Courtesy Manzi

Power Through "Nutcracker" with Jenelle Manzi's Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Energy Fudge and Maple Bars

Ballet and baking have more in common than their first two letters. As in the studio, sometimes you attempt something new in the kitchen and it works out great.

And, sometimes, it fails spectacularly—an outcome that New York City Ballet corps member Jenelle Manzi is no stranger to in baking. "The first time I tried to make vanilla cupcakes with this strawberry rose frosting, I was using essential rose oil," she recalls, "I put two drops in an entire batch of icing and I realized I needed about a quarter of a drop. They tasted like perfume. They were completely inedible."



Manzi has since mastered her strawberry rose frosting's delicate flavor balance, as well as plenty of other recipes for healthy snacks and indulgent treats. She cut gluten out of her diet out of necessity, but she's a passionate proponent for conscious eating whether or not you have certain allergies or intolerances. Her recipes are full of wholesome, nutritious ingredients to power her busy life at NYCB, particularly during Nutcracker season (during which she runs the snow scene as many as four times in one day in rehearsal and performance!).

While you'll find plenty of picture-perfect recipes on her website and Instagram, Manzi shared two treats exclusively for Pointe readers: "Two delicious ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without compromising your energy levels during the busy Nutcracker season!"

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Energy Fudge spiked with Spirulina

Courtesy Manzi

This recipe is inspired by the fond memories I have of getting peppermint hot chocolate before ballet class when I was younger. I've always loved the flavor combination of chocolate and mint, particularly around the holidays. These drinks unfortunately tend to be loaded with sugar, which is not always the best thing for a dancer's energy levels. With this fudge, I tried to lower the sugar content so that it still tastes decadent, but it does not give you the quick energy spike and dreaded crash afterwards. I also added a tablespoon of spirulina to give it a little extra nutritional boost!

Ingredients:

9-10 oz unsweetened good quality chocolate (Scharffen Berger is a good choice)

¾ cup nut butter (try cashew, almond, pumpkin etc.)

¼ cup coconut oil

¼ cup maple syrup

3 medjool dates

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp peppermint extract

¼ tsp sea salt

1 tbs spirulina powder

2 tbs arrowroot starch/flour

1 tbs cacao nibs for topping

Method:

  1. Line a 9x5 pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Using a double boiler or makeshift double boiler (bowl set on top of a pot) melt the chocolate and coconut oil until silky smooth.
  3. Next, add the nut butter, maple syrup, dates, vanilla, peppermint, salt, spirulina, and arrowroot into the food processor.
  4. Carefully pour in the melted chocolate mixture and mix everything until smooth and thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
  5. If the mixture is too thick, simply thin with a touch more maple syrup or coconut oil.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Smooth out the top, and sprinkle with cacao nibs (optional).
  7. Place your fudge in the freezer for about 20 minutes to allow it to set. Cut into small even squares and either enjoy right away or store in the refrigerator for about 1 week. You can also store the fudge in the freezer for up to a month. The fudge is best enjoyed at room temperature!

Cranberry Macadamia Maple Bars

Courtesy Manzi

These bars are naturally sweet, a touch salty, and reminiscent of my favorite cookie combination - white chocolate cranberry macadamia! While the search continues for dairy and refined sugar free white chocolate chips to add to the recipe, these bars combine healthy fats with an abundance of satisfying flavors that are perfect for a quick midday pick me up!

Ingredients:

1½ cups chopped macadamia nuts

½ cup chopped cashew

½ cup chopped pumpkin seeds

½ cup of puffed brown rice finely ground

1 cup puffed brown rice

1 tbs ground flaxseed

½ cup brown rice syrup

2 tbs coconut butter

1-2 tbs maple sugar

2 tbs lucuma (optional)

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp sea salt

⅓ cup dried cranberry

**If you're feeling more indulgent, you can add in some white chocolate chips

Method:

1. Set oven to 350°F

2. Prepare a square 9" glass baking dish lined with parchment paper

3. Mix all of the dry ingredients together (besides lucuma powder) in a large bowl.

4. Using a double boiler or saucepan, add in your brown rice syrup, coconut butter, lucuma, and vanilla - warm and stir until they are silky smooth.

5. Spoon the caramel-like mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with your hands until fully combined.

6. Split into two batches and press each batch as flat as possible into the baking dish.

7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

8. Let cool slightly and cut into rectangular bars.

Latest Posts


Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Fancy Free" (1981)

In Jerome Robbins's 1944 ballet Fancy Free, three sailors on leave spend the day at a bar, attempting to woo two young women by out-dancing and out-charming one another. In this clip from 1981, Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was then both the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre and a leading performer with the company, pulls out all the stops to win the ladies' affections.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Bethany Kirby, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

An Infectious-Disease Physician on What Vaccines Mean for Ballet

As the coronavirus pandemic grinds into its second year, the toll on ballet companies—and dancers—has been steep. How long before dancers can rehearse and perform as they once did?

Like most things, the return to normal for ballet seems to hinge on vaccinations. Just over 22 percent of people in the U.S. are now vaccinated, a way from the estimated 70 to 85 percent experts believe can bring back something similar to pre-pandemic life.

But what would it mean for 100 percent of a ballet company to be vaccinated? Tulsa Ballet artistic director Marcello Angelini is about to find out—and hopes it brings the return of big ballets on the big stage.

"I don't think companies like ours can survive doing work for eight dancers in masks," Angelini says. "If we want to work, dance, and be in front of an audience consistently and with the large works that pay the bills, immunization is the only road that leads there."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks