I walked into the grocery store yesterday and the produce department is filled with delicious fresh fruits. I was particularly drawn to a beautiful display of tree-ripened peaches. They were large, plump and have a wonderful aroma. Not sure what I would bake with them, I knew I had to take some home!
After reviewing all my options, I decided to have a try at Peach Crisp. I know that ginger is a wonderful taste with peaches, so I thought I would add some ginger to the peach compote mix. Rather than using refined sugar, I opted once again to make my compote with maple syrup! Worked wonderfully and make a nice thick syrup.
Lemon Bars are one of my favorites. I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with alternative ingredients again this past week and came up with a recipe that is super delicious. Lemon Bars, a very refreshing and sweet dessert, without refined sugars and gluten-free.
I used a base of blanched almond flour and maple syrup. Coconut oil doesn’t work so well, so I stuck with grass-fed butter. The results were fantastic.
Taking from the traditional lemon bar recipe I have from my grandmother, I not only substituted the sugar with maple syrup, I also added a tropical twist with unsweetened coconut flakes as part of the top crumble. So refreshing.
The biggest differences that I have noticed is the consistency of the cake/cookie base being softer than it’s flour counterpart and the lemon curd isn’t as yellow because of the maple syrup. It does firm up overnight or once completely cooled. I would also put in the refrigerator for longer storage. These two differences didn’t impact the taste!
I hope you like this version of lemon bars as much as my family has!
Enjoy the bake!
Lemon Bars Recipe
3/4 cup maple syrup
6 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs of lemon zest
2 tbs cornstarch
6 egg yolks beaten
1/2 cup grass-fed butter cut up
Combine the maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest and cornstarch in a sauce pan. Over medium heat bring to a boil, this will happen quickly so keep a good watch. Stir for about 1 – 2 minutes until thick, then in a separate bowl, add a little at a time of the hot liquid to the beaten egg yolks to temper the eggs and not turn to scrambled eggs. Once half of the hot liquid is incorporated, then add the egg yolk mixture to the remaining liquid in the sauce pan. Over low heat stir until completely combined and thick. Remove from the heat and add the butter and stir until melted. Let cool and then set aside.
I cooled my curd overnight, but you could use after about an 30-60 minutes of cooling.
1 cup softened grass-fed butter
3/4 cup maple syrup
3 cups blanched almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter and the maple syrup until combined. Then add the almond flour/baking powder to slowly to the butter mixture until fully mixed.
In a prepared 13 x 9 x 2 greased pan or a torte pan, spread the dough evenly and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 375 degree oven. Or until edges and top are slightly brown.
Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before spreading your lemon curd overtop, being careful to not “tear” the dough from spreading too hard. Spread curd until you leave just a little edge all around.
For the crumble, mix 2/3 cup flour, 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, 1/2 slivered almonds, 1 tbs of softened butter. Using your fingers, completely combine the ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined and not large portions of butter remain.
Sprinkle the crumb on top of the curd. Bake for another 8-10 minutes or until the crumb becomes a bit browned. Remove and cool the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.
I don’t say this often, this is the best carrot cake I’ve ever had! It’s amazing and it’s made with alternative ingredients. These alternative ingredients include almond flour and coconut oil. Making this carrot cake suitable for a Paleo Diet or anyone looking to avoid dairy or gluten.
In my journey to uncover alternative ingredient bakes this month, I found a show stopper! You won’t regret trying this recipe, no matter what type of diet you may be on. Don’t be afraid to give it a try! Best of all, super easy to make!
One way I know I have a recipe I’ll keep as a family favorite; my husband and kids love it! All too often their noses turn up when they know it’s a Paleo Bake or something not ordinary. But this, they came back for seconds and thirds!
Here is The Best Paleo Carrot Cake recipe compliments of my new most favorite cookbook, Sweet Laurel.
I used two 6-inch pans and prepared them with coconut oil (bottom and sides) and parchment paper on the bottom.
1/4 cup coconut oil melted
2 cups almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 large eggs – room temperature
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (I prefer over walnuts, but you can use either)
In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, coconut oil and maple syrup. Adding a little at at time, whisk in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until you reach a batter. Then add your carrots, raisins and nut of choice.
Divide the batter between the two baking pans and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove and cool on cooling racks.
Once completely cooled, make your icing.
Probiotic Cream Cheese Frosting recipe:
2 1/4 cup raw cashews soaked for 1 hour, drained and rinsed.
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 probiotic capsule*
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
*Probiotic Capsules: You can find probiotics in the refrigerator section of health food stores. Sweet Laurel recommends gluten-free brand called Flora. Don’t use prebiotics.
In a blender, combine everything and blent until creamy. If too thing, blend remaining soaked cashews until smooth Refrigerate until ready for use.
If you don’t have a dairy aversion, you could make a delicious cream cheese icing using maple syrup and vanilla along with the smaller amount of cashews. However this would then negate the Paleo aspect of the cake. Feel free to experiment.
The best way to eat, slightly warmed in the microwave for about 30 seconds at 50% power! Yummy!!!
Healthy Bakes…is there such a thing? You may or may not know, I’m a fitness fanatic and I love to bake delicious sweet treats! Since I started baking during the Holidays, it was the time of year that I could “write off” to eating everything I bake with abandon. The remainder of the time, I eat a more Paleo diet, and track my macros and micros carefully. I eat lean meats, paired with delicious fresh whole foods.
