Homemade Marshmallows and Chocolate Dipping Sauce

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas!

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas!

I was given the best Christmas gift this year: the gift of chocolate.  As alluded to in my previous post, I have added unsweetened cocoa powder back into my diet and wow.  How much is wow?   Right between “ouch” and “boing”!  Also this year, my sister decided to take a couple of days off of work before Christmas and fly down to Chicago to visit.  As I have been trying to come up with more reasons to eat chocolate, I decided to pull out the stops for her visit.  Well, it’s not good, but it’s a reason.  I decided on a recipe by the charming Jenni at Urban Poser.

This was my first time trying marshmallows but it definitely won’t be my last!  When I first found it, I thought “it’s impossible, ridiculous and insane!”  but more than that “I wish I’d thought of it first.”  I watched the video that Jenni posted first and then had at it!  I struggled to find grass fed gelatin so just used the gelatin I found at Whole Foods.   I did not use the arrowroot starch that Jenni uses as it is not SCD legal but instead toasted a cup of unsweetened coconut flakes at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, which I processed in my food processors to make tiny pieces to line the bottoms and tops of my mallows.  Otherwise, I followed her instructions exactly!  If you’re looking for a quick treat, Honey, I’ve got a flash for you- it’s a real slow mover!  Over 4 hours to be exact.

For the chocolate fondue, I did the following.  I added 1/2 unsweetened Ghiradelli baking bar (100% cacao) to 1/4 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup honey with 1 tsp vanilla extract.  (Made with homemade vanilla extract!  Yum!)  I heated the chocolate over medium heat in a small sauce pan and added melted coconut oil and honey.  After it had reached desired consistency, I added the vanilla extract.

We've established the fact that the fondue is ideal.

We’ve established the fact that the fondue is ideal.

The result was fantastic!  So delish and such a fun treat.  It’s a smash, let’s take a bow!

I paired it with dairy-free egg-nog, also from Urban Poser.  The only substitution I made here was honey for maple syrup at a 1-1 ratio.  It was very good and my non-SCD counter-parts gave it a thumbs up as well!

I tried to wait to drink it until I got a good picture... but I couldn't!  It was too good!

I tried to wait to drink it until I got a good picture… but I couldn’t! It was too good!

Since I have been counting my blessings, instead of sheep, I will say that I am SO THANKFUL for Jenni (Urbanposer.blogspot.com), Danielle (againstallgrain.com) and Coco (roostblog.com).  They are women I’ve never met but that I’m so indebted to for making the SCD lifestyle look fun and attainable.  Oh, my word, if I wasn’t such a mean old biddy, I’d break right down and cry.  They did great, and I’m grateful!

Merry Christmas!

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Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes

Warning:  The recipe I’m about to post is not strictly SCD legal.

Here’s the thing.  I’ve been reading quite a bit lately about why cocoa is considered “illegal” on the SCD diet and I’ve felt quite skeptical.  The most compelling argument is that cocoa possibly contains saccharose, which is illegal as it is a sugar.  However, the support for this assertion is not substantially researched and I have found very little backing for it.  It is not the reasoning Dr. Haas and Elaine give and there is a growing body of literature to suggest that is actually can have really great benefits for your health, being high in anti-oxidants with anti-inflammatory properties.  To read more about the debate, start here.

With this is mind, I brought my concerns to my GI doctor.  My GI is a bigger supporter of the SCD diet and one of the lead clinical researchers on bacterial growth in the gut and it’s relation to Crohn’s.  She confirmed my suspicions about cocoa and suggested I try it.

Oh man.  The whole ride home from the office (which is an hour and a half away) I fixated on this.  I haven’t had chocolate in 8 months!

Yesterday, I tried these two recipes with some important alterations:  I started with Evan’s recipe over at The Wannabe Chef for the cupcake.  However, I substituted his 1/2 cup cane sugar with 1/2 cup raw honey.  Up to 1 cup, honey can be substituted at a 1-1 ratio.

For the frosting, I launched from this recipe of Elana‘s at Elana’s Pantry.  However, I made some alterations.  First of all, I halved the recipe.  I used 1/2 of the Ghiradelli 100% Unsweetened Pure Cocoa Baking Bar (about 1/2 cup).  Second of all, I added 1/3 cup of raw honey and kept the 1/3 cup of coconut oil.  I decreased the vanilla to 1 tsp.  I followed all other instructions.

The result was intoxicating!  They were so moist and chocolatey and delicious!  I couldn’t believe how incredible they tasted!  I shared them with two friends who don’t have any food restrictions and they loved them!

Sheer joy.

Sheer joy.