Chocolate – that’s healthy, vegan and refined sugar free!

Before I share the decadent chocolate recipe, I have some exciting news to tell you. It’s not blog related, but more on a personal note – I am moving to Melbourne! I’ve been offered an amazing career opportunity and am very much looking forward to checking out all the amazing cafes and restaurants the city has to offer!

If you have any favourite places to eat, I would love to hear from you so I too can try them out.

Now, moving onto the much anticipated chocolate recipe. This is definitely one to make over the coming Easter period as it’s prime time to indulge in chocolate.

Chocolate - that's healthy, and vegan! Emma Lauren Food.

Cacao butter melting

I’ve use cacao butter as it ensures the chocolate remains solidified longer, meaning it won’t melt as quickly as using only coconut oil.

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Adding in the cacao powder

Cacao powder is what makes this chocolate chocolatey and is considered a superfood due to its high nutrient and antioxidant value.

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Glossy appearance

I just love how the chocolate takes on a glossy appearance once all mixed together, makes you want to eat it by the spoonful.

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Lined tray

By lining a baking tray, this ensures the chocolate does not stick and can be easily removed once solidified.

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Variety of toppings

What I love most about this chocolate is the toppings you can add. The combinations are only limited by your imagination!

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Pouring into the tray

The consistency should be thin enough to pour straight into the prepared tray.

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Spread evenly

Once all has been poured, spread the chocolate evenly over the tray as quickly as possible. Once the cacao butter starts to cool, it will start to solidify.

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Ready for toppings

Now it has been evenly spread, the chocolate is ready to be decadently decorated.

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Designer chocolate

You could say this is designer chocolate, but homemade and healthy!

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Variety of toppings

The decadent toppings I chose were from left to right: goji berries and coconut chips; pistachios, cacao nibs and buckwheat groats; and salted caramel macadamia.

This chocolate will keep in the freezer in a sealed container for up to one week, if it lasts that long that is.

Chocolate

Makes a lot!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cacao butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups cacao powder
  • 2/3 cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Melt cacao butter over low heat in a small saucepan.
  2. Line baking tray with baking paper (the size of the tray was 18 x 28cm).
  3. Place all ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
  4. Pour chocolate onto prepared baking tray.
  5. Add toppings of your choice.
  6. Place in freezer for 1 hour or until hardened.
  7. Cut into pieces and enjoy!
Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Salted caramel macadamia chocolate

To make this decadent topping, for the caramel I mixed 1 TBSP almond butter with 1 TBSP 100% pure maple syrup with a pinch of salt. Chop macadamia nuts and sprinkle on top of chocolate and add dollops of salted caramel. Set in the freezer, then enjoy!

 

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Goji coconut chocolate and pistachio cacao buckwheat chocolate

I sprinkled enough of each ingredient to cover the surface, then placed it in the freezer to set!

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Coconut salt chocolate

This topping is simple, coconut chips and salt. Perfect for those who are unable to eat nuts!

I hope you all enjoy this chocolate recipe over Easter and throughout the year too. Comforting to know you can indulge in decadence that is actually healthy!

Mini salted caramel chocolate tarts

My younger sister moved interstate this week and as she loves chocolate I made her a little going away treat. It’s also Valentine’s Day tomorrow and what kind of day would it be without a little chocolate?!

These mini salted caramel chocolate tarts are an ideal size to satisfy any chocolate craving as they are quite rich. They incorporate two of my favourite flavours: chocolate and salted caramel. So, they are definitely a winner in my books!

Mini Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts

Raw tart crust

I used almond meal as the main ingredient in the crust as it’s quite fine in texture and ensures the base is fairly light in comparison to the ganache.

Crumbly crust

Once processed, your crust should be crumbly and easy to mould together. The coconut oil brings the ingredients together and solidifies once placed in the freezer to prevent the crust from falling apart.

Salted caramel filling

This salty yet sweet filling complements the decadent chocolate ganache. It breaks up the flavours and allows your palate to experience different tastes all in the one bite.

Ready to set!

Once the crust has been moulded and the centre has been filled, the tarts are ready to be set! These could easily be eaten just like this but I do prefer that extra layer of decadence. After all, if you’re going to enjoy a treat you might as well go all out!

Rich, decadent chocolate ganache

The cacao butter lends the ganache a richness and ensures the chocolate doesn’t melt quickly. If you don’t have cacao butter, you can replace it with coconut oil but it will melt quicker.

