Raw White Chocolate with Almonds and Raspberries

Raw White Chocolate with Almonds and Raspberries

Raw White Chocolate with Almonds & Raspberries

 

Happy new year! I hope you had a fabulous Christmas holiday and are feeling refreshed and ready to take on 2016.

At the start of each new year I like to review the most popular recipes on Swoon Food to get an idea of what you guys are loving te most.

I was pretty surprised to see the most popular recipe to date is my Almond, Pistachio & Cranberry Chocolate Fudge, which was also the very first recipe I ever posted.

Following closely behind is Crunchy Maple Banana GranolaRaw Chocolate Avocado Mousse, and fourth place is one of my personal favourites Banana & Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes.

Once again breakfasts and sweet treats seem to be where it’s at, which is lucky because I just happened to be working on a raw chocolate “fudge” before Christmas, but somehow it got lost amongst all the Christmas Spice Cookies and Festive Granola.

 

Raw White Chocolate with Almonds & Raspberries

 

The best way to describe this raw white chocolate fudge is like the inside of a Lindt Lindor ball.

It’s smooth and creamy with a melt in your mouth quality that combines beautifully with the crunch of the almonds and tartness of the raspberries.

In truth, it’s really more of a chocolate than a fudge so I ended up adjusting the name to reflect that.

This recipe differs from the winning chocolate fudge above in that it’s completely raw (if you don’t toast the almonds) and contains no refined sugar. It’s also a little more tricky to make as it involves some beating and setting, but the effort is worth it I promise!

I hope you love this raw white chocolate and if you post any of your creations to social media I would love to see them, tag @swoon.food #swoonfood.

Enjoy x

 

Raw White Chocolate with Almonds and Raspberries

125g cacao butter
125g coconut oil
125g pure maple syrup
125g cashew butter
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
250g raw almonds
15g freeze dried raspberries

If you prefer your chocolate to be completely raw, simply chop the raw almonds into pieces. Alternatively, to toast the almonds preheat an oven to 160ºC fan bake and place the almonds on a baking tray in the centre of the oven. Toast until their centres turn a light brown colour, approximately 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then roughly chop into pieces.

Line a small slice tin e.g. 20cm x 20cm or 18 x 30cm with baking paper.

Place the cacao butter and coconut oil in a heat proof bowl set over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off. This ensures the ingredients won’t go above 42ºC and will remain in their raw state.

When they are completely melted add the maple syrup and whisk to combine. Add the cashew butter and salt and whisk to combine. At this point the mixture will be a warm, caramel coloured, thin liquid. To speed up the setting process place the entire bowl in the freezer and check every 5 minutes. When it starts to set around the edges remove from the freezer and use an electric hand whisk to beat it. The mixture should start to thicken after a few minutes and turn a pale cream colour. If not, return to the freezer for another 5 minutes.

When the mixture has turned into a thick pale cream, fold in the chopped almonds. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and spread out evenly. Crush the freeze dried raspberries a little in your hand and sprinkle evenly over the top, pressing them in where needed. Place the chocolate in the fridge to continue to set.

When the chocolate is set, remove from the fridge, place on a chopping board and cut into slices. Store the chocolate in a sealed container in the fridge where it will last a couple of weeks.

 

Raw White Chocolate with Almonds & Raspberries

Cinnamon Jam Donut Smoothie

Cinnamon Jam Donut Smoothie

Cinnamon Jam Donut Smoothie

 

This cinnamon jam donut smoothie recipe is from the second edition of my Inspired Smoothies ebook, and it’s still one of my favourites!

It’s a great example that not all smoothies necessarily have to be green to be good for you. Even though it has a decadent name, it’s actually a very healthy smoothie and is a great energy and protein.

The best way to describe this smoothie is a thick and creamy, vanilla milkshake with hints of cinnamon, banana and caramel. And when topped with raspberry chia jam it really is reminiscent of a jam donut.

This cinnamon jam donut smoothie has a base of cashews nuts which are a great source of plant protein and are high in magnesium which is vital for bone health and helping your body and muscles relax.

