The FODMAP content of spelt. Is spelt low FODMAP?

Nataliya:

A thorough write-up on spelt flour. It’s a common misconception (and one that I fell prey to at the start of 2014) that spelt flour is low FODMAP.

As the Two Dietitians explain, it is lower in fructans than wheat but only proper sourdough is truly low FODMAP in 2-3 slice servings. Read their entire post for the complete details.

Originally posted on Two Dietitians do the FODMAP diet:

http://www.zoett.nl/wat-is-spelt/ products still seems to confuse people when following the low FODMAP diet as people with IBS often report they can consume spelt without experiencing symptoms. So is spelt low FODMAP? Well yes and no is the short answer as it depends where in the world you get your spelt bread from, how much you eat, the percentage of spelt flour used and most importantly whether it was baked using the sourdough process.

When I asked Dr Jane Muir who works at Monash about spelt she said “We recommend sourdough spelt bread -the sourdough process will reduce fructans and is essential”.

So there you have it the sourdough process actually lowers the fructan content in spelt making the breads low FODMAP.  At the FODMAP research team at King’s we actually recommend 100% sourdough spelt bread as a suitable low FODMAP option. However actually finding this bread product in the UK is…

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FODMAP Friendly Christmas Recipe – Shortbread Biscuits

FODMAP Friendly & Gluten Free Shortbread

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!

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.

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.

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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Low FODMAP Cookbook: The Everything Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet – by Dr. Barbara Bolen and Kathleen Bradley CPC

EV GT Low FODMAP cover

I have been receiving Dr. Barbara Bolen’s emails from About.com’s IBS section for a while now (at least a full year); I find them both interesting and informative, and I really appreciate the evidence that is given, to back any claims, as well – not every site does that, which can make it hard for beginners, if they don’t know who or what to trust. So, when Dr. Bolen contacted me about her new book, The Everything® Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet (link to website here), I was happy to get involved. I do owe her and Kathleen Bradley an apology, though, as this post is quite late (visa issues, an epileptic dog and no internet access in Queensland got in the way). Better late than never, though, right? I am really very sorry, though!

If you aren’t aware of the authors, I will give you a quick introduction:

  • Barbara Bolen is a psychologist and health coach who specialises in digestive health. Dr. Bolen runs a private psychotherapy clinic and health coaching business in addition to serving as the IBS expert for About.com. Her previous works include Breaking the Bonds of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS Chat: Real Life Stories and Solutions (co-author) and now The Everything® Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet. Knowing what we do now about how stress and depression can affect IBS (and vice versa), Dr. Bolen is in a unique position to help people optimise their mental, digestive and overall health.
  • Kathleen Bradley, CPC is a writer, consultant, recipe developer and professional coach with over twenty years of experience in the field of publishing. Kathleen was diagnosed with IBS in 2011 and has extensively researched the low FODMAP diet in order to combat her symptoms; it made sense to combine her passion for healthy cooking with recipes low in fermentable carbs in order to manage IBS and other digestive disorders. The Everything® Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet is Kathleen’s first cookbook.

The low FODMAP diet, as most of us know by now (or possibly not, if you’ve only just heard of it here) is a way of eating that is low in fermentable carbohydrates. However odd this may sound, it is no fad diet. Studies suggest that a low FODMAP diet can significantly improve IBS symptoms in up to 75% of sufferers. The science behind it is beautifully simple – certain carbohydrates are more likely to be fermented (digested) by your gut’s resident bacteria than others. These carbs, known by the acronym FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols), are selectively restricted in order to prevent the fermentation that leads to bloating, gas and abdominal distress, which are the hallmarks of irritable bowel syndrome. Read more here, if you are interested… or buy the book!

