no bake chocolate mint squares (vegan, no added sugar, paleo, gluten free)

 

There are three things I have to do before I start writing a blog post: get my pictures purdied up, make sure my nails are clipped short and fix my hair in a ponytail. The pictures are essential. The other two? Just a couple quirks that minimize distractions for me. LOL

Now that those are out of the way, let’s chat about these no bake chocolate mint squares.

They are a minty take on a couple of recipes I frequently use for desserts and are fast and simple to whip up. The only downside, perhaps, is waiting a couple of hours for them to set in the fridge. Which is why it’s always a good idea to leave a little bit of the mousse filling in the food processor bowl.

Here are the stats on these no bake chocolate mint squares:

  • chocolatey
  • minty
  • vegan
  • gluten free
  • paleo option
  • raw option
  • no added sugar
  • plant protein
  • higher in fat (thanks to the avocado, coconut milk and nuts)

 

I’m giving you two options for the finished look: naked…

 

 

 

…and fancy.

 

Truthfully, I often go the low-key route and let the taste of these squares do all the talking (especially if I’m in a hurry), but occasionally it’s fun to dress things up a little, especially if you’re bringing these along to a friend’s house or potluck.

To make the fancy version, be sure to follow the steps in the instructions carefully which will save you time and ingredients. Trust me on this one.

If you use peppermint essential oil (like I did), make sure it is a high quality one and approved for internal consumption. My favorite brand is by Young Living with the extra bonus of being able to support my friend in her business. If you use peppermint extract, you’ll need more than the EO since it isn’t as strong.

Now for the recipe, shall we?

 

No bake chocolate mint squares
Prep Time
10 mins
Chil Time
2 hrs
 

These vegan chocolately minty squares are easy to make, free of added sugars and can be suited to a gluten free and paleo diet.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Servings: 16 squares
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the base:
  • 1 cup almonds (raw if preferred)
  • 3/4 cup date paste*
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 scoops 100% pure powdered stevia
For the filling:
  • 1 just ripe avocado
  • 1 15 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup date paste*
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 scoops 100% pure powdered stevia
  • 2 T peanut butter (or almond butter for paleo)
For the green drizzle:
  • 1/4 cup reserved avocado/coconut mixture (see instructions)
  • 2-3 pinches 100% pure powdered stevia
  • 1-2 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 1/8-1/16 tsp matcha
For the chocolate drizzle:
  • 1/4 cup reserved chocolate mixture (see instructions)
  • 3 tsp unsweetened almond milk
  • cacoa nibs (optional)
Instructions
For the base:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until the nuts are chopped fine and the ingredients just hold together when pinched between your fingers. Be careful not to over mix as the nuts will release their oils.

  2. Pour into an 8x8 glass baking dish and press down firmly and evenly to form the base. Set aside.

For the filling:
  1. Add the coconut milk and avocado to a clean food processor bowl and mix until smooth. If making the fancy version of the squares remove 1/4 of the mixture, add to a clean jar and set aside.

  2. Add remaining filling ingredients to the processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the bowl a couple of times. If making the fancy version, remove 1/4 cup of the chocolate mixture, add to a clean jar and set aside.

  3. Pour filling over the base, cover with foil and chill in the fridge for at least two hours to set. Cut into 16 squares and serve. Store in the fridge for up to two days (if they last that long 😉 )

For the fancy version of the squares:
  1. Combine all green drizzle ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover the jar with the lid and chill until ready to decorate the squares.

  2. Thin the reserved 1/4 cup of chocolate mixture with almond milk. Cover the jar with the lid and chill until ready to decorate the squares.

  3. Once the squares are chilled and set, pour the green drizzle into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Alternatively, you can use a plastic sandwich bag by spooning in the mixture, sealing and cutting off a tiny corner of the bag. Drizzle over the squares in a loose zigzag pattern.

  4. Repeat for the chocolate drizzle using a clean bag. If desired, sprinkle cacao nibs over the squares.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES:

If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using.

 

 

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers (see this post). I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterSteviaâ„¢ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping

mocha hazelnut torte (vegan, added sugar free, no bake, gluten free, paleo)

I can’t decide which I like better: chocolate + coffee or chocolate + hazelnuts. Hmmmm….

If you had to pick one, what would you choose? (Tell me in the comments.)

