Archive of ‘Nut-Free’ category

Sugar-Free Premium Chocolate Ice Cream

chocolate ice cream1

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!

Low Carb Vanilla Ice Cream w/Hot Fudge Sauce–No Ice Cream Maker Required!

Just a quick note about comments and emails–I have been traveling, and don’t always have a moment to respond to everything as of late. If you have an urgent question about a recipe, please shoot me an email (or two!). Keep in mind that I’m just a college student. Thanks so much for your feedback! I read all of it and take it to heart to improve the content here.

blackberry semifreddo2

It’s ice cream season in Florida!

I’ve blogged about this frozen treat before, but couldn’t resist trying a couple of recipes that seemed pretty easy, with readily available ingredients. Best of all, they don’t require an ice cream maker, but still yield deliciously creamy, airy results. Furthermore, they’re company worthy, making summer entertaining easy on your low carb plan.

Coming up for you are more ice cream recipes, now that I’m back home with my little Cuisinart ice cream maker. Stay tuned for a scoopable dairy-free ice cream, coming up next post.

Do you know what a semifreddo is? I had never heard of it until stumbling upon this Italian frozen dessert at a food blog. Semifreddo is italian for “half cold,” which aptly describes the nature of this icy gluten-free dessert. You whip together cream, separated eggs, sweetener and flavoring, then spread it in a loaf pan or mold. Freeze, slice, and enjoy. It’s that simple! All you need is a hand mixer and a few mixing bowls, along with a bit of patience for the whipping and freezing time required.

I topped off the vanilla bean version with a homemade sugar-free hot fudge sauce. It’s lick-off-the-spoon worthy. You can make up a small batch if you feel it’ll be dangerous to have hanging around.

Seasonal blackberries were used in the making of the deep purple semifreddo. I blended ’em up, strained them, and used them in the custard as well as the fresh sauce drizzled over the top. The sauce helps to cover the cracks I made from using plastic wrap to line the mold. Note to self–don’t line the mold next time. Just grease it with butter, and run the mold under hot water if you want your pretty pan design to show on the finished dessert. I used a jello mold for the blackberry flavor, which you can see created the rounded, fluted shape. How cool is the bright purple coloring from the blackberries? You just know something that naturally vibrant has to be healthy!

And to finish up, here are a few cool posts for your weekend low carb cooking:

How to Render Bacon Fat @ Mark’s Daily Apple
Flax Meal Bread @ Elana’s Pantry
Bacon Wrapped Steaks @ Flour Arrangements

Tastes just like a hot fudge sundae!
vanilla semifreddo2

Sugar-Free Vanilla Ice Cream (Semifreddo style)

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split (optional)

Sweetening options:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons erythritol, powdered, or 1/2 cup xylitol, powdered plus 1/8 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract
OR
3/4 cup Splenda

4 fresh, organic eggs (whites and yolks separated)
2 cups organic heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Preparation:
In first bowl, beat sugar and egg yolks until mixture is a light creamy yellow, then beat in vanilla extract and bean scrapings. In second bowl, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. In third bowl, beat egg whites, add a pinch of salt, and then keep beating until you have stiff peaks. Fold together cream and egg yolk mixture gently. Then fold in egg whites thoroughly, but with as few strokes as possible to keep the airiness. Spread into loaf pan lined with plastic wrap, or a metal mold. Freeze, covered loosely in plastic wrap, for at least 4 hours. Scoop out with an ice cream scoop. Alternatively, run water over the bottom of the pan for a few seconds, unmold, and slice.

~15.5g net carbs for the whole recipe using erythritol and stevia
~31.5g net carbs for the whole recipe using Splenda

vanilla semifreddo1

This hot fudge sauce will not work will Splenda as the primary sweetener. No matter how much you add, the unsweetened chocolate will still taste better. You must add erythritol or xylitol for the best flavor.

