Glazed Lemon Muffins

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I’m not sure what my problem is with lemon but…I just don’t like the sound of it in my food.  I’m not saying that I don’t like the taste of it once it’s there but recipes like Lemon Bars, Lemon Pie, Lemon Dill Salmon, Lemon Chicken NEVER appeal to me…meaning I would never tear a recipe out of a magazine or order off a menu anything with lemon (or lime, for that matter!) in the title.  Weird, I know.  Especially since I enjoy the taste of pretty much each and every recipe I’ve encountered with those very ingredients!   I rarely make anything lemon or lime either.

According to my mother my dad LOVES lemon desserts, however, he is also a chocoholic (like me) so it never really occurred to me that he would actually want a lemon dessert over chocolate.  So, in honor of Father’s Day I prepared these delicious looking and smelling Glazed Lemon Muffins.  We will see if he is pleasantly surprised with lemon but I will surely have something chocolate prepared as back up!  My mom says they just might be her favorite dessert I’ve prepared…Humm…maybe, just maybe, she is the one who loves lemon desserts because she sure doesn’t like the chocolate ones… ;)

  This recipe is adapted from Kelly’s recipe for Lemon Bread at Primally Inspired.

Glazed Lemon Muffins

Muffins:

3 eggs

2 Tbsp. coconut oil or butter, melted

zest and juice from one lemon (about 1/4 cup)

1/4 cup almond milk

3 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey

1/3 cup coconut flour, sifted

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. Celtic sea salt

Glaze:

1 Tbsp. coconut oil or butter

1 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey

1 Tbsp. almond milk

zest and juice from 1/2 a lemon (about 2 Tbsp.)

1/4 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a muffin tin with 6 silicone muffin cups or grease the tin very well with coconut oil.

In a small saucepan combine the ingredients for the glaze, bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly then remove from heat and allow to cool for 45-60 minutes.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, coconut oil, almond milk and maple syrup.  Stir in the coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt. Mix until well combined.  Divide equally between the muffin liners, about 1/4 cup each.  Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the tops are slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow the muffins to cool in the tin on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.

Remove the muffins from the silicon cups or muffin tin and set on the wire rack, place a piece of parchment paper under the wire rack to catch the glaze drizzle.  Drizzle the glaze over the muffins as desired and then place in the refrigerator to set the glaze for about 30 minutes.

Makes 6 muffins.

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Cherry Almond Crumble

This dessert has become a household favorite!  It is so simple to make and is so delicious I’m sure it will be a favorite in your home as well!  I LOVE cherries so it usually the fruit I choose to use but it is also delicious with blueberries, raspberries or peaches…I’ve included some of my favorite variations at the bottom of the post.

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Cherry Almond Crumble

Cherries:

4 cups pitted sweet cherries

zest and juice from 1 orange

1 1/2 tsp. almond or vanilla extract

1 Tbsp. maple syrup (or any sweetener you like)

Crumble:

1 cup almond flour

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (again, any sweetener you like)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

6 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil, melted

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and place 8 ramekins or custard cups on the pan.

In a large bowl combine the cherries, maple syrup, vanilla, orange zest and juice.  Spoon the cherry mixture evenly into each ramekin, about 1/2 cup each.

In a separate bowl stir together the almond flour, palm sugar, almonds, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Pour the melted butter or coconut oil over the dry mix and stir to moisten.  Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the crumble topping over the cherries.

Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the topping is golden and the cherries are bubbling.  Serve warm topped with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Serves 8.

Recipe Variations:

  • Blueberries with lemon juice and zest
  • Sliced peaches, omit the juice and zest, toss peaches with 2 Tbsp. peach fruit spread (I like St.Dalfours)
  • Raspberries, add an additional Tbsp. of sweetener if the raspberries are too tart
  • Swap chopped pecans or walnuts for the sliced almonds
  • Bake the entire dessert in an 8×8 glass baking dish rather than individual ramekins
  • To make a lower carb dessert use Swerve or any granulated erythritol in place of the maple syrup and palm sugar

This post is shared at:

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Delicious Grain-Free Carrot Cake

There is no better way to celebrate Spring than with a light, fresh Carrot Cake! 

This dessert always makes an appearance at my family’s Easter celebration in one form or another…cupcakes, mini-bundt cakes, 6-layered round cake and this year…a sheet cake.  No matter what size or shape it takes it never disappoints!!!

