Spiced Pumpkin Latte Syrup

I’ve never been a fan of flavored coffee. When I drink a cup of coffee, I want to taste coffee. But the other day I saw spiced pumpkin latte on a menu and was fascinated. I looked up a recipe and found a version of this one on-line. It’s converted my thinking. I’m thinking I’ll try some other flavored coffees now. This one is so delicious, rich and creamy. But the best part is that now I can have 19 more mugs of spiced pumpkin latte without making flavoring. This recipe actually makes about 4 cups of syrup. If, like me, you use 1/4 cup of the syrup in each 2-cup mug, you’ll get 20 cups of rich and creamy latte. And like most of my recipes, feel free to adapt it to your taste by adding more or less instant coffee (or espresso) as well as adjusting the sweetener to your liking.

In a 2-quart saucepan combine:

1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree

2 1/2 cups water

1/3 cup date syrup*

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (adjust this to your taste as well)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons instant coffee (or espresso)

Whisk to combine all ingredients and cook over medium high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium to medium low and cook until the syrup mixture coats the back of a spoon. I cooked it over medium low (I was afraid of burning it) so it took about 40 minutes to reduce. Makes 4 cups of syrup (more or less).

*Feel free to use your favored sweetener. If I make this for my son, I’ll probably use stevia.

Using the syrup to make a spiced pumpkin latte:

In a small saucepan (or if you want it faster, in a microwaveable large mug) heat:

2 cups non-dairy milk (oatmilk froths very well)

When hot combine with:

1/4 cup spiced pumpkin latte syrup (more if you want it stronger)

Heat until desired temperature. If you want the milk frothy, use a milk froth device or I used my immersion blender (don’t do this in the mug! you’ll have a mess of oatmilk all over your counter!). If desired top with a whipped non-dairy cream.

Using this syrup to make spiced pumpkin latte pudding (or creme brulee):

In a 2-quart saucepan combine:

1 cup spiced pumpkin latte syrup

2 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (DO NOT USE SOYMILK)

1/2 to 2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso

In a small bowl combine:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

3 tablespoons arrowroot

Whisk to combine and make a slurry before adding to the saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, whisking every few minutes (I usually whisk it almost constantly) until the mixture comes to a boil at which point it should also be thickening. Remove from the heat and pour into serving dishes. If creme brulee is desired, after the pudding cools, top with 1 teaspoon sugar in each dish and brulee. Makes approximately 6, 6-ounce servings.

Easy Oatmeal Granola

I don’t usually post anything about the recipes that I try that don’t turn out well but here’s one I made last night which failed in what it was supposed to be but became an inspiration for something else. I’ve always loved granola but there’s always something, often times raisins or nuts in it, that I can’t have (never mind all the sugar!). The oatcakes recipe I tried to make last night failed miserably – all it wanted to do was crumble. I thought and thought today, what can I do with this? Don’t want to throw it out, it tastes good, maybe use it as a topping for a pear brown betty. Then it hit me – it’ll make really tasty granola. So I added some pumpkin seeds, freeze dried raspberries and some small pieces of chopped dates and guess what – I was right! Oh so delicious! Here’s the basic recipe for the “oatcakes” which you can then add any number of dried fruits and nuts/seeds to for a delicious granola. Just watch out cuz it’s addictive!

Line a medium sized sheet pan with parchment paper. In a medium size bowl combine:

2 cups uncooked gluten-free oatmeal

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup fine date sugar

In a small bowl (I used a 1 cup glass measure), combine:

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup hot water

Stir to dissolve the baking soda before adding:

1/2 cup avocado oil

Optional at this point maybe add one or two spices:

1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, mace, coriander, ginger

Stir into the dry ingredients, the mixture will be crumbly but try to bring it together as much as possible. Spread out on the sheet pan and cool in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 400 degrees about 5 minutes before the mixture is ready to bake. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool before breaking up and putting in a storage container (I used a gallon food storage bag). Add any number of ingredients such as:

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp hulls

1/4 cup of any type of nuts (if you can eat nuts) like chopped cashews, almonds, walnuts or pecans (roasted of course)

1/4 cup small pieces of chopped dates

1/4 cup freeze-dried fruit such as raspberries, strawberries, etc.

