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Cacao Beans

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I love chocolate.  So does my daughter. Finding foods that our kids will love that will also love them is tough. They are going to come across a whole range of foods in their social lives and we want to equip them to make good choices.

You will have heard that chocolate is very good for you and its health benefits are numerous. This is true but sadly no-one is talking about the milk chocolate, Kit Kats or things we grab on the go from our convenience stores. Raw cacao (in butter, nibs which are the bits of the bean before they are ground and powder form) is where the goodness lies. Cacao is chocolate in its bean form, before it is roasted, extracted and processed then mixed with sugar, milk, preservatives and other fillers and flavours. It contains antioxidants and minerals and its benefits amongst others are;

  • weight loss due to its chromium content which in turn also
  • Regulate blood sugar along with the magnesium content
  • Prevent cavities in your teeth (the caffeine content in cacao contains theobromine which can help kill bacteria in your mouth that causes tooth decay- it is lost in the process to milk chocolate.)
  • Helps alkaline your body (conventional chocolate is acid forming because of its sugar content)
  • Helps detoxification and contains powerful anti-oxidants.
  • Gives a gentle euphoric feeling without the sugar crash afterwards.

It’s what we do to the cacao and add to it that give “chocolate” the opposite list of effects.  Raw Cacao is incredibly bitter to those more used to even dark chocolate so start by replacing milk chocolate with 70% dark chocolate and work your way towards using the raw cacao powder as your hot chocolate.

Eva's Hot Cacao

If you find nibs pair them with a Goji berry or a raisin and you are close to ‘chocolate’ flavour as we know it. Try it yourself and with your kids. 10 tries are enough to convince your taste buds!

Pairing coconut with chocolate is a match made in taste and nutrient heaven- healthy Bounty bars!. Coconuts are anti bacterial, anti microbial, naturally sweet, packed with vitamins, essential fats and amino acids and minerals too. This recipe is a massive favourite in our house- a brilliant way to be able to say yes guilt free and isn’t that what we all want?  I hope it will be in yours too. My friend came up with it so it is named for her!

Other Chocolate Recipes

Beetroot Brownies

Chocolate Truffels

Homemade Raw Twix

Iced Mocha

Chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate Chip cookies

This article was written for The Hub

Here’s some good reading;

Coconut Cures- Bruce Fife http://www.amazon.com/Coconut-Cures-Preventing-Treating-Problems/dp/0941599604

http://www.wellnesswa.com.au/2012/11/eat-your-way-to-good-health-raw-cacao-powder-a-deliciously-simple-home-made-chocolate-recipe/

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-numerous-health-benefits-of-coconuts-2.html

http://www.secrets-of-longevity-in-humans.com/raw-cacao-benefits.html

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So having decided to make the Christmas presents this year, I have way more stress than normal!!! Yes Pinterest is great for inspiration but crap at actually sourcing things!! Anyway I digress- chocolate box. I have been enjoying making healthy chocolates as most have you have seen. I also have felt so good being dairy and gluten free for the best part of the year that I wanted to try making some dairy free truffles. I have never made a truffle in my life so this was a bodge job gone good. I mean very good- these are some tasty chocs. Super easy to make. This recipe is gonna make me 17 boxes (probably less due to creative sampling- lets say 10 boxes really!!)

Technically some of the chocolate I have used is not dairy free but that’s just for the outside so not really necessary. Add more cacao to your ‘Elixir of Life’ to make it really rich.

So most have been adapted from this mix I like to call my ‘Elixir of life!’

1 can of coconut milk- I tried the whole put it in the fridge for it to separate and it didn’t so I just used the whole can!
1/2 cup cocoa butter
3-4 heaped tbs raw cacao powder
1 tsp maple syrup (as I was out of coconut nectar and iherb aren’t delivering till tomorrow and I have no patience!)
2-3 drops vanilla essence (all the essences I used are by Medicine Flowers)

So I wizzed this up and refrigerated it thinking it may get solid and it went at best chocolate moose! So because these have got an airplane ride to get through I had to thicken it to ball it up somehow! That’s where the nuts come in!

Meanwhile I am soaking 1/2 cup raisins in some dark rum for the coconut balls and mixed peel, candied cherries and raisins and dried cranberries in tokay for the Christmas pudding marzipan balls (at least overnight is best)

Almond banoffee pie

1 cup of ground almonds (I use my dried ones from making my almond milk)
1 ripe banana
Medicine flower banana essence (to taste and optional)
Baileys Creme Caramel flavour (to taste I used about 1/2 shot and a bit more 😉 )
1 tbs coconut mana
4 tbs if the ‘elixir of life)
Coconut flour
1 bar of endangered species chocolate (or for dairy free ground almonds and cacao for rolling)

If you are using whole almonds blix them up till just before it hits almond butter. So they are ground and getting sticky. Add the banana and mash with a fork, add the rest I the ingredients to taste and leave the coconut flour to turn it into a bit more dough like. Roll into balls and place in freezer. Next day roll in milk chocolate (or to keep dairy free ground almond and cacao powder).

