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

Garlic, Rosemary and Chive Muffins

 This is a wonderful savory muffin that will be a lovely complement to any holiday meal!

Ready to serve up with some grass-fed butter!

Garlic, Rosemary and Chive Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

2 1/4 cups blanched almond flour

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

3/4 tsp baking soda

6 Tbsp garlic infused olive oil

4 large eggs

2 egg whites

1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped

1/4 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped

pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners or lightly grease with coconut oil.  In a large mixing bowl combine almond flour, sea salt, baking soda and black pepper, set aside.  In a separate bowl whisk together olive oil, eggs and egg whites until frothy.  Blend the wet mixture into the dry mixture using a handheld mixer until thoroughly combined, fold in chives and rosemary.  Divide evenly between the muffin cups (I use an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup).  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test.  Remove from oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, serve warm with a pat of butter.

Garlic, Rosemary and Chive Muffins

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Make Ahead Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays

The Perfect Paleo Biscuit…

Light and Fluffy

I don’t know about you but I’ve always been terrified of making biscuits.  There is always so many steps and requirements no matter what recipe you choose…cold butter, floured board, fold the dough but don’t handle it too much, rolling, patting, cutting, resting…yikes, too much room for error for me.  So, when we were a wheat (and processed food) eating family I would just pop open one of those cans of ready-to-cook flaky buttermilk biscuits…hard to mess them up unless you forgot to set the oven timer!  I’ve seen many gluten or grain-free biscuit recipes over the years but that fear of the whole “biscuit making process” has kept me from trying any of them out…until this week.  To my surprise, they are so easy!  This recipe uses just 6 ingredients and you literally only have a few steps to follow.  These biscuits make a great addition to any meal and they are wonderful for making quick and easy breakfast sandwiches.  I’ve made them several times now and they have turned out perfectly each time!

Ham, Avocado and Egg Breakfast Sandwich

The Perfect Paleo Biscuit

Makes 9 biscuits

6 egg whites

3/4 cup blanched almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, chilled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mix almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl.  Cut in cold coconut oil with a fork until the mixture is crumbly.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.  In a medium bowl whisk egg whites until they are very frothy.  Fold the egg whites into the chilled flour mixture until well combined.  Scoop about 1/4 cup of dough onto the baking sheet and smooth the top to form each biscuits, an ice cream scoop works well in this step.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.  Serve warm or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Ready for the oven...

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Friday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday

Grain Free Honey Graham Crackers

On the cooling rack...

Sometime life just calls for a treat!

What is better on a cool summer evening than graham crackers, chocolate and toasted marshmallows?  Yep, you guessed it homemade S’mores!  Well, almost anyways.  I’m in the process of perfecting my recipes and I believe that step one, the graham, is ready for a test drive…next up will be the marshmallows (coming soon!).

Waiting for a topping...but equally tasty plain!

This recipe is gluten-free, grain-free and refined sugar-free but definitely not TASTE-free!

Honey Graham Crackers

1 3/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp cinnamon

3/4 cup organic grass-fed butter, softened (or coconut oil**)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

2 Tbsp yacon syrup (optional)

1 Tbsp vanilla

3 pastured eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together all dry ingredients except coconut palm sugar.  In a stand mixer cream softened butter and coconut palm sugar, once thoroughly combined add honey, yacon syrup and vanilla.  Blend until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time until incorporated, add dry ingredients to wet in small batches until smooth dough forms.  The mixture may be a bit crumbly but it will hold together nicely when you roll it out.  Divide mixture between the two cookie sheets, place a piece of parchment or waxed paper on top of the dough and roll out to about 1/8″ thick.  Cut with a pizza cutter into your desired size cracker and them score with a fork.  Bake for 20-22 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet halfway through cooking time.  Remove from oven and cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes (no longer than this or they will get soggy on the bottom) then slide the parchment directly onto the cooling rack until the crackers are completely cool.  Break apart and top as desired!

**If using coconut oil make sure it is soft but still solid, in the summer you may need to put it in the fridge for a while.

All we need now is a campfire and toasted marshmallows...

I hope you enjoy these little golden treats as much as I do!

The topping possibilities are endless.   Here are some of my favorites…

chocolate and marshmallows

peanut butter and honey

almond butter and raspberry jam

sweetened ricotta cheese and walnuts

cream cheese

This post is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday

Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Real Food Wednesdays

Fight Back Fridays

Almond Coconut Delight Cookies

Today I was in the mood for something sweet, chewy and warm…only a cookie was going to satisfy my craving. I didn’t want anything too rich or chocolately but more along the oatmeal raisin type of cookie…I don’t eat oats anymore so that chewy texture is sometimes a challenge to achieve in a cookie but this recipe does the trick perfectly!

