Cacao Christmas Truffles

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Truffles. Gorgeous rounded finesse, at it’s best, a few mouthfuls of chocolate that melt on the tongue and descend one into the abyss of flavour.

Insert into them your most decadent dreams. Make your taste buds water with salted caramel; heat them gently with chocolate and spices, lace truffles with liquor for a heady experience, invigorate yourself with zest and ingrain them upon your memory with the acquisition of nuts.

Their versatility knows no end, paired with strawberries on a date, champagne at a celebration, after dinner with a conversation that scintillates, and my favourite reason to eat truffles? Just because.

Chocolate requires no health exceptions; the type that isn’t pumped with sugar, but made with the best of the earth has amazing antioxidant properties to nourish you. Chocolate done well is the most fragrant, deep and delicious food experience out there.

You can call me a snob, but I don’t throw myself at any old chocolate bar. Swiss chocolate is one of my favourites but having said that, given that I love to indulge in it at Christmas, it is worth making your own that will make you glow inside out.

These dark coconut chocolate truffles are a far cry from the exquisite artwork that goes into creating those stunning artisan ones but these are so rich and delicious you won’t mind. Remember, like with everything, balance is important and these a sweet treat. They are lovely to serve to guests and can make a great handmade gift.

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Makes about 20

80g of dark chocolate, ideally made with cacao (I used Alter Eco Blackout)
170g of coconut cream
Juice and a little zest of half a Navel orange
1tsp pure vanilla essence
1/2tsp cinnamon (optional)
Cacao to sprinkle with (optional)
Line a large tray with parchment paper.

Melt your chocolate in bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.

Add your coconut cream a tablespoon at a time and incorporate it into the chocolate. Keep doing this until all your coconut cream is mixed into the chocolate. It will get thicker – don’t worry.

Add the juice, zest and vanilla and mix into the truffles. I added a pinch of cinnamon, but it’s optional.

Place the bowl in the fridge for about half an hour, so the mixture cools so you can mold it easier. Once it’s cool, make relatively round bite-sized spheres with the chocolate mixture and place on the parchment paper. Work quickly. (I like to do this right next with my tray in the fridge and I just form the truffles and throw them in.)

Once all of them are made, leave them in the fridge let for about an hour and sprinkle them with a little cacao once they have set if you wish. I like to store mine in the fridge but leave them out for about fifteen before serving so they get soft and gooey.

Chocolate Sauce

This chocolate sauce is delicious and perfect for pancakes, mixing with steaming hot nut milks for a gorgeous hot chocolate or for glazing brownies. It’s quick and easy to whip up, it’s rich, deep in flavour and one way to enjoy beautiful chocolate without breaking your healthy habits. I love indulging in this sauce on a Saturday morning over my protein pancakes before I go off to ballet or in the afternoon after a busy day in cup of hot chocolate

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Makes one small batch

1/4 cup of warm water
1/4 cup of coconut sugar
1tbsp coconut oil
1tbsp cacao powder

In a small pan, on the lowest heat melt the sugar in the water.

Once the sugar has melted, add the coconut oil, cacao and mix thoroughly.

Raise the heat, bring the mixture to a boil quickly and then lower to the original heat immediately, the sauce will thicken up slightly in the next minute. Once it does, take it off the heat and it is ready to be used.

Top Tip: You can elevate it by adding vanilla, cinnamon, Himalayan pink salt or cayenne pepper.

Banana “Nutella” Brownies

It feels like it has taken me forever to figure out a good brownie recipe. Happy to say I finally have one which I am proud to put my name to. I love this one because it’s gloriously moist and isn’t full of empty calories.

I enjoy sweet treats and am by no means averse to them, I love a Hummingbird cupcake more than anyone and far be it from me to mess with perfection, their recipes are amazing. When I have my chef’s hat on in the kitchen, I love the idea of a dessert having some nutrients too so use things like cacao, buckwheat flour and good fats to boost my personal creations.

Coconut sugar, maple syrup and honey are still sugars, it doesn’t mean I can eat them all the time, but if I am going to have sugar, I opt for these over the white stuff because they are just as good in a recipe if not better. Growing up, we rarely ate white flour on a daily basis, so it’s not really something I will ever miss. Baking with buckwheat is something I have finally got the hang of and it is now one of my favourite flours, as are teff and kamut and coconut oil is so much more divine than butter. I love spreading it on toast with a pinch of Himalayan salt.

It makes me deliciously happy when I’m eating a sweet treat that will nourish my body. The only thing I won’t compromise on is taste, which is why I am finally able to share a brownie recipe. Hope you find them just as good.

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1 heaping tbsp coconut oil
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup cacao powder
1tbsp hazelnut butter
2 eggs (or vegan equivalent)
2 incredibly ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup light buckwheat flour
1tsp baking powder
1/8tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a tin.

Mix flour, baking powder and cinnamon and set aside.

In a sauce pan on a low heat, melt the coconut oil, then add sugar and water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Next add the cacao and hazelnut butter and mix until you have a smooth and glossy chocolate mixture. Leave to cool slightly.

Beat the eggs well and add the bananas. Add the chocolate mixture, one spoon at a time and stir in until it has all been used. Add your dry ingredient mix and fold, everything should be nicely combined.

Pour into a tin and bake for 35-40 minutes (you might have to alter this according to the size of your tin).

Serve when they have cooled with a dusting of cacao powder.