1/4 cup dried fruit like cranberries, blueberries, cherries, etc. – even raisins for those who can eat them!

I must be quite slow on the uptake – it occurred to me while I was typing this that the original recipe writer probably wanted us to use cooked oatmeal rather than uncooked! I’ll have to try it that way.

6-Minute Sweet Potato Crumpets

What is a crumpet you ask? Well, I’ve seen it described as a spongier English muffin that is made on the griddle rather than in the oven. But English muffins are also made on the griddle. Another description says that crumpets are spongy whereas English muffins are bready. I think that’s probably the best description. So I decided to refer to these as crumpets even though they are not cooked on the stovetop but are cooked in the microwave, therefore making them very quick and easy to make. They could also be baked in a 350 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes. The recipe makes 1 crumpet although while one was cooking, I began another thereby using the entire can of pureed sweet potato to make a total of 8. For a sweeter crumpet, see variations below.

In a small bowl, about 3-4 cups, mix together:

1 tablespoon ground flax

3 tablespoons warm water

Whisk together and let sit for about 3 minutes until it becomes flax gel (egg substitute). At that point, add:

2 tablespoons pureed sweet potato

Whisk to combine before adding:

2 tablespoons sorghum flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

about 1/16 teaspoon sea salt (a generous pinch)

1 tablespoon oat milk

Whisk again to combine before pouring the batter into a 2-cup glass bowl (I used Pyrex storage bowls) sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes (the 2-cup Pyrex storage bowl took 3 minutes; 1 tried 2 1/2 minutes but the bottom wasn’t cooked). Remove from microwave and flip onto a cooling rack. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before dusting the bottom with a little sorghum flour. Let sit for several hours before toasting or place in small baggies. Can be frozen for several weeks, that is if you have any leftover.

With a little of the sugar-free blackberry jelly I made last week. Delicious!

VARIATIONS:

Use pumpkin puree instead of sweet potato

Use tahini instead of sweet potato (or other seed or nut butter); more milk may be needed if using a thicker butter

Add a pinch of cinnamon or allspice

Add 1 teaspoon of date syrup, maple syrup, agave or coconut nectar for a little sweeter crumpet

Use 2 tablespoons of jelly or jam in place of the sweet potato – you may need to adjust the milk and/or flour depending on the consistency of your jelly or jam

Easy Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

I don’t eat a lot of oatmeal since I became diabetic but I do enjoy it now and then. Here’s a twist on the standard bowl of oatmeal or the now in vogue baked oatmeal bowls. This is another instance where you can get creative and use whatever fruit sauce or jam you’d like to flavor the oatmeal such as apple, banana, strawberry, etc. Very easy to make; the food processor does all the work, especially if you buy pre-shredded carrots. And of course, feel free to adjust the spices to your families taste – nutmeg, coriander, etc.

First preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9″ baking pan with parchment paper, overhanging on two sides so that the bars can be lifted out of the pan when cooled. In the bowl of the food processor add:

2 cups rolled oat

Pulse until it’s a coarse texture then add:

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup pitted dates (softer the better so if they are hard, soak in hot water for 5 minutes)

2 tablespoons avocado oil

1 1/2 cups fruit sauce or jam

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 generous teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pulse to combine before adding:

2 cups shredded carrots

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)

Pulse to combine and break down the carrots. Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes depending on how your oven runs. Cool in pan before lifting using the overhanging parchment paper and cut into squares. Store in airtight container or in the refrigerator. Can be frozen.

Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread

I’ve often said on this blog that I’ve been searching for a bread recipe that doesn’t turn out like a brick or is gummy. That’s very difficult when eggs aren’t included in the recipe. Flax gel and other egg substitutes just don’t seem to work well in breads. I may, however, have finally found the answer. Here’s a bread recipe that I’ve just made, raises very nicely, is very easy to make, even with the yeast. It’s really not that difficult to use yeast, the correct temperature to activate yeast is between 98 and 101 degrees so lukewarm like baby formula. And it tastes delicious!

