Tag Archives: dessert

frozen mexican hot chocolate

Frozen Mexican Hot Chocolate

Have you ever had Mexican hot chocolate? It’s our favorite on cold snowy days, especially after coming in from playing in or shoveling snow. It’s basically hot chocolate with a sprinkle of cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Sound strange? Well, it’s delicious! And you can feel the slight heat of the hot pepper all the way down your throat, so that you’re warmed from the inside out. It’s perfect!

I’d never considered turning that into ice cream until I saw this recipe by Homemade Mommy. But as soon as I saw it I KNEW it was a great idea. So I decided to try it.

I used her recipe, but then changed it up to accommodate ingredients I had on hand and my personal preferences. The verdict?

A really sweet, creamy chocolate ice cream with a cinnamon twist and a surprising slight afterburn of heat from the cayenne. As soon as it was done, my husband and daughter descended on the kitchen with spoons to greedily scrape out every last bit from the canister. So, yeah, it was a hit!

And, if you leave out the eggs and tapioca starch/gelatin, this is a perfect recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate on those cold snowy days! (You can use all milk instead of half cream for hot chocolate.)

You can see the original recipe here, or you can print out my slightly altered version.

frozen mexican hot chocolate

As with any sweet item, consume with caution if you’re particularly sensitive! This only has 1 cup of sweetener for 6 cups of dairy, though, so it’s not so bad.

Frozen Mexican Hot Chocolate
Recipe type: dessert
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • ⅔ cup coconut palm sugar
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • (can use any combination of honey, maple syrup, palm sugar, or sucanat that adds up to a cup)
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp gelatin or tapioca powder (optional - helps make a smooth, creamy texture)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Combine ½ cup of the milk along with the cocoa and spices in a large pot. Whisk until completely combined.
  2. Add in the rest of the milk, cream, eggs, palm sugar, honey, and molasses and whisk together. If using tapioca starch, add this now as well.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbles start to form on the edge of the pot and the mixture starts to thicken.
  4. If using gelatin instead of tapioca powder, slowly whisk it in now.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  6. (Hint: If you don't have enough cream, you can use more milk and less cream, and then once you turn off the heat stir in several Tbsp of butter to make up for the cream content.)
  7. Taste, and if it's not sweet enough for you add in more sweetener or some drops of Stevia extract.
  8. Put the mixture in the refrigerator to chill several hours, until completely cold.
  9. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.


zucchini brownies

Grain-Free (and amazing!) Zucchini Brownies

Zucchini. Tons and tons of zucchini. I like it and all, especially in Creamy Shrimp Linguine,  but really…how much zucchini can one person eat? And yet I keep getting it in my CSA share.

So last night I went on a search for things to do with my abundance of zucchini, and as soon as I saw the idea for this recipe I knew I wanted to try it. As in, immediately.

So immediately, in fact, that when I discovered I was short on cocoa powder (gasp! horror!) I sent my 12 year old daughter out to the neighbors in her pajamas in search of some. At 9:00 at night. And when those neighbors weren’t home I sent her back out to the other neighbors to ask them. That’s how desperate I was to do this thing.

Ah, children. God’s little way of helping us do all the unpleasant, embarrassing things we don’t want to do ourselves.

Fortunately that neighbor was home, and awake, and in possession of cocoa, and willing to give me some. (Thanks, Tracy!) So I plopped in all the ingredients – changing up some things according to my whim at the moment – baked it, let it cool for about 20 minutes, and….

zucchini brownies

Oh. My goodness.

So good! It’s not necessarily like my old Baker’s Chocolate recipe that had 2 cups of sugar in it – but it is hands down the best attempt at better-for-you brownies I’ve ever tried. (And, believe me, folks, I’ve been TRYING.)

Before now, none of my attempts were at all worthy of sharing with you guys. But this one totally is.

What makes it special is that it’s really fluffy – spongy and springy – and yet at the same time is really, really moist. It just kind of dissolves in your mouth. And so chocolatey! Really, really chocolatey. There’s no hint of the zucchini in it at all, except for the fact that it’s so wonderfully moist and tender.

zucchini brownies zucchini brownies

Also, this recipe has no flour. At all. Of any kind. It just has almond butter as the main ingredient!

