Baking Tips

My belief, is that there is not one diet for everyone and no one should ever feel deprived. If you decide to experiment with a paleo diet or decide that it is the diet for you, my site can help you make smart food choices without sacrificing the fun and delicious taste. Food brings people together. Whatever the occasion maybe, a lunch with friends, a romantic dinner, a birthday party or holiday get together. Food is the center of our world and you shouldn’t have to feel deprived because of dietary restrictions. That’s why I try to make every recipe in this site one that you would share with family and friends.

As a long time traditional baker, I frequently made cakes, cookies, and breads for friends’ parties. However, much to my dismay, for many years I’ve also been plagued with the repercussions of refined sugar intake and recently had to curtail my dietary needs. Ugh. I finally decided to experiment with the Paleo diet because of its reported health benefits. I cut out most legumes, grains, dairy, and refined sugars. Because I love dessert, I decided to do some research on alternative baking and recipe creating (baking without refined grains & sugar). Teaching myself how to make delectable sweets like dairy-free ice cream, gluten-free cakes, grain-free muffins, and refined sugar-free cookies, I learned how to feel satisfied with my food choices.  I see my new-found baking as an opportunity to expand my culinary horizons and share them with others who love to eat dessert, but may also have dietary restrictions.

Honey vs. All Other Sugars: What’s the difference?

Honey is slightly sweeter than sugar, so you don’t need as much when baking. It’s also mostly produced in liquid form so it’s slightly different to bake with. Honey also breaks down in your body differently than any other sugar- it’s easier to digest (especially good for people with digestive disorders), according to this research by Elaine Gottschall author of Breaking the Vicious Cycle “…it contains only single sugars (monosaccharides) which do not need microvilli enzymes (see diagrams on pages 22 and 23) in order for the two sugars of which it is  composed to be absorbed into your bloodstream. The two sugars are already in the absorbable form.”

This article from greenmedinfo.com also explains very well why honey is a great alternative to sugar.

What’s Coconut Sugar?

Another thing I discovered that makes for interesting baking is coconut sugar. I’m not sure if it has any health alternatives like honey, but it’s unique in other ways. It has a deeper coffee-like taste and is great for baking with recipes containing cocoa, as it enhances the flavor.

Is Coconut Sugar Healthier? This article gives you some ins and outs of coconut sugar and what it is exactly. There are also studies that say coconut sugar will not cause your blood sugar to fluctuate, such as this article.

Why Bake With Coconut and Almond Flour?

For obvious reasons, if you are gluten intolerant or are sensitive to traditional grain flours, coconut and almond flours could be a good baking alternative. They are very different from traditional wheat flours and take a while to learn to work with. I’ve had many a throw-away recipes when experimenting with these flours, but I’ve slowly gotten the hang of it!

Coconut Flour – Coconut flour is high in calories, but most of those calories are in the form of fiber, so it’s high fiber and very low carb, which means no sugars. You don’t need to use a lot of coconut flour to bake, a few tablespoons verses a few cups of all-purpose white flour. However, coconut flour is much more expensive and will yield a slightly different texture and taste. This article from bakingbites.com  gives a good basic breakdown on coconut flour.

Almond Flour– It’s important to note that when baking only very fine almond flour works best, otherwise your finished products will not hold together as well. I’ve read Honeyville brand works great for baking. I frequently use Trader Joe’s brand almond meal. It’s cheap and easy to find. You also want to take into consideration, that while it may be a great substitute for gluten and grain intolerance, you are consuming many more nuts than you would otherwise simply because they are so finely broken down, and that’s just nuts! So if you are sensitive to nuts, use with caution!

Why Butter?

In baking, butter usually doesn’t bother people who have lactose intolerance because most of the lactose is removed in the butter-making process. I enjoy baking with butter and it is much more accessible and cheaper than coconut oil or ghee. I want everyone to be able to make my recipes! If you prefer not to use butter, refined coconut oil works well because of its neutral taste.  You can order it from Tropical Traditions. Most of my recipes can substitute coconut oil for butter.

Making Ice Cream!

The ice cream recipes on this site use coconut milk and almond milk. Here are some good references when making them:

How do I add eggs into my homemade ice cream without cooking them? This is a sweet video tutorial how-to when it comes to adding eggs to ice cream- All Recipes

Why Add Eggs to Ice Cream? This in-depth study and taste-test (why wasn’t I invited to this?!?!) from Serious Eats explains it all when it comes to using eggs in ice cream.

Can’t find what you are looking for or want to add to the discussion? Please feel free to ask questions and comment! I’m always looking to share information and ideas!