Saturday, June 16, 2012

Snack, Dessert... Anytime!

Since January I have given up quite a few things - or at least dramatically cut back on, sugar & grains being the biggest of them.  I won't bore you with my reasons but it is working for me and I am happy with my choices.  However, that makes baking REALLY hard, if not entirely impossible.  And let me tell you, I love a good dessert and I adore baking.  It is really the type of cooking I would rather be doing. we are...and over the past few months my boyfriend has been patient enough to let me try some baking with ingredients like almond flour, coconut flour, erythritol, & stevia.  Most of these experiments were not awful...but not what I hoped they would be and therefore only to be made once.  In my search of desserts, sweet treats, yummylicious things, I did find one absolutely divine savior.  We just call them "Bars" (I seem to label my foods one word titles, huh?) and they have almost always been in my fridge, D's fridge or now our fridge.  :) 

For those of you who use Pinterest, don't you love it?  :)  I found this bar recipe on Pinterest and have muddled with it and changed it a bit as I find what I think is best for me, but her original recipe is quite delicious.  So check it out...then I will share with you what I do.  :)  Lauren has lots of great recipes on this blog and here is her recipe for the bars:  Crunchy No-bake Snack Bars

I typically make a big batch of these, a triple recipe - enough to fill a jelly-roll pan/cookie sheet and will last us a couple of weeks.  I also sometimes am not the best "measurer" with this recipe - it doesn't have to be as precise as baking where it is chemistry.  This just has to stick together :). 


Bottom of bar
1 c chopped/sliced nuts - sliced almonds, pecans, walnuts, unsalted sunflower seeds, pistachios, any nut of choice - mix it up & put a bit of each kind you like
1/4 c golden flax meal or nut (almond, pecan) meal 
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut, big or small flakes work well
1/4 c peanut butter - could also use a different nut butter
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp agave or honey
1 (up to 2) packets of stevia/erythritol blend sweetener (Truvia or the no-name brand)

Chocolate Topping
4 squares of dark chocolate (we usually use 70% or 72%)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 to 1 pkt stevia/erythritol blend sweetener
1 tsp heavy or table cream or half and half if that is what you have

Choose whatever mix of nuts you wish to, we really like the sliced almonds a lot and almost always them be have part of the nut mixture.  Toast the nuts & coconut on a baking sheet in the oven (375 F or so), just until the coconut is starting to brown.  Measure the peanut butter & coconut oil for the bar bottom and place in a large microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until they melt.  Stir the PB and oil until smooth and then add the vanilla, agave, stevia/erythritol blend sweetener (you can put in as little or as much as you like here to make it the sweetness you prefer) and stir again.  Add the flax seed or nut meal (usually I do part flax and part pecan or almond meal) and stir in and then finally stir in the nuts & coconut. Line a baking sheet (or smaller pan depending on how much you are making) with aluminum foil.  This just makes getting the bars out of the pan a bit easier.  Press the mixture into the pan and they should be around 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  Place in the refrigerator or freezer to set.  We usually just use the refrigerator. 

Once the bottoms of the bars are cooled & set, you can begin making the chocolate topping.  Melt the coconut oil & chocolate squares in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just enough to melt them.  Stir this mixture until smooth and then mix in the stevia/erythritol blend sweetener.  Again you can put as much or as little to get the sweetness you prefer.  Mix in the cream until smooth and then spread over the bars.  Place back in the refrigerator to set the chocolate topping.  Once set, you can take the pan out and slice to the size bars you like and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  

We enjoy these for a sweet snack or for dessert and I am so glad I found a sweet treat to be able to make given my dietary choices. Hope you enjoy!

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