BLISS BALLS

Bliss Balls, Energy Balls, the NEW trend in health and wellness that has taken me a while to love.

I made a few (around 5 different recipes: the ones you Google: “the best energy balls”) made some with protein powder, some with oats, some with a lot of dates and honestly didn’t love them. Until a friend asked me to do some for a community event at Athleta Austin (a friends and family sale which was pretty awesome, except that I ended up shopping also!). So since I had to do a demo at Athleta and my experience at making energy balls was pretty limited (I have made many more energy and granola bars), I had to make many batches until I came up with this killer  Bliss Ball recipe.

Then I got my new Vitamix Ascent A3500 (I was invited by Vitamix Mexico to launch the new Ascent model and I was thrilled because I love Vitamix so much and I really wanted this new model, and most of all I love foodie gadgets and appliances more than anything.. thanks Vitamix for sponsoring me with this blender! #Vitamix #foodforlife

 

Bliss Balls
 
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These Bliss Balls are your go to recipe for an energy pick me up treat, perfect for an afternoon, post workout, coffee snack. Meet your new fitness snack or treat. A master recipe you can adapt so many ways! I made mine with Matcha (which I love, but also know that some people don't so feel free to adapt the flavors to your own. Maca would be amazing, cinnamon, golden berries, baobab (my favorite new superfood). The options are endless. These are paleo, gluten free, grain free, dairy free (you can sub the collagen for freshly ground organic golden flax or for a vegan protein powder to make a vegan version.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 20 balls
Ingredients
  • 2 cups raw organic cashews (you could sub for almonds, but I prefer cashews
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt or Maldon Salt to taste
  • ⅛ teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1½ teaspoons matcha (culinary grade) or sub for cinnamon or maca to taste
  • 4 dates (I used The Date Lady), pitted
  • ¼ cup cashew or almond butter, organic preferably
  • Xylitol or pure Monk fruit extract to taste (I used about 1 tablespoon Xylitol, this depends on your taste preferences, I like mine not too sweet
  • 2 tablespoons MCT or high octane brain oil (I love and use Bulletproof)
  • 3 tablespoons collagen protein (I love Bulletproof or Vital proteins)
  • ¼ cup chopped and melted raw cacao butter (I only use Bulletproof: please note: most raw cacao butters do NOT taste good and have a very strong flavor ..
  • Decorate with:
  • Organic coconut flakes (grind them lightly in a food processor so that they are finer)
  • Cacao nibs
  • Freeze dried raspberries chopped or crushed or flakes
Method
  1. Blend cashews in your Vitamix or food processor until finely ground (it will look like almond flour) make sure they are finely ground.
  2. Add dates and blend, add the rest of the ingredients and blend to incorporate: don't over blend or they will be very greasy and the taste and texture will be off. Remove the mixture from the blender (I use a blender spatula) and shape into balls (you can fill with a golden berry!) and decorate with the desired ingredients: coconut, cacao nibs or freeze dried raspberries. (They will seem a bit moist but they will set because when cacao butter sets it firms up).
  3. Bliss Balls keep stored in a glass container in the fridge for about 2 weeks. Or freeze for longer shelf life in a Ziplock bag.
Notes
If you want to lower the glycemic index: remove dates and use Xylitol or Monk Fruit from Lakanto to taste.

 

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BEST PALEO BROWNIES

These BROWNIES!! OMG..

Yes I know all bakers have a claim to fame brownie recipe and honestly these have gotten raving reviews so much so that I almost didn’t want to share it. But I am a pastry chef instructor and sharing has always been my core value.

These new brownies are a killer recipe. Really. It’s not an understatement. They are chewy, perfectly balanced, not too sweet, so easy to make. And these are made with coconut sugar. AND you can get all the ingredients in most super markets! They are my husband’s favorites and when he wants a special treat, I make them for him.

So what is GREAT about this recipe (which took a LOT of recipe development): 1. They are CHEWY a must in brownies 2. They have a crackly top 3. They are super versatile: you can add any topping and they are fantastic 4. They are #grainfree #paleo and MEMORABLE!

Toppings I love: Jacobsen sea salt flakes, chopped almonds, hazelnuts, chopped pecans, walnuts, chocolate chunks, halva, tahini, almond butter. Add after baking: chocolate date spread from The Date Lady Eating evolved liquid chocolate, hazelnut superfood spread from Saraispreads 

I am loving Cemoi chocolate (which is one of the only soy free chocolates in the chocolate industry).

