When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I decided that low carb was the healthiest diet for me. Being a deep lover of dessert, however, my rationale and my sweet-tooth were at war with one another. Try as I did, I wasn’t happy without cookies in my life. Then one day, as the world of low carb baking began to blossom online, I met Carolyn Ketchum, creator of the low carb food blog All Day I Dream About Food. And sweetness returned.
Carolyn has been contributing to ASweetLife for over five years. She is as good a baker as it gets, a terrific writer, and also a dear friend. I couldn’t be more excited to share her first Low Carb Holiday Cookies Cookbook with you! It’s filled with amazing recipes for EVERYONE, not just people on a low carb diet. Carolyn and I had a little chat about her diabetes diagnosis, low carb baking, and she also gave me the scoop on a fun fact about her that you’ll never guess. I mean never!
When were you diagnosed with diabetes?
I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when pregnant with my third child, who is now 7 years old. And then a few months after she was born, it was apparent that I was pre-diabetic, because my blood sugar numbers kept creeping upward. My endocrinologist and I now agree that it would be full blown Type 2 diabetes if I weren’t managing it with a low carb diet and exercise.
How did you feel about the diagnosis? How did it change you?
No one is happy about a diagnosis of diabetes. I remember sitting on my floor, crying, thinking my enjoyment of cooking, baking, and eating was over. I was pretty devastated. But now I consider it one of the luckiest moments of my life. Because I had an opportunity to change before things got worse. I had an opportunity to take charge. And so I did.
What does baking mean to you?
Baking is my happy place. I love it, it relaxes me, and I daresay I am pretty damn good at it. [editor’s note: she is!] But Christmas-time baking has a special place in my heart. Nothing feels more joyful than sharing one’s bounty with other people. Nothing feels more festive than a plate full of fun and delicious holiday cookies.
What’s the most common question you get about low carb baking?
What’s the formula for subbing almond flour (or coconut flour) for wheat flour? Sorry, friends, there is no perfect formula. Because it all depends on how the rest of the recipe comes together and what the end product is supposed to be like. If it’s cakey, you may need more almond flour and more eggs. If it’s dry and crisp, you may need less almond flour and less oil. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
Do you have a lot of trial and error with recipes, or do they usually work out on the first try?
I flatter myself that most of them come out almost perfectly the first time. But I am not re-inventing the wheel each time, since many recipes build on ones that come before. Sometimes I am charting entirely new waters and I am more likely to have a few failures. And of course then there are the times I forget to add the leavening agent or the vanilla or what have you.
Do you limit yourself to a certain amount of treats per day? Or do you feel like you can eat freely since they are sugar-free?
Just because something is low carb and sugar-free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s full of great nutrition. If I were to fill up on cookies all day, where’s the room for protein and veggies? I try to stick to one or two per day. But I’ve been known to grab a cookie and slather it with peanut butter for breakfast. Sometimes you just need to!
What’s the most difficult dessert you’ve made?
I’m rather partial to making complicated layer cakes with multiple working parts. Fillings and frostings and such. Perhaps the most complicated one was a chocolate espresso torte for my husband’s birthday a few years ago.
What can you tell us about this cookbook?
It’s really a fun way to get into the world of low carb baking. Cookies are easier than cakes and a little less likely to fail, so it’s a good way to get your feet wet. And who doesn’t love holiday cookies?
WHAT YOU GET IN THIS BOOK:
21 of the best low carb holiday cookie and bar recipes from All Day I Dream About Food
4 ALL NEW, never-before-seen delicious recipes to make your holidays special
1 bonus recipe for sugar-free eggnog (because hey, it’s the holidays!)
Full colour photography
Nutritional analysis of each recipe
Advice on stocking your low carb pantry
My best tips and tricks for successful low carb baking
Do you have a favorite cookie recipe?
NO! That would be like asking me to pick a favourite among my children! But those pecan toffee bars are might fine…
What’s a fun fact that few know about you?
I once spent 6 months in Barbados, studying the color of the Vervet monkey’s testicles.
Whoa. On that note, let’s take it back to cookies. Get your cookbook here today!