When I think back on my start in low carb baking, I realize just how far I have come. I used to search endlessly for low carb recipes and meal ideas, and when I found one I liked, I’d follow it almost to the letter. I might make small changes, but I was too afraid of failure to do much more than that. Now I think of an idea, or see something that I’d like to make over into a low carb dish, and I strike out on my own. I might consult another recipe or two for a bit of guidance, but that’s all I really need. I’ve come to have a feel for how low carb ingredients behave, and I adjust as I go, adding a touch more nut flour here, or a little extra liquid there. More often than not, I am successful, and with increased success comes increased confidence. It’s a good feeling.
But I know I didn’t get here entirely on my own, and if it hadn’t been for all of the great recipes I found early on, I wouldn’t be this confident of my own abilities. Standing on the shoulders of giants, as they say. One source I returned to time and time again was FreeCoconutRecipes.com, the recipe website of Tropical Traditions. The recipes on this site aren’t necessarily low carb, but many are gluten free, which I’ve often found as a great starting point for converting a recipe into low carb. I first came across the site when searching for recipes using coconut flour, which is an incredibly useful low carb ingredient but one that behaves so differently from wheat flour, it takes a lot of getting used to. The recipes on the site are provided both by the Tropical Traditions team and by readers, and many of them were immeasurably helpful to me as I learned the ropes of low carb baking.
Loving their site as I do, you can imagine how thrilled I was to be asked to try out their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil, and to be able to give away a jar to one of my readers. You want me to try your delicious, healthy, smells-so-amazing-I-want-to-slather-it-all-over-me-and-spoon-it-out-of-the-jar product for free? Yes, please! I’ve been using virgin coconut oil in some of my baking for a while now, and it really is a wonderful alternative to butter. It was fantastic in my Cranberry Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies and my Cinnamon Roll Scones. I’m not quitting butter any time soon, but coconut oil definitely has its place in my baking arsenal and I’ve found that it produces very tender, melt-in-your-mouth results. Although it smells intensely of coconut, you don’t get an overwhelming coconut flavour in the final product, unless you choose to play it up with other coconut products. It’s also wonderful in savoury foods, and my favourite way to serve zucchini these days is to simply saute it in coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
When my jar came, I immediately opened it up and inhaled deeply. There is nothing on earth quite like it! You will think you are somewhere in the tropics, and you literally want to crawl inside the jar. I set about making some breakfast bars, since I was out of morning baked goods, and this time I wanted them to really be coconut-flavoured. I toasted up some unsweetened, shredded coconut and tossed it in with the almond flour and sweetener. At first, I intended these to be made with a chopped-up Lindt bar, but I spied a bag of cacao nibs that I hadn’t yet opened and thought they might make a good addition. Then I mixed in some eggs, almond milk and the coconut oil, and popped it in the oven.
The Results: I had intended these to be more dense and bar-like, but they ended up more like cake. That’s certainly not a bad thing, since who doesn’t like to eat cake for breakfast?!??! It was really good that way, light and airy and slightly crumbly. The cacao nibs offered a chocolate flavour without adding any sweetness, which was perfect for a breakfast cake/bar. And have I mentioned how wonderfully tender coconut oil makes baked goods? These bars were no exception! My kids loved them, and loved being allowed to eat cake for breakfast.
If you haven’t yet tried coconut oil in your baking, you must enter this giveaway! And if you have tried it, and love it like I do, you must also enter this giveaway!
And for even more chances to win, check out Cara’s Cravings, as she too is giving away Tropical Traditions!
Coconut Cacao Nib Breakfast Bars
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1/3 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup almond milk
12 drops stevia extract
1/2 cup cacao nibs
Preheat oven to 325F and lightly grease an 8×8 inch square pan.
In a mediuam bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut, protein powder, erythritol, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add eggs and stir to combine. Then add coconut oil, almond milk and stevia extract and stir vigorously until thoroughly combined. Stir in cacao nibs.
Spread in prepared pan and bake 20- to 25 minutes, or until edges are golden and top springs back when touched.
Let cool in pan and cut into bars.
Serves 12. Each serving has 6.6g of carbs and 3.4 g of fiber. Totat NET CARBS = 3.2 g.
Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.