Category Archives: Dessert

Delicious sweet treats to satisfy any sweet tooth, using real whole foods!

Blue Spruce Ice Cream

**Ice cream maker needed for this recipe**

Spruce tips prime for picking!

Have you ever looked at a spruce tree and thought, “yummy, those needles look delicious!”?  If you haven’t, you might have that thought after trying this recipe.  Spruce tips give ice cream a very unique and elegant flavor, something unlike any other food I’ve ever had before.

Foraging for spruce tips is easy, but like all foraging, it needs to be timed just right.  The tips in these pictures were found in the middle of May in Minnesota.  Depending on weather, it will fluctuate slightly every year.  It’s easy to see when the tips are forming and ripe for picking.  From a distance, you will see an off-color at the tip of each branch compared to the rest of the tree .  As you get a closer look, you will look for a brown, papery film that is falling off some of the tips.  The tips should not be opened up very much and will feel much softer and pliable than the other needles, which are hard and spiky.  If it is not the right time of year for harvest, start noticing where the nearest spruce trees are located and store that in the back of your brain until spring.

Spruce trees are not native everywhere in this area, but they are often planted in yards for privacy, protection from the elements, and year-round greenery, which can make harvesting very convenient… especially if you have one in your own yard, like I do!  It’s not harmful for the tree to pick the tips, but you shouldn’t harvest all of them… which would be pretty difficult anyway unless you are 20 feet tall.  Any spruce tree can be used for this recipe, but according to those that have tried different types of spruce tips, they recommend Blue Spruce.  I’ve only tried Blue Spruce, but feel free to experiment with others and let me know what you think.

From a distance you will notice discolored tips at the end of each branch

Ingredients:
1 can coconut cream
1/2 cup honey
6 egg yolks
1/4 t. salt
1/2 cup Blue Spruce tips

Method:

  1. Add everything except the Blue Spruce tips to a pan and heat until steaming, but not boiling. Whisk the entire time.
  2. Pour everything from the pan into a blender and add the spruce tips.
  3. Wait for everything to cool to room temperature before blending.
  4. After blending, pour the mixture through a fine strainer and into your ice cream maker and operate your ice cream maker and blend until desired consistency.  (The last time I made this recipe, I kept the spruce tips in.  It just gave a fluffier texture than regular ice cream, but still very delicious and I’ll do it again unless the tips aren’t extremely tender)
  5. Eat immediately or spoon the ice cream into single-serve size cups and put into freezer.
  6. When you want to eat the ice cream that has been frozen, remove and let sit out for 15 minutes before enjoying so the ice cream can soften to a more ice cream like consistency.  These 15 minutes seem like forever!

Spoon the ice cream into freezable container and freeze for later enjoyment

Paleo Angel Mini Cakes

Happy Birthday to me! For as long as I can remember my favorite birthday cake has been angel food with whipped cream and strawberries.  I have long dreamed of the day that I would find a healthier version of this old favorite.  After some research and a bit of trial and error I found it!

The recipe I am sharing with you today has been tested by myself (self-proclaimed angel food critic), my husband (doesn’t care if it’s healthy or not) and the Goldies (hard core healthy foodies).  The results have been unanimous: THESE ROCK!

The recipe was modified from Our Four Forks classic vanilla coconut flour paleo cake.

Ingredients (makes 10-12 cakes):

For the cakes:

3 whole farm fresh chicken eggs

1 cup non-dairy milk (I love unsweetened cashew milk)

1/3 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cups coconut flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

coconut oil (for greasing the cupcake pan)

For the topping:

2-4 cups Fresh or frozen organic strawberries (they are on the dirty dozen) Have as many as you like, I load these baby cakes up with berries!!

Creamy option toppings:

Greek yogurt (mix plain with vanilla and honey)

Coconut Cream Whipped Cream

Organic Vanilla Ice Cream

Method:

First, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Next, (I’m not going to lie this is what I do) throw all cake ingredients into a bowl and mix with a hand whisk until all of the lumps are gone. Grease the cupcake pan and fill each hole with 1/4 cup of mixture.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.  A toothpick should come out clean when done. Let these cool 15 to 20 minutes before taking out of the pan, they will be delicate as be kind.

Top with berries and cream and enjoy with your favorite people!

These can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days (they usually don’t last that long in my house).

I made these to share for Gina’s birthday trip to New Prague;  it was a great day filled with laughter, learning and food. The day started with a stop at the Farm House Market to shop and meet the dedicated owner Kendra.  This is a great little market that sells local and organic foods. Next, we headed over to the Cedar Brook Garden Center for a Shiitake mushroom growing class.  We learned about growing Shiitakes while making our own mushroom growing logs to take home!  The afternoon ended with a great lunch at Jamie’s  (thanks to Jean) and a dessert of these little delights.

Farmhouse Market Tour

Farmhouse Market Tour

Shiitake mushroom log "building"

Shiitake mushroom log “building”

Happy Birthday Gina!!

Happy Birthday Gina!!

