(No Flour) Monster Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars – The Heathier Way

Real Food Monster Cookie Bars

When I saw the original recipe for these bars here, what really jumped out at me was the “no flour” thing. Avoiding flour is always a nice option in recipes. I also noticed the “mini m&m” thing but decided that while those are fun and tasty, they are on the naughty list and not required to make these cookie bars good. Then I wondered if I could cut back on the 2 cups of sugar and the amount of chocolate chips.

Do I know how to ruin a good recipe, or what? 

Hey. I didn’t ruin a thing. I simply cut back on the sugar and cut out the corn syrup and 10 different food dyes. The cookie bars are still delicious, so says my family and several other people I have served these to who didn’t even know I’d healthified this recipe. It probably helps that these bars still have plenty of sugar in them.

The oats and lack of flour create a really fun, chewy bar. I say, make these then wrap them individually and freeze them to grab out for lunch boxes or on-the-go snacks. This makes 24 good sized bars.

(No Flour) Monster Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

1 cup sucanat or brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups creamy natural peanut butter (here’s how to make it yourself)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups quick oats
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Cream sugar, butter, and peanut butter together until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, and baking soda and mix well. Stir in oats until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread mixture into a cookie sheet lined by parchment paper. Bake in a 350° oven for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 24-36 cookie bars, depending on how large you cut them.

No Flour Monster Chocolate Chip Cookies (the real food version)

Make these gluten free by using GF oats. Learn to make your own Quick Oats here.

Enjoy this very easy treat!

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Homemade White Chocolate Sauce

White Chocolate Sauce Recipe

Gather ’round, friends. I have something to tell you.

We have been lied to. Every one of us. We’ve been told that cooking real food is hard. And not just real food – any food. We’ve been deceived into believing that most foods must be purchased pre-made.

Take, for example, the time a friend of mine made my recipe for Homemade Alfredo Sauce for a church get-together. Every adult was like, “This is delicious. You made this? By yourself? How did you do it? You are amazing!” and my friend was like, “Actually it took about ten minutes and very little effort and all I did was follow a recipe.” (Though I personally still think she should take credit for being amazing.)

C’mon now. Pretty much anything that comes in a box or a jar or a bottle at the store can be made at home with healthier ingredients – and most foods are actually pretty easy to make. (Why hello, Gatorade. I did not buy you. I made you myself.)

Join me in offering a big smack-down of these lies. You can do this real food thing. I’m here to help. (And I’m also here to give you a White Chocolate Sauce recipe. What are friends for?)

When I served this sauce along with homemade Hot Fudge Sauce and homemade Caramel Sauce in my Iced Coffee Bar, some of my friends were like, “Where did you get those sauces? Wait. You made them?” When I told them how I did it, they were shocked at how easy it sounded. Measure, heat, stir, done. It’s too easy.

So yes. You can make Hot Fudge Sauce all by yourself. You can also make Caramel Sauce all by yourself. And now you can make White Chocolate Sauce – all by yourself. It’s all too easy!!

(This is the part where I pipe in with just a little warning: While these sauce recipes are easy and made with all real food ingredients – they are still full of sugar. Don’t drink these sauces or decide that they are a great substitute for vegetables. Instead, use them for an occasional special treat. Okeedokee.)

Homemade White Chocolate Sauce

Homemade White Chocolate Sauce

1 1/2 cups cocoa butter wafers
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup cane sugar (I use this sometimes when sucanat – which is brown – will change the color of the product too drastically)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir cocoa butter wafers, cream, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until wafers have melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Serve warm.

Note: The sauce hardens in the fridge, so I recommend storing leftovers in a wide mouth jar so you can actually enjoy the leftovers. Take a look at the picture of the container I put our white sauce in and ask me how much fun it was to try and get the leftovers out of that. It is so good for you to learn from my mistakes.

Another note: Cocoa butter wafers are different from white chocolate chips. White chocolate chips are actually made from cocoa butter and sugar. For this white chocolate sauce recipe, you’ll need just the straight cocoa butter. It’s not cheap. I have found some at Amazon and Mountain Rose Herbs (Amazon is cheapest right now because of free Prime shipping). But let’s just say that while this recipe is delicious, I will not be making this recipe often. Cha-ching. (This is probably a good time to put another plug in for way-less-expensive-per-pound vegetables. Okeedokee.)

