My children love when I bake, and I love to bake for them because it makes me feel kind. That look on their face when they bite into something delicious and respond with a huge smile? It’s pretty priceless. That’s why I always try to bake treats that are as healthy as possible. Eliminating white sugar and white flour is a good start, and the treats featured in our Healthy Treats section are also gluten free and vegan (or vegan option). As a whole, it makes our act of kindness so much sweeter.
This month, photographer Jennifer Little is introducing us to a delicious recipe for Ding Dongs! Together with her two children, Jennifer baked up a storm a few weeks ago at her kitchen in Colorado and the Ding Dongs were a huge hit. Simply looking at her beautiful pictures makes me want one! Happy baking — I hope you enjoy this month’s Healthy Treat. • Ulrica Wihlborg
Ingredients & Instructions for Cake:
- 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup room temperature applesauce
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 cup room temperature maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup dates + 1/4 cup water pureed together to form a paste
- • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
- • Mix dry ingredients into one bowl, and wet ingredients into another bowl.
- • Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Do not over mix.
- • Coat pan lightly with coconut oil and pour batter into a pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. The cake will not rise much higher than the raw batter, so use a pan that is small enough for a thick cake (the cake should make six 2.5 inch rounds).
- • Cover the baked cake with parchment paper and a flat platter. Flip the cake while maintaining contact with the platter.
- • Use a round cookie cutter to cut six small 2.5 inch round cakes. Set cakes aside.
Ingredients & Instructions for Filling:
- 1 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk. Put it in a jar and cover it with plastic wrap. Leave overnight in the fridge.
- Raw honey (or maple syrup or agave if you’re a vegan) to taste.
- • Remove the coconut milk from the refrigerator.
- • Scoop out the thickened cream on top and put it in a bowl. Add raw honey (or maple syrup or agave) to taste. Whisk!
- • Add to a pastry bag with a tip.
Ingredients & Instructions for Coating:
- Three bars of 70 – 85% dark chocolate (coats six 2.5 inch cakes).
- 1/8 cup coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon raw honey (or vegan sweetener of your choice)
• Add chocolate, coconut oil and honey to a double boiler (see photograph below). Stir until melted and set aside.
Assembly of Ding Dongs:
- • Cut 1/2 inch holes in the center of each cake.
- • Fill the holes with the filling
- • On a sheet of parchment paper, add enough dollops of melted chocolate to coat the bottom of each cake. Place the cakes on the dollops of chocolate.
- • With a large spoon, pour chocolate over the top of the cakes and allow to drip down the sides.
- • Let the chocolate harden. It may take up to an hour.
- • If you like, sprinkle a little cocoa powder on top.
- • Enjoy!
- Above: Jennifer’s kids are whisking the cream filling for their Ding Dongs with a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.
- Tip: Use a food processor when you create the puree of dates and water for the cake.
Above: After folding the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, gently stir them together (do not over mix) and pour the batter into a pan coated with coconut oil.
Above: The cake will not rise much higher than the raw batter, so keep that in mind. The cake should be big enough for cutting six 2.5 inch round circles.
Above: Jennifer uses a beautiful vintage Horsford biscuit cutter to cut the cakes.
Above: Jennifer’s son mixes the ingredients for the cream filling.
Above Clockwise: 1) For the chocolate coating, place the coconut oil and the chocolate bars (broken into small pieces) in a glass or metal bowl. Fill a saucepan about 1/3 with water and place the bowl inside, resting on top of the water. The chocolate and coconut oil will melt when the water starts to heat up. 2) Place dollops of melted chocolate on parchment paper to coat the bottom of the cakes. 3) Add the filling to a pastry bag with a tip and squirt it inside the 1/2″ holes in the middle of the cakes.
Above: The cakes with the filling are placed on top of the dollops of chocolate.
Above: Jennifer’s daughter looks on as her mom covers the six Ding Dongs with chocolate.
Above: It takes about one hour for the chocolate to harden. To make the Ding Dongs extra pretty, sprinkle cocoa on top.
Photography and styling exclusively for Sweden With Love by Jennifer Little of Sugar Photography ©2104.
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