I hope you make them and love them as much as I do! Please share your creations with me and tag me on Instagram 

Please note: some ingredients have been sponsored, some might be affiliate links.

Best Paleo Brownies
 
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These are the best paleo brownies hands down! Chewy, crackly top! Make sure you follow the recipe to the t.. Don't over bake or they will be dry and cakey 🙁 and loose their chewyness
Author:
Cuisine: Dessert
Serves: 9 medium
Ingredients
  • 140 gr chocolate such as Cemoi 70 %, chopped and melted
  • 75 gr coconut oil (organic), melted (use refined coconut oil for a flavorless oil option)
  • 2 organic pasture raised Vital Farms eggs
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 55 gr fine blanched almond flour
  • 40 gr cassava flour (I used Otto's Cassava flour)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda (at high altitude use ⅛ teaspoon)
  • ¼ cup chocolate 71 % chopped to add in batter (I used Cemoi)
Method
  1. Prepare an ⅛ baking pan (find these on Amazon): grease pan with coconut spray, line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 345 F (170 C)
  2. In a large bowl by hand with a whisk or in your KitchenAid Mini Mixer: with a whisk attachment: mix eggs, vanilla, coconut sugar until combined. No need to mix a lot.
  3. Add melted coconut oil and mix. Add melted warm chocolate and mix.
  4. Add flours, salt and baking soda. Mix additional chopped chocolate and put into prepared pan. Level surface with a spatula. Bake for about 26 mins until toothpick comes out with a very moist crumb (it must not be wet or dry). Baking time depends on your oven and pan. Cool for several hours, carefully remove from pan and cut into 9 pieces.

 

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BEST PALEO LOW CARB SCONES

After weeks of not baking or being very active on my creative content because:

  1. My Dad has been frail (his diabetes has been so difficult and has taken a toll on his life and on our family), as I write this today is #Americandiabetesalertday, Diabetes is a matter near and dear to my heart because I have dealt with my Dad’s illness and seen first hand how devastating and how life consuming it is.
  2. I was feeling stuck trying to be a jack of all trades and being a rockstar at it all whilst looking madly for a house for my Baking School here in Austin and at the same time trying to set up my healthy baking classes through Airbnb experiences which just launched in Austin! Whoohooo.. Still figuring that part out. But hey imperfect action is what entrepreneurship is all about right? And consistency is key.

Anyway back to these scones! When Bulletproof reached out to me a few months ago and asked me to develop 4 Bulletproof friendly pastries for them I was beyond honored, challenged and grateful! One of my wellness heroes is Dave Asprey and I listen to his podcast every week. I am a raving fan of his Bulletproof lifestyle, bars, ingredients and supplements. When I made these scones I remember the feeling of complete bliss and utter satisfaction of having created a recipe that not only was Bulletproof friendly (gluten free, dairy free, low glycemic, grain free and compliant with the Bulletproof road map (something you need to look into). When you read about it you’ll see that there are literally very few flours and sweeteners to bake with and the ones that are BP friendly have a scientific reason why: all ingredients are the healthiest to give you the most energy and what I call high performance foods.

I am thrilled to be a consultant for Thermomix and have been using and loving my cooking food processor for 13 years! I highly recommend it for everything: from making these scones to making pizza sauce.