I am really into sheet cakes right now…no particular reason why, but they are functional, casual and great for serving a crowd.  I also love bar recipes for the exact same reasons.  This cake recipe works for both but I do prefer the different frosting variations since the whipped frosting is a bit thinner and seems to drizzle better over the individual bars which are a little thicker than the sheet cake.

Carrot Cake Bars

Carrot Cake Bars or Sheet Cake

1 ½ cups blanched almond flour
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ Tbsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. coconut oil or butter, melted
¼ cup maple syrup
1 ½ cups carrots, grated
½ cup walnuts plus 2 Tbsp., chopped
½ cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325° F
Grease a 8×8 baking pan for bars or a 9×12 quarter sheet pan for cake and line with parchment paper
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg
In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, oil and maple syrup
Stir carrots, walnuts and raisins into wet ingredients
Stir wet ingredients into dry
Spread batter into prepared 8×8 baking pan or 9×12 sheet pan
Bake at 325° for 22 to 25 minutes
For Bars: Cool to room temperature and then turn cake out onto cutting board
Using a sharp knife, cut into 9 bars
Top cooled bars with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts

For Sheet Cake: Cool to room temperature and then turn cake out onto cutting board, remove parchment paper
Wipe out the sheet pan and return the cake to the clean pan
Spread Classic Cream Cheese Frosting over the top of the cooled cake, sprinkle with chopped walnuts
Serve and Enjoy!

Frosted Sheet Cake

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting (For Bars)

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

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

Classic Cream Cheese Frosting (For Sheet Cake)

1 stick butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup maple syrup
½ Tbsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, whip cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer until smooth, then blend in maple syrup and vanilla
Store frosting in an airtight jar in the refrigerator until ready to use

These are great un-frosted too!

This recipe is shared at:

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Coffee Almond Stracciatella (Dairy-Free)

Dairy free coffee ice cream loaded with toasted almonds and Italian style chocolate chips

I know it’s the middle of winter but I’m one of those crazy people who thinks Ice Cream is a food group and should be enjoyed regularly in any season!  My fondest memories of traveling to Paris to visit my son in college are the ridiculous amount of trips we made all over town seeking out the best gelato…I tried the Stracciatella, Amorena and Pistache at each shop we visited, those are my three favorites.  This is my best attempt thus far at recreating Stracciatella.  You can easily add the Stracciatella to any flavor of ice cream you choose to make, it also goes beautifully in a cherry almond ice cream!

Coffee Almond Stracciatella

Ice cream base:

2 cans full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (or equivalent sweetener of choice)

2 Tbsp. instant coffee (I used 2 packets of Starbucks Via)

4 egg yolks

1/4 tsp liquid stevia

2 Tbsp. dark rum (optional)

Mix-Ins:

3/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

4 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped and melted

Heat the coconut milk, sugar and instant coffee in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until the sugar and coffee are dissolved and the mixture reaches 170 degrees.  In a separate bowl whisk together egg yolks, stevia and rum until smooth.  Temper the egg yolks by slowly adding 1 cup of the hot coconut milk mixture to the bowl while whisking continuously.  Slowly add the tempered yolks back into the remaining coconut milk mixture, stirring or whisking constantly.  Continue to heat the coconut milk mixture until it reaches 180 degrees, it will be steaming but not quite boiling.  Pour the mixture though a mesh strainer into a bowl set over ice water and cool for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from ice bath, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.  Pour chilled mixture into ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturers directions.

During the last few minutes of churning add the sliced almonds and then the dark chocolate (stracciatella).

Stracciatella – melt dark chocolate over low heat or in the microwave until smooth.  Drizzle a very thin stream of the warm chocolate into the ice cream during the last few minutes of churning.  If the chocolate is clinging too much to the dasher you can drizzle the chocolate over the ice cream as you layer it into the storage container, stirring it slightly while you are pouring.

When the ice cream is finished churning and mix-ins have been added transfer to a chilled air tight container and place in the freezer until firm (about 2 hours), recipe makes about 1 quart.

Scooped right from the freezer…

Gooey Sunbutter Brownies

I love to get my Clean Eating Magazine in the mailbox every month…I am totally guilty of immediately opening the magazine to the last page (seriously, every time.) which is cleverly titled “happy ending”…where there is always a “clean” dessert recipe.  Clean Eating Magazine has beautiful recipes that are easily adaptable to most styles of eating be it gluten, grain, dairy or refined sugar-free.  The “happy ending” in this issue uses spelt flour, peanut butter and organic evaporated cane juice which I substituted coconut flour, Sunbutter and a combination of coconut nectar and palm sugar to make it grain, legume and refined sugar-free.

