Choco shock

A month ago I organized an excursion to the small chocolate factory owned by a French couple in Saigon. It took us two hours to get there, and it is considered extremely long by local standards. However, it really was worth the trouble. From this time on, cacao nibs are a must-have in our kitchen.

You can see cacao nibs in the picture of my brownie. The harvested and dried cocoa beans are then roasted and cracked. After that, cocoa butter is produced using the hydraulic press. Cocoa butter is the most valuable product in chocolate production process. The extraction process also produces cocoa powder, which is not as costly as cocoa butter, but is quite healthy too. To produce a chocolate bar, cocoa powder is mixed again with cocoa butter. Then sugar is added for sweetness. The sort of chocolate depends on other ingredients added to basic ones. Milk chocolate contains much milk; aerated chocolate consists of much air. By the way, white chocolate actually has no chocolate. There is no cocoa powder in it and cocoa butter is replaced by palm oil. Basically, if you study chocolate bar labels in detail, you will find out that of chocolate there is only color left in them, the rest is sugar, palm oil and emulsifiers.

Still, even the most expensive and darkest chocolate bars have not as much chocolate as we would like (French chocolate factory in Saigon is an exception, as chocolate there is hand-made and of premium quality). My boyfriend is an avid sweet tooth. After the chocolate factory excursion he went to the supermarket and studied all the chocolate bar labels possible. From now on, he is going to eat nothing but my homemade sweets.

And here is the recipe of my first brownie. You can easily substitute cacao nibs by cocoa powder. The result will be the same!

  • 2 bananas
  • 80g cacao nibs/ cocoa powder (grind cocoa beans in blender or coffee mill)
  • 4 tablespoons rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons buckwheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (grind them in blender or coffee mill)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (it’s up to you, I like to add it to my pastry)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 200ml coconut milk (can be replaced by any kind of milk)
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar for sweetness (can be replaced by honey or dates)
  • Walnut – optional.

Whisk bananas, cacao nibs and agave nectar or dates. In a separate bowl beat eggs, cinnamon, coconut oil, coconut milk and baking soda. Blend in both mixtures, whisk and add flour. Then stir in ground walnuts. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Pour mixture into a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

I have baked brownies twice recently. And our family council has concluded that cooled down brownies taste better and tend to reveal a more vivid chocolate flavor.

I recommend you to prepare fresh ginger and lemon tea to your brownie. Just put some ginger and a little of lemon juice into a teapot, add hot water and in 10 minutes your flavored tea is ready!

Raw cashew-coconut cake for May Day

There are official holidays in many countries in May. Usually I do my best to use this time and organize short trips somewhere. But I decided to have home-style holidays at this time with an intensive eco, healthy schedule. I am going to:

  • Read books and prepare new information for my blog.
  • Enjoy massage and new hair-cut;
  • Cook new main dishes and deserts. We eat at home at least 80% of the total numbers of meals. And we are going to follow the same way during holidays;
  • Go for family gym workouts and tennis. And practicing new workout program;
  • Meditate with Headspace app daily;
  • Practice yoga at home every morning;

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Yesterday I tried to make a new raw desert for us: coconut and nuts cake with mango. There are three different levels in this cake, which I put in a silicone mold of the shape for banana bread. And then put it in the freeze for a night.

Ingredients

Lower brown layer:

  • Almonds grounded in a blender – 100 g;
  • Raisins – 100 g;
  • Some water;
  • Raw cacao powder – 2 tbs.

Middle white layer:

  • Cashews, pre-soak in water for 2 hours – 100 g;
  • Coconut milk to taste;
  • Dried coconut to taste.

Upper layer:

  • The same ingredients like in a white layer;
  • Mango – 1 piece (you can replaced mango by berries or other fruit which gives you a color).

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You should blend all ingredients for each layers and lay our in a mold in the queue. I have read many different similar recipes in the Internet before. All of them said you should keep your desert in a freezer for 4–6 hours or overnight. So I did. It is also recommended to out a desert in a room temperature for 10–15 minutes before serving. But we tried this cold desert and due to our family council came to the conclusion this is not a good idea to eat a quite cold food for the digestion. Therefore, the desert was sent in the refrigerator defrosted naturally slow for a half a day. We guessed it! The cake turned into a soft and delicate mass of layers with a variety of flavors!