These cookies are so easy to make and you can adapt them to your liking very easily.  I used coconut oil and coconut nectar but you could use any oil (or even butter) for the fat and agave, honey or yacon syrup could be used for the sweetener.  Walnuts and raisins are always my choice for nuts and dried fruit but again you can substitute your favorites without any problems…

Almond Coconut Delight Cookies

Coconut Delight Cookies

Makes about 16 cookies

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut oil (or oil of your choice)

1/4 cup coconut nectar (or agave, honey, palm sugar or yacon)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

1/4 cup dried fruit (raisins or cranberries) or dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a large bowl combine oil, sweetener and vanilla, set aside.  In a medium bowl combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, nuts, coconut and dried fruit or chocolate chips.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix throughly.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and slightly flatten.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.  Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Try to eat just one...

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays & Tasty Tuesday

Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Mini Lemon Ricotta Cheesecakes

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with Blueberry Puree

Generally, my dessert of choice includes some sort of chocolate but as we are coming into warmer weather here in Colorado I am really enjoying the light texture and fresh taste of these Mini Ricotta Cheesecakes.  I have made them twice now, once as plain cheesecake with cherry topping and these pictured here with lemon zest and blueberry puree…both are equally delicious!  I love that they are grain-free and stevia sweetened, making them a very low carb, low glycemic, guilt free treat.  The recipe is super easy and can be adapted to just about any flavor of cheesecake…chocolate with raspberry sauce will be my next creation, of course.

This recipe will make six mini-cheesecakes. I use a mini-cheesecake pan with removable bottoms but you can also use a standard muffin pan lined with paper and foil muffin liners for easy removal.  I use full-fat dairy products but you could substitute low or reduced fat dairy for an ever lower calorie treat.  Also, make sure your ingredients are at room temperature before combining for an evenly blended batter.

Crust:

3/4 cup blanched almond flour

2 T. butter, melted

2 packets stevia (I use SweetLeaf)

1 tsp. vanilla

Cheesecake Filling:

9 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 packets stevia

3/4 cup ricotta cheese

3 large eggs

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

zest of one lemon (optional for lemon version)

Puree:

3/4 cup fresh blueberries (or fruit of choice)

6-9 drops of liquid stevia (or one packet)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Line six muffin cups with paper and foil liners.  Combine almond flour, melted butter, stevia and vanilla until mixture holds together, divide evenly between muffin or mini-cheesecake cups and press into the bottom.  Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly golden, remove and cool.  Meanwhile, in an electric mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese and stevia until blended.  Beat in ricotta, egg, vanilla and lemon zest, if using.  Pour filling into prepared muffin or mini-cheesecake cups.  Bake 15 minutes, or until almost fully set.  In a food processor, puree blueberries for 30 seconds, whisk in liquid stevia and set aside.  Remove cheesecakes and let cool completely on wire rack.  Refrigerate one hour or wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.  Serve chilled or at room temperature topped with blueberry puree.

This Recipe is shared at :

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday & Tasty Tuesday

Chunkey Monkey Cake

Chunkey Monkey Cake

I love dessert, I eat it everyday at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, it’s the best part of my day.  Most days it’s just berries and whipped cream or yogurt, an apple with almond butter or a frozen smoothie, but several times a month I like to make something really decadent.  I am always on the lookout for gluten, grain, refined sugar and especially GUILT free healthy options for my special treat days.  Yesterday I came across a wonderful recipe for Carob-Banana Bars at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen website, I could hardly wait to make these today…I have made a few alterations to the original recipe to include cacao powder rather than carob and added walnuts for some extra texture, it came out perfect!  I will try this recipe with carob powder sometime as I really do like the taste of carob…I was just out of it today and didn’t want to make an extra trip to the store since I had everything else.  My dad is coming over today so I am excited to see if he likes it…he loves dessert as much as I do so I’m sure he will!
A few recipe tips:
Make sure all ingredients are room temperature (even the eggs) otherwise they will cause the coconut oil to harden.
Use slightly over-ripe bananas for a sweeter cake.
If you choose to use the carob powder rather than the cacao powder the additional sweetener isn’t necessary, stevia can sometimes have a bitter taste so you may add the 1/4 cup palm sugar instead of the extra plain stevia listed in the recipe below.

 

Enjoy with a dollop of fresh whip cream

Chunkey Monkey Cake

 

2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 cup cacao powder (or carob powder)
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 – 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3 large ripe bananas, mashed (1 heaping cup)
2 large organic eggs
1/4 cup melted virgin coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
24 drops chocolate liquid stevia + 10-20 drops plain stevia or 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil an 8 x 8-inch glass baking dish with coconut oil.
Mix together the dry ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use your fingers to break up any clumps in the almond flour. Then whisk the ingredients together. Set aside.
In a small bowl, add the bananas and mash with a fork. Measure the mashed bananas to make sure they are just over 1 cup. Add more banana if needed or remove some. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir together with the fork.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk together. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool before cutting into bars.  Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or glass of ice-cold almond milk.  Enjoy!

Yep, Daddy liked it!

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