Showing posts with label keto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label keto. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

If you have been following my ongoing series of posts here about my successful keto diet weight loss journey, you’ll know that I love baked goods and desserts. You’ll also know that finding ways to indulge in keto desserts has helped me maintain a fairly strict ketogenic diet approach to eating since May 2019, a very low carb, healthy lifestyle that I continue to follow now that I have achieved and surpassed my original weight loss goals. 

I also enjoy baking, but I don’t always have time to do low carb baking from scratch. That’s why I keep a selection of high quality keto baking mixes in my pantry, so, I can enjoy fresh-baked sweet treats in just minutes. In a recent post, I shared my favorite low carb baking mix brands and keto recipes for low carb keto muffins. In this post, I'll share the excellent Good Dee's Cookie Mix low carb baking mix line.

Introductory image photo collage of Good Dee's low carb keto cookie baking mix flavors
Bake fresh keto cookies in just minutes 
with Good Dee's low carb cookie baking mix

Good Dee's Low Carb Cookie Mix

Fresh Baked Keto Cookies in Minutes!

All Good Dee's Low Carb Cookie Baking Mix flavors are sugar free, gluten free, grain free, and wheat-free. Some (but not all) are also manufactured in a dedicated gluten free facility. Anyone who either has a food allergy or bakes cookies for someone who does will appreciate the allergy information on the packaging and the brand owner's efforts to accommodate multiple common food allergies.

A Changing Flavor Selection

Good Dee's continues to expand their low carb baking mix line for keto cookies and other products. Not every flavor is available year round, and some are considered seasonal. I recommend checking on both Amazon (free shipping for Amazon Prime members) and the Good Dee's website (free shipping for orders over $50) to see which flavors are currently in production and in stock. Occasionally, these products also go on sale, another reason to keep an eye out on both websites, and also to sign up for the Good Dee's mailing list for exclusive offers.

Last week, I used the three Good Dee's low carb baking mix flavors I had on hand to bake the three dozen cookies I photographed for this post. I've also tried a fourth flavor (double chocolate chip) that I didn't have in my pantry at the time. Today, I'll share my product reviews of the four low carb baking mix flavors that I've purchased and made into keto cookies.

Good Dee's Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Side by side photos of Good Dee's Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix and baked cookies
These thick, soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies 
are also low carb and keto diet friendly treats

It's not surprising that the first keto cookie mix Good Dee's introduced was chocolate chip. After all, chocolate chip cookies are the most popular cookie in the United States, and the second most popular cookie in the world, after French macarons. 

I tried Good Dee's Chocolate Chip Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix for the first time shortly after I discovered it on Amazon and, truthfully, I was a bit underwhelmed. Fortunately, the "new & improved recipe" lived up to its promise, and the second batch I made, using the mix with the new recipe, was much better. Like all the Good Dee's cookie mixes I've tried to date, the improved chocolate chip version produced cookies that were large, thick, soft and chewy. That's how I prefer my "chippers," but if you like thin, crisp cookies, you probably won't be a fan of the Good Dee's mixes. 

As you can see, they certainly weren't the best-looking chocolate chip cookies I've ever baked. Both times I've made them, the batter underneath the chocolate chips seemed to pull away from them, resulting in small, chocolate-filled craters after baking. However, I don't care that much about how pretty they are, since they meet my much more important criteria for being tasty, satisfying, and keto-friendly.

The other thing to know about this mix is that the chips are very dark chocolate and not very sweet. I rather like the contrast of the barely sweet chocolate chips and somewhat sweeter cookie dough. 

Good Dee's Sugar Cookie Mix

Side by side photos of Good Dee's Sugar Free Cookie Baking Mix and plate of cookies
A different texture than traditional
sugar cookies, but a similar taste


Like all this brand's products, Good Dee's Sugar Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix is actually sugar free. Although the texture is coarser and chewier than conventional sugar cookies, the taste is surprisingly similar. 

These also make a great base for adding your own flavor mix-ins. I'm thinking of adding some tiny wild Maine blueberries and chopped walnuts or pecans to my next batch. Yum! 

Good Dee's Butter Pecan Cookie Mix

Side by side photos of Good Dee's Butter Pecan Low Carb Cookie Baking Mix and baked butter pecan cookies
If I had to pick my favorite, it would have to be this
awesome Good Dee's butter pecan cookie baking mix

Of the four keto cookie mix flavors I've tried so far, the Good Dee's Butter Pecan Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix has definitely turned out to be my favorite. To me, they have an awesome flavor and a less coarse texture than the other flavors, making these extremely similar to old-fashioned butter pecan cookies made with white flour and cane sugar. 

My husband, who eats conventional cookies or cake daily for dessert, likes these low carb butter pecan cookies a lot, too—the ultimate compliment for keto baked goods!

Good Dee's Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

If you're a chocolate lover, Good Dee's Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix would be a good flavor to try. These are rich, not-too-sweet, dark chocolate cookies studded with dark chocolate chips. Since there are no golden brown edges to tell you when these are done, I suggest keeping a close eye on them and pulling them out of the oven as soon as the edges appear set.

Other Good Dee's Low Carb Cookie Mix Flavors

I haven't had a chance to try the Good Dee's Snickerdoodle Cookie Mix or Peanut Butter Cookie Mix yet. But since I love both those types, I'm definitely looking forward to picking up a bag of each.

About Good Dee's Low Carb Baking Products

The Dee behind Good Dee's is owner and founder Deana Karim, who finally succeeded in losing weight and adopting a healthy lifestyle after embracing a LCHF (low carb, high fat) approach to eating. She knew that thinking of this way of eating as a diet (and, by implication, temporary), and feeling deprived because she could no longer enjoy cookies and other baked goods, would be a "recipe" for failure. At the time, there weren't any baked goods that met her requirements for being healthy, low carb, and delicious — so she started developing her own low carb keto recipes for brownies, cookies, muffins, and cakes. 

Understanding that there were many other people following a low carb diet who, like her, had an unmet need for easy-to-make, healthy, and delicious sugar free baked goods, Deana invested her $5,000 savings into launching her Good Dee's low carb baking mix business. A month later, her low carb, gluten free, sugar free chocolate brownie mix was the number one brownie mix (not just low carb) on Amazon! 

She continues to expand her line, and has listened to customer feedback to improve several of her baking mixes. She now offers Good Dee's allulose-sweetened sugar free chocolate chips (currently out of stock on Amazon, so check back to see whether it's available), sugar free just add water frosting mix in cream cheese, dark chocolate, and white chocolate flavors, and even sugar free rainbow sprinkles and naturally colored sugar free edible glitter for decorating cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and ice cream sundaes. 

Get 15% Off at Gooddees.com!

After I wrote and published this review, I decided to apply for Good Dee's affiliate program and was approved the same day. That's great news for you, as well as for me, because...

I'm excited to be able to offer my readers a 15% discount code for the Good Dee's website

To take advantage of this generous 15% discount, simply:
  1. Use my Good Dee's affiliate link to go to the website
    - and -
  2. Don't forget to enter my 15% off coupon code: GOODDEES15MRS
That's all there is to it. Enjoy!

Tips for Baking With Good Dee's Keto Cookie Mixes

All low carb baking mixes behave differently than their traditional flour- and sugar-laden counterparts. Here are my tips for baking successful keto cookies from a Good Dee's low carb baking mix.

