So why go through all this trouble of making a ‘Paleo’ cookie? Before you can understand our passion to create delicious cookies for those that adhere to the Paleo Diet, you need to understand a bit about the diet itself.
Here’s a brief summary.
Over the course of millions of years, humans have become the most well-adapted species on the planet. And over that EXTREMELY long period of time, the human body adapted to the various types of foods that were readily available in our environment.
The vast majority of this food came from animal products, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. And this was the case for a long, long, long time.
Fast forward to the modern day where our diets contain an abundance of grains, sugars, and any number of chemicals that our bodies are not equipped to handle. This can wreak havoc with our digestive and immune systems.
Modern day adherents of the Paleo diet simply attempt to eat whole foods that traditionally formed the basis of our diet. In essence, they choose to eat the foods for which our bodies were designed. This means avoiding wheat (and most other grains), refined sugars, and legumes.
As with anything, some choose to take it to extremes. Obviously we have found very little evidence of paleolithic man doing much in the way of baking. But we don’t see that as a reason to not eat the occasional treat.
Besides, all of the ingredients we use come from whole foods and contain no grains or processed sugars. So while they wouldn’t be considered ‘Paleo’ in a historical sense, they are in terms of the ingredients they contain.
My Son has developed his own Paleo Cookies and here he goes into great detail as to the hows and whys:
Coconut Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookie
Our Paleo coconut chocolate chip cookies are one of my personal favorites. There’s just something about the combination of tangy cranberries and dark chocolate. Add in a bit of crispy texture from toasted coconut and you’ve the perfect combination.
I can’t take any of the credit for this particular cookie. The afore mentioned bakery in which I used work has been making a non-Paleo version of these cookies for years. It’s called the COCC cookie. And every day of the week they sell dozens and dozens of them.
Because 90% of the ingredients used in the original recipe are serious Paleo no-no’s, I basically had to start from scratch with the exception of the coconut flakes, chocolate chips, and the cranberries. But I knew if I could recreate the flavor of this cookie I would have a winner.
In addition to a few other ingredients, the original COCC cookie contains flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, and butter. Of course none of these particular ingredients should be used in a Paleo friendly cookie recipe, so I had my work cut out for me.
Here’s what I eventually decided on: almonds form the base or body of the cookie. Next some dates were added for sweetness. A small amount of molasses provides a hint of brown sugar flavor, and a tiny amount of maple syrup adds just a bit more sweetness. Cinnamon plays a key role in the overall flavor as well since it highlights both the cranberries and the chocolate. And finally comes a touch of vanilla, because vanilla is delicious.
I don’t often eat cookies for breakfast, but when I do, this is what I go for. Of course it’s delicious any time of day, but it just goes SO well with a cup of coffee. Mmmmm… A truly delicious Paleo biscuit.
Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Pecans
The pecan chocolate chip is in my humble opinion one of the best cookies I’ve ever eaten. I absolutely LOVE the combination of toasted pecans and dark chocolate. The inspiration for this cookie comes from the mom of my best friend from high school. She would regularly send him dozens of these cookies, and they never lasted long.
Of all the cookies I’ve eaten over the course of my life, this is the best. It was perfectly balanced and LOADED with butter and pecans. When I first started creating Paleo friendly cookie recipes I knew I had to give this one a shot.
Starting from the same base recipe as the coconut cranberry, I made some slight modifications to the amounts of the ingredients including the molasses, maple syrup and vanilla. I was actually quite shocked when it turned out to be pretty close to the original recipe. The original recipe didn’t contain cinnamon, but I found it adds a nice touch to the overall flavor.
Because of all the healthy fats in this cookie, it is not only delicious, but very filling as well. This is the perfect snack to take on a day to the slopes, trails, or wherever.
Double Chocolate Macadamia Cookie
This cookie is kind of ridiculous. It is based off of a recipe from Ina Garten at the Food Network called ‘Outrageous Brownies’. When we were younger (and not yet Paleo), my mom used to make these on occasion. They are amazingly rich and a really great way to pack on 10lbs if ever the need arises.
The original recipe doesn’t actually contain a great deal of flour, but it is loaded with butter and sugar. I knew if I could capture the deep, rich chocolate flavor of this brownie I would have a winner on my hands.
