When I was little, had I been asked what my favorite nut was, I probably would have responded with “Peanut M&Ms.”
I come from a long line of chocolate and candy lovers. It’s in my DNA.
Since I began this wellness journey, I have spent many an afternoon holed up in the kitchen both inventing and duplicating numerous sweet treats- that in some way or another serve as substitutes for the good old American classics that I wouldn’t dare touch these days.
If you had asked me a couple of years ago if there were a gluten-free, vegan, sugar free, raw replacement for my personal favorites: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, After Eight Mint Chocolate Thins, Mars, M&M’s, Twix or Kit Kat’s, I would have laughed at the idea of it and wiped the tears from my face as I chewed on a medjool date.
Instead, 2 years, at least 15 cookbooks, numerous trials, a few disasters, assorted techniques, processes and ingredients later- I can honestly say that I may never crave a Milk Dud again. Believe it or not, I have found various ways in which to naturally satisfy each and every “American” sweet-tooth craving.
There are plenty of great recipes and ideas on Pintrest and Instagram but one of my all-time favorites is Megan Gilmore’s blog (and subsequent cookbook), “Detoxinista.”
The following recipe for “No-Bake Andes Mint Bars” was originally from her website www.detoxinista.com and although I have tweaked it here and there, it has never failed. There is something to be said about the combination of mint and chocolate…especially when it is raw and vegan. Enjoy!
Andes Mint Bars (GF, Vegan, Raw)
- 1 cup almond meal
- ¼ cup raw cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 2 tbsp organic maple syrup
- ½ cup mashed avocado
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- 3 tbsp raw honey
- ½ tsp peppermint essential oil (the edible kind!)
- handful fresh mint leaves (I use them for taste and to make the filling greener)
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
Make the crust by mixing together the almond meal, cocoa, coconut oil and maple syrup. Press evenly into a 9×5 in. (rectangular) or 6×6 in. square pan lined with parchment paper and set aside. In a small food processor, mix all the ingredients for the filling and blend until smooth and creamy and the mint leaves have been almost completely chopped up. Pour the filling evenly over the layer of crust into the pan. To make the topping, mix the coconut oil, cocoa and maple syrup together until smooth and pour over the avocado layer, making sure that the entire surface area is covered with chocolate (tilting the pan can help). Freeze for 30 minutes to an hour and set the pan in the fridge for an additional two hours. Slice and serve. (Store in the fridge or they will melt!)