Upgraded Peanut Butter Cups

Who doesn’t love peanut butter cups!? I started making my own about 6 months ago and have never looked back. In fact, I bit into a store bought one about a week ago and seriously thew it away! It was not nearly as good as my own. Plus, consuming refined sugar usually makes me feel emotionally unstable, so I try and limit that (which my family really appreciates!). I always felt like my usual recipe was missing something, though. So, I tinkered around a bit and came up with these upgraded peanut butter cups that combine everything good about a raw dessert tart with chocolate and peanut butter. I LOVE them and I know you will too.

I made the chocolate using a combination of maple syrup, sea salt, vanilla powder, coconut oil and raw cacao. These ingredients are rich in antioxidants, good fats, loaded with minerals (like magnesium to keep you relaxed!), and low in sugar. These are peanut butter cups you can feel great about eating! But, do keep in mind that this version is melty at room temperature, so the treats need to stay in the fridge or freezer until you eat them.

One other thought: I bought these fancy silicone baking cups and they are perfect for making these (and all kinds of other frozen treats). They fit right into your muffin tin, and then you can reuse them over and over. I don’t find them great for baking, but I do love them for these.

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Upgraded Peanut Butter Cups

Scrumptious homemade peanut butter cups that are free of refined sugar, gluten, and dairy - but still amazingly delicious. 

Course Dessert, Snack
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12 large cups

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 6 medjool dates
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

For the chocolate

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder

For the peanut butter filling

  • 1/2 cup natural, no-sugar added peanut butter (or almond butter, cashew butter, etc.)
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or local honey)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions

For the crust

  1. Pulse everything together in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. The 'dough' should stick together when you pinch it.

  2. Spoon 2 TBSP into a muffin tin, lined with silicone baking cups. Use your fingers (or the tamper from your blender) to evenly distribute the crust in the cup. 

  3. Pop it into the freezer.

For the chocolate

  1. Mix the wet ingredients together with a small whisk or fork. Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined. The chocolate will be quite runny.

  2. Pull the crust from the freezer and pour about 1 tsp of chocolate into each crust. Use only half of the chocolate mix! Save the rest of the top. Pop back in the freezer.

For the peanut butter filling

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Mix well. 

  2. Pull the crusts from the freezer. Use two soup spoons to evenly distribute the peanut butter mixture amongst the cups. 

  3. Top with the remaining chocolate. If your chocolate firmed up too much, just re-melt it again on the stove or in the microwave.

  4. Pop the tray back in the freezer for about 30 mins.

  5. Devour 🙂

  6. If for some reason you don't eat these all in one sitting, just pop the cups out of their liners and store them in a large mason jar in the freezer. Like them a little softer? Store them in the coldest part of your fridge. You'll definitely eat them before they go bad. 

Go make them now! And, if you are looking for traditional peanut butter cups, sans crust? Just leave it off. They will still be delicious.  Got a nut allergy? Sub the peanut butter with sunflower seed butter or coconut butter. Yummmmmm. You can see where this is going: there are endless options of cups to make! Stay tuned as I tinker around with this recipe :).

 

 

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Keeping Things ‘Regular’ With Delicious Salted Fudge Brownies

Before we get into the recipe for these delicious salted fudge brownies, we need to talk digestion. More specifically, poo. We never talk openly about poo, but maybe we should! Did you know that slow digestion affects millions of people worldwide and is one of the most common reasons that people seek medical attention? If constipation is familiar to you, you are not alone; and now that you know that you are amongst friends, let’s talk about how we can keep things regular.

You probably guessed it, our diet makes a significant impact on our elimination habits. Ideally, you have at least one bowel movement each day, with ease. In fact, ideal transit time (the time in which food moves into your mouth and out your bum) should be 18-24 hours. A fun way to test your own transit time is to eat beets or sesame seeds and see how long they take to re-appear.

If your transit time is on the slow end (pun!), chances are you’re:

  • not having a daily bowel movement
  • straining during bowel movements
  • having lumpy or pebbly stools
  • feeling as though elimination is incomplete

These things are not only annoying; they are also hazardous to your health! Health starts in our gut. When food sits too long in the colon, it begins to ferment and putrefy, contributing to a whole host of nasty things including further constipation as the stool dries out, yeast overgrowth which can contribute to the dreaded “leaky gut”, ongoing inflammation in the colon, and the formation of haemorrhoids.

So, if your transit time is more than 24 hours, you know that you need to speed it up. You can do this by making some pretty simple changes to your regular diet, like trading refined grains for whole grains, adding more fruits and veggies, and incorporating more legumes in place of animal protein. One creative way of doing this is using fibre-rich flours in baking. The following recipe uses BOB’s RED MILL Black Bean Flour in place of white flour. This ups your fibre intake, reduces your consumption of refined grains, and still manages to keep your sweet tooth happy. Best of all, you won’t believe these tasty treats are good for you!

