An almost healthy Gluten-free Dairy-free Soy-free Butterfinger

October 29th, 2011 yum Posted in Chocolate, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Holiday, JM friendly, Nuts, Peanut, Raw Food 11 Comments »

Halloween. I’ve always loved the holiday. As a kid I have happy memories of making my own costumes with my mother, and so it has been important to me to continue this tradition with baby Yum. I made her a ladybug costume last year, and this year I’m making her a girl robot costume. This two year old girl loves twirly skirts, robots, and space shuttles too, and I love that she loves these things. Who says you can’t have tonka trucks and tulle skirts too? Nobody in our house! But the other big thing about halloween is the candy, right? I was never allowed to have candy as a child, partly due to gluten and partly because of the sugar. I would go trick-or-treating, but would give back the candy or give it to my mother, and it wasn’t a big deal. Now that I have my own child and she is becoming more aware of the various traditions associated with holidays, I’ve realized I’m going to have to find my own way with the candy issue. Toddler Yum sometimes has small amounts of sugar- usually combined with healthy things, so it isn’t barred from our house, but have you read the labels on those candy labels? I’ve always been a fan of peanut chocolates like Reese’s or Butterfinger. Since I had a box of Erewhon Unsweetened Corn Flakes Cereal on my kitchen island waiting to be used that I received courtesy of Erewhon representative Alisa Fleming of Go Dairy Free, and I had made an allergen-friendly Reese’s cup in a previous post, I was most interested in the Butterfinger.

Here are the ingredients for your average Butterfinger:
SUGAR, GLUCOSE, PEANUTS, HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL OIL, COCOA POWDER, MODIFIED MILK INGREDIENTS, MOLASSES, CORN FLAKES, SALT, SOYA LECITHIN, CORN STARCH, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOUR, TBHQ, CITRIC ACID, COLOUR.

Actually, I’ve read worse, but it just doesn’t sound very good or good for you. And how about that TBHQ? Yum!
So I decided it was time to re-think the Butterfinger. At its most basic, this bar is all about the sweet, sweet peanut filling, crispy corn flakes and chocolate shell. One peanut treat that we love and often eat in our house is the peanut butter lara bar, which is simply peanuts, dates, and a little salt. So I thought, why not make a homemade Lara Bar, give it a corn flake center for crunch, and dip or drizzle it in chocolate?

So that is exactly what I did.

How to make Gluten-free Dairy-free and Soy-free Homemade Butterfingers:

You’ve seen the toddler-friendly version at the top of the post, pictured with Toddler Yum’s Jack O’Lantern. Here is the sexy adult version, which I took to a pumpkin carving party.

It might be me, but I think it looks (and tastes) better than the packaged version! The Erewhon Corn Flakeswere perfect for this because the only ingredients were corn and a little salt. They were a tad plain all by themselves, but in a recipe like this where they are surrounded by healthy sweet ingredients, they are perfect! I’d buy them again, just for this recipe or to use in a savory breading recipe. This recipe was awesome, though, and I love how easy it is to adapt to various food sensitivities. If you need dairy-free but Soy Lecithin is ok and trace amounts of milk are ok, try the Trader Joe chocolate chips, which I used this time. If you need completely dairy-free and soy-free, use the Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips for your coating. If you prefer a really dark (70% cacao) type chocolate, use that. Want it strictly vegan with vegan sugar? Use a vegan chocolate bar. I think it will be delicious every way! Do store it in the refrigerator before eating, though, as the chocolates without soy lecithin are delicate and the bar will stay solid and easy to eat that way.

Here’s some fun pics from the Halloween party…

It was Toddler yum’s first experience carving a pumpkin, or rather, scooping out the pumpkin. Daddy helped, and gave the pumpkin little vampire teeth. Toddler Yum loved it, and even said “Vampire! vampire!” Oh dear, the things they pick up. And yes, there were other people at this party, including a wonderful gluten-free hostess that you might know from her blog that made wonderful sweet potato corn chowder and homemade mounds bars (yum!) I’m so lucky to know many of the gluten-free chefs around, and to be able to welcome this new gluten-free friend to our neighborhood.

Happy Halloween! I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family, with plenty of treats that work for everybody’s tummy.

Looking for more gluten-free homemade treats?
Sunflower-seed Un-peanut Butter Cups
Elana’s Pantry Healthy Halloween Candy Recipes
Homemade Gluten-free Twix Bar Recipe
Nutty Vegan Butter Easter Candy
Ali’s homemade maple-sunbutter candor (like tootsie rolls)
Ali’s Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clusters
Nourishing Gourmet’s Healthier Candy Recipes
Kelly’s Raw Chocolate Raspberry Candy- refined sugar and other allergens free
Elana’s Peppermint Patties sweetened with Agave

Share your favorite gluten-free candy recipes in the links and I’ll add them to the list!

