Archives for category: Baking

Another honeymoon delight and re-creation of an Urban Solace dish. I think it was a pretty successful attempt, though the custard to chocolate ratio was off a bit (there should have been more custard). This version of the pot de creme is dairy-free but it is certainly not sugar-free. Which makes this recipe a once or twice a year venture for us.

Grocery shopping tips:

Make sure to buy some good quality chocolate for the ganache cap. I really like Valrhona 85% and Endgangered Species 88%.. If you want chocolate without soy lecithin then check out Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips. For coconut milk, look for the Native Forest brand of coconut milk. The cans are BPA free… hard to find these days. For more information about the harms of overconsuming canned coconut milk, check out Chris Kresser’s little article about my favorite food: COCONUT!

I mean I really, REALLY love it

Recently I’ve been a bit startled at the sheer amount of coconut products that I consume. I mean really? How many kinds of coconut can one paleo adherent eat? Try coconut milk, coconut butter, coconut flour, coconut water, coconut meat (mature and young), coconut sugar, shredded coconut, flaked coconut, coconut oil…. AHHH! I decided enough was enough and that too much of a good thing (that thing being COCONUT) is not good at all. So, in an effort to steer away from my obsession I am abstaining from coconut for this week. It’s the final week of my Whole 30 program and I thought it only appropriate to use this week as an excuse to really clear away the excess items from the diet.

When I began paleo, my only real coconut exposure was in the form of coconut oil (for cooking) and coconut water (for drinking). Since then, my knowledge of all things paleo has expanded and I’ve become more familiar with alternative ingredients for baking and cooking. Knowledge is good if you use it wisely. One of the most attractive things about “ancestral living” is the simplicity of it. In the beginning, it was easy to be simple because I was also ignorant to all the possibilities of nut flours and coconut sugars and date pastes. One of the most attractive things about “ancestral living” is the simplicity of the OG plan…

Live Simply

It’s easy to get excited about new knowledge and employ new food strategies to cope with the loss of familiar SAD diet favorites like pancakes, cookies, pies, and dairy-based items like Pot de Creme. I strive to be  a healthy, balanced person but I also want to be a creative and innovative chef. There’s a time and place for the substitutes but there’s a great deal of value in the simplicity of the Paleo Diet. That being said, here I am, sans coconut, trying to strike a balance and reign in my addiction.

Here’s the innovative “yin” to my simplistic “yang”:

Chilled to Perfection

Salted Caramel Pot de Creme with a Chocolate Cap

Caramel Custard
3/4 cup coconut sugar, divided (1/2 cup for the caramel, 1/4 cup for the custard)
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)
5 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Warm 1/2 cup sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Moisten the sugar with just a few drops of water.
  2. Stirring constantly, cook sugar until it caramelizes. The sugar will liquefy, bubble and eventually thicken. Once the caramel turns a rich tan color, remove from the heat and add the cream and whole milk, constantly stirring to combine. It’ll get crazy bubbly… just keep stirring.
  3. Return the pan to the heat and keep stirring until smooth. At first, the caramel will have some lumps, but don’t worry, these will eventually smooth out. Once it is smooth, turn off the heat let it cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 300.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla until thick. Slowly, whisk in the cooled caramel until fully combined. Let the mixture sit for a minute then skim off any foam that has developed on the surface.
  6. Fill ramekins with the custard and place in a baking pan. Fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the ramekins. Cover with aluminum foil and poke some holes in the foil.
  7. Carefully place in the oven and cook for 30—35 minutes. They are finished once they are wobbly in the center but completely firm to the touch. Let sit 10 minutes covered. Refrigerate for 1 1/2 – 2 hours before adding the chocolate cap.

Chocolate Cap
1/2 c. coconut milk
1 tsp. ground coffee
1/2 c. chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch sea salt

  1. In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk with coffee to a near boil.
  2. Pour through a sieve over chocolate and stir until smooth.
  3. Add some vanilla and sea salt.
  4. Pour ganache into cooled ramekins over the custard. Make the chocolate cap about 1/4 as thick as the custard.
  5. Chill until ganache has hardened and garnish with sea salt flakes.
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A delicious treat! Nuts optional.

This is an amazing recipe for those who want a “sweet” treat without completely derailing their sugar detox/cleanse/general avoidance. The combination of sweet potato or yam, spices, and coconut creates a really savory and finger-licking taste. No guilt involved, I promise. Even more, when you freeze these puppies, it’s almost like a little open faced ice cream sandwich! Say WHAAAT!? yup. Muy delicioso. So have fun with it… play with the spices, and while you’re at it, play with the filling too! It could be garnet yam, sweet potato, kabocha squash, okinowan sweet potato, butternut squash, etc.

