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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 30, 2010

Primal Holiday Desserts

By Worker Bee
99 Comments

Halloween signals that the sugary season is upon us again, that willpower-testing time of year when bowls of candy and plates of baked goods seem to appear at every turn. If indulging at some point is inevitable, make it something that doesn’t divert too far from the Primal foods that will keep you feeling healthy during the holiday season. Enter Primal desserts.

You know what some of our typical dessert choices are; usually, the simpler the better. A square of (very) dark chocolate (dipped into almond butter, perhaps) or berries with whole cream don’t require a recipe and aren’t accompanied by a load of guilt. When holiday season is full swing, we’ve also been known to enjoy a mug of Primal Eggnog and a slice or two of Primal Pie.

This holiday season, we’re adding three more desserts to our rotation of holiday goodies: Coconut Macadamia Bark, Primal Chocolate Chip Cookies and Holiday Spice Balls. Just remember, the holidays are all about spreading the good cheer around, not hogging it for yourself. Whip up a batch of these desserts, then bring a goodie bag to the neighbors or your co-workers. It’s an easy way to get your fix without going overboard.

Coconut Macadamia Bark

Servings: 12 squares of bark or more

A simple recipe, and a few bites will both satisfy a sweet tooth and give you a hit of healthy fats. We’ve made a very simple version, leaving plenty of room for embellishment. Add dried fruit or dark chocolate chips. Swirl in some melted dark chocolate. What’s your favorite version of coconut bark?

Ingredients:


  • 1 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 2/3 cup roughly chopped macadamia nuts

Instructions:

Mix together oil, coconut flakes and nuts. Line a pan or plate with parchment paper.  Pour the oil mixture onto the parchment paper. Freeze for at least 30 minutes. Break apart into pieces of bark. Store in the freezer.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Servings: 1 dozen cookies

Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? If you’re in the minority who doesn’t, add fresh blueberries or dried cranberries instead of dark chocolate chips.  These cookies are softer and moister than some, but will hold their shape well after baking.

Ingredients:


  • 4 dates, pits removed
  • 1 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grind dates in the food processor until a paste forms, about 40 seconds. Add walnuts and pecans and blend until very finely chopped, about 35 seconds. Add baking soda and salt and pulse a few more times.

Warm the coconut oil so it is in liquid form. With the food processor running, drizzle it into the batter with the egg and vanilla. Stop mixing as soon as the egg and oil are blended in.

Scrape the batter into a bowl and stir in coconut and chocolate chips by hand. The dough will be sticky and wet. Drop 12 portions of the dough onto a cookie sheet, then flatten slightly with your fingers.

Bake 15 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Holiday Spice Balls

Servings: 12 balls

These Holiday Spice Balls are similar to Cocoa and Coconut Snacks, but the addition of cinnamon and cardamom are perfect for autumn. Using pumpkin pie spice, if you have it on hand, would be very autumnal as well.

Ingredients:


  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 4-6 dates
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Process everything in the food process until it comes together in a sticky paste-like consistency.

Form into balls and refrigerate.

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57 Comments on "Primal Holiday Desserts"

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Bryan Barksdale
6 years 1 month ago

Those cookies look amazing. I may make some for a Primal Halloween party I am having tonight. If anyone is in the ATX hit up our meetup group!

John
John
6 years 1 month ago

I love primal eating, but I will definitely be having some old fashioned pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Then back to primal…

Karla
Karla
6 years 1 month ago

Just this week made the pumpkin pie from the primal website. YUM!! Would highly recommend it. Did not make the crust….did it as a custard in a souffle dish. Just make sure you place the dish in a larger dish of hot water in oven. Served it warm with heavy cream. Husband thought he had died and gone to heaven.

pete
pete
6 years 1 month ago

Are dates necessary to make the chocolate chip cookies? Not only do i not like the taste of dates, but they are relatively high in carbs. Are there any suitable substitutes for dates? Perhaps a couple raisins, or maybe no fruit is necessary.

Chris Hughes
Chris Hughes
6 years 1 month ago

The dates are probably taking the place of sugar here since they are so sweet. You could just use some honey or whatever sweetener you prefer.

Austin Girl
Austin Girl
6 years 1 month ago

@Pete: I’ve made some things with that nuts/pecans combo. There really isn’t too much date taste to it, but the dates help bind everything together when you bake it. I don’t know if raisins would be a good sub, since the stickiness of the dates is what you’re really using them for.

