Grain Free Peanut Butter Cookies

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I love peanut butter. On an apple, in a cookie, by the spoonful.. it’s just SO delectable. It’s one of those things I will not give up, paleo or not. Well the other day my mom brought home peanut butter cookies from Sunterra. They were laiden with gluten and refined sugar, but smelt like heaven. As a result, I was inspired to try and create a grain free, refined sugar free peanut butter cookie that mimicked the “real thing.” Now let me tell you, this is not the first time I’ve taken on this task, oh no! I’ve had several peanut butter cookie fails. I’ve tried peanut butter and honey combos, sweetening with dates, flourless.. all to no avail, as they hailed sub par cookies that just didn’t cut it! But this time… I think I nailed it! The ratio of almond flour to butter to peanut butter creates a perfectly soft, crumb texture, and just the right amount of peanutty flavour. But I think the real trick was the sweetener.. I have been experimenting with Truvia Baking Blend lately, a combo of stevia and erythritol (both non-glycemic sweeteners), and although using it solely creates a slight aftertaste, mixing it with another sugar has proven to be a success! When the molasses-like flavour of coconut palm sugar is combined with the vanilla scented, ultra-sweet truvia, magic happens! The kind of magic you typically find in a cookie containing refined white and brown sugars. So when you join this sweet epiphany with gooey, creamy, peanut butter, and let it get all fluffy in the oven? Deliciousness. Even my mom (my go-to taste tester), who prefers “Dad’s” cookies to my healthier variety, admitted these babies taste legit!

And so, my gift to you: awesome, guilt free, peanut butter love. ❤

Grain Free Peanut Butter Cookies
Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, with modifications for dairy free

Ingredients:
1 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter (for dairy free try refined coconut oil)
1/2 cup peanut butter  
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1 1/2 tbsp Truvia baking blend
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
1. Cream butter and peanut butter together with sugars.
2. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
3. Add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
4. Add dark chocolate chips and stir until evenly distributed.
5. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 8 minutes. Keep an eye on them, as they may need a minute or two in either direction.  
6. Store cookies in a sealed container.

*Note: If you don’t have Truvia, you can use an additional 1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar, however the flavour will be slightly different. Still delicious though!

Paleo Coconut Butter Granola

ImageCostco carries this granola that embodies exactly what I love about granola.. sweet, nutty flavour, a hearty texture, and that perfect crunch with every bite. Sounds great right?… Wrong! Because sadly, it’s laden with sugar, wheat flour, and canola oil. Sigh, and to think I used to eat that stuff by the container full!! Well luckily, I have an amazing recipe to replace it that’s full of healthy oils, natural sweeteners, and none of that gluten stuff. Purely nuts and seeds, this granola is super versatile, and extra delicious!! I make it for my dad (who is not paleo) all the time, and as he would say, he “eats it like a wild banchee!” I think that means he likes it!! =)

Paleo Coconut Butter Granola – Adapted from How Sweet It Is
Grain Free, Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free

Ingredients:

Nuts and seeds – You can use any you want, but I usually use around 5 cups total. The following is an example of what I might use:
1 1/2 cups slivered almonds
1 cup coconut
3/4 cup pecan pieces
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
Optional: 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Wet:
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut butter
4 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
1. Heat wet ingredients in a small pot, on low, until melted.
2. Pour over nut/seed mixture and stir.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, stir, bake 10 minutes more, stir, then bake for approximately 10 more minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes until golden.
4. Cool until hardened. If you want more clumps, you can use your hands to clump it together a bit while it’s still warm.
5. Store in an airtight container.

*Note: This recipe is so easily adaptable! Change up the nuts! Add dried fruit! Add cinnamon, or other spices, or chocolate! Sometimes I use part coconut butter, and part almond butter, depending on if I want a sweeter, or nuttier flavour. Play!

Paleo Chocolate Marshmallow Cups

ImageIt’s Halloween, and there is LOTS of candy around, but I am not giving in! Those bite sized chocolate bars look so enticing… but then I remember that they are sugar and chemical laced, and it’s not so hard to resist. So I opted to make my own Halloween treats this year, without all the yucky stuff! And ooh. They are yummy in my tummy!

ImageOne of my favourite blogs, How Sweet It Is, posted these Homemade Mallo Cups the other day, and I just HAD to make a paleo friendly version. So I got out my handy dandy Kitchenaid mixer, and got on it!! The results were little cups of gooey, marshmallowy heaven, enrobed in deliciously rich homemade chocolate. Mmm! The marshmallow cream is perfectly fluffy, and of course, naturally sweetened with honey and coconut palm sugar. The chocolate is smooth and dark, and creates an irresistible crunchy shell. It too is sweetened with honey, and made with organic cacao powder, cocoa butter, and coconut oil! Superfood candy! I love it!!

