For May’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Erin of The Spiffy Cookie! She literally has the cutest little cookie figure – especially the one that has its eyes closed! Erin is definitely a smart cookie – she has a PhD in Microbiology! Plus, she thinks chocolate and peanut butter is the best combination ever!
She even has a whole list of gluten free recipes! I’m happy to know that I’m not the only person who struggles to get up more than 30 minutes before I need to get out the door! She has so many delicious looking recipes like these Avocado Brownies, Raspberry Mango Margarita Pie, Banana Foster Muffins and these Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Parfaits.
In the end, I chose her Peanut Butter Apple Raisin Bars. I made them gluten free, vegan and reduced the sugar in half. Even then, I found them to be quite sweet, although the glaze is good as it adds extra moisture.
They were delicious! The best part were the apples, especially since they got drenched in the glaze. Yum! I sent them along with Mr. Bean to work and his coworkers loved them! They didn’t last very long!
Gluten Free Vegan Peanut Butter Apple Raisin Bars
1/2 c. each brown rice, sorghum and millet flours *(if you don’t have one of these flours, just use more of what you have)
1/2 c. each tapioca and potato starch
1 1/4 tsp. xathan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp raisins, finely diced
1/2 c. dairy free margarine (use soy free buttery spread to make soy free)
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter (I used Adams all natural crunchy)
2 eggs or egg replacers (1 tbsp. powder + 1/4 c. almond or other dairy free milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1+ c. finely diced apples
Almond Milk (I used 4 tbsp as my peanut butter was really quite hard
2 tbsp. peanut butter
2 tbsp. almond milk (my peanut butter was fairly hard, so I added an extra tablespoon of milk)
1 c. sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line a 13″ x 9″ pan with parchment paper (I used a 15″ x 10″ cookie sheet).
- In a small sauce pan, melt maragarine and sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Shift the flours and whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in the diced raisins. Set aside.
- Add eggs one at a time to the peanut butter mixture, stirring until combined. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- Pour peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients, add the apples and stir until combined. Add extra milk if necessary to make the batter more easily spreadable.
- Transfer batter onto prepared pan and spread the batter into the corners.
- Bake in oven for ~20 min for a 15″ x 10″ cookie sheet or ~30min for a 13″ x 9″ pan. The bars should be slightly golden on top and edges are slightly brown.
- Remove and place on a rack to cook.
- As the bars cool, prepare the the glaze by whisking together the icing sugar, peanut butter, almond milk and vanilla extract. Add more milk/sugar to get it to the correct consistency for drizzling.
- Drizzle the glaze over the bars and cut into squares.
Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes by clicking the link below!
For January’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Lindsay of Life and Kitchen. Lindsay has been a vegetarian since the beginning of 2012, so most of her recipes are meat free! As well as tons of delicious recipes, she includes lots of commentary on her life outside of the kitchen – including her ridiculously cute daughter, Lily, and their adventures with a growing kid.
But speaking of delicious recipes, I literally looked through 20 pages of her blog and was so indecisive about what I should make! Some of the recipes that caught my eye were her: Bacon and Goat Cheese Muffins, Cucumber Hummus Cups, and her Broccoli Salad with Raisins and Sunflower Seeds, (which is a variation of a favourite of ours, but since I’ve already made it, I decided not to make it again.
When I saw Lindsay’s recipe for Grilled Peanut Butter Apple Sandwiches, I knew what I was going to make: her Banana Oatmeal Bread! It’s super easy to make, is healthy and is super tasty! I made a few variations – making it gluten and egg free, reducing the sugar and adding more bananas. The only thing I didn’t like about it is that the some of gluten free oats were still uncooked after baking – apparently they take longer than regular, so next time I think I’ll either up the liquid in the loaf or soak the oats for a few minutes before mixing them in.
Gluten Free, Vegan Banana Oatmeal Bread
1/3 c. each brown rice flour, sorghum flour and tapioca starch
1/4 c. millet flour
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/3 c. unpacked brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 egg replacers (1 tbsp. powder, 1/4 c. almond milk – make according to the directions on package)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1 c. old fashioned GF oats
- Line a 8 x 4″ loaf pan with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
- Add in egg replacers, oil and vinegar and mix until combined (mine was a bit dry at the moment as instead of adding the equivalent of another egg, I added another banana).
- Mix in banana and oatmeal and then scrape into pan.
- Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until a few toothpicks inserted into the loaf come out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then let cool on a rack.
- Enjoy by itself or in a grilled peanut butter apple sandwich!
