Saturday, March 19, 2011

Crunchy Snack Bars

Do you find yourself on the go and in need of a quick snack or bar that is convenient? I know that I do. I looked into buying those expensive whole food snack bars at the store to keep around and they are SO expensive. So when I came across this recipe for low carb snack bars on Laurens website Healthy Indulgences, I had to give them a try. I've been telling my sister Angela about them for weeks and I am finally getting them onto the blog.

These seem like a bit of work just looking at the recipe, but they really are quite easy, especially if you skip the chocolate topping. But I will say the chocolate topping makes them taste quite like an awesome candy bar or something :) Lauren says they remind her of a Samoa cookie. It is girl scout cookie time! so if you need something healthier to ward off the Samoa cravings, this will really hit the spot :) Definitely read the full recipe through a couple times so you can get an idea of what to do, and it will make following the recipe that much easier :)

These are a DELICIOUS and easy recipe to have on hand. (They freeze very well) and her site lists different versions of the recipe; I also make them without the chocolate topping, (a little less mess). 

The following is my absolute favorite version. It smells like a Samoa cookie, no joke!

Enjoy! Love Sara

Crunchy No-Bake Snack Bars


1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup pecans

1/4 cup golden flax meal (could also use sesame seed meal)

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup almond butter (could also use peanut or mac nut butter)

1/4 cup coconut oil (could also use melted butter)- UPDATE... I think 2 Tbls would be plenty.  This bar is a little oily, and when its closer to room temp a bit messy.  So i now cut down on the amount of extra oil.  I wouldnt be surprised if 1 Tbls would be enough.  Leave a comment if you try it, and let me know how it works out.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon of raw honey

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons erythritol**

1/8 teaspoon of pure stevia extract **

** If you don't have these ingredients just add a little more honey. That's what I did :) I increased honey to 1 Tablespoon. If you make this modification it does change the carb and sugar amounts that Lauren posted below.

Easy Chocolate Ganache Topping:


4 squares of 85% cacao chocolate

2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated palm oil shortening (could also use more coconut oil or organic unsalted butter)

1 tablespoon erythritol **

1/8 teaspoon pure stevia extract **

1 teaspoon organic heavy cream (or full fat coconut milk)

** you could substitute these two ingredients and put in 1 Tablespoon honey.


For Snack Bars:
Powder erythritol in coffee grinder or magic bullet. Toast coconut and nuts in a dry pan over medium-low heat or the toaster oven, until slightly browned. Pulse nut and seed mixture in a food processor just until nuts are chopped. Melt coconut oil and nut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Add vanilla extract, honey, erythritol, stevia, and sea salt, stirring until incorporating. Fold into nut mixture. Press into an 8 by 4 pan with a spatula. Quick set in the freezer for 20 minutes. Cut into 6 bars. Store in the refrigerator, covered with a paper towel and plastic wrap.

For Ganache Topping:

Powder erythritol in coffee grinder or magic bullet. Melt shortening and chocolate in microwave in for 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir in cream, erythritol, and stevia, until mixture is completely blended. Spread over cooled bars immediately.

~4.35 grams net carbs per 1/6 of a recipe*

(*This amount is different if you added the extra honey)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tea Cookies, properly named 'Hamantaschen'

High Tea.  Have you ever had one?  Its such a fun experience and brings out a little bit of childhood girlishness in me.  Dainty little tea cups, beautifully tiered serving trays, homespun lace, fancy sandwiches and delicate little cookies.  I love this sort of thing, and I absolutely cant wait to buy Eva Pearl her first little tea set.

I was organizing my refrigerator the other day and picked up a jar of my mother-in-law's DELICIOUS strawberry jam.  I started to think of ways I could use the jam and it hit me, thumb print cookies!!  These type of cookies are so tender and buttery, and with a tiny dab of jam or preserves in the middle they are perfectly sweet.

So I went to Elana's website and found a recipe using jam.  They are called Hamantaschen;  A pastry traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim.  Because I have no idea how to pronounce it, I am calling them Tea Cookies! (click this link for the recipe)

These are so delicious and delicate, definitely appropriate for an afternoon tea :)  I had a hard time keeping them in the triangle shape, (the mess up cookies were SOO good to eat, just not pretty) so next time I think I will make cut outs, and style them more like linzer sandwiches.  This was very easy to make, and definitely DELICIOUS, even my little 1st grade friend Lexi, loved them :)

My first pan of "mess ups"... Yummm!

Well, I am going to finish enjoying my afternoon cup of Tazo tea, and get Eva up from her nap!  I hope you have a beautiful day

Love Sara

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sunbutter Brownies, 'Take 2'

I love brownies!  Especially the Duncan Hines variety, ha ha.  But these days I've been making home made recipes with all different types of ingredients. I've tried them with amaranth flour, coconut flour, and NO flour!!!
So, enters the Flourless Brownie recipe from Kelly Brozyna at The Spunky Coconut, I had to give it a try.  (by the way, Kelly is AWESOME! Definitely check out her website.  It is a great resource for people who have allergies)
There are a couple different ways you can make these brownies and I was intrigued because one of the variations uses Sun butter. (she compared it to being almost like peanut butter/chocolate flavor).  Before reading her post, I had never heard of "Sun Butter".  Tons of people are allergic to peanuts, so using sunflower seed butter can be a replacement.  I bought a jar of this stuff and its pretty good.  I mostly like it with sliced apples, and I'm still debating whether or not I like the taste of them in the brownies. 
I've made this recipe twice.  The first time I over baked them and the sun butter flavor just really overpowered everything.  I really didn't like them.  So I cut them out with cookie cutters, made them look cute and took a picture.  I tried to eat some warmed up, but I wound up throwing most of them away :)  They were pretty though.  Below is the picture

These brownies really have a lot of potential; so I thought I'd give it another try.  I'm not sure what I was thinking, but the second time around I used a full 1/2 cup of sun butter, instead of 1/4 almond, 1/4 sun butter (I cut the recipe in half).  I didn't want to waste my expensive almond butter?? who knows.  So once again the sun butter taste really came through.  BUT, I didn't over bake them, and after they sat over night, they were pretty good.  I'm actually eating one right now!  They are not bad :) OK, actually... I sort of like them now.  So anyway, I thought I'd share my experience.  If you like the taste of Sun Flower seeds, you will love this.  This is an AWESOME recipe that is very adaptable to whatever flavors you like.  I'm going to do all almond butter next time, with mint, just as Kelly suggests and make a mint chocolate brownie.  YUM!  This is a perfect recipe for those with peanut and wheat allergies!  If you do make these,  don't over bake.  They are almost better a little UNDER done.  Just watch for the edges to be set and the middle looking just set.  they will continue to bake a little once out of the oven in the pan.

Let me know if you try them, and if you come up with a cool flavor variation let me know :)

Love and Blessings!