Line Your Cookie Sheets With Baking Parchment

Even if you have a Silpat or other nonstick baking pan liner underneath, I recommend lining your baking sheets with baking parchment, as directed when using these low carb baking mixes. The cookies are extremely fragile when they come out of the oven, and the parchment paper helps them release without breaking. I have switched to using unbleached baking parchment exclusively, and my high quality Fasmov Non-Stick Parchment Paper Baking Liner Sheets are shipped flat, so the edges of the paper don't curl (which I love!). 

Prepare and Measure the Wet Ingredients

Photo: Bag of Good Dee's chocolate chip cookie mix next to beaten egg, melted butter, and vanilla extract
Setting out and measuring all the ingredients, the mixing bowl,
and a mixing spoon keeps your work space organized

As with any type of baking, ingredients should be at room temperature unless otherwise specified (for example, using chilled fat in pastry dough or biscuits). 
  • To bring the egg to room temperature, you can either set it out on the counter or, if you want to start baking sooner, gently place the whole egg (still in its shell) into a bowl of warm (not hot) water and leave it for 5–10 minutes. 
  • Either butter (preferably unsalted) or coconut oil will work for any of the Good Dee's cookie mixes. I prefer the taste of unsalted butter for most keto baking. When I've been low on butter or baking dairy free cookies to accommodate another person's dietary requirements, however, I've substituted my favorite unrefined, cold-pressed, organic virgin coconut oil, which adds a very subtle hint of coconut flavor that I quite enjoy. If you prefer a more neutral flavor (or just don't like the taste of coconut), you can use refined coconut oil, but it doesn't offer the health benefits that unrefined, cold-pressed, organic virgin coconut oil does.
  • I find it easiest to melt the butter or coconut oil in a Pyrex measuring cup, covered with wax paper, microwaving it in 15-20 second bursts, and stopping when most, but not all, of the fat has melted. After removing it from the microwave, I gently swirl it in the glass measuring cup, letting the hot melted fat finish melting the remaining solids. If you prefer, you can melt it over simmering water in a double boiler. Set the melted butter or coconut oil aside to cool while you preheat the oven and prepare the cookie dough.
  • In any baking recipe, I always recommend using the best quality, pure vanilla you can find (and afford). Penzeys pure vanilla extract is my favorite.

Stir Dry Mix Before Adding Wet Ingredients

Photo of cookie baking mix in bowl, next to the wet ingredients on countertop
Getting ready to add the egg, butter, and vanilla extract
after stirring the dry cookie mix in a mixing bowl

The directions for all Good Dee's cookie mixes call for pouring the baking mix into a bowl and stirring with a spoon before adding the wet ingredients. I'm guessing the reason is that nut and seed flours are heavier than wheat flour, so they may tend to separate out and settle to the bottom during shipping. If that's the case, they might need to be stirred back into the rest of the mix to redistribute them evenly. 

After stirring the dry mix in the bowl, add the egg, melted butter or coconut oil, and vanilla extract, then mix thoroughly.

Use a Cookie Scoop to Portion the Dough Evenly

Image of 12 scoops of Good Dee's low carb chocolate chip cookie dough on baking parchment lined cookie sheets
I used a medium cookie scoop to divide the prepared
keto chocolate chip cookie mix into 12 equal portions

Dividing dough into 12 equal portions with any accuracy can be a pain. I could weigh the prepared dough in grams, divide the total weight by 12, and then weigh out each portion of the dough. But if I'm using a baking mix, I'm not interested in spending that amount of time and effort just to portion out the dough equally. 

Since I still track my daily keto macros and calories, ensuring that dough is divided as evenly as possible is important to me. Most of the mixes call for dropping 1½ to 2 tablespoon portions of dough onto the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet to make 12 cookies. However, the butter pecan cookie mix package says to use 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie to make "approximately" 12 cookies, yet when I did that, I had used up only slightly more than half the dough. By trial and error, I found that 1/12 of my prepared butter pecan cookie dough measured out to slightly less than 2 tablespoons per cookie.

So, if you track your daily keto macros and calories (for example, on the Carb Manager app), I recommend using a 1.5 to 2 tablespoon stainless steel scoop with a trigger mechanism to help release the sticky dough, such as the Solula Professional 18/8 Stainless Steel Medium Cookie Scoop #40 (with a 1.7 tablespoon capacity) to help you measure out 12 equal portions of cookie dough. You'll quickly find out, through trial and error, whether you need to use a level scoop, a scant scoop, or a slightly rounded scoop of dough for each cookie.

Don't Overbake

I've noticed that keto cookies I've made using a Good Dee's Low Carb Baking Mix tend to progress from underbaked to overbaked fairly quickly. Since every oven is different, I recommend setting your timer for one minute less than the package directions' shortest baking time and then keeping a close eye on the cookies so you can pull them out as soon as the edges turn golden (or, in the case of the double chocolate chip cookies, until the edges have just set). 

Let Baked Cookies Cool Completely Before Removing From the Baking Parchment

These keto cookies have a much softer, somewhat coarser, and chewier texture than conventional cookies made with flour and sugar, and they are also more fragile, even after they have cooled. If you try to lift them off the baking parchment before they have fully cooled, they are likely to fall apart. So, don't let the scent of freshly baked cookies tempt you to try to eat one, or even move them to a serving plate, while they're still warm.

In fact, I find that both the flavor and texture of these low carb baked goods are even better after a day or two!

Consider Freezing Some (or Most)

If you think it might be hard to resist eating more of these cookies than will fit within your daily calories and keto macros, or if you don't plan to eat one every day and want to enjoy them as a sweet treat from time to time, you may want to freeze some or most of them, after snugly wrapping them individually in plastic freezer wrap and then placing them inside an airtight freezer-safe food storage container (or, if necessary, inside a heavy, zippered freezer food storage bag). 

Wrapping each cookie securely in plastic freezer wrap not only provides another layer of protection against freezer burn, it also makes it easy to remove just one or two cookies, which will thaw fairly quickly after being unwrapped.

Keto Cookies vs. Conventional Cookies

Photo: small plate of three different types of low carb cookies
Gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free, butter pecan,
chocolate chip, and sugar cookie keto cookies,
made with Good Dee's low carb baking mix

Unless you're just starting a keto diet, you've probably discovered that ketogenic cookies, cakes, pies, etc., have a different texture and, often, a somewhat different taste than conventional baked goods made with high carbohydrate ingredients that can spike your blood sugar levels and cause inflammation. So, it's important to have realistic expectations of any keto baking recipes or low carb baking mixes. 

That said, I found that my taste buds gradually adapted after several months on a fairly strict ketogenic diet, and since I no longer eat conventional sweet treats, my palate no longer compares very low carb desserts to traditional baked goods. My experience is pretty typical of people who stick to a fairly strict keto diet for at least 8–12 weeks. 

So, while these cookies don't taste like my grandmother's cookies (or mine, prior to last May), they make yummy, satisfying keto desserts for those of us following a very low carb lifestyle.

Why Use a Keto Baking Mix Instead of a Low Carb Recipe? 

