Posts tagged chocolate
Chocolate Crispy Cake 'Bliss Bars'

So here's a super simple recipe that I first made a month or two ago and I think I have now made at least 4 times since! It's a great one to make with or for kids too.

They are soooooo moreish it's unreal.... a soft and chewy 'bliss ball' texture with loads of crispy flakes mixed through.

The added bonus with the high proportion of flakes mixed in is that it helps lighten up an otherwise dense snack... that's the only problem with bliss balls/energy balls- they are very dense for their size and if like me you have a tendency to 'eat with your eyes' - it's very easy to overdo it!

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Guilty admission- as I sit here writing this post, I have a box of these bites beside to take on a road trip with a friend this afternoon, BUT I have already munched through the about four of them! Oooops.... ;-)

This most recent batch I made had protein powder added instead of the coconut flakes. This really helps bump up the protein count, if that's your thing for for it. One tip- I found they flavour was so much better the following day- on day 1 I could slightly taste the protein powder but by the second day onwards it had pretty much disappeared as the flavours had time to meld.

You can use any type of crispy flaked cereal you like, but for extra nutritional value I used these amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat cornflakes by RealFoodSource (amaranth is shown in the photos here) 

You can press the mix into a square pan and cut into squares/bars or roll into balls, both work great. They freeze well too, and can even be munch o straight from the feeezer (mind your teeth- you may prefer to defrost a little!)

Add any 'mix-ins' you fancy, some other dried fruits, nutty chunks or an extract such as peppermint, orange or almond always go down well. If using an extract- about 1/2 tsp should do mixed in at the start, with other ingredients pulse through at theed for a chunky texture.

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Recipe: Chocolate Crispy Cake 'Bliss Bars'

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped dates

  • 1/2 cup cocoa (or raw cacao)

  • 1/4 cup ground flax (optional but I like the hidden nutritional boost)

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (or any ground nut)*

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1 cup flakes cereal

handful chocolate chips or cacoa nibs- optional for extra crunch and chocolateyness

* for the protein version I swapped the ground nuts for defatted almond protein powder- you favorite neutral protein blend would also work here.

Method:

Place the dates, cocoa, flax, nuts and salt in a food processor. process until you have a soft-ish, sticky and clumpy mix- you will likely need to add 2-3 tbs water to create the right consistency.

Add the cereal flakes and choc chips (if using) and pulse through to mix in evenly.

Press firmly into a tin or roll into balls, Chill for an hour until firm.

Will keep for a week or two in the fridge or you can freeze them.

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BEST EVER chocolate brownie round up!

Yesterday, the 8th December was #nationalbrownieday.... waahh, another day I missed. Any chance to celebrate chocolate and cake, right! 

So I am a day late to the party, but who cares. I figured this was a good excuse to share a brownie round-up with all the best brownie recipes I've created over the years. There are quite a few, and all very different too. Plenty to try out and inspire you to put you own twist on things.

This is the description taken from 'National Day Calendar (I can't guarantee how accurate this info is!)

"Brownies were created in the United States at the end of the 19th century.  A cross between a cookie and cake, they soon became very popular across the country. There was a request for a dessert for a group of ladies that would be attending a fair in the late 1800s.  They wanted a small cake-like dessert that could be eaten from a boxed lunch.  A Chicago chef, working at the Palmer House Hotel, created the first brownie for the ladies, which featured an apricot glaze and walnuts.  The Palmer House Hotel still serves their original recipe for brownies on their menu."

Brownies are the perfect platform for veganizing, healthanising, de-gluten-ing and hiding veggies and beans in. I love the fact that brownies are by their nature quite dense and a little gooey - this makes it easy to hide sight 'mistakes' too (a light airy cake is typically much harder to achieve when keeping the above objectives in mind!)

I consider brownies to be the perfect beginner cake when transitioning to alternative baking!

Click the text links below to for the original recipes and have a scroll through my gallery to tickle your fancy. 

One of my all time favourite recipes for ease, flavour and versatility is my award-winning Chocolate Banana Brownie Bread, so I have included a free downloadable recipe card for it below- scroll down and click the pic to download.

Enjoy the round-up and please do tag me on Facebook or Instagram if you make any of the recipes... i'd love to see them! :-)

1) Pumpkin brownies are a great way of packing veg in cakes (sweet potato works well as a swap as does courgette and carrot or even parsnip!)

2) A bit this year late for advent- but these festive advent calendar brownie bites were a very early recipe on my blog! (you could use any recipe and apply the same ideas as brownies freeze so well)

3) The carrot cake brownies follow a similar theme to the pumpkin brownies, served in cake-like wedges!

