Dark Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

Who doesn't love a big pile of cookies?

Dark Chocolate Macadamia Cookies (makes 24 cookies)

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

6 Tbsp. coconut nectar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  In a large bowl combine almond flour, coconut, sea salt and baking soda.  In a separate bowl whisk together coconut oil, coconut nectar and vanilla.  Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until thoroughly combined, stir in chopped macadamia nuts and dark chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets about 2″ apart.  The dough may seem slightly crumbly, just press it together and flatten it once on the cookie sheet, they will hold together once baked.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are slightly brown on top.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  Although these cookies are excellent warm they really are best after they are completely cooled and in my opinion even better on day two!  Store in an air tight container.

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Friday, Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love, Wellness Weekend, Make Ahead Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays

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Magic Coconut Bars

 Everyone remembers the old-fashioned Magic Cookie Bars made with a graham cracker crust, butter, chocolate chips, pecans, flaked coconut and sweetened condensed milk…heavenly, caramelly, chocolatey yummi-ness…with a nice side of gluten gut bomb, a sugar rush and then the inevitable crash!

I occasionally make treats that are fruit-sweetened or completely unsweetened that I can enjoy as part of my grain-free “paleo-primal” lifestyle but every once in a while I like to make a full-on DESSERT.  Make no mistake here…this is a special occasion treat, great to make for a party or a crowd, definitely not one to make on a Saturday night when you are alone at home!  All in all as far as desserts go it’s really not too terrible, the entire thing only has 3 tablespoons of sweetener for sixteen servings (just about 1/2 teaspoon per serving)…again not bad if you are feeding a crowd, disastrous if you eat the entire thing by yourself.  It’s a bit labor intensive but SO worth it!

Magic Coconut Bars

Crust:

3/4 cup blanched almond flour

3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon coconut nectar, honey or maple syrup (optional)

1/4 cup coconut oil or butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 metal or glass dish with parchment paper so that it hangs over the sides for easy removal.  Combine all ingredients for the crust in a large bowl and press firmly into the prepared pan.  Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool on wire rack while preparing the filling.

Magic Filling:

1 can full fat coconut milk (I use Native Forest)

2 Tablespoons coconut nectar, honey or maple syrup

1 Tablespoon vanilla

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

In a saucepan over medium heat bring coconut milk, sweetener and vanilla to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 45 minutes, stirring frequently until it’s reduced by half.  The coconut milk mixture should be very thick, you should have about 3/4 cup once reduced, remove from heat and cool slightly.  Pour 1/2 of the condensed coconut milk over the crust and spread to the edges. Layer half of the shredded coconut, half of the chocolate chips and half of the pecans on top of the coconut milk and lightly press down on the toppings.  Add a second layer with the remaining shredded coconut, chocolate chips and pecans.  Pour remaining 1/2 of condensed coconut milk over the top of the layers.  Top with flaked coconut.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool for one hour (I KNOW!) on a cooling rack.  Next, place the pan in the refrigerator and cool for 2 hours (I KNOW, I KNOW!) or in a pinch cool in the freezer for 1 hour.  Gently lift the parchment out of the pan and place bars on a cutting board or other flat surface.  Using a large knife cut into 16 squares.

Magic...

This is a lovely treat to make for Valentine’s Day!

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back FridayFresh Bites Friday, Wellness Weekend, Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love, Make Ahead Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday

Homemade Vanilla Coconut Milk

I’m always amazed at how simple some things are to make at home…so often I think it’s just easier or quicker to buy them in the grocery store or better yet order on-line for front porch delivery (no driving or crowd fighting necessary!).  Since beginning my Whole 30 Challenge on October 3 I’ve been dairy-free (which has been surprisingly easy!) and have started using coconut milk in my morning coffee.  At first I tried the canned coconut milk which I think would be great in hot coffee but I’m an iced coffee girl and well, it just wouldn’t mix in…it was hard and clumpy, yuck!  Next, I tried the So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk in the carton, this was better and worked great while I was traveling…

I returned home yesterday from two weeks of traveling.  Needless to say, I was a bit tired and had absolutely no desire to stop at the grocery store on my way home from the airport!  I was lucky enough to do a bit of “grocery shopping” in my mom’s fridge when I picked up the dog before heading home and thought I’d be set for a couple of days…I knew I had coffee in the freezer and was just sure I had a fresh carton of coconut milk…I was so tired when I got home I didn’t even think to check before unpacking and getting into my pajamas!  Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened next…yep, no coconut milk.  No way was I going to get dressed to go back out…

I have been making homemade almond milk for a while now and was sure I had seen recipes for homemade coconut milk…I did a quick search on the Tropical Traditions website and found a ridiculously easy recipe for homemade coconut milk using shredded coconut…problem solved.  I whipped this up in the Vitamix this morning and can’t believe I ever bought the stuff in a carton!!!!  I made two batches, one plain and one with vanilla, totally yummy!

