Grain-Free Snickerdoodles

snickerdoodle-2

I can’t believe it’s the holiday season! This year has been such a whirlwind and full of change, but it’s hard to believe that it’s already almost over. Regardless, I love the holiday season and am happily embracing it. I’m even going home to Michigan for Christmas this year…the first time in five years!

Anyway, since it is the time of year for goodies, I thought I’d try my hand at grain-free snickerdoodles. These did not disappoint and could not be any easier to make. The texture is soft and pillowy with a light crust on the edges. The flavor is slightly sweet, tangy and of course, cinnamon-y. The cream of tartar is actually what gives the cookie its signature tang and reacts with the baking soda to create the crackled appearance. The cream of tartar also accounts for the perfect chewiness.

When first researching snickerdoodle recipes, I was actually kinda thrown off by the cream of tartar. I had to do a little more digging, but soon understood that from a snickerdoodle purist standpoint, it’s a must. Traditionally, it was always used to make snickerdoodles and without it, it’d just be a crunchy cinnamon sugar cookie (it keeps sugar from crystalizing!). It truly is the age-old snickerdoodle secret and enough for me to want to include it in the recipe.

Another thing about a classic snickerdoodle recipe — there is no vanilla extract. This is actually quite rare for a cookie recipe, but from what I learned, vanilla mellows out the tangy flavor from the cream of tartar. Who knew? So, in an effort to keep the cookie more classic, I also opted for no vanilla. And, truthfully, I didn’t miss it.

On another note, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live in November and made my herbed turkey potato stew. Watch the segment HERE. Stay tuned because I’ll also be going back on December 16 to make my no-bake rum balls!

snickerdoodle-bite

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour (I used this brand)
  • 1 tsp non-irradiated cream of tartar (I used this brand)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted softened butter, preferably grass-fed
  • 3 Tbsp coconut sugar, plus another 3 Tbsp for rolling
  • 1 large egg, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or use a non-slip baking mat like this one. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, cream together the softened butter and 3 Tbsp of coconut sugar. Once light and fluffy, beat in the egg. Then, slowly add the dry mixture until combined.
  4. In a shallow dish, mix together the cinnamon and remaining 3 Tbsp of coconut sugar.
  5. Scoop out 1 Tbsp of dough and roll between hands to form a ball. Then, roll the ball in coconut sugar and cinnamon to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten dough with palm of your hand.
  6. Bake in the prepared oven for 8-9 minutes or just until edges are barely brown.
  7. Cool on baking sheet for several minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Yields: 20 small cookies

Grain-Free Blueberry Cobbler

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Blueberry season and fresh-picked berries call for cobblers and crisps, and my friend recently reminded me of this. I can’t tell you the last time I even made something of the sorts. Overall, I don’t do that much baking, but it is fun to take on a baking project every now and again. Not only that, but baked goods make the house smell so comfy and cozy. Sometimes, I feel like the smells are the best part!

Overall, the cobbler turned out well, but is best eaten day of and shortly after it comes out of the oven. Yes, it still tastes great the next day, but the dough part gets a little soggy from all berry juice. I actually didn’t mind it at all, especially because the flavor is still there and the dough is a little gritty versus totally mushy (since it’s almond flour/meal). You can be the judge though, but know that you’ve been forewarned, especially all you texture peeps out there.

Meanwhile, feel free to add your own flair to the cobbler — different berries and spices, shredded unsweetened coconut, nuts, etc. There’s a lot of room for variety with something like this, so have fun with it!

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For the berries:

  • 2.5 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut flour

Pour berries into a 9×9 baking dish. Mix with the coconut flour. Set aside.

For the dough:

  • 1 cup almond flour or meal (I used fresh ground from sprouted almonds)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 6 Tbsp cold unsalted grass-fed butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, plus extra for drizzling, if desired

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour/meal, coconut flour, sea salt, nutmeg, baking soda, lemon zest, lemon juice vanilla and honey.
  3. Add the butter and blend with your hands or with two knives until course crumbs form. Add the coconut milk and mix until a wet, shaggy dough forms.
  4. Drop mounds of the dough on top of the berries. It doesn’t have to be neat — we’re not going for perfection here. It’s not supposed to be perfect, in fact!
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until dough is brown and berries are bubbly. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving, then serve immediately.
  6. Serve with coconut milk drizzled on top, if desired. Coconut milk whipped cream would also be delicious.

Yields: 4-5 servings

Double-Layer Chocolate Coconut Cake

Double-layer chocolate cake with coconut vanilla frosting. A special treat, indeed.