Grease an 8×4″ loaf pan. In a 2-cup bowl, heat in the microwave for 40-45 seconds:

1 cup non-dairy milk

When you take it out, stir it a little then test it with your finger or put a drop on your wrist. It should be lukewarm, your body temperature so if you put a drop on your wrist, it shouldn’t feel hot or cold. If it feels cool, put it back in the microwave for 5-10 seconds more. If it feels too hot, stir with a metal spoon and whisk in:

2 teaspoons date sugar

This should help cool it down but test it again. If it already feels lukewarm on your wrist go ahead and add the date sugar along with:

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Whisk in the yeast and set aside for 10-15 minutes. If your yeast/milk mixture doesn’t start bubbling (foaming) in the first 5 minutes, it’s no good, throw it out and start again.

While the yeast works, in a large bowl combine:

1 cup millet flour

1 cup oat flour

1/2 cup arrowroot

1/2 cup tapioca starch (or flour)

1/4 cup quinoa flour

1/4 cup whole millet (optional)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Whisk to combine, leaving a pit in the middle of the dry ingredients. In a small bowl combine:

5 tablespoons ground chia seeds

1 cup warm water (again test on your wrist for lukewarm)

3 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons vinegar

Let sit for a couple of minutes (3 or 4). Add to the dry ingredients and then add:

the yeast mixture

the chia mixture

Stir to combine wet and dry ingredients but be careful not to overmix or your bread will be tough. Spoon into the prepared loaf pan, pushing down the dough to release any air bubbles and gaps along the sides of the pan. Set in a warm place for 40-50 minutes or until dough reaches the top of the loaf pan.* Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread for 60 minutes. Remove and cool completely (3-4 hours at least) before cutting.

*I brushed the top of the loaf with avocado oil so that the top didn’t get dried out while rising. When I removed it from the oven, I brushed it again with the oil to soften the top crust which likes to crumble with this bread.

Easy and Quick Vegan French Toast

I’ve posted a number of recipes on my blog for pancakes but in reality, I much prefer French toast to pancakes. Difficult to find a pre-made or even a workable recipe for gluten and egg-free bread. I’ve found one that I’ll post next on the blog but in the meantime, if you already have a delicious bread, here’s a way to make it into French toast without the egg. Takes only a few minutes to put together and cook, a few more if you want to bake it rather than fry.

In a shallow bowl (like a soup plate) combine:

1 cup non-dairy milk

1 tablespoon ground flax (or chia would work also)

Let sit for about five minutes so that the flax slightly thickens the milk. Add:

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or other spice that you like such as nutmeg, allspice, etc.)

Whisk to combine. In a 12″ skillet, heat over medium heat:

1 tablespoon oil

As the oil gets hot, soak slices of:

gluten-free, egg-free bread, 4-5 thicker slices

In the milk mixture, being sure to turn them after about 10 seconds in the milk mixture. Add to the skillet as you take them out of the milk. Cook for about 2 minutes per side until golden brown. Sprinkle with date sugar or top with syrup – maple, agave, date, coconut, etc. Makes 2 servings.

Pear Donuts (or fritters)

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for either a fried fritter or baked donut with fruit. I used pears but apples, peaches, plums, or any berry would work just as well. Simply substitute the other fruit in place of the diced pear and use a coulee of the same fruit in place of the pear sauce. For most people that would be apple since applesauce is readily available although it’s fairly simple to make fruit sauces, or coulees, from other fruits. Simply wash, core, and slice the stone fruits (no need to peel), place in a pot with a couple of tablespoons of water and cook until the fruit is soft, then puree. With the berries, it’s even easier because all you have to do is wash the fruit like blackberries or strawberries, and then cook them down (with a little water) before pureeing. Brown food again!

