Dairy-free Hard Sauce

Who doesn’t like sweet things and who doesn’t like whiskey? Did somebody say HARD SAUCE?

I was looking for something else when I ran across this recipe. It’s too weird and interesting to not share! I try to avoid citrus and nightshades as auto-immune triggers but I try to avoid DAIRY as well. Choose your poison.

Sugar and whiskey aren’t good for me but my reactions aren’t any worse than other peoples’ which is saying something for me, the Canary in a Coal mine. (for links and reference, not content of that post)

Adapted From More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally: Sin-Sational Sumptuous Treats By Fran Costigan

  • 2C apple or pear juice
  • 1/2C soya milk
  • 1-2T whiskey
  • 2T arrowroot powder
  • 2T orange juice
  • 2t vanilla extract
  • 1t almond extract
  • 1/2t orange extract

Please note the differences between T and t.

Bring juice to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to 1C. Lower heat, add soya. Simmer additional 2-3 minutes.

Mix arrowroot (thickener) in orange juice (you’ll remember this has to be done cold). Add, stirring constantly to simmering juice/ soya til it comes to a boil.

Immediately remove from heat upon boil and add extracts and whiskey, stirring only once and STOP  (think making boxed Jello Pudding dessert if you’re unfamiliar with making gravies, etc.).

Allow to cool several hours and give a stir before pouring over whatever dessert.

Pretty interesting, isn’t it?


chicken breasts, white wine reduction

As usual, I cook with what I have. This is ended up as chicken fillets on a bed of arugula and baby spinach. There are carrots (yellow variety), mushrooms (portabello pieces) and pearl onions. The sauce is white wine (alcohol is cooked out), lime and cilantro. It’s amazing. My idea was wine/ lime as “acid” and EVOO as fat to top a salad (with protein and other yum).

This is one of my less healthy selections due to the higher amount of fat used but my taste-testers said you’d expect to pay a lot of money in a restaurant for this kind of flavor. 🙂

It all started when I was going to eat a salad. I eat 1-2 salads most days. Often, they’re basically a bed of greens with some kind of protein tossed on top. I was going to grill a fillet of tilapia but then had a thought:

I have a very CHEAP bottle of local wine (a gift, I’m not a wine drinker, although I spent my formative, young adult years working in France, where wine is drunk at two meals a day AND I live in a wine-producing area in the US). If I’m going to drink wine by choice (a rarity, since I prefer whiskey), it’s a dry red. This was a “doux,” white wine. I kept it rather than re-gifting because it was simply too cheap! I figured that I’d cook with it “one day” and this was that day.

I prepped the chicken for sautéing by sitting on paper towels (to dry), salting and peppering both sides. Then, I dredged them in almond flour (gluten-free restriction — it’s an excellent choice for non-dietary restrictions who can have tree nuts because it imparts a LOVELY sweetness!).

In a large sauté pan, place some EVOO and cook onions, carrots and mushrooms (salted and peppered). Then, add about 1/2C white wine (I used a mug, which is larger than 8oz, so perhaps closer to 6oz?) and increase heat to high to bring to a boil. When the wine had reduced to about 1/2, add a couple of T EarthBalance Buttery Spread (dairy-free) and reduce heat. Last step is add about 1T lime juice and 1T finely chopped cilantro. Remove and pour veg/ wine/ sauce in a cup (keep warm).

Clean pan and add fresh EVOO to hot/ ready to fry but not smoking (never allow EVOO to smoke–I mention this as my heat was too high and I had to dump the oil and wipe out my pan–boo!). Place chicken fillets in pan and allow to cook. Typically, when top begins looking bloody (red) and edges appear almost golden, you’re getting close. I was always taught to LEAVE frying foods alone (you’ll knock off the dredged “flour” and then your “pretty” crust is gone) but I usually mess this up, checking with a fork, sneaking a peak). Turn over and finish cooking. It’s done when a fork pokes easily (obviously, no blood comes out).

