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…

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Raw Chocolate Brownies

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As I have had such a mad, busy week, I wanted to post a recipe that was really quick, easy and delicious. It is very easy when you are rushed off your feet to revert to bad eating habits, purely for the convenience of it, but I hope with simple recipes like this you won’t be disheartened and I can prove that a lack of time doesn’t prevent you from eating well.

These brownies are so delicious, but have none of the butter, eggs and sugar which you usually find in chocolate brownies. I really think they taste even better than the originals – I am a total convert! And it is awesome that without all the nasty additives you have no reason to feel guilty for overindulging.

All the ingredients are full of goodness. Raw cacao is full of antioxidants, and it is a real saviour for anyone trying to kick their milk chocolate habit! Nuts contain lots of linoleic acid which helps to maintain a normal cholesterol level.  Hazelnuts are a great source of iron which is key for the production of red blood cells, and therefore the distribution of oxygen to all your cells. And dates are packed with fibre to keep you digestive system healthy. So get stuck in and eat brownies!

Dates are such an important ingredient for vegan baking. They are a great binding agent, and so deliciously sweet. I love eating them on their own, but it is great to find something else to do with them.

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups pitted dates

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1/2 cup mixed nuts (I used almonds, walnuts and brazilnuts)

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

Maple syrup (use to taste. Can be omitted if you prefer your chocolate dark and bitter)

Method:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until a smooth, sticky crumb forms. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, place mixture in the tray and press down. Then put in the fridge to firm up until serving.

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