(Almost) Paleo Date Paste Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Cookies are never far from my mind. One day while I was checking out (read:stalking) my friends’ diaries on MFP I saw that Cora had been eating oatmeal almond butter cookies. That sounded way too enticing for it to be healthy, so I immediately messaged her to ask what the deal was about these cookies. She sent me the recipe link http://cleaneatsinthezoo.com/index/2013/02/20/peanut-butter-or-almond-butter-oatmeal-cookies/and I checked it out. That is the recipe that inspired mine. They are pretty similar, but I had to try it with date paste since thats been my sweetener project lately. I also changed a few other proportions and added cinnamon, but wanted the flavor to be about the same. The texture was amazing, nice and crumbly crisp with a nice chewy nutty center. mmm. I literally ate 4 cookies as soon as they came out of the oven. I am that cookie crazy. I just had one after my lunch and am trying to resist going for another right now. I might keep messing with the recipe (that is inevitable with me) and try it out with a few different ingredients, but let me tell you, these things are darned addicting and it certainly won’t be my last batch! Image

 

(Almost) Paleo Date Paste Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies

yield:35 cookies

nutrition per cookie

calories: 128

fat: 10.4 g

sodium: 58.9 mg

total carbs: 6.9 g

fiber: 2.1 g

sugar: 1.6 g

protein: 3.8 g

ingredients

2 eggs

3 cups almond meal/flour (if you want these to be paleo skip the oats and add an extra cup or so of almond flour)

2 cups old fashioned oats

½ cup coconut oil, melted

½ cup almond butter (or peanut butter if you like that flavor better, any nut butter will work)

2 ½ oz date paste

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder (gluten free, aluminum free)

½ – 1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 350° and grease two large cookie sheets, or use parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl mix together dry ingredients: almond meal, oats, baking soda and powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  • In a smaller mixing bowl beat together the eggs, almond butter, coconut oil, date paste and vanilla extract. Then add the wet and dry ingredients together in the large bowl.
  • Either roll cookie dough into balls with your hands and place on cookie sheet or use two spoons and place mounds of dough on the sheets. I tried it both ways and you need to squash the dough down slightly with both methods.
  • Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are cooked through and crisp on the bottom.

My cookies were amazingly delicious, however I had a few notes that I will point out to others. You can taste the salt a lot in these cookies since they are not overwhelmingly sweet. I am thinking about either upping my date paste amount or decreasing my salt on my next batch. I originally used 1 tsp salt but may try a little less next time. Or not, I really loved the way this first batch turned out. Almost like it was salty on purpose. You could almost make this a savory cookie by adding an herb like rosemary or thyme and leaving out the cinnamon. I am thinking of adding raisins next time and leaving the rest of the recipe as is. The raisins will add a pop of sweetness in each bite. Just try it out, see what you think and adjust as needed. Also, if you (like me) enjoy the cookies as they are, do warn people that they are a bit salty and not too sweet before their first bite! My uncle was very surprised when he tasted these without a forewarning! However my mother who is used to my experiments loved these. She’s used to my ‘healthy crap’ as my husband calls it. 😉

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ENJOY!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

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This is such a beautiful bread.

 I know, I know! It’s not fall anymore and therefore the craze for pumpkin is way,waaaaay over! Well spring had sprung, and then it decided to snow 10 inches in Saint Louis over this past weekend. So I decided pumpkin bread was the only solution! Ignore the seasons, just like nature, and make pumpkin bread while the snow falls! I recently bought some all-purpose gluten-free flour in hopes of creating something delicious for my gluten-free friends. I am a gluten-free flour novice and thought that an all-purpose baking blend was as good a choice of flours as any to start with. I am going to venture into others as soon as I use up this bag. Which certainly won’t be long with this recipe around!! I am usually counting every calorie like a miser counts his gold, (think: Scrooge hoarding his gold coins, that’s me, seriously), but I really wanted this bread have a good texture and wasn’t sure how my usual baking method (zero oil, sub greek yogurt) would work with the new flour. I used a bit of coconut oil and holy moly did it turn out great!! I hope you all try this and tell me what you think. Any tips/variations on flours would be helpful too. I would love to do more gluten-free/paleo baking. This may have been my first endeavour, but it certainly won’t be my last!

