Wonderful Winter Sweet Treats (also tasty at any other time of year)
By Satya Kaur Khalsa
This is the most flexible recipe I have ever used. It is perfect for those who do not feel comfortable baking, since no matter how you make it, it will taste good. It can be fat free, gluten free, grain free, dairy free. And it tastes great. This recipe works as muffins and as bars or squares.
- If you are making muffins, line a muffin tin with muffin liners, or lightly spread ghee or coconut oil on each section, or use a spray-on oil.
- If you prefer bars or squares, grease a 9x9” pan, square or round (if you only have a smaller or larger one, that is fine).
- Preheat the oven to anywhere between 325 and 400 degrees. This is a great recipe if you are using the oven to bake something else since the temperature is adjustable.
- Grate carrots till you have 3 cups grated. I like to mix fine and coarse grated (not a carrot fan? Try beets or parsnips). Place in largish bowl.
- Add about 1.5 cups of pureed pumpkin or winter squash or sweet potato or applesauce (or pureed pears, pureed bananas, or almost any other soft, sweet fruit or cooked vegetable you like).
- Coarsely chop dried fruit till you have about 1.5-2 cups and place in a small pot. Choose at least half sweet ones, like dates, raisins and/or figs. Any dried fruit that you like will work.
- Add your favorite sweet spices to the pot. Dried ginger and/or fresh ginger and/or candied ginger are all good, as well as all of the Yogi Tea spices in powdered form (cinnamon, cloves, pepper, cardamom). Freshly grated nutmeg or allspice is also good. Cinnamon and ginger can be used generously, at least a teaspoon of each. The more intense spices like cloves and pepper are usually preferred in ¼ tsp amounts, but if you love them, use more! Lemon or orange zest is a nice addition.
- Add just enough water (or fruit juice if you prefer) to cover and cook at a very low heat until the fruits are soft and the spices very aromatic. About 20 minutes should be fine. Let it cool down till it is just warm and add it to the carrot/puree mix.
- In a small bowl measure out about 1.5 cups of some sort of flour. There are infinite possibilities. Gluten free? Use any mix you like. Amaranth is a good choice, as well as buckwheat, millet, rice, etc. Grain free? Use nut flours, tapioca, ground flaxseed and bean flours (like chickpea).
- Stir or sift the flour mix with 1 tsp of salt (you can use less if you prefer) and 2 teaspoons of baking powder (if you are at sea level), or 1 tsp if you are 7000 feet or above sea level. If you have used citrus zest or juice, you can add 1 tsp of baking soda also (1/2 tsp for 7000 feet or above).
- Prepare ½ cup of any add-ins you want to use: nuts,seeds, fresh chopped apples and cranberries are good; whatever you like in your muffins is worth a try.
- Add the flour mix to the big bowl, half at a time, using a fork to mix till the flour looks just moistened. Then add the add-ins if you are using them.
If you are using muffin cups, you can fill them easily by using a 1/3 cup measure. If you are using a pan, spread the batter in till it is evenly distributed. Baking time will vary according to the temperature of the oven, the moistness of the mix and the size of the baking implement. Muffins usually take 25-35 minutes, in a cake pan it might take 10-20 minutes more.
You will know they are ready when the tops are firm to the touch and browned. In a cake pan you might notice the cake pulling away from the sides. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire cooling rack till room temperature.
(Don’t want to bake at all? Use almond flour and a dehydrator instead.)
You can mix it up the night before and bake the next morning.
The finished product freezes perfectly. The recipe is moist so refrigerate if you are keeping it for days.
And if you prefer a savory flavor, swap out the dried fruits for chopped vegetables, change the spices and use flours that complement the flavor you want. You can keep the carrots or substitute grated cabbage or potatoes or daikon or any other grate-able roots. You can make a totally different flavor every week, for every occasion.
Satya Kaur Khalsa lives at Guru Ram Das Puri and serves Guru Ram Das using the healing modalities of NMT (NeuroModulation Technique), yogic lifestyle and her own experience to deliver people all over the world to their self healing.