Ease of Use, Time Savings, and Convenience


Baking is based on chemical reactions between ingredients. And the chemistry that makes conventional baking recipes work involves interactions between ingredients that aren't keto friendly. Even for those of us who have decades of experience as excellent home bakers, there's a significant learning curve in converting old, beloved family recipes for low carb baking. That's a challenge I haven't had an interest in tackling (at least, not yet!), so I prefer to let low carb baking experts do the work of developing delicious, foolproof recipes for keto cookies and other baked goods. 

Sugar free, gluten free keto baking also requires stocking the pantry with different ingredients than the ones we're accustomed to using. For example, instead of white and whole wheat flour and cornstarch, we might need to buy almond flour, coconut flour, sunflower seed flour, watermelon seed flour, and xanthan gum. (And it's not as though any of these ingredients can be simply substituted 1:1 in a keto baking recipe!) 

So, although I keep those and other low carb baking ingredients in my freezer and pantry, and enjoy making a number of keto baking recipes for rolls, buns, muffins, etc., when I have time and inclination, I also appreciate the convenience of having keto baking mix varieties on hand. I try to buy ones that contain the same high-quality, low carb ingredients I use in my scratch low carb baking, and that produce keto baked goods that taste as good as the ones I bake from scratch (or close enough).





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

In my previous post in this series about my successful keto diet weight loss journey, I shared some of my favorite baking mixes and recipes for low carb keto muffins and cupcakes. I’ve decided to continue the theme of low carb, keto-friendly treats with my quick and easy, no-cook recipe for a scrumptious chocolate pudding that’s high in protein, dietary fiber, and calcium, and fairly low in net carbs.

Photo collage main image - Keto / Low Carb / Sugar Free Chocolate Yogurt Pudding with Granola and White Chocolate Chips
My no-cook keto chocolate yogurt pudding or parfait recipe
is luscious, healthy, and high in protein, fiber, and calcium

A Rich, Decadent Chocolate Yogurt Pudding That's Nutritious as Well as Delicious!

I've always enjoyed cooking for other people. But since our household consists of just my husband and me, and he doesn't follow a low carb diet, I'd rather spend time doing things other than cooking meals just for myself. Like most people who follow a ketogenic diet, I'm always looking for more quick and easy, tasty, healthy, low carb breakfasts and lunches to add variety to my meals. And, since I don't eat fish or seafood, and trying to get enough protein just from meat, poultry and eggs can get boring pretty quickly. 

When I was researching keto-friendly foods, I had discovered that many of the sources of protein I used to eat frequently, such as Gardein plant-based crispy "chicken" tenders, are too high in carbohydrates and/or contain wheat or other grains that aren't compatible with a ketogenic eating framework. 

One important exception was plain, full-fat yogurt, with no added sugar or artificial ingredients. (Reduced-fat yogurt tends to have more sugar and/or other ingredients added to make them thicker and creamier, to compensate for the reduced fat content.) After a bit more online research, the consensus seemed to be that Fage (pronounced "Fah-Yay") Total 5% Milkfat plain Greek yogurt had the least tangy taste, creamiest texture, and best nutritional profile in terms of keto macros (low carb, high protein, high fat). 

I bought a container and found it had a much milder taste and smoother, creamier mouthfeel than the low-fat and no-fat plain Greek yogurts I used to buy to use as a lower-calorie, lower-fat, higher-protein alternative to sour cream before I switched to keto. In fact, I was surprised to discover that, unlike the reduced-fat varieties or even plain full-fat Greek yogurt from other popular brands, the Fage Total 5% Milkfat Greek yogurt was good enough to eat straight from the container, if I wanted to toss some into a lunch bag for a quick, on-the-go snack or light meal and didn't have time to add anything to it. But, since I much prefer flavored to unflavored yogurt, I started experimenting with different low carb mix-ins to make it more interesting.

Luckily, one of my first experiments turned out to be my favorite (so far): mixing the full-fat, plain Greek yogurt with my favorite unsweetened cocoa powder (Ghirardelli Majestic Premium) and keto-friendly sweetener (Bocha Sweet), plus a touch of pink Himalayan salt and pure vanilla extract to enhance the flavor of the cocoa. 

The first time I made this cocoa-flavored yogurt dish, I couldn't believe how luscious it was. It tasted like a rich, creamy, delectable chocolate pudding. In fact, if I hadn't known that the main ingredient was Greek yogurt, I never would have guessed. 

In addition to the fabulous taste and texture, it was high in protein, fat, and calcium, and low in net carbs and calories—a low carb or keto dieter's dream!

Making This Indulgent, Low Carb Chocolate Pudding Recipe Even Yummier and Healthier

After a few months, it occurred to me that a crunchy topping might provide a nice contrast to the creamy consistency of this chocolate yogurt pudding. I decided to try sprinkling it with my favorite Livlo chocolate hazelnut keto granola, which did, indeed, make this heavenly sweet treat even better.

Delighted as I was with this new twist, however, I still hadn't quite finished tinkering with the recipe. For most of us who follow a ketogenic diet, one of the challenges is how to get enough dietary fiber from the food we eat while staying within our net carbs macro limit. So, I wanted to increase the dietary fiber in my chocolate yogurt pudding, preferably in a way that would further enhance its deliciousness.

I decided that topping it with some ChocZero sugar free white chocolate chips as well as the chocolate hazelnut granola not only would boost the fiber content significantly, but would also add another layer of texture and flavor.

One taste, and I was in heaven. I could just hear an announcer's voice in my head, preceded by three rings of the bell: (ding, ding, ding) "We have a winner, ladies and gentlemen!"

Sometimes, I layer one-third of the cocoa-flavored Greek yogurt, one-third of the chocolate hazelnut granola, and one-third of the sugar free white chocolate chips in a small drinking glass, then repeat those layers two more times for an elegant pudding parfait.  

A Nutrition Profile That Fits Easily Within My Daily Keto Macros

Even though this rich, creamy pudding/parfait tastes positively sinful, it's actually a nutritious, guilt-free indulgence. In fact, this healthy, filling, protein-rich dish makes a great breakfast, lunch, dessert, or snack!

Even after reaching my goal weight a few months ago, I still track everything I eat or drink in the Carb Manager app. So, before I prepare a new recipe—my own or someone else's—I always enter it into the app so it can calculate the keto macros and other nutrients I track, such as dietary fiber. According to Carb Manager's calculations, each serving of this sumptuous, low carb chocolate yogurt pudding or parfait contains just under 15 grams of fat, roughly 13 grams of high quality protein, 6.4 grams of dietary fiber (a little less than 25% of the FDA's daily value (DV), based on a 2,000-calorie diet), 5.5 grams of net carbs, and 236 calories, if it's made with the ingredient brands and amounts specified in the recipe. It also provides 137.1 mg of calcium, or 10% of the FDA's 1300 mg DV.

As you can see from this iPhone screenshot after I entered it into the app, Carb Manager gave this recipe a "Keto Grade: A" rating. 
Image: screenshot of keto macros for recipe on Carb Manager app
Carb Manager calculates the macros for this low carb keto pudding

Note: Substituting different brands or amounts of the ingredients for those specified in recipe will alter both the taste and the nutrition of this chocolate yogurt pudding.

Eating a bowl of rich, creamy, chocolate yogurt pudding topped with chocolate hazelnut granola and white chocolate chips for breakfast is an incredibly luxurious treat!


Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding or Parfait (No-Cook Recipe)

Prep Time:

5 minutes

Cook Time:

0 minutes

Makes:

1 serving


Ingredients


Directions

  1. Measure and set out all the ingredients. (I like to lay them out on a sheet of wax paper.)
Photo of Livlo keto granola, pink Himalayan salt, Bocha Sweet sugar replacement, Ghirardelli Majestic Premium cocoa powder, Penzeys vanilla extract, ChocZero sugar free white chocolate chips, and Fage Total 5% Milkfat plain Greek yogurt
Keto chocolate yogurt granola chip pudding/parfait
ingredients measured? Check!
  1. Add the Greek yogurt, cocoa powder, Bocha Sweet, pink Himalayan salt, and vanilla extract to a small bowl. 
Photo: bowl with chocolate yogurt pudding ingredients before mixing, with granola and white chocolate chips to be added later
Chocolate yogurt pudding ingredients, ready to stir together
before adding the granola and white chocolate chip toppings
  1. Stir well until the mixture is smooth and creamy, and the color is a uniform, medium cocoa brown.
  1. To serve as a pudding: Spoon the chocolate yogurt into a small serving dish. Sprinkle the top with the Livlo Granolō keto granola and ChocZero sugar free white chocolate chips.
image - bowl of prepared keto chocolate yogurt pudding topped with sugar free granola and white chocolate chips
My delicious, nutritious keto chocolate yogurt pudding recipe
is high in protein and fiber, and low in net carbs and calories
  1. To serve as a parfait: Spread 1/3 of the chocolate mixture into an even layer in the bottom of a clear juice glass (or similar small, narrow glass). Top with 1/3 of the granola and 1/3 of the white chocolate chips. Repeat these layers twice more. Garnish with an organic fresh raspberry or blueberry, if desired.

    Note: We don't own any juice glasses, so I had to make my pudding parfait in an 11-ounce Old Fashioned whiskey glass. If you layer the parfait components in a smaller, narrower, 5- to 6-ounce glass, the banding layers will be more distinct and result in a more attractive presentation.
Photo of prepared keto chocolate yogurt granola chip parfait recipe, served in a small glass
Layer the chocolate yogurt, granola, and
white chocolate chips in a small glass
to turn this pudding into a parfait

Optional Additional Toppings 

Organic Fresh Raspberries

I adore organic fresh raspberries, and I try to include them in my daily menus as often as possible. As you can see, I garnished the pudding and parfait in the recipe photographs with a ripe, red raspberry for a pop of bright color. And one of my favorite ways to enjoy my low carb keto chocolate yogurt granola white chocolate chip pudding is topped with 1/4 cup of fresh raspberries, which adds 0.2 grams of fat, 0.3 grams of protein, 1.8 grams of dietary fiber, 1.3 grams of net carbs, and just 13 calories.

Freshly Whipped Heavy Cream

Whether you're eating a bowl of freshly-picked berries or a slice of sugar-free, grain-free, low carb pie or cake, nearly everything sweet tastes better with a dollop of homemade, freshly whipped cream! Fortunately, heavy cream is very low in carbohydrates, so those of us who eat keto can enjoy a spoonful or two.

Look for organic heavy cream with the highest butterfat content you can find, preferably from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows that have never been given antibiotics or synthetic hormones. In the US, this usually means heavy cream, also called heavy whipping cream (aka HWC), which typically has a 36-38% butterfat content. If you can find it, double cream (48% butterfat), sometimes sold at gourmet food shops, is even better. (Avoid regular "whipping cream," which has a butterfat content of only around 30%.) Cream with a higher butterfat content whips more easily, usually has less lactose (natural milk sugar), and is extremely low in carbohydrates.

For the best results, make sure the cream is very cold, and chill a small mixing bowl by putting it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 15 minutes. Pour the cold cream into the chilled bowl and stir in a little pure vanilla extract. If you wish, sweeten the vanilla cream lightly with a little powdered aka confectioner's style keto-friendly sweetener. My favorite by far is Bocha Sweet Powdered Sugar Replacement. Using an electric mixer with a metal whisk attachment, whip the flavored cream on medium-high speed until it forms soft, billowing, medium peaks.

The Ultimate Keto Chocolate Yogurt Pudding Parfait

For an ultra-decadent dessert, top your serving of chocolate yogurt granola white chocolate chip pudding or parfait with fresh raspberries and whipped cream, if it fits within your macros or you want a small splurge to celebrate your birthday, anniversary, Valentine's Day, or another special occasion.

How Much Is a Pinch, Dash, Tad, Smidgen, or Drop of a Recipe Ingredient?

Even though I'm an experienced home cook and baker, I learned only recently that "tad," "dash," "pinch," "smidgen," and "drop" weren't simply vague approximations for ingredient quantities used by lazy recipe writers or people like my Russian grandmother, who learned to cook and bake at the knee of her own mother and grandmother as they showed her how to make their family's traditional recipes. These delicious, old-world recipes, passed down through the generations from mother to daughter, were rarely, if ever, written down, and the ingredients were measured by eye or, in some cases, by the feel of the dough, rather than with measuring cups or spoons.

 For modern cooks and bakers, each of those old-fashioned recipe measurements has become associated with a specific fraction of a teaspoon. A tad is 1/4 teaspoon, a dash is 1/8 teaspoon, a pinch is 1/16 teaspoon, a smidgen is 1/32 teaspoon, and a drop is 1/64 teaspoon. (Who knew?)

Image of set of five mini measuring spoons
These mini measuring spoons take the guesswork
out of measuring small amounts of seasonings
Unfortunately, knowing that you need 1/32 teaspoon of salt isn't much help if your smallest measuring spoon is 1/4 of a teaspoon (or even 1/8 teaspoon, depending on the set you have). I've run into this problem when often I've tried to cut down a recipe to make only half, a third, or a quarter of the original amount. 

Is it a big deal? It depends on what you're making. 

Guesstimating very small quantities of salt, pepper, herbs or spices may be fine if you're making a stew, for example, since you can easily adjust the seasoning to taste. But if you're baking, which is based on creating and controlling chemical reactions to product the desired result, measuring small amounts ingredients like baking powder, baking soda, yeast, and salt precisely can be essential to ensure a successful outcome. 

So, when I found a well designed, well made set of mini measuring spoons to complement (and supplement) my conventional-size measuring spoon sets, I didn't hesitate to order it. 

I looked at several different sets of mini measuring spoons before ultimately choosing the New Star Foodservice 42924 Stainless Steel Mini Measuring Spoons Set, for several reasons:

  • It has more than 6,000 5-star ratings and glowing reviews on Amazon.
  • The handles are stamped with measurements in both words and fractions of a teaspoon, and these permanent markings are large and easy to read, even for my aging eyes. 
    • Most of the other mini measuring spoon sets I found were marked with word measurements (tad, dash, pinch, smidgen, drop) only.
  • The spoons have oval bowls that fit easily into even the narrowest herb and spice container openings.
  • These sturdy stainless steel mini measuring spoons are dishwasher safe.
I've been using them for several months and couldn't be happier with my choice.

The Right Ingredients Make a Big Difference 

This quick and easy, low carb chocolate yogurt pudding recipe consists simply of plain Greek yogurt, stirred together with unsweetened cocoa, sweetener, salt, and vanilla extract, and then sprinkled with keto granola and sugar free white chocolate chips. And, because none of these components is transformed through cooking or baking, the flavor of each ingredient really comes through.

