Category: Snack

The Colossal Healthy Chocolate Bar

   126 Comments

Colossal Healthy Chocolate Bars

Being a recipe developer means grocery shopping almost every day. On my way out the door I always ask my husband if he would like anything from the store, and more often than not he says: “a treat, please”. Now, he doesn’t mean a lovely bag of blood oranges or a pint of juicy strawberries – he means a chocolate bar. Not a healthy chocolate bar. A low-vibe, sugar-laden, not-real-food chocolate bar. But I do not judge him. I just buy the thing and pick my battles (toilet cleaning and garbage disposal rank higher on my list).

Recently, standing near the cash register and cruising the candy bars like a very reluctant weirdo, I actually experienced a pang for one myself. That rich and total over-the-top decadence is not something I am often drawn to, but for whatever reason the Snickers and the Twix bar spoke to me like long lost friends. And that was the exact moment I decided that I was going to makeover my two favourites with the best whole food ingredients I could find, that would deliver both total satisfaction and nutrients. A healthy chocolate bar to end all healthy chocolate bars. Could such a dream be realized? Oh yes, the universe loves us and wants us to be happy.

Colossal Healthy Chocolate Bars

The Colossal Healthy Candy Bar is three tasty parts. First, the bottom biscuit layer inspired by Twix, is a mildly sweet, vegan and grain-free cookie made with coconut flour. It is crisp when it comes out of the oven, but goes pretty cake-y once it is combined with the other ingredients. Delicious nonetheless, and a pretty important counter-point to all the richness of the other layers.

Second, the caramel-and-nut layer inspired by Snickers, but with a twist: instead of just using dates in the caramel, I balanced out the sweetness by adding a healthy dose of hazelnut butter. Wowzers. This was a very delicious decision. The caramel became far more complex, rich-tasting, and it is essential to note that this would make a fantastic spread or topping all on its own. If you do not have hazelnut butter, I recommend almond or cashew in its place (click here for instructions on how to make your own nut butter). Instead of using peanuts, I used roasted hazelnuts to sink into the top of the caramel for awesome texture and crunch – almonds could also be used here.

Lastly, each bar is enrobed in luscious, raw, dark chocolate. I usually use coconut oil in my raw chocolate recipes, but after reading the (incredible!) new cookbook Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman I was convinced that using solely raw cacao butter was the way to go. It delivers a crisper finish and creamier texture. If you want to make things simpler and faster, feel free to use a ready-made bar of chocolate in this recipe instead of making your own. Raw chocolate is of course the healthier choice, but if you’re pressed for time or ingredients, this is a good shortcut to take.

Colossal Healthy Chocolate Bars

Coconut Flour Power!
With so many diets and lifestyles focusing on gluten-free and grain-free eating, coconut flour is wonderful option for many people. Made entirely from dried coconut flesh that is pulverized into a soft, fine powder, coconut flour is a nutrient-dense alternative that is increasingly available at health food stores and even supermarkets. Score!

There are several benefits of coconut flour, my favourite being that it is remarkably high in protein and fiber. Translation: super filling and satisfying! It is low in sugar and digestible carbohydrates, and scores low on the glycemic index, so it a perfect choice for paleo eaters and diabetics. It’s also nut-free and non-allergenic.

The flavour of coconut flour is slightly coconut-y, but not overwhelmingly so. I like it in things like these chocolate bars where there are many other strong tastes going on that overshadow the taste of the flour. If you want to compliment and enhance the flavour of the flour, use coconut milk as the liquid portion of a baked good. Seriously yummy.

What’s the catch I can hear you asking. Well, there are a few downsides to using coconut flour, mainly due to its density, dryness, and lack of elasticity. It’s certainly not a flour to experiment with if you’re looking to replace wheat flour for instance, as the two behave completely differently (that goes for using coconut flour in place of almost any other flour, whether grain, seed, or nut-based). Coconut flour is also crazy-absorbent and needs quite a large proportion of liquid to solid to avoid crumbly results (I’ve read the comments below and it seems like a lot of you are struggling with this factor!) Most recipes I’ve found online remedy this by using a lot of eggs, but I used applesauce and flax seeds instead with good results. Once you get the correct ratio down it’s pretty easy to work with, but I’ve learned the hard way that it’s best to use tried and true recipes with this finicky ingredient!