Here are Dr. Bolen and Kathleen Bradley’s Top Ten Tips for Low FODMAP Diet Success:

  1. Be open with others about your special dietary needs. No need to be embarrassed, simply tell people that you are on a special diet for your stomach.
  1. Read labels carefully! Watch out for those hidden high FODMAP ingredients, such as gluten, HFCS, onion and garlic flavoring, inulin and artificial sweeteners ending in -ol.
  1. Pick restaurants that offer gluten-free options. They will be more likely to be willing to prepare foods in a way that is appropriate for you.
  1. Feel free to eat protein foods, such as meat, chicken, fish and pork, as long as they are not prepared with high FODMAP ingredients.
  1. Learn to love cooking. Preparing your own food is the best way to have full control over what you are eating.
  1. Move all high-FODMAP foods and ingredients to a designated part of your kitchen or get rid of them altogether.
  1. Make a list of appropriate substitutions for your favorite foods. For example: if you love cous cous, try millet; substitute pepitas for pistachios; tamari for soy sauce; etc.
  1. Pack low-FODMAP foods and snacks to take with you. For travel, Low-FODMAP cereal or granola doesn’t need refrigeration and can work as a snack as well as a meal substitution.
  1. Don’t go it alone! Reach out to a registered dietician or certified health coach for guidance and support.
  1. Remember to periodically challenge your sensitivity to foods so as to increase the variety of foods that you can eat.

To help publicise their new cookbook, Dr. Bolen has kindly provided answers to some of the most frequently asked FODMAP-related questions:

  1. Is the low-FODMAP diet too complicated for the average person?The diet is complex, there is no doubt about that. For best success, a person should work with a dietary professional to ensure that all nutritional needs are being met. Also, it does take time to figure out what one can eat and what one shouldn’t eat. That said, once a person is on the diet for a week or so, they start to get the hang of it. They get into a routine, they develop a new set of comfort or go-to foods and find places where they know they can get FODMAP-friendly foods.
  2. Some people find that some of the foods on the Allowed list are problematic. Why is that so?

The Allowed lists typically are comprised of foods that have been tested and found to be low in FODMAPs. However, every body is unique and it may be that certain foods trigger people for reasons other than their FODMAP content.

  1. Why do some foods come up on the Restricted list on some lists and the Allowed list on others?

It is important to remember that not all foods have been specifically tested for their FODMAP content. Some lists contain foods that were characterized by “best guesses” at the time. The most up-to-date resource for the FODMAP content of food is Monash University, either through their website, their publications or their mobile app.

  1. What about foods that do not show up on FODMAP food lists?

Keep in mind that FODMAPs are carbohydrates. Therefore, there are no FODMAPs in foods comprised of protein or fat. A person on the low-FODMAP diet can eat these foods freely. When in doubt about a food that does not show up on FODMAP food lists, one can make a guess based on the FODMAP content of similar foods.

  1. Is the low-FODMAP diet safe for vegetarians and vegans?

The diet can be challenging for vegetarians and vegans due to the restriction of many legumes. The diet can be safely followed as long as there is a concerted effort to take in adequate protein. Lacto-ovo vegetarians can meet their protein needs through eggs, hard cheeses, and lactose-free milk products. For those who do not eat eggs and dairy products, low-FODMAP nuts, seeds, milk substitutes and grains can provide some protein. Tofu, tempeh and seitan (non-celiacs only) are also allowed in all phases of the diet. Last, small amounts of well-rinsed canned lentils and chick peas have been shown to be low-FODMAP. It is advisable that vegetarians and vegans work with a qualified dietary professional to ensure that they are consuming safe levels of protein.

Stay tuned for a recipe sneak peek from Dr. Bolen and Kathleen Bradley’s new book! There are so many delicious options, I couldn’t decide what to try first.

Mockapple Crumble – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free, Dairy Free & Vegan

Mockapple Crumble - Low FODMAP, Dairy Free, Gluten Free and Vegan

Ahhh Autumn. The markets are full of bright and shiny balls of temptation known as apples. Everyone’s Thanksgiving and Christmas menus always include apple in some form of pie, cake, crumble or salad – at which point I have to calmly remind myself of what will happen if I partake: pain and misery. Good bye, apple pie; Bakers Delight’s fruit mince tarts are a distant memory. Sigh.

For years I had to be strong (or pretend I was wearing blinders) when walking past the dessert buffets at family/friend meals but no more! Enter the choko. I can’t remember how I came across chokos (also known as chayote squash in some parts of the world) but they also happen to be in season during late Summer to Autumn and they make fantastic apple substitutes. To the person or website that first mentioned them to me, I will say a massive THANK YOU!

