If you follow me on instagram, or read last week’s post you may have seen that I have given up sugar for lent, so I thought it would be fun to share a little about how it has been going. I am not going to lie, it has been tough. After working at Violet Bakery last summer I have developed a real sweet tooth. Compounded by a trip to New York where I tried to visit as many of the bakeries I had spent years reading about online as possible (my favourites were Doughnut Plant, Domnique Ansel Bakery and Momofuku Milk Bar). Basically I had gotten to the point where I was indulging in something sweet every day, sometimes twice.
I haven’t gone treat cold turkey, I’ve tried that before and believe me (and about twenty other people) I was not someone you wanted to be around. I don’t think I have ever raised my voice at work. This is partially because I love my job and being able to work in such a creative industry is a dream come true, and because I am relatively timid in a work environment. Last year when I gave up sugar at the height of my bakery induced sugar coma I yelled (the wrong name) at the cutest puppy for trying to forage some chicken bones from a bin. It was bad, I had to go outside for a walk to calm down, and thinking back to it makes me cringe in shame. To minimise photoshoot faux pas I have been curbing my cravings with healthier options, and in that first week chocolate orange Nakd bars were a real leaning post for me.
If I am being totally honest I think most of them taste pretty awful, but there is something about orange extract that can make even the blandest of health food mushes taste delicious. My habit was getting pretty expensive and with the percentage ingredient list doesn’t always add up I thought I would have a go at making them at home. The verdict, it was pretty much a tie. My homemade version was lot drier with a crumbly texture, which makes me suspect that they slip some extra oil in with the ‘natural flavourings’. I forgot to pick up raisin which contribute to the slight tang of the store bought bars. I think making them at home worked out a fraction cheaper, but not by much.
If I am being perfectly honest, I probably wouldn’t ever make them again. Yes, it is a quick 10 minute recipe, with the comfort of knowing the exact ingredients of what you are putting into your body, but at the end of the day it is still a sweet. When lent ends, I want to have curbed my sugar cravings, not just be placating them with pureed medjool dates. In the last week I have been moving away from my beloved chocolate and orange health food bars and have swapped them out with bananas, which whilst not perfect is still a step in the right direction
If you are interested in how I made my chocolate orange bars I here’s the recipe
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makes 28 recipe by Jennifer Brown
130g raw cashews
175g medjool dates, stones removed and roughly chopped
20g cocoa powder
2 tsp orange extract
¼ tsp sea salt
- Place the cashews into a food processor and blend for 4-5 minutes until the nuts have begun to release their oils, but the paste is still quite chunky.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and blend for a further 5 minutes. As I mentioned earlier my mixture was quite dry, so it never came together as a puree, but if you squeezed together the mixture it would hold it’s shape.
- Using a spatula press the mixture firmly into a small tub to flatten it out.
- Chill in the fridge for an hour, then turn the bar out and cut into bite sized pieces.