Pistachio Mint
The next few are similar-
1 cup of pistachio nuts (raw and unsalted)
Medicine flowers mint essence to taste
Vanilla essence
5-6 tbs of the ‘elixir of life’
Coconut flour
1 bar of 85% chocolate (I used green and blacks)

This one needs less flour as its less wet. But add, mix and taste as you go. Ball up, freeze. I rolled these in 85% dark chocolate with a little coconut oil mixed in.

Hazelnut Cranberry

1 cup raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Vanilla essence
1-2 tbs coconut mana
5/6 tabs elixir of life
Pinch pink Himalayan rock salt (or sea salt)
Coconut flour
Cacao to roll in

Second verse- same as the first. Whizz hazelnuts and cranberries together. Mix everything else leaving coconut flour till end to soak up extra moisture ready to ball up. Rolled in raw cacao powder.

Cashew, Raspberry and White Chocolate
1 cup raw cashews
Fresh Raspberries
2 tbs coconut mana
Medicine Flowers Raspberry and also Vanilla
Pinch of salt (as above)
5/6 tbs of ‘Elixir of life’
Coconut flour
2 bars of white chocolate

So as before whizz the nuts and in a bowl with the mana, Elixir, then add the other ingredients except the fresh raspberries. The raspberry essence should be used sparingly as it just makes the taste of the fresh raspberry pop! Add the coconut flour to soak up excess moisture. Add a little at a time. Ball, freeze. White chocolate is hard to melt- excessive heat makes it thicker so take off the heat and stir and return. Take your time, have patience (what I keep telling my daughter possibly as I constantly need to hear it myself!

Marzipan Christmas pudding

Now I have made marzipan before but since it contains raw eggs I didn’t feel comfortable making it for other people to consume in a weeks time so I bought it. In an ideal world I would have searched for an egg free recipe and if anyone has one please share it with me.

200g marzipan
Handful of glacé cherries, mixed peel, dried cranberries and raisins soaked at least overnight in Tokay.
Drained liquid from above
About a cup Ground almonds (again leftover from almond milk- if anything this may get some of you making almond milk!!)
Coconut flour
1 bar of green and blacks maya gold chocolate

By far the sweetest one of the bunch. Put the marzipan in a bowl and add drained fruit. Using a bit of the liquid and some elbow grease (mine’s called Niall!) mix the two together. It takes a strong wooden spoon and man! Add the drained liquid bit by bit to help make the marzipan more pliable. It is then super sticky. Add ground almonds to counteract the sweetness and some coconut flour (although not much as its always going to be sticky and too much flour will make it chalky.) work quick while balling this one you don’t want it on your hands for too long. I used green and blacks maya gold cause I like the spicey notes. But 85% would be really nice too

Rum raisin coconut balls

Made exactly like the coconut bounty balls I made see here

But I added medicine flowers rum essence and a rum soaked raisin to the middle while rolling. Add some of the drained rum liquor if you like or soak the raisin in coconut water if you want this alcohol free. Roll in 85% chocolate as before

Phew sorry it’s rough and ready and without pictures the right way round! but I wanted it out there… Merry Christmas xxxx

Also below is where I got some inspiration and sound good too.

http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/confectionscandies/r/dftruffles.htm

http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/sweetsaucesfrostings/r/Vegan_Chocolate_Ganache_Recipe.htm

http://blackberriesandbloodoranges.com/2012/05/16/dairy-free-dark-chocolate-truffles/

My quest for replicating common chocolates continues- I love my ‘Bounty’s’ now on to ‘Twix’ (would love to do Kit Kat but I think that gonna be impossible)

My journey began with foods I have never heard of till now. I have a dehydrator at home inherited from my folks who bought it to dry fruit and never used it! So I am looking into incorporating raw foods into our day to day diet to try and completely erradicate industry processed foods. A tough thing to do it seems!

Anyway- Buckwheaties are first on the agenda- apparently you can buy these ready made- but where’s the fun in that?! Also nowaday buying something made isnt as simple as making something and putting it in a bag to give to someone else.

Buckwheaties: (these can also be used as snacks in themselves as I discovered when my 3 year old kept coming back for more! and also are used as cereal or added to muesli. They are really crispy and are seeds derived from a flour so are completely grain free. Ground they are also a great flour and are used in alot of baking recipes- they are really quite moreish! You may have come across Buckwheat in Japanese buckwheat noodles, Russian pancakes (Bilini’s) and are used in beer production too!)