Chokos are a low FODMAP variety of gourd that, when eaten peeled and raw, resemble an apple in texture (crisp and juicy), with a very mild taste that can be accentuated with the right sugars and spices. They are exactly what you need to make a mockapple pie or crumble and, in my humble opinion, are a much better option than peeled zucchini. So good, in fact, that in Australia there’s an urban legend that states that McDonald’s used to use chokos in their apple pies, because they were cheaper than apples and nobody could tell the difference!

The first time that I made this crumble, I treated the choko like an apple and baked it from a raw state – that was mistake number one. Choko takes a lot longer to soften than apple does, so you need to stew or poach it first, otherwise the crumble topping will be overly brown by the time it’s soft in an incredible 1 hour and 40 minutes. Yikes. I also added the same amount of starch that I would have added to an apple crumble – mistake number two. Mistakes are good, though. We learn from them and – hopefully – don’t repeat them.

After a third attempt I feel I have mastered the choko mockapple crumble; just sweet enough, the choko has the texture of cooked apple and a mild flavour that lets the traditional apple pie spices shine through, while still bringing something of its own to the dish. This filling would also work well with your favourite gluten free/FODMAP friendly pastry for a mockapple pie.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Chokos are a FODMAP friendly gourd.
  2. Dried coconut flesh is low FODMAP in servings of 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup contains potentially problematic amounts of sorbitol.
  3. Almonds are FODMAP friendly in servings of 10 nuts, while 20 nuts gets a high rating for oligos.
  4. Maple syrup, when pure, is 1:1 fructose/glucose, thus is considered fructose friendly.
  5. Cinnamon, ginger, all spice and cloves are low FODMAP spices.

Mockapple Crumble

Serves 10-12

Crumble Topping

  • 1 1/4 cups almond meal
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour
  • 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger

Mockapple Filling

  • 1.0 kg sliced chokos
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/3 cup castor sugar or 1/2 cup dextrose
  • 1 tbsp. potato starch
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. all spice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 pot of water for poaching

Peel, then slice or dice your chokos (discarding the large centre seed) into 2 cm or so chunks. Poach them in a pot of simmering water until soft – around 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all the crumble topping ingredients and mix until they are well combined, using your food processor (or by hand/with a pastry mixer). The result will slightly resemble a sticky cookie dough. Keep it in the fridge until you need it.

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F. Drain the choko and mix through the sugars and spices. Pour the now runny choko mix into a 9 inch pie dish and then top evenly with the crumble dough. Bake at 180 C for 45-50 minutes, until the choko filling has thickened and the crumble has turned a lovely golden brown.

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Serve warm, with whipped coconut cream (or normal whipped cream) or your favourite FODMAP friendly ice cream (vegan if required). Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Pie for Friendsgiving – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free, Dairy Free & No Refined Sugar

Pumpkin Pie with a Gingerbread Crust - Low FODMAP, Dairy Free, Gluten Free and No Refined Sugar

Thanksgiving is such a quintessentially American holiday. Sure, there’s Independence Day and Halloween (etc) but we get those to some extent, or at least the Australian equivalent, back home. What I really like about Thanksgiving is the emphasis on being thankful. It may sound really corny but, given it’s surrounded by Halloween and Christmas, two of most consumption driven holidays of the year, it’s a breath of fresh air to not worry about buying lollies for greedy kids who take more than their share (yes, I’m still annoyed about that), or wonder if you’ve left anyone off your Chrissy list, or if you’ve got them something they won’t like. Instead, you just have to cook your arse off for the three days prior… but some crazy people call that “fun.”

The fact that “Fall” in Seattle is so much more spectacular than Autumn in Melbourne also helps matters along – the roads around our place looked like the trees had been decorated, that’s how bright and colourful the leaves were – in every shade you could imagine from pink to yellow to red. Give me overcast and chilly over a day that can’t make up its weather-mind any day of the week. My inner child absolutely adores throwing on my gum boots and sloshing around the local walking trails or the dog park.

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For those reading in Australia, or anywhere else that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s all about being thankful for what you have… ironically followed, in the USA, by Black Friday sales, which are a little along the lines of the Boxing Day sales in Australia. Still, I like that, for one day at least, we are encouraged to think about what we have and how lucky we are to have it.

