Winning a baking contest at the County Fair has always been on my bucket list, and this year it was my mission to enter a gluten free, healthy dish into a county fair cooking competition. As a kid, I remember most of the fun in going to the county fair is walking by the food vendors and getting a whiff of some salty-sweet heavenly aroma, and feasting my eyes on treats I had never heard of but just HAD to have. Just because I live a healthy gluten free life now, doesn’t mean I have to miss out on this great American summer food tradition. I know my diabetic, vegan and vegetarian friends agree.
In a world where bacon is it’s own food group, I knew a recipe that is gluten free, dairy free and low in sugar would be an oddity at a County Fair cooking competition. I believe a healthy diet can be just as satisfying to the taste buds as it is nourishing to the body, and I wasn’t going to compromise my passion for healthy food for a blue ribbon. I would much rather enter the contest and risk losing, than sell out on myself.
In the end, I did not win the blue ribbon, but I had a blast talking to people about my healthy and delicious style of food. I shared my Salted Peanut Love Spread to the other participants and spectators, and everyone loved it and wanted the recipe!
Salted Peanut Chocolate Spread Recipe
(Inspired by the #LoveYouSticker campaign)
1 cup lite coconut milk
1 cup Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips
2 tablespoons honey
1 ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground kosher salt + a pinch to dust the finished product (optional)
¾ cup all natural unsalted peanut butter (I used Adams All-Natural)
dash of love
Gently warm the coconut milk in a saucepan on low to medium heat. Watch the milk closely to avoid scalding. Meanwhile, add the chocolate chips to a food processor or high powered blender (I use a Vitamix). Once the milk is hot, not boiling, stir in the honey until completely combined. Add the hot milk mixture to the Vitamix and let sit for 30-60 seconds to start melting the chocolate. Start the Vitamix on low and slowly turn up the speed to 5-6 and let blend for 1-2 minutes. Add the salt and blend an additional 30 seconds. Spoon in the peanut butter and continue to blend for about one minute, or until silky smooth. Using a rubber spatula, scrape out the mixture in a serving bowl or jar and allow the sauce to cool. Sprinkle the remaining salt and a little dash of love on top before serving. Spread the Love onto fruit, breads, friends, and wherever a little love is needed.