I am currently dairy free and gluten free. Why? I decided to cut dairy when my son was born because I had heard that it can cause issues for breastfed babies. I also decided to cut gluten because I had heard about so many benefits including weight loss and just feeling better. I just wanted to be proactive rather than reactive. The dairy free was not very hard for me other than cutting my precious Greek yogurt. I used to eat Greek yogurt every morning and I had it twice a day during my pregnancy. The gluten was more difficult to cut. It seems like gluten is in everything! However, when I focus on eating whole foods, being gluten free is not as difficult as you would think. Nevertheless – I HAVE to have something sweet every now and then and that’s why I always have a stash of dairy free and gluten free haystacks in my refrigerator. Don’t tell a hormonal, breastfeeding, new mom that she can’t satisfy her sweet tooth. That would be a crime. So – how do I make these wonderful chocolate treasures? Read on –
10 ounces dairy free / gluten free chocolate
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 ¼ cup gluten free pretzel sticks, broken
1 cup walnuts
1 cup pecans
½ cup flaked coconut, plus more for topping
This is the dairy free / gluten free chocolate that I use. I buy it at Whole Foods:
First, set the oven to broil on high. Then, take your walnuts and pecans and crush them in smaller pieces. I put them in a little baggy to do this and then I take a mallet to them. You don’t want nut dust, so don’t beat them too much. When you finish, put them in a pan and then broil them in the oven for 3-4 minutes. This toasting just helps the flavor come out more. Note – I used pecans and walnuts this time, but I have used almonds in the past. I just didn’t want to use almonds this time because they are harder and more difficult to break in smaller pieces. Last week when I made haystacks, my baby was already asleep and when the almonds, and the mallet, and I got together, I woke the kiddo up. Oops! Just put 2 cups of your favorite nuts in and you should be satisfied.
Break apart your gluten free pretzel sticks in smaller pieces. Measure out the coconut flakes. Get the nuts out of the oven. Here is what you should have –
Now it’s time to melt the chocolate. Please be careful when you melt the chocolate in a microwave. Long story short – I once started a fire in my microwave while melting chocolate. I don’t think the microwave ever smelled the same again. Don’t do what I did. Be patient and follow my instructions now that I’m older and wiser. Combine the chocolate and the coconut oil in a bowl and microwave on 70% power for 1 minute. After the minute, take out and stir well. If you need to microwave more in order to get the chocolate all melted and smooth, do so by microwaving on 70% power for 15 seconds and then pulling it out again to stir. This is what it should look like –
When the chocolate and coconut oil are melted and ready, mix in the nuts, coconut flakes, and pretzels. It’s coming together –
Put some wax paper on top of a plate to form the haystacks. Plop some of the mixture down. You can make them big or small.
Top the haystacks with a dusting of coconut flakes.
When you’re finished, you should have between one and two dozen haystacks. Even though you will be tempted to eat them, you must resist. Put them in the refrigerator for at least an hour to chill and harden. After the hour, you can eat them! They are wonderful just as they are or with some strawberries or raspberries. Make sure you store them in the refrigerator.
Even if you’re not gluten and dairy free, this can be a wonderful little treat. Enjoy!