Kale with a Crunch Kale chips are delicious. Trust me on this one. If you’ve been scared to eat a chip made out of a vegetable, or scared of vegetables in general, stop whatever you’re doing and make these. They’re crispy, crunchy, light, and oh […]
Rosemary for the win When it comes to fall and winter cooking, rosemary is one of my favorite go-to’s. Its warming flavors capture the cozy weather vibes so well. I feel like kale and butternut squash with a generous sprinkle of rosemary is an ideal […]
Have your Pie and Eat it Too… For Breakfast
Literally there was frost on the ground this morning when I woke up, and I don’t think yesterday was any warmer. In the cold weather, my breakfast smoothies aren’t quite as appealing. I crave warm food, which is pretty much why naked baked apple slices were born.
In yesterday’s post where I shared my vegan paleo sugar-free pumpkin pie dip, I mentioned that I made naked baked apple slices so I could have my ‘pie’ and eat it too – for breakfast. Warm apple pie meets warm pumpkin pie. Done and done.
Slicing Things Up
Really, naked baked apple slices happened for three reasons: I wanted something warm for breakfast, I really wanted to eat the pumpkin pie dip and was in need of a healthy vehicle, and I was too impatient to wait for a whole baked apple.
Since I already used apple slices with the pumpkin pie dip, apples of course jumped to mind first, but I didn’t want to eat cold, raw apple slices. Stewed apples wouldn’t serve as an appropriate dip vehicle, nor would a whole baked apple, which I’d have to slice anyway and would take far too long to bake for my impatient stomach. So, the obvious solution was to pre-slice the apple and bake those babies up.
An Apple A Day: The Health Benefits of Apples
And as the doctors say…. eat up! Apples are rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber, making them a powerful prebiotic. The phytonutrients and antioxidants are linked to a reduced risk of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. They also contain vitamin C, B-complex, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, and phosphorous.
Apples also improve neurological health. They are particularly rich in the antioxidant quercetin, a substance found to help reduce cellular death caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons. They also help prevent dementia and reduce the risk of stroke. Pass the apples, please.
Baked apples usually come loaded with all sorts of fixins like dried fruit, sugar, and oats or granola. Totally delicious, but full of unnecessary added sugars and fussiness for my purposes. So I made em naked.
I plopped the slices on the baking pan, drizzled some water and vanilla extract over them, and put them in for just 10 minutes. Result? Perfection. (Well for my simple purposes anyway!)
I sprinkled some cinnamon on top of the slices before dipping them in, and bam it was like apple pie meets pumpkin pie in the easiest, healthiest way possible.
These naked baked apple slices can be served as a quick healthy snack or dessert in their own right, and with under 5 minutes of prep time and just 10 minutes in the oven, there’s pretty much no excuse to not make them!
Naked Baked Sliced Apples
A quick, easy and healthy version of the classic baked apple.
- 1 apple
- 1-2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp warm water really you don't need to be precise here. just need to add some water to the pan so the apples don't dry out.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Slice your apple. Place the slices on a pan.
Drizzle the apples with the water and vanilla. You can combine the vanilla with the water in a small cup before drizzling.
Place them in the oven for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve naked, or with my pumpkin pie dip.
Cauli Mash: The Best Thing to Happen to the Modern Thanksgiving Dinner Menu With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’ve been compiling, planning and creating delicious, healthy, diet-specific alternatives to the classic dishes. These days there are so many people with specific dietary restrictions, it can […]
Cleanse your system the fun way The words cleanse and detox often cause strong, guarded reactions. The idea of deprivation or consuming bizarre foods you can’t even pronounce is simply not appealing to most. But before you turn and run… truth bomb: you don’t have to […]
Cool for the Summer: Raw Vegan Creamy Celery Herb Soup Ohhhh yes, this raw vegan creamy celery herb soup recipe is a win! More raw soup. Souper delicious. Souper healthy. Creamy. Refreshing. Bursting with layers of flavor. So I went to the local farmer’s market […]
Organic Vegan 0g Sugar Paleo Dark Chocolate Recipe – No Sugar Alcohols Necessary
Life without chocolate simply wouldn’t be worth living, so when it comes to healthy chocolate, I’ve become somewhat of an expert. Ok ok, expert is a bit of a stretch. But I’ve been doing all the necessary (and delicious!) research. Because I need sugar-free paleo dark chocolate in my life. Fortunately, this recipe passes my super-strict test.
I’ve tasted the healthiest chocolate bars. I’ve researched and tested the best cocoa and cacao. I’ve searched for clean sugar-free chocolate recipes. And I’ve experimented with making my own paleo dark chocolate. Because sometimes, you just gotta create your own solution.
Recipes for homemade chocolate abound on the internet. But whenever I searched for ‘sugar-free’ paleo dark chocolate, the recipes generally replaced sugar with coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup. Although all-natural and each great options in their own right, they still contain sugar. And really what I was looking for was a sugar-free, paleo dark chocolate without sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are a great solution for many, but I (along with many others) don’t always respond well to them.
