Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread and Lily’s No Sugar Added Chocolate Chips Review

With the holidays just around the corner, I’m sneaking in another pumpkin recipe. Speaking of which, if you haven’t fired up your crock pot to make the Sugar-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte Creamer, you’re missing out! I took the post down temporarily while working out the kinks (see how much I care about getting these tasty treats just right for you?) and dialed down the heat settings for the crock pot. The recipe is good-to-go. Thanks so much for the feedback, intrepid recipe testers!

Now, what would a cinnamon-spiked, creamy latte taste good with? Hmm… healthy-indulgences-pumpkin-chocolate-chip-bread-atkins-low-carb-diabetic-sugar-free-paleo-trim-healthy-mama-almond-flour-stevia-xylitol-gluten-free-7

^There’s an idea! 😀

This moist, sweet, and slightly spicy pumpkin bread recipe will get you in the mood for pumpkin patches and hay rides! I strongly suspect that it would make a great gift baked in a pretty paper tray with a festive bow tied around it. Share the love with the sugar-free eaters in your life! 

I got the inspiration for this recipe from Danielle Walker over at Against All Grain. She adopts a grain-free, paleo approach due to her struggles with an autoimmune disease. Some of her main meals are lower in carbs, so I encourage you to browse her beautiful blog! 

To make this recipe sugar-free and diabetic-friendly, I replaced the maple syrup with a blend of erythritol, xylitol, and stevia. These are plant-derived sweeteners that have a minimal impact on blood sugar. If you’re unfamiliar with these ingredients, just click on their names to be taken to info pages that tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about ’em. 

Because xylitol has grown in popularity as a suitable sweetener for diabetics, I wanted to discuss it further. You can use 100% xylitol to make this pumpkin bread, although I still recommend adding stevia to round out the sweetness. If you’re concerned about GMOs, this brand is made from GMO-free birch tree wood. 

If you’re just getting started with sugar-free baking, here’s a helpful hint for working with xylitol and erythritol. You can convert any recipes to suit your needs by substituting xylitol for erythritol and vice versa using the following conversion factor:

3/4 cup xylitol = 1 cup erythritol

Here’s a pinnable banner for your personal stash of baking tips!

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-Original work by Chasity H

Hope you are feeling a little less intimidated about taking the plunge with sugar-free sweeteners! 😉

One factor to consider in choosing between the xylitol and erythritol is that some people (like myself) are a bit sensitive to xylitol, so you might want to hold off on serving treats made with a lot of xylitol to unsuspecting guests! I tend to stick with erythritol while making desserts for company. Because erythritol is digested using a different pathway in the body (only 10% is fermented in the large intestine, with 90% passing quickly out of the body in the urine), it is the only sugar alcohol that is well tolerated by most people.

If you have pets, be sure to check out the warning I posted on the xylitol info page!

The batter is just as yummy as the finished product! Must resist temptation to dip a finger in while photographing…

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To keep the carbohydrates in the Sugar-Free Pumpkin Bread low, I used almond flour and gluten-free oat flour in place of the arrowroot called for in the original recipe. Oat flour shouldn’t impact your blood sugar levels to the same extent as arrowroot since it contains fewer carbohydrates, gram per gram, than refined starches. I prefer to use oat flour over pure starches like arrowroot and tapioca because of how it improves the taste and texture of sugar-free baked goods. Problems usually arise (cardboard-y cookies and dry-as-dirt brownies, anyone?) when you remove both the grains and the sugar from baked treats, which normally consist of plenty of white sugar and white flour. Makes sense, right? That’s why most grain-free recipes require sugar in the form of honey, maple syrup, or coconut palm sugar.

If you can tolerate grains (my tummy is happy with the gluten-free ones), I highly recommend you pick up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill oat flour and experiment with it in some of your baked goods. Even just adding 1/4 cup of oat flour to an almond flour dough will noticeably improve the texture. Play around with it and see for yourself! Then drop a comment over at the Facebook page or share your results on Instagram. My favorite part of blogging has been connecting with you and seeing what you’re cooking up! Be sure to #indulgehealthy and tag your food photos so I can take a peek. 😀 Both baking successes and failures are welcome! 

