August 15, 2013
Moist. Chewy. Sweet. Creamy. Just a bit crunchy. 12 layers of chocolate, hazelnut, and coconut.
I see you salivating over there at the thought of this indulgent cake. If you’re missing decadent desserts, this one will surely satisfy every last ounce of your craving. Whether you’re gluten, grain, refined sugar, and/or dairy-free, you can still enjoy a slice of heaven.
What lead me to this magical combination of crepe, chocolate, hazelnut, and coconut?
As many of you may or may not know, there is a very popular community on Facebook called Just Eat Real Food. The matriarch of this nearly 300,000 fan-strong page is Joanne, one of my biggest helps in promoting Yes to Yummy. I don’t know how she does it—she posts a new recipe almost every hour! In addition to managing all of these tasty creations, she discusses hot-button food issues (GMOs, dairy, nuts, and the like) and answers questions from thousands of curious and confused eaters. If there’s one person in the food world who I truly admire, it’s her.
Last week, while brainstorming new recipe ideas, Joanne sent me a link to this beauty and asked me to create a paleo-friendly version. I took a quick look and immediately thought, “Why not?” I’m always up for a challenge, and I’m very happy I took on this one.
On a side note, when I categorize desserts as “paleo,” it’s really for the search engine’s sake, not because I consider them perfectly “paleo.” In my opinion, eating a “paleo-fied” treat is a healthier choice than a traditional gluten-sugar-and-dairy filled one, but it’s still a dessert and is not the ideal picture of health. You shouldn’t be eating this every day at every meal—you should be saving it for a special occasion when you want dessert but don’t want to feel sick or guilty. Have a small portion and really savor the experience. Treats aren’t really treats when you eat them all the time, right?
It was a long afternoon, but I was so proud of the masterpiece I created. My parents enjoyed it quite a bit, I think—my mom kept on saying how it was one of the best desserts I had ever made. You’re going to need some patience if you decide to tackle this one, too, but I promise it’s worth it.
The first part of this recipe is to make the chocolate crepes.
You’re going to need eggs, lots of ‘em: six, to be exact. Crack them in a large bowl and whisk until light yellow and just a bit bubbly, about a minute.
Once whisked, add in 1 cup of full-fat coconut milk, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons of raw coconut nectar OR raw honey OR maple syrup. Feel free to reduce the sweetener slightly, if you’d like. Continue whisking until everything is completely combined, about a minute longer.
Now it’s time for the dry ingredients: sift in 1/4 cup each of coconut flour and good quality cocoa powder. Don’t skip the sifting—you’ll wind up with icky clumps and it’ll look disgusting. Whisk until homogeneous with no specks remaining and set the batter aside.
Grease a non-stick 8, 9, or 10-inch skillet with a little bit of coconut oil and heat over medium. When the skillet is nice and hot, gently pour in 1/4 cup of the batter and swirl around the pan using swivel motions and the rim of the measuring cup. Let the crepe cook until the bottom is beginning to brown and the top is slightly dry, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Using a BIG flipper, gently slide under the crepe and quickly turn it over. Your first and second crepes will be awkward looking. As you get better and your pan really heats up, cooking and flipping will become much easier. Promise!
Cook until the other side of the crepe is beginning to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Place a sandwich press or other heavy object on top of the crepe to prevent it from puffing up to much and helping to keep it thin.
Once your crepe has finished cooking, transfer it to a plate and let it chill out a bit while you pour in the batter for the next one. While the second crepe cooks, cut a piece of parchment paper and move the first crepe on top of it.
This was my first crepe. It was…OK.
Keep repeating the process until you have no more batter remaining. I made a dozen crepes, but the number you’ll end up with will depend on how big your pan is and how much batter you use.
Let the crepes cool to room temperature while you make the fillings: PATELLA (paleo nutella) and COCONUT CREAM.
Just look at this madness. It’s gooey, it’s chocolaty, it’s oh-so…nutella-y.
If you’ve gone on the internet, there’s no doubt you’ve experienced nutella madness. Even Pusheen the Cat agrees that nutella is pretty much one of the greatest concoctions ever invented.
Unlike store-bought nutella, this PATELLA has no weird oils, no fake vanilla flavoring, no dairy, and no refined sugars. It’s still super tasty, and no one will notice the difference.
