Archive of ‘By Cravings’ category

Sugar-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + the Comprehensive Alternative Sweeteners Information Post!

As promised, here’s my printable guide and Question and Answer post for baking with sugar-free sweeteners! Thank you for submitting your sugar-free baking questions through Facebook and email.

Download the printable chart at the following link:

Sugar-Free Baking Cheat Sheet

Sugar-Free Baking Tips Chart

I created this sugar-free baking tips sheet with reminders of how you use sugar-free natural sweeteners and a couple of widely available low carb artificial sweeteners. Feel free to post this chart on your own website, or link back to the chart as a reference. The more people who have access to information explaining how to use these healthy sweeteners, the better! I’ll update the body of this post (not the comments) with answers as more questions come in. You are welcome to provide your own feedback and answers to questions in the comments. I’d love to hear about your experiences with sugar-free baking, and any information you might have to add!  Hopefully we can all collaborate to make this a helpful post for both fledgling and veteran sugar-free bakers.

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Healthy Peanut Butter Cups – Homemade Treats that are Low Carb, Primal, and Nearly Sugar-Free!

This healthy version of everyone’s favorite peanut buttery candy is quick and easy to make. Check ’em out!


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Yes, we can eat peanut butter cups following a healthy, whole foods eating plan. These delicious candies melt in your mouth, and give you a dose of antioxidant rich chocolate and immune system boosting coconut oil. This recipe is pretty nifty since you can shape and flavor your chocolates any way you’d like! The possibilities are endless…

Healthy Peanut Clusters

This is going to be the first in a series of quick and easy desserts that can be made with primal (or paleolithic diet-friendly) ingredients. I’ll include a low carb (sometimes sugar-free) version for each of these recipes as well, of course.

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Healthy Carrot Cake with decadent Cream Cheese Frosting

Why have I made carrot cake over ten times in the past three days? To come up with a Healthy Carrot Cake that’s low in carbohydrates and gluten-free for you! This fragrant and flavorful cake is also dairy-free and nut-free, if you omit the classic add in of chopped walnuts. I promise you won’t miss the raisins in this nourishing carrot cake that’s not just healthy “because it has vegetables in it!” 😉 The other bad stuff–those culprits named Sugar and Flour–are conspicuously left out of this recipe. All of that grating was totally worth it.

There is a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses–which is technically a sugar–in this recipe. It’s a thick, dark iron-rich syrup made from the sugarcane plant. This molasses is potent stuff, and contributes a rich flavor and coloring to the cake. You can leave molasses out to be completely sugar-free, but I think it’s worth the 4 grams of carbs.

You can bake the cake into a traditional rectangular loaf, or snack-sized mini muffins. Get creative and have fun with your sugar-free frosting! It pipes well, using a zip top bag with the corner snipped off.
Healthy Carrot Cake - Low Carb and Gluten-Free

A bit of food coloring can transform your homemade low carb treats into festive, eye-catching confections worthy of special occasions. Check the food coloring label for hidden sugar before you buy. I made the mistake of not checking the label of the Wilton gel coloring I used here, and saw it contained corn syrup, much to my dismay! That pesky Sugar manages to sneak in everywhere, doesn’t it? McCormick food colors, found in most grocery stores, are sugar-free. I’ve tried a couple of organic dyes, and unfortunately neither of them yielded satisfactory results. You need so little coloring for an entire batch of frosting that I’m not too worried about the health effects. If you have any recommendations for natural food dye, let us know in the comments, please.

The frosting is absolutely delicious any color you make it. It’s a new and improved Healthy Cream Cheese Frosting, with a special low carb ingredient that might be familiar to the Asian and Indian readers of this blog… 

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Spring Weather Means Coconut Cream Pie (take 2)!

I realize I’ve done a few pies in the past few posts, and I’m letting you know there are definitely other treats on the agenda coming up. I’m just really loving cold and creamy low carb pies for this warm weather we’re having here in NC!

