FODMAP Friendly Christmas Recipe – Shortbread Biscuits

Gluten free & low FODMAP shortbread - yum

It’s that time of year again! Crack out the tinsel, put on your Chrissy hats and get ready for temptation from all corners. Fa la la la luck. At times like this, I just have to remind myself what will happen if I tuck into a traditional mince tart and walk around with blinders on.

Christmas is my favourite time to bake. Not only do I get to make gingerbread (one of my favourite things, ever) or other types of biscuits (cookies), I get to spend time decorating them and generally being crafty. I love it but I was concerned that going wheat free would ruin my fun.

Fear not, though, as shortbread will come to your rescue. This recipe will produce buttery, crumbly, sweet biscuits that taste and look just like the real thing. Your family and/or co-workers will be none-the-wiser when it comes to your Christmas party contribution.

Oh and here’s a nifty trick – use this as a gluten free biscuit pastry base for any sweet tarts you’d like to make, just roll it out to 5 mm thick and blind bake for approx. 10 minutes at 190 C, until lightly golden. Easy!

FODMAP Notes

  1. Be sure that you use BOTH a gluten free flour blend (or spelt flour, if you can tolerate it) and white rice flour – both their properties are required in this recipe, so using 100% white rice flour wouldn’t give the best results.
  2. Use coconut oil instead of butter for a dairy free biscuit.

Low FODMAP and Gluten Free Shortbread

Makes approx. 30-40 biscuits, depending on size.

  • 1 cup dextrose or 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups/300 g softened unsalted butter/coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum or 1 tbsp. ground chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Sieve the sugar, 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend and 1/2 cup white rice flour into the bowl of your stand mixer and add in the butter, then beat on a low to medium speed until smooth.

Meanwhile, sieve the second cup each of gluten free flour blend and white rice flour, the xanthan gum (or ground chia seeds), baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.

When the wet mixture is smooth, scrape down the edges and add in the egg. Beat on medium until it is smooth once more, before adding in the rest of the dry ingredients and mixing thoroughly for 5 minutes. Wrap the mixture tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour before you want to bake them.

When you’re ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 190 C/375 F and line two or three baking trays with baking paper before rolling the dough out to approx. 2 cm (3/4 in) thickness. Cut the biscuits into 2 cm by 4 cm rectangles, or use your favourite cookie cutters to make fancier shapes and use a fork to poke holes, if you wish.

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Bake for approx. 15 minutes, until the bottoms have browned slightly but the biscuits are still soft to the touch while warm – they will harden as they cool. I normally bake in shifts, with no more than two trays in my oven at the one time, or the heat will not circulate properly – if your oven has a fan mode, you might be able to back more at once. Just do whatever works best for your oven.

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Once the biscuits have cooled to room temperature, store them in airtight containers in the pantry for up to five days, until they are required. They do last longer but will taste a little stale – it’s best to serve them before the five day mark.

Enjoy them with a nice cup of tea and seasonal fruit – in Australia this would mean fresh summer berries, as the closest thing we have had to a white Christmas was an hail storm on Christmas morning 2006 that left a nice covering of white hail stones all over the ground. In Seattle, you might be lucky enough to get a white Christmas but they unfortunately don’t come with seasonal low FODMAP fruits – apples, anyone? – so we’d have to spread on some preserves like a strawberry freezer jam.

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Miniature Pavlovas – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Miniature Pavlovas - FODMAP, Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Ignore the dietary guidelines that these Pavs suit in the title… these are not  a health food.

I didn’t think it was possible to love a dessert more than I love a good Pav but I found one. I suppose it might not really count, as these are still Pavlovas… but they’re mini, cute and you don’t feel like such a guts after eating one, as I find it easier to have just one of these than to cut a small slice from a big Pav.

Sweet, with a crispy outside and a perfect marshmallowy inside… what more could you want? Whipped cream and fruit on top? Of course you can.

These are perfect for a dinner party or a high tea (I really want to host one of those!), as you can bake them a day ahead and store them (once cooled) in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (aka. the pantry). They will turn a little soft in the fridge (though they still taste amazing) but once the whipped cream has gone on, that’s where they need to be stored.

Notes:

  1. Sucrose (castor sugar) is 1:1 fructose/glucose but if eaten in excess can overwhelm the co-transport method of fructose absorption, so for this reason I would recommend stopping yourself at one mini Pav per day. Which even normal people should do, really.
  2. Normal double cream can be swapped out for lactose free double cream or full fat coconut cream (both of which can be whipped) or lactose free yoghurt.
  3. Two raspberries and 1-2 tbsp. of strawberry sauce would fall within the label of a “single serving” of fruit.

Miniature Pavlovas

Makes approx. 16

  • 4 eggs whites
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • 250 g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp. corn or potato starch
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 300 ml double cream – lactose free if required
  • Fruit of your choice to top

Pre-heat the oven to 150 C/300 F.

In a cool, airy kitchen (no dishwasher running!) beat together the egg whites and salt on a medium speed for 2 minutes, then a high speed for a further 3 minutes, or until satiny peaks form.

Then add in the sugar (in thirds) and beat on a high speed until stiff peaks form. This is important, as you need the batter to hold its shape or it will just pool once you’ve piped it onto the baking tray.

Finally, add in the potato starch, white wine vinegar and vanilla extract and stir on a slow speed for a minute to combine everything.

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Transfer the mixture to a piping bag (or a large zip lock bag with a 1 cm snip off the corner) and pipe about 1/3 cup batter in a swirl onto the baking tray. As Ev said, they will look like Pavlova dog poo – have a laugh and keep going. I spaced mine evenly and had eight mini Pavs per baking tray.

Bake for 50-60 minutes at 150 C/300 F, swapping the bottom/top trays half way through to ensure equal cooking.

Once they have cooled, top with whipped cream and berries and serve with this strawberry sundae sauce or passion fruit pulp drizzled over the top.

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Chocolate Chia Seed Puddings – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan & Paleo

Chocolate Chia Seed Puddings - Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly and Gluten Free

A few months ago I shared with you my recipe for Coconut Chia Seed Puddings. They are my go-to for a pre-made, nutritious breakfast or snack that I can take with me on the go. How could I possibly top that?

Uhh, duh. CHOCOLATE!

As if there was any other way?! This variation on the original recipe is just as simple and delicious but has the added benefit of tasting like a chocolate mousse – making it perfect to serve as a healthy dessert. Or dessert for breakfast… I don’t judge.

Notes:

  1. Chia seeds are low FODMAP but high fibre. They are safe for FM but can trigger separate IBS issues. Read here for a full article about chia seeds and fructose malabsorption.
  2. Cacao powder is a contentious issue. Due to it being unprocessed – and thus more nutritious than cocoa powder – it contains nutrients which some with sensitive guts react to. If in doubt, use unsweetened cocoa powder.
  3. Coconut cream – full fat tastes better but fatty foods can be an IBS trigger (separate to FM). I would recommend full fat for nutrition and taste/texture but if you have to use light coconut cream, as I did until a few months ago, it will still taste good.

Chocolate Chia Seed Puddings

  • 400 ml tin of full fat or light coconut cream
  • 1/3-1/2 cup chia seeds – add more for a firmer pudding
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder – depending on tolerance
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Berries/fruits of your choice to top.

Whip the coconut cream (this will only work with full cream) for a good few minutes, until it lightens up. Add in the maple syrup, vanilla extract and cocoa powder and continue to whip until combined.

Add in the chia seeds and stir through gently, then share the mixture evenly between 4 ramekins/jars and place (covered) in the fridge to set for at least 2-3 hours. The chia seeds need time to develop a mucilaginous lining, which aids digestion and of course turns the mixture into a pudding.

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Huckleberry Slice – Low Fructose & Gluten Free

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Huckleberries are pretty exclusive to the Pacific Northwest and few months back I was lucky enough to inherit a bag of frozen huckleberries that a friend had picked last summer but couldn’t take with her when she moved back to Georgia. I say lucky, because they grow in mountainous regions and are usually handpicked. They look like mini blueberries and (to me) taste like blueberries with a citrus twist.

They had been sitting in the freezer since March and they were really beginning to bug me. Why wasn’t I proactive enough to thaw them out and actually do something with them? We have a tiny freezer, well in proportion with our “closet kitchen” and space is precious with a capital P.

Finally I decided what I would do: when we were back in Australia this Easter, my little sister made me a raspberry slice that she very kindly altered to be fructose friendly. It was delicious, and I especially liked the almond meal base.

I figured that huckleberries, with their slight citrus tang, would go nicely with the maple syrup in the almond meal slice. Not knowing the recipe that Lisa used, I altered my almond meal pastry recipe slightly to suit.

Almond Slice Base

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 4 tbsp. coconut butter/unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 egg

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F. Hand or stand mix all of the above ingredients until they are thoroughly combined. Adjust the mixture with more almond meal if it’s too runny or more maple syrup or butter if it’s too dry. It should be tacky and easily moldable – not dry/crumbly or too sloppy.

Line a 9″ square cake pan/casserole dish with baking paper and press the mixture evenly across the dish and into the corners.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until it is slightly firm to the touch.

Huckleberry Topping

  • 2 cups huckleberries (or other berries of your choice, fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup shredded desiccated coconut – swap for slivered nuts of your choice if coconut is problematic for you

Simmer the berries and maple syrup for 20-30 minutes, until the berries have burst, let their juices out and the mixture has begun to thicken. You could cheat a little here and add some corn starch dissolved in a tsp. of water but we don’t want starchy flavours in this.

Pour the mixture on top of the semi-baked slice base and top with the shredded coconut/slivered nuts. Return to the oven and continue baking for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven when topping is slightly firmed and then allow it to cool. The slice will continue to firm up with cooling and is best eaten after at least 3-4 hours. You could eat it straight away, of course – but you’ll probably require a spoon.

Here is the slice post baking.

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Serving it is as easy as letting it cool then slicing it into 2.5 x 5 cm sections and plating them up.

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The edge pieces were nearly all stained dark blue but the inner pieces had a clear definition between slice base and topping.

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Enjoy with freshly whipped cream, ice cream, vanilla bean custard, tea or coffee. Once sliced, these would also make a handy and nutritious snack on the go or a morning tea to have at work/school.

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Mixed Berry Crumble – Low Fructose & Gluten Free

Berries are still in season and cheap! Woohoo!

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I’m enjoying the on again, off again summer weather we are having. At least the on again part. It reminds me of Melbourne so much it’s creepy.

I always make the most of summer, when I am not just restricted to bananas, kiwi fruits and oranges. Does anybody else get annoyed with seasonal changes in foods that mean we have cop both the exorbitant fees for the fruits we can eat as well as the tempting aromas of apple pies and pear tarts over winter? It’s so unfair!

*End rant.*

Growing up, one of my favourite desserts was apple and raspberry crumble. I’m sure I still would love it, if it wasn’t for all the fructose lurking within. I’ve been thinking about making a blackberry crumble for a week or so now and after I stocked up on blackberries, I really didn’t have an excuse anymore. So…

Let’s get ready to CRUMBLE!!!!!

I’m sorry for that.

Mixed Berry Crumble

  • 1/2 cup/120 g butter/coconut butter
  • 1 cup GF oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup dextrose
  • 2-3 tspn. cinnamon (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. desiccated coconut
  • 3 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 tspn. vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine the berries (4 cups in total, you can choose your mix) and the vanilla extract and simmer over a low heat for 30 minutes. Mash them until they are 50% pureed and let the mixture reduce for the rest of the half hour.

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Lightly butter a 10 inch pie dish and if you have an uber cute pie bird, pop it in there. They are supposed to let out steam as the pie cooks, thus ensuring you don’t have a runny filling. They’re more for proper pies that are sealed in pastry – preventing steam from escaping – but I couldn’t wait to use mine, so I did.

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Pour in the berry filling and let it cool a little while you are preparing the crumble topping.

