Tag Archives: vanilla

Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee

Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee | stupideasypaleo.com

It’s time to break up with the chemical-filled coffee creamers! One of the more common questions I get from folks is what to substitute for their favorite coffee creamer once they go Paleo. Luckily, with a few easy swaps, you can create your own deliciously flavorful dairy-free creamer. Customize it by adding a bit of natural sweetener if you prefer or leave it out for a sugar-free creamer. The choice is up to you! For a joint- and gut-soothing boost, add high-quality collagen.

To go with this Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer, I’m showing you how easy it is to make your own cold-brew coffee. Cold-brew is gaining in popularity because it’s less acidic and tends to have a smoother taste than other brew methods. This ratio of beans to water is perfect for my palate, but you can always cut back to 3 cups of water if you like it stronger. Of course, you can use the creamer in any coffee or tea you’d like.

Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee | stupideasypaleo.com

For the Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer

Makes ~2 cups (473 grams)

Ingredients

Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee | stupideasypaleo.com

Directions

  1. Place the hazelnuts in a glass jar or bowl—I like to use a quart-sized Mason jar—and add 2 cups (473 grams) cold water. Cover loosely, and let the jar sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. When you’re ready to make the creamer, pour off the soaking water.
  2. In a high-speed blender, combine the soaked and drained hazelnuts and 2 cups (473 grams) fresh water. Blend on high for 30 to 60 seconds, or until the nuts are broken down. Strain the mixture through a nut milk bag or several layers of cheesecloth, squeezing out as much moisture as possible. Discard the pulp or save it to make hazelnut flour. Pour the hazelnut milk back into the blender.
  3. On a cutting board, use a sharp knife to split the vanilla bean down the middle and gently scrape out the black seeds. Add the vanilla seeds to the blender. If desired, add the honey and / or collagen. Blend on medium-high for 15 to 30 seconds until everything is combined.
  4. Pour into a storage jar and cover tightly. Keeps for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.

*Omit the sweetener for Whole30.

Note: You can replicate this creamer with whatever kind of nuts you prefer.

Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee | stupideasypaleo.com

For the Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee

Makes 4 cups.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (50 g) ground coffee beans (look for a fair trade variety)
  • 4 cups (946 mL) water

Directions

  1. Pour the coarse-ground coffee beans into a 1-liter French press. Add the water, and stir with a wooden spoon.
  2. Refrigerate the French press for 12 to 24 hours. Add the plunger and carefully press it down until the ground are filtered out. If your beans were finely ground, you may want to filter the coffee through a coffee filter before drinking to remove any excess residue.
  3. Pour over ice cubes to serve cold with Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer!
  4. Stores for up to a few days in the fridge when covered tightly (for best freshness).

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Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions? Leave them in the comments below!

How to Make Homemade Extracts – Vanilla, Mint & Lemon

How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

Learning how to make homemade extracts for cooking is really quite simple, and I’m going to let you in on how easy it is! Yes, most extracts contain alcohol and though I’ve seen alcohol-free versions, I haven’t been stoked about using glycerine as the solvent. Considering I use these extracts in small quantities, I don’t have a personal objection to the alcohol content but as always, your Paleo is up to you alone to dictate. In this post, I’ll show you how to make vanilla, mint and lemon extracts using the same basic method.

How To Make Homemade Extracts?

You’ll need some sort of alcohol to help extract the organic (carbon-based) compounds that actually make the scents and flavors from the chosen plant material—in this case, vanilla beans, lemon rinds and mint leaves. Did you know that when you smell something, what you’re really sensing are tiny organic molecules that diffuse through the air, attach themselves to the olfactory receptors of the nose and send nerve impulses to your brain? Through experience and learning, you’ve come to associate these molecules with the foods that emit these “smells.” For example, vanillin is one of the predominant carbon-based compounds that makes the scent you know as vanilla. And while it can be synthesized by a series of chemical reactions in a lab, I think you’ll agree that getting it from a natural source is always better.

Small organic compounds like vanillin are chemically compatible with alcohol, meaning they’re soluble in it. When you make a homemade extract, you’re taking advantage of that fact. SCIENCE! For best results, remember to steep your extracts for at least 4 weeks before you use them and keep the plant material completely submerged so nothing molds.

How to Use Homemade Extracts?