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C and I, playing in the snow the day after it fell. It had already melted a ton!

Yield: 10 Servings, each 81 grams

Nutrition per serving

Calories: 165.6

Fat: 7.8 g

Sodium: 300 mg

Total Carbohydrates: 20.3 g

Fiber: 3.6 g

Sugars: 5.1 g

Protein: 4.9 g

 

Ingredients

¼ cup coconut oil

½ cup baking stevia

3 whole eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 ¼ cup canned pure pumpkin puree (Libby’s, always)

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

¾ cup water

4 Tb dry buttermilk

1 ¾ cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bobs Red Mill brand)

1 ½ tsp gluten-free baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

¾ tsp kosher salt

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Dry buttermilk is great way to add lightness to your baking recipes.

  •  Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Coat a loaf pan with coconut oil or non stick spray. I lined the bottom of my pan with parchment so it would come out easily. Worked like a charm.
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    I took this picture after adding the eggs. It was depressing not being able to actually cream sugar and butter, but hey, big calorie and health savings.

    In a large mixing bowl attempt to cream together your stevia and coconut oil. I say attempt because they don’t really cream like butter and sugar would. I used a whisk and did my best.

  • Add in your 3 eggs and vanilla extract and continue whisking.
  • Add in the applesauce, pumpkin puree and water.IMG_4819
  • In a medium mixing bowl stir together the dry ingredients: gluten-free flour, baking soda, baking powder, dry buttermilk,cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.IMG_4817
  • IMG_4820

    mix slowly until…

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    voila! batter!

    Combine wet and dry, adding the dry to wet a little at a time.

  • Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.IMG_4824
  • Bake uncovered for an hour, then test for doneness by piercing with a knife or toothpick. If it comes out clean, its done. If not and it starts browning too fast, tent lightly with aluminum foil. Mine never needed tenting and its total cooking time came to an hour and 13 minutes.
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Ok, I need to make more of this. Right now.

 

Pumpkin is like crack to me. I ate the whole thing (practically by myself!) in about 2 days! I usually freeze any baked good within a day of making them so that they don’t go bad. I couldn’t bring myself to do that to this deliciously dense and moist bread! It looked nothing like a healthy food and I was enthralled! Christian thought it was pretty darned good too and did his part helping me take the whole pan down! It was great straight out of the oven, but even better the next day toasted and spread with coconut oil and honey. Mmmm…bliss. I will warn you that because of its lack of sugar (preservative) it should be refrigerated with a day or so of making to discourage any bacteria from growing.

 

*I thought this bread was wonderful! It was a lot like Starbucks in density, texture, and flavor. Which was exactly what I was going for. However the stevia wasn’t quite up to the sweetness level that I prefer in my pumpkin bread. I am going to try adding a bit of honey or date paste next time I make this. I might also amend the stevia to ¾ of a cup and see how that goes.IMG_4835

 

Paleo Pumpkin Brownies with Date Paste

IMG_4756 Pumpkin Paleo Brownies with Date Paste

I get a recipe and immediately want to change it. With paleo things I like to tweak them to make them more calorie counter friendly. They usually have waay too much oil or nut butter in them for me to eat. I love chocolatey things but was never a big fan of traditional brownies. Probably because all I’d ever had were boxed brownies that were overcooked on the outside and undercooked on the inside. not my favorite. These have made me a brownie believer. They are super moist and intensely chocolatey. Very satisfying even though they aren’t a large portion. Some days you just need a few bites to calm the craving. Some days you need the whole pan 😉

Yield: 16 small squares

 

Nutrition

Calories: 121.5

Fat: 7.5 g

Sodium: 162.3 mg

Total Carbohydrates: 15.6

Fiber: 3 g

Sugar: 11.3 g

Protein: 3.7 g

 

Ingredients

¼ cup Honey (raw or regular, or agave)

¼ cup (2 oz) Date Paste (see overnight oats post for recipe)

¼ cup Water

1 cup Unsweetened Cocoa powder

½ cup Pumpkin Puree

½ cup Unsweetened Applesauce

½ cup Almond butter (or nut butter of your choice, mine was 90 cal/TB)

