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. =)

Paleo Waffles

ImageI freaking LOVE Belgian waffles. Thick and fluffy, with a crisp exterior, smothered in pure maple syrup, and a big blob of fresh whipped cream. Just thinking about them is making me drool!! But after going gluten free, waffles have never been the same. The gluten free pancake mixes on the market just don’t do it for me. In my experience, they tend to bear weird flavours and textures that turn me right off. Hopeless I was. But then!! I started following a girl by the name of Brittany Angell on instagram. This girl.. she’s a GENIUS when it comes to paleo/ gluten free / grain free food. Which is right up my alley! Just to my luck, she posted a paleo waffle recipe on her blog that had rave reviews, so I decided to give it try.. and EEK! They were amazing!! Pillowy soft, slightly sweet, and all around scrumptious waffles, that are grain free and sugar free too! This waffle recipe use almond and tapioca flour, which creates a fluffy texture reminiscent of their glutenous counterpart, while also lending a natural sweetness to their flavour.  The recipe below is slightly adapted from Brittany’s, and creates the perfect base for whatever-you’re-feeling waffles. Chocolate chip? Do it. Blueberries? Mmhmm. Straight up with maple syrup? You bet.

Breakfast anyone?!

Paleo Waffles – Adapted from Brittany Angell’s Recipe
Grain Free, Gluten Free, Sugar Free

Ingredients:
Yields 4 – 8 waffles
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 large egg
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (not canned)
1 tsp. lemon juice

Directions
Preheat waffle iron, and grease it well.
1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
2. Make waffles!!
3. Serve with maple syrup and whipped cream! Or fruit! Or anything delicious!

Paleo Banana Bread Truffles

ImageRemember yesterday’s Paleo Banana Bread? Well you’re going to need to make another loaf. Because you’re going to want to make these Banana Bread Truffles.

I have an obsession with making truffle-like desserts. My absolute favourite, pre-paleo days, were cake balls. Delicious little balls of Betty Crocker cake (no one does it better than Betty!), mixed with sickly sweet frosting, and coated in chocolate. I used to make these little balls of sin and bring them to dance class..  Now before I continue, I would like to clear up the misconception that dancers don’t eat. Oh, we EAT. A whole heck of a lot. So these cake ball truffles? They were gone in mere seconds. But healthy? Yeah, I wouldn’t bank on that. My obsession had already developed, however, so when I went grain and sugar free, I started experimenting with making healthier treats in truffle form. Cookie dough truffles! Brownie batter truffles! Protein ball truffles! And now.. Banana bread truffles! I have yet to replicate the cake ball truffle… but these babies are SO delectable that I don’t even feel to…. Yet. =) I mean, let’s take a loaf of sweet and scrumptious banana bread, paleo-fy it, make it into cute little truffles, and coat it in dark chocolate.

I think I just died and went to heaven, and you’ve been invited.

Paleo Banana Bread Truffles
Grain Free, Gluten Free

Ingredients:

Paleo Banana Bread
1/2 cup coconut cream (scooped off the top of a refrigerated can of coconut milk)
1/2 large overripe banana
Dark chocolate chips, or your own homemade chocolate

Directions
1. Bake and cool banana bread.
2. Mash the banana, and mix it into the coconut cream.
3. Break up the banana bread and crumble into a bowl. Add the banana cream mixture, stirring until well blended. You should be able to form the “dough” into balls.. You may need a little more or less of the banana cream!
4. Form into balls and place on a parchment or wax paper lined pan, and freeze for at least half an hour, or until cold and firm.
Try not to be impatient!
5. Melt dark chocolate chips in a double boiler, or however you prefer, and coat the frozen banana bread balls in chocolate.
6. Place the balls back onto the lined pans, and back into the freezer until chocolate is set.
7. Best when stored in an airtight container in the freezer.

Paleo Banana Bread

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It’s a bread. It’s a cake. It’s a snack. It’s dessert. It’s breakfast…

It’s banana bread!

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There’s something so comforting about this versatile treat. For me, it’s the deliciously overwhelming aroma that swells the house as it bakes. A sure sign that something tasty is soon to fill my tummy!