After starting this blog, I realized a few things. One, our lifestyle is so much different from when I was as a kid. We live in a much more sedentary world with technology always within our grasps. As a kid eating these wonderful treats, I never gave a second thought devouring everything in sight, especially those whoopie pies I shared earlier this month. But, I was never in the house, running around the neighborhood, riding my bike everywhere, total exhaustion by the end of the day. Calories, fat grams, fiber, all that stuff didn’t matter. And, luckily my genetics ran on the thin side.
It brings it back to my dilemma of baking as much as I do today. I enjoy making something from nothing! It’s a great feeling of accomplishment after I bake. I enjoy trying new things, new techniques and reliving flavors from my past. But me and my family don’t move around like we did 30 years ago. For me, I’m up at 5:30 am hitting the gym at least 6 days a week, if I didn’t, who knows how I would handle the confectionaries I’ve been baking.
I’ve been struggling with this blog, is it healthy for others to only share what I know? Is there such a thing as a “healthy bake?” So I did some investigating and stumbled across a cook book that got me to realize, I could bake something healthy for my family and myself. I could reduce the amount of refined sugars my family was ingesting with a baked treat they would love to eat. And I could begin to find balance in my dilemma of only sharing, high-fat, high-sugar, dairy-packed bakes.
The cook book is called Sweet Laurel – Recipes for Whole Food, Grain-Free Desserts. It’s written by Laurel Gallucci & Claire Thomas. They have a bakery in California and it was a result of Laurel’s husband’s intolerance to dairy and after her pregnancy becoming intolerant of gluten. Then she started experimenting and making traditional desserts dairy and grain-free. It’s an amazing story and you can read it online with a quick Google search.
I read all of the pages front to back over a couple of days. The pages spoke to me and I felt a sense of relief. So I went to the store and spent a few hours gathering all the ingredients recommended, dates, arrowroot powder, organic honey, maple syrup, almond flour, just to name a few. Off on a new journey of baking…how exciting.
So I’ve decided to use this blog and offer a more balanced approach to baking with a wider appeal. I’m going to start sharing how I can still eat desserts and maintain my waistline. I’ll still share “what I know,” but I’m looking forward to sharing with you what I’m learning and I hope you enjoy the journey that lies ahead.
3 tbs coconut oil, melted – an additional amount for preparing the baking pan
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 large organic eggs
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 cups almond flour
1 tsp ground ginger
t tbs cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Great your pan with coconut oil and line with parchment paper.
In large bowl, combine coconut oil, pumpkin, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt.
Little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Once fully mixed pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes. Check the center with a toothpick and if it comes out clean it’s done. Cool completely on a wire rack.
After cooling you can make the topping below.
Espresso Coconut Whipped Cream
2 cups Espresso Coconut Whipped Cream
Be sure to refrigerate two cans of 13.5 ozs of coconut milk (overnight is best).
Remove the solid coconut cream that has risen to the top of the can. Spoon into a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat the coconut cream on high speed until it begins to thicken and peaks form. Discard the remaining coconut water.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in 2 teaspoons espresso powder (mixed with two tablespoons of hot water – cooled) and a 1/4 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt. Don’t over whisk and don’t over fold. Spoon atop your cooled cake! Serve.
Summer time for us in the Northern Hemisphere is just around the corner and super excited to share my favorite summer bakes. This month, I’m going to dig into my collection of family favorites that bring back lots of memories.
To kick-off the great month of bakes, I’m starting with Berry Shortcakes. Whether your a strawberry, raspberry, blueberry or blackberry and maybe event cherry fan, this versatile recipe for shortcakes is great to bake ahead of your summertime picnics. I have this recipe from my granny, very similar to biscuit dough, but with a bit more liquid.
I make mine now in the food processor, really makes a nice soft dough to work with and the results never fail me.
For the berries, you could cook them down into a compote, cover them in sugar and let stand while the sugar melts, or raw and simple.
I like to use fresh whipped cream with a hint of lemon zest to really help pull out the flavor of the fruit. And then a dash of sea salt to give that sophisticated salty sweet flavor! So many possibilities to make it your own. My mom loves fresh mint and that would be heaven on this delicious summer time favorite.
Here is the recipe for you to enjoy and as always let me know what you think, questions or share your favorite.
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup sugar (plus a little extra for dusting)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter or shortening
1 cup milk
In a food processor, combine all the dry ingredients. Then pulse to completely mix the dry ingredients together. Then, add your butter or shortening. Pulse until a nice crumble forms. (It won’t be like pie dough, but you can see it forming on the sides of the processor.)
Then on slow setting, add your milk slowly until fully incorporated. Don’t over process. Then remove onto a floured surface. Work the dough gently and form into an 8″ x 4″ rectangle.
Using a large biscuit cutter, cut your shortcakes and place on cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Sprinkle the tops of your shortcakes with sugar before baking.
Bake for about 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven, being careful not to over bake. You want them a bit hard so it can take the wet ingredients you’re going to place atop. I don’t like a mushy shortcake.
Remove and let cool on a wire rack. The shortcakes will pull apart nicely without much effort. Fill with your favorite ingredients.
These are great for picnics, parade watching and taking to neighbors for summer time celebrations.