Those checkout aisles at the grocery store can be a nightmare. Not only do we have to negotiate tempting pocket-money magazines with eye-catching headlines (“Is Pippa MIddleton Engaged?”; “25 Worst Beach Bodies”), but also serried rows of come-hither confectionary. Ahh, those crispy, colourful packages containing a black hole of happiness. Mmm, it’s only little. Just rip off the wrapper and dive on in: to over a third of a days’ worth of added sugar and fat.
It’s not so bad if you have eaten beforehand, and perhaps don’t give a fig about celebrity shenanigans, but still. If you have gotten in the slow queue (always), you can be stuck with these twin totems of temptation for minutes. Whole minutes. What’s a person to do?
Well, if you can hold out just a little while, a scintilla really, today’s recipe can be your post-checkout treat. It is super quick, five ingredients and utterly delicious. It makes about 20 candies, and you can store them in the fridge or a cool room. The recipe is easily doubled or tripled so you can make enough to give away if you like (!).
I can’t do anything about the celeb gossip (*yawning*) but a “well done you for surviving the weekly shop without buying rubbish,” that I can do. You even get to put them in little peelable wrappers like REAL candy. Cos it is. Just healthier. Take that, Hershey’s.
Two years ago: A Homemade Deodorant That Really Works
Miss R’s track of the week: Sam Smith’s Nirvana – a sexy, smooth silky song – kinda like chocolate!
A wee bit like the famous brand of US peanut butter and chocolate candies, but better! Don’t worry, despite the food to glow whole foods touch, these tiny bites are still decadent – but with a whole lot less sugar and added fat. Use peanut butter or cashew butter if you like – or whole nuts rather than the nut butter. Sometimes it is easier to get whole raw nuts than get good quality nut butters
Still not tempting enough? Chopped toasted almonds and a flurry of flaky salt complete the decadence. These not-too-sweet nuggets are perfect for ‘afters’ with coffee, as a little pick-me-up snack, or lunch box treat.
Makes about 20 petit four-sized bites (easily doubled/tripled)
150g best quality dark or plain chocolate (or a mixture of the two), chopped – many quality chocolates are vegan, but check the label for added milk powder
50g pitted dates, chopped
50g almond butter OR 50g raw almonds (toast for 5 minutes in a 180C/350F oven)
1 tsp real vanilla extract (I like Nielsen-Massey and Ndali brands) OR vanilla powder/paste
1/4 tsp fine salt (more, to taste)
Flaky salt and lightly toasted chopped almonds for tops
Special equipment: small shallow baking tray or plate; double boiler or similar; petit four cases or candy cases (mini muffin cases are larger but use these if you like – makes about 14 candies)
1. Melt the chocolate gently in a double boiler/bain marie/microwave. Remove from heat and keep warm (pop a tea towel on top to absorb any condensation).
2. Add the dates, almond butter/almonds, vanilla and fine salt to the small bowl of a food processor/mini chopper. Process until mostly smooth and forming a sticky ‘dough’. If you are using almond or other nut butter, provided the nut butter is at warm room temperature, you can just mix it all up in a bowl. I live in Scotland so that’s not usually an option
3. Spoon a small amount of melted chocolate in each petit four case – about ¼ tsp – tilting to bring the chocolate up the sides a bit. I put in too much and it formed a thicker layer than I wanted (but seriously, who minds more chocolate?!). Pop each coated case into the baking tray or on a plate and place in the freezer or fridge until hardened – about 10 minutes.
4. Roll small balls – about 1/2 tsp – of ‘dough’ and flatten to make a little disc. Push a disc into each cooled case; pour over the remaining chocolate, swirling slightly to distribute and completely cover the almond-date mixture.
5. Pop the filled cases back in the fridge/freezer until almost set. Sprinkle over the chopped almonds and salt; return to the fridge. Once set, keep covered in a cool place.
Suggestions: for coconut lovers, add 2 tbsp of toasted desiccated coconut to the date and nut mixture when processing, adding a tbsp of water to keep it from getting too dry. You may like to use a flavoured chocolate, like an espresso one, or one with sea salt (adjusting your own salt if doing so). If you like it sweeter just add more dates, date syrup or honey, although the mixture may be a bit stickier. It will still work just fine.
Nutrition Per Bite (14 grams): 72 calories; 5g fat; 4g total sugars; 1g fibre
Entering this in the Made With Love Mondays roundup over at Javelin Warrior’s Cookin’ W/Luv, as well as to Sowmya of Nivedhanam, a new-to-me blog vegetarian blog, and to Priya’s Easy and Tasty Recipes. I am entering Priya’s Healthy Diet – Lunchboxes challenge – hosted this month by Sowmya -as this recipe certainly fulfils the remit. Loads of entries over there to peruse.
Oh, before I go, here is a link to food to glow subscriber Amy at junkfoodjournal‘s entry to the Jamie Oliver Search For The Next Food Tube Star. She has made a short video about how to make Mexican Horchata. If you have time, click on her link and vote for her. She would really appreciate it. All the best Amy!