Ballistic about Buckwheat: Raw sprouted buckwheat bars

Hands up who loved Coco Pops or Rice Bubbles for breakfast when they were kids?  I for one, was a Coco Pop Princess.  My day commenced with hearing the “snap, crackle, pop” of rice puffed cereal swimming in milk.

This favourite childhood snack of mine is traditionally devoid of nutritional value – cue white rice and generous lashings of white sugar and preservatives.  I loved Coco Pops made into bars (similar to the Kellogg’s LCM crispy treat bars you find in the supermarkets) and set about imitating it.

But briefly, here’s some information on buckwheat.  The first foods that come to mind are soba noodles and buckwheat pancakes.  A reliable option for the gluten-intolerant, buckwheat flour is used in baking, replaces barley in the manufacturing of gluten-free beer and is a protein-packed nutritious substitute for rice.  It’s adaptable to use in almost any recipe – buckwheat porridge or buckwheat stuffed capsicums anyone?

The health benefits of buckwheat consumption include improving blood flow, lowering blood pressure and diabetes, and the prevention of gall stones, heart disease, heart failure and breast cancer among others.  The nutritional content is impressive.

  • Loaded with minerals – high in manganese, fibre, copper and magnesium; contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium
  • Low in saturated fat and sodium
  • No sugar or cholesterol
  • High in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, protein and essential amino acids
  • Vitamin-rich – thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid

Alright, without further ado is the recipe for raw veganised ‘rice crispy treats’.

Raw Sprouted Buckwheat Bars

1 1/2 cups sprouted buckwheat groats
1/2 cup chopped dates – soaked in filtered water the day before
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 heaped tbs tahini
1 heaped tbs coconut oil
1/4 cup chopped nuts of choice (I mixed almond and cashew together)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
A few days beforehand….

Firstly, soak the buckwheat groats in filtered water. I covered them overnight.

The next day wash the ‘sludge’ off thoroughly, drain them and give them a rinse with water.  I rinsed daily for about 4 days.

You can tell when they’re done as little tails start sprouting, signifying that nutritional content is at optimum levels.

I left the sprouted buckwheat out overnight as the humidity was low and I am operating sans dehydrator.  It worked a treat.

They’re now ready to be consumed!

blending buckwheat + dates + cacao

blending buckwheat + dates + cacao

The day before….

Soak the dates in enough water to cover them.  If you’re short on time soak for about 20 mins in warm water, until they soften.

 

Now finally the how-to…

  1. Remove the dates from their water but save it in case you need some of the liquid.
  2. Use a food processor to blend the dates, vanilla, sea salt, tahini, coconut oil, cacao powder and cinnamon until a paste forms.
  3. Turn off the food processor and mix in the sprouted buckwheat and chopped nuts until well combined.  Add some date soaking water if necessary, working slowly and bit by bit.
  4. Scoop out mixture into a pan or baking tray, flatten with a spatula or back of a spoon.  You can also shape into balls if you prefer.
  5. Freeze for at least 30 minutes to allow it to firm.
  6. Cut into slices with a sharp knife.  Store the bars in the freezer for extra crunch

 

raw buckwheat bars

raw buckwheat bars

Snap, crackle and pop your way through the day without the guilt.  So satisfying and kicks those cravings to the curb.

I’ve tried making them with prunes (instead of dates) and carob powder (instead of cacao) for a slight variation on flavour as well.  Tested both versions on my friends’ children – there was a flurry of seconds, thirds and enthusiastic finger-licking!

Next time I’ll try out an adulterated version, chai or coffee flavoured?  Let me know what flavours you come up with.

veganised rice crispy treats

veganised rice crispy treats

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Crazy fo’ cacao

cacao bean and cacao powder

cacao bean and cacao powder

Ok, nearly everybody knows dark chocolate is good for you.  Why?  Out of all the chocolates (ie. white, milk, dark) it’s the richest in antioxidants and heart-healthy polyphenols and flavanols.  This is attributed to the cacao content.

But have you heard about its other surprising benefits – cavity inhibitor or intelligence booster, you say?  Further research into cacao:

1.  A naturally occurring cocoa-powder extract may be added to future toothpastes in the US.  Apparently the extract hardens tooth enamel.  Harder enamel = stronger teeth = added resistance to decay.

2. Eating just one serve of chocolate each week lowers the likelihood of a stroke by 22% compared to non-chocolate eaters.  The likely cause is the high flavonoid content.  Research also indicated that even in the event of a stroke, chocolate eaters were 54% more likely to recover!

3. Chocolate lowers blood pressure in hypertension sufferers.  How?  The flavanols assist in widening blood vessels.  Apparently a 125kJ serve each day was sufficient to have a beneficial impact on blood pressure.

4.  Flavanols and antioxidants are known to increase blood flow to not only the brain but the retina.  The effects of this are improved mental clarity and eyesight.  Win!

open cacao bean

open cacao bean

As if you needed more reasons to eat chocolate, right?  I know I don’t need any.  As hubby will confirm, I find it difficult to function without having some every day.

To celebrate the research findings from scientists around the world.. it is only fitting to share a raw chocolate recipe!

This basic recipe can be tweaked according to your liking!  Choose any toppings you like, you are only limited by your imagination.  Chop some nuts (pistaschio, almond, macadamia etc), dried fruit (apricot, figs, goji berries), carob nibs, even crystallized ginger.  Other recipes I’ve seen have added essential oils such as peppermint and orange.

Ingredients:

100g melted coconut oil

150g raw cacao powder

50g melted cocoa butter

6-8 tbs agave / stevia / your sweetener of choice

1/2 cup toppings

choc + coconut

choc + coconut

Food process all ingredients except the toppings. (If you don’t have a food processor just make sure you mix very well in a bowl).

Taste – if not sweet enough for your palate, add in more agave or whatever sweetener you are using.

Stir in toppings into the melted cacao mixture thoroughly.

Spread with a spatula on a large flat surface such as a baking tray or you can pour them into ice block trays.

Refrigerate until set (minimum 1 hour).

Revisit childhood and proceed to lick spatula and bowl clean.  Sigh blissfully.

TIP:  Adding in bits of coconut flesh is delish.

Try not to scoff all in one sitting!  Freezes well 🙂