Austin Girl
Austin Girl
6 years 1 month ago

Yikes. I meant “dates/pecans” combo. Sorry!

Sue
5 years 11 months ago

@pete Prunes may work, I have used them in other recipes. They are sweet, and sticky.

misathemeb
6 years 1 month ago

i’ve used figs in place of dates and they are fairly sticky and lower in carbs than medjool dates. just make sure you pop the mixture into the fridge or freezer before you form the “balls”

Tara
6 years 1 month ago

Oh my gosh!! I bet that bark would make a good base for some peppermint bark 🙂 So delicious!

Joe
Joe
6 years 1 month ago

Do you have a recipe for Primal Schwetty Balls? They are my all-time holday favorite!

Peggy
Peggy
6 years 1 month ago

*like*

Rox
Rox
6 years 15 days ago

Alec?????
Is Dat You?????
Crackin’ us up over here
Schwetty Betty Crocker

Ahmed Serag
6 years 1 month ago

All looks so good!!!

Sergey
Sergey
6 years 1 month ago

I am trying to eat primal/paleo, but I just can’t even imagine eating these deserts. They look good, and I am sure are delicious, but I don’t think I will be able to digest them 🙂

Marie S.
6 years 1 month ago

I just found this website http://healthyindulgences.blogspot.com/ If your trying to be super good and primal don’t go there, but if you enjoy your 20% it’s an awesome place to find sugar free/grain free sweet treats.

Primal Onahill
Primal Onahill
6 years 1 month ago

Coconut bark, especially w/ dark chocolate, yes, yes, yes. Peppermint and chocolate? Even better.

I’m not crazy about dates and have found a good basic cookie recipe w/ a modest amount of sweetener, here: http://thisprimallife.com/2009/07/experiments-with-primal-cookie-making/

I’ll skip the spice balls, thanks– no chocolate. Though I guess that would be up to me, huh?

Ryan Ransom
Ryan Ransom
6 years 1 month ago

As good as these look: Holidays happen once a year – enjoy it. I just keep the indulgence to the day of only and enjoy it without guilt. It’s hard sometimes beforehand but reminding myself of the good food in my near future keeps me on course…but that’s me.

Amanda
Amanda
6 years 1 month ago

I made the cookies last night and they are very good. Since I don’t have a food processor I used my blender, which worked great. The cookies look exactly like the picture and are extremely quick and easy to make. Surprisingly delicious, I was a little skeptical. And I do not like dates at all, but they have zero taste in the chocolate chip cookies.

Austin Girl
Austin Girl
6 years 1 month ago

I just made them too. They’re GREAT! They even taste like there’s brown sugar in there too. Yum.

PrimalStyle-Real.Yummy.Food
6 years 1 month ago

Oh Coconut Bark, I think you are calling my name :-p

Cate
6 years 1 month ago

These all look so delicious! 🙂 Do you have any primal-style holiday desert recipes for those of us allergic to nuts?

gilliebean
6 years 1 month ago

Are you allergic to the coconut? If not, you could make the coconut back with dried blueberries, dried raspberries or chocolate chips instead of macadamia nuts. 🙂

Cate
6 years 1 month ago

Great idea! Thanks! 🙂

gilliebean
6 years 1 month ago

Yumyumyumyum… Nomomomom…

Brooke
6 years 1 month ago

Can’t wait to try the coconut bark….looks great! I like the other suggestions too.

Tracee
6 years 1 month ago

What a great post!! The next best thing would be a Primal Desserts Cookbook (hint hint)

CNYmicaa
6 years 1 month ago

The picture for spice balls shows almonds, but none are listed in the recipe. Was it missed?

Kristen
Kristen
5 years 11 months ago

I think those may be dried apricot pits?

Clarence
Clarence
6 years 1 month ago

You are a brilliant Sisson. Just brilliant. I will try all of these recipes.

Erika
Erika
6 years 29 days ago

I make a decadent flourless chocolate torte for birthdays and I realized it is fairly primal – 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, 6 eggs, 1 cup butter. I tried a little slice at a recent party and it didn’t bother my stomach at all the way something with added sugar or flour would have.

Allison K
Allison K
6 years 29 days ago

I’ve only been “surfing” around the Primal world for about a week now… I made the Holiday Spice Balls this week, and have been using them to replace my normal dessert of ice-cream and other crap. They are great!

Michelle
6 years 25 days ago

Wow these all look great (dying to make the holiday spice balls)! Just made some amazing spiced chocolate fudge by adding pumpkin pie spice to this Cacao Pecan Fudge recipe (just scroll down the page): http://tinyurl.com/33pqtvx…YUMMMM!!!