Of course, you certainly can use alternatives to the brands and products I recommend for this recipe, if you wish. However, they may not be as keto-friendly, and may have a negative affect on the pudding's taste, nutrition, or both. If you do choose to make any ingredient substitutions or other changes, I highly recommend that you use Carb Manager or a similar app to calculate the recipe's nutrition based on your changes, so you can track your macros and other nutrients accurately.

Full-Fat, Plain Greek Yogurt

Fage Total 5% Milkfat Plain Greek Yogurt has a mild flavor, a smooth, rich, creamy texture, and fewer carbs than most other full-fat Greek yogurt brands. The 1/2 cup of Fage Total 5% Milkfat Plain Greek Yogurt used in this recipe has only 3.5 grams of net carbs, 0 grams of fiber, 5.5 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, and 105 calories.

Pink Himalayan Salt

Pink Himalayan salt is mined from massive salt beds that formed in a region of Pakistan where large seas dried up during the Jurassic era, more than 250,000,000 years ago. Through the ages, the salt flats became embedded deep in what is now the Himalayan Mountains, where over time, local weather events, erosion, and water leached minerals into the buried salt, giving this highly prized salt its characteristic taste and pink color. 

I've been enjoying The Spice Lab's Fine Pink Himalayan Salt, which has a deeper pink color than many of its competitors, indicating its superior quality and high mineral content. It's also available in finer and coarser grinds.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

As a chocolate lover and avid baker, I've tried many brands of high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder over the years, and keep both natural (non-alkalized) and Dutch-processed (alkalized) varieties on hand for different uses. A couple of years ago, I tried a canister of Ghirardelli Majestic Premium Cocoa Powder and was instantly wowed! This high-quality, nib-alkalized unsweetened cocoa powder imparts a deep, rich flavor unlike any other unsweetened cocoa powder I've used, including those from much more expensive brands, including high-end chocolatiers such as Valrhona. 

The biggest surprise was discovering how versatile it is! I love using it for baking, in recipes that call for Dutch-processed rather than natural cocoa powder. It dissolves well in hot almond, cashew, or macadamia milk to make low-carb hot cocoa. And in a recipe like this one, where it isn't being heated, it mixes into the Greek yogurt beautifully and tastes amazing!

Keto-Friendly, Plant-Derived Sweetener

Since May 2019, when I started my weight loss journey and committed to a very low carb lifestyle, I've purchased nearly every type of keto-friendly sweetener or sweetener blend on the market. Allulose is excellent, but Bocha Sweet Sugar Replacement is far-and-away my favorite. Bocha Sweet sugar replacement is a zero-calorie, zero-glycemic sweetener derived from organically grown, non-GMO kabocha, a Japanese variety of winter squash similar to pumpkin. Unlike most keto-friendly sweeteners, it tastes almost exactly like cane sugar and can replace it spoon-for-spoon and cup-for-cup when baking, cooking, or sweetening beverages such as coffee, tea, or cocoa. Like most high-quality, keto-friendly counterparts to inexpensive, nutrient-poor, highly processed ingredients, Bocha Sweet costs significantly more than white table sugar. But since even my husband, who loves addictive, high carb, nutritionally bankrupt sweet treats, agrees that the way it looks, acts, and tastes is virtually identical to regular cane sugar with none of the drawbacks, the higher price is well worth it to us.

Pure Vanilla Extract

I'm definitely a purist when it comes to vanilla extract, and have always try to buy the best I can afford. When the price of vanilla started to skyrocket a few years ago, I stocked up several large bottles of Penzeys delicious pure double strength vanilla extract. Unfortunately, the Penzeys vanilla extract contains a little added sugar, and since I'm now trying to minimize foods with added sugar in my diet, when I eventually finish going through my current "inventory," I'll probably be replacing it with another high-quality pure vanilla extract that has no sugar added, such as Nielsen-Massey No Sugar Added Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract or Rodelle Gourmet Pure Vanilla Extract.

Low Carb Granola

I've purchased several different brands and flavors of low-carb granola over the past few months. So far, my favorites are Livlo Granolō Chocolate Hazelnut Keto Granola and Livlo Granolō Cinnamon Almond Pecan Keto Granola. Either flavor, or a 50/50 mix of both, is wonderful in this chocolate Greek yogurt pudding or parfait recipe. I also like putting one to two tablespoons in a small custard cup or saucer and nibbling them very slowly, which makes a sweet, satisfying, high-protein snack. And a small topped with nut milk or heavy cream stays crunchy as you eat it. 

Keto-Friendly White Chocolate Chips

I love ChocZero No Sugar Added White Chocolate Baking Chips, which not only taste great but also are high in fiber, so I use them often in many different ways. Unfortunately, the demand for these creamy white chocolate chips is so high that they're often out of stock. I've learned to order multiple bags at a time and keep some in the freezer so I don't run out.

Lily's Stevia Sweetened White Chocolate Baking Chips, while not as tasty in my opinion, can be used instead in this recipe if you can't get hold of the ChocZero white chocolate chips.

If You Could Have Any Greek Yogurt Pudding or Parfait, Which Flavor(s) Would You Choose? 

I hope this post has helped to spark your imagination and interest you in experimenting with other ingredients and your own flavor combinations for transforming plain-Jane, full-fat Greek Yogurt into a tasty, low carb, high protein, sweet or savory pudding, dip, topping or spread. If so, please come back and share your favorite discoveries in the comments.

Also, if I've inspired you to try making my recipe for this healthy, nutritious and sinfully delicious Keto Chocolate Yogurt Pudding Parfait topped with chocolate hazelnut granola and white chocolate chips, I'd love to know what you think, and whether you love it as much as I do. 


Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding or Parfait Recipe by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

My First Year on The Keto Diet


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Contributors




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Sunday, August 30, 2020

These Keto Nuggets are Too Good - Resist the Temptation!

These Keto Nuggets are Too Good!

My friend and fellow writer on ReviewThisReviews, Margaret, has written an extensive series on Keto. If you're considering Keto as a way of eating, be sure to check out her helpful ongoing advice and tips. Her latest detailed and very informative article was on Keto Muffins.

Being a Keto warrior myself for about a year and a half, I have a bit of keto experience under my very loose belt now. This brief review is specifically about one particular Keto product I recently tried.

Here's a photo of it:




Am I Serious About Not Buying This?


For me, yes, lol. If you love a bit of crunch, not too much sweetness, and something the size of more significant popcorn pieces, these are calling your name.

I'm not a sweets person: I can take sweets or leave them. However, there's something about this Keto treat that challenged my self-control! My usual food discipline was weakened for the first time in a year and a half on Keto.

I've lost over 60 pounds to date, and honestly, I won't keep these Keto Nuggets in the house any longer. Isn't it funny that something is too good?

They contain just what the package says; dark chocolate, pecans, almonds, and hemp seed. I'm so grateful I ate the entire bag in three days because just typing this would send me looking for it.

The Keto Numbers on Keto Nuggets


According to the package, one serving of nuggets is 20 grams, that's about three-quarters of an ounce. That one serving is broken down as follows: 4 net carbs, 6 total carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 9 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein, and 120 calories. That's undoubtedly Keto friendly. However, stopping at one serving is the problem.

