By pharmacist, Dr. in Chemistry Alisa Palatronis | September 15 2021 | 12:55 min read
This sweet delight may remind you a fairytale “One thousand and one night”, even if you have never been in Eastern countries.
Magic squares is a sugar-free, gluten-free, no-bake vegan sweet delight created by Dr. Alisa Palatronis. It consists of dry apricots, prunes, sunflower seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, and cardamom seeds.
About the ingredients
When choosing dry apricots, make sure they are dark in color. Bright, “golden”, almost orange color of dry apricots is a sign that sulphites – a chemical preservative – was used to process fruits. Since early 1920th, sulphites were under concern and regulations for its use in food where applied. Sulphites could act as a trigger and sensibilize those who suffer from asthma or migraine. Regular wine consumers may be at risk to overdose an average daily intake (ADI) of sulphites, as almost all bottled wine consists sulphites. Apricots, which are dried by using moderate heat or sunlight are naturally dark in color.
Read more about sulphites in our article Exploring sulphites in food on www.z-antenna.com.
Prunes (or dried plums) are known to increase satiety, improve bowel movements (reduce constipation) and have a low glycemic index. Always rinse dry fruits with water before use, as you would do with any fresh fruit.
Read more about prunes in our article Sensational sugar-free, gluten-free vegan brownie! on www.z-antenna.com
Soaking sunflower seeds and walnuts
To get the maximum benefit from plant-based ingredients, you should always soak seeds and nuts before using them for food. Otherwise, constant consumption of unsoaked seeds and nuts lead to poor digestion and nutrient deficiency! Nuts and seeds contain phytic acid naturally. Phytic acid preserves plants (seeds and nuts) from bacteria damage, bugs or other natural spoilage. Phytic acid concentrations are going lower when plant (seeds) are ready to sprout. So, when the environmental conditions simulate “favorable sprouting environment”, which is keeping them in water, the phytic acid starts to release into water. Never use water where you have soaked seeds or nuts for food, pour that water out!
Read more about phytic acid in our article Are you fertile on keto? on www.z-antenna.com
Chia seeds contain high amount of fiber, therefore improve digestion, may help to maintain normal bowel movements and reduce constipation. Chia seeds are rich in nutrients, omega-3 fat and antioxidants.
In cooking, chia seeds when mixed with water work like a binder, therefore, dry fruits and nuts would be „glued“ to make a sticky mixture, from which it is possible to form shapes and cut. The ratio of chia seeds and water is very important, keep it as 1:2 for this particular recipe.
You may like our sugar-free vegan desserts: Implementing new idea: peanut butter/cocoa/chia, Coco-Beet Bonbons and Pulpy mango on www.z-antenna.com
Cardamom acts as a diuretic and helps to eliminate waste through the kidney, may regulate blood pressure, protects liver and aid weight loss.
Cardamon complements both sweet and savory dishes due to its distinctive flavor. Most commonly, cardamom is sold as a spice powder, however, you may look for whole cardamom seeds to get the most intense flavor and impressive taste feeling when one of the seeds occurs between the teeth.
Dive into a fairytale: Magic Squares a la arabe
|EQUIPMENT||silicon molds or ceramic baking pan|
|Passive time||8 h + 1 h|
|Active time||30 min|
|TOTAL TIME||9 h 30 min|
|Sunflower seeds||90 g||3/4 cup|
|Walnuts||85 g||3/4 cup|
|Dry apricots, pitted||300 g||1 ½ cup|
|Prunes, pitted||185 g||¾ cup|
|Salt||⅛ tsp||⅛ tsp|
|Chia seeds||3 Tbsp||3 Tbsp|
|Water from soaked dry apricots||6 Tbsp||6 Tbsp|
|Cardamom seeds||1 Tbsp||1 Tbsp|
- Soak sunflower seeds and walnuts in separate bowls for 8 h or overnight.
- After seed/nut soaking is finished, rinse, and then soak dry apricots and prunes in separate bowls for 10-15 min.
- Meanwhile, rinse and drain sunflower seeds and walnuts after soaking and grind them together in a food processor until almost smooth. Do not over-grind, some pieces of seeds and nuts may be bigger.
- Add soaked dry fruits and pulse till almost smooth consistency again.
- Mix chia seeds with water using a whisk and left aside for around 5 min.
- Transfer seed/nut/dry fruits mixture into a large mixing bowl.
- When chia seed mixture has swallowed, add it to seed/nut/dry fruit mixture along with salt and cardamom seeds. Mix everything well using a spatula.
- To form “magic squares”, cover a ceramic baking pan (9×7 in / 22×17 cm) with parchment paper or food grade plastic wrap and spread the mixture evenly. Cover the top with the ends of the same paper or foil and put into fridge for at least 30 min.
- Then take the baking pan out, put it on a counter for 10-15 min to defrost naturally, unwrap and cut in square pieces. Done!