Best Paleo Low Carb Scones
 
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Paleo low carb scones, crispy on the outside, moist inside. I developed this recipe for Bulletproof (not a sponsored post, thanks Bulletproof for the ingredients for this recipe!). The perfect balance of paleo flours makes these scones just like traditional ones, you will love the texture! I love baking with Lakanto Sweetener to create low carb pastries.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8 large
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups blanched almond flour (165 gr)
  • ½ cup coconut flour (47 gr)
  • ½ cup arrowroot flour (60 gr)
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup Lakanto Classic sweetener (depends on how sweet you want them, I used ¼ cup)
  • ½ cup Bulletproof ghee, cold, in pieces (sub for ¼ cup refined coconut oil + ¼ cup palm shortening for a vegan option)
  • ½ - ⅔ cup coconut yogurt such as Coyo brand as needed (or sub for cold coconut cream from a can/ thick part only)
  • 2 tablespoons organic flax seeds freshly ground (grind these in a coffee grinder) we don’t recommend you buy flax meal it’s not Bulletproof friendly, you can substitute for the same amount of Bulletproof Collagen!
  • 1 tablespoon aluminum and gluten free baking powder such as Rumford (at high altitude use ½ tablespoon)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup currants or Bulletproof chocolate chopped into chunks or blueberries or cranberries
  • Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 170 C.
  2. In your food processor (I used my Thermomix) incorporate the flours, sweetener, lemon zest, and dry ingredients. Then add cold ghee and process until crumbly (check that your butter looks like lentils) remove mixture from food processor and put into a large bowl: add currants and add the coconut yogurt (small amount first) combine just until integrated. Don’t over mix.
  3. Line a baking tray with Silpat or Silpain or parchment paper. Put the dough onto the baking tray and form into a round ball, press down to form a 2″ high round loaf. Cut into 8 slices and shape nicely formed triangles: freeze for 30 mins, brush with extra coconut cream, then bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 5 minutes until golden brown. Lower temperature to 340 F until baked through (they must be crunchy on the surface and moist inside) total temperature takes about 20 min.
  4. Notes: you can make ½ recipe just use half all the ingredients.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 8

 

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PALEO BISCUITS

Biscuits! One of my all time favorite pastries to make and eat. If I could have these for breakfast, brunch or coffee everyday I honestly would.
When Bulletproof (my favorite high performance company) reached out to me and asked me to create 4 specific pastries for them I pinched my arm for a few hours until I had to get down to work (I only had a few days and a deadline) to bake and come up with: 1. A savory empanada 2. A biscuit 3. A scone (my fav also!) 4. something seasonal (like pumpkin). It is truly amazing that when you have a deadline and a VERY specific list of ingredients that you can use (and a HUGE list of what you can’t use) magic happens. I remember feeling terrified and ecstatic at the same time and thankfully I have been in way too many stressful situations in my life to know that when I have a challenge I don’t get paralyzed and over deliver. So I ended up really enjoying the process and came up with 6 of my ultimate favorite healthy (functional) pastries I have ever made. I remember going to bed feeling completely satisfied and fulfilled (which doesn’t happen that often). So here is my biscuit recipe I shared with Bulletproof (stay tuned for all the 6 recipes, I am just updating my website and photos), I hope you love them as much as Erin my husband and me. Please make them and share your photos on Instagram and tag me at @chefvanessamusi I would love to share your photos!

And also.. I used my Thermomix (a cooking food processor) to make these, which makes it so fast and easy. You will need a food processor.

 

PALEO BISCUITS
 
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Flaky, buttery, soft and just the right texture. Bulletproof scones are: #glutenfree #dairyfree #lowcarb #lowglycemic see notes for a savory version of the recipe.
Author:
Recipe type: PASTRY
Cuisine: BREAKFAST, DESSERT
Serves: 4-5 medium
Ingredients
  • 1 cup fine blanched almond flour (110 gr) (preferably organic)
  • ¼ cup cassava flour (38 gr)
  • ½ cup of arrowroot or potato starch
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt (3 gr) I love Maldon salt
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum and gluten free baking powder such as Rumford (at high altitude use half)
  • 1 organic, pasture raised egg
  • 60 gr cold Bulletproof ghee cut into pieces (4 tablespoons)
  • ¼ -⅓ cup coconut cream (from a can) mix well so that it is homogeneous (I use Thai Kitchen coconut cream)
  • ⅛ cup Xylitol or Monk Fruit or half of each
  • 1 teaspoon Bulletproof Collagelatin
  • Egg wash:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • Mix everything with a whisk by hand
  • Hemp seeds, flax, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds to decorate
  • Serve with coconut yogurt such as Coyo, and/ or serve with more Bulletproof ghee or Kite Kill almond cheese
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare a perforated tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Put all ingredients in the Thermomix or food processor and process at low speed until combined. Do not over mix. Remove the dough and put onto a silicon mat such as a Rollpat. Roll out the dough with a with a rolling pin until the pastry is 2.3 -3 cm thick or so. Cut with curly round biscuit cutter preferably (I used ).
  2. Put the biscuits on the baking tray, varnish with the egg wash and sprinkle with: flax seed, hemp seed or leave natural. Bake 10 minutes (it is important NOT to over bake) they must be tender and these tend to cook quickly. Remove and chill, slice, accompany with ghee (clarified butter) and jam or date or nutella candy.
  3. Enjoy !!
  4. Note: you can add chopped fresh herbs such as: chives to the dough before baking aprox 2 tablespoons.

