Chocolate Zucchini “Cupcakes”


Zucchini in cupcakes never tasted so YUM!

To keep up with the cupcake rage, I adapted my chocolate zucchini bread recipe with artisan spelt and sweet rice flours topped with non-dairy coconut whip.

Although I try to avoid baking with refined sugars, I found that flavor is sacrificed if using less sugar or substituting with honey or maple syrup. Instead try unrefined coconut sugar which adds a deeper molasses taste and see what you think.

The nuetral taste of grapeseed oil lets the nut oil shine through. Of course, if you don’t like nuts or need a nut-free recipe, omit walnuts and walnut oil and increase grapeseed oil by 1/4 cup.

3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup walnut oil
2 1/2 cups zucchini, grated
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups spelt flour
1 cup sweet white rice flour
3/4 cup pure coco powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking power
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dark chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins by brushing surface with extra grapeseed oil and filling tins with large paper baking cups.

Sift flours and set aside. In a stand up mixer add eggs and sugar and beat with whip attachment until thick and light yellow.  Add oils and vanilla. Change to paddle attachment and add zucchini. Then add flours, coco powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in batches until consistency is like cake batter.  Remove bowl from mixer and add walnuts and chocolate morsels with spatula. Fill baking cups 3/4 full and bake 15 – 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool.

“Frost” cupcakes with sweetened whipped coconut cream and finish with sifted coco powder on top.

Olive Oil Honey Soaked Cake with Grilled Peaches & Basil


It’s peach season and this is one easy and elegant dessert. Off season, mangoes can be substituted for peaches.

This olive oil cake is a version of my basic dairy-free spelt sweet bread cut into rounds for individual cakes.

No fresh mint in my garden, so I used basil growing plentifully. A surprisingly welcomed taste with coconut whip and sweet, juicy peaches.

A treat on a lazy summer day!

1  1/2 cups spelt flour
1 cup rice flour
3/4 cup honey plus more to drizzle on top
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces applesauce
1 ripe banana mashed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
coconut oil non-stick spray
ripe peaches, cut in slices
basil, cut in strips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 inch oven proof glass baking dish with coconut oil spray or a healthy nonstick alternative spray.  Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl by first using 1/4 coconut milk. If batter is too dry, add more  milk, a little at a time, until batter is firm but not loose or watery. Spread  batter in baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until tester comes out clean.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat grill pan or gas grill and spray with coconut oil. Grill peach slices on medium high heat until grill marks show. Flip and grill the other sides being careful not to over-grill or peach flesh will be mushy. Set aside.

Make Coconut Whip below. Cut cake into individual rounds with 2 or 3 inch round cookie cutter. Slice of thin top layer of each round and drizzle honey on top. Finish off with dollop of coconut whip, peaches and basil strips.

Coconut Whip
1 15 ounce can organic coconut milk, drained so only the “cream” remains
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 to 1/4 cup honey,maple syrup or agave

Chill coconut cream by placing in the freezer for 15 minutes or more, careful not to freeze. Add honey and vanilla. Whip with a hand mixer for 3 minutes until thickened.


Avocado Coconut-Cream Key Lime Tart


A chocolate-almond tart shell is the finishing touch to this decadent vegan dessert!

Believe it or not, avocados give this tart it’s creamy texture along with coconut cream… so all you taste is limey-sweet goodness! I prefer honey as the sweetener, but if you are a true vegan, use agave nectar.

Avocado Coconut-Cream Filling
2 firm ripe avocados
Juice and zest of 2 limes (key limes if you can find them)
Solid coconut cream (not the liquid) of 2 13.5 ounce cans organic coconut milk, chilled
6 tablespoons agave or honey

Whip chilled coconut cream in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer. Halve and pit avocados and scoop out flesh into the bowl along with agave or honey, lime juice and zest. Mix until thoroughly incorporated and creamy.  Cool in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Chocolate Almond Tart Shell
1  1/4 cups almond meal
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 Tablespoons coconut oil, liquified
3 Tablespoons agave or honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease tart or tartlet pans. Add all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until well incorporated. Press dough into the tart shell,  to cover the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove tart shell from pan and cool.

When crust is thoroughly cooled, spread lime filling on top of tart shell and garnish lime wedges.

Makes 1 tart or 6 tartlets

Irish Soda Spelt Bread


This bread is so good just hot out of the oven, you’ll be tempted to slather on the best Irish creamery butter on each slice!

