Banana Pecan Muffins

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These muffins have unseated the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins as far and away the best paleo baked good I’ve ever had. Which is really saying a lot, cause those pumpkin muffins are pretty stellar. I can honestly say I don’t think anyone would be able to guess that these are free of refined sugar and flour. With an egg substitute these would even be vegan – I’m betting that applesauce would work well! I was simutaneously so happy and so sad eating the last one of the batch today…what an emotional rollercoaster for a Monday morning.

Ingredients

  • 3 very ripe bananas (thaw if frozen)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour, almond meal, or cashew meal (or a combination!)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins or pitted dates, chopped
  • (optional) 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
  • For topping: unsweetened finely shredded coconut, chopped pecans or walnuts, chopped dates

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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375° and line a muffin pan with 12 cups. I highly recommend the foil-lined muffin cups!
  2. In a large bowl, mash bananas and then whisk in eggs and coconut oil until slightly frothy.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients until fully mixed: almond flour, tapioca flour, coconut flour, shredded coconut, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Mix in raisins/dates and pecans. I chopped the raisins in my food processor, worked great. I left the nuts out of the muffins since Sam isn’t a big fan.
  5. Pour banana mixture into dry mixture and fold together until JUST combined. Don’t overmix!
  6. Divide between muffin cups. My cups were very full, the batter was even mounded above the top of the cups and they turned out great.
  7. Sprinkle shredded coconut, chopped pecans, and/or chopped dates over the muffins. I used just coconut for Sam’s muffins, and pecans/coconut for the rest. Yumm.
  8. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until you can push on the center of a muffin and it springs back up.
  9. Allow to cool for at least ten minutes – this helps the muffins not stick to the liners. They’re great warm or cold, with butter or just plain. Enjoy!

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Source: thehealthyfoodie.com

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Chocolate Chili Macaroons

This vegan macaroon recipe has been a huge hit with our friends and family! I found this recipe while my parents were visiting us in Phoenix. I wanted to make a natural vegan dessert for my dad and these turned out good enough that we had to make them again the next day! The original recipe called for just a pinch of chili powder and Sam thought that was sub-par, so when I asked him to make a second batch he loaded up on the spice. The rich chocolately honey flavor combined with the perfect spicy afterburn makes for a decadent dessert that can be thrown together in under ten minutes. Certainly doesn’t hurt that they are so perfectly bite-sized! Mmm.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp of chili powder (if sweet and spicy isn’t your thing, just throw in a pinch!)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk or Cashew Cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until JUST mixed. If you are using finely shredded coconut then you can just mix by hand, too.
  3. Grease a rounded tablespoon with a little coconut oil, then scoop up some of the mixture and press flat against the side of the bowl to pack it tightly.01d65bc12978f575a894b0d986554d5a6a1fb9604e
  4. Tap the spoon on the pan, letting the cookie fall on to the cookie sheet. If necessary, use your fingers to fix the shape so that it is a nicely formed mound that holds together. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. You might need to clean off the tablespoon a couple times and re-grease.
  5. Bake for 10-11 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before moving from the pan so they don’t break apart. I slide the parchment paper off the hot pan onto the counter for expedited cooling/eating.

Source: againstallgrain.com

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

01f35d000b8abef17d3b9fc5fccc3ee233fd2f17e8This is hands-down the best grain-free baked good recipe I’ve found to date – another gem from PaleOMG.com. We’re hosting a Halloween celebration at our place tonight, so thought I’d make something a little extra special. These muffins are all natural, grain-free, and crazy good. They even turned out pretty fluffy, which is a main complaint I have about a lot of grain-free recipes. Almond meal recipes especially turn out quite dense.

A note about coconut flour: The fiber in coconut flour really soaks up moisture in a recipe so you need less than regular flours. Measure the same way you would with regular flour – no packing! The suggested conversion rate between coconut flour and other flours is a little complicated and still probably won’t turn out the same in this recipe, but if you want to have a go, let me know and I can help with the amounts.

Click here for the recipe on PaleOMG. It is written to make about 1/2 dozen muffins. So in case you are interested in making more like two dozen muffins, I’m going to include the quadrupled recipe here as well to save you the brain workin’!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/3 cups maple syrup
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 12 eggs, whisked
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups regular or mini chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix together wet ingredients in a bowl: pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, powdered ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips if using. Today I separated the batter into halves and used 1 cup of chocolate chips in one half and left the other half plain.
  6. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Use a measuring cup or ice cream scoop to fill muffin cups – these muffins won’t rise too much so you can fill them pretty full.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Makes at least 2 dozen muffins.