 

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THE BEST GLUTEN FREE BANANA BREAD

I am so excited to share this timeless banana bread (or cake) recipe with you all!

We all love banana bread, (well almost all) and everyone has their own claim to fame recipe. When Tim, the CEO of Maskal Teff and I began talking about pastries made with teff, he was keen on a family banana bread  with walnuts that his wife makes at home, so that got me inspired to fulfill his foodie dreams.
So I became obsessed with creating a gluten free ancient grain banana bread and started baking batch after batch to create a recipe that highlighted the power horse benefits of Teff. The goal was to develop a cake with a high inclusion of Teff that resulted in a moist cake without using complicated flours (no starches, no high glycemic flours, no gums either). I am a practical baker and I have always believed that the best recipe is the one you immediately want to bake and even sell.

The best part of this recipe is that you can get all the ingredients in the supermarket and make a cake that really stands out as a timeless banana bread.

I started to explore more of how teff flours worked in baking (in a high inclusion), and since I had already baked some previous recipes with teff (granola, brownies, vanilla cake),  I knew through trial and error that this was not an easy task. Texture is such an important part in baking and even more so in healthy baking. There are 2 types of teff grains: ivory and brown: I personally love the Ivory flour most as it is easier to combine.   So here is the secret tip of this recipe: (bring out your notebook!) I saw a banana bread recipe shared by Elissa Goodman where she combined equal parts of quinoa flour with almond flour and I thought just by reading the recipe what a brilliant idea! So I went and bought quinoa flour (I honestly could not remember the taste and texture of baking with it).  I have been using sooo many ingredients  lately.  I made the recipe as is and did not like the taste of quinoa flour: it tasted like a moldy closet… but the recipe was a good start and I did love the idea behind it so I intuitively remembered my go to squash recipe (my version of Gjelina’s) and I recalled that a student made it with banana so I started playing with the flours and sweeteners like I do in my test kitchen. So here is the gold mine: don’t use teff 100 %  it’s not a flour that can be used 1:1 meaning you can’t substitute 100 % of your regular flour with teff: it just doesn’t bake that well an tends to be grainy and dry your baked goods when you don’t balance it out with moist ingredients and I discovered through reading recipes online and comparing teff to quinoa (they bake similarly) that if you use half teff and half almond flour it works amazingly well, the texture is very smooth and it binds so well teff needs moisture and almond flour is the binding agent here. So the PRO tip here is substitute the flour in your recipes using ½ teff flour and ½ almond flour. No need to add gums or fillers!
This cake only gets better with time!

For those of you who are new to Teff (move over quinoa!) Teff is the new quinoa: it is the smallest grain in the world and it’s a perfect vegan protein. Teff adds a very interesting nuttyness to your recipes and it’s very versatile, once you start using it you will start opening your creative mind and discovering inventive ways to incorporate it into your life.  When I have breakfast I look for great sources of fiber, protein, manganese, iron and calcium and teff is a nutritious power horse.  

This is a sponsored recipe and all opinions are mine.

 

 

Don’t you just love this Vintage Nordic Ware Celtic Knot pan?

I owned one years ago, I sold it to pay for pastry school and really missed it! I had a hunch to post a photo to see if any of my neighbors had one they didn’t want and since I have been on an “ask and you shall receive” quest I did and my dear neighbor Mary responded and we swapped her cake pan for my signature trail mix cookies! A win/ win! So here is the banana bread with my favorite superfood spreads from Sarais Spreads: maca almond butter, and the chocolate date spread from The Date Lady.

