15 tips + recipes for a sugar-free Easter

Posted on March 13th, 2012

It seems kind of early to be doing an Easter post. But, hey, Woolworths got in months ago. Aaaannndddd, a stack of you have been asking for ideas and recipes and… So. Here you go.

image via bhg.com

First, some chocolate thinkings… and some good news

Since I’ve been asked this a lot, I’ll share where I’m at with chocolate. I love the stuff. Like, really love the stuff. It makes me teary with appreciation and gratitude and astonishment that something can just (not just taste but) feel so viscerally good.

But I do chocolate differently now.

* I eat raw cacao a lot more…see below for some ideas. Or my I Quit Sugar book for recipe suggestions. Raw cacao is the unheated, less processed version of cocoa (the stuff that most chocolate is made from). When people talk about chocolate being a high source of antioxidants and magnesium…they’re talking about the raw stuff; heating diminishes a lot of the properties. Makes sense. I use Loving Earth’s raw organic cacao…you can buy it here.

* I eat a few squares of the commercial 85 per cent cocoa stuff. Or, sometimes, the 70 per cent stuff.  In a small serve (three big squares or so), that’s about 1.5 (or three)  teaspoons of sugar. I weigh it up. I would rather eat great fats and proteins and veggies all day, plus some chocolate, than negotiate over a fruit salad or some tomato sauce on a burger. I choose, at times, to get my sugar through a small amount of sugar.

But I observe myself. I can tend to blow out and want to scoff the whole block. I have to be mindful. But this in itself is a good thing. As I bang on and on and on about.

After being off sugar some time, this is possible. Some no-sugar peeps don’t advise this.

* In the IQS ebook, I lament that there really ain’t any commercial chocolate bars out there using a safe sugar alternative, like glucose, rice malt syrup, xylitol or stevia. Instead the sugar free chocolates use sugar alcohols – like maltitol – and agave, both of which should be avoided. However, since then I’ve struck some luck…read on…

15 tips for easter

1. Easy egg treats: mix 5 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted) with 3 tablespoons of raw cacao powder (more or less depending on taste) and 3 tablespoons of hazlenut meal and pour into Easter egg moulds (the kind that come as a tray of indented shapes), or mini cupcake patties (the ones used for making chocolates). Place in fridge for an hour.

2. How about this…how to make an egg love heart. Oh my. Serve on Easter morning for “they’ll never know all the other kids are having chocolate confection” fun.

3. What about some lemon poppy seed bunny cookies?

Lemon Poppy Seed Bunny Cookies

I found this recipe on Elana’s Pantry, a gluten-free blog. Simply swap the agave for 2 tablespoons of rice malt syrup.

  • 1 ¾ cup blanched almond flour
  • pinch celtic sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed [or olive or macadamia – Sarah] oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (packed)
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

In a large bowl combine almond flour and salt. In a smaller bowl combine oil, agave, vanilla and lemon zest.
Stir wet ingredients into dry, then work in poppy seeds. Roll dough out to ¼ inch thick.
Cut out little bunnies with a bunny cookie cutter. Bake at 180 C for 6-8 minutes, until golden brown around the edges

4. Make up the avocado chocolate mouuse from my ebook. So healthy. So chocolate-y.

5. Better still, serve it in an empty eggshell. My e-friend Aran at CanelleVanille did it recently with a custard. Clever egg that she is. (I’d suggest using a pastry bag or ziplock back with the corner snipped to do this.)

6. Whip up a batch of my chocolate nutballs. Simple. And a great recipe to let the kids make.

For just some plain old chocolate ideas, while I’m here:

7. If you live in the US, you might like these Dr Mercola bars.

8. David Gillespie has great chocolate ice cream and chocolate gelato recipes in The Sweet Poison Quit Plan. Just saying.

9. Good news

I found chocolate bars from Plamil Foods…organic chocolate sweetened with rice malt sugar, containing 3.8g sugar per 100g. The ingredients in this organic bar: Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Butter, Dehydrated Rice Syrup, Soya flour, Emulsifier : Sunflower Lecithin. You can buy them online from Vegan Perfection.

10. I’m also a big fan of Jemma’s Naked Treaties chocolates. Jemma’s Superfood Truffle and coconut bar are sweetened, but only minimally. Jemma handmakes them using 100% raw products. And blesses her ingredients each morning before she starts “cooking”. She tells me each ball contains one gram of fructose (I’m guessing less than 1/3 tsp of sugar). You can buy them direct from her shop in Byron, at a stack of outlets around the country.