PB Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter. I have since I was a child.  I remember being infatuated with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and dipping the ears of my chocolate easter bunny into a spoon full of peanut butter never tiring of the play between nutty, bitter and sweet. HOWEVER – now I have grown, changed and learned about better choices that provide real, lasting energy – not the quick rev of the engine that crashes and burns 30 minutes after the peanut butter cup wrapper has hit the trash.

I created these simple cookies when I had a craving for my life-long favorite. It is based off of Tiffany’s Simple Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I was very concerned they weren’t sweet enough, but after taking some to work last Friday I was encouraged that they were pleasantly sweet yet not cloying and had great flavor – hints of honey and vanilla!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup all natural peanut butter (I used chunky and enjoy the texture of the peanut pieces)

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 cup spelt, barley or oat flour (You can easily make your own oat flour by processing rolled oats in your food processor until they are the texture of flour.  This is a great option for a gluten free version; just be sure you start with certified gluten free oats.)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder (Try to use aluminum free – it is available in the natural food section of large grocery stores and in natural food coops.)

3 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips of roughly chopped dark chocolate

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  (I love parchment paper so much, at first I considered it a wasteful expense – but it is so darn handy!  If it is not too sticky or dirty, I wipe it with a damp cloth, let it air dry and re-use it.  This makes my husband roll his eyes – but I think he is getting used to it.)

Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine peanut butter and melted coconut oil.

Mix egg, honey and vanilla into the peanut butter and oil until combined well.

Mix flour mixture into wet ingredients.

Add oats; mix to combine.

Stir chocolate in by hand.

Scoop cookie dough by 1 tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes – rotating the pans half way through the baking time.

Cool these on a wire baking rack.  Store in air tight container at room temperature for a couple of days – or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

PBC Cookies

Dark chocolate, peanut butter, oats and honey make for a wholesome, satisfying, delicious cookie

These are a great energizing, satisfying, treat-like snack.  Enjoy!

 

Raw Delicious Fudge

This recipe is slightly adapted from the Raw Fudge recipe on the Oh She Glows blog.

My mom loves this fudge. Really. Ever since I gave her a piece at my house about a year ago she has a stash of this in her freezer at all times.  Last summer my uncle Steve stayed at my parent’s place for almost a month; somehow he didn’t find out about her stash until the last week.  Cute story: I was staying the week up north on my annual shutdown (two weeks off) when, shortly before bed, I asked my mom if she had any raw fudge in the freezer.  Steve overheard our conversation about this glorious after dinner delight so we had to share (luckily there was just enough left to share).  Later that night after everyone had gone to bed Steve sent this text to my mom:

chocolate

 

Easy to make and dang delicious!!

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Coconut Oil

1/4 Cup Raw Almond Butter

1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 cup honey*

1 tsp Vanilla

3/4 cup raw walnuts

dash sea salt.

*variation from Oh She Glows recipe

Method (from Oh She Glows)

1. With electric beaters, beat together the coconut oil and almond butter.

2. Sift in the cocoa powder and beat again until combined.

3. Pour in the maple syrup (or honey), vanilla, and salt and beat until smooth.

4. Stir in the walnuts.

5. Line a loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper. Scoop the chocolate mixture into the pan and spread out until even. I took another handful of walnuts, broke them up, and sprinkled over the top of the fudge for extra crunch and good looks.

6. Freeze uncovered for about 1 hour, or until solid. Slice into small squares and prepare to be seduced.

This post reminded me of summer vacation….I just have to share a few pictures:
Great summer vacation memory, drumming with Steve and Tristen<3

Great summer vacation memory, drumming with Steve and Tristen<3

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Burntside Lake Trout fishing! It doesn’t get any better!

Coconut Crack

Coconut Crack Bars

This blog is not only about sharing recipes we have created, but also storing other people’s great recipes so the recipes we use are all in one place. The coconut crack recipe really needs no modifying.  Once you taste it, you will understand Chocolate Covered Katie’s reasoning for putting the word “crack” in the name.

Coconut Crack bars have accompanied us during the last 3 boundary waters trips and will for many more years to come.  It is such an amazing treat!  I’m just going to copy and paste her recipe, or you can go to her blog at Chocolate Covered Katie.  I have a few ideas listed below the instructions for you to consider.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (80g)
  • 1/4 cup agave or pure maple syrup (or 1/4 cup water and 2-3 nunaturals stevia packs)
  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil (For all substitutions in this recipe, see nutrition link below)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • optional raw chocolate chips – recipe in the [Chocolate-Covered Katie Cookbook | http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/faq-page/chocolate-covered-katie-cookbook/]

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. (Perhaps you can mix by hand if you don’t have a food processor, but I haven’t tried.) Squish into any small container (I used a 7×5) and fridge for an hour before trying to cut. (Or freeze for 15 minutes.) Can be stored in the fridge or freezer, for at least a few weeks.

*[View Coconut Crack Bars Nutrition Facts | nutrition info for crack]*

A couple things to note:

I accidentally put really coarse salt in the crack one time (and more than she recommended)… it was a delectable delight!  My personal opinion is you should add more salt, and the coarser the chunks the better.

