I am crazy about dark chocolate, nuts and coconuts. So why not put them all together? My local Whole Foods makes chocolate covered clusters that you can buy in bulk for about $18.99 a pound. I know it’s expensive but this is because the mix includes sprouted nuts, raisins, blueberries, coconut bits and chocolate. I figured why not try to make my own home version with a good dark unsweetened chocolate and about two cups of whatever I had on hand?
My mix has some sprouted ingredients and some not. You can do whatever you want as long as delicious chocolate is covering it all.
Super snack attack? No need to feel guilty with these treats unless you throw down too many of them. Nuts are to be eaten in small batches otherwise you’ll just feel weighted down. This is a great snack for kids as well and you can sneak in protein and energy all at the same time. Unfortunately my toddler is still too small to give him nuts but I’ll pick out the coconut flakes, date pieces and raisins and he will be thrilled.
No more to say except for make a batch and share half with a friend. I am bringing half my batch to share with Gabriel’s teachers at school for a pick me up afternoon treat!
You can substitute the coconut oil in the chocolate for earth balance and the coconut sugar for pure cane sugar. When letting mixture set on baking sheet you have the option of not tossing it and letting it create clusters instead of individual pieces.
2 cups mix of raisins, walnuts, almonds, goji berries, date pieces and coconut flakes (or use whatever you have on hand and toss it together)
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
½ cup unsweetened dark chocolate
Place wax paper on baking sheet
Spread nut and coconut mix on baking sheet
In a small sauce pan add coconut oil and melt over the lowest heat
Add coconut sugar and dissolve with a small spoon
Add dark chocolate to coconut/sugar mixture and gently swirl around lifting pan about an inch of the flame while chocolate melts. Stir chocolate as necessary with a spoon making sure it does not stick to the bottom and burn
Turn flame off and quickly pour chocolate over nut and coconut mix tossing gently with a fork covering mixture well with chocolate
Let mixture set until chocolate is hard for an hour or two gently tossing every half hour
There are few ingredients that I love more than chocolate. And anything with pure cocoa powder just gives me sweet chills. My life is filled with cravings for different tastes and today I was anxious for this healthy yet rich raw chocolate tart. I saw a recipe at my local Whole Foods made by one of their recipe specialists and I couldn’t resist.
Best part about this recipe is that it is naturally sweetened with dates. The walnuts provide moisture and the cocoa powder the ultimate chocolate attack.
I tasted for cocoa powder strength as I added it to the mix and I could have gotten away with eight tablespoons rather than ten as the recipe calls for. But I went all the way with the ten and it made the taste more intense.
Initially I thought a tablespoons of the vanilla would make everything too strong but it was actually a necessary addition to bring out the taste of the chocolate even more so.
Best to chop the dates well so that you have less scraping time down the sides of the food processor bowl.
The chocolate mix is really a dough. It is thick and your could probably make cookies out of it. Hmm. I think I will try that next time.
Press the dough into the tart pan and chill.
Sprinkle crushed pistachios and you have a super sinful chocolate tart
Option: use a 9-inch square baking dish instead of a tart pan. The prep time calls for 4-6 hours to soak the walnuts but you can do this overnight and leave the walnuts soaking longer.
2 cups raw walnuts
2 cups packed pitted and roughly chopped dates
10 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons crushed pistachios
Soak walnuts in cold water for 4-6 hours (or overnight)
Line a 9-inch tart pan with unbleached baking parchment paper
Drain and place walnuts in a food processor and pulse until chopped
Add dates and pulse to chop stopping frequently to scrape down the sides
Add cocoa powder, vanilla and process until mixture is almost smooth and scraping down the sides as needed to keep mixture moving (the mixture will form a ball similar to a dough with small pieces of walnuts and dates
Transfer chocolate dough to tart pan and press evenly with wet fingers
Chill for 2-4 hours
Sprinkle chopped pistachios
Transfer tart to plate or cut slices in place
Sprinkle with crushed pistachios and serve
Store in refrigerator until ready to serve
Adapted slightly from Raw Fudge recipe card at local Boston Whole Foods
Dulce de leche was one of my favorite desserts growing up in Peru, although there we called it manjar blanco or white delicacy. There are actually different types of dulce de leche and they come in a range of shades from white to deep brown depending mostly on how long you cook it. Dulce de leche is really nothing more than milk and sugar cooked for a long time with thickener added. But the invention of condensed milk was revolutionary to the making of dulce de leche. All it took was boiling the condensed milk can in water for a few hours instead of stirring ingredients until eternity the way our great grandmothers and even our grandmothers did.
Since I stopped eating dairy I have missed dulce de leche tons. My grandmother and I would just spoon it from the can to eat or spread it on cookies and make desserts out of it. I didn’t want a pot of the dulce luring me from the refrigerator so I made custard instead that would be divided among a few small cups. I reasoned that this would be a deterrent to me eating the whole thing in a day or two. Terrible reasoning since it wasn’t a deterrent at all. In the end the custard was brilliant so I couldn’t stay away.
Since coconut milk is thicker than other milks I thought it would make a perfect base for the dulce. Coconut sugar is already dark and caramely tasting so it made a perfect combination with the milk and it was key in reducing the cooking time.
The amount of Agar I used as thickener made the custard dense and that’s what I wanted for this particular dessert. If you want a softer consistency and more of a pudding reduce the Agar by half.
Dark, spicy and sweet. The vanilla scent from the bean permeated the more I scraped. You can use regular vanilla extract but the taste won’t be as pure as with the bean. Adapt as you like though. The kitchen should be a total exploration.
The dishes and antique utensils looked so pretty together that I had to take a photo. Try mismatching your custard cups for an eclectic look.
I couldn’t help but taking a bite as I photographed. I reasoned that the photograph would look much more appealing to you with a bite taken out? Mama mia, all this reasoning in the kitchen today…
This dulce de leche custard will be a dense texture when refrigerated. If you want a softer consistency reduce Agar by half. Chill coconut milk cans in freezer for 45 minutes and then transfer to refrigerator to chill completely for about 6 hours before whipping. If you want a sweeter dessert just add ¼ cup more of coconut sugar and it will be sweeter without overpowering with a sugary taste.
1 cup non-dairy milk
3 cups coconut milk
4 vanilla bean strips
¾ cup coconut sugar
6 pieces lemon rind
4 tablespoons Agar
Juice of one lemon
2 cans coconut milk chilled (see note above on chilling method)
Strawberries for garnish
With a sharp small knife cut a vertical line down each vanilla bean and scrape vanilla from the insides
In a medium pan add non-dairy and coconut milks and vanilla
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat and add sugar stirring to dissolve
Add lemon rind and bring to a boil again
Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally
Meanwhile open chilled coconut milk cans, skim white part and put into a bowl
Discard remaining coconut milk (clear milk)
In a medium to large bowl whip coconut milk for 2 minutes until it peaks and refrigerate until ready to use
In a small bowl combine Agar and lemon juice
Add lemon juice mixture to milk mixture and bring to a boil
Reduce heat and cook 5-7 minutes stirring until Agar is completely dissolved (small gelatin like strips will disappear)
Turn heat off and let caramel mixture cool for 10-15 minutes
Run caramel mixture through a small wire colander and into the coconut whip
Gently fold in caramel mixture into the coconut whip
Place mixtures into a food processor and process until you have a smooth cream
Drop spoonfuls of caramel cream into small cups
With a frosting or regular flat knife flatten tops until smooth
Refrigerate custard cups 6 hours until set and dense
Top with strawberries and serve (strawberries optional)