Cacao & Cashew Oaty Bites

cashew-cacao-oaty-bites

I may even go as far as to say that these are the tastiest things I’ve ever made…

I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure if it would even work but oh dear lord they do! So simple; literally took 5 minutes, 1 spoon, 1 saucepan and a cup, and to make it even more exciting, there is no refined sugar, dairy or gluten and totally vegan. It makes giving sweet treats to kids easier. Braxton is 13 months and has never had refined sugar and I want to keep it like that. If he always has treats that taste this good, hopefully he’ll never feel the need to binge on the rubbish stuff 🙂

Cacao is also a great plant-based protein which is essential for babies, as well as the essential fatty acids in the coconut oil.

Basically, MAKE THESE!

I used Biona coconut oil, coconut palm sugar and cashew butter as I prefer their ingredients so use them wherever I can ❤

Ingredients

3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp almond milk
1.5 tbsp cacao powder
4 tbsp cashew butter
1 cup organic rolled oats

cashew-cacao-oaty-bites-2

Method

Heat all the ingredients except the cashew butter and oats in a pan, on a low heat, very gently until combined.

Once melted, turn off the heat and stir in the cashew butter and keep stirring until fully incorporated.

Now add the oats and stir until totally mixed into the mixture.

Wait until it’s cooler, then spoon a tbsp. full onto a plate that has baking paper on and press into cookie shapes.

Leave to cool then once cool put in the fridge for an hour until set.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Love and health,
Lauren

 

Raw Vegan Cappuccino Brownies

Cappucino Brownies

Perfect healthy brownies! So gooey and fudgey and delicious and amazing as a chocolatey treat for the kids that is still full of nutrients with no naughty ingredients…

Ingredients

½ cup pecans
¾ cup hazelnuts
2 cups dates, pitted and soaked in water for half an hour
1/3 cup cacao powder
2 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp finely ground coffee (I like Elite instant coffee) and some extra for sprinkling

Optional creamy top layer:
1 can coconut milk (full fat) – put this in the fridge for at least 4 hours before it is needed
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp cacao powder

Method

Put the pecans and hazelnuts in the food processor and blend until they make a fine meal but just before the point that they start turning into a butter.

Spoon the mixture away from the blades. Drain the dates and squeeze a little of the excess liquid off them then add them to the blender with the nuts and blend until well combined.

At this point you can either add the rest of the ingredients to the blender or you can spoon the mixture into a large bowl and mix it all in with a large spoon if you find it easier – sometimes I prefer doing it in a bowl, just make sure you mix really well.

Line a square silicone baking tray with baking paper and grease with some coconut oil then spoon the mixture in and even out with a spoon. Put it in the freezer for an hour.

For the creamy top layer: open the can of coconut milk and spoon out the creamy layer at the top. The liquid part after that can be used for cooking. Put it in a saucepan and heat on a low heat then when it starts simmering add the coconut oil, maple syrup and cacao powder and mix well until melted in. Do not let it boil.

Once the bottom layer has frozen, add the top layer, wait until it has cooled then put it in the freezer for another 2 hours.

Remove from the freezer, cut into squares and sprinkle with some more coffee. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Love and health,
Lauren

Grandma’s Healthy Chocolate Birthday Cake (and a new sugar substitute)

Chocolate Olive Oil Bday Cake 1

It was my husband’s grandma’s 89th birthday on Friday and I adore her so it was only right to spoil her with chocolate cake! But of course it had to be healthy so I got inspiration for this one from Nigella’s chocolate olive oil cake, I just changed the ingredients around to make it healthier and added a chocolate mousse topping. Suffice it to say, grandma (and everyone else) loved it!

I’ve started using Natvia natural sweetener instead of coconut palm sugar. It is a really excellent natural sweetener that is a great alternative to sugar. It’s very low GI which makes it great for diabetics but also generally everyone, as sugar makes our bodies a breeding ground for caner, it’s GMO free, 100% certified organic and tastes amazing. I bought it on Amazon but I am hearing that it is now available in Tesco so that’s great news! I’m going to double this up to make a double layer cake with the mousse in the middle and on top for Braxton’s 1st birthday.

Chocolate Olive Oil Bday Cake 2

Ingredients

150ml extra-virgin olive oil (and a little extra for greasing) – my favourite is Cinque Foglie by Danilo Manco in Puglia, Italy
50g raw cacao powder
125ml boiling water
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g ground almonds
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch Himalayan salt
150g Natvia or coconut palm sugar
3 free-range organic eggs

Chocolate mousse topping:
1 ripe avocado
2 ripe bananas
6 dates
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp cacao powder
Pinch Himalayan salt

Method

Preheat oven to 170° and grease a springform cake tin, line base with baking paper and grease with olive oil.