The one problem with Thanksgiving, though, as well as Christmas and Easter, really, is that we don’t have any family over here to celebrate with… which is why I love the term “Friendsgiving.” Most, if not all, of our Seattle friends are also transplants from other parts of the US and the world, so a Friendsgiving is what we do and I love it. This year, we are hosting an early Friendsgiving at our house, so we are roasting the usual turkey with all the trimmings (gravy, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce etc) but I had to think of a dessert.

Well, there’s nothing more American than apple pie – but I wanted to be able to eat the dessert, too. I’d tried pumpkin pie once before and liked it, so I thought I’d give it a go. To give myself something to compare my pie to, I bought a pumpkin pie from the supermarket and tried a slice (I didn’t eat the pastry and it was otherwise low FODMAP). I hated it. I double checked the ingredients and I’m sure it’s all the corn syrup (note, not high fructose corn syrup) that made it taste sickly sweet and there was also a weirdness to it that I couldn’t explain. I got my American neighbour (neighbor?) to taste test my version of pumpkin pie for me and – aside from slightly overcooking the base – she approved. She also told me that supermarket bought pumpkin pies are almost never good. Anyway, I much prefered my own recipe, if I don’t say so myself.

This pumpkin pie is lightly spiced, pumpkin-y and has a custard-like texture; the gingerbread crust plays off the filling really nicely and the whole thing is quite rich, so you won’t need to eat much.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Almonds are low FODMAP in servings of 10 nuts and contain moderate fructans and galactans in servings of 20 nuts. One slice of this pie should be FODMAP friendly but, if you struggle with almonds, try subbing in some pecan meal or even some gluten free flour for a lower overall FODMAP count.
  2. Brown rice is low FODMAP in servings of 1 cup, however it can be hard to digest for non-FODMAP reasons. If you struggle with it, try replacing it with quinoa flour, or any gluten free/low FODMAP flour blend that you like.
  3. Golden and maple syrups are 1:1 fructose and glucose, so are safe, FODMAPs-wise, in moderation. Check for any higher FODMAP ingredients, to be safe. Use maple syrup if you want to make the “no refined sugars” version.
  4. Pumpkin and squash vary in safe serving sizes from 1/4 to 1/2 cup, depending on the type. The pie pumpkin I used is FODMAP friendly in 1/4 cup servings and contains moderate amounts of sorbitol in 1/2 cup servings. Freshly made pumpkin puree is best by far, in terms of colour and flavour of the resulting pie.
  5. Coconut cream is low FODMAP in servings of 1/2 cup, any more and sorbitol becomes an issue.
  6. Cinnamon, all spice, ginger and cloves are all FODMAP friendly spices.
  7. This pie combines pumpkin and coconut cream, two ingredients that, if you eat enough, are high in sorbitol. If the large pie is cut into 12, you should be eating a safe amount of pumpkin and coconut cream; if you made mini pies, then you are in control of the size. If you are super sensitive to sorbitol but can tolerate dairy, use lactose free double cream instead of the coconut cream.

Pumpkin Pie

Serves 8-10 (one large pie, or 10 mini 5 cm diameter pies).

Gingerbread Base

  • 150 g almond meal/flour
  • 150 g brown rice or quinoa flour
  • 1 tbsp. chia seed meal
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. all spice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1/4 cup golden or maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pinch salt

Pie Filling

  • 450 g/1.0 lb of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or golden syrup
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 ground all spice
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 3 large eggs

Place a tin of full fat coconut cream in the fridge at least overnight. This allows the  cream to separate from the water. When you are ready to make your filling, flip the can upside down and open it; pour the watery part into a glass and use in smoothies etc. Spoon out 1 cup worth of the thickened coconut cream and use in the filling recipe.

Sift all the dry ingredients for the gingerbread base together and put aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer or food processor, combine the softened coconut oil, syrup and egg, then pour in the dry ingredients and mix until a smooth, slightly sticky dough forms. This is your biscuit base. Wrap it and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes before handling.

