Mint Chocolate Chip Nice Cream

Mint Chocolate Chip Nice Cream

Mint Chocolate Chip Nice Cream

 

Mint chocolate chip ice cream reminds me of the hot New Zealand summers we had as kids, where we used to spend the day at the beach. At the end of the day we’d call into the local Dairy (a corner store) and each choose a scoop of ice cream which, usually melted down our hands before we’d even got back to the car. Back in those days the ice cream flavour choices were pretty simple. It was either vanilla, neapolitan, hokey pokey, mint or orange chocolate chip, and if you were lucky, goody goody gum drops.

These days you don’t find many Dairy’s that scoop their own ice cream, and in most of the coastal regions you’d be hard pressed to find any that stocked dairy free ice cream.

So in honour of the warmer weather approaching, I’ve created a nostalgic but much healthier version of mint chocolate chip ice cream or “nice cream”.

After a quick google search it appears I wasn’t the first with this recipe idea (dammit), but I guess it just goes to show it must be a great idea.

This mint chocolate chip nice cream recipe has just 4 ingredients: bananas, mint, a little sweetener, and cacao nibs. It has a lovely fresh mint flavour and is very easy to make. The hardest part is remembering to freeze all the ingredients ahead of time.

I’ve used raw cacao nibs as the ‘chocolate chips’ as these are a great superfood full of antioxidants and have a strong chocolate flavour. However, the’re quite bitter so if you’re not worried about keeping this nice cream entirely raw and sugar free, feel free to use chopped up dark chocolate instead.

The reason for freezing the ingredients beforehand is to prevent the nice cream from melting before you have a chance to eat it. It’s also a good idea to keep a stock of ingredients in your freezer (as you would for smoothies), so that if a nice cream craving hits you can whip it up in minutes!

This mint chocolate chip nice cream also makes a great last minute dessert, especially if you find yourself with unexpected dinner guests.

Enjoy!

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Nice Cream

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Nice Cream

Serves: 2
Prep time: 10 minutes

4 frozen bananas, chopped
1/4 cup frozen fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup frozen raw cacao nibs or finely chopped dark chocolate
2 Tbsp chilled maple syrup/raw honey/raw agave

Prep ahead by freezing the banana, mint leaves and cacao nibs/chocolate.

To make the nice cream, place the bananas, mint and sweetener into a food processor or high speed blender and blend until well combined. It will form a smooth ice cream consistency very fast – be sure not to over blend and melt the mixture. Add the cacao nibs and pulse to combine. Serve immediately sprinkled with extra cacao nibs – or place in the freezer until required.

*Note: freezing the mint and cacao nibs beforehand ensures your nice cream doesn’t melt before you get a chance to eat it!

Mint Chocolate Chip Nice Cream

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla - pana chocolate style recipe

 

If you’re a raw chocolate lover you’ll most likely have heard of Pana Chocolate. For anyone who hasn’t, Pana Chocolate is an Australian based chocolate maker that produces one of the best tasting, raw, organic chocolate’s available. If you’re luckily enough to live near one of their Australian outlets you might have also tried their amazing raw desserts. For anyone who wants to see what I’m talking about, check out their popular Instagram page here. I have yet to sample Pana Chocolate’s raw desserts, but I have tried their chocolate and it’s pretty damn good as far as raw, dairy-free chocolate goes!

My eating chocolate of choice used to be milk chocolate hands down. The creaminess and melt-in-the-mouth quality of a good milk chocolate was by far my preference over a rich, dark block any day. Dark chocolate obviously has a lot more cocoa solids in it, so tends to be a lot harder with much less of the melt-in-the-mouth quality. The higher the quality of dark chocolate, the less milk products and sugar it generally has too. These days there are a lot more quality dark chocolate varieties available, including some with less cocoa solids making them not quite so hard or rich, however, they still don’t possess the same melt-in-the-mouth quality.