If you’d prefer not to use almond flour in this recipe, you can use 3/4 cup cashew butter in place of it. It’s pretty pricy (I make my own in the Vitamix using these nuts!), and will increase the carb count of your pumpkin bread, but cashew butter creates a lovely fine crumb. The texture of the bread from the silky smooth nut butter is glorious! 

 The ingredients in this bread make it suitable for Dr. Davis’ Wheat Belly Plan and the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) diet, both of which allow oat flour and sugar-free sweeteners. I’m including this tidbit of information after hearing from followers of both diet plans ask about these recipes.

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If you look at the different photos I took of this bread, you’ll see that there are chocolate chips in one, and chocolate chunks in the others. What’s the deal with that?

It’s funny you ask. I gotta be real with y’all and explain a bit about the Lily’s No Sugar Added Chocolate Chips you see in the top photo. The company sent them to me–free of charge–in a chocolate sampler package. Unlike most sugar-free packaged chocolate products, which are sweetened with maltitol, Lily’s chocolate chips are sweetened with erythritol and stevia. They’re also dairy-free. The company definitely get a thumbs up for using natural sweeteners that don’t cause a spike in blood sugar! 

To be perfectly honest, the taste of the chocolate chips doesn’t wow me, but you might appreciate it more if you’re completely avoiding sugar. 

The third ingredient on the the label, after “Unsweetened Chocolate” and “Erythritol”, is “Inulin.”

*classic horror movie scream*

TMI Alert: Every product I’ve tried containing this soluble fiber derived from the chicory root plant has made my intestines… er, protest. Loudly. It ain’t pretty! Inulin is a prebiotic, which means that it feeds bacteria in the lower intestine that produce, you guessed it, gas. I was in denial about it at first, but I noticed the trend after trying coconut nectar and coconut sugar, which are both chock full of inulin. Since a quick Google search for “coconut sugar and gas” doesn’t yield any relevant results, I’m wondering if it’s just me having this issue, or what?  Both of these coconut-derived sweetness give me tummy disturbances. Perhaps your gut won’t be as unhappy with the inulin fiber in Lily’s chocolate products, but I wanted to give you a heads up. This post is sure shaping up to involve some lovely frank talk, eh? 😀

In the second batch of pumpkin bread, I used a chopped up Lindt 70% bar. It doesn’t look quite so pretty baked on top of the loaf, but the yum factor (and the happy tummy factor) makes up for it!

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The Lindt bar does contain real sugar (12 grams per 4 squares, or 30 grams per bar), so keep that in mind if you’re on a diabetic eating plan. If you can’t have any sugar at all, this Pumpkin Bread is still delish without the added chocolate! I plan on pouring it the batter into a spiral bundt mold to make a holiday pumpkin spice cake that looks as good as it tastes!

Finally, one last bit of important news: The metric measurements some of you asked for are here! Both the standard and the metric weights for ingredients are posted below. For best results, weigh your ingredients using a handy dandy kitchen scale. The rest of the conversions are coming to the Healthy Indulgences Cookbook first, and the blog second, post by post. Bon appetit! 

Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Serves 16
This sugar-free pumpkin bread tastes so much like the real deal that it’ll blow your mind! It’s moist and lightly sweetened with a hint of spiciness from the cinnamon and cloves. Add chocolate chips for extra decadence, or fill muffin cups and dollop with a cream cheese filling for a breakfast fit for any pumpkin lovers in the house!


