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Paleo Baking

(taking deep breath) OK…I am going to go here. I wasn’t sure if I was going to, but I am.

Paleo baked goods is a controversial topic for people that are very, very, literal. The entire paleo lifestyle is. Yes, I understand that if I was alive in prehistoric times that I would not be in my kitchen baking cookies with almond flour. I get it. I would like to think my sweet tooth would have given me a sense of purpose and I would have been the world’s first baker, but hey…who knows. I appreciate literal people. I really do. Bailey is one of the most literal people I have ever known and he challenges my thinking daily to find common ground. When he says something super literal I say, “I am Bailey Bot…does not compute” (in my best computer simulation voice). For some reason he does NOT appreciate that. ;-)

Here is my take on “paleo baking”. It’s a recipe. Just like cave people likely weren’t mixing beef and veg to make meatloaf, they weren’t baking. I am picky with the recipes I make. I don’t make recipes that include stevia or xylitol or too many odd starches, flours and sweeteners. I am trying to get my family off that junk. I have spent a lot of time in the baking aisle at Whole Foods trying to figure out what stuff is. If the recipe calls for simple ingredients like almond flour, coconut flour, honey, maple syrup…I am in. It’s all up to personal decision making. I have been able to enjoy this lifestyle and lose weight eating a paleo baked good here and there.

I don’t bake every day. I do have kids and I have removed a lot of “kid food” from their diet. Food that was full of chemicals and artificial colors and poultry shaped like a boot (nuggets scare me almost as much as a certain fast food rib shape). I do need to replace those items with something wholesome and nutritionally balanced that they can enjoy–in moderation. So hence, I bake.

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Is it expensive?

In simple terms, yes. Paleo baking is significantly more expensive that traditional baking. Almond and coconut flour are not cheap, either is organic honey or maple syrup. Paleo baking is not for those of you that bake your own bread vs. paying $1.29 a loaf at the store. There is no cost savings. Is it made with the best ingredients? Yes.

Do the recipes taste good?

That is hard to answer. I have done a lot of trial and error over the past year. Some are great, some not so great. Just like any other recipe you might try. Products made with almond flour are typically more dense than what you are used to. They will have a nutty flavor–the only ingredient is pulverized almonds. I will say I have not found a bread or tortilla recipe that I have enjoyed yet. I haven’t quite given up, but I am close. Cookies, donuts, pancakes, waffles, pizza crust…I have found good versions that I use and I will share them with you as we go along. I will never tell you to make a recipe that I did not enjoy.

So what do you bake?

I’ve discussed the Against All Grain Real Deal Chocolate Chip cookies and Brittany Angel and her amazing creations, but I wanted to give you a few more options. Like these Snickerdoodle cookies from Josh at Slimpalate.com. Josh is 17. 17!! He comes up with some of the most elegant dishes I have ever seen and his photography is fantastic. (I know mine is awful…you try using an IPhone for your pics. Plus you come for my comedy, not my photos) These cookies were my first attempt at paleo baking when he published the recipe in May. I have made them many times since. Always perfect. They are grain free, gluten free and if you don’t use the butter, dairy free. I have done both ways and they both taste great. You should follow him on Instagram to see his newest creations. I believe he has a book coming out too.

Today, I was feeling adventurous so I played around a tiny bit with the recipe and more so the execution of this cookie. I didn’t have a ton of honey so I subbed it for Kirkland Organic Maple Syrup (hey, Costco…I love you. You need to sponsor me. lol) I did have to add more coconut flour to get it to a good consistency. Another TBSP. For the execution, I scooped the cookies with my favorite scoop on to the silpat. This is what a silpat is. Buy one. I ran out of cinnamon the other day. All I had were sticks. I threw them in the coffee grinder and I got fresh ground cinnamon. I decided it would likely be potent so I sprinkled the tops only. So you can be lazy and not roll out the balls and then roll them in cinnamon. (you are welcome) still lightly flatten with the bottom of a glass and bake for 15 minutes. Mine made 18 cookies.

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Other baking resources:

Against All Grain waffles–so delicious and so few ingredients. You mix it all in the blender and then pour on the griddle. Genious. It’s made with raw cashews instead of any flours. This recipe is in her cookbook and I found a link to it here¬†when she guest blogged at Brittany Angell’s website. Small, paleo world.

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Paleomg.com Chocolate Zucchini bread was a fav this summer when Phil’s parents garden was overflowing with zucchini. I love this. I also love that you can make it nut free using sunbutter (sunflower seeds) or you can use almond butter with great success.

As long as we are talking dessert, you should make the Spunky Coconut’s Chocolate pie with raw crust. I made this once and I could have eaten all the chocolate right out of the bowl. I made it again for Phil’s birthday and then I made it without the crust to eat the filling like a fudge. I was obsessed for a few weeks this fall. Best part is that is a “no bake” recipe. You just need a food processor and a fridge.

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As I was baking the snickerdoodles this morning, my four year old told me the following: “The smell of those cookies does not remind me. I don’t recognize it.” Oh boy. Do I have a Logan Bot on my hands? :-)

LAST WORD ON PALEO BAKING. Paleo baking is not “low calorie” baking. Much the opposite. It is nutrient dense food. Just like I cautioned you from making my breaded chicken recipe, these recipes work with our lifestyle because we do not count calories. These are not “diet food”. I don’t believe in dieting.

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