I chose vodka for this recipe but you can use something like bourbon for the vanilla, which tends to pair really well. Use these extracts in any application you’d use store-bought extracts. How about using a dash of vanilla in my Apple Coconut Pudding or the mint in my Dark Chocolate Mint Coconut Butter Cups?

My favorite reason for making homemade extracts is that I know exactly what’s in them. So many of the store-bought extracts contain added sugar or other funky chemical ingredients. These also make fantastic gifts!

How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

Ingredients for Homemade Mint Extract:

  • 1 cup good-quality vodka
  • ~1 cup organic mint leaves, packed
  • 8 ounce (240 mL) glass jar

How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

Directions for Homemade Mint Extract:

  1. Pick the mint leaves from the tough stems and wash them. You want about 1 cup, packed.
  2. Add the leaves to the jar.
  3. Fill the jar with 1 cup of vodka and cap tightly. Make sure the leaves are submerged completely.
  4. Let the extract steep for at least 4 weeks for best results. At that point, I recommend straining the leaves out and discarding them.

Ingredients for Homemade Vanilla Extract:

How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

Directions for Homemade Vanilla Extract:

  1. Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla beans down the middle, lengthwise.
  2. Add the beans to the jar.
  3. Fill the jar with 1 cup of vodka and cap tightly.
  4. Let the extract steep for at least 4 weeks for best results.
  5. Hint: If the level of the vodka drops gradually as you use it, add more for a continuous supply of extract.

Ingredients for Homemade Lemon Extract:

  • 1 cup good-quality vodka
  • 2–3 lemons
  • 8 ounce (240 mL) glass jar

How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

Directions for Homemade Lemon Extract:

  1. Wash the lemons and use a sharp knife to remove the outermost yellow skin. It’s okay if some of the white pith remains.
  2. Add the lemon skin to the jar. Use the flesh for something else or discard.
  3. Fill the jar with 1 cup of vodka and cap tightly. Make sure the skin is submerged completely.
  4. Let the extract steep for at least 4 weeks for best results. At that point, I recommend straining the skin out and discarding it.

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How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

Have you ever made homemade extract? Which one is your favorite?

Dark Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding (Paleo and Dairy-Free)

Dark Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding | StupidEasyPaleo.com Look familiar?

This deep chocolatey, rich treat (good for an every once in a while occasion…not daily, right?!) is so easy to make. A couple months back, I posted a very similar recipe with gelatin and some folks wrote in requesting other options for thickeners. I reworked the ingredients just slightly and the result was equally tasty and simple but gelatin-, egg- and dairy-free! I served it in small dessert cups for just the perfect little bite. Tiny spoons are fun, too.

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Ingredients for Dark Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding:

Directions for Dark Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the coconut milk, chopped dark chocolate and cocoa powder.
  2. Warm the milk until the chocolate is completely melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the chia seeds and vanilla extract. [Hint: add the chia seeds while stirring continuously or else they will stick to the bottom of the pan in one big gelatinous lump. Not cool.]
  3. Stir thoroughly until the chia seeds begin to thicken the mixture a bit.
  4. Pour into small serving cups and refrigerate for at least an hour until the mixture is very thick.
  5. Top with shaved dark chocolate or coconut whipped cream.

Change It Up:

Sprinkle with cinnamon or cardamom.

Have you ever used chia seeds as a thickener?

chocolate 405 x 405

 

Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Coconut Pudding

Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Coconut Pudding | stupideasypaleo.com This dairy-free dark chocolate coconut pudding has 4 ingredients and is stupid-easy to make. Believe it!

Dark chocolate is one of those foods that is part of my Paleo because I know it fits in with my context, and I try to stick to soy lecithin-free, very dark (85%+), high quality stuff when I can. I wanted to use dark chocolate in an ultra simple dessert and instead of opting for a mousse – which has eggs – I incorporated coconut milk and gelatin to firm up this pudding-esque treat. It’s not very sweet because I didn’t add anything extra besides what’s in the chocolate, and it’s very rich, so I served it in tiny espresso glasses for just a couple lush bites.

If you can’t find gelatin sheets, you can probably use another form as long as it will firm up two cups of liquid – definitely check the label for directions.

