These sumptuous raw chocolate truffles do not have the name bliss balls for nothing. Try one of these and you’ll wonder why you’ve ever bothered with conventional truffles. Well maybe I exaggerate a little, but only just.
You’ll find the recipe for a rather delicious dairy-free tropical smoothie with coconut, mango & banana at the bottom of this post. But I’m starting off with a look at a few raw products that are currently available. Whilst I’m not quite at the forefront of raw food consumption, it does make up a part of my diet and I don’t just mean salad leaves. I’ve been a fan of raw chocolate since long before I started this blog; the concept of raw chocolate and other sweet treats that are actively good for you is one I find most appealing. Unlike cheap chocolate bars, I find these satisfy quite quickly and I’m unable to gorge myself on them.
Father’s Day will soon be here, falling on Sunday 15th of June this year. Baking something for dad is a gesture many people are keen to make. Dr Oetker have come up with a few chocolate recipes they feel would be suitable for the occasion. The recipes focus less on the sugar and more on the chocolate – of the dark variety. They include a chocolate Guinness cake and an ale chocolate layer cake – hmm, I think I can see a theme developing here. I opted to try out the recipe for Coconut Chocolate Bars which I knew would appeal to CT.
I didn’t, of course, stick entirely to the recipe as given. For a start, I didn’t have any powdered egg white, Dr Oetker or otherwise, but I did have two egg whites sitting in the fridge leftover from making raspberry muffins. I used wholemeal spelt flour for the base along with vanilla sugar. I added a little butter and maple syrup to the chocolate at the end as I opted for the 72% and thought this might be a little too hard to work on its own. I also wanted a nice shiny top and as I still haven’t really got to grips with tempering chocolate properly, this seemed a good way of achieving it. You can find the original recipe here.
This is how I made:
Coconut Chocolate Bars
- Creamed 100g unsalted butter with 50g vanilla sugar (golden caster sugar) until the mixture was smooth and creamy.
- Sieved in 115g wholemeal spelt and 15g of cocoa powder and mixed until just combined.
- Pressed into an 8″ sq silicone mould trying to make it as evenly spread as possible.
- Baked at 180℃ for 15 minutes then reduced the oven to 140℃.
- Whisked two egg whites with a pinch of cream of tarter until peaks formed.
- Slowly whisked in 100g golden caster sugar until stiff peaks formed.
- Gently stirred in 1 tsp of vanilla paste and 150g desiccated coconut.
- Spread this over the biscuit base and baked for 25 minutes at 140℃.
- Melted 150g Dr Oetker 72% dark chocolate in a bowl over hot water together with 20g unsalted butter and 1 tbsp of maple syrup.
- Stirred gently until smooth.
- Poured over the coconut spreading it into the corners and ensuring all was covered.
- Left to set, removed from the mould and cut into 18 bars.
If, like us, you are fond of the UK confectionery Bounty bars but find them too sweet, you will love these. They have all the flavour and texture of a Bounty and more and they are not tooth achingly sweet. They weren’t as pretty as I was hoping; I was unable to cut them cleanly, but they held together well and still looked quite striking with the alternating layers of dark, white and dark. They were light in texture but quite rich, so we found ourselves unable to gorge on them as we thought we might.
I’m sending some of these off to Nayna over at Simply Food for her Let’s Cook for Father’s Day event.
Likewise I’m sending some bars off to Made with Love Mondays over at Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/Luv.
There should be just a few of these chocolate coconut bars to send off to #recipeoftheweek with Emily over at A Mummy Too.
Chocolate was a very rare treat when I was a child. Bounty bars were allowed on rare occasions as they were deemed to be less unhealthy because of the coconut. So I am sending these adult versions off to Treat Petite where the theme is childhood memories. CakeyBoi and The Baking Explorer host this monthly event.
Thanks to Dr Oetker for the baking chocolate selection and recipes. I was not required to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.
This month’s We Should Cocoa is all about coconut. As soon as Laura let on what the ingredient was going to be, I was mulling over some sort of bake using coconut oil, flour and sugar to make a really coconutty treat. I had something in mind, when I remembered seeing a coconut and ginger recipe in the booklet accompanying the Lékué cake pop kit I was sent to try out. As I was rather sceptical about cake pops and couldn’t really see the point of them, I hadn’t yet got around to doing anything with it. The time, it seemed, had come.
