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Paleo Chocolate Chips – Vegan, Refined Sugar Free, and Delicious!

If you have food allergies or follow any sort of paleo, vegan or health-conscious diet, you understand just how sad grocery shopping can be. You just want that one specific item. Surely it can’t be that hard to make it without sugar and corn syrup and preservatives and emulsifiers? But alas, 10 minutes later, you’ve read every label on every brand in the aisle (ok scanned – let’s be honest, you couldn’t actually pronounce 75% of those words), only to learn that you can’t eat any of them.

You debate whether you should forgo it or just buy the brand that seems the cleanest. Either way, you walk away feeling frustrated. Most recently for me, that one has been chocolate chips. I just want to be able to make chocolate chip cookies and actually be able to eat them, dang it!

Of course, there are a couple brands that are pretty decent and allergen-friendly, but they all still contain some sort of sugar or an emulsifier that can be hard on digestion. I was really convinced they’d be fine, but many bad stomach aches later, I just accepted my chocolate chip-less fate.

But then I had an idea. I had been making my own chocolate sauce that was sweetened with maple syrup, and I’d even used it to make almond butter cups. So why couldn’t I use it to make my own chocolate chips?

I put it off for a while because I thought chocolate chips would be a lot of work. I even bought the stomach-ache inducing ones again because guys, never learn! I’m serious, sometimes I just don’t even know what’s wrong with me – it’s like there’s some evil gremlin in my brain who puts me to sleep and eats things that make me feel terrible, and then wakes me back up to endure the consequences. But that’s neither here nor there… The point is, I needed a solution and fast. I simply cannot be trusted in a world where the only chocolate chips are ones that I can’t eat.

So I gathered a few simple tools and set out on my new experiment. And boy did I prove myself wrong, because making chocolate chips is not hard at all! And not nearly as time-consuming as I thought it would be. I was very pleased! Commence the delicious, clean chocolate chip cookie-baking, my friends!

Special tools you’ll need

  • 2-3 silicone molds with small shapes – I found some small heart-shaped molds on Amazon and I love them!
  • A candy syringe or meat baster – I got this meat baster from Target because it was the only thing I could find, and it works like a charm; just keep in mind that whatever you get needs to be able to inject chocolate. You can use a spoon for this – I did the first time – but it is not easy and takes much longer because the mold shapes are so small.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Add the coconut oil to a small saucepan on medium heat and melt all the way down to liquid.
  2. Add the cacao powder and maple syrup and stir constantly until cacao is completely absorbed. You should have a smooth, liquid chocolate.
  3. Taste – if you like your chocolate darker, add more cacao powder just 1 tablespoon at a time, tasting after you’ve stirred. If you prefer it sweeter, add more maple syrup just a few drops at a time until it reaches your desired level of sweetness.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it on a hot pad near your silicone molds.
  5. Using your meat baster (or candy syringe, or whatever tool you’ve chosen), fill each shape in your silicone molds until they are full.
  6. Wipe any excess chocolate drips off the top of your mold and lay flat in the freezer. It will depend on the size of your molds, but it should take 2-5 hours to freeze completely (the smaller the mold, the faster they’ll freeze). When you can press on one of the chocolate-filled shapes without leaving an indent, your chocolate chips are ready! Store in a container in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.

Notes

This recipe fills two of my molds (with just enough left to enjoy in a cup of coffee), which makes about 110 chocolate hearts. It is the perfect amount for about two dozen muffins – slightly more than the perfect amount for two dozen cookies.

Because there are no emulsifiers or additives in these chocolate pieces, they will get a bit runnier than store-bought chocolate chips. I recommend using a baking sheet with ledges if baking them into cookies, and you shouldn’t have any issues with dripping in the oven! They will solidify back up as your cookies cool. Unless you store your baked goods in the fridge, they will be a bit melty in baked goods.

This recipe also works great as a chocolate sauce to stir into hot drinks, drizzle over ice cream (will act like a magic shell sauce), or drizzle over other baked goods!

