Tess is a teenage foodie, blogger and student. She shares grain-free and allergy friendly recipes on her blog, Hold the Grain. Since adopting a gluten-free and Paleo diet, she has fallen in love with cooking, baking and real food nutrition. Her other interests include photography, sustainability, movies, art, animals (especially her adorable schnauzers!) and reading. Connect with Tess on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Hi everyone! I’m Tess, the blogger behind Hold the Grain, and I’m so excited to be sharing a guest post on The Paleo Mom! As you all know, Sarah is pretty awesome. I even had the pleasure of meeting her in person at a book signings not too long ago, and she is just as kind, caring and funny in person as she is on her blog and podcast. With that said, I hope you enjoy the recipe I am sharing today!
Are you excited for Halloween yet? I sure am.
Once October comes, I get excited for pumpkin season, fall weather (even if it’s still 80 degrees here in Texas) and Halloween that comes along with it! As a child I loved to dress up and trick-or-treat, and now I love handing out candy to all the adorable, excited trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood. I assume being a Paleo parent can be quite the challenge this time of year, though. SAD treats are everywhere, and it’s hard enough for adults to avoid them, let alone kids.
No matter the reason you choose to follow a Paleo/grain-free/gluten-free diet, I want you to have a fun, Halloween themed dessert that both kids and adults can enjoy this season.
The inspiration for this Halloween themed desserts came from a few places.
- A picture I saw on Pinterest of oranges carved like pumpkins. I thought they were adorable, and had to know what would happen if I stuck them in the oven with a Paleo treat inside.
- My sister’s love of chocolate orange.
- Sweet potato brownies from Paleomg. My friends and family love Juli’s recipe, and are always stunned to find out that those brownies are made from a sweet potato. I used her idea for putting sweet potato in the brownies, but with my own recipe.
Decadent, moist, soft and fudgy, these brownies are basically everything a brownie should be. That is, everything minus the myriad of allergens included in traditional brownies. They are free of grains, dairy, eggs and nut. Plus they have a vegetable inside.
Kids will still love them, though! I even tested this recipe on a picky four-year old, and she loved both the brownie and cute exterior.
The orange Jack-o-lanterns are simple and fun to carve, and, depending on their age, kids will love to help! Preparing the oranges is as simple as scooping out the flesh and carving a face, just as you would a pumpkin. First be sure that the oranges will stand up by themselves, though. I came across a few that stood better on their tops, but generally didn’t have an issue. Avoid any irregular shaped oranges to be safe.
After carved, line the faces with a bit of parchment paper so that the batter doesn’t spill out, and bake. Don’t waste the orange flesh, either! Kids can snack on the orange ‘guts’ or save the juice to have fresh orange juice later.
If you don’t want to make these Halloween themed, you can simply bake them as traditional brownies. Topped with a scoop of dairy-free ice cream (why not?) they can be enjoyed any time of year.
- Servings: 8 – 10
- Prep time: 45 minutes
- Cook time: 35 minutes
- 1 Medium sweet potato (1 Cup mashed)
- 6 Tablespoons tapioca flour
- 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon coconut flour
- 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- ½ Teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ Teaspoon sea salt
- ½ Cup chocolate chips
- ½ Cup coconut milk (full-fat)
- ¼ Cup coconut oil
- 1/3 Cup honey
- 1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ Teaspoon orange zest (optional)
- 10 Navel oranges (optional)
- Begin by preparing the sweet potato. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pierce the potato and bake for about 40 minutes, or until soft. For quicker results, you may also microwave the potato for about 6 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.
- Measure 1 cup of the cooked sweet potato and place it in a medium mixing bowl.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the tapioca, coconut flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, mix the chocolate chips and coconut milk until completely melted and smooth. Pour the melted chocolate over the sweet potato. Add the oil, honey and vanilla and stir to combine.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the wet and fold in the orange zest.
- For the Jack-o-lantern brownies, pour the batter into the prepared jack-o-lanterns to fill each half way (see instructions below). It’s important that you only fill them halfway, because the batter with rise and overflow otherwise. If you have any batter left over, you can fill it into a lined muffin tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Once the brownies have cooled, slide out the pieces of parchment paper.
- For regular brownies, spread the batter in a greased 8×8 baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
For the Jack-o-lanterns:
- Start by making sure that the oranges have a flat bottom that will allow them to stand without rolling.
- Cut the tops off of 10 navel oranges. Use a knife and spoon to cut and scoop the orange out of its peel. Try to scoop out most of the flesh, but this doesn’t have to be perfect. Smaller knifes work best, but be careful not to slice the peel.
- Once the flesh is removed, you can carve a face on one side of each orange, just how you would a pumpkin. Use the small knife for this job and have kids help, either drawing faces or carving, depending on their age.
- Line a cookie tray with parchment paper and place the carved oranges on the paper, top up.
- Cut a separate sheet of parchment paper into 10 small rectangles. For each orange, cover the carved face by placing a small piece of parchment inside the peel. The paper should reach to the bottom, but still stick halfway out the top to make it easy to slide out later.