Grain free, refined sugar-free brownies…sounds less than decadent, right?  Not so with this recipe that I adapted from the Peanut Butter Brownie recipe featured in this months (October 2012) Clean Eating Magazine.  These brownies have a “gooey” texture…not too dense,  eggy or cake-like.  The generous swirl of sunflower seed butter adds an extra layer of decadence to these “clean” dark chocolate brownies. Enjoy!

A decadent and guilt-free happy ending to any meal!

Sunflower Seed Butter Brownies

Ingredients:

4 oz dark chocolate (70% or greater)

4 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil

3 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup coconut nectar

1 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted

2 Tbsp. cacao powder

3 Tbsp. smooth sunflower seed butter, room temperature

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish with coconut oil and line with parchment paper leaving 2 inches hanging over 2 opposing sides.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate and butter.  Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds.  Stir and cook 30 more seconds; repeat until chocolate and butter melt, being careful not to overcook. (Alternatively, bring a pot of water to a very gentle simmer; place a stainless steel bowl over pot and add chocolate and butter to bowl.  Cook, stirring until melted, 2 to 3 minutes.)

Stir in eggs, coconut nectar, palm sugar and vanilla until combined.  Add flour and cacao powder and stir until just incorporated and no white streaks remain; do not over-mix.

Pour into baking dish, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula.  Working in small dollops (about 1/2 Tbsp. each), dot the surface of batter with Sunbutter.  With a butter knife or spatula, swirl Sunbutter through batter.

Bake until toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs when inserted in center, 15 to 18 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 20 minutes.  Remove brownies from dish by lifting parchment paper.  Slice into 12 pieces.

Recipe Variations:

  • Substitute your favorite nut butter for the Sunbutter
  • Substitute honey, maple syrup or agave for the coconut nectar
  • Add chocolate chips
  • Add chopped nuts or seeds that complement your favorite nut/seed butter
  • If you are not grain free, omit one egg and sub 1/3 cup quinoa flour for the coconut flour
  • Make in a 12 cup muffin pan, be sure to use paper liners.

This recipe is shared at:

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Texas Sheet Cake – Gluten and Refined Sugar-Free

Texas Sheet Cake…just like I remember it.

Have you ever heard of a Texas Sheet Cake? Yeah, me neither.  When I grew up we just called it Sheet Cake…of course we lived in Texas so maybe that’s why we didn’t need to include the “Texas” part.  I have very fond memories of this moist, intensely chocolatey (almost brownie like…but not) cake with a super sweet icing that looked almost crackle-y (is that even a word?) on top when you cut into it.   I remember this cake being a part of just about every family celebration we had and after much research on this heavenly cake so do a lot of other southerners!  No one really knows the origin of the “Texas Sheet Cake” that may date back as far as the 1900’s but almost every recipe I came across has a slightly different name (Aunt Velma’s Chocolate Cake, Texas Sheet Cake, Cocoa Sheath Cake, Mexican Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Cookie Sheet Cake…) but nearly identical ingredients.  The most information I found as to why it’s called “Texas Sheet Cake” can be found here, you can follow the links in the post for some fun information on this wonderful traditional southern dessert.

I had a hankering for this dessert today but I didn’t feel like messing around with the recipe to come up with a grain-free version…mostly because I really wanted it to taste, look and feel like the chocolate cake I remember having at my grandmother’s house.  I opted to make a gluten and refined sugar-free version using quinoa flour and coconut palm sugar, all the other ingredients are the same as the original recipe.  Now, one theory on the name “Texas Sheet Cake” is because it makes a cake the size of Texas since it is traditionally baked in an 12×18 half sheet pan, which is HUGE.  I cut the original recipe in half to make a 9×12 quarter sheet cake, which still yields 12 generous servings!

Gluten-Free Texas Sheet Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa flour

1 cup palm sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. cocoa, heaping

1 stick butter

1/2 cup boiling water

1/4 cup buttermilk

 1 egg beaten

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Icing:

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

7 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. cocoa, heaping

3 Tbsp. milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

8 ounces coconut palm sugar, powdered**

**Powder the coconut palm sugar by placing it in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend on high until it reaches the consistency of finely powdered sugar.

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking, make the icing. Chop pecans finely. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together. Add the pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake.

Cut into squares, eat and enjoy!

