healthy

Popular Healthy Baking Recipes

For anyone new to pattycake, you may be wondering which recipes to try first, so I compiled a list of some of the most popular recipes according to my stats. Delicious data. :)

Most of these recipes are gluten-free, free of refined sugar and generally lower in sugar than most baked goods. Some are dairy-free, egg-free or vegan. (And most are optionally one or more of these.) If you're on a special diet, I trust you know what you can or can't eat, and to not rely on my labeling/tags which can be open to interpretation.

If anyone has a favourite recipe that wasn't included, whether it be from this site or another, please share it in the comments - we'd all love to know!

popular cookie & bar recipes

Sweet Honey! Peanut Butter Cookies (in the top photo)

Really Awesome Black Bean Brownies

Banana Booty Bars

Awesome Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Spicy Mayan Brownies

Tahini Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

Ginger Miso Peanut Butter Cookies

popular quick bread recipes

Chocolate Chip Almond Banana Bread

Quinoa Rice Bread

Healthy Banana Bread

Quick & Easy Oat Bread


Whole Almond Bread

Quinoa Cornbread

Blueberry Bran Muffins

misc popular recipes

New Cherry Clafoutis

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Patty's Pumpkin Pudding


Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups


Aluminum-free Baking Powder


Classic Baked Oatmeal


Awesome Almond Buckwheat Pancakes

enjoy :)

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

These are some reeeeally tasty cookies I enjoyed baking this winter. We were living in a fantastic house overlooking a beautiful tropical lake, and this house had a great little kitchen with a large gas oven, as well as some kitchen gadgets I haven't had a chance to use in a long time - like an electric mixer. I took full advantage of that electric mixer and large oven and baked-up a storm. It was truly an amazing winter, and every day I was happy and grateful for the weird and wonderful life I made for myself - still am. :)

Flourless anything is awesome, right? And there are many good flourless pb cookie recipes out there. I was inspired by this blog post comparing 2 great recipes - so I based this recipe loosely on the winning cookie. If you know me, you'll know that I make things as tasty and healthy as possible (I walk the line) so these are just about as healthy as non-healthy tasting cookies can be.

While developing this recipe, I did have one challenge… no good peanut butter. In this part of Mexico, you can only find the stuff with hydrogenated oil. So I made my cookies with whole roasted Spanish peanuts (with the red skins) ground in a coffee grinder till they just started to clump. A few big chunks gives a nice texture anyways - and it's the freshest healthiest "peanut butter" you can get. There's also the bonus of antioxidants from those red skins.

There's butter in the cookies too, but just a little. There is sugar too, oh yes. I played with the ratio of sugar until there was just enough to make them sweet, but not too sweet, and still have that nice caramelized texture that only sugar can give - and used flavourful muscovado sugar. When I used different brands of muscovado sugar, the cookies turned out either more crisp, or more chewy - as natural ingredients vary a lot. Yes, these are the "crispy chewy" type of cookie - yummm…

Anyways, I made these cookies many times until I got the ratios just right - I hope you love these as much as I do - enjoy!

xo Patty

Ingredients / Directions

1 1/3 c roasted Spanish peanuts
1 large egg
2 Tbsp butter
5 Tbps muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 - 1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c old fashioned rolled oats (for gluten-free use gluten-free oats)
1/2 c chocolate chips or chunks (semi-sweet or dark)

Have all ingredients at room temperature, except for the chocolate chips/chunks - put those in the fridge/freezer to chill. Grind peanuts in a coffee grinder or food processor until they start to clump. (This makes about 3/4 c very chunky "peanut butter" - so you could probably use that instead - and if you do please leave a comment and let us know how it goes.)

In a large bowl, beat/cream the butter, egg, and sugar (1-2 Tbsp at a time) on medium/high until the sugar completely dissolves. This will take several minutes as muscovado is pretty large-grained. Beat in the vanilla. Now beat in about 1/4 of you ground peanuts. If your mixer can handle it, mix in another 1/4 at a time - otherwise mix it by hand. (I was using a hand mixer, and after adding 1/2 of the ground peanuts I had to mix by hand with a heavy duty wooden spoon.) The batter will be very sticky and hard to mix, so unless your mixer can handle it, be ready for a work-out. Sift and mix in the baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and then oats. Last, mix in your chocolate. (I chill the chocolate so that it doesn't melt into the batter.)

Line a large cookie sheet (or 2 medium/small sheets) with parchment paper (or a silicone mat). Place about one sticky Tbsp of batter per cookie on the sheet with about 2" of space between them. In my experience, sometimes they spread quite a bit, and sometimes they don't - it depends on the muscovado sugar as it varies a lot. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 until slightly golden around the edges - about 12-15 minutes - but check after 10.  Try not to over-bake these if you want them chewy. (If your oven is very hot, and/or you're using a dark cookie sheet, you may need to bake them at 350.) Remove from oven, wait about one minute, then place cookies on a cooling rack. When cool, store at room temperature. Makes about 20 nice-sized cookies. They won't last long. ;)

Makin' Dough in Mexico

For the last several months I've been busy making dough… sourdough! I love it. It's so old school, tactile, physical, chemical, biological, nutritious, delicious... I love saying "I'm makin' dough" and I love making my own culture. Sourdough culture. (And it's Mexican sourdough - which is pretty cool!) And it may seem very technical at first, but once you figure out what works for you, it can be a fun creative free-style type of baking. It requires no fancy equipment, or special ingredients - and kneading dough is a great way to relieve stress. And if you're stressed about money, then you can say sing "I'm making dough" while you're kneading it and you'll start feeling rich - haha!

For all the healthy bakers out there on special diets who are interested in knowing, I'm still avoiding commercial yeast, and generally avoiding wheat. (I'm not allergic to wheat or celiac - just sensitive.) BUT - I learned that eating a little sourdough bread made with (some) wheat flour (which becomes fermented through the process) is easier on my system than non-fermented wheat foods. (Yay!) Fermentation, and moderation are the keys. Learn more about sourdough history and health here - super-interesting stuff.

I made my first sourdough starters from scratch - and it was so satisfying in that old school DIY way. Egyptians were making sourdough bread thousands of years ago - and when I was little I was convinced that I was Cleopatra in a former life... not that she would have been baking bread. You can make your own sourdough starter from scratch too - here are some great instructions for the novice. I made a wheat starter, a rice starter and an oat starter from these general directions and they all worked fantastically. For gluten-free bakers, a rice starter is super-easy to make (as the rice flour ferments quickly) and it's possible to make some tasty gf sourdough breads - I'll share the recipe I recently came up with when I have a chance. Here's the first rice/oat loaf I made - it was dense like pumpernickel and delicious:

I also used this technique to make a great little wheat starter. Basically it's a stiffer doughier starter (as opposed to the runnier "pancake batter consistency" starters like above). I made it with water that had (organic) raisins soaking in it. If you live in a drier environment that doesn't have a lot of yeast in the air, I recommend using raisin water (as the raisins have natural yeast on them, as well as sugar to feed the yeast). You can use the raisin water in the first technique I mention too. Right now I prefer a wetter starter (like the first one I mentioned).

My very first loaf ever I freestyled, and made it with a wheat/oat stater and all freshly ground oat flour. It was very dense. Very sour. Oh well.