Because of the amount of chocolate called for in this recipe, I had to modify my base slightly. I then added unsweetened chocolate, and a dark brute cocoa powder. Dates and maple syrup help offset the bitter of the chocolate, and the macadamia nuts add a great crunchy texture as well as a hint of butteriness.
Speaking from personal experience, this cookie is downright addictive. As with all my recipes, I try to keep the carbs down and the fats up. For this recipe, that was no trouble at all. This is another one of our cookies that will satisfy your chocolate craving AND your appetite.
In the Works
For right now we’re only producing 3 flavors of cookies. But here is a quick look at some recipes on which we’re currently working. There are a couple more cookie flavors as well as a brownie recipe that we’re hoping to get out in the next couple of months. Here’s a quick peek.
Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
As far as I’m concerned the original chocolate chip is the ultimate when it comes to cookies. I’ve actually been working on recipes for Paleo chocolate chip cookies off and on for a few months. And let me tell you, this has been one tough nut to crack. So what makes a chocolate chip cookie so difficult? Simplicity and subtlety.
Most of our other cookies contain enough other ingredients to mask the flavors of almonds, dates, and other Paleo baking replacements. But a chocolate chip cookie is very basic. And subtlety is achieved by properly balancing the flavors of the ingredients.
But before we talk ingredients, we need to define what makes good chocolate chip cookie.
First let’s talk about flavor. When I think of the perfect chocolate chip cookie I think vanilla, a hint of caramel, butter, chocolate, and then a tiny bite from the salt. With the exception of butter, which doesn’t make the list of ingredients for this particular recipe, all of these are flavors we can achieve using Paleo ingredients.
Up to this point, achieving the right butte flavor has been the toughest part. But I’m getting pretty close. And I hope to have a Paleo chocolate chip cookie available soon! In the meantime, here is an excellent recipe from Rubies and Radishes.
Paleo Oatmeal Cookies
Another all-time favorite. The Paleo oatmeal raisin cookie recipe I’m currently working on is just about ready. I’m using an interesting mixture of shredded coconut, hulled pumpkin seeds, and walnuts to achieve an ‘oat’ like flavor. It’s remarkably similar in flavor if I do say so myself. I’m hoping to have the Paleo oatmeal cookie ready early this fall.
The idea for these cookies actually came from the Paleo Mom, Sarah Ballantyne. She has several recipes that employ walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and shredded coconut. This combination of flavors bears a remarkable similarity to oatmeal.
PALEO TREATS & DESSERTS
I love what PaleoMom has to say about Paleo Treats:
“Being able to eat a paleo cookie or decadent paleo dessert might mean the difference for one person between sticking to a paleo diet or completely falling off the paleo wagon. Certainly, I have noticed that my paleo baking recipes receive way more pageviews than most of my other recipes, but that’s not why I post them:
I believe that making paleo sustainable means making room for treats like these from time to time.” by ThePaleoMom
Paleo treats and desserts can be just as tasty as any junk food out there! Lets look at just a few ideas for being good while we “feel like we are cheating” on our Paleo Lifestyle (courtesy of civilizedcavemancooking.com) .
Bars and Brownies
These brownies will have you literally buzzing. Ground coffee lends extra depth to the brownie base, while fresh berries and pecans add a hit of sweetness and crunch.
Lemon bars are the quintessential springtime dessert, and this version is Paleo-approved. Start by making a simple almond-flour crust and, while it sets in the oven, beat eggs, lemon juice, maple syrup, and tapioca flour. Pour the mixture over the now-golden crust and bake. Easy peasy!
Don’t shy away from this recipe because of the zucchini. You’ll get an extra-moist brownie, a sneaky serving of vegetables, and zero “green” taste. No special equipment or ingredients are needed to whip up these beauties in five minutes flat.
Chocolate mousse meets brownies in this light-and-lovely dessert. And it’s easy enough for novice cooks to tackle. Hint: try grapeseed for the “neutral oil” in the brownie base.
No baking required, five ingredients, and totally addictive—these bars are pure genius.
These bars are sweet enough to work as an after-dinner treat, but healthy enough to replace your afternoon snack. Made with a medley of nuts and cacao, they’re the perfect crunchy-sweet combo.