Homemade White Chocolate Sauce for Iced Coffee and Ice Cream

Enjoy this White Chocolate Sauce on ice cream, in your Iced Coffee Bar, in your hot coffee, in your hot chocolate…and what else?

This post contains affiliate links.

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No-Bake Chocolate Fudge Bites (Low Sugar, Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

I always hesitate to put “Gluten Free” or “Dairy Free” in the title of a recipe. Why? Because some people see it and think, “I don’t need to eat gluten free (or dairy free) so I don’t need to look at this recipe.”

No wait! Come baaaaaaack! Do you eat apples? Strawberries? Chicken? Carrots? Then sometimes you eat gluten and dairy free. Right? Because that’s what those foods are, without even having to try.

There are soooo many foods that are naturally gluten and/or dairy free because God made a big variety of food to provide nourishment and balance. I wanted to put “GF” and “DF” in the title of this recipe so that the “GF” and “DF” people would know they could join this party. Everyone wins. Especially because this recipe involves chocolate. Amen and amen.

So gather around all you gluten free and dairy free and I can eat anything people. There are fudge bites to be had! These are cousins to No-Bake Snickerdoodle Bites (which are also GF and DF). Both of these snacks are awesome to have in the fridge for a quick pick-me-up.

Note: I noticed two things about this recipe when I tried them on my family:

  1. They were too sweet for me but my boys wished they were sweeter. Add or subtract that 1/4 cup honey amount as you wish.
  2. These tasted a thousand times better after they had been in the fridge an entire day. I don’t know why. Eat them right away if you wish, but chilling these in the fridge for over 24 hours makes these much fudgy-er and tastier.

No-Bake Chocolate Fudge Bites

1 cup almond butter or peanut butter
1/4 cup honey (more if you prefer)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/3 cup coconut flour

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Roll the mixture into teaspoon-sized (or whatever sized) balls. Refrigerate before serving.

No-Bake Fudge Bites

Have you tried the No-Bake Snickerdoodle Bites yet? These No-Bake Bites are my favorite way to add coconut flour to our diet (which is rich in fiber, protein, and other great nutrients). It doesn’t hurt that they only take a few minutes and little effort to make. :)

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Low Sugar Sunshine Cake

sunshine cake 12

I don’t know if you know this about me or not since I hardly ever mention it or at the very least I haven’t said it in the past five minutes – but here it is: I LOVE SUNSHINE!!! I have decided that I need large doses of vitamin D in order to avoid all kinds of conditions and disorders. Bring on the hot, bright, beautiful days of summer!

My love of sunshine along with my love for this cake led me to call this recipe Sunshine Cake. Indeed, that’s exactly what this tastes like: a delicious drop of sunshine.

What does sunshine taste like, you ask? Well, it tastes like this cake. Do I need to keep explaining this?

If you can possibly believe it, I think I like this cake even better than the Low Sugar Super Moist Chocolate Cake – and we all know that I love that cake almost as much as I love sunshine.

Just like the chocolate cake, two key players in this recipe are whole wheat pastry flour and sour cream. The pastry flour helps this cake remain light, and the sour cream keeps it moist. But let’s not forget the Cream Cheese Frosting. It goes without saying that Cream Cheese Frosting makes everything in life better. Even cloudy days with no sunshine.

Low Sugar Sunshine Cake

2 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sucanat or sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add milk, sour cream, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Mix with beaters until smooth. Pour into a buttered 9×13 cake pan. Bake in a 350° oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Stevia-Sweetened Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons softened butter
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Liquid stevia to taste (I use about 20 drops)

In a large bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Add softened butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and stevia – whipping until well combined and smooth. Spread over cooled cake. Store in refrigerator.

If you prefer, here’s a slightly sweeter but still not too sugary frosting option:

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces softened cream cheese
¼ cup softened butter
3-4 Tablespoons real maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

With a hand mixer (or in your blender), whip together all ingredients until smooth. Spread over cooled cake.

Low Sugar Sunshine Cake

Tell me which Low Sugar recipes you’ve tried so far. Which are your favorite? Are you a chocolate or a vanilla kinda friend?