My second loaf I made similarly, but added a bit of "dough enhancer". It had a bit more air… but tasted horrible. I recommend keeping it natural and avoiding dough enhancer (which includes commercial yeast). The Egyptians didn't have dough enhancer. ;)

At this point I was almost ready to chuck my starters, as I wasn't having much luck, I was wasting a lot of flour, and it was already a week into the experiment. (Maybe I had to wait longer for the starters? They looked and smelled ready. Maybe my experimental oat breads weren't the right consistency to rise?…)

So for my 3rd loaf I used my stiff raisin water starter and these general directions for Berkeley sourdough bread (as well as all all-purpose wheat flour - since it's impossible to find freshly ground whole wheat flour in these parts. I'd rather used refined flour than rancid whole grain flour. I also didn't think it was going to work…). But this one rose beautifully! All that gluten sure helped. I baked it in a cast iron skillet (which made a stellar crust) and enthusiastically misted it with water to create steam (as per the directions) and THE OVEN LIGHTBULB EXPLODED IN MY FACE. I was in shock. Luckily, I came away unscathed. I was REALLY REALLY LUCKY. We pulled out the glass and enjoyed it anyways. Livin' on the edge. It was awesome! Check it out:

What did I learn? Be careful misting around oven lightbulbs for starters! Be patient. My first starters eventually did work. It was the winter, and the room temperature was pretty cool, so they took much longer than I thought they would. Also, for my first 2 loaves, I was working with hardly any wheat gluten, and that requires a much different style of bread making. When trying something new, sometimes it's a good idea to follow a recipe. ;)

More tips: here's a great resource with recipes for sourdough bakers - and check out Dan Lepard's step-by-step instructions for rye sourdough

Currently I keep about 1-1.5 cups of wheat starter, and a separate rice starter in the fridge. With each I make one loaf per week (one wheat-based loaf, mostly for my sweetie, and a wheat-free loaf) and I feed them about once a week. They are my pets - my Yeasties. :)

And that was the start of my sourdough making adventures! I now feel like a bit of a veteran as I have many loaves under my belt, made with a variety of ingredients and techniques, and even baked some in a toaster oven - like the one in the top photo which was a raisin swirl bread - yum. I'll be sharing some of my favourite recipes eventually - including my oat and rice sourdough loaf - which can be made gluten-free - woo! In the meantime, I'm still really busy making dough.

xo Patty

Sweet Winter Giveaway!

Season's greetings! Hope you're all staying warm, baking and sharing wonderful goodies with the ones you love.

I want to share something sweet and healthy that will lift your spirits, and since I can't send you all homemade cookies from Mexico, I will share the next best thing - 10 copies of my iPhone app, iBooster!

If you haven't heard of it yet, it's a simple little app that helps you be more confident and positive, so that you can accomplish your goals and have an amazing life. My sweetie and I made it - we love it, and we think you will too. :)

I'm living proof that it works. By focusing on the kinds of messages we filled the app with, I've made some MAJOR much-needed lifestyle changes, and I'm happier and healthier than I've been in a long time. I'd so love to share this with you all!

Even if you don't have an iPhone (or iPod touch, or iPad), enter anyways and gift it to someone you care about.

To enter: Simply leave a comment, saying what you're grateful for today (and I guarantee you'll feel great after leaving the comment).The first 10 people to leave a comment win!

This giveaway is open to everyone internationally. :)

♥ Patty

Classic Baked Oatmeal

This summer, we ate baked oatmeal almost every morning. It was a hot summer, really hot, (locals said the hottest summer ever) but that didn't deter us from baking this because it was soooo good. We would mix it up the night before, and bake it in a toaster-oven the next morning. Sometimes we made it fancy by adding over-ripe mashed bananas, spice, nuts, chocolate... but mostly we made it plain, then drizzled some local honey over it. Yum. :)

The soaking of the oats overnight is magical. I've read in several places that soaking oats (or any flour) in liquid helps them become easier to digest. I knew that this was true with seeds, nuts, and beans (germinating/sprouting for better nutrition) but soaking flour was news to me. (I also read that using a slightly acidic liquid for flour is even better.) I'm still exploring this whole concept - you can learn more about it here and here. With the oats, soaking definitely gives them a fantastic texture.

I was inspired by this baked oatmeal that sounds awesome. I played with the recipe, and came up with this simple baked oatmeal that's hearty, healthy, and very satisfying. 