Sift the cacao into a bowl and whisk in the boiling water with a fork until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny paste. If you have a Kitchenaid or electric whisk with its own bowl, do it in this; it will make it extra creamy. Whisk in the vanilla, then set aside to cool.

In another bowl combine the ground almonds with bicarbonate of soda,  baking powder and salt.

Put the sugar and olive oil into a bowl and beat together with the electric whisk for about 3 minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, with a slow speed so it aerates. After the 3 minutes, add the ground almond mix, and mix until incorporated.

Finally, add the chocolate mix slowly until combined and pour into the prepared tin.

You can do all of this with a handheld whisk, a fork and spoon if you don’t have a Kitchenaid but using one will just make the mixture a bit creamier. I have done it with and without and was nice both times – just a bit fluffier with!

Bake for about 30 mins. The sides should be set but not burn tand the top centre should still look very slightly damp.

Remove the cake from the oven. Leave to cool for 30 mins before removing from the tin.

While in the oven make the mousse layer by mixing all the ingredients in the blender, put it in a bowl and leave in the fridge until later.

 

Once it is completely cool add the mousse layer on top and put in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.

Sprinkle with some raw cacao on top to serve.

Enjoy!

Love & health,
Lauren

Nutty Brownies with White Chocolate Topping

White Chocolate Brownies

I needed something indulgent for my birthday this week and what is more indulgent than a chocolate brownie with a white chocolate topping? I had never actually used raw cacao butter as a topping and I didn’t know how it would solidify on top of a brownie but I gave it a go and was so happy with the result. These brownies are just delicious. Soft on the bottom with the crunch of the nuts and crunchy white chocolate on the top.

The cacao offers heaps of bioavailable protein and the nuts and flaxseeds offer omega-3 essential fatty acids. These are gluten free, wheat free, grain free, dairy free, refined-sugar free, egg free and are vegan.

Brownie
1.5 cups almonds, soaked overnight
½ cup ground flaxseeds
½ cup raw cacao powder
½ cup dates, soaked overnight
4 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp organic natural maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch Himalayan salt
Handful dark chocolate chips

Topping
250g raw cacao butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp organic natural maple syrup

Method

Line a square cake tin with a piece of baking paper at the bottom.

Drain the almonds, pat them dry with a piece of kitchen roll then put them in the food processor and blitz until mainly a meal but still with some chunks as this is nice for the brownie.

Then add the rest of the brownie ingredients except for the chocolate chips and blend well. Turn out into a bowl and add the chocolate chips and mix well with a large spoon.

Press into prepared cake tin and put in the freezer while you make the topping.

To make the topping just put the cacao butter in a pan over a very low heat and very gently melt. Once melted add the rest of the ingredients.

Wait for the topping to totally cool before taking the base out the freezer and pouring this over the top. It will seem very transparent but it will harden. Put it in the fridge for an hour then cut into slices.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren

 

 

Healthy “Oreos”

 

My son loves Oreos, so I wanted to come up with a healthier version for him.
Buckwheat is gluten-free and is considered a wholegrain, even though it is not in fact a grain. It lowers cholesterol and blood pressure; contains antioxidants and easily digestible protein; is high in fibre and helps to combat diabetes.
I’ve used coconut blossom sugar to replace regular sugar. While it is still a sugar and shouldn’t be consumed in large amounts (like any form of sugar) it is a much better option than processed cane sugar. It’s made by evaporating the nectar of coconut blossoms, so is raw, unrefined and unbleached. This means that it retains nutrients, notably zinc, iron, calcium and potassium. It also contains a fibre called inulin, which makes it much lower GI than regular sugar.
A good rule to remember is that not all calories are equal – you always want your calories to be as nutrient dense as possible. So if you are going to have a treat which contains some form of sugar, rather go for a natural form of sugar which has a higher nutritional value.

Ingredients

For the cookies:
110g organic virgin coconut oil
110g organic coconut blossom sugar
2 eggs
55g raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp organic vanilla powder or extract
1/4 tsp Oryx Desert Salt
280g buckwheat flour
2 tbsp ground flax (you can grind whole flax seeds in a coffee grinder or use pre-ground)
1 tsp aluminium-free baking powder
2 tbsp water

For the filling:
1 cup raw cashews
60ml raw honey
30ml coconut oil
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
1/4 tsp Oryx desert salt


Method

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Sift the cacao powder to remove lumps. Combine with the other dry ingredients and set aside. Cream the coconut oil and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time while beating. Add the dry ingredients and combine well. Add the water only if the dough is a bit dry or crumbly.

