It’s gif season!
I know what you’re thinking.
Actually, I’m just saying that. If I really knew what you were thinking, I wouldn’t be hanging around my toybox apartment scrounging up pennies to pay the rent. I’d be out there investing in a get-rich scheme that would involve a crystal ball, inch-thick spectacles, and tons of foggy incense.
But. I still know what you’re thinking.
Pretty close, right? It’s hard to believe these bars are vegan, raw, gluten-free, and fudgy to the max.
So what’s the Eat Clean Challenge? Let me tell you while we both drool over some more in-your-face fudginess……
The Eat Clean Challenge is a great group of bloggers whose goal is to become more conscious about the amount of processed foods we try, make, and consume. This can mean a lot of different things to different people, so let me explain how I will be tackling this challenge this month. My goal: To achieve greater balance in my food lifestyle by incorporating more holistic ingredients into my recipes. What I will do: Develop and feature at least one healthy recipe each week (the group usually posts on Saturday). These recipes will appear alongside (not to the complete exclusion of) one of my ‘usual’ dessert recipes. This means Eat Clean Challenge recipe on Saturdays, regular dessert/sweet recipe on Wednesdays. My criteria for this challenge are:
- Minimizing refined (e.g. white granulated ) sugar
- Minimizing processed foods (e.g. canned foods, anything with ingredients I can’t pronounce)
- Up the amount of environmentally friendly food I eat: produce, do-it-yourself products, vegetarian (which I already do)
The decision to keep featuring healthy + my standard recipes was entirely my own. My first reaction to being generously invited by Lisa to participate was not, “Sugars and all processed things–diieeee!” I’m pretty sure that sort of homicidal rage wouldn’t be in the spirit of the group anyway…
Instead, I’m more focused on being proactive about developing recipes that will add a healthier dimension to my lifestyle, and to my mindset about all things yummy. A big part of it is proving to myself that I can get way creative with ingredients I already crave all the time–that, in fact, I crave a lot more than sugary goods most of the time.
Frozen bananas or bananas hidden in places I don’t notice. Bananas with peanut butter.
Vanilla soy milk and Greek yogurt.
More peanut butter. Yuuum.
That’s why I made sure my first Eat Clean Challenge post would include peanut butter. I mean, I really wanted peanut butter to be the star, since it’s not like I’ve been eating peanut butter out of the jar with a half-cup measuring cup every night or anything and would get tired of PB. I mean, I do. But I’m not tired of it. Peanut butter cannot escape me! Muahahaha.
But seriously, anyway. Even though this isn’t strictly a PB recipe, I knew I had to kick off this challenge with a recipe I’ve been eyeing featured by Katie, who got it from Christal at Nutritionist in the Kitch. She calls them ‘Healthy Eatmore Fudgy Bars.’ I call them a guiltless bite of heaven.
I did adapt parts of this recipe pretty generously, other parts not so much (um, can you say Kahlua??). The star of this recipe isn’t peanut butter. It isn’t the bananas. It isn’t the dates. It isn’t even the cocoa-y rich goodness that makes these fudgy bars more craveable than brownies, which cause me to crash and get really jittery after I’ve taste-tested like, five batches. Nope. The star of the show here is none of these….
…It’s all of these.
Nobody could figure out what made these brownies so incredibly rich-tasting and blissfully fudgy. I’ve brought them to my photography class (my first one, finally!) and the office–rave reviews. I absolutely love their rich complexity–that familiar taste of chocolate, the subtle undertones of banana, the sweetness of the dates and the crunch of the almonds, the entirely necessary swirl of peanut butter on top–you wouldn’t need a gif to convince you to give this healthy recipe a try!
But really, who are we kidding? Here’s another gif AND the recipe 😉 because why not have your fudgy bar and eat it, too?
Thanks for reading my first entry for the Eat Clean Challenge group! Be sure to check out what my fun fellow #eatcleanchallenge bloggers are posting this week:
Almond Milk – Rick•a•bam•boo
Chocolate Almond and Cherry Amaranth Cookies – Clarks Condensed
Chicken Avocado Sandwich – Life as Mrs Larson
Light and Easy Fish Tacos – Keep it Simple, Sweetie
Blackberry Ginger Chocolate Chip Muffins – Cooking with Curls
Deep Dish Breakfast Fritatta – Bite of Delight
Asian Marinated Pork Chops – Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Deconstructed Fresh Spring Roll Bowl – Je suis alimentageuse
Broccoli Quinoa Casserole – Yummy Healthy Easy
Roasted Asparagus Skinny Guacamole – Everyday Southwest
Raw Vegan Fudgy Bars (Gluten-Free, V) – Wallflour Girl (Ala)
Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon – Delightful E Made
Pineapple Raspberry Green Smoothie – Project Domestication
Sun Dried Tomato and Cheese Stuffed Chicken – Yours And Mine Are Ours
Caramelized Banana Pecan Paleo Ice Cream Recipe – My Natural Family
Garlic and Rosemary Mashed Cauliflower – My Daylights
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 3/4 cup nuts of your choice (I used almonds)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder, divided in half
- 2 tablespoons Kahlua (or hot water)
- 3 tablespoons instant coffee (optional)
- 2 ripe medium-sized bananas
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Soak dates in a bowl of water for 30 minutes. Drain water after 30 minutes.
- In a food processor, blend together soaked dates, nuts, and 1/4 cup cocoa powder until smooth. Scrape down sides as necessary--I had to scrape regularly and blend for about 5 minutes total.
- Line a 5x7-inch baking pan (for thicker bars) or 8-inch square baking pan (for thinner bars) with aluminum foil. Press the thick, pasty date mixture evenly into the bottom of lined pan.
- Pour Kahlua (or hot water) into a small cup. Add instant coffee and stir in until completely dissolved. Pour Kahlua mixture into food processor.
- Add remaining ingredients to food processor and blend until smooth, about 3 minutes and moderately thin. Pour batter over date crust.
- Freeze bars for at least 1 hour before cutting. These fudgy-awesome bars get it in their heads to turn gooey and melty when stored at room temperature for too long, so make sure you keep them in an airtight container in the freezer! For maximum fudginess, I like eating them straight from the icebox.
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Also, since this post has pushed back my biweekly posting schedule, keep your eyes peeled for the second installment of my Edible Book Festival post on Monday!