Sugarless Date & Coconut Truffles

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You will need:-

100g dark chocolate (I used 85%)

Two decent hands full of dates

Approx. 1 cup of flaked or dessicated coconut

About two tablespoons of flaxseed (use ground almonds if you don’t have flax)

one jar of almond butter

2 tablespoons coconut oil

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To make these dark, soft, caramelly beauties:-

Soak your dates for an hour or so in water, then pour away the excess water. This softens them nicely.

Blitz the dates to a lovely soft mush.

Add in the almond butter and blitz again for a couple of minutes until it’s fluffy(ish). It will start to look a bit like caramel.

Add the coconut and flax, then the melted (but not hot) coconut oil.

Once it’s a nice (firm) mix, put it in the fridge for an hour to harden a little. This makes it easier to roll into little balls.

When you take it out of the fridge, start melting your chocolate over a bain-marie.

Roll the datey mixture across your palm into little balls, then drop each one into the melted chocolate and move about until it is all coated in black goop.

Remove with a teaspoon and place on greaseproof paper to harden.

Keep them in the fridge and nibble with guilt-free satisfaction.

Paleo Baking with Pals

These are my friends. I didn’t know most of them a year ago, but we were brought together by Crossfit.

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We are all Mothers, mostly in our 40’s, and all part of our local Crossfit Box’s off-peak squad, affectionately known as the ‘Strong Mums’. We are in our post-WOD state here, so forgive the lack of grooming.

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As I pursue my Paleo eating journey, I am improving my understanding of how to adapt normal baking recipes to suit the Paleo diet, and it’s catching on! My cakes can’t be too shabby, since this baking day was devised as a result of requests to share my knowledge (and my cakes) with my girls.

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It was a blast. Much coffee was imbibed and between us we managed to knock up a Snacksatisfyingly respectable few bakes between the seven of us and two ovens.

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I’m happy to spread the grain & sugar-free message to my fitness-seeking pals, but ain’t it amazing how a gym can bring people together in the unlikeliest of ways? Crossfit has brought us together – a group of women whose paths would most probably never have crossed without the atmosphere and camaraderie of a Crossfit gym.

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In case you are wondering, our repertoire included a magnificent chocolate sandwich, a triumph of a fruit cake, some divine almond butter fridge snacks, and a showstopping star anise and almond cakeNom.

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And the best part? I now have a cupboard full of cake!

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Vanilla Seedy Morsels

Snacks that are sugar free are a staple for the Paleo cook.

These were an experiment which serendipitously worked (hurrah for that!)

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There are two similar, but separate snacks here:-
1. Sunflower & pumpkin seed clusters (above), which have honey in to help them, well…cluster
2. Sunflower & pumpkin seeds with vanilla (below)… No clustering, just scattering required.

For each, start with about a cup of mixed seeds in a bowl. I used just pumpkin and sunflower, but if I make them again I think sesame seeds would add a lovely flavour.
Add about 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or bean paste. Mix the whole lot in…add a few drops of water to loosen the syrup, but make sure all the seeds are coated.
If you want to make the clusters, this is the point at which you need to add around 4 teaspoons of honey. Mix well again.
Heap the sticky mass onto a baking tray, ensuring you spread them out thinly & evenly.
Finally, bake (in each case) for around 15 minutes in a low oven around 140 degrees C.

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When you remove from the oven, they should just be turning golden. Leave them for a couple of minutes so that they are not hotter than the bowels of Vesuvius, as you need to use your fingers next!
For the clusters, working quickly, shape them into little balls (broad bean size) and lay onto grease proof paper. If you’re not quick enough, they WILL turn to concrete, so just pop them back in the oven for a minute to soften again if that happens.
If you’re making the vanilla only seeds, just separate them with your fingers and scatter across your greaseproof paper, like a sprinkling of granola sand. Poetic eh?
Leave to cool.
Scoff.

 

Paleo walnut and sour cherry Brownies

A variation on normal Paleo chocolate Brownies, just to add interest. They are very gooey, not too sweet, very chocolatey and moreish. No honey or syrup, just a tiny bit of Stevia and some dates/prunes for sweetness. The sour cherries and walnuts add lovely texture.

