Tag Archives: dessert

Sugar-free, dairy-free coffee ice cream

sugar-free ice cream - coffee ice cream

One of my husband’s favorite desserts is coffee ice cream. And for two back-to-back rounds of Whole30, he went without desserts completely. Afterwards, he decided to stick with Paleo permanently — which means there’s room for the occasional, nature-sweetened dessert. So I wondered, could I make a sugar-free ice cream recipe that was also dairy-free, — and stacked up to his favorite brand?

Yes, I can!

I tried one version that included egg yolks, with the whole simmering-and-tempering thing, (and if you want to add some protein, healthy fats, and vitamins to your ice cream, you could certainly go that route). He liked it just fine. But my second time around, I decided to see if I could simplify the process — no cooking required! — and still keep the yum factor.

The verdict: He liked the second version better. Even said, “This beats Marble Slab!” WIN!

This is the brand of coconut milk I like to use. (Link to my Amazon store, but you can get this locally.) And no, you don’t taste coconut in the finished recipe.

Dairy-free sugar-free coffee ice cream recipe

1 c. steaming hot water

2 T. ground coffee; mild or mellow flavor (decaf, if you like)

16 pitted deglet noor dates

1 can coconut milk (read below on how to prepare it*)

1 t. vanilla

Optional: additional sweetener of your choice (I like maple syrup)

sugar free ice cream instructions

Steep the coffee in the hot water for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, check the dates and trim off any stems still attached. Cut each date in half, the short way. Remove any pits you find. Place the chopped dates in a bowl or measuring cup large enough to hold two cups.

Once the coffee is steeped, pour it through a fine sieve over the dates. Leave the fine grounds behind; don’t even try to pour them through.

sugar free ice cream instructions

Let this sit at room temp for one or two hours.

Add the coffee and dates to a blender or food processor and blend till smooth; then add the coconut milk and vanilla and blend again. There will still be some “freckles” of dates in the mixture, but there shouldn’t be any large bits.

sugar free coffee ice cream in the blender

Taste, and add more vanilla or other sweetening if necessary. If your sweet tooth is adjusted to a sugar-free life, it should be plenty sweet as is. Other people may want it sweeter. Feel free to make it your way!

Refrigerate till completely cold – at least a couple hours – then freeze according to your ice cream freezer instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream freezer, you can pour it into a shallow dish or pan and place it in the freezer of your fridge, scraping and stirring it every 20 – 30 minutes till you get the desired texture.

sugar free coffee ice cream in the freezer

The hubs likes it straight-up; I like a few pecans sprinkled on top. I love the contrasting texture, and the slight buttery flavor they add.

sugar free ice cream - coffee with pecans


I’m pretty confident this recipe would fool most people: you’d never guess it was sugar free ice cream!

*If you’ve never used canned coconut milk, here’s how to make it as lump-free as possible: Have the can at room temp, not chilled, when you open it. Shake the can well, and open from the bottom. Pour the contents out, then use a spatula to scrape the last bit of coconut cream from the unopened end of the can. There will still be a few lumps, but the blender should get the rest of them.

Want more recipes like this? or looking for Paleo recipes? Check out my cookbook…

 sugar-free dessert cookbook now available

Please, sir: May I have some more pudding?


Because it’s the day before Christmas, and I still have TONS to do, I’m going to make this post short.

My daughter and my BFF and I got together yesterday and made some yummy, yummy recipes. First time we’d ever made these, and they both get three enthusiastic, sugar-high thumbs up!

Warm Lemon Pudding Cakes, via Seasons & Suppers. As the three of us tasted our first bites, we were all rendered speechless, except for satisfied, “mmmm’s, all around. As it bakes, the mixture separates into two layers: a creamy layer on the bottom that’s similar in taste and texture to a very tart lemon curd, topped by a thin layer of super-light fluffy cake.
We made these in 4 oz. Mason jars. (Everything’s better in a jar!) Super cute, and — PLEASE NOTE: in these small jars, they only take about 15 minutes to bake. We still used the hot water bath method called for in the recipe.

Bread Pudding Cupcakes, by Sugar Derby. We left out the raisins, subbed pecans, and didn’t bother with the cream cheese frosting. Either plain, or topped with a bit of the neighbor’s homemade salted caramel sauce, they were fabulous!

