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Sweet Relief Without The Sugar

From early childhood we are introduced to products laden with sugar.

It is nearly impossible to go to the grocery store without being bombarded with “impulse buys”, in the form of ‘fun sized’ assortments of chocolate bars and sugary confections.

But in addition to these sugar addictions, there is an inherent shame about our consumption. Of course, there are also many health concerns posed by over-consumption of sugars.

While with any food or habit it is all about moderation, it can be hard to break certain habits without avoiding them altogether. This brings about a search for alternatives, so that people can be in the habit of eating healthy all the time without sacrificing flavor.

Unfortunately, many sugar alternatives are little better than the treats they replace.

These recipes will show you ways to make better versions of classic treats at home. The following “candy bars” use either stevia or coconut sugar in place of white cane sugar. Coconut sugar, not to be confused with palm sugar, has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar and contains many micronutrients. Stevia, in addition to being calorie free, natural, and diabetic friendly, can help lower blood pressure.

Nutty Chocolate Candy Bars

1 cup peanuts
3 Tablespoons organic coconut sugar or 1 Tablespoon stevia crystals
Dash of salt

In a food processor or coffee grinder, grind half of the peanuts to a thick paste. Place in a medium bowl and add the sweetener and salt. Mix well. With hands, form the ‘dough’ into small rectangles and place in the freezer to firm. Meanwhile, you can prepare the chocolate that shall coat them. Using the following recipe, you can easily make chocolate reminiscent of commercial quality.

1/4 Cup coconut oil, melted
2/3 Cup cocoa
5 Tbsp organic coconut sugar or natural syrupy sweetener

In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil and remove from heat immediately. Pour the oil in a medium sized bowl and whisk in the cocoa powder and then add sweetener of choice. Continue to whisk until well blended. If you wish for a creamier chocolate, add a little amount of almond milk (or other favorite milk).

Now, take the nut centers out of the freezer and one by one, bath them in the chocolate until they are covered. Then place them back on their platter. You may wish to use a spoon and tongs for this part. Once all the centers are covered, place the candy bars in the fridge or freezer until the chocolate hardens. You may use peanut butter in place of half of the peanuts, just be sure it isn’t too oily.

Chocolate Coconut Candy Bars

1 Cup unsweetened coconut shreds
1/2 Cup coconut oil, not melted
2 Tablespoons organic coconut sugar or 1 Tablespoon stevia crystals
1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Refer to the chocolate recipe and method from the Nutty Chocolate Candy Bar recipe. After making the chocolate, use it to line the bottom of a set of chocolate molds, preferably candy bar shape, though it could even be a shamrock mold if it please you (you could also use mini muffin pans in place of candy molds). Once the bottoms and sides are evenly coated, place the mold in the fridge to harden.

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients, saving the vanilla for last. Once combined, bring out the molds and fill them with the coconut mix. Then coat the coconut centers with the remaining chocolate and return the molds to the fridge for completion.

*If cocoa or peanut allergies ail you, you can make these recipes useing carob powder and your choice of nuts. There are also sunflower and soy butters available at most grocery stores in place of peanut butter.

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