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Prep Time
20 min

Cook Time
50 min

Prep Time
20 min

Cook Time
50 min

Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup (7.1 oz, 200g) nut butter*
  2. 3/4 cup natural sweetener blend**
  3. 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) sea salt
  4. 2 Tablespoons (1.0 oz, 28g) unsalted butter OR organic shortening, room temperature
  5. 3 large eggs, room temperature
  6. 1 teaspoon (5mL) vanilla extract
  7. 1/3 cup (1.2 oz, 34g) sifted coconut flour
  8. 3/4 cup (2.0 oz, 56g) sifted oat flour
  9. 4 teaspoons (20 mL) cinnamon
  10. 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) nutmeg
  11. 1 teaspoon (5.0 mL) ground cloves
  12. 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) baking soda
  13. 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) baking powder
  14. 1/2 cup (3.8 oz,110g) canned pumpkin
  15. 1 teaspoon (5 mL) apple cider vinegar
Optional
  1. 3/4 cup sugar-free chocolate chips or 8 squares Lindt 70% chocolate bar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease two 3″ by 6″ loaf pans with shortening or coconut oil cooking spray.
  3. Place cut squares of parchment in bottoms of pans, and sift oat flour over bottom and sides of pans to prevent sticking.
  4. Grind erythritol and xylitol (if using) in a coffee grinder or Magic Bullet until they are the texture of powdered sugar.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter or shortening, cashew butter, xylitol, erythritol, stevia, and sea salt. With a hand mixer, beat ingredients together starting at low speed, then move to high speed setting, for 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in vanilla, then add the eggs, 1 at a time until a smooth batter forms.
  7. Add dry ingredients, mixing until a smooth dough forms.
  8. Beat in pumpkin and vinegar until thoroughly incorporated.
  9. Stir in chocolate chips or chocolate chunks, reserving two tablespoons for sprinkling.
  10. To prevent batter from overflowing, remove two muffin’s worth of it and bake separately. I like to pour extra batter into two silicone muffin cups. If you are not using chocolate chips, you can bake all the batter in the two pans.
  11. Pour batter into loaf pans, smooth it out, then sprinkle the loaves with chocolate.
  12. Set loaves and muffin cups on a cookie sheet and slide into oven. Bake for 40 minutes, checking for browning at the 40 minute mark. Tent loaves with tin foil if they are browning too much, and bake for 10 more minutes.
  13. Remove pans to a wire rack and cool loaves for one hour. To cleanly remove loaf from pan, cut around edges before inverting on to a plate.
Notes
  1. *I prefer to use cashew butter, but other nut butters should work just as well. Using nut butter in place of almond flour will give your pumpkin bread a lovely, fine crumb.
  2. **You can also use the following blend of natural sweeteners, which I prefer for this recipe. This blend contains some xylitol to boost the sweetness–
  3. 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Trader Joe’s Pure Stevia Powder
  4. 1/2 cup (3.5 oz, 100g) erythritol
  5. 1/4 cup (2.0 oz, 52g) xylitol
  6. You can read more about how to combine sweeteners to create the best tasting sugar-free treats in the Healthy Indulgences Cookbook.
Healthy Indulgences http://healthyindulgences.net/

Healthy Chocolate Cake with a Secret, revisited

On the advent of Easter, it’s the perfect time for a new beginning. I’ve been baking on and off since January, sharing my Chocolate Cake with a Secret with friends at the local hospital and doctor’s offices. In the midst of pursuing a career in the health professions, I’ve encountered many diabetic patients who are looking to manage their blood sugar while still enjoying tasty treats. These personal encounters, in additional to emails from readers, have been the best inspiration for me to get back to making sugar-free treats!
Sugar-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Wanna know what I’ve learned from making the the beloved black bean chocolate cake hundreds of times over the course of five years? Here are some tips and tricks to make it even more scrumptious!

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Paleo Pecan Pie with a Secret Ingredient (Low Sugar, Gluten-Free)

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Before I wax poetic about Thanksgiving, let’s all take a moment to watch the greatest Thanksgiving commercial of all time, starring the two salt shakers pictured above. My life as a Florida resident was enriched every holiday season by the sentimental holiday ads from Publix grocery store. 

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A Chocolate Giveaway and Healthier Red Velvet Cake (Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free!)

There’s still too much chocolate hanging around here, so today I’m giving away a luxurious Godiva 85% cacao content chocolate bar. Leave a comment and win yourself a bar of fine chocolate!

Don’t forget to look at the past giveaways for erythritol and xylitol and the Lindt and Green & Black’s Chocolate packages!

