I may have a bit of a cookbook collecting problem. That Amazon Prime free shipping offer is just too tempting. For months, the cookbook Paleo Indulgences was recommended for me available on Pre-Order. I wasn’t that familiar with the author, Tammy Credicott of The Healthy GF Life, & honestly felt a little guilty about buying a book that was “all desserts.” However, after reading some positive reviews and looking for some reliable coconut flour baking recipes, I decided that having a dessert heavy Paleo cookbook might not be such a bad thing.
I was pleasantly surprised when Paleo Indulgences arrived on my doorstep. It is very striking and simple. The images are crisp, but cozy.
The recipe organization is a bit whimsical:
Yes, you read that right. It is a PALEO cookbook, complete with introduction by Robb Wolf. In just a few pages, Tammy Credicott gives a nice little summary about what Paleo IS and ISN”T, along with some guidelines on how to apply it to your family life.
The book really won me over with my initial flip through, when I stumbled upon recipes to make some “copy-cat” Girl Scout cookies. Finally, a Paleo author that gets me! It isn’t that I can’t live without Thin Mints, because I can. And have for a couple of years, now. The dilemma is that I am a mother to a wonderful little Girl Scout, that I try to keep gluten-free. Having a Paleo friendly version of those little fundraising munchies is going to make cookie season much more bearable for us. Just knowing that we have that option helps take the stress out of an unavoidable part of the year.
The biggest surprise with this cookbook has been that it is not all desserts. There are several main dish, appetizer and snack recipes. I immediately made the Chicken ‘n Dumplings recipe. It was wonderful. The dumplings were made of coconut flour, which made them very light and fluffy. By the end of the week, I made Mandarin Chicken and Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps. Everything was delicious!
What I really liked about Tammy’s recipes were that they were simple with not a lot of “unusual” ingredients. Pantry staples. Also, every recipe in this book is one you recognize as being home cooking or a restaurant favorite. This is the book that I want to hand out to my friends and family and say “Hey, LOOK! You can STILL HAVE THAT!” In my opinion, this would be the perfect book to hand a friend that is interested in experimenting with Paleo or transitioning to Paleo. Especially if they have kids!
Now for the baking and the desserts!
I have been looking for more reliable coconut flour based recipes. I made the Blueberry Crumb Muffins, which were excellent. I especially liked her creativity in using chopped seeds as a crunchy topping. It made these muffins an extra delicious bakery-style treat, but safe to send to our Nut-Free schools. (Don’t mind the fact that they are a little green in the picture below. I used frozen blueberries and my little guy was none too gentle when mixing. Still delicious!)
The biggest hit in the house were the Decadent Brownies. This coconut flour recipe will be in our regular rotation. In all honesty, it is probably the BEST coconut flour baking recipe I have ever made. The husband and the kids just loved them. They are perfect for cutting up, freezing and packing in our little Nut-Free lunches. This recipe made purchasing the book worthwhile.
I really couldn’t be more pleased with this cookbook. I plan on cooking my way through it. I am also really excited to have this book for the holiday season. There are several coconut oil based candy recipes that I am glad we can have on hand for holiday parties. I have already made a shopping list so that I can do some cooking and baking here and there, freezing the goodies for the holiday season. It is really nice to know that I can continue some holiday traditions with my kids to share with our non-Paleo friends and family. The perfect resource is right on our bookshelf!
Don’t take my word for it! Here are some other great reviews of Paleo Indulgences, some include a recipe you can experiment with on your own:
Paleo Parents is still, hands down, one of favorite Paleo resources. Of the big names in blogs, cookbooks & podcasts, they are the ONLY ones that have kids (3) and have transitioned to Paleo from a Standard American Diet. This is huge! They freely share their obstacles, their compromises, their inventive baking recipes and their health obstacles and successes. If you have a family and are trying to figure out how to do the best for your health, but navigating the “real world” as well, it is a great blog to follow.