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Paleo Chocolate Marshmallow Cups
Grain Free, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Dairy Free, Gelatin Free

Ingredients:
Marshmallow Fluff:
(Yields.. a lot!)
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate:
(Yields enough for 12 mini marshmallow cups)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder or cacao powder
1/3 cup honey (give or take depending on desired sweetness)
1 tsp. vanilla

Directions
Chocolate:
1. In a small pot, add coconut oil, cacao, and honey, and stir over low heat until melted and combined.
2. Stir in vanilla, and remove from heat.
3. Pour a small amount into lined or coconut oiled mini muffin tins, then freeze until set.

Marshmallow Fluff:
1. Whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks have formed.
2. Combine honey, coconut palm sugar, and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Use a candy thermometer, and boil the mixture until it reaches between 240°F and 245°F. This should take a few minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Turn the mixer on low, and very slowly drizzle the syrup into the egg whites. Very slowly! If you go too fast, the eggs will scramble, and that would be devastating!
4. Once incorporated, add the vanilla, then increase the speed to medium high and whip until your fluff is glossy and creates stiff peaks. This could take anywhere from 5 – 10 minutes depending on your mixer.
5. Add a little scoop of the fluff to the muffin cups, on top of the now set chocolate, and pour an additional layer of chocolate on top of the marshmallow.
6. Place in freezer to set.
7. Store in fridge or freezer, and store remaining fluff in the fridge.
8. Indulge in a healthier Halloween treaty!! =)

*Note: This recipe makes A LOT of fluff. I made 36 mini marshmallow cups with it, plus Fluffernutter ice cream, and had some left over! It filled two thirds of my Kitchenaid stand mixer bowl! So feel free to half the recipe or use the excess to make a whole lot of s’mores. =)

“Believe It Or Not” Healthy Double Chocolate Cookies

ImageOh you better believe it.

So I’ve had this mad craving for a Betty Crocker chocolate brownie. You know, those ones that you make from the boxed mix, and are untouchable, even by the homemade variety?! Yeah, those. Well I refused to succumb to those sinful sugar bombs.. so instead I made these babies.. then ate 3.

Sometimes I think I should just eat the damn brownie.

But then! I remember that these particular cookies are made with healthy ingredients! With actual nutritional value! Instead of corn syrup, these are sweetened with pureed raisins or dates, which boast an impressive nutritional profile in comparison to other sweeteners. Instead of wheat flour, these are made with ground almonds, which contain healthy fats, fibre, and protein. Instead of partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil (eek!), these are made with avocado, which is another amazing source of healthy fats, fibre, and potassium! Combine these nutrient dense ingredients with organic cacao powder, and high quality dark chocolate (we’ve gotta give a little!), and you have some INSANELY delicious, and HEALTHY cookies! Yes, these are considered straight up health food in my eyes. It helps me justify eating several at once. =)

ImageOh, and did I mention that they taste amazing too? The cookie by itself is not overwhelmingly sweet, but has a rich, decadent flavour, and unbelievably fudgy texture. The addition of the dark chocolate chips lends just the right amount of sweetness, and adds ooey gooey, melty goodness to every bite. Basically, these are a delectable, fudgy brownie, in a convenient cookie form. Craving crushed.

Make them now. Thank me later.

“Believe it or Not” Healthy Double Chocolate Cookies
Gluten free, grain free, sugar free, and dairy free (if made with dairy free chocolate chips)

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups almond meal (I grind my own in my Magic bullet)
1 cup cacao or cocoa powder
1½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ripe avocado
1 cup dates or raisins, pureed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
As many dark chocolate chips as you can possibly cram in there!

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
1. In a large bowl, mix together almond meal, cocoa powder, and baking soda.
2. Using a food processor or good quality blender, puree raisins or dates first, then blend in avocado, vanilla, and egg until smooth.
3. Combine wet ingredients into dry mixture. Mix until incorporated.
4. Add dark chocolate chips and stir until evenly distributed.
5. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 9 minutes.
6. Eat one fresh out of the oven. Store remaining cookies in sealed container in the fridge or freezer.

*Note: These taste awesome both warm, or frozen. Yum!!

Recipe credit to my beautiful baby sister Kelynn!!

Paleo Double Chocolate Cupcakes

ImageLet’s talk about cake. I’ve never been a fan of chocolate cake. I know, who am I?! It just doesn’t do it for me. Chocolate? Yes please. Brownies? Heck yes. Chocolate cake? Meh. But these cupcakes have converted me! The best part? They’re grain free, naturally sweetened, and full of good, healthy fats! Plus chocolate! Winning combo in my opinion!

Paleo Double Chocolate Cupcakes
(Adapted from Living Healthy With Chocolate’s Coconut Cupcakes)
Grain Free, Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour (I ground my own.. if you use store bought, you will need closer to 1/4 cup)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
6 tbsp. cacao powder or cocoa powder
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
Chocolate chips (optional)

Ganache:
Dark chocolate chips
2 tsp. full fat coconut milk

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
1. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
2. Combine wet ingredients, then add the dry mixture, and mix until incorporated.
3. Add chocolate chips if desired! (I know you do!)
4. Spoon batter into lined muffin tins, to about 2/3 full.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
6. For ganache, melt dark chocolate and slowly add coconut milk, being careful not to seize the chocolate.
7. Spread ganache over cooled cupcakes, and enjoy!

