Crunchy chocolate-y caramel bars without any guilt…?!
If you’ve never used buckwheat before, I urge to buy some next time you are out at the grocery store. I have been using it lately in lots of different ways and loving it! It is not a wheat product despite its name; buckwheat is a triangular shaped grain-like seed related to sorrel and rhubarb. You may find them called buckwheat groats sometimes and they are usually sold in the bulk section, in the baking goods sections along with flours or with gluten free baking products. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour!
So, I bought a big bag of raw buckwheat groats from the bulk section of my co-op after hearing over and over again about these “caramelized buckinis”. Caramelized buckinis are buckwheat groats that have been soaked, tosseed in maple syrup or another sweetener and dehydrated, otherwise known as “activated”. By soaking the seeds, you are making it easier for your body to digest and use the nutrients.
Here is a list from foodmatters.tv stating the benefits of soaking nuts and seeds prior to eating them or cooking with them:
Why soak nuts, grains and seeds?
- 1. To remove or reduce phytic acid.
- 2. To remove or reduce tannins.
- 3. To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
- 4. To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
- 5. To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
- 6. To break down gluten and make digestion easier.
- 7. To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
- 8. To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
- 9. To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
- 10. To prevent many health diseases and conditions.
It may seem like extra work but in the long run it’s worth it! This is a plan ahead recipe so be sure to read through before starting to make it.
If you are a fan of Lara Bars or similar type fruit/nut/granola bars, you will love these treats!
Recipe from rawfoodrecipes.com [the first raw food website that I came across 3 years ago when I started my vegan journey and in my opinion one of the best!] I did amend some of the measurements but you can check out the original there if you like. Mine came out very gooey because I used a bit more dates than suggested but I was very happy with them this way. I also omitted the chopped nuts to make them completely nut free. I find that people with nut allergies have a hard time finding tasty raw vegan treats and I wanted to be sure that all can enjoy this one.
1 1/2 c sprouted buckwheat groats [instructions to follow]
1 c pitted and chopped medjool dates
1/4 c raw cacao powder [sub cocoa powder or carob if needed]
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 heaping tablespoon tahini [sub any type of nut butter if needed, note will not be nut free]
1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil [unrefined is best for raw desserts]
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
First, you must prepare the buckwheat groats.
Start with a bit less than one cup of dry buckwheat and soak it in room temp water over night.
In the morning rinse the buckwheat in a wire mesh strainer and notice how much sludgey goop rinses off!
Rinse well and pour into a nut milk bag, sprouting bag or back into the wire mesh strainer (cover with a paper towel if you choose to leave them in the strainer so no bugs or debris fall in). Leave in a dry area of your kitchen out of the sun. To get the groats to sprout, rinse them once every 12 hours for 2-3 days or until you see little tails appear on them. Refrigerate any unused portion of groats so that they don’t get moldy once they sprout.
When you have your sprouted buckwheat ready for using, soak your dates for 20 minutes in warm water.
Drain the dates but save the water in case you need to add it while blending the caramel.
Add all the ingredients including the dates into a blender or food processor EXCEPT the buckwheat.
Blend until you have a smooth, sticky paste. Add a tablespoon of the date water at a time if you need to get the blender going.
Scoop out your caramel into a mixing bowl and add the buckwheat. Mix well [I used my hands!]
Line a small glass baking dish with parchment paper. I used my 4 x 8 baking dish.
Press the mixture into the dish as well as you can. Your hands will be sticky, just lick it off.
Cover with another piece of parchment paper and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Remove the bars by pulling the parchment paper out. The bars will not harden entirely, they’ll always be a bit gooey and soft but that’s what I like about them. Cut off what you want to eat and leave the remainder in the freezer.