Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chocolate SunButter Cups

I also made these real quick today for a Christmas Treat...these are quicker and easier than baking cookies.  Dark Chocolate and Sunbutter...mmmm...yummy!

Chocolate Sunbutter Cups

3 pkgs of Lindt 70% dark chocolate (3.5 oz each) or dark chocolate of your choice
1 TBSP Coconut oil

1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (unsweetened)
1/2 TSBP raw honey (optional)

Melt your raw honey and stir into the sunflower seed butter and set aside.  Then in a double boiler, melt your chocolate and coconut oil.  Then remove from heat and line a mini muffin pan with mini muffin liners (foil works best).  Then pour your melted chocolate into a large ziploc bag and cut of the tiniest amount of the corner.  Using your bag, fill each of the cups about 1/4-1/3 full.  Once they are all partially filled, set aside and let it firm up a bit.  After the chocolate is mostly firm, place a small amount of the Sunbutter in each cup (I didn't measure but about 1/2 tsp I would guess).  Then take your bag of melted chocolate and fill the cups the rest of the way, set aside and let the chocolate harden.  And then you have some beautiful and delicious treats!

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Christmas Treats

In the spirit of Christmas, the kids and I have been making lot's of fun crafts and treats this week.  One that I can share on here is for Gingerbread Men Cookies.  I took a recipe from Elenas Pantry, and made some modifications to meet my preferences better.  For example I subbed Pure Maple Syrup for the Agave, as agave is not a good choice for sweeteners, it is very high in fructose and no better than using high fructose corn syrup.  Please read this article for more information on the differences in sweeteners. I also subbed Blackstrap Molasses for the Yacon Syrup simply because I didn't find any at the Natural Foods store, and then I tried two different batches, one with mostly olive oil and a little grapeseed oil and one with melted coconut oil.  Again, if you are eating Paleo, grapeseed oil is one of the oils that should generally be avoided due to it's high Omega 6 level.  Both ways turned out about the same and tasted great.  If you are going to use the coconut oil, be sure to melt it and have your maple syrup and eggs at room temperature so they don't harden your coconut oil when you mix them together.  
This was a fun thing to do with the older kids, but would be a bit difficult for real young ones.  I did have a little trouble with the dough being real sticky, so added an additional 1/2 cup of almond meal and worked in small amounts.  My suggestion is to roll it out on some parchment paper or silicone mat. I used silicone mat dusted with rice flour and we dipped our cookie cutter in cocoa powder to keep it from sticking to the dough.  I would suggest rolling out about 1/3 -1/2 of the dough at a time, cut out your cookies and the easiest thing would be to leave them on the mat removing the excess dough from around them.  Then transfer the mat or paper to a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven and the thickness of your cookies. I would also suggest chilling the remaining dough between each batch so it's easier to handle.  These are a heavily spiced cookie which is what we really enjoyed about them, however, if you don't like that you may want to cut back some on the spices.  
Another thing I did was to experiment with cinnamon's, one batch I used Saigon Cinnamon and another one I used Korintje Cinnamon.  Both were very tasty, again it is a matter of preference, my taste testers where split, the Saigon Cinnamon gives it an almost spicy kick, while the Korinjte is milder and not "spicy". 

* I read a neat trick for making your cookies cripsy somewhere on the internet, not sure where or I would give credit...when your cookies lose their crunch place in your oven at 170 degrees for an hour.  I tried it today and it works great!  Nice crunchy gingerbread men cookies now! *
Merry Christmas and Happy baking!

Gingerbread Men Cookies

5 1/2 cups almond flour
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 TBSP ground ginger powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup olive oil (be sure not to use extra virgin, just plain olive oil), or coconut oil (see notes above)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsulfered blackstrap molasses
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon zest

In a large bowl, combine almond flour, cinnamon, ginger powder, cloves, salt and baking soda.  In a smaller bowl mix together your oil, sweeteners, vanilla, eggs and lemon zest. Then stir your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and mix well.
Chill dough for 2 hours.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Then roll dough out on a silicone mat or parchment paper until it's about 1/4" thick.  Her suggestion is to roll it out between two layers, but that didn't work out to well for me.    Again see my notes above for suggestions on how to make this easier.
If you used two layers of parchment paper, then remove the top layer and using cookie cutters make your gingerbread men (a medium cookie cutter works good).  Decorate with dried fruit and nuts if you like (we left ours plain).  
Either transfer with a spatula or transfer the whole mat/paper to a baking sheet.  
Cook at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from the oven when they are done to your liking, then remove them from the mat or parchment paper and cool on a wire rack.  Then you get to enjoy your yummy cookies!

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Monday, December 19, 2011

If you have been following this blog, you may have noticed some subtle changes upon your visit this time.  Crossfit Eureka's Paleo Made Easy, is now just Paleo Made Easy.  I (Sheilla) am no longer working as a owner/trainer at the box and they have very graciously allowed me to keep the this blog.  
I will be making a few changes, which you may notice as I begin making posts.  Honestly I am not completely decided on what direction I will be taking the blog.  One thing I intend to keep posting is any great local bargains that I find, I love it when I find a economical way to feed my family and love sharing it with others.  Speaking of great Bargains...Winco had Lindt dark chocolate bars for $1.78 (I can't find my receipt but that is what I remember), I used that deal to stock my pantry with yummy 85% Dark Chocolate! 
I'm thinking there may be more posts in the way of just rambling or blogging in which my personal views and beliefs will more than likely come through, along with tips for a Paleo way of life. Scattered in there will still be recipes and fun things to do with the kids.  
 I hope you will continue to stop by and visit, and Merry Christmas to you all!
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