Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Cookies

Every new year can be a new you! It’s a common phrase that gets slung around this time of year. A time when the calendar resets as does our motivation to become better than who we were the previous year. It is a time when we make resolutions, set higher goals, and create plans of action to achieve those goals. As much as this phrase applies to most people around the world come January 1st, it has never been a thing for me. Sure I have goals I want to achieve, but it has never taken a specific time of the year to motivate me. I have always been a person that once I set my mind to something I start acting upon it. I don’t say things like “I will start this tomorrow” or “I will wait until next week”. Once I have something in mind I won’t wait a single moment more to start executing it in some capacity. That is how I started this website, that is how I re-branded this website, and that will be how I continue to operate this website.

Now you may be wondering what all this has to do with some cookies? You see, back in 2016 I had my second daughter and I was totally happy to have expanded my family but I was also completely miserable. I was morbidly obese, fatigued all the time, and just all around blah. This website was my therapy. I relied on the taste of good food to comfort me and writing about it continued to remind me of the feeling I got while eating it. Problem is, that high was always short-lived and never solved the real issues I was facing. In an attempt to extend the good vibes, I would just create more and more content. It got to a point where each year I would spend the entire time between Thanksgiving and Christmas preparing countless cookie recipes to share on this website, which I would of course indulge in thereafter. It was an endless cycle of self-torture. That is until I decided to make a change. It may not have happened for the new year but it would go on to change every year thereafter.

Since August of 2016 I have lost over 120 pounds and am in the best shape of my life. As great as this process has been, midway through my journey I realized that I had lost something along the way, that being this website. Since I no longer relied on food as therapy I was no longer making unhealthy desserts all the time, therefore leaving me with nothing to write about. It took me several months of being on hiatus until I finally realized that I could start over with a new philosophy. Just as I had hit a reset button on my life I could also hit the reset button on this website. The old desserts I used to love but had come to see as the enemy would once again become my friends, only this time as inspiration. A new mission had been born. A mission to create clean, delicious, and nutritious desserts that would fit my new healthy lifestyle while also keeping this website alive for all of you.

This year I may not have spent weeks preparing countless batches of unhealthy cookies to present to you over the holidays, but I do bring you this gem. It is not the lightest of recipes, but it is a lot more nutritious than any other holiday cookies you will find, which is still a win in my book. To achieve a moist yet gluten-free cookie base, I started with a blend of almond and coconut flours. To add delicious flavor and a slightly chewy texture, I created a healthier salted caramel using coconut milk and Sucanat. Lastly, for an elegant presentation, I topped each cookie off with a candied pecan. If you seek an indulgent, yet clean treat, look no further than these chewy, salted caramel cookies!

Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Cookies


Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
  • ¾ cup Sucanat plus 2 tbsp.; divided
  • ½ cup Raw Unsalted Pecans
  • ½ cup Coconut Milk
  • 3½ tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract; divided
  • ½ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2½ cups Almond Flour/Meal
  • 1 tbsp. Coconut Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ cup Coconut Oil; melted
  • 2 tbsp. Raw Honey

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. To prepare candied pecans: Place a small saucepan on medium heat. Add maple syrup and 2 tbsp. Sucanat. Heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil and Sucanat dissolves, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and immediately add in pecans. Stir until pecans are fully coated. Spread pecans evenly on one of the prepared baking sheets. Set aside to cool, at least 5 minutes.
  3. To prepare caramel sauce: Place a small saucepan on medium heat. Add coconut milk and ¾ cup Sucanat. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once mixture begins to boil, add 1½ tsp. vanilla and salt, stirring constantly. Cook caramel until thickened and a reddish brown color, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, pour into a glass bowl, and set aside to cool for at least 5 minutes.
  4. To prepare dough: In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, and baking soda until well blended. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, honey, and 2 tsp. vanilla. Pour the contents of the small bowl (wet ingredients) into the contents of the medium bowl (dry ingredients) and blend with a fork until a dough forms. Add ½ cup of the caramel sauce to the dough and mix until well blended.
  5. Drop 1 tbsp. of dough at a time onto a large parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool on baking sheet. Once cool, use a spoon to dab the tops of each cookie with the remaining caramel sauce. Place one candied pecan on each cookie. Store in an airtight container for 3 days. Use extra candied pecans on salads, over yogurt, in oatmeal, or as a sweet snack.

Nutrition

Per Serving (1 Cookie): 242 Calories; 4 g Protein; 17 g Total Fat; 7 g Sat. Fat; 3 g Fiber; 123 mg Sodium; 15 g Sugar; 19 g Carbs; 0 mg Cholesterol

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: K. KLEIN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019

Gluten-free Pear-Chocolate Chip Muffins

With my first post of the season, I would like to officially welcome everyone to fall! I feel like I should have said that back in August, since that is when all of the Halloween and fall merchandise hit the stores. For those who live in areas where the temperatures drop in early September, I suppose it’s not a big deal to have fall flavors pop up early. Here in the sunshine state, however, it still feels too much like summer, even into mid-October.

