Sorghum Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

What is an easy way to convert a popular wheat flour recipe to gluten free? And ensure it is successful, with a soft texture, and even whole grain?

sorghum-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-bars

sorghum, peanut butter, chocolate chip blondies photo by vsimon

Three steps to convert a baked treat to gluten free.

  1. Substitute whole grain sorghum flour for the wheat flour, measure for measure.
  2. Add xanthan. Start with 1 teaspoon per 1 cup flour.
  3. Add some water to batter if it seems too stiff. Xanthan needs water to hydrate it. There was no water in the original recipe. I started with a tablespoon, that didn’t seem like enough. I added another and it looked good. Bingo, it cooked up perfectly.

Texture, yeah! It is good!

Not dry, not crumbly, not gooey, not slimy.

These bars are light textured, yet they compress to a pleasant chewiness when you bite into them.

It is fun to serve them with extra chopped peanuts and chocolate chips. (These are not included in the ingredients below.)

This blondie is soft and holds together well. So you can press the edge of the bar into the extra tasty bits on the plate and they stick.  Interactive food, I like that.

Keeping

If there are any bars left over, they last several days without getting dry. Be sure to cover them tightly though.

You can also double the recipe and freeze some for later. Bake in two 8×8 inch pans, or one 9×13 inch pan. When I double the recipe I use 3 whole eggs, instead of 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites. It is just easier.

Additional changes

I added chopped peanuts to the original recipe for more crunch and flavor. And reduced the total sugar, switching to dark brown sugar instead of white sugar. These are still plenty sweet for me.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

Adapted from Cooking Light

Yield 16 servings

Ingredients Metric measures
1 cup sorghum flour 135 gm
1 teaspoon xanthan 4 gm
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips 45 gm
¼ cup chopped peanuts 30 gm
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 2 gm
1/8 teaspoon salt pinch
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar 180 gm
1/4 cup peanut butter 65 gm
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 15 ml
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 5 ml
1 large egg 50 gm
1 large egg white 25 gm
2 tablespoons water 30 ml

Preheat oven to 350°.

Oil the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan (do not coat sides of pan).

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.

Combine flour, xanthan, chocolate chips, soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Combine sugar and remaining ingredients in a bigger bowl; stir until well-blended. Add flour mixture, mixing thoroughly.

Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean.

Cool on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.

Allergic to peanuts?

I have not tried tree nut or seed butters in the recipe, but I think they would work. Please let us know if you try them and how you like the result.

Monkey Tails

 

We used to call them frozen bananas with peanut butter and dark chocolate. Not a very catchy name. Our clients kids said, “Those are monkey tails!” It was easy to agree.

They are fun to make with kids and build a stash in the freezer. Pull them out as needed to cool a sweltering day.

Nutrition in the ingredients- one by one

Bananas- a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

Peanut butter- a good source of niacin (a B vitamin), vitamin E, magnesium, and the antioxidant selenium. You also get some protein.

Dark chocolate-antioxidants and some fiber!! Also many minerals, including iron and magnesium.

But I can’t eat PB.

Use another nut or seed butter instead. Almond, cashew, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan, sesame (tahini). Whatever you like. They will taste different, but still delicious.

 

Dark chocolate scares me.

These are dark monkeys, not milky monkeys. Go ahead, try it. Dark chocolate is a perfect complement to the sweet banana and the creamy peanut butter. Making these with milk chocolate seems like a crime to me.

Monkey Tails serves 4

ingredients metric measures
4 almost ripe bananas about 120 gm each
8 wooden sticks 8
1 cup peanut butter 375 gm
1 ½ cup chocolate chips 225 gm
1 tablespoon oil 15 ml

Cut bananas crosswise into two tails (halves) and insert stick into cut ends. Then peel bananas.

Spread peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter) over each banana. Place bananas on plastic wrap lined cookie sheet and freeze until cold, at least one hour.

Place chocolate chips and oil in a microwave safe bowl. Warm in 20-second intervals until the chips are melted and smooth. The chips can melt without losing their shape, so be sure to stir after each heating.

Spread chocolate over the frozen bananas. Return to freezer for about 10 minutes, or until the chocolate is firm.