I’ve been able to have foods like this, made with whole food sweeteners, just fine recently. (Well, I had to go through a detox after vacation, but after that I was fine.) Not everyone will be able to, though – in the beginning I wasn’t. So if you’re still sensitive to any kind of sweetener be sure to tread carefully with this! But if you’re able to have whole-food sweeteners in moderation, then this is definitely a recipe to try out!

What else are we supposed to do with all those zucchinis this time of year?

zucchini brownies

Grain-Free (and amazing!) Zucchini Brownies
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-12
  • 1 cup natural almond butter
  • 1 cup zucchini, grated VERY fine
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 10-15 drops liquid Stevia extract, or to taste, optional (I used Trader Joe's organic)
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder (preferably dark)
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (or whatever nut you prefer)
  • 1 tsp espresso powder (optional)
  1. Mix all ingredients except Stevia together in a large bowl. (Make sure the zucchini is grated finely if you want to disguise it thoroughly!)
  2. Taste the batter, and if you think it needs to be sweeter add more honey or 10-15 drops of Stevia extract.
  3. Grease an 8x8 baking dish with butter or coconut oil, and then pour in the batter.
  4. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
  5. Let cool slightly before cutting into it, or it will fall apart!


fresh mint ice cream

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

I came across this recipe and I just KNEW I had to try it. I was totally intrigued by the idea of making mint ice cream by steeping fresh mint leaves in hot cream instead of using an extract. So, yesterday – as a mother’s day treat for me – I made it.

steeping mint leaves in the cream

And it was fantabulous! (Would you believe that fantabulous was not tagged by spell check? Since when was fantabulous a real word?)

This does NOT taste like the mint ice cream you buy. So don’t go into it expecting that or you’ll think it tastes weird. What it does taste like is…mint! I mean, real mint. The kind that grows in your backyard or a field. Have you ever smelled fresh mint? Picked it and chewed it on a hot summer day? That is exactly what this tastes like. In ice cream form. Fresh and green like something from a meadow somewhere. It’s delicate and slightly grassy and absolutely intriguing. And it goes perfectly with the honey used to sweeten the ice cream.

I chopped up a very dark 85% cacao chocolate bar and put it in with this ice cream, but it really isn’t necessary. It would be great on its own. And, think of all the things that fresh mint would taste good with. I think mint tastes great in a fruit salad, so how about a dollop of this mint ice cream on top of a bowl of fresh strawberries or other fruit? I think that would make a spectacular summer dessert!

It's ready!

It’s ready! Yay!

It goes without saying (or should) that this has enough honey in it to make it something you should eat carefully. If you’re experiencing pain or other acute symptoms of inflammation, you’ll want to consider very carefully before eating this. But if you’re maintaining a “whole food sweeteners in moderation” lifestyle this is perfect! :)

fresh mint ice cream

Edit: 4-20-2014 – I never put chocolate chips in this anymore, but always – ALWAYS – have it with fresh fruit on top. It is beyond heavenly. This is definitely my favorite dessert!

fresh mint ice cream

Fresh Mint Ice Cream
Cuisine: dessert
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup + honey
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped mint
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca starch (can be left out if you don't have it - using it makes it smoother)
  • (optional) half of a very dark (85% cacao or more) chocolate bar, chopped
  • (optional) Liquid stevia to sweeten it more
  1. Pour the cream, milk, and honey in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the mint leaves, scraped vanilla bean, and tapioca starch.
  2. Heat until bubbles start to form at the edges, then turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Pour the mix into a bowl through a sieve to strain out the mint leaves. If you didn't use a vanilla bean, stir in the tablespoon of vanilla at this point.
  4. Taste, and if necessary add a bit more honey or 10 or so drops liquid stevia. It will taste different once it's cold, so you're only going for sweetness here.
  5. Cover, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. This will take at least 2 hours, probably more.
  6. Use in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  7. Would be perfect served on top of fresh fruit, or any other food that goes well with fresh mint!


