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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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Favorite Gluten Free Christmas Cookies – with Paleo Option

Favorite Gluten Free Christmas Cookies – with Paleo Option

A shortbread cookie classic, perfect for holiday time. These are adorned with sugar sprinkles, but if you find those objectionable, use any preferred frosting or icing, raisins, grated dark chocolate, or cinnamon. For a sugar free frosting, click here.

Favorite Gluten Free Christmas Cookies - with Paleo Option
Print Recipe
Easy and less sugary than most cookies. Coconut sugar is used here, but brown sugar is excellent too, if your family can tolerate it. Makes a couple dozen cookies, more or less depending on how thick you like them. See notes below for organic and dye free sprinkle ideas. For a Paleo version, see substitutions below.
Servings Prep Time
24-36 cookies 40 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
9-15 minutes 9-15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24-36 cookies 40 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
9-15 minutes 9-15 minutes
Favorite Gluten Free Christmas Cookies - with Paleo Option
Print Recipe
Easy and less sugary than most cookies. Coconut sugar is used here, but brown sugar is excellent too, if your family can tolerate it. Makes a couple dozen cookies, more or less depending on how thick you like them. See notes below for organic and dye free sprinkle ideas. For a Paleo version, see substitutions below.
Servings Prep Time
24-36 cookies 40 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
9-15 minutes 9-15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24-36 cookies 40 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
9-15 minutes 9-15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two cookie sheets with coconut oil, and line with parchment paper.
  2. Place butter or ghee (at room temperature, not melted) in a stand mixer and cream until white. This may take a few minutes. Meanwhile, blend the flours, xanthan gum, and salt in a separate bowl and set aside.
  3. When butter is soft and white, add sugar, and continue beating til fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla, and stir in the dry ingredients. Keep mixing til you have a soft cookie dough.
  4. Lightly dust a counter top with GF (white rice flour will work better than brown rice) or Paleo flour (tapioca or manioc will work better than almond flour). Roll the dough out into a round that is 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. If you like a golden glaze finish, brush with egg yolk and coconut milk (or heavy cream). Use cookie cutter rounds or holiday shaped cutters to cut cookies, and place on baking sheet. Dust with your choice of sprinkles, grated chocolate, or cinnamon.
  5. Roll leftover pieces out again, and repeat the process of cutting cookies, placing on sheet, and sprinkling with whatever you like. After cookies are on sheets, you can set raisins in each cookie if preferred.
  6. Bake for 9-18 minutes, depending on thickness. Don't over bake. Edges will be light golden brown. Transfer to cooling rack. Once cooled, you may frost the cookies if you like.
Recipe Notes

Sprinkles are available dye free, organic, or plain old artificial everything - use what works in your house. If kids can tolerate these, an occasional exposure is something to let them enjoy and celebrate with friends and family!

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Easy Fast Molten Chocolate Cakes

Easy Fast Molten Chocolate Cakes

No need for wheat flour in this classic recipe. Makes six individual molten cakes. Eat right after they’re out of the oven, this is by far the best way to enjoy them.

Easy Fast Molten Chocolate Cakes
Print Recipe
Soooo good, so chocolatey! Use high quality organic ingredients to get the best flavor.
Servings Prep Time
6 individual cakes 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
6 minutes 6 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 individual cakes 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
6 minutes 6 minutes
Easy Fast Molten Chocolate Cakes
Print Recipe
Soooo good, so chocolatey! Use high quality organic ingredients to get the best flavor.
Servings Prep Time
6 individual cakes 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
6 minutes 6 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 individual cakes 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
6 minutes 6 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: individual cakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a muffin tray for six large muffins with refined organic coconut oil.
  3. Melt chocolates and ghee (or butter, or casein free margarine) together.
  4. Beat the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar til it makes a thick pale ribbon when you lift the beater, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the wam melted chocolate and butter mixture, then quickly fold in the flour you are using.
  6. Spoon into prepared molds. Bake for 6-7 minutes. Centers will be soft and sides firm.
  7. Invert onto a flat surface or onto a smooth cutting board, and let cool for about ten minutes before lifting the muffin tin away. Serve with fruit, preserves, or whipped cream (coconut whipped cream if dairy is not tolerated).
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Grain Free Carrot Waffles

Grain Free Carrot Waffles

Kids love starchy starts in the morning like cereal, pancakes, muffins, toast… and waffles. The trouble is these can spike blood sugar early, then drop it in an hour or two, leaving kids droopy, crabby, and inattentive at school. Make this type of breakfast worth it – less empty starch, more brain-powering protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. Stir up a batch of these and freeze ahead. On school mornings, give them a light toasting for a fast and nourishing option. Credit to Boulder Bike Life Magazine for publishing the inspiration version of this recipe in their Spring 2016 issue.

