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Paleo Chocolate Tahini Millionaire Bars

Paleo Chocolate Tahini Millionaire Bars

Paleo + Chocolate + Tahini in an easy recipe? I’m in! This is my new favorite recipe, and there are several versions of it around. These are basically classic Millionaire Bars, adapted to fit into grain free, dairy free, egg free, and no cane sugar parameters. Millionaire Bars have been a favorite in Scotland for years, where they may have originated, and where you might see them with names like Caramel Shortbread, or Millionaire’s Slice. They start with a shortbread crust, have a caramel middle, and chocolate layer on top. Decadent!

The recipe I am using here is adapted from this one which happens to be vegan as well as Paleo. Luckily, it’s easy to adapt Millionaire Bars to a Paleo version. The sweet relies on maple syrup here – a lot of it. That brings up the question of whether maple syrup is Paleo. If it is, how much is ok?

This is a recipe that in itself – in my opinion – is too sugary to be valid as Paleo. We know that native North American tribes made and enjoyed maple syrup – there’s even a legend that it made them lazy and less interested in other food – hmmm! It was indeed in the hunter-gather repertoire, at least in the northeastern US.

But, if you’re looking for a sweet treat for kids who can’t eat peanut, wheat, dairy (including butter), or eggs, and you’re avoiding processed sweeteners, this is an good option for a special occasion or happy after school snack.

I haven’t yet tinkered with the maple syrup to tahini ratio in the “caramel” layer, but there may be some room there to reduce the syrup. This will reduce the volume overall of the caramel layer, unless you likewise up the tahini, or other ingredient. Some recipes use dates and less syrup. It may work to blend in an unsweetened additional nut butter (almond or cashew?) if your child tolerates that, and sweeten with some stevia, to make up for reduced syrup.

Changes in my version include adding some flax (technically a seed, not a grain) to enhance the crust, plus a different source for the chocolate chips (I like Lily’s Stevia Sweetened Dark Chocolate Chips) – yes they have soy lecithin. In my experience, this is not a deal breaker for IgE soy allergy or for soy exorphins potential.

I also suggest a different timing for firming up the middle layer, which took much longer than the 30 minutes suggested in the recipe I worked from. I found that the “caramel” layer needs a good two hours in the fridge to set. I got even better results when I let it set overnight.

Once you’ve got this easy recipe assembled, keep stored in fridge or even the freezer if you like. The tahini-maple caramel will soften to runny texture at room temperature.


Paleo Chocolate Tahini Millionaire Bars
Print Recipe
Easy to make. Just leave time for each layer to set, and you're good to go. Salty chocolatey caramel-y goodness, without the wheat, dairy allergens, or cane sugar!
Servings Prep Time
12 bars 30 minutes
Passive Time
2+ hours
Servings Prep Time
12 bars 30 minutes
Passive Time
2+ hours
Paleo Chocolate Tahini Millionaire Bars
Print Recipe
Easy to make. Just leave time for each layer to set, and you're good to go. Salty chocolatey caramel-y goodness, without the wheat, dairy allergens, or cane sugar!
Servings Prep Time
12 bars 30 minutes
Passive Time
2+ hours
Servings Prep Time
12 bars 30 minutes
Passive Time
2+ hours
Ingredients
Base Layer "Shortbread" Crust
Middle "Caramel" Layer
Chocolate Layer On Top
Servings: bars
Instructions
For The Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line an 8x8 inch square pan with baking parchment (a 9x9 pan will be too big).
  3. Melt the coconut oil (microwave or stove top). In a medium bowl, mix it with the almond flour, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Use a fork to blend it together so it forms a thick crumb texture. Add to pan, and use your fingers or the bottom of a glass or jar to evenly press it down into the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, and allow crust to cool at least 10 minutes before adding caramel mixture. You can place it in the fridge to speed this part up.
For The Caramel Layer
  1. Add the tahini, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract and sea salt to a medium pot. Place over medium-low heat for approximately 2 minutes. Stir until evenly blended and smooth.
  2. Pour over the cooled crust. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours or longer, ideally overnight, for a firm, evenly chilled crust. Freezing is not recommended to hasten this part. It can change the texture of your caramel to have icy crystals on top that will melt to water on serving.
For The Chocolate Layer
  1. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or on stove top, with the coconut oil. Stir to blend together til smooth. Spread this on your chilled and hardened caramel layer. Place it back in fridge to harden, about 30 minutes or longer.
Recipe Notes

Leave time for each layer in the process to set, and you're good to go. Make the base crust ("shortbread") layer, which bakes in just 10 minutes. Let it cool, then spread on your "caramel" layer. This takes longer to set. Ideally, refrigerate the caramel layer overnight for a good hard set. At a minimum, refrigerate it for two hours before adding the chocolate layer (which is a snap to make in microwave). Though the original recipe suggests placing this in the freezer if you're in a hurry to set the caramel, don't. It will change the texture so that ice can form at the top of the caramel. This will become watery at room temp. Once all assembled and firmed up in your fridge, it's fine to store these Paleo Chocolate Tahini Millionaire Bars in your freezer if you like!

