Paleo-ish Chocolate Chip cookies

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I started this recipe one day to make a less sweet version of the original chocolate chip cookie.  Our family has gotten to a point now that regular treats taste way too sweet for us, and that is a good thing!  I do however still enjoy baking and want to have the healthiest versions available for my family.  Paleo, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a word to describe primitive and the way our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate.

I modified this recipe from several others I found, some had way too many ingredients.  This one is relatively simple.  I substituted eggs for flax seeds and some water, worked perfectly.  Also, I reduced the sweetener from some of the other recipes by half.  The following is my version and although my taste buds are accustomed to less sweet, I thoroughly enjoyed them and how moist they are on the inside.  The boys and my nieces said they were blog-worthy.

3 ¼ cup almond flour (4 cups of sliced almonds ground in the food processor will shrink to about this amount of almond meal)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 TBSP of ground flax seeds mixed in with 6 TBSP of water (or 2 eggs, room temperature)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)

5 drops of stevia (optional)

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup cacao nibs

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (70% or higher is best)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grab a cookie sheet and some parchment paper.  I find it easier to place all the cookies on the parchment paper, nothing sticks.
  2. Measure 3 and 1/4 cups of almond flour (grind up your sliced almonds first if you don’t have the almond flour).  Once ground, combine the almond flour with the salt and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, combine your ground flax seeds with the water and mix well (or simply use 2 eggs).  Add in a teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/2 cup of coconut oil and 1/4 cup of either honey or pure maple syrup, add in stevia (optional).
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients.  I use a food processor to do this.  Once the ingredients are well mixed, I stir in the cocoa nibs and chocolate chips.  The darker the chips the more paleo-friendly they are.  Our ancestors ate food that was unprocessed, we typically digest these foods better.  (The dough will look pretty wet and is quite sticky.  You can place it in the fridge to firm it up a bit.  I just spoon it on to the parchment paper into little balls.)
  5. Spoon them onto your parchment and pop them in the oven.  This recipe makes about 24 cookies.  Bake them for about 8-10 minutes (the tops will start to get golden brown).  I like them to be a little soft when I take them out to keep them chewy on the inside.
  6. When I pull them out I let them cool long enough to get them off the parchment.  Enjoy, these are absolutely delicious!

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Paleo Creamy Mint Treat

 

 

 

 

 

I came across this simple recipe on the Elana’s Pantry website.  She modified it from the Practical Paleo recipe book and came up with a creamy, mint treat.  It is just the right amount of sweetness when you are in need of a quick fix for a craving.  I have been making them and putting them in the freezer right away.  In about 15 minutes or so they are ready.  I then keep them in a freezer safe container to be ready to eat whenever needed.  The boys enjoy them sometimes as an after school treat.  There may be a few ingredients you need to add to your pantry to make them but it will be well worth it in the end to be able to make this quick and easy treat whenever you like.  I modified the instructions for her recipe to make them more like a cup vs. a truffle.

I got the following ingredients from Planet Organic.  They may be available in other stores as well but the regular grocery stores in Halifax didn’t yet have these specific items:

  • Vanilla Stevia
  • Peppermint oil (the one from the regular grocery store had too many additives, this one only has 2 ingredients- sunflower oil and peppermint oil)
  • Coconut Butter- (Not to be confused with coconut oil, this is a creamy spread made from dehydrated coconut meat, very tasty!  It may seem pricey as this bottle was about $12 but only a small amount is needed)

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 3 TBSP coconut butter
  • 2 TBSP macadamia butter
  • 5 drops vanilla crème stevia
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • pinch celtic sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips, chopped
  1. Combine coconut oil, coconut butter and macadamia nut butter in a small saucepan on low heat.
  2. Add in stevia, honey, mint and salt
  3. Transfer mixture to a small bowl
  4. Stir in chocolate
  5. Pour mixture into paper lined mini muffin cups
  6. Place in freezer for about 15 minutes.  Keep frozen until ready to serve.

Yields 12 mini muffin size treats.

Chocolate Brownies (Grain-free, full of protein)

Once again Laura, who works with us provided me with another great recipe.  I made these last night and not only are they moist and delicious but quite nutritious as well.  The recipe comes from http://www.yumuniverse.com/2012/06/11/gluten-free-protein-power-flourless-black-bean-brownies/ I’ve made a few slight changes to the recipe and for the most part, this recipe is copied almost verbatum from the original site including the awesome pictures. The original recipe states there is about 85 grams of protein in this one batch, that’s a lot and is really helpful to balance out sugars when we think about it from a blood sugar perspective.  I hope you and your family enjoy these as much as we did.

Takes: 55 minutes: 10 to prep, 35-45 to bake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked, drained black beans
  • 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 red apple, cored and chopped
  • 10 dates, pitted
  • 2/3 cup chocolate protein powder (I used vanilla protein powder, the one I recommend is Kaizen brand from Sobeys or health food stores.  It is lactose-free and gluten-free, found in the organic section)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup maple syrup (Taste the batter before baking and adding nuts, just sweeten to taste…Obviously, the less sugar your family can get used to, the better)
  • 1/2 tsp fine ground sea salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1.  Soak and rinse your black beans.  Ideally you can make them on your own which is preferable to canned.  I just use canned last night in an effort to save time.

