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

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

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


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

The Best Chocolate Sauce…Ever!

Chocolate Sauce over Coconut Ice Cream

Creamy, decadent, refined sugar-free, vegan (or can be anyways), pourable straight from the refrigerator and OH SO YUMMY!  Did I mention it is really easy to make too?

We enjoy this sauce drizzled over all kinds of desserts, ice cream, fruit and sometimes even pancakes or waffles!

Refrigerator Chocolate Sauce

1 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup almond oil

1/2 cup unsweetened cacao powder

1/4 tsp. celtic sea salt

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. pure almond extract

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Store in the refrigerator for up to three months (if it lasts that long…ours never does!).

Sometimes I replace half of the maple syrup with agave, coconut nectar or honey (of course, honey would not be vegan), it makes the sauce a bit sweeter than using all maple syrup.  I use raw cacao powder as well but any unsweetened cocoa powder works fine…

Chocolate sauce drizzled straight from the fridge

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays & Tasty Tuesdays

Gluten Free Wednesdays

Wellness Weekend @ Diet, Dessert and Dogs

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

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