6 Paleo Holiday Desserts No Guest Will Turn Down

The holiday season is all about indulgence, but it’s also important to take the dietary restrictions of your guests into account. Luckily, a Paleo-friendly dessert menu doesn’t require skimping on the more decadent side of your sweets. We searched online to find you some of the fudgiest, nuttiest, and most irresistible Paleo desserts to make for friends and family this holiday season. Read on for seven of the best dishes we found!

Source: iStock

1. Ginger-Molasses Cookies

A warm batch of cookies is perhaps the most pleasing sight (and scent) associated with the holiday season, inviting warm thoughts of family, friends, and the coziness of home. Gourmande In The Kitchen’s Ginger-Molasses Cookies offer a taste of seasonal spices such as ginger, cinnamon, and allspice that is sure to get your loved ones in the holiday spirit. The cookies are gluten-free, Paleo-friendly, and packed with a bold yet comforting taste. The recipe yields 2½ dozen cookies and takes about 20 minutes to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond butter (roasted, unsalted)
  • 3 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper

Directions: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or by hand, beat together the almond butter, molasses, eggs, and freshly grated ginger until smooth.

In a medium bowl, sift together coconut sugar, coconut flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pepper. Slowly add the sugar and spice mixture to the almond butter mixture while mixing on low until just combined.

Drop the dough by the rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until firm around the edges and starting to crack in the center (the cookies will look slightly puffed but will flatten and crackle more as they cool), about 8 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on the baking sheets out of the oven, then transfer the parchment paper with the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Source: iStock

2. Salted Caramel and Maple Pecan Pie Bars

You won’t be needing your traditional pecan pie recipe any longer, because a new pecan dessert from The Foodie Teen is about to become a hallmark of your holiday menu! These luscious Salted Caramel and Maple Pecan Pie Bars smother a crunchy pecan filling in a soft salted caramel sauce, which you’ll pour over a buttery, nutty shortbread crust to yield unbelievable results. The recipe yields 12 bite-size bars and takes just 30 minutes to make — not bad for a Paleo, vegan-friendly, gluten-free snack that’s a guaranteed hit at your holiday party. You can store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for about three days.

Ingredients:

For the shortbread crust

  • ¾ cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon coconut flour
  • ¼ cup arrowroot starch
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

For the salted caramel pecan filling

  • 1½ cups pecans, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • ¾ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

To make the shortbread dough, place the pecans in a food processor and process until very fine, 60 to 90 seconds. The result should look like almond flour. Add in the remaining ingredients and pulse to combine. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes, until firm.

Roll the dough out between two pieces of plastic wrap until it is ¼ inch thick. Trim until it measures 5 by 5 inches, then transfer it to a lined 5-by-5-inch baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden. While it cools, make the filling.

To make the filling, spread the pecans on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 8 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from the oven, then place the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk constantly for 3 to 4 minutes, until the sauce is thick, smooth, and golden. Fold in the pecan chunks, then pour the mixture over the shortbread crust.

Bake for another 15 minutes, then let cool for at least half an hour before cutting into bars and enjoying!

Source: iStock

3. Skillet Chocolate Chunk Cookie With Coconut Whipped Cream

Each morsel of The Iron You’s Skillet Chocolate Chunk Cookie With Coconut Whipped Cream is packed with gooey, indulgent goodness. The recipe requires just one pan, making cleanup a breeze. The baking process itself couldn’t get any easier: Simply mix your ingredients, pour them into a cast-iron skillet, and bake for about 30 minutes. Top off with easy coconut whipped cream, and enjoy! This gluten- and grain-free Paleo dish yields 1 skillet, or about 4 servings. Each serving contains 313 calories and 8 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

Skillet chocolate chip cookie

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of fine-grain sea salt
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 small free-range organic egg
  • 2 tablespoons raw organic honey
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Coconut whipped cream

  • Coconut cream scraped from the top of 1 (13.5-ounce) chilled can of full fat coconut milk

Directions: For the skillet chocolate chunk cookie – Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place a rack in the middle. Grease a 6.5-inch cast iron skillet. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Add chocolate chunks and stir to combine. In another bowl, mix egg, honey, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Fill the cast iron skillet evenly with the dough. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, and serve with coconut whipped cream.

For the coconut whipped cream – Open up the can and scoop the thick coconut cream into a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, or with an electric hand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Try to keep as much liquid out of the cream as possible.

Beat, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks become visible, about 5 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The whipped cream will become thicker as it chills in the fridge.