Grilled Peanut Butter Apple Sandwich
2 slices banana bread
Margarine (or soy-free spread)
- Butter one side of each piece of banana bread and place butter side down on a board/plate/etc.
- Spread peanut butter on both sides of the bread and arrange apple slices on one pieces.
- Assemble your sandwich and cook in a preheated pan for about 5 min a side or until each side is golden brown.
Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes by clicking the link below!
For November’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with April of Angel’s Homestead. April is the wonderful force behind the SRC and has a wonderful blog to boot! She recently became gluten free and primal, so there were lots of Bean-friendly recipes for me to look at! Tasty Recipes like: No-mato Sauce (I definitely passed this onto my brother who doesn’t like tomatoes), this Almond Flour Cornbread and these Baked Apple Chips.
After much pursuing, I decided to make her Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes using her Gluten Free Almond Flour Pancakes. For once, I didn’t actually change anything (gasp!) except that I have a feeling the original recipe used non-natural, smooth peanut butter, whereas I used natural, chunky stuff. They still turned out well!
I tried making a small amount of the peanut butter syrup, where I learned that it’s best to use smooth peanut butter as the chunky stuff doesn’t look that good. Plus, I have a feeling it was also for non-natural peanut butter, so it definitely wasn’t as smooth as it could have been! That being said, peanuts and maple go surprisingly well together!
In her instructions, she says to cook them on low heat – please do! I initially had my griddle at 325F and it was too warm, so the pancakes got quite dark. The next batch I cooked at 275F and they were much lighter coloured.
As I was making the pancakes, Mr. Bean was making bacon, which means: Elvis pancakes!
In case you don’t know what Elvis pancakes are – apparently Elvis liked to eat peanut butter, bananas and bacon together and the combination is surprisingly tasty! Add a bit of maple syrup and you’re good to go!
April, it was a delight to look through your blog! Thank you so much for all the work that you put into the Secret Recipe Club!
Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes below!
I’ve always wanted to try making Christmas themed candies or confections, but I know it’s WAY too much sugar for me to handle by myself. Luckily, my work was doing an “Adopt a Family” thing and we were allowed to send along food gifts, so I got the best of both worlds – I got to make my candy and not feel obliged to eat it all.
Having never made chocolate bark before, I wanted to try it and make it as Christmas-y as possible. Normally I shy away from candy canes (a stick of sugar? No thanks! I’d rather have my sugar in baking or chocolate), but since these weren’t for me, I figured why not? The peppermint bark was especially delicious with the extra mint flavouring from the chocolate.
I wanted to make some kind of fudge, but didn’t have the time or inclination to make “real” fudge with a candy thermometer and temperamental sugar temperatures. So, I chose to make peanut butter fudge, which is incredibly simple. And tasty. I wish I could figure out a way to make it less sweet and healthier – but I guess that’s what the internet is for!
From the small tastings I had, both were incredibly delicious! I would definitely make both again – as long as I have plenty of people to share it with!
1 package of mint flavoured dark chocolate chips (if you can’t find these, normal dark chocolate chips & peppermint flavouring would work)
1 package white chocolate chips
4 – 6 peppermint candy canes
- Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (parchment paper would probably work, too).
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt dark chocolate chips. Pour onto lined cookie sheet and spread out.
- Place in fridge for 30 minutes or freezer for 15 minutes until solid.
- Meanwhile, place candy canes in a Ziploc bag and wack with a meat tenderizer or rolling-pin until small-sized chunks.
- Melt white chocolate chips and spread over the dark layer.
- Sprinkle with crushed candy canes and put back into the fridge or freezer.
- Once the bark is hard, remove from fridge/freezer. Peel foil off of bark.
- To prevent finger marks from getting on the bark, use a piece of foil. Holding edge of the bark in one hand, use a knife to stab at the bark, breaking it into pieces. This will ensure that the break is clean and looks like what broken up bark should.
- Store in the fridge if you have a warm house. If not, it should be fine being stored on the counter. I wrapped mine up in cellophane wrap tied with a ribbon. They looked pretty cute!
Peanut Butter Fudge
From The Joy of Cooking
1 1/2 c. smooth (non-natural) peanut butter – I used Kraft’s unsweetened peanut butter as this thing has enough sugar in it already!
1 1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
4 c. icing sugar, sifted
- Butter an 8×8″ pan.
- In a medium sauce pan, melt peanut butter and butter together Bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat and add salt and vanilla extract.
- Stir in icing sugar until smooth.
- Pour/scrape into buttered pan and smooth.
- Cover with plastic wrap and cool in fridge until hard.
- Slice and enjoy! I wrapped them in wax paper to give away.
What are your favourite Christmas Treats?