Chocolate-Dipped Almond Thins (LCHF)

I’ll cut right to the chase: there’s Splenda in this recipe. I already know what you’re going to say, so don’t bother…yes, I have used a food analog. And you know what? I don’t even feel guilty.

Up until last week, I would sooner have pulled off a toenail than created a recipe that used an artificial sweetener. But that was last week. This week, I’m a little less judgy, a little more antsy to play around with the sweeteners available to people who–for one reason or another–prefer/have to limit carbohydrate intake.

Now, don’t think for one minute that I condone simply swapping out sugar for sugar analogs just so you can feed your sweet tooth willy-nilly. I don’t. In fact, I would urge you to learn how to live with fewer sweets. It’s possible. Really!
I made this for those times when you just want a bite or two of something sweet, not a planned-for special indulgence. (In those cases, I would recommend this or this.) This is a small, satisfying sweet that won’t pump you full of insulin and make you feel like you not only fell off the wagon but got run over and dragged by it too.

If you want to try this but don’t mind the carbs or you just don’t want to use Splenda, you can sub out a tablespoon or two of cane sugar or granulated sugar for the Splenda.

FYI ~ you’ll see in the picture that my chocolate is a little bloomy. Eh. You can temper your chocolate for this, but that kind of defeats the purpose, which is to have a bit of deliciousness with no fuss and no insulin spike. Never mind the bloom–it’s harmless and a non-issue unless you’re serving dessert to, say, Daniel Boulud. (In that case, I would recommend tempering your chocolate so you don’t look like a chump.)

Chocolate-Dipped Almond Thins ~ low carb, high fat; gluten-free

  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons granulated Splenda
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (liquid)
  • 1 egg white
For Chocolate Dip:
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 11/2 tablespoons coconut oil
1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together almond meal, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, Splenda, and salt until combined.
2. Add vanilla extract, coconut oil, and egg white to dry ingredients; mix until moistened and dough comes together in a ball.
3. Roll dough out between two sheets of baking parchment until about 1/6-inch thick. Remove top sheet of parchment and slide bottom sheet onto baking pan. Use a cookie cutter or pastry wheel to cut out shapes.
4. Bake at 325F for 12 minutes or until edges begin to turn golden. 
5. Let sit on baking sheet till cool, then separate cookies from scraps. Crumble scraps and reserve.
6. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil. Stir until smooth. Dip cookies into chocolate and place on a wax-paper-lined cookie sheet. Garnish cookies with crumbled scraps. Place cookie sheet into freezer for 30 minutes, or until chocolate coating is solid. 
7. Serve immediately. Keep frozen to store.
 

LCHF Chocolate Peanut Butter Pots de Creme

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LCHF Chocolate Peanut Butter Pots de Creme

This is my first weekend experimenting with the metabolic efficiency training diet, and since weekends call for dessert, I took to my kitchen. What I came up with is this little number–a silky smooth dark chocolate pot de creme with a hint of peanut butter. It’s gluten-free and almost dairy-free (the darker the chocolate, the smaller the amount of dairy).

Honestly, I would have no trouble serving this to dinner guests and not telling them it meets any certain dietary specifications. Even though it’s LCHF, no one would ever guess it’s anything other than a rich, decadent chocolate pot de creme. You can take my word on it (pastry chef here). And the best part? It takes about 5 minutes to throw together. True story.

Give it a try. You know you want to.

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LCHF Chocolate Peanut Butter Pots de Creme

  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (full fat, not light)
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I like Perugina or Ghirardelli, 63% or higher)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated Splenda
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream whipped with 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon granulated Splenda (Optional)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
  1. Bring coconut milk to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Place chocolate, Splenda, vanilla, and peanut butter in the bowl of a food processor*.
  3. Pour hot coconut milk over chocolate (et al.) in the food processor. Fasten the lid and process until smooth and completely blended, about 1 minute. Pour into ramekins, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 3-4 hours, until firm.
  4. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder, if desired. Serve cold.

