Paleo Cover

Title: Paleo Desserts, 125 Delicious Everyday Favorites, Gluten and Grain-Free
Author: Jane Barthelemy
245 pages; Softcover
Publisher: Da Capo Press, Boston MA 2012, $18.99 US / £12.99 UK / $22.00 CAN
Reviewed by Chef John Vyhnanek

The review--- Before you run out and buy this book you need to do some homework! The key word to research is “Paleo”. Let me be helpful and give you a basic idea so you can further your education at a later time. Paleo is the abbreviation for the paleolithic diet, also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, a modern nutritional plan based on the ancient diet of wild plants and animals consumed during the Paleolithic era.

It's centered on commonly available modern foods. For example, coconut oil can be substituted for butter, almond flour can be substituted for white flour, and honey can be substituted for other sweeteners. If substituting almond flour for wheat flour, there is no glutenit's gluten free. Grains are not eaten, simply because they were not part of that period's diet. You can find much more information at your local library or on the Internet at various sites that specialize in this topic. So now that your are briefed and interested in changing your lifestyle, fortunately, there is a new book, Paleo Desserts 125 Delicious Everyday Favorites, Gluten- and Grain Free by Jane Barthelemy which is just waiting for you to buy!

The first 30 pages are a must read because that section sets the stage, and I even recommend reading it twice before you can jump in and start baking. Do you know what raw Yucòn syrup or Erythritol are? Learn by reading and then plan to purchase many non-traditional items in order to make Lemon Bars in a totally new way. This new way can be challenging too because what were 5 ingredients in a traditional recipe may now become eight or nine because substitutions of several ingredients many need to be blended together to create the original traditional one. I found this fun and challenging. What about the results though? Was the recipe good?

Yes, they were, in a non traditional way, and proved that the Paleo diet or lifestyle can be achieved with good guidance which this book provides. The bottom line is that this is a good book with good solid recipes and a great place to start learning and making desserts that meet the requirement of the Paleo lifestyle. Buy the Paleo Dessert Cookbook and see for yourself!

Recipes tested---!
Red Heart and Digestive Healing Smoothie

YIELD: 2 servings • EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Any style blender

1 cup filtered water
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 fresh beet (choose a small beet, which is usually less bitter)
Zest of 1/2orange
1 orange, peeled, sliced, and seeded
6 fresh or frozen strawberries
1 inch fresh ginger, chopped or grated
Suggested sweetener: 2 tablespoons Just Like Sugar Table Top natural chicory root sweetener (not Baking), or to taste
2 plums, seeded, or 4 additional strawberries
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of grated nutmeg or ground cardamom
2 tablespoons dried goji berries (optional)
This heartwarming drink combines tart raspberries, sweet orange, and strawberries, with a hint of ginger. Fresh beet adds a deep red color and powerful nutrition. Yummy and joyful—you can't beat that.

1. In a blender, combine all the ingredients and blend well. Enjoy immediately.
Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich
Ice-Cream Sandwiches

YIELD: Two dozen 2-inch sandwiches • EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Any style blender (a high-speed blender, such as Blendtec or Vitamix, will give you a smoother ice cream), a food processor, and any size cookie cutter (I use a 2-inch scalloped cutter.)

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk, as thick as possible. (Lite coconut milk and coconut milk beverage in a carton will not work, as they are too thin.)
1 3/4 cups raw cashews, soaked for 3 to 6 hours in filtered water and well drained (see page 10), measured after soaking
1 cup Just Like Sugar Table Top natural chicory root sweetener (not Baking). I do not recommend any other sweetener for this.
Pinch of unprocessed salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (place jar in luke-warm water to melt oil)

2 cups raw nuts, soaked if possible (see page10) and well drained
1 1/2 cups medium-shredded unsweetened coconut flakes (not coconut flour)
1/2 teaspoon unprocessed salt
6 tablespoons pure cacao powder
2 tablespoons roasted carob powder 1 large carrot, scrubbed and unpeeled, cut into chunks (120 grams)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups Just Like Sugar Table Top natural chicory root sweetener (not Baking)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring (optional)
2 tablespoons hijiki or wakame seaweed, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes (optional, for binding)

Homemade ice-cream sandwiches will inspire any gathering, and they're easy to prepare ahead of time. This recipe has three easy steps: blend the ice cream, mix the cookie dough, then put the sandwiches together. And let me tell you, the results are worth the effort. Make them in any size, depending on your cookie cutter. This recipe is raw and has zero-impact carbs—you won't find anything like this in a grocery store. To top it off, these look just like store-bought ice-cream sandwiches—but taste even better. The ice-cream filling is made with cashews, so it is firmer than the other ice creams. For the best flavor and texture, follow the recipe exactly.

1. For the filling: In a blender, combine the coconut milk, soaked cashews, sweetener, salt, lemon juice, and vanilla. Blend until very smooth and creamy. Sweeten to taste. Add the coconut oil last and blend well.
2. Pour the mixture into a flat pan or tray with a removable bottom or lined with parchment paper, so the mixture is no more than 1/2 inch thick. If it's any thicker, it is too difficult to cut when frozen. I use an 8 by 11-inch tart pan. Freeze for 2 hours or until very firm.
3. For the cookies: To a food processor, add all the cookie ingredients. Mix well until the carrot is well pureed and the dough becomes cohesive.
4. Divide the dough into two parts. Roll each piece between two pieces of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Freeze both sheets for 30 to 60 minutes until stiff.
5. To assemble: Remove the dough from the freezer. Cut with a cookie cutter, in matching pairs. Don't worry if a piece breaks; you can reroll the dough and freeze.
6. Remove the filling from the freezer. Working quickly, cut the filling with the same cutter and place on one of each cookie pair. Stack the second cookie of each pair on top. Place the sandwiches in the freezer immediately on a serving plate.