The kit consisted of a round pink 18 hole cake pop tray made from platinum silicone and a decomax which is also made from platinum silicone. A recipe booklet is also included along with 20 plastic sticks. The cake pop tray has a base with a lid shaped to encourage the cakes to form perfect balls. The lid also doubles as a cake pop holder which can be used whilst the icing or chocolate coverings set. I didn’t actually use the decomax for this bake, but have used it to decorate my bundt cakes and mini chocolate cakes. As someone who hasn’t managed to get to grips with piping bags, I have been completely won over by it. Having said that, it comes with only 6 nozzles three round and three star shapes of different sizes. It would be good to have a bit more choice. It’s easy to fill, easy to use and is simple to wash. It can also be used to fill the cake pop holes, but in this case it seemed simpler to use a teaspoon for the task. Like the rest of the Lékué products I’ve tried out, the silicone is sturdy and of good quality. The only issue I had with this kit were the plastic sticks, which were really too feeble for the job and bent under the weight of the pops. The kit retails at around £30.
So I adapted Lékué’s recipe, which sounded rather a good one. I used coconut oil rather than olive oil, substituted caster sugar with coconut sugar and used a mix of coconut flour and gluten free flour rather than wheat flour. These were going to be the only adaptations I made, but unfortunately, I started following the measurements from an adjacent recipe instead, so my quantities also ended up being different. Hey ho, never mind.
This is how I made:
Coconut and Ginger Cake Pops
- Creamed 80g of softened coconut oil with 110g coconut sugar until well beaten.
- Beat in 1 duck egg (or use a large hen egg).
- Sifted in 135g flour (I used ⅓ coconut flour and ⅔ gluten free flour), 1½ tsp baking powder and 1 tsp ground ginger.
- Stirred in alternately with 4 tbsp Greek yogurt and 2 tbsp water.
- Added 35g shredded coconut and mixed until just combined.
- Spooned teaspoonfuls into the 18 hole Lékué silicone cake pop mould to fill up to the brim (it is suggested that the mixture is piped in, but as the mixture was quite stiff, it seemed easier to spoon it in).
- Covered the mould with the lid and baked at 180℃ for 16 minutes.
- Removed the lid, left to cool for a few minutes then turned them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Melted 250g 65% dark chocolate (Inaya pur noir) in a pan over very low heat with 60g unsalted butter and 2 tbsp double cream.
- Stirred until just combined.
- Inserted sticks into the cake pops and coated with the chocolate ganache. Placed the sticks in the handy holes on the lid and decorated with a little shredded coconut.
- Left to set.
Despite the myriad disasters I had whilst making these: wrong ingredients, cakes sliding down the stick, ganache being rather thick to work with and chocolate spreading itself over me and the kitchen, I was immensely pleased with my first ever cake pops. They tasted delicious and I finally saw the point of them. Eating little bits of cake covered in chocolate is a very different experience from eating a slice of cake with chocolate on the top. The higher ratio of chocolate to cake turned it into an intense and indulgent occasion. This was aided by the wonderfully complex notes of the 65% Inaya pur noir chocolate I used from Cacao Barry. I will also concede that the cake pops looked rather good too. I might add that these had a number of tasters and they all concurred with my assessment as they dug into their second cake pop. CT even managed a third.
Click the link to find out what other chocolate and coconut recipes I’ve made.
This is my entry to We Should Cocoa which is guest hosted this month by Laura of I’d Much Rather Bake Than …. Coconut is her ingredient of choice and with three types of coconut used, these cake pops are nothing if not coconutty.
I didn’t manage to link up with The Spice Trail last month which was a shame as I was keen to try caraway in something other than my bread. However I have managed it this month as the chosen spice is ginger. Ginger is one of my favourite spices and we get through a lot of it in this household. This event is hosted by Vanesther of Bangers & Mash.
This month’s Love Cake theme is giving up. Well I’m not a great fan of giving up, but this was fairly specific. We have to bake a cake or cakes without at least one of the standard ingredients, i.e. wheat flour, butter, sugar or eggs. I have managed to bake these pops without three of the ingredients, so feel I can be a little bit proud. This is hosted by Ness over at JibberJabberUK.
The theme for this month’s Tea Time Treats is decorative cakes. Whilst my pictures may not show the more successful cake pops off to their best advantage, they really did look rather cute and definitely decorative. Hosted this month by Janie of The Hedge Combers, it is hosted alternately by Karen of Lavender and Lovage.
Made from scratch as they are with lots of good for you ingredients, I’m sending these of to Javelin Warrior for his Made with Love Mondays.
With their jaunty tops bobbing away on sticks and the yellow centres, I reckon these could pass off as Spring like, so I am entering them into Calendar Cakes hosted by Dolly Bakes where the theme this month is Spring Into Action.
Thanks to Lékué for sending me the cake pop kit to try out and to Cacao Barry for the chocolate. I was not required to write positive reviews and as always all opinions are my own.