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No-Bake Snickerdoodle Bites – A Quick and Easy Low Sugar Treat

I’ve been making a treat similar to this recipe for several years (found over at TheNourishingHome.com). I’ve tweaked it here and there…then sort of forgotten all about this great treat. Last week I decided I needed a lightly sweetened snack. Not salty. Not desserty. Not meaty. Just something filling and lightly sweetened.

These Snickerdoodle Bites are perfect.

snickerdoodle bites2

I’ve kept these Snickerdoodle Bites in my fridge, grabbing one in the afternoon when I need a little something to get me through until dinner. Because these are made with coconut flour, they are filling and nourishing. And did I mention that they are lightly sweetened to perfection? Like, if they were produced in mass and put into a box, the box would definitely say, “Lightly sweetened…to perfection.” Yep, that’s what it would say.

No-Bake Snickerdoodle Bites

1 cup creamy almond butter or peanut butter (almond butter is my fav for these)
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut flour

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Roll the mixture into teaspoon-sized (or whatever sized) balls. Refrigerate before serving – or just start eating because who can wait?

Do feel free to add more honey if you prefer – although then these might be slightly more than lightly sweetened, thus ruining my description. But I’ll never know, so it won’t matter, and truly – we want these to be perfectly sweetened for your family’s delight.

No-Bake Snickerdoodle Bites - a quick and easy low sugar treat

Coconut flour is naturally gluten free – a great option for those of you who must avoid gluten. Our family doesn’t not need to avoid gluten – however we like coconut flour because it is so rich in nutrients! “Coconut flour is the fiber from coconut meat after most of the oil has been extracted to make coconut oil.” (source: Tropical Traditions) Adding protein and fiber to our (lightly sweetened) snacks? Yes please!

Where do I get coconut flour? I either order it from Tropical Traditions or Amazon. (Right now, this coconut flour at Amazon is a wonderful price!) Here are some of my other coconut flour recipes:

But right now, these lightly sweetened No-Bake Snickerdoodle Bites are my favorite coconut flour recipe. It’s probably because they only take 5 minutes to prepare and don’t require baking. And also because they are lightly sweetened to perfection.

Are you a fan of coconut flour? How do you use it at your house? 

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Make Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream – No Ice Cream Freezer Required

Orange Ice Cream

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Orange.

Orange who?

Orange you glad I didn’t bore you with the ridiculous banana knock-knock joke your three year old thinks is funny every time he tells it over and over? Between my four boys, I heard that joke 45,000 times. It was so hilarious every single time, of course. If you don’t know which joke I’m talking about, I am very, very jealous and and also very happy for you. Look it up if you must, but I’m warning you: do not tell your three year old.

All jokes aside, orange you excited to try this recipe? You should be! It’s very refreshing – and super easy. No need to dig out the ice cream maker and rock salt. You do need a high power blender, however. I invested in a BlendTec about a year ago, and I’m not sure how Ma Ingalls and I ever lived without it. That thing is a power horse and makes my kitchen life so much easier. I probably use it three times every day – no exaggeration.

But speaking of exaggeration, check out this orange:

orange ice cream 1

I got two of these giants in my Bountiful Basket order last week. As you can see, this one was so huge, I could barely hold it in my hand. This recipe calls for two medium-sized oranges. The above orange does not qualify as “medium-sized.” He is an over-achiever and we are so proud. I used about 1 1/2 of this size orange for this recipe. And really, this recipe isn’t rocket science because I don’t know what rocket science is and also because this recipe is flexible in its ingredient quantities. Just freeze some orange wedges and throw them in a blender with the other stuff and it makes a really great treat.

Knock, knock.

Just kidding.

Alrighty, here is the very easy recipe, which I found here and tweaked only slightly. Thank you for the great idea, SuperHealthyKids.com!

Low Sugar Orange Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk or coconut milk
2 medium-sized oranges
3 Tablespoons maple syrup or 20 drops liquid stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peel oranges and divide them into sections. Lay them flat on a cookie sheet. Place them in the freezer for about two hours or until they are frozen solid.

Put half the frozen orange segments into a high power blender. Add milk and blend until smooth. Add remaining oranges, maple syrup or stevia, and vanilla. Continue blending until smooth.

Pour mixture into a 9×13 inch dish. Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours before serving. (If it is in the freezer longer than 1-2 hours, remove from freezer a few minutes before serving to make scooping easier.

Orange Ice Cream with dairy free option!

Do you have a BlendTec or other high power blender (like Vitamix)? What all do you do with it? Isn’t it great?!

 Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.
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Low Sugar Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

chocolate peanut butter cake 2

Happiness is taking part of one recipe and part of another recipe and putting them together to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake recipe. Happiness is having your cake and eating it too because of the low sugar content. Happiness is a cup of coffee with this cake. Really, this whole post and all that is included is really very happy.

Unless you can’t have dairy or gluten or nuts. Then this post really just stinks.

But for the wheaty, milky, nutty (you know who you are) people out there, we shall enjoy this cake on behalf of our dairy free, gluten free, and nut free friends. We’ll feel just a little bit bad that you can’t eat this with us, but we trust that you can take this idea and run with it. You’re good at adapting, right?

So Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. This is amazing, and it only has 1/2 cup of sugar in it so if you want to eat it for breakfast, by all means, do it.

Here’s what I did:

I made this Chocolate Cake. When it cooled, I topped it with this Peanut Butter Cream Frosting. Everyone at our house loved this cake! (except for Malachi, who hates peanut butter – what is the matter with this child?)

Now, you can also bake this Peanut Butter Cake and top it with this Honey Sweetened, Low Sugar Chocolate Frosting for a variation of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Again, happiness is taking part of one recipe and putting it with part of another recipe. (This concept does not apply to everything. Do not mix and match my Alfredo Sauce with Pasta recipe with Apple Butter or Barbeque Sauce. I should not have to explain this.)

Low Sugar Chocolate Cake

1 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup water
4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sucanat
dash of sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sucanat, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In a saucepan, bring oil, water, and cocoa to a boil. Pour liquid mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredient mixture. Stir well. Add sour cream and eggs, mixing well. Pour batter into a 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake in a 350° oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

Peanut Butter Cream Frosting

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup natural peanut butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Liquid stevia

Whip together all ingredients until thick and smooth, sweetening with stevia to taste.  Spread over cooled cake.

Low Sugar Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Mixing and matching rocks. Who’s a fan of chocolate and peanut butter? What’s the weirdest food combination you like to eat? I have no idea why I’m asking that.

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Low Sugar Almond Fudge Bars

almond butter fudge bars 1

I hadn’t spoken to my friend Emily in weeks. This is not because we aren’t getting along (because, grown adults, hello?). This is because I was in the thick of finishing a tough semester with my kids and preparing for graduation for our oldest, not to mention we had to finish our bathroom remodel before all the grad company came (and try to squeeze in this thing called blogging). Emily, as well as many of my dear friends, recognized that if I happened to have any spare time on my hands I should use it to take a shower or scrub the crusted bits of leafy greens off the bottom of my crisper drawer – not answer emails, talk on the phone, or answer questions in the church foyer.

But here and there, I would get a meaningful email or card from Emily. She would start it by saying something like “don’t answer this right now” or “I’m praying for you” because she knew. She knew. (Oh, look at me, tearing up just a little.)

Well one such email – actually – I think it was a quick holler across the church foyer conversation went something like this:

Emily: You know your Coconut Fudge Bars? I really like them but it would also be fun to figure out how to make them a little less peanutty. I wonder if almond butter would work?

Laura: {blank stare}

Emily: Carry on. Maybe I’ll play with it and get back to you.

It’s actually amazing that I remember that conversation at all. God bless all my friends who put up with me during this school year. I am not even kidding. (And all of them nodded in unison as if to say, “Really. She is not even kidding.”)

Not many days after that conversation, I got this email from Emily with the subject line, “Stop the presses!” Here’s what she said,

Okay, you really don’t have to stop anything but I was really excited about this. I felt like it was my DUTY to test out the coconut fudge bar recipe using almond butter instead of peanut butter. Technically I’ve only licked the spoon so far but oh my goodness, it is so good! It really does taste a little like a crunchy almond joy, but more grown up since it’s not too overly sweet. Can’t wait to have one after lunch!

How great is it that she did my recipe experimenting for me? Our family tried the almond butter fudge bar idea on a morning I hadn’t made anything for breakfast and we needed to eat quickly. I mixed these up and found that Emily was very right. These are awesome!

Almond Fudge Bars

1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil (or another oil of your choice)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

In a medium sized saucepan, melt together almond butter, honey, coconut oil, and cocoa. Remove from heat and stir in oats and coconut flakes. Spread mixture into a 9×9 inch pan. Chill for 2 hours before serving. Makes 8-16 bars, depending on how big/small you cut them.