Colossal Healthy Chocolate Bars

Back to the candy bars. Which are insane. These truly colossal creations have everything you could ever want: tasty cookie, ooey gooey chewy caramel, crunchy roasted nuts, divinely rich chocolate, and tiny salt kisses. I am so darn proud of this recipe, and I can’t believe that such a decadent thing can exist without making me feel lousy after eating it. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that I feel colossally healthy after eating one. Or two. Stop looking at me like that.


Colossal Healthy Chocolate Bars

I hope you guys find as much satisfaction in this recipe as I have. It’s pretty rad to have a stockpile of candy bars in your freezer for when the urge strikes, and to keep you out of the chocolate aisle on your next trip to the store! For the record, if you see me there, I’m buying treats for my husband…since I’m really bad at sharing.

Show me your candy bars on Instagram: #MNRchocolatebars

Chickpea Tortilla Nachos

   100 Comments

Chickpea Tortilla Nachos

My husband and I come from two different worlds: a potato chip world and a tortilla chip world. I distinctly remember the moment we realized this, on our honeymoon, deep in a Whole Foods vortex deciding which chips to buy for our three-week road trip across California. We were undoubtedly surprised and perhaps a little dismayed that we had committed our lives to each other without discussing this one rather important preference, but in the spirit of everlasting love and compromise, we pretended like it was no big deal. We bought two bags of chips and ate them separately. We remain happily married to this day.

I guess growing up in North America has had a real influence on me (shocking, I know). Tortilla chips and salsa was a classic childhood snack, especially at backyard barbeques, birthday parties and sleepovers. We would take a family-size bag out on picnics, road trips, and sometimes my dad would toss a few in my lunchbox, right beside the Wonderbread sandwich and fun fruits. Not joking. Anyway, I don’t really eat a lot of chips these days (another shocker), but that doesn’t mean that the occasional one doesn’t somehow sneak past my lips from time to time. I’m only human.

Chickpea Tortilla Nachos

This idea to make tortilla chips from chickpea flour literally came out of nowhere. I don’t even remember what I was doing when the lightening bolt struck me, but it was fast and furious and I dropped absolutely everything to make them immediately, almost like I didn’t want the inspiration to get away on me! Thirty minutes later, the chips were in my belly. So fast and easy, I couldn’t believe it. Which lead my overly-excited mind, hepped on folate and molybdenum, to turn towards nachos. I mean, why wouldn’t I go there?

These chickpea tortilla nachos are crisp and golden, just like tortilla chips, but with a more satisfying and substantial heft to them, delivered by pure chickpea goodness. They are so filling and rich that it’s impossible to overeat them (that is not a challenge). And with really just two ingredients, how can you go wrong?! I’m going to experiment with making large rectangular flatbreads out of this dough too, which will be prefect for lunches, maybe with some seedy add-ins, spice blends, and I am dying to try a Doritos knock-off! I have a Cool Ranch makeover itch that needs to be scratched, if you know what I’m sayin’.

Chickpea Tortilla Nachos

Snack smarter!
If you’re an enthusiastic snacker like myself, you’ll relate to the challenge in finding snacks that are balanced, healthy, and actually sustain you for some time until the next meal. “Food satiety”, is the measure of how full food makes us feel and how long it keeps our appetite at bay. Although calories definitely contribute to the of feeling fullness, a high calorie count does not always reflect the satiating power a food has. Factors that effect food satiety also include fiber, protein, and water content. And it is surprising that high fat foods, which are typically very caloric, tend to have lower satiating power.

Because of their high fiber and protein content, along with their remarkable ability to stabilize digestion, chickpeas and things made with chickpea flour (like these chickpea tortilla nachos) fall into the category of serious filler-uppers, even though they only contain a moderate amount of calories. It’s a win-win. One serving of these chips (about one-quarter of the recipe / 12 chips) delivers 11 grams of protein (!!!) and 5 grams of fiber for under 300 calories. Not that I am a numbers girl at all,  it can be helpful to take note of these things, especially if you are someone interested in weight management.

Other snacks that rank high on the food satiety scale are popcorn, pears, raspberries, oatmeal, beans, avocado, and chia seeds. Fill up on these guys to get, well, full.

