Natural Bakes by Caroline Griffiths
In Natural Bakes by Caroline Griffiths, you can have your cake and eat it too! Free from gluten and other harmful sugars, the impressive cookbook makes use of fruit, vegetables and other natural ingredients such as vanilla, nut-based flours and spices to whip up incredibly delightful and guilt-free baked goods. Impress your family with some almond, mandarin and orange-blossom madeleines, finish dinner with a warming crumble or wow your dinner guests with a chocolate layer cake served with peanut butter frosting. Natural Bakes boasts more than 70 recipes that will have you kicking sugar and gluten flours to the kerbside in no time.
I wanted to recreate the gingernuts my Nanna used to make when I was a kid. They were tooth-breakers, but in a good way. When you remove the white sugar and gluten-containing flour from these guys the texture changes, but I hope Nanna would recognise them. If it’s any indication that they’re tasty, my youngest child can’t get enough of them. Please note the naked glacé ginger contains white sugar, so leave it out if you’re sensitive to it. The gingernuts will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container.
Ingredients | Makes 20
- 280g gluten-free flour blend #1 (see below), plus extra
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp monk fruit extract powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 125g butter, softened
- ⅓ cup rice-malt syrup
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1½ tbsp naked (uncrystallised) glacé ginger, chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line two baking trays.
- Sift the flour, ground ginger, monk fruit extract powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.
- Beat the butter, rice-malt syrup and fresh ginger until creamy. Add the egg gradually, beating well. Stir in the sifted flour mixture and glacé ginger (if using) until well combined.
- Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place on the prepared trays 4cm apart. Flatten the balls with a fork dipped in flour to 1.5cm thick.
- Bake for 13–16 mins. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays for 5 mins. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve immediately.
Brown Butter Pecan Shortbread Fingers
The mellow, warm and comforting flavour of brown butter works beautifully with pecans in this easy melt ’n’ mix shortbread. Just like traditional shortbread, the fingers improve after a couple of days. The shortbread will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container.
Ingredients | Makes 24
- 250g butter, chopped
- 375g gluten-free flour blend #1
- 80g dextrose
- ½ tsp monk fruit extract powder (optional)
- ¾ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line a 18cm × 28cm slice tin, extending the paper 4cm above the sides.
- Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium–low heat until it is melted and browned. Remove from the heat and immediately submerge the base of the pan in cold water.
- Sift the flour, dextrose and monk fruit extract powder (if using) into a bowl.
- Add the browned butter, pecans and vanilla bean paste and mix well.
- Press the mixture into the prepared tin. Smooth over with a spatula and bake for 25–28 mins or until lightly browned and firm to touch.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into fingers while still warm. Serve.
Baked Lemon Cheesecake
Baked cheesecake is one of my all-time favourite desserts. The ricotta adds lightness and the dates add a subtle sweetness. The cheesecake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2–3 days.
Ingredients | Serves 10-12
- 1 almond pastry crust (see page 124)
- 100g Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
- ¼ cup boiling water
- 350g fresh firm ricotta
- 350g cream cheese, softened
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest, plus extra
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 1½ tbsp cornflour
- Pinch salt
- Figs, fresh berries or other seasonal fruits, for decorating
- Rice-malt syrup (optional)
- Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line a 20 × 20cm springform cake tin.
- Firmly press the almond pastry crust into the base of the tin and bake for 10–12 mins or until edges are browned. Allow to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 130°C.
- Place the dates into a small heatproof bowl and add the boiling water. Set aside for 5–10 mins, stirring occasionally.
- Blitz the soaked dates and soaking water in a food processor until smooth. Add the ricotta, cream cheese, egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla seeds and process until smooth. Add the cornflour and blitz again until combined.
- Spoon the mixture into a bowl.
- Beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form and gently fold into the cheese mixture, in two batches.
- Pour the mixture over the prepared base and bake for 30–35 mins or until lightly browned. Turn off the oven and allow cheesecake to cool with oven door closed, for 1 hour. Set in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.
- Decorate with figs, berries or fruit of your choice and drizzle with rice-malt syrup. Serve.
Natural Bakes by Caroline Griffiths, published by Smith Street Books, distributed by Thames & Hudson Australia, AUD$39.99, available now.