Monday, September 25, 2017

Mini Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting

Mini Spice Cake
I have a set of adorable 4-inch springform pans, which are the perfect size for making mini desserts. When I want a little something sweet, but don't want an entire cake calling my name every time I walk through the kitchen, I reach for my mini pans. Four small servings, just enough for my small family, and the craving is satisfied and the temptation is gone. This particular cake was inspired by my husband's Aunt Margie. She made a spice cake with penuche frosting that he remembers fondly. Penuche is a brown sugar fudge similar in taste to pralines and is a southern favorite. Of course, brown sugar was not an option for me, so I recreated the flavor of her beloved frosting using low carb ingredients that passes the husband taste test! The addition of caramel flavoring gives the frosting a richer, more authentic flavor and tones down the peanut butter a bit, but it's just as delicious without it. I think you'll agree that this flavor combination of warm spices and caramel is a perfect fall treat.

Mini Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting (Low Carb, Gluten Free)
Makes 1 mini cake (4 servings)

Cake Ingredients:

5 tablespoons almond flour
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 tablespoon unflavored whey protein powder
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons Golden LaKanto Monkfruit Sweetener (or other erythritol sweetener)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream or almond milk

Frosting Ingredients:

2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons peanut butter, no sugar added
2 tablespoons powdered erythritol (I used Swerve Confectioners)
4 drops English Toffee stevia (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 drops caramel flavoring or extract, optional (I used Capella brand, see photo below)
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1. To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two 4-inch springform pans or ramekins well; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, whey protein powder, cocoa powder, baking powder, spices and salt; set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and erythritol. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on high until well combined. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients and beat well. Add 1 tablespoon of cream (or almond milk) and beat again. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and cream, beating well between each addition until a smooth batter is formed. Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans and level out.

3. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until the center is set. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edges and remove the cakes from the pans and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

4. To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, peanut butter and butter. Add the powdered sweetener, stevia drops, vanilla extract and caramel flavoring (if using) and beat until well combined. Add the whipping cream one tablespoon at a time, whipping after each addition, until fluffy and a spreadable consistency is reached.

5. Assemble the cake by placing one layer on a serving plate and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top and spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides. Chill the cake for about 30 minutes to set the frosting before serving. 

Caramel Flavoring
Nutritional Information per serving (1/4 cake): 311 calories, 7.9 g carbohydrates (2.1 g dietary fiber, 1.4 g sugars, 6.8 g sugar alcohols), 28.5 g total fat (14 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 107 mg cholesterol, 167 mg sodium, 103.5 mg calcium, 42 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 711 mg Vit A, 7.7 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 5.8 grams

Recipe and photo by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2017
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author's permission.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Low Carb Pumpkin Spice Bagels (Gluten free, Sugar free)

Low Carb Pumpkin Bagels
Lately, I've been experimenting with low carb bagel recipes and landed on one I really like from the Low Carb Maven (click here for the recipe). It's good and chewy like a bagel should be but, because of its distinct cheese flavor (which is delicious!), I think it's best served with a savory spread, cream cheese or butter. In keeping with the season, this morning I had a craving for a pumpkin bagel, so I went to work. I needed to tone down the cheesy flavor with pumpkin and ramp up the spice, all while keeping the dense and chewy texture of a traditional bagel. This recipe definitely is a winner! I recommend splitting and toasting the bagel before serving for the best result. The slightly sweet cream cheese spread is the perfect companion that further draws attention to the pumpkin and warm spices. All you need to add is a cup of coffee or tea to enjoy a truly wonderful breakfast!

Low Carb Pumpkin Spice Bagels (Gluten free, Sugar free)
Makes 6 bagels

Bagel Dough:

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup gluten free oat fiber (not oat flour, or sub coconut flour)
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda (or 2 teaspoons baking powder)
2 tablespoons unflavored whey protein powder
2 tablespoons powdered erythritol (I used Swerve Confectioners)
1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
2 ounces full-fat cream cheese
1 large egg
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned is fine, no sugar added)

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread:

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons creamy almond butter (no sugar added)
1 tablespoon powdered erythritol
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1. To make the bagels, whisk together the almond flour, oat fiber, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda (or baking powder), whey protein powder and 2 tablespoons erythritol in a medium bowl; set aside.

