Anyone have syrup?

Pin It DLD: Anyone Want Syrup
Dinner in the Life of a Dad—Coconut Flour Waffles. My kids can't get enough of these!

Um, hi everybody. So, um, sorry that I haven't written anything in a long time. Would you believe me if I said I was busy? No? Oh well. Even if you don't believe me, I promise that I have been really busy—work has been crazy and there's been a lot going on at home, and I just haven't been able to dedicate the time to writing.

But never fear, for I have another post for you all, and it's one that has been often requested by people whose lives have been affected by CSID. Today's recipe, if you weren't able to deduce it from the title of the post, is for waffles. Yes, I will share with you my recipe for low-carb, CSID-friendly waffles. My son Jayson loves these, and Samantha has even said that they aren't at all bad. Okay, fine, they're pretty good considering that they contain no grains whatsoever.

What is great about this recipe is that it is easily scaled up or down depending on how many waffles you want to make.

Pizza-style scrambled eggs

Pin It
I realize I lost some of you already once you saw the title of this post, but bear with me and I will share with you a deliciously different way to prepare your morning eggs.

Moreover, depending on which brand of pizza sauce you use (I like Great Value), this recipe is CSID friendly. Jayson has eggs almost every day for breakfast, and this is his favorite way to have eggs. I have never seen him turn pizza eggs down, especially if I cut it into wedges for him like a real pizza.

Anyway, this is surprisingly tasty. I would even eat it, and not only if I had to, even though I don't really like scrambled eggs. "You do not like them/so you say./Try them! Try them!/And you may./Try them and you may I say," (Green Eggs and Ham, Dr Seuss).

Oh, by the way, this recipe can easily be scaled up or down as you like, although I wouldn't really recommend scaling too far down.

Chocolate lovers cupcakes and frosting

Pin It DLD: Chocolate Lovers Cupcakes & Frosting

Here is another CSID-friendly recipe for all of you, and this is probably one of my favorites. Dark Chocolate Coconut Flour Cupcakes!! My quest for a CSID-friendly cupcake began with my sister-in-law's family, actually, because they have a lot of birthdays all clustered in one part of the year. Because we live so close to their family, we were always invited to the family birthday parties, but I must admit I had some underlying hesitancy because I knew that Jayson wouldn't be able to eat the birthday cake, and I didn't want him to feel left out.

So I started searching for chocolate cupcake recipes that would be CSID friendly, and I was rather lucky in my search because I could tap into the really big paleo-diet movement, which eschews grains and refined sugars for the most part. I decided to go with a chocolate cupcake because I knew that the cocoa would keep the coconut flour content lower, and would just be really delicious.

Anyhow, I found a recipe and tried it out, and the results were decent, but to be honest, I wasn't a big fan. Jayson ate it, especially since I made a sugar-free ganache to go on top, but I wouldn't eat it. They weren't very sweet and the cocoa made them kind of bitter. I wanted something better, something that with a texture more similar to that of real cupcakes.

I found another recipe which looked promising, but the mixing protocol was more similar to muffins than cupcakes. "Wait a second," I told myself, "Why not take these ingredients and adapt them to a cupcake recipe methodology you know works." Brilliant! The result was a light, fluffy cupcake with a deep chocolate flavor, and just enough sweetness to be a cake without getting overpowering with a frosting.

Nut, Sesame, and Cheese Crackers

Pin It
One of the most difficult things about having kids with CSID is snack-time. Seriously—ever since Jayson learned what crackers were, all he wanted to eat were crackers. So when we found out he couldn't have them we were kinda devastated. What the heck were we supposed to give this kid for a snack? He loves raisins, but they have a lot of fiber in them and kinda made him go more than we liked. He likes cheese sticks, but only sometimes, when he asks for them. Grapes are too sour for his taste right now, and most other snacky foods have either too much sugar or too much starch.

I had spent a lot of time thinking about how to make him something he would like, when I stumbled upon a recipe for low-carb crackers and decided to give them a whirl. I was expecting something really tough and flavorless, but these taste amazing.

