Bad, Better, Best: Halloween Candy Without the Junk, Part 2

allWe all know that the best food choices are made at home, using real, farm-to-table food. Fresh fruit is nature’s dessert, and today we’ll find some ways to jazz it up a bit, with chocolate and without. As promised, I’ll share my go-to alternative to food additive and corn syrup laden Twizzlers and other fruit based snacks. Even if you don’t like fruit, though, I have another option for you. Do you like dark chocolate? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

‘Tis the season for holiday desserts, starting with Halloween! I think you’ll find that you can make these Paleo recipes ahead of time, so they’re great for entertaining as well. I like to connect the dots not only of research, but recipes too. So, each of the ones I’m going to share originated on another blog. I love tweaking recipes, and letting others know that their ideas sparked something that’s similar, yet so different.

Yesterday’s post focused on going from BAD, yet popular, processed candy to BETTER-for-people-and-the-planet packaged candy. It was a little long winded, so today, we’ll get right to the recipes! We’ll go straight to the chocolate.

The first recipe is one that is simple to make, yet can be elegantly presented. It’s based upon a recipe I just happened to stumble upon: Tasty Yummies blog’s delicious recipe for gluten/grain/refined sugar free, Vegan Pumpkin “Cheesecake” Pops.  While I have to admit that true cheesecake is hard to replace, for someone who hasn’t had it in a while, this really is a close second! So, you might want to give it a try during this Halloween/Thanksgiving season. Can you guess what the secret substitute for cheese is? I’ll give you a hint: it starts with a “c” also. Look for it in the ingredient list below!

Even though I love the original recipe, I decided to make a chocolate version for a double chocolate whammy.  Here it is:

Chocolate Coconut Truffles

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 to 15 truffles

Chocolate Coconut Truffles

Double Chocolate Coconut Truffles, Dairy/Gluten/Grain/Refined Sugar Free, Paleo friendly, Recipe © 2013 Transformed By Food

Ingredients

    Chocolate filling:
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (or for at least 4 hours)
  • 9 T virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 medium banana (very ripe, with spots)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (maple syrup, for vegan option)
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3T raw cacao or cocoa powder (unsweetened), like this one or this one.
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Chocolate coating:
  • 1/2 cup melted virgin coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • 2 T raw honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c crushed hazelnuts, almonds, or macadamia nuts (optional)
  • 1/4 c unsweetened, shredded coconut (optional)

Instructions

  1. If you are planning on adding hazelnuts or almonds to the chocolate coating, crush them in food processor before you make filling, and set aside for later.
  2. To make the chocolate filling:
  3. Drain and rinse the cashews. Place them in a food processor or blender. Process cashews a bit before adding other ingredients. Puree them until you have a creamy dough. If you're looking for a stronger coconut taste, then feel free to add more coconut! It'll help make the batter thicker, too, so you won't need to keep them in freezer for as long.
  4. Transfer dough to glass bowl or flat pan. Place in freezer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until solid enough to form into balls. Before you do, line a cookie sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
  5. Use a spoon and your hands to make 1 inch balls and arrange them on the baking sheet so they're not touching. Don't worry that the balls are perfectly shaped. The chocolate coating will cover them up nicely!
  6. Place baking sheet flat in freezer, while you make the chocolate coating. You can also leave them in there and finish up later, if you prefer.
  7. To make the chocolate coating:
  8. Add melted coconut oil to small pan (if solid, you want to measure 1 cup that's already melted before adding to pan).
  9. Heat to medium, add the honey and vanilla and use a whisk to blend. flavors evenly.
  10. Turn off heat and whisk in unsweetened cocoa powder until there are no lumps (you can sift first, if you like). Add crushed nuts, if you wish. Or, wait to add them and make half with and half without them!
  11. To transform into truffles:
  12. Take chocolate balls out of freezer. Put some coconut in a small bowl, if you want to coat them with it.
  13. Using a spoon, dip each ball into chocolate sauce, and then into the coconut. Again, feel free to make half with the coconut and half without, or don't add coconut at all! Your choice. Have fun with it.
  14. Arrange truffles on same baking sheet, and place in freezer. Take out about 15 minutes before serving, or place in refrigerator half an hour to an hour beforehand. If not serving right away, I'd transfer them to covered bowl and keep them in freezer until you do.