Mango Macadamia Nut Larabars

ImageI’m the type of person who has to bake on an empty stomach. This is because I usually don’t use a recipe, and if I do, I’m modifying it a whole bunch to suit my dietary needs. So it’s a lot of trial and error.. and by trial and error, I mean it’s a whole lot of tasting on my part! Which really isn’t alllll that bad… =) … but it makes it difficult to duplicate the recipe later, especially when I just go at it and don’t write anything down! Homemade Larabars have always been one of these ‘taste as you go’ projects; it’s all about the texture, and ratio of sweetness to nuttiness. However, after having lots of recipe requests for these delectable little snacks, I’ve decided to start paying attention to how I make them!! Yay! This variation is a flavour combination I just knew would taste amazing! Mango, macadamia nuts, coconut.. it’s tropical bliss is a convenient little square! The great thing about Larabars is they really don’t need a precise recipe, so you can follow mine exactly, or add and remove as you please. Play around! Everyone says baking is a science, and to an extent it is, but when it comes to raw treats, you have so much more freedom to experiment and tweak the recipe to your liking. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but hey, that’s why I do most of the experimenting for you! =)

Mango Macadamia Nut Larabars
Grain Free, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan, Raw

Ingredients:
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup unsweetened dried mango
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup hot water
1 cup macadamia nuts, ground into a flour
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

Directions
1. Puree dates and mango in a food processor, adding hot water until it creates a thick, but smooth paste. (I needed the entire half cup, as my mangoes were very thin and dry, but you may not need as much!)
2. Add the macadamia nut flour, and food process until incorporated.
3. Add coconut, and pulse until incorporated to your liking. (I like mine to have bigger shreds of coconut, so I blend it less!)
4. Press mixture into a parchment lined container, and freeze until set.
5. Eat them up!! Store what’s left (if there is any!) in the fridge or freezer.

Paleo Crackers

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The other night, I was craving that crunchy, saltiness that you can really only get from a good, crispy cracker. So I did a little late night recipe experimentation, and BAM! Paleo crackers were born! These little squares of goodness pack just the right amount of savoury, crunchy flavour, and are delicious on their own, smeared with butter, or sandwiched with cheese! Craving satisfied!

Paleo Crackers
Grain Free, Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free

Ingredients:
Yields 9-12 crackers
1/4 cup almond flour
1/8 cup arrowroot flour
1/8 cup ground flaxseed
1 tbsp. whole flaxseeds
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
1/8 cup egg whites
Salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
2. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet, about 1/8 inch thick.
3. Bake for 13 minutes, then cut into squares and bake for about 5 more minutes, until edges are slightly crisp.
4. Add more salt to top of crackers if desired.
5. Eat warm with butter, or allow them to cool for ultimate crispiness!

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Paleo Banana Coconut Cream Pie

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This pie. It’s banana-y, it’s coconut-y, it’s creamy, it’s heaven. It will fool any paleo-hater out there!! Sometimes I nix the crust and eat the filling on it’s own for a yummy custard treat! Either way, it’s freaking delicious!

Paleo Banana Coconut Cream Pie
Grain Free, Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free

Ingredients:


Crust:
2 cups almond flour
3/4 cup coconut flour
3 tbsp melted butter

Custard Filling:
2 ripe bananas
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/3 cup honey
3 egg yolks
1/8 cup + 1 tbsp arrowroot flour
1 tbsp coconut butter (or butter if you’re okay with dairy)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup toasted coconut + more for topping if desired

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
1. Mix melted butter into coconut and almond flours, and pat into a pie pan.
2. Bake for 10 minutes.
3. Toast 1/2 cup coconut in the oven for around 5 minutes, until nice and golden brown. This may takes longer, or may be quicker, so make sure to watch it! You may need to stir it around once or twice as well.
4. Now for the custard! In a pot on medium high heat, bring coconut milk and honey to a simmer.
5. Whisk egg yolks in a small bowl, and slowly add about 3/4 cup of the hot milk mixture to temper. Then add it back into the pot.
6. Dissolve the arrowroot powder with some hot milk to make a thin paste, then add it back to the pot as well.
7. Bring mixture to a boil, then allow it to simmer for 4-6 minutes, until thick.
8. Remove from heat, and add coconut butter, vanilla and 1/2 cup toasted coconut.
9. Line the crust with thinly sliced banana, then pour the custard over top. Top with coconut, and fresh bananas, refrigerate, and serve!

*Note: You can use any nuts you would like for the crust! I sometimes use walnut flour as well (I grind all my own nut flours in my Magic Bullet), and experiment with different proportions. You may need a little bit more or less butter for the crust, you want the nuts to stick together just enough to be able to pat them into the pan! Play around with it!