Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Carrot Spice Protein Bread [DF | GF | WF]

I have a sweet tooth and my motto has always been "Life is uncertain, eat dessert first." I LOVE me some dessert. Doesn't matter the time of day, I'm game for it all. So it comes as no surprise when I try to incorporate sweets when I'm watching what I'm eating. Enter flexible dieting aka: counting macros. While I'm not actively counting them at the moment, this recipe was a go-to when I was hitting the gym something fierce. Don't get me wrong, fitness is a part of my life, but at the moment it has taken a backseat temporarily.

Remember that 2 year hiatus I took? There was a lot of struggle that went on. I won't give you the long story, instead I'll give you the shortened version... The guy I moved to California for...yea...we broke up. That caused a domino effect of...stuff. I moved 4 times after that and eventually ended back in Phoenix. I will say, the break up taught me A LOT. I'm a whole lot stronger and have a clearer vision of who I am and where I want to be. Which brings me back to the blog...

Okay now that I've gotten that off of my chest, we're going to do my second favorite thing in the kitchen: BAKE! I originally found this recipe on Pinterest looking for low calorie sweet treats that satisfied my killer sweet tooth. The original recipe is somewhat gluten free as it uses oat flour, however, I've done my research and know that not all people who are gluten free can eat oats. I decided to experiment with various gluten free flours but I wanted to keep it simple. My eyes glaze over when the recipe calls for 5 flours, 3 starches, every expensive ingredient at Whole Foods, and the tears of a baby. I like to work smart, not harder in life and this ideal translates nicely in the kitchen. If it's too difficult or I have to buy 50 ingredients I'll use once, no thanks. Part of the idea of starting up this blog again is to simplify gluten free recipes. Not to discredit the original author, I just don't have the time or the resources for fancy schmancy ingredients. I'm trying to be frugal and being on a gluten free diet makes that a pinch more challenging.

I decided to play around with sorghum flour because it had a nice nutty flavor and didn't turn my baked goods into rice flavored bites. Ever bake with rice flour and wonder why it tastes like you're eating sweetened rice? I mean if that's your thing, then by all means. But for me, rice is good as rice pudding or with a main dish. But in my sweet treats? Ummm...no thanks. I read around that you still have to use a starch with sorghum to make it fluffy. <SIGH> Again with the massive amounts of ingredients! I was starting to feel like I was conducting a chemistry experiment. In reality, I was. Gluten free baking is more precise than regular baking will ever be. It lacks that little thing called gluten...aka...the glue. This is where xanthan gum comes in really handy as it acts as the binder/glue to make gluten free goods nice and fluffy. Trying to figure out the perfect combination was an absolute nightmare. Luckily for you, I figured it out so you don't have to.

On to the fun stuff! This recipe was adapted from Jamie Eason's Carrot Cake Protein Bars so I can't take all of the credit for it. Also, before I forget... Affiliate Disclosure - In order to keep my blog free for everyone, this post contains sponsored links from Amazon.

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (unflavored is fine)*
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (whatever your macros will allow for - this tastes good with or without) 

Wet Ingredients:
  • 4 egg whites** 
  • 3/4 cup sweetener of choice (I use Splenda)
  • 8 oz. carrot baby food***
  • 4 oz. water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (if using unflavored protein powder) 

*For the love all of that is holy, use a protein powder you actually enjoy the taste of. Otherwise you will hate your protein bread. Also, egg white protein is possibly the worst protein powder to use. Trust me, I speak from experience.
**I HIGHLY recommend using liquid egg whites from the carton. Otherwise you will have an eggy textured bread which is no bueno.
***Baby food in protein bread? What on earth? Yea it's weird, but just go with it. I'm all about texture and the baby food adds a nice texture. Plus at 30 calories a jar, you can't go wrong. Holla!

Method:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Do it now before you forget and get into the groove of things. Then you have to wait around for the oven to warm up. Ain't no body got time for that!
  2. You can use pretty much any kind of baking receptacle your little heart so chooses. I usually grease up a 9inx5in loaf pan or you can use a mini loaf pan (my personal favorite). Just don't forget to grease that sucker up.
  3. I'm OCD so there is a certain way that I will bake. You can do whatever tickles your fancy. I like to mix the dry and wet ingredients separately AND then marry them together. It doesn't make a difference except those of us who are ridiculously OCD. 
  4. Mix the dry ingredients in order given in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients until completely mixed together.
  6. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients. Try not to beat the mixture too hard. Xanthan gum is a fickle little bugger and can get out of control fluffy. Just a forewarning ok? 
  7. Once wet and dry ingredients are mixed together, gently fold in walnuts.
  8. Dump the mixture into the greased loaf pan of your choice and stick in the nice and hot oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let the loaf cool for about an hour before taking it out of the pan to further cool on a wire rack.
  10. Makes approximately 14 servings.

What did you think of the gluten free version of this protein bread? Leave me a comment with your thoughts, things you did differently, randomness, etc. There's more where this recipe came from and you can expect to see similar items in the near future. Stay strong my friends!