What’s wrong with me? Healthy on Fat Tuesday? Of all days.
I could have done doughnuts, things laden with butter, sugar and milk chocolate galore. But I somehow managed to pull out a no-sugar added, vegan and gluten-free (if you use gluten-free cornflakes) treat out of no where.
Really, I do not even know how I did it and to be honest I am amazed they actually tasted good, but they are even brother approved. Even with the dark chocolate. Kai did say the chocolate tasted a little different. Then he realized it was dark chocolate and the smile on his face over the fact that I actually made k-bars morphed into a very disappointed-looking face. What he did next though I have to say I am pretty proud of.
He grabbed some milk chocolate, melted it (who knew he even knew how to do this) and slathered it right on top of the dark chocolate.
I mean, I gotta say, he knows what’s up.
These bars took two attempts. The first attempt I thought was going to be awesome and the flavor was all there, but the peanut butter mixture made the corn flakes super soggy and chewy. Still good, but just a weird texture.
So I tried again.
Second time was thankfully the winner. I say thankfully because I have had so many fails lately it is insane. Fails + lack of organized thoughts = no fun, so I was happy to only have to try twice. Especially since my Monday also consisted of cleaning the fridge from top to bottom after spilling hot chocolate all over the inside of the fridge. Again, not very fun.
I do realize that cornflakes are not technically the healthiest cereal out there, but it’s just what I had on hand and what I always use for K-bars. If you want something healthier, go for it. I think pretty much any unsweetened cereal will work here. You can even add some oats and nuts too if you wish, but I was really trying to replicate my mom’s K-Bars.
If you are unfamiliar with K-Bars they are bars made with Karo Syrup (corn syrup), sugar, peanut butter and chocolate. They are amazing, but all the sugar is something that has always bothered me. I have tried a lot of things to make these bars a little healthier, but nothing has ever worked this good. It just amazes me because the only sweetener in these bars is dates. AND no one even knew they were there.
Incredible if you ask me.
I feel I should mention that these bars only happened out of pure desperation. I had two other posts in mind for today, but both failed and since my ability to organize my thoughts and life lately has been miserable, I was out of a post for today.
Kai was on my case about making something simple, something he loves, K-bars. So I caved, but of course I only half caved. Why not try to make them secretly healthy? I mean, one of my favorite things is messing with Kai, so I kind of get a kick out the fact that Kai is eating dates and not corn syrup… and he likes it. Still blows my mind.
Plus, I have also been trying to come up with less sugary chocolate treats. Well I love all the over the top treats, they are not for everyday and over here we eat chocolate everyday… for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so less sugary chocolate treats needed to happen. Gotta say, though I really want to make doughnuts next.
And doughnuts of the fried variety.
Now that would be a true test. If I can figure out a way to make doughnuts healthier, especially fried doughnuts, then I would really be on to something.
I think I’ll just take it one day (or week) at a time. Anyway, for today at least, the whole simple, less sugar thing is going very well.
Oh, and since dessert is oh so healthy, that just means Fat Tuesday’s dinner can be, well – FAT.
Super Healthy Peanut Butter Date Special K-Bars.
Yields: 18-20 BARS
- 1 cup packed medjool dates, pitted + chopped
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2-3 tablespoons almond milk, coconut milk or regular milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4-5 cups corn flakes (use gluten free corn flakes for a gluten free bar)*
- 10-12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
Add the dates and salt to the bowl of a food processor and process until they form a thick paste. Add the peanut butter and 2 tablespoons milk, process until smooth and creamy. Scoop the mixture out and into a microwave safe bowl, microwave 30 seconds, stir and microwave another 30 seconds. Continue until the mixture is warm and melty. This took me 1 minute. Stir in the vanilla. If the mixture seems too stiff add 1 more tablespoon milk, but no more. If you add too much milk the cereal will become soggy.
Add the cereal to a large bowl. Slowly mix in the peanut butter mixture until throughly combined. Press the cereal into the prepared baking dish in an even layer.
Microwave the chocolate on 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted. This took me about 1 1/2 minutes. Spoon the melted chocolate over the bars in an even layer. Cover the pan and place them in the fridge for 1 1/2 -2 hours or until firm. You may also put them in the freezer for 30 minutes, but I find the fridge works best.
Remove the bars 10 minutes prior to serving, cut and store in the fridge.
*You can really use any airy crunch cereal you prefer. I think rice krispes, chex, cheerios or any puffed cereal will work great.
See what I did there? I am looking out for you guys.
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