So I was pretty excited when I discovered Pana Chocolate as not only does it contain no refined sugar, gluten, dairy or soy, it also has a rich fudgey texture and literally melts in your mouth! It’s also organic and completely raw which means all the antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals present in the chocolate are fully intact and readily absorbed by your body. The only downside about this amazing chocolate is that it’s usually in high demand so you can’t always find it in store, and almost never find the flavour you’re after, plus it’s pretty expensive too.

Naturally this led me to try and replicate this chocolate, how hard could it be?! Obviously they’ve spent many years perfecting their recipe and method and they source specific raw cacao and cacao butter to create their unique flavour. But it’s not as hard as you may think to create a simple, fudgey, pana style chocolate that you can then add all sorts of flavourings to.

Because I love the qualities of milk chocolate I’ve created this recipe to reflect that with just 40% cacao, and combined it with sour cherries and vanilla. If you like a darker chocolate then by all means add more cacao and decrease the coconut oil quantity.

Have fun with this raw chocolate recipe, play around with the cacao percentage and try adding whatever flavourings or additions of your choosing. Nuts are great, swapping the cherries for freeze dried raspberries, or adding another flavouring such as orange all work really well. And even though the ingredients for this recipe can be a little pricey, you do end up with a lot more raw chocolate than if you were to buy a ready made bar! Enjoy x

 

Have you tried to make your own raw chocolate before? Any hints or tips or questions about this recipe – leave a comment in the section below!

 

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

1 cup raw coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup raw cacao butter, melted
1/2 cup pure maple syrup or rice syrup
1/4 tsp himalayan pink salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 vanilla pod, scraped
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup (150g) dried sour cherries

Note: the steps below ensure that you measure the coconut oil and cacao butter quantities in their melted form. If you measure them in their dry form you will be short. The reason I haven’t given the measurements for their dry forms (even though this would be easier!) is because it’s much harder to accurately fit solid raw cacao into a cup.

Line a small tray approximately 20 x 20cm or smaller with a double layer of cling film.

Bring a small pan of water to the boil and then turn off the heat. Place a heat proof bowl on top of the pan and add 1 cup of coconut oil plus a bit extra, and stir until melted. Measure 1 cup of the melted coconut oil and pour this into a second bowl. Any extra just pour back into the coconut oil jar. Repeat this step for the cacao butter (about 3/4 – 1 cup dry cacao butter = 1/2 cup melted).

When you have the melted coconut oil and cacao butter together in the second bowl add the maple syrup and stir well using a whisk. Add the scraped vanilla seeds, salt, cinnamon and raw cacao powder and give it a good stir with the whisk until everything is well combined. Pour the chocolate mixture through a fine sieve to break up any cacao powder lumps and remove any vanilla pod remnants. Add the sour cherries and stir to combine.

Pour the sour cherry chocolate into the prepared tray and spread evenly. Place the tray in the fridge or freeze to set (depending on how fast you want it!). When set, lift the chocolate out of the tray using the cling film edges. Peel back the cling film and cut into squares. Store the chocolate in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 month or freeze for 3 months.

 

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups

 

My all time favourite easter treat used to be the mini caramel filled eggs. I LOVED the combination of the milk chocolate and flowing, slightly salty, caramel. However, as they are made almost entirely from milk, refined sugar and additives, unfortunately they are not something I choose to eat anymore.

I was also given an article in the paper recently that equated various types of easter eggs to slices of bread. One mini caramel egg is equal to 1.1 slices of bread. That would mean a packet, which (lets face it) is pretty easy to demolish in one sitting, equals 11 slices of bread!! That’s pretty horrifying and even more incentive to try and find something a little healthier to indulge in over the easter holiday.

So with the mini caramel egg flavours in mind, this is my recipe for raw chocolate salted caramel cups. The raw chocolate in the recipe has an intense chocolate flavour and the salted caramel layer is pretty amazing considering it’s made entirely without refined sugar! They are also completely dairy and gluten free, and being raw means all the inherent nutrients in the ingredients are still intact meaning these salted caramel cups are rich in antioxidants (from the the cacao) minerals and fibre (from the dates).

