Thursday, December 6, 2012

Paleo Vanilla Frosting and Doctor Who

So far I've tried about four different paleo white frosting recipes. Chocolate frosting is a sinch. In it's worst incarnation it might resemble chocolate ganache, but it's pretty straightforward. Vanilla frosting on the other hand doesn't have a whole lot to distract from the inherent flavors of the shortenening/oil and sweetener. Invariably the results taste like whatever is used to sweeten them, and since coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and palm shortening are the standard paleo oils, they result in frosting that looks good for all of a second before it slides off the cupcake, or hardens into a chunky mess in the fridge. I'm always impressed by the pictures authors manage to pull together before their creations fall apart.

This recipe suffers from the standard shortcomings. It tastes lightly of maple syrup, and it does harden right up in the fridge, but it's the best I've found so far. It tastes a bit like marshmallows (probably because of the arrowroot starch and coconut flour), and before fridging it holds it's shape pretty well. Eating it quickly (within two days if left out and within a week if fridged) is advised because otherwise it will start to separate, but it is by far the most pleasing frosting I've made so far.

However! Unless you're determined to make vanilla frosting (as I was), it honestly makes more sense to use glazes/frostings that don't need to mimic an impossibility. Vanilla meringue frosting (basically eggs whites whipped with maple syrup or agave nectar) is delicious, as is maple cream (which I can't find in the supermakets, but is available at some specialty food places, farmers markets, and craft fairs), and fruit juice sweetened chocolate fudge (see donut recipe).

To my shame, I neglected to take a picture of the frosting before consuming it all... So I've attached a screen capture of  the picture from the book that I hope tempts you into trying it out!.

Vanilla Frosting

1/2 cup palm shortening
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
2 teaspoons coconut flour, sifted
pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Place all the ingredients, except the coconut oil, in a medium bowl, and use a hand mixer to blend until fully combined.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the coconut oil, blending until completely smooth.

Frosting can be stored in the refrigerator up to a week. Let it soften a bit at room temperature and fluff it up with a hand mixer before using.

Notes: Makes 1 1/4 cups

Source: "Paleo Indulgences" by Tammy Credicott (this is a fabulous book! The recipes are different, the  ingredients are practical and accessible, and everything I've made so far has been delicious)

In completely unrelated news, I am an avid Doctor Who fan, and am making my sisters hand painted TARDIS t-shirts for Christmas. One of them was kind enough to model it for me. :) I'm currently trying to decide what to add to the back... most likely there will be a swarm of invading daleks attacking the ship  :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Snickerdoodles (or Chocolate Chip Cookies), Paleo

 Before going paleo, I had the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and absolutely delicious. I scoffed at cookbooks with their multiple variations on a simple recipe, and considered myself fortunate to have hit gold early on in my cooking career. One diet change and 5 or 6 different cookie recipes later, I've realized that there is no simple answer to the cookie dilemma. This recipe has so far been the most rewarding, and provides a flat, moist, almondy cookie. The snickerdoodle version is particularly pleasing to the palate :) It's also remarkably forgiving. The original recipe calls for anything between 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of honey, and 2-3 teaspoons of vanilla. Inaccurate measuring should lead to interesting, but still tasty results :)


2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (leave out if making choc. chip cookies!!!!)
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (leave out if making choc. chip cookies!!!!)
1/2 cup shortening (butter-flavored if possible)
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup honey

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (only for chocolate chip cookies!!!!)


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine the flour, salt, and soda and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the shortening, vanilla, and honey together.

Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Then stir in the chocolate.

Scoop into small balls onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 8 minutes. You can press these down a bit, but the cookies will usually flatten on their own.

For Snickerdoodles, omit the chocolate and include the cream of tartar and cinnamon. Bake at 350 F. for 8 minutes.

Notes: There are a lot of variations on this recipe out in the multiverse. This is the one we've found that works best for us flavorwise and in consistency.

