It's (almost) the holiday season y'all!
I am writing this while chilling in the sun and surfing in Fuerteventura - far away from the pre-christmas buzz - but I have made these bars the day before I left with freezing temperatures and definitely more winter vibe then right now!
And I can confirm - these are proper christmasy treats - just healthier :-)
I have always loved the flavour of chestnuts in desserts (there used to be something called "Kastanienreis" in Austria when I was a child and of course the famous "creme de marron" - a sweetened chestnut spread ). I have also had it as some kind of "mousse" and in cakes but never quite as good (and healthy) as the pure version of it.
So once temperatures dropped in the SW of France, I immediately craved some more warming, grounding, filling but still kinda sweet snacks - especially after freezing cold surf sessions and during my PMS phase...
Luckily my friend Mounia, owner of Nourishfoods, my favourite nutbutter company, is literally living next door and I went to visit her office a few times to sample some new products. Her Christmas Edition is by far the most addictive thing I've ever had and as its purely sweetened with coconut sugar and without added oils, its the perfect treat - drizzled over chopped persimmon or raw cheesecakes - and basically the main reason I got inspired for this recipe.
She is now also producing 100% pure nut butters and my favourites are the cashew and hazelnut butter. So creamy, runny, smooth and just perfectly roasted... a dream!
Btw you can now also order all her products within Europe ONLINE !
Anyways, back to the topic: I had this flavour combination of vanilla, maple, chestnut, nougat and pumpkin spice in my head and I could almost already taste the final result...
And as my creative juices regarding recipes went a bit off lately, I just followed my intuition, went in the kitchen, checked ingredients drawer - and thanks to a new stash of nut butters, vanilla infused maple syrup that I bought in California, a bag of cooked chestnuts and other staple ingredients - I could whip up these super healthy bars in pretty much no time.
It all just worked out smoothly the first time - no nerve wrecking and time consuming recipe testing - and luckily I wrote down the recipe so you can make them too:
- Chestnut are high in fibre, manganese, B-Vitamins and magnesium which are important for us women regarding bone health and cognitive function.
- Dates provide fibre, potassium and complex carbohydrates which are all great during our luteal phase when we experience intense sugar cravings and the worst thing we can do is eat refined carbohydrates and sugar! Always reach for dates (stuffed with nutbutter ;-)
- Warming spices help with digestion and cinnamon particularly can help keep blood sugar levels low.
HEALTHY CHESTNUT BARS
200 g (toasted) spelt flakes
(or any other flakes)
150 - 200 g pitted medjool dates
400 g cooked chestnuts
100 g maple syrup
150 g hazelnut butter
100g coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp pumpkin spice or cinnamon
pinch of salt
200 g dark chocolate
1 Tbsp coconut oil
If you want to make these extra tasty, I recommend toasting the flakes in a dry pan for a few minutes - it will add some nuttiness and extra depth of flavor to the recipe.
In a food processor add all the other ingredients except the coconut oil and chocolate and mix until it forms a sticky "dough".
Taste and adjust sweetness or add more spices.
Press the dough in a baking dish lined with parchment paper and put in the fridge.
Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil in a bowl over a pot of boiling water and pour over the bars. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, flakey sea salt...anything that floats your boat and makes them look extra pretty.
Let it set for at least an hour in the fridge.
They last for about 5-7 days but you can also cut, portion and freeze them!
Enjoy and make sure you share them with your loved ones!