Sugar-Free Hot Fudge Sauce
Adapted from a recipe at AllRecipes.com

Ingredients:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I like Ghirardelli)
2 teaspoons unsalted organic butter
1/2 cup organic heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
6 tablespoons xylitol, powdered, OR 7 tablespoons erythritol, powdered
Pinch NuNaturals pure stevia extract
4-6 teaspoons water

Preparation:
Powder xylitol or erythritol in coffee grinder with pinch of sea salt. Chop chocolate finely. Melt together unsweetened chocolate and butter in a double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth. I make my own double boiler by placing my steel bowl over simmering water in a small saucepan. Stir in cream and sweetener mixture, and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and add vanilla and water. Add more water to thin it out if necessary. Taste and adjust sweetness with a bit more stevia or powdered erythritol, as necessary. Keep in mind that the sauce will firm up over ice cream. Store in a jar in the refrigerator, and reheat and whisk well to use.

~10g net carbs for the whole batch

Those little white flecks are bits of cream not mixed in well. Still tastes fabulous!
blackberry semifreddo3

Sugar-Free Blackberry Ice Cream (Semifreddo Style)
Adapted from a recipe at epicurious.com

Makes 5 servings

Ingredients:
12 ounces blackberries (2 heaping cups)

Sweetening options:
1/3 cup erythritol, powdered OR 1/4 cup xylitol, powdered plus 1/8 tsp NuNaturals pure stevia extract
OR
1/2 cup Splenda

1 cup organic heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
5 large egg yolks

Preparation:
Line loaf pan with plastic wrap, if using. Powder erythritol or xylitol in coffee grinder. Purée berries with 1/4 cup cream and salt in a blender until smooth. Pour through a mesh sieve to remove seeds, if desired. Add yolks to a metal bowl and stir in erythritol or xylitol (or Splenda). Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with mixer until pale, thick, and tripled in volume, about 8 minutes. Remove bowl from saucepan and set in a large ice bath, stirring it around a few times as it cools. When yolks are cool to the touch, fold in berry puree.

Beat cold heavy cream (with 1/8 teaspoon stevia, if using), in other large bowl, using cleaned beaters. Whip until cream reaches soft peaks. Fold whipped cream into berry mixture gently but thoroughly. Don’t worry if you see a few streaks of white. Scrape mixture into pan or decorate metal mold and freeze, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until firm, at least 5 hours. Run warm water over the bottom of the pan for a few seconds, then invert semifreddo onto a plate. Alternatively, just use an ice cream scoop to serve from the loaf pan. Let semifreddo defrost for a few minutes for easier scooping.

~5.2g net carbs per 1/5th of a recipe, using erythritol and stevia
~7.6g net carbs per 1/5th of a recipe, using Splenda granular

blackberry semifreddo2


Fresh Blackberry Sauce

5 ounces (1 cup) blackberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon xylitol, erythritol, or Splenda
Tiny pinch NuNaturals pure stevia extract (optional)

Blend blackberries, lemon juice, and sweetener until pureed. Strain through a sieve to remove seeds.

~6.5g net carbs for the whole batch

Easy Sugar-Free Strawberry Mousse–a Low Carb Summer Treat!

Thanks to the readers who entered the contest for the Organic Zero erythritol packets! Andrea is the randomly generated winner. Here is why she eats sugar-free:

“I live sugar-free because my life depends on it. Both of my parents died from diabetes complications and I do not want to go down the same path. We are so fortunate that there are now so many alternatives to sugar such as the product you are promoting. When I was growing up, there was just saccharin which did dnot taste very good. Thank you for your excellent information.”

And now for a surprise second winner! I ordered some vanilla beans on ebay, and have an extra bundle to give away. Rachel can have these vanilla beans if she would like them! The beans can be used as a sugar-free flavoring for baked goods, custard, ice cream, and to make vanilla extract. Here is why Rachel eats sugar-free:

“Lauren,

I eat sugar-free because it’s what my body wants. How do I know this? Sugar and carbs were ruining my life. I had no idea why I constantly craved sugar and processed carbs, and my obsession quickly turned into an eating disorder. I had no control over my cravings…my body wanted more and more and I became a slave to it. I’d binge on sugary, carb-loaded foods and then feel horrible about it and go to great lengths to undo my binges (which I will not describe in detail here). I also suffered from wild mood swings, irritability and fatigue, all of which everyone (including my doctors!) attributed to PMDD.