If you feel you can stop eating these at a couple ounces, go for it. I honestly struggled with limiting my intake, and I rarely struggle with food on Keto!

Would I Recommend These as a Keto Treat?


Absolutely. Keto Nuggets are fantastic; however, they lead me into temptation, and I had to deliver myself from food evil. For you, they may be just fine. Consider yourself warned, they're delicious.

I live in Canada and purchased these at our local Costco. I did check Amazon to see if they carried it (in case you wanted it, not me!); however, the Keto Nuggets they sell are higher in carbs and not precisely the same as the one I've featured here. They were an excellent price at Costco; on sale for about $10 - which is why I grabbed them. Tell me the store guru's don't know what they're doing.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Keto Cupcakes & Muffins main image - text over photo collage
Enjoying low carb baked goods helps me stick to my ketogenic diet

In spring 2019, after the medical scare that motivated me to get serious about losing at least 50 pounds and become significantly leaner to reduce my risk for cancer and heart disease, a ketogenic diet was one of several options I considered. One of my biggest concerns about keto was whether–and how–I could stay on such a restrictive diet for however long it would take to lose that weight.

I didn’t think I could, nor did I want to, commit to a way of eating that prohibited all baked goods, since I estimated that it would probably take a year, or maybe longer, to reach my healthy weight loss goal. And, based on what I had read during my extensive research on the ketogenic diet approach, most recipes for keto baked goods turned out dry, dense, and with an unpleasant aftertaste from the sweetener. To be successful on an extremely low carb diet, I could find ways to incorporate keto-friendly baked goods that didn’t taste like cardboard!

When I thought about which ones would be most helpful in staying on track long-term, I initially narrowed my focus to muffins, cupcakes, cake, bread, and rolls, including hamburger buns. I tried a lot of recipes, many of which I didn't care for, but was able to find some I liked. I also sampled an array of keto-friendly baking mixes, limiting them to ones that were made with simple, high-quality ingredients, mostly the same ones I used in my homemade low carb baked goods. Again, some weren't up to my standards, but others were a very pleasant surprise.

Today, I'm sharing my favorite baking mixes (so far) for making keto-friendly muffins and cupcakes, as well as some recipes I can recommend, and the variations and add-on ingredients I use frequently. I'll also include some tree nut and coconut free options. (I'll do the same for other types of baked goods in future posts.)


Keto Baking Mixes vs. Recipes: Pros and Cons

I've been an avid baker all my life and have always enjoyed baking. And, of course, it always costs less when you only have to pay for the ingredients. However, I've found that when it comes to making my own keto baked goods, there's often more prep time and more ingredients needed than with conventional recipes (which also means more measuring cups, spoons, etc., to wash).

In addition to being less expensive, many of us generally prefer to bake from scratch to ensure that our treats are made with wholesome, nutritious, high quality ingredients, and because if you're a reasonably good home baker, they usually taste better than those made from a commercial mix (such as Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker, or even Krusteaz). However, the keto-friendly baking mixes I'm sharing here are made with the same foods I would use in my favorite low-carb baking recipes (with only a couple of exceptions), and most taste even better than many of their scratch-baked counterparts.

Another very important consideration for anyone tracking their macros is that many of the best keto recipes for cupcakes and muffins I've tried are significantly higher in calories, net carbs, and fat than treats made from the mixes I've included here.

Since last year, low carb food manufacturers have been really stepping up their game. There are many more options and much better tasting baking mixes than when I started in 2019. So, whether you prefer double chocolate chip cupcakes or savory (faux) corn muffins, I encourage you to give some of the mixes I recommend a try. You may find, as I do, that the taste and texture of your keto baked goods, the convenience, and not having to stock your pantry and freezer with a range of new, more expensive, and often perishable ingredients might be worth the higher cost.


Keto Blueberry Muffins or Cupcakes

HighKey Blueberry Muffin & Cupcake Baking Mix

HighKey Snacks makes some wonderful products for people who follow a ketogenic diet. I keep a wide range of them in my cupboard at all times, especially their baking mixes and mini cookies. Their HighKey Blueberry Muffin & Cupcake Baking Mix, which I usually order on Amazon with free Amazon Prime shipping, produces a nice, tender, cake-like muffin.

The mix uses a combination of coconut flour and almond flour for a tender texture that's a cross between a muffin and a cupcake. It's sweetened with HighKey's proprietary natural sweetener blend that includes erythritol, allulose, stevia and monk fruit, as well as soluble tapioca fiber (resistant dextrin), a non-digestible carbohydrate that the FDA considers a dietary fiber.

Prepared according to the package instructions with 4 eggs, 1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk, and 1/3 cup coconut oil, each blueberry muffin has only 1g net carbs, 140 calories, 12g fat, 7g dietary fiber, 0g added sugars, and 4g protein.

If you can afford a few extra net carbs in your daily keto macros, these individual treats taste even better with some extra fresh or frozen blueberries, especially wild blueberries that are plentiful in Maine during the season. They have much better, more intense flavor than regular blueberries, and they're also tiny, which means the fruit can be more evenly distributed when it's mixed into the batter. If you don't live in New England, or when wild blueberries are out of season, Wyman's of Maine brand frozen wild blueberries are an excellent alternative to fresh berries.

You can also add a little finely grated fresh lemon zest and/or lemon extract (but not lemon juice), if you'd like.

Blueberry Muffins Recipe With Almond Flour

One of the first cookbooks I bought when I started my keto weight loss journey was The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook by Maya Krampf, and the first think I tried from it was the blueberry muffins recipe. They turned out very good, if slightly dry (it's possible I might have overbaked them a smidge). And split, lightly toasted and buttered, they were delicious!

They're sweetened with erythritol, but since the book was published Maya Krampf has come out with her own line of Besti sweeteners, including a granulated monk fruit and erythritol blend that can be substituted 1:1 for erythritol in baked goods recipes.

Note that these homemade muffins are significantly higher in calories, fat, protein, and net carbs than those made with the HighKey mix: 5g net carbs, 254 calories, 23g fat, 0g added sugars, and 8g protein. (The recipe's nutrition information doesn't include dietary fiber.)

Photo of The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook and prepared blueberry muffins recipe
The almond flour blueberry muffins I made with the
recipe from The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook


Keto Chocolate Cupcakes or Muffins

HighKey Double Chocolate Chip Muffin & Cupcake Baking Mix

Given my chocoholic tendencies, you may have guessed my favorite low carb cupcakes or muffins flavor is double chocolate chip. I make them from HighKey Double Chocolate Chip Muffin & Cupcake Baking Mix often, and usually mix 1/2 cup of sugar-free ChocZero white chocolate baking chips into the batter. (Does that make them Double Chocolate Double Chip, or Triple Chocolate Chip?)

The texture falls somewhere between a cupcake and a muffin. I think of them as the former when I eat them for dessert, and as the latter when I enjoy them as a decadent breakfast treat.

The mix requires 4 eggs, 1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk, and 1/3 cup coconut oil to yield 12 servings. Like the HighKey blueberry mix, it's sweetened with HighKey's proprietary natural sweetener blend, which includes erythritol, allulose, stevia and monk fruit.