PS I was so excited about this candy recipe I decided to postpone the conclusion to pumpkin week until at least Monday… Sorry guys, but I wanted to make sure people had this recipe in time for the holidays!

Shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Made from Scratch Tuesday

Healthy Dairy-free Soy-free Butterfinger Recipe
Ingredients
Layer 1:
1 scant cup pitted Medjool dates (or regular)
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
2 tbsp. smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
Layer 2:
1 scant cup pitted Medjool dates (or regular)
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts (can substitute almonds)
2 tbsp. smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (optional)

enough Erewhon plain corn flakes to cover surface area of a quart bag

Additional smooth natural peanut butter (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 lb of soy-free semi-sweet or dark chocolate for melting
1-2 tsp. coconut oil as needed

Directions
Get out two freezer-safe quart bags and reserve.
Layer One:
Put your scant cup of PITTED dates in your food processor and process until you have a smooth paste. Add your peanuts and process until mixture comes together when you press it but there are still chunks of peanut left. Add peanut butter, salt and optional nutmeg and pulse them in until mixed throughout. Remove from food processor with a spatula and put in one quart bag, pressing the air out and sealing it. Then flatten the mixture in your bag until you have a flat sheet of peanut dough. Place in refrigerator on an even, flat surface and chill.
Layer Two:
Repeat with the second batch of PITTED dates and peanuts. You will fill your second quart sized freezer bag. Chill along with the other layer for 30 minutes or so.

Just before you are ready to take the peanut dough out of the refrigerator, put your semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat on half power in 30 second intervals, checking after each interval and stirring as needed. When chocolate is almost completely melted, stir until chocolate is smooth and reserve. I found I needed to add coconut oil to have a thin enough chocolate for dipping. Just add your oil and stir in gently.

To prepare peanut bar for dipping, cut sides of freezer bags and peel off the top of the bag on layer one. sprinkle layer one with plain corn flakes. Peel the top of the bag from layer two and careful invert it on top of the corn flakes so you have a peanut bar “sandwich” with corn flakes as the filling. Gently press the layers together, remove the final layer of plastic on top and then cut the peanut bar “sandwich” in 7 logs horizontally and then cut half down the center vertically. If you are preparing this for a toddler, you can make two more vertical cuts for mini butterfinger bites.

Prepare a large cookie baking sheet with a layer of wax paper and place a cooling rack on top. Place each bar on the cooling rack with space around each bar so that you can drizzle chocolate down the sides.

Prepare each bar by putting a generous dab of peanut butter between the layers to stick them together OR a dab of melted chocolate and pressing then firmly together on the top. Don’t worry if they don’t seem very firmly attached. Once they cool they will firm up and stick together.

For adults who like a fair amount of chocolate, you can drizzle chocolate over the top and sides of the bar, using a knife to evenly distribute it. For toddlers, kids, or healthy-minded adults you can drizzle strands of chocolate on the top for a little taste of chocolate.

Place the tray in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes to an hour, or until chocolate has set. Remove bars from tray with a metal spatula and put in a tupperware. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Notes
Got rave reviews from adults who couldn’t believe how such natural ingredients could taste like the real thing and have the real mouth feel. :D I raved, too.
Additional Pictures
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Raw Foods Honey Lavender, Kiwi Strawberry Un-cheesecake Recipe

April 13th, 2011 yum Posted in Blog Event, Dairy Free, Egg Free, JM friendly, Raw Food, Rice Free, Soy Free, Sugar free, Vegan Option, coconut 19 Comments »


I had so much fun participating in Nicola’s detox January, I could not wait to participate in Brittany of Real Sustenance’s April in the Raw blog event. Lately I’ve been enjoying experimenting with raw foods, and her event offered the perfect opportunity to try some ideas I’d had for a raw cheesecake.

The entries for the first week of the event look amazing and I am greatly looking forward to see the other divine entries.