Remember how I said I’d post my Easter dessert later on? Well, here it is, a chocolate layer cake with coconut vanilla frosting. It was my first time making a grain-free chocolate cake and I’m happy to say that it turned out quite well. Jesse really liked it too, and he topped it with the dark chocolate body paint he got from my mom and sister. Remember how I opened it on his behalf at my wedding shower? See mom, it’s not tucked away in the bathroom cupboard, like you urged not to do! The paint brush isn’t getting any use though, as Jesse uses a spoon for drizzling! I admit, it does look (and smell) like really delicious chocolate and it is quite dark. Jesse says it’s very good.

The cake was adapted from The Healthy Chef’s naked chocolate cake recipe and the frosting was adapted from The Detoxinista’s lemon coconut frosting.

Clearly, Jesse was excited about his chocolate body paint.
Clearly, Jesse was excited about his chocolate body paint. Big drizzle much?

For the coconut vanilla frosting (double batch):

  1. Measure out all the ingredients and toss into the blender. Make sure to measure out the coconut flour exactly. Also, this can not be done with a hand mixer or whisk. You need to use a blender and be very patient!
  2. Blend for 30-45 seconds or until everything is mixed together well. Pour into a bowl once done. The mixture will not be thick yet. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to set. I recommend letting it sit overnight.
  3. Before using, remove from refrigerator and mix well. Then, let the frosting soften to room temperature for a bit. This will make it much easier to spread.

For the cake:

  • 8 pastured eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, ghee or butter (I used a combo of coconut oil & grass-fed butter)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  1. Preheat the oven to 320 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine coconut flour, cacao or cocoa powder, baking soda and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In a kitchen mixer or large bowl, beat together eggs, melted oil, vanilla, honey and apple cider vinegar. If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand mixer works just fine.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and blend. Once batter is blended and smooth, stir in shredded coconut by hand.
  5. Line two 9-inch cakes pans with parchment paper and grease the sides with coconut oil. Pour batter evenly into both pans.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. My cakes were done at about 24 minutes.
  7. Once done, remove from the oven to cool. Once cool, frost one of the cake tops with the frosting and stack the other cake on top. Then, frost the entire top and sides of the cake.
  8. Store any uneaten cake in the refrigerator.

Garnish with a fresh strawberry, if desired.

Spicy Red Velvet Brownies

red velvet brownies

I’m not a big Valentine’s person and don’t care much about the pseudo holiday, but I still always end up doing a little something for Jesse. I think it’s because I was raised celebrating Valentine’s Day, both in school and at home, and a part of me still enjoys doing something cheesy or cute. What can I say? I don’t go all out though and always keep it low key. We usually have dinner at home with a special dessert, and I like to surprise Jesse with a few special dark chocolates from a local chocolatier. Jesse sometimes buys me flowers, but not always. He says he always wants to, but our Siamese cat, Mila, loves to eat them. And then get sick. We end up having to hide the flowers in the laundry closet when we’re not home because of her. We have a very small place too and aren’t able to make any part of our home off limits, except for closets. We can’t even have plants in our house, besides bamboo, because she’ll go to town on it.

This recipe was inspired by Elana’s Pantry Purple Velvet Torte. It was my first time making a dessert with beets, and I will say, it worked out very well. There’s still a little bit of beet flavor, but the honey tones it down and the cocoa makes for a nice complement. Additionally, these are incredibly moist. That would actually be how I’d describe the brownies if I could only pick one word. Maybe red (or reddish) too, if I could pick two words.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups red beets, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup grass-fed butter, melted
  • 4 pasture raised eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup homemade chocolate chips
Biggest beet ever. I only needed this big beet for the recipe because it yielded plenty on its own.
Biggest beet ever. I only needed this big beet for the recipe because it yielded so much.

Directions:

  1. Place beets inside a steamer basket in a pot, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. Once done, add the beets to a high-speed blender with the vanilla and honey. Blend a couple minutes, or until smooth and well combined.
  3. Add the cinnamon, cayenne, sea salt, cocoa powder and homemade chocolate chips. Blend on high for a minute or so. Then, add the melted butter and blend again.
  4. If the beet mixture is still warm, which it most likely will be, temper the beaten eggs by mixing a little of the beet mixture into the eggs. Once mixed, pour the eggs into the blender. This will ensure you don’t end up with scrambled eggs in your brownies! Blend for another minute, or until mixed through.
  5. Grease an 8×8 pan and pour batter evenly into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (it’ll still be beet red though!). Let cool for at least 25 minutes before cutting, as it takes some time for the brownies to set up. If you cut into them too early, they will fall apart.
  6. Once cool, cut into squares or use cookie cutters to make shapes. I made heart shapes for Valentine’s Day.

red velvet brownies 2

Vanilla Hazelnut Ice Cream

vanilla hazelnut ice cream

In lieu of Fat Tuesday, I have a fatty (good, healthy coconut fat!) and delicious treat for you all. No, it’s not a paleo-fied paczki either. I really have no desire to try and replicate those. I do recall eating them on Fat Tuesday during my childhood though, and they were okay, but I never really thought they were that awesome. Sure, I still ate them because grandma offered me one every year, but I think I would have rather eaten a plain glazed doughnut. Oh, how times have changed.

