Grain-Free, Vegan PB&J Bars

Happy National Peanut Butter Day!

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In honor of National Peanut Butter Day I modified one of my favorite dessert bar recipes from Elana Amsterdam’s Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.  The Raspberry Bar recipe is simply scrumptious as is but today I thought I’d add a little oomph to it…and nothing goes better with jelly (for me, anyways!) than peanut butter!  The original recipe of course calls for Raspberry fruit spread but my favorite is Black Currant so that’s what I used, you can substitute your favorite flavor and any nut butter would work in place of the peanut butter. I replaced the egg in the recipe with a flax egg to make this a vegan-friendly treat as well.  These are great for an on-the-go snack too…I cut them up, wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them, EASY!

PB&J Bars

Crust:

3 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Blend the almond flour, salt, coconut oil and vanilla in a food processor or high-speed blender until a smooth dough forms.  Press the dough into a greased 9×13 baking dish.  Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden.  Prepare the topping and measure out the filling while the crust is baking.

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Filling:

1/2 cup peanut butter, room temperature or slightly warmed

1 cup fruit spread

Spread the peanut butter in a thin layer over the hot crust.  Top the peanut butter layer with your favorite fruit spread flavor, spreading evenly.

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Topping:

1 3/4 cups almond flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 Tbsp. coconut nectar

1 flax egg (1 Tbsp. flax meal mixed with 2 Tbsp. warm water…allow to thicken)

1 cup sliced almonds

Combine the almond flour, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Stir in the coconut oil, coconut nectar and flax egg.  Gently fold in the almond slices.  Distribute the topping evenly over the fruit spread layer, pressing it down slightly with the back of a spoon.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until the topping its lightly golden brown.  Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour and then refrigerate.  Cut into bars and serve.  Makes 18-24 servings.

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This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Fridays, Gluten-Free Fridays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays ,Wheat Free Wednesdays

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The BEST Monster Cookie You Will EVER Eat!!!

Everyone knows who Cookie Monster is but what about a Monster Cookie?  Well, let me just tell ya…it’s the best cookie you will ever eat.  It’s chewy, chocolatey, peanut buttery bliss…all wrapped up in a big giant cookie!  Paula Deen has a recipe for a Monster Cookie that is full of store-bought candies, brown and white sugars, oats, eggs and of course tons of BUTTER and The Pioneer Woman’s recipe has white flour, rice crispy cereal AND two and a half sticks of butter for 18 cookies!  I stopped eating that kind of cookie years ago…but I came across a Monster Cookie at Whole Foods Market that I thought might be a better alternative…Ha, I was lucky enough to be able to get a peek at the recipe and decided DEFINITELY not a better option.  I actually calculated out the approximate calorie count for the cookie and it was well over 500 calories…per cookie!  Better ingredients don’t always make a healthier choice.  I have tried and tried to replicate the recipe using different ingredient options here and there and could never quite get it right…until today.  Now, let’s be clear…cookies are a treat and no matter what kind they are and how “healthy” the ingredients may be they still should be enjoyed on special occasions (yeah, yeah, yeah…I know, whatever!).  Anyway, cookies are my treat of choice so this recipe is a complete and total victory for me!

Bliss.

Monster Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa flour

2/3 cup quinoa flakes

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. celtic sea salt (omit if your peanut butter is salted)

1/4 cup butter, melted (or coconut oil for vegan option)

1/4 cup peanut butter (or roasted almond butter)

6 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 Tbsp. water, if needed

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine the quinoa flour, quinoa flakes, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.   Stir to blend well. In a large bowl combine the sugar, peanut butter, melted butter (or oil), syrup and vanilla; whisk to blend. Using a flexible rubber spatula, gradually stir the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture, if the mixture is too dry and not holding together add the water by tablespoon until it’s combined. Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

For each cookie, drop 2 generous tablespoons of batter onto the prepared sheet, spacing the mounds about 2 inches apart. (Or use an ice cream scoop.) Using moistened fingertips, flatten each to a 3-inch-diameter round.

Bake the cookies until brown and a bit firm to the touch, 17 to 20 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack and cool completely.

Makes 8 GIANT Cookies!

Cookies and Ice Cream…Does dessert get any better than a Cookie Sundae? I think not.

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Gluten-Free Friday, Fight Back Friday, Fill Those Jars Friday, Made From Scratch Monday

Spiced Pumpkin-Raisin Cookies

Did I mention that Fall is my favorite season?

Pumpkins, pumpkin pie spice, raisins, mulling spices, chilly evenings, falling leaves…oh, I could go on forever.  This is a wonderful recipe that will definitely be a part of my holiday baking for years to come.  The spices are just right, the texture is perfectly chewy like an old-fashioned oatmeal raisin cookie and it’s gluten-free and vegan!  It is also very easy to throw together, you won’t even need your mixer!  I adapted this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.

There is nothing better than a warm holiday cookie…well, except maybe a whole plate full of them!

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa flour

1 1⁄3 cup quinoa flakes

1 1⁄2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. baking soda

1⁄2 tsp. celtic sea salt

3⁄4 cup coconut palm sugar

1⁄2 cup pumpkin puree

6 Tbsp. butter, melted (or coconut oil for vegan option)

1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1⁄2 cup raisins (or you could be naughty and substitute dark chocolate chips here! ;))

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine the quinoa flour, quinoa flakes, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.   Stir to blend well. In a large bowl combine the sugar, pumpkin puree, butter (or oil), syrup and vanilla; whisk to blend. Using a flexible rubber spatula, gradually stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture. Stir in raisins (or chocolate chips!).

For each cookie, drop 1 generous tablespoon batter onto the prepared sheet, spacing the mounds about 1 inch apart. (Or use a mini ice cream scoop.) Using moistened fingertips, flatten each to a 2-inch-diameter round.

Bake the cookies until brown and a bit firm to the touch, 17 to 20 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack and cool completely.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Did I do that????

Yes, actually I DID do that…I had some leftover Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting in the fridge so I mixed some up with 1⁄2 a tsp. of pumpkin pie spice, dipped one half of the cookie and placed them on parchment paper in the freezer to firm up the frosting…oh my.  This was decadent…and the cookies stayed soft and moist right out of the freezer too!

This recipe is shared at:

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

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

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

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

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


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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