Almond Joy fans, make some noise! Yes, it’s possible to make a Paleo version of this classic candy bar. A layer of almond butter, vanilla bean paste, and a few other ingredients are topped with sweet coconut and agave nectar for a no-bake version of this childhood favorite.
Cakes and Cupcakes
These perfectly spiced doughnuts skip the deep frying mess (and extra calories). Top with either a dark chocolate glaze or a maple vanilla one with bacon sprinkles. (We vote bacon!) Tip: while the recipe calls for a doughnut pan, a regular muffin pan will do.
This cake (or crumble) screams autumn, but it’s perfectly delicious year-round. Apples, blackberries, and spices make up the filling, and the entire dessert is cooked in one pan for speedy cleanup.
Fresh avocado combines with zesty lime juice to create this light, festively colored cheesecake. Use puréed fresh berries as a topping, or eat as is—either way, it’s delicious.
A handful of pantry staples and ground cardamom make up these cupcakes. The rich cardamom flavor is balanced with lemon mousse frosting, or you can eat ‘em unadorned straight out of the oven.
Grains, dairy, soy, nuts, and refined sugar are left out, but this take on a classic still has that old-fashioned layer-cake flavor, including a double-decker dose of gooey, chocolate frosting. Don’t skip thecinnamon; it adds an extra kick.
These two-bite minis may look—and taste—like something from the Cheesecake Factory, but they’re packed with good-for-you ingredients like zucchini and cashews. Craving a caveman-sized slab instead of these dainty bites? No problem. Just add the crust to a pie pan and make one big cheesecake instead.
A cheesecake that doesn’t require baking? Awesome. A cheesecake that doesn’t require baking and is dairy- and gluten-free? Yes please! Fresh strawberries and a (gluten-free) graham cracker crust in a jar make these treats both simple and gorgeous.
If you’re a fan of this iconic cinnamon cookie, these cupcakes will be your Paleo dream come true. Everything comes together using coconut and almond flours, and grass-fed buttercream frosting is the icing on the cake. (See what we did there?)
Chocolate mousse sounds complicated, but once you learn how effortless it is to make, you’ll start throwing it together just cuz. The same holds true for this avocado-and-date Paleo version. Toss a few common ingredients in a food processor and then whisk till fluffy. Fancy French restaurants have nothing on you.
Just let the words “chocolate lasagna” wash over you. First, there’s the layer of chocolate “oreo” cake, followed by Paleo chocolate pudding, and finally topped with whipped-cream frosting. Result: chocolate nirvana. The usual Paleo baking suspects like almond butter and coconut powder are here, but you’ll also find zucchini,avocados, and dates for a bigger nutritional boon.
If you’re a chocolate lover, this gooey cake will hit all your chocoholic buttons. And, because the cakes are baked in ramekins, portion control is a snap. Drizzle optional caramel garnish on top to take these little beauties over the edge.
A blend of raspberries, lemon juice, and orange juice bring a deep fruity flavor to this homey dessert, perfect for slicing and sharing. Make sure to use fresh fruits and juices to get the best flavor.
This recipe will make you regret ever using a boxed mix. Since Paleo is all about real food, this is shortcake distilled down to its roots. Chunks of strawberries and lemon zest shine in this straightforward recipe.
Life without classic chocolate chip cookies sounds bleak. Thank goodness almond flour, coconut oil, and maple syrup give the building blocks to reproduce a Paleo-approved version of Toll House’s greatest hit.
Question: What could make chocolate chip cookies better? Answer: bacon. That’s exactly why this Paleo recipe is so genius. Chopped bacon is folded into the dough along with chocolate chips to make the ultimate salty-sweet mix. Use good-quality bacon to maximize the meaty flavor.
How can you resist a cookie with such a clever name? Grain-free flours combine with shredded coconut and spices to create a “noatmeal” cookie base that rivals grandma’s. Mixed with tart cranberries and sweet chocolate chips, you’ve got the perfect bedtime treat.
These cookies are not only absolutely adorable, but, with spicy seasonings like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, they also scream, “It’s holiday season!” (Note, we fully support making these year-round while singing carols at the top of your lungs.) And don’t stress if you don’t have cookie cutters to make gingerbread people; just drop spoonfuls on the tray and bake.
