Lemon Chia Seed Blueberry Bread {dairy-free}

I made this delicious quick bread last Sunday during nap time, and it was gobbled up before work on Monday.  The chia seeds are a nice swap for butter and the typical poppy seeds.  The almond yogurt replaces the need for milk or sour cream, and the blueberries and lemon complement each other perfectly.  

Be sure to mix the 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 1/2 cup of water in advance – at least 2 hours.  This gives the seeds time to do their magic and gel.  If you prefer to mix them in advance, just cover and store in the fridge.

The fresh blueberries and lemon flavor create a nice balance of sweet and tart.  I like to keep dried lemon peel around – I never know when I’ll need it and I am not always great about keeping fresh lemons in the house, as much as I adore lemons.

The batter is a lovely golden color.

This bread shapes nicely and looks no different than bread made with dairy.  You will, however, noticed that the bread is slightly denser and moister than quick bread made with dairy.  Do not under bake this bread – be sure to check with a knife or toothpick, even if your timer has run out.  Enjoy!

Lemon Chia Seed Blueberry Bread – makes 1 loaf

1. At least 2 hours prior to baking, combine 1/2 cup water with 1 tablespoon chia seeds.  Allow to stand at room temperature.  If preparing the day before, cover and place in refrigerator.

2. Grease with margarine, and lightly flour a loaf pan.  Preheat oven to 325º.  In a medium bowl combine: 1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda and set aside.

3. In a medium mixing bowl or with mixing stand, beat together 1 cup sugar, prepared chia seed mixture, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, zest of 1 lemon OR 2 teaspoons dried lemon peel, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  Add in 3 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape bowl frequently.  Alternately add flour mixture and 6 oz of almond yogurt to the chia mixture, beating on low speed after each addition, just till combined.  Scrape sides frequently.  Fold in 1 cup of fresh blueberries.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

4. Bake in a 325º oven for 60 to 75 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely before slicing.

{butter-free} Chewy Chia Brownies

I made these delectable treats yesterday afternoon – I had been reading about using chia seeds as a replacement in baking for butter due to their ability to gel.  I had never baked with chia seeds before and was, admittedly, a little nervous.  However, the results were pleasantly chewy and most of a 9×13″ pan of brownies are gone.

 

In order to use chia seeds as a butter or gluten replacement, they must be mixed with water.  It is only then that these little super seeds begin their gelling magic.

These lovely little seeds are from South America and were part of ancient Aztecs and Mayans diets.  They can be eaten as they are, sprinkled on oatmeal or in yogurt, added to smoothies, and used in baking.  They have are high in Omega-3 and fiber.  They are best kept in the refrigerator or freezer, once opened.  1 tablespoon of these little guys has 60 calories, 40 from fat, 5g of fiber, 2, 282 mg of Omega-3, 6% daily recommended calcium, and 4% daily recommended iron.  (Source: Bob’s Red Mill, chia seed label)

Now, let’s compare the 1/2 cup of butter needed to make brownies, which has 814 calories, 92.06 g of fat, 244 mg cholesterol, and 3% daily recommended calcium. (Source: Fatsecret, USDA calorie counter)

Not bad, not bad, little seed.

I simply soaked my chia seeds in water for an hour before using, and then combined them with the liquid ingredients.  My next steps are to try grinding the seeds before soaking to make a more even texture.  There is a little crunch to these brownies, which did not bother me one bit, I likened it to small nut pieces.

I opted for whole wheat pastry flour.  I have been using this as a swap for white all-purpose flour quite a bit lately and have been liking the results.  Next time I make these brownies they will be gluten-free.  I am sure the chia seeds will work wonders in gluten-free flour.
Note: I made a large batch, but the recipe below can easily be reduced by half to make a smaller batch, just simply use an 8×8″ or 9×9″ pan instead.
Butter-Free Chewy Chia Browniesadapted Better Homes & Gardens
1. In a small bowl combine: 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons chia seeds.  Allow to soak for 1-2 hours before using.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×12″ glass pan with margarine.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl combine: 1-1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 cups sugar, and 4 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder.
3.  In a medium mixing bowl combine: 4 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and the chia seed and water mixture.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Pour in liquid ingredients, combine just till moistened.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or till knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Blossoms

I recently made these cookies for the holidays – the nice thing is I was able to share them with three sets of gluten-free people.  Having friends, family, and colleagues who are gluten-free means experimenting with different recipes and ingredients frequently.

 

For this recipe, I used the Bob’s Red Mill all purpose baking flour.  It’s made with garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, whole grain sweet white sorghum flour, and fava bean flour.  
 
The suggestion on the bag of flour said to use xantham gum as a binding agent, however, with the use of eggs and peanut butter, it wasn’t necessary.  
Be sure and unwrap the chocolates before your cookies come out of the oven, you want to make sure the cookies are still warm when you press the chocolates into the center.  (I’m saving my foil wrappers for paper making projects!)
Gluten-free Peanut Butter Blossoms
 
1. In a large mixing bowl beat: 1/2 cup butter or margarine and 1/2 cup peanut butter on low for 30 seconds.  Add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl.  Beat in 1 egg, 2 tablespoons milk or milk alternative, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until combined.  Beat in as much of 1-3/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour* as you can.  Any remaining flour stir in with wooden spoon.
2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll balls in the 1/4 cup granulated sugar.  Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are form and bottoms are lightly browned.  Immediately press a chocolate star or kiss into the center of each cookie.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
Makes 54 cookies.
* Note: if you want to make this recipe without gluten-free flour, simply substitute regular all-purpose flour for the gluten-free flour.

Dairy Free Buttermilk

I love baking.  I try to keep it as dairy-free as possible for the lactose intolerant people in my life (including me to a small degree).  Milk is the number 1 pain-inducer for me, so we made the switch to soy milk years back.  Eventually we found our way to almond milk, which in my opinion has a far superior taste.  Did you know you can make your own buttermilk from any dairy-free milk replacement?  

 All you need is your dairy-free milk and either lemon juice or vinegar.

Put 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar into a glass measuring cup.  Pour enough dairy-free milk in to fill to 1 cup.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes before using in a recipe.  Enjoy!