Gluten-free Sweet Potato Brownie Loaf

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I’ve been on quite a hiatus from Linseeds. That’s what happens when a new semester starts up simultaneously with a new 9-5 non-academic job.  While I’ve been doing plenty of cooking, baking and experimenting, I just haven’t had the energy to try and remember if I tossed in 1/4 tsp of this and 1 tbsp of that, or vice versa.

I knew I needed something spectacular to make a decent food blogger comeback.  This Gluten-free Sweet Potato Loaf fits the bill nicely.  I’ve been thinking about chocolatey loaves since getting this month’s Bon Appétit on my doorstep.  It included a recipe for Gluten-Free Chocolate Tea Cake.  I’m sure it’s scrumptious, but it looks like a lot of effort is needed to achieve a delicate texture (whipping egg whites is involved).  In contrast, there’s no need to worry about this loaf sticking together thanks to seasonal sweet potato.  Yes, that’s right, sweet potato.

When it comes to brownies, I usually favour chewy over gooey, but somehow, this loaf hits just the right balance of incredibly moist and airy—almost mousse-like—with serious richness.  It’s a texture I’ve never quite experienced before.  Give it a go, and let me know what you think.  One thing is certain: it will satisfy even the strongest chocolate craving.

Gluten-free Sweet Potato Brownie Loaf

You’ll need:

  •  1 medium-sized sweet potato, peeled and sliced (approx. 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 100g bar of dark chocolate (at least 70%)
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (divided)
  • cocao nibs for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a steaming basket, steam sweet potato until tender.  The thinner you’ve sliced it, the faster this will be. Set aside and let cool – approx. 10min.

While sweet potato is cooling, add almond flour, cane sugar, and baking powder to a mixing bowl.  Stir to combine.

In a small blender, purée steamed sweet potato with 1/4 cup milk.  You should have almost 1 1/2 cups of purée.

In a small saucepan, slowly melt chocolate (broken into squares) with remaining 1/4 cup milk.  When fully melted, remove from heat and set aside momentarily.

While the chocolate cools slightly, add in eggs, puréed sweet potato and almond extract and blend to combine.  Slowly pour in chocolate mixture and blend until smooth.

Pour batter evenly into a greased loaf pan and top with cocoa nibs and an additional sprinkling of can sugar, if desired. Place in oven for approx. 1hr.  Remove from oven when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean with a few moist crumbs and the surface is cracked throughout.

Let cool fully before slicing.  Note that as it cools, the loaf will collapse slightly.

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Heirloom Tomato and Peach Salad (GF)

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Last summer I noticed a ton of tomato and peach salads floating around the internet.  Is the tomato/peach combo still a thing?  If not, let’s bring it back.  It just works so well.  Ditto for the inclusion of balsamic vinegar into the mix.

Really, you could just slice a bunch of farm fresh tomatoes and peaches, and toss ’em in a bowl with a drizzle of balsamic.  Anyone would be pleased.  If you want to take things up half a notch however, see the recipe below.
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Peach-Berry Cornbread Buckle

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Desserts with summer fruit can be terribly confusing things.  I always thought very highly of myself for knowing the difference between a crisp, cobbler and a crumble (or so I thought).  I had in mind to make a simple cornbread with peaches, that was, until Food 52 informed me that I was really making a buckle.  Taking this Blackberry Cornbread Buckle as my guide into unknown baking territory, I present to you this love child of cornmeal, dough and fruit, for which “buckle” is the most appropriate name.  However, it’s still not quite a buckle in the truest sense because no one has time to put a streusel topping on everything that calls one.

Whatever it is, it’s tasty.  I promise you that.
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Smokey Soba Noodle Bowl (GF)

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This is the second soup I’ve made based on a stock in Mark Bittman’s Simple Stocks for Soup on the Fly feature.  I promise it is, indeed, both simple and super fast.

I think I might be addicted to this organic lapsang souchong.  It’s a rich wood-smoked black tea.  The ginger and peppercorns in this recipe lend a subtle bite to the soup while still allowing you to taste the sweeter notes of the tea.

I honestly had my doubts about whether all of these flavours would work together—the smokey/spicy/slightly sweet broth along with meaty portobello mushrooms and nutty soba noodles.  It turns out that the depth of each of these flavours allows them to blend wonderfully.
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Upside Down Lemon Loaf


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I fell in love with roasted lemons as soon I heard about them.  What I never felt a particular affinity for, however, was upside down cake.  Usually featuring pineapple, there’s something rather tacky about full fruit rings baked into the surface of a cake.  Why not load the thing up with fruit all the way through?!

This lemon loaf has solved all of my issues with the vintage dessert.  With plenty of lemon juice and zest right in the batter, and very thin slices of whole lemon to maintain a slightly bitter flavour contrast, there’s much more going on here than glommed on fruit rings.
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Sweet Corn Amaranth (Vegan/GF)

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Amaranth really effectively absorbs flavour.  Corn, as I discovered by a happy accident with some roasted potatoes and lots of lemon, also absorbs a ton of flavour.  Amaranth + corn = a flavour burst of whatever you choose to cook it in.  That was the logic that went into this versatile side dish.  It may seem like a bizarre ratio of vegetables to grain, but hey, summer’s almost over and so are the days of produce stands lined with fresh corn.

I cheat a little bit to decrease cooking times.  I find no difference in the end result if I boil the water first and then add the amaranth, or heat it all together.  This recipe easily makes enough for two side dishes in only 15 minutes.  If you want to increase the yield, plan for longer cooking times.
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Dark and Fruity Muffins

IMG_1121My current kitchen is about 7ft wide—divided equally between my fridge, oven and smurf-sized countertop/sink.  Definitely inadequate for someone who actually cooks dinner on occasion, let alone someone whose procrastination method of choice is baking cookies (#gradlife?).  I do my chopping on a vintage school desk I found at an antique shop, which happens to be incredibly sturdy, but also two feet too low.

Thankfully, I just signed a new lease!  On June 15th, I’ll be leaving the West End of Toronto where I’ve been for the past three years and venturing all the way to East York, near Donlands Station, specifically.  Setting aside my irrational fear of leaving West End life behind, I’m incredibly excited about my new kitchen that not only has an adult-size span of counter surfaces, but an island to boot!
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Beet Salad with Sunflower Seed Pesto (Vegan/GF)

IMG_0910I’m completely smitten with this pesto. In fact, feel free to ignore the salad part of this salad recipe entirely and just smother it on whatever veggies you have on hand.  I’ve already spread it on a rye bread sandwich, tossed it with some roasted butternut squash, and have some gnocchi in the fridge just waiting to be slathered in it.

Really, is there anything you can’t pesto-up?
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