4) These raw chocolate brownies are packed with nuts for a rich an filling treat! A little goes a long way.

5) Raspberry ripple brownie slices... packed with tofu and black beans for a fat-free brownie variation!

6) For a non-chocolate version, you can try these double banana blondies.

7) This raw black bean fudge brownie is a spin on my 'worlds healthiest fudge' with added chunky nuts and dried fruits for a brownie vibe!

8) Last but not least... the chocolate banana brownie bread (great as a loaf, slice or muffins) scroll down for the recipe card.

There final two pics shown in my gallery were created for other publications/brands beyond this site... but you could replicate the same kind of thing with any of the recipes above.

For the protein brownies, swap in some of your favourite plant-based protein for some of the flour in any brownie recipe. Make the 'deconstructed brownie trifle' but slicing the brownie into small cubes and tossing with berries and yoghurt or coconut cream- makes an amazing super simple dessert!

Download the Choc Banana Brownie bread that was a 2016 PETA 'Bake Off' Finalist below...

 
 

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Chocolate, Carrot & Mushroom (yep!) Porridge... for World Porridge Day!

It's World Porridge Day today... and in order to celebrate, I am sharing a porridge recipe with a chocolatey theme for some extra celebratory indulgence!

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What's World Porridge Day all about?

Taken from Mary's Meals website, "In Malawi and Liberia, where we have our largest school feeding programmes, the children receive vitamin-enriched maize porridge every school day. World Porridge Day celebrates the huge difference this daily mug of porridge makes to the lives of chronically hungry children." 

Head over to their website to find out how you can help support the project and share your #PorridgeSmiles (see my entry down below!)

I'm also sharing the love for RealFoodSource who have just launched a new range of amazing porridge blends full of chunky goodness and free from refined sugars. I was sent some samples last week for recipe testing and I am seriously so impressed, I will be sharing the results with you soon!

Back to my recipe! This ticks all my boxes- oats, veg and a 'booster' this time in the form of medicinal mushroom powder... my new best friend!

Adding medicinal mushrooms to anything chocolatey is great as it compliments the earthy flavour. It also works fantastically in a latte style drink with chai spices or of course a hot chocolate. I made a chocolate pudding with it here. 

I use a blend of organic chaga, reishi and cordyceps (I buy as separate small packs and mix them together in a tub ready to use as it was cheaper to do it that way) but any medicinal mushroom powder would work.

Porridge is not just perfect for breakfast, on this occasion I think it was lunch (or maybe brunch) whilst I was working (yep I went for the in-situ shot for a change) and I topped it with some dark choc chunks and a few small bliss balls I'd made that were left over from an event. 

In this recipe, I used finely grated carrot, but I could have used courgette or sweet potato for equally great results.

If that wasn't enough, for even more porridge recipes... click here for my porridge ebook (or scroll down and click the front cover pic) and for the rest of this month as a tribute to #Worldporridgeday grab yourself a 20% discount when you buy the book and quote PORRIDGEDAY20 at the checkout!

Enjoy getting all porridged up! :-)

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 Recipe: Chocolate, Carrot & Mushroom Porridge

Serves 1 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup porridge oats

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice

  • 1 small carrot- finely grated

  • 1 heaped tsp medicinal mushroom powder

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder/paste

  • approx 1 tbs syrup of choice or coconut sugar to taste

  • 2 tbs raw cacao

  • for optional decoration- dark chocolate chunks, bliss balls, turmeric dusted coconut.

Method: 

Add all ingredients except the medicinal mushroom powder to a small pan on the stove. Simmer for about five minutes, until cooked. Take off the head and add a little extra liquid if desired to achieve desired texture and stir through the medicinal mushroom powder just before serving to retain the maximum nutritional benefit. Add any toppings of choice or a drizzle of extra sweetness and serve.

Grab my ebook here... for the rest of October I am offering 20% discount when you buy the book and quote PORRIDGEDAY20 at the checkout!

P.s do you like my carrot cake tabby cat I made for breakfast this morning for my Mary's Meals #PorridgeSmiles...

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Chocolate Avocado Pudding (with medicinal mushrooms!)

I have been adding medicinal mushroom powder to everything recently- well mainly anything chocolatey as the colour and flavours are perfect masked!