2.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Use parchment paper to line your baking dish—it makes for easy lift-out and cutting of brownies once cool.  Trim with kitchen scissors if you need to.  I usually run one long piece across the bottom and up along the sides, and another piece on top, perpendicular to the first piece.

3.  Place all ingredients except nuts in the food processor and mix until creamy.  You may need to pulse it a few times to get it going.

4.  Once creamy, add nuts and pulse about 10-20 times, just enough to break them up a bit—not too much. You want texture.

5.  Spread into 9×9 pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean after inserting.

6.  If you’ve cooked for over 45 mins and you still get a bit of batter on your knife, go ahead and remove and allow to cool completely. This usually happens with the 9″ baking pan, but it’s a-ok.  The center will become like fudge once cooled. Yes, fudge—mmm.

7.  Once cool, lift out of pan by the parchment, cut up and enjoy.  I like to store them in a glass container with a lid in the fridge.  My 9″ baking dish comes with a lid so it’s perfect!

Chocolate Ice Cream (dairy-free)

I made this amazing chocolate ice cream recipe today, it was so quick and easy too.  The recipe comes from The Spunky Coconut Dairy-Free Ice Cream recipe book that I purchased from https://www.createspace.com/3867959.  The author is Kelly V. Brozyna and I haven’t tried one of her recipes yet that hasn’t been satisfying.  This mom of three is brilliant with her creations of healthy recipes.

The ingredients are relatively easy to find.  The only one I had to purchase that is not usually a staple in my pantry is guar gum.  It is a thickening agent and if you want your ice cream less thick, you can leave it out.  I bought mine at a health food store.  It may have even been found in the organic section of the grocery store.

Ingredients:

In a high power blender (like Vitamix) or food processor, add:

  • 2 cups coconut milk (canned)
  • 10 pitted dates (soak them in water first if they are dry)

Puree until smooth.

Add:

  • 1 cup cashew milk (blend 1/4 cup raw cashews with enough water to make 1 cup, we didn’t have cashews so I improvised by using 1/4 cup of cashew butter with enough water to make 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp guar gum
  • 5 drops of vanilla liquid stevia (I added this to the original recipe  for added sweetness without the blood sugar spike, I’m sure it would taste great without it as well)

Puree until creamy and smooth.

Freeze this mixture in a container for an hour or until cold.  Add to the ice cream maker until your desired texture is reached.  We put ours in for about 1/2 hour and then it was just right to serve in a cone.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-free and grain-free)

I made these delicious cookies today from one of my favorite blogs www.thespunkycoconut.com

Chocolate Chip Cookies
gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free

Add to bowl:
1/2 cup applesauce
4 tbsp flax seed meal or 2 tbsp Chia Seed meal
1/2 tsp guar gum (can be purchased at health food stores and also Superstore in health food section)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
12 drops vanilla liquid stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup honey or coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee (which is casein-free), liquified
Mix with electric mixer.
Add:
1 cup almond meal flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I chopped up a 72% cocoa bar)
Mix again.
Roll into balls and flatten the balls in your hands (they don’t really change shape in the oven)
Or roll out with a rolling pin and use cookie cutters =)
Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

 

 

Banana Bread with coconut flour (gluten-free)

Someone we know recently passed this recipe on to us and it is delightful.  It doesn’t have a lot of ingredients and you may feel like it isn’t enough for a loaf, but it is.  Enjoy this gluten-free, no sugar added recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 bananas (mashed)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 3-4 tbsp raw cocoa nibs (Planet Organic, I used an 85% dark chocolate bar and just chopped it into pieces)
  • 2 tbsp crushed walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • dash of cinnamon (I always use more cinnamon than they recommend, I used about 1 tbsp and a pinch of nutmeg too)

Directions:

  1. Blend eggs, mashed bananas, honey and coconut oil together.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients and then combine with wet ingredients.
  3. Pour into greased bread pan and bake at 350F for 45 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

 

 

Blueberry Coffee Cake

It’s Saturday night and my 2 nieces are here for the night for a sleepover.  When I put the kids to bed, they wanted to know what was for breakfast.  Since it’s Sunday tomorrow I thought I’d bake them up a treat, a healthy one though.  So, Blueberry Coffee Cake it is.  I’ve never tasted it but judging by the smell and a sample of the topping, it’s going to be delicious.  I have yet to taste anything from www.thespunkycoconut.com website that isn’t great.  I have her recipe book and love it as well.  The other thing I love about this recipe is the ability to use some organic local blueberries, even in the winter since we have access to frozen local blueberries in Nova Scotia.  I didn’t use the 9″ cake pan as it calls for in the recipe since I don’t have one yet. 

Ingredients:
Add to bowl:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla stevia
 Mix with handheld mixer.
Add:
  • 1 cup almond meal flour (I grind my sliced almonds in the food processor to make the almond flour)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
 Mix again.
Pour into greased 9″ ceramic pie dish. Spread evenly.
Add about 3/4 cup blueberries and press them into the batter.
Process crumble topping in Vitamix or food processor:
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (can be purchased at Bulk Barn)
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon (I used a heaping tablespoon instead, love cinnamon)
 Add half of the crumble topping. Press it down slightly.
Add the other half of the crumble topping and about 3/4 cup more blueberries.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Cinnamon Rolls (grain-free, dairy-free)

This morning, I was up a little earlier than usual which allowed me to get an unusual amount of things done before the boys were up.  I thought there would be no better way to wake up on a weekend morning than to the smell of cinnamon rolls throughout the house.  So, I attempted this recipe from http://urbanposer.blogspot.ca/2012/04/best-almond-flour-cinnamon-rolls-paleo.html.  I must admit I was reluctant because I thought it might end up being quite messy having to roll the dough and all.  I was pleasantly surprised when the recipe turned out to be quite simple and easy.  My boys loved them!

Ingredients:
For the biscuit rolls
  • 3 cups plus 2 TBSP super fine almond flour (I make my own flour by first putting sliced almonds through the food processor.  Make sure you re-measure the amount of flour after the sliced almonds have been ground.  You may have to add a little more to make the desired amount of flour).
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or just slightly under that amount)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 2 large room temp eggs
For the filling
  • 1/4-1/2 cup honey (depending on how much sweetness you like)
  • 1/2 cup ground pecans/walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins (we used currants, a little lower on the glycemic index)
  • 1- 2 TBSP ground cinnamon
For the icing
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter at room temp (I bought my coconut butter at Planet Organic, I’m sure they have it available at most health food stores.  I heated mine slightly in a saucepan, just enough to lightly cover the few that we were going to eat at the time.  A couple of drops of vanilla stevia mixed in with 3-4 TBSP of coconut butter made it perfectly sweet).
  • optional honey for drizzling or stevia
In the spirit of keeping things lower in the sugar department (since there is already honey on the inside), we like to drizzle the cinnamon rolls with warmed coconut butter. When we want something a bit sweeter, we also drizzle a little honey on them or add some stevia to the coconut butter. However, if you try mixing the coconut butter with the honey, you will just get a thick paste.
Directions:
  1. Preheat heat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda
  3. In a seperate bowl, gently beat together the coconut oil, honey, and eggs. If the eggs are too cold, they might cause the coconut oil to harden.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the almond flour mixture. Mix (knead) until a decently smooth dough is formed.
  5. On a large piece of parchment paper, roll the dough out into about a 9×13 rectangle. Use a little almond flour, if needed, to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin.
  6. Drizzle the 1/4-1/2 cup of honey evenly over the dough, then carefully spread it around to cover the whole surface. Honestly, I use my fingers to do this. I find that I am less likely to tear the dough this way.
  7. Sprinkle the raisins, grounds pecans and cinnamon over the surface of the honeyed dough.
  8. Now you’re ready to roll it up! Starting at the end closest to you, begin to roll the edge of the dough away from you. Try to start a tight roll from the beginning. Continue rolling until you have a nice uniform log. Use the parchment paper to help you roll if needed. Be gentle and careful when rolling up the dough. It is not as workable as a gluten based flour would be.
  9. Now roll the whole log of dough gently, lengthening it out just a bit (like making a snake out of play-dough). It is a good size when it is about a 4 inch round log.
  10. With a good bread knife, cut the roll into about 2 inch thick slices. I use the width of two fingers as my guide. Then lay them cut side down on to a parchment lined cookie sheet. They do best spaced a few inches apart, but not connected.
  11. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 min. I suggest staying close to the stove and checking a few times while they are baking, as everyone’s oven cooks a bit differently. The rolls should be golden with a little browning at the top and the dough toward the center of the roll should be soft but not to doughy. If they bake too long they WILL become like hockey pucks! If cooked just right though, they will be heavenly.
  12. When ready, remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 min. If you try to move them before then, they might break up. But if you wait for them to cool they will hold together beautifully.
  13. Drizzle with coconut butter and/or honey just before serving.

Makes about 9-10 cinnamon rolls.

What to expect? These cinnamon rolls, if baked right are soft and lovely. Since it is not a yeast or gluten based dough they will not have that ‘stretchy, pull apart’ feel that a yeast/gluten based roll would have. I would consider them to be more of a soft ‘biscuit’ style cinnamon roll and less sweet than the traditional cinnamon roll. Also, under baking slightly is FAR better than over baking as almond flour can burn and dry out if over baked. Everyone’s oven acts differently, so keep an eye on them and they should perform amazingly for you.

Chocolate Mousse

This dessert or snack to satisfy that chocolate craving is so creamy, you’ll never guess it’s made with avocado.

Ingredients

  • 2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 TBSP of honey (more or less for desired sweetness)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 TBSP hazelnut butter (optional to add in or to serve with it on the side to replicate a nutella-like flavour)

Directions

  1. Combine the above ingredients in a food processor.  Blend until the texture is fluffy like a mousse.  Refrigerate until it is time to serve.