Contest closes December 25th.
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Red Velvet Cake! So glamorous. So decadent. So perfect for the holiday season!

This cake is all about being over the top. Even the healthful version seems excessive in a way, using 9 eggs, a whole pound of cream cheese, and half the bottle of red food coloring. Yes, food coloring is a shady ingredient. If, however, you are following a whole foods all natural diet 99% of the time, I doubt a little slice of sugar-free, gluten-free, low carb red velvet cake on special occasions is going to destroy all of your good efforts. A little artificial coloring does not come close to doing the damage done by the “real thing,” made with flour and sugar, packing over 60 grams of carbs per slice. Kick up your heels and have some nourishing cake!

Coconut flour makes the most rich, heavy and indulgent cake you have ever tasted. The nine eggs in this cake do not impart an eggy flavor at all since the coconut flour is defatted and high in fiber, therefore sucking up all of the moisture. I just picked up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour at the local mom n’ pop health food store, but you can order it online, too. Coconut flour also does NOT taste like coconuts in this recipe, so fear not if you don’t favor that distinct tropical flavor.

I split one 9 inch round layer cake into two layers since I didn’t want to invest 18 eggs in a cake that may or may not have worked well. It turned out beautifully, with a heavy, moist texture and a hint of buttermilk flavor. Red velvet cake has never been a chocolate cake in my memory. Granted, I have only tasted one kind, coming from a local restaurant out by the beach. If you prefer a more chocolaty cake, try adding some more cocoa powder and a couple of tablespoons of water.

Healthy Red Velvet Cake

Healthy Red Velvet Cake

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted organic butter, softened
9 large eggs
1 cup erythritol
1/4 teaspoon good-tasting pure stevia extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon red food coloring
3/4 cup sifted coconut flour
3/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Set out butter and eggs to bring to room temperature. Alternatively, microwave butter for 8-10 seconds and dunk eggs in warm tap water for 15 minutes. Prep 9 inch cake pan by greasing with nonhydrogenated shortening and dusting with extra cocoa powder. Tap pan on all sides to distribute cocoa powder in an even layer. Whisk together eggs in a bowl until a bit foamy, and add vanilla extract to eggs. In another bowl, sift coconut flour and stir in sea salt and cocoa powder. Mix together yogurt and red food coloring in a third bowl. In the largest bowl, cream butter for about 30 seconds to make it fluffy. Add erythritol in a steady stream and cream together for 2-3 minutes, or until light, fluffy, and close to the color of cream cheese. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Slowly stream in beaten eggs, beating continuously. Don’t worry if the batter curdles. Once eggs are added, add dry and wet ingredients alternately until everything has been added but the baking powder. Mix in baking powder and scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes in the center of the middle oven rack, or until batter is completely set and springs back. Cover top with foil and bake for longer if center is not set. Remove cake from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Invert pan onto a cookie sheet and let cake cool completely. Slice into two layers with a serrated knife, if desired. Transfer bottom cake layer to a serving dish lined with strips of wax paper hanging off the edges. Frost cake, laying over a thin crumb coat first. Then pile on the frosting spread outward from the center of the layer. Add top layer to cake and cover completely with frosting. Store and serve at room temperature. Refrigerate after 24 hours. Cake is best tasting after warming up if it has been kept in the refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2-8 oz packages cream cheese or Neufatchel 1/3 less fat cheese
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup erythritol, powdered
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract
1 stick organic unsalted butter

Bring cream cheese to room temperature. Beat until smooth and creamy, then add powdered erythritol and beat for about 2 minutes, or until erythritol is dissolved and the mixture does not feel gritty to the touch. Beat in butter just until smooth and incorporated.