Homemade Vanilla Coconut Milk

2 cups hot (not boiling) filtered water

1 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 Tbsp. organic vanilla (optional)

In a medium-size kettle, heat the water, but do not bring it to a boil.  Pour hot water into a high-speed blender, add coconut on top of the water and then the vanilla.  Let sit for 1-2 minutes before blending. Blend on high for 5-7 minutes.  Line a colander with cheesecloth and place over a bowl or use a nut milk bag directly inside a glass mason jar.  Pour the blended coconut mixture into the cheesecloth or nut milk bag and twist to extract the milk, letting the milk go into the bowl.   Be careful, the milk will be hot so you may want to wear rubber gloves or let it sit to cool a bit.  Pour milk into a glass mason jar and refrigerate for up to 4 days.  Coconut milk will separate during storage so be sure to shake it up each time you use it…enjoy!

Makes about 2 cups.

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday & Fat Tuesday

Gluten Free Wednesdays

Wellness Weekend & Fight Back Friday

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Butter Cups

I grew up eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups…I loved them, especially when they came out with the Reese’s Miniatures…those babies were so fun (and easy!) to eat.  I still crave peanut butter and chocolate…probably more often than I should but now I have found a lovely little alternative that satisfies my craving and nourishes my body all at the same time.  In this recipe I used almond butter and macadamia nuts but you could easily substitute any nut butter or nut that you like in their place.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Butter Cups

 Chocolate Macadamia Nut Butter Cups

24 whole raw macadamia nuts

6 Tbsp shredded coconut

6 Tbsp raw cacao powder

6 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

6 oz coconut butter or manna, softened

Pinch of Celtic sea salt

1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract

1/4 – 1/2 tsp liquid stevia (optional)

2 Tbsp almond butter

24 mini cupcake liners

Line a mini muffin pan with the 24 cupcake liners.  In a medium bowl combine coconut, coconut oil, cacao powder, coconut butter, salt, vanilla and stevia (if using).  Stir ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Spoon the mixture into the paper liners evenly.  Using a small spoon place a 1/4 tsp dollop of almond butter on top of each candy, place the macadamia nut on top of the almond butter and press the nut lightly down into the cup.  Put the muffin pan into the refrigerator to chill the candies, about 30 minutes.  Keep refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Taste just like a Reese's to me...

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday & Tasty Tuesday

Gluten-Free Wednesdays & Wellness Weekend

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


Almond Butter Coconut Bites

These Almond Butter Coconut Bites are the perfect little “primal” treat.  They will satisfy any sweet tooth with just one (ok, maybe two) bites!  Again, these are easy to customize to your own taste…substitute your favorite nut or seed butter for the almond butter and any sweetener for the coconut nectar…and go crazy on the toppings too!

Almond Butter Coconut Bites:

Almond Butter Coconut Bites

1/4 cup coconut oil (softened)

1/3 cup almond butter

2 tsp. coconut nectar

3 Tbsp. shredded coconut

1/2 oz. dark chocolate, grated

sea salt

Mix coconut oil, almond butter, 2 Tbsp. coconut and coconut nectar together in a bowl.  Spread onto a small parchment lined pan (see note below), sprinkle with a dash of sea salt, the grated dark chocolate and 1 Tbsp. of shredded coconut. Freeze for one hour and then cut into 12 small squares.  Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the freezer.

**I live in Colorado and do not have air conditioner in my home so my mixture was very runny and there was NO way I could spread and shape this mixture on any kind of pan with out sides so I opted to use a nut butter cup candy mold…worked like a charm!  A small casserole dish would probably work nicely as well…

This Recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays & Tasty Tuesdays

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

Coconut Flour Aebleskivers

Breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day, in fact I could eat breakfast food for all my meals, I love it that much.  I was recently watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate… on the Food Network, the Breakfast Food episode where Aaron Sanchez was eating these little fried puffed pancakes dunked in warm maple syrup…I had to have them!  I started doing some research on what exactly they were and how I could make them healthier, of course.  I searched for puffed or stuffed pancakes and the only thing that popped up was Aebleskivers, which are traditional Danish pancakes in the shape of a sphere…in America that simply means a puffed pancake.  I couldn’t wait to try to make them and knowing this also meant I was going to get a new pan as well!  I had seen the stuffed pancake pans in Williams Sonoma but for some reason they were never that appealing to me, that is until I saw those babies on TV, who knows…I may have just been hungry that day!  At any rate, I have experimented a bit with several gluten-free pancake recipes and a few different fillings, the possibilities are endless with this breakfast food.  If you are not gluten-free a simple buttermilk pancake mix works beautifully along with any filling.  Gluten free mixes are a bit more challenging as you will need to make sure the batter is pretty light and airy otherwise the Aebelskiver will not cook all the way through and will be slightly doughy in the middle, ick.  Now, since I am grain-free as well, I wanted to try to make the Aebleskivers with a coconut flour pancake recipe…to be perfectly honest I didn’t expect them to turn out, especially on the first try.  Surprise, surprise, this was actually my most successful attempt…they were perfect, light and airy, done in the middle and YUMMY!