I do like a good oaty biscuit and these oat, coconut, fennel chocolate chip cookies are some of the best. They’re crisp on the outside, chewy in the middle and very very moreish. If you can restrain yourself, they’ll keep well in the biscuit tin for a few days. Oh, did I say? They’re dairy-free, refined sugar-free and healthy (ish) too.
Having received a basket of Brazilian limes back along, I needed to start using them. This really wasn’t an issue as I do have a particular penchant for limes. One of the first things I made was based on the recipe for Lime and Coconut Cake from one of my favourite baking books, Cakes by Pam Corbin. Coconut and lime are a natural pairing and I think the flavours work to remind us over here in dear old Blighty that there is a tropical paradise somewhere. Adding a note of cardamom just seemed like a good idea at the time, although I was debating using ginger instead. Of course I had to get a little white chocolate in and I did. Pam’s recipe is a gluten free one, but as I didn’t need to do that, I went for low gluten rather than no gluten.
This is how I made:
Lime, Coconut and Cardamom Loaf Cake
- Creamed 175g unsalted butter (left on the heater for half an hour to soften) with 175g cardamom (caster) sugar until pale and airy.
- Grated in the zest of three well scrubbed limes and creamed some more.
- Beat in 3 duck eggs, one by one.
- Sifted in 125g flour (75g wholemeal spelt, 25g coconut flour, 25g white) with 1 tsp baking powder.
- Stirred this into the mixture as gently as possible.
- Added 50g desiccated coconut and mixed gently again.
- Added 50g chopped white chocolate.
- Spooned into a 2 lb loaf mould (which I put inside a loaf tin to stop it bowing out) and baked at 180C for 45 minutes.
- Whilst cake was cooking, juiced the 3 limes and added 60g cardamom sugar. Left to dissolve, stirring occasionally.
- As soon as the cake was out of the oven, spooned the lime juice over the cake, then left in the mould to cool.
The cake was utterly scrumptious, zesty and moist with a lovely chewy texture from the coconut and little caramel bites from the white chocolate; it was definitely a notch up from a standard lemon drizzle. Because it was so moist, it tasted just as good several days down the line as it did when it was freshly baked.
I’m sending this cake over to Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/ Luv for his Made with Love Mondays, a weekly challenge where anything can be made, but it needs to be made from scratch.
I’ve seen various recipes for using banana in flapjacks over the years, but keep forgetting to try it myself. When I saw this recipe over at Jam and Clotted Cream last week, I bookmarked it immediately. I had two old bananas left over from the banana and peanut butter cake that were in dire need of using up and sadly, for a Jubiliee weekend, we had no cakes, bakes or other goodies in the house. Time to try out some banana flapjacks!
This is how I did it:
- Melted 150g of unsalted butter in a pan with 1 tbsp of syrup and 50g white chocolate (G&B)
- Mashed 2 bananas in a large bowl.
- Stirred in 60g soft brown sugar.
- Stirred in 50g desiccated coconut.
- Mixed in butter mixture until all incorporated.
- Stirred in 300g rolled oats.
- Pressed into a 9″ square silicone mould and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
- Baked for 20 minutes at 180C.
- Left to cool then cut into 16 squares.
Back in January when I saw the We Should Cocoa entry from Carol Anne’s Kitchen for chocolate and coconut granola, I bookmarked it straight away. As usual with these things it has sat neglected in my bookmarks folder along with many much older items. The spur I needed came in the form of this month’s Breakfast Club, founded and hosted by Helen of Fuss Free Flavours. The theme is Fairtrade. Now I know fairtrade is not all about chocolate, but chocolate was one of the very first things to be given the fairtrade label and it is this wonderful substance I associate most with Fairtrade. So time to trawl through my bookmarks where I was very sure I had a chocolate granola recipe!
As is my wont, I adapted the recipe quite considerably. First off, I had bought a bar of Divine’s fairtrade 85% dark chocolate specifically for the purpose of this challenge. When I read the recipe however, it was cocoa that was used. Well blow that, mine was going to contain a bar of real live chocolate. As this was for breakfast I wanted something healthy – to me healthy means NO SUGAR. So instead of using sugar, I used a mixture of date syrup, agave syrup and honey. OK I know chocolate has sugar in, but there is very little in an 85% bar, so I let that one go.
Anyway, this is how I did it:
- Put 250g of rolled oats into a bowl.
- Added 30g sesame seeds, 20g sunflower seeds, 60g apricot kernels, 30g goji berries, 50g coconut chips, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/4 tsp fleur de sel (sea salt).
- In a pan warmed 40ml date syrup, 40ml agave syrup, 1 flat tbsp honey and 50ml walnut infused rapeseed oil.
