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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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99 Comments on "Primal Holiday Desserts"

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Bryan Barksdale
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months ago

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

Karla
Karla
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months ago

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

Sue
5 years 9 months ago

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

misathemeb
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months ago

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

Joe
Joe
5 years 10 months ago

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

Peggy
Peggy
5 years 10 months ago

*like*

Rox
Rox
5 years 10 months ago

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

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[…] of them and not in the form of primal pancakes or  primal pumpkin bread or primal cookies.  Even Mark’s in on it.  For those of us who would like to drop weight in addition to improving health, these […]

Ahmed Serag
5 years 10 months ago

All looks so good!!!

Sergey
Sergey
5 years 10 months 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.
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months 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.

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[…] posted a bunch of Primal Holiday Desserts and I really want to try them. Coconut Macademia Bark? Primal Chocolate Chip Cookies? Count me in. […]

Amanda
Amanda
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months ago

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

Cate
5 years 10 months ago

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

gilliebean
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months ago

Great idea! Thanks! 🙂

gilliebean
5 years 10 months ago

Yumyumyumyum… Nomomomom…

Brooke
5 years 10 months ago

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

Tracee
5 years 10 months ago

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

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[…] Holiday Dessers via Mark Sisson HERE! Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names. John F. […]

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5 years 10 months ago

[…] Holiday Dessert Recipes (pretty paleo) […]

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5 years 10 months ago

[…] links: Egg Spinach Muffins from Whole9, Primal Holiday Treats from […]

CNYmicaa
5 years 10 months ago

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

Kristen
Kristen
5 years 9 months ago

I think those may be dried apricot pits?

Clarence
Clarence
5 years 10 months ago

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

Erika
Erika
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months ago

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

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[…] a porno gallery cleverly designed to appeal to our every desire.” Don’t Fear Strong Paleo Holiday Desserts Simple Stretching, Should Or Should Nots… November 10th, 2010 | Category: […]

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[…] try these Primal Holiday Desserts that won’t mess with your gut. Best Chocolate Chip cookie recipe I’ve […]

Carol
Carol
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months ago

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

trackback
5 years 10 months ago

[…] Primal Holiday Desserts […]

Don Matesz
5 years 10 months 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
5 years 10 months ago

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

Pokey
Pokey
5 years 10 months 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

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[…] Coconut Macadamia Bark […]

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[…] Primal Holiday Desserts […]

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5 years 9 months ago

[…] Primal Holiday Desserts – Mark Sisson […]

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[…] Candy Hardly worth missing, as there are so many better ideas for goodies out […]

ThePrimalBrett
ThePrimalBrett
5 years 9 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.

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[…] Written by Mark Sisson (orignal post can be found HERE) […]

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gogus buyutucu
5 years 7 months ago

OOOOOOYEEEEEEEEE

rx1
5 years 7 months ago

OOOOOOYEEEEEEEEE

Rosemaryandthegoat
5 years 7 months ago

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

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