I bought a selection of organic medicinal mushroom powders from here and mixed them together into one blend tub which I keep in the fridge. I like to have a teaspoon a day in a chocolatey dessert or as hot drink with some cocoa and/or vanilla bean.

medicinal mushroom powder ready to mix into chocolatey porridge

medicinal mushroom powder ready to mix into chocolatey porridge

There are many reported benefits of medicinal mushrooms... I was first intrigued by the articles I read up on how mushrooms could help with focus (something I really struggle with as my creative brain fires off on all tangents!) I had also been aware of them at many health food shows but hadn't really explored them at that point. 

There are estimated to be over 5 million different species of mushrooms, yet only 270 are currently classified as ‘medicinal’ with their potent anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and immune-enhancing qualities. Some of the most popular are reishi, chaga and cordyceps- which are the three types I have.

This pudding recipe is a spin on a classic avocado chocolate pudding, and in putting this post together I realised I didn't actually have any other form of avocado pudding on this blog - every vegan food blogger has an avocado pudding!! ;-) (Now I do too!)

This recipe serves one (or two smaller servings), but I have also tried it with great success by multiplying and making a huge batch of pudding mix then freezing in muffin cups- perfect pudding portions at the ready!

You could mix other mild favoured superfood powders in if your preferred- such as maca or baobab or leave them out all together.

Bonus- this recipe only takes two minutes to blend up!

Recipe: Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Medicinal Mushrooms

Recipe: Chocolate Avocado Pudding with medicinal mushrooms

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium ripe avocado

  • 1/2 cup medjool dates (approx 3-4)

  • 3 tbs raw cacao (or cocoa powder)

  • 1 heaped tsp cashew or macadamia butter*

  • 1/2 cup water*

  • 1/2 - 1 tsp medicinal mushroom powder (optional)

  • Tiny pinch of sea salt

  • Approx. 1 tsp maple syrup - only if needed

* You could also substitute the nut butter and water with 1/2 cup coconut milk.

Method:

Blitz all together in a small food processor/blender until super smooth. Taste and add a tiny drop of maple syrup if extra sweetness is desired. Spoon into a serving bowl and allow to chill a little to set if desired. 

I served mine with crushed frozen raspberry pieces and desiccated coconut. You could also add an extra layer of fruit at the bottom of the serving bowl.

Recipe: Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Medicinal Mushrooms

 

 

 

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Carrot Cake Brownies (in time for Easter!)

This cake is a wicked cross between my all-time favourite courgette brownie cake and a carrot cake… I swapped the courgette for carrot and changed up the spices a little. I figured this would make fabulous Easter treat… Or any time of year (or week) really where you want to celebrate a little! 

Recipe: Carrot Cake Brownies

I have made variations of this cake (remember my PETA shortlisting!) so many times now and I know it works perfectly in a brownie pan, a round cake pan (this recipe is sized for an 8" pan), muffin trays or cupcake trays. You can leave the top plain or frost it. You can even add chopped nuts dried foods mixed through in the batter... so many possibilities!

This type of cake also freezes really well, some say brownies taste better once I've been frozen and defrosted- I'll let you be the decider of that. But I will say this is a great cake to always keep on standby in the freezer to satisfy a little chocolate craving when it strikes or if you have last minute unexpected company!

For other highly recommended easy Easter treats... have a look at these Easter nests I made for Real Food Source and also the Hot Cross cookies are a great non-chocolate option that I also love to make each year. Finally these 'cream eggs' from 4 year ago now (whaaaaat- 4 years!) are a little more fiddly- but fun ;-) 

What have you got planned for Easter treats?

Recipe: Carrot Cake Brownies

Recipe: Carrot Cake Brownies

Makes 1 x 8” round or square cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed dates (soaked then drained for easier blending)

  • approx 3 tbs coconut syrup (other other preferred syrup)

  • ½ cup water or non dairy milk

  • 1 cup finely grated carrot

  • 2 tsp cinnamon and/or nutmeg

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil- melted

  • ¼ cup ground flax seed

  • ¾ cup cocoa powder

  • 1 cup oat flour (I ground some regular porridge oats)

  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder

  • 1 heaped tsp baking soda

Method:

Blend all the wet ingredients with the flax seed to form a smooth fairly runny paste. Allow to stand for a couple of minutes. Stir through the gated carrot (save a little for the top).

Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then add the wet. Mix lightly but well to form a thick soft batter. Add a little extra water if necessary. Taste test for sweetness and add a little extra syrup if necessary.

Spoon the batter into a lined/greased muffin pan or round cake tin (you could also make cupcakes) and smooth the top as best you can. Add the remaining sprinkles of grated carrot and press down lightly to reduce chance of burning.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for approx 30 minutes, after 10-15 minutes it is advisable to lightly cover the top of the pan with foil to prevent the top browning before the centre is cooked through.

