Frosted Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Is a frosted muffin really just a cupcake?

Autumn.

My absolute favorite time of year…I love the colors, the smells and the weather.  I love that it is Pumpkin Spice Latte season at Starbucks, although I’ve never had one, I love the way they smell.  I love the way my house looks with all my fall decorations up.  I love that all the stores are loaded with pumpkins and squash galore.  And best of all I LOVE that it’s time to dress everything up in Pumpkin Pie Spice!  This is my favorite muffin recipe, it’s only fruit sweetened so it’s not overly sweet which makes a dollop of cream cheese frosting just perfect to turn it into a weekend breakfast treat or light dessert!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

(yields 18 muffins)

2 large ripe bananas

1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted and soaked (about 6-8 dates)

5 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh roasted)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut oil or butter, melted

1 /2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional as a mix in, can use for garnish instead)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line muffin tins with paper or silicone liners or grease well with coconut oil.
  3. Place pitted dates in a bowl, cover with very hot water and soak for about 10 minutes, drain well after soaking.
  4. To a blender add bananas, pumpkin, dates, vanilla, eggs, and melted coconut oil or butter.  Puree until smooth.
  5. Sift all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  6. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir until there are no lumps.
  7. Stir in chopped pecans.
  8. Divide evenly between the muffin cups (I use an ice cream scoop which is about 1/4 cup of batter)
  9.  Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Let cool completely on rack before frosting.
  11. Frost tops of muffins and sprinkle with additional chopped pecans and lightly dust with pumpkin pie spice.

Whipped Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

¾ cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp. vanilla

  1. Whip heavy cream until stiff
  2. In a separate larger bowl, whip cream cheese until smooth, then blend in maple syrup and vanilla
  3. With a rubber spatula, gently blend whip cream into cream cheese mixture
  4. Store leftover frosting in an airtight jar in the refrigerator

This recipe is shared at:

Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Fill Those Jars Fridays, Allergy Free Wednesday, Wednesday Extravaganza, French Cuisine Fridays, Fight Back Friday, Gluten-Free MondayGluten-Free Wednesdays , Gluten Free Fridays

Warm Pear & Pecan Flaugnarde

Flaugnarde is a flan-like baked French dessert with fruit arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter.  Similar to a clafoutis which is made with black cherries, a flaugnarde is made with apples, peaches, pears, plums, prunes or other fruits. Resembling a large pancake, the dish can be served either warm or cold.

Pear & Pecan Flaugnarde

Most people think of this dish as a dessert but it can easily be enjoyed for breakfast as well!  This recipe uses heavy cream and butter but if you prefer a dairy-free dish substitute 3/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk for the cream and butter and use coconut oil to grease the dish.  I have made it both ways and they are equally delicious.  You will notice there is an option to add sweetener, I try to use the ripest, sweetest seasonal fruit available so I generally don’t need the added stevia or honey.  Please note…since completing the Whole 30 program I find that I don’t like anything too sweet anymore so be sure to adjust according to your family’s taste.  This is lovely topped with fresh whipped cream or drizzled with coconut butter when enjoying it for dessert or with a nice side of bacon or sausage at breakfast!

Pear & Pecan Flaugnarde (serves 8)

Ingredients:

butter for greasing baking dish

4 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup pecan halves, finely ground

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

1/4 teaspoon stevia or 1/4 cup coconut sugar or honey (optional, I don’t use any sweetener)

1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt

3 medium ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced thin

2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Generously grease a 9 inch pie or tart dish, ceramic works best, set aside.  Peel, core and slice pears.  Arrange pears in the greased dish and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.  In a blender or food processor combine eggs, cream, butter, ground pecans, vanilla, remaining cinnamon, sweetener (if using) and sea salt.  Blend or process until smooth, batter will be thin.  Pour batter evenly over the arranged pears, sprinkle with chopped pecans.  Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown, puffed and set in the middle.  Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Arranged pears in greased tart dish

