As a kid, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were the only candy I deemed worth having. At Halloween I would pick around all the other candy just to find the peanut butter cups. At movies, the candy case didn't interest me unless they had plain 'ol peanut butter cups. You see I was one of those lucky kids to have a sweet and sassy, pint-sized Southern grandmother who made homemade cobblers, buttermilk pies, and sweet rolls on the regular. I knew where to find the real treats and I wouldn't compromise. Kids are discerning like that. We could learn a thing or two from them.
Nowadays, when I'm not making my grandmother's deserts on special occasions, I still need an everyday sort of treat. These fudge bars are it. They're a grown-up, fudgy, inside-out version of those peanut butter cups. They're dead simple to make, and I'm pretty sure kids would love them too. Give them a try and let me know what you think!
In other news, on Sunday Milena and I hosted our long-awaited Stress-Relieving Cooking + Home Spa Retreat! Below are some pictures from the event.
We couldn't have asked for a lovelier group of women. They really enjoyed the day, and Milena and I had fun right along with them. It was a treat for me to be a participant for the skincare portion of the day. Milena spoke about safe cosmetics, how to avoid toxic ingredients in skincare, the benefits of dried flowers and essential oils, and how to set up a home spa experience in a way that's practical for our busy lives. We also made custom foot soaks and face masks. Ahhh! It was truly fabulous.
I spoke about ways to cook, eat, and think to reduce the stress burden in our body and mind, facilitate digestion, and boost energy and mood. We made a sprouted green smoothie, pea pesto pizza, a spring green soup, naturally fermented pickled cauliflower and carrots, and chocolate chunk freezer cookies. All 100% plant-based and naturally gluten-free.
Needless to say, Milena and I are excited to be planning our next cooking and skincare event in 2017 in Canada and the US!
Peanut Butter Fudge Bars
Makes 1 standard loaf pan
Notes: Despite the recipe name, other nut butters would also be great here. Almond or cashew butter would be nice. And if you make your own nut butter, I think hazelnut or a blend of pecan and almond would be amazing.
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut milk
- 150 gr. dark (70% cacao) chocolate
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (or almond extract)
- Few pinches of salt
Peanut Butter Layer
- 1/4 cup (70 gr) natural peanut butter (only ingredient should be peanuts, maybe salt)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- Flaky sea salt (optional)
- Line a standard loaf pan with enough parchment paper so it comes up all sides of the pan. Press paper into pan to make smooth creases in corners.
- Heat coconut milk in a small saucepan, covered, over medium-low heat until very hot. No need to boil.
- In the meantime, finely chop chocolate. Place in a medium heat-proof bowl with coconut oil and salt. Pour milk over chocolate and stir slowly with a spatula or wooden spoon to melt. Don't stir too quickly or the chocolate could seize up. Stir in vanilla and taste. If it doesn't taste chocolate-y enough for you add another splash of vanilla and/or another small pinch of salt.
- Pour chocolate in paper-lined loaf pan. Spread evenly making sure chocolate reaches into all four corners. Freeze for 1 hour before topping with peanut butter layer.
- In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients for peanut butter layer, except flaky sea salt. Spread evenly over fudge layer. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if using. Place loaf pan in the refrigerator to set for one hour. Slice into bars. Store in the fridge in loaf pan with paper folded over top, or in a container with lid.