I promise I will post a savoury recipe soon, but as my 38th week of pregnancy approaches and calories are in high demand, it’s hard not to focus on the infinite rainbow of delectable healthy sweet treats that occupy my mind and days in the kitchen. And they usually involve cacao.
I’ve always loved a dark choc Bounty bar, and have been meaning to get round to making my own refined sugar-free version for a while. I see them all over my social media feed and wonder what has taken me so long. But everything has its moment, and current cravings dictated that a less sugar, a little more salt and a touch of warming fragrant cardamom would ramp things up to an irresistible level, coated in homemade raw chocolate. So yesterday I set to work and am pretty delighted with the result.
You could use store-bought organic chocolate here and melt it down if you’re not in possession of cacao butter; it would work well but I prefer to know exactly where my cacao comes from, and to have control over how much sugar goes in. Trying to keep a handle on the glucose intake (almost impossible), it is important to me to avoid unnecessary sugars – especially the refined variety – where I can.
You can leave the cardamom out if you prefer a less fragrant flavour; likewise you might want to add the salt slowly and adjust as you go – I use pink Himalayan which is milder and sweeter than refined versions and highly recommend it.
And finally, if more sweetness is calling, you can add more honey (or maple syrup if vegan) to the filling or the chocolate; the beauty of these uncooked treats is that you can keep tasting as you go.
Makes about 24 small balls
200g desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp honey (or maple / sweet syrup of your choice)
100g coconut cream
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
a generous pinch of salt
crushed sends from 5 cardamom pods
50g cacao butter
45g cacao powder
1 tbsp honey (or maple / sweetener of your choice)
(alternatively you can melt 100g dark chocolate)
In a blender or food processor, whizz the desiccated coconut until it forms a coarse powder. (If you like more texture you can leave a proportion of it coarse).
Place in a mixing bowl and add the rest of the filling ingredients. Mix thoroughly and adjust saltiness or sweetness to taste. (I ended up with 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt).
Roll into bitesize balls and place on a tray or plate in the freezer to cool while you prepare the chocolate coating.
In a bain marie (double boiler), melt the cacao butter until liquified. Remove from the heat, add the cacao powder and honey and stir thoroughly.
Bring your balls out from the freezer and use two forks to coat each one in chocolate before placing back on a tray or plate. When you are finished, place them in the fridge to set. If you have leftover chocolate, you can pour it into a small flexible tupperware and scatter with nuts, seeds and dried fruit to create some dark chocolate bark, which will also set in the fridge and can be eased out when hard.
Serve cold and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.