Grain-Free Cinnamon Rolls

^^^ That is what sugar and spice and everything nice smells like. Seriously. 

I've been on a quest to find a fluffy grain-free  cinnamon roll for a few years now. It's been a rough journey. Almond flour usually results in a dense, semi-crunchy dough that is certainly never fluffy. Coconut flour requires a lot of liquid to combat it's dryness, but when you add a lot of liquid it's pretty much impossible to roll out the dough and roll it up with cinnamon. And the cinnamon filling is the best part of the cinnamon roll, so that's a big problemo. 

That's why, even though I rarely bake with large amounts of tapioca flour, I went for this time. It sticks together, makes a moldable dough, and results in a fluffy finished product. If you ask me, tapioca flour is a bit of a real-food loop hole. If we're talking about foods that nourish your body, tapioca flour falls flat on it's face. However sometimes you just need a cinnamon roll, and sometimes, your soul needs a little bit of nourishment too. 

For those days, this recipe is a winner -- allergy-friendly, but also fluffy, soft, and sweet. The cinnamon filling is made with whole fruits, so no extra sweetener is needed! Dates are the main sweetener here, but I added shredded apple for good measure because, well, cinnamon + apples = more please!! 

Did you see that big pan of cinnamon rolls in picture #2?? Not even kidding you, there were only 3 and a half left an hour after they came out of the oven. Note to self: Next time, gorge on cinnamon rolls after yoga, not before. 

Grain-Free Cinnamon Rolls

Paleo, Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,    |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

For those days when you just need a cinnamon roll.

Yields: 15 two to three inch rolls   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dates, pit removed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, plus 1 tablespoon for filling
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk (canned, full fat)
  • 3/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large apple
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Bring the 1 cup of water to boil. Remove from heat, and pour into a small bowl. Place the dates in the water to soften them.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prep the dough: In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream together 1/2 cup of coconut oil and honey. Once incorporated, add the vanilla, room temperature eggs, and coconut milk. Beat until fully combined. (If your eggs are cold when you mix them in, they may not cream into the coconut oil as well).
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: tapioca flour, coconut flour, baking soda, salt. Once the dry ingredients are well distributed, add half to the wet ingredients. Beat until fully incorporated, then add the other half. Set dough aside.
  4. Finish prepping the filling: Drain the dates, and add them to a high powered blender. Blend on high until a thick paste forms. Scoop the paste into a small bowl. Grate the apple with a cheese grater. Fold the apples, 1 tablespoon coconut oil and cinnamon into the date paste.
  5. Make the rolls: Pat the dough into a disc shape. Place the disc shape between 2 pieces of parchment. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Remove the top layer of parchment. Feel free to trim any uneven edges now — this is not necessary but will result in more even end rolls. Spread the date paste mixture out in a thin, even layer on the dough. Now, starting at one edge of the rectangle, roll the dough: Use the bottom layer of parchment paper to help you — this dough is softer than a wheat dough, and needs the help. Tip: Each time I go to roll the dough over, I loosen it from the parchment with a spatula. Some bits may stick to the parchment— that is ok.
  6. Grease a 9-inch pie pan. Once you have rolled the dough into a log, you may cut your cinnamon rolls: Use a separated knife, and cut the roll into 1-inch rounds. Wipe your knife clean each time. Place the cinnamon rolls 1/2 to 1 inch apart in the pie pan. Once all rolls are cut, cover pan with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  7. Bake rolls for 40-45 minutes with the aluminum foil on. Then remove the foil and bake for an addition 10-15 minutes. Rolls should be soft, but quite golden when done. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.

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Paleo Blender Brownies

You know how the Paleo diet is kind of nice because the "naughty" foods are usually a lot of work? They're so much work, that you tend to stick to the good stuff, because that's actually easiest. 

Well this recipe ruins that. Literally, this recipe goes from ingredient list to oven in about 3 minutes. THREE MINUTES. And just in time for the holiday weekend!

