Vegan Gluten Free Zucchini Brownies

Gluten Free Zucchini Brownies Some of you out there are saying, “You took out the gluten and you took out animal products – what’s left?” Trust me; these are really good. They don’t quite have that chewy texture of brownies, but the taste is awesome. I’m writing a health book for homeschoolers. It’s a book for 4th through 9th graders, with age appropriate activities in each chapter. It’s meant to be used as a cross-age lesson book. I’m writing it out of necessity, because I love to teach my kids together as much as possible. Okay, yes it saves time, but really I just enjoy having the kids working together as much as they can. They are competitive, so they work better when they’re all together. Anyway, at the end of each chapter, I have one or two recipes that go with the lesson for the week. They’re not all gluten free recipes, but I do add ways to make them gluten free. This is a recipe I came up with for the Fruits and Vegetables chapter. I really love these brownies. They’re fairly low in fat, very tasty and they have a pretty nice texture as well. It’s more of a cake-like texture, but they’re so flavorful, you can forgive the fact that they aren’t like ‘regular’ brownies. AND, I snuck in some veggies into the recipe. My kids made them today and reluctantly tried them and now half of the pan is gone. I hope your family loves them this much.
Gluten Free Zucchini Brownies

1 Cup Brown Rice Flour
½ Cup Sorghum Flour
½ Cup White Rice Flour
1 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1 Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Cup Cocoa
1 Teaspoon Almond Extract
¼ Cup Canola Oil
¼ Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1 ¼ Cup Maple Syrup
2 Cups Grated Zucchini

Preheat oven to 350º. Prepare a 8×8 baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add vanilla, oil, and maple syrup and mix well. Stir in the zucchini. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool before cutting. Makes 24 brownies


Gluten Free Sonja Henies

Sonja HeniesI’ve heard somewhere that these were the figure skater Sonja Henie’s favorite cookies and that’s why they’re called ‘sonja henies,’ but I don’t know that for sure. I do know that they’re my family’s favorite cookies. These gluten free versions are just as good as the original version, but I like them even more than the original. They have that nutty flavor from the coconut flour and it contrasts nicely with the jelly filling. Enjoy!

2 Sticks Butter, softened (can use half dairy free butter substitute and half butter flavored shortening instead)
½ C. Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
2 Large Egg Yolks
1 t. Vanilla Extract
½ C. Sorghum Flour
½ C. Oat Flour
½ C. Brown Rice Flour
¼ C. Millet Flour
¼ C. Coconut Flour
¾ t. Xanthan Gum
For Finishing:
2 Large Egg Whites
1 C. Finely Ground Toasted Pecans
½ C. Strawberry Jelly

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla and continue beating until smooth. Beat in flour. Scrape dough into a large ziplock bag and flatten into ½ inch thick. Seal and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350º. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
When chilled, scoop dough with a small scoop. Roll into a ball. Beat the egg whites with a little water. In a separate bowl, place the ground pecans. Dip each cookie into the egg white and roll in pecans. Place on cookie sheet about 1” apart. Using the end of a wooden spoon, make a little well in each cookie (about ½ of the depth of the cookie). Fill each dimple with jelly.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until cookies are firm and slightly firm. Cool on racks. If jelly has boiled out of any cookies, heat up some jelly and refill the cookies.

Paczki as Promised

Gluten Free PaczkiWell, here’s the paczki recipe. For those of you new to Polish delicacies, it’s pronounced ‘poonch – key’. These were a little difficult to make. The dough, once again, is delicated, and you have to be gentle when moving it around. Also, you have to be resigned to the fact that you will never again have a light and fluffly donut again. But, it’s a fun treat to try and make and they are tasty. You could substitute some other flours for the sorghum, like maybe white rice flour instead, and it will be a little lighter in texture, but I like these. The jelly filling with the sorghum flour is a nice treat. Enjoy!