If juicing the carrots is out of the question, buy fresh carrot juice, leave out the carrot pulp, and increase the hemp hearts by adding an extra tablespoon. You’ll still get a boost of healthy sweet and beautiful carotenoids! Check out this primer on carrot pulp here. For nut flours, you can buy these already ground (pricey), or grind them in an instant to fine powder from fresh whole raw organic nuts yourself. Use a coffee grinder or an immersion blender with the cup attachment (pictured below). For the fat in this recipe, I prefer ghee for its rich and lightly sweet taste. Ghee is well tolerated by most dairy sensitive children in my practice, but see other options below.

Grain Free Carrot Waffles
Print Recipe
Deliciously sweet thanks to the carrot, easy to prepare in about 20 minutes plus juicing time, or prepare ahead and freeze for fast breakfast on school mornings.
Servings Prep Time
4 large waffles 10 minutes juicing
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 large waffles 10 minutes juicing
Cook Time
20 minutes
Grain Free Carrot Waffles
Print Recipe
Deliciously sweet thanks to the carrot, easy to prepare in about 20 minutes plus juicing time, or prepare ahead and freeze for fast breakfast on school mornings.
Servings Prep Time
4 large waffles 10 minutes juicing
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 large waffles 10 minutes juicing
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: large waffles
Instructions
  1. Plug in your waffle iron and oil it, so that it is at ready temperature when your batter is mixed.
  2. If grinding flours yourself, combine almonds with coconut flour, hemp hearts, and/or hazelnuts. Grind to a fine powder. You can use a coffee grinder or an immersion blender with its cup attachment like the one shown here. If you're using nut flours already ground, blend them thoroughly together in a medium bowl. Either way, combine nut flours and hemp hearts. Add remaining dry ingredients, and mix together.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whip the separated egg whites to soft peaks. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine carrot juice, egg yolks, and melted ghee.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and mix until flour is thoroughly incorporated. Add carrot pulp - the batter will be a little lumpy. Your carrot pulp will look like this:
  6. Fold the egg whites gently into the batter.
  7. Spoon batter into each waffle form to nearly but not completely fill it - batter will expand when pressed. Cook til steam stops escaping from the waffle iron and edges feel crisp to touch. If you have extra batter, repeat and make smaller waffles - don't over fill the waffle iron as the batter will spill and be wasted.
  8. Makes 4 large waffles. Serve immediately from waffle iron with favorite toppings - or slice on some banana, drizzle with sesame tahini, cinnamon, and a dash of maple syrup. Or, let cool then store in freezer for later use.
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Better Butternut Squash

Better Butternut Squash

Butternut squash can be a hard sell for some kids unless you make it better. Here’s a version that’s well rounded for flavor, healthy fats, a smidge of protein, and extra phytonutrients that are anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. Be sure you buy organic when buying winter or summer squashes: Data show that squashes are a little too good at pulling chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) out of soil. These are extremely toxic waste products left in soil from gas energy production sites, and they can accumulate in our water supply (drink filtered water) or air, especially near gas, oil or coal production sites (fracking, gas wells, oil wells, coal power plants). For more on the many benefits of butternut squash click here.

Better Butternut Squash
Print Recipe
Combine your steamed or baked butternut squash with these extra touches to make it heartier, tastier, and healthier. Good with acorn squash too. Use leftover squash and curried carrots (sauté carrots in ghee with 1-2 tsp curry til soft), or cook them ahead of time, so you can quickly assemble this as a side or even morning porridge. One or two medium sized butternut squashes will yield 4-6 cups cooked squash.
Servings Prep Time
3 kid size servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5-8 minutes 0
Servings Prep Time
3 kid size servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5-8 minutes 0
Better Butternut Squash
Print Recipe
Combine your steamed or baked butternut squash with these extra touches to make it heartier, tastier, and healthier. Good with acorn squash too. Use leftover squash and curried carrots (sauté carrots in ghee with 1-2 tsp curry til soft), or cook them ahead of time, so you can quickly assemble this as a side or even morning porridge. One or two medium sized butternut squashes will yield 4-6 cups cooked squash.
Servings Prep Time
3 kid size servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5-8 minutes 0
Servings Prep Time
3 kid size servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5-8 minutes 0
Ingredients
Servings: kid size servings
Instructions
  1. If not already prepared, buy 2 small or 1 large butternut squash. Slice lengthwise and then cut into smaller pieces, leaving rind on. Place on steamer tray in a covered pot and steam til flesh is soft when poked with fork, about 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, scoop cooked flesh away from rind and store or use as needed.
  2. Melt the ghee with coconut manna and chicken broth. Stir to blend. Do not boil. Remove from heat.
  3. Add cooked squash, with warm melted ingredients and broth together in a food processor, immersion blender, or use a hand mixer. Pulse or blend until smooth. Serve warm.
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