Little morsels of heaven

I love the rustic look of these tarts, especially the little peaks the chocolate ganache forms once decorated.

Pure decadence…

These mini tarts will keep in the fridge for up to three days in a sealed container or in the freezer for up to one week in a sealed container – just make sure you allow them time to slightly defrost before consuming.

Mini salted caramel chocolate tarts

Makes 14 mini tarts

Ingredients:

Crust
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 6 fresh medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil, extra for greasing mini tart pan
  • 2 TBSP cacao powder
Salted caramel filling
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 TBSP 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Chocolate ganache
  • 1/2 cup cacao butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder
  • 4 TBSP 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Grease 14 mini tart pans with coconut oil.
  2. Process all crust ingredients in a food processor for 2-3 minutes or until well combined.
  3. Roll into 14 even sized balls and place in the greased tart pan. Gently press down in the centre and mould into a tart shell.
  4. Mix salted caramel ingredients together in a bowl with a spoon until smooth.
  5. Place caramel filling inside tart crust and set in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  6. Process chocolate ganache ingredients together in a food processor for 2-3 minutes or until smooth.
  7. Spoon on top of caramel filling and ensure it is completely covered.
  8. Set in the freezer for a further 20 minutes or until hardened.
  9. Remove mini tarts from pan by running a knife around the edge of each tart and using the same knife to pop the tart out from the bottom. Enjoy!

Note: we enjoyed these mini tarts with dairy free ice cream!

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all for tomorrow, I hope you indulge in a healthy chocolate treat!

Raw mars bar bites and turning 22

Well, today it’s my 22nd Birthday! I cannot believe how fast this past year has gone and reflecting back it really goes to show how much can be accomplished in the space of a year – I’ve started Emma Lauren Food, almost finished my double degree and have been successful in leading a healthy lifestyle I am proud of!

This time last year I was fortunate enough to celebrate my 21st birthday with family and friends in New York after travelling through Europe for three months. Walking through Times Square with 21 balloons is definitely a memory I will never forget.

21st in New York

This year’s celebrations will be a little more low key, but most importantly it will be spent with my family and close friends!

As birthdays always call for something sweet to celebrate, I thought I’d bring you raw mars bar bites today!

Nougat layer

This nougat layer is the base of the mars bar bites. This layer can be made either thick or thin depending on your preference. I made it thick, but just halve the ingredients it you’d prefer it a little thinner.

Pressed into the tin

Use the back of a wet spoon to press the nougat layer into the cake tin. This ensures it is evenly distributed.

Caramel layer

The caramel layer is the sweeter of the two – this is definitely my favourite! I love the combination of almond butter and dates, it takes on a chewy texture when frozen.

Chocolate coating

I used cacao butter in the chocolate coating as it ensures the bites won’t melt as quickly as just using coconut oil. There’s nothing worse than all your hard work melting in front of you!

Bite sized pieces

Whenever I cut brownies, slices or, in this case, mars bar bites, I always start by cutting down the middle then working my way to the outside. This ensures all, or almost all, pieces are the same size.

Using a fork to cover the bites

I used a fork to assist in coating the bites as this allowed the bottom of the bite to be covered in chocolate easily.

Almost finished…

Beautiful, glossy bites – these really are something special to serve to your guests!

Voilà! Healthy mars bar bites!

These bites will keep in the freezer for up to two weeks in a sealed container.

Raw mars bar bites

Makes 18 bites

Ingredients:

Nougat layer
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 3 TBSP 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP water
Caramel layer
  • 1 TBSP almond butter
  • 8 fresh medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 TBSP 100% pure maple syrup – add more/less depending on how sweet you like it
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP water
Chocolate coating
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup cacao butter
  • 2 TBSP 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil

Method:

  1. Line both a loaf tin and a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place nougat ingredients in the food processor and process for 2-3 minutes, or until smooth.
  3. Press nougat into lined loaf tin and place in the freezer to set.
  4. Whilst the nougat sets, place caramel ingredients in the food processor and process for 2-3 minutes, or until well combined.
  5. Spread caramel on top of nougat and return to the freezer for 30 minutes.
  6. Place cacao butter in a small saucepan over low heat until melted.
  7. Place cacao butter and the remainder of the chocolate ingredients into a bowl.
  8. Remove mars bar layers from the freezer and cut into 18 squares.
  9. Place one mars bar bite on a fork, then dip into the bowl of chocolate and use a spoon to coat all sides.
  10. Place on lined baking tray and repeat until all squares have been coated.
  11. Place in the freezer for a further 30 minutes or until set. Enjoy!