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Friday, Make Ahead Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday

Caramelized Banana Dairy-Free Ice Cream

Caramelized Banana Ice Cream with chopped pecans

In anticipation of the upcoming holiday season Mark’s Daily Apple blogged about  Gateway Foods: The Slippery Slope of “Just a Bite”.  Many people have “gateway” or “trigger” foods that even one bite can send them sailing off the rails into a carb or sugar laden binge-fest.  Ice cream is that food for me.  While I know I can’t run to the grocery store and grab a pint of Cherry Garcia (and truthfully don’t even want to anymore) I DO like to enjoy an occasional bowl of ice cream.  When I was still eating dairy I worked my way through David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop making the necessary substitutions for using natural sugar sources…now I’m modifying them for a dairy-free lifestyle!  I’d like to say I can make up a few batches of ice cream and keep them in the freezer for an occasional treat but I can’t…nowadays I will make a small batch for a special occasion, enjoy a bowl (or two) and then send it on its way to my parents house for them to enjoy!  This recipe is delightfully simply and very tasty…we topped it with Oven Roasted Cherries (recipe coming soon…) and toasted almonds and coconut flakes.

Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

4 medium ripe bananas, broken into small pieces

2 pitted dates, chopped

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon vanilla

1- 13.5 ounce can coconut milk (I like Native Forest)

2 pastured egg yolks** (optional, make sure they are from a farmer you trust since they will be raw)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place bananas and dates in a glass baking dish and drizzle with coconut oil and vanilla.  Roast in the oven until the bananas and dates begin to caramelize, stirring 1 to 2 times, about 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.  In a high-speed blender combine the coconut milk and pastured egg yolks (if using) and blend until smooth.  Add the caramelized banana mixture to the blender and puree on high until well combined and texture is creamy.  Pour into a container, cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 4 hours if you just can’t wait!).  Once chilled, place in an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.  Enjoy scooped right out of the ice cream maker for a soft serve style ice cream or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for a couple of hours for a firmer ice cream consistency.  Sprinkle with nuts, berries or dark chocolate chips and serve.  Makes 1 quart.

**The egg yolks will give the ice cream a creamier texture but the recipe will work just fine without them.

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Fridays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Muffins

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Muffins

Fall is my favorite time of year.  I love the bright colors outside when the leaves begin to change, the warm smells in the kitchen of seasonal vegetables roasting and the crisp feeling of the chilly air when taking the dog for a walk in the afternoon sunshine…oh and November is my birthday month (only child syndrome!).  Growing up everyone in my family loved Pumpkin Pie with Cool Whip at Thanksgiving…not me, I was a Pecan Pie and vanilla ice cream girl.  My taste for all things pumpkin didn’t develop until later in life but now I simply cannot get enough of it…pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie…the list is practically endless.  Several years ago I found a recipe for the ultimate Thanksgiving dessert, Pumpkin Pecan Pie…it’s my new favorite but since following a paleo/primal diet I haven’t tried to adapt the recipe yet (don’t worry, the recipe WILL be adapted and posted before Thanksgiving this year!).  I started my fall baking this season with these wonderful Pumpkin Pecan Pie Muffins…they are fruit sweetened, dairy free and great for breakfast, snack and even dessert!

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Muffins

Makes about 24 muffins

2 large ripe bananas

1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted and soaked (about 6-8 dates)

5 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh roasted)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 /2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or more/less according to your taste)

1/2 cup of pecans, chopped

24 pecan halves (optional, for topping)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line muffin tins with paper liners or grease well with coconut oil.
  2. Place pitted dates in a bowl, cover with very hot water and soak for about 10 minutes, drain well after soaking.
  3. To a blender add bananas, pumpkin, dates, vanilla, eggs, and melted coconut oil.  Puree until smooth.
  4. Sift all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  5. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir until there are no lumps.
  6. Stir in chopped pecans.
  7. Divide evenly between the muffin cups (I use an ice cream scoop which is about 1/4 cup of batter).
  8. Place one pecan half on top of each muffin.
  9.  Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Let cool completely on rack before serving.