Bananas are one of the best sources of manganese which jump starts the metabolism and encourages wound healing. They’re also a good source of vitamin B6 (vital for so many processes!), vitamin C (boosts immunity, reduces inflammation, and slows the ageing of skin) and copper (essential in the development of blood cells).

Dates are also high in vitamin B6, vitamin A, potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium and fibre.

Raspberries are a naturally low fructose fruit and are also a great source of antioxidants and fibre.

Last but not least, chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid which is beneficial to the brain and heart, and contain all 9 essential amino acids making these little seeds a complete plant protein.

You need to plan ahead a little for this recipe as the cashew nuts require soaking for 2-4 hours beforehand to ensures they blend into a super smooth and creamy smoothie. However, if you don’t have time or just want this smoothie ASAP, you could use boiling water to soften them faster. Or do away with the soaking step altogether provided you have a high speed blender!

Mmake sure you have frozen bananas on hand as these really add to the thick, creamy chilled texture. A great tip is to keep a stash of peeled, chopped bananas in your freezer so that you’re always smoothie or nice cream ready!

 

Cinnamon Jam Donut Smoothie

 

Smoothies are a fantastic way to get a lot of nutrients into your body in one go. Take a green smoothie for example, you can literally pack an entire salad or plate of greens into one glass, yet it’s easy to finish and you don’t feel overly full afterwards.

The reason for this is the ingredients have already been partially broken down by the blender blades which means they are more readily digested and absorbed by your body. This in turn means your body doesn’t have to put as much energy into digestion and can turn its attention to other important processes such as detoxification and healing.

The other amazing thing about smoothies is the ingredients are entirely raw which means all the nutrients are in their original unprocessed state and not affected by heat. This means all the the vitamins and minerals remain intact, as well as the foods inherent living enzymes. These enzymes assist the absorption of the nutrients which futher takes the pressure off your digestive system.

So essentially, by drinking smoothies you can maximise your nutrient intake in a very easy way.

When choosing ingredients that you’ll be eating raw, consider buying organic, spray free produce if you can. Or at the very least, take note of the dirty dozen and clean fifteen as identified by the EWG and try and avoid the dirty dozen if you can’t get them organic/spray free.

If you’d like more helpful hints and tips about making smoothies, or some new recipe inspiration, check out my free Inspired Smoothies ebook here, or my 5 Day Green Smoothie Challenge here.

I hope you enjoy this cinnamon jam donut smoothie recipe! Leave a comment below and tell me what you think, and be sure to tag your pictures #swoonfood on Instagram or Facebook.

 

Cinnamon Jam Donut Smoothie

Serves: 2 large or 4 small glasses
Prep time: 2-4 hours soaking time (optional); 10 minutes to make the smoothie

2 cups soaked cashew nuts
2 small frozen bananas
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla powder or essence
2 Medjool date, pitted
2 cup filtered water
1 cup ice

Raspberry Chia Jam

1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp chia seeds

Toppings

Cinnamon
Raspberries

Make sure you have frozen bananas, plan ahead and put them in the freezer a couple of hours beforehand or better still keep a stash in the freezer ready for smoothie and nice cream making.

To soak the cashew nuts, place them in a bowl and cover with filtered water and leave to stand for for 2-4 hours. Drain and rinse well.

Prepare the chia jam by washing the raspberries well. If using fresh raspberries, place them in a bowl and simply crush with a fork until they become juicy. Combine with the chia seeds and stir well. If the raspberries are frozen heat them a little either in the microwave or in a small pan over low heat until they become soft and juicy. Transfer to a bowl, combine with the chia seeds and stir well. Set the raspberry chia jam aside to thicken, which should take about 5-10 minutes.

To make the smoothie, place the cashew nuts into a blender jug with the frozen bananas, cinnamon, vanilla, dates, water and ice. Blend on high until all the ingredients are well combined then pour into your serving glasses.

Spoon a layer of raspberry chia jam onto the top of each smoothie and swirl with a spoon. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and place a couple of extra raspberries (fresh or frozen) on top. Serve and enjoy!