11. Turn your muffin pan upside down, and bake biscuit or pastry dough (sweetened with stevia or other) over the top and  bowl for the avocado chocolate mousse, or David’s or sugar-free ice-cream above. Easter-ish I think. But even more so if you used a madeleine pan…a very egg-ish shape, no? (I found this here)

12. This is a simple series of videos for making and painting Easter egg shells.

13. And Martha Stewart gives the Easter craft thing a go here.

14. And what about hot cross buns?!

Here’s a recipe for you. Use Xylitol or replace with stevia granules (try Natvia) and omit the raisins and put in some “sweet nuts” like macadamias or pecans chopped up.  To be honest, I haven’t made these. You’d be on your own with this one! So report back.

  • 3/4 cup gluten free plain flour
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 2 teaspoons guar gum gluten free
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch ground clove
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
Egg mixture
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons xylitol
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 1 cup raisins
Egg glaze
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water (beat together well)
  • 1/2 cup xylitol
  • 1/2 cup guar gum

Preheat oven to 180 C. Sift flours and spices into a bowl. Mix in yeast.

In a second bowl, beat eggs, xylitol, coconut milk, oil and zest. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and beat well until combined.

Fold in raisins. Divide mixture into 8 – 1o buns. Place dough on silicon lined tray. Set aside in warm place for an hour to let buns rise.

Press a chopstick into the top of each bun to form a cross. This creates a gulley for the icing to remain in place. Brush with egg glaze and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.

Grind xylitol to a fine powder with mortar and pestle. Add 1/2 teaspoon guar gum and 1 teaspoon coconut milk.

Work until smooth and transfer to piping bag. Pipe across the buns.

15. And if you’re after sugar free, gluten free and vegan hot cross buns…you’re in luck. Try this recipe. Again, replace the honey with rice malt syrup.

I sincerely hope this paves a path for you. Please be sure to add your ideas below, if you have them. Or post blog links so others can check out your recipes/ideas on your site!


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  • seeker

    Hi Sarah,

    Im not very tech savvy – is there a way I could give your ebook as a present to someone in another country?

    Thanks for your blog, it’s brilliant – keep up the good work!



    dana Reply:

    Hey Seeker, if you purchase it, then email it, that would work!


    seeker Reply:

    Aha! Thanks Dana! I will buy a second copy to make it ethical … thanks for this, I hope to make someone very happy with it! :)


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    Seeker, all good? And thank you for being so honest! x

    Claire Reply:

    I’ve just found your site, and I like it!

    A tip on chocolate – I buy a sugar free Belgium chocolate called Cavalier – it’s available in South Australia through Haighs outlets, but you can also get it on-line at



    Rach @ twolicious.blogspot.com Reply:

    Ohhhh… I have a great recipe for gluten free, dairy free, soy free, vegan, egg free hot cross buns with substitutions for fructose friendly and sugar free.
    These are the best I’ve tasted! http://twolicious.blogspot.com.au/
    @Mel: I am going to do some searching for cocoa butter next time I’m in town to make your chocolate recipe, it sounds so good.


  • Kate

    Hi Sarah. Thanks for the great tips! Just wondering about the Well Naturally sugar-free bars that are now sweetened with Stevia. They also contain polydextrose, which David Gillespie says is a no go.


    Nutrition by Nature Reply:

    They sure do…. not sugar free…


    Karli Reply:

    They’re actually also not tasty at all I find. Very over-processed feeling, I literally ate half a square and threw out the rest. Would rather go the 85% from time to time.


    Anna Reply:

    Hi Sarah,

    what are your thoughts on polydextrose?

    I’ve only had Well Naturally chocolate once when a packet of dark mint got me at a moment of total weakness, only to learn later that David Gillespie seriously recommends against it, so I’m interested to hear your view.


    Kate Reply:

    Me too!


    Kate Reply:

    Oh! I just noticed the blog post has been edited to remove any reference to the Well Naturally bars?! They were definitely there under point 8 when I posted my original comment!

  • Mel

    Hey Sarah, from a not great cook, i made my own sugar free chocolate for Xmas. It was easy and a total hit with my sugar eating skeptical family who preferred it to normal choc. Just melted some cocao butter which u get from health shops and comes in amazing chunks and is great to make it creamy and rich. I also use the other chunks of it as my face moisturizer. Then u throw in some cocao and coconut oil/butter (same thing) and natvia to taste, I then put put it in ice cube trays and added a chunk of almond butter to some (the nicest) and coconut to others along with mint essence. They just need to be kept cold. It’s rich and satisfying and unlike other chocolate i didn’t get the urge to eat it all in one go as I usually would and that’s without being mindful as I’m particularly useless at that. No measurements it’s pretty easy to work out what u like and consistency.


