Salty Raw Chocolate Squares
Hi friends! We are freshly back up to NorCal after spending a few days in the LA area supporting Ava’s dance team in nationals. The girls did great and it is good to be home! I did my best to eat fresh fruit and veggies and hit the gym as much as I could. We stayed in a standard small hotel room with a mini fridge. The hardest part was not being able to open the windows – so glad for some fresh air!
Last week I got a special order for a dessert involving raw chocolate from a visiting uncle – my dad’s youngest sibling – my uncle Taghi. Sometimes good things happen under pressure. That’s exactly what happened in this case! I managed to put this recipe together before our trip down to L.A.
Enter these Salty Raw Chocolate Squares.
Let me tell you that these guys are so easy to pop and consume for some quick energy. They are rich and decadent. Do you have any health-nut friends or family lovers? They will love these squares made with no added sugar. They are sweetened with dates. They are vegan and gluten-free made with a little almond flour and coconut oil – no wheat or dairy (see my disclaimer towards the bottom of this post).
Have you tried cacao yet? It is so good! To me it has a dark chocolate flavor because it has that slight bitter in a good way taste.
In case you haven’t heard of cacao yet, here’s a tidbit – cacao is chocolate in it’s purest, unrefined, unprocessed form. It’s considered ‘raw’ which is what I needed to appease the health-nut uncle 🙂
Lucky for my uncle Taghi I just happened to have some cacao powder in the cupboard!
Also lucky for my uncle Taghi was that my good friend Shobha had shared a magazine with some special recipe pages dog-eared just for me. Isn’t that the best?
I took this recipe for Cocoa-Nut Energy Bites from the May issue of Bon Apetit magazine Shoba gave me and tweaked it to my liking. The recipe called for “Maldon Sea Salt Flakes”. I had never used salt flakes before. They seemed like a fancy and sophisticated form of salt. I love salty, sweet flavor combos. – If you have any salt sensitivities or diet restrictions you can simply leave the flakes out.
I skipped the coconut flakes since I wasn’t in the coconut mood. Also didn’t know whether uncle Taghi would be a fan of coconut. It’s one of those flavors you either love or hate.
I left out all the seeds that were listed in the original recipe. Chia, flax, and hemp may have nutritional benefits of their own accord but the seeds felt extra in these choco-bites. Keeping it simple always suits me just fine.
I appreciated the technique Bon Appetit suggested for softening dates in boiling water before processing. I added toasted almond slices on top of the squares in my version.
Tip – after processing the mixture is an oily paste mixture. It will harden up a bit when cooled and is best to store in the refrigerator.
Hope you jump on the cacao band wagon. Salty Raw Chocolate Squares are moist, melt in your mouth, and decadent. I love ’em! They look impressive but only take about 10 minutes to make. Let me know if you try the recipe.
- 1 Tablespoon virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 3 Tablespoons organic raw cacao powder
- 5 ounces pitted Medjool dates (about 8 or 9 dates)
- ½ cup almond butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 Tablespoons almond flour
- ⅛ cup sliced almonds
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top
- Spray oil in a nonstick small loaf pan (8½ by 4½) or rub with a little coconut oil
- Line pan with parchment paper leaving some extra overhang over the long sides of the pan
- Put dates in a small bowl and pour boiling water over them until dates are submerged under the water
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or tin foil
- Let dates sit in hot water for about 10 minutes
- Drain the water out
- Transfer the dates to food processor
- Add almond butter and coconut oil, salt, cinnamon, cacao powder, and almond butter
- Process until dates are in small pieces and mixture is crumbly
- Press the mixture into the prepared pan - it will be oily
- Carefully toast sliced almonds - I line a small pan with tin foil and broil for a few minutes in the toaster oven keeping a close eye on them (burn easily)
- Add toasted almond slices press down with fingers
- Cover the pan and chill for about 1 hour
- Uncover and lift out of pan using the sides of the parchment paper
- Cut into small squares
- Sprinkle with sea salt
Whenever I post a recipe with a label like vegan or raw I am inclined to add a disclaimer. Here it is: I do not follow or believe in any form of a diet (such as raw , gluten-free, or vegan) that restricts entire food groups. I do respect those who choose to do so however. My uncle Taghi shared with us that he has been eating vegan for 46 years and eating raw for about 10 years. My dad beats all those stats with turning 92 years old! His birthdate is July 25, 1925.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABA!!
Fun notes about my uncle Taghi:
- fluent in 7 languages
- 3 Ph.D.’s
- Chairman of CENESTA (Center for Sustainable Development and Environment to Re-impower Indigenous Peoples in their Communities for the last 26 years
- oh yea, and a raw, vegan eater!