The chocolate chips make this heavenly dessert sinful.  You could add dark chocolate chips from the store rather than ordering her cookbook and making yourself – as I did in the picture.  To appease the vegans or lactose-intolerants, leave chocolate off of half of the dish.  They won’t be missing out.

Another delicious combination is to put a big hunk of strawberry on top of each bar.  Yummo!

I’ve only used maple syrup for the sweetener and the thicker the maple syrup the better.

Simple Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe was modified from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking For Health (2009).  I love Mossewood Cookbooks/recipes, If you haven’t read any of these recipes, I highly encourage you do!!  All recipes are either vegetarian or vegan and created  using real ingredients that are nutrient rich and oh-so-good!

I love this recipe for two reasons 1) it is super easy and 2) because everyone I have shared these with drools over them!  This recipe makes 18-24 tablespoon size cookies.  I like to freeze them to retain freshness, each batch lasts our family of two about 2 weeks.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup coconut sugar (you could probably substitute dark brown sugar)

1/3 cup honey

2 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs

1 cup spelt flour (you can find this in the natural foods section at your grocer or at a food coop; any type  of flour would probably work- whole wheat would be a good substitute)

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of sea salt

3 cups rolled oats (not the instant or quick cooking kind)

1 cup Ghiradelli Dark chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts (I prefer to use  raw walnuts)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I like to warm the coconut oil in the oven or microwave for a few seconds just to make it easier to mix with the other ingredients.  Add all of the wet ingredients and stir until combined.  Add flour, baking soda and salt and again stir until combined.  Next, add oats, walnuts and chocolate chips- keep stirring, you will get your workout in!  The mixture might seem too dry at first but keep going….it will be a chunky mix.

Next:  For ease of cleaning, you may want to line your baking sheet with parchment paper (I don’t).  Use a tablespoon to scoop small balls onto a baking sheet.  Drop anywhere from a 12-18 per sheet, evenly spaced.  You may need to use your fingers to clump the dough together.  Bake approximately 10-15 minutes, until the cookies are light brown around the edges. Let the cookies rest on the sheet about 3 minutes before removing them and letting cool completely.  I find that a thin metal spatula is the best way to remove the cookies from the baking sheet.

Tiff’s side note:  I like to use a tablespoon to portion all of my cookies- this may seem odd but it tricks my brain:) I eat four cookies per serving; it makes me feel like I am over indulging while in reality this serving size is equal 2 regular size cookies.  I like to trick myself like that!

 

 

Banana Ice Cream

With the weather warming up, you may be craving some healthy cool treats and who doesn’t love ice cream?   I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!  And how loud would you scream for dairy-free, gluten-free, and/or fat-free ice cream that tastes sinfully delicious?

I feel like it’s a fairly common occurrence that you buy a big litter of bananas and can’t quite get through them all before they are too brown to eat.  Brown or yellow, this recipe is a perfect use for those extra bananas on your counter and a healthy alternative to Kemps!

Bananas are so cheap.  Even the organic bananas are cheap.  What else can you buy organic for $1/pound.  Not much, so just buy the organic ones!

Peel them, break in half, put in a container (I use freezer Ziploc bags or glass freezable containers), then put in your freezer for when you are ready to use.
*Hint – peel your bananas like a monkey does… it’s much easier and doesn’t bruise as much of your banana!

This recipe just requires a blender or food processor.  I use a Ninja and I love it.  I highly recommend one if you are in the market for a new blender (it has two layers of blades, rather than the traditional blender that has blades only on the bottom).  Otherwise, I think any powerful blender or food processor will work.

Ingredients:

•2 Frozen bananas (pre-peeled and broken in half)

•2 medium fresh or frozen strawberries

• 1 oz dark chocolate

Thaw bananas (and strawberries if frozen) for 15-20 minutes. If you don’t thaw the bananas, it’s ok, but you’ll have to do a lot more work pushing the bananas down into the blender.  I recommend waiting the 15-20 minutes as it makes it much easier on you and your blender or food processor.

Add bananas and blend until smooth.  This can take a few minutes.  If the banana keeps sticking to the side, you have to continue to scrape it down, but if you waited for it to slightly thaw, you might not have to do this very much.  Once the banana turns creamy, add your strawberries and chocolate (or whatever ingredients you desire) and blend until mixed thoroughly.  The consistency is so nice and creamy, very similar to ice cream.

Ideas for other ingredients:  fresh fruit, dates, peanut butter, honey, nuts, etc.

P.S.  I absolutely love oreo cookie blizzards… try adding 1 or 2 Newmann-O’s (because Paul Newmann is/was incredibly sexy, it is a great company that gives its profit to good cause, oh and is a tasty oreo cookie substitute. Find them in the cookie section of the health food section)!  Of course any Dairy Queen blizzard ingredients would be good in here and maybe a good starting point for the skeptic.

IMG_3600 (2)

Chocolate and strawberry flavored ice cream