    Shaz Reply:

    I love this, thank you


  • http://holistichealingandcfs.wordpress.com amy

    Plamil Organics also have a completely sugar free chocolate without soy as well. Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sweetener : xylitol, cocoa butter, emulsifier: sunflower lecithin. Its devine, but be careful not to overdose, lots of xylitol = toilet. http://www.veganperfection.com.au/moredetails.php?id=114.


  • http://www.livehealthysimply.com Jessica Nazarali (@JessicaNazarali)

    Fantastic tips! I’m planning on making these chocolate crackles for Easter

    What you need

    2 handfuls of shredded coconut

    2 heaped tablespoons of cacao

    4 tablespoons of sesame seeds

    2 tablespoons of coconut oil

    Optional – 2 teaspoons of peanut butter

    2 sachets of Natvia
    Look here for the full recipe http://livehealthysimply.com/2012/03/natvia-a-sweet-alternative-to-sugar/


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    Love this one!


    Angelique Reply:

    You had me at peanut butter.


  • Steph

    I found this recipe from an american blogger. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks good.
    Super easy chocolate (no need to buy cocoa butter) that can be sweetened with liquid Stevia or I might try rice syrup.


  • Erin

    Thank you for all the tips! I have not tried this recipe yet but am going to make these for easter. They look good and could be modified in so many ways! x


    Almond Butter Chews (5 Minute + 5 Ingredient + No Bake)

    Ingredients (7 golf-ball sized chews)
    •1/4 cup chunky all-natural almond butter
    •1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    •1 cup rice crisp cereal (I use GF Nature’s Path)
    •3 tbsp organic brown rice syrup (honey might work, but I’m not sure how it will hold together)
    •1 tbsp cacao nibs (or chopped chocolate)

    •1. Line a plate with parchment paper. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the almond butter, brown rice syrup, and vanilla. Microwave on high for 35-45 seconds. Stir well and immediately add in the rice crisp cereal and cacao nibs (or chopped chocolate). Stir very well until fully mixed.
    •2. Wet hands thoroughly and shape the mixture into ‘golf-balls’. Press mixture together firmly so it will hold. Wet hands after each ball is formed so the mixture will not stick to your hands. Place the balls onto parchment paper and freeze for 5 minutes. You can keep these chews in the freezer in a sealed container. I really enjoy them straight from the freezer. They remain nice and chewy.
    •Nutritional info: (per large ball, not including the cacao nibs): 105 kcals, 5 grams fat, 12 grams carbs, 6 grams sugar, 2 grams protein.


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    I’ve made soemthing similar- you’ll love them!


  • liz

    Hi Sarah, what do you think of loving earths chocolate with coconut sugar? Thanks


    seeker Reply:

    Hi Liz!
    I was just reading Sarah’s ebook right now – coconut sugar’s out! Sorry!


    Vicki Reply:

    I prefer the Loving Earth agave sweetened dark chocolate. It is so rich a little goes a long way. (For when you have finished IQS 8 week program).


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    oooooh, sad to say. Agave is 70-90% fructose!

    liz Reply:

    Hey, I couldn’t find the bit about coconut sugar.. why is it out? or where can i find the information? thanks


    Amy Reply:

    I’m wondering about coconut sugar too – it’s made up largely of sucrose. Also Love Earth do sell an organic raw dark chocolate that’s made from evaporated coconut nector, is that ok as a treat? Last week I found 90% cocoa chocolate in the mandurah, Wa english sweet store- brand wawel

  • Vicki

    I put shredded coconut and some Maca/Cacao powder in my new Vitamix as an experiment. Put resulting liquid in a tea cup in the fridge. A few hours later..viola…coconut rough.


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:



  • Sarah

    I make hot chocolate using organic cocoa powder, glucose powder, full cream milk and a pinch of salt. So yummy


  • http://www.lifegamestyle.com/ Comptess

    Yay for more sweet treats! I’ve been lamenting the loss of my sweet treats lately and then I came upon something truly scrumptious even after ‘sugar-freeing’ it! Check out the recipe here:


    Ok, so they’re not very Easter but I’m sure some of you are creative enough to eggify it.


  • http://followustonarnia.tumblr.com/ Court

    Accidentally discovered an amazing chocolate desert..

    Mix greek style sheeps milk yoghurt, or any unsweetened full fat one..

    with a couple teaspoons of raw cacao powder and a teaspoon of goji berries.

