Carrot cake

I wanted to make a special occasion dessert recently and searched for a low-carb, gluten-free recipe online. I found this post for a promising carrot cake on the Fit To Serve site. I had many of the ingredients as they’re typical keto baking supplies. Just had to pick up carrots and the frosting components. This recipe is easy to put together but it is expensive to make. I’m happy to report the cost and effort was worth it for this impressive and tasty dessert!

I definitely recommend this one 😋

Product review: CarbQuick

I’ve seen this product online and finally decided to try it when I found it at a local health food shop. I paid about $20 for the box which is comparable to what it costs online. I was intrigued by the product because it promised a low carb baking mix that’s made out of wheat. Typical low carb options for baking include but flours, coconut flour, and other harder-to find (and expensive) ingredients.

The CarbQuick box included several recipes and I can attest to the few I tried.

First was basic cheddar tea buns or biscuits. They involved using the box mix base, adding cream, egg, and shredded cheese. These turned out well and were eaten in a flash at my house.

Then I tried a muffin recipe from the box. I subbed in chocolate chips and again these turned out well. The muffins were a little dry and didn’t make a lot. So next time I make these I’ll probably add more cream and double the recipe.

I made pancakes with the CarbQuick mix but forgot to get pics. But I also tried the thicker waffle recipe with the mix and the waffles were excellent. This is my favourite use of the mix so far. I haven’t found s good waffle recipe with low carb ingredients yet. So getting to make and have these were an extra nice treat.

At first I was hesitant to purchase CarbQuick because I wasn’t sure how it would work, plus it seemed expensive. But after my experiments I attest that the mix makes good baked goods. And I still have about half a box left. In doing some math, I realize CarbQuick is cheaper to use than almond flour which has been my go-to flour/base recently. The main draw back is that CarbQuick is made with carbalose flour (wheat) so not gluten-free. So that’s important to keep in mind if you have sensitivity or an allergy, or someone you’re baking for is in that situation. That flour base is also high in fibre which is what causes it to have a lower net carb count than typical flour.

I don’t have issues with gluten myself, and didn’t experience any adverse effects from this product or it’s added fibre. And though it is “processed” I’m ok with incorporating some of that including convenience foods.

All in all I’m glad I took the plunge and tried this product!

Keto-friendly muffins

A craving to bake and for muffins sent me on a web search for a recipe that fits my diet (and at-home ingredient availability). I found this recipe from SavoryTooth and the results were excellent.

It’s an almond flour base with just a few other simple ingredients.

The muffins were tasty, had a traditional moist crumb, and were gobbled up in no time. This particular recipe only makes a few muffins so I doubled it.

The other alteration I made was to add dark chocolate instead of blueberries.

I’m going to try this one out again soon. Baking can be relaxing and therapeutic for me, and especially so when I’m using a familiar recipe with expected good results.

“Fat head” dough cinnamon rolls

These cinnamon rolls are low carb, gluten free, and can satisfy your desire for yummy baked goods. When living a ketogenic lifestyle it can be rare to have the classic baked goods you used to crave, like cinnamon rolls, donuts, muffins, etc. These baked goods are everywhere in our society. And though keto makes you have way less cravings and know sugar is just plain bad for you…you may still want a taste of something nostalgic or classic. This is the recipe for just those occasions. It is perfect for a weekend baking session and ends up making enough to share or bring to a gathering. 

The initial recipe is similar to most ‘fat head’ dough and uses coconut flour. Because of that, it’s also safe for anyone avoiding nuts which is a great alternative as some related dough uses almond flour. 

I got the idea for making these from a post by Keto Diet Channel for cinnamon and cream cheese babka bread. I tried that recipe and did like the addition of cream cheese laced with the cinnamon filling.

For these cinnamon rolls, once the dough is formed and chilled, roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper (helps with it not sticking to surfaces). Then this recipe takes a turn from classic ‘fat head’ dough as you spread a cinnamon, butter, sugar (well, sugar alternative) mixture over the dough. Using the parchment paper to assist, roll the dough over itself trapping that amazing sweet cinnamon butter inside. Chill the dough again to make cutting and forming easier. 

Let the dough chill all rolled up and covered in the parchment paper for 15-20 mins in the fridge. Take it out and cut the roll into 1-2 inch sections. I find it best to cut the long roll in half first, then cut each half in half, and keep going like that. This technique produces the most uniform rolls. Or you can experiment with some larger and some thinner rolls to see what you like, like I did below. I ended up with 15 rolls total time time, and average about a dozen to 15 rolls each time I make this recipe. 

Bake the rolls for 30 mins at 375F. Check to ensure they’re not browning too much and that they’re not too soggy or uncooked in the middle. If you have larger rolls, you may need to put them back in the oven for a few more minutes. It’s my experience that this dough can’t go longer than 30 mins without burning. So if you decide to put them back in the oven for a few more minutes make sure you cover them with foil. 

And here they are! Super cute, satisfying, tasty. The coconut flour makes these have a nice texture that’s not mealy or crumbly. The cinnamon butter rolled throughout the dough does emulate a classic cinnamon roll. These should cool on the pan and then can last up to 5 days though I find they are eaten pretty fast! If you have an older roll, microwave it for a few seconds to bring some life back to the dough and make the cinnamon mixture nice and warm. 

