Low FODMAP & Gluten Free Treats to Spoil your Mum this Mothers’ Day

Mother's Day, low fodmap, fructose malabsorption, gluten free, ibs, irritable bowel syndrome, love, family

As much as I love Seattle, it does suck a little bit (at least), living literally half a world away from your family. Even more-so around holidays; Skype is great but it’s not the same as being there in person. It might be just another Hallmark Holiday to some but I do like having a chance to show my mum (and my dad, when it’s his turn) how much I am grateful for the time they spent caring for and raising me as a kid.

Given that I’m not going to make it to Melbourne by Sunday, even if I could, a phone call will have to do until we’re next together and I can make Mum her chocolate cake and Dad his pecan pie. But for those of you lucky enough to live in the same city as your family, here’s a collection of low FODMAP and gluten free recipes with which you can spoil your mum, whether you chose morning tea, brunch (my favourite) or just fitting it in whenever you can. Hopefully there’s a variety to suit everyone’s needs, including vegan/dairy free, some healthy and others not so much.

There are twenty-seven recipes, one for each year that my beautiful Mum has put up with been graced by my presence.

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We scrub up alright

Sweets

I have my priorities sorted, thank you.

Breakfasts

Salads

Main Meals

Drinks

  • Sangria – Not From A Packet Mix
  • Freshly squeezed mimosas – Inspired Taste (It’s basically the same recipe that I make but have never published… I’ve never measured in the triple sec, though. Use freshly squeezed OJ and limit to one serving)
  • Purple basil lemonade – Fructopia
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Maureen’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Brownies – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free & Dairy Free

Old Fashioned Chocolate Brownies - low FODMAP, gluten free, dairy free

When I was younger, a friend of Mum and Dad’s always made a plate of her amazing chocolate brownies on special occasions. At Christmas and on birthdays, Sharon would turn up with an ice cream container filled with chocolatey goodness – and Dad would then say that they weren’t made for the kids. He was terrible at hiding them, though, so it all worked out in the end. The second drawer in the garage filing cabinet wasn’t such a clever place, after all.

For years, I’ve been trying to work up the courage to try out brownies. It’s not that they’re an exact science, or really fiddly, like pastry but they weren’t ever made in my house, so I didn’t have any tried and true recipes to go from/convert to be gluten free and FODMAP friendly…

… Which is why I snagged someone else’s (not so) secret family recipe and FODMAPified that, instead. Apparently it’s at least 75 years old! I’ve been following Maureen, the Orgasmic Chef, for a few years now and am continuously wowed by what she creates – and her pace of blogging. Fair warning, it’s not a blog for those with food intolerances, so you’ll have to put on your thinking caps and tweak the recipes yourself but, really, I like that, as it allows me to give my own flare to meals at the same time.

After my first attempt, I was a little disheartened, as my brownies hadn’t developed the crispy/flaky crust that I love so much. After a bit of searching, I discovered that the more you beat your eggs, the more pronounced this crust will be, as it’s actually a thin layer of meringue. Well, I decided to go all out and whip the egg whites and sugar together before adding them to the mixture and voila! Batch number two had a perfect layer of brownie crispiness on top.

These little beauties take almost no time at all to whip up and you’ll end up with cake-like brownies; just chocolatey and sweet enough to satisfy a mid-afternoon or late night craving without making you feel sick and guilty. Perf. Maureen very kindly allowed me to share my altered version with you guys here, so thank her!

FODMAP Notes

  1. Unsweetened dairy free dark chocolate is low FODMAP in the amounts called for in this recipe.
  2. Coconut oil is FODMAP friendly (it’s 100% fat, no carbs) but it can be replaced with butter if you can tolerate dairy. PS. Butter is low in lactose, just not lactose free.
  3. I’ve reduced the sugar called for in Maureen’s original recipe, both to suit my tastes and to reduce the overall fructose load of the brownies. Feel free to up it back to 2 cups if you want and you know you can tolerate it.
  4. Almonds and walnuts are low FODMAP in the amounts called for in this recipe.
  5. I use milk in this recipe (even though the original doesn’t call for any), as gluten free baked goods are notoriously dry and need a little extra moisture to keep them soft. Use coconut/almond/rice milk etc if dairy free is required, or lactose free dairy milk if not.
  6. The chocolate chips are optional, just, as above, use chocolate that follows your dietary requirements.