But I knew it was more than that. All of the treatments I tried for PMDD symptoms had failed. Eventually, completely exhausted, and my body ravaged from my bingeing cycles, I began to do desperate research into blood sugar and its effects on the body. I was shocked to find out that SO many of the symptoms I suffered from, especially the constant sugar and carb cravings, could be due to extremely unstable blood sugar levels!

I immediately stopped eating all sugar and carbs, and have never felt better. I almost never suffer from cravings anymore, I have stopped my destructive bingeing cycles, and am no longer controlled by food. My emotions and moods have leveled, and I have an energy I never knew existed…one that occurs naturally, not feuled by carbs!

I’m not really writing this for your contest, but mostly to tell you that your blog has been a godsend for new sugar- and carb-free eaters like me. I was beginning to accept that I would never be able to enjoy some of my favorite foods again, but your recipes have given me the ability to do that, while still staying within the confines of my diet and without hurting my body.

Thank you so much! I don’t know where you find the time to cook and blog like you do, but I pray that you never stop.

Rachel”

Check out of the rest of the comments from readers about why they eat sugar-free. I really enjoyed reading all of your stories, and seeing how this way of eating is helping people with so many health issues.

Healthy Strawberry Mousse

Do you crave fresh fruit in this summer heat?

I do, and tend to satisfy that desire with stevia-sweetened lemonade instead of “Nature’s Candy.” Some days though, you just gotta indulge in those natural sugars, so here’s how to on your low carb sugar-free lifestyle. Pair the fruit with fat! It dilutes the sugar carbs, making you satisfied with a smaller portion. It also stops your blood sugar from fluctuating wildly and making you hungry an hour after your fruit snack. Besides, fat makes everything tastes better, especially if it comes in the form of organic heavy cream. It’s a divine combination of flavors that inspired countless songs and many different types of desserts.

This strawberry mousse will be the first dessert in a series of easy, quick low carb desserts that require minimal effort, yet will still impress that surprise company coming over for dinner! Besides, who wants to make a big mess in a hot kitchen in this weather? This naturally gluten-free, egg-free mousse can also be made dairy-free with the use of full fat coconut milk! It can be made sugar-free using a combination of stevia and powdered erythritol, but any zero calorie sweetener would work well here. I tried this dessert with Splenda as well, because I have decided to include a measurement for it alongside my preferred natural sweeteners from now on. Although I don’t prefer the taste and chemical nature of Splenda for personal use, it is used by so many diabetics and other carb watchers who need to eat a low insulin producing diet to live. Most importantly, there little empirical evidence showing adverse side effects from its use. If by creating an option for sweetening with Splenda in my recipes, I can broaden the appeal of these healthful low carb treats, I am willing to do so. Keep in mind that combining sugar-free sweeteners yields the best taste, and allows you to use less of them overall. Use the sweetening option that works for your lifestyle, beliefs, budgetary constraints, and health concerns.

This mousse might work with honey as well, but I didn’t try making it like that since I am attempting to limit consumption of all forms of sugar. I’d start with a 2-3 tablespoons of honey, cooked with the strawberries, if you’d like to go this route.

Healthy Sugar-Free Strawberry Mousse

Strawberry Mousse
Adapted from this recipe at Sugar & Everything Nice

Makes 5 servings

Ingredients:

8 ounces fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled and sliced

Sweetener options:
1/4 cup erythritol, powdered, plus 1/8 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract
OR
1/2 cup Splenda plus 1/8 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract (or 1/4 cup more Splenda)
OR
2-3 tablespoons honey plus 1/8 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon zest from an organic lemon
Pinch sea salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup organic heavy cream

Preparation:
Sprinkle the gelatin over the tablespoon of water in a small bowl, and set aside to soften. Puree the strawberries with the zest, the juice, and the salt. Heat the puree in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring together the strawberries and sweetener just until hot. Add gelatin and stir until melted. Let mixture cool. Beat the cream to soft peaks, and beat in vanilla and stevia. Gently fold strawberry mixture into cream. Pour into serving cups and chill for two hours.