Fortunately, we don’t have to choose one over the other because I’ve brought both together is this mocha hazelnut torte! It’s a dessert that looks decadent, but contains only whole food, added sugar free ingredients, so it’s a recipe that loves your body back.

Ever since I detoxed from sugar a few years ago, I’ve been on a mission to have my cake and eat it too…just without the added sugars which keep you hooked on the very thing that brings your energy levels down and anxiety up. Thanks to dates, stevia and few other tricks, it’s made this mission much easier and I’m excited to share the results with you in my recipes.

This mocha hazelnut torte is incredibly easy to whip up and I even have a pro tip for you for easily removing those pesky hazelnut skins which would make the crust bitter. Check out the tip here over at Will Cook for Friends. It’s seriously so ridiculously easy that you’ll probably do a happy dance in your kitchen. Or at least in your head.

Because my husband and I aren’t dedicated coffee drinkers, I’ve never learned to make a good pot of coffee and don’t keep coffee in the house (shocking, I know), so I relied on Trader Joe’s Coconut Cold Brewed Coffee Concentrate for the body of the torte. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you and can’t find an equivalent, here’s a cold brew coffee recipe by Wellness Mama or see the “Shop the Recipe” section at the end of the post for a link on where you can buy it online.

But let’s dig in to the recipe, shall we?

 

Mocha Hazelnut Torte

Chocolate, coffee and hazelnuts come together in this easy, no bake dessert recipe that is free of added sugars so it loves your body back whether you have one slice...or two

Course: Dessert
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, skins removed
  • 1/4 + 2T cup cocoa powder (fair trade is best)
  • 2 scoop 100% pure stevia powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup date paste*
For the filling:
  • 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1.5 cups cocoa powder (fair trade is best)
  • 1.5 cups date paste*
  • 2 15 oz. cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup cold brew coffee concentrate
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 6 scoops 100% pure stevia powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Instructions
For the crust:
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and mix until thoroughly combined and the mixture easily holds together when pinched between your fingers. Pour into a 9" spring form pan and press firmly to form the crust.

For the filling:
  1. For one of the cans of coconut milk, make sure the fat has separated from the liquid by chilling it in the fridge overnight.

  2. Depending on the size of the bowl of your food processor or blender size, you may need to do the filling in two equal batches  to ensure everything mixes thoroughly.

  3. First combine the avocado, cocoa powder, date paste, vanilla, stevia, salt and one can of coconut milk.

  4. With the other can, remove the fat and then add it to the other filling ingredients along with the coffee concentrate. Mix until thoroughly combined, scraping the bowl a couple times to make sure everything is well blended and very smooth.

  5. Pour the filling onto the crust, cover with foil and chill for at least four hours before serving. It's best if kept refrigerated. Decorate with hazelnuts or fresh fruit if desired.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES: *If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth to make about 1/2 cup of date paste. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using. Multiply quantities of dates as needed to make enough date paste for your recipe.

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Cocoa powder: for fair trade cocoa powder which helps support farmers at fair wages, Equal Exchange is an excellent brand with a very rich cocoa flavor. I got mine at Whole Foods, but you can also find it online here.
  • Trader Joe’s coconut cold-brew coffee concentrate can also be found online here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers (see this post). I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterSteviaâ„¢ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping

vegan nanaimo bars (no added sugar, no bake, paleo, gluten free)

 

Last week I shared with you a no-added sugar brownie recipe that is a certified crowd please. Today I’m sharing one of my childhood favorites at Christmas time – naniamo bars. They are a Canadian thing that should take the world by storm and are named after Nanaimo, British Columbia which is on Vancouver Island. BTW…Vancouver and Vancouver Island are two must see destinations if you like to travel. But I digress…

These vegan nanaimo bars almost brought me to tears. The first time because I nailed the recipe which doesn’t always happen. The second time because I rushed the chilling process and they turned into a gooey mess when I wanted to photograph them (I forgot the first time). These pictures were my third time making and you can better believe I was praying hard they would turn out. They did. #happydance

The original nanaimo bar recipe is packed with sugar and dairy, so cue the makeover team (me) to turn them into no added sugar, vegan nanaimo bars. Which are paleo-friendly and gluten free to boot.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

 

The base: Regular nanaimo bars have a cookie-crumb base layer. This was the easiest layer to duplicate for the vegan, no added sugar option thanks to dates, almonds and coconut.