Ingredients for Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Coconut Pudding:

Directions for Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Coconut Pudding:

  1. Prepare the gelatin by following the directions on the package. Mine required soaking the sheets in cold water for five minutes, then discarding the water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the coconut milk on medium-low in a heavy bottomed pot. You want to warm it enough to dissolve the gelatin but not boiling – that will make it harder for the gelatin to actually set.
  3. Once the coconut milk is very warm but not boiling, remove if from the heat and stir in the chopped dark chocolate until it melts. Add the vanilla extract.
  4. Then, add the softened gelatin sheets and stir thoroughly until they dissolve, 1-2 minutes.
  5. Pour into your desired glasses or cups and chill for at least 2 hours or until set.

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Strawberry Vanilla Rhubarb Sauce

DSC_0729-2 I’ve been on a rhubarb kick lately since it’s in season and easier to find now than at any other time. Rhubarb is a very tart vegetable but is commonly paired with fruit for a sweet counterpoint. I included some chopped dates to lessen the bite, but this sauce is not predominantly sweet.

I served this sweet-tart sauce on top of a brined pork tenderloin – which I cut into medallions and pan-seared – but it would also be great on chicken or served with some chopped nuts on top as a snack.

Ingredients: DSC_0723-2

  • 6 pitted dates, soaked and chopped
  • 1 cup rhubarb, sliced
  • 3 cups strawberries, quartered (about 1 quart)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated (or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Put the dates in a heat-safe bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 10-15 minutes until they soften, then drain the water and chop until it becomes almost a paste. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, combine the rhubarb, strawberries and ginger. Cook over medium-low heat until the fruit gets very soft, about 10-15 minutes. You may have to reduce the heat to low to keep it from sticking or burning.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in the dates and vanilla.
  4. Serve.

Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Almond Butter

chocolate hazelnut

The inspiration for this nut butter came from a popular brand that’s crammed with sugar. I made mine barely sweet but if you need a bit more, feel free to add some more honey. You can also roast the hazelnuts and remove the skins but those were two extra steps I wanted to avoid to make the process faster. It’s easy to halve the quantities if you’d like to make less.

Makes: ~2.25 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  1. Combine the nuts, cocoa powder, honey, vanilla and sea salt in a food processor.
  2. Drizzle in the melted coconut oil and process for several minutes or until smooth.
  3. Store in a tightly covered jar. For best results, keep in the refrigerator, though you’ll have to soften it before using.

 

Homemade Almond Milk

DSC_0323I have a request: please don’t buy almond milk sold in cartons in the store. It’s often processed using chemicals and is usually filled with sugar, chemicals and preservatives. Gross.

Luckily, there’s a really simple way to make almond milk at home, and it comes out even tastier than what comes in the carton. You’ll need a few special things to make this happen: a powerful blender and some cheesecloth or a nut milk bag, but that’s about it. I’ve made almond milk with soaked and unsoaked nuts, and both methods work as long as your blender is strong enough. Soaking the nuts, however, cuts down on the amount of phytic acid. In a nutshell—ha, no pun intended—phytic acid binds to minerals and blocks their absorption which is, well, not awesome. If you want to geek out on the science behind phytic acid, check out this post from Mark’s Daily Apple.

Prep time: 24 hours for soaking     Make time: 10 min    Makes: 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional (skip if you’re doing a Whole30 or use 1 teaspoon vanilla powder)

Directions:

  1. Place 1 cup of raw almonds in a bowl or Mason jar and cover with water. Soak for 24 hours in the refrigerator. I drain the water off and start fresh for making the milk itself.
  2. In a powerful blender—Vitamix or similar‚combine soaked almonds and 4 cups of filtered water. Blitz for 1-2 minutes or until the nuts are completely broken down.
  3. Strain the nut milk through several layers of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Squeeze out the excess moisture from the ground up almonds.
  4. Stir in the vanilla extract, if desired.
  5. Keep in a tightly covered container. Stays fresh for about 3 days.
  6. *Bonus: you can dry the nut remnants in a very low oven (200°F) to make almond flour.

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

IMG_3924I’ve been working on increasing my post-workout carb intake lately (yes, it was too low for the volume and intensity of CrossFit I’ve been doing). Those of you on strict Paleo may not ever eat tapioca, but it’s actually a great source of starch. Frankly, a girl can only eat so many sweet potatoes if you know what I mean.