*If you don’t have a food processor, you can do this with a good blender. Follow your blender’s instructions on processing hot liquids–most blenders have a removable insert in the cap to vent steam. I hold a folded dish towel over the opening when operating mine with hot liquids.

Filed under: LCHF, Recipes, Runner Fuel, Sweets Tagged: chocolate, coconut milk, dessert, LCHF, low carb, peanut butter

Going Low Carb…

CARBSSSSS

In case I haven’t already mentioned it, I’m in the process of getting my NASM certification for Fitness Nutrition.There’s a lot of crazy, conflicting info out there, and I want to be able to sort through it effectively, not only for myself, but also for others who are equally interested in their health and their performance.

I do a lot of independent reading and researching in nutrition because that’s the kind of girl I am. Which is to say, skeptical and contentious. I find it almost impossible to take someone’s (anyone’s) word on something; I need to learn the why and how for myself.

For years, we’ve all been hearing about the wonders of the various low-carb diets: Atkins, LCHF, paleo/primal, etc. Drop fat! Improve cardiac health! Never feel hungry! Eat all the bacon you can stuff into your mouth and still whittle flab! Make “sandwiches” of bacon and cheese and bacon! BACON!!!

My take on all of this was just, NOPE. I’m a pastry chef and an ultrarunner. Give up whole grains and cut my carbs back to fewer than a 100g/day? HAHAHAHA. But then…

I started investigating. And the science seemed a little more than possible; it seemed plausible. But how to know? Guinea pig it, obviously. So here I go, for the first time in my adult life, jumping deliberately onto a bandwagon. I’m going to be experimenting with a low-carb diet while simultaneously training for a 12-hour ultra run. No pasta dinners, no bagels, no gels or goos or sports drinks.

Is this easy for me? Oh, hell no! Words like “paleo” and “induction” have been like sand in my mouth. I have done my fair share of Atkins bashing. I hate food analogs–I’d rather give up pizza than eat one made on a crust of baked cauliflower mush. If I’m going to eat a donut, I want it chock-full of carbs and dripping sugar. So this is a big serving of humble pie, in a way. And that’s okay. In the name of discovery and science and all that.

Am I nervous? Oh, hell yes! My diet has always been carb heavy (refer above to “pastry chef and ultrarunner”). I love my carbs–cereal with bananas for breakfast, English muffins with peanut butter post-run, beer. But dang it, I’m inquisitive. I want to know…can this really work? Can it work for ME?

So, for five weeks or so, I’m going to try this way of eating. I’ll be using the Metabolic Efficiency Training model, developed by Bob Seebohar and discussed in his book, Nutrition Periodization for Endurance Athletes: Taking Traditional Sports Nutrition to the Next Level . What does that mean? In short, it’s periodizing nutrition to accommodate training demands. The first phase means cutting whole grains completely. Yikes, I know. But it’s only for a while. When training ramps up, I’ll add back my beloved oatmeal, polenta, quinoa. Beer. But for now, no grains, no sugars. On the plus side, I will be eating lots of veggies and fruits, protein, and healthy fats. Seems doable.

I’ll keep you posted on my journey along the way. If you’re on one of the low-carb diets yourself, feel free to offer suggestions/anecdotes/advice; I’d love to hear from you. If, however, you feel that low-carb diets comprise the meal plan in hell, you don’t need to share. Trust me–you won’t come up with an anti-low-carb argument I haven’t already come up with on my own (again, pastry chef, ultrarunner, bandwagon-hater here). This is an experiment in the name of science (and fitness…and cynicism); I’m determined to keep an open mind–and I’m the one giving up beer.

Let’s see what happens. Stay tuned for hilarity, tears, recipes. And if you’re inclined, check out some of these resources, which are among those I’m using for guidance. I’ll add more as I come upon them, and I’d love to hear about your fave go-tos for nutritional advice.

So that’s it. I’m off to buy provisions–spinach, kale, raspberries, bacon. No beer. Sigh.
Wish me luck.