will probably be higher and a bit firmer. Blind taste testing by neighbour was successful both for approval rating and not guessing the lentils.
What to call these? They have no sweetening, no flaky butter, and no cheesy flavour (as the mozzarella acts as a binder) so they’re a small quick bread which slices beautifully to top with salted butter, colby cheese, and Culley’s South Carolina Mustard. You can also quite happily top them with a few thinly sliced berries, or chia seed jam (depending on your dietary preferences). So it’s a bit like a UK scone, a bit like an English muffin, and a bit like a USA biscuit; and of course you don’t have to cook them in a muffin pan! For those on Keto – they are also only 4.1g carbs per serve 🙂
100g almond flour
50g coconut flour
2 medium eggs
1 tsp baking powder
125g sour cream
50g grated mozzarella
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Optional: 2 Tbsp – 1/4c water
Pre-heat oven to 200’C / 390’F and grease muffin trays.
Combine the almond flour, coconut flour, and baking powder in a bowl.
Mix in the eggs, sour cream, and mozzarella.
Add a little water to moisten (this will also impact how moist / dry these are once cooked and cooled).
Allow to sit for 10 – 20 minutes so that the gluten free flours can absorb the moisture.
Add baking soda and vinegar – enjoy the fizz!
Quickly combine and spoon into muffin trays.
Pop into pre-warmed oven. I like to do mine a bit like scones – intense heat at first for the initial rise and then drop the heat for the rest of the cooking; 200’C / 390’F for about 10 mins and then 170’C / 340’F for about 10-15 mins. Use a toothpick to test (it will come out clean once cooked).
Lovely warm. I’ve been pleased with how mine store in both fridge and freezer.
Based on 6 servings per recipe; nutritional breakdown is approx:
Line or grease a large spring-form cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180’C / 350’F.
I like to keep things simple. Put everything in a big bowl in the order listed EXCEPT the water. Tip: a flour sieve is great for keeping out the lemon pips!
Add 1/4 cup liquid and mix with an electric beater. Slowly keep adding water and mixing until you have a good cake batter consistency.
Pour the cake batter into the cake tin, smooth, and bake for 30-35 mins (or until a toothpick / sharp knife comes out clean).
Sprinkle with a little icing sugar, or whip up a lemon icing for a more lemony flavour.
Tip: I like to eat it warm from the oven and then freeze the rest to pull out as needed.
Tip: For a more lemony flavour, pierce many times with a toothpick when the cake is half cooked. Cover the top of the cake in a thin layer of sugar and squeeze a fresh lemon over the top; then place back in the oven. The lemon syrup will soak into the cake while it continues baking.
These are the kind of light, fluffy, round scones that one imagines having with berry jam, clotted cream, and china cups of tea. They are made with flour and baked in the oven and rather different from the large, quartered, barley flour or oatmeal griddle scones from which they are descended.
My childhood has many pleasant memories of making scones in sunlit kitchens and they are wonderfully versatile as they can be served with everything from sweet honey to umami Marmite and cheese.
If you make kefir at home keep in mind that you can use it in baking! Although the probiotics will die in the heat, they will leave behind an enriched milk with little lactose and will add a lightness to your baking.
1 to 1/2 cups milk (or 3/4 cup milk kefir + 3/4 cup milk)
Start oven pre-heating to 220’C / 428’F. Grease a baking tray or line with baking paper.
Measure and cut butter into a mixing bowl.
Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt. Add wheat germ and sugar.
Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles golden breadcrumbs.
Add 3/4 cup of milk (or kefir). Mix to combine.
Slowly add up to 3/4 cup of additional milk; stop to knead as you add the extra liquid. You want to draw all the dry ingredients into the mix without it getting too wet and sticky.
Pull off the dough into approximately 12 pieces. Roll into rough balls in your hand and then flatten slightly. Place on prepared baking tray.
Bake at 220’C / 428’F for 10 minutes. The scones should rise a great deal. Check if they are cooking evenly (and adjust their placement in the oven if not). Reduce the heat to approximately 180’C / 350’F and bake for another 5-6 minutes until golden.
One of the wonderful things about homeschooling is that being in the kitchen can definitely be part of the curriculum! We’re studying Japan at the moment and one of the suggestions in our Kiwico Atlas Discover Japan box was to try our hand at onigiri.
At it’s simplest, onigiri is a fun gluten free snack that uses a sticky rice to create a treasure box sandwich around a delicious filling of your choice. They are wonderfully easy to make and can be as creative (or quick) as you like.
The key ingredient that you will need is Japanese Short Grain Rice. This is sometimes marketed as ‘sushi rice’ in Western supermarkets although this is actually a misnomer, the same rice can be used to make sushi but while sushi uses vinegar, salt, and sugar to provide seasoning, onigiri uses plain steamed rice and relies on the nori (dried seaweed) and filling for flavour.
Think about what design you would like to use for your onigiri. If you want to keep it simple, use scissors to cut the nori sheets into smaller and shorter strips that you wrap around the base of the onigiri as a handhold. You can also get creative and decorate them into whatever you can imagine! There are fascinating videos on YouTube with plenty of ideas – be aware that fancier designs may utilize special tools to cut the seaweed and moulds to press the rice into. These can often be picked up cheaply online or from stores specializing in Japanese homewares.