Source: Thinkstock

4. Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Buttercream

This Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Buttercream is a wonderfully sweet solution for those of us hosting holiday guests who adhere to grain-free, gluten-free, and Paleo diets. The dish consists of rich dark chocolate combined with butter, vanilla, and cocoa cake topped off with a simple, sweet chocolate buttercream frosting. If you don’t have any grain-free baking powder on hand, Deliciously Organic recommends combining 1 part baking soda, 1 part arrowroot powder, and 2 parts cream of tartar to yield similar results. It should be noted that the blogger used soy-free chocolate chips in place of regular chocolate chips to make this dish. This recipe will satisfy the chocolate cravings of 12 to 14 holiday guests.

Ingredients:

For the cake batter

  • 8 ounces dark chocolate
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter or 7 tablespoons ghee
  • ⅔ cup maple syrup
  • 
6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons coconut flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon grain-free baking powder

For the buttercream

  • 4 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup or honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, softened, each stick cut into tablespoons
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and adjust rack to middle position. Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl of a double boiler. Melt, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Place the maple syrup and eggs in the bowl of a standing mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk for 5 to 6 minutes, until pale yellow and billowy. Slowly whisk in cooled chocolate and vanilla extract. Sift almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder over egg mixture. Gently fold to incorporate.

Divide batter between two buttered 9-inch cake pans. Bake cakes for 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool cakes for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edges, and then remove the cakes from the pans. Cool completely.

For the frosting –
 In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine eggs, maple syrup or honey, vanilla, and pinch of salt. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Beat egg mixture on medium-high with whisk attachment for 8 minutes until light and billowy. Reduce the speed to medium and add butter one tablespoon at a time. When all of the butter is added, turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Whisk the entire mixture for 1 minute on high until light and fluffy. Slowly pour in the chocolate and mix until incorporated.

To assemble — Place one cake layer on a cake stand and top with one third of the frosting. Spread frosting evenly on the cake. Place second cake layer on top and use remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake.

Source: iStock

5. Spiced Cupcakes With Maple Frosting

These Spiced Cupcakes With Maple Frosting are packed with the flavors of the season: nutmeg, ginger, cloves allspice, cinnamon, and garam masala, a popular bold spice often used in Indian cooking. The cream cheese-based maple frosting helps offset the intense flavors in the cupcakes. Keep in mind that the amount of sweetener added will depend on the type that you are using, as different varieties will vary in their level of sweetness. If you’re not using coconut sugar, simply add your sweetener in small increments to taste. This recipe is gluten-free, starch-free, and suitable for Paleo eaters; it yields 48 miniature muffins, should you use all of the batter.

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups tightly packed and cooled cooked quinoa
  • ¾ cup melted and cooled butter
  • 1½ cups coconut sugar
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a food processor or blender, combine milk, eggs, and vanilla and mix. Add quinoa and butter, then process until smooth. Add coconut sugar, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Blend to combine.

Pour batter into prepared cupcake pans and bake on the center rack for 15 to 20 minutes. Bake until toothpick comes out clean and centers are firm. Allow to cool for five minutes before turning out cupcakes onto a wire rack to cool completely. Frost as close to serving as possible.

Source: iStock

6. No-Bake Almond Butter Truffles

These decadent Almond Butter Truffles from Audrey’s Apron are a quick and easy no-bake treat that your guests will adore, Paleo dieters or not. The treats are free of refined sugars, instead deriving their sweetness from maple syrup. Top off the buttery and spiced base with a luxurious layer of cocoa for a jaw-droppingly delightful treat for the holidays. This gluten-free, Paleo, and vegan recipe yields 9 large truffle cups, each of which contains 266 calories, 6 grams of protein, and just 8 grams of sugar. Keep a stash of your leftovers in the freezer to satisfy any future sweet tooth cravings!

Ingredients:

For the almond butter base

  • 1¾ cups almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, warmed if refrigerated
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine-grain sea salt, to taste

For the chocolate sauce

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, warmed if refrigerated
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Pinch of sea salt, to taste

Directions: Line a muffin pan with liners and make sure there is enough room in the freezer for the muffin pan.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the base. The dough should be a little bit sticky, similar to the texture of cookie dough. Equally distribute the dough into the bottom of the muffin pans. Press down until it is smooth and flat.

In a small bowl, combine the chocolate sauce ingredients, whisking together until smooth. Equally spoon the chocolate over the base of the cups. Top with flaked sea salt, sliced almonds, or coconut.

Place the muffin pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes before enjoying. Store remaining cups in the freezer until ready to eat.

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