Healthy No-Bake Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars

A buttery gluten-free buckwheat and cashew crust topped with creamy date caramel and covered in rich chocolate ganache: these healthy Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars taste decadent while containing lots of nutritious ingredients. Vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and only eight ingredients. Paleo option, too.

Posting on a Tuesday? Me? I know it’s very unusual and actually not pleasing my mind – three posts in a row … – but even I can make exceptions. Especially when two special occasions collide. First would be today being World Vegan Day. This isn’t to force anybody into choosing a certain diet but I simply enjoy sharing delicious plantbased recipes. Secondly, today I’m collaborating with some other lovely blogging ladies for our first …

Bloggers Gonna Blog Friendsgiving Collab!

Healthy No-Bake Millonaire's Shortbread - gluten-free, vegan and only eight ingredients!

Granted, I was hesitant to join in a virtual Thanksgiving celebration. As you might know this is a holiday not celebrated in Germany. We do have the occasional ‘Erntedankfest’ [which literally translates to Thanksgiving] but it’s nothing official and I don’t know a single person honoring this day at their home. Anyway, I figured every holiday feast needs dessert and that I could do. Allow me to present: Healthy Millionaire’s Shortbread.

Healthy No-Bake Millonaire's Shortbread - gluten-free, vegan and only eight ingredients!

Way different from my recent flourless hazelnut shortbread this is it. The kind of treat you’d whip up for a holiday or take the time to really savour on an ordinary day. Funny story: my first time trying this British classic was as a special Britain-themed week at Lidl [for those not familiar with it: a discounter] of all places. Very gourmet, I know. [Read: not.] I got my whole family obsessed with these caramel-topped and chocolate-covered slices of decadence. For some reason Lidl stopped carrying the shortbread during future British weeks despite them clearly being a popular item and gone very quickly every time.

Healthy No-Bake Millonaire's Shortbread - gluten-free, vegan and only eight ingredients!

But we wouldn’t be bloggers if we let stores decide our food choices, right? Given my ‘history’ of no-bake brownies and bars it’s a riddle why I’d yet to try and recreate the Millionaire’s Shortbread. Luckily, I did after all and – dare I say it?  – these are even better. Buckwheat and cashews are combined with a special ingredient to create the gluten-free shortbread crust here: cacao butter. I just wanted to see if I could use it instead of coconut oil, not expecting anything. But: wow! The cacao butter, despite using a small amount only, lends a truly buttery taste to the shortbread base. Naturally sweet date caramel stands in for the typically sugar-laden variety. My favourite chocolate ganache finishes everything off for an amazing taste experience.

Healthy No-Bake Millonaire's Shortbread - gluten-free, vegan and only eight ingredients!

Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas or just an average day when you’re reading this: Make this Healthy  No-Bake Millionaire’s Shortbread and be sure to have everybody get back for seconds.

Healthy No-Bake Millonaire’s Shortbread

Shortbread base:

  • 1/4 cup [40 g]  raw buckwheat groats
  • 3/4 cup [100 g] cashew nuts
  • 1 heaped tbsp/25 g cocoa butter, melted [can sub coconut oil]
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Caramel

  • 1 cup [150 g] dates
  • 1 heaped tbsp of peanut butter [coconut butter works, too]
  • Pinch of salt [omit if your nut butter is salted]
  • 2-3 tbsps water

Ganache Topping

  • 2 oz dark chocolate
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsps coconut cream or soy cream [~ 75 ml]
  1. In a high speed blender or food processor, blend the cashews and buckwheat groats into a fine flour-like consistency.
  2. Add to a bowl and mix with the melted cacao butter, kneading to form a dough. Press into an 8 x 8 inch pan and set into the fridge to harden.
  3. Prepare the date caramel by processing the dates in your blender until crumbly, Add in the nut butter, minimum amount of water and salt and process into a smooth caramel.
  4. Spread the caramel onto your ‘shortbread’ crust and chill in the fridge again.
  5. While the base is chilling in the fridge, prepare your ganache layer. Finely chop the chocolate bar and set aside.
  6. Bring the coconut milk to a boil either on the stove or in the microwave. Pour over the chopped chocolate and (!!!) let sit for three minutes. Do NOT stir before.
  7. Stir to fully combine all ganache ingredients. Top the chilled base with ganache and refridgerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting into it.