Once Jayson got over his fear of the loud evil food processor and realized what I was doing, we were subjected to cries of, "Cacker! Racker! Carcker!" and other such variations that only an almost two-year-old can come up with.
This continued until they came out of the oven when his persistent requests transmogrified into full-blown demands for crackers. In short, these are really delicious, and are a great snack for people with CSID, but also for anyone else who is trying to live a low carb diet.

Currying For Flavor

Pin It
This has become one of the favorite dinners in my family, and what makes it even better is that it's something that my whole family can eat and enjoy. That's right kids, this one is completely CSID friendly! And what makes it even better, is that there are only 4 ingredients—count 'em, FOUR—so it's also super easy to make.

I can remember eating this as a kid, and loving it even then. All five of my siblings loved it too, and that was no easy feat let me tell you. There were only a handful of meals that my entire family liked, and this happened to be one of them. Then one night I was talking to my mom, asking her for dinner ideas that might be suitable for Jayson, and she mentioned honey-mustard chicken. I can't believe I hadn't thought of that, so of course I asked her for the recipe, which she gladly sent to me. I couldn't wait to see the ingredients that had made my childhood chicken so delicious.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled up the recipe and read the secret ingredient, the tantalizing flavor that perfectly married the tender sweetness of honey and the sharp bite of mustard—curry powder.

Really, curry powder? As a kid, I knew that I didn't like curry, so that came as a shocking revelation. On the other hand, curry powder was a simple enough ingredient. And because there are only 4 ingredients, I knew that this was certainly a CSID friendly recipe. The fact that it is delicious is just another great bonus.

Root Beer Cookies

Pin It
I love ice cream sandwiches. They are just so deliciously tasty and fun to eat, not to mention being a great tie back to when I was younger and only had them on very rare occasions. I remember making ice cream sandwich cookies at work one day and I had the idea that a root beer float ice cream sandwich would be delicious, if I could only find a recipe for root beer cookies.

So, I looked around the internet and found a couple recipes, but none of them had everything I wanted. One thing they all had in common was root beer concentrate, so that was a definite must, but the rest of the recipe seemed to be up for debate. So I figured, I make cookies for a living, what's one more cookie?

The butter was an obvious choice, and I thought brown sugar would complement the earthiness of the root beer concentrate. To round out the flavor I added vanilla extract. Also on my list of ingredients was cream of tartar to get some of the acidity of root beer. I made a batch and found they still lacked the bite of root beer, so I upped the acidity with a little bit of citric acid. Finally I got some cookies that I felt were worthy of being given the name of root beer.

These cookies are perfect for making ice cream sandwiches. They have a deep root beer flavor that is not overpowering, and pairs perfectly with vanilla ice cream. For tips on making ice cream sandwiches read this post.

3 Secrets of Perfect Ice Cream Sandwiches

Pin It
I love cookies and ice cream. The combination of sweet, sugary cookie and the rich, mellow ice cream is one that is hard to beat. Maybe I am weird, but I think the ideal sandwich is similar to a FatBoy—soft and tender cookie and firm ice cream. I could eat these ice cream sandwiches by the dozen. Actually, I need to make sure I don't eat one because I have that hard of a time stopping.

But all too often when I am offered a homemade ice cream sandwich I end up being disappointed because the cookies are so hard I can't bite through them without inevitably squeezing all the ice cream out from between the cookies and onto my shirt or—even worse—the floor. My own experiments were not any more successful though, and I had to settle for eating my cookies and ice cream in the form of crushed cookies mixed into ice cream. Not that this is bad, but crushed cookies do not a sandwich make.

There has to be a solution, I would say to myself. After all, ice cream and cookie combinations are found everywhere in the frozen dessert section of the grocery store, in the form of cookies & creme ice cream and, of course, ice cream sandwiches. But it wasn't until I got a project at work to make cookies intended for ice cream sandwiches that I learned the secret to perfect ice cream sandwiches.