For a stiff, pipeable mousse (like you see in the photos), follow these directions after soaking the gelatin:
Place the strawberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt in a saucepan over medium low heat, and add the sweetener (erythritol, Splenda, or honey–don’t add the stevia yet) and water and cook, breaking up with your spatula. Stir around the pan gently until the sweetener has dissolved. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the strawberries have slightly thickened. Add the gelatin to the pan, and stir until it is completely melted. Puree in a blender (I used my Magic Bullet) or food processor. Let cool to room temperature. Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks with a hand mixer, and beat in vanilla and stevia. Once the strawberries are cooled, carefully fold the whipped cream into the fruit puree. Pipe mixture into serving bowls, and chill for at least an hour. I used an 8″ Wilton piping bag with the largest tip I could find at Michael’s craft store. The tip was $1.99 and the piping bag was $1.99.

~6.2g net carbs per 1/5th of a recipe using ½ cup Splenda w/stevia
~4g net carbs per 1/5th of a recipe using erythritol/stevia

mousse bite

A Giveaway! And Sugar-Free Rice Krispie Treats and Marshmallows

Does anyone else love shopping for groceries? There’s something about perusing the shelves, discovering new foods and special sale items, that makes supermarket shopping trips secretly exciting for me. The international and organic food sections are my favorite areas of the store to wander around in aimlessly, scanning the shelves for anything that jumps out at me. Today I was looking at the gluten-free grains in Kroger, and spotted brown rice “krispies.” Immediately the thought of sweet, gooey Rice Krispy treats popped into my head. A reader had asked about the possibility of a low carb, sugar-free version, so I thought I’d give it a shot today.

So let’s start by deconstructing rice krispie treats. Crispy rice cereal is not something I’d consume on a daily basis because of its processed nature, starchiness, and low protein content, but it lends that familiar crunch that’s so essential for these kid-friendly treats. Next, we need to do something about that corn syrup filled marshmallow. It’s 100% sugar! Fortunately, xylitol works well in homemade marshmallows. It’s a one for one swap, with a touch of honey to keep the marshmallows moist and soft, and stevia to boost the sweetness. Finally, we need to cut back on the brown rice if we want to make these treats low carb. I replaced half of the cereal with blanched sliced almonds that I dry toasted in a skillet. They’re a crunchy, high protein addition to rice krispie (krispy?) treats that I hope you’ll enjoy as a healthy twist to old classic!

Now for the fun part! I’d like to share my other food find from the organic foods section at Kroger. It’s organic erythritol, on sale for a Manager’s Special promotion! I’m passing the savings on to you guys by giving it away to one lucky reader. Leave a comment, telling me why you eat sugar-free, to be entered into a drawing for a box of this natural, calorie free sweetener.

Erythritol (a natural sweetener)
Erythritol (a natural sweetener)

You have a whole week to enter! I’ll ship the box to the winner as long as you’re located in the U.S.
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And now, back to marshmallows! Don’t be intimidated by the number of the steps for this recipe. The process is pretty straightforward. You don’t even have to use a thermometer. Just set up your bowls in advance, and have your ingredients already measured out if you’re trying to do this with a hand mixer, like I did. You’ll be adding everything with one hand, and mixing with the other. Isn’t a little bit of labor worth it for (almost) sugar-free marshmallows, though?

They look a little rustic, but taste every bit as good as regular marshmallows…

Sugar-Free Marshmallows

Sugar-Free Marshmallows
Adapted from this recipe at AllRecipes.com

Makes about 7 cups mini marshmallows

Ingredients:
1 cup xylitol
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (clear imitation is recommended)
Big pinch sea salt
1/8 teaspoon good tasting pure stevia extract (NuNaturals)
Organic cornstarch or toasted coconut, for dusting (optional)

Preparation:
You can find step by step photos of this process here. I use a different method, but the pictures of the beaten marshmallow are accurate.

