Books and cooking are some of my favorite hobbies, so it is no surprise that I have a slight obsession with cookbooks. My current favorite is the new Make It Paleo 2 by Hayley Mason and Bill Staley. The pictures are gorgeous and the recipes interesting. I tried a variety of recipes from the book before writing this review. The kids loved the grain-free pizza, clam chowder and dry-rubbed spareribs (something they normally do not like). My husband gave high marks to the lemongrass chicken curry and braised ribs.
Of course, I also had to try some of the amazingly beautiful baked goods in the book. I made the dairy-free chocolate frosting and couldn’t help but eat it with a spoon (especially the leftovers that I put in the freezer). The luscious lemon cupcakes with buttercream frosting was a big hit at a potluck, rating descriptions such as “amazing” from other attendees.
There are several more recipes that I can’t wait to try. These recipes are more time-consuming, such as cranberry hand pies and homemade grain-free pasta, and will have to be scheduled. If they are as good as the experiments listed above I will be very happy indeed.
I highly recommend this book for those who are looking to spice up weeknight dinners and to move on to more advanced paleo meals. Many of these recipes (though not all) are time and labor intensive so think of them as a treat to you, the chef when you pull it out.
As a special gift to you, Bill and Haley have allowed me to print their lemon cupcake recipe. Can you think of a tastier way to celebrate beginning of summer?
luscious lemon cupcakes
Yield: 1 dozen standard or 24 mini cupcakes Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes
Lemon Curd (pg 376), for filling
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (pg 394)
3/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
6 large eggs
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup palm shortening
Piping bags and piping tips
- Make the lemon curd and place in the refrigerator to chill. While the curd is chilling, make the frosting and set aside until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin tin or mini muffin tin with cupcake papers.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the arrowroot starch, coconut flour, salt, and baking soda until blended. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Blend the wet ingredients with an electric hand mixer until frothy. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and blend again until smooth.
- Melt the palm shortening over medium-low heat, then allow it to cool slightly. Once the shortening has cooled, pour it into the batter and blend the batter again with the hand mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. This will allow air to be whipped into the batter slightly.
- Fill each muffin cup three-quarters full with batter and bake on the middle rack of the oven until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20 minutes for standard cupcakes or 10 minutes for mini cupcakes. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
- To fill the cupcakes, fit a piping bag with a round decorating tip and fill the bag with lemon curd. Push the tip into the center of a cupcake and squeeze in the curd while simultaneously pulling the piping bag out of the cupcake. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes, filling the piping bag with more lemon curd as needed. Once the cupcakes are filled, frost them. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container, and consume within 2 days.
We used India Tree natural food color to color the frosting yellow. Simply add food coloring until you have created the shade you like. These natural food dyes are very soft in hue, so unless you use a good amount, you will get a very pale color. We used a Wilton 230 decorating tip to fill the cupcakes and a Wilton 1M tip to frost the roses on the cupcakes.
To make this recipe dairy-free, omit the lemon curd, add the zest of 1 lemon to the batter, and frost the cupcakes with Dairy-Free Vanilla Frosting (pg 394).
Note – I made these into mini cupcakes, baking for 12-15 minutes. Buttercream frosting with the zest of half a lemon made a perfect topping.