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Healthy Gluten & Dairy Free Pecan Brownies

Who doesn’t love to eat sweets without feeling guilty? Well, I love to when I don’t have to think about calories so I often look for healthy recipes and of course, it has to taste delicious! Seeing my passion for cooking, my husband has started gifting me cook books and I absolutely love these gifts. One of the first books he gifted me was Rachel Allen’s “Cake” and it has everything you would ever need to make and bake stuff. I must have made dozens of desserts from that book and one of the favorites amongst friends & family are “Pecan Brownies”. This is one of the most delicious brownies and the best part is, that it is super healthy! I have tried it with walnuts as well, so you can try adding any nuts to add crunch to the brownies 🙂

Pecan Brownies

Pecan Brownies

Ingredients:

  • Dark Chocolate – 125 grams
  • Soft Dark Brown Sugar – 225 grams
  • Sunflower Oil – 125 ml (plus extra for greasing)
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon
  • Eggs – 2, at room temperature
  • Ground Almonds – 75 grams
  • Rice Flour – 25 grams
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Baking Powder or gluten-free baking powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Pecans (or walnuts or any other nuts) – 75 grams chopped plus 12 whole (shelled) pecans to decorate

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Grease a cake tin with sunflower oil and line it with a baking paper and keep aside.
  2. To melt the chocolate you can EITHER use the double boiler approach where you place chocolate drops or broken chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Leave just until melted, stirring occasionally. OR you can also use a microwave-safe bowl on medium power setting, heat the chocolate in shorter intervals and stir between each bout of heat.
  3. Add sugar, sunflower oil, vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time into the cooled melted chocolate. Whisk together well.
  4. Gently fold in the ground almonds, rice flour, salt, baking powder and chopped pecans.
  5. Pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife or a skewer inserted through the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before cutting it.

Enjoy these brownies without feeling guilty 😉


Canapé Salad – Tomato Mozzarella Basil Salad

Sometimes simplicity can be beautiful… and delicious. A great example of this is “Insalata Pomodori e Mozzarella Bascilico or in other words, Tomato Mozzarella Basil Salad” :D. All it takes are four main ingredients and a little bit of seasoning to come up with a vibrant, dainty-looking starter, that is delicious and refreshes the palate. For me, tomato, mozzarella and basil are a match made in heaven. Needless to say, this is one of my favorite salads 🙂

Tomato Mozzarella Basil Salad

Tomato Mozzarella Basil Salad

Serves 4 people

Ingredients:

  • Cherry Tomatoes, preferably on the vine – 20 (or more if you have a big gathering)
  • Fresh Basil Leaves – 20 (a bunch or 1 packet)
  • Italian Mozzarella  – 200 grams or 20 Bocconcini Balls (more if you have a big gathering)
  • Cocktail Sticks – 20

For the dressing:

  • Oregano – 1 teaspoon
  • Italian Herbs – 1 teaspoon
  • Black pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Lemon Juice – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt – To taste
  • Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons

Steps:

  1. Cut the tomatoes and olives in half and add them to a mixing bowl.
  2. Cut mozzarella into cubes or use individiual bocconcini balls. As a rough guide for the size of the cubes, ensure that the cubes are roughly the same size as the halved tomatoes. Add the cubed mozzarella to the mixing bowl with tomatoes and olives.
  3. Roughly tear the basil leaves with your hands and add them to the mixing bowl.
  4. Add oregano, italian herbs, black pepper, salt, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil into a small bowl and mix well.
  5. Add this dressing to the mixing bowl and lightly toss either with the hands or two large spoons.
  6. You can either serve the salad as is or thread the dressed tomatoes, mozzarella, olives and basil leaves onto the cocktail sticks alternating each of these ingredients. For a visual cue, you can refer to the photo on the post.

Voila! See, I don’t always post complicated recipes 😉

The best way to enjoy this salad is freshly made, just before eating. This is because, leaving the mozzarella and other ingredients after dressing them will lead to a soggy salad.

I hope you and your guests enjoy this refreshing little salad 🙂

As always, your feedback is welcome 🙂