I’m linking up with Allergy Free Wednesdays#RecipeOfTheWeek, Gluten-Free Fridays,Tasty Tuesdays,Healthy Vegan Fridays, Meatless Mondays.

.. .and because dessert alone doesn’t make a whole Thanksgiving feast don’t  miss out on what everybody else is bringing to the Bloggers Gonna Blog Friendsgiving party:

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Happiness-inducing today: Music. It’s been an ugly grey and rainy day. Stressful with some anxiety thrown in, too. But setting out for short walk after work, just catching some fresh air and listening to brighter tunes helped a little.

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No-bake Peanut Butter and Jelly Chocolate Fudge Bars

Using only five simple ingredients these no-bake peanut butter and jelly chocolate fudge bars are a healthy vegan and gluten-free snack or dessert. The rich topping makes them irresistible.

What. a. name. Yes, I’m aware it’s a mouthful to read and say but I promise they’re deserving of every single letter. In other words: SO good. Inspired by Ronan Keating I’m tempted to say that regarding these bars it’d best to say nothing at all [and let the picures do the talking]. Or nothing but: yes, you want and need these in your life. Unless you happen to have a peanut allergy, tnat is. However, if you knew me you’d also know I’m not good at saying nothing at all.

Cranberry Fudge Bars_3

The making – or rather: naming – of these bars unexpectedly became an educational matter. Story time: when I first made these No-Bake Chocolate Fudge Brownies and brought them to work I had to learn that one of my colleagues is allergic to nuts the worst way. Think: she ate one and asked me mid-bite if they might contain nuts. I felt so sorry despite her not blaming me. Here’s the deal: nut allergies are by far not common around here. Peanut butter bans in schools? Unheard of.

Cranberry Fudge bars_4

As I felt sorry for my colleague missing out not only on the brownies but these blondies, too,  yet was on a roll with the no-bake bars I did some research. Peanut is my favourite kind of ‘butter’ and not actually a nut* but a member of the legume family. Wait … Wouldn’t these bars be nut-free using peanuts?  Long story short: I decided against labeling them as such to avoid confusion but happily learned they were suitable for my colleague.Nut allergies are somehow fascinating – though obviously a huge bummer for those suffering from them – in how much they differ from person to person.

*Honestly, as much as I like legumes – both the word and the food group – peanuts will forever be nuts in my heart.

Cranberry Fudge Bars_2

Okay, back to the bars. Do you prefer brownies or blondies? If we were looking at the baked variety I’d always be team brownie. But with these no-bake slices I’ve found I slightly prefer the blonde version. It’s the same with bars: dried fruit mixed with cocoa simply isn’t my favourite. Not bad enough to skip out on the brownies but … And really: who can resist dates mixed with peanut butter? It’s such a good combination. Studding this base with the diamond-like-looking cranberries and adding a rich and creamy chocolate topping takes the deliciousness to another level.  Peanut butter and jelly isn’t a classic over here but I’ll make it one for those around me – with these bars. Family-approved, colleague-approved and, well, unsurprisingly approved by my stomach, too. PB & J, you’re here to stay.

Cranberry Fudge Bars_1

The cranberries might not be a typical PB & J add-in but they really add a little something-something to the soft & salty peanut butter-y base and amazingly rich and creamy fudge topping. Feel free to use dried cherries in their place for a more authentic taste but I’ll say you’re missing out. A little ;).