Grease an 8 by 8 inch pan with butter or nonhydrogenated shortening. Set out a saucepan and a large stainless steel bowl, or a large pot. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together xylitol, honey and 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water. Heat xylitol mixture, without stirring, until it bubbles vigorously. Place remaining water in a large bowl or saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over the surface of this water. Heat bowl containing gelatin and water over a saucepan of simmering water to melt and liquefy the gelatin. Remove gelatin from heat. Turn down xylitol mixture to medium heat and boil solution until it turns a deep amber color, as seen in this photo. Remove immediately from heat and pour into bowl of dissolved gelatin. It will foam up considerably, thus the need for the large bowl in which to heat the gelatin. Whisk together once the foam dies down, and transfer the amber colored liquid to a glass measuring cup. In a clean bowl (preferably metal), start whipping egg white with a pinch of cream of tartar, or one drop of vinegar. Whip until the egg white is at the stage of soft peaks. Slowly stream in xylitol solution over the course of a minute or so, beating all the time. Try not to hit the sides of the bowl as you stream in the hot xylitol mixture. Turn up mixer speed to high and beat egg white xylitol mixture for 5-10 minutes, until fluffy and thick. Beat in vanilla, stevia, and salt. When marshmallow is beginning to set, it will pull on the beaters a lot and leave tracks. Pour immediately into greased dish and spread around with a spatula. Let set out on the counter for about 8 eight hours. If you are eating the marshmallows out of hand, invert the pan onto a clean surface, like a cutting board. Marshmallows should flop out onto surface after a bit of shaking. Pry them out gently with a buttered silicone spatula if necessary. If you are eating these out of hand, place sifted cornstarch into a large bowl. Chop marshmallow block into 1 inch cubes, or 1/2 inch for mini marshmallows, with a large buttered knife. Toss handfuls of marshmallows into cornstarch and shake around the bowl. Store in a ziptop bag on the counter.

~17g net carbs for the whole recipe, depending on how you count xylitol (add 7g net carbs for each tablespoon of cornstarch you toss the marshmallows in)

Sugar-Free Rice Krispie Treats

Low Carb Rice Krispy Treats

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:
4 cups sugar-free mini marshmallows
3 tablespoons regular organic butter or nonhydrogenated shortening
2.5 cups sliced blanched almonds
2 cups GF organic crisped brown rice cereal
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt (if you use shortening; just a pinch if you use butter)

Preparation:
Toast almonds in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant and crunchy. Do NOT let them brown, or they will taste burned. Set aside to cool.

Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add salt and mini marshmallows, and stir until melted and thoroughly blended into a smooth mixture. Cook 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add cereal and almonds. Stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula, press mixture evenly and firmly into a buttered 8 by 8 inch pan. Cut into squares when cool.

~7g net carbs per 1/12th of a recipe

Sugar-Free Rice Krispie Treats

Don’t forget to enter the contest with a comment! It closes Friday of next week, July 12th.

Healthy Cake with a Secret, Part 2- Gluten-Free Low Carb Yellow Cake!

yellow cake close up

(Please ignore the robots on the paper liners. They were on sale!)

Since posting my chocolate cake made with black beans last month, I’ve received quite a few requests for a vanilla version of this incredibly moist, easy recipe. You ask, I deliver! These gluten-free sugar-free low carb (grain-free!) yellow cupcakes are made with coconut flour in place of the cocoa powder, and white beans instead of black beans. Cocoa powder and coconut flour seem to work interchangeably! It’s a pretty cool discovery that I hope y’all can make use of in your own gluten-free low carb baking pursuits. And because someone will ask: These cupcakes do not taste like beans or coconut! Just butter and vanilla and moist yumminess. Using beans and coconut flour in place of almond flour is budget-friendly, so you can experiment with this recipe by adding cinnamon, nuts, sugar-free chocolate chunks, different extracts… have fun!

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Fluffy, Diner-Style Healthy Pancakes… Low Carb and Gluten-Free!

Going to keep this post short and sweet. It’s been a busy weekend! Summer term is already wrapping up, with only a couple weeks of class left.

Healthy Low Carb Pancakes

This morning, I got a craving for pancakes! I’ve been searching for a healthy low carb version of those fluffy white stacks of carb-fog-inducing bliss ever since I saw my friends chowing down on flapjacks at my favorite breakfast diner, The Golden Griddle. It’s a mandatory stop on our annual trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at the end of the school year. Every May, Dukies take over this quaint restaurant for a weekend, and get served by the likes of our super friendly waitress Kathleen, and other purveyors of Southern hospitality. We’ve had Kathleen as our server for two years running, so going to Golden Griddle now feels like a special welcome from the small beach town.

