Sugar Free, Flour Free, Delicious?
March 13, 2010 4:28 PM   Subscribe

Are there any delicious treats or confections that can be made without refined sugar or white flour that can be mailed?

I have a good friend going to college in California (I'm in NJ) who's been a bit down in the dumps lately. I'd like to send her a gift to cheer her up. While reading about the Marshmallow Test, I came to the conclusion that Divinity would be the best treat for her blues. However, while chatting with her, she said that she's decided to try eating healthier, by cutting out refined sugars and flours. That naturally ruined my first idea, and throws a wrench in my natural instinct to bake her something.

I'm pretty good in the kitchen, whether it is baking or making candies. Are there any decent whole wheat/sugar free alternatives/variations to the usual cookies and candies? I want this to be delicious in its own right, and not a fakey substitution. Honey and agave necter were specifically mentioned as sweeteners that she is okay with, so it's not like all sugars are banned. I just don't know how to make confections without cane sugar.

I'd really like for this to be homemade, as I feel it means more than if I sent her something packaged. I also don't want to hear about whether or not that diet is essentially wise, since it's not my choice and I don't want to break her rules.
posted by mccarty.tim to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: PS: Sorry if this has been asked before. The search didn't seem to have this exact question, though. Most people were asking about products that were sugar free.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:29 PM on March 13, 2010

Response by poster: PSS: I have a ton of vanilla beans if that helps.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:30 PM on March 13, 2010

How about something like these?

Also, tons of cookie recipes use applesauce instead of oil in baking recipes if you're looking to cut that down too.
posted by icy at 4:42 PM on March 13, 2010

These walnut cookies sound like they would do (but hold on to your wallet, maple sugar is expensive!).
posted by lakeroon at 4:43 PM on March 13, 2010

Best answer: You can actually make your standard cookie or cake recipe using honey and whole wheat flour.

As far as I know, whole wheat flour behaves no differently then the refined stuff. As for replacing honey with sugar, you can use this as a guide.

Make half a batch of your favorite baked good as a test run.
posted by royalsong at 5:07 PM on March 13, 2010

This is a recipe I pulled out of Reader's digest a few years back (and tweaked it a bit).
It's a pretty tasty breakfast muffin.

Cherry Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup (250 mL) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup toasted wheat germ
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp (15 mL) honey
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large egg
1 tbsp grated orange zest
3/4 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line twelve 2 1/2-inch (6 cm) muffin cups with paper liners. Toast oats in a jelly-roll pan until golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Add all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, 1/3 cup (75 mL) sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to oats, stirring to combine.

Whisk together buttermilk, oil, egg, and orange zest in small bowl until blended. Make well in centre of dry ingredients and pour in buttermilk mixture. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in cherries, using a wooden spoon.

Spoon batter into muffin cups; sprinkle top of each muffin with 1/4 tsp (1 mL) sugar. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in centre of a muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove cherry-oatmeal muffins from pan to wire rack to cool.
posted by Iggley at 5:25 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oops, that's 350 degrees F. Not 375
posted by Iggley at 5:26 PM on March 13, 2010

and you'd have to leave off the sugar on top of course.
posted by Iggley at 5:27 PM on March 13, 2010

I haven't tried these yet, but these Primal Peach Patties look cookie-like and have no flour or refined sugar.

I made these Fudge Babies a few days ago, and they were surprisingly good for a "healthy" dessert. Just walnuts, dates, cocoa powder, and vanilla. I added more vanilla (probably a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon) to make them a little fudgier/wetter, and I might sprinkle a little coconut on them next time. We kept ours wrapped in plastic on the counter for a few days, so they should be ok in the mail.

If you search for Paleo Desserts or Paleo baking, you'll find things that use no grain flours or sugar (some use nut flours or coconut flour). This page has some other cookie recipes you could try, including a macaroon recipe that uses coconut, almonds, honey and egg. I'm sure you could throw some vanilla if you wanted to use some of that.
posted by BlooPen at 5:34 PM on March 13, 2010

Low-calorie, or no refined sugar? Because maple candy is one of the most delicious candies of all time. (of all time!)

The butter in that recipe isn't even particularly important -- by my understanding it just helps keep the foaming down. If you have a huge pan, you can leave it out.
posted by range at 5:45 PM on March 13, 2010

Best answer: Once again I'm referring someone to 101 Cookbooks. This is just one cookie recipe (I have not tried it yet) but please spend a little time browsing the archives. Also a good site to recommend to your friend, as the whole thing is about natural whole (unprocessed) foods.
posted by purpletangerine at 6:19 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks purpletangerine and royalsong. The 101 Cookbooks link is a good lead, and failing that, I'll adapt one of my tried and true recipes.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:59 PM on March 13, 2010

I second the vote for maple candy. Yummy
posted by DougFromDover at 9:20 PM on March 13, 2010

Whoa. Baking with whole wheat flour IS different because of the different gluten content. If you're going to go this route, find a cookie recipe that uses whole wheat flour. Unfortunately, I don't have any personal recommendations. King Arthur's apparently has a good book, but I haven't used it.
posted by emkelley at 6:41 AM on March 14, 2010

Response by poster: Well, I decided to make a pair of caramel apples using honey as the base for the caramel. They look great, and I'm planning to mail them out tomorrow.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:36 PM on March 15, 2010

Looks like you made up your mind, but what about homemade granola? I'd LOVE if someone sent me a package of that, and you could tweak it to match her dietary needs. I'd assume that it travels pretty well too...
posted by elisebeth at 9:11 AM on March 16, 2010

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