In a medium-size bowl add:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose, gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon guar gum

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger (or grated fresh ginger)*

Stir to combine. Add:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk, such as oat or soy

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 cup pear sauce (or other fruit coulee)

Stir just until the dry ingredients are combined with the wet. Don’t overmix. In a 4-quart sauce pan or heavy, high-sided fry-pan, add:

2″ of oil (I used a combination of olive and avocado)

Heat to 375 degrees (use a cooking thermometer). For fritters, scoop out about 1/3 cup of the dough, form into a ball and flatten (use wet hands for this) before dropping into the hot fat. Cook 3-4 minutes per side (for a dough circle about 1/2″ thick). Should be golden brown. Only cook one or two circles at a time in the pot, more in the frypan.

For baked donuts, grease two 6-donut baking pans and spoon in dough. Bake at 425 degrees about 12-15 minutes or until the donut bounces back when touched. Cool slightly before unmolding.

Serve plain or with a glaze.

Pear Muffins

I’m allergic to apples so I often substitute pears for recipes that call for apples. This recipe also calls for apple sauce so I diced up a pear and stewed it for 5 minutes and voila! had pear sauce. Feel free to use apples instead, peaches would also work. Feel free to also vary the spices – if you prefer nutmeg to allspice, use it or ginger instead of cloves, etc. It’s a quick, easy dough to make and takes only 15-18 minutes in the oven depending on the size. If you make mini muffins, they’ll only take 10-12 minutes.

First, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease either a 12 or 24 (mini) muffin pan. The recipe should make exactly 12 or 24 muffins. In a small bowl (2 cup) combine:

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon avocado oil

3/4 cup non-dairy milk (unsweetened)

3/4 cup pear (or apple) sauce [I used chunky, I didn’t bother to blend it]

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a larger bowl (medium size 8 cups), combine:

1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour

1/4 cup quinoa flour

1/4 cup oat flour

1/2 teaspoon guar gum

1/3 cup date sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Mix until just combined, makes a thick dough. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. In a small bowl combine:

1 tablespoon date sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

After mixing, sprinkle on the top of the muffins. Then let the muffins sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes before baking. Bake muffins 14-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Cool on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Quinoa Bread

This is a quick bread – uses baking powder and baking soda as rising agents instead of yeast. Yet it comes out quite light and fluffy, almost a savory cake consistency. For a finer grain use quinoa flour rather than attempting to grind your own. Using my food processor, I pulsed the raw quinoa for almost five minutes without successfully grinding even half the two cups.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Liberally spray or grease an 8×5″ loaf pan (I used a glass one for more even cooking). In a medium to large mixing bowl combine:

2 cups ground raw quinoa (or flour)

1 cup oat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Whisk to combine and aerate. In a smaller (4 cup) bowl combine:

2 cups oat milk (or any non-dairy milk)

3 tablespoons avocado oil (or any oil will work)*

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Whisk and add to the dry ingredients. Using a spoon or hand mixer on low, mix until combined. Batter will be thinner than cookie dough. Pour into the prepared pan. Place in middle rack of oven with a piece of parchment paper loosely covering it so that it doesn’t over-brown. Remove the paper after 30 minutes. Bake for a total of 60-70 minutes until a toothpick comes out of the middle clean. Cool completely before removing from pan.

*TIP: Add your oil before any type of syrup and the sweetener will run right out of the measure.

Pear Muffins

Most gluten-free muffins (and breads) are very gummy, overly moist. These are not! They have a very soft crumb but are not crumbly or overly dry. By finely dicing an Asian pear, these have a great crunch along with the spices. Just delicious! And fairly quick and easy to put together and bake (about 30 minutes altogether). Of course, apple can be used instead of pear.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease a 12-muffin pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine:

1/4 cup avocado oil (or other mild oil)

1/2 cup gluten-free oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)

4 tablespoons pear sauce (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons date sugar (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon)

3/4 cup finely diced Asian pear (1 small)

Stir to combine before adding:

1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend (one with guar or xanthan gum already in it)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix thoroughly until combined. Spoon into muffin cups (about 2/3 full), sprinkle with date sugar if desired and bake for 15-18 minutes until skewer comes out clean.