It’s strange not to be getting a classroom set up this time of year. To get my classroom layout fix, I went to help my friend set up her room. She’ll be teaching kindergarten, and her space is amazing! Her classroom has its own coatroom with a full length cubby for each kid, plus a bathroom. The room has lots of windows on two sides, tons of built-in storage, and TWO sinks at the back–one kid height and one regular. On top of all that, the building is air conditioned! In six years of teaching, I definitely never had it that good.
Okay, I know I’ve been posting a lot of pancake recipes recently. But, I had to make these because I went berry picking yesterday, and all those adorable, sweet blueberries were begging to be made into pancakes. And, I had to share this recipe with you because I snuck in one of my favorite secret ingredients.
It’s green. It’s delicious. Can you guess what it is?
Ingredients (adapted from Annie’s Eats; makes 36 small but thick bars):
For the crust and topping:
1 and 1/2 cups coconut flour
1 and 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons almond flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple sugar (granulated)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of one lemon
18 tablespoons grass-fed cold butter
1 cup sliced almonds, lightly crushed
For the filling:
1 cup grass-fed milk or coconut milk
1 and 3/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup coconut flour
Juice of one lemon
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 and 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9×13 pan with tinfoil and grease it lightly. To make the crust, combine the flours, sugar, salt, and lemon zest in a food processor (or by hand in a large bowl). Cut the butter into cubes and pulse until the mixture is uniform. If you’re not using the food processor, it’s easiest to mix the dough with your hands. Reserve about 3/4 cup of the mixture to serve as the topping. Press the rest of it into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 12 minutes, until golden brown.
To make the topping, add the crushed sliced almonds to the reserved dough and mix until combined.
To make the filling, whisk together all ingredients except the blueberries until smooth. Gently stir in the blueberries.
When the crust is baked, let it cool for 10-15 minutes, leaving the oven on. Then, pour the filling over, sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling, and bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the middle is just set. Cool completely before cutting–it helps to put them in the refrigerator to firm up. Slice into squares or rectangles and enjoy!
Yesterday I really wanted something sweet. I’ve had good success so far making paleo treats sweetened with honey, but you’re not allowed to have honey during the Whole30. I thought there was nothing I could do to satisfy my sweet tooth, but then I remembered reading some of the fine print down at the bottom of the Whole30 site, where it said that fruit juice could be used as a sweetener. At the time, I hadn’t been able to imagine how fruit juice could make an adequate sweetener. But, in my time of desperate sweets craving, I started to think maybe I could do something with this.
These cookies are sweetened with apple juice and dried apricots. They don’t taste like apple, but they do have a nice apricot flavor and a fun subtle orange hue. They are, not surprisingly, not very sweet. I won’t judge you if you want to add a couple of tablespoons of honey. If you do, you might want to add a little more almond flour as well (or less apple juice) so the batter won’t be too wet.
If you like a moist, rich cookie that’s guilt-free, these are for you. The vanilla bean seeds, butter, and almond flour provide lots of great flavor and texture to make up for the cookies not being overly sweet. And, with only five ingredients plus salt, these cookies couldn’t be easier to make! However, I’m not going to lie to you: they are not crispy at all. I haven’t figured out how to make gluten-free cookies crispy. If you have the secret, please share it! If you’re looking for a sweeter cookie, check out the “You might also like” section at the end of this post.
Ingredients (makes about 15 cookies):
1/2 cup dried apricots, soaked in warm water for 10-20 minutes
1/2 cup apple juice
1 cup almond flour
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 325, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain the dried apricots and place them in a food processor with the apple juice. Process, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until the mixture has a jam-like texture with very small pieces of apricot.
Add the almond flour, butter, and salt, and scrape in the vanilla bean seeds. Process until well combined. Spoon tablespoon sized balls of batter onto the prepared sheet and flatten them slightly (cookies will not spread as they bake). Bake for about 12 minutes, until golden brown around the edges. Cool for a few minutes on the sheet, then carefully transfer to a rack to cool completely.
The almond flour pancakes I made a few days ago were so good that I was eager to try another version of paleo pancakes. This time, I was inspired by a cinnamon banana pancake recipe in Easy Paleo Diet Recipes, and added a twist to make them even better.
Do you have a favorite diner? Mine is the Maugus, which is just down the street from my mom’s apartment in my hometown. It’s run by a big Greek family, and the hardest part of being a regular there is when they close for three weeks every summer to go to Greece. They are closed right now and I have to tell you, it has been rough. One of my favorite things to get there is pancakes–their pancakes are HUGE! I’m a big fan of both the strawberry and the banana pancakes. They have nice rounds of freshly sliced fruit cooked right in. They will even make you pancakes with both strawberries AND bananas if you can’t decide. And, if you are not into fruity pancakes (who are you and why are you still reading?) you can get chocolate chip pancakes or cinnamon walnut french toast.
