Now that January’s behind us, are you ready for some chocolate?
I was working on a new recipe index for the blog, to improve the recipe browsing experience, and realized that I only had one dessert. I’d like to change that :) The reality is that it’s really hard for me to do desserts on the blog, since there’s a fair amount of recipe testing + tweaking that goes into each post (this is the third revision of the chocolate orange bars), so it just becomes downright over-indulgent and unhealthy. There are some perks of having a seemingly endless supply of chocolate orange bars in the fridge for two weeks straight, but until I learn to wave my magic wand and come up with unique + delicious recipes on my first try, you’ll just have to deal with my heavy bias towards salad-y things :) I am working on it.
I have also been giving some thought to the way that I label my recipes. Since I’ve never identified with or explicitly endorsed any particular diets, I’ve always avoided putting the respective dietary labels on my recipes (i.e. vegan, paleo, gluten free, etc..). I do, however, respect that there are many people that do follow or experiment with these diets, whether it’s by choice or necessity, and I want to make recipes on my blog as accessible as possible, which means being open to labelling them. I’m starting to see that these dietary labels are huge when it comes to recipe searches, and I’m hoping that by labelling my recipes, when applicable, those on the lookout can find what they’re searching for easily.
Which brings me to the Paleo Chocolate + Orange Bars!! The base is dense, moist, and brownie-like, while the orange curd is luscious and creamy, bursting with the citrus flavour that I just can’t get enough of in the winter months. I love citrus curd, but I’ve never loved making it on the stove top – there’s just way too much going on. My favourite thing about this recipes is that the curd is baked and unless you forget the whole thing in the oven, it’s pretty hard to mess up. So here you go! Dessert #2 for all of your February (and paleo) needs.
I’d love to know where you stand on dietary recipe labels. Do you find them helpful, unnecessary, annoying, don’t care? Let me know in the comments below!
The baked curd was inspired by and loosely adapted from these lemon coconut bars from Green Kitchen Stories
- 2 cups of pecans
- 4 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 Tbsp. raw cacao powder + more for dusting
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 3 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
- 3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup of honey
- Preheat the oven to 300°F and line the bottom of and 8×8 inch oven-proof dish parchment paper.
- To make the base, process the pecans in the food processor until finely ground and a little sticky, just before they start turning into pecan butter.
- Add the dates, cacao, vanilla, and salt, then process until a thick batter forms. This will be very sticky and moist. Transfer the batter to the lined dish and press it down to evenly flatten it along the bottom. Refrigerate while preparing the curd.
- To make the curd, beat the eggs in a mixer with the whisk attachment (I’ve also done this successfully with the whisk attachment on my hand blender), until light and foamy
- Blend or whisk the remaining ingredients to form a very smooth mixture, then add it to the eggs. Whisk the entire mixture again to fully incorporate all of the ingredients, then immediately pour over the chocolate base.
- Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until golden on top and set in the center. Test the readiness by using your oven mit to agitate the baking dish. It’s ready as soon as there’s no more jiggle.
- Allow the bars to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours until fully chilled (this makes it way easier to cut into bars).
- Trim the edges (they’ll probably be stuck to your baking dish), then cut into squares, bars, or diamonds. Dust with cacao powder.
- Keep refrigerated.