Raw Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cups

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Summer 2017)

The heavenly combination of peanut butter and chocolate is always decadent, and the unprocessed versions of both ingredients are wonderfully nutritious, say Melissa Sharp and Lindsay Stark in Modern Baker: A New Way To Bake (Ebury Press, £26).  This is their take on the peanut butter cup – and they make fab individual desserts, too.

Makes 12 standard cups or 24 mini cups

For the Peanut Butter Base:-

200g peanut butter
180g pitted dates
100g oats
100g ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tblsp coconut oil

For the chocolate topping:-

100g coconut oil
30g raw cacao powder
2 tbsp date syrup

Step One: Grease 2 x 12 hole mini-muffin trays or a 12-hole standard muffin try with a neutral flavoured oil, such as sunflower oil (not coconut oil as this will go solid and won’t prevent the mixture from sticking).

Step Two:  In a food processor, blend together all the peanut butter base ingredients until they come together in a smooth mass, with no lumps of date.

Step Three:  Divide the mixture evenly among the holes in the tray and press down firmly.  Place the tray in the freezer while you make the topping.

Step Four:  For the chocolate topping, place all the ingredients in a small pan and warm over a gentle heat until the coconut oil is melted.  The date syrup can sink to the bottom, so make sure that you stir the mixture well.

Step Five:  Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter mix and return the tray to the freezer for at least 1 hour.  These lovely cups keep really well in the freezer for up to a month, or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  Defrost for 1-2 hours in the fridge before eating.

Nutrition note:  Dates are rich in minerals, vitamins and fibre.  The humble peanut is often eclipsed these days by more ‘fashionable’ nuts, but it can punch its nutritional weight alongside all of them.

Almost-A-‘Snickers’ Bar

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (April 2018)

There’s no eating these nutty bars politely!  Taken from Kate Bradley’s ‘Bliss Bites’ (Hardie Grant, £8.99), they will be inhaled quicker than you can save that ‘mindful eating’ quote on Pinterest.  They’re just so good.

Makes:  12   Prep time:  15 minutes    Setting time:  About 1 hour

Base Ingredients:-

155g activated or raw cashews
45g desiccated coconut
2 tbsl maple syrup

Caramel Ingredients:-

13 medjool dates (about 260g), pitted
60ml maple syrup
90g peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt flakes
65g activated almonds or peanuts, roughly chopped

Chocolate Coating Ingredients:-

150g raw or dark chocolate (at least 70 per cent cocoa solids), melted and cooled

Step One:  For the base, place all the ingredients in your food processor or blender and pulse together until combined.

Step Two:  Line the base of a 20 x 15cm baking tin with baking paper.  Transfer the mixture to the tin and press it firmly and evenly over the base.

Step Three:  Place it in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or until firm.  To make the caramel, combine all the ingredients in the cleaned food processor and process until smooth.

Step Four:  Remove the base from the freezer and spread the caramel layer evenly over the base.  Scatter with the almonds, then return to the freezer until set.

Step Five:  Line a tray with baking paper.  Once frozen remove the ‘Snickers’ mixture from the tin and slice into 12 even-sized bars.

Step Six:  To coat, dip each one in the melted chocolate, allowing any excess to drain off, then place the bars on the tray.

Step Seven:  Refrigerate or freeze until they are set.  Keep these in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer and eat when you need a sweet treat.   They’ll keep for two weeks in the fridge, and two months in the freezer.