Food · Recipes

Sugar Free Maple Walnut Bon-bons

I sure do miss the See’s Candy stores that used to be in all of the malls in my town. You know the ones that I mean- the ones with an entire collection of the candy line-up and with free samples of whichever candies that you wanted to try. Sadly, all of that is gone now in my little town. But the memories remain – and what sweet memories they are too!

The taste of these maple walnut bon-bons are exactly as I remember them from long ago visits to See’s Candy stores.

The maple walnut bon-bons were such a favorite of mine that I had to try to make a Keto copycat version of that candy. Just in time for the holidays, these delicious bon-bons will be perfect to serve your guests. Even the non- Keto- sugar loving people will love them.

My excuse for the not-too-pretty chocolate coating is that my kitchen was cold this morning. The chocolate kept hardening up as soon as I covered one bon-bon so the look is less than stellar, but they still taste great. Why didn’t I wait until the day warmed up? Ha! What, me wait?

Keto Maple Walnut Bon-bons

  • Servings: approx 24
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon sugar free maple syrup (I used Lakanto Monk Fruit maple syrup)
1 1/4 cups powdered Swerve confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1 cup chopped walnuts (you can toast them for a deeper flavor, but it’s not necessary)
8 oz Lilly’s chocolate chips (or any sugar free brand that you like)

DIRECTIONS
1. Add the softened butter, maple syrup, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and maple extract to a medium sized bowl. Use a hand mixer to combine and then beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
2. Stir in walnuts. Chill for 30 minutes or until candy is firm.
3. Scoop balls of candy, roll to shape and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Return to freezer to chill a little more in preparation for dipping.
4. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl according to package directions. Cover each bon-bon with the melted chocolate and replace onto the cookie sheet.

Let the chocolate coating harden before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Food · Recipes

Easy Keto Penuche

You may recall my post about a caramel sauce using Keto friendly “brown sugar”. Well, the taste of that sauce brought back such fond memories of penuche that I knew I had to make some for the holiday festivities. When I was a kid, I used to spend part of my lunch money to buy it almost every day at the convenience store on the way home from school and I STILL love the flavor. (Don’t tell Mom though.)

Easy Keto penuche
Easy Keto friendly Penuche
(I’m noticing how the bottom looks like a darker layer of something but it is just the shadow from the dish. Sorry about any confusion from the picture. LOL, There is not a second layer of darker caramel or anything.)

Sometimes penuche candy is referred to as brown sugar fudge because of the creamy texture. It can be shaped as a little patty or it can be cut into squares like a fudge, but it is all the same- a creamy, delicious brown sugar flavored confection packed with nuts.

In this recipe, you do not need a candy thermometer or any of the lengthy machinations that were involved in the old directions. Nope. I experimented a little but I didn’t stray too far from a traditional recipe except to make this candy very easy, very fast and Keto friendly.

Brown sugar candy made with Xylitol and brown sugar flavor extract
Brown sugar candy made with Xylitol and brown sugar flavor extract

I used my own “brown sugar” concoction with Xylitol and brown sugar flavor extract. You can find the details in the caramel sauce post. The Swerve Brown sweetener seemed to crystallize on cooling more than the Xylitol, but it works if you don’t want to buy a brown sugar flavor extract to make your own “brown sugar” substitute.

You will need to prepare a foil lined baking dish to make cut squares or a foil lined cookie sheet to make candy patties. I used the baking dish this time. The easiest way to line a baking dish with foil is to first shape it over the back side of the dish and then fit it inside.

how to line a baking dish with foil

Easy Keto Penuche

  • Servings: 90 pcs
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients


– 1 cup butter, either salted or not
– 2 cups granulated Xylitol
– 2 tsp brown sugar flavor extract
– 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 3 1/2 cups powdered Swerve sweetener
– 1 cup chopped walnuts (it’s good with peanuts as well)

Directions


Prepare an 8×8 baking dish lined with foil and sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray (I use avocado spray)

1. Mix the Xylitol with the brown sugar flavor extract until well combined
2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over med-high heat
3. Add the “brown sugar” and bring to a boil, stirring constantly
4. Pour in the cream stirring for another five minutes or so
5. Remove from heat and let cool for about 30 minutes
6. Stir in the vanilla extract and walnuts
7. Pour into a foil lined 8×8 baking dish, cover with fol and continue to cool in the refrigerator until firm
8. Remove from dish and cut into small squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Be sure to cut this candy into fairly small squares. It is SWEET and guaranteed to satisfy even the biggest sweets fans out there.

Food · Recipes

Spiced Sugar Free Caramel Sauce

There are two things that I want to point out in this post. One is that even the Swerve brown sugar will crystalize once your sauce cools down. The second thing is that once I figured out which sugar free sweetener to use to make my own brown sugar, it tasted like penuche candies which I LOVE.

Both caramel sauces and penuche candy call for brown sugar. Sooo I will tell you how to make your own approximation of sugar free “brown sugar”. This post will also be followed by a really great Keto friendly penuche candy recipe. Yay!