Just a few thoughts…

This cake turned out just as I remembered it.  I was completely thrilled with this recipe and how well the quinoa flour and coconut palm sugar didn’t change the texture or taste of the original recipe.  With that said…this cake was WAY too sweet for my taste now!!!! Did I love it? Yes.  Did it satisfy the craving I was having for a childhood memory? Yes.  Will I make it again? Yes.  Will I play around with the recipe to make it grain-free and less sweet? Probably not…This will be one of those recipes that is pulled out on a special occasion or when in need of a comfort food fix, anything different would defeat the purpose of this recipe!

Moist and dense…but not too much of either one…

the perfect combination.

See…crackle-y!

The best way to eat it is warm with a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream!

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Mini Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

My very first job ever was at The Chocolate Chip Cookie Factory in Collin Creek Mall when I was 14 years old.  One of my favorite things to bake (and eat) when I worked there were the mini varieties of our most popular cookies.  We sold them by the half and bakers dozens and served them in a fun parchment paper cone to eat on the go!  What a treat to recreate this fond memory with much healthier ingredients…I loved cookies then and I love cookies now, especially ones that are gluten, grain and refined sugar-free.

Mini cookies in a paper cone…just like I remember them!

Mini Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup coconut oil or butter, melted

1/4 cup coconut nectar, maple syrup or honey

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a large mixing bowl sift together almond flour, sea salt and baking soda.  In a smaller bowl whisk together coconut oil, coconut nectar and vanilla.  Combine wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir in chocolate chips and pecans.  Drop by 1/2 Tbsp measure onto parchment and slightly flatten.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.  Enjoy!

Makes 24 bite-sized cookies.

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday

Made From Scratch Monday

Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Swirly Goodness

When I was growing up my parents were somewhat “hippy-ish” which meant there were a lot of bran muffins and carob in our fridge.  My elementary school best friend (Regina) had parents that were from the country (East Texas) which meant biscuits, gravy and Wonder Bread cinnamon toast!  I’m thankful for my hippy parents because they taught me the importance of living healthy and eating clean…although we have come a long way from those bran muffin days into grain-free lifestyles!  I am equally thankful for all those wonderful memories of eating country meals at my friend’s house.  Regina’s mom sang in the choir at the First Baptist Church and Sunday mornings were usually pretty busy so it was always the morning for a quick breakfast of oven-toast.  Cheese or Cinnamon-Sugar were our choices.  I usually had one of each, the cheese toast was a slice of white bread with a square of American cheese toasted under the broiler until it was bubbly and crispy on top…the cinnamon-sugar was the same white bread buttered and sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and white sugar also broiled until toasty.  Both were pleasantly crispy on the top while the bottom was still that white bread soft doughy texture since they didn’t get flipped in the oven…it kind of makes my throat close up with the thought of it now but I do remember it tasting and smelling so yummy.  There is just something so comforting about the smell of cinnamon swirling through the house…especially when it’s coming from the oven!   Now, I don’t eat sweets all that often anymore but for some reason I had a hankering for cinnamon toast…I had a freshly baked loaf of Elana’s Pantry Paleo Bread in the freezer that I could have easily doctored up to make cinnamon toast but I was in the mood to experiment so I decided to try to make some Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread.  Well, it was a success, the bread has a nice texture warm out of the oven and in my opinion, even better toasted under the broiler and topped with a pat of pastured butter!  I started with a base of Elana’s Pantry Paleo Bread with a few modifications and then added the swirl of cinnamon, coconut nectar and raisins.  As you can see from the photo the raisins kind of sank to the bottom of the loaf in places, next time I will toss them in a bit of coconut flour before mixing them in so they don’t sink.

Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread

(yields 12-16 slices)

Base Bread Dough:

1 cup blanched almond flour

1/2 cup pecan meal

2 Tablespoons coconut flour

1/4 cup flax meal

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

5 eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Cinnamon Swirl:

1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or coconut nectar

1/2 cup raisins, lightly coated in coconut flour

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a small loaf pan (I use a Magic Line 7.5 x 3.5 Loaf Pan) with coconut oil and set aside.  Place almond flour, pecan meal, coconut flour, flax meal and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add eggs, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar and pulse until well combined scraping down sides once or twice.  In a large bowl mix together sweetener, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil until smooth, add raisins.  Gently fold in bread dough until just combined but also still a little swirled together.  Scoop mixture into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with the back of spoon.  Place in middle of oven and bake for 30 minutes.  At the 30 minute mark check the loaf…sometimes this bread has a tendency to rise and separate on one side…if this happens I use a hot pad to press the top down evenly so it is flat.  Bake for 10 – 15 additional minutes.  Remove from the oven, run a butter knife around the edges of the loaf pan then cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.  Slice and serve or wrap in parchment paper and store in an air tight container or gallon size zip top bag.