Spelt, an artisan grain, is my favorite flour to bake with and it’s the only wheat I use. I found this Irish Soda bread version from the Healthy Chef, because when I can’t make it better myself, I give credit where credit is due.

Nutty and courser than regular flour,  spelt gives this Irish Soda Bread a rustic texture with added flax seed meal. Almond milk is the dairy-free milk you want to use for this recipe and when mixed with lemon juice it become “vegan buttermilk.” Extra virgin olive oil adds another dimension of flavor with a touch of sweetness from honey. And it’s all topped off with pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds which roast in the oven as the bread bakes.

Chocolate Bread Almond Butter Stack


Gooey and messy, but oh so good with almond or peanut butter!

Chocolate bread is my non-dairy low sugar version of chocolate pound cake. A treat on it’s own, but as a stack resembling your favorite nut butter cup, it’s a winner!

Keep refined sugars and flours at bay with raw almond butter spread on slices of chocolate bread made with turbinado sugar and artisan spelt flour.  Banana slices wedged in between the layers completes the stack.

Chocolate Bread

1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 cup white or brown rice flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (splurge for the best!)
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
dash of sea salt
1 cup unsweetened organic applesause
2 ripe banana’s, mashed
1/3 cup canola or grapeseed oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds
Optional: chocolate chips (I like dairy free mini-chips by Enjoy Life)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease oven proof glass loaf pan. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and still until combined. Batter should be wet and incorporated. If too gooey, add a bit more flour. If it’s too dry, add a little more coconut milk.  Transfer batter to loaf pan and bake for approximately 1 hour or until a tester comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

GLUTEN FREE: Substitute all purpose gluten free flour for spelt. 

Cranberry Cinnamon Scones


Serve these low sugar scones warm with wild berry jam…yum!

A combination of almond meal and spelt flours along with local honey, organic cinnamon and juice sweetened cranberries, makes a traditional scone recipe better for body and soul.

Everyone will want to wake up to the smell of these scones baking in your oven or take time out for an afternoon treat with tea.

1 cup almond meal
1 1/2 cups spelt four
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
3/4 cup dried  cranberries (preferably juice sweetened) or raisins
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup honey (warm for thinner consistency but not hot)
1/4 cup canola, grapeseed or coconut oil

Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix to incorporate. Place heaping rounds of the sticky dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake at at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until very lightly browned on top. Makes 1 dozen.

GLUTEN-FREE: Replace spelt flour with an all-purpose gluten free flour.

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Cinnamon Apple-Crisp Tart


Make individual cinnamon apple-crisp tartlets when entertaining and serve warm with berries and farm fresh ice cream.

An all American favorite, apple crisp, is teamed up with orchard fresh apples and organic cinnamon in this simple tart anyone can enjoy.  This version has less sugar, more cinnamon and a gluten free almond crust that’s pressed, not rolled, and easy to make. Coconut oil replaces butter in the dairy free topping and I used gluten free oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill gluten free oats).

Nut Crust
10 oz whole almonds
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoon honey
1 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt

6 medium sized apples such as Cortland, Macoun, Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup maple syrup (use sweeter apples, such as Macoun’s,  if using syrup)
1/8 cup quick cook tapioca, fine beads plus 1 tablespoon
optional: 2-3 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup oats, gluten-free
1/4 cup spelt flour, all purpose gluten-free flour or oat flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar, brown sugar or 1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified or softened melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Finely chop almonds in a food processor. Warm honey and coconut oil together to liquify.  Add the honey mixture to the chopped almonds and almond meal. Coat 10 inch removable bottom tart pan with cooking spray (I like Spectrum’s grapeseed oil spray).  Press the almond mixture into your tart pan, starting in the middle and working the crust up the sides of the pan. Bake crust for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned on the edges.  Set aside to cool.

Peel, core and cut up apples into medium thin slices in a large bowl. Add lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and tapioca beads. Mix well to incorporate all ingredients. Set aside.

Combine topping ingredients and incorporate with your hands until it lumps together.

Pour apple filling mixture into a 10 inch tart pan. Optional, dot with butter. Sprinkle on the topping.  If topping is very moist, especially if using maple syrup, press topping onto apples to cover. Bake for 30- 45 minutes or when apples are soft and cooked through. Remove tart pan and serve warm.

Updated 2/16/14