Whilst I personally do not believe that we need to wait for a special occasion to eat chocolate - it is Valentines day coming up this Sunday and regardless of what this means to you we could all use a bit more joy couldn't we!! After all, Valentines day is a day of love so how about we show a bit more love for ourselves, our loved ones and all the good in our lives, even if we aren't quite where we want to be this year. Or even just to celebrate our love of chocolate!!!
That's why I have created these beautiful, flavoursome shards of chocolate bark. Full of healthy fat and nutrients that not only taste amazing but will also have us glowing and feeling amazing - the ultimate treat to ourselves (and maybe our loved ones!!). The tang of the raspberry pieces amongst the indulgent chocolate is a complete delight for the tastebuds. And don't get me started on the sea salt... ooohhh!!
The reason that I am using raw cacao instead of the conventional cocoa that is often used in traditional baking, is that it is far less processed and isn't exposed to high heat, meaning it retains all of the goodness and nutrients. Interestingly, amongst many other benefits, raw cacao is rich in flavanols which are thought to protect and improve circulation to the heart - maybe not such a coincidence that chocolate features so heavily on valentines day! It's also full of minerals such as magnesium and helps to produce feel good chemicals in our brain!
Convinced enough? Go for it - this is the recipe to make this weekend!!
100g (½ cup) coconut oil
22g (1½ tbsp) raw cacao powder
2-4 tsp maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
25g (1 tbsp) almonds (roughly chopped)
½ tbsp freeze-dried raspberries
Pinch of sea salt
MAKES: SERVES 4 (APPROX 12 PIECES) TIME: 15 MINS PREP+15 MINS CHILLING
Start by putting a baking sheet/tray (measuring approx. 7x9 in) in the freezer to chill for about 10 mins.
Melt the coconut oil over a very low heat until liquid. Put into a small mixing bowl and allow to chill to room temperature.
Using a balloon whisk, mix in the raw cacao powder and maple syrup really well until no lumps remain and the maple syrup is evenly distributed.
Line the baking tray from the freezer with some non-toxic parchment paper (important as it will make it easier to remove at the end). Pour in half of the chocolatey mix and spread around the bottom of the tray using a spatula. You will need to work relatively quickly here before the chocolate sets on the cold tray. When solid add the second half of the chocolate mix and spread around evenly to form a second layer - doing so will mean you can see the beautiful toppings on the top! Before it hardens, sprinkle over the chopped almond, freeze-dried raspberries and sea salt.
Put the tray back into the freezer for 10-15 mins until the chocolate is completely solid all the way through. Lift the parchment out of the tray and then break the chocolate into shards.
Keep in the fridge.