I think it’s safe to say it’s officially the start of the Christmas holiday season! I’m not going to lie, I’ve had Christmas tunes blaring in my house already, but typically everyone else starts getting into holiday mode once Remembrance Day and Thanksgiving have passed. It took a lot of self-control but I waited to share my first holiday-themed recipe until today!
When I used to work one-on-one with nutrition clients, this time of year brought to me a lot of worried faces. Clients were often wondering how they would possibly survive the holiday season while still maintaining the health and wellness goals that they had been working so hard to achieve. The biggest challenge they typically faced was the endless amount of treats, sweets, and goodies that made their way into their homes, offices, and inevitably… their stomachs!
I always used this time of year as an opportunity to share my favourite healthier holiday recipes, tips and tricks to practicing balance, and remind my clients that the holidays would come and go, and with some mindfulness and self-love they would do just fine.
At most parties, gatherings, and events around the holidays you’ll find delightful trays packed with all kinds of sweet treats in perfect little circles and squares. Brownies, blondies, tarts, truffles, and my all-time-favorite…Nanaimo bars!
Traditionally this sweet treat (that was named after the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia) is made with butter, sugar, heavy cream, icing sugar, cookie wafers, and more butter. As you can guess, they aren’t the lightest treat in the bunch.
While I definitely ascribe to the idea of enjoying treats over the holidays (in moderation of course!), I do think that the best option is choosing treats that taste amazing and indulgent but have the benefits of (sneakily) added superfoods and nutrient-dense ingredients.
My Better No-Bake Nanaimo Bars follow exactly that idea. While they do contain a little icing sugar, they also contain omega-rich cashews, fibre-packed rolled oats and flaxseeds, hemp seeds that are naturally high in protein, unrefined pure maple syrup, unsweetened coconut, antioxidant-rich dark chocolate and raw cocoa powder, and dairy-free Silk Coconut coffee whitener.
Coconut is definitely the star flavour in a Nanaimo bar so Silk’s Coconut coffee whitener works wonderfully to add richness, coconut flavour, and a little more sweetness to the recipe. It is creamy, made with organic, non-GMO ingredients, and contains no artificial colours, flavours, or icky additives.
If you have never tried a Nanaimo bar I can guarantee that you’ll be a fan! These delightful squares are a well-loved dessert here in Canada for good reason and my Better No-Bake Nanaimo Bars are no exception. I had my hubby, who is also a Nanaimo bar fan, give me his honest opinion after a very thorough taste-test. He agreed that my version tastes just as good if not “better” than the original!
Have you tried a Nanaimo Bar? What’s your favourite holiday tray treat and do you make a healthier version? I’d love to read about it in the comments below!
- Nanaimo Base:
- ⅓ cup vegan butter
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Silk Coconut Coffee Whitener (or full fat coconut milk)
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 2 tablespoons warm water
- 3 tablespoons raw cocao powder
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
- ½ cup gluten free rolled oats
- ¼ cup hemp seeds
- Cream Layer:
- ¼ cup vegan margarine
- ¾ cup soaked cashews (soak in ¾ cup water for 4 hours the drained)
- 3 tablespoons Silk Coconut Coffee Creamer (or full fat coconut milk)
- ½ cup organic icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons custard powder
- Chocolate Layer:
- ½ cup 70% dark chocolate chips (dairy free)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Soak the cashews ahead of time.
- In a small bowl add the flaxseed with 2 tablespoons of warm water and set aside.
- Next, add the shredded coconut, oats, and hemp seeds to a food processor and process on high for 10 seconds until the mixture is crumbly and all the ingredients are well incorporated, transfer to a medium sized mixing bowl and set aside.
- Heat a small non-stick pan over low heat and add in the vegan butter, pure maple syrup, raw cocao powder, flaxseed mixture and Silk coconut coffee whitener (or coconut milk) and stir until everything is melted and smooth.
- Add the melted cocao mixture to the bowl with the blended coconut, oats, and hemp seeds and stir until everything is well combined.
- Transfer the nanaimo base mixture to an 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper and press firmly to create the first layer. Place the pan in the freezer while creating the next layer.
- For the Cream Layer, add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Remove the pan from the freezer and pour the cream layer evenly over the nanaimo base.
- Place the pan back in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Next, prepare the Chocolate layer. Using a double boiler or a small saucepan, heat the chocolate chips and coconut oil to melt and stir until smooth.
- Remove from heat and once the nainamo base and cream layer have chilled for 30 minutes, pour the chocolate layer over the cream layer and smooth over evenly with a spatula.
- Place the pan back in the freezer and freeze for 4 hours.
- When ready to enjoy, cut into 8 large or 16 small squares.
Have a lovely Sunday and here’s to an amazing holiday season!
Christal // NITK
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.