July 25, 2017

The Best Brownies (that also happen to be) Low Carb and Sugar Free

Yes I am FINALLY updating my site.  It's been awhile but we had a few things going on like the continued issues from a tree falling on our house, hosting a family reunion at our home for out of state extended relatives and more and more...  and that little thing called 'procrastination' was a huge part of it as well.

Today I logged in at least four times and never got around to actually accomplishing any updates.  And if you follow me on Twitter then you know I was procrastinating when I said I was going to go make brownies instead of updating my website.

Although I make a few different versions of low carb, sugar free brownies that are yummy - this is a super duper good version and I decided to hurry up and post it before I get busy procrastinating and it sits in my computer files with the other 45 recipes I 'never got around to' posting yet.

SO, brownies!  Brownies are so easy. So good. So quick. And almost everyone likes a good brownie - even those like me who are not fans of chocolate.  I don't like it, don't crave it and can live without it.  But... put a chewy, fudge brownie in front of me and I'll probably have at least one little one.  They smell amazing, taste great and are just a crowd pleaser.

I only bake the sugar free, no flour kind but brownies are so forgiving of almost anything you do to them and turn out fabulous no matter if you are substituting other ingredients or not.  (Except coconut flour...  a 'little dab will do ya' because that stuff makes everything soooo dry.  This particular recipe doesn't use any but if you decide to use some with your almond flour, only use about 1 or 2 tablespoons unless you LIKE a dryer, non fudgey more cake like brownie.  I don't.

Sugar Free and Flour Free (low carb) Brownies

1/2 c butter
8 oz. pkg. sugar free chocolate chips
3 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
3 eggs
2/3 c granulated sweetener of choice (like Ideal, etc.)
1/2 t vanilla
3/4 c almond flour

Grease or line a 9X9" pan with parchment paper or foil.  Melt the butter and chocolates in a microwave for about 1-2 minutes.  Do not over cook!  When the butter is melted and the chocolate chips are glossy and shiny and starting to be melty, remove the bowl and start to stir it.  The stirring motion will continue to melt the chocolate smooth.  Let it cool a few minutes, stir again to ensure it's smooth and all chocolate pieces are melted.  Add the vanilla and eggs.  Whisk briefly.  Add the sweetener and almond flour.  For best flavor I like to mix 2 or 3 sweeteners.  I like to mix Ideal and Truvia with a few drops of a liquid sucra product.  Stir briefly - don't over mix.

Pour into prepared pan and bake in a preheated oven at 325 for about 15-18 minutes until the edges look a bit puffed and done and are a small shade darker than the center but the center will still be a bit 'wet' - but not so wet it jiggles.  Overcooking a few minutes is a much better turn out than under cooking.  If you do undercook it and the center is too 'battery' this makes a GREAT ice cream topping.   I found about 18 minutes in my oven is about right.

Let cool completely then cut into squares.

Starting to stir the warm chocolate to melt smooth.....

 Smooth chocolate - cooled a couple minutes and ready to add the eggs

Don't over mix brownie batters....

Spread into a prepared pan....

Ready to bake!

Done! Center is set and not jiggly but still 'wet' and would stick to a knife if inserted


If you enjoy visiting An American Housewife, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon. - American Housewife at Amazon

You might also be interested in some of the products related to this post available to order through Amazon;

Ideal Sweetener
Just Like Sugar Sweetener
Rachel Ray 9" Non Stick Pan

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July 10, 2017

Homemade Samoa's or Caramel DeLites - (A Lower Carb and Sugar Free Samoa Option Too!)

This is my version of the Samoa's - otherwise known as Caramel DeLites - depending on what area of the country you live in and which bakery the Girl Scouts in your area use.  Our family eats sugar free most of the time so my version is sugar free, but you can make yours (and make them much easier) by using non-sugar free products.

