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:

https://static.inlinkz.com/cs2.js

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.

Stay in touch!
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Flourless Hazelnut Shortbread [vegan]

Grandma’s cookies gone healthy! These gluten-free vegan hazelnut shortbread cookies are a family favourite  – but with no refined sugar, no dairy and wheat-free, too.

Who knows best when it comes to cookies? Right, grandma. She’s the avid baker supplying the whole family *with tin upon tin of cookies every Christmas season. Sounds familiar? It’s been that way in my family forever. Both of my grandmas have dedicatedly spent hours upon hours, no, days, of their lives in the kitchen during the colder months to provide many a family member, friend or neighbour  with their amazing baked goods. Each of them creating certain varities that I have yet to  seen either in stores or other families. How amazing is it to think that every family still has those recipes that are handed down from generation to generation? Just me? Oh well.

*we’re talking six children and their families in my maternal grandma’s case here

Gluten vegan hazelnut shortbread cookies - just seven ingredients, no refined sugar, easy to prepare and a family favourite!

Today’s easy hazelnut shortbread cookies are actually a kind I used to overlook and probably consider tin fillers among the more exciting varieties for years. Yet somehow the adults of the family knew better all along and enjoyed these cookies’ simplicity and nutty aroma. How right they were. Only lightly sweetened but full of hazelnut flavour which was heathened by a rim of dark cocoa. Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies are a favourite with all adults in my family, especially when accompanied by a cup of coffee. Dunk- or dipping highly recommended.

Gluten vegan hazelnut shortbread cookies - just seven ingredients, no refined sugar, easy to prepare and a family favourite!

Because grandma’s cookies are neither vegan nor gluten-free, much less healthy I adapted her recipe. They’re still cookies, not health food but with whole grains and less refined sugar these Gluten-free Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies are a more nutritious alternative to the usual offerings in the cookie jar. Oh and another note: while the long instructions make it look like a complicated recipe it’s actually beyond simple. Win-win!

Gluten-free Vegan Hazelnut Shortbread

(yields ~ 30+ cookies)

1/2 cup of hazelnut meal [60 g; can grind your own in a high speed blender]
1 cup oat flour* [125 g]
1/4 cup of coconut sugar [50 g] + 1 tsp of cornstarch
Scant 1/4 cup of cornstarch [50 g]
1/2 cup of coconut oil, softened but not melted [125 g]
1 tsp vanilla
~ 1/4 cup [20 g] of unsweetened cocoa powder

*use certified gluten-free if necessary

  1. Place the coconut sugar and 1 tsp of cornstarch in a blender. Pulse until the sugar reaches a powdery consistency and lighter colour. Voilà, you just made your own powdered coconut sugar. Set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, hazelnut meal and cornstarch.
  3. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat together the coconut oil, sugar and vanilla on high speed.
  4. Slowly add in the flour mixture while mixing constantly until a smooth dough forms. You might need to knead with your hands to get everything well combined.
  5. Place your dough into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
    In the meantime, line a sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Once the dough is ready, preheat oven to 300 *F/150 *C. divide dough evenly and roll into two logs.
  7. Coat a large plate or cutting board with enough cocoa – you don’t want to see your surface anymore. Roll dough logs in cocoa until thoroughly coated.
  8. Slice logs into coin-sized cookies. Place on the baking sheet.
  9. Bake cookies for about 20 minutes. The centre of the cookies might still be a bit soft at this point but they harden as they cool.
  10. Let cool completely before eating.  Don’t try to pick up cookies right away to avoid ending up with crumbs all over the place!

Gluten vegan hazelnut shortbread cookies - just seven ingredients, no refined sugar, easy to prepare and a family favourite!

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

Happiness-inducing today:  Getting to pick up a few things from another place while at work, hence getting some fresh air and movement in. A much appreciated break from sitting at my desk for hours.

Stay in touch!
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What’s your favourite Christmas cookie?
Tell me one ‘special’ kind of cookies your grandma/mum/any other family member makes and is a must for you every year!

