Making Healthier Baked Goods and Chocolate Glazed Brownie Bites

This guest post is from Iris at The Daily Dietribe.

When I first began eating gluten-free, I didn’t think about whether my baked goods were healthy. I thought if they were gluten-free, I had nothing to worry about. I quickly realized that gluten-free baked goods could be just as bad for me as what I had been eating before. Since then, my goal has been to healthify my recipes.

How to take a recipe and make it healthier for you and your family:

  • Increase high nutrient flours. And decrease refined flours and starches. Many gluten-free baked goods are made with white rice flour and starch. The high starch content helps to make baked goods fluffy, but it also breaks down to sugar quickly in your body, causing a spike in blood sugar. By using flours with a high nutrient content, you can be assured you’re getting more protein and fiber in your diet. This will help you feel more satisfied, and give you a steadier stream of energy throughout the day.
  • Focus on healthy fats. I don’t vilify fat, but I do believe that some choices are better than others. If you’re using butter, I highly recommend spending the extra money to buy organic. If you’re using shortening, go with Spectrum Organic Palm Shortening, which is not hydrogenated. Coconut oil is a healthy and flavorful alternative to butter for baking, and is often my go-to choice in the kitchen.
  • Decrease sugar. The amount of sugar in the American diet keeps us on a blood sugar roller coaster, leading to increases in Type II Diabetes and Obesity. In most recipes, the sugar can be cut down by about ¼ cup without affecting the recipe too much. You can use more natural options, such as raw honey, maple syrup, or date sugar.  Lower glycemic options like coconut palm sugar will not have as much of an effect on your blood sugar. If you’re looking for something that won’t have an effect on blood sugar at all, stevia extracts are perfect.

Keep in mind that no matter how you bake it, you’re still better off filling yourself up on whole grains. A plate of brown rice, beans and vegetables will make your body much happier than a muffin. But that muffin might make your soul pretty happy, and that’s important too!

The Essential Guides to Gluten-Free Baking

Today, I’m sharing with you a recipe from The Essential Guides to Gluten-Free Baking, my recently released cookbooks with co-author Brittany Angell. The guides go into extensive detail on various gluten-free flours, as well as how to work with various dietary restrictions in your baking. Look for this recipe and more like it in The Essential Guide to Gluten-Free Baking Part 2.

Chocolate Glazed Apricot Brownie Bites

These morsels of chocolaty goodness are meant to soothe your soul. Buckwheat flour is high in protein, fiber, and iron. Combined with the dried apricots, these become a little powerhouse of fiber. The brownies themselves call for coconut palm sugar, while the chocolate glaze can be made with maple syrup, or coconut nectar and stevia, depending on your preference.

Yield: 4 dozen brownie bites

Ingredients:

Brownie Bites:
1 1/2 cups dried apricots, chopped
¾ cup full-fat canned coconut milk
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup coconut palm sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup buckwheat flour (132 grams)
½ cup arrowroot or tapioca starch (60 grams)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa (40 grams)
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon sea salt

Chocolate Coating: (have all ingredients at room temperature!)
½ cup full fat canned coconut milk
6 tablespoons maple syrup OR 4 tablespoons coconut nectar plus 40 drops liquid stevia
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 dried apricots, finely chopped

Preparation:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or grease four 12-cup mini-muffin tins.

2. Puree the apricots and coconut milk in a blender for about 30 seconds. Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the applesauce, palm sugar, and vanilla extract.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, starch, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until completely mixed.

4. Scoop the batter into the muffin tins. It should just fill the tins without overflowing. Dip your fingers in water and use them to spread the batter evenly. Bake for 14 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack.

5. Once the brownie bites have cooled, heat coconut milk in a small pan over low heat. Stir in sweetener and vanilla extract for a minute. Add chocolate and stir until smooth. Dip brownies in chocolate completely, shaking a bit to get excess chocolate off when you take them out. Place on wax or parchment paper.

6. Once you’ve dipped all of the brownies, top them with chopped dried fruit and place in the fridge to chill. This only takes about ten minutes. Once you can touch the coating without it sticking too much to your fingers, they’re ready! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

 

More “healthified” recipes to try:
Pear Walnut Muffins
Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars

Iris Higgins is the author of the blog, The Daily Dietribe, where she shares gluten-free recipes and her experiences with food and life. She focuses on using healthy ingredients to make dishes that everyone will love. Her first two cookbooks, with co-author Brittany Angell, take the mystery out of gluten-free baking. The Essential Gluten Free Baking Guides include over 100 gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free recipes, as well as many tips for both new and experienced gluten-free bakers.

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