(Part of Read Food Wednesday)


Buckwheat PB Krispies

Buckwheat Peanut Butter Krispies

Way back in the beginning of this whole thing, back when I was just starting to try to figure out how to live this diet and was flirting with lots of different flours and grains, I got a huge bag of buckwheat groats from the bulk bins at Whole foods. I think I had some sort of idea of putting the groats in my blender and turning it into flour. Because a $30 Oster blender can TOTALLY do that. Yeah.

So, this huge bag of groats has been sitting in my freezer for months, just waiting for me to figure out what to do with them.

Well…I figured it out.

These babies are so good. They are – as the name says – perfectly crispy and crunchy. It’s the first thing everyone says when they have one, and I think it’s what makes them so good. There’s this creamy, sweet peanut butter surrounding all that crispy goodness, and then – as though that wasn’t enough – they’re topped with a thin layer of dark chocolate.

Oh, yeah.

Continue reading


Lemon Cake with Strawberries and Cream

For his birthday, my husband requested (as usual) lemon cake. I went through this whole thing of trying to figure out how to make a lemon cake like he used to have, only with better ingredients. The problem was, I didn’t think I could use a whole sweetener like coconut sugar or honey without really throwing off the lemon flavor. I also thought that with all whole-grain flour it would never achieve the light and fluffy texture I needed.

So I compromised. Big time. I used organic white sugar and fooled myself that it really wasn’t THAT BAD because, you now, it was organic. That was what I told myself to feel better, anyway. I also used 3/4 white spelt flour and only 1/4 whole grain.

What resulted was lovely. It really was.

strawberry lemonade cake strawberry lemonade cake

I wrote up this whole blog post about it, even though it really isn’t something any of you should be eating.

And then I went on to see if I could turn the recipe into something healthier. I thought that maybe I could find a way to make it into something acceptable…just not something birthday cake-ish. I thought I’d have the unhealthy version as the special occasion birthday cake thing, and the healthy one for other times.

I used all coconut sugar, and half whole grain spelt and half almond meal. It was brown and rustic looking. And, guess what?

Everyone liked it BETTER than the birthday cake version! “It’s so moist!” they said. “It makes my mouth happy!” they said. “Make this one instead of that other one next time,” they said.

Okay, then!!

So! I no longer have to share the unhealthy version of this cake, but can just go straight to sharing the better-for-you version, because it also happens to be delicious!

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gingerbread muffin tops

Ginger Molasses Muffin Tops

The other day my daughter made cookies. They were gingery molasses cookies sweetened with dark molasses and sucanat (unrefined whole cane sugar) so they weren’t as bad as other sweets, but were still much higher in sugars than is good for me to eat. So, of course, I shouldn’t have had any.

I ate six of them.


Very obviously, I cannot be trusted around sugar-sweetened foods – even if it’s whole, unrefined sugar.

I set out to make something that had the same flavor but without the addictive sugar punch. What resulted was a soft, pillowy muffin-like cookie. Something more like muffin tops than anything else – but the most tender and light muffin tops you’ve ever eaten! They’re packed with flavor, and the perfect sweetness for what you’d expect from a muffin. I’ve found that my enjoyment of a food is directly impacted by what I expect them to be, so calling them muffins instead of cookies immediately made them more delicious!

gingerbread muffin tops

They’re really good. So good that my son is – at this very moment – BEGGING me to let him have another one, falling to the ground in mock hysterics, pretending to be heartbroken over the fact that he has to wait until he’s done his spelling homework first. (He thinks he’s funny.) My daughter, in her more subdued way, said in agreement, “Yeah, Mom. They’re REALLY good!”

So. There you go.

However, while they’re very tasty (and obviously kid approved), they don’t make me want to wolf down the entire batch. I can eat one, enjoy it, and think it’s delicious – and then be done. It’s so much easier to have self-control without the sugar-drug!

