The Can-Do Candida Diet: October 2013
Can-Do Candida © Isabelle Burden 2013 All rights reserved

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cinnamon Scones for the Candida Diet: Can-Do Does England, Too!


I’m writing this post from a rather different vantage point than usual.  As I write, I look out my window to the city of dreaming spires – Oxford, England, to be precise.  The city rises each morning with intrinsic grace, like a sparrow taking flight on its amber-colored instincts, and each day passes with the timeless confidence of the Thames.  I count myself extremely fortunate to be here among the stately shapes of the skyline.     


Of course, even abroad, I am still food-obsessed.  Most of my tourism photos are snapped while walking through farmers’ markets and grocery stores.  But let’s not forget I am in England, and if there is one particular spread of edibles that is globally associated with English culture, it’s afternoon tea. 

An English cream tea consists of black tea, likely served with milk and sugar, accompanied by scones with jam and clotted cream.  If you’re on the candida diet there are several components of that equation that already sound concerning.  Sugar, sugar, and more sugar – not to mention the delicious but deadly wheat gluten that makes those scones so flaky and good.


So how can a girl stick to her guns when surrounded by the temptation of a tasty-looking cream tea spread?  A Candida Can-Do scone recipe, of course!  

I went with a more American take for my recipe, aiming for a sweeter and more crumbly scone than its English cousin, which most would say is a closer match to the American biscuit. 

These scones are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee.  Sweet cinnamon gets a boost from a hint of nutmeg, keeping each bite of these buttery treats interesting.   


Scones can be a little on the dry side.  If you’re one of those who like a smoother bite, I happen to think these scones pair excellently with a bit of no-sugar-added jam, or even a fruit compote made with stevia and fresh berries (blueberry is my personal favorite for this particular batch of scones). 

Candida Alert: While there is no refined sugar or sugar from starches in this recipe, dairy products, like milk and half and half, do have high levels of sugar and can cause an inflammatory response in the body.  I did my best to keep the dairy to a minimum, but if you are on a strict candida diet, feel free to play around with substituting, though I cannot guarantee the results should you do so. 


Ingredients:

For the blueberry compote:

4 tbsp salted butter
6 cups wild Maine blueberries (can be found frozen, if not fresh)
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp stevia
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp chia seed
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp coconut flour

Over medium heat, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter.  To the melted butter, add the blueberries.  Cook the blueberries in the butter for two minutes, stirring gently on occasion.  Add the almond milk and the rest of the ingredients.  Allow this mixture to simmer for another 5-10 minutes, or until the blueberries gain the consistency of a syrupy sauce, and can coat the surface of a wooden spoon.    

For the scones:

1 ½ cups coconut flour
1 cup almond flour
3 ½ tsps cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ sticks salted butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp liquid stevia
½ cup milk
¼ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tbsps half and half
2 sheets parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 

In a medium-sized bowl, beat two eggs.  To the beaten eggs, add vanilla extract, liquid stevia, milk, almond milk, and half and half.  Place this aside for now.

In a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, tartar, baking soda, and salt.

Cut the butter into small chunks, taking care to keep it from melting.  The colder the butter is, the better.  Toss these chunks of butter into the dry ingredients, and begin the process of cutting-in.  Using two knives, a food processor, or another tool suited to this task, cut the butter over and over into increasingly smaller pieces, tossing occasionally to distribute them throughout the flour. 

You do not want the butter to melt, or to become creamy.  Get the butter pieces as small and as evenly distributed as you can, as this is crucial to the texture of the scones.  If at any point the butter gets too warm, it is helpful to place the entire bowl of ingredients into the freezer for a minute or two to return the butter to a more solid consistency.

Once this stage is completed, add the wet ingredients to the large bowl.  Stir with a gentle folding motion to combine. 

Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper.  Place another parchment sheet on top of the dough, and, using a rolling pin, flatten the dough between the sheets to about a quarter-inch of thickness. 

Once done, remove the top sheet and slice the scones out of the dough as if you were cutting into a round cake.  This will give you triangular scones. 

