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Susan Jane

Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Easy Raw Chocolates

The mere whiff of cacao butter sends a cavalry of hormones pelting through my veins like a pinball machine.

My chest swells and my nostrils levitate. It would be a tragedy to miss out on a cacao-butter-head-rush. You think I’m joking. I get regular online deliveries, and squeal louder than a One Direction front-row fan when the courier calls.

 

cacao butter filler

 

Cacao butter gives chocolate its mesmerizing call, and not the dark cacao pigment as is generally assumed. This tree butter is cream in colour, rock solid at room temperature, and intoxicatingly perfumed. One tablespoon, melted, will amplify any chocolate recipe and send your serotonin to another galaxy. Without it, you’d only reach the clouds.

Cacao powder is basically the by-product of making cacao butter. Here’s what happens in the heavenly lands that grow chocolate trees;

The cacao tree harvests hundreds of pods, enveloping lots of beans. Once ripened, the pods are broken to reveal the moist cacao beans.

In order to dry the beans, they are spread over hot roofs under the blazing sun. Once dried, the beans form a skin that needs to be removed before any further production can be done.

Here’s the ingenious part. The beans are then blasted against a wall, while a high-powered fan blows away the bean’s skin before they drop into a basket below. The smashed nibs are shipped to chocolate makers, or further pressed to form cacao butter and cacao powder. Groovy, huh?

 

raw chocolate vegan

 

Raw Chocolates, without the fuss

You can easily make these into probiotic chocolates, by adding high quality live strains of probiotics (I use Udo’s). 1 or 2 capsules, opened up into the mix is plenty.

 

1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs

sprinkle of sea salt flakes

just over 1/3 cup (85ml) melted cacao butter

2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave (not coconut nectar or brown rice syrup)

1 tablespoon melted extra virgin coconut oil

4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

 

Start by chilling your chocolate mould in the freezer. I use a silicone ice cube tray from Dunnes. Works great.

Loosely sprinkle in the cacao nibs and a flurry of sea salt flakes.

Then slowly melt the cacao butter in a bain-marie until you get just over 1/3 cup (85ml). A bain-marie is basically a pot of gently simmering water with a heatproof bowl sitting on top in place of the lid. The contents of the bowl will melt gradually from the steam of the water underneath. Just make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the simmering water.

Using a fork, whisk in the syrup and melted coconut oil. Try not to skip the coconut oil, as it improves the mouthfeel of the final chocolate rather than imparting a coconut flavour.

Stir in the cacao powder, keeping the bowl warm to prevent it from seizing up. Work at speed!

Taste, and decide if you need a tiny bit more sweetness.

Pour into the moulds and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. This helps them set quickly before they get a chance to stratify and form layers (there are methods to avoid this, which involves special thermometers. But pah to that!)

Store in the fridge thereafter for up to six weeks. And send me some telepathic jubilation.

 

raw chocolate recipe

 

An extract from The Virtuous Tart cookbook, with my fabulous team Orla Neligan and Jo Murphy.

If you haven’t done so already, I’d love to hear your (kind) reviews on Amazon here. It would sure mean a lot. In return, I shall send you telepathic love bombs!

Night night, and thanks

xx

Virtuous Tart Final Cover

 

Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Mini Banoffee Pies

I’ve been making these banoffee pies on the Seven O’Clock Show. You can click here to me cooking them, with Big Brother star and the deadly Lucy Kennedy.

The recipe is from my cookbook The Virtuous Tart and has proved the biggest hit in the entire book so far. Here’s why we love ’em …

 

Snoozage

Stress drinks up our banks of zinc and B6, resulting in a deficiency at night. No one functions well on a poor night’s sleep. Not even Mary Poppins. Our concentration falls, our patience wheezes and our immunity chokes. Of course, ditching caffeine and taking up meditation is the most effective way of repairing adrenal glands. But for most of us, such a proposal is enough to send our stress levels to precarious heights.

So who would have thought that a twist on the classic banoffee pie could help? Bananas are steaming with B6 and the mineral zinc can be sourced from the pecans in this recipe. I recommend investing some quality time with these foods before booking into a fancy hypnosis centre or resorting to Celine Dion’s greatest hits.

 

1 1/2 cups (210g) regular pitted dates

1/2 cup (140g) cashew nut butter

3 tablespoons lúcuma powder or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon unscented coconut oil

good pinch of sea salt flakes, such as Maldon

250g Greek or natural yoghurt, or DIY coconut milk yoghurt

3 bananas, sliced

4 squares of dark chocolate

Raw or lightly toasted pecans / walnuts

 

Cover the dates with a little water in a small saucepan and boil for 10 minutes. Whip in a food processor with the cashew nut butter, lúcuma or vanilla, coconut oil and a good pinch of sea salt until seriously smooth. Allow to cool down before you judge! At this stage, it won’t taste or smell like caramel.

Scoop some thick cold yoghurt into six little pots. Add a few slices of fresh banana, followed by a glossy kiss of the caramel. Top with optional shavings of dark chocolate if you have some. No biggie if not. Toasted pecans scattered on top give a great crunch.

Serve to unsuspecting guests and see if they notice the difference.

 

Virtuous Tart Final Cover

Photos Jo Murphy / Styling Orla Neligan.

And in other news, here’s a meaty interview I did for Trinity Mag TN2 this month. Includes everything from vices to victories. Until next week!

Breakfast, Vegan &/or Raw

4-Grain Porridge

People want three things in life. To be happy. To be healthy. To be rich.

I can’t make you rich, but two out of three ain’t bad! This blog is all about food to make your taste buds break dance, without making you fat or ill. It’s about paying the grocer, not the doctor. It’s about taking the hell out of healthy.

Everyone digs porridge; the steaming bowl of goodness before that icy walk to work; the comforting smell of the kitchen as your oats happily burp on the stove; the sweet syrupy mess you so love to launch on your hot porridge, like a giddy conductor with ADD.

This 4-Grain Porridge is kickass comforting. The best part? It’s a complete source of protein too.

 

4 grain porridge recipe

 

By socialising oats with other grains such as amaranth, buckwheat and chia seed, we achieve a full quota of essential amino acids that otherwise would have fallen short of the bench presser’s Sweet Spot.

This is real cereal, not that sugary nonsense the word ‘cereal’ has come to represent. Whole, unrefined, unadulterated yumness that takes minutes to prepare, but parties in your body all day long.

And yes, oats often contain gluten. I need you to collect yourself. Ready? Gluten is not a poison. Such is the misinformation surrounding gluten, my poor husband thinks we should be taking an insurance policy out against it.

And our neighbour thinks gluten is something that wild teenagers sniff.

If you want to evict something in your diet, ditch the processed cereals and mass-produced granola. Let’s decriminalise gluten. I’ve never seen a herring so scarlet.

 

4 grain porridge4 grain porridge susan jane white

 

4-Grain Porridge
Makes 1kg

 

625g regular oat flakes
125g buckwheat flakes 
125g milled chia seed (not a grain)
125g amaranth flakes
3 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

 

I find the best way to make this is by asking 2 different pals to purchase the buckwheat flakes and the milled chia. I buy the amaranth flakes. Then we all swap 125g each.

Add the listed ingredients together in a 1kg Kilner or other jar. Shakey shakey shakey.

Store this way for up to 6 months.

When you fancy a bowl of 4-Grain Porridge, just treat the mix like regular oats. We like using 1 teacup of this 4-grain mix to 2.5 teacups of plant milk (oat’s milk is particularly good).

Simmer gently for 10 minutes, until glossy and creamy. Serve with sticky set honey.