It does seem to be all about chocolate this weekend. Must be the magnesium I’m craving! Lol! If you’re not sure what I mean read my last post here and it will explain everything! Anyway I’m going to get straight into it. This recipe is a basic raw chocolate recipe I use to make a variety of different truffles and other chocolate goodness. It comes courtesy of the New York Times Bestseller, Practical Paleo, by Diane Sanfilipo, BS, NC. If you have not checked her out please do. She is a leader in the paleo-sphere! I also use my own recipe, which is nut-free too. You can find it here.
Makes 10 chocolates
2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp. almond butter
3 tbsp. coconut butter
2 tbsp. raw cacao powder
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tsp. pure maple syrup
Cacao and/or coconut for dusting truffles in
1. Combine all ingredients in a small-medium sized bowl, stirring until forms a smooth paste. It will be quite runny. Add in any of the extra ingredients you may want to use at this stage (see below for suggestions).
2. Place bowl in fridge for 20 minutes or until mixture starts to firm up enough to roll into balls or shape into rounds.
3. Shape chocolate into desired shapes and roll in cacao or coconut and return to fridge.
4. Store in fridge but take out 5 minutes before you eat them to allow them to soften slightly.
Add 3tbsp. of shredded coconut, 1 tbsp. of goji berries and 1 tbsp. of cacao nibs
Add slivered almonds and fresh raspberries.
Add 2 tsp. of mint extract for an after dinner mint chocolate.
- Chocolate Therapy (healtherella.wordpress.com)
So I am doing the city to surf tomorrow! For those of you not from Sydney this is an annual 14 km running race that starts from the CBD and ends at Bondi Beach. I am totally unprepared as I signed up only 2 weeks ago and I have never run this far in my life! I am more of a swimmer than runner. The longest distance I have run is 8km and in the past year I have gone for a run probably 5 times, 4 of which were in the last 2 weeks lol! But hey, it has been on my bucket list for years and it just felt like the right time to do it! I’m not in it to win it, just to have some fun. It’s a bit late for tips for tomorrow but if you have any please share as I plan to do the bridge run in September (thankfully this is only 9km). How do you prepare for a relatively long run?
Now you’re probably wondering what has running got to do with chocolate? Well there is one more set back. This week I hurt my calf while running and I still do not seem to be able to run. Jog maybe but not for long. So it looks like I may be walking all the way to Bondi! And no I do not mean I have been drowning my sorrows with chocolate but it has played a role in my attempt at recovery.
So how do you help calf muscles recover? My wonderful trainer at Enliven Fitness gave me some simple yet valuable advice to rectify a calf injury: rest, stretch, heat, hydration and diet. Rest means I have not run but kept it moving with my walks to work. Stretching means I have stretched it out every night and lay my calf on my lacrosse ball to really release the localised pain in my calf muscles. Heat means I have applied heat with hot baths with Epsom salts and deep heat at night. Having a bath before stretching is especially helpful too as it warms the muscles up, allowing for deeper stretches.
My trainer advised that staying Hydrated is also very important which I am doing by drinking 2.5 L of water per day with a pinch of Celtic sea salt to aid absorption and drinking fresh coconut water after training. For my diet I should be increasing my magnesium intake by taking a magnesium supplement but I have run out. I remembered though that cacao is high in magnesium, which upon researching online I found that I was right. So whoopee!!! An excuse to eat chocolate! No seriously while it does sound tempting to eat chocolate every night this is not what I did, as chocolate also contains lots of sugar! Which we all know is not good for you.
The highest level of magnesium is found in raw cacao, however on its own this is very bitter and astringent. So I thought up some simple ways to eat raw cacao but still enjoy it. All of the recipes are gluten, grain and processed sugar-free and if you omit the dairy they are vegan and paleo-friendly too.
Every morning I made a delicious hot cacao drink instead of a coffee. This was great to have with my breakfast or for morning tea and with the coconut milk it is vegan and paleo-friendly. It is so simple too:
Just heat my choice of milk (full fat dairy or coconut milk are my choices) and whisk in 1 tbsp. of raw cacao. Pour it into a milk frother, froth it up or just pour it straight into the your mug. I like it like this but if that’s too bitter, you can sweeten it with cinnamon and/or maple syrup, or honey.