 

 

 

1 cup of Buckwheat Groats (very easy to buy I got some in Green dot)

Water

Pyrex bowl

Tea towel

This takes a little time, but is worth it. Rinse the groats in some water and leave to soak (preferably in filtered water) overnight. In the morning drain them and set in a glass bowl and cover with a tea towel. In the evening- rinse the groats and again place in the bowl and cover with the tea towel. In the morning they should have sprouted. Now they are ready to dry. I put them in the dehydrator, but you can use the lowest setting on your oven. Spread out the groats and dry until crunchy- takes about 6 hours in the dehydrator at living foods temperature.

Right now to the twix- this then takes no time at all!

1 cup of Buckwheaties

1/4 cup of dates (preferably organic medjool)

1/4 cup coconut sugar

3 tbs Cocoa Butter (melted)

Put the buckwheaties, dates and sugar in a food processor. I had to use a mini chopper as my Kenwood mixer food processor didnt have a good enough seal for the crumbs to stay in. Blitz until crumbs but may be some big bits still- keeps it crunchy and biscuit like. Add the cocoa butter and mix till its evenly mixed through.

Boil kettle and soak for 15 mins 1 cup of medjool dates for the caramel

Put some cling film in a baking dish- I used a square silicon one. Press down so bottom is evenly covered by the base. Put in the freezer.

While this is freezing make the caramel.

1 cup of medjool dates soaked (as above)
1/4 cup coconut nectar/maple syrup
2 tbs nut butter- I uses smooth organic peanut butter
3 tbs cocoa butter (melted)
1/4 tsp vanilla essence

Blend these all together and take out the biscuit base and smooth over the top. Put back in the freezer for a few hours.

When it’s set and frozen. Melt 200g of quality organic/ fair trade min 70% dark chocolate. I used endangered species (I think 1 milk chocolate bar and 1 dark will make it taste less overwhelmingly chocolate and more authentic to the Twix bar). In a Bain Marie. Take out base and caramel from freezer and lift out of bakeware onto a chopping board. I cut it into 1 inch squares. Get some baking parchment to put them on. Roll around using 2 forks in the chocolate till covered and lift out and put on the baking parchment. When finished put in the fridge for a couple of hours to set- or the freezer.

And Voilà- try don’t taste exactly the same- they taste better!

Don’t forget to put the excess chocolate in a parchment to make caramel biscuit chocolate bar after!!!!

Reward your self with one or two with a cup of Chai roobios!!

 

Thanks to these two ladies- without which this would never come into existence for me!

http://www.terawarner.com/blog/2012/10/raw-vegan-recipes-raw-vegan-caramel-fingers-aka-twixy-biscuits/#more-27946
http://www.haverawcakeandeatit.co.uk/raw_food_uk/BUCKWHEATIES_recipe.html

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I love bounty bars- but now they just seem way too sweet. I found these bars called ‘coconut secret’ they are delicious but I could only eat half at a time and they are super pricey to eat regularly. Lucky for me my great friend Kate loved them enough too to play with the ingredients and come up with a recipe! Little tweaks to make them mine (I’m awful at following a recipe!!) I wanted to make them truffle size as I can then just eat the one- and I’m making truffles for Christmas.

Kate’s Coconut (not so) Secret Bars

150g block of dark choc (I always use 70-85% chocolate- I like Green and Blacks or make your own)

1-2 tbs coconut oil (optional)

Or Raw Cacao powder to roll them in

100-150g of desiccated coconut

3tbs coconut manna (butter) This makes it gooey, you could also use peanut or other nut butters or cocoa butter.

coconut nectar (to taste and optional) can also use maple syrup

1-2 tbs coconut oil

Pinch salt (I like Pink Himalayan Rock but sea salt tastes nice too)

Mix desiccated coconut, coconut manna (butter), a few tablespoons of coconut nectar (to taste) and coconut oil and salt in a bowl. It should make a sticky sort of mixture that will cling together when you press it. It may take more or less of the ingredients above. Make into balls chocolate truffle size. Place on grease proof paper and put in the freezer. Wait at least an hour.

Melt chocolate with coconut oil over a ‘bain marie’. Use fork to drop coconut balls into chocolate, completely cover and then bring out and put back on the grease proof paper. The temperature of the balls will help the chocolate to set quicker. Refrigerate again until set (about an hour). You could also just roll these in Raw Cacao powder if you want them truly raw.

If there is any chocolate left, pour onto another piece of greaseproof paper and allow to reset into a chocolate bar- lovely with bits of coconut in it!!

I love these brownies, a great friend of mine recently also posted another vegan brownie recipe which I have included below…

Seriously rich and delicious brownies with way more goodness than the normal ones!

400g Raw Beetroot peeled and roughly chopped (use plastic gloves if you don’t want to stain your fingers) then add to saucepan and boil/steam till tender.