Note: If you want to make these smoothies ahead of time, keep the chia jam separate and store in sealed containers in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to serve top with the chai jam, cinnamon and raspberries.

 

Cinnamon Jam Donut Smoothie

 

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

 

When I first discovered raw cheesecakes I was amazed at how similar they tasted to a traditional baked cheesecake. This amazement was quickly replaced by excitement as, being intolerant to dairy, this meant I could now eat one of my favourite desserts again!

The other advantage of a raw cheesecake is that all the nutrients are in their original form i.e. unaffected by heat, making it a much healthier dessert – when eaten in moderation of course.

That said, not all raw cheesecakes are created the same. I’ve tasted many amazing ones, Little Bird Organics in particular has the recipe perfected and create some awesome flavours, and I’ve tasted some that were not so good.

Needless to say I was pretty excited to try my hand at making one, especially when I got hold of the aforementioned ‘experts’ cookbook. My first attempt using their recipe turned out pretty damn well, however, it was very labour intensive.

Activating and drying the nuts for the base was pretty fiddly without a dehydrator (and I’m not even sure very successful) and cracking open a couple of young coconuts to scoop out the flesh was a task in itself – especially if you don’t have the special little coconut axe! I used a blunt knife as suggested and the tops didn’t really pop off as they were supposed to. So after hacking them off I then had to pick all the little bits of splintered shell out of the precious flesh inside.

I’m not even entirely sure I had the requisite young coconuts to start with as it turns out they can bleach older coconuts to make them look like young ones (seriously?!), which may have been why the inside flesh wasn’t easy to scoop out. One of the coconuts I eventually got open had odd pink coloured water and flesh which I’m pretty sure meant it was bad.

Needless to say, even though the cheesecake tasted amazing (we had it on Christmas day and it was a massive hit!), I haven’t attempted the recipe again as it’s just so much easier (and probably more cost effective!) to simply buy one from Little Bird themselves.

 

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

 

Recently however, I was on a cookbook shoot and one of the recipes was a raw cheesecake. This one was entirely cashew based with no young coconut flesh to be seen, which got me thinking. Surely there’s a way to make a raw cheesecake in a much simpler way AND still have it taste amazing (plus a little lighter on the wallet!).

So after some recipe tinkering, this is my version of a raw chocolate cheesecake or cheesecakes in this case. It still requires a high speed blender to make the filling, unfortunately I don’t think you can get around this unless you’re happy with lumpy cheesecakes. However, it’s a lot less time consuming and the ingredients don’t cost quite so much.

That said, a raw cheesecake is probably never going to be a budget friendly dessert unless cashews suddenly rain from the sky. But as raw cheesecakes are very rich due to their high protein and good fat content, you can only eat small amounts at a time so they do go a lot further. This is also why I’ve created this recipe as little mini cheesecakes as we found them the perfect serving size.

These raw chocolate cheesecakes contain no dairy, gluten or refined sugar. The ‘cheesecake’ filling is made from a base of cashew nuts which are soaked for 2-4 hours, then blended with raw cacao and pure maple syrup to create a lovely creamy filling. Lemon juice creates the traditional cheesecake tang and coconut oil and raw cacao butter add to the creaminess and ensure the whole thing sets! The traditional biscuit crumb base is replaced by a combination of nuts, dried coconut, dates and coconut oil, and the whole recipe takes about an hour to prepare and another half to set – but the end result is definitely worth it!

 

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

Base

1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
pinch sea salt
5 medjool dates, pitted
1 Tbsp coconut oil, gently melted (see note above)

Line a 12 hole muffin pan with cling film. Place the desiccated coconut into a food processor and blend until it starts to break down. Add the almonds and blend until they are half ground and then add the cashews, cacao powder and salt. Blend until the mixture looks like chunky crumbs. Add the medjool dates (ensuring you have removed the pitts!) and blend until they are well combined. Lastly add the melted coconut oil while the motor is running. Press a spoonful of mixture into the bottom of each muffin hole and place the pan in the fridge to set.