In addition to being awesome, these are also NUT-free, SOY-free, GLUTEN-free, DAIRY-free, EGG-free, and SUGAR-free.

Coconut-Crusted Yam Tart

Crust
3 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 1/2 c. unsweetened dried coconut

Filling
2 c. yams, mashed
1 c. coconut milk (full fat)
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. orange zest
1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. In a food processor, pulse oil and coconut until thoroughly crushed into the consistancy of sand.
  3. Press crust mixture into a tart pan or muffin cups.

    Golden is good.

  4. Bake for 15-20 mins. Check it near the end to make sure it’s not burning.
  5. Make the filling by mixing flaxseed and coconut milk together in the food processor. Don’t process, just let them sit for 5 mins or so.
  6. Add remaining ingredients and process…. and process… and more processing. The longer it goes the better the texture.
  7. Once the crust is done, pour the filling over the crust and chill (or FREEZE!) until firm.
  8. I topped one batch with some sliced almonds, making it not NUT-free. Toppings are optional, feel free to express yourself.
  9. EAT… NOM NOM NOM NOM.

ALTERNATIVE FILLING ALERT! (AFA for short)

Here's what they look like: White on the outside, purple on the inside.

2 c. hawaiian purple potatoes (aka okinowan sweet potato)
1 c. coconut milk
1 tsp. cardamom
1 1/2 tsp. lime zest
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger

  1. Same directions as above. Expect pretty purple tarts.
  2. Add some zest and shredded coconut for garnish.

    Purpley!!

Just a quick little post involving my favorite ingredient : COCONUT!

I love macaroons and never feel (too) guilty for eating them. I dipped these in chocolate to make them super awesome.

Om Nom NOM says the Coconut Monster.

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

6 egg whites
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. honey
3 c. fine shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Separate egg whites from the yolks, store away yolks in the fridge for later use. (see my upcoming post about pot de creme!)
  3. In a steel mixing bowl, whip egg whites and salt with a hand blender or whisk (quickly) until smooth and soft peaks form.
  4. Add honey and vanilla. Whip some more until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold in coconut.
  6. Drop about 2 tablespoons of the batter onto the sheet, pinching the mounds at the top.
  7. Bake for about 15 mins until they turn a golden brown on the top.
  8. While baking, melt chocolate in a double boiler and stir until smooth.
  9. Once macaroons are cool, dip into chocolate halfway and let cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

When I found out that Tropical Traditions had a great recipe for a coconut flour-based pizza crust, I had to give it a whirl. So I did.

Unfortunately, my first experience with coconut flour pizza was kind of a bust, so the opportunity to redeem the dish was quite exciting.

My fiance and I give this dish two thumbs up. It’s not Dominos, or Caesars or Round Table. So don’t be expecting classic gluten-pizza taste and texture. However, the crust is flavorful with herbs and garlic, it holds up under the weight of pesto and toppings, and the edges get crispy. So I call that a success in the world of Paleo-Italian fusion cuisine.

Herbed Pizza Crust

3 eggs
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
1 cup whole coconut milk
1/2 c. coconut flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Beat eggs in a medium-sized bowl, mix in milk and garlic.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and beat into the milk mixture. The batter needs to be thin enough to spread but not watery.
  4. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper ( NOT WAX PAPER!)
  5. Bake 12-20 mins. until bottom edges begin to brown.

    browning on the sides

  6. Remove crust from the oven and carefully turn over. Could be achieved by placing a cutting board, face down, over the crust and flipping. Put the flipped crust back on the baking sheet
  7. Cover with your sauce and toppings. Bake for 5 -10 mins depending on your topping choice.

Nutrition Facts for the Pizza Crust

I made ours with a sun-dried tomato pesto.

The Sauce

Not a lot of measurement in this pesto… just get out your food processor and add these ingredients to your taste:

garlic cloves
sun-dried tomatoes
olive oil
walnuts, pine nuts, or pumpkin seeds
parmesan cheese
sea salt

I think I like this type of crust with a sauce/spread like a pesto instead of a more watery pizza sauce.

Our toppings were:

italian sausage, red onion, raw shaved parmesan, mushrooms, and zucchini.

Fully Loaded

A friendly little recipe from Elana’s Pantry. I loved these dearly, mostly because I’m a breakfast sandwich fanatic. Give me a fried egg with tomato, avocado, and bacon between two slices of gluten-free bread, and I am one happy chef. Since going paleo, I hadn’t really found a good sub for my occasional breakfast sandwich (which, by default, means I had not had a breakfast sandwich in a year and a half).