I don’t have a step-by-step photo session of these, because I just threw them together last night and didn’t feel like bothering. (Yeah, I’m lazy sometimes.) But it’s easy, and I’m sure you can figure it out just fine!

gingerbread muffin tops

Four notes:
1. My new printable recipe thingee won’t let me put links within the recipe, so if you need a tutorial on how to make date puree, you’ll find it here. And if you need a tutorial for browning butter, you can use this one from How Sweet It Is.
2. I know I extolled the virtues of blackstrap molasses on my last post about baked beans, but it’s too bitter for this desert recipe. Use dark (sometimes called full flavor) molasses instead.
3. This recipe uses some almond flour, and it gives it great texture, but all grain flour can be used instead if desired.
4. And, while these are a very nutrient-dense and relatively healthy dessert, molasses IS still sucrose (dark molasses is 60% sucrose.) So you still have to be careful about your consumption if you’re fighting inflammation!

Ginger Molasses Muffin Tops
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: about 30 cookies
  • 10 oz. dates, or 1 cup prepared date puree
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, preferably unrefined
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ⅓ cup molasses, preferably dark (sometimes called "full flavor")
  • 1½ cup whole grain spelt or whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup almond flour or meal
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger
  • scant ⅛ tsp Stevia powder
  1. Soak the dates in very hot water for 10 minutes. Drain, and refill with fresh hot water and let soak for another 10 minutes. (or use previously prepared date puree).
  2. While the dates are soaking, brown the butter. In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until it's lightly browned. Turn off heat, and stir in the coconut oil until melted.
  3. When the dates are softened, put them in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Pour in the melted brown butter/coconut oil mixture and pulse until relatively smooth. Add the egg, vanilla, and molasses, and process for about a minute, or until consistently smooth.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, almond meal, baking soda, Stevia, and spices and stir together. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl and mix until completely combined. (At this point, taste the batter and if you want it sweeter add a couple tablespoons of maple syrup.)
  5. Cover the bowl, and place in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.
  6. Heat the oven to 375 F. Grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil, or line it with parchment paper. Using two small spoons, scoop small spoonfuls of the dough onto the cookie sheet, about an inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes.


(This recipe is a part of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday and Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday)

blondie cake

Blondie Brownie Cake

I had a craving the other day for something caramelly, butterscotchy…something like a blondie brownie. I thought that the flavor of browned butter, plus a little palm sugar, would do this very nicely. And if I substituted some of the sugar for date puree it would be something I could have (a little) of!

I’m happy to say that, unlike many of my experiments, this one worked out! The texture of this is very cake-like, which is why I decided to call it “brownie cake.” The flavor is caramelly-butterscotchy, just like I wanted, and is mildly sweet. Anyone who loves the taste of regular blondies will probably like this too. If you don’t like blondies…well, then I guess don’t bother with it!

As I mentioned, this uses browned butter, and just like my browned butter banana bread, it requires you to solidify it to the consistency of softened butter before using. My original recipe I based this on called for melted butter, but since the date puree adds a lot of moisture I thought it would be better to have it solid. But after that’s done, it’s easy: just mix everything together in a bowl, put it in a pan, and stick it in the oven!

This version of the recipe makes for an earthy, mildly sweet cake that I really liked. When you make it, taste the batter before you put it in the pan. If it doesn’t taste sweet enough for your preferences, add a bit more maple syrup until it’s as you like it!

blondie cake

Blondie Brownie Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter, browned
  • 1 cup palm sugar
  • 1 cup date puree 
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 Tbsp maple syrup (preferably grade B)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups whole grain spelt flour (can use whole wheat if preferred but I haven’t tested that for taste)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Brown one stick of butter, and then place it in the refrigerator for a short time (about 10 minutes) to solidify. You want it to be closer to the consistency of softened butter. Cream together the solidified browned butter with 1 cup of palm sugar. Add in the date puree, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the spelt flour, salt, baking powder, and nuts (if using). At this point you can taste the batter, and if you want it sweeter add more maple syrup until it’s to your liking. Grease an 8×8 square pan with coconut oil or butter, and pour in the batter. Bake for 50 minutes.