Salted Caramel Brownies

I’m halfway done with this 30 day no dairy crap. Can you tell it’s getting old? It is. The problem is more that I want the option to have dairy, not necessarily that I need it. I’m not real good with living with boundaries and rules. They’re just not my thing. I want to be able to go to a restaurant and not have to be a pain in the ass about it, you know? It’s stressful. I can tell you, come February 1st, there will be a gigantic cheese party at my house with brie being the guest of honor.

Anyway…..so I was hunting around trying to find something that I could make that would calm the monthly beast that is my hormones. Ladies, I’m sure you know what that’s like. I saw the picture for this recipe and it said “Paleo” on it. I thought there was no way that was Paleo and it must be a mistake. I clicked on it and read the ingredients. My first thought:

What? No. No No No

So yesterday I thought that I’d be brave and try it with an open mind and no expectations.

I made the first layer and tasted it. It was pretty darn good. Then, I don’t know what came over me, but I was about to lick the blade of the food processor to get the remaining bits off of it. Thankfully, I came to my senses and realized that I, in fact, didn’t need a forked tongue. I continued on making the next layer and thought that it seemed impossible to make caramel out of these ingredients. Lo and behold, it was pretty close to caramel in texture and taste. I was confident I’d like the next layer because it’s basically straight up chocolate and coffee. Combine all these layers and they make for a fantastic Paleo dessert.  Hell, if no one told me what was in it, there’s no way I’d know. Mr. Coconut Detector (my husband) tasted slight hints of coconut, so he will not be eating them. What a shame! Now they’re all for me!

If you’re doing this dairy-free Paleo challenge with me, you’ll for sure want to try these. *Note: they are hard to make look pretty, but I assure you they taste great.

Salted Caramel Brownies

Salted Caramel Brownies

Bottom Layer:

12 pitted dates
1/2 c. almond butter
1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
2 T. honey
3 T. cocoa powder
1 t. cinnamon
pinch of salt

Middle Layer:

12-14 pitted dates that have been soaked in water for 1 hr.
5-6 T. full fat coconut milk
3 T. water
1 t. vanilla
pinch of salt

Top Layer:

1 c. dairy-free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
1/2 c. full fat coconut milk
2 t. instant coffee granules [Next time, I would use instant espresso because it's not as gritty.]
pinch of sea salt

Put all of the Bottom Layer ingredients in a food processor and blend until all are combined. It will form a ball. Press the mixture into a large bread loaf pan. You don’t even need to clean the food processor at this point.

Put the dates from the Middle Layer list into a food processor and pulse until they are broken down (about 30 seconds). While the food processor is still running, add coconut milk tablespoon by tablespoon. Then do the same for the water. Now add the vanilla and salt and keep it running until it makes a smooth caramel. This will take 3-5 minutes. Pour caramel over the bottom layer and spread evenly.

To make the top layer, carefully melt the chocolate chips and coconut milk in the microwave. I’d do it in 20 second intervals, stirring in between each interval. Once it’s completely melted, add the coffee (or espresso) and stir to dissolve. Pour over caramel layer and spread evenly. Now put it in the freezer for about half an hour to set. Sprinkle with sea salt.Cut into desired size and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from PaleOMG

Coconut, Almond and Cranberry Fudge

I have a couple of friends who are obsessing over fudge lately.  The obsession started over the Christmas break and is still in full force.  As much as I love chocolate, fudge has never been one of those things I crave; however, I kept seeing these conversations about fudge on Facebook and was starting to get a hankering for it, too.  Then I was asked to come up with a Paleo-friendly recipe. That seemed like a tall order.  There’s usually a lot of refined sugar (in the form of granulated sugar, powdered sugar or sweetened condensed milk), and there’s usually dairy in regular recipes. However, I was determined to find something that would work for all of us.  I saw this recipe and thought it looked like the closest I could get to fudge and to my delight, it was indeed pretty darn close.

Coconut, Almond and Cranberry Fudge

 

Coconut, Almond and Cranberry Fudge

2 c. coconut oil (leave in solid form)
1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 c. pure maple syrup (honey would also work)
1 c. plus 1 T. toasted almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 c. plus 1 T. dried cranberries (try to avoid ones sweetened with sugar)
1 1/2 t. finely shredded unsweetened coconut

With an electric mixer, whip coconut oil until fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Add cocoa powder and maple syrup and mix for about a minute, making sure to incorporate all ingredients by scraping the bowl. Add 1 cup of the almonds and 1/2 cup of cranberries and mix by hand. Put fudge in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with remaining ingredients and lightly press down on them so they stick. Place fudge in the fridge and chill for about an hour.  Cut into desired size pieces and store in the freezer.

*Because this is made with coconut oil, it will be messy once it gets slightly warm.  You might have to lick your fingers.  Darn!

Recipe adapted from The Paleo Mom

Mocha Almond Fudge Ice Cream (Dairy-Free)

OK, I lied.  I said I’d post chocolate chip bacon cookies as my first post, but I got too excited about this one.

This is day 5 without dairy and doing the Paleo diet.  So far, it’s a lot easier this time than it was the last time I tried to do this dairy-free experiment.  I’ve tried some new things and have had to be more creative.  Overall, I feel good both mentally and physically; I certainly notice a clearer mind, which I’d say is one of the biggest things I’ve noticed.  However, 5 days is probably still a little early to notice any drastic changes, though.

All right, back to more important things.  I’m a huge ice cream lover.  It doesn’t matter what the season is, I’ll still eat it.  When I was pregnant, I probably should’ve bought stock in Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Daz.  It was ridiculous.  I can’t tell you how many times my husband [lovingly] ran to the store for beer and a pint of ice cream for our respective vices to get through those crazy, hormonal, sleepless 9 months.  As you can imagine, going 30 days without ice cream was going to be tough.  Thankfully, I found this excellent recipe for dairy-free ice cream and even though it’s nothing like Häagen-Daz’s Caramel Cone ice cream, this one certainly curbs my craving for it.

I was afraid that without the fat from the heavy cream that goes into regular ice cream, this stuff would be real icy, but that wasn’t the case.  I’d say the consistency is between frozen yogurt and sorbet.  Sure, we’re in the middle of winter, but get out the ice cream maker and try this one!

Mocha Almond Fudge Ice Cream

Mocha Almond Fudge Ice Cream

2 c. coconut milk (don’t use light)
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
2 T. instant coffee granules (decaf is probably best)
3 egg yolks
1/3 c. dairy-free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
1/4 chopped almonds

Whisk together the coconut milk, syrup, coffee and egg yolks in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil for about a minute. Remove from heat and strain mixture into a glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 2 hours.

Once it’s chilled, pour it into an ice cream maker along with the chocolate chips and almonds. Follow the instructions for your ice cream maker to get to desired consistency. Once that’s done, put ice cream in an air-tight container and freeze it or grab a spoon and dig in (ice cream will be softer if eaten right away). Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Food Lovers Kitchen