Category: holidays

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies \\ Sweet Laurel

In my humble opinion, a cookie party is not a cookie party without a Raspberry Thumbprint Cookie!  My dear friend and partner at Sweet Laurel hosts a festive holiday cookie swap every year.  You can be sure I’m bringing these cookies this year! Complete with our homemade, refined sugar-free jam, this cookie satisfies the sweet tooth and is healthy as a vegan and paleo cookie can be!

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Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies


 

Ingredients:

Cookie dough

2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

Jam

2 cups raspberries

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining with parchment paper.


 

Directions:

First, prepare the jam:

Place all ingredients for jam in sauce pan and cook raspberries with the maple syrup and lemon while gently smashing berries. Allow berry mixture to come to a soft simmer for about 5 minutes. Continue to gently simmer for about 20 minutes. Jam should be thick. Set as aside and allow to cool.

While jam is cooling, prepare cookie dough.

Place almond flour, maple syrup, coconut oil, baking soda, salt, vanilla extract and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir gently. Scoop 1-2 tablespoons of batter from bowl, and form into a ball. Place cookie dough on prepared sheet. Press thumb into cookie dough ball. Fill imprint with jam. Repeat with remaining dough and jam.

Bake cookies 8-10 minutes until golden brown and jam is bubbling. Allow to cool 10 minutes.  You can finish the cookies with extra jam on top if you’d like.

Festive Cacao + Coconut Butter Bark \\ Sweet Laurel

I just love coconut butter (sometimes called coconut manna) and use it as a frosting most of the time. Today, we’re using coconut butter to make this delicious Festive Cacao + Coconut Butter Bark! The fun thing about this recipe you can add peppermint essential oil to make it taste festive, or add dehydrated raspberries to make it look festive! If you aren’t a coconut butter person,  sub in white chocolate. Enjoy!

Raspberry Coconut Butter Bark \\ Sweet Laurel

Raspberry Coconut Butter Bark \\ Sweet Laurel

Raspberry Coconut Butter Bark \\ Sweet Laurel

Raspberry Coconut Butter

Yields one 8 x 8 sheet of chocolate


Ingredients:

1 cup coconut butter

1/2 cup coconut or almond milk

4 oz 100 % cacao baking chocolate

1/4 cup maple syrup (divided)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional:

1 cup freeze dried raspberries, finely chopped

1 small drop peppermint essential oil

 


 

Directions: 

In a saucepan, place coconut butter over very low heat, or over a double boiler. As the coconut butter melts into a liquid, slowly stir almond or coconut milk. If the coconut butter turns brown, it has overheated, so try and keep your stove at its lowest setting.  Off heat, add the 3 tablespoons of maple syrup. If you don’t want your bark too sweet, feel free to leave the maple syrup out. (I prefer it sans maple syrup). Once the mixture reaches a pourable consistency, spread mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread evenly over the parchment.

Working quickly, melt the 100% cacao baking chocolate over low heat. Slowly add 3-4 tablespoon maple syrup. This is where you can optionally add the peppermint oil to make a peppermint flavored bark. Take care not to add too much peppermint however.

Dollop one tablespoon of chocolate over coconut butter mixture. I like to do three rows of four round dollops. Using the back of a spoon, spread the chocolate into the coconut butter mixture, making a fun, swirly design. Top the bark with finely chopped freeze dried raspberries. Place in fridge until completely firm, then cut into squares. Keep in fridge or freezer until serving.

Pumpkin Cheesecake \\ Sweet Laurel

Dairy-free dreams come true with this cheesecake. My husband Nick is a cheesecake guy. It is his favorite dessert, and if he is craving a really special treat, cheesecake is usually at the top of his list. When we changed our lifestyle to be grain-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free, I needed to figure out an alternative to the classic dessert, and one that Nick would love just as much as the dairy and sugar full version. After lots of testing, I came up with this recipe. And as a little teaser, the Sweet Laurel Cookbook has a delicious version of this recipe, Creamy Cheesecake, which I’m excited to share with you when it comes out April 3. But for now, here’s my pumpkin spice and everything nice version!