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Paleo Vegan Ice Cream: Strawberry-Nectarine

I have a small confession to make… There was once a time in my life where I ate a large bowl of ice cream at least once a day, and often twice a day (many times for breakfast and always drenched in chocolate syrup). I’m not proud of this (okay, maybe I am a little proud); I just really love ice cream! I was a teenager at the time, to be fair. I’ve evolved slightly since then. But I still love ice cream, and not being able to eat dairy (and especially being paleo) can really put a damper on that. So I give you this delicious, creamy paleo vegan ice cream full of delicious summer fruit to enjoy!

Ever since I first cut dairy out of my diet two years ago, I began searching for the perfect dairy-free ice cream. I started with store-bought, and quickly found that most of them are not great, in my personal opinion. You see, ice cream is meant to be creamy and soft; but most of the store-bought dairy-free ice creams I tried were icy and hard. I did find one brand that makes a couple of cashew milk based flavors – it was delicious and creamy. It was also incredibly expensive and full of sugar and preservatives.

Then I was introduced to homemade dairy-free ice cream made with coconut cream. It was life-changing. Between the full-fat coconut cream and the use of an ice cream machine, you can get perfectly creamy and delicious ice cream in SO MANY FLAVORS. And the thing is, it’s actually good! I have fed my various dairy-free ice creams to many dairy-loving friends and they always love it (and not just ‘this is good for dairy free‘ love it, but like, actually genuinely enjoy eating it).

This particular recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, nut free, refined sugar free and oh so delicious! So whether you follow a Paleo or otherwise restricted diet, or you’re just looking for a summer treat that’s a little kinder to your body and doesn’t make your children bounce off the walls, this is it.

Now, because I know someone will ask this question if I don’t answer it upfront, you might be wondering, Can I make this without an ice cream machine? The answer is yes, of course you can, but it absolutely won’t be as good. And that is true for any dairy-free ice cream recipe. I’ve tried MANY at this point that claim they’re creamy and delicious without an ice cream maker, and I have simply never found that to be true. They almost always turn out a little too solid and icy. If you don’t have an ice cream maker and don’t know anyone who might let you borrow theirs, you can definitely just blend this and put it in a container to freeze. The flavor will still be great, but it will not be very creamy, which is just sad. So I implore you, if you plan to make ice cream at home, invest in an ice cream machine (or find a generous friend who will let you borrow theirs in exchange for a bowl of ice cream)! You really won’t regret it.

The Recipe

Ingredients

3 ripe nectarines

About 20 medium strawberries

2 cans full fat coconut cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Peel the nectarines. Cut the flesh of the nectarine away from the pit in large chunks.
  2. Cut the leaves and stems away from the strawberries. Slice in halves or quarters.
  3. Throw the nectarine and strawberry chunks into a high-powered blender. Blend on high until fully blended.
  4. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend on high until fully combined.
  5. Put the blender with the ice cream mixture into the fridge for at least one hour. (You can also blend the mixture the night before and refrigerate overnight.)
  6. Pour the mixture into your ice cream machine and freeze following instructions for your machine.
  7. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer. Serves best if you pull the container out about ten minutes before serving.

Dairy-Free Ice Cream Round-up

There are a lot of dairy-free ice cream recipes out there, and it can be challenging to wade through them all. Being that I hold ice cream very near and dear to my heart, I have tried a lot of the recipes out there, and there are definitely some real winners, and some that are not so delicious. So here is a round-up of all my favorites. These are my tried-and-true, dairy-lovin’ friend approved, go to recipes. Hopefully this list will be enough to get you a ways into the summer!

*A note to anyone looking out for allergen information and unfamiliar with the Paleo diet – if something is marked as Paleo, that means it’s free of dairy, all grains (so gluten and corn as well), refined sugar, and peanuts.