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Coconut Butter Mochi

Coconut Butter Mochi

This recipe is modified from a very delicious butter mochi made by a friend of mine who is kama’aina Hawai’i. That is to say, though she isn’t of Hawaiian extraction herself her family has lived there for generations. And she knows how to bake some delicious stuff, local style. Somehow, I spent several years living there and never made this myself. But when I asked for her recipe, she generously shared it, and I’ve given it a try with some changes so kids I work with might be able to enjoy it too.

If you’ve spent much time in Hawai’i, you surely know mochi – not the kind you see at Whole Foods in the freezer cases, but the real thing, super gooey, super sticky, and super sweet, a cross between custard and chewy fudge in consistency.

It’s a recipe that isn’t exactly healthy. It calls for a lot of sugar, butter, and refined glutinous sweet rice flour. But, it offers a wonderful treat for kids who can’t eat dairy foods or grains like corn or wheat. So, mochi! Give this a try for an after school sweet if you’d like a gluten, dairy and soy free option that has a lesser evil sugar in it (coconut or palm sugar), which lightens the sweet a little but still makes it yummy.

A note about sweet rice flour or Mochiko. Don’t use brown rice flour or plain white rice flour as a substitute; the recipe won’t work. Sweet rice or Mochiko flour is glutinous, that is, it mimics the stretchy consistency of gluten, but has no wheat or gluten in it. Other rice flours don’t do this and won’t create the right consistency for this recipe.

Coconut Butter Mochi
Print Recipe
Gooey, sticky goodness, for when a treat is in order that has bonus ingredients like coconut milk, eggs, and grass fed butter. Coconut sugar creates a darker finish product and a more caramel-y taste than cane sugar.
Servings Prep Time
12-15 3-4" pieces 15 minutes
Passive Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-15 3-4" pieces 15 minutes
Passive Time
40 minutes
Coconut Butter Mochi
Print Recipe
Gooey, sticky goodness, for when a treat is in order that has bonus ingredients like coconut milk, eggs, and grass fed butter. Coconut sugar creates a darker finish product and a more caramel-y taste than cane sugar.
Servings Prep Time
12-15 3-4" pieces 15 minutes
Passive Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-15 3-4" pieces 15 minutes
Passive Time
40 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: 3-4" pieces
Instructions
  1. Set oven to 350. Generously grease a pyrex baking dish (8x8" or 7x10") with coconut oil.
  2. Blend the sweet rice flour, coconut or palm sugar, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a smaller bowl, blend the almond milk, coconut milk, flavor extracts, stevia, and melted butter. Add the eggs and beat til all are evenly mixed.
  4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry in and mix on medium speed til evenly blended.
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle the grated coconut generously on top, and press it gently down into the mixture.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes. The mochi will puff up nicely and brown slightly on top. It's done when a toothpick comes out clean. Cut into squares when cooled and enjoy.
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Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread with Paleo Option

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread with Paleo Option

No reason to miss out on healthy carb treats for your kids. Treats don’t have to be sugary junk. This is a moist and festive quick bread, great for packing into lunches or after school snack. Remember, kids need carbs to grow and gain as much as they need protein and fats. Turn this satisfying and nourishing treat up a notch to extra special mode (and add a protein boost too), when you bake as muffins and spread with my Paleo Honey Butter Cream Frosting.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread with Paleo Option
Print Recipe
Pumpkin-y and mildly sweet!
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
60 minutes 60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
60 minutes 60 minutes
Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread with Paleo Option
Print Recipe
Pumpkin-y and mildly sweet!
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
60 minutes 60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
60 minutes 60 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: loaf
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan (or muffin tins) and dust with your flour of choice. Lining the loaf pan with baking parchment, if available, or your muffin tins with paper cups, makes for easier removal after baking but isn't crucial.
  2. Blend flour mix, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon, stevia, and spices, baking powder and set aside.
  3. In a mixer, cream butter until pale or nearly white.
  4. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, then add eggs one at a time and blend evenly. If the mixture looks cracked, add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of your dry ingredient blend to the bowl, and stir til smooth.
  5. Stir in pumpkin puree, then add dry ingredients and alternate with milk substitute until all are blended together smoothly.
  6. Stir in your choice of chopped nuts, chocolate chips or raisins. Bake the loaf for 1 hour. Small loaves may be done in 25 minutes, or muffins in 15-10 minutes.
Recipe Notes

For muffins, grease a muffin or cupcake tin and dust with your choice of GF or Paleo flour. Reduce baking time to 18-25 minutes, longer for larger muffins and less for smaller ones. Test for doneness with toothpick, which should come out clean. Cool on baking rack and frost with Paleo Honey Buttercream Frosting. If nuts of any type can't be added to the batter, try Lily's GF CF stevia sweetened chocolate chips, raisins, or Enjoy Life GF CF chocolate chips.

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Raspberry Scones – Gluten Free, Sugar Free or Paleo

Raspberry Scones – Gluten Free, Sugar Free or Paleo

You can easily make great scones – gluten free, Paleo, dairy free, sugar free!