Remove (mine didn’t drip/ drain as they weren’t deep-fat fried) and place on greens (this will cause some wilting, which I enjoy). Pour warm sauce over OR I drained fat from pan and re-added sauce to pan with sticky bits of almond flour and mixed them in (yummy, fried goodness!). Then, I topped chicken with sauce.

The Best Cake I’ve Ever Made

(yet it’s GF, dairy-free & sugar-free)

I can live the rest of my life only making this cake (if I manage to create it in other “saveurs” like lemon, vanilla…). It’s Every.Kind.Of.Awesome.

It’s a Honeycake and if you don’t like the taste of honey, enjoy the rest of your day (except maybe when I share Gram’s Mocha Frosting recipe below).

It’s Dairy-free, Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free (if you don’t count the frosting–it doesn’t need a frosting).

The cake, however, is a combination of Lily’s Bakery and skiving from gluten-free sites. I used to make plain Honeycakes but haven’t in awhile. I’m telling you: if you make this cake and present it to somebody (who likes the taste of honey), you needn’t tell them what went into it. They’ll NEVER KNOW that it’s practically healthy. That said, of course it’s not HEALTHY. It’s CAKE!

Lily’s Best-Ever Honeycake:

•15 oz cooked black beans (I used a tin, which had been salted–if you use unsalted, add salt to help “sweeten” — preferably, make your own beans but erm, I had these)

YES, I said black beans!

•5 eggs (3, then 2)
•1T vanilla
•6T coconut oil (if unfamiliar, it’s sold in a tub at better stores or online; I got mine at Whole Foods). It imparts a bit of flavor but also is Magic. Coconut oil has many healthy properties (especially for those of us with genetic predisposition to high cholesterol: hello HAPPY FATS!) but also it has a HIGH HEAT tolerance that makes it excellent.

.5C honey (again, I like to use “local” which to me means MO/ IL
•6T Dutched baking cocoa powder (plus some for dusting pan)
•1t baking powder
•.5t baking soda

As usual, mix dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl to the side.

Blend/ food process RINSED AND STRAINED black beans til completely smooth with 3 eggs and vanilla. You don’t want anybody finding a bean “skin.”

Mix/ cream (I use a stand mixer): coconut oil and honey, then add remaining eggs. When done, add blended bean-batter, again, til completely mixed. Gradually add in dry ingredients (in case you’ve never baked like this before, NEVER dump in dry ingredients: you will asphyxiate yourself and make an even bigger mess). Scrape down sides of mixing bowl (usually, there’s a ring of dry) and then beat on high til completely mixed. Batter will be WET.

This batter is VERY STICKY (hi, “honey!”). In addition to your usual greased/ dusted pan, you’re going to line and GREASE parchment paper ring at bottom. I used an Anchor Hocking glass 9″ casserole with handles (a helpful addition!). I used spray “Pam” oil to grease, then used quite a lot of CAROB POWDER (naturally, I didn’t measure). You may use your cocoa powder. Here’s why: you’re using cocoa/ carob rather than “flouring” your pan as this is a dark chocolate item. Flour will look like crap. Cocoa does the same but without unsightly “white.”

I used carob powder: a) truth be told, I had EXACTLY the right amount of cocoa for ONE cake and ONE bowl of frosting b) carob powder is lovely–if you like it; it’s low fat, high fibre BUT it’s higher in carbs/ natural sugars, so if dealing with low carb/ diabetic person, warm them or don’t use! c) carob powder CANNOT be used as an alternate; we can only substitute up to 1/4 in a recipe, in this case, I was only using it for “dusting.” No big whoop.

Pour into uber-prepped pan and smack down on counter several times to remove air bubbles. I only got a few, probably because I blended this sooooo well.