Use a spatula to transfer the shaped scones from the parchment to a greased baking sheet.  If they come apart a little on the way there, don’t worry; just reshape them with your fingers. 

Brush the tops of the scones with a little extra milk to keep them from over-drying, and bake them for 12-15 minutes. 

Allow scones to cool, then serve with any additions you desire.  

Cheers, mate! 


Friday, October 11, 2013

Green Tea Cupcakes for the Candida Diet: A Cultural Cupcake Exchange


As you can probably tell from my earlier post, Quinoa Sushi Rice, I love the flavors of Japanese cuisine. 

Traditional Japanese tea ceremony is regarded as a high art form, and for a good reason.  Green tea is an ingredient that is well respected, and is treated accordingly.  Tea ceremonies embrace the bitterness of the tea, alternating between sips of the strong, frothy brew and slow-dissolving sweets that are so beautiful and intricately crafted that they could be sugar jewelry. 

I modeled these cupcakes off of Japanese green tea steamed cakes.  Steamed cakes are light and sweet, with the texture of the fluffiest yellow cake you can imagine.  They are a popular snack, and you can purchase them in convenience stores and bakeries across Japan.

These steamed cakes are not the only dessert to be flavored with matcha.  Matcha ice cream is also common, and is often swirled with vanilla in a classic soft-serve twist.


To me, it seems the green tea dessert represents an overarching creed of the Japanese culture: life is bitter; life is sweet.  To live fully, one experiences both, either in shifts or in tandem.  A green tea cupcake isn’t just dessert, it is the “in-yo” (similar to Chinese yin-yang), the balance of life itself.

I understand it’s pretty hard to sell any cupcake recipe as being the balance of life itself, especially a recipe that contains no sugar or flour.  But if you know you love green tea, or if you’re feeling adventurous in the kitchen, I highly recommend trying a batch. 

The cupcakes are moist and soft, and have a springy texture that resembles traditionally baked cakes.  They flavor is sweet, but not for everyone, as the true flavor of the green tea is a feature, and some regard this as being a bitter flavor.  A strawberry buttercream helps to brighten the cake with fruity notes, and balance the potential bitterness of the matcha. 

If you are in the early stages of the candida diet, and are still used to higher levels of sweetness, you can try adding more stevia to this recipe, but go slowly and augment in half-teaspoon increments.

Ingredients:


For the strawberry buttercream:

Full fat content of 2 cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 stick salted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp liquid stevia
½ cup dehydrated no sugar added strawberries, pulverized into powder


Refrigerate the coconut milk for at least an hour before making the frosting in order to separate the milk solids from the liquids.

Cut the softened butter into smaller chunks and place these into the bowl of a food processor. Open the refrigerated coconut milk and carefully collect the milk solids, depositing them into the food processor with the butter. Leave the liquid milk behind in the can to be used in the cupcake recipe.

Add the vanilla, stevia, and powdered strawberries to the butter and coconut milk. Pulse the food processor a few times until the ingredients blend and the icing comes together. There can be some texture and even a few small lumps. Be very careful not to over-process or your butter will separate, this is the most important thing to remember.

You can also pair these with vanilla buttercream, the recipe for which can be found here.

For the cupcakes:

1 15 oz can butter beans
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 eggs
2 tsp liquid stevia
1 ¼ tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp salted butter, melted
1 ¼ cups almond flour
½ tsp salt
1//4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp matcha green tea powder


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Strain and rinse the butter beans to wash off excess starches.  Rinse until the water runs clear out of the strainer.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the beans, coconut milk, eggs, stevia, vanilla, and melted butter.  Puree these until they come together in a smooth, paste-like batter. No beans should be left whole.

To the pureed wet ingredients, add the almond flour, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar lemon juice, and matcha green tea powder.  Run the food processor again to integrate all these ingredients.

Line a cupcake pan with parchment liners.  Fill each liner ¾ of the way full. 

Bake the cupcakes for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan to ensure even baking and bake for another 15 minutes.  After 30 minutes the cupcakes should have risen slightly and there should be some slight cracking patterns evident on their tops. Remove the finished cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool before frosting.

So, as the Japanese say at the start of a meal, Itadakimasu