About three years ago, my life came to an end. Okay, it wasn’t that tragic, but there was a certain element of tragedy to it.
My husband was diagnosed with diabetes and decided to radically cut carbs in his diet and take other measures to lose weight, so that he could control it without insulin. (This worked beyond our wildest dreams; my husband dropped over 100 pounds and is now not diabetic.)
At the time I’d been eating carb-free for about year, for health reasons. I have bad eczema, which had kicked into high gear as I got older. Eczema has an alimentary and a stress trigger. My life at the time was stressful enough, and a system of elimination told me my alimentary triggers were sugars and carbs.
However, even though I had been reducing my carbs, my husband’s diagnosis affected one of my absolutely favorite activities and also the way I tell family and friends that I love them: cooking.
When I got married, I had absolutely no idea how to cook. My first day alone in the kitchen, I read the instructions on the back of a spaghetti box because I couldn’t figure out how it went from brittle and hard to soft and edible and delicious.
Twenty five years later, contriving new dishes and producing new fare, often from exotic locales, was the way I relaxed when writing was going badly, or when I felt insecure.
I cleaned my pantry of flours and sugars and my cupboard of honey and chocolate, and mourned each step of the way. From now on, we’d eat salads and meat only when there was room for creativity.
I’m here to tell you there is plenty of room. Four years later, most people – even people invited to our table – would not realize we’re following a restricted diet.
Whether you have conditions that dictate an extremely reduced carb intake, or you’ve simply read Gary Taubes and would like to cut back a little, the question is always the same: “But what do you do for desserts?”
So, even though I’ve had some success with breads and pizza, I’m going to start sharing my recipes with the desserts.
This one is originally mine, though based on recipes for flourless walnut cake.
To grind and mix the ingredients I use an 8 cup food processor. I confess I bought it by mistake, because it was on sale and I didn’t visualize how large 8 cups was. However, I’ve since found it useful for a lot of recipes.
Low Carb Brownies
** 3 squares unsweetened Baker’s Chocolate
** 4 cups of walnuts (Because we have Prime, we subscribe to these from Amazon, at one delivery a month.)
** 2 scoops Whey Protein Powder (Can be vanilla flavored — just make adjustments to how much vanilla extract you use.)
** 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
** ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream
** 4 eggs
** 15 drops of ez sweetz (After experimenting with a lot of artificial sweetners, we found we got best results with these. This is like the sweetening part of Splenda, without the fillers which affect some people’s blood sugar in a way similar to sugar.)
** 3 tablespoons Torani sugar free syrup (caramel)
** 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
** 4 teaspoons of baking powder
You will notice that the recipe seems to use a lot of sweetener. This is because for some reason walnuts seem to “drink up” flavoring, and if you don’t have enough the result is somewhat tasteless.
Warm your oven to 350F. Butter a 13×9 pan. (Or spray it with non-stick baking spray.)
Start by grinding the chocolate in the food processor till it’s in small pieces, then add in the walnuts and grind until the consistency is quite fine. (It won’t be as fine as flour, but the consistency of coarse salt.) Then add each ingredient in turn, processing for 4 to 5 seconds in between additions, or until thoroughly mixed.
When you’re done, you’ll have a relatively liquid mixture. Pour it into the pre-prepared pan and take to the pre-heated oven.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Caveat – I bake at high altitude, so my baking times might be wildly out of whack. Best trust the toothpick.)
Serve with whipped cream or – if you’re my husband – with peanut butter. (He would eat peanut-butter covered peanut butter, given half a chance.)
Be warned that these brownies have highly evaporative qualities previously unknown to physics. They tend to disappear before they even cool. I have found that making them when I’m alone in the house reduces this tendency somewhat.
(I’m using a shutterstock image — via El Nariz — for this post because I am the world’s worst photographer. However the brownies do look somewhat like that, and raspberries are a relatively low-carb accompaniment/garnish.)