Honey Sweetened Almond Fudge Bars

Hooray for great friends, hooray for a snack/breakfast/treat that can be made in about five minutes, and hooray…just hooray.

How excited are you over this almond butter version of Coconut Fudge Bars? Leave a comment to tell Emily “thank you,” because I can take no credit for this (except for the fact that she’s my friend, which is, of course really because of God, so be sure to tell Him “thank you” as well.)

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Low Sugar Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait (With a “To-Go” Option)

Low Sugar Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait 1

There is only one requirement for making this recipe: All parties – including the makers and the recipients – must lick the bowl, dish, cup, spoon, and spatula when preparing, serving, and partaking in each Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait. Lickage (oh, it’s totally a word) is not an option. Failure to lick said bowl, dish, cup, spoon, and spatula will result in…you know, the missing out of the enjoyment of every last taste of goodness. It would be devastating, and friends don’t let friends not lick delicious creaminess out of the bowl. This is how you know how much I love you. I insist on the lickage (pronounced lick-uj). You can thank me later.

You know what is so amazing to me about recipe creation? It is that with just a couple of little tiny tweaks, one recipe becomes another – with very little thought or effort. Case in point: I basically took my Low Sugar Cheesecake filling, tweaked the measurements just a little bit, and spooned it into bowls with layers of sliced strawberries. Really. I’m not as smart as you didn’t think I was. It’s simply a matter of changing things up, of taking one idea and forming another, and also of being way too lazy to bake a cheesecake crust.

It’s also a matter of…fresh strawberries are amazing.

If that’s not motivation enough for you to go to the kitchen immediately to make these, then I should let you know that these little parfaits can be put together in a very short amount of time, they have very little sugar, and they are seriously bowl/dish/cup/spoon/spatula lickin’ good.

Low Sugar Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait (serves 6-8)

2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon real maple syrup
Liquid stevia to taste (I use about 20 drops) (Use a few Tablespoons of sugar if you prefer.)
1 -2 pounds fresh, sliced strawberries

Place all ingredients (minus the strawberries) into a blender. Whip until smooth and creamy. Spoon mixture into bowls or cups – layering them with sliced strawberries. Lick the blender. Lick the spoons. Lick the spatula that you will use to get every last little bit of goodness out of the blender.

Lick your lips, lick your chin, lick your fingers. That oughta do it.

Low Sugar Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait

And guess what else? I learned that these Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits are perfect for a treat-to-go! Simply layer the parfait in 8-ounce jars, cover with a lid, and take them with you. (Pack a spoon though, because while licking is good, it is rather difficult to be that good of a licker.)

Low Sugar Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait - To Go!

Feeling more like a blueberry, a blackberry, a raspberry, or a peach? By all means, switch out the strawberries with any or all of the above. See, the choice of fruit is optional. It’s the lickage that is a requirement.

Go therefore and begin fighting over which family member gets to lick the spatula.

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Low Sugar Carrot Cake With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

This might be my family’s favorite low sugar treat so far!

I cut the sugar from the original recipe from 5 1/2 cups to just under 3/4 cups total. Not too shabby, eh? And just look at this plate of deliciousness!

Low Sugar Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I personally like the Stevia Sweetened Cream Cheese Frosting recipe you’ll find with this Super Moist Chocolate Cake recipe. But my boys were asking if maybe I could make the frosting just a little bit sweeter this time. Why not? I simply added 3 Tablespoons of real maple syrup to the frosting and they LOVED it. Hows that for a healthier alternative to 4 cups of powdered sugar? Oh yes.

Low Sugar Carrot Cake

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup sucanat
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups finely shredded carrot (about 6 carrots)
1 cup melted coconut oil
4 eggs

Stir together flour, sucanat, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix in shredded carrots, melted oil, and eggs. Pour batter into a buttered 9×13 inch baking dish. Bake in a 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before spreading on frosting.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces softened cream cheese
¼ cup softened butter
3-4 Tablespoons real maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

With a hand mixer (or in your blender), whip together all ingredients until smooth. Spread over cooled cake.

Go forth and pin this recipe. Or print it and pin it to your shirt so you can make it this weekend. This is an order, or at the very least, it is a very sweet suggestion.

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