2. Place the mozzarella cheese and 2 ounces of cream cheese into a microwaveable safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir and microwave again for 15-30 seconds. Pour the melted cheese mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Add the egg and 1/4 cup pumpkin puree and process until smooth. Add the dry ingredients all at once and process until a dough forms. It will be sticky. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap or plate, shape into a thick log about 8-inches long and place into the freezer to cool briefly for easier handling.

3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

4. When the oven is preheated, remove the bagel dough from the freezer and divide into six equal pieces. Lightly oil hands and roll each portion into a snake shape, form into a ring and pinch together the ends to seal. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Let the bagels cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, they can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week. To enjoy, split and toast the bagels before serving. 

5. To make the cream cheese spread: Place all of the spread ingredients into a medium bowl and whip with a hand mixer until well combined and fluffy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Makes about 1 cup. Serving size is 2 tablespoons.

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread
Nutritional Information per bagel (based on 6 per recipe, no topping): 268 calories, 13.5 g carbohydrates (8 g dietary fiber, 1.8 g sugars, 5 g sugar alcohols), 21.3 g total fat (6.7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 53 mg cholesterol, 381 mg sodium, 215.4 mg calcium, 243 mg potassium, 1868 mg Vit A, 1 mg iron, 14 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 5.5 grams

Nutritional Information Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread (2 TB serving): 126 calories, 2.1 g carbohydrates (0.6 g dietary fiber, 0.9 g sugars, 1.9 g sugar alcohols), 12.1 g total fat (6.7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 37 mg cholesterol, 85 mg sodium, 22.1 mg calcium, 9 mg potassium, 722 mg Vit A, 1.9 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 1.5 grams.

Recipe and photos by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2017
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author's permission.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sweet-Tart Lemon Blueberry Donuts (low carb, gluten free)

Sweet-Tart Lemon Blueberry Donuts
When I make something with lemon, I don't kid around! I like its mouth-puckering, bright flavor and this recipe doesn't disappoint. Combined with the sweetness of the blueberries, it's a flavorful morning eye-opener. It's actually the glaze that gives this donut its tart punch so, if you're wishing for a gentle lemon flavor, you can opt out and eat it plain. I recently purchased my last pint of locally grown, organic Maine blueberries of the season and thought this would be a great way to showcase them and I was right. You can use frozen, but be sure to purchase the very small wild berry (lowbush variety) so they'll be evenly distributed and enjoyed in every bite. As I look out my window and already see a few red, orange and gold leaves on the trees, this last sweet taste of summer is a special treat that will carry me into the cool weeks ahead.

Sweet-Tart Lemon Blueberry Donuts (Low Carb, Gluten Free)
Makes 6 donuts (more or less, depending on your pan)

1/2 cup almond flour
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated erythritol (I used LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener)
1/2 teaspoon stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
1 tablespoon unflavored whey protein powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1/8 teaspoon lemon extract (optional, but adds more lemon flavor)
Zest from one lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
3 tablespoons lowbush wild Maine blueberries, fresh or frozen (small berry size, Wyman's is a good frozen brand)

Lemon Glaze:

1/4 cup powdered erythritol (I used Swerve Confectioners)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. For the donuts, lightly grease a donut pan and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, erythritol, stevia, whey protein powder, baking powder, and salt.

2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, lemon juice, water, extract and zest. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined. Very gently fold in the blueberries until well distributed throughout the batter. (If using frozen, do not thaw to minimize turning the batter purple.)

3. Fill donut pan holes approximately 2/3 to 3/4 full (do not overfill). Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the donuts are browned on the edges and spring back when touched. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.

4. For the glaze, whisk together in a shallow bowl the powdered erythritol and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice until smooth. If too thin, add a little bit of erythritol. If too thick, add a few drops of lemon juice at a time and whisk until the desired consistency is reached.