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Healthy Maple Buckwheat Granola [gluten-free, vegan]

With just the right amount of sweetness, heart-healthy buckwheat, oats and nuts this is a nutritious granola you can feel good about eating. Bonus: it takes a mere few minutes to mix together, is vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free + uses just six ingredients.

buckwheat-granola_3

The story behind this recipe is both a little embarrassing and saying a lot about me. For months, one of my colleagues would bring bag after bag of expensive organic  [but still sugar-laden] granola or Müsli [okay, muesli for you English speakers but I just like the German way so much] to work. One day when she was eating some I remembered how fun making granola at home is and offered to make a batch of homemade one for her – an offer she happily took up. Well … if you know me you also know about my indecisiveness. Long story short I bought random granola ingredients here and there, telling myself I’d make some soon. Yet wanting to create the perfect  kind lend to stressing myself so much it never happened. Until now, that is.

buckwheat-granola_1

For some reason currently unbeknownst to me I picked up a bag of buckwheat at random. Then I remembered I’d heard people – likely on Instagram – mention buckwheat granola and the ominous ‘caramelized buckinis’. Boredom turned granola on a rainy – that even is an understatement – Sunday afternoon. Actually, I didn’t even have high hopes for it yet boredom has turned into a delicious recipe before so maybe it was meant to be? Anyway, my kitchen smelled amazing and I couldn’t wait to have a try. Liking it I needed the ultimate taste test and scooped up a little cup full of buckwheat granola for my mum to try.

I’ll be honest in saying I expected her to maybe reluctantly take a sniff and a few crumbs at highest, then sending me off again to toss it but: she took a spoonful, grabbed the cup and kept eating, saying she’d leave some for dad to try in his breakfast the next day. Verdict? Winner.  My colleague was also smitten, probably not expecting me to ever turn up with some granola anymore. Sorry!

buckwheat-granola_2

This isn’t the cluster-packed kind of granola I usually prefer but trust me when I say it’s amazing in its own right. Just lightly sweetened with maple syrup the natural flavor of every ingredient shines through. The buckwheat lends a special nutty crunch factor that won’t make you miss the clusters.  As if deliciousness wasn’t enough of a selling point all three of its main ingredients – oats, buckwheat and nuts – are heart-healthy. Turning this easy homemade granola into one you can feel good about eating all day long.

Okay, before we get to the recipe I want to quickly highlight a few other benefits of buckwheat in case it’s not been making an appearance on your plate [regularly] before, either.

  • Despite the ‘wheat’ in its name buckwheat is actually not a grain making it a great fit for gluten-free eaters  [probably the best-known fact here, I know].
  • While low in vitamin buckwheat is high in manganese (necessary for healthy metabolism, antioxidant defense etc.), copper (), magnesium (athletes will be happy to hear this),
  • High in fiber = happy healthy gut.
  • Contains several novel nutraceuticals which are plant compounds that boast health benefits like lowering LDL (aka: the bad) cholesterol as well as your blood pressure, preventing histamine production (i.e. may help lower risks of developing inborne allergies or food intolerances)
  • May lower blood sugar levels which hence why it’s considered a great option for diabetics.

Sources: 1, 2

Okay, enough nutrition talk! Let’s get to the recipe already!

Healthy Maple Buckwheat Granola

  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp quick oats [50 g]
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp raw buckwheat [50 g]*
  • ½ cup mixed nuts [I used almonds and cashews; 60 g]
  • 2 tbsps maple syrup
  • 1 tsp coconut oil [~7 g]
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F/175 °C and layer a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Chop nuts to your preferred size for granola [I find preferences vary here; I liked mine on the smaller side].
  3. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a small pot, melt the coconut oil. Add maple syrup and stir to combine.
  5. Pour the liquid over your dry ingredients and mix well to make sure everything is coated.
  6. Spread your granola on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  7. After about 10 minutes, open the oven and stir the granola. This helps avoiding the edges to burn. Repeat this every 5-10 minutes [depending on your oven].
  8. Once the granola is lightly browned – don’t let it bake for too long; it’ll crisp as it cools – take the sheet out of the oven and set aside to cool down.

 

Notes:

*the gree-ish looking kernels; not roasted as this will change the flavor.

 buckwheat-granola_4

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

See? Nothing weird about this little pseudo-grain. Here’s to making buckwheat more popular [outside of pasta] – or just to making granola.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today:  Walking around outside soaking up the summery smell of the air. Can I bottle that scent up for colder months to come?!

 

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
 

Have you tried buckwheat before? In which kind of dishes?

What’s your favourite granola?