Now through my research I did find that the best combination for magnesium and hydration is coconut and raw cacao, so I also made my coco-berry power smoothie for breakfast, using the cacao variation. With the coconut water this is extremely hydrating and is paleo-friendly too! For a cheeky dessert I made a simple yet delicious raw coconut chocolate mousse. This is a paleo and vegan friendly dessert, so enjoy without the guilt!
See below for recipe:
1 can of coconut milk, refrigerated over night
4 tsp. raw cacao
2 tsp. maple syrup (optional)
Raspberries, mint and/or bananas to serve
Toasted shredded coconut and/or cacao nibs and mint leaves to garnish
1. Take coconut milk out of the fridge and do not shake it. Open the can and scoop the separated coconut cream from the top into a separate jar and pour the remaining liquid into another jar.
2.Measure out 8 tbsp. of the cream into small bowl.
3. Add raw cacao and 1 tbsp. of the coconut liquid to the coconut cream and mix to combine. Add the maple syrup if you are using it (I don’t use it but for some people it is a bit too bitter without it). Add more liquid if the mousse is too dry or more cream if it is too runny.
4. Return to fridge for 1 hour.
5. Serve mousse with fruit and garnish of choice.
Mix some crushed raspberries and lime zest through the mousse.
Drizzle some raw chocolate through the cold mousse that has been in the fridge. Chunks should form throughout the mousse.
If you follow me on instagram, you would have seen some experimenting going on in my kitchen last night. I was working on a healthier version of the sweet potato chocolate truffles I made earlier this year. The older version was a a bit of a cheat as it used chocolate, which had processed sugar and some milk solids in it. They were delicious and I don’t mind eating chocolate as a treat but I wanted to challenge myself to make a true vegan and paleo version. I guess just to see if I could but also, of course, for the health benefits. I didn’t use any recipes so this was a true experiment! You can use the ganache` mixture to make truffles or as icing for a cake, like my paleo chocolate cake. For this deliouse ganache` I used cacao butter, cocoa, dates, coconut flour and sweet potato and boy are the truffles made from it delicious! A great addition to the end of a meal or to accompany a coffee, tea or a nice glass of full-bodied red wine. I hope you enjoy them.
1 medium sweet potato
120 g raw cacao butter
4 tbsp cocoa, plus about 1 cup extra for rolling the truffles in
3 medjool dates, roughly chopped
1 tbsp coconut flour
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Bake sweet potato whole with skin on for 30-40 minutes or until it is soft and squishy to touch. Set aside to cool enough for you to peel it.
2. Place cacao butter in glass or metal bowl set over a small pot of boiling water and melt gently. Once it is melted, whisk in the cocoa.
3. Peel the sweet potato and place the flesh in a food processor with the dates. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the warm cacao butter mixture and pulse to combine.
4. Pour mixture out into a medium mixing bowl and sprinkle over the coconut flour. Mix together and if using as icing on a cake spread over the cooled cake. If using for truffles, set aside for 10-15 minutes to cool and start to set.
5. To make the truffles, place the remaining cocoa on a plate for rolling the truffles in. Roll the truffles into small bite sized balls and then roll in the cocoa. Place in a container or on a plate large enough to let all the truffles sit flat. Leave covered in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set.
6. Serve straight from the fridge with your chosen beverage or as a dessert plate with some bliss balls.
- Apricot and Coconut Bliss Balls (healtherella.wordpress.com)
This dessert is raw, vegan and paleo as it is based predominantly of nuts with no cheese, processed sugar or dairy in sight. The base is made with a combination of nuts and sweet dates to stick them together while the filling is made from cashew nuts blended to create a beautifully smooth paste that takes on the flavours of lime and coconut perfectly. Diets aside though, this is a truly delicious cake that has been boyfriend and kid approved, so you don’t have to save this for those following a diet. Serve it to anyone and I guarantee they will be impressed.