Prepared according to the package directions, one serving of these sumptuous treats has only 1g net carbs, 120 calories, 10g fat, 5g dietary fiber, 0g added sugars, and 4g protein.

The optional ChocZero white chocolate chips add not only a complementary flavor but also a bit of extra dietary fiber, which can be hard to get enough of on an extremely low carb diet.

photo of prepared HighKey Double Chocolate Muffin & Cupcake Baking Mix Chip
I made these decadent, fudgy treats with HighKey Double Chocolate Chip
Muffin & Cupcake Baking Mix and ChocZero white chocolate chips

Low Carb Chocolate Muffins and Cupcakes Recipes

Here are a few good ones to try.

Keto Chocolate Cupcakes recipe from Wholesome Yum

Keto Double Chocolate Muffins recipe from All Day I Dream About Food

Keto Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe from My Keto Kitchen (I haven't tried this one yet, but it has a 5-star rating with 230 votes - a pretty good endorsement in my book!)


Keto (Faux) Corn Muffins

Good Dee's Corn Bread Mix

Real corn is a major no-no on a ketogenic diet, which is a bit of a bummer for those of us who love all things corn. Fortunately, it's possible to bake something that gives us something that is sort of reminiscent of cornbread that is also very low carb, if you set realistic expectations for how "corny" something with no corn in it can taste. And if you're going to top it with keto chili, for example, it does very nicely, indeed.These days, my favorite way to make faux corn muffins is with

Good Dee’s Corn Bread Low Carb Baking Mix. (The package says “Corn Free Bread,” with the word "free" in much smaller letters than "corn" and "bread" for truth-in-advertising purposes.) The directions, which are based on making cornbread in an 8-inch pan, say to bake at 325 F for 18-23 minutes. I divide my batter among 12 silicone baking liners and bake until the muffins test done (i.e., a wooden toothpick stuck into the center comes out without any uncooked batter). That takes around 12-15 minutes, if I remember correctly.

I boost the corn flavor by adding Amoretti Sweet Corn Extract to the batter. It costs more than other brands, but has really good flavor and is keto-friendly. And, since I don't make corn muffins or bread that often, the 2-ounce bottle lasts me quite a while.

This mix makes faux corn muffins that are neither savory nor sweet and contain just a hint of stevia extract. They're perfect for adding shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese, with or without chopped jalapeño or other chili peppers, if you're so inclined, or you can add a little erythritol, monkfruit, BochaSweet (pentose), or a blend, if you prefer yours on the sweeter side.

Prepared with 3 large eggs, 3 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter, and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar according to the package directions, these low carb cornbread muffins have 1g net carbs, 130 calories, 11g fat, 5g dietary fiber, 0g added sugars, and 4g protein. The optional teaspoon or two of Amoretti sweet corn extract adds negligible calories or fat and no net carbs per serving.

Photo of keto cornbread muffins
Tasty keto corn muffins made with Good Dee's Corn Bread
Low Carb Baking Mix and Amoretti Sweet Corn Extract


Keto Banana Muffins

Keto and Co Banana Caramel Muffin Mix

I love banana bread and cupcakes, and I really missed them after I adopted my new low carb lifestyle. Then, I discovered the awesome Banana Caramel Keto Muffin Mix by Keto and Co, which makes extremely moist, tender, and flavorful muffins that taste as though they were made with real mashed, ripe bananas, yet they contain no fruit at all. They have a slightly sticky, chewy texture similar to almond macaroons (yum!).

This mix is sweetened with the company's proprietary Wondrose Sugar Replacer, a mix of erythritol, non-GMO soluble corn fiber, inulin, monk fruit and natural flavors.

Each bag of mix, which calls for 4 large eggs, 6 tablespoons of melted butter, and 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, makes 9 banana cupcakes or muffins.

I like to amp up the banana flavor even more with 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of OliveNation Pure Banana Extract, which has 0 net carbs, no added sugars, and no calories when used as directed for baking (the alcohol burns off in the oven). These muffins are even better if you add 1/3 cup of ChocZero sugar-free dark chocolate chips or white chocolate chips.

To make them into cupcakes, simply cover the tops with a swirl of keto-friendly frosting.

Photo of keto banana caramel muffins
I love adding ChocZero sugar-free white or dark chocolate chips when I bake Keto and Co Banana Caramel Keto Muffin Mix batter


Keto Banana Muffin Recipes

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe from Joy Filled Eats

Low Carb Banana Muffins recipe with cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips from Sugar Free Londoner Note: This recipe is flavored with one very ripe banana, which is why it has nearly 8 net carbs. But if you really dislike recipes that use banana extract and you can fit it into your macros, you might want to make a batch of these and freeze them, so you can have one occasionally as a treat.


Low Carb Carrot Muffins or Cupcakes

Good Dee's Carrot Muffin & Cake Mix

I've always been a big fan of carrot cake and muffins, so I was really happy to discover Good Dee's Carrot Muffin & Cake Mix. Instead of almond flour and/or coconut flour, it's made with watermelon seed flour and sunflower seed flour.

Although this mix contains erythritol and very small amount of stevia extract, it's not as sweet as many others, which is actually a very good thing. If you'd like it a bit sweeter, you can easily add a very little bit of additional erythritol and/or stevia extract or another alternative, such as granulated/crystallized allulose, monk fruit, or a blend of some or all of them. However, after several months on a fairly clean keto diet (which also means no artificial sweeteners that can spike your blood sugar and can feed your psychological sugar addiction), you are likely to find that your sweet tooth has diminished, and you may find yourself preferring your baked goods a bit less sweet. I kept hearing this from other people doing mostly clean keto, but never dreamed it could happen to me...until it did!

This mix also has some cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg, but it's pretty subtle. I prefer carrot muffins and cupcakes with a more prominent spice flavor, so I always add additional cinnamon and, often, a bit of powdered ginger. I highly recommend Penzeys Spices for fresh, high quality herbs, spices and pure vanilla extract at terrific prices.

This mix calls for 3 eggs, 1/3 cup melted coconut oil, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract for carrot muffins, or 4 eggs, 1/3 cup melted coconut oil, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract for carrot cake or cupcakes (follow the directions for the cake, but divide the batter into 12 silicone cupcake liners and bake for only 18-23 minutes). The "as prepared" nutrition information (which doesn't specify whether it's for cupcakes or muffins) listed on the package is 3g net carbs, 150 calories, 12g fat, 3g dietary fiber, 0g added sugars, and 4g protein.

Note: Although there are no tree nuts or coconut in the ingredients, the mix is manufactured in a dedicated gluten-free facility that also processes soy, milk, tree nuts, and eggs. So, if you have a severe food allergy to any of those things, this might not be an option for you.

Variation: Carrot Muffins with Nuts and/or Shredded Coconut

Traditionally, carrot muffins and carrot cake recipes often include crushed pineapple, raisins or dried cranberries, all of which are off-limits on a ketogenic diet. However, if you enjoy tree nuts and/or coconut and can tolerate them, these carrot cake muffins are even better if you add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut and/or chopped, lightly toasted walnuts or pecans to the batter.

While these additions will nudge the calories and net carbs a bit higher, they will also provide more healthy fat, dietary fiber and protein. I have tried several brands and prefer Anthony's Organic Unsweetened Shredded Coconut, which is great quality and costs less per ounce than many other high quality brands. I keep a 2-pound bag of it in our freezer.

