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December 14, 2021
Chocolate has been consumed as a drink for thousands of years in South America. It was brought to Europe over 500 years ago by Christopher Columbus having discovered it on his fourth mission there. Used also as a savoury addition to some dishes, it made little impact until introduced to the Spanish Court, where it became very popular.
They started to add sugar to sweeten the naturally bitter taste, and from here it spread throughout Europe. Chocolate’s bad press is largely down to high added sugar and fat content. But the unadulterated raw cacao can be seen as a superfood, high in anti-oxidants, that may have beneficial effects related to cholesterol levels, cardiovascular issues, cognitive decline and strokes.
These raw chocolate hearts use powder from the Peruvian lucuma fruit as an alternative sweetener, to soften the naturally bitter taste of the raw cacao. It has a low-glycaemic index and a good amount of fibre, sweetening a little, without smothering the rich intense flavour. This makes it strangely satisfying after just one chocolate unlike your everyday addictive sweets.
Ingredients:50gms cacao butter40gms cacao powder or cocoa powder30gms lucuma powder2 tbsp coconut sugar1 tbsp coconut oilTopping of choice; nuts, crispies, dried fruit
Method:Gently melt the cacao butter and coconut oil in a bain-marie on the lowest heat, then take it off just as everything melts. Sieve the cacao powder, coconut sugar and lucuma powder into a bowl and then add the melted cacao butter/coconut oil and mix together.
You can use moulds, a flat tray etc. to set the chocolate in. Using small heart moulds today, I’ve left some chocolates plain, into some I've added a crushed buckwheat and chia seed cracker which tastes like a chocolate crispie, and some roasted chopped hazelnuts into others.
Pour the mixture into the mould and then place in the freezer to set for appx. 1 hour. The chocolates will melt at room temperature so take out at the desired time, but store in the fridge or freezer.
Ingredients:250gms dark chocolate
250gms caster sugar
150gms unsalted butter
50gms plain flour
3 small eggs
Method:Preheat oven to 140⁰C
Line and grease a 25cm x 25cm baking tray. Melt chocolate & butter in a bain-marie until they come together. Beat the eggs & sugar together. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the eggs, beat together. Add the flour and mix until well combined. Bake in the preheated oven for appx 1 hour 20 minutes. It should feel firm around the edges and less so in the middle.
Gaby Van Clarke
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