Nutty Chocolate Truffles

Nutty Chocolate Truffles

Nutty Chocolate Truffles

 

One of my passions is creating sweet treats that taste freaking amazing AND are truly good for you. And by good for you, I mean full of protein and nutrients, ideally organic, dairy and gluten free, activated if raw, and as little or no sugar as possible.

Not always an easy task. More often than not treats which meet the “good for you” part fail miserably in taste department, and if they taste amazing it’s usually because they have some kind of sugar added.

So these nutty chocolate truffles are my latest obsession. They’re full of nut protein, they have a good serving of healthy fats from nuts and coconut oil, they deliver a good does of antioxidants from raw cacao powder and best of all they’re only sweetened with a little rice syrup.

Rice syrup is made from fermented brown rice and is completely fructose free. Fructose is the undesirable sugar that our bodies don’t have an off-switch for, meaning we don’t register when we’ve had enough. Our bodies don’t produce fructose and can’t metabolise it into energy (like they do glucose) so it’s sent to the liver which is the only organ that can metabolise it. If the liver is overloaded with fructose it’s then turned into fat and stored. Rice syrup is made up of glucose and maltose which our bodies can easily metabolise directly into useable energy. Rice syrup is quite a mild flavoured sweetener but works well with the rich chocolate flavour in these nutty chocolate truffles.

I’ve given a few options for the nuts and nut or seed butter in the recipe below because if you stick to the basic quantities you can mix and match nuts and butters to your liking. Peanut butter for example, will give you the richest chocolate truffles, almond butter creates a toasty caramel flavour, and tahini a slightly savoury flavour.

As always this recipe is super easy to whip up, simply throw all the ingredients into a food processor, blend, roll into balls and coat in your choice of topping. Desiccated coconut creates a sweeter truffle and raw cacao or matcha powder a decadent, slightly bitter truffle. You could also roll them in freeze dried fruit powders or finely chopped nuts, ferrero rocher styles. Get creative and let me know your favourite combinations in the comments below… Enjoy!

 

Nutty Chocolate Truffles

 

Nutty Chocolate Truffles

Makes: approximately 40
Prep time: 30 minute Chill time: 1 hour

1 cup brazil nuts, macadamia or cashews*
1 cup almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts*
1/2 cup nut butter or tahini
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, gently melted
2 Tbsp rice syrup
pinch Himalayan pink salt

Coatings
Desiccated coconut
Raw cacao powder
Freeze dried fruit powders
Matcha powder
Chopped nuts

Gently melt the coconut oil by placing into a heat proof bowl set over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off. This ensures it isn’t heated above 46ºC and remains in it’s raw, nutritious state.

Place your combination of raw nuts into a food processor and blend until you have chunky crumbs. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the melted coconut oil, and blend until the mixture is well combined and comes together.

Roll teaspoonful’s of the mixture into small balls. If your kitchen is quite warm place them into the fridge to chill for 10 minutes or so before rolling in the coatings. This sets the coconut oil and allows the coatings to stick better.

Place your coating of choice into a small bowl and roll the chocolate truffles until evenly covered. Store the nutty chocolate truffles in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

*to make these truffles even more nutritious, you can activate and dehydrate the nuts beforehand. This denatures the enzyme inhibitors in the nuts outer coating, which in turn makes the nutrients more bioavailable and easier to digest. To activate nuts soak them in filtered water using the guide times below, then either place them in a dehydrator set at 46ºC for 2 days or into an oven set on the lowest setting with the door slightly ajar. The nuts are ready when they’re completely dried through and crunchy.

Nut soak time guide:
cashew nuts 2-4 hours
almonds 10-12 hours
hazelnuts 4-6 hours
walnuts 4-6 hours
macadamia nuts 8-12 hours
pecans 4-6 hours
brazil nuts 8-12 hours

Nutty Chocolate Truffles

 

Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Lava Cakes

Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Lava Cakes

Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Lava Cakes

 

We don’t usually celebrate Valentine’s Day. Not because we don’t like the idea of a day celebrating love, but because it seems crazy to spend triple the amount on flowers, or dine in an overflowing restaurant from a set menu we wouldn’t otherwise choose.

So instead we made a pact to celebrate Valentine’s day whenever we feel like it which means I get beautiful flowers throughout the year… (erm….) and go on lots of date nights to new restaurants… (ok we do that part).

