It's Girl Scout cookie season. A difficult time of the year for those who have to go without. I think they make a few gluten-free options now and even one or two vegan options, but not gluten-free and vegan and certainly not gluten-free, vegan and refined sugar-free. I used to LOVE their thin mints and samoas. I still buy them from a co-worker whose daughter is in the Girl Scouts. I sit, begrudgingly staring at my husband as he devours half a sleeve of thin mints in one sitting. But not this year.
This is the last in my blog series on reducing my processed sugar intake. I started the month with a 10-day sugar detox and then have been following a no processed sugar on the weekdays and a limited processed sugar intake on the weekends. And what I discovered is that the more I eat processed sugar, the more I crave it. I honestly have not felt the need to indulge on the weekends with anything other than my soy flat white, which has processed sugar in the soy milk.
I think the trick to successfully limiting your processed sugar is in having a viable alternative to satisfy your sweet-tooth. Having my raw bites on hand in the freezer has been a life saver. I like a little something sweet after dinner. Having something naturally sweet on hand is key to maintaining this healthy lifestyle.
So I give you my version of a thin mint, but without all the guilt and processed flour and sugar (click here to read their ingredients). They still have a lot of natural sugar in them from the dates, but they are packed full of ingredients that are good for you. They will take you a whole 10 minutes to make and an hour to set in the freezer. And why not end this series with a bang with these raw bites that, in my humble opinion, taste even better than the traditional thin mints. They just happen to be gluten-free, vegan and refined sugar-free. And they will provide you with a week of yummy little late-night snacks to satisfy your sweet craving.
All of these raw bite/bar recipes are made in my Cuisinart food processor. I use this appliance at least a few times each week and find it invaluable. You can find yours here:
To start, grind your raw almonds up first and then add the rest of the ingredients, saving the 3 tablespoons of responsibly sourced coconut oil for the end.
I used both fresh mint leaves and peppermint oil in this recipe, but you could certainly do without the real leaves. I have large mint plants in my garden in the summer and am always looking for ways to use it. I had a hankering for my mint iced tea so I decided to get a bunch for this recipe and make my favorite tea as well.
After processing, dump the contents into a lined bread pan and evenly flatten out the bottom layer, pressing down firmly so that the layer sticks together. Set the pan in the freezer while you make the chocolate topping.
You are never going to believe how easy this chocolate topping is. Melted coconut oil, cacao powder, maple syrup and a few drops of peppermint oil. Whisk together and pour it on top of your first layer.
Spread it out on top and return the pan to the freezer for an hour. And that's it. You are done. Easy-peasy. No excuses.
So instead of ordering half a case of your favorite Girl Scout cookies this spring, write them a donation check instead. I am sure they would appreciate it more than the cookie order, and so will your health.
Time: 10 minutes to make, 1 hour in freezer
1 c. raw almonds
1 c. dates
1/4 c. cacao powder
1/4 c. fresh mint leaves (optional)
1/2 tsp. peppermint oil
3 tbsp. responsibly sourced coconut oil, melted
1/4 c. responsibly sources coconut oil, melted
1/4 c. cacao powder
1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
A few dashes of peppermint oil
In your food processor, blend the almonds10-15 seconds until they form a course meal. Add the rest of the base layer ingredients, except the coconut oil, and process another 10-15 seconds to combine. Add the coconut oil and pulse a few more seconds to moisten the mixture.
Line a bread pan with parchment or wax paper. Dump contents into pan and spread evenly with clean hands. Press down firmly to mold. Place pan in the freezer until the top layer is ready.
In a small cup or bowl, whisk the top layer ingredients together until smooth. Pour over the bottom layer and return to the freezer for 1 hour to harden. Cut into desired dimensions. Store in freezer in airtight container.