No-bake Cranberry Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Blondies

100 g soft dates
130 g roasted + salted peanuts
1/4 cup [30 g] of dried cranberries

100 g dark chocolate [70 % cocoa or higher]**
1/2 cup of full-fat coconut milk OR full-fat non-dairy creamer [I used soy]

  1. Place peanuts in a high-speed blender or food processor. Pulse until ground to your preference – either finely ground and flour-like or with a few more roughly chopped pieces for texture*. Remove from the blender and set aside.
  2. Process dates until finely chopped/close to paste-like. Remove from food processor.
  3. Add nut meal back to the food processor, turn it on and slowly add the date mixture bit by bit, processing until a thick dough forms. You might want to stop in between, pushing the dates sticking to the sides of the blender/food processor into the blades and stop in between to prevent overheating.
  4. Firmly press the nut and date mixture into an 8 x 8-inch pan. Press the dried cranberries firmly into the blondie base and put into the fridge to harden [it will be very sticky and soft].
  5. While the base is chilling in the fridge, prepare your ganache layer. Finely chop the chocolate bar and set aside.
  6. Bring the coconut milk/non-dairy cream to a boil either on the stove or in the microwave. Pour over the chopped chocolate and (!!!) let sit for three minutes. Do NOT stir before.
  7. Stir to fully combine all fudge ingredients. Top the chilled base with ganache and refridgerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting into it.

Notes:

*As the roasted peanuts tend to turn into nut butter faster than other nuts you have to be careful not to overblend.

**use sugar-free or stevia-sweetened for a refined sugar-free version.

 

I’m linking up with Allergy Free Wednesdays#RecipeOfTheWeek,#StrangeButGoodGluten-Free Fridays,Tasty Tuesdays,Healthy Vegan Fridays.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Still getting to enjoy some sunshine after work.

 

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Blondies or brownies?
 Do you have any food allergies?

WIAW – fully baked [butternut, bars and pastries]

Wow, can I just say: WIAW?! It’s no secret what WIAW actually stands for. However, today it feels more like “Wait, it’s already Wednesday?!” to me. Time has flown by at lightning speed since last week. I won’t deny I enjoy seeing everybody’s latest culinary concoctions and get some meal inspiration. But I’ll admit there’s a slight pressure when looking through the photos I took since the last WIAW and feeling like there weren’t enough. Or if there are several then I might decide there aren’t enough good or interesting ones. Blogger problems?!  But good or bad, boring or interesting – as long as I keep showing some veggies I hope Jenn will approve. When it’s cold outside turning on the oven for deliciousness and additional warmth is totally necessary so here’s to a fully baked edition of What I ate Wednesday. Baked deliciousness in abundance.

wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2

Can we talk food obsessions for a bit? Ever since we had the Kale Pastry as a family dinner I’ve [re-]discovered the awesomeness of phyllo dough. Not to celebrate every tiny step on my path in recovery but this is another fear food overcome. I’d been eschewing any kind of pastry seeing it as unneccessary non-nutritious and not saturating calories. While I’d also argue the ‘not saturating’ label I can definitely say these are satisfying. There’s just something about flaky, crispy and slightly buttery pastry enasing whichever filling one chooses. This particular version was different from the original one but just as delicious. [Recipe coming soon.]

Phyllo pastry

Sometimes enjoying your veggies just a little too much can become a problem, too. Like when you can’t for the sake of it decide what to prepare for lunch on an unexpected day off from work with too much time on your hands. The choices, the choices … After countless nibbles on this and that, pulling my hair and the clock inexorably exceeding the ‘usual’ lunch time I finally settled on getting wild with some random cravings and loosely basing my dish on a recipe I’d seen at another blog at some time.

