Let me start off by saying I don’t count calories or points, and I definitely don’t weigh my protein or carbs. Bor-ing. Instead I try to implement a bit of common sense and listen to my body when it tells me I’m full (sometimes it yells more loudly than others, or maybe I have selective hearing). You could say I take a pretty holistic approach to food – and part of that is making time for sweet treats and comfort food.
So writing about calories and sugar content – like I’m about to do – kind of bums me out. But I fear it must be done in order to sprinkle a touch of common sense on the ‘sugar-free’ movement that’s going down as we speak.
Okay, so I’m sure you healthy beans are into raw desserts and raw snacks. Hells yes – me too! It’s probably why you clicked through to this article now. Many of them are also “sugar-free”, paleo, gluten-free and vegan right? You may have even tried some of my raw recipes like the lemon curd tarts, raw brownies or the famous raw lemon slice. Yes? I hope so. And I hope you keep eating them! But first, let’s take a step back and put to bed a few myths surrounding raw treats. And yep, you probably guessed it – they’re not sugar free.
The ‘nice’ things about raw desserts
Uber sweet and rich – they kick that 3pm craving in the butt with a delish combination of natural, unrefined ingredients. When you swap out a bar of milk chocolate for a piece of raw fudge, you get tonnes of health benefits along with it. Raw snacks and bars usually contain more fibre, protein, healthy fats and antioxidants than regular sweets, plus longer lasting energy.
The ‘naughty’ things about raw desserts
These bad boys pack a serious calorie hit. Fats from the nuts and coconut oil (healthy fats yes, but still fats) combined with the natural sugars from the dates, honey or maple syrup add up to a dense little ball of energy that’s easy to overeat. We’ve all been there (oh hello raw high tea).
The common sense
Most raw desserts, bars and balls are not completely sugar free – they’re refined/processed sugar free – meaning the sweetness comes from medjool dates and other natural sweeteners. Natural sugars found in things like fruit come with added health benefits of vitamins, minerals and most importantly fibre – which slows down to the digestion process and avoids crazy insulin spikes.
Do we still need to consume natural sugars in moderation? Yes. Are raw treats a lot better for you then a Boost bar or processed muffin? Absolutely! But you probably already knew that right? Check out this easy to follow article about the difference between refined and natural sugars.
On that note, you might laugh that I’m sharing with you today a recipe for a raw snickers bar. Ha! I’m not teasing, I do still think raw desserts are the bomb, and they are something that gets made in my house regularly. Right now I have a batch of frozen snickers and a jar of almond bliss balls ready and waiting.
So just see this as a little nudge to keep your wits about you when it comes to “sugar-free” and always have a good ol’ dollop of moderation on hand when you need it. #enjoyresponsibly.
Raw snickers bar
Recipe inspired by Young and Raw‘s paleo bars, with a few small alterations (mainly less chocolate coating to tone down the sweetness!).
What you’ll need
- 2 cups cashews
- 2 tbs coconut oil
- 2 tbs 100% natural maple syrup
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup almonds
- 6 medjool dates
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 2tbs coconut oil
- Pinch sea salt to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds (to press into caramel layer)
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
How to go about it:
- Blend cashews into a fine flour, before adding the rest of the ingredients. Process until combined.
- Press mixture into a rectangular tin – try to keep the base an even thickness. Freeze until solid (about 30-40 minutes).
- Next, blend almonds into a fine powder, before adding the rest of the ingredients to form a sticky delicious caramel.
- Spread caramel evenly over frozen base layer before pressing chopped almonds on top (for the authentic Snickers experience!)
- Place back in the freezer for approximately 1 hour to set.
- Melt coconut oil in a pot, before mixing in the maple syrup and cacao.
- Chop up your combined base and caramel layer into small bars. I deliberately kept mine small – they are super rich!
- Dip your bars into the chocolate coating until covered, then set aside on a tray lined with baking paper.
- Once all the bars are coated, pour any left-over chocolate over your bars – before placing back into the freezer to set.
- To serve, slice off any excess chocolate from the bar and dig in!
* Best kept in the freezer.