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Put the butter, oats, almond meal, cinnamon and dextrose in a food processor and mix until combined. Or you could mix by hand if you wanted to, it would just take a lot longer. If you choose the latter method, make sure you combine all the ingredients thoroughly by pinching/smooshing them together.

Tear the crumble mix apart and spread it over the top of the slightly cooled berries. Sprinkle with desiccated coconut. If you have a massive sweet tooth, the 1/4 cup dextrose might not be enough. You can always add more dextrose/sugar to your own taste.

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Bake for 30 minutes at 180 C/350 F.

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Serve with whipped cream, cream, ice cream or a vanilla bean custard. Garnish with mint leaves or some more fresh berries and enjoy.

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A note on the ingredients:

  • Blackberries have sorbitol in them. If you are sensitive to polyols (the P in FODMAPS) then it would be best to sub in a different berry type.
  • Oats are naturally gluten free but are often contaminated with gluten from the equipment they are processed on. Some Coeliacs are able to cope with GF oats but some are so sensitive that they will still react. If you are also avoiding gluten, just take that into account and maybe substitute oats for a GF rice porridge mix or a different GF cereal.

Strawberry Freezer Jam – No Added Sugar & FODMAP/Fructose Friendly

I love strawberries. Who doesn’t? But something about strawberry jam has always put me off. After making my own strawberry purees for serving with Pavlovas or Banana cakes (etc), I have come to realise why. I don’t like the sickly sweet taste that comes along with store-bought strawberry jam. Which is strange, as I have always considered myself a sweet tooth.

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For those of us with fructose malabsorption, it’s not just the calories that we need to watch out for with high sugar foods and spreads – it’s the fructose load. Even though it might be castor sugar that has been used, which has 1:1 fructose/glucose ratio, the co-transport method of absorbing fructose can be eventually overwhelmed and symptoms would still ensue.

You can buy “no added sugar” jams at the supermarket and find recipes online but I find that they add either very large amounts of artificial sweeteners like Splenda or fruit juices – well, that’s still adding sugar to me… and even worse, it’s usually apple or grape juice.

So, after struggling to find a recipe that would work for me, I decided to make my own. And here it is. It is sweet enough to satisfy a sugar craving but it wont add many calories to your daily intake or unnecessary fructose to your fructose load.

Notes:

  1. I have linked instructions on how to preserve acidic foods, however I found that the freshness of mine lasted approximately 3 months before they began to go south. I have a couple of theories as to why. Firstly, I stored mine on the shelf above the fridge, not realising how hot it got above there, which clearly wasn’t storing it in a cool place, no matter how dark it was. Secondly, sugar helps to reduce the water available for any flora present to use for metabolic processes; the fact that I didn’t add any sugar means that, even though I pressure canned these jams, one line of defense was gone. While I think that it was more likely the warm storage area, rather than the reduced sugar, that is the culprit, I will most likely make this as a freezer jam recipe in the future… just to be safe.
  2. Strawberries are low in FODMAPs, thus safe to eat.

Strawberry Jam with No Added Sugar

  • 1.8 kg/4 lb strawberries, with tops removed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Rind/zest of 1 lemon
  • Water to make lemon juice up to 1 cup
  • 50 g no sugar required pectin
  • Instructions to preserve acidic foods

Makes 10 x 240 ml/half pint jars with a little bit left over.

It comes in at a whopping 2 calories per tablespoon serving! I used http://www.caloriecount.com to work this out. If you are a desperate sweet tooth, you can still add sugar/glucose to this but I can’t see it needing more than 1/2 a cup, to my taste.

Remove the stalks from all the strawberries. This is very mundane. Sorry. As you can see, I took myself to the couch and did it while watching Doctor Who. Much better.

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Slice strawberries into quarters or there about.

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Grate the rind from the lemon and then squeeze it til the juice has all been removed. Top the lemon juice up with water until it measures 1 cup.

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The “Less or No Sugar” pectin is important. If you get regular pectin, it won’t set properly without the exorbitant amounts of sugar required for traditional jam recipes.

Combine all ingredients in the saucepan and bring to the boil. Using a spoon, remove the frothy scum from the top; this gives jam an unpleasant texture and a slightly bitter taste when it has set at the tops of jars. Discard it. Let the jam simmer for 15 minutes, removing more froth as necessary.