For my entry, I wanted to try to create a delicious cheesecake like the ones I’ve enjoyed at Cafe Gratitude, an amazing raw foods cafe based in the San Francisco- Berkeley area. They now have a small cafe in my local Cupertino Whole Foods, yay! I found a lot of interesting recipes online that provided the inspiration for my recipe, but I wanted to do something a little different. I was initially thinking of making a strawberry or blueberry cheesecake, but as I stepped out the door of my house, I happened to see the lavender plant that I planted next to the door. I love lavender and use it every chance I can, either in body products (I love Dr. Bronner’s)), or in my natural housecleaning supplies. I add a few drops of essential oil in the vinegar and water I use to mop the floor, and drip a few into baking soda to use as a good carpet or couch deodorizer. Not unexpectedly, I also love lavender in food, whether it is delicately flavoring sugar cookies, ice cream, or chocolate. It is yummy however you use it. And so, when I saw this lavender plant on my doorstop with its beautiful small purple flowers, I thought- how beautiful would a mini-cheesecake be, drizzled in a little raw honey and festooned with lavender blossoms. Although I was inspired, I’m a fickle girl and wanted an assortment of flavors, so I still went to the grocery store and picked up some fresh fruit.

I started the recipe last night by soaking almonds and cashews overnight. Even though it is difficult for me to plan ahead enough to do this, I always enjoy the process of setting ingredients out to soak. It makes me feel half like Laura Ingalls Wilder and half like a witch preparing ingredients for some magical potion. This morning I made the almond nut milk and set it in a carton in the refrigerator, after sipping a little as a treat. The box stuff has nothing on the homemade almond milk! I cracked open my bottle of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil that Tropical Traditions had sent me free as a promotion. Woo hoo! Yay for free coconut oil! Next I made my molds for the cheesecake. I didn’t have springform pans that would have made it easy, so what I did was tape removable tart bottoms to my english muffin rings. Then I ground up pecans and date and pressed them into the tart pans as the crust. I put the crust in the refrigerator, made my filling, and then started playing with my fresh fruit and local, raw honey and lavender blossoms.

Ultimately I ended up making a very fun strawberry-kiwi raw cheesecake, mango cheesecake, and a blueberry topped cheesecake with a surprise. I enjoyed each flavor, but the honey lavender cheesecake was my hands down favorite. Sometimes honey has a little too much personality, but since the same is true of lavender, when they are put together somehow they harmonize to make something much more mellow. I could eat this cheesecake every day, if it weren’t for the fact that it requires me to think ahead to soak the nuts. Eating fresh flower blossoms always makes me feel like I’m dining on fairy food. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Gluten-free Raw Cashew Cheesecake with Pecan Date Crust
Ingredients
1 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup soaked medjool dates
shredded raw coconut

Filling:
3 cups cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours)
1/4 cup pine nuts (soaked for at least 30 minutes)
1/2 cup freshly made almond milk*
1/2 cup raw honey or agave (for almost-raw)
2/3 cup raw coconut oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1-2 sun-dried vanilla bean, cut open and scraped out OR 2 or 3 tsp. vanilla (for almost-raw)
sea salt to taste

6 mini springform pans OR english muffin rings taped to cardboard or metal circles OR silicon muffin liners work too but give a less cheesecake-like shape

Directions
Sprinkle shredded coconut in the bottom of each small springform pan. Then put your pecans and dates in the food processor and process until you have a sticky, crumbly dough. Pat it into the bottom of your pans but not up the sides. Put your pans in the refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Drain and rinse your cashews and pine nuts. Put in blender with the rest of your ingredients and process until smooth. If you have too much in your blender for one batch, you can separate it and process it in two batches until smooth and then combine them. Pour the filling into your individual cheesecake molds and put the molds in the freezer to firm up- about 3 or 4 hours.

Variations:
Honey Lavender Un-cheesecake: Use raw honey as your sweetener for the filling. Sprinkle top with fresh lavender flowers or sprigs and dabs of honey as desired.

Strawberry Kiwi Un-cheesecake:
top with chopped fresh strawberry and kiwi

Blueberry Sauce Un-cheesecake:
after the cheesecake has been in the freezer an hour or two and is firm, use a knife so that it is no longer attached to the sides of the mold. Top with blueberry sauce and put back in freezer to harden. Reserve some sauce for drizzling later if you like.

Mango Un-cheesecake:
Top with slices of fresh mango.

*To serve, remove cheesecake from the freezer and carefully slide a knife around the edges of the mold so it is no longer attached to the side. gently remove from mold and then leave out at room temperature for 20 minutes or so (or put in refrigerator) until texture approximates cheesecake and is no longer frozen solid.

Notes
*I made a batch of almond milk by soaking 1 1/3 cup of raw almonds overnight, rinsing them and blending with 2 cups of filtered water until you have a smooth creamy liquid. Then I strained the liquid in tea straining bags (or nut bags, if you have them) and added some (optional) vanilla scrapings. Delicious, and you’ll have more than you need for this recipe!
Blueberry Sauce with a secret ingredient
Ingredients
1 1/3 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen, defrosted and rinsed)
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla
Directions
Combine in food processor, blend and chill. Serve on vegan nut cream or raw cheesecake.
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