If you want it sweetened a bit, you could add dates softened with boiling water and pureed, maple syrup, honey, etc. but I like mine on the plain side. Remember, for me this isn’t really about dessert.

Prep time: 15 min     Cook time: 5 min    Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 Tbsp dry tapioca pearls
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 egg, separated into white and yolk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a small, heavy-bottomed  saucepan, combine the tapioca and water. Let it sit and soften without heating for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whip the egg white until it forms soft peaks. If you are sweetening the tapioca, you can add it to the egg whites when you whip them. Set aside.
  3. Turn the heat on medium-low. Add the coconut milk and egg yolk to the softened tapioca and whisk well. Continue to whisk/stir until the tapioca thickens, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat off and stir in the vanilla.  Fold the hot tapioca into the beaten egg white.
  5. Eat warm or refrigerate.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

IMG_3849Today is the 5th anniversary of my 29th birthday, so I’m kicking up my heels a bit with this Paleo version of a classic favorite. Now, before you go all, “But what about your philosophy of not Paleo-ifying treats?!” rebuttal, let me assure you: this one is completely sugar free and is meant to be a treat, not your everyday drink of choice. If you don’t like the idea of adding the spices, you can leave them out and certainly, if you have homemade almond milk or something else yummy kicking around, you can substitute that instead. This one’s pretty rich and is meant to be sipped and savored.

Prep time: 5 min     Cook time: 5 min    Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (from a can)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Heavy whipping cream for topping

Directions:

  1. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the coconut milk, water, cocoa powder, cinnamon and chili powder. Whisk over medium-low heat until the ingredients combine and the cocoa is heated through.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Serve with a dollop of homemade whipped cream and a sprinkle of chili powder or cinnamon.

Apricot Ginger Applesauce

IMG_3731

I’ll admit, fruit isn’t something I buy a lot of unless it’s fresh berries in the summer. Fact: the smell and taste of brown bananas actually make me queasy. Anyhow, I had a hankering for applesauce again when I saw the pictures of our pork belly meal from a few weeks back, but I wanted to kick up the flavors a bit. The apricots bring a depth of flavor that the apples just don’t have on their own, and the fresh ginger is warm and gives a bit of spice. If you decide to leave the applesauce chunky, be sure to mince the ginger very fine so you won’t bite down on any large pieces. If you don’t have a fresh vanilla bean lying around you could add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract instead. Serve this alongside grilled or roasted chicken for a nice departure from the old pork n’ applesauce combo.

Prep time: 15 min     Cook time: 45 min     Makes: ~4 cups

Ingredients:

3 lb of apples (I used Gala but any will do – a mixture of a few varieties seems to make the best sauce)

6 fresh apricots, pitted and roughly chopped

1 tsp fresh minced ginger (sub: 1/4 tsp powdered ginger)

1 vanilla bean, halved (sub: 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)

Water

Directions:

1. Peel and roughly chop the apples. Place the apples into a heavy-bottomed pot and cover loosely.

2. Cook the apples on medium-low for about 30 minutes. You may need to add some water as the apples cook down so they don’t stick to the pot. Stir frequently.

3. After 30 minutes, add the apricots and the minced ginger. Cook about 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla bean seeds.

4. Use a food processor to make the texture to your desired smoothness. I left a few chunks so the apricots would stand out a bit.

Dairy-free Paleo Eggnog Chia Pudding

Dairy-free Paleo Eggnog Chia Pudding | stupideasypaleo.com This dairy-free eggnog pudding is based on my Coconut Chia Seed Pudding. I was in the mood for a holiday treat the other day and thought “eggnog”…but then I thought how quickly drinking it down would be over and decided to make the eggnog but add chia seeds to thicken it. I also omitted the booze but hey, if you want to add it, go ahead…you’re the captain of the ship after all. The result was thick and creamy with just a hint of sweetness. I used coconut milk instead of dairy but you could certainly use heavy cream or milk if that’s your preference.

Dairy-free Paleo Eggnog Chia Pudding | stupideasypaleo.com

You can make this eggnog chia pudding the old fashioned way by tempering the eggs first, but I just made it stupid-easy by dumping most of the ingredients in the blender and then heating it gently on the stove until it thickened. The quantities can be easily doubled / tripled or more if you want to make a larger batch.