There is another coconut cream pie recipe posted here, which I made back in December. This one is a little different since it is free of any starch thickeners. It’s better tasting and lower in carbohydrates, which is good news for diabetic and primal readers. Now, I realize dairy is in no way primal, but it is a food group that I consume quite frequently since my Northern European ancestors conferred upon me the ability to handle it pretty well! You might try making this pie with coconut cream, but whipping it to a fluffy and light consistency has proven difficult since it is more stiff than regular cream.

The multiple steps make this recipe sound complicated, but it’s really just a bit of a drawn out process. I recommend doing little tasks (blog surfing, laundry folding, etc.) during the intervals between the steps. I promise you that the labor will be well worth it. 

I’m not ashamed to admit this slice was gone within minutes of the photo being taken!
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This pie is one of my top three favorite desserts of all time. It was gobbled up within a couple of days by my family when I made it as a Christmas treat! It’s got just the right balance of sweetness and richness, with a delicate, light filling and a hint of coconut flavor to tantalize your tastebuds.
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Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Here’s a sweet treat for you peanut butter lovers out there! If you are allergic to everyone’s favorite legumes, try substituting in smooth almond butter for a nutty flavor.

Try sprinkling chopped peanuts on top (instead of the sliced almonds pictured here). I improvised with what I had on hand.

Healthier Peanut Butter Pie (Sugar-Free, Low Carb)

Scrumptious Sugar-Free Key Lime Pie

School’s out for the summer, and I’m back in the kitchen. So happy to have a break from coursework, and time to create another low carb recipe! Here in Florida, the summer heat has me craving cool, creamy desserts and icy treats to enjoy. Enter a sugar-free version of the official dessert of the state of Florida: Key Lime Pie!

This is not your momma’s key lime pie…

…or at least if my mother made key lime pie (she grew up in North Dakota), it wouldn’t be like this! There are no egg yolks or sweetened condensed milk to be found in this version. With all of the tart, sweet flavor and none of the sugar, this low carb key lime pie will remind you of the slices you’ve enjoyed in Florida seafood restaurants. The pie has a slightly different texture than the original, though, with its airy, almost mousse-like filling. I can promise you that you won’t miss the sweetened condensed milk after tasting this pie. 

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Healthy Chocolate Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes…

At last, I am posting the recipe that goes with the photo you see below! Apologies for the delay. Am enjoying the last days of Spring Break. The Floridian in me is pretty excited about it (hint: it’s a well-loved pie!), too.

Regarding comments, I’m sorry to say I cannot keep up with them for the time being. I am merely a student, with my top priorities being school work and other activities on campus. Please do not hesitate to email me. Go ahead and shoot me another one if I miss your first email! I will be creating a separate email account shortly just to respond to blog comments and questions, since they are currently mixed in with my school/work/personal emails. Thank you for your understanding.


At any rate, I hope you will give these easy, tasty cheesecakes a try. You can add what ever berry you like, or perhaps get creative and drop other goodies into the unbaked filling (low carb chocolate chips? sugar-free cookie chunks?!). The gluten-free nut crust could be tweaked with finely ground dried coconut flakes and perhaps a bit of buckwheat flour to make it nut-free for those allergic, but I will leave the experimentation up to you this time!


By the way, these cheesecakes were an entry for a contest sponsored by a sugar-free retailer that occurred ages ago. I have since tested the recipe multiple times, and the results have been met with “winning” ratings by my testers, although these tasty bites did not garner accolades in the official contest. The official contest winners were, incidentally, not low carb dishes. Doesn’t the low-glycemic crowd need love too? 😉

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Healthier Grain-Free Chocolate Zucchini (or Apple) Bread

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini (or Apple) Bread

Just returned, completely rejuvenated, from a trip to a see friends and relatives up north. Minnesota and North Dakota are some of my favorite places on Earth. I feel revitalized from being immersed in this uplifting, highly social culture for two weeks. Let me explain: In Fargo, North Dakota and elsewear, the human connection, the sense of community, is strong in the smallish Midwestern towns. How refreshing!

 

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Sugar-Free Premium Chocolate Ice Cream

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Sugar-free chocolate ice cream.

This is the real deal.

I busted out my little Cuisinart and produced an ice cream worthy to share with you guys. With a little bit of inspiration from All Recipes (love this site!), we now have a viable alternative to storebought low carb ice cream that’s gluten-free and made with fresh ingredients. No sorbitol or maltitol, yuck.