That said, this year I decided it might be fun to have a picnic on Valentine’s, day so I ordered one from our favourite local raw food cafe, Little Bird Organics. Because sometimes even the most capable like to have food prepared for them – especially on Valentine’s day!

As it happened, the desserts in the picnic I ordered were these raw chocolate and raspberry lava cakes, which have been on my “to create” list for ages!

Of course I have no idea what their actual recipe is, but it probably involves activating nuts and organic ingredients, which isn’t always possible for the home cook. So here’s my simplified version which I’ve also made very low in unrefined sugars, it’s also dairy and gluten free, and very quick easy to make!

 

Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Lava Cakes

 

The chocolate cake is essentially a raw chocolate brownie. Brazil nuts, which are a great source of selenium and magnesium, act as the “flour” along with desiccated coconut. Raw cacao powder provides the chocolate element and is packed with essential antioxidants. Dates are a fantastic source of fibre, iron, potassium and magnesium, and provide the sweetness along with a little rice syrup which is a very low glycemic sweetener. Lastly, avocado acts as the glue holding it all together, and is a great source of omega 6 fatty acids. For a more in depth explanation about why these ingredients and nutrients are so good for you, check out this similar raw chocolate mousse cake recipe here.

The red lava centre is a raw raspberry chia sauce which is simply raspberries blended with chia seeds and a little rice syrup. Raspberries are very rich in antioxidants which are key in preventing the ageing process. They’re also an excellent source of iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, molybdenum, potassium, chromium, and calcium.

These little lava cakes are amazing served simply on their own. But if you want to dress them up you could serve them with a sprinkling of freeze dried raspberries, a swirl of leftover raspberry chia sauce, fresh berries and a dollop of your favourite coconut yoghurt or nice cream.

I hope you enjoy this nutrient dense sweet treat, and would love to hear any questions or comments – simply leave me a message in the section down below and I’ll get back to you asap. Enjoy!

 

Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Lava Cakes

 

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Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Lava Cakes

Makes: 6 cakes
Prep time: 30 minutes

Raw Chocolate Cake
1 cup (150g) brazil nuts
1/2 cup (60g) desiccated coconut
1 ripe avocado
3/4 cup (70g) raw cacao powder
6 medjool dates, pits removed
1 Tbsp rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla powder
pinch Himalayan pink salt

Raw Raspberry Chia Sauce
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (defrosted)
1 Tbsp white chia seeds
1 Tbsp rice syrup

To Serve (optional)
Freeze dried raspberries
Fresh berries
Coconut yoghurt or Nice cream

To make the raspberry chia sauce place all the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Set aside while making the raw chocolate cake.

Line 6 holes of a standard muffin pan with a double layer of cling film. This prevents the cakes from sticking and allows you to lift them out easily at the end.

Place the brazil nuts in a food processor and blend until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Transfer them to a bowl, then add the desiccated coconut to the food processor and blend until it just starts to break down. Transfer the coconut to the bowl with the brazil nuts and set aside.

Combine the avocado, cacao powder, dates (pits removed!), rice syrup, sea salt and vanilla in the food processor and blend to a smooth chocolate paste. Add the brazil nuts and coconut and pulse until just combined.

Press tablespoonfuls of raw chocolate cake mixture into the lined muffin hole and press it up the sides, forming an approximately 8mm thick shell. When you have all 6 holes lined you should still have enough mixture leftover to create 6 circular “lids” of the same thickness.

Pour the raspberry chia sauce into the centre of each chocolate cake shell and fill to just under the rim. They should hold approximately 2 tablespoons of sauce.

Place the chocolate lids onto each cake and press the edges down to form a tight seal ensuring the raspberry chia sauce won’t escape.

Place the chocolate lava cakes in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour before serving. To serve, lift the lava cakes out of the tin, place on a plate and peel off the cling film. Serve sprinkled with freeze dried raspberries, fresh berries and/or your favourite coconut yoghurt or nice cream.

These lava cakes will keep in a sealed container for up to 5 days in the fridge or 1 month in the freeze.

 

Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Lava Cakes

 

 

Raw Banana Cheesecake

Raw Banana Cheesecake

Raw Banana Cheesecake

 

The inspiration for this raw banana cheesecake came from a dessert menu I created for a restaurant recently. One of the new desserts was a banana cheesecake – only, it was the standard dairy, sugar and gluten kind. It was so delicious though, it got me thinking….

