Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Low Carb Caramel Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered “Potato” Chips and Pretzels

New and exciting ice cream flavors are being developed constantly. However, most are unfeasible due to the carbohydrate content of one or more ingredients. Ben & Jerry’s came up with a unique flavor combination called Late Night Snack that features vanilla ice cream with a salted caramel swirl and chocolate covered potato chips. A sugar-free caramel swirl is impossible (for now) and potato chips? Are you kidding me? Still, the idea of combining salty and sweet is far too alluring to dismiss. Caramel ice cream can take the place of the swirls, but potato chips?!

I wasn’t trying to find a potato chip substitute when I picked up a bag of unsweetened coconut flakes. I saw a recipe for Sweet~N~Salty Coconut Chips and thought it would be an easy snack to make for a party. I didn’t expect that these could truly pass for potato chips, but as soon as I tried them, I realized that I was oh, so wrong! It was a few seconds later that I remembered that impossibly low carb potato chip ice cream flavor. Eureka! I can do this!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review: The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking

I found this lovely cookbook a while back and found it compelling enough to blog about. The authors provide recipes for low carb, gluten-free breads, rolls, pizzas, focaccias, crackers, breadsticks, pretzels, muffins, scones, pancakes, waffles, cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, and more. These concoctions are based on unique combinations of nut and seed flours. Most low carb recipes I’ve found on the Internet use almond, coconut flour, and occasionally ground flax seeds. This book will open you up to other possibilities such as hazelnut, sesame seed, and pecan to provide a more complex flavor and texture.

Book CoverThe authors give a great primer on why carbohydrates can be problematic for some people, in particular, diabetics. They provide lists of equipment, tools, and ingredients as well as baking techniques. I also like that they provide gram and ounce measurements. However, I found some of their volume to weight conversions off. I also had a bit of bad luck with their chocolate pie crust. I believe they specified way too much coconut flour, which made it very brittle. Nevertheless, the recipes in this book will inspire you to come up with new ideas for your own creations.

Truly low carb pretzels are not easy to find. I wanted to make some for an ice cream idea that’s been buzzing in my head. They came out pretty good, but please take my advice: Get real pretzel salt. I used salt flakes from a cheap plastic salt grinder and it was way too salty. I’m allergic to sunflower seeds, so I just doubled the sesame seed flour in the recipe and it worked out really well. Do keep an eye on your pretzels while baking in the oven since they can burn real easy.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Low Carb Chocolate Brownies

I’ve tried many different low carb brownie recipes using different kinds of ingredients in place of sugar and flour. My assessment after countless experiments is that they all suck. They always come out dry and crumbly. I came up with my recipe based on Alton Brown’s episode of Good Eats. Brownies can be made from cocoa or chocolate. The difference is that cocoa lacks fat, so extra butter is needed. Low carb cocoa brownies come out too dry in my experience. I opt for using unsweetened 100% cacao chocolate instead. There are a few other tricks I employ. I add blackstrap molasses for flavor and to increase moisture. I use powdered erythritol to give the mixture the “bulk” that the sugar would have provided. Vegetable glycerine also keeps the brownies moist. I add a tablespoon of honey substitute for flavoring and because it contains thickeners that helps the starch-free flour bind better. I use sifted Carbalose flour, not Carbquik. Carbquik contains baking powder, which is a no-no for brownies. What? Your mom always made brownies with baking powder? Those aren’t brownies. Those are chocolate cake squares masquerading as brownies! Anyway, if you don’t have Carbalose flour or want to avoid gluten, try something else like almond meal or ground up pecans.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Low Carb Lemon Meringue Ice Cream

LorAnn Oils makes a Lemon Custard flavoring for ice creams that’s screaming for something to pair with. I could have made a low carb pie crust to throw in the mix, but I wanted to try something else. I figured meringues might be a good match, so I decided to give them a go. Low carb meringues are pretty simple and straightforward. I found a good recipe on All Day I Dream About Food. They take a while to bake, so make sure you give yourself enough time. They have to completely dry out in a warm oven, which takes about 3 hours in total.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Low Carb Coconut Ice Cream with Saffron

David Lebovitz posted a recipe for Quick Coconut Ice Cream with Saffron on his website. For David, this is certainly a “quick” recipe since he’s not making a custard, straining liquids, etc. I don’t normally need to use a stove when making ice cream, so for me, I don’t consider it quick.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Daylight Saving Time is a good thing and you should stop complaining about it.

Like saturated fat, rock and roll music, and Saturday morning cartoons, Daylight Saving Time (DST) has been blamed for many of the world’s ills and the eventual downfall of western civilization. Take a look at its Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time. It’s been linked to increased heart attacks and suicides! I’m highly doubtful that these claims are correct, but I’m also skeptical of many of the alleged benefits, too. It probably won’t save us much energy or significantly improve public safety. So why should we keep setting our clocks back and forward?!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Low Carb Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered Fortune Cookies

There’s an ice cream shop called “The Charmery” in Baltimore, MD that has some interesting flavor combinations. One of them caught my attention when reading an online article: Chinese Food and a Movie:
David Alima, who co-owns the shop and makes the ice cream alongside his wife Laura, is Jewish, and, amidst the stollen bread and eggnog and candy-cane flavors, he noticed a distinct lack of a flavor for the Jewish world to feel nostalgic about. The Charmery offered jelly-doughnut ice cream for Hanukkah, so Alima figured he should make something to commemorate another special Jewish tradition: Chinese food and a movie on Christmas. Chinese Food and a Movie is a buttery popcorn ice cream with chunks of chocolate covered fortune cookies mixed in.