Anyway, inspired by the Maugus, I put sliced strawberries into these banana pancakes. The banana is mashed up with the batter so the pancakes do not have a strong banana flavor, but they are pleasantly reminiscent of banana bread. And if you have never tried sliced strawberries in your pancakes, you HAVE to. They are cooked just to the point of being fabulously juicy, and it is much more exciting than just putting sliced strawberries on top of your pancakes. Trust me.
Since I am doing the Whole 30 for real now, I omitted the honey from the original recipe. However, with the bananas and the strawberries, I thought these pancakes were sweet enough. I ate mine with the extra banana and strawberry slices on top and a little butter, and my boyfriend enjoyed his with some syrup.
Ingredients (serves 2; makes 6-7 pancakes):
1 and 1/2 cups almond flour
1/3 cup mashed banana (about half a medium banana–slice the rest to serve with the pancakes)
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons coconut milk
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, thinly sliced, plus extra for serving
Butter or coconut oil for cooking
Combine all the ingredients except the strawberries in a food processor and process until smooth. Heat some oil or butter in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot (a drop of water will dance across the surface), add about 1/4 cup of batter. Place some strawberry slices on top. Cook until many bubbles have formed on the surface (the bottom should be browned). Carefully slide a large spatula under the pancake and flip it quickly. If you flip these pancakes too soon or use a small spatula, you may lose some of your strawberries during the turn. Cook for a minute or less on the second side, until browned and cooked through. Add more oil or butter before cooking a second pancake. Top with fresh fruit and butter if desired and serve hot.
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This is it! My new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Even if I weren’t doing a month of paleo, I would still make these. They are SO good–a little chewy, super chocolaty, not too sweet, with a good dose of vanilla. In other words, perfect.
Several months ago, my friend Audrey emailed me a recipe for chocolate chip cookies with almond flour, which she said she liked better than the real thing. I was a little skeptical, but finally tried it. The cookies were delicious, but the recipe had no egg, and I found that the cookies fell apart easily and were a little too flat. I tried again with a couple of eggs, which resulted in much sturdier cookies that were also delicious, but very cakey.
Hoping to strike a balance between too cakey and too flat and fall-aparty, I tried a third time. As often happens, the third time was the charm! I hope you make these cookies. You won’t miss the flour or the sugar (and they don’t taste like honey). They are really easy to make, and not that bad for you! Do it!
Note: the main reason I chilled the dough here is because I wanted to leave the kitchen before I started preheating the oven (it’s 100 degrees today!). So, you can stay mostly cool and still make these cookies. Try them! You know you want to.
Ingredients (makes about three dozen small cookies):
8 tablespoons grass-fed butter
1/2 cup honey
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups almond flour
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (paleo chocolate exists, but I couldn’t find any…so technically my cookies are just ALMOST paleo)
In a large bowl, cream the butter with a fork until smooth. Add the honey, vanilla, and salt and stir until very smooth, then add the egg and stir to incorporate. Add the baking soda, almond flour, and chocolate chunks and stir until combined. Refrigerate the dough for up to 30 minutes if possible.
Preheat the oven to 350 and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper (or if you don’t have three, like me, bake in batches–just be sure to let the cookie sheet cool between batches). Scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto the sheet, flattening them a little if you like a flatter cookie. They don’t spread much while they bake, and will be adorably domed if you leave them alone, but I flattened some because I am planning to make ice cream sandwiches.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown on top but not burned on the bottom. The cookies will be unstable, and need to cool on the pans for at least five minutes. After that, carefully transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
Guess what? In only 20 minutes, you can have rich, chewy chocolate almond cookies with no gluten, no butter or oil, no egg yolks, and no dairy! It sounds too good to be true, but these cookies are really delicious!
You’ll end up with a couple of egg yolks, which you could save for ice cream.
The bad news is that my bag of almond flour is now almost gone! I’ll definitely be buying more. From financiers to mocha brownies to these cookies, it’s my new favorite healthy baking ingredient. Go get some and make these today!
Note: You won’t taste the coffee in these cookies–I just added it to bring out the chocolate flavor. You can leave it out if you want a decaf cookie :0.
Ingredients (adapted from Heather’s Dish):
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 rounded tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon finely ground coffee (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the egg whites, vanilla, and almond extract and stir until the dough comes together.
Drop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto the parchment paper, and flatten the tops slightly with your hand or a spoon (the cookies will not spread much at all while cooking). Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crisp on the outside but not burned on the bottoms. Cool on a wire rack.
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