~60g net carbs for the whole, frosted cake
~6g net carbs per 1/10th
~7.5g net carbs per 1/8th

Healthy Red Velvet Cake

Low Carb Chocolate Pots De Creme

Calling all chocolate lovers! You will think you’ve died and gone to heaven with this one. After testing out a few batches of Super Simple Biscuits, I had a lot of leftover egg yolks. Eight of them went into a traditional custard-based ice cream. To use up the rest, I googled “egg yolk dessert recipes” and found these yummy sounding ideas at GourmetSleuth. The Pots De Creme looked intriguing. Simple ingredients, check. Easy to de-carb, check. What really caught my eye was the variation using chocolate! After giving a test batch to my faithful friends slash recipe testers, it has become my most requested dessert. I promise that it only sounds intimidating with that fancy french name–preparation is a snap. This is one of the easiest and most delicious sugar-free, gluten-free desserts, ever. Step one for being the Hostess with the Mostest: Buy some adorable ramekins and serve up personal portions of this rich chocolate custard. Step two: Watch your guests’ eyes roll back in their heads and silently congratulate yourself!

Cut the intensity of the dark chocolate with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. You can make this dessert dairy-free by replacing the heavy cream with full fat coconut milk. To flavor the custard, use whatever flavoring you think pairs well with chocolate. I used pure almond extract for the pots de creme pictured here. Peppermint and orange would also be delicious. Top with a sprig of mint or a curl of orange zest for an elegant touch. I grated some leftover chocolate and sprinkled it over the custard. C’est magnifique!

Chocolate Pots De Creme
Adapted from a Bon Appétit recipe

Makes 3 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup organic heavy cream OR coconut milk
**2 ounces 85% percent cacao dark chocolate (I like Lindt and Green & Black’s), chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (use whatever flavor you like) OR espresso powder
3 large organic egg yolks
5 tablespoons erythritol
1/8 teaspoon pure stevia extract
pinch of sea salt

**Cut the chocolate bar into thirds and use of two of them. Just eyeball it.

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Place 3 ramekins in a large roasting pan. Combine cream, chocolate, and espresso powder in a saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk every few minutes until chocolate melts. Stir to blend cream and chocolate completely. Do NOT overheat! You don’t want it to bubble up.

Powder erythritol in a coffee grinder or magic bullet. Whisk erythritol and stevia into egg yolks until mixture is smooth. Slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking the whole time. Stir the mixture until totally smooth and divide between the 3 ramekins. Optional step: Use a toothpick to pop the little bubbles that form on the surface of the custards. Heat a measuring cup full of water for a couple of minutes in the microwave, and pour water in the roasting pan until it reaches about an inch up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 minutes. The centers of the custards should still be very jiggly. Remove ramekins from water bath (wear potholders!). Let the custards cool to room temperature. Store them in the fridge covered with a paper towel and foil for at least 2 hours. I’d recommend making these before you go to bed so you don’t get antsy and sneak a taste before they’re ready!

~5g net carbs per huge serving

Sugar-Free Low Carb Candy Bars… really.

This is my last recipe involving peanut butter for awhile, I swear! I’m finally tiring of the taste, which is a move in the right direction for me. The silky richness of nut butters can make it easy to consume them in excess! While nut butters are certainly healthier than processed junk food, they are very calorie dense, and laden with polyunsaturated oils.

If you too have peanut butter issues, or if you don’t like the taste (gasp!) use almond butter or sun butter in this recipe. Almond butter has higher proportion of monounsaturated fats, so some would consider it a more nourishing alternative to peanut butter. Admittedly, the real reason I’m not addicted to almond butter is the $12 a jar price tag!

This recipe was way too much fun to play around with, so I went a little crazy with the variations. The best part about it is the simple and readily available ingredients! You can use the microwave and get just one bowl dirty. If your mind hasn’t been blown yet, it will be when you find out this can be made dairy-free. Creamy unsweetened coconut milk is the magic maker for this trick. It will be a hint coconut-ty unless you use expeller-pressed coconut oil, but the texture will be just as dreamy.

These treats are smooth and peanut-buttery, with a salty crunch from the peanuts. They don’t really taste like Pay Day at all because they’re a hundred times better, and don’t stick to your teeth! These treats are named after those corn syrup-filled bars because of the similarity in appearances. Don’t be fooled.

