Lemon & Basil Truffles

Lemon & Basil Truffles

I love to use savoury flavours in desserts, and in these truffles the basil compliments the lemon really well. They are perfect to finish off a dinner or to give as a gift. Put them in a pretty glass jar and tie a ribbon around the neck… people always appreciate something that you have made yourself!

Ingredients

200g creamed coconut (or coconut butter, not coconut oil)
zest of 3 lemons
30ml lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp organic stevia leaf powder
pinch of organic vanilla powder or 2 drops vanilla extract
1 tbsp baobab powder
pinch of himalayan salt
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
about 40g cacao butter
an empty egg carton and toothpicks

Method

Place all the ingredients except the basil and cacao butter into a food processor. Process until well combined. Then add the chopped basil and pulse to combine. If the mixture is very soft you can refrigerate it until it firms up. Take about a heaped teaspoon of mixture at a time and use your palms to roll it into a neat ball. Place on a plate as you go. You should get about 21 truffles. Place them in the freezer to harden.

In a small saucepan, gently melt the cacao butter (don’t be alarmed that it turns brown as it melts, this is normal.) You will need to melt more cacao butter than what you actually end up using – simply allow the remainder to set again and return to the packet. Spear a truffle onto a toothpick and then dip it into the melted cacao butter, swirling to remove any excess and ensure an even coating.

Lemon & Basil Truffles 2

Then stick the other end of the toothpick into an empty egg carton, allowing the cacao butter to set.

Lemon & Basil Truffles 3

Repeat with all the truffles. Once they have set you can give them a second coating if you like, and then keep them refrigerated. This is actually the first time I’ve made truffles in years and I really enjoyed the process, but if this seems like too much hard work for you, you can omit the last step of coating them in cacao butter!

Health & happiness 🙂

Love,
Raine

Choc-Chip Sweet Potato Cookies

Sweet Potato Choc Chip Cookies 1

If you’ve read my Joburg recommendations in the “Two Kitchens Loves” page, you’ll know that I am a big fan of the Organic Emporium in Bryanston. It has replaced regular supermarkets for my day-to-day grocery shopping. The owner, Debbie, is so passionate about the work she does, it’s hard not to get caught up in her enthusiasm!

Last week I was in the store and Debbie asked me to come up with a recipe for Wensleydale’s new organic Sweet Potato Flour. I made these gluten, sugar and dairy-free choc-chip cookies. They’ve been really popular with everyone’s who’s taste-tested them for me!

Sweet potatoes are naturally gluten-free and low-GI so the flour makes a great substitute for regular wheat flour. It is quite granular, so it gives the cookies a chunky texture. If you’d prefer a smoother texture you can grind the flour more finely in a blender. In the first batch I used a combination of honey and coconut sugar to sweeten; and in the second batch I replaced the coconut sugar with organic stevia leaf powder. Both worked equally well, so it’s just a matter of preference. If you’re watching calories I would recommend using the stevia.

Ingredients (makes about 20 cookies)

1/4 cup organic virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup organic coconut sugar OR 1/2 tsp organic stevia leaf powder
2 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew etc)
2 farm-raised eggs
1/4 tsp organic vanilla powder OR 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp himalayan salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 ripe banana, finely mashed with a fork
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup rolled oats
75g Gayleen’s Decadence Raw Chocolate Baking Slab, available at the Organic Emporium
1 1/2 cup Wensleydale’s Sweet Potato Flour, available at the Organic Emporium

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Make sure that the raw chocolate is cold from the fridge. Chop it up into small pieces for your “chocolate chips” and then return to the fridge. If left at room temperature it may start to melt.

Beat together the oil, coconut sugar or stevia, honey and nut butter. Add the eggs and beat well. Stir in the vanilla, salt, bicarb, banana and water. Add the oats and chocolate chips. Now stir in the sweet potato flour. You will notice that the flour is very “thirsty” and the dough will thicken quite quickly. Stir well so that there are no dry lumps of flour.

Line a large baking tray with silicone mats or baking paper. Place a heaped tablespoon of dough onto the tray and spread out into a neat circle, about 1.5cm thick. You can wet your fingers to prevent the dough from sticking to them. Repeat till all the dough is used up. The cookies will not spread during baking, so you can place them quite close together.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until slightly golden and firm to the touch. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Raw Chocolate Hearts with Maca Caramel Centre

Maca Caramel Chocolates

With Valentine’s Day just a week away I’m sure chocolate is on everyone’s mind. So I thought I’d show you that it doesn’t have to be unhealthy or “fattening.” Chocoholics round the world rejoiced when the experts started saying “chocolate is good for you.” But some of you may have been confused by this statement… after all, chocolate is full of sugar, right? So how do you get all those amazing benefits of raw cacao without the toxins of refined sugar, dairy and other additives such as emulsifiers and thickeners? Raw chocolate!