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Follow the instructions for preserving acidic foods.

Use a wide-mouthed funnel to fill sterilised jars, leaving 2 cm space at the top. After removing air bubbles, wipe rims and place on lids and rings. Place jars back in the simmering water to keep the glass hot before processing.

The above linked instructions will demonstrate how to water-bath can the jars. Process for 15 minutes and then let cool for 10 minutes in the water before removing to cool completely on a wire rack – approx 12 hours.

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After 12 hours, test the seals with a magnet, if they do not pass then either re-process or refrigerate/freeze immediately.

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This jam is great spread on toast, muffins and banana cakes; with yoghurt and some slivered almonds; or used in smoothies to add a strawberry flavour. Or with a Devonshire Tea. Done. I’ve just decided what I’m making next time I want dessert.

It is just sweet enough to satisfy a sugar craving but isn’t going to ruin your carbohydrate or calorie count for the day if you’re being careful. There is just a slight hint of the lemon flavour; not overwhelming but it gives it some interest. Yummo!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cupcake Parfait – Low Fructose

Last weekend Ev decided that he wanted dessert. In the afternoon, we had decided that both of us didn’t really feel like dinner but apparently that changed and dessert was back on the menu. Only thing is, he isn’t a dessert-maker. I don’t think he can even use the stand mixer.

I was at a loss at what to make for a minute or two. It had to be a cake, apparently, but we didn’t have the all ingredients for any recipes I knew by heart and I was NOT going to go out for them. Plus whatever it was I made, it had to be simple. I wasn’t in the mood for fancy.

After staring into my baking cupboard for a while, I noticed a half-used bag of white chocolate chips at the very back… and then I remembered that we had macadamia nuts hanging around, too! Bingo. But not in biscuit (cookie) form. I’m not the best at biscuits, I can never tell when is just the right time to remove them from the oven before they get too hard on cooling.

Anyway, here are my unsuccessfully successful, yet very tasty…

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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cupcake Parfaits

  • 125 g/4.5 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar (glucose/dextrose etc)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tspn. vanilla extract
  • 225 g/8 oz white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup GF plain flour (there abouts – you might need a little more)
  • 1/2 tspn. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tspn. bicarb soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 60 ml heavy whipping cream
  • Diced strawberries to garnish

In a small pot over low-medium heat, melt the white chocolate chips in the milk.

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Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar with your stand mixer (or equivalent) until light and fluffy – approximately 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat well. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, xanthan gum, bicarb soda and salt.

Buzz the macadamia nuts in a food processor for 30-45 seconds and add into the wet mixture; I left them a little crunch so it would add texture.

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Once the white chocolate has melted into the milk, add it to the butter mixture and combine thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients little by little until they are completely blended through; at this point, you might need a little extra flour to get the cake batter to the right consistency. It shouldn’t be more than 1/4 cup more.

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Spoon the batter into your greased/lined cupcake pans (or a 9″ round cake pan). For cupcakes, bake at 180C/350F for 20-25 minutes, or until they test clean. For a full cake, bake at 180C for 45-60 minutes, or until it tests clean.

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Here is where I went wrong, and why they were unsuccessfully successful:

  • I was using up the last of some GF self-raising flour and completely forgot, so I added some very unnecessary bicarb soda. The cupcakes rose and rose and rose until they went everywhere. I spent a good 20 minutes scraping the bottom of my oven after it had all cooled down.
  • However, the batter and the resulting cupcakes were delicious and very moist, almost pudding-like. I couldn’t waste them, so I decided to turn them into parfaits!

To assemble, cut your cupcakes/cake into bite-sized chunks and put aside. I used our Margarita glasses to serve but stemless wine glasses would also be pretty. Place a dollop of whipped cream in the bottom and then a layer or cake-bits. More cream, cake, cream and then you’re done. Don’t forget to garnish with diced strawberries and maybe a mint leaf!

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Enjoy! We certainly did. It just goes to show that you should never write anything off completely without thinking about it first.