Surely there must be a way to create a raw version of this cheesecake which only uses bananas as the sweetener?!

And there was!

This raw banana cheesecake is completely dairy, gluten and refined sugar free. The base is made from walnuts and coconut, bound together with medjool dates. The cheesecake filling is made from cashew nuts which are soaked to remove the natural inhibitor enzymes on their skins making them much more digestible. Soaking also softens them so they blend up into a lovely creamy filling.

Ripe bananas are the sole sweetener which creates a lovely mellow banana flavour. If you find this too mellow and are not concerned about using a sweetener then you could also add a couple of tablespoons of pure maple syrup or rice syrup.

Coconut oil and raw cacao butter replace the eggs of a traditional cheesecake and act as the binding and setting agents for the cheesecake filling. Coconut oil is a great source of lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties and raw cacao butter is high in antioxidants.

I hope you love this beautiful raw cheesecake recipe, and if you have any comments or questions, please leave me a note in the comments section down below. Enjoy!

 

Raw Banana Cheesecake

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Raw Banana Cheesecake

Makes: One 10cm x 25cm loaf tin / approximately 8 slices
Prep time: 1/2 hour Soaking time: 4 hours Chill time: 1 hour

Base

1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup raw walnuts
pinch pink Himalayan salt
6 medjool dates, pitted
1/4 t ground nutmeg or 1/4 freshly ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp coconut oil, gently melted (see note below)

Banana Filling

2 cups cashews, soaked (see note below)
1T lemon juice
1/2 cup drinking coconut milk (or nut milk of choice)
pinch himalayan pink salt
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
(2 Tbsp pure maple syrup or rice syrup – OPTIONAL)
1/4 cup coconut oil,  gently melted (see note below)
2 Tbsp cacao butter, gently melted (see note below)

Decoration
Coconut chips
Edible flowers

The cashew nuts need to be soaked for 2-4 hours beforehand, so think ahead and put these on to soak a couple of hours before you want to make the cheesecake. Or even the day before, drain and store in the fridge in a sealed container until you need them. To soak the cashews place them in a bowl, cover with filtered water and leave to stand for 4 hours. Drain off the water and rinse the cashews well.

Line a 10cm x 25cm loaf tin (or tin of your choice) with a double layer of cling film and set aside.

To make the base, gently melt the coconut oil by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off (see notes below). Place the desiccated coconut, brazil nuts and salt into a food processor and blend until the mixture looks like chunky crumbs. Add the medjool dates (ensuring you have removed the pitts!) and blend until well combined. Lastly add the melted coconut oil while the motor is running. Press the base mixture evenly into the prepared tin, then into the fridge to set.

To make the banana filling, first gently melt the coconut oil and cacao butter by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off (see notes below). Place the soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the lemon juice, coconut milk and sea salt, and blend until smooth.

Add the bananas and blend again until smooth.

Add the melted coconut oil and cacao butter and blend until smooth using the blender stick to keep the mixture moving. These should blend in completely and you should end up with a smooth banana cream. If you want to add more sweetener, taste the mixture at this point and add a small amount of sweetener, blending briefly to combine. Pour the banana filling onto the prepared base, smooth with a spatula and place in the freezer to set for a minimum of 1 hour.

Transfer the banana cheesecake from the freezer to the fridge a few hours before you want to serve it. To serve, lift the cheesecake out of the tin using the cling film, place on a chopping board and peel back the cling film. Cut into slices, place on serving plates and decorate with coconut flakes and edible flowers. Once defrosted the raw cheesecake will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

 

Raw Banana Cheesecake

 

 

 

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 this cheesecake filling are therefore activated. If you also wanted to activate the nuts in the base for this recipe they would need to be soaked and then dried. Ideally this would be in a dehydrator at 46ºC 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 46ºC so the nutrients remain unaffected by heat and the food still deemed raw. However high fat nuts like brazil and macadamia nuts don’t show any significant nutritional benefits from this intensive process, so there are no real advantages in activating these.

Note on melting raw ingredients: to ensure ingredients remain in their raw form and their nutrients fully intact, they must not be heated above 46ºC. 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 46ºC.

Note on choosing coconut oil: it’s important which type of coconut oil you choose. 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.

