Chocolate Shortbread Caramels (Paleo, grain-free, gluten-free)

IMG_4105I feel like all I’ve been posting lately are dessert recipes. I can’t say for certain, but I have a pretty good idea why this is so. I have a giant desktop folder filled with attempted recipe creations and photos; some of which were successes (which are placed in the “blog” section) and others which were massive failures (which are placed in the “please, for the love of God, do not make this again” section). Every few days or so, I scroll through the photos and recipes, picking out the ones that I want to share with all of you…

And somehow the ones I’m most excited about are always the desserts.

The photos of chocolate call to me..

These shortbread cookies are the perfect combination of sweet, salty and crunchy. In addition, they are refined-sugar and grain-free, and are nice to take to parties because of how they keep.

Ingredients:

(Crust) —

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 coconut sugar
  • 1 egg, from a pasture-raised hen
  • 1/2 cup grassfed butter (use coconut oil for paleo option) – at room temp
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

(Caramel)–

  • 1/2 cup grassfed butter (or coconut oil) – at room temp
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

(Chocolate) —

  • 1 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Combine all crust ingredients in a large bowl. Beat with electric mixer or stand mixer. Spread onto a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes, then place in freezer to cool.
  3. Next start on the caramel. Combine butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes, until mixture thickens and a caramel color begins to develop.
  4. Spread caramel layer over crust layer and place in freezer until hardened completely.
  5. Next work on the chocolate layer. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil until liquified. Spread over cooled caramel layer and place in freezer to harden.

Slice and serve! Enjoy!

Apple Pie in a Jar (Grain-free, Sugar-free)

IMG_4148If you’re looking for a quick and simple weeknight dessert that you can whip up without dirtying every baking dish in your kitchen, look no further!

These delicious mini pies are easy to make and require minimal prep time. You can make the grain-free crust while you let the apples marinate, then throw everything into mason jars and pop them in the oven.

This dessert is not as sweet as traditional apple pie, but it is definitely still sweet! If you have a hankering for a super sweet dessert, feel free to add more maple syrup to the marinade, or better yet, serve with a dollop of ice cream on top!IMG_4146

Ingredients:

  • 4 large or 5 small gala apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder (as a thickener)
  • 1 and 2/3 cup almond flour
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 cup grass-fed butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 5 wide-mouthed mason jars (four for baking, one extra for measuring)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sliced and peeled apples, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, water, maple syrup, cinnamon and arrowroot.
  3. Place in fridge for five minutes for a quick marinade.
  4. In the meantime, in a food processor, combine almond flour, salt, butter, vanilla and maple syrup to make your crust.
  5. Place crust in freezer for a few minutes to help it firm up. At the same time, remove your apple mixture from fridge.
  6. In four small, wide-mouthed mason jars, divide the apple mixture. Distribute remaining juices evenly into jars.
  7. Remove dough from freezer and roll it out into a slab that is about 1/4 inch-1/2 inch thick. With extra mason jar, cut out four crust toppers for your jars. Place crust toppers on top of apple mixture in each of the four jars. If it sits on top that’s just fine; if it sits inside that’s fine too (more room for ice cream 🙂 )
  8. Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes, or until crust is browned and bubbly.

Enjoy!

Paleo Gingersnap Cookies (sugar-free, grain-free)

IMG_4098After the holidays, I usually feel ready for a serious detox. After all the cookies, cakes and other sugar-filled treats, I usually can’t even look at sweets for at least a month after New Year’s.

This year is a little bit different. This holiday season, we made a lot of our own treats to bring to gatherings and stayed away from the sugary junk. Not only did we feel much better throughout the holiday, we are also no longer put off by the idea of dessert post-Christmas (which is great, because I love dessert).

The gingersnap cookies are quite delicious, with the perfect amount of sweet and the perfect amount of spice. They’re easy to throw together and bake relatively quickly, making them perfect for a weeknight dessert or to take to your next gathering.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of almond flour (soaked for maximum nutrient absorption)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp dried ginger
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp grass-fed butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 egg from a pasture-raised hen

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large glass bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, ginger, sea salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat and fold in maple syrup, molasses and the whisked egg.
  4. Add slowly to dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Scoop about 2 tbsp for each cookie, and roll the dough in your hands to make a round ball. Place on greased baking sheet and even amount of space apart.
  6. Sprinkle each cookie with coconut sugar (optional) and bake for 18 minutes.

Enjoy!

Primal Eggplant Pizza (Grain-free)

IMG_3931I have a confession to make: I love pizza.

Most SAD (standard American diet) junk foods gross me out; soda, fast food, anything packaged or processed, but I have always had a weakness for pizza.

Since we stopped eating grains, however, I have not been enjoying pizza as much as I’d like. A few months ago, I decided to experiment with a grain-free pizza crust recipe. Instead of using a grain-substitute, like a nut-flour or a plant starch, I decided to use veggies for the crust.

And alas.. The eggplant pizza was born.

