Monday, 3 November 2014

Comfort and coconut flour cake brownies



The start of November and this weekend Mother Nature thought it was Spring.  Only for a short while though - she has well and truly conjured up Autumn today. But back to the weekend, and what an incredible two days it was. Whole days spent outside, golden leaves raining down, the warmth of the sun on our faces. It was wonderful.



But before the weekend came along it was Friday. Friday morning is the one time in the week that gives me a quiet, empty house all to myself. A quiet, empty house in which I can sit down at my computer and WRITE. Last Friday morning, however, was also the annual open morning at the children's school, so that threw a spanner in the works writing-wise. No matter, though. I enjoy watching S and N doing their thing, so I forfeited my writing morning and went to their school instead. 

My first stop was daughter N's class, where I watched beloved Miss. C start the day with morning prayer, songs, and talk about the days of the week and months of the year. Next, she addressed the seasons. "What season are we in now, children?" she asked, to which she received an enthusiastic show of hands. Everyone agreed it was Autumn (you can tell because the trees are shedding their leaves, and there are loads of fat spiders in huge webs and beautiful conkers to be found). This lead to Miss. C's magic box. It turns out Miss C has a magic box from which she conjures up some mystery object every Friday. This time she opened it to reveal a (crochet, hand puppet) snail which she slipped on her finger. "Now how did this little fellow get in there?" she asked mysteriously, wiggling her snail finger at the class. 
     "It crawled in there!" one child exclaimed. 
     "It was put there by magic!" another one called out. 
     Then N put up her hand. "I think you put it there," she said matter-of-factly, whilst I shifted awkwardly in my seat wishing she would play along.
     "Yeees, I suppose I did put it there," Miss C replied somewhat sheepishly. After allowing Snail to slither to parts of her body which the children had to name, it was time to discuss a picture on the Smart Board. It showed two children sheltering from the rain under an umbrella. The picture led to the theme of protection. 
     "The umbrella is protecting the children from the rain," Miss C said, after which she invited one of the boys to come and stand next to her. 
     "In what way do you sometimes feel protected?" she asked him.
     "Well, like this," he said, wrapping his arms around himself, to which he added, "N does that. She protects me when I'm not feeling well." 
     "N protects me sometimes too, when I've hurt myself or when I'm feeling sad," another child added excitedly. 
     "Yes, N is good at that, isn't she," Miss C said kindly.
There was no shifting awkwardly in my seat this time. This time I was beaming. My daughter the caretaker, the nurturer. Just like her brother.

Speaking of which: S had his first ever evening party. A Halloween party, organised by our tennis club. After playing tennis dressed up as ghouls, the kids ate pancakes and played games. They were given a funny looking lollypop to take home, attached to the foot in the picture below. He came home at 8 p.m., grinning from ear to ear. 
      "You must be very tired," I said as I was helping him to bed. 
     "What about me?!" N called from her bedroom rather exasperatedly. "Do you know how tired I am after a long day of school with eighteen children in my class to look after?!"
     Now that's my girl.



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One of the nicest comfort foods is a good old brownie. I don't make them too often because I can't keep my hands off them.  Last week, however, I couldn't resist making a batch, this time using coconut flour. They turned out surprisingly well, though I must say they are cakey rather than fudgy. There's also a slight crunch to them due to the high level of fibre in coconut flour, which some may like and others may not. (I like.)

Cake Brownies
adapted from The Healthy Coconut Flour Cookbook by Erica Kerwien

55g coconut flour, sifted
40g unsweetened cocoa powder
0,5 teaspoon (fine sea) salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 eggs
160ml maple syrup
75g butter, melted
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • preheat oven 180 degrees Celsius
  • line a brownie pan (about 20cm by 20cm) with parchment paper 
  • whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda
  • in a separate bowl mix eggs, maple syrup, butter, milk, and vanilla until well blended
  • add the wet to the dry and blend well (I use a hand mixer)
  • bake 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean; be careful not to overbake





29 comments:

  1. I love Brownies! love them love them,

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    1. Yeah, they are just the best, aren't they!

