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?

No-bake Chocolate Orange Fudge Blondies

Packied with fresh and zesty orange flavour in both the crust and rich fudge frosting these No-bake Chocolate Orange Fudge Blondies offer you a taste of summer in every bite. With only seven ingredients, vegan, paleo, naturally gluten- and optionally refined sugar-free they are a healthy dessert or snack option.

Chocolate Orange Slice

 

Before we get into today’s recipe for these absolutely delicious, summery and mum/dad/colleague-approved No-Bake Chocolate Orange Fudge Blondies I want to share some thoughts on my mind. About just that topic: approval.

Feed them to the neighbour’s chicken.

The above was my mum’s comment on these bars. Ouch. And I was this close to writing the recipe off as a fail though I thought they were really good. What made me redecide? Reminding myself that a) [food] preferences differ and b) my mum is a pretty tough critic. Boy am I glad I didn’t let her words get me down – though the chicken might have been pleased ;). Because my colleagues very much enjoyed the bars, one even saying that if she ever got married she wanted these and these. [I’m actually bad at accepting compliments but that’s a topic for another day.]

Shouldn’t I/we trust our own judgement when it comesto deciding which recipes to share on -our- blogs? I wish I could say I no longer depended on other people’s opinion at all but that’s not entirely true. Compliments are balm for our  [occasionally insecure] souls. Knowing you met somebody’s taste with a homemade treat just feels good. Where I’m getting here? Asking for others’ opinion isn’t always bad unless we can’t make a single decision ourselves anymore without getting somebody else’s approval. That just takes the fun and freedom out of life.

Chocolate Orange Slice_2

Okay, onto the food now. You know how they say ‘When the cake works, bake it in every flavour’? Shoes? You’re saying that was about shoes? Nah. That’s not my kind of business [though dresses are a wholly different story …]. But: cake. Or blondies. No-bake blondies. That is my business. And after the huge success of these brownies in my family it was only natural to adapt them in a different way. A fresher, fruity way. Don’t make me play favourites but oh my … these are good.

With only seven ingredients these are even simpler than the No-bake Chocolate Fudge Brownies. Thanks to the fact the base has some more texture i.e. crunch rather than being very smooth you might not even need a high-speed blender. I preferred it this way but grinding the nuts for longer and in a flour-like consistency would give you just that, too, if that’s how you like your brownies/blondies.

Oh and talking about approval: these blondies got my dad’s which probably is even harder to get than my mum’s – if that’s even possible. Shockingly, even I – remember what I said about that? – liked the crust on its own a LOT. I could totally eat it on its own but sssh: don’t tell the chocolate fudge. But you really shouldn’t make just one part because, well, you don’t just wear a single shoe, right? Some things are simply better together.

Chocolate Orange Slice_5

No-bake Chocolate Orange Fudge Blondies

100 g soft dates
1-2 tbsps of coconut butter [optional but ]

100 g raw cashews
20 g unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp of of orange zest, at best freshly grated from one organic orange

100 g dark chocolate [70 % cocoa or higher]**
1/2 cup of full-fat coconut milk
1/2 tsp of orange zest

  1. Place cashews in a food processor or high-powered 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 mix in orange zest. Set aside.
  2. Process dates in the food processor 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 to prevent overheating.
  4. Firmly press the nut and date mixture into an 8 x 8-inch pan 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. Add the other 1/2 a tsp of orange zest to the coconut milk and bring it 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:

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

Chocolate Orange Slice_4

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

 

Happiness-inducing today: Seeing a person I love laugh. Nothing is more contagious than genuine laughter.

 

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Blondies or brownies?

How much do you rely on others’ opinon – be it in terms of cooking, blogging, fashion …?

Oh, crunchy crunchety!

Oh, hi, we haven’t talked about food in a while, no? I’m a fan of keeping things  [semi-]regular  [interpret that whichever way you want to …] so here goes another What I ate Wednesday. I can’t promise I’ll be able to keep up the weekly or even bi-weekly posts but I’ll just roll with the flow and sprinkle in some food posts every now and then. Because we all need to eat and at least sometimes I actually remember/ am not too lazy to get out my camera.