I knew these Pumpkin Pucks were supposed to be really good, but I just hadn’t got around to making them. Wow, I am glad I finally did. They were very easy, used pantry staples and tasted delicious. They have a dense texture and really taste just like pumpkin pie! Matt and I loved them. Probably one of the best things I have baked in a while. The kids were not that thrilled, but I think it is just because pumpkin isn’t their thing. Elliot was happy to run the mixer for me and I think he would have liked them better if his sister hadn’t announced that she didn’t like pumpkin that much. Peer pressure.
The only substitutions I made in the recipe (my version is below) were using canned pumpkin and using only maple syrup instead of the honey. That was out of laziness. We topped the Pumpkin Pucks with Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds from Trader Joe’s for a little fall decoration. Next time I will probably sprinkle with the seeds about halfway through the baking time so the pretty colors don’t melt. This recipe is on my list for holiday baking and taking to parties.
(only a couple of minor substitutions made from the original recipe from Paleo Parents)
Makes 1 dozen pucks. Store at room temperature only for a day or two, otherwise keep in the fridge or freezer (if they last that long!).
This is our favorite Paleo-ish baking recipe hands down. I make it at least once a week. Very simple and if you have some almond flour, you have pretty much everything you need. This recipe pleases Paleo folks and regular folks taste buds for a bakery good.
I have blogged before about how great Elana’s Pantry is, and the quality of her cookbooks. Quite simply, her recipes turn out every time and there are no wasted ingredients. Picking up The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook ($9.90 today with Amazon Prime!) will save you a lot of time, money and frustration, if you plan on doing much Paleo/Primal/Grain-free/Gluten-free baking for your family. One of the reasons I haven’t blogged this recipe, even though I have been making it weekly for months, is it is one of her originals that is not available on her website. I don’t like stepping on people’s toes or crossing murky lines of recipe ownership. I did find this recipe pretty similarly blogged on another site, and i have made my own little tweaks from the original, so I am ready to publish it.
Moms, girlfriends, friends….this is the recipe to try if you want to win over someone with your Paleo baking. Made purely of almond flour, eggs & coconut oil, with just a touch of sweeteners, you can feel pretty good about enjoying these with a breakfast or packing as a snack. The protein and good fats are very filling. My kids will eat 1-2 for breakfast or snack and are full for a few hours afterwards. Anybody else notice that regular chocolate chip scones/cookies/brownies don’t have that effect?
adapted from Elana Amsterdam’s Chocolate Chip Scones
This is a recipe I followed nearly to a “T” from The Frisky Lemon. These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies are made with coconut flour & contain NO EGGS. This is pretty unusual for a coconut flour baking recipe. Usually, it is very egg heavy.
I have stated many times that I prefer baked goods made from almond flour over coconut flour. That still holds true, but I am avoiding eating nuts for a while. I also accidentally purchased a 5 lb bag of coconut flour when I meant to get flakes, so I have a lot of flour to practice with.
Everybody in the family ate this and liked them, within reason. I could tell the kids prefer the texture of almond flour over these, but they ate them up happily. The hubby was more vocal about it, but he still ate his, too. I thought they had a nice pumpkin taste and I preferred them much over any of the coconut flour goods I have made, with the exception of the chocolate cupcakes that I made from Elana’s Pantry. I will make these again soon.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
The Frisky Lemon adapted these from Food Lover’s Primal Palate
For families and mothers like me, August signals the beginning of the school year.
We have bought supplies, sharpened pencils and are refocused on getting our learn on. My kids are still pretty young, so we still practice our alphabet skills and I have always had a love of Alphabet books. I have a small collection. I thought it might be fun to explore my approach to Paleo through some short blog posts in an alphabet theme. Over the next couple of months we will hit 26 different short topics & share some recipes.
Almonds. Switching over to almond products can be a big part of “going Paleo.” Besides snacking on raw almonds, we use a lot of almond flour/almond meal & almond butter at my house. Peanuts & peanut butter are standard staples in most non-Paleo pantries. However, peanuts are legumes, not nuts. Legumes are not Paleo. (I will expand on the topics of legumes, lectins, omega 3 & omega 6 fatty acids later in this series.) Almond products are extremely nutritious and a good source of fat and calories, which is great for kids. I prefer the taste & texture of baked goods made from almond flour over ones made from coconut flour. Almond products are expensive, so taking some time to find sales and to purchase in bulk can be worth the time.