Allow to cool before slicing.  Store in the fridge for up to 1 week…this cake tastes even better the next day!

Here are my Hot Cross Cookies.... a bit like like a bun but sooooo much easier to make!

Here are my Hot Cross Cookies.... a bit like like a bun but sooooo much easier to make!

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The 'Bliss Cake' (aka a mega bliss ball!)

I have another Bliss Ball Workshop coming up this weekend and last weekend I was in full on recipe development mode last weekend which included making loads of Bliss Ball mix... but I fancied a different presentation to the norm to change things up a bit and so the 'Bliss Cake' was born.... Oh My Gosh..... a touch of heaven on earth!!

Recipe: The Bliss Cake 

Whaaaaaaa.... Why have I not create this before!

I love eating raw cakes BUT I am not typically big fan of making them, simple because of the time it often takes to make and freeze the different layers and also because they are often very neat and super slick and well, I guess I am a little more rough around the edges ;-) Basically, I like to keep things as simple and as quick as possible!

So this beauty ticked those boxes for sure. Be warned if you make it, it is VERY yummy and VERY moreish and a little slice is very rich and will go a long way!  As with blss balls themselves, you could literally make any cake base and then decorate with any toppings... as you can see I added as many colourful things as possible (I was trying out new freeze dried fruits from RealFoodSource at the time).

My base was a blend of dates, almonds, raw cacao and a touch of orange extract.

Other great options could be..... these turkish delight balls, these 'cake like' truffles, or a gingerbread slice. Or why not try a double-decker cake and layer it up- it will barely take any longer as you could just make the full mix without any cocoa, divide in half and add cocoa to the second half, press the first half into the plan followed by the second. 

If you wanted to add a frosting, then the raw frosting I used on these mini sweet potato muffins below (full muffin recipe here) would go down a treat!  Basically you mash slightly softened coconut oil, with a little syrup of choice and cocoa powder, the spread on top in rough peaks and store in the fridge.

vegan chocolate orange cupcakes

Or this lighter frosting (my classic go-to) uses silken tofu and is a total winner! (it just means the topping is not raw, if you were going for the raw cake thing!)

See... now you understand just how versatile the 'bliss cake' is! It;s going to be my new party piece for sure, I will be able to change up the flavours to suits my recipients favourite on a whim!

Recipe: The Bliss Cake 

Recipe: The 'Bliss' Cake 

Makes one 8" cake (or a deeper 6")

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups medjool dates or soaked and drained deglet noor dates (I use the latter)

  • 1 cup ground almonds (or any ground nut/seed base)

  • 1/2 cup cocoa (for a non choc option use a little extra dry ingredient)

  • 1 tsp orange extract (optional- rose water, mint or almond would be fab too)

  • Toppings galore!!!

Method:

Simple blend everything together in a food processor, you may need to do this in two batches defending on the side of your processor (mine is a 2 litre Thermomix). You want a fairly smooth texture with no big pieces, some texture if ok as it makes it 'cake'.

Press fairly firmly into a springform cake pan (or a silicone pan works too) then press into lots of amazing toppings. Or feel free to first it (you will need to keep in the fridge if frosted).

Keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks (unfrosted) or on the counter for a few days. 

Let me know if you make your own 'bliss cake' tag me @johodson on Instagram as I'd love to see!

Recipe: The Bliss Cake 
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NEW Workbook Launch.... and Sweet Potato Choc Orange Muffins!

Yesterday I finally completed something I have actually been working on for some years now!

As you will gather from the title of this website, and this little story I shared a few weeks ago... quitting refined sugar BUT still eating treats is a huge factor in optimising my own life! It's something of a mission for me to share with the world :-)

In my opinion it is in one of the BEST things you can do for your body and mind equally, regardless of what kind of diet you follow. Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten free etc ....everyone can benefit hugely from cutting out refined sugar from their diets!

A couple of years ago, after immersing myself in countless books, data, articles etc all about sugar, and even having this article published in the first ever edition of Vegan Life Magazine (huge proud moment!) I wrote the copy for an 8-week course I planned to run through a dedicated Facebook group in the lead up to summer. I created all the graphics and promo too.

It was literally all set to go.... but then 'life' for in the way and I didn't run it at all. All the wonderful content lay dormant on my laptop, even though I knew it had the potential to change so many peoples lives.  I feel a little embarrassed now admitting this to you all.

But I never forgot about it.

A few week ago I saw Star Kechara's passive income challenge to create a interactive workbook. It suddenly clicked.... all that wonderful copy I had written could be remodelled (and added to of course with all my new knowledge) into a workbook that people could fill in and work through at their own pace. A resource for life. It felt such a good fit!