Don’t make us choose when it comes to dessert: We want chocolateand peanut butter. Chewy cookies and a brownie texture. These treats are not only delicious, but they also come together quickly and require just seven ingredients. (Sub in almond butter and coconut sugar if you're sticking close to the Paleo rulebook.)
It’s Girl Scouts gone grain-free. These delightfully sized cupcakes use mint extract to capture the iconic Thin Mint flavor. And the natural green frosting is courtesy of creamy avocado paired with ingredients you can actually pronounce.
Butter, almond flour, coconut sugar (or another granulated sweetner), and lemon zest are the only requirements for these classy little cookies. Try them with a cup of tea for a proper after-dinner dessert, or use the recipe as a Paleo pie crust.
This monster cookie dough dip skips the pretense because it’s all dough, all the time. Mix it up and snack away knowing it’s egg-free and a-OK to eat raw.
Treat-time gets adult with these salted dark chocolate cookies. And even though the result is sophisticated, the ingredient list is super common: eggs, cocoa, lard (or butter), etc. Tip: these cookies will harde after they’re pulled from the oven, so be sure not to overcook.
If you’ve had fried plantains, this’ll be familiar treat turf. Potassium-packed bananas are lightly sautéed in olive oil and then drizzled with honey. Super sweet and a snap to make, these are a great option when late-night munchies hit.
The dessert principle here is K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple and Sugar-Free. Simply stuff a banana with heart-healthy almond butter, sprinkle with cinnamon, and let it roast for 15 minutes in the oven for a quick single-serving banana-split.
No fresh fruit? Not a problem with this go-to recipe. Cobble together your favorite frozen fruits with a little of this (almond flour) and a little of that (shredded coconut) for a dessert that’s easy to throw together when your sweet tooth strikes. Don’t have a stash of frozen berries? You can also use overripe fruit.
This mojito-inspired fruit salad provides that island flavor without the rum. (Though you're more than welcome to add it.) Just substitute coconut sugar for the powdered sugar if you’re keeping close to the Paleo principles.
The crepe batter here is a base of puréed plantains and egg, which makes it full of potassium, vitamins A and C, and omega 3s. Cook them with coconut oil, then load with your favorite fillings! Our picks:strawberries and blueberries; peanut butter and chocolate chips; or honey and banana.
Make use of overripe bananas in this Paleo-friendly remake of an old favorite. Helpful hint #1: as oven temperatures vary, keep an eye on your loaf during the last 10 minutes of baking to ensure it’s cooked on the inside and not overbrowning on the outside. Helpful hint #2: Banana bread totally counts as breakfast.
36. Cocoa Nut Apples
Say hello to your new favorite midnight snack! A sliced apple gets covered in a tasty choco-coco mix that’s perfect for eating solo or sharing (if you’re feeling generous).
Chocolate and cherries are a classic combination that work beautifully in this scone recipe. If you’ve been afraid of baking scones in the past, this recipe will put you at eas—it’s as simple as slice-and-bake cookies.
Pies and Crisps
38. Paleo Apple Pie
Back from the orchard with an apple overload? This Paleo version of the all-American apple pie is the answer. Chia flour is the secret ingredient to achieve crust perfection, and the rest comes together with apple-cinnamon goodness.
Rum, caramel, and flambéed bananas? Now this is a pie. Start by making a whipped layer full of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cashew butter, and then add a caramelized banana layer. (Tip: keep your rum handy!) Assemble and refrigerate for at least six hours, then inhale.
Exactly three ingredients make up the core of this cherry-sweet recipe, and there’s no additional sweetener aside from fruit. A crumbly topping (hooray for hemp seeds!) finishes off this stupendously simple dessert.
Chocolate and coconut team up in this no-bake pie that’s perfect for warm summer nights. A shredded coconut crust is filled with chocolate mousse and finished with a fudge sauce. The result is creamy perfection.
If you can’t make it to Key West, the next best thing is this key lime pie. Avocados add creaminess while dates ensure the pie remains moist and sweet. Bonus: no baking required! Just pop this pie in the freezer for an hour or two and serve chilled.
If you’re a pecan lover, this pie won’t disappoint. Pecans make up the crust, filling, and topping of this tart. A dash of rum rounds things out, and natural sweeteners like apple sauce keep it indulgent.
