Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice

It’s been a week since I moved to Melbourne and I’ve finally settled into my own place. As I’m working in the CBD, it has been great exploring new cafes and have already found some that will become my go-to places for coffee and lunch during the week.

Green Press in Melbourne CBD. Emma Lauren Food.

Colourful salads from Green Press

If you haven’t already been to Green Press, do yourself a favour and go! It has an array of healthy vegan salads to choose from, changing almost daily. There is the option to add chicken, beef and falafels on top. They also offer some breakfast items and sweet treats, along with pressed juices.

I enjoyed this so much that I went back again on Thursday for lunch!

Almond milk latte from Madamimadam. Emma Lauren Food.

Almond milk latte from Madamimadam

Madamimadam is a cool cafe down one of the many side streets in the CBD. It was quite busy the morning I went so that is usually a good sign. They make their own cold pressed almond milk which tasted amazing in my latte. Will definitely be heading here when I need my caffeine fix for the day!

Pantry essentials. Emma Lauren Food.

Pantry essentials

Now that I’ve moved into my own place, I have already started stocking up my healthy pantry. To start with I’ve purchased almond milk, cacao powder, coconut nectar, buckwheat flour, buckwheat groats, coconut oil, almond butter, coconut yoghurt and Himalayan pink salt. I look forward to adding to this each week.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Almond milk latte from Forest Green

Today, an early morning walk was on the cards as I wanted to explore the area I’ve moved to. I came across Forest Green, a nice cafe on High Street, and fortunately they stocked almond milk. So, I enjoyed a latte whilst reading the paper. I always like to have a look at the menu even if I’m not ordering food and Forest Green’s menu sounds really delicious so will have to go back for breakfast one morning.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Choc-coco base

Since arriving in Melbourne, I was fortunate enough to stay with my good friend and her family until I found more permanent accommodation. As a thank you, I made dinner and dessert for them on Saturday evening. Dinner consisted of roasted pumpkin stuffed with moroccan spiced lamb and dessert was this indulgent slice.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Smooth chocolate layer

I wanted the different layers to consist of different textures. The base was slightly chewy, the chocolate was smooth and the salted caramel had little bits of crunch to it.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Chocolate layer

The chocolate was glossy in appearance and as it’s quite rich only a thin layer was needed. I used coconut oil as one of the ingredients as it sets quite quickly and is easy to cut through.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Salted caramel…YUM!

The salted caramel really enhances the flavour of the slice and is very simple to make, only three ingredients needed.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Final layer

This recipe purposely makes a small batch as now I’m living on my own I don’t have anyone to eat all these goodies. If you’d like to make more, just double or triple the ingredients.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Indulgent squares

This slice will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to two weeks.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice

Makes 6 slices

Ingredients:

Base
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, extra for decoration
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP cacao powder
  • 1 TBSP coconut nectar*
Chocolate
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP cacao powder
  • 1 TBSP coconut nectar*
Salted caramel
  • 1 TBSP almond butter
  • 1 tsp coconut nectar*
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Line a small baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Mix base ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Press into prepared baking tin and should be about 1cm thick. Set in the freezer.
  4. Mix chocolate ingredients together and pour over base. Return to freezer.
  5. Mix salted caramel ingredients together and spread over chocolate. Set in the fridge.
  6. Cut into slices and enjoy!

Note: you can substitute the coconut nectar for honey, 100% pure maple syrup or rice malt syrup – may have to adjust quantities to suit your taste buds!

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Layers of goodness

These are not very thick but are quite rich so a little slice goes a long way.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed your Easter long weekend and have indulged in some healthy chocolate treats!

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!

Double chocolate macadamia cookies

This weekend I’ve enjoyed some good old-fashioned baking, something I haven’t done in a long time. Baking cookies is a favourite pastime of mine; I have fond memories of baking multiple batches for school bake sales.

I posted this photo on Emma Lauren Food’s Instagram and Facebook page yesterday and many of you were asking for the recipe. So, I thought I’d share it with you all today so you too can enjoy theses little morsels of chocolately goodness!

Double chocolate macadamia cookies. Emma Lauren Food.

Oops… I couldn’t wait to try them!

These are a little on the undercooked side, meaning they are soft and chewy – just how I like my cookies! They will slightly harden once cooled though.