If you’re buying chickpea flour for the first time, know that it’s available at most health food stores and natural grocers, where it can sometimes be sold under the names garbanzo bean flour and cici flour. Your most reliable source however, is an Indian grocer or market, where it is typically labeled besan or gram flour

Chickpea Tortilla Nachos

So yea, nachos. The chips kind of demanded it. And I had more legal fun making a mountain of food than you could ever imagine. Layer upon layer of black beans, lime, avocado, onion, toasted pumpkin seeds, chili…bah! And the cilantro avocado crema is soooo delicious – not essential – but a major flavour and texture bonus. You can dollop it throughout the nacho pyramid as you build, kind of like tasty spackle, or put the crema into a squeeze bottle for drizzle fun. Everyone loves drizzle fun. The plate comes together like you’re witnessing some sort of awesome miracle take place, and then you get to eat it.

And just for the record my potato chip-loving husband devoured these tortilla chips. He would like to add that he is not a convert, just appreciative.

Chickpea Tortilla Nachos

I hope you guys dig this recipe as much as I do. These chips are going to be a new staple in my house! I can’t wait to really start playing with different flavours and add-ins – let me know if you do the same.

xo, Sarah B

Show me your chips on Instagram: #MNRchickpeatortillachips #MNRnachos

Gingersnap Eggnog Ice Cream Sandwiches

   51 Comments

icecreamsandwich

Dear friends, I’ve been hit with the Christmas spirit! Perhaps a little slow on the uptake, this recipe was the absolute magic that knocked me sideways, and it’s better late than never. Especially in this case. To keep this level of deliciousness to myself would be decidedly Scrooge-like indeed.

Two treats come to my mind when I think about Christmas: gingersnaps and eggnog. I thought about just posting a raw vegan egg nog ice cream or just gingersnap cookies, but then I realized that combining these two things would be utterly insane in the best way possible. So I did just that, and the first bite I took actually caused me to laugh out loud. These ice cream sandwiches are so delectable that I beg you to make them.

icecreamsandwich4

This ice cream is everything. It’s super rich, creamy, decadent with plenty of warming nutmeg spiciness to conjure up egg nog memories without any egg to speak of. Or cream. Or milk. It’s vegan and raw believe it or not, but you tastebuds won’t know that – they will only thank the dear heavens for being born in a body that gets to eat this gorgeous stuff.

The Gingersnap cookies are also vegan, gluten-free, and delicious on their own, or embracing a giant scoop of egg nog ice cream (obviously). They cleverly employ rolled oats that are turned into flour right in your food processor, creating a satisfyingly-textured treat that I’m sure you will make over and over again. The brown rice syrup is worth finding if you’re into a super crisp cookie, where the barley malt syrup can be used in its place but the results will be chewier. 

icecreamsandwich3

Because the flavours in this recipe rely heavily on spices, I thought the following reminder would be helpful. Most people assume that spices are just inanimate powders that they can keep forever, but they are actually very delicate creatures that change both flavour-wise and nutritionally over time. Buying spices whole will ensure that they will keep their taste and nutritional potency for up to twelve months, while ground spices will last for only six months. If you’re like my mom and have had the same dusty jar of chile powder kicking around since 1992, do yourself a favour and discard it, buy some fresh, and enjoy. Life is too short for stale spices! 

There are times when ground spices are appropriate, especially for convenience sake. Cinnamon, ginger, paprika, cayenne, turmeric, cumin and cardamom are the ones I usually have ground since I go through quite a lot of each of these over the course of half a year. Spices that I always keep whole include nutmeg, clove, allspice, coriander, fenugreek, star anise and peppercorns. 

Although it is commonplace for people to store spices next to the stove for easy access, this is not the best place. Spices should be kept away from heat and light and be tightly sealed in a glass or ceramic container. Metal canisters may contain compounds that can interfere with the spices chemically, while plastic containers encourage condensation, which leads to spoilage. Keep spices in a cool, dark place, and put a date label on the jar to remind yourself when to toss any remaining product after it has expired.

The Eggnog Ice Cream recipe calls for nutmeg, which I will implore you to grate fresh, because it is a revelation! Ground nutmeg loses its flavour very quickly that the results of this recipe will be completely different. If pre-ground nutmeg is all you have then you may need to increase the amounts I’ve called for. And in that case, ask for a couple whole nutmegs for Christmas. 

icecreamsandwich2


I wish all of you out there a delicious, magical, safe, healthy, and abundant holiday. And I want to thank each and every one of you for your love and support this year in making my dreams a reality. From the blog, to my cookbook and the My New Roots app, your ongoing enthusiasm for what I’m doing really motivates me to keep going. Big love to you all.

Peace, blessings, and happy holidays!
Sarah B.

Show me your ice cream sandwiches on Instagram: #MNRicecreamsandwiches