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease either one large tart dish, 5 medium tart dishes or 10 small tart dishes. Break the gingerbread base dough into chunks and press it into the tart tins. This can be done a day or two ahead, just refrigerate until it’s required. Cover the dough with baking paper and pour in baking/pie balls, then blind bake according to instructions below.

While the pie shells are blind baking, blend together all the filling ingredients until smooth and creamy. Let the pie shells cool for ten minutes after blind baking, before filling them until the pumpkin mix is just about to reach the top of the shell.

Baking instructions are as follows:

  • Small (5 cm) pie – blind bake for 10 minutes, before filling with pumpkin mixture and baking for a further 20-25 minutes.
  • Medium (10 cm) pie – blind bake for 12 minutes, before filling with pumpkin mixture and baking for a further 30-35 minutes.
  • Large (23 cm) pie – blind bake for 15 minutes, before filling with pumpkin mixture and baking for 45-50 minutes.

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The pies are done when the filling has darkened a little and only jiggles slightly (this will be much more obvious in the larger pie). When they are cooked, remove them from the oven and let them come to room temperature still in their tins, before refrigerating them. Leave them in their tins until you plan to serve them. Top with whipped cream, icing sugar, or candied nuts of your choice.

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Enjoy! Xo

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree – Low FODMAP and Gluten Free

How to make homemade pumpkin puree - low FODMAP, fructose friendly, gluten free, healthy

Tinned pumpkin puree is extremely useful to have around – I normally have a few cans on hand for lunch or dinner time emergencies (for example, to make pumpkin soup, or a pumpkin and tomato soup) – but really, when you’re trying to impress guests, it doesn’t help you bring your A game to the table. Freshly roasted pumpkin is miles ahead in terms of taste, so, at this time of year, when desserts apparently have to follow the pumpkin theme, too, it’s handy to have some freshly roasted pumpkin puree in the fridge or freezer to whip up your favourite pumpkin pie or cheesecake.

Speaking of this time of year, it’s starting to get dark at 3.30 pm already! Not that lighting has been great during “daylight hours,” anyway. Seattle is notorious for being dark and gloomy, though it doesn’t rain quite as much as Hollywood would have you believe. So I’ve been chasing it around the house for photos… you do what you have to! Though I don’t think Bailey was too impressed that his kennel was being used for a prop.

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FODMAP Notes

  1. Pumpkins/squash generally contain some level of polyols, usually sorbitol. I would not eat them if I was on elimination but if you are in the reintroduction phase of the low FODMAP diet, I’d test 1/4 cup of pumpkin first, as that is what is listed as safe for all varieties except Jap/Kent pumpkins, which are safe in 1/2 cup servings. Of course, if polyols are not a trigger for you, eat as much as you can/like.

How to roast a pumpkin

This method works for any pumpkin/winter squash variety.

  • One pie pumpkin, around 1-1.5 kg/2.2-3.3 lb
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 sharp knife
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 large baking tray
  • Cooking oil

Choose a smallish pumpkin that is brightly coloured – this will give you the best chance of a strong taste. The bigger pumpkins with duller colours tend to be a bit bland. The pumpkins I chose were around 1.1 kg each and yielded approximately 450-500 g of puree.

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Preheat your oven to 200 C/400 F. If you have not done so, rinse the pumpkin of any obvious chunks of dirt, before chopping it into four or five pieces and scooping/scraping out the seeds.

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Spread the pumpkin evenly around a lightly oiled baking dish of your choice and fill a small, oven-safe dish with water – this keeps the oven environment moist and prevents the pumpkin from drying out as it bakes.

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Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until it is fork tender (think boiled potatoes). Remove the dish from the oven, let it cool for 30 minutes or so, then scoop the flesh out and transfer it to a large bowl. Discard the skin.

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Either mash or blend the pumpkin flesh to form a puree and then store it in glass jars or zip-lock bags in the fridge (for up to a week) or the freezer (for no more than two months before quality begins to suffer).

Now you can use it for any cake, pie, bread, soup or custard recipe that calls for pumpkin puree. Easy peasy!