Recipe Tips…

  • If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice add: 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves instead
  • You could omit the coconut oil and add and extra 1/4 cup of pumpkin
  • Make these an even more decadent dessert by adding 1/2 cup 70% (or greater) dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs for a completely sugar-free recipe
  • Top with a dollop of whipped coconut cream or if you tolerate dairy a dollop of fresh whipped cream

Enjoy the taste of pumpkin pecan pie everyday, guilt-free!

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Friday

Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday

Gluten-Free Wednesdays, This Chick Cooks

Proceed with Extreme Caution…Fudgy Brownies Ahead!

Oh my. Glad I start on the Whole 30 on Monday…these will be gone by then!

Fudgy Brownies with Chopped Macadamia Nuts

Megan Keatley at Health-Bent  posted a recipe earlier this year for Paleo Fudgy Brownies and I have been dying to make them!  It was a beautiful fall Colorado day and it just seemed like the perfect time to bake…these were so easy to make and they turned out so yummy!  I made a few adjustments to the recipe which I am posting here, visit Health-Bent (Paleo friendly recipes that don’t look or taste like dog food!) for the original recipe and be sure to take a look at their other mouth-watering recipes as well!

Fudgy Macadamia Nut Brownies

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup sunbutter

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

2 pastured eggs

1 Tbsp vanilla

1/4 tsp. celtic sea salt

1/3 cup raw cacao

1/4 cup pitted medjool dates, packed

1/3 cup chocolate chips (70% or greater)

1/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped and divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 11 x 7 Pyrex dish (an 8 x 8 would work also).  Place pitted dates in a small bowl and cover with very hot water and set aside for at least 10 minutes.  In a medium bowl whisk together almond butter, sunbutter, coconut milk, eggs and vanilla.  Drain dates and process in a food processor or high-speed blender until smooth, whisk into the wet mixture.  Mix in salt and cacao powder and stir until smooth.  Add chocolate chips and half of the chopped macadamia nuts, mix until incorporated.  Pour batter into the prepared dish and sprinkle remaining nuts on top of the batter.  Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, top will start to slightly crack around the edges when the brownies are done, cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

Recipe tips:

  • I think these taste best after resting for several hours and even better out of the fridge!
  • You could substitute 1 cup of any nut butter for the almond/sun butter combo
  • 1/4 cup of any sweetener could be used in place of the dates (palm sugar works great!)
  • If you prefer dairy, sub 2 Tbsp. melted butter and 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. heavy cream for the coconut milk
  • To make the entire recipe sugar-free, use 1/4 cup cacao nibs in place of the chocolate chips, this will give the brownies a nice crunch but they won’t have the added sweetness from the sugar in the chocolate chips so you might want to add 1 ripe banana.

Cooling...notice the slight cracks around the edges...try to avoid digging directly into the pan with a spoon!

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday & Tasty Tuesday

Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Fight Back Fridays

Almond Joy Freezer Pie

Almond Joy Freezer Pie (shown using mini cheesecake pan)

This Almond Joy Freezer Pie has been my go to dessert this summer!  It’s cool, refreshing and decadent…not to mention SO easy to make!  I have literally had some form of this dessert in my freezer all summer long…I’ve made it in a pie plate, mini-cheesecake pans, a springform pan and a 9×9 brownie pan…they are all great but the individual tarts are my favorite.  It is so nice to always have a pretty dessert on hand for when you have company drop by or for that late night chocolate craving too!   This dessert is fruit sweetened, that’s right…no extra sweetener has been added to the recipe other than fruit…that makes this a superstar dessert in my book!  I chose to make this an Almond Joy Pie, you could easily turn it into a scrumptious Peanut Butter Cup Pie by substituting chopped peanuts for the almonds in the topping and adding 1/4 cup peanut butter and omitting the almond extract in the filling