Here is the basic recipe:

1/4 c olive oil
2 large eggs (beaten)
2 Tbsp muscovado sugar
1 2/3 c milk
3 c old fashioned rolled oats (for gluten-free use gluten-free oats)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (sifted)

Feel free to play with the ingredients and ratios - this is a rustic forgiving recipe. Use any oil you like (coconut oil is nice too) or melted butter. You can use a milk substitute to make it dairy-free, and I think any good egg substitute would work here too. Sometimes I substitute half the milk for unsweetened apple juice - or use a combination of yogurt and water. (You can also use 2 Tbsp less milk if you like it more flaky.) Use whatever sweetener you like, more if you like things sweet, or no sweetener at all. I like the bit of flavor and browning the muscovado sugar provides. Sometimes I make a half batch in a loaf pan. Since it stores and re-heats so well, we often make a big batch (this is the big batch), keep the leftovers covered in the fridge, then re-heat pieces on a frying pan with butter or coconut oil. (My sweetie loves it this way best!)

Directions:

The super-easy way (+ nice texture):
The night before, mix everything together. Spread it in a greased 9"x9" pan. (I chill the pan in the freezer before greasing it with liquified coconut oil so that the oil solidifies and sticks to the pan, creating a better barrier.) Cover the pan and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, bake it at 350 for about 40 minutes, or until golden.

Just as easy, but a bit more work in the morning:
The night before, mix everything together except the salt and the baking powder. This creates a more acidic soaking medium - especially if made with yogurt or juice. Keep the mixture in a covered container in the fridge overnight. The next day, mix the salt and baking powder in, and spread it in a greased 9"x9" pan. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, or until golden.

Makes about 9-12 servings.

Enjoy!

Amaranth Squares

amaranth squares

My first guest post! Check out the story and recipe on La Fuji Mama for these delicious nutritious gluten-free super-easy no-bake amaranth squares. :)

Really Awesome Black Bean Brownies

I've been playing around with black bean brownies for a while now, because they're so delicious and nutritious. Think about it, a dark chocolaty brownie made with protein and fiber-rich black beans that's also lower in fat and sugar than a traditional brownie but still has all the chocolate and flavor. Breakfast! They seem to make a lot of sense here in Mexico, the land of black beans and chocolate, so it's not surprising that my amigos here love them.

I've made 4 different variations of black bean brownies in the last few months, and all of them were super-yummy, but my most recent batch was awesome. I nailed the ingredient ratios, making a dark fudgy complex brownie that plays off of 5 different kinds of beans: black beans, cacao, carob, coffee, vanilla. I also used just enough natural sugars, just enough flavorful fat, just enough dark chocolate, and just enough booze to make these decadent and beautiful tasting without going over-board and making a sugar-coma inducing empty calorie-packed brownie. So as rich as these are, they're rich *and* healthy: full of fiber, protein, natural sugars, antioxidants, and love!

There is one unusual ingredient in these that may be hard to find, and that is carob syrup. I managed to score some in a little Asian import shop in the Zona Libre (the "Free Zone" between Mexico and Belize). Carob syrup is naturally sweet and delicious, great stuff, and you can probably find it in Middle Eastern grocery stores. But if you don't have it, you can still make these brownies and they'll be delicious with or without carob.

Really Awesome Black Bean Brownies
(aka 5-Bean Brownies)

Puree and blend together:

2 c cooked black beans
2 large eggs (or egg substitute)
*1/4 c carob syrup
1/4 c agave nectar or honey
1/4 c Kahlua liqueur (or brewed coffee)
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 c coconut oil or unsalted butter (melted)

Sift together, then blend into the wet ingredients:

1/2 c cocoa (preferably not Dutch cocoa)
2 Tbsp tapioca starch (or corn starch)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt (use 1/4 tsp if your beans are salty or using salted butter, otherwise use 1/2 tsp)

Mix in:

1/3 - 1/2 c chopped dark chocolate

*If you can't find carob syrup, substitute 1/4 c carob syrup for:  2 Tbsp honey or agave + 2 Tbsp water +  3 Tbsp carob powder
*If you don't like carob, you can substitute 1/4 c carob syrup for:  1/4 c honey or agave +  2 Tbsp cocoa powder

Sugar-free: use brewed coffee instead of Kahlua. Substitute the chocolate for unsweetened carob chips (or sugar-free chocolate).

