Peanut Butter and Cacao Slice (no bake)
There isn’t a day when I don’t crave (and reach out for) a mid-morning or afternoon snack. It has to be something on the sweeter side, however as much as I’d like to dive into a block of chocolate or handful of cookies each day, I know my body loves me more if I choose something more nutritious and wholesome…more often than not at least. My guess is I’m not alone….fess up foodies!
After visiting Noosa’s farmers markets last week, I came home with a jar of this delightful, all natural Darryl’s Peanut Butter. Using this as inspiration, I wanted to create a snack which was rich, nutty and sweet.
Introducing the addictive Peanut Butter & Cacao Slice. Not only is this snack incredibly moorish, it’s easy peasy to make, no baking involved whatsoever (happy days).
I have to be honest and say it’s the first time I’ve used cacao nibs. I’ve been hesitant in the past as I’ve never wanted to forfeit my selfish love for dark chocolate. However as I wanted this snack to be extra nutritious as well as super tasty, cacao nibs were the answer in delivering that touch of decadent richness.
So what are the key differences between cacao and cocoa?
Even though cacao and cocoa may sound similar, each are unique when it comes to taste and nutrition.
Cacao is the purest form of chocolate that’s edible. Cacao beans – the seeds or nuts from the cacao tree, can be produced into products such as cacao powder, cacao nibs, cacao butter and cacao paste. As these are raw & pure, they have a higher source of antioxidants, magnesium, fibre, essential fatty acids – no added sugars, additives or fats.
Taste wise cacao is definitely more bitter than our dear friend cocoa and has a earthy, citrus flavour to it. Your taste buds will need some ‘getting to know you’ time as your palette is probably used to sweeter produced milk or dark chocolate.
> Did you know that cacao has been scientifically proven to be the most nutritionally complex food on the planet? It has 621 antioxidants! To put that into comparison, a blueberry has 62 antioxidants.
Cocoa looks the same but it’s not. When cacao beans are roasted & processed it is then called Cocoa. During this heat process the cacao bean loses much of its nutritional power. It still retains some antioxidants and is still a rich source of fibre and a bit of protein, so it’s not all bad news. If you buy cocoa powder, just try to buy plain natural cocoa powder, not cocoa mixes which often contain sugar. Second option is Dutch-processed (a.k.a. dark) cocoa powder which has been alkalized to neutralise the acidity and has a milder taste.
- Puffed Rice 2 cups
- Raw Peanuts 1/2 cup
- Cacao Nibs 1/3 cup
- Smooth Peanut Butter 1/2 cup
- Honey 1/4 cup
- Rice Malt Syrup 1/4 cup
- Coconut Oil 1 tsp
- Line a 26cm x 18cm (approx) baking tray with parchment paper.
- In a small dry pan, toast the raw peanuts over a low-medium heat until you see the first signs of browning (this will probably take approx 3 mins). If your peanuts still have their red skin intact, you’ll start to hear the skin crackle as the nuts warm up. Remove the nuts from the pan and tip onto a chopping board. Once cool, you can use your fingers to rub & peel the skin off.
- Add the puffed rice, cacao nibs and raw peanuts into a large mixing bowl.
- In a small saucepan, gently heat the smooth peanut butter, honey, rice malt syrup and coconut oil. Stir using a wooden spoon or spatular. Remove from stovetop and allow to cool slightly.
- Pour the peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients. Give it a good stir and tip into the lined baking tray. Using the back of your wooden spoon or spatula, press the mixture into each corner of the tray and ensure its level.
- Refrigerate overnight. Cut into 12 squares and serve straight from the fridge.
Make this peanut butter and cacao slice at the start of the week and you’ll have a delicious snack at your fingertips for the days ahead!
Bring a slice to the office (just remember to put it in the fridge until you’re ready to devour it) or pack it in your kids chilled lunch box.
*Facts sources from bodyandsoul.com.au / onegreenplanet.org