100g Hazelnuts

150g Plain Chocolate,

100g coconut oil/mana

1 tsp Vanilla extract,

100-150g Coconut sugar

3 Eggs (To replace one egg: 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds 3 tablespoons water (or other liquid) Stir together until thick and gelatinous)

2 Tbs almond flour (can also use quinoa, rice or chickpea)

70g Cocoa ,

2 tsp baking powder.

Heat oven to 180C and grease a tray bake pan. Roughly chop chocolate, and put in food processor with cooked beetroot, coconut oil and vanilla. Whizz until mixture is smooth. In another bowl, beat  sugar, eggs and salt until foamy and thick. Fold in beetroot mixture. Sift in flour and cocoa and gently fold. Stir through hazelnuts. Poor into tray bake and cook for 20mins. Cool completely in tin then cut into squares. This can easily be a cake, just don’t cut into squares!

My fave raw frosting from The Rawtarian…

1 cup dates

1/4 cup raw cacao (cocoa) powder

1/4 cup cold-pressed coconut oil (also known as coconut butter)

3/4 cup water (or a tiny bit more if needed – try to keep at 3/4 cup or so though)

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender. If possible, let them sit in there for a few minutes to soften the dates a little bit. Blend all ingredients in your high-speed blender. The ingredients can be a little finicky to blend, so start at a slow speed and increase speed slowly. Keep blending for a very long time to get a velvety consistency. This is one of those recipes that really makes use of the power of a high-speed blender. If you feel that the blades are just spinning but aren’t actually moving all of the icing around, turn the blender off and make an air pocket down the side of the blender with a spatula to expose the blades. Remove the spatula, replace the lid, and start blending slowly again.You’ll know it’s ready if there are no bits of dates and all you can taste is velvety chocolate goodness.

(http://www.therawtarian.com/raw-chocolate-icing)

Siobhan’s Black bean Brownies:

Awesome vegan brownies

1/2 cup of blended black beans (black beans and water blended to a gluggy consistency)
1tbsp oil
1 c sugar (I usually only do half though as the banana adds sweetness)

1tsp vanilla
1/2 large banana, mashed
1tbsp chia seeds, hydrated
1/2c flour (I use mostly oat with a bit of coconut and quinoa)
1/3c cocoa powder
1/4tsp baking powder
1/4tsp xantham gum
1/4tsp saltPreheat oven to 175C. Grease pan.
In a medium bowl mix bean mixture, sugar, vanilla, mashed banana and chia seeds. In another bowl combine dry ingredients. Gradually stir dry ingredients into wet, until well blended.
Bake for 20-25mins or until brownie starts to pull away from edges of pan.
Let cool then cut into squares.
Enjoy and let me know how they go- if you have any others to add!

You may have noticed a trend lately with my recipes! Chocolate. I love it- there’s nothing wrong with it. In the right form and the right amount it’s really good for you- a very good anti- oxidant.

I have raw organic cacao powder and I use it in my baking and for hot chocolate and my 2 year old likes it way better than the sickly sweet, poor quality, addictive garbage that is generally billed for kids. “That’s not chocolate” she says about the mass produced stuff and reaches for the 85% I always have in the fridge! Guess what she’s happy with one square.

Anyway, I love ice cream- it doesn’t love me- until now. My husband is a great cook and he too loves his sweet stuff although he has a lot more will power than me- not difficult. He also is not great with dairy and the only stuff we have is kefir and cheese (although mainly goats and Sheeps cheese and only occasionally). So dairy free ice cream has always been something we have tried. Most products out there are either soy (something else we avoid unless it’s fermented) or very sweet and the chocolate flavour is usually lacking. We have developed our own little favourite flavour from checking out some blogs (see below) and have already started to brainstorm other flavours.

Here’s Niall’s winning recipe-

700mls coconut milk (organic preferably)
1 mashed banana
100ml Coconut nectar
100ml Maple syrup
3 tbs Cacao powder (I may have added 1 or 2 more to make it really chocolaty!)

Whisked in the kenwood (without banana). Stirred in banana at end. Then either use an ice cream machine or put in container and in the freezer- use a hand blender to break up the ice crystals at intervals when frozen. Yum yum!!! Seriously like it better than dairy chocolate.

Just made it again and added a tablespoon of peanut butter yum yum!

The third adjustment comes from Miranda, I was struggling because it keeps freezing really solid- she suggested a little salt. Have tried it and it has made a difference. It also definitely brings out the taste of the chocolate- just add it slowly and taste along the way- the first time I did it I added too much salt! Thanks Miranda x

http://www.pbs.org/parents/kitchenexplorers/2011/07/11/dairy-free-chocolate-coconut-ice-cream/

http://www.thekitchn.com/magic-one-ingredient-.ice-cream-5-ways-peanut-butter-nutella-and-more-171618

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/romans-dairy-free-chocolate-coconut-ice-cream

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