Baking mixes make these a snap. I blend three different mixes to make these scones work nicely: Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix. Bella Gluten Free Baking Mix, and BirchBender’s Paleo Pancake Mix.

The Pamela’s mix has some buttermilk in it, so is not dairy free. You can adjust this recipe by using any one of these mixes alone in the recipe instead of blending them. For example, you can use just the BirchBender’s mix if you want to be strictly Paleo, or omit the Pamela’s mix and bring up the other two to make up the difference, if you want to avoid dairy. But, after trying this recipe a few different ways, this method below was the favorite for texture and taste. By the way – Pamela’s does make a gluten and dairy free pancake mix, but it has two ingredients that don’t work at my house: Sorghum and cane sugar.

Use any berries fresh or frozen! Low FODMAP berries are blueberry and raspberry; strawberry is a little more challenging for FODMAPs and for allergy, but they make a delicious scone if workable at your house. Apple, peach and pear are higher FODMAP fruits and may trigger some children who have a history of FPIES reactions. Adding nuts, GF CF chocolate chips, or  banana are all reasonable options too!

Paleo flours include coconut, which is a moderate FODMAP food that may or may not work for some. Either way, this recipe does not add sugar and is sweet enough without it.

Raspberry Scones – Gluten Free, Sugar Free with Paleo Option
Print Recipe
Sweet without cane sugar, light, best warm from the oven, or gently heat in toaster oven or toaster for yummy snack, breakfast add-on, or treat. Delightful with a thin honey drizzle, butter or ghee, or coconut whipped cream. Makes 15-20 scones depending on how you spoon out batter onto baking sheet.
Servings Prep Time
15-20 scones 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
15-20 scones 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 20-25 minutes
Raspberry Scones – Gluten Free, Sugar Free with Paleo Option
Print Recipe
Sweet without cane sugar, light, best warm from the oven, or gently heat in toaster oven or toaster for yummy snack, breakfast add-on, or treat. Delightful with a thin honey drizzle, butter or ghee, or coconut whipped cream. Makes 15-20 scones depending on how you spoon out batter onto baking sheet.
Servings Prep Time
15-20 scones 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
15-20 scones 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 20-25 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: scones
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet (you may need two). For best results, line with baking parchment also, which makes removing the scones and clean up easier.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients.
  3. Cut the butter into small chunks and drop into dry ingredients. Using two dinner forks, cut the butter into the dry ingredients, to a uniform and crumbly texture.
  4. Beat together egg and milk substitute, and mix into dry ingredients with a fork. Add to dry ingredients and mix evenly. Dough will be thick.
  5. Drop tall dollops of dough on to the baking sheet(s). They will spread lightly when baking. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned on tips and bottom, with dough and firm in the middle.
Recipe Notes

BirchBender's Paleo mix is sweetened with monk fruit (luo han guo), which is a low FODMAP fruit source.

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Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Chocolate + pumpkin is one of my favorite combos when it comes to indulgent baked treats. This is a weighty dessert for sure, right up there with chocolate pecan pie, or triple chocolate cake – perfect for holiday time or when you want a departure from the usual. As always, I created this recipe with kids in mind who have food intolerances. You can make this with wheat bread, milk, and cream if you like, but if you can’t, there’s a way.

Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Print Recipe
Hearty, traditional, a little decadent, and hard to resist. Serve warm with toppings as tolerated by your family - whipped cream, whipped coconut cream, ice cream, or cashew or coconut based ice creams that are dairy free.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 Servings 20 mins
Cook Time Passive Time
15 mins 30 mins
Servings Prep Time
6-8 Servings 20 mins
Cook Time Passive Time
15 mins 30 mins
Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Print Recipe
Hearty, traditional, a little decadent, and hard to resist. Serve warm with toppings as tolerated by your family - whipped cream, whipped coconut cream, ice cream, or cashew or coconut based ice creams that are dairy free.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 Servings 20 mins
Cook Time Passive Time
15 mins 30 mins
Servings Prep Time
6-8 Servings 20 mins
Cook Time Passive Time
15 mins 30 mins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cut bread into half inch cubes, transfer to a large all metal pot, and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milks, eggs, pumpkin, coconut sugar, stevia, spices, vanilla and bourbon or rum. If omitting eggs, increase pumpkin by 3 Tablespoons and add 1 Tablespoon tapioca starch + 1 Tablespoon EnerG brand Egg Replacer; whisk in with milks, sugar, spices, and liquor.
  4. Pour the custard mixture over the bread cubes in the pot. Add the chocolate, broken into 1/2 inch chunks. On low medium heat, let the mixture slowly melt and blend, stirring occasionally til chocolate is evenly mixed throughout, about 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer the pudding to a baking dish greased with refined coconut oil or ghee, and bake for 25 minutes, or til toothpick comes out clean. You can also bake in individual ramekins; reduce baking time to 15 minutes and check for doneness.
  6. Serve warm with toppings of your choice.
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