Butternut

Luckily, fate was on my side and the dish turned out really good. It probably didn’t hold up as well as I’d hoped for but – as usual – taste beats appearance. Think butternut squash layered with Mexican-spiced kidney bean mix and baked with a vegan cheese sauce. Firm yet tender butternut squash, spicy beans and mild cheesy sauce it was another winning composition of different textures and tastes. I might not be an actual cheese fiend but I’m not exaggerating when I say vegan cheesiness has become a very regular in my meals. [Recipe for this dish also coming soon – I’d appreciate your input in which one to post first because I clearly can’t decide.]

baking pan

Knowing I hadn’t seen any newness in the snack department for a while, either, I decided to kill two birds with one stone [does anybody know a more vegetarian-friendly way of saying that 🙂 ??]. Just like in other parts of life I’m a creature of habit when it comes to snacks: why change a good thing. However, I’ve also noticed I tend to use this as an ‘excuse’ to stray from my usual and challenge myself with new foods. Second was the fact that like when it comes to actually trying recipes from my Pinterest board there are just as many recipes I see on other blogs and never get around making. All change starts with the first step so here’s mine: Amanda’s soft & chewy oatmeal bars.

Amanda's_oatmeal bars

The above is what you end up with when you run out of chocolate chips [who does that?] and have to sub chocolate shavings. Because you need a quick add-in and chopping up a bar of chocolate would take too long. Nevertheless, the bars are a delicious snack and – being generally fond of them in baked goods or bread – I really liked to see flaxseed in the recipe. Obviously adding the desired chewiness but also a special texture and nutty taste that I enjoy a lot. Even as a child I’d secretly [or not so secretly?] pick the flaxseed from the crust of the fresh locally baked whole-wheat bread my mum bought. She still does and I still occasionally pick but I’ve obviously stopped the bad habit. Clearly ;). Some things never change.

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: My grandparents stopping by for a short visit.

 

What’s one of your recent food obsessions?

Are you a fan of snacks bars? What are your favourites [whether homemade or store-bought]?

Whipping out the big girl panties

Some people are straight-forward “doers”, some are doubters. I, unfortunately, belong to the last category.

Whether it’s the decision of going to the cinema, buying a dress or trying a new recipe: I might initially like the idea but at latest the second thought is sure to include a “what if” or “but”.  This state of mind isn’t helpful in living life to the fullest. Not.at.all.

Oh how I miss those days …

Sure, I’m not necessarily unhappy with my life in general. But knowing how much I might miss out on with my unnecessary weighing up of the pro’s and con’s of just about everything … Not to forget the time that Is lost in the process, too.

Last week had me in for a – at least to me – pretty big decision. Knowing it might make a noticeable change to my life I kept putting it off at first – and was grieving my decision right away. So I put on my big girl pants and gave it another try. Boy am I glad I did. While it might not have changed my whole life, an important part of it was intensified for the moment – and hopefully will keep intensifying. Don’t you love me being vague here ;)?

Copius amounts of chocolate and tea are consumed in the the process of making my decisions.

You might have guessed already but putting things of is something I’m good at regarding food, too. How long had I been meaning to try Amanda’s Fig & Date Bars? Countless excuses were made up: “But they contain coconut oil and I’m already eating too much saturated fat”, “what if I end up not liking them?”,  “the recipe yields wayyy too much for one person.” Needless to say, the list went on.

Being seriously annoyed by my current food rut, though, the big girl pants came out once again. At 9 PM. Yes, I’m a night owl and get more productive as the day goes on. Having to whip up lunch for a full day of classes today in anyway – it’s a general agreement that the food our cafeteria serves is inedible – I turned on the oven, too.

Waiting for the bars to leave the oven was the hardest part.

Yet again, my worries were pointless. The bars turned out well and thanks to the “scary” coconut oil  have an amazingly buttery crust. Try them!

The big girl pants weren’t discharged to the wardrobe again, though. Preparing the bars was just one step. Taking them to class was the more difficult one as I tend to always pack the same snacks. Mission accomplished! Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the bars yet as I baked them at night, was in a hurry in the morning and returned home in the evening.

I’m excited to pull out the big girl pants again this weekend …

 

When was the last time you put on the big girl panties?

What are your favourite filling snacks for class/work aside from fruit? I need inspiration!