Michelle
6 years 25 days ago

Oops, here’s that link again: http://tinyurl.com/33pqtvx
Enjoy! 🙂

Carol
Carol
6 years 24 days ago

Just made the Chocolate Chip Cookies (only with cranberries instead of the chocolate). Absolutely LOVE them!!! It took willpower to not eat them all at once.

Julie
6 years 23 days ago

That Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe is THE best I’ve tried, hands-down, and I have tried a LOT. Try not to over process the nuts (they should be crumbly and NOT nut butter.) Also you can skimp a little on the coconut oil – the nuts are oily enough.

Izzylu
Izzylu
6 years 23 days ago

I just made the cookies with dried cherries instead of chocolate and then another batch and added a few more dates, half a dropper of Stevia, and a scoop of pureed persimmon. Both were absolutely amazing. My thirteen year old loves them and she is NOT easy to please!

ThePrimalBrett
ThePrimalBrett
6 years 17 days ago

I second all the comments about the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe being awesome. I made it for our Thanksgiving potluck at work and couldn’t believe how well they turned out. Almost indistinguishable from regular CC cookies.

Tony M
6 years 14 days ago

These are hitting the table on Thursday thats for sure!!

Don Matesz
6 years 11 days ago

Here’s my report of our experience making the primal chocolate chip cookies:

http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2010/11/our-primal-chocolate-chip-cookie.html

Rich
6 years 10 days ago

The Bark was a super easy and super great recipe. Wonderful stuff that’s a keeper.

Pokey
Pokey
6 years 10 days ago

Made the bark using sliced almonds. Lined an 8″x8″ pan with foil and allowed bark to harden in refrig. Cut into 16 pieces, wrapped each in a bit of waxed paper, and stored in covered container in refrig.

Especially enjoyed having a treat without any added sweetening. These are a good subs for a slice of butter when you’re looking for fat.

1/16th of recipe yields —
calories 116, fat 13g, carb 1g, fiber .5g, protein 1g

ThePrimalBrett
ThePrimalBrett
5 years 11 months ago

Brought the Holiday Spice Balls into work today for a holiday potluck. I must say, they turned out pretty delicious! I think I’ll add almond butter to the next batch.

gogus buyutucu
5 years 10 months ago

OOOOOOYEEEEEEEEE

rx1
5 years 10 months ago

OOOOOOYEEEEEEEEE

Rosemaryandthegoat
5 years 9 months ago

I have this made and in the freezer. I added chopped dried apricots to the mixture.

D.J.
5 years 7 months ago

Any chance anyone has a nut free version of paleo chocolate chip cookies? My wife has a very severe nut allergy, and I’d love to be able to give her some satisfaction for her sweet tooth that is at least somewhat healthier than the junk she normally eats. Thanks!

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 5 months ago

I would appreciate some dessert recipes without coconut…. I’m getting quite sick of it.

Rad
Rad
5 years 3 months ago

Any ideas on what I could sub for the egg in the cookie recipe? I’d love to make these for a friend, but he’s got an egg allergy. Or do you think they’d hold up just leaving out the egg?

Molly Michaels
5 years 2 months ago

I know I’m 2 years late but the cookies are to die for!

Milla
5 years 1 month ago

I made the bark with coconut butter rather than oil, and pecans. I can’t even begin to describe the utter deliciousness of what came out of the freezer.

Rebekah
Rebekah
4 years 11 months ago

Can you make the spice balls with apricots that come in a bag, instead of dried?

RobG4
RobG4
4 years 10 months ago

The chocolate chip cookies are awesome! They even have the texture of the traditional version. They taste just like a less sweet version of the traditional version.

Casey Drumgoole
4 years 8 months ago

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Madeleine
Madeleine
3 years 11 months ago

Can someone explain why dates are so ubiquitous in paleo/primal recipes? They are quite high in sugar…

Lyra
Lyra
3 years 11 months ago

My husband loves your blog and has been talking non stop about how good the primal chocolate chip cookies looked. So, for one of his christmas presents, I made a batch of them :). You were right…the dough was very wet/oily. Kinda scared me but after I baked them they were perfect! I even tried one still warm. Delicious! First words from my mouth were, “Oh my gosh!”. LoL! Cant wait to see his face Christmas morning!

kurt
kurt
10 months 17 days ago

How about a healthy oatmeal cookie ?

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