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Yields 1 Cheesecake


To make the crust:


Ingredients:

2 cups pecans or almonds, or nut flour

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare a springform pan by lining the base with parchment paper and greasing the sides with coconut oil.

In a food processor, blend the nuts, maple syrup, coconut oil and Himalayan pink salt. Press into the base of a springform pan. Bake 10 minutes. Allow to cool while you prepare your filling.


To make the cheesecake filling:


Ingredients:

1 cup coconut yogurt

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons date paste, or 3 pitted dates

3/4 cup pumpkin

2 eggs

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


Directions:

In a blender, pulse the coconut yogurt, maple syrup, pumpkin, and date paste together until mixture is congealed. Pour into a bowl, and beat coconut yogurt mixture with eggs using a hand whisk or stand mixer. Slowly add arrowroot powder, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and spices. Mix until batter is well incorporated.

Pour into cooled pie crust and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

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Turkey Hash \\ Sweet Laurel

I’m always looking for a way to use all the turkey after Thanksgiving. This is such a delicious way to use up your holiday leftovers, and something all your loved ones will enjoy. Nick and I have really enjoyed this dish for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. It is just one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day. Enjoy!

Turkey Hash \\ Sweet Laurel

Turkey Hash \\ Sweet Laurel

Turkey Hash \\ Sweet Laurel

Turkey Hash \\ Sweet Laurel

Turkey Hash

4 servings 


 

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons grass-fed butter, coconut oil or avocado oil

4 cups cooked shredded turkey or cooked ground turkey

2 large sweet potatoes, shredded ( l like to use white hannah sweet potatoes)

2 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt

2 teaspoons coriander

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

pinch cayenne pepper optional


 

Directions:

In a heavy duty pot, melt your grass-fed butter or coconut oil, or heat your avocado oil.

Add shredded sweet potato, salt to the pot and gently saute for about 10 minutes. Stir constantly.

Add all the spices and the cooked turkey. Stir and continue to heat. Serve.

Pumpkin Nut Milk \\ Sweet Laurel

Did someone say dairy-free and delicious? Our Sweet Laurel pumpkin nut milk is the best way to usher in the holidays, and the closest thing to a healthy, vegan egg nog we’ve ever tasted. It’s no surprise that most menus this time of year are filled with less than healthy ingredients. Luckily, we’ve nailed down a recipe that will satisfy your seasonal beverage cravings with a little bit of that pumpkin spice we all know and love. Thick, creamy and delightful in a festive way, look forward to love at first sip when you dive into this homemade pumpkin nut milk. Keep scrolling to see just how simple this recipe is to recreate in your own kitchen…

Make sure to check out 12 other flavors we made with almond milk!

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Pumpkin Nut Milk

Dairy Free, Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Paleo

Yields 6 cups of milk


Ingredients:

2 cups almonds, cashews or pecans*

6 cups filtered water, divided

4 dates, pitted

1/2 cup cooked and pureed pumpkin, butternut squash, or sweet potato

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Pinch salt


Directions:

Place nuts in a large bowl and soak in 4 cups of filtered water. For almonds and pecans, soak for 6-7 hours. For cashews, soak for at least two hours. After soaking time is up, empty soaking liquid from the bowl.

Place nuts in a large bowl and soak in 4 cups of filtered water. For almonds and pecans, soak for 6-7 hours. For cashews, soak for at least two hours. After soaking time is up, empty soaking liquid from the bowl.

Place soaked nuts in a high powered blender with remaining 4 cups of water, dates, pumpkin, squash or sweet potato, vanilla extract, and spices. Blend on high speed for 2-3 three minutes, until mixture is thoroughly puréed.

Set a bowl on the counter, then using a nut milk bag or cheesecloth, strain puréed mixture into a bowl. Using both hands, squeeze the excess liquid from the nut milk bag or cheese cloth into the bowl.

Cover milk or place in an air-tight container and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Enjoy!

