I’ve been looking through my books and blog posts to see which recipes are already low in vitamin A and which can be easily altered. This one is a winner. It is highly adaptable for everyone with dietary restrictions so we can all have candy for the holidays!
You can substitute any nut or seed butter for the coconut manna in the original recipe, just be sure you get one that is not too thin. Almond butter, pecan butter, macadamia butter, etc. are good choices. The last time I made it, I used sunflower seed butter and put sunflower seeds on top for a nut-free option.* (If you buy natural nut or seed butter, it may have some standing oil on top, which you can pour off to make it thicker.)
⅓ cup coconut oil
⅓ cup nut or seed butter or coconut manna**
⅓ cup (about 1½ ounces) finely chopped cacao butter (the white fat from cacao (aka cocoa) beans, not coconut!)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar substitute, optional
Liquid sugar substitute to equal ¼ cup sugar, more to taste
1 teaspoon sugar-free vanilla extract
A few grains of salt
1 cup lightly toasted pecan halves
Line an 8- x 12-inch shallow pan with parchment paper or foil and place in refrigerator to chill.
Melt the coconut oil, nut butter or coconut manna, and cacao butter together in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water. Add sweeteners, vanilla, and salt and stir until smooth. Stir in pecans and pour onto chilled pan in an even layer. Place in refrigerator until hardened. Break into irregular pieces. Candy will soften if left at room temperature for too long.
*Technically, coconut is also a nut and some people may be allergic to it. You could try using shortening, like Spectrum, instead of the coconut oil, if necessary.
**Coconut oil is liquid above 76° and solid below. It is sometimes called coconut butter when it is in a solid state. Coconut manna or creamed coconut is to coconut what peanut butter is to peanuts. It is finely-ground coconut flesh, not just the extracted fat. Instructions for making it yourself in a high-speed blender are easy to find online.
Makes about 12 ounces or 26 pieces, roughly 2- x 2-inches each
Cal: 92; Fat: 9.9g; Pro: 0.4g; Carbs: 1.2g; Fiber: 0.2g, Net Carbs: 1 g, Vitamin A retinol equivalent: 3.0 mcg
Note: A very thorough 2019 study on low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners came to this conclusion: “…This and other studies suggesting an effect of LNCS on the gut microbiota were found to show no evidence of an actual adverse effect on human health. ” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691518308780?fbclid=IwAR3GXWzTfnr00duWv7rcZkNZ2SD_zXn9jRw0n7TFp8VR2ND42WXYa1ComOY
© 2019, Judy Barnes Baker