½ C. Soymilk
2 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tsp. Yeast
2 Large Eggs
1 Tsp. Vinegar
¼ Tsp. Vanilla
¼ Tsp. Salt
1 C. Sweet Sorghum Flour
½ C. Brown Rice Flour
¼ Cup Coconut Flour
1 Tbsp. Tapioca Starch
1 Tsp. Xanthan Gum
Filling of choice (about ¼ cup)
Sugar for dusting


In a large glass measuring cup, heat the milk, butter, and sugar in microwave for about 45 seconds, until just a little warmer than room temperature. Add eggs, vanilla, salt, vinegar and yeast to milk mixture and let stand for about 5 minutes, until the yeast is puffy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, tapioca starch and xanthan gum. Mix thoroughly. Slowly add in the milk mixture and mix for about 2 minutes, until all of the ingredients are fully combined.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour. Punch down dough. Roll out to 1/4” thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter and place half of the donuts on a cookie sheet dusted with rice flour. With a little beaten egg, wet the edges of the donuts on the cookie sheet. Top each with ½ tablespoon of jelly. Top each donut with another donut round and press together lightly. Let rise for another 30 minutes.
Preheat oil to 350º. Fry Paczki for about 3 minutes, turning over about every minute, until golden brown. Drain on a cooling rack. Dip in sugar to coat. I used seedless raspberry jam for mine, but custard or any other filling of your choice will work, or you can leave them as is and just coat them with sugar. Makes 8-10 donuts, depending on how thin you roll them out.

Confessions of a Recovering Bread-aholic (more about gluten free baking)

Gluten Free Flours 2Hi everyone. My name is Heather and I’m a breadaholic.
(Hi Heather)
My love affair began with the first hot loaf of bread I remember my mother taking out of the oven, slicing it while it was still too warm to slice but not caring that I was smooshing the bread, and watching the butter slowly melt over the steaming bread. That yeasty smell. The way the butter pools in those little pockets in the perfectly raised dough. wow
And then there’s Wonder Bread. Did you ever make little dough balls out of Wonder Bread? You roll it into little balls and chew it like bread chewing gum. Of course, my tastes evolved and I started on the hard stuff: sourdough, artisan bread, whole grain bread. I was in deep. I wanted more, all the time.

Okay, I have to admit that when I first started going gluten free, I didn’t think I could actually do it. Give up bread? Seriously? Eat this mealy, crumbly dry excuse of a bread FOREVER?? ugh….

Another confession is that I don’t miss bread, surprisingly. I don’t even crave it. I used to crave carbs, a lot. I don’t crave carbs any longer. I don’t know if there are any studies out there about being gluten intolerant and craving carbs, but I know that going gluten free totally changed that for me, and changed it almost overnight.

Thinking about my last post on gluten free flours, I realize that I only scratched the surface of gluten free baking. The first place I started was using a recipe that I always used with wheat flour and substituted brown rice flour for the wheat flour. I add xanthan gum to the mix because it helps the rice flour to act like it’s wheat flour. The mix will look like this:
For every 1 cup of wheat flour, substitute 1/2 Cup of brown rice flour, 3 tablespoons potato starch, 1 tablespoon tapioca starch, and 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum.
That should give you a good jumping off point to go with. The flour acts a little like flour. The starches give it a lightness and makes the final product less crumbly and gritty. On the King Arthur website, there are gluten free recipes and also a recipe for an all purpose flour that you can mix ahead of time and scoop out when you’re baking.

Once you get a little comfortable baking gluten free, you can try a mixture of flours to get a nice taste. My favorite flour to use in bread is teff flour. It’s not easy to find, though and it’s expensive. You can shop around. has been a good tool for me because I live in a small town and it’s not alwasy economical to find things like teff flour. Teff flour tastes a lot like wheat flour, only better. It has a nice texture when it bakes and has a nice taste. I’ve also found that coconut flour and sorghum flour both bake well and have a good texture when baked. Almond flour works really well for making crackers with, but I’ll post that recipe another time.

Overall, you won’t be disappointed in making your own baked goods. It’s actually easier than baking with wheat flour. One hint: don’t under cook gluten free baked goods because they will fall flat. Gluten gives flour a stiff structure that helps it to maintain that puffy shape. If you under cook gluten free flours, they won’t have the stiff structure to keep the poofy shape.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but bread isn’t the end all and be all of eating. There are a lot of gluten free things out there in the world that don’t require baking. Starches like rice, millet, quinoa, potatoes are all naturally gluten free. I love rice pasta. What I’ve been doing in my life is adopting the philosophy that if God didn’t make then I shouldn’t eat it. I’ve been eating pretty clean, no preservatives. I’m trying to eat more organic things, although I don’t always quite have the budget for doing that so I pick and choose wisely. Hope this all helps. Happy exploring.