These will both definitely be part of our best desserts list now. Should be in yours, too.

Merry Christmas to all!

Bread. Pudding. Cupcakes.

There’s not a whole lot I can control in this life, but here’s one thing I can: This recipe is going to be made in this kitchen, some time in the not-too-distant future.
Bread Pudding Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing, by Sugar Derby. (I’ll skip the raisins, but everything else? Oh, baby!)
It will need to be a day when we’re having lots of people over; otherwise, we might just eat ourselves into a sugar coma. But there are worse ways to go!

60-Second Strawberry “Shortcake”

We’ll get to this easy peasy snack how-to in a minute, but first, let’s talk strawberry shortcake.
If you think of strawberry shortcake as Twinkie-like spongecake topped with super-red strawberries in a goopy glaze, then I’m sorry, my friend, but you have been misled.
Imagine warm, fresh from the oven, slightly-sweet/slightly-salty biscuits: think scones. Perfectly crunchy on the outside, broken open so that the tender, steamy shortcake inside can soak up the sweet sauce that results from macerating berries in sugar for an hour or so. Drizzle over that a little half & half — just enough to moisten the biscuits a bit more — then top it with a generous blob or two of vanilla whipped cream! Mmm… the contrast of salty and sweet, crunchy and creamy. Seriously!
I live a pretty low-carb life, but this is the one food that I will never pass up, and will eat till the strawberries are all gone, or my stomach hurts, whichever comes first! Oh, who am I kidding?! If there are still strawberries and shortcake, I’ll keep eating!
And for that very reason, I don’t make it too often. 
But the other day, I had some lovely strawberries on hand — just a few — and was trying to figure out how I could make a satisfying snack out of them. Then, inspiration!
I had a few whole-wheat crackers on hand. Store-brand Wheat Thins, if you must know. That will stand in nicely for the shortcake, I thought. And some vanilla yogurt in the fridge. A dollop of that on a cracker, and a slice of strawberry on top. How easy is that?! And pretty healthy, really.
But easy and healthy are no good if it doesn’t taste good. This does! The crunchiness of the cracker simulates the shortbread crust and flavor; the vanilla yogurt is a pretty good stand-in for its more fat-laden cousin.
It’s also good with a sweetened cream cheese spread — though that knocks the health factor down a notch.
Sure, in a head-to-head battle with real strawberry shortcake, it comes up short. (Ha! Sorry!) But for a 60-second snack, it’ll do just fine. Just fine! And with a lot less guilt.

Recipe Roundup: 12 Things to Do With Avocado

Just rounding up a few avocado recipes. Because they’re so good for you!
Here are a few of my own, followed by others by trusted sources.
Ina Garten’s Guacamole Salad, with my variations. 
(Note: it’s not the texture of guacamole; just the ingredients.)
Turkey-Bacon-Avocado Sandwich. The photo is from Pioneer Woman, and her recipe includes some fancyin’-up, like pesto, but really, I think a simple sandwich of turkey, bacon, avocado, Swiss or provolone cheese, tomato if you like, and a bit of mayo on some crusty whole-wheat toast doesn’t need a recipe — and is just the best sandwich ever! 
Hint: When eating at Jason’s Deli, order the California Club on whole wheat toast (instead of the standard croissant). Order it with steamed veggies on the side, and that is one guilt-free lunch!
And here are some others I’ve found around the web…
Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Chopped Salad (Can you tell I love avocado with bacon?) This looks so amazing! And inspired by a dish from a Salina, KS restaurant — Go, Kansas!
Avocado-Tomato-Mango Salsa, from AllRecipes: 5 stars and almost 700 reviews! This sounds like it would be great on fish, pork — or chips!
Kiwi Salsa from Simply Recipes
The top-rated Avocado Smoothie from AllRecipes.
Avocado Ranch Dressing, also via AllRecipes. (I like that site because you’re getting the opinion of not just one person, but hundreds.)
Avocado Egg Salad, from Pioneer Woman. (I’ve been meaning to try this forever. Gotta make it happen soon.)
And to finish off our avocado buffet: Chocolate (Avocado) Pudding, anyone? from HowSweetEats.