Thankfully, temperatures have finally gotten a little cooler lately, especially at night, helping boost those fall vibes. Even on the warmest days, I still couldn’t resist switching my protein coffee into fall mode the moment the pumpkin spice almond milk hit the shelves. Slowly but surely, the spirit of fall is sinking in, thus my transition into fall mode with my sweets.

This is my first fall-inspired sweet of the season. I know it does not use either of the traditional fall favorites, apples and pumpkins, but I did still choose a fall harvested fruit, the pear. I’m not big on eating pears raw because of my issue with their texture, but I love baking them into food for their flavor. These muffins showcase the pear flavor perfectly and when paired with dark chocolate chips….need I say more? Even better, these muffins are gluten-free and only cost 155 calories, making them a great on-the-go breakfast or healthy snack when a sweets craving strikes. I urge you to give them a try, especially when you begin to grow tired of everything pumpkin and apple this season!

Gluten-free Pear-Chocolate Chip Muffins


Ingredients

  • 3 cups Old-fashioned Rolled Oats; divided
  • 2 ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon; divided
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 ¼ cups Whole Buttermilk
  • 5 tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 Pears; finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp. Dark Chocolate Chips (70% or higher)
  • ¼ cup chopped Pecans; unsalted
  • 2 tsp. Sucanat

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line two standard size muffin tins with paper liners (16 total). Fill remaining empty cups with 2 tbsp. water to prevent the tin from warping. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, pulverize 2½ cups oats into a fine flour. Transfer oat flour to a large bowl and add remaining ½ cup oats, 2 tsp. cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk egg. Add in the buttermilk, maple syrup, and oil. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in pears, chocolate chips, and pecans. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each liner three-quarters full. Set aside.
  4. In another small bowl, toss together Sucanat and the remaining ¼ tsp. cinnamon. Sprinkle 1/8 tsp. Sucanat mixture over batter in each liner. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.
  5. Allow muffins to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for 3 days or freeze and defrost when needed.

Nutrition

Per Serving: (1 Muffin): 155 Calories; 4 g Protein; 6 g Total Fat; 2 g Sat. Fat; 3 g Fiber; 130 mg Sodium; 9 g Sugar; 22 g Carbs; 14 mg Cholesterol

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: H. BAINBRIDGE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of chaos. I feel like summer just started, yet here we are, about to officially welcome fall. Time seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye because the past several weeks have been busier than usual for me. A few weeks ago my oldest daughter returned to school (first grade) and my youngest daughter started her first year of school (pre-K). Next up was the return of Hellenic Dance practice for my oldest and then we had family come to visit. Directly after that we spent several days bracing for a hurricane that thankfully avoided us almost entirely. The kids were off school for a few days so once they went back and schedules resumed normal operation, I quickly began work on building new workout routines/meal plans for my fitness groups, which happened to include coming up with this delicious, healthy cookie recipe.

Since my gears are still currently in the process of switching from summer to fall, I wasn’t quite ready to nose dive into everything fall flavored. I wanted to make something that used the warm spices of fall, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, but did not make apple and pumpkin the star of the show. I had a jar of organic pureed carrots that I wanted to use up before it expired so that became my starting point. This quickly led me to a craving for carrot cake, but I certainly had no ambition to make a cake with everything going on. The kids were begging for cookies so I thought, why not try making a carrot cake cookie.

To keep things plant-based and gluten-free, I started with a base of mashed bananas and oats. Rich and sweet, ripe bananas are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, like potassium. Bananas also lend a creamy texture while binding the dough together, thus avoiding the need for eggs. To add more moisture and nutrients to the dough, I used a jar of organic pureed carrots. Although you could certainly use finely shredded carrots, I prefer to use pureed. Not only does it save a step during prep and clean-up, but it also blends more smoothly into the cookie batter, which improves the texture of the final product while preventing kids and/or husbands from detecting its presence. The best part is it doesn’t even take much of the orange root veggies to add a significant nutrition boost. The relatively small amount of pureed carrots provides numerous antioxidants and nutrients, with soaring amounts of beneficial beta carotene and vitamin A.

Therefore, if you love sweets and need a clean cookie that will fit into your meal plan/macros, this recipe is for you. When consumed as part of a nutritionally balanced diet, these cookies are a treat you can feel good about eating!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies


Ingredients

  • 2 Ripe Bananas
  • 2 cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 4 oz. Jar Organic Pureed Carrots
  • 3 tbsp. Dried Unsweetened Cranberries
  • 3 tbsp. Chopped Unsalted Walnuts
  • 2 tbsp. Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • 1½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1¼ tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ Pumpkin Pie Spice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add oats, carrots, cranberries, walnuts, coconut flakes, cinnamon, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well to combine.
  3. Wet fingers and scoop ¼ cup of mixture into your hands. Form into a ball and place onto prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten with hand. Continue with remaining batter.
  4. Bake cookies for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Extras can be frozen in freezer bags until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Per Serving: (1 Cookie): 91 Calories; 2 g Protein; 2 g Total Fat; 0.5 g Sat. Fat; 3 g Fiber; 3 mg Sodium; 3 g Sugar; 15 g Carbs; 0 mg Cholesterol

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: A. VALPONE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019