Vanilla Donuts (or Cupcakes), Paleo

I have been gifted with an early X-mas present, a Donut maker that works surpisingly well with Paleo recipes. So far I've tried making chocolate and vanilla donuts from the cupcake recipes in Elana's Gluten Free Cupcakes cookbook, and they both turned out really well. Next I'm planning to attempt a punpkin/gingerbread flavored batter to see if I can eliminate the need for a glaze. The donuts only take about three minutes for each batch, so it's fabulous instant gratification :) For glazes I used maple cream (soooooooo yummy!) and Fruit-sweetened dark chocolate sauce.

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (try to use fresh)
4 large eggs
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 9 muffin cups with paper liners (watch out for soy coloring!)

In a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, grapeseed oil, agave nectar, and vanila extract. Blend the wet ingredients into the coconut flour mixture with a handheld mixer until thoroughly combined

For Cupcakes:

Scoop 1/4 cup of battter into each prepared muffin cup.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 1 hour, then frost and serve.

For Donuts (If using the Babycakes donut maker):

Fill each donut reservoir with about 2 tbs. of batter.

Cook for 3 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool completely before glazing. I used maple cream and paleo chocolate fudge.

Servings: 9
MIX THOROUGHLY!!!! Otherwise they stay dense and compact.

Very tasty with chocolate frosting :)

From "Gluten Free Cupcakes" by Elana Amsterdam.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sour Cream Apple Pie

This is not a paleo recipe, but it's such a classic in our household that I have to add it. Although it is a 'sour cream' apple pie, the recipe works just as well with tofuti sour cream, and it has never let me down. Most of the gluten free pie crust recipes that I've encountered work just fine, and I know everyone has their favorites, so I'm hesitant to suggest one particular recipe above all others. For the pie pictured above, I used the standard crust out of "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook" by Cybele Pascal ( because I was trying to use up some old flour mix, and it turned out very well. My sister swears by the dream pastry out of Bette Hagman's "The Gluten Free Gourmet Makes Dessert" ( and in the past I've usually just found a recipe that fit whatever ingredients I had on hand. I'll include a basic pie crust recipe here, but feel free to experiment and try your own! The filling is quite adaptable to different temperatures, times, etc :)

Sour Cream Apple Pie
Servings: 8

For the topping
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour, gluten free

For the filling

1 1/3 cups sour cream, imitation
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons flour
5 large granny Smith apple (about 2 1/4 pounds)
  1. preheat oven the 350 degrees F.
  2. Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface, fit it into a 10-inch (6 cup capacity) pie plate, and flute the edge decoratively. Chill the shell while making the topping and filling. make edge of pie high so that filling does not pour out.
  3. Make the topping: In a small bowl blend together the butter, the sugar, the cinnamon, and the flour until the mixture is combined well and chill the topping, covered, while making the filling.
  4. Make the filling: In a large bowl whisk together the sour cream, the sugar, the salt, the vanilla, the eggs, and the flour until the mixture is smooth, add the apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin, and stir the filling until it is combined well.
  5. Spoon the filling into the chilled shell, smoothing the top, and crumble the topping evenly over it. Bake the pie in the middle of a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until it is golden and the apples are tender, transfer it to a rack, and let it cool completely.

Pie Crust

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup shortening, cold
1/2 cup water, ice cold

  1. Place flour, starches, salt and sugar in a food processing bowl. Pulse for a few seconds to blend ingredients. Place shortening or shortening/butter combination, cut into small, approximately ½-inch pieces, in the food processing bowl. Pulse ingredients for 15 to 30 seconds until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  2. With the food processor running, slowly pour cold water into the feed tube, just until the dough comes together. Stop the food processor immediately and remove the dough. If the dough comes together before you’ve poured all the water into the feed tube, do not add the final amount of water.
  3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface (brown rice flour) or a piece of parchment or waxed paper. Form dough into a ball and cut in half. Wrap one half of the dough in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out while you work with the other half.
  4. Flatten the ball of dough into a round disc, place between two pieces of waxed or parchment paper and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. If your dough is slightly sticky, lightly flour the dough disc and the bottom parchment/waxed paper before rolling out the dough
  5. After rolling the dough, gently remove the top piece of parchment/waxed paper. Invert the rolled pie dough into a lightly greased pie tin (using spray oil or lightly grease with shortening). Fill the pie shell with desired filling.
  6. Unwrap the second half of dough and roll it as instructed above. Lay rolled dough on top of the pie. Using your fingers, gently press down the dough along the edge of the pie tin. This will help seal the top and bottom pie crusts together. Running a knife along the outside edge of the pie tin, cut the excess pie crust from the pie tin and discard or save for another use. Using your fingers, pinch the dough to flute the edge or use a fork to press the crust edge down.
  7. To obtain a nice golden crust, lightly brush your crust with milk of your choice or a beaten egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water, before placing the pie in the oven for baking. Double-crusted pies must vent steam during baking. With a small knife, place several slits in your top crust before baking your pie.

Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes/Muffins, Paleo

I've been trying out a bunch of new blueberry recipes lately, trying to take advantage of our temporary bounty, and I finally found a successful Blueberry muffin! Before my paleo days I had a ridiculous amount of trouble finding a decent blueberry muffin recipe. A few of my memorable attempts were soapy, gummy, or too dense. One mildly successful batch even tasted like blueberry popovers. I've found paleo desserts to be far more reliable, and would suggest these muffins to any baker with coconut flour on hand.

Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes/Muffins
Servings: 12

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons lemon zest, firmly packed (2 to 3 lemons)
1 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 12 muffins cups with paper liners (Watch out for soy ink if you're allergic! We use bridal white muffin tins these days)
  2. In a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, grapeseed oil, agave nectar, and lemon zest. Blend the wet ingredients into the coconut flour mixture with a handheld mixer UNTIL THOROUGHLY COMBINED (took longer than I expected), then fold in the blueberries.
  3. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each prepared muffin cup.
  4. Bake for 22 to 26 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cneter of a cupcake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 1 hour, then frost and serve.
From "Gluten Free Cupcakes" by Elana Amsterdam, pg. 47

Note: Elana recommends lemon cream cheese frosting or whipped cream frosting (see Cupcake book), since both recipes include unavoidable quantities of dairy, I haven't put them in.  They tasted delicious without any topping.

Blueberry Pie, Paleo

I LOVE Blueberry Pie, so with the bushes outside packed with berries, and I fully equipped kitchen, I was ready to make pie until my supplies ran out. I was incredibly dismayed therefore when I realized that none of my paleo cookbooks had a straightforward blueberry pie recipe, and the internet let me down as well. Instead of trying to turn blueberry peach crumble into something resembling a pie, I decided to adapt a recipe my sister uses for her regular gluten free pie. The result was amazing (though I suspect now that I could have simply poured a pile of blueberries into a pie crust and my family still would have been satisfied).

Blueberry Pie
Servings: 8

Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pie Filling
5 cups fresh wild blueberries (a mix of wild, cultivated, and store bought works fine)
1/4 cup coconut sugar (more or less works fine, cut out completely for sugar free)
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F
In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, agave nectar, and vanilla extract. Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Press the dough into
a 9 1/2 inch or deep dish pie pan

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool before filling.

Note: When cooking the entire pie, the almond flour crust tends to burn very easily. Since it will be in the oven for over an hour total, I tend to cover the edges in tin foil. They still crisp to a dark brown, but don't blacken.

In a large bowl, mix blueberries, sugar, arrowroot, lemon juice, and salt. (I tend to mix the blueberries, sugar, arrowroot, and salt together first and then add the lemon, otherwise it clumps up quite a bit)

If you haven't already, make and bake the crust

Pour filling into prepared crust.

Bake pie in preheated oven for about 60 minutes.

Let cool on counter afterwards for at least 10 minutes, refrigeration before cutting is strongly advised if you want the filling to solidify.

Pie crust is from "The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook" by Elana
Amsterdam, pg. 79
Crust makes one 9 1/2 inch crust (can be stretched out to 10 1/2 inch and
scrunched down to 9 in)
Pie filling is adapted from a Living Without online recipe, June/July 2009.

Reviving the blog

Hello! It's been a while since I last posted, and I've picked up a few more food allergies and switched to a paleo diet. These days I avoid gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, walnuts, and cashews, and my go to flours are almond and coconut. I haven't gotten any better at taking pictures of food, so quite a few of my paleo creations will truly look like cave food, but I can guarantee that they will taste great!