 

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Healthy Whole Wheat Trail Mix Crackers

Better than store-bought: Packed with nutritious ingredients these Healthy Whole Wheat Trail Mix Crackers are a simple to prepare yet elegant-looking snack to impress. Vegan, with no added oil or refined sugar these can be made gluten-free, too,

Should I ever have enough recipes* I’d add a category called parent-approved. What’s other bloggers’ kid-approved seal would be dishes that pass my parents’ picky palates. Honestly, while my parents enjoy good quality food I wouldn’t have considered them gourmets [which I’d associated with truffle anything, five-star restaurants and the likes until now]. Given their at times  [overly] harsh criticism of my recipes? I might just have changed my opinion. Luckily, these crackers passed the test – despite being neither sweet nor involving any fudgy chocolate action.

*and a self-hosted site allowing for a nicer plug-in and at that presentation of them

Trail Mix crackers

Why Trail Mix Crackers? Because, well, trail mix. Lots of delicious and nutritious nuts paired with naturally sweet raisins for quick and healthy energy – what’s not to like? In 10th grade I went through a huge trail mix phase, always carrying a bag with me and already letting doubtful friends know about the fact that no, fat doesn’t make you fat [from that moment  on they demanded I share my trail mix, of course ;)]. I used a standard trail [think: almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts and way too many raisins] for easy availability but go with what you have on hand or fancy. Yet I’d recommend not using one of those containing any chocolate or other ingredients that might burn easily as you’ll bake these crackers for a longish time. Then again you could obviously sacrifice yourself and pick the ‘undesired’ chocolate out of any trail mix. The selfless things we do for others, no?!

Trail Mix Crackers

While I didn’t test this option myself I can’t see why using an all purpose gluten-free flour wouldn’t work here. Being baked twice these Trail Mix Crackers area forgiving recipe ending in a nice crispy result every time. Some of the loaves I baked didn’t come out quite as intended but crisped up just fine on the second round in the oven.

And the taste? They’re neither verging decidedly on the sweet nor savoury side but a pleasant in-between with the nuts adding an amazing texture and the plump raisins being dots of sweetness.Making them the perfect vehicle for both sweet spreads – think jam + cream cheese, various nut butters or even Nutella if that’s how you roll – or savoury options like as part of a cheese platter.

Trail Mix Crackers_box

One more thing: I know twice-baked anything sounds way too involved. Trust me, though: these are anything but. And the fact you can freeze some of the baked loaves and crisp them up whenever you feel like makes these crackers a great snack for spontaneous visitors, too. Containing trail mix might give it away but I’ll state the obvious: they also make a good on-the-go snack. Hitting the trail with some Trail Mix Crackers? Sounds really good to me.

Healthy Whole Wheat Trail Mix Crackers

2 cups of whole-wheat flour* [240g]
1/2 tsp of salt
2 scant tsp of baking soda
1/4 cup flax seeds [~28g]
2 tbsps maple syrup
2 cups of unsweetened soy or almond milk [480 ml]
2 tsps apple cider OR white vinegar OR lemon juice
1 cup trail mix* [~110-120g]

  1. Preheat oven to 325 *F/165 *C.
  2. Grease four mini loaf pans (5 3/4 inches x 3 1/4 inches) very well OR line with parchment paper. I recommend the latter for easy removal of loaves after baking.
  3. In a large mug, stir vinegar into the soy milk and set aside to curdle. This won’t take longer than 5-10 minutes depending on the kind of ‘milk’ used. After is has curdled, stir in the maple syrup.
  4. Prepare your trail mix by chopping any nuts or breaking them into smaller pieces.
  5. In a large bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt and flax seeds plus cinnamon if using.
    Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Don’t over mix.
  6. Fold in the trail mix.
  7. Pour the batter into your prepared pans and bake for 35-45 minutes. Loaves should be golden brown and springy to touch.  Test with a toothpick to check if they’re done after minimum baking time. They toothpick should come out clean. If it doesn’t, bake for an additional five minutes and test again.
  8. Let the loaves cool down on a wire rack very well before slicing. If you do have the time I recommend freezing them for easier slicing.
  9. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160 °C.
  10. Slice the loaves as thin as possible, letting thaw a little before if you froze them. The thinner they are the better they will crisp up.
  11. Bake crackers for a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about 25 minutes or until crisp [time will depend on how thin or thick the crackers are cut]. Flipping them about halfway through the baking time is optional but recommend.
  12. Let cool completely before serving.