Egg-free or vegan: I'm pretty sure an egg substitute for 2 eggs would do the trick - if anyone tries please let us all know in the comments. See comment #18. Thanks Jen!

Grease and dust a smallish pan - I use a 10" x 7.5" stainless steel pan greased with coconut oil and dusted with icing sugar mixed with a bit of cinnamon (cocoa or carob works too). Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 till set - about 20 min. Allow to cool to room temperature then cut into squares. Store in a sealed container in the fridge - they'll firm up a bit - I really like these cold out of the fridge.

A Healthy Mexican Brunch

Thought I'd share a pic from a light brunch we made and enjoyed with friends on our lovely deck overlooking a beautiful lake this Easter. Since it was Easter, I was feeling a bit sentimental and wanted to dye some eggs, so I dyed them naturally using beets. (We have a red food-coloring allergy in our household, so natural dyes are a must.) Next in the image (clockwise) is fresh guacamole (tip: put the pit in the guac to help it stay green), fresh green salsa, banana bread made with ground oats, chocolate, and pecans, raw jicama (my new favorite veggie) and carrots, tuna and olive oil, and yogurt dill dip. We also had baked tostadas (for eating with the guac, salsa and tuna), fresh squeezed local orange juice, tropical fruit salad, and delicious Chiapas coffee. ¡Que rico! How delicious! (The literal translation is more like "how rich" but here they tend to use this expression for anything that's really good.)

The dill dip is something I enjoyed as a child in the summer with fresh carrots. (I think it may be a Ukrainian thing, because my Mom and Grandma would make a similar dip.) I got my Mom to bring me dried dill from Canada just so that I could make this dip to enjoy with the sweet local carrots. This is how I make it using local ingredients:

Yogurt Garlic Dill Dip

I always free-style this dip, so feel free to play with the amounts of ingredients. I remember there being some sour cream in my Mom's recipe, but I prefer yogurt. Mix together, to your taste, approximately:

  • 1 - 1 1/2 c natural full fat (or Balkan style) yogurt (you can strain some of the yogurt liquids if you like in order to make a thicker dip - in the same manner you would make tzatziki)
  • 1 medium clove of fresh garlic (crushed and finely minced - start with one, then add more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (start with this, then add more to taste)
  • 2 tsp dried dill (or 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill)
  • a bit of lime (or lemon) juice and/or a bit of finely grated zest (to taste)

Store covered in the fridge. Allow to sit overnight before serving - especially if using dried dill. Keeps for about a week. Enjoy with raw veggies.

Lover's Tropical Granola

Here in tropical Mexico, we can find all these great ingredients to make a mean batch of healthy chunky fruity granola. My sweetheart, who is a connoisseur, is now the in-house granola-maker. (Once you try fresh granola, there's no turning back.) This flexible recipe is his favorite.

Recipe: Lover's Tropical Granola

Thanks for the sweet pic Crispin :)

Healthy Chia Banana Bars

Healthy Chia Banana Bars 3

My favorite breakfast these days: quick, easy, tasty, filling and super-healthy. All of the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find here in Mexico. Packed with whole grains and seeds, these squares are wheat-free, gluten-free (if made with gluten-free oats), dairy-free, egg-free, low in sugar, and high in fiber. Did I mention they're delicious?

Recipe: Chia Banana Bars

In our house, we eat these so often, we call them Chia Squares. But I thought Chia Banana Bars was more descriptive. What do you think?
Healthy Chia Banana Bars 2

PS: I've been super-busy working on an exciting new baking site - more about this soon!