    Tastes just like chocolate!


  • Rachel

    I have a question re vanilla extract. Luckily last time I went to use some in the chocolate nut balls I read the label- SUGAR!
    Which brand is everyone using ?
    BTW the chocolate nut balls were awesome. The fussiest eater in my house, my seven year old actually liked them!
    Some of these other recipes sound good, will give them a go. Would love the heads up on the vanilla extract thanks


    Casie Reply:

    This requires patience, however, I made my own vanilla essence by steeping about 4 vanilla pods in (cheap) vodka for about 3 months. As I use it I top it up with more vodka and I throw in any used pods as well. No added sugar!


    MirandaBB Reply:

    Hi Rachel – I’ve found only one without sugar and I didn’t get it from the supermarket. Gatty All Natural Vanilla Extract is from Fiji and is distributed by http://pacchiniandsons.com.au/brands.html Contact to see if they distribute in your area. 50ml is about $7.00, its organic and contains no sugar (uses alcohol extraction method). I also found it online here: http://www.spicewest.com.au/store/vanilla-beans-natural-essences-and-extracts/cat_6.html
    Otherwise vanilla powder (not the sugar infused with vanilla but ground down vanilla beans) is available online (search around for the best price).


  • Fiona

    I might be mising something here, but why are you people making sweet foods with substitute sugar products? For me it’s just the same as vegetarians who eat tofu sausages – why bother! If you want the real thing, just eat it.


  • http://www.matildaraynolds.com Waltzing

    You should also try the Spring Wellness chocolate balls – some cafes sell them in Sydney and Byron – the sweetness comes from the dates, but each ball only has 1/2 an organic date in it and these are fresh not dried! They are amazing, I usually only need half a ball for my chocolate fix – they make to order in their little kitchen in Bondi http://www.springwellness.com.au/promotion-page-2


  • kassa

    Sarah, I love the idea of heart shaped eggs, maybe I can get my son to eat them, he said he’s looking for love! (7 y old :))

    While on sugar, how successful have you all been with adjusting the sugar/fructose/carb dosage in your diet. I found I crave more sugar if I eat fruit, and I crave for fruit more than anything else, even chocolate, ironically was never a big fruit eater in the past before quitting the sugars.

    If I don’t eat fruit then fall into hypoglycaemia, or at least so it feels and can’t keep my eyes open. I’d like to hear how successful you’ve been with adjusting the carb balance via fruit, vegetables, starches and reducing the cravings. Sorry if this subject had already been discussed on the site.


    Miffy Reply:

    Oh I’d be interested to hear this, too! After 2 weeks no sugar, no fruit… something ‘happened’ and I devoured a red tulip rabbit 250g rabbit in the car after a shopping trip to Coles. Back to day 1 again…


    MirandaBB Reply:

    Hi Kassa & Miffy Include more good fats in your diet to reduce the cravings. Sarah has a chapter in her ebook about this (Week 2). If you hunt back in the posts for the IQS program you’ll find alot of tips/ techniques/ discussions around this. Things like cold pressed oils on salads, a dollop of coconut oil in a smoothie, nuts/ nut butters, full fat milk & yoghurt, cheese, avocado, eggs. It really does work…


  • Hannah

    this looks pretty yummy. i’m sure the agave could be substituted with stevia or something else fructose-free..



  • http://www.sockerfrihet.se Gloria

    Oh I love those heart shaped eggs! But I don’t understand what happens between picture 4 and 5..?? Could you pleeease explain, I MUST do this for my family!


    MirandaBB Reply:

    My reading of the pics is that you ‘dent’ the egg longways and then gently squeeze it the other way to create the heart shape. May be a bit of trial and error needed…


    emma Reply:

    I think the only difference between pics 4 & 5 is the angle at which you are seeing the egg!


  • meg

    What is wrong with Agave? A friend of mine uses it like nothing else. (I am only new to all this stuff this week!) :)


    rachel Reply:

    because agave is very high in fructose about 90% – which what you want to avoid or limit very much because fructose is so addictive, messes with your appetite control, and pretty much literally not even used for energy – it really does go straight to your thighs and is stored as fat.

    Swap her agave syrup for rice bran syrup, they sell it at most coles for around $4 per jar in the health food section and it’s made from 100% rice so the only sugar there is glucose. You can mix a spoonfull into full-fat yogurt, spread it on toast, over pancakes, in tea, or bake with it. But be careful because it can spike your blood sugar and make you crave more sugar.