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Chocolate Coated Fudgey Peanut Butter Balls – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free & Grain Free

Chocolate Coated Fudgey Peanut Butter Balls - Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free, Vegetarian,

I have a confession – I am not a cookie baker. Everyone tells me how easy they are to make, which might be true; they are easy enough to mix together… but then you have to bake them. They’re not like cakes, into which I can stick a skewer and check if it’s done. There’s no fail safe method (that I know of) to judge the perfect balance of done-ness, so that the biscuits will firm up as they cool, yet remain chewy without getting too dry. It’s IMPOSSIBLE, I tell you. I think I have managed it once in my life but only after baking three separate batches of the same chocolate chip cookie dough. I’d made Stephanie Alexander’s recipe gluten free, (drools) and was *this close* to giving up and just eating the raw cookie dough. I suppose, with practice, I could get it right consistently but then I’m sure I’d bake biscuits more often and that is something my waistline does not need.

That being said, there are literally no low FODMAP biscuit/cookie options at our local supermarket. All the gluten free versions – maybe four or five brands – contain inulin, honey or agave syrup etc. I haven’t tested inulin out specifically but it’s generally in foods with other higher FODMAP ingredients, anyway, so it’s probably not much use. Besides, most of those packaged biscuits also contain a tonne of sugar and are ridiculously expensive, as well. Five dollars for a packet of gluten free biscuits that would cost no more than three dollars if they were made with wheat? No, thank you.

I decided to try my hand at a healthier cookie recipe. I chose peanut butter and chocolate because, even though I can’t stand Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, peanut butter and chocolate is an awesome flavour combination that I can’t get enough of, when done correctly. I’ll also kid myself that the choice of peanuts and almonds makes this “healthy” (combined, they’re low in sugar and high in copper, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorous, riboflavin and vitamin E) and conveniently forget the maple syrup, which, although technically an unrefined sugar, is still a sugar. Shhh! Though, to be fair, I’ve used less than half of what might be found in your typical store-bought biscuit. No sugar-induced headaches here.

What resulted is a baked cookie ball that is delicately sweetened and peanut buttery, with a decadent fudge-like texture. The perfect after dinner treat with a cup of tea or coffee.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Peanuts are a legume but are generally well tolerated, FODMAP-wise, in small (2 tbsp.) portions.
  2. Almonds are low FODMAP in servings of 10 nuts – stick to 1-2 of these balls and you should be fine.
  3. Maple syrup is low FODMAP, with a ratio of 1:1 fructose/glucose. Make sure you buy pure maple syrup, without any additives, to prevent sneaky sweeteners from getting in.
  4. Eggs are FODMAP friendly but can be an allergen/irritant in their own right.
  5. Pure vanilla extract is low FODMAP, check for additives.
  6. Dark chocolate is low FODMAP in servings of 30 g, see here.

Chocolate Coated Fudgey Peanut Butter Balls

Makes approx. 26-30 balls, depending on size.

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup of natural, unsweetened smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch table salt

Chocolate Coating

  • 1 cup dark chocolate, chips/chunks/smashed
  • Finely chopped roasted nuts (I used peanuts and pecans)

In a bowl, beat the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, table salt and egg until smooth, then add in the almond meal. Mix until well combined and then cover and chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. During this time, preheat your oven to 150 C/300 F.

Fudgey Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Place 1 tablespoon balls of the cookie dough about 2.5 cm/1 in apart on a lined baking tray; you could gently flatten them with a fork, making a crosshatch pattern if desired. Bake for 10 minutes, swapping the trays halfway through, until golden brown at the edges. Let sit for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack until they reach room temperature. Repeat with the remaining dough. As you can see below, I tested out both a flattened cookie shape and a ball shape and (obviously) decided that the balls were what looked best.

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Let the cookie balls come to room temperature before melting dark chocolate (lactose/dairy free if required) using your preferred method (stove top double boiler, microwave etc), stirring until the chocolate is silky smooth. Fair warning, it is really easy to overheat and burn chocolate, so low and slow is the way to go.

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Dip the peanut butter balls halfway into the chocolate. Next, while the chocolate is still slightly soft (but not dripping), dip the coated part into a mixture of finely chopped nuts and leave to set on a baking tray. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two weeks – if they last that long. Don’t forget to enjoy them with a nice hot cuppa.

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