Food for thought:

I recommend using organic ingredients whenever possible.

http://transformedbyfood.com/bad-better-best-halloween-candy-without-junk-part-2/

Cashews instead of cheese? Who would’ve thought, right?

If Paleo truffles are a little too rich for you, then perhaps you’d like to try making your own dark chocolate bars or fondue, by doubling or tripling the above recipe for chocolate coating.  I had a lot leftover the first time I made the pumpkin cheesecake pops, so I poured it into a small, glass baking dish and put it in the fridge, and it was delicious! It’s what I’d been searching for for so long: a dark chocolate bar that was free of common allergens, refined sugar, and artificial sweeteners. Thanks to Beth, I finally found it.

When I made these truffles, I also tweaked the recipe ever so slightly and made dark, hazelnut rounds that look kind of like peanut butter cups, but without any nut butter! Since I had fresh strawberries and bananas, I also used it as a fondue, and placed some of the covered fruit in the fridge to create a hard coating. I guess you could call it a fresh fruit truffle.  Since I still had some chocolate left, I poured the rest into an ice cube tray and froze them. So many possibilities from just one recipe. I can’t thank Beth, from Tasty Yummies blog, enough!

Here’s the doubled up recipe for chocolate bars and/or fondue, with a little extra honey:

Dark Chocolate Bars and/or Fondue (Dairy/Refined Sugar Free)

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 25 to 40 bite sized treats, and/or fondue dips

Dark Chocolate Bars and/or Fondue (Dairy/Refined Sugar Free)

Dark Chocolate Fondue/Bars/Rounds/Cubes, Dairy/Refined Sugar Free, Paleo friendly. Children will appreciate the different textures, shapes, and sizes of these treats. Say goodbye to store bought chocolate forever!

Based upon the chocolate coating recipe in Vegan Pumpkin "Cheesecake" Pops, by Beth of Tasty Yummies blog.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 8 T raw honey (6 ounces)
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts or almonds, unsalted and chopped (optional - for bars or rounds)
  • 1 to 2 cups fresh fruit, such as strawberries, bananas, pineapple, etc...(optional - for fondue)

Instructions

  1. Place one cup of melted coconut oil in small pot. Turn heat to medium. Add honey and vanilla, stirring with a whisk to spreading flavors evenly.
  2. Once warm and blended enough, turn off heat and add cocoa powder and Celtic Sea Salt. Stir with whisk until there are no lumps (can sift cocoa powder first, if you like). Add nuts, if you wish.
  3. Enjoy this recipe in the following suggested forms, shapes, and sizes (a little variety goes a long way with children, especially):
  4. Fondue:
  5. Pour chocolate into small bowl. Cut up some fresh fruit, and you're good to go! Or, coat them and refrigerate for later use as Fresh Fruit Truffles (use within a day).
  6. Chocolate bars:
  7. Pour chocolate into 8X8 glass baking pan (or smaller, if you're saving the other half for fondue or rounds), until about 1/4 inch thick.
  8. Chocolate cubes:
  9. Grease an ice cube tray with coconut oil, and pour chocolate into each cube. Refrigerate or freeze (can also be used to keep spare cubes on hand to melt into fondue later on). The cubes come out as easily as ice cubes!
  10. Chocolate rounds:
  11. Place bleach free baking cups in muffin pans. Fill each to desired thickness and then refrigerate. Feel free to add almond or sunflower seed butter, for a peanut free alternative to the traditional peanut butter cup.

Food for thought:

You can make these ahead, and keep them in the refrigerator or freezer.