  • http://chocolatechillimango.com/ Chocolate Chilli Mango (Viviane)

    Hi Sarah,

    just a note on xylitol. it is a sugar alcohol too and is actually on the no-go list for anyone with fructose malabsorption (eg me). It is not much better than sorbitol etc.
    Erythritol is actually a differently acting non-fermentable sugar alcohol that is now being mixed with stevia (eg in Natvia) and that’s probably a better alternative.

    Reading the comments, I can’t fathom why anyone would recommend agave syrup over coconut sugar. Agave is almost pure fructose whereas coconut sugar is unrefined, balanced, and doesn’t spike blood sugar levels. I’d prefer a little coconut sugar to agave any day!

    If anyone loves the bitterness and intensity of cacao, a lovely raw chocolate is the Pacari 100% (no sugar obviously).


  • bondi (easter) bunny

    Hi there!

    I am just letting everyone know lifestyle bakery make AWESOME sprouted organic spelt hot cross buns : ) they are stocked in DJs and i bought mine last year from the health emporium bondi road (but no one go there because that’s where im buying them again THIS year and i will be SO DEVS : ( if they are sold out!) hehe 😀 they are available from other stockists as well i think…you can also buy online on the lifestyle bakery website.

    “AUD $6.45
    Soy Free, Dairy Free, Potato Free, Maize Free, Egg Free, Preservative Free, Tapioca Free, High in Fibre, Organic, Vegan
    INGREDIENTS: CERTIFIED ORGANIC: Sprouted Organic Spelt, Sultanas, Raisins, Sunflower Oil. CONVENTIONAL: Currants, Mixed Spice, Nutmeg, Golden Syrup, Vinegar, Gluten, Wheat Flour (Cross only), Sea Salt, Yeast, Filtered Water”

    OK – admittedly, they have sugar (golden syrup/dried fruit) BUT if you don’t have the time or resources to MYO they are damn healthier than your average bun.. heck I’m eating some this year. Also – its nice that they are vegan, organic, and free of dairy for those with lactose intolerances/just avoiding dairy and nasty preservatives.

    obviously im not affiliated with the brand in any way. jusssssst saying : ) they are super yummy…


  • Debbie

    Hi Sarah,
    My 6 yr old can’t have chocolate, do you have any ideas about how to make Easter Eggs,
    using plastic molds with Carob instead of chocolate?


  • Lou

    I was just reading this weeks Hello magazine and it appears the UK are now realising the bad effects of sugar. Although, the writer takes a very different approach to quitting the stuff – weaning rather than cold turkey. Worth a read Sarah


  • Gabby

    Hi Sarah,
    I just wanted to know what you thought of raw chocolate?
    I love this brand- its yummy!!! http://www.consciouschocolate.com.au/
    it has cacao, agave nectar, coconut oil, carob amongst other things- and they’re all good, right?


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  • Meg

    People, you can watch this movie for free for another couple of days!



  • Amanda

    hello – Was very excited to try some of the recipes from the cook book. so far neither have been what i would call “successful” the avocado popsicle are not at all appealing to kids. My daughter, who eats really healthy, licked it once and handed it back. Strange that they really do taste like avo and lime – you hardly taste the rice malt syrup. I think they’re ok myself.

    Next came the zest’n poppy cookies. I could not for the life of me to get them to form dough. I added more oil, till i just gave up and smashed them into muffin tins. they were impossible when i was trying the cookie cutters. thought it would be a fun activity with my toddler – nope. any suggestions?

    Also – do you have nutrition info any where for everything? would love to know how many calories are in things.

    Love the idea though – will keep trying.



  • Amanda

    Following up to my previous email – so i originally made the bunny cookies from the cook book that i purchased – then i saw how different it was online and made them this way. WAY better dough – the one in the book has mostly dry ingredients – the online version has vanilla extract, and agave instead of stevia powder and vanilla powder. Basically the one I paid for didn’t work and the free one did.


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  • lisa

    hi Sarah, what’s your view on carob? Tasted a great south australian company – Carob Kitchen’s carob bear, best carob I have tasted.


  • Debbie


    I am wondering why you are recommending Grapeseed oil when you recommend David – Toxic Oil book that says you should avoid all seed oils.

    I beleive you have also said this in your blog.

    Please explain…..



  • Caz

    Hi Sara,
    On week 6 following your book, and loving it. Just found this in the UK for sugar free raw choc https://www.rawchocpie.co.uk/Raw_Chocolate_Pie/Xylipie. Just ordered some bars – realise it has a little carob therefore fructose, but things in moderation and all that!


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