Double chocolate macadamia cookies. Emma Lauren Food.

Rich in colour

I made this batch of cookies twice, once using coconut palm sugar and another with 100% pure maple syrup. Personally I preferred the coconut palm sugar to sweeten these as they actually tasted like a cookie as opposed to a brownie with occurred when I used the maple syrup. Mind you, they really are both delicious.

Double chocolate macadamia cookies. Emma Lauren Food.

Cookie dough almost finished

Almond meal is a great base for these cookies as it’s light which helps to balance out the rich chocolate flavour.

Double chocolate macadamia cookies. Emma Lauren Food.

Decadent additions

My philosophy with food is if you’re going to enjoy something, you might as well go all out! This was definitely applied when adding the chopped chocolate and macadamias to the already indulgent cookie dough.

Double chocolate macadamia cookies. Emma Lauren Food.

Final ingredients

Don’t be alarmed if the cookie dough appears to be quite ‘wet’. Once baked it prevents the cookies from drying out.

Double chocolate macadamia cookies. Emma Lauren Food.

All rolled…

By rolling the cookie dough into balls, this ensures the cookies are evenly shaped and are of similar size.

Double chocolate macadamia cookies. Emma Lauren Food.

… now flattened

Using your index and middle finger, gently press the cookie dough balls down to flatten and resemble cookies.

Double chocolate macadamia cookies. Emma Lauren Food.

Cool on a wire rack

Store in a sealed container in the pantry for up to four days or in the fridge for up to one week.

Double chocolate macadamia cookies

Makes 15 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar*
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg*
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/4 cup macadamias, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs or any sugar and dairy free chopped chocolate*

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Mix almond butter, coconut oil and coconut sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Add cacao powder, vanilla, egg, baking soda, salt and almond meal then mix until well combined.
  4. Stir through macadamias and cacao nibs/chopped chocolate.
  5. Roll into 15 evenly sized balls, place on prepared baking tray and gently press down with your fingers.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes then allow to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • I used Loving Earth Coconut Mylk Chocolate
  • Replace coconut palm sugar with honey or 100% pure maple syrup however this will result in a different texture once baked
  • For vegans/egg free alternative: replace the egg with a ‘flax egg‘ – mix 1 TBSP flaxseed meal and 3 TBSP water
Double chocolate macadamia cookies. Emma Lauren Food.

In the cookie jar!

Ready to be enjoyed with a cup of tea during the coming week!

Chocolate tahini spread

This past weekend was spent mostly outdoors, something I am definitely trying to incorporate more into my life especially as I live on the beautiful Gold Coast! Last Sunday involved an early morning road trip to Byron Bay to enjoy breakfast and have a change of scenery.

Byron Bay

It was a picture perfect day in Byron Bay with many people enjoying all that nature has to offer.

The Roadhouse, Byron Bay

This was definitely worth the early morning drive! The Roadhouse is one of my favourite cafes in Byron Bay as they always serve delicious food, beverages including almond milk lattes and has a really relaxed atmosphere. A must-try when visiting Byron!

However, enough of my weekend and onto the velvety chocolate tahini spread!

Rich in colour

I love the colour of this spread: it’s rich, dark and luxurious. Just how it tastes too!

I used unhulled tahini in this recipe as it’s made from whole sesame seeds ensuring its nutritional value remains. It definitely has a stronger flavour than hulled tahini and is a great source of iron and calcium.

Velvety

The almond milk allows the spread to become silky in texture and appearance.

Store in a glass jar

This spread is best stored in a glass jar, just clean out an empty nut butter jar or jam jar. I often use these jars to store pestos, chia seed jams, hummus and salad dressing.

All filled up!

I can assure you this jar of chooclately goodness won’t last long at all!

Chocolate tahini sauce

Makes approximately 1 cup of sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unhulled tahini
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond milk, more or less depending on the consistency you prefer

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until smooth.
  2. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to one week. Enjoy!

Here’s two ways I’ve already enjoyed the chocolate tahini spread:

Oozing over the pancakes

A delicious way to start the day, pancakes topped with chocolate tahini spread and fresh strawberries!

Colourful breakfast

I devoured this parfait for breakfast today, it was actually one of the most delectable breakfasts I’ve had in a long time!

What do you do to make the most of the outdoors? I’d love some ideas!

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!