I have been meaning to make properly raw cacao sweets for ages, and here they are! They’re very moreish! Initially I found the cacao flavour slightly sour, in a fruity mellow way, which my brain couldn’t commute as being exactly chocolatey. And yet I wanted more, and not greedily, but as though my body was telling me how good they are, how wholesome. Unlike chocolates made with cocoa powder, there’s no overwhelming richness, and after eating you feel quite refreshed. And you don’t need much cacao, unlike cocoa. All in all, I’m in love with them, and can’t wait to experiment with different cacaos and see what I can whip up. Cacao nibs I enjoy especially, their texture is wonderfully crisp and delicious, they’re the most amazing ingredient.
I like cacao because, apart from being healthier and more nutritious, as a niche product, is also more often than not produced by conscientious ethical businesses who care about what they do. Buy organic and fair-trade, and bypass the bad capitalist practices of the mainstream cocoa trade, which is rife with suffering. Let’s really think about what we are consuming, and where our food comes from, and try to remember that when we buy something we are responsible for it’s production (why is this so hard? It’s so weird being a human I find, so many things that should be easy are a struggle, but that is our destiny and we must battle on). Food will taste better, chocolate sweeter and cleaner, and the world will be a better place for the care that we have taken. It’s difficult I know, modern life is so complicated and we are all so busy, our heads crammed with stresses and pressures and things to remember, but build up an ethic, try to stick to it, and it really makes life simpler. Such produce may be more expensive, but I say, have less, have it as a treat; the cheaper product comes at a higher price in so many ways. And as far as cacao is concerned, you have to use less cacao than cocoa, and so it’s pretty cost-effective. I buy cacao nibs from an online ethical grocery store and they’re really cheap and go a long way.
I find online health stores a real godsend. I still support my small local health food shop, which I love, and buy what I can from, but for me as a severe coeliac and lactose intolerant, my online grocer (realfoods.co.uk) is invaluable as they provide me with products that are totally suitable for me, and clearly labelled as 100% gluten-free and vegan, whereas many of the (wonderful) products in my local shop are handled on a line containing cereals etc. and not suitable for me. Also, as I live on a fairly tight budget, my online shop is for many things cheaper, which is great. I can be thoughtful about what I buy without any danger of impulse buys too! And that is a real positive for me, as because of my health conditions, I find shopping difficult; I get really foggy headed, by blood sugar levels rise, and fall, and I struggle, especially under strip lights which I am allergic to (yes, I am that much of a nightmare!), and so making decisions from the comfort of my own home is a good thing for me. But I still support my local health food shop too, who have the best and cheapest chewy dates I’ve ever tasted, and the crispest freshest seeds.
Back to the sweets! The fine desiccated coconut goes beautifully with the fruitiness of the cacao, and the ground almond gives real substance and added protein and nutrition. All in all they tick every box really, being a treat, and also something that’s healthy to enjoy everyday. They’re so quick and easy to make, and even quicker and easier to eat!
- 4 heaped tbsp cacao
- 9 heaped tbsp ground almond
- 5 heaped tbsp coconut milk/ cream (I use tinned coconut cream, the creamiest part on top)
- 2 heaped tbsp cacao nibs
- 20 stevia drops
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar/ 2 medjool dates or natural syrup of choice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 9 tbsp fine desiccated coconut, more for rolling
- 3 heaped tbsp de-seeded raisins
Mix all the ingredients apart form the coconut oil in a bowl. Gently melt the coconut oil and transfer to mix as soon as melted, stirring thoroughly. Form mixture into small balls and roll in fine desiccated coconut. If you only have courser coconut this is okay, but fine is best.
You could also roll them in flaked almonds if you're not so keen on the coconut, or, have them plain, or with a dusting of cacao. I think best would be to grind your own almond, it would taste wonderful and have the best texture.
You can keep them in the fridge, freezer, or eat at room temperature. For these sweets I prefer the fridge.