Friday, March 2, 2012

Figgy Fudge Bites

As I type this, I literally cannot stop eating these. I'm trying to hold myself back by leaving them in the kitchen, but I just end up putting my computer down and giving in. So, I think to solve that problem, I'll just put them right beside me. Good plan. Good thing they're healthy!

Let's talk about figs.

 Wow, are these little guys ever a super food for the heart! They are packed with fiber, plant sterols, polyphenols, potassium, and vitamin B6.  Figs have both insoluble and soluble fiber, but it's the soluble pectin fiber that may be instrumental in lowering blood cholesterol. Plant sterols may also help lower LDL cholesterol, and lower the risk of heart disease. Polyphenols help neutralize dangerous free radicals and prevent chronic disease- and dried figs have up to fifty times more than most fruits and vegetables! A potassium rich diet may lower the risk for heart attacks and strokes, and your blood pressure. Vitamin B6 is linked to improving heart health by lowering levels of homocysteine.  Because of the lower water content, dried figs are actually more nutrient-dense than fresh. And, figs have the highest mineral content of any common fruit, helping to nourish blood, build bones, and protect the heart! 

These Figgy Fudge Bites also have pecans, cocoa, and coconut oil.

Pecans- Nuts are rich in Vitamin E. This antioxidant vitamin is thought to help prevent heart disease. They also contain amino acids and B vitamins, which are cardio-protective. 

Cocoa- studies show that small amounts of dark chocolate each day may help lower the levels of C-reactive proteins in your blood, helping to reduce the inflammation that can lead to heart disease.

Coconut oil- Although a saturated fat, it is composed mostly of medium chain fatty acids, which actually increase good cholesterol and help protect the heart. In some studies, coconut oil was also found to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as prevent the oxidation of cholesterol (which leads to atherosclerosis- the depositing of fats on the artery wall) (

Source: Fight Back with Food: Use Nutrition to Heal What Ails You,  The Reader's Digest Association

Here is the recipe I began with:

Since I don't have any info currently on the benefits of dates, but I knew so much about figs, I decided to sub figs in for the dates. I had two kinds of figs: 

Black Mission Figs

and Golden Calimyrna Figs

The black figs are sweeter, but the golden ones were supposed to have a slight nutty taste, which I figured would go well with the pecans, so I opted to use those.

 I also used creamed coconut manna, added in a little coconut oil, and used roasted pecans, instead of raw. I kind of think raw nuts are weird...
I tossed it all in my food processor, blended it up, then got ready to taste the deliciousness. Oi. Apparently, figs are much less sweet than dates. It was rather bitter from the cocoa, and not very dessert like at all. So, I added a couple tablespoons of honey, thinking that would take care of the problem. Not really. By this point, I was getting nervous. I suppose if I had added a lot more honey, that probably would have done the trick, but by this point I didn't want to waste the honey, and I just wanted it to actually taste good. So, I went ahead and added 1/4 cup brown sugar. Bingo! Tasty, fudgey, fruity bites. The fig seeds give it a nice little crunch, and the cocoa has a nice, deep chocolatey flavor. They weren't too sweet, with just a hint of pecan and coconut flavor. 
They were a hit, and really, I figure the other healthy stuff more than balances out the sugar. I actually really liked these as breakfast bites as well. Multi-purpose, that's what I'm talking about.
Next time, I could try just using dates like it says. Or, I could give black figs a try, or more honey. Or, I could just be happy with my little recipe and keep it how it is. Yep, I think that's what I'll do. :) 

I made these again, but this time I sweetened them with about 1/4 cup of dates and 2-3 Tbs. of fig jam. It worked perfectly! The perfect balance of sweetness- and now they're even healthier. : )

Figgy Fudge Bites

3/4 cup chopped figs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/16 tsp sea salt
2 Tbs Cocoa powder
2 Tbs Creamed coconut manna (shredded would work too)
1 Tbs Coconut oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup Roasted, unsalted pecans 
1/4 cup brownn sugar

Blend in a food processor until finely ground, then mush together with your fingers to form a dough. Roll in to balls and refrigerate. Optional: to make them prettier, you could dip them in chocolate or roll them in cocoa, coconut, cinnamon, or powdered sugar. I liked them just the way they were. 
Makes about 24.

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