And before you run away screaming and waving your arms shouting about chemicals and artificiality, let me tell you the secret isn't as complex or scary as you think, and it's something you can do in your own kitchen and freezer. And now let me share with you the secrets I learned as a professional baker about how to make perfect ice cream sandwiches.

Coconut Flour Muffins

Pin It DLD: Coconut Flour Muffins

As I have written about a couple times on this blog, my two sons have a condition called CSID—they lack the enzymes to digest sucrose and starch. It has been a trial to find recipes for them to eat, especially recipes for baked goods. So far, my only successes have been adapting some paleo recipes and some low-carb recipes. Believe it or not, the common solution to baking for people with digestive troubles—a gluten-free diet—is a pretty bad place to look for recipes for people with CSID. The reason for this is that most gluten-free recipes have a ton of starch in them to replace flour. But for people with CSID, the starch is the enemy, not the gluten.

Anyway, so low carb and a few paleo recipes are the way to go. Low carb recipes are generally the most easily adaptable to CSID because reducing carbs automatically means you have reduced sugar and starch. In screening recipes the only things to watch out for are nuts and fruits. Paleo diets require a little more scrutiny because a paleo diet, while eschewing refined grains and refined sugars, has no qualms about using fruits high in sugar—bananas and apples—or other ingredients which aren't CSID friendly.

This particular recipe was passed on to me from my older sister (the same one who gave me the recipe for my Caramel Chex Mix). Her brother-in-law is on the paleo diet, and she occasionally makes things for him. To give you an idea of how much my son loved these muffins, let me tell you a story about the first time I made these. Once the first batch was cool enough to eat (barely out of the oven in my opinion) I gave Jayson half a muffin, which was promptly engulfed. He then proceeded to pester me with his calls of "more, more, more," until I gave him the other half. I was hesitant to give him more, partially because he had never had some of these ingredients before, and partially because he doesn't need to have two or three muffins. So he took matters into his own hands and decided to eat the crumbs...and the muffin liner. Yeah, they are that good.

Frustration with ignorance

Pin It ©
This post will not be a recipe. Instead, I have to rant a little bit about how frustrated I get when I see things posted online which stem from ignorance. For example, I have seen these sentences a few places around sites like Pinterest: "Only five ingredients, and no chemicals. Or, "Only have ingredients you have around your house." Or, "Doesn't have any ingredients you can't pronounce like those horrible, nasty processed foods."

I'm sorry, but really. I know it's asking a lot, but the idea behind those comments is ridiculous. They are implying that commercial bakeries are out there just to fill our bodies up with complicated chemicals and poisons and trick us with misleading ingredient listings. They seem to believe that the food you buy in the store is somehow not "real" food.

Really people?

As a professional commercial baker, I feel it is my duty to rid people of a couple of these misconceptions and hopefully get them to learn and understand a little bit about what is and what isn't in their food.

Chocolate "Pudding"

Pin It
What type of snack do you give a child who cannot have sugar or starch? My son, who was diagnosed with Congenital Sucrase Isomaltase Deficiency—CSID for short—lacks the enzymes to digest sucrose (table sugar) and maltose (a starch derivative). As those of you with children may imagine, this makes snack time rather difficult.

So far my wife and I have been able to come up with a few ideas like raisins, cheese sticks, cottage cheese, and olives, but what do you do for those sweet snacks? A couple days ago I was desperate for a snack idea that he hadn't already had that day when my eye lighted on the container of plain yogurt sitting in the fridge. Jayson really likes yogurt, but plain yogurt tastes nasty (to me, at least), so I had to think of some way to make it more palatable.

Did you know that to make flavored yogurt you only really need to add some type of jam? Well, this option wouldn't work for Jayson because all jam contains tons of sugar. I knew I could sweeten the yogurt with honey, which is an approved sweetener for people on CSID, but I couldn't think of any other flavorings to use, until I saw the cocoa.

