If you follow a paleo, primal, low-starch, wheat-free, gluten-free, grain-free, low GI, dairy-free, whole foods, or real foods diet and you’re getting away from refined vegetable oils, refined sugar, starchy baked goods and sugary desserts, you don’t have to miss out on the appetizer or the dessert course. You can still make (or buy) and enjoy delicious treats for any occasion.
Enter White Lion Baking Company
At White Lion Bakery, everything is made from scratch using high-quality, all-natural ingredients free of chemical additives and preservatives. Unlike most bakeries, this Brookline, Massachusetts-based bakery uses blanched almond and coconut flours to replace wheat flour and the mostly-refined gluten-free flours commonly used in conventional gluten-free baked goods.
They use 100% paleo ingredients, such as grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and organic honey, to make their products. They use butter because it’s a real and traditional fat and coconut oil (because it’s healthier) rather than high-omega-6 vegetable oils, such as soy and corn oil. If you have a casein allergy or moderate to severe lactose intolerance, they can make their goodies completely dairy free (and even nut-free and egg-free!)
Why honey? Honey is much lower in fructose than popular sweeteners, such as agave nectar, and it is lower on the Glycemic Index than refined sugar. This, along with the high protein and fiber content of the almond and coconut flours they use, means that their baked goods will not raise your blood sugar the way baked goods made from refined sugar and grain-based flours are apt to.
The result? Delicious, all natural, 100% grain-free, gluten-free treats that are low in refined sugar, high in protein and fiber, low in carbs, low on the glycemic index, and rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy mono-unsaturated fats.
If you have a nut allergy, they can substitute coconut flour. Almost any item can be made dairy-free upon request as well. They cater to almost any dietary preference or allergy can customize any product upon request.
The paleo road to success
The company’s founder, Elana Moir, who has a Masters Degree in Public Health, says she “has always been interested in nutrition, health and cooking.” She ran her own cake business in Melbourne, Australia, where she made decorated cakes for her customers. She followed a low carb diet for years before finding out about the paleo diet. She and her finance, John, started White Lion Bakery in early 2011, and are currently in the process of raising investment funding for a storefront to open in the new year.
When asked how she got into this way of eating, she says, “My personal trek into low-carbing led me into what I think is an even better way of eating—the paleo diet. No one introduced us –we just started reading about it online about a year ago, bought Robb Wolf’s, Nora Gedgaudas’ and Mark Sisson’s books and have never looked back.”
Elena is a firm believer that the paleo diet is the way humans were designed to eat and that it’s the best way to stay healthy, slim, and in good spirits. Her business partner and fiance, John, who is relatively new to the grain-free movement, says that he doesn’t miss grain like he thought he would. He says, “I’ve never felt better! It really IS effortless weight maintenance.”
When asked what inspired them to start their grain-free baking business, she says, “We were looking for a paleo treat one day and tried a recipe for an almond flour cookie we found online and that was what started it. We started making these for friends and family and branched out from there into savory buns, crackers, muffins etc.”
The taste test
I first learned about White Lion Baking Company from an advertisement in Cain Credicott’s Paleo Magazine. I emailed Elena and John to order some of their products since I’m always looking for new gluten-free, healthy food products to test, blog about, and share with my students, clients, and friends. I tried two of their biscuit varieties, their Paleo Cracker Sampler Pack, a Paleo Cookie Sampler Pack, and one of their bake mixes.
I tried two biscuits and shared the other two with friends. I thought they were okay but they didn’t wow me; my taste tester had the same reaction. The problem may have been that I neglected to freeze them on arrival so they sat in my fridge for 5 to 7 days before I tried them. Give them a try. I might try them again using the recommended storage method that I overlooked the first time.
The Paleo Cracker Sampler included 2 ounces of each of five flavors: Cheddar Cheese & Sea Salt, Onion & Dill, Rosemary & Thyme, Smoky Paprika Pecan, and Chili & Herb. I sampled all the flavors a few times each and shared the rest with a handful of friends.
Although I love herbs and spices and use them at every meal, every day, I liked the plain Cheddar Crackers best. One of my friends had the same preference. Some of my taste-testers preferred the Herb & Paprika-Pecan or Chili Crackers. I liked their small bite-size and their crunchy texture, which reminded me of the Wheat Thins I ate decades ago. Although they would be great spread with soft goat cheese or guacamole, or dunked in soup, I enjoyed them plain, served with a side salad and chicken or as a starter paired and topped with peeled, thinly sliced cucumber or (unpeeled) red radish rounds.
The Paleo Cookie Sampler Pack included two of each of their cookies: Double Chocolate Fantasy, Cranberry Walnut Craving, Raisin n’ Spice & Everything Nice, Tropical Chocolate Passion, Dark Chocolate Walnut. I kept one of each cookie for myself and shared the rest with several friends. They cookies were just the right size, not too large and not too sweet (just right, I thought!), and relatively low in carbs at 7 to 9 grams of carbohydrate per cookie, much lower than conventional grain- and sugar-based cookies. They were moist and soft yet had a firm texture with a slight crunch. For more crunch, you could heat them briefly in a toaster oven. My favorite: the Cranberry Walnut Craving (I loved the hint of orange zest). The ones with chocolate chips were also tasty.
You can make these goodies at home
White Lion Baking Company makes it easy for you to enjoy their baked goods fresh from your own oven. Their mixes, which retain their freshness for 8 weeks in the fridge or freezer, come in 11 flavors: Vanilla Cake Mix with White Chocolate Frosting, Cranberry Walnut Craving Cookie Mix, Dark Chocolate and Walnut Cookie Mix, Double Chocolate Fantasy Cookie Mix, Raisin n’ Spice and Everything Nice Cookie Mix, Tropical Chocolate Passion Cookie Mix, Cinnamon Bun Muffin Mix, Double Chocolate Cupcake Mix with Frosting, Pumpkin Muffin. They’re easy to use and would make great holiday or any-occasion gifts for health conscious people.
My 9-year-old neighbor, Abby, who loves to cook and bake with me, helped me measure out and assemble the Cinnamon Bun Muffin Mix. Instead of baking the batter in muffin tins, we used a doughnut baking pan. The package offered the option of frosting them but we left that step out. As a breakfast treat I think they’re great without any frosting. For a party or special occasion meal, I would definitely frost them. Our results were akin to cake doughnuts, which Abby and the other people I shared them with enjoyed. I thought they had a great cakey texture and were mildly sweet without being overpoweringly sweet. I think they’d be great baked in mini muffin tins to make bite size samples. My picture doesn’t do the mix justice!
White Lion just released a Paleo Granola Power Muffins. They liken it to a bowl of granola in a muffin that you can grab and take on the go. It’s packed with flax-seed meal, walnuts, almond flour, currants, pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and dates. It’s lightly sweetened with only dates and currants and contains 7.3 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and only 9 grams of carbs. You can order it online or by phone. Where else can you get a paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy free granola-style muffin with that kind of nutritional profile? I look forward to trying it.