Want a naturally sweeter chocolate alternative?

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This week I’ve been experimenting with chocolate chips.

After making raw cacao chocolate for over a year now, I thought I’d venture out with it’s less popular, highly unappreciated cousin – carob.

And what’s not to like! – he’s naturally sweeter, great with kids and won’t make you feel all jittery (which if you’re caffeine sensitive is kind of a big deal).

Three cheers for carob!

I know it’s going to take a lot of convincing for anyone that has ever received a carob chocolate easter egg as a child, but carob can be really very yummy. And if you can convince your kids that carob is just as good as chocolate, a far healthier alternative.

Sweetening carob chocolate

Because carob doesn’t have the same bitter edge as cacao, I decided to sweeten my with carob chips with two things – cream and one teaspoon of honey. We are a pretty low sugar family, and are used to eating things that aren’t super sweet. The best thing I’d recommend to do is to taste the finished carob paste, you may find that you need more honey/maple syrup/coconut nectar.

Dairy Free carob chips

Substitute full fat coconut cream. I actually really like this recipe with coconut cream, but Frankie and Iain aren’t big fans.

More trouble shooting

  • Make sure you sift the carob really well (which I didn’t). Carob tends to form little lumps which become a bit gritty in the final chips
  • Grate your cacao butter before you put it in the double boiler, otherwise it will take forever!

double boiler

  • After adding the cream to the mixture it will start to solidify which makes it harder to spoon into the piping bag(although it does turn into a very nice frosting consistency) . Put your bowl back on the double boiler for a second and whisk it until it becomes a smooth liquid again.
frosting
Mmmm this would go great on top of some cup cakes!

How do they hold up in baked goods?

cookie

I’ll be honest not as well as regular chocolate chips. They break apart and melt quite a bit – but they still taste super delicious.

baking tray

To the recipe!!!!

Milky carob chips

Equipment

  • Piping bag
  • Double boiler

Makes two trays

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup carob sifted well
  • 1/4 melted cacao butter
  • 2 1/2 tbs double cream
  • 1 tsk sweetener (honey/maple syrup/coconut nectar)
  • Pinch Himalayan sea salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon powder

Instructions

  1. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Sift carob, cinnamon powder and salt into a large bowl. Melt cacao butter and honey on a double boiler and add to the carob, whisk until combined.
  3. Add cream and whisk, mixture will start to solidify. Return mixture to double boiler briefly and whisk until melted.
  4. Spoon mixture into piping bag. Pipe small circles of chocolate onto baking paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerated for two hours preferably overnight.
  5. After carob chips have set, remove from baking tray and transfer into container. Store in fridge or freezer.

finished

This Post is Just Offal!

Did you ever cringe at your Grandparents eating offal? My Great Grandmother regularly partook in a serving of crumbed lambs brain while I looked on, mouth agape, in horror. Offal was the gooey, slippery residual part of the animal. It was the waste that only people that lived through the great depression ate because they […]

Better than a cup of tea and a cookie

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What’s better on sunny Winters afternoon than a nice cup of tea and a cookie?

Answer….. Nothing!

In fact, they go so well together that I thought I’d combine the two into one recipe and see what happened.

The result was my rooibos coco-almond cookies!

Choosing a tea

What I love and excites me about this recipe (apart from it’s simplicity) is that you can create so many interesting flavours by using different teas. I choose rooibos because I love it’s refreshing, earthy and slightly fruity flavour, but you could use anything. Here are a few ideas:

  • Matcha green tea
  • Chamomile
  • Chai
  • Hibiscus
  • Earl Grey
  • Lemon Myrtle

Infusion or straight up leaves?

I thought about steeping the tea into the coconut oil to produce an infusion, but being the rather impatient lady I am, I quickly forgot about this whimsical idea and ground the rooibos leaves in a mortar and pestle. I think this gave the cookies a stronger rooibos flavour, which is just what you need with a mild tasting tea.

Enjoy!

Rooibos Coco-Almond Cookies

Makes 18 cookies

  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 bags of rooibos tea (8grams)
  • 2 Tbs honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Grind rooibos in a mortar and pestle for approximately two minutes. In a jug combine coconut oil with honey and vanilla essence and stir to combine.
  3. In a large bowl combine coconut oil mixture with other ingredients and mix well.
  4. Roll into balls (just over a tsp of mixture per ball) and flatten slightly on baking tray. Decorate with slivered almonds and coconut flakes.
  5. Bake for 20 mins or until golden brown. Store in a airtight container.

 

 

Black Sesame and Coconut Crackers

Last week I was really craving this: And since I’m miles away from anywhere I could actually buy black sesame ice-cream, I made these. I’ve been making white sesame crackers for awhile using this fantastic recipe from Not Quite Nigella http://www.notquitenigella.com/2012/07/16/sesame-lavosh-crackers/ But since I had a can of coconut milk and a bag of black sesames […]

Chocolate Cherry Florentines

in a lineFeel like a high energy, slightly sweet and oh so chocolatey snack that is actually good for you? – I’ve got just the thing!

Nut Free chocolate cherry florentines! or as our family likes to call them – bird biscuits!

real bird feeder

Doesn't it look like a bird feeder?
Uncanny

The base of this recipe calls for a combination of whole pumpkin and sunflower seeds, which is mixed with lesser amounts of dried cherries, coconut and cacao nibs. I wasn’t aiming for it, but this creation came out looking distinctly like something you’d hang out for the birds… which turned out to be a huge win!

Shaping your florentines like bell bird feeders before you put them into the oven results in a lot of fun. Tie a ribbon around the top of the florentines to make them look more authentic. Your little parrots will be so happy that they’ll fly around the room before swooping down to nibble on their birdy spoils. (as if they need anymore help devouring these tasty morsels!).

I ended up making a mix of bell and round shaped florentines. This is because it’s hard to shape the florentines like bells without making them quite large, (mine were 12cm in length)  which takes up a lot of room in Frankie’s lunch box.

Substitutions

Nuts so good

Traditionally florentines are made with nuts. I make mine nut free so that they are preschool friendly. If your family has no issues with nuts, simply swap something like almond flakes for the seeds in the recipe. Use the same quantities given.

Can’t get egg on your face?

To replace the eggs in this recipe combine 1 Tbs of chia seeds to 3 Tbs of water for every egg and mix. Let the mixture stand until the chia seeds swell and form a paste. Add to other ingredients.

Feeling a little fruity?

Swap out the dried cherries for any other dried fruit. Some nice substitutions are strawberries, cranberries apples or apricots.

Pair these florentines with a warm glass of milk for the kidlets or a nice cup of tea for the grown ups. I guarantee you’ll be squawking with joy!

 

Chocolate Cherry Florentines

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sunflower kernels
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 egg whites (from large eggs)
  • 70g dried cherries
  • 20g cacao nibs
  • 1 Tbs honey

Instructions

Makes 20

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius.
  2. Line two baking trays with baking paper and lightly brush with oil (I used coconut oil)
  3. In a large bowl whisk honey and egg whites until well combined. Add other ingredients and mix well.
  4. Heap Tbs amounts onto baking tray and flatten with fingers or a spoon until they are approximately 5cm in diametre. They need to be quite flat but without any gaps showing.
  5. Cook for 10mins until golden brown. Flip florentines and cook for another 5 mins.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

I was first introduced to this chocolate mousse over a year ago and it’s so good I just have to share it. Why? Because I’ve mentioned it to a few people recently who haven’t heard of it, and it’s become such a staple in our house that I think everyone should try it at least […]