Dust your work surface with extra flour and roll the dough out to about 2mm thickness. Cut out into 5 or 6cm circles. Bake on a cookie tray lined with baking paper or silicone mats for 10 – 12 minutes. Allow to cool.

To make the filling, combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Sandwich two cookies together with the filling and allow to set.
Makes 24 cookies.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Lauren & Raine

Maca-Chilli and Lemongrass-Wheatgrass Chocolates

Chilli & Lemongrass Chocs

The mayans believed that cacao was the drink of the gods, and with good reason! Raw cacao is high in magnesium and all the B vitamins; it promotes cardiovascular health and aids digestion; it is high in anti-oxidants, neutralising free radicals in the body and thereby preventing cancer. Cacao also promotes mental well-being due to containing phenyethylamine and theobromine, organic compounds which stimulate the release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. No wonder we feel so good after eating chocolate!

Making your own raw chocolate is simpler than you would think, and means you get all the incredible health benefits of raw cacao without the added sugar, dairy or chemical additives. Make sure to buy organic and raw cacao products, rather than regular cocoa, which has been processed and stripped of nutrients.

Ingredients

For the flavoured caramel centres:

50g organic virgin coconut oil
70g raw almond butter
100g runny raw honey or 85ml organic maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1/4 tsp Oryx desert salt
1 tbsp maca
a pinch of cayenne
5 drops organic lemongrass essential oil
1 tsp wheatgrass powder

For the chocolate:

75g raw cacao paste
25g raw cacao butter
30ml runny raw honey or organic maple syrup
1/4 tsp organic stevia leaf powder (alternatively, use an additional 30ml honey or organic maple syrup)
pinch of Oryx desert salt

 

Method

To make the caramel, place the coconut oil, almond butter, honey or maple, vanilla and salt into a blender and blend for a couple of minutes. You want everything to melt together into a creamy consistency, and the mixture will change colour as you do this. It’s important to blend for long enough, as opposed to just mixing everything together, to get the right consistency. If it doesn’t look right yet just keep on blending!

Divide the mixture in two. To one half add the maca and cayenne, and to the other add the lemongrass oil and wheatgrass powder. Taste each mixture for flavour – you may want to add another pinch of cayenne or a drop of lemongrass, according to your preference. Place the flavoured caramels in the freezer to set while you make the chocolate.

Place the cacao paste, cacao butter, honey or maple, stevia and salt in a glass or stainless steel bowl which can fit over a saucepan. Bring some water to a simmer in the saucepan, and set the bowl over it. The trick with chocolate is to only ever use gentle heat, and to heat all the ingredients together. If you try to melt the cacao over direct heat, or add cold honey to it once it’s been melted, it will seize. Use a whisk to stir the chocolate until everything is melted, well combined and glossy.

Fill your moulds with chocolate one third of the way, making sure to use only half of the chocolate.  If you don’t have moulds, ice trays work just as well. Place in the freezer until set. Now use a small spoon to make a little ball of the set caramel and drop into the centre of the mould, trying to avoid the sides of the mould. Use the maca-chilli caramel for half of the moulds and the lemongrass-wheatgrass caramel for the other half. Fill the moulds with the remaining chocolate so that it pours around the caramel, and covers it. Place in the freezer again until set.

These chocolates do need to be kept in the fridge as they can melt at room temperature. I keep mine in a glass jar, and they can last up to a month (at least, that’s the longest mine have ever lasted before being eaten!)

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

 

Healthy Hot Chocolate

IMG_3581

Nothing’s better on a cold winter’s day (like we’re having in Joburg) than a comforting cup of hot chocolate. My version is dairy-free and sugar-free, and goes perfectly with my Gluten-free Biscotti. If you don’t like spice you can simply omit these, but they do compliment the natural flavour of cacao really well.

Ingredients 

500ml almond or coconut milk
2 star anise
pinch of ground cardamom
pinch of Oryx Desert Salt
pinch of vanilla powder
pinch of cayenne
2 tbsp raw cacao butter
2 heaped tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tbsp raw honey or organic maple syrup, or 1/4 tsp stevia powder

Method

Place the milk and the spices in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer, then remove from the heat and allow to steep for a couple of minutes, so that the flavours of the spices permeate the milk. Return to the heat just to bring it up to temperature. Remove the star anise, add the cacao butter, cacao powder and sweetener and use a small whisk to combine. Serves 2.

Try using hazelnut milk or brazil nut milk for a delicious alternative.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine