The Herb Diaries

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Gooey Chocolate and Caramel Bars

DSC_0356I know, without any doubt, where my sweet tooth comes from. I have a certain family member who just LOVES chocolate. Not only is this an annoying addiction to have inherited, but she makes a brutally honest judge. Nothing sweet that I have made so far has really impressed her. The usual response is that it is ok, but she would rather have a square of chocolate. Until I made this…
DSC_0328DSC_0334It is sweet, sticky and incredibly indulgent. And it is completely sugar-free, gluten-free, raw and vegan, packed full of amazing healthy coconut oil, lots of fibre from the dates, and tons of nutrients and vitamins from the nuts. Words cannot do justice to how good it tastes – something this delicious shouldn’t give you glowing skin, a clearer mind and a natural energy boost! So put down the chocolate and go and make this…

Ingredients:

For the base

1 cup of dates
1 cup of hazelnuts
1 cup of almonds

For the caramel

1 cup of dates
2 tbsp cashew nut butter
Pinch of sea salt

For the chocolate

1/2 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup of raw cacao powder

DSC_0329 Method:

Blend all the ingredients for the base until a sticky crumb forms. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper, then pour the base mixture in, and press down evenly. Put the tray in the fridge so the base can firm up.
For the middle layer, blend all the ingredients until a completely smooth caramel forms. Spread this over the base, and put the whole thing back in the fridge.
For the chocolate layer, melt the coconut oil over a very low heat and stir in the raw cacao powder. Pour/spread this evenly over the caramel.
This should really all go back in the fridge for an hour to fully firm up and make it easier to cut, but when we make it at home it doesn’t often get that long…

For anyone who is new to The Herb Diaries – thank you for stopping by! You can follow the blog by putting your email address in at the top of the side bar, and you can follow me on Instagram – @theherbdiaries

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Chocolate Courgette Cake

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My first attempt ever at a vegan cake…. I found the toughest, most skeptical critics I know, and they loved it! Vegan cake does not sound appealing, there is no doubt about that, so even I was a little wary, but it is delicious, and super easy to make.

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It is sweet enough to satisfy your cravings, sticky enough to taste quite naughty, and subtle enough to make you want another piece, but at the same time it is vegan, sugar and gluten free. The beauty of it is that is doesn’t really matter how many pieces you have. Instead of the cake usuals like butter, eggs and heaps of nasty refined sugar, this cake contains four different types of fruit and vegetables. Courgette keeps the cake moist through cooking, and provides you with plenty of dietary fibre, banana binds the mixture and helps the cake hold its shape whilst providing you with a great potassium boost, dates are amazingly sweet, and nature’s way of keeping you away from the biscuit tin! And the avocado in the icing is just incredible. I worried that the taste would come through the chocolate, but it is light, subtle, and completely guilt free!

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Cake Ingredients:

1 big courgette

2 tbsp raw cacao

1 banana

1/3 cup of almond milk

1 1/2 cups of rice flour

1 cup of ground almonds

8 pitted dates

1 tbsp coconut oil

pinch of sea salt

maple syrup (to taste)

Icing Ingredients:

2 avocados

2 tbsp raw cacao

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

6 pitted dates

maple syrup (to taste)

slivered almonds

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Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Coarsely grate the courgette, then blend with the cacao, banana, almond milk, dates, coconut oil and maple syrup until a smooth mixture forms. Pour into a mixing bowl with the flour, salt and ground almonds and stir until completely combined.

Pour mixture into two round cake tins, greased with coconut oil to prevent sticking. Bake in the oven for 18 minutes, them remove and allow to cool.

Whilst the cake bakes, blend the avocado, cacao, maple syrup, dates and coconut oil until completely smooth.

Once the cake has cooled, spread a third of the icing on one half of the cake, make a sandwich by placing the other half on top, and spread remaining icing on top and around of the whole cake. Decorate with slivered almonds.

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