Our blender has always been one of my favorite appliances. Now that it's key in making these brownies, it might just be my favorite appliance. I topped these brownies with coconut cream and raspberries for a Forth of July themed treat, but let your imagine run wild! Why not plop a scoop of Paleo Cherry Garcia Ice Cream? If you're into having nuts in your brownies, I think you're crazy... But pecans are a passable addition that others in this household would call "necessary".

Here's one more secret about these brownies: they're even better the next day. They come out of the oven slightly puffy but as they cool they settle, becoming dense, fudgy, and chewy, just like a brownie should be. 

P.S. Looking for a real treat? I used these brownies in a contest submission -- Dairy-Free Mint Brownie Ice Cream. Get the recipe at Food 52!

Paleo Blender Brownies

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Nut-Free   |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

Top these fudge brownies with coconut cream and raspberries for a festive treat!

Yields: 12   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 green plantain (7-8 ounces)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/8 - 1/4 cup honey (depending on preference)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9x9 baking pan.
  2. In a small sauce pan or microwave safe bowl, heat the coconut oil, honey, and chocolate chips until mostly melted. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
  3. Peel and chop plantain. In a blender, combine: plantain, eggs, coconut oil, honey, chocolate chips, vanilla, cocoa powder, coconut flour, sea salt. Blender until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.
  4. Pour batter into baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes, until brownies are begin to rise, but batter does not jiggle when you shake the pan. Remove from oven and allow to cool 10-15 minutes.

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Seared & Curried Eggplant (Paleo & Vegan)

I wasn't going to post this recipe today. I was going to post a recipe for a gorgeous chia pudding with berries and bananas. Very red, white and blue, you know. Thing is, I just couldn't get myself excited about it. It was great, it was fine, but it felt so ho-hum sitting next to this recipe. Now this recipe--this has flavor. This gets me excited. 

Eggplant? Exciting? Yea, you heard me. If you had asked me a few years ago if eggplant was exciting, I would have laughed. The first thing that would have come to mind is that slimy Eggplant Parmesan with soggy breading that we all know and hate (some Eggplant Parmesan is delicious, but the bad versions are quite bad). 

I don't know when I first tried Baingan Bharta (Eggplany Curry), but it's the dish that redefined eggplant for me. 

I've had this dish in all sort of ways: some people puree the eggplant after cooking it, some people leave it chunkier. Some people serve it with more of a sauce, and some keep it simple.  I have enjoyed them all but none as much as when they're like this: the eggplant is seared, almost crispy on the outside and not at all soggy. The spices are blended with only a bit of tomato, so as not to overwhelm the dish, and it's loaded with heat. 

Recently I was listening to a radio show on NPR about Picky Eaters, and how kid's learn their eating habits. You know when you arrive at your destination and you just want to going around the block a few more times to finish listening to your show? It was one of those. I've always attributed my willingness to eat just about anything to my dad: when I was a kid, he had my try new things every week (this also probably played a role in turning me into such a foodie!). This show, however, explained why kids have different tastes than their parents: their tastebuds are still young and sensitive. I guess my tastebuds finally "matured" enough to like eggplant. ;) 

The moral of the entire interview? Try everything ten times. At least ten times. Try cooking it different ways, and try serving it with different things. One of them, you're sure to like! 

Seared & Curried Eggplant (Paleo & Vegan)

Seared & Curried Eggplant

Published May 7, 2015 by
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Serves: 4-6   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch nob ginger, minced
  • 2 eggplants, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon whole black mustard seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • Optional, for serving: spicy chili peppers, if you like your curry really hot

  • Directions:

    1. Heat the coconut oil over medium heat in a skillet. Once hot, add the onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño. Sauté.
    2. When the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes to the pan, giving everything a stir.
    3. Add the diced eggplant to the skillet, stirring into the onion mixture. Sprinkle salt over top, and stir in (this helps draw out the natural juices). Increase the heat a small amount, to medium-high. Stir occasionally, giving the eggplant time to sear on each side.
    4. When the eggplant is softened through an browning in some places, add the spices and minced cilantro.
    5. The eggplant is done when it’s completely softened through and browned on some of the sides. Remove from heat and serve hot over rice or as a side dish with One-Pan Beef Korma or Slow Cooker Kashmiri Curry Leg of Lamb.

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