This was one of my favourite discoveries when I started this lifestyle… and it really is simple to make. By omitting all the bad stuff, and keeping the raw cacao at low temperatures so that you don’t destroy the nutrients, you’re giving your body one of nature’s most nutrient dense foods. Raw cacao is rich in anti-oxidants, is good for cardiovascular health and fights cancer. It also contains phenylethylamine, which is a mood enhancer. That explains the “feel good” effect of chocolate! 🙂

What is the difference between cacao and cocoa? Cocoa is what you probably grew up with… it is made from cacao beans but has gone through processing which means a loss of nutrients. To get the full benefits of the cacao bean, and a high-quality chocolate, make sure you only buy organic raw cacao products.

My chocolate recipe uses raw cacao paste as well as cacao butter. If these are not available to you, or you first want to see what this is all about before spending money on those products, you can make raw chocolate using coconut oil and raw cacao powder.

Maca is a root grown in Peru, which comes from the radish family. It has been revered for over 2000 years for its ability to provide stamina, mental clarity and aid fertility. It is believed to be an excellent aphrodisiac, particularly when paired with raw cacao. It has a bit of an odd taste (I must admit at first I didn’t like it!) but adding it to my raw caramel is a good way to start… the result is heavenly!

Ingredients

1 x Raw Caramel recipe
2 tbsp maca powder

Chocolate recipe #1:

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 60ml honey or maple)
pinch of himalayan salt

Chocolate recipe #2:

90ml coconut oil
90ml runny raw honey or organic maple syrup
125ml raw cacao powder

Method:

Add the maca powder to the caramel ingredients when blending. Set aside.

For chocolate recipe #1, place all the ingredients 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.

For chocolate recipe #2, place the coconut oil and honey or maple 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. Gently melt the oil and honey, using a whisk to combine. Remove from the heat and add the cacao powder, using the whisk to combine well.

Fill your heart mould with chocolate one third of the way. If you don’t have moulds, ice trays work just as well. Place in the freezer until set. Now use a small spoon to drop some caramel onto the set chocolate, trying to avoid the sides of the mould.

Maca Caramel Chocolates 2

Place in the freezer again for a few minutes to harden, so that pouring more chocolate over the caramel doesn’t melt it. If your chocolate is no longer pouring consistency, heat it gently again over the simmering water. Fill the moulds with 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, especially if you’ve made the coconut oil version. 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!)

I hope these will put you in the mood for Valentine’s Day!

Health & happiness.

Love,
Raine

Raw “Snickers”

 

Snickers

This is one of the recipes I am most proud of 🙂 and, Raine & I made this one way before all the other healthy ‘snickers’ recipes came out (just putting that out there!)
This recipe has no refined sugar, no dairy, no wheat and no chemical additives like you would find in factory-produced chocolate. It also means you get all the goodness of REAL chocolate: raw cacao.
Cacao is very high in antioxidants (fights off cancer), magnesium (very important for muscle health and sound sleep) and it enhances the production of feel-good chemicals in your brain (namely seratonin and dopamine.)
No wonder the Aztecs believed that cacao was a gift from Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom! The beans were so valuable that they used them as a form of currency.

They look different every time I make them for some reason! Below is another picture to show you.

Ingredients

For the nougat:

120g rolled oats
120g almonds
60ml maple syrup
1 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the caramel:
15 dates
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
90g peanut butter
1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract or powder
Pinch Himalayan salt

For the chocolate:
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp almond or cashew butter
1/2 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup chopped raw almonds

Method

Line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Blend together the ingredients for the nougat, either in a mini blender or a food processor. Spread the nougat over the bottom of the tin and put in the freezer.

Place the ingredients for the caramel in a blender and blend for a few minutes, until the ingredients melt together and turn slightly darker in colour. Pour over the nougat base. (the nougat should have been in the freezer at least 20 mins first).

Gently melt together the ingredients for the chocolate.

After another 20 mins take it out the freezer again and add the crushed almonds, then pour over the chocolate and return to the freezer for an hour.

Remove and cut them into slices. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

raw snickers

Love & health,
Lauren