If you are following my grocery fast, you probably know that I am more than a month in to spending $25 a week on groceries in an effort to empty my cupboards, freezers, and refrigerators. As we became empty nesters, I just kept buying and buying if things were on sale, in case the kids stopped by, etc., without really having designated purposes for everything. (When you have a family of nine, you eventually use everything up–not so when you become empty nesters…my house was bulging with food!)
In the Trim Healthy Mama world, homemade chocolates made with oil/butter, cocoa powder, and sweetener (and sometimes other ingredients) are called Skinny Chocolate (mostly because they have good fats and virtually no carbohydrates). In the keto and low carb world, these are often called chocolate fat bombs (for the same reasons).
In the healthy family world, there are ways to eat “candy” and chocolate (and some ways are very simple and inexpensive!) while still eating healthfully, keeping blood sugars balanced, not causing weight gain, and keeping us all out of the carb comas (or sugar sleeps) that regular candy and chocolates with sugar can cause.
For years when my kids were at home, I kept peanut butter cookie dough (either homemade or logs of store bought) in my freezer, along with some candies, to make these bars in a matter of a few minutes. Everybody loved them. The sugar-free version can be just as popular with your crew!
After ten months of testing, re-testing, and tweaking, I have my second recipe book finished! I have written over a hundred curriculum books, so you would think this book writing thing would be simple….agghhh….but recipe books are anything but simple! So much testing time and tweaking and trying again. But it’s done—and just in time for Christmas baking and goodies.
Syrups and Honey
One of the biggest problems with sugar-free baking and cooking is the extra time that it takes. Sure, you can just stick with recipes calling for granulated sugar—and sub in your favorite sugar-free one (See my Sugar-Free Substitutes post!) and be a happy sugar-free-family. However, after a while, you will likely find yourself wishing that you could make those bars with that “Eagle Brand” stuff drizzled all over them or those candies with caramel centers or those milk chocolate peanut butter cups.
This is a basic energy ball recipe. Be adventurous! Save the coconut flakes for rolling in at the end. Or dip in melted chocolate!
This is my favorite non-peanut butter “skinny chocolate/fat bomb” recipe. The shape of the molds I use and the “fairly normal” chocolate taste of these remind me of the old chocolate candy from my childhood called “Ice Cubes.”
This is the one. This is the recipe that made me think I could really enjoy “skinny chocolate.” Okay, it’s not really skinny chocolate because it has peanut butter in it, but it is wonderful. You want these in your freezer at all times to help you stay sugar-free painlessly
When my husband and I were in high school, the school had a spirit week featuring the basketball players before their sectional tourney. The theme was a candy store, and each player was assigned a candy or spin-off of his name or personality, etc. It just so happened that my husband and his brother were in the same grade, both Varsity starters and both had the last name of Reish.
Enter Reishes’ Cups. Packages of Reese’s cups pairs were everywhere in the spirit week store, made over with a new label—Reishes’ Cups.
Most healthy bakers need a brown sugar and a powdered sugar substitute. Most of us are tired of spending the money and time to gather so many substitutes. Good news!
With these two little “recipes,” you can whip up your own brown sugar and/or powdered sugar quickly without constantly buying more products!
*I make “graham cracker crumbs” with Joseph’s lavash. (All of my crusts, crisps, and crumbles are in my upcoming book next year by that same name!)
You may use crisped tortillas, low carb wraps (not egg wraps or my low carb crepes), Joseph’s pitas, or other mild crackers of your choice to make “graham cracker crumbs” that are actually quite convincing, thanks for the Dilution Factor of low carb recipes!
Sweetened condensed milk. Otherwise known affectionately by holiday bakers as just Eagle Brand. We all know what it means—cream, butter, and sugar. Combined to make a magic concoction that turns everything it touches into a dessert that brings tears to our eyes (especially to those of us who can’t have it anymore!).
So what is a sugar-free, low carb, healthy baker to do? Learn how to make our own, that’s what!