I was in the mood for a biscuit and stumbled upon this paleo-friendly version. It doesn’t really rise like a regular biscuit and doesn’t have layers or anything. Also, because of the almond flour, has a sweeter taste than traditional biscuits. That being said, this recipe could be used in a savory or sweet context. I did, in fact, make a breakfast sandwich with them (I could slice down the middle without the halves breaking from lack-o-gluten).

Note the cute little leftover dough "leaves" on top!

Almond Flour Biscuits

2 ½ cups blanched almond flour, plus about 1 cup for dusting the dough
½ teaspoon sea salt 
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup grass-fed butter (like Kerrygold)
2 eggs
note: Elana’s recipe calls for a sweetener like agave or honey, I omitted it.

  1. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, salt and baking soda.
  2. In a large bowl, blend together buttery spread, eggs and agave.
  3. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until a nice dough forms.
  4. Roll out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper to 1 ½ inches thick.
  5. Dust dough with extra almond flour if it is sticky and/or misbehaving.
  6. Cut the dough into biscuits using a mason jar with a 3-inch wide mouth.
  7. Using a spatula, transfer biscuits to a parchment lined baking sheet.

    Buns in the Oven.

  8. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes, until biscuits are browned on the bottom edges.

Bonus Feature: Nutrition Facts for the Biscuits

This cake was a gift for my friend and Crossfit High Voltage gym owner, Tim Thackrey.

Here’s the man himself and your’s truly:

A happy birthday, indeed.

 
Armed with a chocolate cake recipe from Elana’s Pantry (with a few modifications) and my own chocolate ganache, this cake was dressed to impress. It was pretty much a chocolate bomb to the face. Fortunately, it’s dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and DELICIOUS.
 
Warning… I will not label this cake, PALEO. It qualifies in the sense that there’s no grains, legumes, or dairy. But there’s a ton of sugar and it should not be eaten as a snack food. This is definately a rare TREAT.
 

Chocolate Cake

 ¾ cup coconut flour, sifted
¼ cup cacao powder
1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 eggs
1 cup coconut oil
1 ½ cups coconut sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon orange zest
 
  1. In a small bowl combine flour, cacao, salt and baking soda
  2. In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, blend eggs, oil, coconut sugar, vanilla and orange zest

    The Wet

  3. Add dry ingredients into large bowl and continue to blend
  4. Oil (2) 9 inch round cake pans and dust with coconut flour

    Ready for some oven action!

  5. Pour batter into pans and bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes
  6. Remove from oven, allow to cool completely then remove from pans
  7. Frost

Vegan Chocolate Frosting – Filling

1 cup dark chocolate
½ cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch celtic sea salt   
 
  1. In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate and grapeseed oil
  2. Stir in agave, vanilla and salt
  3. Place frosting in freezer for 15 minutes to cool
  4. Remove from freezer and whip frosting with a hand blender until it is thick and fluffy
  5. Frost in between two cake layers.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

12 oz. dark chocolate
12 oz. full fat coconut milk 
 
  1. Heat coconut milk in a saucepan, bring almost to a boil. Stir constantly so it doesn’t burn.
  2. In a heat-safe bowl, place the broken pieces or chips of chocolate.
  3. Pour heated milk over the chocolate and stir until smooth.
  4. Place cake on a baking rack over some foil or a baking sheet.
  5. Pour ganache over cake starting from the center of the top.
  6. Let the frosting spill over the sides onto the foil or baking sheet.
  7. If some areas of the cake are not getting “ganach-ed”, try pouring directly over them, but keep the coating smooth over the entire cake. Don’t use a spatula. Oftentimes it will stick and mess up the ganche.

    Post Workout Nutrition... sort of.

 
In honor of my Mother in Law’s birthday, I created a special meal and an even more special dessert. This mound of chocolatey goodness (forgive the poor quality picture, I was too excited to eat it!) is gluten-free, grain-free, and soy-free. There is some sugar, but if you are a sugar nazi, then you can omit it. Remember that you aren’t making a habit of eating this everyday. A little chocolatey bliss is (everyone say it with me…) O-KAY. Inhale… exhale. Need I remind everyone that Paleo eating is a holistic perspective on health, it’s not a religion. There shouldnt be “sins” or “doctrine” or “penance”. Just keep the perspective and enjoy the fudgy brownie.
 

Yes, it was chocolately.

 

Paleo Fudgy Brownies
 
 1 c. nut butter (not peanut, I used tahini)
1/2 can coconut milk (the thick kind)
2 eggs ( 3 for more cakey and less fudgy)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp. baking powder (make sure its Gluten Free!)
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/4 c. coconut sugar
1/3 c. chocolate chips (Dark! I used the Dark Chocolate Lover’s Bar at Trader Joe’s. Its 85%. I chopped it up into small chunks.)
Optional: 1/3 c. chopped nuts
 
  1. Preheat oven to 450. Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the nut butter, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Then add cocoa powder, sugar, chocolate chips and baking soda.
  3. Pour into dish and bake for about 18 mins.

