ALMOND BLONDIES





You can literally see how fudgy these blondies are.  I need to make these again!!







ALMOND BLONDIES

These are moist, fudgy bars – like brownies. If you prefer you can just top with chopped almonds and leave the chocolate off.  I liked the chocolate though – it is not very much and adds some extra sweetness.  You may want to make a double batch of these as they go very quickly! 




2 eggs
Liquid sweetener (sucralose or stevia) to equal 3/4  cup (175 mL)
  sugar
1/4  cup granulated erythritol (60 mL)
1/2   cup light olive oil (125 mL)
1  tsp almond extract, OR vanilla extract (5 mL)
1 tsp unflavored gelatin (5 mL)
11/4  cups Gluten-Free Bake Mix, (300 mL)
  page___
1/tsp baking powder (2 mL)
1/tsp salt (0.5 mL)
1/4  cup sugar-free chocolate chips (60 mL)
11/2   tbsp chopped, raw almonds (22 mL)

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).  Grease an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan. 

In food processor, process eggs.  Add sweetener, erythritol, olive oil and almond extract; process.  In medium bowl, combine Gluten-Free Bake Mix (see link above), baking powder and salt.  Spread in pan and smooth top (if using gelatin cover with a piece of plastic wrap and press the batter out smoothly). 

In food processor, with sharp blade in place, process chocolate chips and almonds until chopped.  Sprinkle over top of blondies.  Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely on wire rack before serving.  I like these served at room temperature.


Yield:  16 servings
1 big serving
126.5 calories
2.5 g protein
11.3 g fat
2.1 g net carbs







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SOME USEFUL INFORMATION: 


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Disclaimer:  Although the authors have done their best to ensure the recipes are gluten-free, it is ultimately the responsibility of the reader to make sure that foods and food products purchased such as sausages, baking powder, cocoa, chocolate and soy sauce, oat flour, etc. are indeed gluten-free.  Medical and nutritional opinions held by authors should always be independently verified with credible sources such as your family doctor or your own thorough, independent research.

 

You may use your own preferred sweetener in most of the recipes.  Using a zero-carb sweetener such as liquid sucralose, liquid stevia, powdered erythritol/stevia or erythritol/sucralose combinations, Swerve® or erythritol helps lower the carbs per serving of a recipe.  Erythritol is problematic for a sensitive bladder. The little packets for sweetening coffee can be used instead of erythritol for a sweetener synergy, however, they do have carbs. Do be careful with xylitol as it can have a slight laxative effect and, more importantly, it is lethal for dogs.  What is interesting is that the safety of sucralose has now been proven by scientists.  They discovered sucralose in surface and ground waters, and tried all their usual methods of trying to break down wastes in aerobic and anaerobic reactors for 48 hours and put sucralose through all the other methods to break down wastes as well – to no avail.  Sucralose remained unchanged and the molecule does not break apart into chlorine compounds.  Therefore, it is safe to say that sucralose passes safely through the body, unchanged, and that it is inert at high baking temperatures.  For more on this fascinating, breakthrough research, visit www.low-carb-news.blogspot.com (look on the right-hand side).  

 

Liquid Sucralose (EZ-Sweetz® available from Netrition.com): Conversion table for 0.5 oz LHS / 2 oz RHS bottles (concentration varies) respectively.

 

 

SPLENDA® Granular equivalent

SPLENDA®  Packets

EZ-Sweetz® Liquid Sucralose

1 cup SPLENDA®

24 packets

24/48 drops

3/4 cup SPLENDA®

18 packets

18/36 drops

2/3 cup SPLENDA®

16 packets

16/32 drops

1/2 cup SPLENDA®

12 packets

12/24 drops

1/3 cup SPLENDA®

  8 packets

  8/16 drops

1/4 cup SPLENDA®

  6 packets

  6/12 drops

2 tbsp SPLENDA®

  3 packets

  3/  6 drops

2 tsp SPLENDA®

  1 packet

  1/  2 drops

 

 

Sugar equivalent

Packets

EZ-Sweetz®  Liquid Stevia

1 cup sugar

24 packets

96 drops (4/5 tsp)

