Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Posts Tagged ‘sugar-free recipe’


Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on August 3, 2010

What a kick it was to receive a Google Alert leading me to a delightful blog authored by Ashley, a zesty blogger. The alert came to my inbox because Ashley received a copy of my cookbook, The Nut Gourmet, from the publisher, Book Publishing Company, and made one of my unique nut-based recipes—BEAN BUTTER.

She loved it and shared her bubbly response on her blog. She even posted a photo of the book cover and took photos of the recipe in progress as it whirled in the food processor, traveled to a bowl, and finally ended up in her dish cuddled up next to a yummy banana.

When I read her upbeat comments on the book and the recipe, I was thrilled, naturally. We live in a world where so many people choose to find fault and criticize others’ accomplishments mercilessly that it was refreshing to read the good stuff—really positive, feel-good words. I can’t deny that it stroked by ego—honestly, it did—those sweet words made me smile a good long time and gave me double the happy outlook I normally have.

Since I created The Nut Gourmet, I’ve become so much more empathetic with other cookbook authors. Now that I’ve experienced the trials, successes, flops, and frustrations that go into developing an average of 150 recipes for a cookbook, I am ever so grateful for the sweet kudos that come my way.

Thank you Ashley, from the bottom of my heart. Now it’s my turn to share. Here’s Ashley’s blog Food, Fotos, and Fun!
Drop in for a visit and browse.

Now, for some more sharing. You, too, can enjoy the ever-so-nutty Bean Butter that features pecans–the favorite nut of Southern U.S.A. Combining unlikely ingredients often turns up pleasing results. Blending beans, dates, and pecans provides the base for a delectable spread that goes especially well with earthy breads like rye, whole wheat, or multigrain. For an ideal snack to serve the kids, spread Bean Butter on two slices of bread, then slip sliced bananas or thinly sliced apples in between to make a tasty, quick-fix sandwich.


1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
15 pitted dates
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, as needed

Combine all the ingredients in the food processor and process until thick and smooth. Stop the machine occasionally to scrape down the sides of the work bowl and redistribute the ingredients. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, for a creamier, softer consistency. For a sweeter spread, add more dates.

Posted in Bean Recipes, Nut Recipes, pecans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on August 29, 2009

My friend, AJ, bakes up a storm, yet she uses not a single drop of cooking oil or margarine. She also uses no sugar to sweeten her desserts—only dates. And that’s not all—she doesn’t even use flour! Think about that! Muffins that are born free of oil, sugar, and flour—and her desserts are damn delicious.

I began to give that some thought. I had a craving for muffins so I pondered the oil thing and realized others have done fat-free baking using mashed fruits—so that was doable.

The sugar issue was also not too daunting. There are other sweeteners like maple syrup, agave nectar, and brown rice syrup, but could I turn out a muffin that was sweet enough with only dates? Well, I figured if AJ could do it, I could probably make it work, too.

Giving the flour a bit of thought, I realized that old-fashioned rolled oats could probably give a muffin some great body as well as a few health benefits, as well.

For this old nut, you can guess the recipe had to be good and nutty—so hazelnuts became my nut of choice for this recipe that was beginning to take shape in my head.

Well, it came together beautifully—actually, it almost seemed the ingredients propelled themselves into the four bowls it took to mix up the batter. The muffins took just a little longer to bake than most, but only a few minutes longer.

The thing most people find unusual about my kitchen tools is that I keep a hammer in the drawer. That’s for the nuts, I tell them. It works perfectly for coarsely crushing tough nuts like hazelnuts and almonds.

Well, here it is– the oil-free, sugar-free, and flour-free gems. We loved them and think you will, too.

Richly flavored with spices and extracts and sweetened only with dates, these delicious muffins provide a scrumptious breakfast treat that has a guilt-free feature built in. They contain no added fats like margarine or oil and rely on old-fashioned oats in place of flour. So you can enjoy a high-fiber, low-fat treat and give your body the health benefit of soluble fiber to keep the cholesterol in check and low fat to keep the calories down.



Yield: 1 dozen muffins

Date Puree
1 1/2 cups pitted dates, snipped in half
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

3/4 cup whole hazelnuts

1 1/4 cups vanilla soymilk
1 tablespoon rice vinegar or other mild vinegar

2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup mashed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon caramel extract

1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer
1/4 cup water

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 six-section muffin tins with baking cups or have ready a 12-section silicone muffin pan.
2. To prepare the Date Puree, combine the dates and water in the food processor and pulse and process to a coarse puree. Set aside.
3. To prepare the muffins, place the hazelnuts into a heavy-duty plastic bag, seal it, and place it on a hard surface. Pound the nuts with a hammer to coarsely crush them and set aside.
4. Combine the soymilk and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.
5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt and mix well. Add the crushed hazelnuts and stir in.
6. In a medium bowl, combine the bananas, vanilla extract, caramel extract, the reserved date puree, and the soymilk/vinegar mixture. Stir well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
7. In a small bowl, combine the egg replacer and water and beat with a fork until foamy. Add to the muffin batter and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
8. Fill the muffin pans to the brim and bake for 26 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Cool completely before removing.

The amounts used to prepare the date puree makes 1 cup of puree.

Posted in hazelnuts, Nut Nutrition, Nut Recipes, Nuts and Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

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