The custard layer: The traditional recipe is a custard flavor icing so it’s packed with sugar and dairy. This was the hardest layer to replicate for these vegan nanaimo bars but with a few savvy substitutions and a prayer, it turned out better than I anticipated. Yeah for a recipe win!

The top layer: Instead of melting chocolate and drizzling it over top, I chose to whip up a no-added sugar version that doesn’t harden like in the traditional recipe but gives you creamy chocolate goodness to sink your teeth into.

 

 

Even though these vegan nanaimo bars sound complicated and involved because of the three layers, they are incredibly easy to make and require zero baking. The only thing that’s really required beyond a food processor and blender is a little patience while they chill.

Like the brownies, you will get this VIP vegan nanaimo bars recipe when you become one of my newsletter friends. It’s free, of course, and not only does signing up get you extra special recipes like this one, it also saves you time by dropping new recipes right in your inbox!

Ready to get your vegan nanaimo bars recipe game on? Unlock it by clicking the picture below.

 

 

mini pumpkin pie-lets …updated (vegan, dairy free)

As I was cooking for Thanksgiving last week, I discovered a bit of an oops in this recipe for mini pumpkin pie-lets. Originally, I posted that the recipe made 12 pie-lets, when really, it makes about 36. I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote up the original. Total face palm.

Hint: if you want more than a little pastry leftover to make these, then make two dozen mini pumpkin pie-lets and eat the leftover filling like pumpkin mousse.

I updated the recipe in the original post plus made a slight tweak to the spices because I can’t help it…I’m always experimenting! I found that I liked a little more of each spice compared to the portions I initially wrote down. I’m re-sharing the updated recipe here too.

If you want a little more behind-the-scenes details on how my Thanksgiving prep went (including why I felt like a total failure), I’m sharing that with my newsletter insider crew. If you want to get on that list so you never miss a recipe and have direct access to tips and stories I only share there, you can do that by signing up here.

Now for that updates mini pumpkin pies recipe…

 

pumpkin pie-lets with maple coconut whip
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
42 mins
 

Made mostly added-sugar free, these mini pumpkin pies are a vegan twist on a traditional holiday recipe.

Course: Dessert
Servings: 36 mini pumpkin pies
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 2.5 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegan buttery spread, chilled
  • 1/2-2/3 cup ice water
For the filling:
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup date paste
  • 1/2 small just ripe banana
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • scant 1/2 tsp ginger
  • scant 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 4 scoops 100% pure stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla
For the maple coconut whip:
  • 1 15-oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup or 1/2 scoop stevia
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Instructions
For the crust:
  1. For best results, chill the bowl, pastry blender, utensils and all ingredients for at least 30 minutes.

  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour and salt, then use the pastry blender to cut in the butter until tiny pea-sized balls begin to form. Gradually stir in a 1/2 cup of the ice water using a metal spoon. Add more water as needed until the pastry begins to form the shape of a ball.

  3. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Before rolling out, divide the dough in half.

  4. Remove half of the dough from the fridge and on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8"-1"4 thickness. Use the lid of a wide-mouth mason jar to trace out circles for the individual pie crusts. It's best to start around the edges of the crust and then trace out the circles on the inside to maximize the use of your crust. Put scraps aside in the fridge and roll out the other half of the dough, then use remaining scraps and re-roll.

  5. Place each crust into a mini cupcake/tart pan and gently form the crust to the inside of each cup. Prick the bottom of each pie crust several times with a fork, then line top of pan with a double thickness of foil before placing in a 450 degree F oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 4-6 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

  6. Remove from oven and remove each shell to cool on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container or freeze in a sturdy freezer-friendly container until ready to use.

For the filling:
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender and mix until thoroughly combined. I find it helps to blend for several minutes, let it rest for a few minutes and then give it a final blending for an additional 1-2 minutes.

  2. If not filling the mini pie shells immediately, store filling in an air tight container in the fridge.

For the maple coconut whip:
  1. Chill the can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight to have the cream set. Open the can and carefully drain off the liquid/remove the cream from the can.

  2. Place the cream in mixing bowl and add the maple syrup or stevia and the vanilla. Use a set of beaters or hand whisk to whip up the cream. The coconut whip can be made one day ahead of time, but you'll need to repeat the whipping process before serving.

To assemble the pie-lets:
  1. Spoon the pumpkin pie filling into each pie shell. Top with a dollop of maple coconut whip and a dash of nutmeg.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES:

If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using.

 

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • I got my organic spelt flour (GMO free!) from the bulk section at Whole Foods, or you can find it here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers (see this post). I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterSteviaâ„¢ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping
  • I’ve found the full-fat coconut milk at Whole Foods doesn’t set well and not all brands do. Thai Kitchen is one brand, however, that has pretty reliably set for me. You can get it here if you can’t find it in the Asian section of your local grocery store.

chocolate doughnuts with milk chocolate glaze (vegan, no added sugar)

 

Doughnut, you guys!

No added sugar, baked-not-fried, packed-with-fruit and finished-with-fun chocolate doughnuts. With milk chocolate glaze. And pink sprinkles. Food dye free sprinkles.

It’s a party on your plate and in your mouth.

How is all this accomplished in one little recipe? Simple! I used my chocolate zucchini muffin recipe, sweetened it up a bit (more dates and stevia) and spooned it into a doughnut pan. Voila! Healthy chocolate doughnuts.

 

 

But, wait, there’s more! To increase the fun factor, I added a milk chocolate glaze and pink sprinkles – all made without a lick of added sugar, dairy or food coloring.

 

This recipe makes more batter than can fill one six-doughnut pan which leave you with a couple options…fill a second doughnut pan or the same doughnut pan twice or use the remaining batter for cupcakes (which is what I did).

Eat them on your own, with a friend, with coffee or tea. Eat them for dessert, as a snack or even at breakfast. Because who says healthy eating has to be boring? #notme

About those no-added-sugar, food-dye-free sprinkles, though…that’s an extra special bonus recipe that you can only get here. So fun! I don’t think these doughnuts would be the same without them.

 

As with all my recipes, if you’re not sure where to get the ingredients or items needed to replicate this in your own kitchen, see below the chocolate doughnuts with milk chocolate glaze recipe for a “Shop the Recipe” guide.

 

chocolate doughnuts with milk chocolate glaze

These chocolate doughnuts are sweetened entirely with fruit and baked, not fried, so you can enjoy this healthy treat as a dessert, snack or even for breakfast!

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 scoops 100% pure stevia*
Wet Ingredients
  • 1 small ripe/slightly underripe banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond coconut milk
  • 1 flax egg 1 T ground flax seed + 3 T water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup date paste*
  • 1/4 cup almond or peanut butter
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
For the milk chocolate glaze
  • 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup date paste
  • 1/2 scoops 100% pure stevia
  • pinch salt
  • non-dairy milk, to thin
Instructions
For the doughnuts:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease your doughnut tin extremely well (coconut oil is recommended). Mix up your flax egg and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix to thoroughly combine.
  3. In a food processor or high speed blender, add all wet ingredients EXCEPT the zucchini and apple cider vinegar. Blend until well-combined and very smooth then add to the dry ingredients. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet until combined.
  4. Gently stir in the zucchini and then add the apple cider vinegar and gently mix again. Spoon into prepared doughnut tins making the batter level with the pan and bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  5. When finished baking, leave in the doughnut tins for 10-15 minutes and then loosen with a knife and remove from the tin and place on a cooling rack. Store muffins in a covered container for 1-2 days refrigerated or 3-4 days refrigerated.

For the milk chocolate glaze
  1. Add all ingredients to a small sauce pan and stir over medium-high heat until the date paste breaks down completely and the mixture is very smooth. A potato masher or immersion blender can help with this.

  2. Cool, then thin as needed with additional non-dairy milk.

Recipe Notes

*RECIPE NOTES: Be sure to use 100% pure stevia (see this post for more info)       *       If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using.       *       I recommend using spelt flour and unsweetened almond coconut milk as it's why I used and results may vary with other flours or dairy-free milks although feel free to experiment       *        Unless you don't mind a slight banana flavor to these muffins, I recommend using a small perfectly ripe or just under-ripe banana

 

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

If you dough-nut have a doughnut pan (sorry, couldn’t resist), try your local thrift shop or re-sale site/app. Or here are two options I found for you online: a metal pan and a silicon one.

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • I got my organic spelt flour (GMO free!) from the bulk section at Whole Foods, or you can find it here.
  • Target and many other grocery stores carry the unsweetened almond coconut milk, but you also can get it here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers (see this post). I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterSteviaâ„¢ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping
  • I usually buy my almond butter from Trader Joe’s, but click here for another option.
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.

 

 

 

essential ingredient: the scoop on stevia

If you’ve been here for more than a few posts, you’ll notice that the majority of my recipes are free from any form of added sugars. Instead, I love using whole fruits (mostly dates) and stevia to do the heavy lifting of adding the required sweetness because they don’t give you the spike and crash and are more immune system-friendly.

Stevia has continued to gain traction in the food marketplace, but with it, packaging that I believe is deceptive and misleading. You might think you’re getting stevia, when you’re actually getting stevia + other sweeteners and fillers.

That’s why I decided to go live over on the wildberry press Facebook page today.

Check out the video over there or view it below – let’s just ignore the weird close-eyed video still. #goodgrief If you want the online ordering info for 100% pure stevia, don’t forget to scroll past the video.

 

Here’s the order information I referenced for easy access:  NOW BetterSteviaâ„¢ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order. (contains affiliate links @ no cost to you, but helps fund this blog)

If you plan on ordering from Vitacost and want to save on shipping then you’ll also want to download my top Vitacost buys tip sheet. In it, I share the products I most often buy from Vitacost to bulk up my order. As an added bonus, the products in the tip sheet are usually cheaper on Vitacost than other online or brick-and-mortar store options! Click here to get it delivered to your inbox.

P.S. If you wanted the Spicy Sweet Pumpkin Seed recipe I referenced in the video, you can get that here.

german chocolate cake (vegan, no added sugar, soy free)

 

Happy Birthday…to me!

Yep, it’s my birthday today and I’m celebrating by sharing this german chocolate cake recipe with you.

But first…if you’ve been checking regularly with me, you might have noticed it was awfully silent here last week. It’s for a good reason, I promise you, and I’ll be revealing more later this week (eek! excited!). My newsletter tribe already got a bit of sneak peek. If you also want to be among the first to hear exciting news and never miss a recipe, sign up for the newsletter here. I also share a little more content and personal stories there too!

Right. Back to the cake.

Before I made the switch to a vegan, low/no added sugar diet, german chocolate cake topped my list as a favorite birthday cake. It was one I thought was crossed off my list forever since the traditional frosting uses evaporated milk and eggs and is packed with sugar.

Then I discovered that if I combined dates with three basic ingredients. it produced a frosting that closely approximates the original but far surpasses it nutritionally. Insert celebration with confetti here.

photo @pixabay.com

 

The german chocolate cake itself is a modification of my chocolate zucchini muffin recipe…which means these also work perfectly as cupcakes!

And here’s an interesting bit of trivia…when I first heard of this cake, I thought “german” meant it was a cake that originated in Germany by some inspired baker. However, it actually refers to the last name of an English-American chocolatier, Samuel German, who invented a certain kind of dark baking chocolate. So, really, the cake should be German’s chocolate cake.

German Chocolate Cake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
 

This classic cake gets a healthy makeover by eliminating both the added sugar and dairy. Instead, dates, pecans and coconut form the decadent frosting and the cake itself gets a nutritional boost from shredded zucchini.

Course: Dessert
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 scoops 100% pure stevia*
Wet Ingredients
  • 2 small ripe/slightly underripe banana
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond coconut milk
  • 2 flax eggs 2 T ground flax seed + 4 T water
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup date paste*
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Frosting
  • 15-20 Medjool dates with pits (remove pits before mixing)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
Instructions
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9" cake pans well (coconut oil is recommended). On a piece of parchment paper, use one of the cake pans to trace two circles in pencil. Cut out the circles and place one (pencil-mark down) in each cake pan. 

