Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Candied Fruit And Nut Raw Chocolate

So if you haven't already indulged in enough of the stuff last Easter weekend, here's some more chocolate to ogle over. But really, this is the good stuff. Raw chocolate is made with three primary ingredients: cacao butter, raw cacao powder and pure maple syrup. It has no refined sugar and is jam packed full of antioxidants, magnesium and loads of b vitamins, so it's even going to give you some real goodness - when eaten in moderation! The recipe is super simple and perfect to satisfy those dreaded 4pm sugar cravings. But most importantly, it tastes so darn good.

My favourite thing about this recipe is you can customise it to your own taste. I've chosen some of my favourite nuts pistachios, pecans and almonds, however if you prefer something different or perhaps if you don't like nuts altogether, you can substitute. [Although trust me, these candied nuts are the bomb.] I've also added a handful of raisins as well as goji berries, which not only add a gorgeous pop of colour but hold fantastic immune properties, so they're at the top of my list in the run up to exams.

THIS RECIPE MAKES ONE EXTRA LARGE BAR
For the Chocolate:
150g Cacao Buter
75g Raw Cacao Powder
150ml Pure Organic Maple Syrup
A pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt

For the Candied Nuts:
1 level tbsp coconut oil
75ml Maple Syrup or Agave Nectar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp of Cinnamon

And I've added about a handful each of...
Almonds
Goji Berries
Pecans
Pistachios 
Raisins

METHOD
Preheat your oven to 180°
In a saucepan, melt together the coconut oil and maple syrup. In the meantime, lay your selection of nuts out on a sheet of baking parchment over a baking tray. Once the maple mixture is smooth, add the vanilla extract and cinnamon and pour over the nuts. Mix together so all the nuts are coated and then put them in the oven until they're lovely and golden - about eight minutes.

Whilst the nuts are in the oven, bring a saucepan to a simmer and gently melt the cacao butter in a glass bowl over the lightly steaming water. Once this is completely melted, use a spatula to stir in the raw cacao powder, maple syrup and pink himalayan salt (you could also use normal salt, this is preference). When this is smooth, carry on stirring until the mixture begins to thicken, which could take a few minutes.

Pour the chocolate into another parchment-lined baking tray. Choose tray size wisely here as you don't want the chocolate to be spread too thin! [On the other hand, if like it a bit more chunky and you want to make it a little thicker, then it does end up a little like rocky road. Yum.] Pour over your candied nuts and fruit evenly over the chocolate.

Finally, leave to set in the freezer for an hour before enjoying.

I always find it a bit difficult to go completely cold turkey after Easter, so this is a fantastic homemade indulgence to stop sugar cravings and help graduate back into a healthy lifestyle - without feeling guilty! It's still a little bit of a treat, but it contains so many nutrients and tastes a whole lot more luxe than the old bar of dairy milk you've got sat in the cupboard for later. Bon Appetit.
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