Raw Boysenberry & Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Raw Boysenberry & Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Raw Boysenberry & Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

 

I recently did a 6 week cleanse which was essentially a sugar detox, i.e. no sugar, fruit or sweeteners of any kind for 6 weeks. Believe me, it wasn’t easy. When you start looking you find almost everything has sugar in it these days, and eating out (which we love) was challenging to say the least! I did feel amazing by the end of it though, and got some great results so it was well worth it.

One of things I missed the most during the 6 weeks was nutrient-rich, raw desserts. So to celebrate the end of my sugar detox I created this raw boysenberry and vanilla bean cheesecake. I chose a low fructose fruit to be the star and kept the unrefined sugar content as low as possible, as even though I finished my sugar detox I feel way better when I eat as little sugar as possible.

For those not familiar with boysenberries, they’re very similar in appearance to blackberries but are slightly sweeter and have a purple and red hue. Most New Zealanders will associate boysenberries with the iconic ice cream flavour, but a quick google search told me their origins were in California and they’re the reason Knott’s berry farm became so famous (who knew!). They were introduced to New Zealand in the 1930’s and we are now the biggest exporter of them.

As proven by our iconic boysenberry ice cream flavour, vanilla and boysenberries are a match made in heaven so for this cheesecake I created a creamy vanilla layer and topped it with a tangy boysenberry layer. But I think if you wanted to swirl them together it would look and taste just as amazing.

The base of this cheesecake is made from almonds, coconut, medjool dates, coconut oil and lemon zest. Medjool dates act as a binding agent and are a whole food sweetener that contain beneficial amounts of the minerals zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium, they also contain vitamins B6 and A and soluble dietary fibre. Dates are high in fructose which is not ideal if you’re trying to keep your sugar consumption low, however, their high fibre content slows down the fructose absorption and when combined with protein (in the form of nuts here) this also acts to slow it down.

The cheesecake filling is made from a base of soaked cashew nuts, coconut milk, cacao butter, coconut oil and an unrefined sweetener. Soaking the cashew nuts makes them much easier to blend, creates a lovely creamy texture, and most importantly, removes the natural enzyme inhibitors and allows the cashews to be digested much more easily by your body.

The addition of coconut milk helps create the right consistency and coconut oil provides a setting quality. Coconut oil is also great source 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’s considered a ‘heathier’ fat because lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid and is processed by your body in the same way as carbohydrates as a direct source of energy.

Raw cacao butter is the pure cold pressed oil of the cocoa bean and is very high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are so important because they reduce the inflammatory action of free radicals, which slows the ageing process. Woop!

Boysenberries like most bramble fruits are also a fantastic source of antioxidants and as mentioned above, contain relatively low levels of fructose compared to other fruits.

There are a couple of options to choose from for the sweetener in the cheesecake filling. Rice syrup is the lowest fructose choice and has the least sweet flavour. Pure maple syrup and raw honey will provide a sweeter flavour and while they contain more fructose than rice syrup, they also contain other beneficial nutrients. See the notes below for more on how to choose a good raw honey and pure maple syrup.

As you can see, this raw dessert is full of nutritional value which goes a long way in balancing out the unrefined and whole food sugars that it also contains. Plus, because it’s high in protein you’ll only need a small serving to satisfy.

I hope you give this raw cheesecake a try and if you post any pictures to social media I would love to see them! Tag @swoon.food or #swoonfood so I can come and admire them. Enjoy!

 

Raw Boysenberry & Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

 

Raw Boysenberry & Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Makes: One 10cm x 25cm loaf tin / approximately 10 slices
Prep time: 1/2 hour Soaking time: 2 to 4 hours Chill time: 1 hour

Base

1/4 cup (35g) sunflower seeds
1/2 cup (60g) desiccated coconut
1/2 cup (85g) almonds
pinch pink Himalayan salt
5 (75g) medjool dates, pitted
zest of 1 organic lemon (if can’t get organic can leave this out)
1 Tbsp coconut oil, gently melted (see note below)

Vanilla Bean Layer

1 cup cashews, soaked (see note below)
1/4 cup coconut milk (or nut milk of choice)
1/4 cup rice syrup (can be substituted for pure maple syrup or raw honey for a sweeter version)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/8 tsp vanilla powder
1/4 cup coconut oil,  gently melted (see note below)
1 Tbsp cacao butter, gently melted (see note below)

Boysenberry Layer

1 cup cashews, soaked (see note below)
1 cup (140g) boysenberries (or blackberries)
1 Tbsp coconut milk (or nut milk of choice)
1 Tbsp pure rice syrup (can be substituted for pure maple syrup or raw honey, see note below)
3 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup coconut oil,  gently melted (see note below)
1 Tbsp cacao butter, gently melted (see note below)

Start by soaking the cashew nuts, place them in a bowl, cover with filtered water and leave to stand for 2 to 4 hours. Drain off the water and rinse the cashews well.