Mock “PayDay” Peanut Treats
Inspired by this recipe by “Blenders”

Makes 6 bars


Ingredients:
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (no-stir type preferred)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter OR coconut oil
2 teaspoons honey (optional)
1 tablespoon heavy cream OR coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons sweetener of choice (I use 2 Tablespoons of my stevia blend or Truvia)
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts

Preparation:
Add peanut butter, honey, and butter to a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for one minute. Remove and immediately whisk in vanilla extract and heavy cream or coconut milk. Stir in sweetener, xanthan gum (if using), and pinch of salt. Taste and adjust if necessary. Fold in peanuts and drop in globs on to a pan lined with wax paper. Chill in freezer until firm, then transfer to refrigerator.

~6g net carbs per treat

For Peanut Butter Dessert Topping, whisk extra cream or coconut milk into “Pay Day” treat mixture ingredients until the sauce is smooth and light in color. Use almond butter for the most neutral taste. This sauce is also delicious made dairy-free. If you use coconut milk in place of heavy cream, there will be a subtle coconut flavoring. The sauce will be just as creamy, though. This would be heavenly over low carb ice cream. You could also dip apples or strawberries into it!

Ditch the polysyllabic ingredients of pre-packaged bars with these easy homemade protein bars. No refrigeration required! This recipe is easy on your digestive system, with no harsh sugar alcohols (maltitol is truly evil!) or an ungodly amount of fiber. It’s also pocketbook friendly since the ingredients are pretty cheap. Start with a quality whey (not soy!) protein powder free of artificial sweeteners and preservatives. I like Jay Robb or Jarrow Formulas unflavored whey protein. These protein bars may look like cookies, and they may smell like cookies, but they are NOT peanut butter cookies! I have a recipe for those and will get around posting at some point. I repeat, these are not cookies. They are dry and chewy because of the high whey protein content, just like real protein bars. If you’re using stevia, remember to make the dough a bit sweeter than you want the baked product to be.

Just for fun, let’s have a look at the ingredients for an Atkins Advantage Chocolate Peanut Butter protein bar:
Ingredients: protein blend [soy protein isolate, hydrolyzed collagen, whey protein isolate (milk), sodium caseinate], glycerine, polydextrose, dry roasted peanut, peanut flour, palm kernel and palm oil, cellulose, coconut oil, cocoa powder (processed with alkali), natural and artificial flavor, olive oil, butter oil, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, salt, guar gum, citric acid, sucralose, mono and diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate, acesulfame potassium. nutrition blend: tricalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, vitamin a palmitate, ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanocobalamin, alpha tocopheryl acetate, niacinamide, biotin, calcium pantothenate, zinc oxide, folic acid, chromium chelate, phytonadione, sodium selenite. contains: soy, milk and peanuts.

I’ll admit to ingesting this frankenfood every once in awhile when I’m desperate for a sweet fix or on the road. It’s relieving to have a better option now!

Mock Protein/Atkins Bars

Makes four bars

Ingredients:
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (any nut butter would work)
2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter OR coconut oil
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream OR coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup whey protein powder (check for additives and carb content)

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add nut butter, honey, and butter to a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for one minute. Remove and immediately whisk in vanilla extract and heavy cream or coconut milk. Stir in sweetener and pinch of salt. Taste and adjust if necessary. Stir in protein powder until mixture clumps together. Don’t worry if it separates and some of the liquid weeps out of the dough. Press mixture as flat as you can into a greased loaf pan. I like to place a piece of wax paper over the dough and press it flat with a smaller loaf pan. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Let sit for 10 minutes in the pan. The dough will absorb all of the liquid that has bubbled up. Slice with a sharp knife and store in baggies. Does not need to be refrigerated.

~5g net carbs and 29g protein per bar

Naked protein bars. Consume with gulps of water between bites.

Take your protein bars to the next level. Melt some 85% cacao content chocolate and sweeten it with stevia, to taste. Paint it across the bottoms of the protein bars with the small end of a spoon. Place chocolate side down on a chilled pan lined with wax paper. Make a recipe of the caramel sauce and spread it over the tops of the protein bars. Press sliced almonds into the caramel sauce. Paint chocolate over the tops and sides. Chill to firm up the chocolate. Place in a baggy for transport in your gym bag.