Because of my gut-healing journey and my need to steer clear of sugar, I embarked on a mission to make delicious treats with literally zero grams of sugar – not just refined sugar but any sugar. I did all sorts of experimenting in the kitchen with stevia and other sweeteners containing sugar alcohols. These can work great for loads of people and each has their own place, but I’ve finally found my favorite sweetener: monk fruit.
Monk fruit: The superior sweetener
Monk fruit’s all natural, does not contain sugar alcohols, and has no funky aftertaste (like many find with stevia). So imho, it’s the best option. When I first researched this sweetener, I experienced a little sticker shock. But it turns out a teeny tiny bit goes quite a long way, so the upfront cost is absolutely worth it. In fact, when I use monk fruit, I find that an eighth of a teaspoon is sometimes sufficient for an entire recipe. And if I want to sweeten my coffee, for example, just the tiniest dash will do.
Beyond personal taste preferences, using any of these sugar alternatives requires a bit of experimentation and a fair bit of caution. Despite what many of the packages indicate, the vast majority are not a one-to-one substitute for sugar. As far as sweetness is concerned, I find that less is more in all cases.
Anyway, back to the chocolate.
As much as I love chocolate and chocolate-containing goodies, I knew absolutely nothing about making chocolate when I first embarked on my paleo dark chocolate making endeavors. So I did my best searching for simple versions to work off of.
I first experimented with several homemade chocolate recipes using stevia. It worked, but the stevia aftertaste was detectable. I also added different flavors like coffee, cinnamon, sea salt, peppermint, and hazelnut. I varied ingredient quantities, and tried adding a touch of coconut oil, and, finally, coconut milk.
Finally, I’ve landed on a version worth sharing.
This paleo dark chocolate requires just five ingredients – cocoa butter, cocoa powder, monk fruit, vanilla extract and coconut milk – and takes just five minutes to make (minus setting time). Without the coconut milk, the blend tastes a bit dry. These days, I do appreciate the taste of very dark chocolate (I often purchase 85%). However the powder quality comes through a bit too much without the milk.
I tried adding coconut oil as a couple recipes do. The chocolate was definitely a lot smoother, but I didn’t love the addition of extra oil. So finally I tried coconut milk and found a winner. It lacks the oil and the chocolate is still so much smoother on the palette.
And it’s super easy to customize: I sprinkled it with a little sea salt, because dark sea salt chocolate is one of my fav versions, ever. You can make any flavor you choose using this as the base and blending in essential oils or organic extracts.
All you do is melt the cocoa butter using a double boiler setup on the stove, then mix in the remaining ingredients, scoop it into a mold, and set it in the fridge or freezer. I actually did purchase a chocolate bar mold from Amazon which I love.
But you can simply coat the bottom of a dish, plate, small loaf pan – whatever works. It may be more difficult to remove intact. But it doesn’t really matter if the chocolate breaks into pieces if you’re just making it for your own consumption purposes!
Best of all – you can chop it up to make vegan, nut-free, soy-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, sugar alcohol-free paleo dark chocolate chunks for your baking needs 😉
Sugar-Free Paleo Dark Chocolate Recipe
- 1 cup grated cocoa butter, or cocoa butter discs
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1-2 tsp natural vanilla extract
- 1/8-1/4 tsp monk fruit sweetener (start small and adjust to taste!)
- 1-2 tbsp coconut milk
How to Make:
- For quicker, even melting, grate the cocoa butter, (or purchase the discs to skip the grating). Place the cocoa butter in a double boiler, or in a medium-sized glass bowl.
- If you do not have a double boiler, fill a medium-sized saucepan with 1 inch of water. Very carefully nest the glass bowl on the rim of saucepan (make sure it nests securely).
- Heat on medium to high heat bringing to a gentle boil at most, allowing the the cocoa butter to melt completely. Remove the glass bowl from heat as soon as the last bits melt. Immediately mix in the cocoa powder, vanilla, sweetener, and coconut milk. With the last three ingredients, start small, and adjust to taste. You should achieve a smooth ganache-like mixture. As you mix the ingredients, do not let the chocolate cool too much otherwise it may become rough.
- Using a spatula, fill your mold. Then allow to set. You may place it in the refrigerator to set, or the freezer to speed up the process. (If you’re in a warm climate, you’ll definitely need to set it in the fridge or freezer).
- Keep refrigerated. Makes a bit more than 3 ounces. Enjoy!
*These quantities filled my break apart 3oz mold, with a couple spoonfuls left over (which obviously went straight into my mouth… perfect 😉
Want more vegan, paleo, sugar-free chocolate recipes?
Check these out:
Pass the Cheese Please… Or not. So one of the things I miss most since I upgraded my diet after diagnosis is cheese. I am not alone. Cheese is one of the foods people miss most when they go dairy-free or vegan. I briefly dabbled […]