Sometimes, you just have to have food that will give you a hug and a boost. Chocolate! Home-made chocolates are my favourite treat, and these chocolate almond raw cake bites are my favourite at the moment. I have always been one to bang on about ‘treating myself’, but it is important! Especially when your diet is restricted in any way.
it should not be about denial, it should be about nurture.
For me, making sweets, like these chocolate almond raw cake bites, is a pleasure. Cocoa is nutritious, and gorgeous stuff. I don’t have caffeine in any other form. I gave up tea and coffee at the beginning of 2015, and despite being a big tea and coffee drinker, I haven’t looked back. In my experience of having to give foods I enjoy up, which is pretty extensive, this is what happens; you think something will be difficult if not impossible, but it isn’t, you can do it, and you feel freer and better for it when you do. It will probably take a while, you may not stick to it all the time, but that’s okay. Habits don’t own us, we just think they do, and then we give our selves a far harder time for a small ‘slip-up’ than for a long-term mistake. When in reality, you’ve won if just occasionally you indulge in something that doesn’t agree with you, it’s doing it all the time that’s the problem. And if you can cut it out completely all the better!
It’s important to always remind yourself of why you are giving something up. For me, the fact is that coffee especially is acidic, and doesn’t agree with me (I recommend anyone with joint pain to give it up or at least drink coffee infrequently if they can), and too much caffeine ramps up my anxiety, and I really don’t need that, whereas chocolate, in moderation, makes me feel good and clears my head. Maybe because it’s not a drink, the caffeine releases more slowly or something, I don’t know, but it just doesn’t affect me in the same way. For many years, a freshly brewed mocha pot of coffee was a ritual I adored (now, mixed with olive or coconut oil, it’s my delicious smelling body scrub). I loved the civilised process, the smell, the taste, the luxury of it, but not how I felt afterwards. And this is part of my lifestyle now, to consume things that make me feel good, before, during and after eating. If it fits with that rule, it’s okay by me. And then life’s easy, no big decisions, only choices. I just have to remind myself of that. We can’t have everything in this life, that’s okay. And if I’m feeling like I need a sweet pick-me-up, and I don’t want fruit (what?!) I have a home-made chocolate. They’re easy and quick to make, I make loads so I know they’re there when I want (need) them. And the fact that these sweets are like cake is still a novelty to me. I make a variety of from scratch vegan chocolates, and these chocolate almond bites are my new favourites, they are so moist and sumptuously scrumptious…
- 1 cup of cacao (use cocoa powder alternatively, or a mixture of the two)
- 1 1/2 cup of ground almond
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/4 can of coconut cream (solid)
- 1/2 cup of raisins
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 25 drops stevia (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar (leave out for no sugar version)
- 2 tsp cocoa nibs (optional, but delicious)
Gently melt the coconut oil in a pan on a low heat, and as melts transfer to a bowl.
Mix the rest of the ingredients.thoroughly, add the melted coconut oil and mix further.
With your hands, form into bite size balls, don't worry if it's a bit messy, (though if very sticky, it's a sign that the mixture will turn out more like truffles, so add more cocoa, oil and almond, until it's moist and cleaner to roll).
Dust with cocoa or cacao powder.
You can substitute natural sugar for the stevia if you like, but I find a mixture of natural sugar and stevia very good.
The more finely ground the almond, the more cake like, in my experience a courser grind make a denser, more nutty sweet, more like a truffle, which is still very tasty. For this recipe I prefer a finer grind of almond.
If you use a syrup as a sweetener then adjust the dry ingredients to compensate for the added moisture.
If your coconut milk is very runny, either add less or compensate for the extra liquid with more cocoa and ground almond.
The mixture should be very moist to roll, and stick a little, add a tbsp more cocoa on top of the mixture if too sticky to roll. The raw cake bites sit well, and improve in texture as the moisture is absorbed by the almond
To be truly raw cacao must be used; cacao is less processed and far more nutritious than cocoa, but in many ways cocoa works for me because I buy Dutch process cocoa which is not as acidic.
The cacao nibs add a wonderful, luxurious crunch, and make the cake bites chocolate chip.
I'm totally going to go on a cacao journey, watch this (cosmic) space...