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Grain-Free Chocolate-Almond-Banana Muffins

Yield: 12

3 medium, ripe bananas (plus 1/2 of a fourth for garnish, optional)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup grass-fed ghee (or coconut oil)
6 Tbsp. coconut flour
2 Tbsp. cacao powder
6 pitted dates
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 2.65-oz. 90% chocolate bar, broken into pieces (optional; I used Alter Eco)

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.

2. Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender; blend until smooth, stopping to shake blender and scraping down sides a few times as you go.

3. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full. Place a thin slice of banana on top of batter in each muffin cup, if desired. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from pan to rack to cool completely. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.

NOTE: No high-speed blender? No problem! Here's what to do: Mash the bananas in a large bowl, then whisk in eggs, almond butter, ghee, maple syrup and vanilla. Finely mince the dates and chocolate, if using, and whisk them into banana mixture. In a separate bowl, mix coconut flour, cacao, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to banana mixture and stir until well blended. Continue with the recipe as written.
 

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Paleo apple crumble

Serves: 6

Topping:
1 1/2 cups mixed nuts (about 7 oz.), such as cashews, almonds and walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (about 1 oz.)
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. ghee, plus more for pan
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

Filling:
5 medium firm apples (such as Granny Smith, about 2 lbs.), peeled, cored, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
A few small pinches of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Brush a deep-dish 9-inch pie dish with ghee. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
2. Make topping: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until nuts are chopped, ingredients are well mixed and the mixture resembles moist crumbs.
3. Make filling: Layer apples in pie dish, sprinkling lemon juice, maple syrup and salt once or twice as you add more apples. Press apples down gently when all are in the dish. Spread topping evenly over filling.
4. Place pie dish on lined baking sheet and bake until filling bubbles and topping is lightly browned and toasted, 40 to 50 minutes. Cover lightly with foil during baking time if topping is browning too quickly. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
 

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Paleo apple-carrot muffins

Yield: 12

1 1/2 cups paleo baking flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
Generous pinch ground nutmeg (preferably freshly ground)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup grated carrots (about 1 large carrot)
1 large firm apple, peeled, chopped
1/2 cup sliced almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a high-speed blender, mix eggs, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla until well blended. Pour into bowl with flour mixture, add carrot, apple and almonds and stir until all ingredients are well combined.
3. Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove muffins to rack to cool completely. Store leftovers covered in the fridge.

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