Cook your rice fresh and allow to cool slightly (it should be warm while making the onigiri). I like to use a rice cooker and make just enough rice for the meal.
Prepare your filling while the rice is cooking.
Have a bowl of water available to wet and wash your hands (the rice is sticky!).
Traditionally, salt is rubbed onto both hands and helps to flavour the rice while you shape it. You then scoop some warm rice onto one hand, make it into a flattish nest shape, place 1-2 tsp of filling in the middle, then gently squeeze into a ball or triangular shape. Tip: If this feels a bit tricky, try lining a small bowl with gladwrap and laying the rice on top. Apply filling to centre, pop a little more rice on top, and then pull the gladwrap up at the corners (into a raindrop shape) and mould the rice (keeping the filling in the centre).
You can then decorate the onigiri as you like.
Tip: You don’t need to use any nori but it does provide a pleasant umami flavour. You may prefer to simply dip your onigiri in soy sauce or coconut amino acids (an allergy friendly substitute). You may also like to sprinkle a furikake seasoning onto your onigiri; there are a range of flavours.
One of the wonderful things about homeschooling is that making cookies can definitely be part of the curriculum! We’re studying Mexico at the moment and were sitting in the garden working with clay after watching videos about pottery. Miss decided to make and paint cookies – which then started us researching different types of Mexican cookies.
We settled on hojarascas (oh-ha-rascas) a kind of cinnamon sugar shortbread cookie. The name comes from a Spanish word referring to Autumnal leaves falling from the trees (and the crackling, crunching sound as they crumble beneath feet).
We started with a traditional recipe, and then adapted it to a Kiwi kitchen and making a small batch of about 18 cookies.
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1.5 cups high grade flour
Topping: 1/2 cup sugar + 2tsp ground cinammon
Preheat the oven to 180’C / 350’F and line a cookie tray with baking paper.
In a large Pyrex bowl, soften or melt the butter.
Add the sugar and mix well.
Add the egg, cinnamon, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
Slowly mix in the flour until you have a soft dough.
You can can roll it out and use cookie cutters if you want to, but I like to just roll small balls with my fingers and softly flatten them.
Mix the sugar and cinnamon topping on a plate and gently press the cookies into the mix on both sides.
Place the cookies on the tray and bake for 10-15 mins (my oven took exactly 13 minutes!).
Place on a cooling rack and sprinkle with leftover cinnamon-sugar mix. (You could also wait until they are cooled, place the cinnamon-sugar in a ziploc bag, and shake the cookies gently.)
There are many versions of hojarascas cookies online and although some use butter, traditionally they use lard or shortening. Most recipes have the sugar and cinnamon mix added after baking, whereas I added mine beforehand to help it adhere more firmly. Some recipes add vanilla, or star anise, orange zest, or nuts (like pecans) but the cinnamon and sugar are consistent throughout – it does mean that you can experiment with many variations if these become a firm favourite in your household.
You can also experiment with the ratios of cinnamon:sugar and whether you’d like the cinnamon weighted more to the cookie or topping. I made the cinnamon flavour in the cookie quite mild but others may like it stronger.
These delicious crunchy cookies are also a great opportunity to discuss science in the kitchen! STEM discussion points follow after the recipe 🙂
1/2 brown sugar
1 Tbsp maple syrup or golden syrup
1 Tbsp milk
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
Allergies: soy free, egg free, nut free.
Start the oven preheating to 180’C / 350’F.
Have a grown up mix the butter, sugar, maple syrup, and milk in a pot. Heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is almost boiling – you’ll be able to see the surface tension change as it begins to think about bubbling. Make sure that you stir constantly so that it doesn’t stick or burn.
Remove from heat and allow the caramel to cool to lukewarm.
Sift the flour and baking soda into the pot and mix into the caramel.
Stir well and it will turn into a caramel coloured cookie dough.
Roll the cookie dough into balls and flatten on a baking tray (either greased or lined with baking paper).
Bake for 10-15 mins or until golden brown.
Science in the Kitchen (STEM)
Gravity & Weight: When you’re using kitchen scales to measure out the butter, take a few moments to talk about why things have weight and why we weigh them. That butter would weigh about 20g on the Moon and about 315g on Jupiter.
Solids, Liquids, Gas: It’s a good idea to have a grown up do the stirring with the caramel mixture as it gets very hot; keep young helpers interested by helping them to safely view the way the ingredients change. Ask them if the butter and sugar going into the pot are liquids or solids (the latter); then show them what happens when heat is applied (becomes liquid); as the mixture cools and is combined with the flour it’s state changes again (solid).
Gassy Bubbles: Ask young helpers what’s different about the ingredients in this recipe. The answer is that it uses baking soda rather than baking soda. The baking soda causes small carbon dioxide gas bubbles in the cookie mix causing it to rise when it goes into the hot oven. Tip: Get the cookies in the oven quickly as the longer the mix is left at room temperature, the less the cookies will rise.
Sweet Surprise: A great way to see baking soda in action is to make a candy version of these cookies. Have a go at making Hokey Pokey!