Almonds – look for raw & unsalted if you can. Keep on hand, in the car and at work for an emergency snack. Great combo of fat and protein.
Almond meal – unbleached, ground almonds. Great for baking & coating chicken or fish for baking and frying. Trader Joe’s usually has the best deal on almond meal.
Almond flour – bleached, ground almonds. This is ideal for baking and is most similar to flour in baked goods. You can often purchase this at regular grocery stores, but will get the best deals in ordering in bulk from Honeyville or Nuts.com. I have ordered from both companies and enjoyed their product. I bagged the bulk order in large Ziplocks and froze the bags until I was ready to use them. If you subscribe to their sites and “like” them on Facebook, you will receive alerts to their sales and free shipping offers. I wait and take advantage of those to get a better deal.
Almond Butter – ground almonds with a bit of oil added for consistency. I encourage you to buy Raw and Organic, when possible. More importantly, check the ingredient list, make sure it is clean with no added sugars. I like to check Sam’s or Costco to get a good deal on almond butter.
You can also make your own almond meal/almond flour/almond butter if you have a good food processor. Here is a nice post by Budget Paleo…Made Easy.
In terms of expense, baking with almond products is expensive. The whole point of the Paleo movement is to cut down on our use of processed foods and sugars, so I probably bake a lot less or purchase less baked goods than a traditional household. With expensive, quality ingredients, we do bake less and bake smaller batches. The cookies, muffins, scones and pancakes that I make are much more nutritionally dense and filling than their Standard American Diet (SAD) counterparts, so we eat less of them. I find it to be an acceptable trade-off. We still get to enjoy our favorite “treats” and I know that when I send my little boy and little girl off with a scone, they are getting a big dose of protein in their snack. Win-win!
After a lot of baking experimentation, I am happy that I purchased the cookbooks by Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry. They have been very reliable. I have substituted coconut oil and various sweeteners in her recipes, they still turn out perfect. I appreciate saving money & time by having these to refer to.
I am not recreating the wheel here, folks. I needed to make some cupcakes for a friend’s birthday and I was kind of tired of chocolate. I decided to try one of the cupcake recipes from Elana’s Pantry, yet again. I picked one that was on her website so I could share the goodness if it turned out. And they did. Delicious. I added a frosting recipe from Paleo Parents that I have used before. If you are in the mood for a nice, frosted cupcake, this is a good method. (Probably worth noting that this should only be every great once in a while. Birthdays count.)
Here are the direct links to the yummyness that is pictured above:
I just wanted to note that I substitute maple syrup or honey for the agave nectar that is listed. It always turns out fine. I also substitute freely other types of oil for the grapeseed oil. Coconut oil, olive oil, palm shortening are all good choices.
Cinnamon Ginger Frosting
The palm shortening that is called for in this recipe is a product from Tropical Traditions. It is a lot like shortening that you are familiar with. http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/organic_palm_shortening.htm Mixed with a bit of “sugar” and then whipped, it creates something very similar to frosting. Not the same, but similar. Paleo frosting doesn’t really exist, you know. But this is pretty good.
Another successful baking experiment, thanks to the Paleo Parents. (www.paleoparents.com) Recently I ordered a tub of Palm Shortening from Tropical Traditions. It is a great substitute for butter or shortening in recipes. I hadn’t made much with it and it seemed silly to just set on the shelf. My kids asked for Snickerdoodles, again. Although I love the Elana’s Pantry recipe, it doesn’t use any eggs and uses grapeseed oil for the “fat” in the recipe. It is delicious, but I had a bunch of eggs and a bunch of this shortening, so I was happy to try the Paleo Parents recipe.
It is a winner! Uses eggs, palm shortening, maple syrup and almond butter in a addition to the almond flour. They turned out amazing!