Paleo Ice Cream

1/2 c. cocoa powder 
1/2 c. coconut milk (refrigerate the can and scoop out the firm cream of the milk)
3 frozen bananas
1/4 c. tahini (optional)
toasted coconut (optional)
 
  1. Put all the ingredients in a Vita-Mix or food processor and blend till smooth.

*Note: if you use a blender, you may have to add a little more liquid to get it to blend. If it’s too melted then you can place it in the freezer until firm.

 

I know, I know. Bread? Surely this can’t be right. Because bread is only made from grain, and grains are FORBIDDEN. Well, you’re in luck. This past week I have conjured up some nice Paleo bread recipes. Definitely not for everyday consumption, but a little bread and butter (translation: Paleo bread and Organic grass-fed Goat’s Milk butter) never hurt any one. Now grains… they do some serious damage. Many of you probably have heard the gospel of Paleo; anti-nutrient filled, inflammation linked, and disease fostering grain products should be avoided 90-100 percent of the time.

Even more than just grains in general, Wheat is by far the most suspect (well, not even suspect at this point… more studies come out every day showing the absolute horror that is our beloved “staff of life”). In a recent podcast, Robb Wolf, ie Paleo Baby Jesus, has an on air talk with Dr. William Davis about his new book, Wheat Belly. I highly recommend you listen to this podcast if you want the latest scoop on what researchers are discovering about wheat, gluten, and it’s effects on human vitality and health. Some of it’s more nasty effects include worsening or initiating behavioral and neurological disorders, handicapping the hormonal signaling of satiety, and keeping diabetics well, diabetic. Just click here for the podcast.

This recipe is not for the nut-free folks, and unfortunately I am more and more finding myself in that camp. Nuts are a bit hard on the digestive system and can be allergenic for some. So proceed with caution. You people out there with systemic inflammation, auto immune conditions, or poor digestion should really limit nut consumption. In my early Paleo days I had my fair share of nut binges. I mean heck, what am I supposed to eat when I have no access to animal flesh or fresh produce?! Since then, I have seen the error in my ways. Not only does heavy nut consumption slow down my poor digestion, it can also be a huge wrecker of the weight loss goals.

Golden Beautiful Bread!

 Paleo Bread

1 ½ cups blanched almond flour

2 tablespoons coconut flour

¼ cup golden flaxseed meal

¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

5 eggs

¼ cup coconut oil

1 tablespoon honey (I used date paste)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  1. Place almond flour, coconut flour, flax, salt and baking soda in a food processor
  2. Pulse ingredients together
  3. Pulse in eggs, oil, honey and vinegar
  4. Pour batter into a greased 7.5″ x 3.5″ loaf pan
  5. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes
  6. Cool and serve

 Paleo Banana Bread

2 cups almond flour

¼ c. flaxseed meal

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

2/3 c. chopped nuts (I used sliced almonds)

4 really ripe bananas

2 tbsp. local honey (I used date paste)

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the mashed bananas, eggs, honey, and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir until combined. Normally with breads or muffin recipes, you don’t want to overmix, but since there’s no gluten here, mix to your heart’s content. The muffins won’t get gummy or icky.
  5. Fill greased muffin tins, baking cups, mini-loaf pans or big loaf pans about 3/4 full. Bake muffins for 23-25 minutes and loaves for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let cool slightly and enjoy with a pat of almond butter, coconut oil or grass-fed butter. Mmmm.

These recipes are courtesy of Robb Wolf, author of  The Paleo Solution and blogger Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry.

A holiday favorite… completely out of place in the beginning of June, however, I remembering promising this recipe a very very long time ago (come to think of it… sometime around the holidays.) Well, here you go. Feast on this. There are still plenty of pears and apples out there in the markets, begging to be made into this delicious dish.

A 2010 Holiday Favorite

Pear, Apple, and Cranberry Crisp

Topping
¾ c. Almond flour
1 c. chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
8 tablespoons chilled unsalted organic ghee or coconut oil, cut into pieces
 
Fruit Filling
3-4 medium slightly under-ripe pears (about 31/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and each cut lengthwise into eight slices
3-4 small apples, cored and cut
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tablespoons almond meal
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish with 2-inch sides.
  2. To make the topping: In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, dates, nuts, and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives used scissor-fashion, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. To make the filling: Toss together all the ingredients until well mixed and spoon into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling. Set the dish on a baking sheet to catch any drips.
    Bake for about 1 hour, or until the topping is golden and the filling thickens and bubbles. Cool at least 20 minutes. Serve with cashew cream, coconut cream, or Greek yogurt, if desired.

Makes 6 servings