2 tsp Vanilla extract

½ tsp Kosher Salt

¾ tsp Baking powder

90 g (½ cup) Chocolate Chips (I prefer dark, but milk or semisweet are fine too, milk just aren’t as flavorful)

1 Egg

 

  • Preheat oven to 325°
  • Grease and 8×8 baking dish with ¼ tsp of coconut oil, or nonstick spray. You can also line the dish with parchment paper if you don’t wish to use oil.
  • In a medium/small saucepan heat the honey, date paste and water over low heat, until warm and flowing.
  • Add in cocoa powder and stir until combined, be careful not to burn the cocoa powder so keep the heat very low!
  • Take the pan off the heat and add in all of the rest of the ingredients. Leave the egg and chocolate chips until last. You don’t want to cook the egg and you don’t want to melt the chips. They are a yummy little pop of chocolate when you bite into the brownie.
  • Using a spatula scrape every last drop of yummy brownie batter into your prepared pan. If you like you can sprinkle a little more kosher salt over the top of the brownies, the sweet and salt contrast is really lovely.
  • Pop your brownies into the oven and prepare to wait the longest 40-45 minutes of your life.
  • Take the brownies out and let them cool for a few minutes. This will help them to finish cooking if they aren’t quite done. I’d rather an underdone brownie than an overdone one though, so I usually can’t resist trying it immediately!
  • Slice into 16 equal squares and enjoy!

I usually weigh the entire batch and then divide by 16 for my portion size. Well I used coconut oil in the pan this time instead of parchment and then couldn’t get the brownies out without breaking them into a million pieces. So I didn’t weigh them and don’t know to the gram how large a piece should be. Next batch I’ll make sure and use parchment and weigh them out. Oh well, I think I’ll live without knowing precisely how big my piece of brownie should be!

 

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Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins, from Rissa

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Yield: 18 Muffins

 

Nutrition

Calories: 99

Fat: 1.8 g

Sodium: 8.7 mg

Total Carbohydrates: 16.9 g

Fiber: 2.3 g

Sugar: 5.9 g

Protein: 3.8 g

 

Ingredients

2 Bananas

½ cup Applesauce

6 oz plain 0% Chobani Greek yogurt

1 cup Water

2 tsp Vanilla/Almond extract

1 ¼ tsp Stevia (the concentrated kind, or use ¼ cup baking Stevia)

2 ½ cups White Whole Wheat Flour

½ tsp Salt

½ tsp Baking Soda

2 tsp Baking Powder

2 Tb Dry Buttermilk

90 g (about 1/2 cup) Chocolate Chips

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 These are mini muffins, and roughly 3 equal one large muffin

  • Preheat oven to 425°
  • Grease muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. You can use muffin liners, but the muffins stick to them and don’t peel off easily because of the low fat content.
  • Mix up wet ingredients.
  • Mix up dry ingredients.
  • Gently incorporate/fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Try not to over mix, just fold intil you don’t see any more flour streaks.
  • Spoon batter into the muffin tins.
  • Put muffins into the 425° oven and reduce heat to 400°.
  • Bake for 17-20 minutes or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

 

These muffins are so darn yummy! They are great as is, but you can also switch the flavorings and make them however you want. Leave out the chocolate chips and add in other things such as lemon extract and 1 cup blueberries, orange zest and 1 cup cranberries, 1 cup shredded carrots and carrot cake spices, 1 cup pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices (leave out one banana or it might be too wet). They are good in all these forms, I know, I’ve tried them all! You can also leave out ¼ cup of the flour and substitute ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa and make them chocolate muffins! I’d love to try a double chocolate muffin next. I also might try and experiment with some other flours that are gluten free. That’s on my list of to-do’s for this week!

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My very own Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats and Date Paste

Yield: 1 serving

Nutrition

Calories: 205.3

Fat: 4.3 g

Sodium: 75.6 mg

Total Carbs: 44.3 g

Fiber: 6.8 g

Sugar: 8.9 g

Protein: 5.9 g

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Ingredients

½ cup dry Old Fashioned Oats

½ cup unsweetened Almond Milk

50 g diced apple, about ¼ medium apple, mine were Honey crisps

¼ tsp Vanilla

¼ tsp Cinnamon

¼ oz Date Paste, about 1 ½ tsp

Mix all ingredients except apples together in an airtight container, I used little canning jars. Place the apples on top and seal. Put the oats in the refrigerator over night and voila! Next morning a delightful breakfast awaits! If you want you can always substitute Stevia or Splenda for the date paste, I just am trying out a new form of sweetener. And I love dates. I served my oats this morning with a little bit of vanilla protein powder for extra protein. It.was.amazing.

