Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Paleo Almond Joy Cupcakes

When James and I started making the transition to eating more Paleo-friendly foods, dessert was obviously the first category to take a hit.  I've tried quite a few recipes for craving-curbing treats, but most ended up overly dense and heavy and severely lacking in flavor.  Let's face it - almond meal and coconut flour don't have the same "lift" as traditional grain-based flours, leaving you with an end result that more resembles a hockey puck than a cupcake.

It took about four or five attempts to really nail down the right balance of ingredients in this recipe but I'm pretty happy with the overall outcome.  Yes, these are a bit more dense than a traditional cupcake but don't leave you with a lead weight feeling in your stomach afterwards.  They have a subtle sweetness but are definitely leaning more to the decadent, rich side as opposed to sweet.  That is however, an easy adjustment if you have a preference for a sweeter dessert; in addition to the 3 tablespoons of honey, you can add as many as 3 tablespoons of raw coconut sugar to sweeten things up without disrupting the texture of the cake.

Paleo Almond Joy Cupcakes (makes 8 full sized cupcakes or 18 mini cupcakes)

1 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1/4 cup raw, unsweetened coconut, finely shredded
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 egg
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons coconut cream (you can also substitute almond butter)
3 tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
raw almonds (for garnish)

For the icing:
1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons raw coconut sugar]

- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Line a cupcake pan with paper cups
- Whisk together almond meal, baking soda, cacao powder and shredded coconut; set aside
- Melt the coconut oil and combine with egg, almond milk, coconut cream (almond butter), honey and vanilla and whisk until well incorporated
- Add the wet ingredients slowly to the dry, blending with a rubber spatula and scraping the sides of the bowl
- Portion the batter into cupcake tins and bake for 18-20 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick and remove it cleanly
- Scoop the coconut cream off the top of the can (the coconut water should separate from the cream overnight in the refrigerator - be careful not to mix them back together)
- Using an electric mixer, whip the coconut cream with vanilla and coconut sugar together until smooth and fluffy
- Refrigerate the icing for 20-30 minutes
- Once cooled, pipe each cupcake with 2 tablespoons of icing and top with a raw almond to garnish

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