Today’s featured guest blogger is Carolyn, who writes the lovely All Day I Dream About Food. I can certainly relate to that! Carolyn is a genius when it comes to transforming the most indulgent, decadent desserts into practical low-carb and often gluten-free treats utilizing ingredients like coconut flour, protein powder, erithrytol and stevia, just to name a few. I’ve often wondered just how she does it, but then I remembered, when you dream about food all day like we do, the possibilities are endless. I’m so honored that Carolyn is here today to share with you her latest low-carb, gluten-free sweet treat, beautiful photography, and intelligent voice.
First off, let me say how immensely flattered I am that Cara has asked me to guest post on her blog. When I first started blogging my low carb recipes, I was reading a lot of other food blogs for inspiration. Most of them were conventional blogs with all sorts of lovely but not-so-healthy-for-me recipes. As a newly diagnosed diabetic, I needed help figuring out how to make delicious foods without the flour and sugar I was used to using. Cara’s was among the first more health-minded blogs that I came across, and I instantly bookmarked a few of her recipes. It was so wonderful to find like-minded bloggers out there. And, like me, Cara recognizes the importance of the occasional indulgence and posts some full-sugar, full-carb treats too.
So I was thrilled when she asked me to guest post while she was traveling. But then she proceeded to throw me for a loop.
She asked that I create a recipe that reflected something I ate and loved when I was traveling. Oooookay. It’s not that I haven’t done my own share of traveling, it’s just that it was all many moons ago, before I had kids and before I ever had any inkling I would be a diabetic. I always felt free to indulge (or over-indulge) while on vacation and traveling, so I couldn’t really think of anything that was both healthy AND travel-inspired. What to do, what to do?
I discussed the matter with my husband and we ran our minds over the various trips we had taken together in the past. One of these was a few months after we were married, when we found some amazing deals on British Airways and booked a spur-of-the-moment trip to England. We spent several days in the Cotswolds and then four or five days in London, and we had a truly wonderful trip. I had it in my mind to try Sticky Toffee Pudding, and looked for it on the menu of every restaurant, pub and teahouse we went to. I am not sure where I had read or heard about it, but with a name like Sticky Toffee Pudding, I just had to try it. Alas, it was nowhere to be seen. It was starting to seem like an illusion, like one of those “traditional” foods we only think the Brits eat all the time, but really they hardly ever do. And then, finally, I saw it on the menu of a tiny pub in Paddington and I dragged my husband in to eat it, although we were both full already. It was wonderful! Moist and full of sweet dates, with a sticky caramel sauce generously poured all over.
But Sticky Toffee Pudding is hardly low carb and gluten free, and not even remotely healthy, right? So I can’t possibly be proposing to give you a recipe for it on Cara’s lovely, healthy blog. Or can I? If there is one thing I’ve learned as a low carber with a sweet tooth, it’s how to be resourceful. And that almond flour and erythritol can produce results as good as, or sometimes even better than, flour and sugar. So yes, that is exactly what I am proposing. I took a basic recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding, gave it some thought as to how to sub in my alternative ingredients and away we went. And I am pleased to say that they were incredible and very much worthy of a guest post on Cara’s blog!
For authenticity’s sake, I did include some chopped dates. They do add carbs and could be decreased or left out altogether, if desired. I also added a touch of molasses in the caramel sauce for colour, because it would traditionally be made with brown sugar and there is no such thing (yet) as brown erythritol. I made mine in a mini-bundt pan, but they could be made in muffin tins or ramekins, or even as one large pudding in a large bundt or cake pan (baking times would vary, depending on the pan).
Sticky Toffee Pudding
3 to 4 oz chopped medjool dates
¼ cup dark rum, brandy or whiskey
2 ½ cups almond flour
¼ cup granulated erythritol
¼ cup vanilla whey protein powder
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
6 oz sour cream or Greek yogurt
¼ cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tbsp almond milk
1/2 cup granulated erythritol
2 tsp molasses
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp dark rum
Preheat oven to 325F and grease mini-bundt pan well.
In a small bowl, combine chopped dates with rum or other alcohol and let sit. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, erythritol, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat sour cream or yogurt with butter until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in almond flour mixture in two additions, then beat in almond milk. Add date mixture and stir well to combine.
Divide batter among prepared mini-bundt cups. Bake 20 to 22 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 to 10 minutes and then flip out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the caramel sauce, combine erythritol and molasses together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until erythritol has dissolved and mixture bubbles. Remove from heat and stir in cream, butter and rum. Stir until smooth.
Pour about 1 tsp of thin sauce over each cooled cake, letting it soak in. Return saucepan to medium heat and bring remaining sauce to a boil. Boil until thickened, 1 to 3 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Drizzle over cakes and serve.
*Note – caramel sauce made with erythritol begins to harden very quickly when removed from heat. If it gets too hard to drizzle, just return it to the heat for a few moments and stir until it becomes liquid again.