Line a 10cm x 25cm loaf tin (or tin of your choice) with a double layer of cling film and set aside.

To make the base, gently melt the coconut oil by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off (see notes below). Place the sunflower seeds, desiccated coconut, almonds and salt into a food processor and blend until the mixture looks like chunky crumbs. Add the medjool dates (ensuring you have removed the pitts!) and blend until well combined. Add the lemon zest if using. Lastly add the melted coconut oil while the motor is running. Press the base mixture evenly into the prepared tin, then place in the fridge to set.

To make the vanilla bean filling, gently melt the coconut oil and cacao butter by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off (see notes below). Place the soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the coconut milk, pure maple syrup, lemon juice, sea salt and vanilla, and blend until smooth.

Add the melted coconut oil and cacao butter gradually through the top of the blender while the motor is running. These should blend in completely and you should end up with a smooth vanilla cream. Pour the vanilla bean filling onto the prepared base, smooth with a spatula and place in the freezer to firm up.

To make the boysenberry filling, gently melt the coconut oil and cacao butter by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off (see notes below). Place the soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the boysenberries, coconut milk, pure maple syrup, lemon juice and sea salt and blend until smooth.

Add the melted coconut oil and cacao butter gradually through the top of the blender while the motor is running. These should blend in completely and you should end up with a smooth berry cream. Remove the vanilla cheesecake layer from the freezer and if the top is just set when lightly touched it’s ready for the boysenberry layer to be carefully poured on top. If not return to the freezer to set up for another 10 minutes (unless you want a swirly cheesecake in which case the vanilla layer doesn’t need to be set). When the boysenberry layer has been added, smooth with a spatula and place back in the freezer to firm up.

Transfer the cheesecake to the fridge a few hours before you want to serve it. To serve, lift the cheesecake out of the tin using the cling film, place on a chopping board and peel back the cling film. Cut into slices, place on serving plates and decorate with freeze dried berries and edible flowers. Once defrosted the raw cheesecake will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

 

Raw boysenberry and vanilla bean cheesecake

 

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 this cheesecake filling are therefore activated. If you also wanted to activate the nuts in the base for this recipe they would need to be soaked and then dried. Ideally this would be in a dehydrator at 46ºC for 1 1/2 – 2 days, or in an oven on the lowest fan bake setting with the door ajar for a couple of hours. The aim is to keep the nuts below 46ºC so the nutrients remain unaffected by heat and the food still deemed raw. High fat nuts like brazil and macadamia nuts don’t show significant nutritional benefits from this process, so there isn’t any advantage in activating these.

Note on melting raw ingredients: to ensure ingredients remain in their raw form and their nutrients fully intact, they must not be heated above 46ºC. When melting raw coconut oil or raw cacao butter, place the bowl of ingredients over a pot of steaming water with the heat turned off. This should ensure the ingredients do not heat above 46ºC.

Note on choosing coconut oil: it is important which type of coconut oil you choose. 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 harvested from maple trees by extracting the sap, 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 natural phenols which acts antioxidants as well as small amounts of the minerals calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and zinc, unlike refined sugar which is literally empty calories. Pure 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 coconut milk.

Note on raw honey: raw or unprocessed honey is a wholefood sweetener that has a higher fructose content than pure maple syrup but it also contains more antioxidants and has antibacterial and antifungal properties too. Raw or unprocessed honey can usually be found at farmers markets and specialty food stores. Most of New Zealand’s Manuka honey is also minimally processed and contains much of it’s inherent nutrients and protective properties. Beware of liquid honey’s, especially the types in squeezy bottles as these have been refined and often don’t contain any beneficial properties.

 

Dark Chocolate Cherry Ripe Slice

Dark Chocolate Cherry Ripe Slice

Dark Chocolate Cherry Ripe Slice

 

This dark chocolate cherry ripe slice is a revision on my original Homemade Cherry Ripe Bars that I posted way back at the very start of this blog.

