The holidays are a time for togetherness.

This holiday season, what better way to show unity, love, and acceptance than to whip up a few batches of treats that will please EVERYONE at your next gathering? I already wrote about the new Christmas Dessert Freedom e-cookbook from Healthful Pursuit, so I won’t go through all the details again. Rather, I want to share my experiences cooking from it. I’ve now made almost every recipe, and seriously… They are amazing.

dessert freedom

As mentioned in my last post about Christmas Dessert Freedom, Leanne’s recipes are safe for nearly anyone with food allergies or intolerances. All of them are gluten, grain, dairy, and egg free… Six are even nut free!

The Lineup: Maple Shortbread (dark chocolate dipped), Cocoa Caramel Bars, and Gingersnaps.

My son and I gathered all of our ingredients and we got started. All of the recipes required similar ingredients, and were simple enough that my son could help without causing too much havoc in the kitchen.

dessert freedom

The shortbread bars turned out perfectly after making one small tweak: I increased the temperature slightly during the last few minutes of baking to create a more golden color. Once fully cool, they were crisp and very lightly sweet… And SO SIMPLE to make.


The crowing touch to these beauties was definitely the dark chocolate I dipped them in after they cooled… Oh. My. Goodness. I simply melted together half a bar of high quality dark chocolate and about  1 tsp of extra virgin coconut oil. Holding the jar of melted chocolate at an angle, I dipped my bars and then let them cool on waxed paper.


The cocoa caramel bars are amazing. I didn’t have coconut nectar, which the recipe calls for, so I substituted a mixture of half pure maple syrup and half honey. It worked beautifully.


The only other way I veered from Leanne’s recipe is the following: I used unsweetened, unsalted sunflower butter and found that my “caramel” needed a bit of salt to kick up the flavor and tame down the sweetness. I sprinkled approximately 1/4 tsp kosher flake salt evenly over the top of my caramel before drizzling on the melted chocolate, and WOW… It made all the difference. Heaven.


I had two of the women I train sample the cocoa caramel bars, and they swooned. I stored the rest in the freezer for a week (can you believe I had the willpower to wait that long?) and served the rest at a dinner party with our (non-paleo) neighbors… Everyone loved them. They taste so decadent that no one suspected they were made with healthy ingredients!


My son: “I’m the luckiest kid ever!”

The gingersnaps use a crazy ingredient that really WORKS, flavor-wise… Tahini! Out of the three recipes I made, I liked the gingersnaps the best. They are soft, gingery, and very lightly sweetened. Here’s a snapshot of the recipe as seen on my iPad:


My husband and son were less crazy about the gingersnaps. They preferred the cocoa caramel bars and the chocolate-dipped shortbread bars. I have a hunch that an easy way to make Leanne’s gingersnaps more of a guaranteed “hit” would be to roll the balls of dough in coconut palm sugar (or organic cane sugar) and then flattening them slightly before baking. I haven’t tried this, but it would make them a bit sweeter. However, I liked that they weren’t overpoweringly sweet.

I guess you just have to know your audience!

All in all, Leanne’s recipes are simple, the instructions are easy to follow, and everything I’ve made has been a success.

Looking for a unique Christmas gift?

Purchase the Christmas Dessert Freedom e-cookbook for yourself and then make a few batches of whatever (they’re all good). Give each recipient a batch of your baked goods AND a copy of Christmas Dessert Freedom of their very own! If you plan to do this, please note: The shopping cart only allows 1 quantity per person. You can, however, go through the payment flow a couple of times and submit a different person’s email address as the receiver. Except in the case of PayPal payment. If you purchase with PayPal, the product will be delivered to your PayPal email address.


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