 

 

4.7 from 11 reviews
THE BEST GLUTEN FREE BANANA BREAD
 
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Author:
Serves: 1 9 inch cake, 1 mini loaf
Ingredients
  • INGREDIENTS: MAKES: 1 9x5-inch loaf + a mini loaf - serves 8-12
  • ¾ cup Maskal Teff Ivory flour (90 gr)
  • ¾ cup blanched almond flour (114 gr)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder such as Rumford (at high altitude use half)
  • ½ tsp baking soda (at high altitude use half)
  • 1 tbsp ground Ceylon cinnamon (optional)
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup Stir Sweetener
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (I love California Every Day Olive Oil)
  • ½ cup avocado oil Primal Kitchen
  • 1 cup banana puree aprox 3 ripe bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup toasted chopped walnuts or toasted pecans or chocolate chunks
  • Powdered coconut milk to sprinkle over the cake
  • Or almond butter or chocolate date spread from The Date Lady
Method
  1. METHOD:
  2. Preheat the oven to 340˚F (this cake, like most cakes made with purees take way longer to bake and need to bake at a lower temperature, if you bake it at 350 F it will brown too much and get very dry and crusty on the outside and wet inside).
  3. Generously butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan + 1 mini loaf. Or you can make this in a Bundt pan or large savarin (which looks like a large donut).
  4. Whisk (or sift) together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the sweeteners, oils, banana purée, and eggs. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined. (Adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients helps to prevent little dry pockets in the bottom of the bowl.) Fold in the chopped chocolate or nuts if desired.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 70 to 90 minutes for the larger pan (15 -20 mins for the smaller please note time depends on your pan + oven) or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in its pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run an icing spatula or a thin knife carefully around the edges, and invert the cake from the pan. Re-invert the cake so that it is right-side-up and let cool on the rack for another 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate.
  6. Notes: you can sprinkle the bread before baking with a mixture of: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cacao nibs, chopped pecans, walnuts and almonds

 

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THE BEST GLUTEN FREE GRANOLA

This granola is literally the granola of my dreams, my new go to recipe that you can adapt so many ways, just substitute any spice, add dried fruit, swap nuts or seeds. I literally had to hide it to stop eating it! I am really enjoying baking and cooking with Maskal teff and I wanted to highlight all it’s amazing properties in a simple easy recipe you can use in many ways. So after baking with teff flour, I challenged myself to bake with teff grains! Teff grains are ivory and brown. In this case I wanted a milder taste, so I used the ivory grain. Teff adds a very interesting nuttyness to your recipes and it really is versatile, once you start using it you will start opening your creative mind and discovering inventive ways to incorporate it into your life.  When I have breakfast I look for great sources of fiber, protein, manganese, iron and calcium and teff is a nutritious power horse.  I am sure you’ll love this granola as much as I do and you may want to add it to your smoothie bowls, acai bowls, tarts or fruit platters, I even believe it can be the new trail mix!

Thanks to The Teff Company for sponsoring this post!

THE BEST GLUTEN FREE GRANOLA
 
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Gluten free, vegan granola packed with nutrient dense ingredients
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ½ cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped (or use a combination of combine sunflower seeds + pumpkin seeds or pecans and pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ cup large coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • ½ cup small coconut flakes, unsweetened (you can use grated coconut large or small flakes or combine)
  • ¼ cup cashew butter (you can also use almond butter: I made my own cashew butter because the ones you buy have undesired canola oil!: Just blend 2 cups roasted cashews with 1 tablespoon coconut oil until smooth)
  • ⅛ cup brown rice syrup
  • ⅛ cup maple syrup (maple syrup makes it wetter and is much sweeter, you can use all maple syrup)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 2 tablespoons Maskal teff ivory grains
  • 2 tablespoons golden flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds/ or white chia seeds
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon (see notes below for variations)
  • Maldon sea salt flakes for sprinkling on top (I used ½ teaspoon, I like my granolas salty!!)
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Mix all ingredients together in a medium size mixing bowl.
  2. Line a baking tray (I use a perforated baking tray it bakes everything faster) with parchment paper or use a Silpat. Spread granola out on baking tray. Bake on 325 F for 20-25 minutes until golden. Move the granola around halfway through baking to brown evenly
  3. Variations: once it has baked and it’s still hot: add ⅓ cup chopped dates, for the fig and pumpkin version I added ⅓ cup oats + pumpkin pie spice when baking (then after baking add black mission figs). For a chocolate chip version: add ½ cup 71 - 85 % chocolate chunks. Substitute cinnamon for pumpkin spice for a pumpkin fig granola.
  4. Serve with coconut yogurt, date syrup or molasses syrup for vegan options or honey for a non vegan option. Or serve on a smoothie bowl (I served mine on top of a sweet potato smoothie, garnished with coconut yogurt, frozen cherry and oh my! Truly memorable.

 

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