Additionally, you can mix up a quick glaze for the top if you’d like but of course that’s optional. I don’t typically don’t keep powdered sweetener so didn’t go with this option. And I like they just fine plain and with a cup of coffee. 

“Fat head: dough cinnamon rolls

Dough ingredients:
+ 2 and 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
+ 3 oz cream cheese
+ 2 eggs (large, room temp)
+ 1/4 cup sweetener** (I use Swerve erythritol)
+ 45g coconut flour (it really should be weighed)
+ 1 Tbs baking powder
+ 1 tsp xanthan gum powder (option but really helps hold the dough together and gives better texture)
+ 1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the cheeses in the microwave and stir together. I do this in a large 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup and use that as the ‘bowl’ for adding the rest of the ingredients later on. I do this in 30-second increments and stir between each one until the cheese is mealty. 

Take the cheese out of the microwave and mix together with a fork. 

In a separate bowl, combine the coconut flour, xanthan gum, and baking powder. Whisk or stir with a fork to ensure well-combined and set aside. 

Crack the eggs into a smaller bowl (I use a ramekin)  and break them up a bit with a fork. Now that the cheese mixture is cooled a little and then add in the eggs. Mix together with a fork. If you’re new to making ‘fat head’ dough, this is where the recipe will seem to be falling apart and you may feel like something has gone wrong. Nope. It’s just difficult to mix melted cheese with egg. Keep going and you’ll be find!

Mix in the vanilla extract and sweetener. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix together. This is when you will see the dough start to come together (hopefully!). When the dough comes together, you can empty it out onto parchment paper and work it with your hands a bit. If it is really sticky, wait a minute or so to see if the dough changes after the wet get absorbed better. If still too sticky, add a little bit more coconut flour to it but go little by little. Coconut flour soaks up moisture super quickly. It’s easy to add too much if you’re not used to working with it. 

Once the mixture is in a dough and can form into a ball, you can then place another piece of parchment paper over it and roll it out between the paper. I find this dough to be less like a traditional all-purpose flour dough and more like a sugar cookie dough. 

Try to roll the dough into a large rectangle shape (longer on two sides, and shorter on two sides. Don’t roll it too thin (about 1/4″ thick is good) and use your palm to smooth over the paper to ensure the dough is of even thickness all over. 

Then pop this into the fridge while you make the filling mixture. 

Cinnamon filling 

+ 1/3 cup butter, softened (at room temp)
+ 2-3 Tbs cinnamon (depending on your preference for cinnamon!)
+ 1/3 cup sweetener (I use Swerve again. I have also done half Swerve and half Splenda brown sugar and love that combo)
+ 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional but yummy. I didn’t add them for this particular post’s pictures but I like to when I have the nuts on hand) 

Mix the ingredients together and get the dough back out of the fridge. Spread the cinnamon filling mixture over the dough, leaving a gap of about 1 inch on all sides. I like to leave a larger gap on one of the long sides of the rectangle of dough. Then using the paper to assist, and starting at one long edge (the one without the larger gap of no filling) roll the dough up and over itself into a log. Wrap in the paper and place back into the fridge to chill for about 15-20 mins. 

This is when I start to pre-head the oven to 375F. I get the dough out of the fridge, and cut it into slices which will be the cinnamon rolls. I place them on a baking sheet (which is lined with parchment paper or a non-stick silicone sheet). I find leaving a 2″ gap or so between each is sufficient as they don’t spread much in the oven. Bake for 30+ mins depending on how big your rolls are and your desired done-ness. Take out of the oven when they’re golden brown but before they’re too dark or burning. Let cool and enjoy!

Fat head dough

Fat head dough is the name given to dough typically made with cheese and low-carb flour such as finely-ground almond meal or coconut flour. It can be a strange concept to wrap your brain around until you try it yourself. But I am here to tell you it works. And tastes amazing. The resulting dough is indeed low carb, and also very rich and tasty. You don’t need a lot of it to satisfy.

The term ‘fat head’ comes from the movie of the same name. It came out ten years ago and is a documentary which tries to challenge popular opinion and nutrition paradigms regarding the standard North-American diet.

Fat head dough is a popular recipe for many following a ketogenic lifesyle. I make it for myself when our family enjoys a pizza night and my four year old has proclaimed she likes it better than the ‘real’ pizza. How’s that for an endorsement?!

The basic recipe I use is adapted from the site Ditch the Carbs and makes a good size pizza which I cut into six slices. I top it will low-sugar tomato sauce, pepperoni and/or salami, mushrooms, peppers, olives, or whatever I have for pizza that particular day. Since there is so much cheese inside the crust itself, I often just sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top or leave the top cheeseless.

Fat head dough can also be used for other savory dishes, and even for sweet baking. I have made fat head cinnamon rolls previously and recently made cinnamon cream cheese babka which was divine. It disappeared from my house within 24hrs of being made. It was so good! The recipe is from Keto Diet Channel and I can’t wait to make it again. I will note that the amount of butter the original recipe calls for is way too much. When I make it next I will cut the butter down quite a bit when mixing the cinnamon butter mixture. I also didn’t have any walnuts at home when I made it so I’m looking forward to adding those to my next attempt.

I also just found out a few restaurants locally are starting to offer fat head dough options. One location of Boston Pizza so far, and Pannizzaa. Haven’t tried but looking forward to having more options when out and about.

Do you like fat head dough? Have you made it or have a favorite method?