The best part about this ice cream is that it’s scoopable right from the freezer. The secret ingredients that make this possible are the heavy cream (as opposed to using part milk or half and half) and the tiny bit of brandy that lowers the freezing point. Now you won’t have to wait around to dig into your healthy indulgence on a hot summer day!

Furthermore, this creamy custard ice cream doesn’t require any cooking time. Because the ice cream contains raw egg yolks, use only fresh organic eggs. I honestly use conventional storebought eggs every time I make desserts, and have never gotten sick, but you might want to take this precaution if you have a compromised immune system. Additionally, you can find pasteurized eggs in some supermarkets that have already been heat treated for safe culinary use.

If you haven’t tried using fresh vanilla beans in your cooking, you might want to give them a try. I ordered them off of ebay for a very reasonable price, and have been using them in low carb custards and pastries ever since. The aromatic floral nature of the tahitian beans and bean pods adds a layer of complexity and richness you can’t get from a bottle. Plus, the pod scrapings add those pretty dark flecks to the ice cream base. Order some today, and you won’t be disappointed.

Still working on a dairy-free ice cream. Stay tuned.

These photos reflect the heat in my sunny Florida kitchen. Hopefully my frustration with the shoot doesn’t come through… 🙂
Healthy Chocolate Ice Cream

Premium Sugar-Free Chocolate Ice Cream
This low carb, gluten-free treat is so rich and creamy you won’t miss the sugar!


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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup honey OR natural sugar-free sweetener* (see recommendations below)
  2. 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 3 fresh egg yolks, beaten
  4. 2 2/3 cups organic heavy cream
  5. 1/8 teaspoon pure stevia extract
  6. 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
  7. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract OR 2 vanilla beans, split
  8. 1 tablespoon brandy OR other spirits (to keep it soft and scoopable)
*To make this ice cream sugar-free, use one of the following sweeteners
  1. 1/2 cup Truvia OR 1/2 cup xylitol OR 1/2 + 2 Tablespoons cup erythritol
Instructions
  1. Melt granulated sweetener in a saucepan over medium-low heat, and add vanilla bean scrapings and bean pods (if using). Let the sweetener melt into a liquid. Whisk in cocoa powder, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and vanilla bean pieces. Stir until sweetener dissolves, with no grainy chunks visible. Remove saucepan from heat. In a large bowl, beat yolks with electric mixer until light in color. Add the rest of the heavy cream a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add cocoa mixture into yolk mixture, and beat well. Whisk in stevia, xanthan gum and vanilla extract, if using. Taste, and add more stevia, if necessary. Chill ice cream base in refrigerator for a minimum of four hours, covered in plastic wrap.
  2. Turn on your ice cream maker and strain the base through a fine mesh sieve into your machine to remove the vanilla bean pieces. While the ice cream is freezing, make up the sugar-free chocolate chips. Freeze ice cream for a few hours to make it firm and scoopable.
Nutrition Facts
  1. ~1,378 calories, 17.4g net carbs per batch (no chocolate chips, using erythritol)
Healthy Indulgences http://healthyindulgences.net/

Sugar-Free Chocolate Ice Cream Chips

Makes enough chips for one batch of ice cream

Ingredients:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I like Ghirardelli)
1/4 cup xylitol OR 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon erythritol, powdered
1/8 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract
2 tablespoons coconut oil OR nonhydrogenated shortening

Preparation:
Powder sweetener finely in a coffee grinder. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in microwave for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Stir again until smooth, and add xylitol and stevia. Fold mixture together with a spatula until a silky smooth consistency is reached. It may take you a minute to work the chocolate mixture around the bowl and smooth out all the chunks of xylitol. Scrape melted chocolate bit by bit into ice cream maker a few minutes before the ice cream stiffens completely. Alternatively, pour on to a sheet pan lined with foil. Freeze for 10 minutes, then peel chocolate slab off of foil. Chop into tiny chunks, working quickly before it melts. Fold chips into finished ice cream.

~12g net carbs for the whole batch of chips
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What is your favorite kind of ice cream? Any good storebought sugar-free or dairy-free brands? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

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