Anyway, the idea for this treat all started with Jesse. You see, I haven’t made ice cream in a while and apparently Jesse noticed, or had a craving at the very least. I say this, because he came home from Food Front Co-op the other day with two boxes of coconut cream, which is what I use to make ice cream sometimes (combined with coconut milk). He said, “Look, I bought you something!” What he meant was, “I bought you this, so you can make me ice cream!” Or in other words, “Make me ice cream, woman!” Okay, I’m exaggerating because the ice cream is for me too and I enjoy it just as much as he does, but I like to tease him. It’s all out of love.

Jesse and I love my plain vanilla ice cream recipe (everything below, minus the hazelnut butter), which is what I was going to make, but then I got the idea to add fresh hazelnut butter. I was shopping at the Alberta Co-op on Friday, and spotted it in their bulk section. They have a big bucket of it and you can scoop out as much as you need, whether it be a lot or just a few tablespoons. I appreciate this because hazelnut butter is spendy and even though it’s still expensive in bulk, I can buy just a little bit, making it pretty affordable. This way too, I won’t go hog wild and eat it all. I don’t know about all of you, but nut butter is super addicting for me, so for this reason, I only occasionally buy it. I generally turn to coconut butter over nut butter anyway.

If you can’t find the coconut cream, don’t fret! Just replace it with more full-fat coconut milk. It’ll work just fine. I know, because I make ice cream this way as well. It really just depends if I have coconut cream on hand or not. The coconut cream makes the ice cream a bit thicker and richer, but it’s still fantastic and creamy with more coconut milk in its place. Additionally, you can use a different nut butter if you can’t find hazelnut butter in the store and don’t have the availability to make your own. This recipe would obviously be awesome with unsweetened cocoa powder added to the mixture too. I actually contemplated doing so, but we decided we wanted the vanilla base, so the hazelnut flavor could really shine through. Maybe next time.

Happy Fat Tuesday! And happy birthday to my dear Dad who turns 63 today! Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (I recommend this brand or this one)
  • 1 cup coconut cream (I used this)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1.5 – 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • Dash of Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened hazelnut butter (this brand is really good)

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Directions:

  1. Add the coconut milk, coconut cream, vanilla, honey and sea salt to the blender. Don’t use a food processor for this — you’ll end up with a mess if you do. Blend on high for a couple minutes, until the mixture is smooth. If your coconut cream is cold because you already had some open and stored it in the fridge, it may require more blending. Just keep blending until it’s smooth!
  2. With your ice cream maker turned on, pour the mixture into the freezer container. Let churn for about 18 minutes. Then, add the hazelnut butter and continue to churn for another 3-5 minutes or until hazelnut butter is mixed through and ice cream is thick.
  3. Scoop ice cream into a container that can be stored in the freezer. Serve some up right away or place in the freezer to firm up a bit more, if desired. I didn’t do so, but feel free to garnish with some chopped raw hazelnuts.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies with homemade chocolate chips.

First off, to my dear friend who is eliminating all sugar this week (except fruit), you may not want to read or look at this. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to wave temptation in front of you, and it’s total coincidence that I’m posting this the day after your sugar elimination was defined! Just know, this recipe will be here down the road and it’s not going anywhere. There’s plenty of time to try it later on!

Anyway, I realized I hadn’t posted a treat recipe in a while and had actually been hanging on to this one. I’ve tried to cut back on the amount of treats I post because, well, I don’t always like having this stuff around either. It doesn’t matter that it’s paleo-friendly folks…it’s still a treat and still contains sugar (honey, in my case). As my friend, Laura, quoted, “treats are sometimes foods.” Bingo.

The thing that makes these cookies particularly special is the HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE CHIPS! Yes, you read that right…homemade chocolate chips! I don’t eat store-bought chocolate chips, even the Enjoy Life brand, because they contain sugar other than honey. I’ve learned that my system does fine with cocoa powder and unsweetened chocolate in moderation, but I’m not interested in testing other SCD-illegal things, like sugars (honey is the only SCD-legal sweetener). I don’t need or want it, and it probably wouldn’t make me feel very good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 2-3 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp melted grass-fed butter, ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup homemade chocolate chips (see below)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonslip baking mat.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together (except chocolate chips) in a large bowl. Set aside
  3. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, honey, butter and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry, mixing well.
  4. Add chocolate chips and mix to incorporate into the dough.
  5. Drop dough onto baking sheet with a tablespoon (mine were heaping tablespoon-sized). Space appropriately and if need be, split batter between two baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until light brown. Let cool on a wire rack once done.
  7. Enjoy with a glass of almond or coconut milk, if desired.