AWESOME Fudge Honeycake

Bake in preheated 325-350F oven (know your oven, mine runs “cold,” so I baked at 350F. I mention this because I’ve had issues with Honeycakes scorching a bit in other ovens at “too high” a heat. You may do better on the lower end. I need the higher end with this oven. My old oven, it would’ve been lower.

I baked this about on hour, which is normal for me and Honeycakes. It’s good to check it at 40-45 minutes. Mine was still “sloshy” at that point but it had risen and begun to crack around edge (good things–also mind that it’s not scorching! That honey’s a “bear”). Rather than the normal toothpick check, I used the grab-by-handles and check sloshiness plus lightly touch top of cake tests. You want no sloshing (this should be obvious) and “springiness” to touch (and no scortch–she keeps saying this, it must be Important).

Done! Sit on cooling rack for 10 or more minutes (to touch). In the past, I’ve used my hand (oy!) to turn out cake but this time, I used a plate, which deflated the “rise” a bit. It probably would’ve been fine to use my Old Lady Hand Skills but I’d never used BEANS in a cake before and didn’t want a trip to hospital. When you turn it out, immediately right it again on cooling rack OR plate you will later serve it on. I used a plate and sat that on the cooling rack.

Either allow to reach room temp (it’s SO moist, you can serve this as tea cake without frosting) and then wrap OR start making your frosting! Mine was so moist, I didn’t even WRAP it. I left it on the plate in the fridge (a known “dehydrator”) for 2 days. It’s still delectable.

Gram’s Mocha Frosting:

bon appetit

This frosting is a part of my soul. As a child, Gram raised me! She’d make “devil’s food cupcakes with mocha frosting.” I can still see her licking the spoon with one hand as she handed a cupcake down to me, clinging to her knees. She has been gone a long, long time. I miss her everyday. Even my father daren’t say squat about Gram’s frosting! (And it’s his deceased MIL!)

  • “enough” SOFTENED Earthbalance Buttery Spread (or butter) to frost one cake. I used about what I thought would frost the cake — “about” because I’m going to add ingredients)
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • “enough” powdered sugar to perfectly “cream” above (a lot like the batter recipe, this is the sweetener and fat part of recipes)
  • 1 shake salt
  • 5-8T cocoa (start with 5, continue ferociously mixing into above)1-2T soy or almond milk (unsweetened is always best to use when cooking/ baking as the sweetened/ flavored versions go wonky when heated–although you’re not heating this…still. Just use unsweetened)
  • instant espresso or coffee crystals to taste (I used 1t, which may be too strong for many–but I love it!)

SNIFF! Gram’s Mocha frosting in one of Gram’s bowls

Note: these last dry and wet ingredients are given as __-__ because it depends on how dry or wet your mixture is. If it’s too dry, add wet. If it’s too wet, add dry.* In a SMALL recipe like this, be delicate with amounts. “You can always add-to but you cannot take-away.” (I told you this is what I learned from Gram!)

Cream/ mix/ stir like mad til smooth, then frost your COOLED Honeycake (are cupcakes, whatever). If your cake still has a teensy bit of residual heat (like mine did) the frosting will “sink” and sort of melt in, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s just not quite frosted. I so.didn’t.care. I’m all about taste over presentation. This is why I’ll forever be a “home” cook and never a famous one!

* Lily’s Theory of Doughs and Batters

“Tropical” (rather than chocolate) Honeycake:

•replace black beans with navy beans

•replace 1T of vanilla extract with 1T lemon, 1T orange & 1T coconut extracts (I realize this adds 2T of liquid)

•to batter, add 2T unsweetened coconut shreds and about 2T coconut flour

•as with mocha frosting, it’s SUGAR AND FAT! You cannot excuse this as a “healthy” cake, although it’s still healthier than the crap you get anywhere else! These cakes are extremely moist (honeycakes always are). You don’t need frosting but if you want it, make it as above but leave out chocolate and coffee. Instead, use coconut extract and a pinch of coconut shreds

Rock on!