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The Family Dinner Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Ganache Nut Bars

Breastcancer.org is proud to present recipes from The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt (Grand Central Life & Style, 2010). Laurie is a very special friend and champion of Breastcancer.org. We’re pleased to share Laurie and Kirstin’s delicious, healthy recipes as part of Think Pink, Live Green!

In Scandinavia, there is at least one evening in December, where candles are lit, wine is mulled and the whole family gathers in the kitchen to make “juleknas” Christmas treats.

Favorite recipes are found (new recipes are tried, but grandma’s is always best), cookies are rolled and baked in traditional flavors and forms, marzipan is shaped, chocolate is melted and dipped into, dripped onto. Outside the kitchen windows the winter blows by, cold and blue, making the light and warmth of Christmas and family even sweeter.

Here is a recipe for some sweeties that are discreetly vegan, and fabulously delicious.

You need:
2 cups of unsalted nuts, like a mix of almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts (plus a few for garnish)
1 cup puffed rice cereal
5 figs
1/2 cup peanut or almond butter
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups dairy-free, good quality dark or semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/4 cup almond milk (or whatever kind of dairy free milk you have)
A pinch of salt

To make 20 bars:
Pour the nuts into a skillet and toast until golden (keep a careful eye on them lest they burn). Let the nuts cool for a moment then roughly chop them in a food processor, you want them to be the size of lentils. Take out half of the nuts and put aside in a large bowl.

Add the figs, nut butter, vanilla, salt and 1/2 cup chocolate chips to the food processor and process until very smooth, about a minute or so (it needs to be smooth as it is the glue that holds everything together). Add this mixture to the nuts in the bowl, toss in the puffed rice cereal and combine well. Very firmly, with conviction, press the batter into a wax paper lined 8-by-8 inch cake pan.

Microwave the remaining chocolate chips with the almond milk and salt until melted, stopping and stirring every 30 seconds.

Pour the melted chocolate over the nuts and let a spoon artfully swirl over the top. Sprinkle with any remaining nuts and put the pan into the freezer or out into the snow until completely firm. Cut into lovely little bites (not too big, they are quite rich) and share with anyone who drops by.

Cook’s tip: You can of course use regular chocolate and dairy for these, if that is what you have in your cupboards.

Breastcancer.org Editor’s Note: While you’re enjoying some treats, here is some more holiday reading:

A reminder during this season of parties and get-togethers: Alcohol and Cancer: You Can’t Drink to Your Health

Breastcancer.org’s Tips for Getting Through the Holidays

Holiday Stress + Breast Cancer = A Challenge

Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt

Laurie David is an author and producer who works on a variety of environmental, food, and agricultural issues. Her most recent book, The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time, is an inspirational, practical, and green guide to the vital family dinner ritual and how to accomplish it in today’s busy world. Laurie was a producer on the 2006 Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth and the HBO documentary Too Hot NOT to Handle, and executive produced the TBS comedy special Earth to America! She also authored the bestselling book Stop Global Warming: The Solution is You! and co-authored The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming. A regular blogger on the Huffington Post, Laurie has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. She was named a 2006 Glamour Woman of the Year and has been profiled in People, Glamour, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Elle, Wired, House & Garden, The New York Times, and Vanity Fair. Kirstin Uhrenholdt grew up on a fruit-farm in Denmark, pickin’ n’ pruning and making pie. She then, by a stroke of good luck, ended up on a cargo ship to Greenland, doing among other things a lot of dishes, a lot — more than you can imagine. She escaped and became a beer wench in Appenzelle, Switzerland, where they speak a language no one understands. Eventually she landed in L.A. where, lo and behold, she was kidnapped by some actors, some heavy rockers, and some kosher people. Presently she is living happily ever after.

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