Emergency blueberry crumble for one


Blueberries in the freezer, snow outside on the ground, and a hankerin’ for something warm and sweet. What to make, that’s slightly healthy but also bona fide comfort food?!

Blueberry crumble, of course! (Blueberries are a super food. Old fashioned oatmeal’s not bad either.)

Based on this recipe for Microwave Blueberry Crumble (four servings), here’s a version that goes together super fast and easy (less than five minutes!), can be made sugar-reduced, and is scaled to make just one serving. And if you use gluten-free oatmeal and cornstarch, it could also be gluten-free!

I’m including instructions for topping it with a bit of vanilla-flavored cream, but you could, of course, top it with ice cream instead. Depending on the severity of your emergency and the contents of your freezer.

Emergency blueberry crumble for one

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 t. sugar (or one Splenda packet)
3/4 t. cornstarch
2 T. old fashioned oats
2 T. packed brown sugar (or 1 T. brown sugar Splenda blend)
1 T. chopped pecans
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and/or a wee pinch of nutmeg
1 T. cold butter (no exceptions)
3 T. heavy cream
splash of vanilla extract

Place the blueberries in a 4- to 5-” microwave-safe dish (I used the cover of an extra-wide butter dish). Sprinkle the sugar and cornstarch on top. Cover and microwave on high for 30 seconds; stir and heat on high another 30 seconds. Repeat until the blueberries are softened and the sauce is slightly thickened.

In a small bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon. Cut in the butter into the oat mixture using a fork, until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs. You want there to still be some globs of butter, though; not completely smoothed out.

Sprinkle the oat mixture over the blueberry mixture. Cover and microwave on high for 30 seconds; stir and heat on high another 30 seconds.

Pour a splash of vanilla extract into the cream; stir till combined. Drizzle over the blueberries. Grab a spoon and enjoy!

Bread pudding: the ultimate Christmas dessert!

photo by The Shiksa in the Kitchen

So, I’m fixing dinner, Christmas Eve night, and my husband says, “What are we having for dessert?” Oh my gosh — dessert?! How on earth did I forget dessert? (I’ll tell you how: I was thinking of the waffles and cinnamon rolls we were going to be having for brunch the next day!)

Then my brilliant husband goes on to say, “How about bread pudding?”

Now, if you’re  not a bread pudding fan, let me tell you — neither was I, until a couple years ago when we ordered lemon bread pudding at Carrabba’s. I love anything lemon, but I’m telling you, this was heaven on a plate! Warm, sweet but with a little lemon tang, and custard-y… yum!

So a more traditional bread pudding — simply flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, and for those who like them, raisins — seems like the perfect Christmas dessert.

And it was!

It’s quick and easy to throw together, and uses ingredients you probably already have on hand. We used this bread pudding recipe from All Recipes, and topped it with the Kahlua cream sauce recipe from The Shiksa in the Kitchen. (A plain vanilla cream sauce would be good, too. Orange or maple might be nice for a breakfast/brunch version.)

With these slight changes:
– Used a demi-loaf of French bread; fresh, not day-old.
– Used a 9×9″ pan (rather than 8×8″)
– Used brown sugar, not white.
– Left out the raisins.
– Added a little fresh-grated nutmeg with the cinnamon.
– Skipped the melted butter, but drizzled a little heavy cream over it (after pouring on the egg mixture, but before baking’ I didn’t measure, but probably about 3 Tablespoons.)
– Sprinkled some pecans on top. (Next time I’ll use more and mix ’em in.)
– Baked for 35 minutes.

Mmmm… Imagine the warm, sweet aroma of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, with a texture I can only describe as a tender, custardy cake. If this isn’t Christmas on a plate, I don’t know what is! But it would be just as good at any autumn or winter dinner — or brunch!

I might just make it again for New Year’s Eve!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad – sugar free, gluten free, without CoolWhip!


Ever since I saw the recipe for Strawberry Pretzel Salad at MyBakingAddiction, I’ve wanted to create a sugar-free, lower-carb version. It took a couple tries to get the proportions right, but here it is!