One more note on the title of this post – or two, actually: a) I like themes and the amount of crunchy, crispy food made this a[n almost] no-brainer and b) I’ve been crunched for time [what’s new?]. No matter how little in general, though, there’s always time for food. Good food. Let’s get talking!

wiaw fall into good habits button

Breakfast. .. is such a classic over here I can’t wow you anymore.  How about we skip to snacks right there? Good. The first one is proof I can’t resist new products all the way even if they bite a hole into my budget before I can get a bite of them. Pretzel Thins, friends.  How good are they??! They’ve only been making appearance on store shelves around here since earlier this year. Too bad these are so. very.  good … I don’t like macro talk but: why am I even surprised they are? They’re crispy. Carbs.  Salt. A winning combination.

November - 2nd swoosh 109

While we’re at carbs,  salt and winning combinations let’s add cheese – I know Meg agrees. Gah. So good. I could easily write a whole post on this dish.  Actually,  I  will because this recipe needs to find its way into my personal recipe book. For now I’ll leave it at saying it is another autumnal dish with an addictive crunchy cheesy potato topping.  Who said healthy food was boring?  I’m a smidgen proud to say it got my mum’s seal of approval – a rare happening – when I prepared it on Saturday.  Another bonus of her stopping by – aside from the fact itself: help in shredding potatoes. And by help I obviously mean she did the whole task.

Crispy potato topping

On the sweet side another classic made an appearance again to save me. Save me  because the current intern at our office brought in storebought cake on Friday. Am I sensing a competition for employee of the month?  Watch out, friend, I’m up for it ;). Only I couldn’t be bothered to turn on the oven so no-bake it was.  Amanda’s krispie rice cereal energie squares have yet to disappoint me.  I’ve made them more times than I can recount and don’t think I’ve used the same combination of cereal twice so far. Though the best part is obviously that non-optional chocolate drizzle …

Chocolate drizzle_cereal bars

In its whole beauty below.  Preparing it Saturday night/Sunday morning was dangerous because I had to break of those imperfect bits and bites. Pre-breakfast nibbles of cereal bars? Why not. Probably mention-worthy would be that I just try to keep up the volume of cereal when making these, sub peanut for almond butter [more budget-friendly and there are no almond butter jars that haven’t undergone double-dipping action around these parts …] and omitting the protein powder. If the cereal mixture appears too sticky I’ll add some quick-cooking oats. Et violà: cereal bar perfection.

Cereal bars_whole

 

Wouldn’t you want me to be your colleague?! I hope my colleagues will appreciate the huge lot of work that went into these 😉 . [Edited: Demolished and my boss asked what kind of cake I’d bring tomorrow. They clearly hated these treats.]

And speaking of work that’s where I’ll likely be the moment you’re reading this so:

Happy Wednesday and see you again tomorrow for some Thinking out loud!

 

 

Happiness-inducing today:

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Are ’employee of the month’ run-ups actually a thing? Enlighten me! And: Do you think I’d win 😉 ??

What are your favourite treats to bring to work?

Pretzels, pretzel things, chips: what’s your salty snack of choice?

Frozen! [Healthy PB & J Frozen Yogurt]

Peanut butter & jelly time! A creamy and refreshing healthy frozen treat with an added protein boost.

Whoever first had the idea to combine peanut butter and jelly is a genius. And should better have claimed copyright on this perfect duo because you can hardly go wrong whenever pairing them. PB & J cookies? Crumble? Cake? Blondies? Dip? I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. So it was a no-brainer which flavours to go for when faced by a recent cottage cheese shortage. Let me explain…

faux_froyo

This recipe resulted from an actually rather unfortunate circumstance. Do you have those foods you eat regularly but never more than just a spoonful or two at a time? Meaning you assume they’re always around – and then suddenly find yourself running low on them all of a sudden. Case in point for me: above-mentioned cottage cheese. Despite eating just a spoonful or two a day I still found myself with one last small container sitting in my fridge the other day. A Saturday no less meaning I wouldn’t be able to stock up until Monday. And it was obviously just then I found myself craving cottage cheese big time. Insert pulling my hair to think of a way to make use of it the -best- way possible. Ice cream! Or better yet: frozen yogurt. Okay, technically frozen blended cottage cheese but who’d be that nit-picky when it comes to sweet treats?

PB & J_protein_ice cream_pudding

A surprisingly warm day called for a refreshing treat and banana softserve didn’t sound quite as alluring as usual. For once I felt a little extra protein might be what had been missing from meals earlier that day leaving me unsatisfied and snacky. With just six ingredients this refined sugar-free snack is a quick to prepare and perfect treat to cool you down on a hot day. If you don’t feel like waiting it is delicious eaten right after blending as a pudding but even better after a few hours in the freezer. Why not prepare a double batch to try both ways?!

faux_froyo_2

Coincidentially running low on peanut butter, too [who ever runs low on peanut butter?!] peanut flour came to the rescue adding even more protein. Now that’s my kind of protein shake treat.