3/4  cup sugar

18 packets

72 drops (3/5 tsp)

2/3  cup sugar

16 packets

64 drops (1/2 tsp)

1/2  cup sugar

12 packets

48 drops (2/5 tsp)

1/3  cup sugar

 8 packets

32 drops (1/4 tsp)

1/4  cup sugar

 6 packets

24 drops (1/5 tsp)

2 tbsp sugar

 3 packets

12 drops

2 tsp sugar

 1 packet

  4 drops

 

Sugar equivalent

Packets

Natural Mate® Erthritol/Sucralose &  Natural Mate® Erthritol/Stevia

1 cup sugar

24 packets

24 scoops

3/4  cup sugar

18 packets

18 scoops

2/3  cup sugar

16 packets

15 scoops

1/2 cup sugar

12 packets

12 scoops

1/3  cup sugar

  8 packets

 7 1/2 scoops

1/4 cup sugar

  6 packets

 6 scoops

2 tbsp sugar

  3 packets

 3 scoops

2 tsp sugar

  1 packet

 1 scoop



You can find liquid sucralose (called EZ-Sweetz®) in my Amazon Store, as well as a liquid Stevia/Monk Fruit blend and shortly several more EZ-Sweetz® products will be available on Amazon under the name, Natural Mate.®   EZ-Sweetz has a pure liquid stevia product and are now launching Erythritol blended products on Amazon (under the brand of Natural Mate®) for baking: Powdered Sucralose/Erythritol blend and Powdered Stevia/Erythritol blend. Both products have 2x the sweetness power of sugar.  The samples I have come in small bottles with a long-handled mini scoop for scooping the fine white powder.  One mini scoop equals 2 tsp (10 mL) sugar, and the whole container is equivalent to 12.4 lbs of sugar (see table above).  In addition, they have the granular form of erythritol/sucralose or erythritol/stevia combination which is so good in baking.  1 cup (250 mL) granular combination equals 2 cups (500 mL) sugar equivalent.

 

Erythritol - Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that seems to be innocuous as far as causing digestive upset unless it is in a combination product, when sometimes there can be a problem.  It does have a slight cooling effect on the taste buds; however, this is minimized by using smaller amounts. Erythritol has a glycemic index of zero and has no effect on blood sugar. Erythritol often crystallizes out of solution when cooled, but can be recombined when reheated.  Granular and powdered versions are available at Netrition.com.  Erythritol is mostly excreted through the bladder and is problematic for people with a sensitive bladder.


Swerve® – This is an erythritol-based sweetener, which is a natural, non-GMO erythritol blend.  It’s blended with oligosaccharides and flavors to balance it out.  It is sort of an erythritol/sweet prebiotic fiber blend.  It has virtually no impact on the blood sugar, is diabetic-safe, and measures cup-for-cup just like sugar. http://www.SwerveSweetener.com 

 

Just Like Sugar® is made from chicory root and contains calcium and vitamin C.  It has none of the strong aftertastes of stevia or other artificial sweeteners.  It keeps ice cream soft, makes perfect caramel sauce, makes cookies soft on the inside and chewy on the outside.  It tastes great, has zero calories and can be used cup-for-cup instead of table sugar.

 

Monk Fruit is made using the pulp of the fruit which is fermented and that removes the sugars but leaves the sweet taste.  It is 200 times sweeter than table sugar, so you need use only very tiny amounts or it could taste bitter.

 

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that does not require insulin to be metabolized by the body; however, it can increase flatulence and it can have a laxative effect.  Xylitol is DEADLY for dogs. It causes prolonged hypoglycemia.  Don’t use it if you have dogs in your home.

 

Steviva Blend® and Truvia® are blends of erythritol and stevia.  There may be a laxative effect for some people but if you can tolerate them, they are wonderful.


Oven temperatures can vary and that means baking and cooking times are only a guide. An oven thermometer is a good investment.  It's a good idea to set the timer for 5 to 10 minutes less than a recipe suggests. Eggs used are the large size.