Why is it called Strawberry Pretzel Salad instead of Strawberry Pretzel Dessert, or Strawberry Pretzel Pie? It seems that back in the days when Jello was a new-fangled thing, anything that combined jello with fruit was labeled “salad.” And this is an old-timey recipe. The fact that it’s survived tells you it’s good! (Unlike one of my mom’s favorite jello salads, which featured grated carrots in orange jello, topped with cream cheese and grated cheddar cheese. Bleck!)

To imitate the crunchy, salty crust without using actual pretzels, I went with a combination of chopped nuts. Specifically, pecans and salted pepitas. Pepitas are pumpkin seeds that have been dehulled and roasted. All of the pepitas and some of the pecans get a coarse chop, while the rest of the pecans get finely ground. The large nut pieces provide the kind of crunch you’d get from the larger chunks of pretzel, while the finely ground pecans serve as the butter that helps everything stick together. The pepitas have a more delicate crunch, while the pecans provide a sort of buttery flavor like the crust of pretzels. You could make this with just pecans, but if you want that salty kick, you’d need to add extra salt to the recipe.

You can use either 4-oz. Mazon jars — or any other 4-oz. dish — or 7-oz. ramekins; your serving number will vary accordingly. The neat thing about using Mason jars is that if a guest is too full for dessert, you can pop a lid on their jar and send it home with them! Lidding all the jars would also be handy if you’re transporting your dessert somewhere and need to stack them. Perfect for a picnic or potluck!

Update: Thanks to questions by readers, I’ve now included the nutrition count at the end of this post. This dessert is certainly not NO-carb, and it does have far more carbs than protein, but it’s still a lower carb recipe than the traditional strawberry pretzel salad. And sugar-free and grain-free!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad/Dessert

Fills 21 4-oz Mason jars, or 10-12 ramekins.

2/3 c. salted pepitas, chopped coarsely
2/3 c. pecan pieces, chopped coarsely
1 c. pecan pieces, ground fine
1/4 t. kosher salt
30 pkts. Splenda (or 1.25 c. granular Splenda) (OR LESS)
2  8-oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 c. whipping cream
1  0.6-oz. package sugar-free strawberry flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1  16-oz. package frozen sliced strawberries – no sugar added

Chop the pepitas and the smaller portion of pecans until they are mostly pea-sized and smaller. Grind the larger portion of pecans until they are beginning to stick together. (For method, see my recipe for lime cheesecake shooters.)
The pepitas, before and after:
And the pecans, finely ground and coarsely chopped:
Combine the nuts and salt, and stir until well mixed.
Place 2 T. into each 4 oz. mason jar (or 1/4 c. into each 7 oz. ramekin). Tamp down lightly using a clean bottle or jar that’s smaller than the opening of your serving dishes.
In a medium bowl, beat the Splenda, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth.
Whip the cream till soft peaks form. Using the lowest setting on your mixer, gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, just until even in color. (Overbeating will turn the cream to butter.)
Spoon this filling into a gallon-sized baggie and snip off the tip of the bag. You may want to do this in two batches to make it easier to handle.
A side note… The first time I made these, I thought I’d skip the hassle of using a baggie and just carefully spoon the filling into the jars. Here’s the result: on the left is the jar I spooned filling into; on the right is the jar where I piped the filling in. Much neater!
Evenly divide the filling between each jar. Place the jars into the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Placing all the jars in a large cake pan will make transporting them to and from the fridge easier.
After the cream filling is chilled, make the jello. In a medium bowl, stir together the gelatin mix and boiling water. Stir in frozen strawberries. Place the bowl into the refrigerator for three or four minutes. This will allow the gelatin to firm up a bit.
Evenly spoon the gelatin between each the jars. A small gravy ladle works well for this.
Also, having the jars in a cake pan while you fill them will save your counter tops from jello stains if, like me, you spill a little.
Place jars back into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Serve chilled.
Here’s the nutrition count, based on 21 servings, erythritol for the sweetener, (via myfitnesspal.com):
Amount Per Serving; % Daily Value *
Calories 205
Total Fat 19g 29%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 29mg 10%
Sodium 111mg 5%
Potassium 124mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Sugars 3g
Protein 5g 11%
Vitamin A 8%
Vitamin C 31%
Calcium 5%
Iron 8%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet,


Want more recipes like this? or looking for Paleo recipes? Check out my cookbook…

 sugar-free dessert cookbook now available