Almost-All-Natural Mint Nanaimo Bars (made with dates and chick peas!)
Tuesday February 05, 2013
The combination of chocolate and mint is my kryptonite.
Lately I've been trying my hand at some more meal-related dishes and letting my baking take a rest. Then there's less temptations around the house for me to eat (because I have no willpower).
Then the other day I cracked and made these.
I am fascinated with attempting to manipulate desserts and baked goods. I love experimenting and trying out new ingredients or techniques and especially recently I've been on a no refined sugar kick.
I hardly think these qualify as a baked good though! They aren't baked AND are pretty natural with no refined sugars (here-here for fibre-rich dates and chick peas!). AND they can be made gluten free to boot. Heck yes. If that's not a healthy(er) dessert I don't know what is!
Plus antioxidant rich dark chocolate? Hallelujah.
The only battle I lost with these was trying to make them green by pureeing spinach for the middle layer. That was a losing battle. I ended up using green food colouring and hence these are ALMOST-all-natural.
Sigh... I got over it pretty quick.
These are deliciously minty nanaimo bar knock-offs. Very addicting... The bottom layer is based on this brownie recipe (step-by-step photos included!)
Recipe: Almost-All-Natural Mint Nanaimo Bars
Makes ~12-16 (8x4 inch pyrex)
* you could double this recipe and try an 8x8 inch if you don't have the smaller size- but really you can use any square container you like as long as its approximately the right size.
3/4 cup almonds, ground
1 cup pitted medjool dates
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
3/4 cups chick peas white or navy beans drained and rinsed (You can use chick peas but I find the white beans have less flavour and lighter in colour)
1/2 cup pitted medjool dates
~1/3 cup flour*-- whole wheat, all purpose or coconut flour (use 2-3 tbsp)
2 tbsp margarine, softened butter, coconut oil or sunflower oil
2 tsp peppermint extract OR 2 drops peppermint oil (or to the minty-ness of your taste)
1-2 drops green food colouring (or to the colour of your preference)
2 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
1 tbsp coconut or sunflower oil
1 tsp peppermint extract
*you want the middle layer to be stiff enough that it will not ooze out too much when you bite in. You may need more or less flour depending on your desired consistancy
Bottom: In a food processor, finely grind the almonds. Add the cocoa powder and pulse until combined. Add the pitted dates and mix until the mixture starts to hold together when squeezed. Pulse in the cococonut. Line an 8x4 inch pyrex with waxed paper. Empty the mixture into the dish and using a measuring cup or your hands, press the brownie mixture into the pyrex (push really hard to make them compress).
Middle: In a food processor, combine the beans and dates. Puree until smooth and no lumps remain. Add the margarine/coconut oil/sunflower oil and flour and buzz to incorporate. Add the peppermint flavouring and food colouring until you reach a pale green colour. Spread ontop of the bottom brownie layer trying to make it as even as possible.
Top: In a double-boiler, combine the oil, peppermint extract and chocolate. Stir until melted. Let cool slightly before spreading on top of the middle layer. Refrigerate until firm (a couple hours). Cut into squares and serve