To begin, melt 10 ounces of dairy-free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life) in a small saucepan over low heat. Give it a stir with a spatula every few minutes to ensure that nothing burns to a crisp.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse 8 ounces of hazelnuts until the texture of peanut butter, about two minutes. A lot of people add extra oil to help the nuts blend faster, but they don’t need it! Just have patience.
Once the hazelnuts are buttery, add in the melted chocolate, 1 cup of full-fat coconut milk, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, and 1-2 tablespoons of coconut nectar OR raw honey OR maple syrup, if you’d like your PATELLA to be extra sweet. Gently pulse everything together until just combined, about 30 seconds to a minute longer. Don’t over-mix, or your PATELLA will become playdough!
Scoop everything into a big jar and set aside until assembly time. I see you with that spoon. Put it down.
This coconut cream is stupidly easy. All that you have to do is put a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight, then open it upside-down the next day and pour off the water. Scoop what’s left behind into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whip on high until nice and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
To assemble, spread on a good dollop of PATELLA followed by a petite scoop of coconut cream on top of a crepe, then place another crepe. Keep on going until you’ve reached your final layer.
For extra prettiness, top it all off with a big dusting of cocoa powder and a large handful of toasted coconut flakes. Step back and admire the
monster masterpiece you have created!
What’s a dream dessert that you’d like to have re-created paleo-style? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!
Tags: cake, chocolate, coconut, crepe cake, crepes, dairy-free, delicious, dessert, gluten-free, hazelnut, healthy, Nutella, paleo
June 25, 2013
One of my favorite flavor combinations of ALL time is peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon. It’s creamy, sweet, and salty: what could be bad?
Since exploring a paleo-style eating template, I’ve discovered sunflower seed butter: a delicious alternative to my favorite spread. Actually, the two taste very similar: the only noticeable difference for me is that sunflower seed butter has a slightly smoky flavor, but other than that, the two are pretty much identical.
So why sunflower seed butter over peanut butter or nut butters? First of all, peanuts are not a nut: they are legumes. Like grains, legumes have something called lectins that stick to the lining of our small intestines—and over time, they can prevent the absorption of nutrients and reek other digestive havoc. Basically, they don’t want to be eaten; that’s why beans give people a lot of “tummy troubles!”
They’re also not great sources of protein like popular media claims…legumes are mostly dense carbohydrates, and if you’re looking for protein, you’d really be better off eating a piece of meat or fish. Granted, neither nut butter nor sunflower seed butter is rich in protein, either, but they’re lower in carbohydrates than their beany counterpart. You can read more about legumes here.
For a simpler reason, sunflower seed butter is very allergy-friendly. One of my best friends is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, and when we were younger, she’d have to be extra cautious about what she was eating. If you’re cooking for children, or anyone for that matter, it makes everyone’s life so much easier when what you’re making is extra allergy-sensitive.
This is just my opinion based on what I’ve read—it’s subject to change, and you’re completely entitled to your own take! I still consider plain old peanut butter a much healthier choice than something like packaged chips or cookies…so if you get a peanut butter craving, indulging in a tablespoon or two certainly won’t be the end of the world.
Enough with this science! Let’s get into some food.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a mini muffin pan with paper or parchment cups. You can make these full-sized, too, but I personally think smaller treats are way cuter.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 4 egg whites on high (for me, about setting 8) until soft but NOT stiff peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, blend together 4 egg yolks, 1/4 cup of full-fat, grass-fed cow’s milk, nut milk, OR coconut milk, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (1 1/2 if using coconut milk), 1/3 cup of raw coconut nectar, honey, OR maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
Add in 1 ripe banana and 1/3 cup of melted refined coconut oil and process until completely smooth.
Pour the ingredients in the food processor into the egg whites and gently fold with a spatula to incorporate. Sift in 1/3 cup + 2 teaspoons of coconut flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, a pinch of salt, and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and continue folding until no clumps remain.
Scoop a little less than 2 tablespoons of batter into each liner, and bake until golden brown on top and firm, about 25 to 30 minutes.
This next step may seem a little weird, but it REALLY works for gluten-free baked goods. Gently remove the cupcakes from the tin, place on a baking sheet, and bake for an additional 10 minutes to help them firm up a bit.
Let cool completely before frosting.
This frosting is a snap to make and turns out light and fluffy every time. My recipe is inspired by Tammy Credicott’s Paleo Indulgeneces; if you haven’t read the book, you should definitely check it out!