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I made the mistake of using the extra batter to make a dozen mini muffins, and now they are just sitting there, all adorable-looking, just waiting to be snacked on. Well, about half of them are waiting…the other half no longer exist. I have to say, I REALLY like the chocolate chips in this recipe! Can’t wait for everyone to try them tonight. Happy Halloween!

Recipe credit: PaleOMG.com

Baklava Cheesecake

We recently hosted a birthday party for a good friend of ours, Jack. When we were planning said party and asked Jack what sort of birthday dessert he would like, he asked for chocolate cake. Sam said “Jack, that’s fine and all, but Lolo really loves to cook, and very rarely gets to bake since we don’t eat a lot of baked goods at home. You can really ask for something more than just chocolate cake.” Later I received a text message probing about the possibility of cheesecake. Now, I make a mean cheesecake. It’s my mom’s recipe, with lots of sour cream in it and chocolate sauce marbled in to the top. I have no idea how many times I’ve made it, its a piece of cake (so to speak). Then I get another text. “How about baklava cheesecake? Is such a thing even possible?” Uhhh…googling…yup, apparently it is possible, damn you. And so, I promised to take on the challenge of making the most complicated dessert I’ve ever made. And I did. And it was awesome.

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DISCLAIMER: THIS CAKE TAKES LIKE TWO DAYS TO MAKE. DOWNLOAD A GOOD AUDIOBOOK.

Click here for the recipe link!

The recipe itself is quite long, and I did follow it almost exactly. Here are my notes from where I deviated:

  • I did not worry about clarifying the butter, just used regular unsalted butter that I melted in the microwave, and it turned out great.
  • For the initial crust, I found that the pieces of phyllo dough were not long enough to cover the entire bottom of the pan and leave a 5″ overhang as the recipe suggests. So instead I rotated the pan slightly with each piece of dough, placing it so that the top edge of the dough met up with the top edge of the springform pan, overlapping the pieces so eventually there was full coverage on the bottom and sides of the springform pan. I then poured the cake batter in the pan, and made a separate top for the cake out of phyllo dough rounds. I cut out the rounds (after buttering and layering on parchment paper) by putting a 10-inch dinner plate upside down on the stack of dough and tracing the outside with a pizza cutter. Then I placed the dough rounds right on top of the cheesecake. Here is what it looked like after baking and after I removed the springform ring:
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Our friend Zach saw this and said “Ah, the old paper bag pie. My favorite.”

  • I ended up using one whole package of phyllo dough from World Market. I’ve also seen it at Trader Joes and at Sprouts.
  • From prior experience I will warn you, do NOT used reduced fat cream cheese for the cake, it just won’t turn out the same!
  • I used pistachios instead of walnuts in the baklava filling. Yum!
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I used the springform ring suggestion to spread the almonds and pistachios, worked like a charm.01a075578e20b6b0f9bd5384987230b9875c409904I used a pizza cutter to cut the top layer of phyllo dough over the baklava filling, and a sharp knife to get right up to the edges of the pan.

  • I was out of cinnamon sticks, so for the syrup I just sprinkled in some ground cinnamon and it turned out great.
  • I bought an airplane bottle of Remy Martin VSOP cognac since I didn’t need a whole bottle, and it was $1.99 at Total Wine.
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Just came out of the oven, about to cool for an hour then go into the fridge!

Whew! There you have it. My Paleo, no carb, super healthy cake. Nah, just kidding. It’s good to cheat once in a while. Seriously though, I have never been so nervous putting something in the oven, but it turned out better than expected. I have to admit that I was skeptical about putting so much fresh lemon juice into a cheesecake, but letting it sit overnight really made the flavor very smooth. It also seemed very appropriate with the baklava pairing. The cake really tasted even better after it had sat for two days. I would definitely make it again – now that I’ve done it once I’m less scared of the phyllo dough and I know the process would be much faster the second time around. I love my sour cream cheesecake as a quick and delicious option, and Sam and I agreed that the the baklava cheesecake was just as good, just very different. And most importantly, the birthday boy loved it!

Recipe Credit: thebakingpan.com