Yields: ~ 16 cookies

Breaking up the block of chocolate.
Breaking up the block of homemade chocolate.
Mixing the homemade chocolate chips into the batter.
Mixing the homemade chocolate chips into the batter.

For the homemade chocolate chips

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • 2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate (or you can omit and use 1/2 cup cocoa powder)
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2.5 Tbsp raw honey
  1. Combine all ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Mix together with a whisk until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Line an 8×8 pan (or baking sheet) with parchment paper. Pour mixture onto parchment paper and place pan in the freezer to set.
  3. Freeze for 2-3 hours or until completely hard. Once set, break into chunks with a knife. Store chocolate chips in the freezer, until ready to use. These can be used just like regular chocolate chips.
Fresh baked cookies.
Fresh baked cookies.
These cookies are soft and cake-like, and not too sweet.
These cookies are soft and cake-like, and not too sweet.

Coconut Cake with Lemon Coconut Frosting

Coconut cake with lemon coconut frosting.

As you may know, Jesse’s 32nd birthday was New Year’s eve. I always like to do something special for him and this year, I let him choose his cake. Usually I pick it completely, but I guess I still kind of picked it because I showed him different options, but he made the final decision.

Anyway, the cake recipe is compliments of The Food Lovers Kitchen from their cookbook, Make it Paleo. I’ve made this cake two other times, but it turned out the best this time around. Three’s a charm, right? Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious before, but there were a few things I needed to toy with to perfect it. The only ingredient change I make with this recipe is that I swap out the maple syrup for raw honey since maple is a no-go for me. In terms of directions, I bake the cake for less time than the recipe states, and instead of a four-layer cake, I stick with two layers.

Two layers is easier to work with than four.

The lemon coconut frosting is compliments of The Detoxinista. I doubled her recipe after realizing a single batch was not enough for the whole cake. I listed the double recipe below. This frosting is fantastic by the way. It’s the first time I’ve ever made it. When I’ve made this cake before, I made a frosting from dripped 24-hour yogurt. This makes the yogurt a bit thicker and sort of cream cheese-like (a little runnier though). Making The Detoxinista’s recipe was actually a lot less fuss. Plus, I didn’t have any yogurt ready and didn’t have enough time for all the waiting. I think the lemon coconut frosting will be my go-to whenever I make this cake from now on though.

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For the frosting:

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk, at room temp (or almond milk, which the recipe calls for, but I didn’t have any made)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  1. Measure out all the ingredients and toss into the blender. Make sure to measure out the coconut flour exactly — it’s dense, so a little extra can throw the recipe off. Also, this can not be done with a hand mixer or whisk. You need to use a blender and be patient!
  2. Blend for 30-45 seconds or until everything is mixed together well. Pour into a bowl once done. FYI it will not be thick yet.
  3. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to set. The frosting will be runny after you first mix it, but it does firm up in the refrigerator. Just be patient! I recommend letting it sit overnight.
  4. Before using, remove from refrigerator and mix well. Then, let the frosting soften to room temperature a bit. This will make it easier to spread.

For the cake:

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup raw honey (or maple syrup)
  • 10 eggs, preferably pasture-raised (Yes, 10 eggs! Coconut flour needs a lot of moisture.)
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut plus a little extra for garnishing, if desired

The cakes, post baking.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, add sifted coconut flour, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl or kitchen mixer, combine eggs, vanilla, honey and melted coconut oil. If you don’t have a kitchen mixer, use a hand mixer. It works just fine.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and continue blend.
  5. Once batter is blended and smooth, stir in shredded coconut by hand.
  6. Line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides of the pans with coconut oil. Pour batter evenly into both pans.
  7. Bake for 25 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. My cakes were perfect after about 26 minutes.
  8. Remove cakes from the oven and cool.
  9. Frost one of the cake tops with the lemon coconut frosting and then, stack the other cake on top (stack it top-facing up, flat side down). Then, frost the entire top and sides of the cake. Garnish with a little unsweetened coconut flakes, if desired.
  10. Store any uneaten cake in the refrigerator, as it is perishable.
Wonder what he wished for...
Wonder what he wished for…
Birthday cake beauty.
Birthday cake beauty.