Recipe can be found here: http://paleoparents.com/2011/snickerdoodle-whoopie-pies/
Oh, Elana Amsterdam is a Gluten Free Baking Goddess! www.elanaspantry.com
I made these Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies and they were confirmed awesome by all the taste testers in the house and the Mother in Law. For the recipe and a link to a 6 minute video about making the recipe, click here: http://www.elanaspantry.com/double-chocolate-cherry-cookies-video/.
Follow her directions. If she says to let something sit for 10 minutes, before removing, let it sit. If she says take the cookies out when they start to crack on the top, take them out. She knows what she is talking about.
The only substitution I made was using maple syrup instead of agave. I may even experiment with reducing the amount to cut down on sweetness and cost, but for this first batch I followed it to a “T”. No one would ever know these are gluten free. They. are. so. good.
I have been baking through The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam. So far everything has been wonderful. Her blog is at www.elanaspantry.com. She has tons of recipes available for free on her website. This recipe is in the book and I highly advise getting it if you have kids and want to go paleo. All your favorites will be in there.
These were gobbled up in record time! You don’t have to give up everything to go paleo, it just takes a little extra effort.
1. Oven at 350 degrees. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In large bowl, mix almond flour, salt, baking soda, arrowroot powder and cinnamon.
3. In a smaller bowl, mix oil, maple syrup and vanilla.
4. Mix wet and dry ingredients together.
5. Spoon dough out about 1 Tbsp at a time and leave plenty of room for them to spread out.
6. Flatten cookies with your hand, that is the easiest. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
7. Bake for 7-10 minutes (Do NOT overbake. You will be tempted to, by the looks of them.) Let rest on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes to cool.
Paleo is heavily a MEAT + VEGETABLES + FATS diet. That is the way to lose weight, clear up inflammation and other health issues and avoid blood sugar swings. Sooner or later though, everybody likes to have a cracker. This is a great recipe for kids or to take to a party. They are calorie dense, but full of healthy fats, protein and should satisfy your appetite. If you are trying to lose weight, keep in mind that a few of these should do the trick.
I recently purchased The Gluten Free Almond Flour cookbook by Elana Amsterdam (2009). I have used the recipes from her website, www.elanaspantry.com , pretty successfully. Through my kitchen experiments I have determined that I prefer recipes that use almond flour to coconut flour and so does the rest of the family. I figured it was time to consult the expert and avoid wasting expensive ingredients on things that just turned out so-so. Just a little note, Elana is NOT PALEO, but is GLUTEN FREE, so the recipes only need a little adapting here or there.
I found this GREAT tutorial with lots of pictures on the process, although it is very simple, and I don’t see any need to recreate the wheel. Just in case anyone ever thinks that my pictures are not so great, there aren’t enough of them or my blog is not well written (these are all true,btw), I usually get this done at 9:00 at night while my hubby is putting the kids in the tub. I spend about 20 minutes photo editing and writing the entries. That is all the time I have. Point being check out this great tutorial on making the crackers: http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2009/09/recipe-for-cheese-crackers-with-almond.html
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put parchment paper on 2 baking sheets. Tear off one extra piece of parchment paper for rolling out crackers.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, salt, baking soda and cheese. In a smaller bowl, whisk the oil and eggs. Then combine the wet and dry ingredients together.
4. Divide the cracker mixture in half. Set 1 of the halves on a cookie sheet. Put the spare piece of parchment paper on top. Using a rolling pin (couldn’t find mine, I used a can of coconut milk) spread the “dough” into a thin layer. She reccomends 1/16th of an inch. The key is to get it as even as possible for the nicest looking, evenly cooked crackers.
5. Peel off the parchment paper and use it to roll out the last half of dough.
6. Cut dough into squares with a knife or pizza cutter ( I actually didn’t do this until after it baked, I forgot.)
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes till they are golden. Don’t overbake! Let them cool on the sheets for about 1/2 and hour then serve. (I used the pizza cutter as soon as they got out of the oven, and then let them cool. They turned out fine.)
8. Enjoy! Feel good about eating a cracker that is gluten free and not full of artificial ingredients and chemicals!