What would Easter time be without chocolate? It has become such an entrenched part of our culture and I say a big YAY to that! Only trouble is, being gluten and lactose intolerant means my options for chocolate are limited, unless I wish to suffer the wraith of the irritable bowel! Many store bought varieties are heavily processed, containing milk and gluten, which is a problem, plus inflammatory additives such as preservatives, emulsifiers and sugars that are an even bigger problem for a sensitive gut like mine. Basically, for me, the darker and more natural the chocolate the better I can cope with eating it.
With that in mind, I set about playing with cacao butter and powder – the raw (unprocessed) version of cocoa – that has not been fermented, roasted and pressed under high heat. The result is a rich, indulgent, healthier and oh-so-delicious version of the chocolate we know and love, free from the irritants and nasties. Yep, my Easter just got a whole lot better than I had anticipated!
My favourite chocolates are those with a sweet filling, as it cuts through the bitterness of the dark chocolate and gives balance to the overall taste and texture. To get the creaminess, without milk or cream, cashews are the way to go. When blended with a little liquid, these little nuts break down into a smooth, neutral tasting and fluffy paste that can be infused with all kinds of flavours, in this case, fresh raspberries and dates. I love the versatility of them, they really are quite remarkable.
The process of making raw chocolate is relatively simple, just combine the ingredients over a gentle heat, whisk and it is done. As it is not heavily processed it is critical to keep it cold though as it will not stand up to warm temperatures without breaking down and melting quite quickly. That said, they really won’t last long once served up anyway, so it really is not a problem!
Here’s how these one came together;
- 1 cup cacao butter
- ½ cup raw cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or paste
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ - ¾ cup full fat coconut cream, room temperature
- 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
- 8 medjool dates, pitted
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for about 3 hours, then rinsed
- Up to ¼ cup maple syrup to taste
- MAKING THE CHOCOLATE
- Using a small saucepan, over low heat, gently melt the cacao butter until all clear.
- Add the cacao powder, vanilla and maple syrup
- Whisk until well combined.
- Keep whisking while slowly adding the coconut cream until the overall texture is similar to that of melted cooking chocolate.
- Remove from heat for the moment.
- Spoon the chocolate mixture into preferred moulds - silicon* or small patty pans will work well - working the chocolate up the sides and leaving a small well in the centre.
- Keep the left over chocolate mix nearby as you will need it to seal the eggs when assembling.
- Place in the freezer to set for at least 10 minutes.
- THE CASHEW CREAM FILLING
- Using a high powered blender or food processor, blend the raspberries until smooth.
- Add the pitted dates and blitz until dates begin to break down.
- Add the cashews and blend until creamy.
- Taste and add maple syrup for extra sweetness if needed.
- MAKING THE EASTER EGGS
- Return the chocolate mix to the stove over low heat to make it runny again - (add a little extra coconut cream if needed).
- Remove the moulds from the freezer, fill one half with a small spoonful of filling.
- Using a food safe paint brush or similar, dip the brush into the chocolate mix and gently paint around the outside of the mould to form a layer of 'glue'.
- Remove the other half of the egg from the mould and gently press it over the filling, on top of the glue to form a solid egg.
- Repeat with each egg until complete.
- Return the mould to the freezer to set for at least an hour.
- Once set, remove from the mould and place in an airtight container until ready to serve.
- Keep the finished eggs in the freezer or fridge and remove them about 5 minutes before serving for best texture and results. Raw chocolate does not set like the normal stuff, so needs to be kept cold.
So there you have it, my version of a Raw Chocolate Easter Egg, filled with creamy Raspberry Cashew Cream. I hope you like them as much as we do.
The kids are now on the count down to Easter Bunny coming to visit, so there is an excitement and buzz to the house that always make me smile. J-man and I will be busy hiding eggs and dusting bunny feet on the floor come Saturday night. Can’t wait!
Tell me, how do you herald in the Easter bunny visiting? What are your favourite Easter treats?
Wishing you and yours a happy and safe Easter, may it be filled with love, laughter and lots of chocolate!
Cook! Eat! Enjoy!