Indulge The Paleo Way - Healthier Christmas Desserts
For Paleo purists and those who simply enjoy healthier dessert options free from processed junk, adding more prehistoric power foods to your diet is a great way to stay fit and keep your energy this holiday season. As anyone who has embarked on a wellness plan knows all too well, the holidays can be a time of celebration (and indulgence!) that doesn’t quite fit in with your healthful best life. Luckily, foodies and food lovers alike have been experimenting and perfecting recipes for Paleo Christmas desserts. That means this holiday season you get to craft, create, bake and indulge — the Paleo way!
Since Paleo staples are not as commonly sold in stores as their non-Paleo counterparts, it's a good idea to buy these essentials online. Your shopping list is going to be your best friend and secret weapon in combating the season-long cheat temptation that comes with holiday festivities. Here are some basics you’ll need to stock your pantry with to feast on Paleo holiday desserts:
- Almond Flour and Coconut Flour: Hearty and easy-to-use substitutes for grain-based flours. Cassava flour blends are also great to have on hand.
- Sea Salt: Celtic salt is also great for adding flavor and a robust mineral profile to any meal.
- Tapioca Flour or Arrowroot: Great for binding nut flours and giving baked goods a crisp and airy texture usually supplied by wheat gluten. Tapioca and arrowroot are both easily digestible and grain-free.
- Xanthan or Guar Gum: Thickening agents sometimes used to help bind the ingredients in a lot of gluten-free baked goods, these additives might stoke controversy among the Paleo purists. Of course, it's up to you to decide, and this extensive guide will help as you source ingredients for all of your delicious Paleo holiday desserts.
- Baking Soda: A classic standard and staple of many Paleo Christmas desserts.
- Raw Honey or Pure Maple Syrup: Nutritionally dense and proven to have health benefits over refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. You should still use these sweeteners sparingly, but as a holiday treat it’s fine.
- Almond Butter: Low FODMAP and highly flavorful, almond butter is a perfect substitute for peanuts and other inflammatory legumes. Check the label for non-Paleo ingredients lurking, or even try making your own by grinding almonds in a food processor.
- Coconut Oil: Delectable and nutrient-rich, coconut oil is a featured element of many Paleo holiday desserts.
Paleo Pie Crust
Nothing is quite as evocative of the holiday baking season as a pie, and no matter if you go for sweet or savory, the filling is only as good as its crust. A delicious, flaky pie crust has been a market cornered by refined flour and added gluten in the past, meaning those who follow a Paleo lifestyle have politely had to decline an after-dinner slice. While rooted in the past, Paleo recipes are full of modern innovations, meaning you can make a great pie part of your Paleo Christmas desserts menu. Give this delicious pie crust a whirl and elevate your baking prowess. You can use different granola flavors depending on the filling. Our maple granola for example is a tasty twist for a classic pecan pie.
- 1.5 cups of Within/Without granola
- 1 cup of your favorite gluten-free flour blend
- 1 cup of almond flour
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp apricot jam or rindless marmalade
- Set your oven to 350°
- Add all ingredients to a food processor. You want to blend the ingredients, but not make a dough. 2-5 minutes should do it, depending on your appliance. Make sure there are no large chunks in the mixture.
- Add your mixture to a greased 9” pan, pressing firmly and pinching the edges to prevent crumbling
- Bake for 5 minutes, or until lightly golden in color
- Pour in the pie filling of your choosing
- Cover the edges of your granola crust with foil to prevent burning
- Bake as needed for your pie filling to set (usually 35-45 minutes)
Experimentation is always a fun part of the creative kitchen process, and adding your own flair to a selection of Paleo Christmas desserts is a fun way to bring a little uniqueness to your holiday gathering. A sprinkling of Paleo granola can add some texture to a whipped dessert or cupcake topping, or break it up to use as a crumb topping on an apple crisp or pie. Healthy baking is just as fun with Paleo sweet treats, a mindful selection of ingredients and a little touch of originality.
Paleo Apple “Pie” Dessert
If you want to keep your Paleo Christmas desserts super simple, how about making the easiest apple “pie” without grabbing it off the shelf (with all the refined sugar and other junk you’re bound to find)?
Simply cut an apple in half and bake until it’s soft. Top it with two tablespoons of your favorite Paleo yogurt, a dash of cinnamon and a sprinkling of granola.
It doesn’t get much easier than that! Or sticking with the fruit theme, toss sliced pineapple on the grill (if you’re somewhere that holiday grilling is an option!). It will caramelize slightly, and the water evaporating will concentrate the flavor of the fruit making it even more delicious. You can use it as a topping on another dish, but our favorite thing is to just dig in. Maybe add a little whipped coconut cream if you’re feeling extra indulgent.
Following a Paleo lifestyle doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself of all things good. Many of us are surrounded by the idea that “good” means sugar-laden and filled with flour or dairy. In reality, there are many ways to enjoy a dessert that won’t slug you down for the rest of the day. These healthful treats should still be enjoyed in moderation, but enjoyed nonetheless. Your body will thank you for avoiding inflammatory ingredients, especially at a time of year when you’re almost expected to indulge!