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  2. Hey Isabelle,
    I made brownies last week too. For my sister in law's birthday. I am the brownie queen (although I should really credit Nigella for the recipie). Over the years I have often shifted in my parenting seat. My older children were both eccentric and a little outspoken. But it's held them in good stead as they've got older. How lovely that your little N cares for others. You can't teach empathy.
    Have a lovely week
    Leanne xx

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    1. That's exactly what I'm thinking, Leanne. N's outspokenness will stand her in good stead as she gets older. I'm confident she'll be able to handle all sorts of situations and that's quite reassuring. And I'm convinced both my children's empathy is something they were born with.

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  3. What a proud mum you must be to have such a caring daughter. A wonderful post followed by a lovely recipe that I can eat. I must order that book, the recipes look delicious.

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    1. The book comes highly recommended, particularly if you're looking for gluten / grain free goodies, Chickpea.

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  4. How utterly sweet, how N's fellow classmates described her... You must have been só proud and happy as a mom !! And although you can't teach empathy, as Leanne wrote, N still had to have seen "the good example" somewhere ! So thumbs up for you !

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    1. Yes, I can tell you I was pretty proud, Ingrid! It's so nice to hear that your child is caring and kind to others.

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  5. Replies
    1. Yes, one of those really precious ones, Penny!

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  6. I made brownies too last week. It must be International Brownie week. My recipe should've been completely gluten free but I couldn't find rice flour...anyhoo...such a lovely post, you must be really proud of your children :) have a lovely week xx

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    1. Yes, rice flour is a good option, but I'm really enjoying my 'experiments' with coconut flour, especially because of its immense health benefits (and low carb!). A lovely week to you too :-)

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  7. Replies
    1. And with a lovely weekend to follow :-)

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  8. oh i agree about brownies - the problem with baking your favourite things is how much of them you eat! i am intrigued by the coconut flour, but must admit I prefer brownies that are fudgier - although I like the crunch on top! N sounds like a little girl to be proud of, how lovely to hear that - and for other children to have someone so caring in their class!

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    1. I like fudgy brownies the best too, but there's always so much sugar in them. I'm not sure why, but I was very surprised by the way these turned out. Cakey, but still very nice.

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  9. Isn't it lovely hearing good things about your children?! The photos are beautiful, just love the light in them.

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    1. I was amazed by the light this past weekend, Lucy. Absolutely gorgeous. Very soft and soothing - not the sharp light we get during summer.

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  10. Your daughter's comments made me laugh - especially about looking after a class of eighteen!

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  11. N sounds like she has her hands full. :) My children are both a little offbeat themselves, so I understand how you felt at first. But they both surprise me all the time with the great things they are capable of, and they way they stand out among the crowd. Your brownies look delicious, thank you for sharing the recipe.

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  12. Your little girl sounds a sweetie you must have been very proud. As for brownies I'm afriad I don't like them - am I the only one ��

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  13. what a lovely feeling for you xxx and yum to the brownies xxxx

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  14. What a thoughtful girl! My daughter was caring to others like this once but has become more self-centred as a teenager. Inevitable I suppose - according to this book on the teenage brain it takes them a while to develop empathy.

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  15. We try to limit baking to the weekend - that way it feels more special and there is less of it, too. Last week was an exception, Annie made brownies for Bonfire night with her friends. Your daughter is a gem! I like the matter of factly statement about the snail, she has her feet firmly on the ground. Have a wonderful week. Cx

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  16. I so wish I'd had a blog when my children were small .. such a wonderful memory keeper for these treasured moments. And a recipe scrapbook too :)

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  17. Ah, how wonderful to be present in the classroom and hear such nice words about your daughter! I love brownies, and most of all when they are warm and served with vanilla ice cream. In fact, I haven't made a batch for a while - I might have to make some this weekend. x

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  18. I love your baking, so delicious...............and I'm still hoping to find a reasonably priced madeleine tray xo

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