5. Dip the tops of the cooled donuts into the lemon glaze. (Be sure to hold the donuts gently and carefully when glazing because they may be delicate. The distribution of the berries might have created some weak spots and you don't want them breaking apart.) Place the glazed donuts on a wire rack for a few minutes until the glaze is set. If there is any glaze leftover, place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for a later use.

Nutritional Information per donut (based on six per recipe): 111 calories, 6.7 g carbohydrate (1.6 g dietary fiber, 1.1 g sugars, 8 g sugar alcohols), 9.5 g total fat (3.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 41 mg cholesterol, 93 mg sodium, 29.9 mg calcium, 97 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 168 mg Vit A, 3.7 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 5.1 grams

Recipe and photo by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2017
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author's permission.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Low Carb Maine Crab Au Gratin

Maine Crab Au Gratin
Years ago, one of my favorite restaurants was Downeast Village in Yarmouth, Maine. They featured many Maine specialities and their dining room was warm and inviting, often with a roaring fire blazing in the huge, brick fireplace. Sadly, they have closed, but I will never forget my favorite meal there: Maine Crab Au Gratin! Creamy, cheesy, decadent and so rich, it was a special occasion meal. It's perfectly low carb and keto, so I thought I'd recreate it at home this year for my birthday dinner. This easy main dish is every bit as good as I remember!

Low Carb Maine Crab Au Gratin
Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons butter
A pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Thick-It-Up (or xanthan gum)
1/4 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
White or black pepper to taste
3-4 cups real crabmeat (not imitation), about 16 oz.
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In a saucepan, combine the butter, salt, dry mustard powder, cream, coconut milk and Worcestershire sauce. Stir over low heat until the butter is melted and the ingredients are combined. Slowly sprinkle in the Thick-It-Up (or xanthan gum) while whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Stir in the cheddar cheese until melted and no lumps remain. Add the pepper and crabmeat and stir until the crabmeat is well coated. Transfer the crab mixture to a 2-quart baking dish or divide into four individual ramekins. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the top. (For convenience, you can refrigerate the casserole at this point and bake it later.) Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes until the casserole is bubbling and the Parmesan cheese begins to brown. Serve piping hot! 

Nutritional Information per serving: 304 calories, 1.4 g carbohydrate (0 g dietary fiber, 0.6 g sugars), 21.3 g total fat (13.6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 154 mg cholesterol, 599 mg sodium, 195.5 mg calcium, 39 mg potassium, 499 mg Vit A, 26.8 g protein. 

Recipe and photo by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2017
All Rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author's permission. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Low Carb, Gluten Free Autumn Recipes

When the mornings and evenings start getting cooler and the first kick-off of football season as occurred, I begin to experience cravings for the warm and comforting foods of autumn. I've been browsing through my recipe file and here are a few links to some of my favorite main dishes and treats to usher in the season. 

Main Dishes

One Pan Autumn Chicken Dinner from Cooking Classy with a Sprinkle of Fancy

Low Carb Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole from

Original Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Casserole. Recipe by George Stella

Pulled Pork and Zoodles
Pulled Pork and Zoodles from the Comfort Bites Blog

Salmon in Cream from Salmon Recipes Old and New

Turkey Saltimbocca Meatballs
Turkey Saltimbocca Meatballs. Recipe by Melissa Sevigny from

Rainbow Chili by Kathy from Diabetics Rejoice blog

Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta. Recipe by Gina Homolka from

Autumn Treats

Baked Cinnamon Spice Granola
Baked Cinnamon Spice Grain-Free, Low Carb Granola. Recipe by Kathy from Diabetics Rejoice blog

Keto Pumpkin Spice Donuts from

Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse. Recipe by Brenda from

Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Glaze
Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Glaze. Recipe by Carolyn from

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds. Recipe by Diabetic Living from

Bulletproof Pumpkin Misto. Recipe by Kathy from Diabetics Rejoice blog

Low Carb Apple Fritters
Low Carb Apple Fritters from