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Date Paste

Yield: 9 oz total

Nutrition per ounce

Calories: 62.2

Fat: 0 g

Sodium: 0.9 mg

Total Carbs: 14.6 g

Fiber: 1.6 g

Sugar: 13 g

Protein: 0.4 g

 

Ingredients

183 g (1 cup?) Dates,  Medjool are recommended, but I used Deglet and they’re great. And cheaper.

Water

Small canning jar

Put your dates into the canning jar, packing in the dates to the top. Cover with water, put on the lid and place in fridge and let soak for 24-48 hours. Take your dates and water (Do not Discard!) and place in your blending device of choice. Since the dates are pretty tough even after soaking I chose my hand blenders mini food processor option. You can use anything that will blend up the dates. Blend! I pulsed mine and scraped down the sides of the bowl a few times to get everything nicely incorporated. If your dates are very tough or you don’t want to soak them I would suggest measuring them and the water out and heating them up in a small saucepan until they’re tender enough to blend. Once the dates are blended up I re-measured mine to see how many ounces it made, then put the date paste back into the jar for storage. Put it in the fridge and use in whatever you want! I will be using mine mostly in baking and oatmeal/oats. I am also planning on using some to sweeten my granola I’ll be making in the next few days. I will probably thin it out with water before mixing it in with the granola. I’ll let you all know how that goes!

Therese’s White Wheat Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chips

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Therese’s White Wheat Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chips*

Yield: 16 slices

Nutrition per slice (59 grams)

Calories: 105.5

Fat: 2.2 g

Sodium: 182.3 mg

Total Carbs: 18.1 g

Fiber: 2.5 g

Sugar: 5.4 g

Protein: 3.2 g

2 bananas mashed (around 200g)

1 banana Chobani 2 % Greek yogurt (I use 6 oz plain 0% Chobani if I am out of banana)

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp almond extract (you can double the vanilla if you don’t have almond)

½ tsp kosher salt

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups white wheat flour (I use King Arthur and love it)

¼ cup unsweetened almond milk

¾ cup water

¼ cup baking Stevia or Splenda

½ cup (90 grams) dark or semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a loaf pan, or two. I used two 8×6’s. You can use any combination of pans you have, or even make this recipe into muffins.

Mash banana and mix in all other wet ingredients, then add in all dry ingredients into the same bowl. Add in chocolate chips and pour into prepared pans. Bake for around 35 minutes or until a knife poked into the center comes out clean. Try not to eat it all in one sitting. Enjoy!

*be warned, this stuff is like crack (for me at least) its so hard for me not to eat a piece after every meal! I put mine into plastic bags and into the freezer immediately after making it and just microwave a piece whenever I want one. It helps to keep it out of sight, or it’d literally be gone in one day!

Coconut Oatmeal Muffins

Coconut Oatmeal Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Nutrition per muffin:

Calories 93.8

Fat:3.5g

Sodium:24.2mg

Total Carbohydrates:11.7g

Fiber:1.5g

Sugars:3.8g

Protein:4.3g

 

2 cups old fashioned oats

3 egg whites

6 oz plain 0% fat Chobani Greek yogurt

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

¼ cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp coconut extract

45 grams unsweetened flaked coconut (about ½ cup loosely packed)

½ tsp cream of tartar

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 ¼ cups hot water

scant ½ cup baking stevia or splenda

 

Preheat oven to 350°, and grease a muffin tin. Mix all ingredients together either by hand or with a blender/hand blender and spoon into muffin tin. I mixed mine by hand and I think the texture would be smoother if mixed with a blender. I loved the texture though, nice and chewy like baked oatmeal. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and crisp on top. Mine stuck to the pan a little so they may have needed a few more minutes to firm the bottom more. After they’ve cooled a few minutes flip them out of the pan so the bottoms don’t get soggy. They tasted amazing and I had some ‘tasters’ of what got stuck on the bottom of the pan!Image