Coconut Carmel Ice Cream from Big Girls Small Kitchen (dairy- and gluten-free)

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from Paleo Gluten Free Eats (Paleo)

Vanilla Almond Butter Ice Cream from JoyFoodSunshine (Paleo, Vegan if you swap out the honey for maple syrup)

Raspberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream from Baking Magique (dairy- and gluten-free; I swapped the cornstarch out for arrowroot starch without any issues to make it entirely grain-free)

Blueberry Ice Cream from Petite Allergy Treats (Paleo, Vegan; Even though this has instructions for now ice cream machine, if you have one, use it! You will not regret it!)

I personally recommend trying a new flavor each week! Let me know if you need more recommendations once you get through the six recipes here in this post! Happy ice cream making (and more importantly, happy ice cream eating), my friends!

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Easy Paleo Yogurt (& Vegan, Too!)

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I love yogurt. It was one of my most frequent meals when I was in college. I would buy the cheapest bulk container of vanilla yogurt I could find at Aldi, load it with fruit, granola, nuts, peanut butter, and make a meal of it. I loved it! It felt like dessert and yet I thought it was so healthy.

Then I went dairy-free, and it was bye-bye beloved yogurt. I mean, sure – there is plenty of dairy free yogurt available at the grocery store, but it’s crazy expensive and every single kind I tried was disgusting. And then I went a step further and became paleo, and realized just how much artificial junk was loaded into most store-bought yogurts anyway.

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That’s when I resolved myself to a life void of yogurt. That’s a very sad existence, but I thought it was my only choice.

paleo yogurt, easy paleo yogurt, vegan yogurt, easy vegan yogurt, easy paleo and vegan yogurt, gluten-free yogurt, easy homemade yogurt, coconut milk yogurt, easy coconut milk yogurtAnd then hope came. My lovely sister is also paleo, and my nephew has all kinds of stomach and food issues, the poor little guy. He is pretty picky, but yogurt was one thing he LOVED. But unfortunately, he is totally dairy free, and his sweet momma wasn’t a fan of all the junk in dairy free options at the store. So she set out to try making her own.

Homemade dairy-free yogurt was something I had also looked into, but every recipe was far too much effort for my personal liking. I love yogurt, but not enough to spend days making it from labor-intensive recipes that come with warnings about the horrible things that can ensue if you don’t seal the jar just so and ferment for exactly the right amount of time.

My sister had an idea though. And her idea turned out to be the most brilliant thing ever. Thus I give you this extremely easy homemade dairy free yogurt filled with zero crappy ingredients. It’s completely sugar free, has probiotics, and I’ve made it several times now with very little precision and it’s never made me ill or killed me. This recipe comes approved by toddlers and yogurt-loving dairy eaters alike! Enjoy this warning-free recipe!

paleo yogurt, easy paleo yogurt, vegan yogurt, easy vegan yogurt, easy paleo and vegan yogurt, gluten-free yogurt, easy homemade yogurt, coconut milk yogurt, easy coconut milk yogurtIngredients:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 can coconut cream
  • 3 probiotic capsules

Instructions:

  1. Empty both cans of coconut milk/cream into a large jar or glass container that seals well. Use a spatula to scrape out all that thick, creamy goodness.
  2. Pull apart your probiotic capsules and empty the powder into the jar.
  3. Use an immersion blender to blend all the cream, liquid and probiotic powder well.
  4. Seal the jar and let sit at room temperature for 48 hours.
  5. Give it another stir at the end of the 48 hours and store in the fridge.
  6. You can eat it right away or wait until it’s been in the fridge a bit (it will thicken up in the fridge) – top with your favorite things and enjoy!

Notes:

This recipe halves well. I know it stays good in my fridge for 5-6 days – it’s never stuck around any longer than that at my house, so I don’t know how long it truly stays good. Using the mix of coconut milk and coconut cream gives you a thick yogurt that resembles Greek style yogurt. Using all coconut milk will give you a thinner yogurt that is still delicious! Just make sure it’s completely full-fat.

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