They are pretty easy to make too. For the chocolate it’s just a case of gently melting the ingredients and stirring them together. The salted caramel layer is simply made by blending dates, almond butter and pure maple syrup. Then it’s just a case of spooning the layers into the paper cups and waiting for them to set.

I hope you give these little raw chocolate salted caramel cups a try. They are super delicious, especially the salted caramel layer, and definitely won’t send your blood sugar levels crazy like regular easter treats. Enjoy!

Did you like this post? Any questions or comments about the recipe? Leave me a comment in the section below – I’d love to hear from you!

 

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups

 

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups
(makes 12 mini cups)

1/2 cup (70g) raw cacao butter
1/4 cup (60g) cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil
pinch himalayan pink rock salt
1/2 cup (85g) pure maple syrup, rice syrup or coconut nectar
1/2 cup (65g) raw cacao powder

Bring a small pan of water to the boil and then take it off the heat. Place the cacao butter, coconut oil and salt in a heat proof bowl and place on top of the pan of steaming water, stirring occasionally until fully melted. Melting the ingredients using this method ensures the temperature of the ingredients doesn’t go above 47ºC thereby keeping the nutrients in them intact. Once melted remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.

Salted Caramel Filling

8 fresh medjool dates, pitted
2 Tbsp almond butter
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, rice syrup or coconut nectar
pinch of himalayan pink salt

sea salt flakes to decorate (optional)

Ensure you have removed the pits from the dates, then place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until you have a smooth caramel. This makes quite a sticky caramel but if you prefer it more runny feel free to add another tablespoon of maple syrup or filtered water.

To assemble:

Line a mini muffin tin with paper cases (or use silicone moulds if you have them). Drop a spoonful of the raw chocolate into the bottom of each case and then place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to set. When firm to touch, remove from the freezer and drop a teaspoonful of salted caramel into each cup, smoothing down where needed. Lastly spoon or pour the remaining raw chocolate into each cup, ensuring the caramel is covered. Sprinkle a few sea salt flakes into the centre of each cup and return to the fridge to set.

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Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups

Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse

 

I’ve been working on this raw chocolate avocado mousse recipe for a little while now. I love the idea of a chocolate mousse that is actually good for you but which tastes just as good as the traditional egg, cream and chocolate version.

After trying out a few recipes for raw chocolate mousse I found they just didn’t taste that amazing. Many raw mousse recipes use bananas as the base which creates a good texture but they also make the mousse taste predominantly of banana. Others had a great texture but a not so great taste. It soon became my mission to create a raw chocolate mousse that actually tastes like creamy chocolate with a luscious smooth texture.

 

Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse

 

 

I found the best base for a raw chocolate mousse was avocado. Avocados are naturally creamy from their high healthy fat content and have a relatively mild flavour which works well in this recipe. Raw cacao powder combines amazingly with avocados to create the chocolate element and together they provide a massive hit of antioxidants and dietary fibre.

I used pure maple syrup as the sweetener, the amount of which I found was proportional to how big your avocado is. Ideally start with the smaller amount of maple syrup and add more if you need it. Pure maple syrup is an unrefined sugar so it is a better alternative to standard table sugar however, it is still a form of sugar so the less the better. I have written more on maple syrup at the end of this post.

Raw cacao butter enhances the creamy chocolate flavour and texture of the mousse, as well as upping the antioxidant levels even further. If you don’t have raw cacao butter it can be substituted with cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil. Lastly, a little vanilla and sea salt rounds off the flavour and a small amount of nut milk creates the perfect consistency.

The result is an amazing tasting chocolate mousse that’s super high in nutrients and antioxidants and perfect for anyone with allergies to dairy, eggs and gluten, or just wanting a healthier dessert option. It’s super quick and easy to make, simply throw all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and pour in the melted cacao butter.