 

Low-carb Internet Stores:  Bob’s Red Mill® certified gluten-free oat flour, and coconut flour and unflavored gelatin (NOW® brand) are available at My Amazon Store.  I use Bob’s Red Mill® coconut flour and recommend it for my bake mixes.   Also check Anthony’s Goods for great low-carb products or Amazon. You can find products online like Lily’s® sugar-free chocolate chips, imitation honey, coconut powder or heavy cream powder (use instead of whole milk powder for lower carbs), verified gluten-free Anthony’s® buckwheat flour and oat fiber, Carbquik® and Carbalose® flour (last two are not gluten-free).

 

Baking with almond flour versus almond meal yields a lighter color and the crumb of baked goods is finer. Grind sliced almonds in a coffee bean grinder. Honeyville Grains® has wonderful almond flour. I keep a 25-lb box in our chest freezer or extra fridge and place the almond flour in large, sealable and airtight plastic bags as I need it.  Also Oh Nuts!® has convenient-sized and sealed bags of blanched almond flour. Nature’s Eats® has well-priced, blanched, finely-ground almond flour conveniently packaged in 2-lb (907 g) packets.


Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mixes 1 and 2, pages 93 and 94 respectively:  Oat flour and almond flour in the bake mixes are both proven heart-healthy ingredients.  Oat flour reduces cholesterol. It has now been ascertained that oats are Paleo.  Stones used to grind oats were found, dating back 32,000 years!  The coconut flour and xanthan gum provide fiber and fiber is heart-healthy as well. Gelatin is so healthy to consume for a variety of reasons as a quick Google will prove – for lovely strong nails too! A teaspoon of gelatin in herbal tea an hour before bedtime will help you sleep well (gelatin lowers body temperature).  Compare the heart-healthy Splendid Gluten-Free Bake mix with bleached all-purpose flour which contains alloxan, a chemical used to induce diabetes in lab rats, let alone the gliadin. Gliadin is a protein in wheat that stimulates the appetite for more of it and gives the person eating wheat a “reward” - a euphoric feeling such as one apparently gets from opiates like morphine and heroin.  Actually 1/cup (60 mL) white flour = 24 g carbs and now compare 1/cup (60 mL) Gluten-Free Bake Mix = 5.7 g carbs (Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix is 4 times less carby than white flour!).  My nutritional analysis is based on using ground almonds and oat flour from Arrowhead Mills and Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour.  The program I used is FoodSmart.  These bake mixes may be used in place of Jennifer’s other bake mixes in her Splendid Low-Carbing Series of cookbooks in most recipes.  See instructions below bake mix recipes. What to do with leftover bake mix?  Visit http://low-carb-news.blogspot.com (RHS) to find suggestions.  Keep at room temperature for weeks in an airtight, sealed container; freeze or refrigerate for longer storage.  The bake mixes are interchangeable! Grain-free options: Anthony’s® Organic Buckwheat flour, a seed and not a grain is an amazing product for baking in that it has a fairly nice texture and mild flavor. Quinoa flour, if toasted, is an option as well.  See Grain-Free Bake Mix, page 96.

 

Whey Protein Isolate is the highest quality whey protein product that one can buy.  Whey protein isolate contains approximately 90 percent protein with only trace amounts of fat and lactose. Do not buy whey protein that is high in concentrates as the texture and taste is all wrong for baking and confections. Also check the sugar count; some brands add too much sugar to make whey taste like candy and get one hooked on their product…and that sugar isn’t going to help your waist line. Some contain ingredients that can cause migraines. Jay Robb® is a superior weight loss brand (pricey) that uses stevia to sweeten their whey.   It is sourced from grass-fed cattle (no growth hormone), only sweetened with stevia, has 25 grams of protein per serving, no sugar, no aspartame and no artificial colors or flavors, no casein, MSG or gluten and it is cold-filtered.  Also, GNC carries a nice brand – Gold Standard Whey – I like the French Vanilla Cream.

 

Usable Carbs or Net carbs equal total carbs minus fiber.  The reason for this is that the value for total carbohydrates in nutritional programs is actually the carbohydrates plus the fiber.  Fiber is not a carbohydrate.  Both Dr. Michael Eades and the late Dr. Atkins gave the green light for using net carbs.