- Keep Magic squares in a refrigerator and serve directly when needed.
- You may keep extra portion in a fridge for up to one week and take it out at least 5-15 min before serving.
- Magic squares are a bit sticky, that’s why, please use regular or decorative parchment paper pieces for serving.
Additional information: podcasts and our books
Magic Squares – sweet delight a la arabe – E-Magaine for Curious Mind
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Would you like to get more recipes?
Please take a look into my sugar-free cookbooks !!!
About this book
Parties and celebrations. Is it time to break the rules and eat all the things you have avoided for so long? Why do the great celebrations of the year could not be met with healthier food? In this book you will find the whole list of festive sugar-free, (wheat) flour-free vegan and vegetarian dishes. Feel free to offer them for the whole family, friends, or colleagues with any taste preferences. There are recipes that will bring joy to the soul of the chef, but those who do not see themselves as a cook at any costs may also like to prepare a few dishes from this book. No need to make all the dishes at once. Choose two or three of them and enjoy festive and healthy additions to your celebrations.
People about this book
Mary Novalis (United States): Tasty recipes without sugar!
Dr. Alisa Palatronis has “cooked up” a very interesting cookbook! I am intrigued by the ingredient choices for some recipes and can’t wait to try them all! My palate is anticipating them all. I did try a few right away since I had the ingredients on hand. The Mascadates from Bożena and Almonds in Heaven were very tasty! I also tried the Hello Hasselback Potato too, they were delicious!! My next recipe will be Delights from 1001 Nights for a sweet treat since I love chickpeas.
This cookbook is one of a kind and I look forward to trying all the recipes and passing it along to my vegan friends and non vegan friends alike. Thank you Dr. Palatronis for this special treat, you have a way with enticing ones palate with your pictures and ingredients combinations.
I Gray (United States): Tasty recipes
This book has brought great joy. We have enjoyed the flavours and treats together with family and friends, bringing great memories. Some recipes are so good they have become a common repeat in our home. Mascadates from Bozena is one of them. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we have.
Carmen Huster (Germany): Die Beschreibungen der Rezepte sind detailliert und mit vielen Zusatzinformationen.
Wir konnten schon einige der Rezepte probieren und die Idee zuckerfrei zu koch interessiert uns sehr. Die Beschreibungen der Rezepte sind detailliert, toll fotografiert und mit vielen Zusatzinformationen versehen. Sie finden tolle Rezeptideen ohne Zuckerzusatz und ohne Mehl, die sich schnell zubereiten lassen. Wir empfehlen dieses Kochbuch und haben es auch schon verschenkt.
English: We have already tried some of the recipes and we are very interested in the idea of cooking sugar-free. The descriptions of the recipes are detailed, beautifully photographed and provided with a lot of additional information. You will find great recipe ideas with no added sugar or flour that can be prepared quickly. We recommend this cookbook and have already given it away.
About this book
Daily routine. Is it a time to spend hours in the sweetened kitchen? According to Dr. Alisa Palatronis, a sugar-free lifestyle has the potential to let people feel well physically, emotionally and mentally. In this book you will find a full set of vegan and vegetarian dishes without refined sugar, molasses, honey, artificial sweeteners and (wheat) flour. Feel free to offer them to the whole family, friends or colleagues with any taste preferences. There are recipes that will cheer the chef’s soul. Those who do not consider themselves a chef at any cost will also find a number of delicious recipes. Daily, sugar-free dishes welcome us all!
People about this book
Erdem Civan (United States): Great book for you, your loved ones and the world
The recipes are easy to make and incredibly delicious. As the headline says almost vegan/vegetarian foods and they are sugar-free. A sound choice if you want to avoid consuming animal products and/or sugar.
I Gray (United States): Everyday food
I do recommend this book. It gives great ideas for to what to cook. You will enjoy some new flavours and feel good, knowing that what you eat is good for your body too. Guilt free and tasty.
Carmen Huster (Germany): Die Rezepte sind detailliert, toll fotografiert und mit vielen Zusatzinformationen versehen.
Wir konnten schon einige der Rezepte probieren und die Idee zuckerfrei zu koch interessiert uns sehr. Die Beschreibungen der Rezepte sind detailliert, toll fotografiert und mit vielen Zusatzinformationen versehen. Sie finden tolle Rezeptideen ohne Zuckerzusatz und ohne Mehl, die sich schnell zubereiten lassen. Wir empfehlen dieses Kochbuch.
English: We have already tried some of the recipes and we are very interested in the idea of cooking sugar-free. The descriptions of the recipes are detailed, beautifully photographed and provided with a lot of additional information. You will find great recipe ideas with no added sugar or flour that can be prepared quickly. We recommend this cookbook.
G Mott (Canada): Beautiful Book
I really liked the recipes. The illustrations are gorgeous.