On the first attempt at the sugar free caramel sauce, I grabbed my Swerve brown sugar. What a waste of a whole bag of sweetener!

Don't use swerve brown sweetener for any caramel sauce. It crystallizes tot fast.
Caramel sauce made with Swerve brown sweetener. The first picture shows a reasonable facsimile of caramel sauce. The second picture shows how the sauce started crystallizing immediately as it started to cool down. Not too appetizing.
making Keto friendly caramel sauce with brown sugar flavor extract
Much better. This sauce is made with Xylitol granulated sweetener and a brown sugar flavor extract. Those little bubbles are from boiling the sweetener mixture.
Keto caramel sauce
This is the Xylitol sauce about three hours after cooling down. As you can see, the sauce thickened up, it darkened a bit but it stayed smooth with no crystallization to the texture.

The most important part of this sauce recipe is to make your own “brown sugar” with Xylitol and a brown sugar flavor extract. I ordered the extract online from Olive Nation. I was blown away by how many different flavor concentrates and extracts that I found online. On a side note, I also bought the marshmallow flavor concentrate which is awesome for making Keto whipped marshmallow fluff. Yum!

To make the “brown sugar” replica, use 1 tsp flavor per one cup of granulated sweetener. I used granulated Xylitol to make the mix.

Brown sugar flavor extract
Use one tsp flavor extract per 1 cup of granulated sweetener.
Making Keto friendly "brown sugar" with Xylitol
The mixed granulated sweetener with brown sugar flavor extract.

I made one cup of “brown sugar” to use in this caramel sauce recipe.

The traditional caramel sauce recipe that I found called for Corn syrup. Since I’m trying to make Keto friendly sauce, I used a Stevia sweetened pancake syrup that I bought at Safeway grocers in place of the corn syrup.

Keto Sugar Free Caramel Sauce

  • Difficulty: easy
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Make 1 cup of the “brown sugar” sweetener as outlined above.
In place of corn syrup, I used Stevia sweetened cinnamon flavored pancake syrup that I bought at Safeway grocery store.

Ingredients


– 1 cup homemade sugar free “brown sugar”. I used Xylitol granulated mixed with 1 tsp brown sugar flavor extract.
– 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1/4 cup Stevia sweetened sugar free cinnamon maple flavored syrup
– 1 tbsp butter (I used salted butter)

Directions

  1. Throw everything together into a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly until the granulated sweetener has dissolved.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.
  4. Let sauce cool down a bit so that you can pour it into an airtight jar.
  5. 5.Store in a pantry or cupboard. No need to refrigerate.


Use this sauce to top cakes, cookies, custard, mousse, ice cream….the choices are many! Enjoy.

Keto penuche candy
Wait till you taste the penuche candy from my recipe to follow. It’s just like the candy that I remember as a kid using her lunch money to stop at 7/11 on the way home from school. LOL.
Food · Recipes

No Bake Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

No bake cheesecake? Yep, and this cheesecake mousse is probably the easiest and fastest desert that I know how to make whether it is chocolate, cappuccino, strawberry or even pumpkin.

Low carb pumpkin cheesecake mousse
Trying to stick to a Keto routine his season? Try this easy pumpkin cheesecake mousse. The caramel sauce takes it over the top for a sweet treat.

Pumpkin anything is still a favorite of mine. In autumn I HAVE to have pumpkin everything. I even have a foamy pumpkin spice topper for my coffee during this holiday season.

Regarding the traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie though- not so much. If you have read any of my past recipes about pies, you already know that I do not like pie crust so pumpkin pie is pretty much out of the picture. This is especially so at dinner parties where I am likely to embarrassment Les by eating only the whipped cream and pie filling leaving a rather unsightly crust gunking up my desert plate. And I will do that without hesitation. (grin)

Pumpkin cheesecake mousse with sliced almonds and caramel sauce
Top the mousse with sliced almonds and Keto caramel sauce

Soooo, to avoid pie crust, I loves me some pumpkin mousse or pumpkin cheesecake. In that vein, this recipe is for all of my friends who would rather just eat pie filling with no soggy, lardy pie crust!

Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preparation: First! Grab that cream cheese out of the fridge to bring it to room temp while you are assembling all of your other ingredients.

Ingredients


1- 12 to 15 oz can pumpkin puree (I have cans in both sizes and I just use whatever I have on hand at the time)
12 oz softened cream cheese
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup Xylitol granulated sweetener (if you do not have a huge sweet tooth like me, then start with 1/3 cup sweetener of your choice and sweeten to taste)
3 tsp pumpkin pie flavor extract (you can sub 3 tsp ground pumpkin pie spice if you like)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions

    1. Use an electric mixer to combine pumpkin puree and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
    2. To the pumpkin/cheese add all of the rest of the ingredients.
    3. Mix all ingredients until the mousse is a desired consistency.
    4. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Top with whipped cream or a caramel sauce and sliced almonds as you like.
Sandra McCall
Keto holiday
 deserts
An easy and sugar free pumpkin cheesecake mousse guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Food · Recipes

Low Carb Keto Cornbread- YES!