So here it is! Now complete in all it's glory!  PLUS as an added bonus I have written a (pretty incredible) extended version of my 'sugar-free recipe book' as the perfect companion to the 4-week workbook challenge.

AND...I am offering this HUGE bundle (pictured above) for the price of the workbook alone until January 31st 2017!

You can find all the info with a sneak peak of what you'll get in the details here!

Or if you want to check out just the recipe book alone... details are here!


In the mean time I want to share a new recipe a from the recipe book with you... a little gift! This is a direct page grab from the book so you can see exactly how the recipes are laid out. 

These mini muffins are perfect for Christmas but any time of year really.... and it just so happens to be my favourite flavour combo (remember my little story!) True to nature they also pack some veggies in. I used sweet potato but this is a spin on my classic 'crazy courgette cake' so courgette or even carrot would work well here too!

I hope you make them, and enjoy them.... please tag me if you do! It always makes me smile. :-)

chocolate orange muffins
vegan chocolate orange mufffins
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Chocolate Biscuity Tiffin (p.s great Fathers Day gift!)

I made these treats a few week back and they were so incredibly good, but I didn't take photos! I made another batch (with a tweaked recipe) the following weekend! I used the excuse that they were a recipe test ahead of Fathers Day... but in all honesty it was just an excuse to eat more tiffin.. and take photos!

I suddenly realised Fathers Day was just a few days away... but these are so simply hopefull you still have time to make them. The only specialist ingredient is the almond flour, and you do need fine almond flour (not just ground almonds) as this is what creates the texture. I buy this flour from Real Food Source but other health shops should stock it (just make sure it isn't whole ground almonds as sometimes the wording on the pack can be misleading).

The tiffin biscuit chunks are actually not a new recipe as I have used them top top these strawberry shortcake parfaits and also this 5-minute fruit crumble... but I had never thought to cover them in chocolate!  I highly recommend you try it as it is such a simple concept and so versatile.

The first batch was literally just the biscuity chunks and dried fruit covered in dark chocolate (and I forgot to photograph them properly). But then I wondered whether having a softer base surrounding the biscuit might be more authentic so I made a variation to incorporate this (shown just below).  Both options were great!  If you do the latter be careful not to make the base to soft as it might fall apart. I kept mine in the fridge so that it was firmer. 

If you are pushed for time go for the first option! It literally takes about 10-15 mins.

Tiffin with softer base and chocolate over the top.

Tiffin with softer base and chocolate over the top.

Tiffin with just melted chocolate (apologies for rubbish quality iPhone pic!)

Tiffin with just melted chocolate (apologies for rubbish quality iPhone pic!)

Recipe: Chocolate Biscuity Tiffin Slices

Ingredients:

Biscuit chunks:

  • 1/2 cup fine almond flour 
  • 2 tbs agave syrup (or syrup of choice)
  • 1 tbs coconut oil (soft but not melted)
  • pinch of salt
  • a touch of water (approx 1tbs) 

Plus:

  • approx. 1/2 cup dried berries - I used cherries, cranberries and sultanas
  • 1/2 cup worth (approx 100g) dark chocolate (maybe less if you are just using it for a thin topping)
  • 1 tbs coconut oil (this helps the pouring consistency of the melted chocolate)

Softer base (optional):

  • 1/4 cup cashew or almond butter (could use peanut butter but would have a stronger flavour)
  • 1/2 cup dates (soaked for a few mins and drained)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil- melted
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

Method:

For the biscuit, combine all ingredients using your fingers (as if making pastry) to form small crumbs then grab fistfuls of the mix to bind together and break off small globs. Add a touch of water (if needed) to help it stick together a little better.

Lay the chunks evenly on a baking sheet and bake the for 5-6 minutes until they begin to go golden- note it wont take long at all so keep a close eye! 

(Only if making the base) Meanwhile combine all the ingredients and blend in a food processor- you should have very thick smooth paste. Smooth this evenly into the bottom of a smallish cake tin (it should be approx 1xm thick).  When the biscuit is cooked allow to cool a little and then press lightly into the base along with the dried fruit. 

(If not making the base) place the biscuit chunks in the bootom of a smallish cake pan and mix the dried fruit in evenly. There mix should cover the pan generously with only small gaps - so use a smaller pan if needed (or double the recipe).

Pour the melted chocolate over the top in a thick even layer. Allow to set in the fridge before slicing and serving. 

Recipe: Chocolate Biscuity Tiffin Slices
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