Healthy [Faux] PB & J Frozen Yogurt

1/2 cup cottage cheese [don’t use fatfree]
2-3 tbsps of [non-dairy] milk
1 – 1 1/2 tbsps peanut flour
6 drops liquid stevia [or sweetener of choice to taste]
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp [or more] of strawberry jam [for German readers: I used this brand]

  1. Combine all ingredients except for the jam in a blender. Pulse until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.
  2. Pour into a freezer-safe dish.
  3. Swirl in strawberry jam using a spoon or fork.
  4. Either eat as is or place in the freezer for at least three hours. Stirring the mix to break up any big ice crystals after 1.5 hours is optional.

 

Is it ice cream? Is it frozen yogurt? Whatever you might call this frozen concoction one thing it is for a fact: marvelous. Like the fact that it’s Monday and I’m getting a chance to stock up on cottage cheese and make more frozen deliciousness. I’m sure Katie would agree of frozen yogurt priorities

Stop by Laura’s and Kierston’s for more – frozen and not – recipe inspiration!

Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: Spotting a random blossom on the floor on my way to the washing room. Spring has really arrived.

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What is your favourite recipe featuring the classic PB & J combination? Sandwiches, wraps or any other kind of bread don’t count!

Are you trying to make the most of last remainders of certain fabourite or hard-to-get items, too?

Filling the food memory blank

Traditionally Wednesdays are for sharing our latest favourite meals or even a full day of eats. Confessing it right away, though: I slacked on blogger duties these past days. Not only did I hardly take any pictures of food but I can’t even remember my last actual recipe creations [and apparently didn’t take notes on all of them]. Fingers crossed the memories will return soon. So here’s to closing my own memory blank by looking through the last pictures on my camera and filling you on in what I’ve been eating on this What I ate Wednesday. Thanks as always to Jenn for hosting!

wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2

Stocking up on produce for the first time after my move resulted in a pretty and pretty huge bounty of vegetables [love your veggies? Check.] that I could have turned into a million creative dishes. But fighting the masses at the only grocery store opened on Sundays left me ready to chew my arm off so a quick random vegetables bowl it was.

Veggie_bowl II

With two beautiful organic avocados on hand that I’d gotten at the farmer’s market while still at my parents’ I decided to add some of those, too, rather than my usual nut butter drizzle. Every time other bloggers show their avocado-topped dishes I feel I should give these little green beauties another try. Admittedly, though, I’m still undecided. What I can say is that I’m not into chunky avocado but it’s nice mashed up – only it doesn’t make for the prettiest picture so you’re getting the pre-mashed one.

Random_veggie_bowl

One newfound obsession I remembered clearly, though, were dumplings. Or what I’d call dumplings because I didn’t grow up eating this kind of them. Finding a bag of chickpea flour while sorting through my pantry my first thought were dumplings.

Dumplings_cass

Just because I’d seen the idea on some other blog a while back and hadn’t been able to forget it. Internet-less in the moment I wanted to create them I just got creative myself – and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Less pleasant? The pictures. One of life’s lessons repeated: You can’t have everything. And when it comes to food I’d take deliciousness over perfect pictures any time. Don’t you agree?!

Dumpling_I

Ending on a sweet note because I needed to. Why needed to? It’s as simple as ridiculous: Whenever I leave my parents’ house – if after a weekend stay or a long like this one – my mum demands I make a conscious effort to use up any frozen produce I bought. Don’t ask me why because a) differently from fresh produce frozen will still be good for several months [right?!] and b) she has a huge freezer – so why worry? Either way, it was another excuse to have the crumble again. Recycled picture because the light didn’t want to play along the second time.

Crumbling

That’s it for a scrambled brain WIAW! I’m sure everybody else has been eating well and dutifully taking pictures of it so be sure to visit some other WIAW and Vegan Wednesday posts.

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: Finding a free treadmill in the rush hour at my new gym.

 

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Are there times when you can’t remember what you’ve been eating a few days later?

Have you ever had dumplings? Share any great recipes you know because I really think I’m developping a new obsession here.

Does anybody else prefer mashed avocado over chunks of it?