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Friday

Make Ahead Monday

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday

Gluten Free Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesdays

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

Pumpkin Cake or Pumpkin Pie? Yes, Please!

 Merry Christmas and Happy National Pumpkin Pie Day!

Everyone who knows me well generally understands that when I say “I made dessert” what I really mean is “I have made something yummy with chocolate”.  Now, my dad, who shares my chocolate addiction love, would never object but my mother and husband are a different story…they constantly request desserts without *gasp* chocolate. Although I think you can never go wrong with a decadent chocolate dessert I have been branching out a bit in order to satisfy the non-chocoholics in the family.

Thankfully, the last several years I have developed a taste for all things pumpkin (I know, I feel so grown-up!).  Last month I posted a recipe for my favorite go-to muffin, Pumpkin Pecan Pie Muffins, and promised a posting for my favorite Thanksgiving dessert (Pumpkin Pecan Pie) once I was able to rework the recipe to better fit into the paleo/primal lifestyle.  My first attempt failed miserably…I had just come off of my Whole 30 and the pie was so sweet I couldn’t even eat it!!!  I was determined to get it right for our Christmas dessert but in the meantime I came across another recipe in the December issue of Paleo Magazine that I knew I had to fit into our Christmas menu…Pumpkin Cakes with Pecan Praline Sauce.  So, Pumpkin Cakes for Christmas Eve and Pumpkin Pie for Christmas Day…it just doesn’t get much better than that…well, unless you add chocolate!

Although this recipe is over-due I’m really happy with the outcome.  It is sweet enough to be considered a treat but not so sweet it makes your teeth hurt.  The recipe can be made as a simple Pumpkin Pie or amped up into a Pumpkin Pecan Pie by adding the pecan topping…you really can’t go wrong either way.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Crust:

1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour

1/4 cup pecan meal (or omit and add an additional 1/4 cup almond flour)

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 Tbsp. ground ginger

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 cup coconut oil or butter, melted

2 Tbsp. maple syrup, honey or coconut palm sugar (optional)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl combine the almond flour, pecan meal, salt, baking soda and spices.  In a separate bowl whisk together the coconut oil (or butter), maple syrup (or other sweetener, if using) and vanilla.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Press the dough into a 9″ pie pan.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before filling.

Filling:

1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

2 eggs

2/3 cup maple syrup (or 1/2 cup honey)

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Add the filling evenly into the slightly cooled crust and return to the 350 degrees F oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the filling is set.  A knife inserted into the middle should come out clean.  Remove from oven to a cooling rack.  If you are just making the Pumpkin Pie, cool for 30 minutes before serving or cover and refrigerate.  For Pumpkin Pecan Pie, proceed to Topping directions…

Topping:

3 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup

1 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil

3/4 cup pecan halves

Preheat broiler.  Combine honey or maple syrup and butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a low boil. Remove from heat and stir in pecans to coat.  Arrange coated pecans on top of pie and drizzle remaining topping over the pecans.  Place under the broiler until bubbly and golden brown, watching carefully, about 2 minutes.  Remove from oven to a cooling rack.  Cool for 30 minutes before serving or cover and refrigerate.

Serve both the Pumpkin or Pumpkin Pecan pies topped with freshly made whipped cream.  If you refrigerated the pies bring them to room temperature before serving (or not…some people like their Pumpkin Pie cold!)…about 4 hours on the counter-top.

Pie…it’s a beautiful thing.

 Now…what about those Pumpkin Cakes?

The recipe in Paleo Magazine for Pumpkin Cakes with Pecan Praline caught my eye immediately…I knew this was definitely making the Christmas menu this year!  It was delightfully light and ridiculously easy to make.  I decided to add a nice small scoop of Maple-Vanilla Ice Cream (dairy-free) to the top of the cake before drizzling the Pecan Praline topping over the whole thing…oh my, it did not disappoint!  Here is a picture of our Christmas Eve dessert, check out Paleo Magazine online to download the latest issue, it’s chocked full of great recipes including this one for Pumpkin Cakes.

Pumpkin Cake with Maple-Vanilla Ice Cream and Pecan Praline Sauce

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop, All Gluten Free Desserts

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