Just returned, completely rejuvenated, from a trip to a see friends and relatives up north. Minnesota and North Dakota are some of my favorite places on Earth. I feel revitalized from being immersed in this uplifting, highly social culture for two weeks. Let me explain: In Fargo, North Dakota, it seemed as if everyone wanted to strike up a conversation with you, a perfect stranger, soon to be new friend. The human connection, the sense of community, is strong in these smallish Midwestern towns. How refreshing!
How does that observation relate to low carb cooking? You might be suprised to find out that North Dakota has fabulous health food stores! The selection is much more extensive, and the food more competitively priced compared to what you can find in my Florida hometown. Of course I stocked up, and will be sharing some of these food finds with you.
Have you tried buckwheat flour before? I’ve used it in a couple of recipes (my Molten Lava Cake and Gluten-free Wraps), but never in large amounts. It’s not a grain, but a seed, highly nourishing with its low starch content and antioxidants. As you probably know I’m not big on typical gluten-free flour because of their highly processed nature and carb counts (20+ grams net carbs per 1/4 cup for most!). Fortunately, a little bit of buckwheat flour goes a long way. You can’t achieve the same “crust” on quick breads using almond flour or coconut flour alone. The buckwheat flour also helps to bind the nut meal into a smooth dough. Finally, it makes quick breads less mushy, which can be a common problem in low carb baking. Almond meal baked goods can be too moist, especially since we’re not using any sugar with it. I bought a bag of fresh buckwheat flour at a tiny health food store in Park Rapids, Minnesota. This flour ended up being much more mild tasting than the Bob’s Red Mill brand buckwheat I had been using, which has a strong earthy flavor to it. Look for no label, light colored buckwheat flour at your own local health food store. It’s reasonably priced, so you have no excuse not to try it out!
Put that buckwheat flour to good use in this ultra moist gluten-free Chocolate Zucchini Bread. It’s really sweet enough to be a rich chocolate cake, with a pleasant subtle spiciness from the cinnnamon and apple. Sugar-free, low carb, and dairy-free, as usual. I guessed on the measurement for Splenda, since I don’t care for the flavor. Just taste the batter, and add more Splenda to adjust the sweetness. Less is more with that stuff. The loaf you see here is made with apple in place of zucchini. Your house will smell so good when this is baking. Yum!
Healthy Chocolate Zucchini (Or Apple) Bread
6 tablespoons coconut oil OR unsalted organic butter
2-1 oz squares unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup erythritol OR xylitol OR 1 1/4 cup Splenda
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract (if using erythritol or xylitol)
2 cups (5 ounces) grated peeled apple or zucchini
3 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (buckwheat, millet, etc.)
2 cups nut meal (I used 1/2 almond meal, 1/4 ground sunflower seeds, 1/4 ground pecans)
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease an 8″ by 5″ loaf pan well with coconut oil, and sift cocoa powder over the bottom and up the sides. Cut a rectangle of parchment or wax paper to fit the bottom, and line the pan with it.
Grate zuchini or apple and press between a dishcloth or paper towels to blot out moisture. Melt coconut oil gently in the microwave, or scoop out and heat in a double boiler until liquified. Measure out the tablespoons of liquid oil into a bowl. If using butter, melt until liquified. Whisk in eggs, whites, vanilla, stevia, and erythritol or xylitol, and beat for a couple minutes until sweetener is dissolved. If the brand of xylitol or erythritol you buy isn’t finely milled, then run it through your coffee grinder to powder it before adding to the batter. Chop chocolate and melt in 30 second intervals in the microwave until liquified; scrape into batter and beat well. Measure out nut meal by packing it into your measuring cup firmly, and scraping the top level. Whisk together dry ingredients, and stir into batter. Fold in grated zucchini or apple. Beat well for 2-3 minutes. Scrape into pan and tap the bottom forcefully on the counter to pop the air bubbles in the batter. Bake for 1 hour, until the top springs back to the touch. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then invert gently on to a plate and stand upright. Let cool for an hour, slice, and serve. It freezes well, with slices individually wrapped in plastic and foil.
~3.2g net carbs per 1/10th of a loaf, made with zucchini
~4.5g net carbs per 1/10th of a loaf, made with apple
Related content from other blogs:
Gluten-Free Pecan and Apple Bread @ Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried
Grain-Free Banana Bread @ Feel Good Food
Grain-Free Sweet Potato Almond Butter Bread @ Deliciously Gluten Free Cooking
Have you tried buckwheat flour? What’s your favorite gluten-free flour? Share it with us in the comments section!