Filling

2 cups raw cashew nuts, soaked 2-4 hours
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 lemon, juiced
1 vanilla pod, scraped
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
pinch sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, gently melted (see note above)
1/4 cup raw cacao butter, gently melted (see note above)

Place the cashews in a bowl, cover with filtered water and leave to soak for 2-4 hours. Drain the cashews and rinse well. Place cashews in a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla seeds, raw cacao powder and sea salt. Blend until smooth – start off on low using the stirring stick to keep things moving and build up speed to get it smooth. Make sure you don’t over heat (cook!) the mixture as the blender blades can create a lot of heat. If it starts to feel warm place the jug in the fridge for 10 minutes or so. When the mixture is smooth add the coconut oil and cacao butter gradually. Again you will need to use the stick to keep everything moving. When the chocolate filling is smooth, spoon it into the muffin holes and smooth off the tops. Return to the fridge to chill.

Chocolate ganache topping

1/3 cup coconut oil, gently melted (see above)
1/3 cup raw cacao butter, gently melted (see above)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
generous pinch salt

To decorate:
freeze dried raspberries
edible flowers (optional)

Gently melt the coconut oil and cacao butter together by placing in a bowl set over a steaming pot of water with the heat turned off. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the maple syrup, cacao powder and salt. Give it a good whisk to make sure there are no lumps. At this stage you probably want to leave it to cool as you are aiming for a spreadable ganache type consistency. If it’s too runny it will slide off the top of the cheesecakes. You can either leave it at room temperature or place it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool. If it cools too much and starts to set or becomes lumpy, simply place it on top of the steaming water again and whisk well. Pop the cheesecakes out of the muffin tin and place on a lined tray. When the ganache is at spreadable consistency, spread a layer on top of each cheesecake. Decorate with a sprinkle of freeze dried raspberries and edible flowers if using. Keep the cheesecakes in the fridge until ready to serve, they will last up to 5 days in the fridge or a few weeks in the freezer.

Note on activating nuts: activating is the process of soaking nuts (or seeds) in water to remove the natural inhibitor enzymes on their skins to make them more digestible. The cashews in the cheesecake filling of this recipe are therefore activated. If you also wanted to activate the cashews and almonds in the base for this recipe they would need to be soaked and then dried. Ideally this would be in a dehydrator at 41ºC for 1 1/2 – 2 days, or in an oven on the lowest fan bake setting with the door ajar for about a day. The aim is to keep the nuts below 41ºC so the nutrients remain unaffected by heat and the food still deemed raw.

Note on melting raw ingredients: to ensure ingredients remain in their raw form and their nutrients fully intact, they must not be heated above 41º. When melting raw coconut oil or raw cacao butter, do so by placing the bowl of ingredients over a pot of steaming water with the heat turned off. This should ensure the ingredients do not heat above 41ºC.

Note on choosing coconut oil: it is important which type of coconut oil you use. A lot of the cheaper coconut oils are heat or chemical processed which destroys the inherent nutrients that have made coconut oil so popular recently. Look for ‘cold pressed, extra virgin, organic’ or ‘unrefined raw’ coconut oil. Even though it may cost a little more, it is WAY better for you. Coconut oil contains high quantities of lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It boosts your immune system and metabolism, lowers blood pressure and helps with the absorption of minerals. Even though coconut oil is a saturated fat, it is considered a ‘heathier’ fat because lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid. This means it is easily digestible and processed by your body in the same way as carbohydrates as a direct source of energy.

Note on choosing maple syrup: make sure you get the real deal! There are quite a few maple syrups out there that are just maple flavoured sugar syrup, full of additives and often high fructose corn syrup. Pure maple syrup lists only “pure maple syrup” under ingredients and is made by a natural process of extracting the sap from maple trees, evaporating off excess water and filtering to remove impurities. Pure maple syrup is an unrefined sugar and has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar. It contains minerals and antioxidants such as calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and zinc, unlike refined sugar which contains none. Maple syrup is still a form of sugar however, so while it is better choice than refined sugar it is still best used in moderation. Feel free to use less in this recipe if it suits your tastes and if you do decrease the amount of maple syrup, replace the quantity you leave out with an equal amount of either filtered water or nut milk.

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes