It’s that time of the year when avoiding the cookie table just isn’t an option. (Watching Love Actually on repeat just isn’t the same without a bite of something sweet.)
If you’re tasked with bringing dessert to your upcoming holiday bash, though, you can bring a couple of crowd-pleasing options without worrying about overdoing it with the sugar. Arielle Haspel, the food coach behind Be Well With Arielle, is sharing two recipes that’ll satisfy your sweet tooth and feature better-for-you swaps.
The secret ingredient in both? MaraNatha raw almond butters. MaraNatha packs a powerful flavor punch in every scoop, thanks to the base of high-quality California almonds found in every jar. AKA, it’s recipe gold.
Keep scrolling for Haspel’s brilliant almond-butter dessert recipes.
Homemade Chocolate Almond Butter Bark
“It’s tough to find good quality chocolate chips without white sugar or additives like soy lecithin,” Haspel says. So she opts to make her own homemade dark chocolate instead featuring no refined sweeteners (only maple syrup) or additives (only natural cacao butter and powder).
And the dish gets an elevated feel thanks to the MaraNatha almond butter. “The almond butter swirls make it extra fancy and add a little dose of healthy protein, while the spelt pretzels add the perfect crunch and some extra fiber to keep you feeling full faster,” she adds.
Yields 8 servings
1/2 cup organic cacao butter (liquified, so measure after melting)
1/2 cup unsweetened cacao powder
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 pinch of find sea salt (optional)
2 Tbsp smooth MaraNatha Raw Maple Almond Butter or MaraNatha Raw Creamy Almond Butter
1/4 cup spelt or gluten-free mini pretzel twists
1. Line a 11×16 inch baking or cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. To get cacao butter to liquify, heat approx ¾ to 1 cup solidified cacao butter in a small pot to make 1/2 cup liquified/melted cacao butter.
3. In a small bowl, mix melted cacao butter, unsweetened cacao powder, maple syrup, and sea salt until smooth.
3. Pour chocolate mixture evenly onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. (FYI: The thicker, the better.)
4. Heat up almond butter in a small pan (for about 20 seconds) until it thins out into a creamy consistency. Then, slowly drizzle almond butter on top of the chocolate.
5. Using your hands, crush up pretzels and sprinkle evenly over the chocolate bark. Save a few whole pretzel twists and lay them on top.
6. Put in fridge (or freezer) for 10 minutes until the chocolate hardens.
7. Once hardened, break up the chocolate with your hands and serve.
Pumpkin Spice Fudge Brownies
“Fudge Brownies are typically made with white flour, white sugar, and loads of butter,” Haspel says. But she scores that same gooey texture with the help of almond butter and maple syrup instead. “I also use real pumpkin puree and wintery spices to really play up the holiday flavors in the this treat,” she notes.
Yields 10 servings
2 cups MaraNatha Raw Creamy Almond Butter or MaraNatha Raw Crunchy Almond Butter
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 pasture-raised eggs
4 Tbsp aroma-free coconut oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup raw cacao powder
1 tsp pumpkin spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp dark mini chocolate chips or unsweetened cacao nibs
Pumpkin Spice Mixture:
1 cup organic unsweetened pumpkin puree
4 Tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp pumpkin spice
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together almond butter, maple syrup, eggs, coconut oil, and vanilla. Add in cacao powder, pumpkin spice, baking soda, sea salt, and 2 Tbsp of chocolate chips. Mix well until becomes batter-like.
3. Spread a little coconut oil on bottom and sides of a 9-inch baking dish or pan and pour half of the brownie batter mixture into the pan evenly. Using your hands (or a spoon or spatula), make sure the batter is flat and even.
4. In a small bowl, mix together the pumpkin spice mixture: pumpkin puree, coconut oil and pumpkin spice. Add 1/2 cup of the mixture on top of the brownie batter and using hands (or a spoon or spatula), and make sure the pumpkin mixture is spread evenly.
5. Add the rest of brownie batter and then pumpkin puree on top. Swirl with a butter knife or finger to create a marbleized look. Add 1 Tbsp cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips on top of brownies.
6. Bake for about 25 to 35 minutes, or until the brownies are crispy-ish on top but soft in the middle. (Check every so often so you get the perfect texture.)
7. Let cool and slice into squares. Store in fridge and when ready to serve, heat them up and consider serving with coconut milk ice cream on the side.
Top photo: Stocksy