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Healthier Chocolate Cake with a Secret

Cake.

Sugar-Free, Healthy Chocolate Cake (Made from Black Beans!)
Chocolate cake!

Chocolate cake made without flour, sugar, or dairy. Low carb and gluten-free, of course. Cake made out of a surprise ingredient, one that will make you wrinkle you’re nose upon hearing it. This cake is good. So good, in fact, that I had to have a mug of stevia-sweetened pomegranate tea and go to bed, so I’d stop shaving off “test” slices.

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Coconut Flour Pound Cake

Coconut Flour Pound Cake

It’s so nice to have a bit more time to blog now that summer is here. I’ll have more gluten-free low carb recipes coming your way, with more of a focus on primal ingredients. What do I mean by primal? Head on over to Mark’s Daily Apple and check out the primal blueprint, a paleolithic way of eating. Basically, the primal plan eschews modern processed food and the typical refined carbohydrate-heavy American diet. I don’t always stick to such a plan 100% (evidenced by this upcoming dairy laden recipe), but I make an effort to put health over convenience and at least avoid the prepackaged stuff. The primal way constitutes a budget-friendly approach for students, too. The prices of organic vegetables and wild salmon burgers are far exceeded by fast food, pints of Ben and Jerry’s and card swiping at the vending machines around campus!

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Healthier Low Carb Chocolate Pie

chocolatepie5

Gotta keep this post short and sweet. Finals are underway! I cannot always respond to comments on old posts due to time constraints, so please email me with your recipe questions on older posts. I love hearing from you, and am happy to address any of your recipe “issues”

Now let’s talk about this pie. I know what you’re thinking–MORE chocolate? More chocolate pie?! Now hold on a minute. This is magical, no bake crustless chocolate pie! Instant gratification. Listening now?

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Healthy Homemade Creme Eggs… Move Over Cadbury!

First things first: My iherb.com rewards code is NIN467. Thank you to BkBabe and the other readers who clued me in about this! Use it for your first iherb.com purchase, and get a $5 discount.

cremeegg

It’s that time of year. That time when convenience stores have Easter candy displays set up. Even the most devoted healthy eaters can get nostalgic, seeing the colorful displays of packaged marshmallow and chocolate confections. Reminiscent of childhood candy baskets on Easter morning, these toxic frankenfoods certainly still have an allure for me. The single most tempting treat is Cadbury Cream Eggs, hands-down. As much as my tastebuds have adapted to subtle sweetness and natural sugar substitutes, I could still probably down a package of those goo-filled overpoweringly sweet candy eggs.

With a healthy dose of natural saturated fats and antioxidants from the organic cream, butter, and unsweetened chocolate, these homemade candies will allow you to have your seasonal treats while maintaining your healthy diet. I seriously cannot believe the power sugar holds over us at times. I believe due to biochemical individuality, it’s only certain individuals who are cursed with getting that “jolt” of happiness every time they eat sweet, carbohydrate-rich foods. The evolutionary adaptation that helped us to identify energy rich foods back when we were chasing around saber toothed tigers can be tortuous in this processed food-filled day and age!

My homemade almost sugar-free take on these well loved confections does not taste exactly the same, but is every bit as delicious and satisfying. The simple filling is light but rich, with buttery undertones. I even made a vegan version for you dairy-free folks! The combination of stevia and honey contributes just the right amount of sweetness to the creamy center, minus the gloppy powdered sugar/corn syrup consistency and cloying quality. My testers certainly gave these the thumbs up!

Now let’s compare these treats with the store bought sugar bombs…

Original Creme Eggs:
28 grams net carbs!

Healthy Creme Eggs:
6 grams net carbs!

Pretty crazy, huh? The little bit of really sugar in honey works really well here. I did not try a version with erythritol because a) I’m out, and b) I’m guessing there will be a cooling effect/grittiness that would be unpleasant in the creamy filling.

Now go buy some egg molds off of ebay ($5 including shipping!), and get candy making. Happy early Easter!

