The other day I managed to make some freezer treat pretzel bites with turkish delight that were very much Man-thing approved. The most perplexing part of all was that I had soaked my dates in coffee (decaf, admittedly), and he actually loved that! Man-thing doesn’t drink coffee, for the record, so this was an uber win for team awesome, because I’m going to take this as permission to add coffee to pretty much anything from now on.I’m pretty much wired by now to expect coffee straight after a meal, so adding coffee to the meal itself is really game-changing stuff for me. I’ll still have my coffee on the side, but any way that I can get more java is just grand.
Gingerbread pumpkin pretzel protein bars (serves 12 – 18):
- 1 cup baked pretzels (if not GF then try making some GF graham crackers with lots of ginger spice!)
- 1 cup dried dates soaked for 1 hour in strong coffee (decaf if necessary)
- 2 TBSP coffee from soaking
- 1 cup homemade pumpkin pureé
- 3/4 cup cooked red lentils (make sure they are not too mushy)
- 1 TBSP blackstrap molasses
- 1/4 cup carob powder
- 1 TBSP applesauce
- 1/8 cup Simple Syrup/ 1/4 – 1/3 cup agave
- 2 heaped tsp ginger powder
- 1 dropper NuNaturals Vanilla NuStevia
- cinnamon, nutmeg to taste
- Optional: carob nibs, chopped nuts, crystallized ginger pieces
- Optional: you can add more sweetness to taste – some stevia packets, more agave, etc
- 1/2 cup white beans/cannelini
- 1/8 cup NuNaturals Simple Syrup OR 1/4 cup agave/maple syrup
- 3 tsp coffee
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 1 dropper NuNaturals Vanilla NuStevia
- Line a loaf pan with baking paper.
- Drain and reserve your coffee whilst you pulse/blend your pretzels/graham crackers and dates with cinnamon in your food processor until broken down (but still with tiny bits).
- Spoon onto the bottom of your loaf pan evenly, spreading it with the back of a wet spoon.
- Blend your filling ingredients until smooth. Add your optional ingredients by folding them in.
- Pour the filling on top of your base and smooth out the top. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Clean out your food processor and then blend your topping. Pour on top and spread carefully but evenly so that the chocolate doesn’t poke through.
- Place in the freezer for half an hour before cutting into blocks and serving. Store in the freezer and let them “defrost” for 5 or so minutes before serving.
Seriously, these become a-MAZE-ing when the start to get all squishy and the frosting starts to ease up…homg so tasty!! The frosting just has this magical taste, and there’s coffee everywhere, and then you get to the pretzel crust and it’s just pure bliss. Seriously. Coffee is king!
The key to this treat is to be patient and let it defrost nicely – I don’t recommend keeping it in the fridge for when you’re not feasting, however, since they will get overly gooey, but I obviously love me some freezer treats. 😀
While we’re at it I just had to share a snap or two of the Turkish Delight version, just because it was equally scrumptious, and after a taste test Man-thing says he preferred the delight version, though I respectfully disagree. He didn’t know at the time, but these were made with 2 avocados instead of the pumpkin-lentil mix, as well as three little chopped up blocks of low GI Turkish Delight and no ginger. I figure a bit of healthy fat will always do Man-thing good, even if he gets the shivers at the thought of eating raw avocado. This is one of those occasions where I feel entitled to pull a “wenches know best” attitude since I made them and there is therefore no room for argument >:)
Anyhoo – today is Sunday, which is always sad because my free time is almost up, but I at least get to volunteer at the cat shelter for a bit and cuddle with cats (and clean their poo and medicate them, but even the un-glamorous jobs are fun). For days like these it’s good to kick back after dinner or here around 16h00 and just munch a bit on these sorts of treats to help ease the day away and take stock of things. My little brother is officially 2 years old today, so I’m feeling a bit more contemplative and older than usual, and my “to-do” list for life is starting to take shape – the years fly by so quickly and I’m getting to be more of a nervous nelly with time, so I need to get cracking and make plans to do the stuff I’m dying to try out, like sky diving, before I wake up and find myself in my thirties with nothing to show for it! At least there will always be treats :p