I had you at ‘healthier’, didn’t I? Not the best word for describing any delicious food, but it’s an important part of this recipe. Yes, it’s still tiger butter in all of its smooth, sweet, nutty goodness, but you need to know we have made it without any of the refined sugar, dairy or aflatoxin-y peanut butter. Hooray…..!
It’s also really quick and easy to make, which might be a better sell for a recipe. The trickiest part can be finding the cocoa butter but if your local health food/gourmet shops don’t have any, there are many websites that will. Order some today, you want to make this!
Sweet treats are not something I like to promote on this site very often. I feel like it is better to get out of the habit of regular desserts altogether in order to avoid sugary routines. During the holidays rules tend to get thrown out the window though, so this recipe is meant to steer you into a healthier (but still festive) direction.
I fell in love with tiger butter as a kid with a giant sweet tooth (that needed braces twice). My Mom used to make it on special occasions and I thought it was even better than my fave, peanut butter cups. I could not believe how fancy it looked (and thought my Mom was a world class Pastry Chef)(she kind of was).
Traditionally, tiger butter is made of white chocolate, peanut butter and dark chocolate, a combo that can’t really fail in the taste department. It isn’t good for you in its traditional form (sugar, milk solids, peanut butter, etc.) but it takes surprisingly few alterations to turn it into a pretty healthy, once in a while treat. One that you can feel good about serving to your friends and family over the holidays.
I wanted to keep it as true as possible to its bones, so I have used cocoa butter as the main fat (white chocolate is made of cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids and lecithin). It is a healthy and stable fat that is full of antioxidants and works as an anti-inflammatory. Like all good, healthy fats, it can also be used on your skin, so if you have any leftover, you can make your own homemade skincare stocking stuffers (you have time for that, right?).
I also traded the sugar for dates, the milk solids for raw cashews, the peanut butter for almond butter (you can use sunflower seed butter if you’re nut-free), and the chocolate for raw, dark chocolate, preferably sweetened with coconut sugar or other low gi, natural sweeteners (Zimt is a good brand). Dark chocolate is ok if you can’t find raw chocolate, just make sure it’s 70% or higher and is free of milk ingredients.
There is some optional chia seed. Chia is full of iron, healthy fat but most importantly in this case, fiber. There are two things that can lower the ‘glycemic load’ (the rate at which food raises your blood glucose levels after eating it)(cancer likes them high so we like them low). One of them is fat (we have this in spades in this recipe) and the other is fiber. So the addition of chia will add that extra kick of fiber to lower the overall glycemic load of our tiger butter that much further. It will also add some texture which will make it a bit less passable as the real thing. It is up to you whether you add it, think about your crowd and whether they are ready for change and chia seeds.
All of these alternate twists and turns still come together to create a smooth, balanced, nutty, chocolate treat. It looks a lot like the real deal and tastes great if not identical to its less health-minded counterpart. The best news is that now you don’t need to serve sugar-laden sweets OR bliss balls at your holiday party. The kids (and maybe some adults?) will think you’re fancy and you can tell them there’s spinach in them so that they don’t eat them all.
- 200g Cocoa Butter
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- ¼ c Cashews (raw, unsoaked)
- ½ c Almond Butter (or sunbutter)
- 4 Medjool Dates, pitted
- ¼ tsp Sea salt
- ¼ tsp Vanilla Bean Powder (or ½ scraped vanilla pod)
- ¼ c Chia Seeds (optional)
- 50 g Raw, Dark Chocolate (or just dark chocolate)
- In a bain marie/double boiler (a heat-proof bowl placed on a pot of simmering water), melt the cocoa butter with the coconut oil, almond butter, salt and cashews (this just warms the cashews that are frozen from living in your freezer so that they blend better).
- Transfer to your blender or food processor, add your pitted dates and blend until very smooth (1-4 minutes depending on your blender/FP)
- Once smooth, add the vanilla (and optional chia seeds) and pulse to mix.
- Pour into a brownie pan (an 8"x 8" square dish) lined with parchment paper (it helps to wet your hands and rub the inside of the pan before pressing the parchment so that it stays put while you add the mixture).
- Let set at room temperature for an hour or until you can still mix it with a whisk but when you drip it back onto itself, the drips stay on top instead of disappearing (1 hour + depending on your room temperature).
- Melt the dark chocolate the same way you melted the base.
- Wipe the bottom of the bowl so that it is not dripping with water.
- Drizzle the chocolate back and forth so that you create messy stripes all going in one direction (this doesn't have to be perfect, promise)
- Now take a small knife or toothpick and drag it across the stripes from one end of the pan to the other, every inch or so. (I feel like I didn't explain that very well. have a look at the picture, that will probably help)
- Let is set until it solidifies at room temp (or in the fridge if you're in a hurry) before cutting into squares. Using a warm knife helps (run it under hot water and dry it well between slices).
- Cover and store at room temp or transfer to the freezer if you're saving for a later date.