Cocoa is not sweetened, so I could use that to make chocolate yogurt, and Jayson could eat it. To boost the flavor, I added a little bit of dry vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine, and then feed to a hungry toddler, who cries when it's all gone because he wants more.

The flavor of this yogurt is definitely different—not really bad—just different. The tang of the yogurt is an interesting counterpoint to the bitterness of unsweetened cocoa, one that I am not used to tasting. And maybe I'm just not used to eating honey with either yogurt or chocolate, and I'm still not sure if it is the best sweetener to use, but Jayson likes it, and I have it on hand, so I am sticking with it.


I am going to do this next section a little differently. There aren't really any instructions, but I would like to discuss these ingredients very lightly.

Plain Yogurt

Yogurt is made by fermenting milk with an innoculum (typically some already completed yogurt) under very controlled conditions. To flavor yogurt manufacturers typically add a type of jam and simply blend it in, sometimes standardizing the appearance and flavor with colors and flavors. Check the ingredient statement of the yogurt to make sure that it doesn't contain any sugar or stabilizing starches like modified food starch, which is just cornstarch (if you are making this for someone with CSID). Ironically, the private label was my favorite option because it fit all the dietary restrictions, and it was a lot cheaper than the name brands.

Honey

Honey is the only food manufactured by the natural world. Bees make it by evaporating nectar which had been treated with the enzyme invertase—the reaction occurs in their stomachs, so honey could actually be renamed "bee vomit"—which converts the sucrose in the nectar into glucose and fructose. Because of this honey does contain some sucrose (typically less than 2%), but this small amount shouldn't cause too many problems.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla is one of those flavors that just seems to pair perfectly with chocolate. Real vanilla comes from the bean pod of an orchid, and isn't that easy to get in large quantities, which is why vanilla beans are so expensive. Luckily for us the chemical compound which is responsible for the vanilla flavor, vanillin, is easily soluble in alcohol, making vanilla extract a much more attractive option than using whole vanilla beans. What's more, vanillin is present in large quantities in some wood varieties, which is why some alcohols which have been aged in wooden casks can sometimes have vanilla notes. Vanilla extract obtained by extracting vanillin from wood must be labeled artificial vanilla extract, but using it is fine in most applications, especially when the finer nuances of real vanilla extract would be overpowered.

Cocoa Powder

Chocolate is pretty fun stuff. In fact, it is one of the more chemically complex foods out there. This being the case, I will not attempt to completely explain chocolate, mainly because I can't. But what I can say is that cocoa powder is essentially partially defatted cocoa liquor. Cocoa powder does not contain any sugar, unlike chocolate, which is why it is a great option for sugar-free diets. Dutch style—Dutch processed, Dutched, or cocoa processed with alkalai—has been treated with an alkalizing agent to neutralize some of the acids naturally present in cocoa. As a result, Dutch cocoa has a much darker color, deeper, richer flavor, and disperses well in liquids. It is my cocoa of choice in practically all applications.

Chocolate Yogurt:  Yields approximately 1 cup
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1-1/2 Tbsp honey
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp Dutch-style cocoa powder
1 pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Use a fork or whisk to homogenize. Serve right away or store in the refrigerator, tightly covered, or freeze in molds and make frozen yogurt.

A return triumphant: Spritz and Piping Chocolate

Pin It
Sorry to have taken so long to get another post out here. It's been far too long. But to make a long story short, I moved and was without internet for a long time. Plus, with everything going on, I haven't done much baking. There is one thing that I would like to share with you though, and it was inspired by a really fancy and expensive cookie I came across at work a couple months ago.

Do you see those cookies in the bottom right corner, the ones that look like a spritz cookie with a weird dollop of icing? Well, they are really expensive, and I'm not that big a fan of the icing. So, I made my own version.

I took my favorite spritz cookie recipe, baked it into a swirl-ish pattern, and after it cooled I topped it with the really cool stuff called piping chocolate. I found a reference to it in a book on French chocolate techniques. Here is what you do.