I can’t believe it’s February already! This means that in just two weeks’ time it’s Valentine’s Day ♥. I love this day because it gives us a great excuse to indulge our loved ones with some delicious chocolatey treats. This year, I thought I would make my Valentines treats in advance so that I could share the recipes with you and demonstrate how easy they are to make 🙂
The chocolate goodies I have for you today are dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar free. They taste decadent yet they’re healthy. What better way to treat those we love?
Home-made desserts and treats tend to taste way nicer than the shop bought, mass manufactured varieties, and all that thought and effort that you put into making a home-made Valentines gift is bound to win you some brownie points with your loved ones. And talking of brownies…
How about making some Chocolate Pecan Brownie Hearts?
These raw / no bake brownies have a beautiful, sophisticated taste, which makes them perfect for our grown up loved ones.
And making them could not be easier!
Raw / No Bake Chocolate Pecan Brownie
Hands on time: 10 minutes
Yield: 5 hearts approximately 7 x 7cm / 2¾ x 2¾”
130g / 4½ oz / 1 cup raw, unsalted pecans
200g/ 7 oz / 1 packed cup soft, pitted dates
2 tbsp goji berries (or other dried fruits)
43g / 1½ oz / 1/3 cup cacao or cocoa powder
1-2 tbsp maple syrup (or agave syrup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
- Place in the pecans in a food processor and process into crumbs. Add the remaining ingredients and process until they form a moist, crumbly dough.
- Shape the dough into a rectangular block about 1.5 cm / ½ inch thick. You can do this with your bare hands or by first wrapping the dough in baking paper, a silicone sheet or cling film (saran wrap).
- Use a cookie cutter to cut the brownies into the desired shapes.
- Chill the brownies to allow them to firm up. They will keep up to a week in the fridge, or a few weeks in the freezer.
Another of my favourite raw / no bake chocolate treats is the Chocolate Cashew “Cheese” Cake. This is a delicious, dairy-free alternative to the traditional cheese cake. It also happens to be one of Lil’ L’s favourite desserts so I’ve made two hearts this year…
One topped with red currants and raspberries glazed in natural syrup for M…
And a heart topped with grated chocolate for Lil’ L 🙂
These treats are incredibly simple to make, yet look very professional indeed. I’m sure they’ll be a huge hit with your loved ones, whatever their age!
Here’s how to make them:
Raw / No Bake Chocolate Cashew “Cheese” Cake
The following ingredients will make:
– 1 large cake (20-23cm / 8-9 inches) or
– 12 mini cakes (for Valentines, you could use cup cake size silicon heart moulds)
150g / 5¼ oz / 1 cup raw, unsalted almonds or pecans (or a mixture of the two)
180g / 6¼ oz / 1 packed cup soft, pitted dates*
5 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
1 tbsp maple syrup (or agave syrup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
* If your dates aren’t juicy, soak them in hot water for a couple of minutes, then drain and squeeze out the excess water
300g / 10½ oz / 2 cups raw, unsalted, cashews
150ml / 5 fl oz / ½ cup maple syrup (or agave syrup)
120 ml / 4 fl oz / ½ cup water
74g / 2½ oz / 2/3 cup cacao or cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
107g / 3¾ oz / ½ cup virgin coconut oil, liquefied
Grated dark chocolate or berries, for topping
Preparation: Soften the cashews by boiling for 15 minutes or soaking for 4-6 hours. Rinse and drain.
- If using a tin, make sure it is loose-bottomed and line the base with non stick baking paper.
- Place the almonds in a food processor and process until they are crumbs. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. You want the crumbs to be slightly moist and sticky. Test them by pressing a small amount between your thumb and finger. If they stick together, they’re ready. If not, continue to pulse for a little longer.
- Tip the crumbs into the prepared tin or silicon moulds. Use the back of a lightly greased metal spoon (or use clean fingers) to firmly press down the crumbs to form a crust.
- Place the softened cashews in a quality food processor or powerful high speed blender along with the maple syrup, water, cacao powder and vanilla extract. Process until the cashews are completely grinded into a creamy mixture, stopping now and then to scrape down the bowl. Add the liquefied coconut oil and continue blending until the mixture is completely smooth. Taste test and add more cacao/cocoa powder or sweetener, to taste.
- Tip the mixture on top of the crust. Place in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm up.
- The simplest way I’ve found to remove a cheese cake from a loose-bottom tin is to place a plate over the tin then flip it over. Press down on the base of the tin to release the cake. Carefully remove the tin base and peel away the baking paper. Place the plate over the cake and inverse again to turn it the right way round. The mini cakes can either be popped out of their moulds or served to guests in the mould.
- Decorate the cake with fresh fruits or chocolate shavings before serving.
- The cakes can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or for weeks in the freezer. Simply remove from the freezer about 20-30 minutes before serving.
I always buy the Asian branded raw cashews and almonds from the World Food aisles as they tend to be way cheaper than the nuts you find in the home baking section. If you click on the ingredient links above you’ll be able to compare the prices.
I know that some of you are going to be way too busy to make home-made treats so, if you find you’re struggling for time, you can always cheat and buy online instead! You can check out this valentine’s offers shelf for inspiration on chocolates, candles, wine and champagne gifts.
I’ve got some more easy home-made Valentines treats coming up next week, including a scrumptious chocolate giveaway 😉 I’ll meet you back here very soon! xx
[These recipes have been submitted to Ricki Heller’s #Wellness Weekend]
I’ve been a long-standing registered user of mySupermarket and would like to express my gratitude to them for sponsoring this post.