For the crust:

3/4 cup almond flour

3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted

1/4 tsp. celtic sea salt

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted over low heat

1 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar (optional for a slightly sweeter crust)

2 tsp. organic vanilla

In a large bowl combine almond flour, toasted coconut and salt.  Whisk together coconut oil, palm sugar (if using) and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and thoroughly combine.  Press mixture into desired dessert dish (9″ pie plate, mini cheesecake pans, springform pan or square 9×9 dish).  Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

For the filling:

5 small ripe bananas, peeled and broken into small pieces (about 14-16 ounces peeled)

1 cup organic coconut milk, canned

1/4 cup unsweetened cacao powder (or your favorite unsweetened cocoa powder)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until very smooth, about 3 minutes on high-speed.  Check to make sure all the banana is pureed before filling the crust.  Pour filling into your cooled crust and sprinkle toppings (listed below) across the top of the filling.  Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

For the topping:

1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1-2 oz. finely chopped or shaved dark chocolate (I use 70% or higher)

Set the dessert at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving, cut with a sharp knife, ENJOY!

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday , Tasty Tuesday & Traditional Tuesdays

Gluten-Free WednesdaysThis Chick Cooks & Foodie Wednesday

Pennywise Platter Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday

Wellness Weekend & Fight Back Friday


Banana Muffins and Mini-Cakes

Banana Mini-Cakes with Chocolate Chips

Hello, my name is Andrea and I am a sugar addict.

It has taken me several years of intense struggle to finally admit that I have a real problem with sugar.  I stopped eating all kinds of refined sugars about 4 years ago (along with gluten and soy) but I have intermittently experimented with agave nectar, maple syrup, honey and more recently coconut sugar.  You see, I love dessert and really felt like I couldn’t live without it…so I adapted every recipe I craved into a “healthier” version using natural sugar substitutes.

However, as I am living a “cleaner” primal lifestyle these days, no gluten, soy, refined sugar or grains I find that even the “natural” sugars sometimes bother me.  And when I say bother what I really mean is that they tend to make me a wee bit of a crazy person!!!!  It’s like a drug to me as it is for many people.  My saving grace is that my will power (I like to use that term way better than saying my obsessive-compulsive tendency) doesn’t allow me to over-indulge in the desserts I make, I only experience the mental torture…

Whew, now that I’m past the denial stage…I will admit that I still like to enjoy sweet treats on occasion which has led me to seek out desserts and baked goods that are fruit or stevia sweetened.  I visit the blog What I Crave regularly and to my delight found a recipe for Date Sweetened Banana Bread.  I made this recipe into muffins and a few heart-shaped mini-cakes (with mini chocolate chips added).  These muffins have the perfect texture and sweetness, they are wonderful with a pat of homemade butter or a schmear of cream cheese.  I like to have them for breakfast or as an afternoon snack with a nice cup of coffee or tea.

Muffins and Mini-Cakes

Date Sweetened Banana Muffins

Makes 18-24 muffins

3 ripe bananas

1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted (5 – 6 dates)

5 eggs

1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted

1 /2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

1/2 cup of pecans or walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line muffin tins with paper liners
  2. To a blender add two peeled bananas, pitted dates, eggs, and melted butter or coconut oil.  Puree until smooth.
  3. Sift all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir until there are no lumps.
  5. Chop the remaining banana and add to batter along with the nuts and chocolate chips (if using).
  6. Divide evenly between the muffin cups (I use an ice cream scoop which is about 1/4 cup of batter).
  7.  Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Let cool completely on rack before serving.

Banana Muffins

Enjoy this wonderful recipe and check back often for more “sugar-free” treat recipes. 

 Remember…Life is too short to not have dessert!

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday,  Tasty Tuesday & Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Gluten-Free Wednesdays

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