Parents could actually create different science, math, and health based lessons, based upon this recipe. From counting to reading ingredients, to learning about honey and bees, to learning about liquids and solids, and geometric shapes, to the health benefits of eating less sugar, the possibilities are endless. Please feel free to contact Dawn for some specific ideas.

http://transformedbyfood.com/bad-better-best-halloween-candy-without-junk-part-2/

I love recipes that are simple and can be made ahead of time, yet versatile enough to be able to tweak in some way for variety.  This one recipe certainly fit the bill! So does my Artichoke Olive Antipasto, which can be used as an appetizer or side dish. Whatever makes our lives easier during the busy holiday season is a good thing, right?

snacksSo, now for the healthiest Twizzlers alternative I know of, other than fresh fruit: refined sugar free fruit snacks. I’ve made this recipe so many times since I discovered it. It tastes great, is not overly sweet, and contains an ingredient that’s a great alternative to dairy products for those living without them: high quality beef gelatin. It not only contains collagen, which makes bones, joints, hair, and nails stronger, but it also contains amino acids that are essential to supporting a healthy digestive system and overall health and wellness.

According to WebMD.com:

“Gelatin is used for weight loss and for treating osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and brittle bones (osteoporosis). Some people also use it for strengthening bones, joints, and fingernails. Gelatin is also used for improving hair quality and to shorten recovery after exercise and sports-related injury.”

Anyone who has food sensitivities, digestive concerns, and nutrient deficiencies could benefit from some extra support for bones and joints.  Heck. Can’t we all? Besides, fruit snacks that sneak in some extra protein and collagen? What’s not to like about that?

The recipe for Healthy Homemade Fruit Snacks can be found at Thank your Body blog (see below for link). I LOVE it! I want to thank Robin Konie for sharing it.  She actually tweaked it from another blogger’s recipe for sour gummies, and I haven’t changed her version much.

I do double the recipe, and use a 13X9 pan, instead of an 8X8 pan. If I’m using 100% fresh orange juice (easily pressed with a simple, inexpensive, handheld juicer), then I don’t add the honey at all. It’s sweet enough. If I use half lemon juice, though, I do add 2 tablespoons of honey.

My mildly sweet version:

1 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/3 cup frozen raspberries (unsweetened) – can use any berries, but I prefer these

6 to 8 T grass fed beef gelatin

My slightly sour version:

2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/3 cup frozen raspberries

2 T raw honey

6 to 8 T grass fed beef gelatin

Please note that if you don’t have berries, you can make it without them!

For instructions, please print up Thank your Body’s recipe here. Please note that it’s easiest if you use a whisk and an immersion blender. If the gelatin gets too lumpy, just stop adding more.

You can cut up into large or small squares, or use all kinds of molds to make holiday friendly shapes, if you like.

So, that’s my replacement for Twizzlers and other types of processed fruit candy/snacks. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to share!

If you have an egg allergy, you might also want to try my peanut/egg/grain free “peanut” butter cookies or Elana’s egg/grain free chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes, all you need is a cookie, right?

I hope you enjoy at least one of these recipes. If you’re not yet able to try them due to digestive concerns, or a chocolate allergy, then how about trying my dairy free  ice “cream,” pancakes, applesauce, or even some nice warm  tea or soup as a special treat?

There are so many ways to nourish ourselves without food, too. Taking a walk out in nature, listening to a favorite song, immersing ourselves in a great book, taking a nice, warm bath, or even just taking a moment to breathe and relax. Sometimes, a few seconds or minutes of redirecting our thoughts can go a long way.

Whether you find the time to make homemade Halloween treats or not, I hope you have fun preparing for the holiday! And even if you don’t celebrate it, I hope you enjoy trying one or more of these recipes with your family. If not, don’t stress. We all do what we can. Instead, maybe you’ll consider one of the better choices I recommended in part one of this post.

We can’t always make the BEST choice, but we can often make a BETTER choice, even if we occasionally make a BAD choice. We are all only human, after all. It’s about progress, not perfection. I’m so done with the idea of a Supermom!

Have a happy, healthy week, everyone!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you make any purchases through them, I may receive a small commission, which will be used to offset the costs of maintaining this blog. Thanks in advance for your support.

This post has been shared with the Allergy Free Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food WednesdayThank your Body Thursday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

 

 

About Dawn

As a Certified Health Coach, I provide motivated individuals with the resources, tools, support and encouragement they need to make the gradual changes in food and lifestyle that could completely transform their lives.
Contact me.

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