* if you are allergic to nuts, sub hemp seeds. No soaking is required, just place 2 cups of hemp seeds in 6 cups of water, and continue on with the recipe.

Mini Caramel Apples \\ Sweet Laurel

Caramel apples are a nostalgic classic and bring instant memories of childhood and fall’s bounty.  Here’s an easy way to clean up the old-time treat with wholesome ingredients, just in time for Halloween.

Mini Caramel Apples \\ Sweet Laurel

Mini Caramel Apples \\ Sweet Laurel

Mini Caramel Apples \\ Sweet Laurel

Mini Caramel Apples


 

Ingredients:

3­-4 large apples

1/4 cup ghee *

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

Toothpicks

* can be subbed for grass fed butter


Directions:

Prepare a 9×13 pan by lining with parchment paper.

Prepare apples by cutting in half, then using a melon baller, make spheres. Alternatively, you can use the whole apples. Set aside.

To make the caramel sauce:

Melt ghee over low heat. Slowly add maple syrup and salt.

Bring to a low boil while stirring constantly for 4 minutes or until the mixture is thick enough to draw a line with the back of a spoon in the base of the pan.

Let caramel cool off heat and slightly thicken. Coat each apple with caramel and place on parchment. Repeat for a second round for thicker caramel coating. Place the coated apples in the refrigerator until serving. Enjoy!

Our Classic Vanilla Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

I love sharing cake recipes with you because cake is my thing! At Sweet Laurel, we like to keep it simple, and not to mention, deliciously gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free and dairy free!

I shared this recipe with our friends at The Chalkboard Mag last month and had to share with you as well. I opened up to the gals over there about my healing journey, and what brought me to start Sweet Laurel. Enjoy the read and our delicious yet simple Classic Vanilla Cake! xo, Laurel

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Two years after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s), I decided to do something about it. When I was diagnosed in 2012, my doctor immediately put me on synthetic thyroid hormones to stand in for the hormones my body was not creating. Every morning I popped my pill and went on with my day-to-day activities, all while ignoring my body’s screams for help.

Two years later, I was suffering from extreme IBS, a myriad of digestive issues and secondary amenorrhea. I came face to face with the reality that I could not put my health off another year; I needed to take action. I met up with a family friend who practices functional medicine and she introduced me to the concept of healing through food.

She suggested I remove inflammatory foods from my body/diet: grains, dairy, refined sugar, soy, and legumes. Hashimoto’s disease has a long-standing negative relationship with gluten, which mimics the thyroid hormone in some cases. Removing gluten as well as other inflammatory foods was the first step in taming my thyroid, as well as healing my gut.

I removed foods causing inflammation, as well as processed foods and educated myself in a whole-food approach to eating. I started by eating whole vegetables, fruit, and organic and pasture-raised protein. I quickly learned if I wanted certain foods, like crackers or cookies, I had to make them myself. This was when Sweet Laurel became more than just a thought. I started to work with foods I could eat, like almond flour and coconut oil, as opposed to flour and butter. I fell in love with Himalayan pink salt for balance of flavor in my cooking and baking, and instead of table sugar, I sweetened my baked goods with maple syrup. In most recipes, I used organic and pastured eggs or found they weren’t needed at all! I kept it simple. I discovered the beautiful reality that a whole-food approach to eating doesn’t have to be complicated. In 2015, using these five core ingredients, I launched Sweet Laurel with the goal of sharing this approach to eating with as many people as possible. Here is a simple yet beautiful recipe I love to share with friends on late summer nights. The elegant topping of whipped cream and berries is a classic.

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Recipe Note: Make sure to let the coconut milk set in the refrigerator at least 8 hours, or overnight, before making the coconut whipped cream topping. I always keep multiple cans of coconut milk in the back of my fridge so I can whip up this quick and delicious dessert!