Sweet potatoes in dessert? Believe it. While the pre-baking process is a bit long—you’ll have to wait for the crust to chill and sweet potatoes to steam—sinking into a meringue-topped slice after is well worth it.
Candy and Other Deliciousness
Dairy-free milk, cocoa powder, stevia, and salt are all you need for this frozen treat. Heat up a batch of hot chocolate, freeze into ice cubes, blend, and serve for a dessert that’s a perfect summer sweet.
If you are a Reese’s lover, these will knock your PB-lovin’ socks off. Four ingredients combine in mini muffin tins to make a better-for-you version of everyone’s favorite Halloween candy.
47. Toffee Caramels
While this recipe requires some speedy maneuvers and a candy thermometer, it’s actually not that difficult. These pretty little caramels make a cute prezzie for a fellow Paleo. The only trick? Stopping yourself from eating the whole pan.
Who says Paleo peeps can’t eat dessert for breakfast? Give Cinnabon a run for its money with this personal-sized cinnamon roll. Spread out the coconut flour dough and fill with dried fruit of your choice. Goodbye, food court. Hello, delicious!
Do we have your attention? This six-layer decadent dessert is grain-, dairy-, and refined sugar-free. Pecans and dates form the first layer while grated chocolate is dusted as the sixth. What lies between? Pure deliciousness earning that over-the-top title.
If you have read this far then you truly understand the Paleo Lifestyle does not have to be without its sweetness! And for me, that is important to maintaining the discipline to be consistent and diligent with my approach to Paleo!
And yes, this list has cookies included! It was just a great list I could not help including those darn cookies here!
Before we can appreciate Paleo Recipes, we probably need to understand exactly what the Paleo Diet is and what and why certain foods are considered Paleo friendly.
The Paleolithic or Paleo or Caveman Diet is a diet based on the foods humans probably ate during the Paleolithic era (a period lasting around 2.5 million years that ended about 10,000 years ago with the advent of agriculture and domestication of animals).
Ok, that is a mouthful and may or may not actually answer your simple question of what is the Paleo Diet. For the most part it means that the Paleo Diet consists of foods that our ancestors ate when we were hunters and gathers instead of farmers!
Specifically, hunters ate meats and gathers ate nuts and berries.
So what kind of foods do people eat when the convert to a Paleo lifestyle? Good question and glad you asked!
As described by Wikipedia:
The contemporary “Paleolithic diet” consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.
Broken down for you, it looks like this in its simplest terms:
Paleo Friendly Foods commonly used:
- Meat (Grass Fed)
- Squash & Sweet Potatoes/Yam (in moderation)
- Nuts (some include Almonds/Cashews/Walnuts/Macadamia)
- Seeds (some include Pumpkin Seeds/Sunflower Seeds)
- Almond Flour
- Coconut Flour
- Coconut Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Macadamia Oil
- Grass Fed Butter
- Raw Local Honey & Maple Syrup
Non-Paleo Friendly foods:
- Dairy (some include dairy but strictly speaking it generally is not included)
- Soft Drinks
- Store bought Fruit Juices
- Grains (including Wheat, Oatmeal, Regular Wheat Pasta, Rice, Millet etc.)
- Legumes (all Beans, Peas, Peanuts, Tofu, Soy, Lentils) Yes this includes peanut butter!
- Energy Drinks
- Most Alcohol
- Sweets (including Refined Sugar)
- Refined Sugar
- Refined Sodium
So now we have a pretty good idea of what ingredients can be used to create Paleo Recipes. That was the easy part! Now what Paleo enthusiasts do is take those ingredients and mix them in a way to produce recipes that mimic dishes that people like to eat.
This is no easy task. My Son has spent hundreds of hours developing recipes for his Paleo Cookies. The challenge is to use only Paleo friendly ingredients but end up with a cookie that has the texture, consistency and taste that we expect from an exceptional non-Paleo cookie.
So as you browse the Paleo Recipes you might want to appreciate the efforts of the those who developed the recipes! I know for myself, maintaining a Paleo Lifestyle is vastly easier based on the quality recipes and products made available by these ingenious folks that have taken the time and effort to devise recipes for traditional non-Paleo meals I love and turn them into equally tasty Paleo meals and treats!