Aebleskiver with honey drizzle

I used the Coconut Flour Pancake recipe from Cooking with Coconut Flour by Bruce Fife and stuffed them with chopped apples that I heated on the stove with some apple juice and cinnamon until they were soft.  The picture here shows them topped with a honey drizzle, they are also great dunked in maple syrup.  I eat mine with some additional cinnamon apples on top and a dollop of fresh whipped cream rather than syrup or honey…although they are great plain or hot off the pan with some butter too. Serve these with a side of homemade Maple Sausage and your good to go!!!
Coconut Flour Aebleskivers
2 eggs
2 T. coconut oil or butter, melted
2 T. coconut milk or whole milk (any nut milk would work here too)
1 t. palm sugar (or other sweetener)
1/8 t. salt
2 T. coconut flour, sifted
1/8 t. baking powder (grain free)
1/4 cup filling of your choice (cinnamon apples, raspberry jam, chocolate chips, almond butter and banana)
Blend together eggs, oil, coconut milk, sweetener and salt.  Combine coconut flour and baking powder and thoroughly mix into batter.  Let batter set for about 5 minutes, it will be thick. Heat Aebleskiver pan over medium heat, brush each cup with melted butter or coconut oil.  Spoon 1/2 T. of batter into each cup, place filling into the center of the mixture, top with and additional 1/2 T. of batter.  Use a spoon or chopsticks to turn the pancake over when the bottom starts to brown and cook until golden on both sides.  Remove from pan and serve warm. Makes 7-9 Aebleskivers.
***Please note there is not much sugar/sweetener in this recipe, if you desire a sweeter pancake you may add up to 2 T. of palm sugar, agave, maple syrup or honey.
A few last thoughts…to date I have not perfected the Aebleskiver with a gluten-free pancake recipe, the ones I’ve tried so far all tend to be too doughy, next I will be trying my Quinoa Pancake recipe so stay tuned on updates.  Also, there are so many variations for an Aebleskiver, sweet, savory, breakfast, appetizer…the options are limitless so I think the investment in the pan is well worth it.  Enjoy!
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Grain-Free Granola

I think I’m in love…since being gluten and grain free one of the things I miss is a crunchy, sweet and slightly chewy granola.  I like to have some texture in my fruit and yogurt, smoothies and occasional frozen dessert…my “go-to” topping is  usually toasted macadamia nuts (which are wonderful too!) but sometimes I have a hankering for a little something sweet and indulgent.  I came across this recipe at Heartland Renaissance and slightly adapted it to use my favorite low-glycemic sweeteners.  This recipe makes about 2 quarts or 32 ounces of granola, a typical serving is about 1/4 cup or 1 oz, so there is plenty to share with your loved ones or can easily be cut in half.

Grain-Free Granola

Ingredients:
2 cups almonds
1 cup pecans
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut, shredded
1 cup raisins (or your favorite unsweetened dried fruit, chopped)
1 T. cinnamon
4 T. butter
4 T. coconut oil
2 T. coconut palm sugar
2 T. – 1/4 cup yacon syrup (or agave, honey or maple syrup)
2 t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a food processor, place the 2 cups of almonds and pulse until they are chopped up. Process the almonds until they are a pretty coarse texture, some will be finer than others and that’s okay.  Pour almonds into a large mixing bowl. Process the walnuts and pecans to about the same texture of the almonds; this will not take as long as the almonds so be sure to watch the nuts in this step, add pecans and walnuts to large mixing bowl. I like to start with coconut flakes and pulse them a few times (or you can use shredded coconut and skip this step), next, add half of the sunflower and pumpkin seeds to the processor and pulse a few times.  Place the remaining seeds, fruit, cinnamon and coconut to the mixing bowl and mix well.
In the meantime, combine butter, coconut oil, palm sugar and yacon syrup over low heat until combined. Take off heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour the hot liquid into the nut mixture and stir well until evenly combined and all pieces are coated.
Pour the granola out onto a greased (or parchment lined) jelly roll pan and spread out to an even layer. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the mixture begins to smell fragrant and slightly brown on top. When done, remove and allow to briefly cool on the cookie sheet before transferring into your preferred storage jar while still warm, taking care not to allow it to cool completely on the cookie sheet as it can stick.

Berries, Cottage Cheese and Granola

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