VANILLA CAKE WITH COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM AND BERRIES

Yields one 8-inch round cake

INGREDIENTS:

For the vanilla cake:
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
2 eggs *
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted, plus extra for greasing
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
organic seasonal berries, for topping

* Vegan option – egg replacement:
1 Tbsp freshly ground chia seeds
1 Tbsp freshly ground flax seeds
4 Tbsp water

For the coconut whipped cream:
1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I like Let’s Do Organic brand)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

For the vanilla cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare your 8-inch pan by cutting a circular round of parchment paper to fit the base of your pan. Place the circular parchment round inside the cake pan, then grease the sides of the pan with melted coconut oil.

Place eggs*, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a bowl. Whisk until well incorporated. Add almond flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix until batter is formed, then pour into prepared pan.

Bake about 25 minutes (or 35 minutes, if using egg replacement), until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool, then flip cake out of pan onto a cake plate.

For the egg replacement:

Place the freshly ground chia and flax seeds in a bowl, then add water. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes, then add to the batter. This cake will need to bake for 10 additional minutes.

For the coconut whipped cream:

Place can of coconut milk in refrigerator the night before you make your cake.

Before you plan to serve your cake, open the can of refrigerated coconut milk. The fat will have risen to the top of the can, with the liquid at the bottom; scoop out only the solids to your mixing bowl, then add the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk together, then refrigerate whipped cream to keep it firm until you are ready to top your cake.

To frost your cake, place cooled cake on serving plate and top with prepared coconut whipped cream, followed by organic seasonal berries.

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New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

I love being a mom! In honor of Mother’s Day and my first time celebrating as a mom, I’m sharing some of my most used, and favorite mom-friendly items. This week’s recipe features my Lactation Cookies, which accompanied me to the hospital when Nico was born, and have been made regularly since!

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

First off, Nucifera! I LOVE Nucifera, and the amazing entrepreneur who developed it. Nucifera is the ultimate pregnancy and breastfeeding safe, all in one, beauty product. I use it regularly before bed and on my face as part of my cleansing routine. By now you all know how in love I am with coconut, and this is a coconut based product, and the benefits are unending. It moisturizes, soothes, purifies, and combats various skin conditions. Nucifera can even be used as an all natural deodorant. I personally like using it under my eyes. And by the way, Nucifera is not just amazing for mothers, it is great for fathers and children alike!

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

Second, my Petal Soft Ballet Nursing Bra. Not only is it pretty to look at, it is oh so comfortable. I never thought nursing would change my whole outfit. For some reason, I never made the connection. Well, a good nursing outfit starts with a good bra, and this is my go-to! It is from Bravado Designs, who also makes two other nursing bras I’m digging– the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra, also comfy, and the Clip and Pump, which gives me mobility with my hands while I pump!

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

Third, a good notebook. I want to cherish each day with sweet Nico, and this helps me do! I’m a very sentimental gal, so essentially, writing down thoughts, precious moments and words of gratitude have been very therapeutic for me. Nico has made me a more organized person, and this is one tool I’ve begun to use to help in that department.

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

Lastly, Lactation Cookies. Do you every need an excuse to eat cookies? Well, when you’re breastfeeding, you automatically have one! Lactation enriching foods have been used for centuries to help with breast milk production, and my cookies contain just a few of the many nutritious foods know to encourage milk supply nursing. I read a book entitled Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck, and learned about the foods I should focus on during pregnancy and nursing. I highly recommend this book. Per the words of Planck, two of the most popular lactation foods are oats and beer. I don’t include either of those in my cookies, as I don’t digest either well, but have included several of the other recommended foods. These cookies freeze super well, so I typically make a batch and store them in the freezer to snack on and give to people who come over. Having a baby really ups your weekly visitors!

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

Lactation Cookies

Yields about 30 cookies


 

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup flax seeds

1/4 cup sesame seeds or shredded coconut

1/2 cup macadamia nuts or pecans

1/2 date paste or 7 dates, pitted

4 eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil (melted) or grass fed butter (solid)

1 cup chocolate chips (recipe below)

Maple syrup, as needed (these cookies are not very sweet, so add if need be)


 

*For Oatmeal Raisin variation

Exchange flax and sesame seeds for 1/2 cup of oats (if you tolerate). You can also add shredded coconut for texture!

