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!

Ringing in 2014…

Happy New Year to you all!

I’ve been in Sydney the past week so I do apologise for the belated new year wishes. My sisters and I went away for a girls trip and it was such an amazing way to start 2014. I always love visiting Sydney, I think it’s the hustle and bustle of the city and all the amazing cafes and restaurants the city has to offer…

Buckwheat pancakes with gingerbread cream. Emma Lauren Food.

Last pancakes of 2013

Before I left for Sydney these were the last pancakes I enjoyed for 2013. I made buckwheat pancakes then topped the stack with gingerbread cream (I used the filling from the raw gingerbread tart – YUM!) and maple walnuts. Who says you can’t devour healthy yet delicious food?!

New years cook up!

New Years Eve was celebrated in style with friends and family just outside Sydney. The following morning, we started the new year by cooking up a feast of scrambled eggs with buckwheat toast, roasted vegetables, mushrooms with spinach, tomato, avocado and olives.

Raw lasagna and a trio of salads

Whenever I travel I always search for healthy cafes in that particular city to try out. I came across Sadhana Kitchen located in Enmore in Sydney and convinced my sisters to go for lunch there. We shared the raw lasagna and a trio of salads as we wanted to keep some room for dessert… I was quite impressed with the food there, it was fresh and full of flavour.

Raw mocha cake!

For dessert we shared the raw mocha cake where every mouthful tasted like heaven. It was smooth and decadent – basically everything I love in a raw cake!

Soft shell tacos – fish and chicken!

On Friday evening I travelled by ferry to Manly where I caught up with good friends for dinner. Being locals, they definitely know all the best places to eat and took me to Chica Bonita, an amazing mexican restaurant. We enjoyed their guacamole with corn chips, veggie fries and a soft shell taco each – all very reasonably priced too! What I love most about mexican food is that it’s usually gluten free and quite healthy!

Breakfast bruschetta at Pure Wholefoods

The next morning in Manly we ventured to Pure Wholefoods. I was really impressed with their menu and the array of salads and desserts in their cabinet. As I prefer to start my day with a large meal I devoured the breakfast bruschetta with homemade beans and a rice milk latte.

Stunning Sydney

There’s something very relaxing about taking the ferry as your mode of transport. Fresh air and beautiful scenery – what more could you ask for?

I hope you all had amazing New Year’s celebrations and are ready for a fantastic 2014!

Do you have a favourite cafe/restaurant in Sydney?

Raw festive fruit tart

Only four sleeps till Christmas! I actually cannot believe how quickly it has come around. I’ll be honest with you, I absolutely love Christmas time – from putting up the Christmas tree to listening (and singing along) to carols. Everyone seems to be in high spirits and to me it definitely signifies family time.

It’s also a time to indulge in special treats as you usually only enjoy them once a year. This year, my family and I will be enjoying this raw festive fruit tart on Christmas Day. It is a simple yet delicious dessert and best of all you can top it with whatever fruit that takes your fancy.

The chia seeds add a slight crunch to the base and are full of omega 3’s. Just warning you in advance, make sure you check your teeth before family photos are taken as the seeds sometimes get stuck in them!

I always grease and line the tart pan to ensure the tart it can be easily removed when ready to serve.

Using clean hands, I press the tart base into the pan then use the back of a wet spoon to create a smooth shell.

Simplicity is key with this filling with vanilla extract being the ‘star’ ingredient.

Emma Lauren Food Raw Festive Fruit Tart

As it’s currently summer in Australia I decorated the tart with mango and strawberries as they are in season. Even though I’ve made this tart for Christmas, it can be made for any special occasion as it’s a simple yet versatile recipe.

The tart can be stored it in a sealed container in the freezer for up to two weeks.

Raw festive fruit tart

Serves 16

Ingredients:

Base

  • 2 cups almonds
  • 10 fresh medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 TBSP chia seeds
  • 3 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 TBSP water
Filling
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup macadamias
  • 3 TBSP 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond milk
Decorations
  • 1 mango, sliced
  • 14 strawberries, washed and halved
  • Or whatever fruit takes your fancy
Method:
  1. Place all base ingredients in a food processor and process for 3 minutes or until crumbly.
  2. Press into a 28cm tart pan which has been lightly greased with coconut oil and lined on the bottom. Smooth with the back of a wet spoon then place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  3. Place all filling ingredients into a Vitamix or food processor and process for 5 minutes or until smooth.
  4. Pour into tart base and even out with a spatula.
  5. Place in the freezer for 1 hour, or until solidified.
  6. Decorate, cut into 16 slices and serve. Enjoy!

This recipe has been featured as one of Lorna Jane’s Move Nourish Believe 12 Days of Christmas.

Festive table decoration

As I entertained friends last week for an early Christmas dinner, it seemed appropriate to set the table festively. For the table cloth I used calico – it looks plain now, but with the help of red and green fabric markers my friends and I wrote messages and ‘quotes of the night’ on it. Such a great memento to have from such a special evening.

I hope you are all prepared for your Christmas celebrations!

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.

Move Over Sugar eBook

I have some exciting news to share with you… whilst I was in Sydney over the weekend the Lorna Jane ‘Move Over Sugar’ eBook was released. I am proud to say that four of my recipes have been featured in the FREE eBook which is filled with over 50 refined sugar-free recipes.

Move Over Sugar eBook

This eBook is a great reference if you’re just beginning your refined sugar-free journey or if you have eliminated refined sugars from your diet and are looking for more foodie inspiration.

To some people it seems crazy to eliminate sugar from their diet. I have to admit my first thoughts when deciding to eliminate it were no more birthday cakes, lollies and worst of all NO chocolate! Let me assure you this certainly hasn’t been the case for me. If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know that I love making (and eating) all sorts of indulgent desserts. What still amazes me is that something so decadent can really be healthy!

For me, the motivating reason behind eliminating refined sugar was that I couldn’t and still can’t see any benefits sugar provides my body. Not that I ate excessive amounts of sugar growing up but for the past 18 months I can honestly say I have not missed it one bit. Like anything in life, it all starts with small changes and over time the change will become less overwhelming and your body will definitely thank you for it!

So, now to share with you my featured recipes:

Main meal recipe, page 27.

Snack recipe, page 34.

Sweet treat recipe, page 44.

I have to admit – the cake pops would have to be my favourite out of the four!

The eBook is available to download from the Move Nourish Believe website – located on the right-hand side when you scroll down. Happy reading!

Have you taken the step to eliminate refined sugar from your diet? I’d love to hear what you’re favourite refined sugar-free recipe is!