When I first started “clean eating” I was excited to find many recipes for “clean cookies”, “clean cupcakes”, “clean brownies” etc. Could it really be true that I could still enjoy delicious sweets made without sugar in a “clean” way? My first endeavor with a clean recipe was with one of my personal favorites: brownies. As I began looking through the ingredients list, I became more and more skeptical of how they would actually turn out. The main ingredient was a can of black beans! Yuck! I vowed to have an open mind and got to work mixing up all of the ingredients; popped them in the oven, and eagerly waited for them to bake. I was pleasantly surprised as the kitchen filled with the sweet aroma of brownies! Perhaps they were going to taste just like “real” brownies. When they were cool enough to eat, I cut off a small slice, moved it around my mouth, and gulped it down. They were terrible! The taste and texture were not very good and the after taste was even worse! How disappointing! I had read many reviews of people raving about how good they were. “Maybe I’m having trouble enjoying them because I know what’s in them. It must be all in my head” I thought. Thankfully my friend Crystal was coming over that afternoon and I decided to have her give me a second opinion. I didn’t want her opinion to be tainted, so I didn’t tell her that the brownies were made with black beans to ensure getting her unbiased opinion. I cut the brownies into squares and placed them neatly on a fancy serving platter. I held out the platter and offered her a brownie to which she excitedly accepted. I held my breath as she took her first bite, carefully watching her reaction. Within seconds her face shrivelled up and she dove for the garbage can. “What ARE these?!” she cried in horror. When I showed her the recipe she was not very impressed! To this day, she approaches everything I bake with caution. I didn’t attempt another “clean” recipe for a while after that, but eventually decided to try again. And do you know what? I’ve found some recipes that are really delicious!
I’ve learned that many of the “clean” baking recipes are really trial and error. Some I try and dislike and make note to never make again, while others are delicious and become a staple in my kitchen. So, don’t give up if the first thing you make isn’t as good as you hoped. Keep trying new things! I will post some of my favorites.
I’ve chosen to share this as my first recipe because it is both simple to make and delicious!
If you don’t already have a food processor, I would really recommend getting one. You will find that many of the “clean” recipes require the use of a food processor. You don’t need to spend big bucks on one. I purchased one at Walmart on sale for $49.00, regularly $79.00. Between Walmart and Canadian Tire you can find them on sale often.
Chocolate Coconut Balls
2 ½ cups walnuts or almonds
¾ cup packed, pitted dates (found in the baking aisle or any bulk food store)
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup unsweetened coconut, finely shredded
Place nuts and dates in food processor, pulse just until crumbly. Add cocoa powder and coconut and continue to pulse, just until combined.
Roll into small balls, and let them set in the refrigerator for roughly 20 minutes.
Yields: 25 balls
Another great source for “clean” recipes is www.TheGraciousPantry.com