Exchange and 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 cup raisins for the chocolate chips.


 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a blender, combine the flax seeds, sesame seeds, macadamia nuts, dates, eggs, coconut oil and maple syrup (optional). Turn on low speed, and blend until batter is incorporated. Remove mixture from blender and place into a bowl. Stir in almond flour and chocolate chips. Spoon one tablespoon sized cookies onto cookies sheet. Gently press dough down with a piece of parchment paper.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Lift parchment off pan, and allow cookies to cool all the way.

Enjoy!


 

Homemade Chocolate Chips 


 

Ingredients:

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate (100% cacao, organic is preferable)

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey


 

Directions:

Break baking chocolate into one-inch pieces and place in thick saucepan or double boiler. Over a very low heat, melt baking chocolate. Once melted, take off heat, and add maple syrup or raw honey and stir. Pour chocolate onto parchment paper and spread into a rectangle, about 8×12 inches. Place parchment in freezer. Once hardened (will take a few minutes), break into small pieces and use as chocolate chips.

 

Blueberry Lavender Donuts with Coconut Glaze \\ Sweet Laurel

Today is my birthday, so I’m sharing one of my favorite new recipes with you! These Blueberry Lavender Donuts have the loveliest flavor, and are perfect for a springtime brunch, or better yet, Mother’s Day! The food grade lavender is optional. The donuts will have perfect flavor with or without. Enjoy!!

Blueberry Lavender Donuts \\ Sweet Laurel

Blueberry Lavender Donuts \\ Sweet Laurel

Blueberry Lavender Donuts \\ Sweet Laurel

Blueberry Lavender Donuts \\ Sweet Laurel

Blueberry Lavender Donuts with Coconut Glaze

Yields 6 donuts


 

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup blanched almond or hazelnut flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

3 tablespoons 100% maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

2 eggs, at room temperature, whites and yolks separated

1 teaspoon dried lavender

1/8 teaspoon food grade lavender oil (optional, for extra lavender flavor)

1/4 cup blueberries


 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease your 6-mold donut pan with coconut oil.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl combine all of the wet ingredients except egg whites.

Mix the wet with dry and set aside. Beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Add lavender oil, dried lavender and blueberries.

Equally distribute the batter between the 6 donut molds. Smooth out the tops of each donut.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden.  Allow the donuts to cool, remove from pan and then chill in the fridge for half an hour.


 

To Prepare Glaze


 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut butter

2 teaspoons 100% maple syrup or honey

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup coconut milk

Dried lavender and blueberries for garnish


 

Directions:

Mix remaining ingredients over very low heat.  Allow to cool. If too thick, add a bit more coconut milk.

Dip donuts into icing. Once all donuts have been dipped, you may wish to re-dip donuts for a deeper white color.

Garnish donuts with dried lavender and blueberries if desired.

Rosebud Bath Soak for Mom \\ Sweet Laurel

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, so here’s a fun DIY gift you can give to the mommas you love! This soak includes two of our favorite ingredients at Sweet Laurel: coconut and pink salt. Both are beneficial to your body inside and out! Pink salt and coconut have benefits once digested, and several topical benefits as well. While the coconut milk powder in the recipe works to moisturize the skin, the pink salt acts at a detoxifier. Roses are used for their gratifying and soothing effect to the senses. This bath soak is a simple, yet beautiful little gift! Enjoy.

Rosebud Bath Soak for Mom \\ Sweet Laurel

Rosebud Bath Soak for Mom \\ Sweet Laurel

Rosebud Bath Soak for Mom \\ Sweet Laurel

Rosebud Bath Soak DIY Gift


 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Himalayan pink salt (I like to use the coarsely ground salt)

1/2 cup coconut milk powder

3 tablespoons dried rosebuds

1-2 drops essential rose oil

1 8 oz glass jar


 

Directions:

Grind a few of the rosebuds in a mortar and pestle until slightly broken. Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Spoon into a jar and seal. Keep in a cool. dry place until use.