From drab to fab! I present to you mock Atkins bars, covered in dark chocolate and filled with caramel bars with a nice crunch from slivered almonds:

No preservatives or soy in that delicious bite.

Healthy Ice Cream Bars, Take Two!

After much tweaking and experimentation, here’s a vanilla version of my Easy Ice Cream Bars. The texture isn’t as smooth as it is with the peanut butter, so you should let ’em sit out for a moment before taking a bite. The yogurt brings a pleasant tang to the party.

Let’s take a moment to talk about the miraculous calorie-free naturally occurring sweetener: Erythritol! Erythritol is totally safe and has no aftertaste or unpleasant side effects like the other sugar alcohols. It has 70% of the sweetening power of sugar, with many of the properties that sugar imparts in baking (structure, mouthfeel, etc.) The one caveat: the “cooling” effect you can taste when erythritol re-crystallizes. It’s the weirdest sensation. You have to figure out a way to make the majority of erythritol present in the recipe stay dissolved so you can avoid that effect. I’m still tinkering around with it in recipes, but it’s slow-going because erythritol is precious stuff and I’m on a student budget. Z-sweet is the brand available locally. You pay a premium for buying it in stores, but it is worth the cost if you’re looking for a product not produced with genetically modified corn. I’ve been ordering 5 lb bags of erythritol online lately because I go through it so quickly. The best price I’ve found for it is at iherb.com, and online supplement retailer. No, erythritol is not something that cavemen would’ve consumed while foraging for food, but it does not wreak havoc on your body like sugar does. My justification for using it is that it was impossible to consume concentrated amounts of any form of sugar while living off the land, making erythritol the more “natural” way of eating than using, say, honey or maple syrup. We were not able to eat any refined sweeteners or copious amounts of fruit on a regular basis before the advent of agriculture, so it makes sense that our bodies are not designed to handle the 300+ carb per day diet that is standard now. Did you know that bears are the only animal in the wild showing signs of tooth decay?

The one I chomped into (shown on the left, obviously) is filled with a layer of mooshed up Sugar-Free Brownies. Yum! 

Easy Ice Cream Bars (Vanilla version)

Makes 6 small rounds

Ingredients:

Filling:
2 oz heavy cream, preferably organic
2 oz cream cheese
3 Tablespoons of ricotta cheese or strained greek-style yogurt
2 Tablespoons of erythritol (or 1.5 Tablespoons xylitol)
A pinch of pure stevia extract

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Coating:
1 Tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
2 squares Lindt extra dark 85% chocolate bar (or Ghirardelli 86% chocolate bar)
A pinch of pure stevia extract
Chopped nuts (optional)

Peanut Butter Coating:

4 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons unrefined coconut oil or non-hydrogenated shortening
A pinch of pure stevia extract

Preparation:

Beat heavy cream with a mixer until it forms stiff peaks. Do not over beat or it will get clumpy, and turn to butter! Set whipped cream aside. Measure out granular erythritol or xylitol and powder in a coffee grinder or blender. Beat cream cheese, yogurt, erythritol, sweetener, and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth and clump free. Test for sweetness. It should be a bit sweeter than you want the finished product. Using a spatula, fold cream cheese into the whipped cream until well combined. Shape ice cream rounds on a pan lined with parchment or waxed paper. Freeze for 1 hour or until firm.

Melt coating ingredients in the microwave in 10 second intervals, until liquified. Stir until smooth and add sweetener, to taste. Remove rounds from freezer and dip into coatings, or top with a layer of mushed up brownie/cookie dough/etc before dipping. You may need to set the round on the paper and spoon the coating over bare spots. Sprinkle bars with nuts immediately after dipping in the coating, if desired. Chill for another few minutes until the coating hardens.

So stuffed from all of this experimenting in the kitchen! Goodness, healthy eating is so trying. I’ve gotta go dump these off on my friends asap. For some reason, I don’t think they’ll mind.