Tag Archives: dates

Vegan Gluten Free Quinoa Date Squares

Vegan Gluten-Free Quinoa Date Square

These date squares are super easy to make and totally addictive!  Healthy and rich in flavour they are a great pre-work out snack, or to serve alongside a nice cup of tea.  I modified this recipe from the Quinoa 365 cookbook – one of the top cookbook sellers in Canada last year, and for good reason – the possibilities with quinoa are endlessly delicious!  I’ve been trying to go gluten & refined sugar-free since the beginning of the year, so I found wheat free rolled oats and replaced the sugar with brown rice syrup.  I’ve read that brown rice syrup is one of the best sugar alternatives to bake with, and even though it’s still processed, the syrup has a low glycemic index and absorbs easily into the bloodstream leaving less for fat accumulation.  For this reason, these date squares are a great pre-work out snack.  Along with the energy benefits from the brown rice syrup and dates, quinoa is one of the top ten muscle-building foods and its complex carbohydrates also provide energy and endurance.  I also used brown rice flour because I thought it would work better with the brown rice syrup, and I replaced the butter with coconut oil which made the squares a bit creamier in texture and enhanced the sweetness a bit as well.  Cut these squares small as they are quite dense.


2 cups chopped, pitted dates

3/4 cup boiling water

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 cup quinoa flour

1 cup brown rice flour

2 1/4 cup gluten free large flake rolled oats

1 cup brown rice syrup

pinch of salt

1 cup coconut oil, melted


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease a 9-inch square baking dish.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the dates and boiling water.  Stir until the water has been absorbed and the dates are smooth.  Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.  Set aside.

Combine the flours, oats, syrup, salt and coconut oil to make a crumbly but moist mixture.  Divide into 2 portions and press one half firmly into the pan to make a base.  Spread the date mixture evenly on top.  Add the remaining crumb mixture to the top by taking small bits and placing on top of the dates.  Do not try to spread over the dates.  Lightly press down the top layer evenly with your hands.  Bake on the center oven rack for 25 minutes until lightly brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool in the pan.  Cut into 20 squares.  Store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to one week or freeze up to two months.  The squares are best served at room temperature.

Vegan Gluten Free Quinoa Date Squares

Vegan Gluten Free Quinoa Date Square

Gordon Ramsay’s Sticky Toffee and Chocolate Pudding

Gordon Ramsay's Sticky Toffee and Chocolate Pudding

Gordon Ramsay’s Sticky Toffee and Chocolate Pudding

This is my review of Gordon Ramsay’s recipe for Sticky Toffee and Chocolate Pudding from his Cooking For Friends cookbook.   Over the past few years, I’ve really gotten into Gordon Ramsay.  When he first came screaming onto the Food Network scene I thought he was a bit silly, but then I became addicted to Kitchen Nightmares.  I bought a few of his cookbooks and really enjoyed his recipes, they were simple and had great flavours.  I even went to his Maze restaurant in Prague and was pretty impressed.  So when I was looking for a new dessert for the holidays, I immediately looked to Gordon for inspiration.  This sticky toffee pudding was also featured on his TV shows, so I decided to try out this dish instead of my usual plum pudding. * this recipe has since been updated

I opted to use my sponge cake mold instead of the pudding basins as I thought the mold made a nicer presentation.  I cut a hole in the sheet of parchment paper to fit over the mold, and added a few small pieces on the sides to cover the whole pan.  I also modified the recipe to be a little more user friendly, because I don’t own a food processor. 

Spongy and moist, this sticky toffee pudding was a hit!  With just a hint of chocolate and some added sweetness from the dates, the pudding wasn’t too sweet.  Plum pudding is too rich in comparison.  The dessert is topped with a creamy toffee sauce that is lightly salted and balanced the dish out nicely.  Gordon Ramsay’s Sticky Toffee and Chocolate Pudding is a delicious dessert to indulge in while snuggled up by the fire, while watching a Kitchen Nightmares marathon on a snowy winter’s night.

Gordon Ramsay's Sticky Toffee and Chocolate Pudding


Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Gordon Ramsay's Sticky Toffee and Chocolate Pudding


    For the pudding:
  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp espresso, cooled
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup plain flour
  • 3 ¼ tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • For the toffee sauce:
  • 1 cup double cream
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


    For the pudding:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter a sponge cake mold and line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper as well, ensuring that all the sides are properly covered. Instead of a sponge cake mold, 8 x 175ml-200ml pudding basins can be used as well.
  2. Place the dates, sugar and water in a saucepan and simmer gently for 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the dates are soft.
  3. Leave to cool, then blend in a Magic Bullet or similar food processor until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the dates, butter, vanilla and espresso. Add eggs and whisk again until well blended.
  5. In a separate small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In two batches, fold into the wet mixture with a spatula until just combined.
  6. Carefully pour into the prepared baking dish of choice and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick emerges fairly clean when inserted in the thickest part.
  7. For the toffee sauce:
  8. Place all the sauce ingredients into a saucepan and simmer, stirring frequently, until the butter and sugar have dissolved and the sauce is smooth. It should only take 2-3 minutes. Keep warm and give it a stir every once in a while to prevent a skin from forming on top.
  9. When the pudding is cool enough to handle, but still warm, run a small knife along the sides, then invert onto a serving plate. Peel off the baking parchment. Pour a generous drizzle of warm toffee sauce over the puddings and serve immediately.

What holiday dessert do you like to indulge in?  Let me know if you liked my review of Gordon Ramsay’s Sticky Toffee and Chocolate Pudding!

For a dairy free alternative of this recipe, check out the updated version!