I LOVE chili, but I MUST have corn bread with it. Or crackers or something! Well, this cornbread recipe fit the bill perfectly.

Keto cornbread muffins with Keto chili

OK, OK, you got me. I’ll confess that it’s not real cornbread with the corn meal or anything, but this is a really good approximation. The secret is a corn flavor concentrate that makes these little muffins taste like cornbread. For real! I got the organic extract from Nature’s Flavors. This company also has a great video on the difference between extracts and concentrates and how to cook or bake with them. It was well worth the few minutes to watch as I learned a bit about the whole subject that I did NOT learn from Mom.

On a side note: I also bought an apple concentrate flavor from the same company that I will use in a fool-them apple pie made with chayote instead of apples. It should be really good.

IMPORTANT! For some, just the little bit of alcohol in extracts and concentrates can kick them out of ketosis. So consider that before using extracts if you are determined to stay in ketosis at all times. This company also has a line of extracts and concentrates that are specifically Keto friendly so, check it out.

I had planned on making cheddar jalapeno cornbread, but it turned out that I did not have any jalapenos on hand. To spice up the muffins I added cayenne powder. They turned out great.

Low carb Keto cornbread muffins

As with most Keto bread recipes, this calls for a ton of eggs, but not to worry. This corn bread does not taste “eggy” at all.

Low Carb Keto Cornbread

  • Difficulty: easy
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I used a bit of almond meal to mix with the regular flour to give this bread a more hearty-textural look. This recipe also tastes great with additions like garlic powder, cayenne, extra cheese and /or jalapenos.

Don’t forget to take the eggs out of the fridge before you start gathering all of your supplies. This will bring them up to room temp.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tsp corn concentrate flavoring
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs at room temperature
  • Optional: any spices that you want to add (I used 2 tsp cayenne powder since I didn’t have any jalapenos)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare muffin tins by spraying with cooking spray. (I use avocado spray.)
  2. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl, combining thoroughly.
  3. Whisk wet ingredients together and add to flour mixture in large bowl. Combine. Don’t worry, there will be little lumps.
  4. Spoon batter into greased mini muffin tins.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Let cool a bit and then turn out onto a plate.
  7. Store in an airtight container for a week or refrigerate for two weeks OR freeze for up to six months. (I usually store in a baggie in the fridge since they will all be gone in a week or two anyway.

Low carb Keto cornbread mini muffins with butter
Food · Recipes

Homemade Sugar Free Fruit Sauce Sweetened with Monk Fruit

I LOVE Greek yogurt with a little homemade berry sauce, nuts and pumpkin seeds. I also like it with mixed fresh berries. But I do NOT like the store bought fruity versions of yogurt that are supposed to be sooo healthy. You know, the kind with fruit sauce in it and lots of sugar. If it’s fat-free, then it’s sugar-high. If it’s sugar-free, then it usually has an awful chemical-artificial sweetener in it. Plus the fruit often looks like some kind of pureed something. I don’t know what, but it’s not pretty fruit anyway.

How to make no-sugar mixed berry sauce with Monk Fruit sweetener
Continue reading “Homemade Sugar Free Fruit Sauce Sweetened with Monk Fruit”
Food · Recipes

Spiced Chocolate Latte Cheesecake Mousse – sugar free and low carb

Nothing speaks “Fall!” to me like cooling temperatures, cozy sweaters and throws, color changing foliage, the smell of crackling fire places and hot drinks with PUMPKIN spice. Most often (I would say daily actually) pumpkin spice or just plain old cinnamon, chocolate and caramel or maple extract will be found in my giant mug of hot coffee. Oh! And, of course, heavy cream.

Pumpkin spiced Keto chocolate latte mousse
Continue reading “Spiced Chocolate Latte Cheesecake Mousse – sugar free and low carb”
Food · Recipes

Low Carb Shrimp Salad with Avocado

In spite of the promise of fall temperatures, we are still getting hit with a few days of heat. This is one of my favorite meals for those too-hot-to-cook times of the year.

Shrimp and avocado salad- perfect for a nutritional high fat, low carb meal.
This easy, low carb salad should become a staple in your recipe box since it is packed with nutritional value PLUS it’s pretty enough to serve to guests.

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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    INGREDIENTS
    about a cup of cold, cooked shrimp cut into little pieces
    2 avocados, sliced or chopped
    2 or 3 leaves of leafy green lettuce per serving (optional)
    1/4 cup Avocado Mayonnaise
    a couple squirts of Dijon mustard
    1/4 tsp lemon juice
    1/4 cup finely sliced spring onion
    1/2 tbs dried parsley
    1/2 tbs smoked paprika
    salt and pepper to taste

    DIRECTIONS
    1. Combine all ingredients except avocado and lettuce into a medium sized bowl. Stir together.
    2. Arrange lettuce, topped with a bit of avocado and then a scoop of the shrimp mixture onto plate. Serve cold with a couple slices of lemon if you like.