Notes

  1. *a gluten-free AP mix should work just fine
  2. A serrated knife is your best friend for slicing the loaves thin enough for crispy Crackers.

Adapted from Babble.

Trail Mix Crackers_3.JPG

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

 

Happiness-inducing today: Taking time to read a book before and after work.

 

Stay in touch!
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What’s in your go-to trail mix?

Are your family members the harshest judges of your cooking, too?

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One Bowl Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Buttery without the butter, delightfully sweet without refined sugar: With only eight ingredients, one bowl and no butter, oil or refined sugar these Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are vegan, gluten-free, easy to prepare and make for a great snack or nutritious treat.

healthy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

Where do I start with these healthy vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies? They’re small but mighty. Okay, not really. Yet they’re small but have quite the story to tell. Inspired by the oatmeal cookies my mum has been making, sharing with the whole family and raving about these had to happen. See, I’m all for my family eating oatmeal. And cookies. But if there’s an option to merge these in a healthier way I’m even more in for it. Needless to say my mum’s standard recipe does not fit this criteria or else I wouldn’t have dusted off my apron to get baking.*

*granted, I didn’t wear an apron but writing this post reminded me I really should the next time.

healthy vegan oatmeal cookies (hazelnut version)

The verdict? My mum took one bite and said: “delicious, you can bake me a tin full of these”. Needless to say this made my day. Because you might imagine the rarity of a statement like that coming from her. Can we call that a huge success? Especially surprising as – and I’m going to commit a blogger crime saying this – I wasn’t overly impressed by the cookies myself. But I should add that a) I’m generally not a cookie person. Chocolate has my heart, or, rather: sweet tooth. And b) I still thought they were delicious, I’d just choose chocolate over any cookie any day so I’m not qualified to judge ;). My sister was a fan of the cookies, too, though, which should say it all: thumbs up for these.

I tried both a hazelnut and almond version of these – the first picture above shows the almond, the second one the hazelnut ones – and both were equally well received. The almonds blend in well with the other flavours while the hazelnuts add a litte extra flavour  – which I personally thought was great – so you decide what you’re feeling like.

healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies -

Crispy on the edges, soft in the middle with a delightfully hearty oat flavour spiked with hints of chocolate – they just deliver. They’re not your average dessert-like sweet cookies but their more nutritious but not less delicious cousins. Have your cookie and eat it [for breakfast], too!

One Bowl Healthy Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

yields about 8 cookies

3/4 cup quick oats [60 g] + 1-2 tbsps, divided [use certified gluten-free if necessary]
2 tbsps ground almonds/almond meal OR hazelnut meal [~18-20 g]
3 tsps tapioca starch
2.5-3 tbsps of maple syrup [see notes]
1 heaped tbsp of coconut oil  [20 g]
Pinch of sea salt
1+ tbsps of mini chocolate chips OR chopped up dark chocolate [see notes]
1/2 tsp vanilla [optional]
[Optional: non-dairy milk]

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F/175 °C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, process the oatmeal into a fine flour. Add ground almonds, baking powder, salt and tapioca and give it a quick pulse to combine.
  3. Melt the coconut oil.
  4. Add the maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla if using to the dry ingredients in the blender and mix to combine. The dough should stick together well at this point. If the dough is too crumbly, add 1/2 tbsp of non-dairy milk at a time to reach the desired consistency. Transfer dough to a small mixing bowl.
  5. Using your hands, mix in the remaining oats. You want the dough to be less sticky and rollable, not crumbly, so start with 1 tbsp of oatmeal.
  6. Add the chocolate chips and stir through with a spoon or your hands.
  7. Scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet, using around 3/4 of a tablespoon of dough per cookie. Roll into a ball and flatten into cookie shape between your palms. No need for perfection here.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies sit on the sheet for around five minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Notes:
Using hazelnut meal I found 2 1/2 tbsps of maple syrup to be enough but adjust to get the right consistency.

Use sugar-free/stevia-sweetened chocolate for a completely refined-sugar-free option.

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies_8

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

 

Happiness-inducing today:  Walking around outside soaking up the summery smell of the air. Can I bottle that scent up for colder months to come?!

 

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
 

What’s one family favourite dish/cookie you’ve “healthified”?

Do you prefer chocolate chips or raisins in your oatmeal cookies?

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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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