8 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
2/3 cup walnuts (Activated* are ideal)
1/3 cup almonds (Activated are ideal)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
pinch celtic sea salt
3 cups cashews
3/4 cup coconut nectar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice ( I used 5 but this will vary according to how juicy they are)
3/4 cup coconut oil
2 fresh mangoes, flesh removed (you could also use defrosted frozen mango)
lime juice and coconut nectar, to taste
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 lime, zest finely grated
1 fresh mango, peeled and flesh thinly sliced
coconut ice cream
1. Grease and line a 25cm round springform cake tin.
2. For the base, place the walnuts, almonds and coconut in the food processor and pulse until resembles the texture of bread crumbs. Add dates and pulse until well combined. Press into the base and place in the freezer while you make the filling.
3. For the filling, wash the food processor and add all the filling ingredients. Pulse at high-speed until smooth and creamy. Pour onto the base layer and spread out evenly. Return to the freezer to set firm enough to pour over the topping.
4. In a blender, blend the mango and add the lime and coconut nectar to taste. You won’t need much so add each in small amounts until you reach the right balance of sweet and tangy. Pour over set filling layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle over the coconut and lime zest and return to freezer to set for at least 4 hours.
5. To serve, remove from freezer to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Use a sharp hot knife to cut slices of the cake. You can heat the knife by placing it under hot running water. Do this between each slice. Serve with fresh mango slices and small scoop of coconut ice cream.
* Activated nuts have been soaked in water over night to activate the digestive inhibitor and then dried out at a very low temperature to retain their nutrients. For this reason they are considered to be more nutritious and easier to digest. You can find them at all good health food stores.
Recipe adapted from www.taste.com.au
- Apricot and Coconut Bliss Balls (healtherella.wordpress.com)
- Vegan Mango, Lime and Coconut Cheeze Cakes (healtherella.wordpress.com)
- Mango Coconut Sorbet (marriedtomeatloaf.com)
- Vegan ‘Cream’ (healtherella.wordpress.com)
- Roasted Strawberry, Coconut and Lime Icy Pops (starttobehealthynow.wordpress.com)
Ganache` is usually a beautiful combination of chocolate and cream that, when left to cool, forms a decadent chocolate paste great for a rich icing or filling for cakes. This one though is a bit different as instead of cream it mixes sweet potato with the chocolate along with some clean natural sweeteners: honey, vanilla and maple syrup. It really is quite amazing how the combination of sweet potato pure` and chocolate creates the same rich but light mouth feel as the traditional recipe. I am working on a paleo and vegan version of this, which replaces chocolate with raw cacao and cacao butter, but for now this definitely does the trick. I hope you enjoy them!
Makes enough icing to cover 2 of my Paleo chocolate cakes.
1 cup sweet potato mashed (see method below)
180 g chocolate
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat Oven to 180 C.
2. Once oven is hot place the whole sweet potato (do not cut it or remove the skin) onto a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes or until very soft all the way through (test with a skewer).
3. Take sweet potato out of the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
4. Peel the baked sweet potato and mash the flesh in a bowl, measuring 1 cup of it for the ganache`.
Making the Ganche`
1. Gently melt chocolate in a metal or glass bowl over a pot of boiling water. You don’t want the water to be touching the bowl so put in about 1 inch of water. Set aside, once melted.
2. Place sweet potato in a food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth paste.
3. Add chocolate, maple syrup, honey, vanilla and coconut oil. Continue to pulse until combined.
4. Spread over cakes or in between cake layers.
Ice cream is one of my favourite desserts that I often miss. However, it is loaded with sugar and can come with many other man-made ingredients, like gums and preservatives. I know some fruits are great to freeze and whiz up into a sorbet like consistency (Mango, banana, berries, grapes, peaches, plums or nectarines are great fruits to use), so today I combined frozen banana, frozen blueberries and maple roasted pecans and walnuts. This recipe is all natural and plant-based, so great for vegans or those on a paleo, dairy or grain free diet but I can guarantee those on a mainstream diet will like it too. The banana creates a creamy like consistency very close to gelato. Isn’t it great the little goodies mother nature provides us? Oh and by the way it was absolutely delicious!
1 frozen banana, roughly chopped
1/3 cup frozen blueberries
1 small handful of roasted/activated nuts of your choice.
1. Place banana in the blender and blend for about 30 sec. or until just forms a paste. You don’t want to blend it for too long as it will start to melt.
2. Add blueberries and pulse for 5 seconds so only lightly combined with the banana and some blueberries remain whole.
3. Spoon in a bowl and top with nuts. Maple roasted nuts work really well. Serve immediately.