Ingredients for Dairy-free Paleo Eggnog Chia Pudding:

Dairy-free Paleo Eggnog Chia Pudding | stupideasypaleo.com

 

Directions for Dairy-free Paleo Eggnog Chia Pudding:

  1. Place the dates in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 15-20 min to soften. Drain the water.
  2. Add the dates, coconut milk, egg yolks and vanilla extract to the blender.
  3. Blend on high speed until the dates are broken down (about a minute).
  4. Pour the mixture into a heavy-bottomed pot and heat on low, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens…this should only take a few minutes. Be careful! You don’t want it to curdle.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the cinnamon, nutmeg and chia seeds. Stir very well.
  6. Pour the eggnog mixture into a storage container (I like mason jars or other glass-lock containers) or serving glasses. 
  7. Allow to sit for at least an hour, preferably 2 or more, before eating. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon or nutmeg or some coconut whipped cream before serving.

Do you think you’ll try this eggnog chia pudding?

Dairy-free Paleo Eggnog Chia Pudding | stupideasypaleo.com

Coconut Butter and Almond Butter Cups

IMG_3529

I started making dark chocolate almond butter cups a couple of years ago for special occasions, and they’re so easy to assemble that it should be illegal. With Christmas and New Year’s right around the corner, these could be a decent alternative to traditional candies and treats but make no mistake: it’s still dessert, a treat to be savored.

IMG_3526

I was thinking of how to change up the original recipe and decided to make a coconut butter filling. Guys. Seriously, they are good. So good, in fact, that the dark chocolate coconut butter cups might just be my favorites. Sorry, almond butter. I made a small batch (12) but this recipe is easily doubled–or more. 

Ingredients for the Coconut Butter Filling: 

Directions for the Coconut Butter Filling: 

  1. In a food processor or high speed blender, combine the coconut, vanilla and sea salt.
  2. Allow to process for several minutes – scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple times – until the coconut starts to become smooth. You may need to add melted coconut oil (1+ Tablespoon) to adjust the texture and make it stickier.
  3. Remove to a separate container. You will have extra. Trust me, you’ll find some way to eat it…it’s really good.

Ingredients for the Almond Butter Filling: 

Directions for the Almond Butter Filling: 

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Mix until smooth.

Assembling the Coconut Butter Cups and Almond Butter Cups: 

  • 12 ounces (350 grams) high quality dark chocolate
  • Cupcake wrappers
  • Fillings from the above recipes
  1. Break chocolate into chunks and put in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high, stirring frequently, until melted. The time completely depends on how dark the chocolate is, percent-wise and how powerful your microwave is. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. You could also use a double boiler to melt the chocolate on the stovetop.
  2. Place a heaping spoonful of melted chocolate into the wrapper, smoothing it out with the back of the spoon to create sides and a bottom. Refrigerate until hardened.
  3. Scoop a small amount of the filling into the cup bottoms and flatten until it’s slightly bigger than the diameter of a quarter. Try to flatten the filling out so the chocolate will sit smoothly on the top. Hint: one batch of the almond butter filling should make ~6 cups.
  4. Place another spoonful of melted chocolate on top and smooth out.
  5. Garnish the almond butter cups with coarse salt (optional) and the coconut butter cups with some shredded coconut.
  6. Store in the refrigerator for best results. May also be kept frozen!

Change it Up:

Coconut Chia Pudding

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Chia seeds, high in Omega 3 fatty acids, have an interesting ability to gel up upon mixing with liquid and create an almost tapioca-like texture. I kept this version unsweetened, but you could definitely add in some honey or maple syrup to make it more dessert-like. It’s best to let the chia seeds sit for 1-2 hours to soften and absorb as much liquid as possible which will yield a nice thick texture. Feel free to experiment with different spices as well.

Ingredients:

1 cup full-fat coconut milk

3 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Mix the chia seeds and coconut milk together in a mason jar or other glass container.

2. Blend in the vanilla extra and spices.

3. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours (but at least 30 minutes) for best texture. Serve with shave of dark chocolate, a splash of maple syrup or just as is.

Coconut Macaroons Two Ways

Everyone with a Paleo food blog seems to have a version of coconut macaroons in their arsenal…after all, they are relatively simple to make and aside from a small amount of honey or sweetener, they are pretty innocuous. I’m definitely not a big fan of Paleo-ifying every dessert known to mankind, and gluten-free (but grain-containing) recipes have their own issues.  Sometimes though, you’ve got to have a little fun.

