Hi lovelies! So, we're switching it up today! Since moving into our own place last year, I've really enjoyed experimenting and cooking different recipes for Darren and I and lately, I've been obsessed with cooking Vegetarian or Vegan meals. While neither of us are Vegan or Veggie, I like to have at least 3 meat free days per week for several reasons, the first being that I just enjoy experimenting and getting creative without meat, the second because I genuinely tend to prefer meat free meals (I'm very fussy with any meat I do eat and am easily grossed out!!) and finally, it generally works out much cheaper to go meat free - contrary to popular belief!
So today, I'm going to share the first of what will hopefully be many recipes on my little corner of the Internet and I'm kicking it off with one of my favourites, mostly raw*,vegan, all natural chocolate snack bars! While I do eat regular chocolate, sometimes it's nice to have a healthier alternative when you're craving something sweet. These are fab and cheaper alternative if you love Nakd bars, as you can make a bit batch of them and they'll keep in the fridge for a good week or two in my experience. So, let's get into it!
First thing's first, for these you need only 4 ingredients for your base, any other ingredients are entirely optional. Just a quick disclaimer, I'm not a measurements type of person, these were made the first time using the definitely not foolproof 'trial and error' method, so there are no actual measurements, but this should still be pretty easy to follow. So, here's what you'll need:
2 Parts Dates
1 Part Nuts & Shredded Coconut Mix (explained later)
Cacao Powder to taste (can be substituted for cocoa powder if you prefer)
To measure, I use any cup or mug and use two mugs full of pitted dates, then half a mug of chopped nuts (I used a mix of peanuts, walnuts and almonds, but any chopped nuts will work) and half a mug of shredded coconut (*I used desiccated coconut this time to save time, these are only 'mostly' raw, because desiccated coconut is not technically raw. to make this completely raw, you could use a regular coconut and grate it, or just use extra nuts), so you've got twice the amount of dates as you have nut/ coconut mix. As I've mentioned, this is trial and error, you can use more/ less of either ingredient if you wish, however too much of nuts and shredded coconut mix can be quite difficult to mix into the dates properly, so perhaps give it a go this way the first time, then experiment on your second go!
First, you'll want to blend your dates slightly until they all form together into a big sticky ball. Before, blending, you'll want to add your cacao or cocoa powder, I used two teaspoons as I do like them quite chocolatey, but again, you can experiment with this. This is optional, but I chopped my dates up into small pieces, as this makes them much easier to blend. I used a hand blender to do this, but I'd definitely recommend using a regular blender or food processor with a lid as they will fly around your kitchen if not. I added a tiny bit of water before blending just to help them bind together a little better, literally just a tablespoon or so, this isn't totally necessary but it can make them easier to form at the end.
Once your date and cacao mix has formed into the aforementioned 'sticky ball' (the technical term), you'll want to add your coconut and nut mix. For this, I personally find the only way to do this is to get your (clean!) hands in there and smush it all together (again, technical terminology, apologies if my vocabulary is too sophisticated for you). This is very messy and very sticky, but it's a lot of fun!
Once all of your ingredients have formed together, you'll need to transfer the mix into a flat dish and again 'smush' it all down so it's flat and packed tightly together. After this, all you need to do it pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours, then remove and slice into bars. These will remain sticky and won't completely set, but they should stay formed when you cut them up.
All that's left to do now is serve and enjoy! These work out to roughly 125cal per 30g bar, but of course this will depend entirely on your measurements. Remember though, those are 125 much healthier calories than you'd get in a bar of Dairy Milk! If you like, you can add other ingredients, such as other dried fruits, vanilla powder, cacao nibs etc to add your own twist, this is just a basic 'base' recipe so you can adapt it however you like!
Let me know what you think of this post, as it's a bit different for me and I'd love to know your thoughts and if you'd like to see more like this!