 

Wrap in plastic wrap if not eating right away. Store wrapped bananas in a freezer container. Loose Monkey Tails tend to stray to the far reaches of the freezer. You do not want to find an escapee 2 years from now.

This recipe is easily halved or doubled. How many Monkey Tails do you have at your house?

*This post will be submitted to the August edition of “Go Ahead Honey, it is Gluten Free!” blogging event. This month is hosted by Kim Hopkins of The Allergy Coach with a sweltering summer Chill Out theme. Naomi Devlin of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried created the very popular “Go Ahead Honey, it is Gluten Free”. Thanks ladies!!

V is for Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette, a sauce made with vinegar. And often with oil, but not always. Wait a minute, is vinegar gluten free?

Mostly, yes.

vinegar (4a)

orange-vinaigrette  peanut-butter-vinaigrette and crystal-vinaigrette photo by vsimon

Distilled white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and white rice vinegar are commonly available in the U.S. and gluten free.

Malt vinegar is made from barely, not distilled, and is not gluten free.

Tricia Thompson thoroughly reviews vinegar and gluten on her Living Gluten Free blog.

Vinegar Nutrition Science

Vinegar has two notable nutritional properties.

#1. Numerous scientific studies have shown that eating vinegar with high carbohydrate meals lowers blood sugar and insulin response after the meal.

So many gluten free products are loaded with highly refined starches. Switching to whole grains helps improve blood sugar. Maybe you have noticed that recipes posted here are likely to be whole grain. Simply adding vinegar to a meal also helps.

#2. You will feel full longer after a meal that contains vinegar. This can be important if you are trying to watch your weight and eat less.

Kinds of vinegar

Rice vinegar has the mildest flavor. You can buy it plain or seasoned. Sugar and salt are added to the seasoned variety. Plain white rice vinegar is the most useful, you can add sugar and salt as needed.

Golden hued apple cider vinegar tastes slight fruity.

Clear distilled white vinegar is a bit harsher in flavor, and is super inexpensive. The lack of color makes it versatile and other ingredients can mellow the flavor.

There are other vinegars worth trying too. Balsamic is dark, sweet and syrupy. Sherry vinegar is complex and potent, a little goes a long way. Both of these can be expensive, but worth it. Bottles of each are waiting in my fridge right now, to be splashed on garden veggies or to perk up a pan sauce.

Today we have three easy vinaigrettes to suit every taste. You can pass on the readymade stuff in the store. These take only minutes to make and cost just pennies. Adjust the recipes to your tastes. Feel free to substitute rice vinegar in any recipe where you want mild flavor. Or add more vinegar for a puckery zip.

Crystal Dressing

¼ cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar, Splenda or honey

¼ cup canola oil or walnut oil

In a small bowl, mix rice vinegar and sweetener. Allow to sit for a few minutes so the sugar (if using) can dissolve. Add the oil and stir briskly. This is really a treat with walnut oil if you can get it.

We originally used this with spinach salad that included berries, toasted whole almonds, and creamy goat cheese. We had a client who loved it so much he put it on everything, really everything. Maybe that is a bit much, but it does add a sodium free sweet-sour punch to salads, grains and veggies.

Orange Mustard Salad Dressing

Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home by Deborah Madison

1/3 cup orange juice concentrate

3-4 tablespoons vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

Mix it up. You can add oil if you like more calories.

There is always a supply of OJ concentrate in our freezer. It is easy to scoop out only what you need, put the lid back on it and tuck it back into the freezer.

Top mixed grain and veggie salads with this bright tangy dressing. For example, add Orange Mustard Salad dressing to a mix of quinoa, sweet yellow pepper, shredded carrot and thin sliced red onions.

Peanut Butter Dressing

¼ cup sugar, Splenda, or honey

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons peanut butter

Mix it up. I like to do this in a mini blender, it is a bit quicker and smoother. If you are doing it by hand, hot water helps the peanut butter mix in.

This also thickens slightly when it is stored in the fridge. Make it ahead and it will be the right temperature and consistency.

Kids (and adults) love this on greens with sliced apples and chopped peanuts.

Do you make your own dressings? Or pickles? Please share your favorite uses for vinegar.