Note for planning purposes:  These SEEM simple in concept but they are pretty labor productive and take about twice as long as you always think they will.  I also found it's easier to have a second person helping me when I get to the coconut caramel part so as I am piping or spreading the coconut filling on the cookies, they can press them and use a wooden spoon handle to make the hole in the centers.  I've done it myself but it really is faster if you just have a helper.

To make these completely homemade start with your favorite shortbread or butter cookie recipe.  I had flower shaped sugar-free, wheat free cookies in our freezer when I planned to make these but I ended up using them as a crust for a sugar free cheesecake.  When I made this batch yesterday I 'cut corners' by using some Murry brand sugar free cookies so that cut down the time needed to make my cookies from scratch.  If you don't need sugar free cookies as your base you might want to try Salerno Butter Cookies, or another brand of flower shaped cookies to cut down on the prep/bake/cool time needed for that step.

The other thing worth noting: the homemade caramel.   I need ours to be sugar free so I make it from scratch. You can use my recipe with regular brown sugar or white sugar and make your own caramel but another 'hack' would be to use about 12 ounces of store bought caramels that you melt with about 1 tablespoon of water over medium low on the stove top or in the microwave.  Just heat til it starts to melt, stir smooth. 

I also use sugar free chocolate chips of course - but for those making these not sugar free, just use regular chocolate chips of your choice.

Homemade Samoas or Caramel DeLites

1 1/2 cups melted store bought or homemade caramel
18-24 small flower shaped cookies homemade or bought
7 oz. coconut - unsweetened or sweetened depending on your needs/taste
1 pkg. chocolate chips
1 T coconut oil - solid or shortening

Lay your cookies down on foil.
Place an additional piece of foil off to the side to put your cookies after dipping the bottoms in chocolate.  You can use a cookie cooling rack if you want or just lay them on the foil direct.
Melt or make your caramel** to equal about 1 1/2 cups caramel (12 ounces).
Stir the coconut into the caramel sauce.  Working while it's warm, top each cookie with a spread of caramel coconut mixture.  You can do this with a butter knife, small spatula, an empty frosting decorator bag without a tip in it, etc. depending on stiff or runny your filling is.  Sometimes it's thicker than other times.  Do what works best.
If you wish (you don't have to) you can use the end of a wooden spoon handle to make the hole in the center of the filling after you've placed it on the cookie.
When you are all done, melt the chocolate chips with a bit of coconut oil or shortening.  Only melt JUST until it starts to melt - stirring to finish the melt process and get it smooth.  Don't over cook it or use too high heat as chocolate burns and seizes up solid. 
When it's smooth, dip the bottoms of each of the cookies into the chocolate and lay them on the rack or the foil to harden.
When you are finished dipping the bottoms, use a fork or ziplock baggy to drizzle the rest of the melted chocolate chips back and forth over the tops of the cookies.  Either place them into the fridge or freezer to harden "faster" or if it's a really hot and humid day; or just let them set for a few hours until the chocolate hardens.

**If you are making homemade sugar free caramel from my recipe link, be sure to cook it just until little brown flakes of 'burnt butter' start on the bottom of the pan to give it a nice dark caramel color and taste.  Not cooking it long enough makes it more of a butter toffee.  I also found adding a 'smidgen' of molasses to it helps bring it to 'caramel' instead of toffee.  I also use about 1/8 xanthan gum to each 2/3 cup sweetener to thicken it to a caramel instead of a sauce or ice cream topping.  Remember your caramel can be a little liquidy as the coconut is going to be mixed into it and that will firm it up. 

Faster than homemade cookies bases:  store bought

Homemade caramel sauce - you can also use store bought caramels

Stirring in the unsweetened coconut - you can also use regular sweetened coconut

Depending on how liquidy your caramels are, determines how firm the filling gets. Work while it's warm.

Top the cookies - a 2nd person helping make holes makes swift work of this step

I use about 3/4 of a bag of chocolate chips and about a tablespoon of coconut oil

I hate dipping cookies and candies... I really do.

