Today, two members of our review team give us their take on two new Paleo dessert books. Plus a recipe! Make sure to read to the end to see how you can enter to win a copy of both of these two books! What a ‘sweet’ deal! Two reviews and two giveaways in one post, just in time for the holidays!
Review: Paleo Sweets and Treats
Amelia is reviewing Paleo Sweets and Treats by Heather Connell of Multiply Delicious. We love Heather’s beautiful blog, with stunning photography and funny stories about the adventures of raising twin girls, Crossfiting, and being a certified Holistic Nutritionist.
I was a bit hesitant to pick this book up due to my uncertain relationship with treats these days. I’ve been struggling to define their place in my diet. Should I get rid of anything resembling the old standbys that got me to such an unhealthy place? Only indulge on special occasions outside the house? Or would it be better to incorporate some special foods that I make myself and have control over? It is a quandary many Paleo enthusiasts address at some point.
For the sake of this review, I dove in with option #3: use this very credible source to guide me in my attempts to figure out what works best for me. The introduction and first chapters gave me a sense of Healther Connell’s perspective and how she’s used the Paleo Lifestyle to improve her family’s health and well-being. Her ability to create such appealing recipes has gone a long way in making this a sustainable way of life for her family.
Inspired by Heather’s example, I flipped through the recipes, looking for something appropriate for my own Thanksgiving feast. My husband and I were sharing the meal with our (not Paleo) neighbors and I wanted to bring something everyone could enjoy. I started off with a test run, earlier in the week, choosing the Cranberry-Apple Upside-Down Cakes from the Winter Indulgences section. I decided to make one large cake (using this 8-Inch Round Cake Pan) instead of 6 mini-cakes and it came out beautifully, tasted delicious, and was gobbled up quite quickly.
When it came down to the big day, I chose another one of the Winter Indulgences recipes: Gingerbread-Pear Upside-Down Cake. I am a big fan of the upside-down cake concept, as you can see! They are relatively easy to make and come out looking very pretty. I also like the way the fruit sits on top of the finished product, creating a concentrated flavor bomb. This version was a hit, enjoyed by all at the party.
Overall, I was impressed with the recipes in this book. I liked the author’s philosophy regarding baking seasonally and her preference for using whole food based sweeteners (minimal honey and/or maple syrup in favor of using Medjool dates, for instance). I like that you get all the vitamin and mineral co-factors along with the sweetness, as opposed to just the empty calories. It was great to enjoy cake without the addictive urge to eat the whole thing myself. The cakes were definitely nicely sweetened but not overly so in a way that would trigger the sugar monster in me. I was pleasantly surprised at how both cakes hit that delicate balance.
Paging through the rest of the book, I eyed several of the spring and summer recipes to keep in mind for next year, when the weather starts to change. The Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes will be among the first I’ll try during berry season! I highly recommend Paleo Sweets and Treats and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Review: Christmas Dessert Freedom
Courtney is reviewing Christmas Dessert Freedom Cookbook by Leanne Vogel of Healthful Pursuit. Leanne is also a Holistic Nutritionist in Canada, and we love her spunky tagline that encourages people to “embrace your true self and live authentically.” She even guest posted or us before!
Just in time for those cookie exchanges and holiday parties…..Leanne Vogel brings us the Christmas Dessert Freedom Cookbook. These are egg-free, dairy-free, gluten and wheat-free, grain-free, corn-free, peanut-free, and soy-free desserts. I want them all!
This eBook is vibrant and full of holiday spirit. The colors and the pictures are eye-catching, and each recipe has a full color photo of the finished (mouth-watering) product. Leanne includes an explanation of the special ingredients she uses these ingredients in multiple recipes, so you don’t have to spend a fortune to make all ten recipes!
I have a deep love for shortbread (could it be my Celtic roots?) and so I was immediately drawn to the Maple Shortbread recipe. Buttery and flaky and a little sweet is just how I like my cookies! I was happy to discover that I had all the ingredients I needed in my regular, everyday, paleo pantry. I was even happier when I read that there are only 4 ingredients!
The recipe was simple, though the time from start to finish was 1.5 hours. That’s only because the shortbread needed to freeze for 30 minutes, then was baked at a low temperature for 40-50 minutes. This was a very easy recipe to make. After mixing the dough, I wondered how I could shape it because it did seem very sticky, but Leanne was exactly right in her instructions; the dough was easy to shape once out of the bowl.
I loved these! They are slightly sweet and crumbly, just the way shortbread is meant to be. I loved it so much that I asked Leanne if I could share the recipe with you all, and she graciously agreed! All in all, this is a simple, sweet, and satisfying holiday cookie, even further it’s also nut-free in addition to being grain-free and egg-free too (making it auto-imunne paleo compatible!). I can’t wait to try the rest of the awesome looking recipes in this e-book!
- 3/4 cup coconut flour
- 6 TBSP extra virgin coconut oil, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- pinch sea salt
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Set aside.
- Add all ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer and mix on medium-high for 1 minute. If you do not have a stand mixer, a handheld mixer will work just fine.
- Dough will be sticky but once you remove from the bowl and form into a ball, it will get less sticky. Divide the dough into 16 even sections. Place sections on the baking sheet and, one by one, shape each section into shortbread bars with your fingers.
- Once complete, place baking sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°F. Once shortbread has chilled, transfer baking sheet to the preheated oven. Bake for 40- 50 minutes, or until just lightly golden.
- Remove baking sheet from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.
- Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Option to dip the ends of the cookies in chocolate or serve as is.
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Up to 5 entries per person. No purchase required!
Remember Matt’s rules of giveaways:
- Please use a valid email address when entering. I cannot use my dowsing rods to attempt to find which bytes form your contact address!
- Please follow all the rules so I don’t get frustrated by invalid entries. Nothing makes more of a sad panda than picking a winner who I have to disqualify.
- Please respond within 48 hours or I will have to pick a new winner! I have a certain set of skills that make me a nightmare to people who don’t respond: the ability to randomly draw again.
- Please be a US resident. My mana is too low to cast a Teleportation Spell!
Giveaway ends Friday 12/20/13, so enter now!