Low-carb baked goods, gluten-free, grain-free, and vegan sounds like an impossible task; and of course we want it to be delicious too! No wonder I haven’t blogged a lot lately when I set nearly impossible goals.
I made an awesome recipe for Cheddar Bay Almond Flour Biscuits (from Dianne at Delicious As It Looks) several times and everyone who tried them raves about them. Since they are gluten-free I didn’t think to offer one to my husband but he followed his nose to the cooling rack and asked ‘are these for anyone’? I was so delighted to share with him. He is slowly discovering that gluten-free food can be as good as or even better than gluten food.
Friends and family members are increasingly going to plant-based choices and I want to share my baked goodies with them. So I attempt to convert this treasured gluten-free, grain-free recipe to vegan. Vegan has the advantage that it also covers the situation for people who want to avoid eggs or dairy products whatever the reason. I am also happy to discover that vegan baked goods stay fresh longer which is a major advantage when traveling.
The almond flour that I use is from Honeyville. I order the blanched, 5 lb. bag when they have it on special. It has a finer texture than Bob’s Red Mill from the local grocery store although I use Bob’s when I need a coarser product. I use Bob’s for the coconut flour and golden flax meal in this recipe.
My vegan, smoky, cheesy sauce prepared in the blender seemed like a good starting place. I modified it to eliminate the home-cooked beans and substituted more cashews. This version is very tasty although very, very dense. I may try a later version using the original cashew, bean, and coconut milk base which has a few more carbs and protein rather than so much fat. Or maybe not, did I mention that this is really tasty?
FYI: You do not need a high powered blender. My blender is about 15 years old, an Oster 10-speed that I use regularly and struggle with it at times. In this recipe it takes about 10-15 minutes to blend the cashews to a silky smooth consistency with constant encouragement from a spatula, scooping the mixture up from the sides, and pushing it towards the middle. We go through all of the speeds right up to 10 before it is done. When it gets to 8 it begins to sound like a single engine aircraft just before takeoff. Yes, the jar gets warm and the motor also. I have previously pushed this blender so hard that it was bucking on the counter and sending out smoke signals. It still hangs right in there with me!
1 cup (150 grams) raw cashews, measured, soaked for an hour or overnight
1/2 cup canned, full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon Wright’s Liquid Smoke
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Start with just the cashews and the coconut milk in the blender jar. By the time my cashews were soaked it had been a full day plus overnight in the fridge. They had started sprouting and had soaked up 60 grams of water for a total of 210 grams of drained, soaked cashews.
Start the blender running. It will hiccup and glurp as it works its way from chunks to coarse to smooth. Be prepared with a spatula to encourage it. The salt, garlic powder and liquid smoke seem to help it reach the satiny consistency it needs before adding the yeast which will absorb some of the moisture.
The 4 tablespoons of yeast is equal to 1/4 cup. But you will have to add it very slowly so just be aware. It will also do the hiccupping thing again. This makes about 1.25 cups of wet ingredients.
4 tablespoons (26g) golden flax meal, finely ground
1 tablespoon (7g) coconut flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 1/2 cups (272g) almond flour
Place the oven rack in the middle position. Set the oven between 350 and 400*F (depending on your oven).
Weigh out the golden flax meal and grind it to a powder using a small coffee grinder reserved for grinding seeds, spices, and coconut palm sugar. This step makes a big difference in the texture of the baked product.
Put all of the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl – DO NOT SIFT. Almond flour will totally gunk up a sieve so don’t even try. Use a whisk to mix all of the dry ingredients together. The almond flour will continue to lump but it is different lumps as you work so it eventually ends up evenly mixed.
Dump the wet ingredients in with the dry. Stir until well mixed and the dough is holding together. Dump it out on a clean smooth counter top or a non-absorbent cutting board. This dough can be very clingy if there is something rough to cling to.
Knead it a few times like ordinary bread dough. There is no gluten to ‘develop’ but kneading will distribute the moisture and form a smooth shiny lump of dough. Then it is ready to shape it into biscuits.
A spring activated scoop is the way I make uniform pieces. Alternately you can use a 1/4 or 1/3 cup measuring cup. Measure out the pieces of dough. Roll the pieces into a ball. Then patty-cake the pieces between your palms, gently shape them, and place them on your baking pan. When all the dough is formed move the pan into the oven.
Note: Baked goods made with starchy gluten-free flours start losing flavor and texture unless eaten soon after they are done. Baked goods made from nutritionally dense gluten-free flours like these improve in texture and flavor over a day or two (much like soup that keeps getting better). I think that’s weird but I am also grateful.
PS – I use a small kitchen scale with a tare option to weigh dry ingredients as much as possible. It gives more consistent results plus it saves on cleanup of measuring cups and spoons (lazy me).
This post is linked to:
at Ricki Heller’s Blog – Diet, Dessert, and Dogs