In the bowl of a stand mixer on high (for me, about setting 8), whip together 1/2 cup of palm shortening, 1/3 cup of raw coconut nectar, honey, OR maple syrup, 1/3 cup of sunflower seed butter OR almond butter OR peanut butter (if you say screw paleo), 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons of coconut flour, 2 heaping tablespoons of arrowroot powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. The frosting is done when it’s light, fluffy, and peaks slightly in the center, about 4 to 5 minutes later. In this case, the longer, the better!
With a spatula, scoop the frosting into a large resealable plastic bag. Zip it closed and push the frosting all the way down to one corner. Twist the top a couple times and snip off the corner about 1/2 inch from the edge.
Using a swirling motion, pipe the frosting onto each cupcake, continually twisting the bag’s top and pushing everything down towards the corner. Top each cake with a piece of freeze-dried banana and a dash of cinnamon, if you like.
Go ahead and bake these for someone you love. Even if this person has allergies, he or she will still be able to enjoy a delicious, healthy treat.
What is your favorite flavor combination? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!
Tags: allergies, Allergy friendly, baking, bananas, cake, cupcakes, dairy-free, delicious, dessert, gluten-free, healthy, nut-free, paleo
April 9, 2013
Desserts are undeniably delicious, and that’s that. I have always had a sweet tooth, and once in a while, I just want something sugary and comforting. (Don’t we all?)
Luckily, this Chocolate Chip Banana Cake is filled with healthier, more wholesome ingredients, like almond flour, fresh fruit, and pasture-raised eggs. Best of all, it contains only little natural sweetener, so you can enjoy your treat without having a massive blood sugar crash afterwards.
To ZipList the cake recipe, click here.
To begin, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9-inch circular cake pan with parchment paper. Grease it heavily with melted coconut oil.
I cannot stress enough how important this step is. If you neglect to take these protective measures, your cake will undoubtedly stick, even if you have a non-stick pan. The resulting mess and drama are NOT worth it!
Puree 2 1/2 ripe bananas in a food processor or blender until completely smooth, about 3 minutes. The bananas should be clump-less and resemble a pancake batter. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups of blanched almond flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix together with your hands, taking care to break up any big clumps of almond flour.
In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together 3 large eggs, 1/3 cup melted refined coconut oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of water, and 2 tablespoons of raw honey. When well incorporated, add to the bowl with the almond flour and stir with a spatula.
Gently fold in the banana puree into the rest of the batter, then mix in a little less than 1 cup of chocolate chips.
As a huge chocoholic, I’m very particular about what kind of chocolate I use in my baking. For this cake, I used Enjoy Life’s mini chocolate chips—and although they do contain some sugar, they’re pretty much the only widely available chocolate chips that are completely gluten, soy, and dairy-free. Alternatively, you can use 6 ounces of chopped chocolate or 1 cup of cacao nibs…but whatever you do, don’t use too much! This is a banana cake, not a chocolate cake.
Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and spread to get as even of a layer as possible. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center and the top is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for at least an hour (preferably longer) before serving and resist the urge to immediately eat the cake.
This cake is incredible plain, but it tastes even better with my easy cashew (yes, cashew) frosting. And—bonus—it can be made completely vegan!
To ZipList the frosting recipe, click here.
The first step is the most important: put 1 cup of raw cashews in a small saucepan, add just enough water to completely submerge, and simmer on low heat with the lid on. You really should soak the cashews for at least 2 or 3 hours, but if you’re in a hurry to eat your cake, 1 hour will do—just make sure the nuts are soft to the touch.
Next, pour the cashews and their water into a blender. Add 1/2 a ripe banana, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of raw honey, 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar, and 2 tablespoons of your milk of choice. I used the raw cow’s milk my family buys from a local farm, but you can use almond, cashew, hemp, or even coconut milk instead. Blend until completely smooth, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer the cashew mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, beat on high (for me, alternating between settings 8 and 10) until significantly lighter, about 10 minutes. Put the bowl with the frosting in the refrigerator to cool for about half an hour before serving atop or alongside the cake.
Now, you can have your cake and eat it too! (I know, I know…bad pun…)
What dessert should I try and recreate next? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!
Tags: bananas, cake, chocolate, delicious, dessert, gluten-free, healthy, paleo