Maureen’s Old Fashioned Brownies

Makes approximately 32.

  • 120 g unsweetened dark chocolate
  • 4 tbsp. coconut oil or butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup gluten free flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 heaped tbsp. cacao powder
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup low FODMAP milk of your choice
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease and line a 9×13″ baking tray – or two 9×9″ cake tins (or there abouts), if you’re like me and don’t have the full sized pan.

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together over a very low heat (so as not to burn the chocolate). Mix thoroughly and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until fluffy and soft peaks form, then add in the castor sugar beat for another minute. Pour in the melted chocolate mixture, along with the egg yolks and vanilla, and mix until combined.

Add in the flours, cacao powder and xanthan gum and stir through, before adding in the milk. Finally, thoroughly stir through the chopped nuts and the optional chocolate chips, before pouring the mixture into the prepared baking tins and baking for 20-25 minutes, or until they just test clean with a skewer.

Let them cool to room temperature before slicing and serving, or they might crumble while you cut them. Enjoy them with some fresh strawberries and tea or coffee. Yum.

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And a behind the scenes shot… it’s almost warm enough for the poor, shaggy creature to get a hair cut.

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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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Shortbread Pastry – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Shortbread Pastry - Gluten Free and FODMAP, Fructose Friendly

If you’re after a pastry that is quick and easy to whip up and not *too* fiddly (compared to typical gluten free pastry), then look no further. This slightly sweet, buttery and delightfully crumbly pastry will do the trick.

These tart shells will keep (once baked) in an airtight container in the pantry for about five days, before they start to go stale, so they are great to make ahead and then fill on the day you are planning to serve them.

I highly recommend this lemon curd or this passion fruit cream cheese as a filling. This pastry would also suit any Christmas style baking, as shortbread is definitely seasonally appropriate! I am working on a fructose friendly fruit mince pie recipe as we speak, so stay tuned…

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. 60 mini tartlet shells, or two 23 cm/9 in shells.

  • 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 then generously flour your work area. Break the dough into 6 and sandwich it between two layers of wax paper. Roll it out to about 4 mm thick (for small tarts) or 6 mm thick (for full-sized tarts) and gently transfer it to your chosen tart pan/pie dish.

Baking:

  • To blind bake these miniature shells, cook at 190 C until lightly golden – this should take about 10-12 minutes; I normally set the timer for 10 minutes and then watch it for the next two. Cook larger shells for approx. 15 minutes, but keep an eye on them.
  • To bake with a filling in, blind bake for 3 minutes, then use the pastry according to the recipe you are following.

Gluten Free Shortbread Pastry Collage

If you baked your pastry with the filling inside, the tarts will be done when they are removed from the oven. Serve them as instructed.

If your pastry was blind baked until completely cooked, let them cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for up to five days and fill them with the topping of your choice when required.

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From left to right: lemon curd, chocolate hazelnut and passion fruit cream cheese – all are delicious, though the lemon curd is my favourite. Enjoy!

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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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Chocolate Coated Strawberries – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

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If it’s a quick, simple and delicious dessert that you’re after, then look no further than these chocolate coated strawberries. They’re so easy that it’s almost embarrassing blogging about them but seeing as it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d do it anyway. Though we do chocolate covered strawbs most years, these photos were from Valentine’s Day 2012… Ev bought me a fish – as in a live fish, in a bowl. It only lasted 1 year 😦

Notes:

  1. Good quality dark chocolate over 70% should be lactose free but it always pays to read labels.
  2. Strawberries are low in FODMAPs, so safe to consume.
  3. The cream cheese icing I suggest to pair with this dessert is not lactose free.