Drizzle chocolate back and forth over the tops

Let them harden or pop them into the freezer to speed the process

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July 04, 2017

Easy, Quick Comfort Foods: Chicken & Noodles in a crock pot (a Grandma recipe!)

This an old 'Grandma' recipe.  It's completely not healthy (carby because of the pasta) and it has sodium due to the cans of cream of chicken soup and chicken broth... but it is SO good and SO easy and SO comforting that I don't care.  It was exactly what my body and mind needed and craved yesterday. 

I saw this old recipe in a random old 'newsletter' put out by a utility company years ago.  It had a picture with it and when I saw it, my mouth started to water.  I knew exactly what it would smell like and taste like.  I suddenly craved this salty, carby goodness so much I could not stop thinking about it.  I glanced at the ingredients list and chuckled to myself.  It just so happened I had ingredients in my pantry to make it - even though I rarely have Cream of Chicken soup on hand, I had randomly bought 2 cans over the past year for some reason and they were in my pantry at this very second. 

The recipe only has 5 ingredients and you can substitute a few things if you wish.  I make my own chicken broth but if you are the sort who purchases broth, you could get low sodium to cut back if you wish.  Egg noodles are perfect in this dish but we only have the easily digestible Dreamfields pasta on hand - so i used rotini and tortellini.  Lastly, I didn't want to use chicken breast, I wanted to 'up' the flavor even more by using my  homemade chicken and spinach sausage so that is why my photos show chunks of spinach/chicken instead of pieces or shreds of regular chicken breasts.   Play with the recipe if you must but don't mess with it too much.  Adding more seasonings actually ruins it - the same as too many ruin a good homemade chicken soup.  

Chicken & Noodles in the Crock Pot

4 chicken breasts or equivalent (I used my homemade chicken, spinach sausage)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
7 c chicken broth
3/4 stick butter
1 t pepper
1 lb. dry egg noodles

Put everything but the noodles into a crockpot and cook on low about 6 hours or high about 2-3.  Add the noodles and cook 1 more hour.  Serve hot.


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July 03, 2017

Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cookies Using Almond Flour and Peanut Flour

This is one of those things I made weeks ago and it's sat in my files because I simply don't have the time to post.  Life has certainly been throwing us curve after curve over the past 6 weeks or so.  Non stop - and I don't dare ask "What next!?" because I'm sure there will be something and it won't be positive!   

When I made these peanut butter cookies I had just one thing in mind.  I wanted to use peanut flour to make them.
When I originally started to make them I had in mind that old 'children's' recipe where you use a cup of peanut butter, a cup of sugar and an egg - roll into balls, squash with a fork and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  I thought to myself I could tweak it to use peanut flour and of course we don't usually bake with sugar so it would be a natural sweetener instead.  

My taste tests and dough tests meant I kept adding things to give it the taste I wanted and the texture I needed so in the end it had a few more ingredients including prepared peanut butter because it gave it the taste I wanted and I added whey protein powder and oat fiber (finely ground oatmeal)  to give it the texture needed to come together as a dough.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Low Carb & Sugar Free

1/2 c butter
1 c natural sweetener equal to brown sugar
1 c natural sweetener equal to granulated white sugar
10 drops liquid sweetener
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
2 c good quality peanut flour
1 1/2 c water
1 T honey (I used sugar free substitute)
1 c oat fiber
1 c almond flour
1 c peanut butter
1/3 c whey protein powder (zero carb, zero sugar) - USE IF YOU NEED TO THICKEN TO DOUGH CONSISTANCY

In a bowl, mix all ingredients.  If your dough is too wet, add whey protein powder and mix in until it comes together as a dough.  You could also use additional almond flour or maybe even more peanut flour I imagine.  You just want a good dough texture.  Form small balls 1-2 inches and press flat twice with a fork to make the cross pattern.  Bake on parchment lined sheet at 350 about 12 minutes until the edges start to brown and they are firm.  Almond flour cookies sometimes take longer to bake so watch them and test them.  Let cool 3-4 minutes on the pan to firm a little and then carefully move to cool complete on racks.

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