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Healthy Homemade Creme Eggs

Makes 8 large eggs

Ingredients:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted organic butter
1/4 cup organic heavy cream
1 tablespoon honey (add an extra teaspoon for a very sweet filling)
1 fresh organic egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon (scant) good tasting pure stevia extract
Pinch unrefined sea salt

Preparation:

Heat butter, cream, and honey, stirring over over low heat until butter is completely melted. Whisk in egg yolk and cook over medium-low heat until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon (should take 3-5 minutes). It will leave a trail when you drag your finger across the back of the spoon. Remove from heat and add vanilla and stevia. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Taste and add a tiny pinch more stevia if necessary. If when cooking the custard you start seeing little tiny cooked pieces of egg white, immediately pull from the the heat and strain mixture. It will still be good. Chill until cool to the touch.

~4.2g net carbs per 1/8th of a recipe

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Dairy-Free/Vegan Filling

Makes 8 large eggs

Ingredients:
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup coconut cream (from canned coconut milk)
1 tablespoon honey (add an extra teaspoon for a very sweet filling)
Tiny pinch xanthan gum OR 1 fresh egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon (scant) good-tasting pure stevia extract
Pinch unrefined sea salt

Preparation:

Store coconut milk in the refrigerator for a few hours. Remove the lid gently, and scoop out the solid upper layer of coconut cream. Heat shortening, coconut cream, and honey, stirring over over low heat until butter is completely melted. If using xanthan gum, simply add the tiniest pinch you can hold between your fingertips, and whisk for a minute. It will thicken a little bit in the pan, but will become even more viscous upon cooling. Less is more here. It’s better to add too little xanthan then have it turn slimy because you’ve added too much. You can always add more when the mixture has cooled. If using egg yolk, whisk it into the warmed coconut cream mixture and cook over medium-low heat until it coats the back of a spoon (should take 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and add vanilla and stevia. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Taste and add a tiny pinch more stevia if necessary. If when cooking the custard you start seeing little tiny cooked pieces of egg white, immediately pull from the the heat and strain mixture. It will still be good. Chill until cool to the touch.

Sugar-Free “Milk” Chocolate Egg Shells (or Chocolate Chunks)

Makes 8 egg shells

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (Ghirardelli)
2 tablespoons powdered nonfat milk (I use Organic Valley)
2 tablespoons xylitol or 3 tablespoons erythritol
1/8 teaspoon good-tasting pure stevia extract
2 teaspoons nonhydrogenated shortening (Spectrum Organic)

Ensure all utensils and working bowls are completely dry. Powder sweetener and powdered milk with the flat blade on a Magic Bullet, or your coffee grinder. Whir for at least one minute until it becomes an extra fine powder. Do not open canister immediately in order to allow the powdered mixture to settle. In a large microwave safe bowl, break chocolate into chunks, and add shortening. Heat chocolate mixture for 35 seconds on HIGH and stir. Heat in 10 second intervals, stirring each time, until melted and smooth. Dump in powdered mixture, and fold around the bowl with a spatula until smooth. It will look clumpy and thick at first, but you will be able to smooth it out. Reheat in microwave for 10-15 seconds. Fill molds, spreading chocolate up the sides with your fingertips or the back of a tiny measuring spoon. Chill in freezer, and repeat, only spreading chocolate around the top edges (which tend to be too thin since the chocolate sinks into the middle of the molds. Don’t worry if the inside looks messy–the outside will still look perfect. Smooth the top edges of the chocolate shells to ensure that they’ll fit together. Chill again. Pop out of mold using gentle pressure on the backs of the wells, along with rapping the plastic tray on the counter. Fill one egg half with filling. On another egg half, paint a thin line of extra chocolate along the top edges. Stick the second half over the first, pressing firmly to seal. Let set for five minutes. Eat!

For dairy-free chocolate shells, omit milk powder and decrease shortening to 1/2 teaspoon.

If making into chunks, pour into a pan lined with parchment and spread flat. Chill until firm, then chop into chunks.

~2g net carbs per 1/8th of a recipe

OM
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NOM!

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Check out this week’s Real Food Wednesday over at Kelly the Kitchen Cop for more information on healthful fats!

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