Healthy Magic Squares

When Stella from Wellness by Stella first made these incredible Healthy Magic Squares for me I knew I had to share them with you! Whether you grew up calling these Hello Dollies, Magic Squares, or 7-Layer Bars, Stella’s version is better.

This healthy dessert is based on her grandmother’s trusted old recipe. Which, she might add, called for a full can of condensed milk, sweetened coconut, and a whole lot of milk chocolate. Delicious…but sugar-laden, she knew she had to find a better way to enjoy these that was just as easy to throw together as the original. These squares get their sweetness from dates alone which are loaded with fibre to help slow the blood sugar spike that we usually get from sugars. They are packed with lots of healthy fats from coconut and protein from the cashews making them a delicious treat but also an acceptable snack. I think grandma would approve.

Healthy Magic Squares on @jesselwellness #magicsquares #dairyfreedessert

Looking for more healthy dairy free dessert recipes?

Jesse Lane Wellness Cookbook: Healthy Dairy Free Desserts contains over 30 healthy dessert recipes (with stunning images) that you can enjoy without feeling deprived!

All of the unique recipes are nutritionist approved, made with whole food ingredients and do not contain any soy, dairy, white flour or processed sugar. Healthy Dairy Free Desserts also contains a guide to healthy baking substitutes and alternative sugars, so you can learn how to turn your family favourites into healthy desserts.

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Health benefits of dates

I used to dislike dates as a kid, but recently I have fallen in love with them. Dates really are nature’s candy! They are bursting with sweetness and have health benefits to boot!

  • Dates promote digestive health since they are super high in fibre. The insoluble and soluble fibre in dates helps to clean out your GI tract and allow your digestion to work more efficiently and more regularly.
  • Dates are rich in magnesium, a mineral known for its anti-inflammatory benefits specifically relating to heart health. Magnesium can significantly lower the risk of inflammation related conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s.
  • In a study conducted on pregnant women, researchers found that eating dates regularly in the month leading up to labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour giving mother’s a better chance for seamless labour and delivery.

I use dates in a lot of my baking because they make an excellent natural sweetener. I use them to sweeten my Vegan Salted Caramel Chews, Gingerbread Cupcakes, Gingerbread Protein Balls, and Carob Cake with Fudge Icing.

Healthy Magic Squares on @jesselwellness #healthydessert #dairyfreedessert

Healthy Magic Squares Recipe

(gluten free, vegan, no soy)

Prep time: 15 minutes | Bake time: 20 minutes | Serving size: 16 squares

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1 cup cashews
  • ½ cup dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened un-sulfured flaked coconut
  • 1 can coconut milk, solid cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ vanilla bean pod.

Directions

  1. 4 hours before baking or the night before, place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator so that the solids separate from the water. Do not shake or tip can.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350F and line an 8” by 8” baking tray with parchment paper
  3. To make the crust, place the dates and cashews into a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until they come together to form a smooth dough. Press the dough evenly into the pan lined with parchment paper and set aside
  4. To make the filling, sprinkle the chopped chocolate over top of the crust. Do the same with the flaked coconut.
  5. Remove the cold can of coconut milk from the fridge. If the solids and liquids have not fully separated that is okay. As long as you’re not pouring straight coconut water over the bars, it will still work. Scoop the coconut cream off the top of the can and transfer to a bowl. Add the vanilla extract or the seeds from the vanilla bean pod and whisk until creamy and combined.
  6. Pour the coconut vanilla whip over the top of the bars and spread evenly with a spatula.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the edges turn golden and the middle looks somewhat set.
  8. Allow the Healthy Magic Squares to cool before cutting into bars. Serve or store in the fridge or freezer.

Healthy Magic Squares on @jesselwellness #healthydessert #vegandessert

There are so many other amazing natural sugar substitutes like dates to explore!

My 15 page Guide to Natural Sugar Substitutes teaches you all about the nutrient profile of my favourite sugar substitutes, so not only are you satisfying that sweet craving with something meaningful, but you are also nourishing your body with the vitamins and minerals it craves.

Top 4 Sweeteners from the Guide to Natural Sugar Substitutes by @jesselwellness #sugarsubstitutes #sugarStella is a Holistic Nutritionist, Pilates Instructor and Recipe Developer living in Toronto. Prior to entering the wellness world, Stella struggled with disordered eating and digestive issues for years. Now, she has vowed to make everyone’s journey towards health a happy one. Stella’s biggest motivation is seeing the progress of others. She believes in the healing power of food, empowering others in their pursuit of health and happiness – and doing it all deliciously! Find lots of recipes and wellness related articles on her website www.wellnessbystella.com

If you are interested in publishing a post on JesseLaneWellness.com, please email info@jesselanewellness.com.

Healthy Magic Squares
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: gluten free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
When Stella from Wellness by Stella first made these incredible Healthy Magic Squares for me I knew I had to share them with you! Whether you grew up calling these Hello Dollies, Magic Squares, or 7-Layer Bars, Stella's version is better. This healthy dessert is based on her grandmother’s trusted old recipe. Which, she might add, called for a full can of condensed milk, sweetened coconut, and a whole lot of milk chocolate. Delicious…but sugar-laden, she knew she had to find a better way to enjoy these that was just as easy to throw together as the original. These squares get their sweetness from dates alone which are loaded with fibre to help slow the blood sugar spike that we usually get from sugars. They are packed with lots of healthy fats from coconut and protein from the cashews making them a delicious treat but also an acceptable snack. I think grandma would approve.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1 cup cashews
  • ½ cup dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened un-sulfured flaked coconut
  • 1 can coconut milk, solid cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ vanilla bean pod.
Instructions
  1. hours before baking or the night before, place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator so that the solids separate from the water. Do not shake or tip can.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350F and line an 8” by 8” baking tray with parchment paper
  3. To make the crust, place the dates and cashews into a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until they come together to form a smooth dough. Press the dough evenly into the pan lined with parchment paper and set aside
  4. To make the filling, sprinkle the chopped chocolate over top of the crust. Do the same with the flaked coconut.
  5. Remove the cold can of coconut milk from the fridge. If the solids and liquids have not fully separated that is okay. As long as you’re not pouring straight coconut water over the bars, it will still work. Scoop the coconut cream off the top of the can and transfer to a bowl. Add the vanilla extract or the seeds from the vanilla bean pod and whisk until creamy and combined.
  6. Pour the coconut vanilla whip over the top of the bars and spread evenly with a spatula.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the edges turn golden and the middle looks somewhat set.
  8. Allow the Healthy Magic Squares to cool before cutting into bars. Serve or store in the fridge or freezer.

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