Salted Fudge Brownies

Delicious, gluten-free, fibre-rich brownies that will fool all your friends!

Course Dessert, Snack
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 9 large brownies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup cacao
  • 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/2 cup black bean flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup good quality, gf chocolate chips (divided) (I use Enjoy Life mini chips)
  • 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt (for topping)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper

  3. In a medium sized saucepan, melt the coconut oil over medium heat

  4. Remove from heat and whisk in the cacao

  5. When fully mixed, add the sugar

  6. When fully incorporated, whisk in the eggs and vanilla

  7. Add flour and sea salt

  8. When just combined, add ¼ cup chocolate chips

  9. Pour batter (it will be quite thick) into parchment lined loaf pan

  10. Scatter the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips on top of the brownie batter

  11. Bake for 20 minutes (brownies will still be gooey at this point)

  12. Top the brownies with flaky sea salt immediately after they come out of the oven

  13. Let cool before cutting

  14. Hint: for the tastiest brownies, put them in the fridge before serving!


Gluten-Free Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Straight-up, these are chock-full of butter. And while I am definitely a proponent of using good quality fats (including butter) on a regular basis, this recipe is definitely for special occasions.

That said, these are awesome. They are the perfect holiday treat: buttery and sweet.. I used a simple gluten-free flour mix (that your friends won’t know is gluten free!), coconut palm sugar (which punctuates these tasty morsels with delightful caramel notes), and so much butter.

Make these for your next cookie exchange (I did!)!

Gluten-Free Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Sweet, buttery pecan shortbread cookies that are gluten-free and super tasty. 

Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups softened butter
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 2 cups tapioca flour
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup well-chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350

  2. Line your largest baking sheet with parchment paper

  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and palm sugar until they are fluffy and well combined.

  4. Add the vanilla powder

  5. On low speed, mix in the flours and sea salt and mix until a dough starts to form. Stop and scrape the sides as needed.

  6. Add the chopped pecans and mix until combined.

  7. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm (about 30 mins).

  8. Roll onto a floured surface (I used more tapioca flour for rolling). Roll the dough about 1/2" thick.

  9. Cut into desired shapes and place on cookie sheet.

  10. Bake for 8 minutes, or until the edges just begin to brown. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before placing on a cooling rack. 

  11. Store cool cookies in a glass container. They are best when eaten within 2-3 days.


Crumbly Bumbleberry Breakfast Bars

In my quest to find desserts that double as acceptable breakfasts, I revamped Cam’s grandma’s tasty Raspberry Bars. They are one of my most favourite treats; but they are super addictive because of all the sugar. I have quite a sugar addiction, and when I made them the original way, they would actually call my name alllll day and I found them so irresistible that the batch would be gone before dinner time. Then I would feel shaky, super thirsty, and irritable for days. Not a good thing.

So I changed them up: I got rid of the conventional sugar, made it gluten-free and amped up the fibre. I also subbed the conventional jam filling for a homemade chia jam that has no added sugar, but has chia seeds to bind it together and increase the fibre even more. The result: amazingly delicious breakfast bars that could double as a healthy dessert :)! They are super tasty, but not addictive. There is no post-raspberry bar energy crash and no ensuing irritability. They leave you satisfied instead of insisting that you eat all of them, immediately. Hope you like them too!

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Crumbly Bumbleberry Breakfast Bars

Delicious, crumbly, fruit forward breakfast bars. They also happen to be gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar free (but no one would notice!).

Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (just grind the oats in your food processor until they resemble a course flour)
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2/3 cup butter, ghee, or coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 batch chia jam (recipe to follow)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375

  2. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.

  3. Mix the oats, oat flour, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, palm sugar, baking powder, and sea salt in a mixing bowl.

  4. Add melted butter/ghee/coconut oil and mix together using a spatula.

  5. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the parchment lined baking pan.

  6. Top with chia jam. Using a spatula, spread the chia jam all over the oat mixture.

  7. Mix the almonds with the remaining 1/3 of the oat mixture.

  8. Use your hands to crumble the remaining oat mixture over the berry filling.

  9. Bake for 25-30 mins, or until the top is begins to brown.

  10. Let cool before cutting into the bars (if you can stand waiting!)

 

Bumbleberry Chia Jam

Versatile, delicious, protein and fibre-rich jam for your morning oatmeal, fancy dessert, or eating with a spoon!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

  2. Add the berries and chia seeds.

  3. Stirring frequently, cook until the berries begin to burst and release their juices.

  4. Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Mix together.

  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer until you have a thick, jam like sauce.

  6. Dig in!