Oh and this banana bread? It’s gluten and refined sugar free. Almonds, coconut, and tapioca flour create that superbly moist, crumb texture we have familiarized with this classic loaf. The sweetness comes almost entirely from the bananas, with just a touch of honey, making this version much healthier than it’s sugary, gluten-filled counter part! So eat up, and enjoy! =)

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Paleo Banana Bread
Grain Free, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups almond flour
1/3 cup coconut flour (I ground my own.. if you use store bought you will probably need half this amount)
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 large, or 3 small overripe bananas
2 tbsp. honey **
1/4 cup butter
3 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
1. Cream butter, eggs, honey, and vanilla.
2. Mash, and stir in bananas.
3. Add dry ingredients, and mix well.
4. Optional: add in nuts, or chocolate!
5. Bake in a greased loaf pan for 50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

*Note: This tastes best the next day!! The natural sweetness really comes through after sitting for a bit.
**Note: I have always used honey for this recipe, but I also think that replacing it with 1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar would add a bit more body to the flavour! If doing so, reduce the almond flour to 1 1/4 cup, coconut flour to 1/4 cup, and tapioca flour to 1/4 cup.

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It’s really yummy with homemade chocolate on top too! =)

Gluten Free Oatmeal Caramel White Chocolate Chip Squares

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Before our gluten and sugar free days, one of my sister and I’s favourite treats were Oatmeal Caramel White Chocolate Chip Squares. Filled with brown sugar, caramel ice cream topping, and white chocolate confectionery, they were definitely an ultra-sweet treat, but the furthest thing from healthy. Well the other day, I decided I wanted them. However, there was NO way I was going to put all of that processed sugar into my little body! So I practically emptied my pantry onto my kitchen counter, and got to work!  =)

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The result? A soft and crumbly, cookie-like crust, sweet smooth caramel, and velvety white chocolate. All combined to create this decadently gooey dessert that will make you want to eat another.. and another!! And let me tell you.. I will always make homemade white chocolate from now on!! I have never been a huge fan of how sicky sweet store-bought white chocolate is. In my opinion, it just doesn’t belong in the chocolate family! However, this homemade version is dairy free, refined sugar free, and is made with organic cocoa butter, which lends a creamy and real chocolatey taste! That’s right, white chocolate that actually tastes like chocolate! Just thinking about it makes me want to whip up another batch, so on that note..

Oatmeal Caramel White Chocolate Chip Squares
Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Egg Free

Ingredients:
White Chocolate:
1/3 cup creamed honey
1/3 cup melted cocoa butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp coconut flour

Caramel:
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp butter

Oatmeal Crust:
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1/8 cup Steviva Blend (or an additional 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar)
3/4 cup butter

Directions
White Chocolate:
1. Melt the cocoa butter in a pot on medium low heat, then pour it into a bowl.
2. Add the honey (I used creamed, but liquid might work) and vanilla, and whisk it! Lots!! It doesn’t want to combine but it will!
3. Whisk in 2 tbsp coconut flour.. don’t worry, it doesn’t make it have too much of a coconut-y flavour, and it’s necessary for binding!!
4. Place in freezer until set.

Caramel:
1. Place water and coconut palm sugar in a pot, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn.
2. Add coconut milk and vanilla, and let it boil on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly as well. The mixture will slowly begin to thicken into a dark caramel!
3. Once thickened, remove from heat, and stir in butter.
4. Allow it to sit and cool.

Oatmeal Squares:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
1. Cream butter and sugars.
2. Add almond flour, coconut flour, and oats, and mix well.
3. Pat half the batter into an 8 inch parchment lined or ungreased pan, and bake for 10 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
5. Cut the white chocolate into little chunks, and spread over the crust, then pour and spread the caramel over the chocolate. Crumble the remaining oatmeal batter on top.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until edges and crumble on top are starting to become golden.
7. Enjoy this unbelievable yummy treat!!

*Note: If you choose to use homemade white chocolate, it will melt inside the squares, and will kind of meld together with the caramel. But don’t worry. The taste is still very much there, and it’s freaking awesome!

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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Hello World!

ImageHi! I’m Cassandra, and I’m a baking / cooking / dancing / eating / fitness addict. About a year ago, I converted to a mostly grain free and sugar free lifestyle, and it turned my world upside down.. in the best of ways, of course! Since then, I’ve made a challenge of turning past “cheats” into healthy, guilt free treats, to satisfy my (mega) sweet tooth! I created my instagram account, @cassandrabakes, to share my creations, and after an overwhelming demand to post my recipes, I’ve succumbed to the blogging world. So here goes nothing! I hope to get your mouths watering with a whole lot of recipes inspired by paleo, grain free, gluten free, sugar free, and vegan lifestyles… with a bit of wiggle room!