Okay, so in my last post I talked a little about Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook ‘It’s All Good’, right? Remember me saying that her banana and date muffins tasted like a tennis ball? Like a big bite of nothing? Well, they did, but that’s not really what I wanted to talk to you about today.
(I feel so weird saying ‘talk’, because I’m sitting alone behind my laptop, hammering away on my keyboard, but I can’t help it! I really feel like I’m talking to you! Oh, by the way, I just realized that I typed ‘saying’ in the first sentence of this paragraph. Aaaaaanyway….)
Today, let’s just forget about those horrible muffins – which some bloggers out there actually seem to like a lot, so maybe I’m weird – and instead I want to ‘talk’ about her healthy candy bars. Well, not really her candy bars, because I kind of reinvented her recipe a little. I tend to do that, especially when it comes to no-bake recipes, such as this one. It’s just too easy and safe to make your own version and I hate, hate, hate running out to the store to get ingredients that I don’t have in my pantry when I just got down to the business of baking. Or no-baking…
In this case, I substituted ground almonds for cashews (because I had a bag of it in my pantry), I used grated coconut instead of coconut flour (what? Coconut flour?), I omitted the almond extract because I don’t like it (at all) and I halved the recipe.
The resulting candy bars were delicious! I shouldn’t have halved the recipe!
Oh, I almost forgot, I also substituted sunflower oil for coconut oil, because my last experience with coconut oil wasn’t a good one. I know that there are two kinds of coconut oil, a very coconuty kind and a neutral-tasting kind, and I suppose the neutral-tasting coconut oil would be perfect in this recipe, but I only had the coconuty kind of oil.
Whatever you do, don’t use the coconuty oil! Trust me, it will ruin your day! That stuff should not be combined with chocolate, especially not in a so-called delicious vegan chocolate mousse.
I’m still recovering from that one…
Anyway, these candy bars are amazing. I pinky promise you that. They’re stuffed with dates, almond butter, grated coconut and maple syrup. And then there’s the chocolate, of course…
I’ve said it before and I’m sure that I will say it again: chocolate makes everything just a little better!
Just don’t fool yourself into thinking that these candy bars are healthy. I know they look healthy. I know they’re based on a recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow, who is of course know for being very healthy and rocking a macrobiotic lifestyle and everything, but these things are just not healthy! It’s candy and candy contains sugar. Sure, not the white granulated kind of sugar, but let’s not forget: maple syrup is also 99.9% sugar. And not a good kind of sugar. I’m not a nutritionist, but I read on this blog that maple syrup is basically 99.9% sucrose, aka: refined sugar. In other words, maple syrup contains just as much refined sugar as granulated sugar.
And these bars contain a lot of maple syrup!
So, if you’re trying to lose some weight, steer clear of these babies. I know they’re tempting – with their thick layer of dark chocolate and chewy, nutty almond layer, but each bar contains 284 calories!
Of course, I only bothered running the recipe through a calorie counter after I ate half the batch, which meant that I had had enough calories to see me through the day. Don’t be like me!
But hey, these bars may not be a skinny alternative for regular snickers bars, and yes, they do contain a ton of sugar, but for a candy bar they actually are kind of healthy. Let’s talk about almonds a bit. Almonds are good for you. Like I said in my last post, almonds are the most nutritionally dense nut in the world, which means that “they offer the highest concentration of overall nutrients per calorie and per ounce”.
Sounds pretty smart, right? I didn’t come up with that myself. I only come up with delicious recipes and the occasional rock song… I actually read about it in an article on Superfoods.
And what about dates? Good for you. Stuffed with vitamins, fiber and minerals. And coconut? Again, stuffed with minerals and it can actually help keep your brain healthy!
Bonus, bonus, bonus! The perfect pre-workout snack! The perfect struggling-to-write-a-85-page-thesis snack!
And the chocolate? Well, chocolate feeds your soul. And if you ask me, feeding your soul is just as important as feeding your body!
Enjoy guys, and feel free to experiment a little with this recipe! Add nuts or other kinds of dried fruit. Use different kinds of nut butters. Use a different kind of chocolate. There’s not much that can go wrong with these!
- 130g (or ¾ cup) dried, pitted dates
- 95g (or 1 cup) almond flour or ground almonds
- 65g (or a little over ¼ cup) almond butter
- 50g (or ½ cup) grated coconut
- 60ml (or ¼ cup) maple syrup
- 100g (or 5 ounces) semisweet chocolate
- 2 teaspoons of flavorless vegetable oil, such as sunflower oil
- Using a shark knife, cut the dried dates into smaller pieces. I usually cut each date in half lengthwise and then I cut each half in quarters. However, if you have a very powerful food processor, you may not need to do this.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the chopped dates, the almond four, the almond butter, the coconut and the maple syrup. Pulse until the ingredients are chopped and clump together in a sticky ball.
- Line a 12x18-cm (or 5x7-inch) dish with baking parchment (leaving a little hanging over the edges of the pan) and, using your hands, press the almond mixture in the dish in an even layer. Refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.
- Once the bar has cooled, gently melt the chocolate in the bowl of a double boiler. Stir in the oil and pour the mixture over the cooled almond and coconut bar. Spread into an even layer with a rubber or offset spatula, then place in the fridge for another hour to allow the chocolate to set.
- Once cooled, use the baking parchment 'handles' to lift the bar out of the pan and use a sharp, hot knife to cut the bar into 8 smaller bars.
- Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.