As I was macs4contemplating how to spice these macaroons up, I just couldn’t make up my mind between a cocoa-infused cookie and something that had a vanilla base, so I divided the batter in half and made both (I just cut the spice quantities in half). If you want to make only Cardamom-Cinnamon or only Mexican Chocolate, follow the individual recipes. I wanted something different than just a spiced option, so adding cardamom (a completely underutilized spice, in my opinion) added a great dimension of flavor (It’s one of the predominant flavors in chai tea). For the chocolate, I blended cocoa powder with a hint of chili powder to give a slightly smoky depth.

I’ll admit to being less than stoked with the incredibly fine flake of the only unsweetened coconut I could find at the market. It made the texture less chewy than I’d like. and my disher / scoop got all gummed up when I tried to portion it out. Regular shredded coconut is my preference.

Ingredients

Cardamom-Cinnamon Macaroons

2 egg whites

1/4 cup honey

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

2 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp cinnamon

2.5 cups shredded coconut

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Mexican Chocolate Macaroons

2 egg whites

1/4 cup honey

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp cocoa powder

1/2 tsp chili powder

2.5 cups shredded coconut

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the egg whites and honey. Beat slightly until the white have lightened a bit.

3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

4. Refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes.

5. Use a small scoop or spoon to portion out the macaroons. How small or large is really up to you. I used a 1.5 tbsp disher / scoop which yielded about 16 macaroons.

6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until just golden brown. Cool and enjoy!

Banana Ice Cream with Chocolate Shell

Truthfully, I’m not the paleo dessert girl. It’s not that I’m anti-dessert…well, let’s just say that it leads me down the path of too many sweets most of the time. I really wish I did paleo desserts often on the blog because, let’s face it, I’d be far more popular. But alas, sticking to what I know is what I tend to do. This is so easy it should be illegal, and it’s perfect for making in tiny batches when you want just a bit of a sweet treat. This reminds me of summers as a kid when my family would walk to the neighborhood soft-serve place…we’d get big cones and always get chocolate “dip”–the crunchy shell that you’d have to race to eat or else the ice cream would come melting out from all sides. This one has no added sugar though ;)

Ingredients for the “ice cream”:

1 frozen banana

2-3 tbsp coconut milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for the chocolate shell:

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

Pinch of ground coffee (optional)

Directions:

1. Make the shell in a small bowl first by melting the coconut oil in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds. Mix in the cocoa powder and pinch of ground coffee.

2. Next, make the “ice cream”. (This is truly not an ice cream because there are no eggs/custard, but it’s a good stand-in IMO.)

3. Add the frozen banana to the food processor and break down a bit. Next drizzle in the coconut milk and vanilla extract. You may need to stop the processor and break up any big chunks. Process until smooth and creamy but not too melted.

4. Work quickly…scoop out the ice cream into a bowl and drizzle the chocolate shell on top. Immediately the coconut oil/cocoa mixture will harden up and get crunchy…mmm!

5. Eat. Enjoy. You could also top with shredded coconut, nuts or even some sliced berries to really put it over the top!

Apple Coconut Pudding

photo-175One of my favorite things to do while driving is listen to Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution Podcast. While trying to catch myself up on back episodes, somewhere in the realm of episode 45-ish, I heard co-host Andy Deas describe a dessert that really caught my attention because it sounded, well, amazing. And easy. And Paleo. So, while I can’t take credit for this creation, here is my take on Andy Deas’s pudding. Bon appetite!

Ingredients:

Directions:
  1. Pour coconut milk into a small saucepan. Add chopped apples, coconut oil, and cinnamon.
  2. Halve the vanilla bean and scrape the tiny black seeds of yumminess out. Add to the saucepan.
  3. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the apples are soft.
  4. Puree in the blender until smooth.
  5. Refrigerate until chilled and the pudding is set.

*When I was in Bali, I bought a grip of vanilla beans at the Ubud public market. I treasure them because I bought about 500 grams of vanilla bean pods for roughly $10 American. This is ridiculously inexpensive. If you don’t have any vanilla beans, you can substitute with 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract (but it won’t be as tasty, in my opinion) :)