I recently wrote an article about my struggle to reduce my daily sugar intake. Avoiding processed sugars and things like high fructose corn syrup has become second nature to me, but even natural sweeteners need to be consumed in moderation.
I developed this recipe as a (mostly) guilt-free option for satisfying my sweet tooth in the afternoon. The original recipe uses coconut oil and tahini as the base, and while coconut oil has a myriad of health benefits, I found the resulting cups were too rich tasting and oily, and there was too much filling, making them very sweet. I instead used coconut butter and in much larger quantities, along with vanilla for flavour, so there are more cups, with the fibre that coconut meat contains, with less sugar in them.
While dates are high in natural sugars, they also contain fibre and essential minerals, such as potassium and magnesium, and accordingly are anti-inflammatory and can aid digestion and reduce blood pressure. And since they are spread out in this recipe, each serving contains only a moderate amount of sugar.
The rest of the ingredients are pretty fantastic, too. Here are just a few of the health benefits they offer.
Made from ground sesame seeds, tahini is an excellent source of fibre, and a good source of minerals such as copper, manganese, calcium, and iron, among many others. Sesame seeds are also an incredible plant-based source of protein. They also contain two unique substances – sesamin and sesamolin – both of which belong to a special group of fibers called lignans, which help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Sesame seeds also help to protect the liver from oxidative damage.
Made from ground coconut, coconut butter is a healthy source of fat in the diet, providing the body with sustained energy throughout the day. Also high in fiber, it helps to keep you feeling full and accordingly can help with weight loss. Rich in lauric acid, coconuts have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties as well.
Last but not least, coffee, when consumed in moderation, offers a wide range of health benefits. It is massively high in antioxidants and can improve energy levels and enhance mental focus and physical performance. It may also help with fat loss, and several studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
It is important to remember, however, that not everyone tolerates caffeine as well as others. Listen to what your body tells you and then determine whether caffeine consumption is right for you. It is also important, for a number of reasons, to buy organic coffee, as conventionally grown coffee beans (aside from wreaking havoc on the environment) are heavily sprayed with pesticides, consumption of which may well mitigate its health benefits.
A Wholesome Recipe to Satisfy Your Cravings
This recipe offers a perfect balance of bitter and sweet, and the result is a dessert which leaves you feeling satisfied, not craving more sugar (I promise!).
They are also really cute, and easy + fun to make! Give the puree a little pat with your fingers to ensure it fills the cups evenly.
5 Ingredient Coconut Butter and Tahini Cups with Coffee Crème Filling (makes 24 mini cups)
~ gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free, grain free, nut free, soy free ~
- 1 cup melted coconut butter (if using freshly made, it will be liquid already)*
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup pitted Medjool dates
- 1/2 cup espresso or strong-brewed coffee
- Soak the dates in the freshly brewed espresso for about half an hour – longer if they are quite hard. If you have a glass measuring cup you can just pour the coffee straight in and save yourself from washing another dish.
- In the meantime, line your mini cupcake pan with paper liners.
- Once the dates are soft, pour them along with the coffee into a high-powered blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Place into a small bowl, set aside, and give your blender a quick rinse.
- Add the melted coconut butter, tahini, vanilla, and a pinch of sea salt to your blender and process until combined.
- Fill each liner about halfway to the top with this mixture, then place the pan in the fridge for 10 minutes to set.
- Once they’ve set, remove from the fridge and spoon the date mixture on top. It should fill go almost (but not quite) to the top – about 1 tsp per cup. Flatten with your fingers.
- Cover each cup with the remaining coconut butter (and rejoice if you have some left over – it’s delicious on oatmeal or by the spoonful), then place the trays back into the fridge to set for another 10-15 minutes before enjoying.
- They are best kept in the fridge to keep from getting soft and sticky.
- You can buy coconut butter from health food stores but one small jar will run you at least $12 or so, while a big bag of unsweetened, shredded coconut from a bulk store will cost you maybe $5! The difference in price is pretty steep. I definitely recommend making your own coconut butter. The process is exactly the same as making nut butter, but takes less time, and for this recipe you need to use the blender/food processor anyway.
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