Black Spruce Hound

A Wisconsin Girl in the Woods, Knitting, Crafting, and Cooking. Also: Ugly Dresses.

October 22, 2014

Health(ier) Buckeye Bars with Nocciolata

Last month I posted a recipe for a Giant Sweet Potato Cinnamon Roll with Nutella. Nutella and I have a long, beautiful history together, but I think we might be about to break up.

I made these. 

These are healthier buckeye bars with Nocciolata. Nocciolata is a chocolate-hazelnut spread, like Nutella, but is organic, kosher, gluten free, and is made without palm oil. There are no artificial colors, fragrances, or flavors.

Did I mention it's delicious? It is. It has a stronger, cleaner hazelnut flavor than Nutella.

I was very generously sent a jar to sample, so of course I baked with it, because what the heck else what would I do? I had my eye on this Healthy Harvest Buckeye recipe from Half Baked Harvest, but homegirl does not have the patience to make a boatload of buckeyes. So I futzed with the recipe (of course) and made bars instead.

A healthy oat crust, topped with a layer of peanut buttery filling (made healthy with sweet potato and white beans) and covered with Nocciolata.

Now. About the beans. Don't freak out. White beans (and the sweet potato, for that matter) are mildly flavored and that flavor is easy to mask. Once the peanut butter is added, it's all you can taste. It's all blitzed together into smooth, peanutty heaven.

You do need to have pre-cooked sweet potato for this recipe. Cook one in the microwave, or do what I do and wrap one in aluminum foil, plop it on a baking sheet, and roast at 400 degrees F until liquid is seeping out and a knife slides right through it, anywhere from 45-60 minutes. 

The Nocciolata is heated up with a bit of coconut oil, which helps it harden in the refrigerator. Once it chills for a few hours, it becomes a smooth, glossy lake of goodness. 

I wasn't sure how these would turn out, mostly because sugar-laden buckeyes are so delicious, but I took a bite and my reaction was "Shit, these are good!" 

The peanut butter filling is smooth and creamy, not crumbly or dry like buckeyes sometimes are. The husband, Resident Peanut Butter Fiend, thought these were delicious.

Health(ier) Buckeye Bars with Nocciolata
Adapted from this recipe at Half Baked Harvest


1 cup oats (quick oats or old-fashioned, either will do)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 tablespoons water

1 (14 ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed really well, seriously for like 2 minutes to really remove any excess starch
1 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato (1 big sweet potato should yield 1 cup)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Nocciolata Topping:
3/4 cup Nocciolata or other chocolate-hazelnut spread
2 tablespoons coconut oil

1. Make the crust - preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8x8 inch pan. Place the oats, flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl, mix well. Stir in the olive oil, mix well. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you can grab a chunk of it, form it into a ball, and it stays in a ball. It shouldn't be wet or soupy, so watch carefully.

2. Smoosh the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm. Set aside.

3. Make the filling - combine the beans and sweet potato in the bowl of a food processor and blend for 2-3 minutes until completely smooth. Add the vanilla, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and salt, mix for another 2-3 minutes or until completely smooth. Taste - if you think it's not sweet enough add another 1/4 cup powdered sugar, if it needs salt add another pinch.

4. Pour the filling over the crust, smooth it out. Place in the fridge and let cool completely, about 2 hours. This is an important step, when the filling mixture cools in the fridge the flavors really combine, so don't skip it.

5. For the Nocciolata topping, place the Nocciolata and coconut oil in a small saucepan and heat just until the oil is melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour over the chilled filling, smooth it out, and return to the fridge for an hour until it sets.

The bars do need to be kept in the refrigerator because of the beans and sweet potato in the filling. Also, the Nocciolata will only stay hard if cold, once it comes to room temperature it will become runny.


Disclosure: I received this product for free to review on this blog, but all opinions expressed are my own.

October 17, 2014

Photo Friday: Falling Leaves, 501st Post

I didn't even notice that the post that went up on Wednesday was my 500th post. And it involved a GIF of a fictional Queen Victoria and a dude on a chariot. Quality, quality writing here people. The Pulitzer is in the mail. 

Anyway, to celebrate, here's two pictures! I try to take pictures of leaves falling every single year, and am usually successful, but just because I manage to get a picture does not mean it looks good. These are all right, but I forgot about the damn power lines. 

 I tried to get the lines out of frame in this next one, with zero success.

But still. Leaves! Falling!

The colors were dull and dark, so these were also edited mercilessly. I greatly enjoy editing pictures, which is probably a classifiable illness, but I dialed up the saturation on these so the leaves were bright. 

The leaves are still hanging on, but now the tamaracks are changing color. Winter is coming, and I am trying to be positive about it. Which has never been one of my strong suits, but I'm working on it. 

Have a good weekend!

October 15, 2014

Chariots, Etsy Shops, and Cameras

I skipped the usual Monday post because the Idea Fairy has not visited me in awhile, and because I have a weird, stuffy head-cold thing happening. It's very glamorous. Today I feel much better, and am getting back into the swing of things. (I'm wearing actual pants. Not pajama pants, but pants with a zipper and a button.)

I woke up like dis. 

I've been busy with Etsy things lately. The vintage shop is closed, and has been closed for about three weeks now. Not because I want it to be closed, but because my car is still broken. As in, she ain't goin' no place kind of broken. I'm too far from the post office to walk, there's no one that can drive me, and having the mail carrier pick up any Priority packages would only work for about half the shop. The rest is too heavy.

So she's closed, hopefully to reopen sometime before I turn 40. And I'm beginning to think a horse and chariot combo would be more reliable than an automobile.

I can totally see myself with one of those. Every girl needs a chariot. 
The print shop, however, is getting all sorts of much-needed attention. Right now there is no international shipping (those packages need to be taken to the post office) but it will be brought back as soon as I have a set of wheels. 

My printer is getting a workout. 

The icing on the cake is that my camera is beginning its long, slow death march. The auto-focus is screwed up, it's no longer reading the battery life correctly, and the lens likes to zoom in and out, erratically, all on its own. Yay! Fun times! I will continue to use the damn thing until it either dies or is unusable, because the cameras I'm looking at to replace it are mucho dinero and I'm a tightwad. That's the second Canon camera I've had that's started acting up after about 2 years of use.

It wouldn't be a big deal, but this blog is kinda-sorta maybe a little bit PICTURE HEAVY. In case no one has noticed that.

So. That's the news from here, where it's cold and rainy and I'm stuck in the house. Not that I'm complaining, but the dog and I have run out of things to talk about. 

See you later!

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