I love chocolate as much as the next person. In fact, I naturally have quite a sweet tooth! But eating lots of processed sugar (although nice at the time!) makes me feel quite rough after I’ve eaten it. Plus, we all know that processed refined sugar isn’t great for us for so many reasons.
So, this got me thinking about some healthy alternatives that will curb that sugar craving. I’ve been experimenting with recipes for years now, I’ve baked some things that have turned out not so good and have ended up in the bin, but I wanted to share my 3-favourite tried and tested recipes with you as they taste amazing and contain all-natural ingredients.
I am not the best baker in the world, plus I don’t have lots of time to spend in the kitchen baking. All these recipes are quick and easy to make – bonus if you are busy and on the go like me!
I love this recipe!! It tastes great and is full of natural goodness, packed full of seeds and nuts. Personally I didn’t use as much chocolate as stated in the recipe – in fact I used about half, but this is up to you. This will keep in the fridge for about a week.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings: ROUGHLY 24 PIECES CHOCOLATE BARK
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
good pinch of flaky sea salt
1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed + dried)
1/2 cup raw almonds roughly chopped
1/2 cup raw cashews roughly chopped
1/2 cup mixed raw seeds (I used hemp seeds flax seeds, chia seeds + sesame seeds)
300g vegan or dark chocolate chopped (I used half of this amount and I like to use 92% dark chocolate)
Cacao nibs + dried cranberries and coconut for the topping
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large microwave safe bowl, melt together the maple syrup or honey with the coconut oil on a high power level, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth, then add in the vanilla.
Add the quinoa, almonds, cashews and mixed seeds. Stir until all the dry ingredients are evenly coated in the wet ingredients. Spread the mixture out in an even, thin layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the bark is golden in colour and crisp. You’ll know the bark is done when the cashews and quinoa look caramelized and are a deep golden brown in colour.
While the bark is baking, melt the chocolate in the microwave (or over a pan of boiling water) heating on 30 second intervals and stirring after each interval until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Spread the melted chocolate over the bark in an even layer. Sprinkle with cacao nibs/coconut and dried cranberries) or any other healthy topping of your choice!
Place the pan in the fridge to set, about 30 minutes (or the freezer for 15). Remove and break into pieces. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.
Don’t let the courgette put you off, it adds a ton of moisture and some goodness! And I promise your children won’t even notice it’s in there, even my husband loves these!
Even though these don’t contain any processed sugar they would be quite high in calories if you ate loads at a time! I’ve cut these up quite small and will pop them in the freezer so there is no food waste. I love these as a mid-afternoon snack or as an energy pick me up.
Ingredients: (for the cup size, I use a small mug)
½ cup almond butter (Aldi do a nice one!)
1 ripe banana
¼ cup maple syrup or honey
¼ cup cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 medium courgette, shredded and squeezed of excess liquid
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
1 Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
2 Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
3 Add all the ingredients except for the courgette and chocolate chips to a high-speed blender or food processor, mixing until well combined.
4 Transfer batter to a medium bowl and stir in the courgette and chocolate chips.
5 Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan.
6 Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
7 Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving
I love energy balls! They are fun to make (I usually get my children involved, they love it) and they do what they say on the tin. I have tried and tested lots of different recipes, if you look on the internet, you’ll see hundreds of recipes most of which are quite heavy on the medjool dates. Personally I’m not keen on eating lots of dates (I know lots of people like them though) but I love this recipe not only because they taste AMAZING but they are date free!! Quite a rare find!
50g desiccated coconut (plus 60g toasted)
2 tsbp chia seeds
zest and juice of 1 orange (about 100ml)
175g dried cranberries
35g of raw cacao powder
2 tsbp maple syrup
clear honey to coat
1 – Put the desiccated coconut and chia seeds in a bowl with the orange zest and juice. Leave them for 2-3 hours to absorb the juice
2 – Blitz the walnuts, cranberries, soaked coconut and chia mix and cacao together in a food processor. Transfer the mixture into a bowl, add the maple syrup and knead until it’s all combined and starts to stick together.
3 – Roll level tablespoons of the mixture into about 18 balls. Put the remainder of the desiccated coconut into a pan and lightly toast it (this brings out the nutty flavour) Put a little honey onto your clean hands and roll each ball to coat in honey, then roll in the toasted desiccated coconut.
Chill for 1 hour to firm.