Chocolate Coated Strawberries

  • 10 large strawberries – washed, dried and topped if you wish
  • 1 cup dark chocolate – in chip or chunk form

Melt the chocolate slowly over a double boiler, until it’s smooth and creamy. With a tray with wax or baking paper ready and nearby, dip each strawberry in the chocolate and, after letting some of the excess drip off, place it on the tray. Repeat this for all the strawberries and let them set, so that the chocolate hardens (the fridge can help hasten this), before placing them on the serving platter.

If you have foam and skewers, you could skewer the strawberry before dipping it and then poke the other end of the skewer in the foam to let them harden without a flat side.

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Cream Cheese Icing

  • 6 oz/170 g cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp. softened unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 oz/85 g icing sugar (more or less to your personal taste)

Make sure all the ingredients are properly softened (or the icing will be lumpy) before blending them all together. Done!

I like to surround the dip with the coated strawberries but there is no right or wrong way to serve them. I hope you enjoy them! Just go ahead and dip the strawberry in the cream cheese icing and forget about the calories for one night.

And have a great Valentine’s Day this Friday with whomever you spend it with. Xx

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Double Chocolate Muffins – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Double Chocolate Muffins - Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

These chocolate chip muffins were an experiment for Evgeny – one which thankfully proved successful! After I made a batch of banana nut muffins, he was eating them and adding in chocolate chips separately; two per mouthful. I asked him what he was doing and I was told that all muffins should have chocolate chips, no exceptions.

You know the saying, “Happy wife, happy life?” The same holds true for husbands (or any partner), minus the catchphrase. Well, this is my answer to that. He won’t need to add any extra chocolate to these! And keeping with that theme, these would go down a treat on Valentine’s Day and earn you some serious brownie points… chocolate brownie points… Mmmmm, brownies.

Notes:

  1. Monash released an update a few months ago that states that 3 tsp. (1 tbsp.) of cocoa powder are low FODMAP. If you put in the full 6 tbsp. of cocoa powder, then you only get 1/4 tbsp. of cocoa powder per muffin. You’re sweet!
  2. Buttermilk isn’t lactose free but you can replace it with LF milk with a dash of lemon juice added – alternatively, just use a dairy free milk of your choice.
  3. I used dark chocolate chips in these muffins but you can use any type you like that you can tolerate.
  4. Almonds are listed as low FODMAP in servings of 10 nuts or less – the 1/2 cup spread over 24 muffins is well within this.
  5. I am loving how well virgin coconut oil creams with sugar – so much better than normal butter – but of course, either works well in this recipe.

Double Chocolate Muffins

Makes 24 muffins.

  • 3 cups GF plain flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 3-6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 cup virgin coconut oil/softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (white, milk, dark or a mixture – whatever you tolerate)

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F and line two 12 hole muffin trays with patty pans.

In a large bowl, sift the plain flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and xanthan gum and set it aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the coconut oil (or butter) and sugar for 2-3 minutes on a medium speed. Add in the eggs and continue to beat on medium for another 203 minutes, until the mixture is completely smooth. Next, add in the vanilla and beat until combined.

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Now add the white wine vinegar to the buttermilk and add the buttermilk mixture in while continuing to beat on low, alternating with the dry ingredients – 1/4 of each at a time. When all the ingredients are in the stand mixer’s bowl, beat on medium until they are thoroughly combined and then switch to a low speed before adding in the chocolate chips and beating for another minute.

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Place a lightly heaped 1/4 cup of the batter in each and bake for 20 minutes – rotating the trays from top to bottom halfway through to ensure even cooking – if you have a fan forced oven you will not need to do this… lucky you!

Let them sit for 15 minutes before placing the muffins on a cooling rack to come to room temperature.

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To serve, either dust them with icing sugar or make a chocolate ganache icing for an extra rich chocolate hit.

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