I hope you all have an amazing day today, I definitely will! Now, off I go for my birthday breakfast with my sister.

The OMG Sundae

I just HAD to title this The OMG Sundae as that is all my sister and I were saying after each bite. As she was visiting last weekend I wanted to make her something delicious for dessert. We absolutely love ice cream so what better way to enjoy it than with decadent yet healthy toppings?!

Coconut ice cream!

I used CocoLuscious Vanilla Ice Cream and chose the gold version as it is sweetened with coconut sugar not agave syrup. This also made it taste slightly caramelly. I paid $14 for this tub so it’s a little on the expensive side, however it is a rare treat that I am happy to indulge in. Plus you only really need 1 scoop so it will definitely last longer.

Cookie dough bite ingredients

One of my favourite past times was eating raw cookie dough, I honestly believe it tastes better than the baked cookies!

Raw cookie dough! YUM!

It doesn’t take long before all the ingredients come together to form a dough.

Little morsels of goodness!

After these little morsels of goodness have been in the fridge to harden, they become slightly chewy from the almond butter and crunchy due to the cacao nibs.

Decadent chocolate sauce

This sauce is beyond amazing. It’s so velvety and smooth that it’s hard to stop at only one spoonful.

The OMG Sundae!

This is best served immediately however the cookie dough bites, chocolate sauce and salted caramel sauce can all be kept in the fridge for up to two days in sealed containers.

The OMG Sundae

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 scoops coconut ice cream or any dairy free ice cream
Mini cookie dough bites
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 TBSP almond butter
  • 1 TBSP 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cacao nibs
Chocolate sauce
  • 1/3 cup cacao butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 2 TBSP 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Salted caramel sauce
  • 2 TBSP almond butter
  • 3-4 TBSP 100% pure maple syrup – depending on how sweet you like it
  • 2 tsp almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Place all cookie dough bite ingredients in a large bowl. Mix until it forms a dough. Roll into thumb-sized balls and place in the fridge to harden.
  2. Place cacao butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally until melted. Add in cacao powder, maple syrup and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  3. Place all salted caramel ingredients in a small bowl and mix together well.
  4. Place 1 scoop of ice cream, a handful of mini cookie dough bites, and a dollop of both chocolate and salted caramel sauce in each bowl. Enjoy this decadent dessert!

What’s your rare foodie treat?

Raw chocolate brownies with chocolate ganache

I honestly don’t know why I haven’t made raw brownies before! They are rich and decadent without being overly sweet – basically everything you want in a brownie! The best part about these is that they’re raw, meaning no cooking required.

They are a great treat for those who are vegan, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free and/or raw.

Brownie base

If I haven’t already convinced you to make these, what about telling you the ingredients used are providing you with amazing health benefits.

Walnuts are full of essential omega-3 fatty acids, which our body can’t actually produce so we must get them from consuming certain foods. Raw cacao powder is full of antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals including magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron. Coconut oil is known for boosting your metabolism which in turn helps to control your weight.

Ready to be set

I pressed the brownie base into the cake tin using the back of a wet spoon. This prevents the base sticking to the spoon and ruining all your hard work!

Chocolate ganache ingredients

This ganache is something else; it basically tastes like fudge. If you don’t have cacao butter you can use 1/2 cup coconut oil instead. However, it will solidify quicker and may crack when cutting into squares.

Final stage!

You don’t have to make the ganache to top these brownies, but I definitely recommend to! You won’t be disappointed if you do!

Chocolate on chocolate!

These brownies will keep for four days in a sealed container in the fridge.

Raw brownies with chocolate ganache

Makes 18 

Ingredients:

Base
  • 2 cups raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 10 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
Ganache
  • 2/3 cup cacao butter, softened
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder
  • 4 TBSP 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil

Method:

  1. Line a cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Process all base ingredients in a food processor until crumbly in texture.
  3. Press into lined tin and place in the fridge whilst you make the ganache.
  4. Process all ganache ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  5. Spread over brownie base and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  6. Slice into squares then enjoy!

Note: you can substitute the maple syrup for honey however then they won’t be vegan

I’d love to hear if you’ve made raw brownies before?!

Also, if you make these I’d love to hear what you thought of them!