Variation: Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Make the Carrot Muffins with Nuts and/or Shredded Coconut variation, then add a dollop or swirl of sugar-free cream cheese frosting to each serving. I recommend either the cream cheese frosting recipe from the Wholesome Yum website, or my favorite keto cream cheese frosting recipe on page 380 of The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking by Carolyn Ketchum, an absolutely fabulous cookbook that has become my go-to for low carb baking. If you want to learn how to make delicious keto muffins, cupcakes, layer cakes, frostings, cookies, doughnuts, gingerbread, brownies, pies, tarts, pizzas, crackers, bread, and more, this cookbook will become your keto baking bible. In addition to explaining simply and thoroughly the fundamentals of low carb baking, this book contains more than 150 sweet and savory baking recipes. And, while I haven't tried them all yet, every recipe I've made has been a winner.


Choose Your Flavor Muffin Mix

Good Dee's Low Carb Base Muffin Mix

You can whip up a batch of sweet or savory keto muffins in a jiffy by mixing in whatever flavoring ingredients you want into Good Dee's Low Carb Base Muffin Mix. This versatile mix makes a neutral muffin batter that you can customize to suit your individual preferences. Shredded cheese and bits of ham or crispy bacon, fresh raspberries or strawberries, shredded coconut and lemon zest, any flavor extract you can think of...the only limit is your imagination!

Image of Good Dee's Low Carb Base Muffin Mix package
Good Dee's low carb base muffin mix is a blank canvas
so you can flavor it with any ingredients you wish


Adapting Keto Baking Recipes for People with Tree Nut Allergies

Almond flour, alone or with coconut flour, is the foundation of most low-carb baking. While there are some recipes that use coconut flour and no almond flour, these two ingredients behave very differently in baked goods, and you can't simply substitute one for the other and end up with a successful result. That means most keto recipes for baked goods are off limits to people who suffer from severe tree nut allergies.

Fortunately, in most cases, sunflower seed flour, also called sunflower seed meal, can be substituted for almond flour, if you add a bit more than the recipe calls for to get the right consistency (you may need to experiment a bit).

Although I'm not allergic to tree nuts, last fall I wanted to make a recipe that called for this almond flour alternative. I ordered a bag of Gerb's sunflower seed meal, which is convenient and high quality, but also on the expensive side. So, when that bag is finished, if I want more, I'll make my own by grinding raw sunflower seeds in a clean coffee grinder and sifting it. This post from Carolyn Ketchum on how to make sunflower seed flour has some helpful and important tips.


My Favorite Silicone Baking Cups / Liners for Muffins and Cupcakes

Keto baked goods often don't release as easily as their conventional counterparts. So, whenever I make low carb muffins or cupcakes, I always scoop the batter into my favorite non-stick, reusable, Pantry Elements Silicone Cupcake Baking Cups / Liners. This set of 24 fluted silicone liners includes four each of six bright, cheerful rainbow colors—yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, and green—in a bonus see-through storage container. The silicone passes the "pinch test" for color, and they also can be used standalone without the support of a cupcake or muffin tin, which is how I usually use them, since my old wall oven died and we now use only our countertop oven, which won't accommodate a full-size cupcake pan. I use these wonderful silicone liners for baking at least every other week.

Note: I've also recommended these silicone cups previously, in my review of the best silicone cooking and baking tools and accessories.


Thoughts on Soluble Tapioca Fiber, Soluble Corn Fiber, and Inulin in Low Carb Mixes

Tapioca and corn are starches, and high-fructose corn syrup (aka HFCS) and maltodextrin are high carbohydrate sugars with a very high glycemic index. None of them should be eaten on a ketogenic diet. However, although it is derived from HFCS, soluble corn fiber (SCF) is a horse of an entirely different color! Soluble corn fiber is a resistant dextrin, a water-soluble dietary fiber that has other potential health benefits, such as increasing bone calcium retention in postmenopausal women. It adds viscosity and sweetness without spiking blood sugar levels, because it passes through the stomach and small intestine without being digested. Similarly, inulin, another soluble dietary fiber recognized by the FDA, also provides sweetness and has an extremely low glycemic index.

Some people argue that anything with a sweet taste should be avoided on a ketogenic diet because, they allege, continuing to eat sweet-tasting foods will simply feed your food addiction to sugar. They point to studies that suggest that consuming artificial sweeteners may affect the metabolism, and a recent study that suggests that merely tasting something sweet might alter our metabolism and glucose control. However, these studies were focused solely on sugar (sucrose) and artificial sweeteners sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), and saccharine, all of which affect blood sugar and metabolism differently than plant-based, low glycemic sweeteners such as erythritol, monk fruit and stevia. It doesn't seem scientifically valid to draw conclusions about the metabolic effects of anything that tastes sweet based on extrapolating findings about effects of sugar and artificial sweeteners.

I have been eating foods containing soluble tapioca fiber, soluble corn fiber, and inulin for more than a year, while losing 58 pounds on my ketogenic diet, and I successfully kicked my sugar addiction and enjoy, but no longer crave, sweet foods. There are many, many others who have had similar experiences. As always, your mileage may vary.

Also, different people metabolize carbohydrates differently. If you have any concerns about how any type of sweetener might affect your blood sugar (especially if you are pre-diabetic or diabetic) or your ability to stay in ketosis, or just try adding plant-based sweeteners in limited amounts for a month, without changing anything else about what, when, and how much you eat, and see whether it seems to affect your weight loss.


High Quality Keto Baking Ingredients & Mixes Cost More Than Flour, Sugar, and Honey

The only significant downside of my ketogenic lifestyle is a noticeably higher grocery bill, despite purchasing less food on our shopping trips. Whole, high quality, nutritious foods are cost significantly more than processed foods, pizza, rice, grains, and traditional baked goods, especially since I try to choose mostly foods that are organic, non-GMO, grass-fed, pasture-raised, etc., when possible (and practical). And for baking, ingredients like almond flour, coconut flour, psyllium husk powder, and high quality, naturally-derived sweeteners, such as monk fruit extract, stevia extract, erythritol, allulose, and my personal favorite, BochaSweet (pentose) that have a low glycemic load, are more expensive than their far less nutritious conventional counterparts, such as wheat flour, cornstarch, sugar and honey.

But I consider the added expense a small price to pay, compared to the extremely high financial, emotional, and quality of life costs of developing and being treated for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or another serious and potentially life-threatening illness, for which my obesity put me at much higher risk. And the ability to enjoy life so much more, now that I feel (and look) so much better, free from my prior chronic joint pain and inflammation, with more energy and verve than I could have imagined, is priceless.


Want Even More Low Carb Cupcakes and Muffins?

Bookmark this page and check back often over the next few weeks. I'll be updating this review with more of my favorite keto recipes and baking mixes for the best muffins and cupcakes to enjoy on a ketogenic diet.


Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet
by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Parfait Recipe

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

My First Year on The Keto Diet


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Contributors




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:


The Review This Contributors

Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasBev OwensBev OwensWednesday ElfWednesday ElfBarbRadBarbRadOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010RenaissanceWomanLou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelSam MonacoSam MonacoRaintree AnnieRaintree AnnieBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecoratingforEventsHeather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G

 

Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

“As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement

X