I think this might just be the perfect guilt-free dessert!

 

 

 

Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse

 

 

Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Serves 4
Prep: 15 minutes

1 large ripe avocado
5 Tbsp raw cacao powder
5-7 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp almond milk (or milk of your choice)
1 tsp vanilla powder
2 pinches of himalayan pink salt (or sea salt)
2 Tbsp raw cacao butter (or cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil)

Gently melt the cacao butter in a heatproof bowl set over a small pan of steaming water e.g. bring the water to the boil then turn off the heat and place the bowl of cacao butter on top. This ensures the temperature of the cacao butter doesn’t go above  47ºC and all its antioxidants are preserved.

Place the avocado (peeled and stone removed) in a food processor along with the cacao powder, maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla and salt and blend until smooth. Slowly add the melted cacao butter with the motor running until it is all incorporated. Spoon the mousse into serving dishes, cover and place in the fridge to chill. To serve, crush freeze dried raspberries over the tops and sprinkle a few raw cacao nibs. These will keep covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.

 

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Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse

 

Decadent Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Brownie

Decadent Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Brownie

Decadent Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Brownie

 

 

Many moons ago while I was living in London, I discovered that chocolate brownies which were my ultimate sweet treat back then, were in fact super easy to make.

After trying a few average recipes, I made it my misison to find the ultimate, decadent, dark chocolate brownie recipe.

I tried out many, many recipes (much to my flatmates delight), and eventually settled on two. One had chocolate chunks and one didn’t.

I was looking for the perfect brownie that had a glossy top crust and was moist and soft on the inside. It couldn’t be too cakey or too fudgey, and it had to have the perfect melt in the mouth texture. Lastly, it had to actually taste like chocolate, not just sugary sweetness.

Over time my two winning recipes were slowly adapted and eventually morphed into one ultimate dark chocolate brownie recipe.

More recently I adapted it to include alternative ingredients making it dairy, gluten and refined sugar free (depending on the type of chocolate you use), while ensuring that it still tasted exactly the same as the original recipe!

This final version has raspberries added because their sweet tartness perfectly balances the rich chocolate flavour. I also think they make the brownie look much prettier and festive, making this a great recipe for special occasions such as Valentine’s day or Christmas!

 

Decadent Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Brownie

 

VERY IMPORTANT:

These brownies MUST be eaten at room temperature to ensure you get the true melt-in-mouth experience. They will keep well in or out of the fridge in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks. In hot weather I recommend storing them in the fridge and bringing them to room temperature half an hour before serving. They’re also fantastic when heated gently and served as a dessert with your favourite  yoghurt or ice cream.

 

Decadent Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Brownie

Makes: 24 pieces
Prep time: 20 minutes Bake time: 45 minutes

325g dark chocolate (I use 62% cacao solids with no milk products)
200g coconut oil
2g sea salt
1 Tbsp espresso coffee  (or 1 Tbsp instant coffee mixed with 1 Tbsp cold water)
240g coconut sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder (gluten free)
60g rice flour
40g cornflour
200g frozen organic raspberries

Preheat oven to 160ºC and line a baking tin with baking paper. This recipe fits well in a rectangular 23cm x 32cm tin.

Break up the chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl along with the coconut oil, salt and coffee. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water ensuring the bowl isn’t touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted.

Meanwhile, place the eggs and coconut sugar in a mixing bowl and beat (either with an electric handheld beater or in a bench top mixer) until they become pale and frothy, approximately 10 minutes. This beating time ensures you will have a nice glossy top to the brownies.

When the chocolate mixture has melted, slowly add it to the egg mixture and stir well. Sift the rice flour, cornflour and baking powder together and stir into the mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the frozen raspberries over top and gently press into the mixture.

Place brownie in the centre of the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. The brownie should have risen slightly and have a nice glossy top.

Allow to cool on a rack and then cut into desired shapes.

 

Note:
Frozen raspberries are best used in this recipe to ensure they don’t burn during baking.