cacao, the story
The cocoa tree ( Theobroma
cacao) bears wonderful fruit called cocoa pods (1). At harvest, these pods are lovingly picked and cracked open to reveal about 20 to 40 cocoa beans (2). Some beans are roasted and eventually become cocoa, while others embark on a cooler journey and are cold-pressed. These raw beans are fermented and chopped to make cacao nibs (3), which are rich in antioxidants and magnesium. Filtration removes the cocoa butter, and what’s left is dried and crushed… voila,
cacao powder (4) is born! You can find cocoa beans, cacao nibs and cacao powder in health food stores and supermarkets.
spiced cacao and coconut chia mousse
400ml can coconut milk ¼ cup (25g) cacao powder ½ tablespoon vanilla extract 3 fresh dates (about 45g), pitted 2 tablespoons maple syrup ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¹⁄³ cup (60g) black chia seeds coconut cream and cacao nibs, to serve Place the coconut milk, cacao powder, vanilla, dates, maple syrup and cinnamon in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a jug, add the chia seeds and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture into 4 x 1-cup-capacity (250ml) glasses+ and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Spoon over the coconut cream and sprinkle with cacao nibs to serve. Serves 4. + We served our cacao coconut mouse in coconut halves.
raw cacao, coconut and walnut cake
3 cups (300g) walnuts ¹⁄³ cup (55g) sultanas 15 fresh dates (about 225g), pitted ½ cup (50g) cacao powder ¹⁄³ cup (65g) coconut oil, melted 1 cup (90g) rolled oats 2 teaspoons vanilla extract ¼ cup (20g) toasted shredded coconut crushed cacao nibs, to serve Place the walnuts and sultanas in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 10 minutes to soak. Drain and place in a food processor. Add the dates and process for 2 minutes or until smooth. Add the cacao, coconut oil, oats, vanilla and shredded coconut, and process for 1 minute or until combined. Line an 18cm round tin with non-stick baking paper. Press the mixture into the tin, pushing down with the back of a spoon to smooth the top. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove from the tin and sprinkle with the cacao nibs to serve. Serves 12–14. Note: You can keep this cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
raw lamingtons with blackberry jam
3 cups (450g) raw cashews 1½ cups (120g) desiccated coconut ¾ cup (180ml) coconut cream ¼ cup (50g) coconut oil, melted ¼ cup (90g) honey 3 cups (225g) shredded coconut blackberry chia jam 250g blackberries 1½ tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon water 1 tablespoon black chia seeds chocolate icing ¼ cup (60ml) coconut cream ½ cup (50g) cacao powder ½ cup (100g) coconut oil, melted 2 tablespoons honey Lightly grease a 20cm x 30cm baking tin, line with non-stick baking paper and set aside. Place the cashews in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the desiccated coconut, coconut cream, coconut oil and honey, and pulse until the mixture comes together. Spoon the mixture into the tin and press evenly with the back of the spoon. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
While the cashew mixture is chilling, make the blackberry chia jam. Place the blackberries, honey, lemon juice, water and chia seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12–15 minutes or until thickened. Place in a medium bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until cold.
Remove the cashew ‘sponge’ from the tin and cut in half. Spread one half with the jam and sandwich with the remaining half. Place on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper and freeze for 15 minutes or until jam is firm.
To make the chocolate icing, place the coconut cream, cacao powder, coconut oil and honey in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Remove the lamington from the freezer and cut into 3cm squares, trimming the excess. Dip one lamington into the chocolate icing and roll in the shredded coconut. Repeat with the remaining lamingtons. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 15.
coconut and cacao self-saucing pudding
½ cup (50g) cacao powder, sifted, plus extra for dusting 80g raw cacao chocolate, chopped ¹⁄³ cup (65g) coconut oil ¹⁄³ cup (115g) honey 4 eggs, at room temperature Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Lightly grease the base of 4 x 1-cup-capacity (250ml) dariole moulds, line with non-stick baking paper and dust with the extra cacao. Set aside.
Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted. Place the honey, cacao powder and eggs in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Divide between the dariole moulds and place on a baking tray. Cook for 10 minutes or until puffed. Gently turn out the cakes immediately and dust with extra cacao to serve. Makes 4. Note: Serve immediately to ensure the cakes have a lovely, molten centre.
salted coconut rough
½ cup (100g) coconut oil, melted ½ cup (50g) cacao powder, sifted 2 tablespoons honey 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 fresh coconut, flesh chopped+ ½ cup (7.5g) puffed brown rice 1 tablespoon cacao nibs ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes 1 cup (50g) flaked coconut Place the coconut oil, cacao powder, honey and vanilla in a small saucepan over low heat and stir to combine.
Place the fresh coconut, puffed brown rice, cacao nibs, salt and ½ cup (25g) of the flaked coconut in large bowl. Pour over the honey mixture and mix to combine. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper and pour the mixture over. Top with the remaining flaked coconut. Freeze for 1 hour or until set. Break into shards to serve. Serves 8–10. + Fresh coconuts are available from greengrocers. To crack them open, pierce the eyes with a screwdriver and drain the liquid. Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F). Place on a baking tray and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully crack open with a hammer. The flesh can be chopped or shaved. Note: You can keep this refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.
coconut caramel slice
½ cup (100g) coconut oil, melted, plus ¼ cup (50g) extra 2½ cups (190g) shredded coconut 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1¼ cups (160g) spelt flour, sifted ½ cup (50g) cacao powder, sifted 160g raw cacao chocolate, finely chopped ¼ cup (90g) honey coconut date caramel 25 fresh dates (about 375g), pitted ½ cup (100g) coconut oil, melted 1¼ cups (310ml) coconut cream Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Line the base of a lightly greased 20cm x 30cm slice tin with non-stick baking paper and set aside.
Place the coconut oil, shredded coconut, vanilla, flour and cacao powder in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Press into the base of the tin. Bake for 10 minutes or until dry to the touch.
To make the coconut date caramel, place the dates, coconut oil and coconut cream in a food processor and process for 3 minutes or until very smooth. Spoon over the base and spread evenly. Cook for 30 minutes or until set. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
Place the chocolate, honey and extra coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat until melted. Pour over the slice. Using a hot knife, cut into slices to serve. Makes 20. Note: You can store the caramel slice refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.