Monday, March 24, 2014

Homemade Sugar-Free Almond Butter Chocolate Fudge

I am totally addicted to these!!!  I have a carob bark recipe and I found some similar recipes to this chocolate.  I sort of combined them all and tweaked them a bit to be this...

Almond Butter Chocolate Fudge/Cups
  •  1/2 Cup coconut oil (melted but not hot)
  • 1/2 Cup raw cocoa powder (cacao or carob powder will work as well, make sure the ingredient label states no sugar!)
  •  1/2 Cup almond butter (or nut butter of your choosing, I used my own homemade almond butter, click here for the recipe)
  • 1/4 Cup honey or Stevia to taste (I like it best with local honey)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (no sugar or corn syrup added)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Heat coconut oil until melted, but not hot, on low heat, and mix well with the almond butter.
Remove from heat and add the cocoa powder, honey, vanilla and salt, mix well to combine. The batter should be more of a liquid than a solid. 
Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.  Add the almond butter mixture and fill each cup about ¼ - ½ inch full.  You should have about a dozen.  You do not need to spray the liners, I had no trouble get them out when I did not spray them.
Stick tray into freezer for about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from freezer, unwrap and enjoy!

~These can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for a more of a solid chocolate or in the refrigerator for more of a fudgy type of bar.

I think when I made them with the carob powder that I burnt the carob a little bit and that's why it got a little gritty.  But I thought they were still ever so tasty with the carob powder!
I made another batch with Stevia instead of honey and the carob powder and they looked more like the picture at the top with the cocoa powder, so that's why I think I may have slightly burned the carob powder.  I actually just read that it is possible to burn carob powder.

I'd have to say I like them best with honey and not Stevia.  And either carob or cocoa powder.  I have not had cacao powder yet.  One website I was at said cocoa and cacao were the same and another said they weren't.  In making cocoa the beans are roasted and in making cacao the beans are not roasted.  Apparently in the roasting process you loose some nutrients.  I don't have cacao powder but I'm interested in trying it.

I don't normally consider things sugar free if they use honey, so I should say it's refined sugar free.  But if you use Stevia then it is sugar free.

If you love your candy bought at the store you may not be a huge fan of these, they are not your typical chocolate peanut butter cup.  I was sugar free for awhile when I was on the Candida Diet then after 6 months of being totally strict I sort of allowed myself some treats now and then.  I don't eat near as much sugar or candy as I did before I did the Candida Diet.  I do try to not eat sugar but I love chocolate and peanut butter.  And these are an amazing substitute for me!  It made my day that I've found these!  I will gladly eat these over store bought chemical filled chocolate!  But that's not to say that I will always be good and never eat the store bought chocolate again, because I know there will be times that I will.  But when the sweet tooth hits I'm so happy to have these!  I think they taste great and I really like them, maybe a little too much!  In my opinion they are way healthier then the chocolate you buy in the store!
My 2 year old daughter also loves these!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Homemade Granola/Energy No Bake Bars

Granola bars!
I found this amazing recipe on Pinterest!  I copied and pasted it into Word, printed it and saved it, but I must have never pinned it.  I went back to move it into my "Pins I've made and tried" folder and I couldn't find.  So I feel bad not given credit where credit is due!  However I have tweaked it a little.  
My husband likes to say I'm always taking good recipes and trying to make them healthier, which I do try to do.  I've followed this basic recipe and tried several different ways to cut out the brown sugar, so I will try and explain all the different ways I've done it and then you can decide which way you want to make it.
I LOVE these!!!!!  I eat so many of them!!!!!!  They are great for a quick breakfast, snack or pick me up!  And I've read granola bars are great for some energy before a work out!  You can't beat homemade!  No preservatives or any of that garbage! 

  • 1/2 C honey (I use local honey)
  • 1/2 C brown sugar (read notes below to substitute this)
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (I used my homemade almond butter)
  • 2 C quick oats (I have also used rolled oats)
  • 2 cups rice cereal (I use crushed up brown rice cakes but rice crispies work too!)
  • 1/4 C flax seed meal
  • 1 C total mix-ins – such as raisins, craisins, chocolate chips, sliced almonds, etc. (I like to use golden raisins, dark chocolate chips and sliced almonds and usually add more then 1 cup.)
In saucepan mix honey and brown sugar over medium heat until sugar dissolved, stirring a few times.
Remove from heat and quickly mix in nut butter.  Let cool a bit.
Meanwhile, mix oats, cereal and flax seed in large bowl together.
Pour dry ingredients into honey and nut butter mixture and mix well. 
Add chosen mix-ins.
Press mixture into a 9x13 pan sprayed with cooking spray or lined with wax paper or parchment paper.  Make sure to really press hard or they will fall apart!
Let it cool and firm up (I put mine in the fridge for about an hour).
Then cut into desired size of bars and store in air-tight container in fridge. (If you house is warm, they kind of droop and fall apart, but still taste fine.)
 To make it Refined Sugar Free...
(Please note that sometimes when you make it without the brown sugar they aren't as firm.)

  • I used all honey, so replace the 1/2 Cup brown sugar with honey, making it 1 Cup honey.  I just warmed the honey a little, do not boil it, then stirred in the almond butter.  
  • I also used chopped dates boiled in water and mushed up in place of the brown sugar.  I'm sorry I didn't really measure it when I did.  It's about 1 cup chopped dates and 1/2 cup water.  In a saucepan simmer the dates in the water for about 5 minutes and mash it up with a fork or a potato masher.  Then I added the honey and nut butter.

To make it all Sugar Free...
I just used all dates, mushed up in water, no honey.  I've read that honey still spikes your blood sugar, but then someone told me it's in a good way... so I don't know.  All I know is when I did the Candida diet I wasn't allowed honey, only Stevia.  So about 2 cups dates simmered in 1/2-1 cup water for about 5-7 minutes and then you mash it with a potato masher or a fork.  Then stir in he nut butter.

I have some unsweetened coconut flakes that I also throw in, just about 1/4 cup maybe a little more.  You don't really taste or see it and it's supposed to be good for you.

I've also made my homemade chocolate or carob almond butter cups (click here for the recipe), chopped them up and put them in.  The carob I think can be a tad bitter so put in here with all the sweetness of the honey it is so yummy!!!!!  I have a carob bark recipe that is very similar to the almond butter chocolate/fudge recipe, the main difference is adding the almond butter.  Which I don't find to make too much of a difference.

I've given the recipe to some friends and they have also really liked these!  Try them!  They are very quick to make, healthier then the bought ones and I think so much tastier then the store bought ones!!!!!!
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