These bars are magic. And they are seven layers. And they taste so much like the real thing that I am squealing with delight! Way too much testing went into this recipe, but it works now.
I have hit on one significant way to stay away from sugar, excess carbs, and unhealthy goodies (when I choose to…see 5 Tips for Ditching Sugar)….and it is summed up in the little bar pictured in this post! Better known as the healthy Scotcharoo!
Okay, well not just the Scotcharoo alone. I am also helped by Sugar-Free Tagalongs, Apple Butter, Eagle Brand Fudge, and Crock Pot Cinnamon Pecans. These are my favorite sugar-free treats, and you can bet that I have these on hand when I’m going to be faced with so many sugary treats!
There is a sugary hot chocolate recipe floating around Pinterest made in the crock pot with sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, and chocolate chips. It is convenient and looks delicious.
I decided that sugar-free people shouldn’t have to go without the best hot chocolate (especially at Christmas time!), so I set out to re-create that recipe in a healthier manner—and without sugar and/or many carbohydrates. And it worked!
The first version (and the one on the pinnable meme) is one in which you simply put everything in the crock pot and stir. Easy peasy. I have essentially taken the recipe for my homemade sweetened condensed milk and put those ingredients directly into the crock pot without making the “Eagle Brand” separately. The second version is the one in which you first make the sugar-free sweetened condensed milk then add it to the crock with the other ingredients.
What can I say about these? They made my top five. They have no unusual ingredients except the granulated sweetener of your choice. They taste “normal”! You can take them anywhere!
While these are flour-free cookies, if your peanut butter is too runny, your cookies will not firm up as baking. If the only option you have is to use a loose peanut butter, you might have to add two to four tablespoons of some kind of flour (almond flour, my Very Low Carb Flour Mix, my Sprouted Wheat Flour Mix, corn starch, gluten-free flour, etc.).
I have a few fudges in my first Healthy Mixes book (and here at the blog), but this one is the most “normal tasting.” This tastes very close to the marshmallow fudge that my daughters and I have made every year for the past thirty years—except it is lower in calories, sugar-free, and super low carb. And it doesn’t put you in a carb coma on Christmas day.
This fudge also firms up and stays firm really well. No spoon fudge here—even without marshmallow cream!
Another shocking recipe! I never expected these pecans to be anything close to the ones at the mall at Christmas time. Not without real brown sugar or real granulated sugar. And definitely not without butter. (I always thought all flavored nuts had butter!)
And oh the ease of the crock pot. Mix and forget. (They don’t call those popular books Fix It and Forget It for no reason!)
I love this recipe just as much with almonds as I do with pecans. Make them both for Christmas or for sugar-free gift bags for those you love.
If I can only have one chocolate treat in my freezer, this is the one. I have been making a “messy” version of this for a couple of years. My recipe assistant often came to test recipes with me for the day and found this blob lying on a plate covered with plastic wrap. She pointed (probably hoping that we weren’t going to be making that!), and I smiled and said, “Yep…they’re Tagalongs!”
Well, they were Tagalongs….but I never took the time to make them pretty. I just crisped up two low carb tortillas, spread peanut butter between them, and drizzled melted chocolate over all. A big, yummy, chocolate-peanut butter mess. But a delightful one, for sure!
I used to make apple butter for my family of nine—even in the crock pot sometimes. You know…all of the “methods.” The peel everything then use an immersion blender method. The run everything through a hand crank thingy method. The cook-your-apples-in-apple-cider method (my former favorite way). Crock pot. Stove top. And more.
But I have never had such yummy, perfect, sweet apple butter as this recipe. I first found the method at The Busy Baker. I was sure that it wasn’t right—no apple cider or juice while cooking?
BEST. Sugar free. Jam. Ever. And I am a grammar police—I have written fifty books (mostly English curricula) and forty thousand pages over the past fifteen years. But this jam is good enough to break the sentence rules over! 🙂
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