Without taking too much away from the original recipe, which is still delicious, this new version really ups the game!

As it happens I’m not eating any sugar at the moment so this recipe was a request from Nick as he’s been reminiscing about the days when I used to make “normal sugary desserts”.

I completely understand how he feels as anyone who hasn’t trained their tastebuds to go without sugar for a while, will likely be disappointed by the lack of sugar in my last few sugar free recipes.

So as consolation for being such a good taste tester 😉 I offered to make him any sweet treat of his choosing. Out of all the recipes in the world he chose my cherry ripe bars and some oaty anzac biscuits. Go figure. In his position I think I would have asked for a molten chocolate pudding and maybe a salted caramel creme brûlée! But I guess that’s why I’m doing the  10 Day Sugar Cleanse at the moment and he isn’t.

 

Dark Chocolate Cherry Ripe Slice

 

I ended up tweaking my original cherry ripe recipe to use freeze dried cherries and raspberries, to give the slice a much more intense flavour and colour. Another benefit of using freeze dried fruit is it doesn’t contain any added sugar or vegetable oil like the standard dried versions, so even though freeze dried fruits are more expensive they’re worth it in the long run!

In this revised recipe I used pure maple syrup to sweeten the filling and coconut oil to bring it all together. For the chocolate coating you can either use a store-bought (ideally dairy-free) dark chocolate, or for an entirely raw and refined sugar free version you can make the raw chocolate coating. I’ve included instructions for both options in the recipe below.

And that’s pretty much it! The recipe really is that simple.

If you’re a cherry ripe bar fan from way back like my friends at frankie.com.au, or like the sound of a luscious coconut and sour red cherry filling covered in rich dark chocolate, then this recipe is for you!

I hope you enjoy this dark chocolate cherry ripe slice as much as Nick has enjoyed eating it, and hopefully I’ll be off my sugar free diet soon and enjoying it with you all too!

 

For more sour cherry recipes check out this Pana Chocolate style Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla or these Raw Cacao & Brazil Nut Hemp Slice with Sour Cherries

 

 

Dark Chocolate Cherry Ripe Slice

 

Dark Chocolate Cherry Ripe Slice

Servings: Approximately 16 slices
Prep time: 30 minutes Chill time: 30 minutes

2 cups of desiccated coconut
3 Tbsp pure maple or rice syrup
3 Tbsp coconut oil, gently melted
1 cup freeze dried cherries
3/4 cup freeze dried raspberries
pinch of himalayan pink salt
300g dark chocolate (62% or 70%, dairy free) OR see below for the raw chocolate recipe

 

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

If you’re using store bought chocolate, melt by placing in a heat proof bowl set over a pan of boiling water. Ensure the bowl doesn’t touch the water to avoid overheating the chocolate.

Gently melt the coconut oil by placing in a heat proof bowl set over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off (you could use the same pan of water as the chocolate, just switch bowls the bowls over as needed).

Place the remaining ingredients into a food processor and blend until well combined. The mixture should be slightly sticky and hold together when pressed.

Spread one third of the melted chocolate over the bottom of the lined tin and place in the fridge or freezer to set for 5 to 10 minutes.

When the chocolate layer is just firm to touch, remove from the tin from the fridge or freezer and spread the cherry mixture over evenly, pressing it down well. This ensures the bars will hold together when cut.

Pour the remaining chocolate on top and spread evenly with a spoon or palate knife, then create a decorative ripple effect.

Return the slice to the fridge to set for approximately 20 minutes. When the chocolate is just firm, remove from the fridge and slice into bars using a hot, dry knife (i.e. dip the knife into steaming hot water and then dry it off before cutting the slice).

Store the chocolate cherry ripe slice in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 1 month.

Raw Chocolate Recipe

1 cup (140g) raw cacao butter
1/2 cup (120g) cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil
pinch himalayan pink rock salt
1 cup (170g) pure maple or rice syrup
1 cup (130g) raw cacao powder

 

Bring a small pan of water to the boil then take it off the heat.

Place the cacao butter, coconut oil and salt in a heat proof bowl then place it on top of the pan of steaming water, stirring occasionally until fully melted. Melting the ingredients this way ensures the temperature of the ingredients doesn’t go above 47ºC, which means they will remain in their raw state and all their nutrients remain intact.

Once melted remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.

The raw chocolate is now ready to be used.