Feel free to get creative with the measurements and textures of this pizza. As most of you know, I almost never measure when I cook, and I like to change things up frequently. I promise this recipe will not disappoint, no matter what!

As always, I recommend roasting your vegetables for maximum flavor depth.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced thinly
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
  • 1 large zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Handful pearl onions, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Drizzle olive oil
  • Pinch dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Marinara sauce, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Spread zucchini, tomatoes, garlic and onions on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Roast in oven for twenty minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Oil a shallow baking dish. Spread eggplant sliced in a thin layer along bottom. Salt lightly.
  4. In a small bowl, beat eggs. Add parmesan cheese and mix until combined. Pour egg mixture over eggplant slices to form the crust. Place in preheated oven and bake for ten minutes, or until crust is somewhat solidified.
  5. Remove crust from oven. Pour marinara sauce (if using) over crust and pour vegetable mixture over the top of that. Place back into oven for 12-15 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper and enjoy!

Grain-Free Cookies with Chocolate Ganache Filling

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Okay, guys. Get ready for the yummiest cookies you’ve ever tasted! Made with whole foods ingredients and free of grains and refined sugar, you can enjoy these treats guilt-free or serve them up at your next gathering of conscious-eaters.

Just try not to eat the whole batch yourself! 😉

Ingredients:

Cookies:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups almond flour (soaked for maximum nutrient absorption)
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup (or a little bit more, if necessary) of grass-fed butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • handful chocolate chips

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk (full fat version, in BPA-free cans)

Directions:

  1. First, let’s start with the ganache. In a mixing bowl or a stand mixer, combine coconut oil, cocoa and maple syrup. Slowly add coconut milk while mixing, and beat until lumps are gone.
  2. Refrigerate until the cookies are done.
  3. Preheat oven to 350.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, salt and baking  soda.
  5. In a small bowl, combine butter, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Roll the dough into little balls (about 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter) and place them, evenly spaced, on a greased baking sheet. With the bottom of a drinking glass or the rounded side of a spoon, press down very lightly to create a flattened top on the cookie.
  8. Bake for 12-13 minutes.
  9. Remove cookies from oven and let them cool completely before spreading ganache. Spread evenly between two cookie-halves and serve.

Enjoy!

Grain-Free Scones: Two ways!

IMG_4044I love a good breakfast baked good. Something hearty, dense and a little sweet is perfect for me! This grain-free scone recipe took quite a bit of trial and error to get it just right — but the final result has pleased some of the pickiest eaters in my life… you know who you are 😉

These scones are the whole package. They are not like traditional scones in the fact that they’re somewhat light and delicate; not super dense. They are full of cashews and fresh fruit, grass-fed butter (or coconut oil, if you prefer) and a touch of maple syrup to give them a hint of sweetness. I have tried this recipe out numerous times with numerous types of fruit, and have had the most success with blueberries and raspberries. I have included both photos so you can see how delicious they each look! 😀

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A quick note about this recipe: When processing your cashews into a flour, be sure not to over-process, as you’ll wind up with clumps of cashew “paste,” rather than a light and fluffy flour. Usually about 45 seconds in a high-powered food processor is the perfect amount of time you get the consistency just right.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup grass-fed butter, at room temperature (or coconut oil, at room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup fresh fruit (blueberries and raspberries work great)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8 x 8 baking sheet with buttered parchment paper.
  2. Process cashews in a food processor.
  3. Transfer to a small bowl and add tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Separately, whisk together butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and egg. Combine with dry mixture and stir well.
  5. Fold in blueberries.
  6. Spread into your baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Grain-free Peanut Butter Squares!

IMG_4016I know I’ve said this before, but there is something about the combination of chocolate and peanut butter that is so amazingly good! Add a little cookie-crunch and we’re golden.

This recipe was a quick, weeknight dinner creation. And lucky for us, it turned out delicious (which was a real life-saver, because the dinner I made was somewhat less-than-delicious)!

I used almond flour in the “crust,” and as always, I recommend soaking and dehydrating your almonds before grinding them into flour for maximum nutrient absorption. You can use store-bought almond flour as well, but keep in mind that the phytic acid levels are relatively high in almond flour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp melted grass-fed butter or melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp melted grass-fed butter or melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Let’s start with the crust. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine first four ingredients.
  3. Line an 8 x 4 baking sheet with parchment paper and press the crust into the pan, making sure it’s packed down firmly. Bake for 12 minutes.
  4. Refrigerate crust while you make your filling.
  5. In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, butter and maple syrup. Mix it well. Scoop out about 3/4 of the mixture and spread it onto the crust. Make sure you reserve the last 1/4 of the mixture.
  6. Place the bars in the freezer quick to firm them up.
  7. Once the PB mixture is on, add your cocoa powder to the remainder of the filling mixture. Stir well.
  8. Spread chocolate mixture onto cooled bars.

Refrigerate to store or eat them immediately 🙂