Wheat & Gluten-Free: Serious Consideration

Coconut-Chocolate Gluten-Free Pound Cake

Okay, I’ve been reading and listening to discussions about wheat and its connection to neuron damage.  Neuron damage is not easily detected and involves a slow degenerative process that may have a connection to Alzheimer’s disease.

We know that excessive consumption of sugar and flour (includes pasta, rice, fruits and high glycemic vegetables) leads to many diseases that make themselves known via signals from the body, however diseases of the brain are often revealed more subtly.

I have been a bread lover from way back and recently have been noticing incidences of brain fog.

A book titled, Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter, discusses the connection between wheat and the onset of Alzheimer’s due to the damage that a diet containing an excess of gluten has on neuron cells.

Damage to neurons is very serious as they are not easily replaced.  And oftentimes we cannot “feel” this damage physically until too late.

The chemistry of the body is very complex which is why we are fed easy-to-understand concepts such as low-fat diets being beneficial for optimum health.

My investigation continues…

It’s time to take gluten free/wheat free baking in a more determined direction.

I baked this cake using an original recipe from Bon Appetit.com.  It calls for white flour.  I was unsatisfied with the result as it was way too light to be considered a “pound cake”.  I re-baked it and added cream cheese and a gluten-free flour mixture and the result was much closer to a pound cake consistency.

Here’s the recipe.

Coconut-Chocolate Gluten-Free Pound Cake

Ingredients

Creaming
4 T butter, softened
½ C coconut oil, softened
4 T cream cheese
1 ¼ C sugar

2 eggs
1 t vanilla

Dry
Gluten-free Flour Mix
½ C brown rice flour
½ C white rice flour
¼ C tapioca starch
¼ C almond flour
1 t guar gum

1 t salt
¾ t baking powder (gluten-free)
½ C unsweetened cocoa powder

Wet
1/3 C plain yogurt
1/3 C milk

Topping
¼ C sweetened or unsweetened coconut flakes

Process:  combine your flours and all other dry ingredients and mix well then set aside; combine the yogurt and milk and mix well; cream the butter, oil, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy; add the eggs and vanilla and continue to mix for another 3 minutes; add the dry and wet mixtures to the creamed mixture and mix well (no gluten to overwork in this recipe, okay to mix); pour batter into prepared pan; add the coconut flakes evenly over the top of the batter and bake at 325F for about 40 minutes or when cake tester comes out clean.

Notes:  I have baked this again since writing this post and added 1 teaspoon of freeze-dried coffee to the dry ingredients and used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour ready mixed baking flour.  The result was improved further!

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Peach Patience

Peachy Health Scones

Peachy Healthy

The true colors of summer…

Peachy Healthy

Mmmm… out of the oven and into…

Peachy Healthy

The beauty of the peach!

Peachy Healthy

This is the result of the shortening added to the dry ingredients. The “small peas” look.

Peachy Healthy

Chopped fresh peaches to be added to the scone mixture.

Peach season has me going peach crazy.  I could not remember when I had a fresh, good peach last.  My patience was rewarded because this summer brought many my way!  Yay!

The following scone recipe was requested and since it is peach season, I added the peach to this recipe.  If you do not have access to fresh peaches, canned or frozen will work or you can bake these scone without peaches.

Peachy Health Scones with Rolled Oats and Coconut Oil

Ingredients

Wet
¼ C almond milk
1 egg
1/3 C plain Greek, non-fat yogurt
1 t vanilla or almond extract
2 peaches, skin and pit removed

Dry
1/2 – 3/4 C white flour
1 C rolled oats
1 C whole wheat flour
1 T organic sugar
2 T ground flax seed
2 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 t lemon zest

Shortening
3 T unsalted butter, chilled
3 T coconut oil, chilled

Add-In’s
2-3 peaches, skin and pit removed, and chopped
¼ C sunflower seeds or slivered almonds

Other ideas for add-in’s: 1 C blueberries, your favorite jam (watch the sugar content)

Process:

  1. Mix the wet ingredients using a blender to liquefy the peaches then set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients including the lemon zest.

  3. “Cut in” the butter and coconut oil into the dry mixture; the final result will resemble small peas (see image above). You can use a cheese grater or a fork.

  4. Mix in the sunflower seeds or almonds and the chopped peaches.

  5. Slowly add the wet blended mixture making the flour mixture wet enough to form it into a ball, you may have some left over as the rolled oats contain moisture.

  6. Roll out onto a floured surface and knead a couple of times.

  7. Form into a rectangle about 3/4″ thick then cut into portion sizes yielding about 8 or 10 scones.

  8. Place on a prepared cookie sheet and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to chill the fat in the scones.

  9. Brush with the remaining wet blended mixture similar to an “egg wash” then place into a 400 F oven and bake for about 15 minutes then turn down to 325 F to continue baking.

Peachy Healthy

Craved grilled peaches but lack a grill…

Peachy Healthy

Added a bit of cinnamon-sugar to these “grilled” peaches.