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You will need:-

  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarb of soda
  • 4 ounces baking chocolate (as close to 100% cacao as you can get/like)
  • 1/2 cup soft dates, pits removed
  • 1/4 cup soft prunes
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ teaspoon stevia (optional)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • a handful of dried sour cherries

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Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

Combine the almonds, salt and bicarb in your mixer. Blitz in the dates and prunes until they are like coarse sand. Add the 3 eggs and the stevia.

In the meantime, melt your chocolate over a bain-marie, and when almost melted add the coconut oil to melt too.

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When finger-cool, pour the chocolate in to the almond mixture and whisk to combine.

Finally, add the walnuts and pulse briefly to chop a little. Stir in the cherries.

Pour the whole mixture (which is quite thick) into a 8×8 inch baking dish, and bake for around 20 minutes. I actually went 21 minutes in a non-fan oven. They were beautifully just-undercooked so that the centres are soft and gooey.

Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool properly. Cut into squares (about 16) and enjoy!

Paleo chocolate sandwich cake

This is quite delicious, very chocolatey and therefore not entirely without sugar content. You can use whatever chocolate you like, but I went for Green & Black’s 72% cooking chocolate.

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It’s not the cheapest cake to make, so bring it out for birthdays and special occasions. My non-Paleo friends enjoyed this enormously.

You will need:-

Two 8 or 9 inch cake tins, greased and lined. I used silicone cake moulds for simplicity of exit…

Your oven to be pre-heated to 170 degrees.

For the cake batter:


  • 8 ounces dark chocolate
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 
6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 4 cups ground almonds
  • 2 teaspoons coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup best quality cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a saucepan of barely-there simmering water. Set aside to cool (the mixture needs to cool for at least 10 minutes before adding the the egg mixture below).

Whisk together the maple syrup and eggs in a mixer for 5-6 minutes until pale yellow and fluffy-looking. Slowly whisk in cooled chocolate and vanilla bean paste.

Sift almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder over egg mixture. Gently fold in to incorporate. Divide the cake batter batter between two cake tins and bake cakes for around 20 minutes in the centre of the oven, until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edges and then remove the cakes from the pans. Leave to cool completely.

To keep it simple, I sandwiched the cakes together with some whipped fresh cream. There is a way to make complex Paleo butter-cream, but this way was quite yummy enough if you are a dairy eater.

 

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‘Cut & come again’ Paleo spiced fruit cake


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I was fighting the urge to bake a moist, crumbly fruit cake yesterday, and eventually decided to take a gamble & experiment with a grain & sugar free Paleo version. It turned out better than okay, and I would defy any Paleo cynic to tell the difference between this cake and a normal fruit cake.

You will need:-

A 20cm deep, loose bottomed cake tin, greased and lined.
350g of ground almonds
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
85g agave nectar or other sweetener
1-2tsp ground mixed spice
4 large eggs, beaten
175g softened butter
375g sultanas, raisins, cherries, mixed peel – combination of your choice

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

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Put the whole lot into your bowl/mixer and whisk until everything is properly incorporated. If it looks a bit stodgy, add approx. 3-4 tbsp full fat milk or coconut (drinking) milk to the mixture, to loosen it to a nice batter.

Spoon it all into your cake tin and level off the top.

Bake it for approx. 1 and a quarter hours, or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake.

Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool properly.

Put the kettle on and salivate! Remember, if you invite friends to share, there will be less for you!

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Paleo Vanilla & Honey Panna Cotta

If you like creamy vanilla panna cotta but you’re off dairy and don’t eat refined sugar, this is for you.

It is truly the simplest of puds, takes about 5 minutes to make and then just sets in the fridge.

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You will need:-

Six individual pudding moulds

600g canned coconut milk (1 can and a half)

50g honey (or other paleo sweetener)

2 tsp vanilla bean paste or fresh vanilla pod

4 sheets of gelatine

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To make this :-

Place your sheets of gelatine in some cold water to soften for a few minutes.

In a saucepan, place the coconut milk, honey and vanilla. Warm but do not boil, ensuring all the honey is incorporated.

Once warm, remove from the heat and add the wrung-out gelatine sheets. Stir well to dissolve fully.

Pour the mix equally between the six moulds and place them on a tray. Pop it straight in the fridge for a few hours until they are set.

To release them from the mould, just hold it in some hot water for a few seconds to release each panna cotta, then flip them upside down onto the serving plate.

These are great alone, or serve with some stewed fruit. Rhubarb is a particular favourite.