Chilled Coconut Cranberry Crunch Treats with Xylitol

Chilled Coconut Cranberry Macadamia Crunch Treats

Sweet treats are not-so-easy for paleo diet followers – sugar was not very available to our evolutionary ancestors and eating too much – if any – sugar is recognized as not very healthy (refined sugar absolutely a no no) .  Xylitol has emerged as a pretty good compromise/substitute for the nasty white death sugar that we have unfortunately become used to. It also has the fortunate side benefit of NOT promoting – and even discouraging – dental caries. Finally (seems too good to be true…) xylitol does not spike insulin/blood sugar level as it is not digested until later, and more slowly, in the digestive track – so this treat is very kid friendly (no sugar-rush hyperactivity!)

This super-easy, no-bake treat that tastes creamy, icy and sweet! The shredded coconut and dry cranberries add a juicy chewy-ness, the coconut oil is richly satisfying, and the macadamia nuts and the top-sprinkled xylitol is pleasantly crunchy-

Attention: if you have never consumed xylitol before, here’s the deal: it is NOT digested in the mouth, stomach or small intestine, thus the good news for teeth and weight/calorie gain, however, it does get worked on in the large intestine and *some* people report an adjustment period of some days to a week to get used to it.   Mild bowel disturbance is the issue and so, if xylitol is new to you, consume modestly at first.  Reportedly (and from our experience too) it does pass and we sweeten most everything that we sweeten at all now regularly with xylitol.

Here goes:

You’ll need:

– 2-2.5 cups shredded coconut – maybe a little more depending on the final mix consistency (explained below) (get shredded coconut here)

– a couple heaping tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) of the BEST QUALITY coconut oil (get Nutiva here)

– 1/2 cup Xylitol plus a tablespoon or so at the end (get xylitol here)

– 1/3 cup dried cranberries (get cranberries here)

– 1/4 to 1/3 cup crushed macadamia nuts (get macadamia nuts here)

– 5 to 10 drops of real vanilla or real almond extract (or both!) (get REAL vanilla/almond extract here)

Optional additional enhancements:

– a table spoon of HIGH QUALITY maple syrup or raw honey (get maple syrup here)

– a tablespoon of true coconut creme concentrate – it should be the 60% to 70% pureed coconut meat kind of coconut cream (get coconut cream here)

– 1/4 cup of other or additional nuts like almonds (if you add additional almonds or other dried fruit in small chunks, you may need to add a dollop more coconut oil to make sure it all holds together)

Directions:

Scoop coconut oil, xylitol and vanilla (and coconut cream if you choose) into a med-large bowl and put over a very low heat – we use a cast iron pan under the bowl on the gas stove. When the coconut oil melts, mix well, and then add the cranberries, shredded coconut and crushed macadamia nuts. Stir mixture till all is very warm (not hot).  If the coconut oil still puddles when you turn over the mixture, add a little more shredded coconut. The warm mixture should glisten with wet coconut oil but not have too much settling in the bottom of the bowl.

Choose a shallow pie pan or dinner plate with a lip and line with plastic wrap. Scoop mixture onto the plastic gently spreading around about 1/2″ to 3/4″ deep and smooth. Now take a tablespoon or so of xylitol granules and sprinkle them over the whole smoothed patty. Lay another piece of plastic wrap on top and gently but firmly press the whole mixture into the plate/pan tightly, making a firm pancake form.  Now put in freezer or fridge.

In about 30 minutes for the freezer – 50 minutes for the fridge – you will have a solid patty – peel off plastic wrap and with a large meat knife – slice the patty into bite size chunks.  If from the freezer, you may wait a couple minutes till the patty is not quite so hard.  Pack in a snap-top container and store in fridge till nibble-time.

Enjoy!

Post part of Food of Fridays return here

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