  2. Mix up your flax egg and set aside. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix to thoroughly combine.

  3. In a food processor or high speed blender, add all wet ingredients EXCEPT the zucchini and apple cider vinegar. Blend until well-combined and very smooth then add to the dry ingredients. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet until combined.
  4. Gently stir the batter as you sprinkle in the zucchini a little at a time and then add the apple cider vinegar and gently mix again. Spoon into prepared batter into the pans and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  5. When finished baking, leave in the cake pans for 10-15 minutes, then loosen with a knife and remove from the pans and place on a cooling rack. Store cake in a covered container for 1-2 days or refrigerated for 3-4 days.

Recipe Notes

*Recipe Notes Be sure to use 100% pure stevia If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using. I recommend using spelt flour and unsweetened almond coconut milk as it's why I used and results may vary with other flours or dairy-free milks although feel free to experiment Unless you don't mind a slight banana flavor to the cake, I recommend using a small perfectly ripe or just under-ripe banana.

 

 

 

  •  Click here for my favorite food processor
  • I got my organic spelt flour (GMO free!) from the bulk section at Whole Foods, or you can find it here.
  • Target and many other grocery stores carry the unsweetened almond coconut milk, but you also can get it here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers. I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterSteviaâ„¢ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping
  • I usually buy my almond butter from Trader Joe’s, but click here for another option.
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut: If you have a Whole Foods or natural foods store near by, check the bulk section! Or get it here.
  • Pecans: I buy mine at BJs (a wholesale club) or you can find them here. If you aren’t a member of BJs and want to check it out, use this link to sign up for a BJs membership and we’ll both get $25!

 

 

simply saturday granola (vegan, no added sugar, gluten free option)

Ironically, this granola was much easier to test and make than trying to share it with you in this post. Because, technology. It’s a long story, which I’ll spare you, but I’m storing up these tidbits for blog-related tips to help you avoid the same pitfalls.

For now, granola.

When I changed my diet to one extremely low in added sugar, I thought granola was a thing of the past. Typically, granola has a high added sugar content; even vegan versions tend to use more than I’m comfortable with.

Coming up with a raw granola recipe I was pleased with was simple. However, I wasn’t sure if a cooked version using dates as the sweetener would yield that same crunchy texture of traditional granola. But, oh yes… it does!

As the title suggests, this granola is simple and straightforward to fix. While I often make mine on a Saturday, you certainly can prepare this any day of the week. The key to a good crunch is stirring during the baking time, breaking up the clusters, and completely cooling it before storing it in air-tight jars.

 

Click here for where to buy the date paste, stevia and unsweetened shredded coconut online. To try to find the ingredients locally, here are a few tips:

  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes)
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers. I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterSteviaâ„¢ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping.
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut: If you have a Whole Foods or natural foods store near by, check the bulk section!

 

Simply Saturday Granola
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Ingredients
  • 3 cups whole rolled oats (gluten free, if needed)
  • 1/2 cup date paste
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 3 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 scoops 100% pure stevia
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup nuts of choice, chopped
Instructions
  1. Turn on oven to 350 F.  Grease a large jelly roll pan (recommend using coconut or avocado oil). Chop and measure out nuts. Measure out oats and coconut in separate bowls.

  2. Add almond milk, coconut oil, cinnamon, stevia and salt to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add date paste* and stir until the date paste breaks down and the mixture is very smooth. Next, stir in oats and coat thoroughly, then immediately stir in the coconut. Spread out on the prepared jelly roll pan, breaking up any clumps in the mixture and sprinkle on the nuts.

  3. Pop in the oven and set the timer for 12 minutes. When the time is up, remove from oven, stir to break up any clumps and prevent the granola on the out edges of the pan from burning. Return to oven for another 12 minutes, removed and stir again. If needed, return the granola to the oven for 3-5 minutes or until the granola is a light golden brown color. Turn off head and leave granola to finish drying out.

  4. When the granola is completely cooled, pour into airtight glass jars for storage.

Recipe Notes
  • If you don't have pre-made date paste on hand, you can easily make your own. For this recipe, take about 3/4 cups of Medjool dates (buy the ones with the pits, but remove the pits just before using), soak them in warm water for at least 1-2 hours. Drain, reserving the soak water and place in a blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth, adding a little soak water if needed.
  • Having the pan prepared, nuts chopped and oats and coconut measured and ready to go helps keep the baking time to a minimum as it prevents the date mixture from soaking into the oats.
  • Pecans are my favorite nuts of choice for this recipe!

 

 

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