- Added 50g of 85% dark chocolate (Divine) and stirred until melted.
- Poured this into the bowl of dry ingredients and mixed until everything was evenly coated.
- Spread this onto a large baking tray and baked for 50 mins at 125C, turning the mixture a couple of times during the process.
- Left to cool
- Stirred in 50g of chopped 85% dark chocolate (Divine). What I wanted to achieve here was to add the chocolate at a point where it would melt a little and clump with the granola mixture, but not so much that it melted completely. I didn’t manage it, so the chocolate remained unmelded.
The aroma of chocolate, coconut and roasting seeds emanating from the kitchen whilst this was cooking was mouthwatering and it scented the whole house wonderfully. Of course, I couldn’t wait until breakfast the next day to try some, so out came a bowl, spoon and milk and in went the granola. It was delicious and not too sweet; crunchy with the kind of texture which encouraged you to chew and enjoy the diverse flavours. I don’t think it will last long.
|Undercover in the undergrowth|
Did you know it is World Baking Day on Sunday 20th May? Sponsored by Stork, the idea is to have some fun baking a cake and then sharing it with others – whether that’s in actuality or sharing a picture. Ideally, photograph your cake “somewhere interesting” in an unusual place or setting, then share the photographs via Twitter using the hashtag #caking or go direct to the World Baking Day website. Stuck for ideas? You will find plenty on my blog or again you could take a look at the World Baking Day site.
I was lucky to be given some encouragement by the organisers in the form of an an amazing box of goodies to use in the making of my cake. This not only included flour, baking powder, sugar, cocoa, Stork margarine and various cake decorations, but also a splendid silicone spatula which has a built in rest to keep the blade off the work surface and a very handy recipe journal.
So what to make was the big question? Well it didn’t take me too long to figure out. Last week I couldn’t resist buying up a load of bananas I saw going cheap. Then, serendipitously, the very same day I saw the most amazing banana, chocolate, peanut butter layer cake on Buttaz Blog. Although I wasn’t quite ready to make anything as grand as that, it did form the inspiration for the flavours I wanted to use. I was going to make a banana cake with chocolate chips sandwiched together with peanut butter icing. At Christmas last year I’d made Dan Lepard’s Butterscotch Banana Cake, in muffin format for the guys next door, using that most excellent of books Short & Sweet. Well caramelising the bananas was a revelation and transforms a simple banana cake into something else entirely. Inspired by this, I upped the quantities, omitted the spices and nuts, added coconut and then some chocolate, of course. The icing I based loosely on a recipe by Eric Lanlard in Cox Cookies & Cake.
This is what I did it:
- Poured 150g caster sugar and 50ml of water into a heavy bottomed pan and placed on a low heat until the sugar was melted.
- Brought the mixture to a boil, until it turned into a light brown caramel.
- Added 4 chopped bananas and turned down the heat to a simmer.
- Added 40g unsalted butter and let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes until the bananas were mushy.
- Added 50g desiccated coconut & 2 tsp vanilla extract. Stirred and left to cool.
- Creamed 175g Stork margarine (I’d normally use butter, but as this was sent to me, I thought I’d try it out).
- Added 120g light brown sugar and creamed until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in a goose egg (4 medium hens eggs).
- Beat in the banana mixture.
- Stirred in 1 tbsp yogurt.
- Sieved in 200g self-raising flour, 60g rye flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp bicarb of soda and folded until just combined.
- Gently stirred in 50g of chopped dark 70% chocolate (G&B).
- Divided mixture between two 22 cm cake moulds and baked at 180C for 30 minutes.
- Left to cool for 15 minutes then turned out onto wire racks to cool completely.
- Creamed 50g unsalted butter.
- Added 150g smooth peanut butter & creamed some more.
- Sifted in 200g icing sugar and creamed until pale.
- Added 4 tbsp whipping cream and 1 tsp vanilla extract & beat until light and smooth.
- Sandwiched the two cakes together with half of the mixture and spread the other half on top.
- Decorated with various chocolate sprinkles.
I can only describe the result as being the Rolls Royce of Banana cakes. It had a good crumb structure and was really light – so light in fact, as CT stated, that you could have a really big slice and not feel full. The taste was fairly sublime too and neither of us are ordinarily big fans of banana cake. The peanut butter icing I could have happily polished off with a spoon before ever it got to the cake, but I held fast. The flavours balanced out really well with the sweet, salt and bitter each playing their part. The individual flavours of banana, peanut, coconut and chocolate could be tasted separately, but also formed a sublime whole. As Alexander Dumas would have put it: “All for one and one for all”.
So get your pinnies on ready for Sunday and join in the fun.