Today I discovered the wonders of a ‘snuggle’ chair. Yes really, a chair that’s 1 and a half times the size of a normal chair… for cuddling in! Can I really move the sofa to the garden so I can create my perfect Feng Sui with a snuggle chair, dark chocolate almond cake mini, mug of herbal tea and a good box set? Does life get any better?
Well, until I can find the money… and room to have one of these beautiful chairs in my life, I’ll settle for cake and a real cuddle!
Inspired by raw chocolate lover Laura Coveter on River Cottage, my recipe calls for much less sweetness but just enough to satisfy those treat cravings!
Happy healthy indulgence!
Makes 3 minis
- 100g almonds
- 100g hazelnuts
- Pinch of sea salt
- 4 pitted medjool dates
- 3 avocados
- 100g coconut oil
- Seeds from 3/4 of a vanilla pod
- 150g raw cacao
- 1 teaspoon honey (add more if you like it sweeter)
- 100g dark chocolate
First soak the dates in warm water for 10 minutes to soften.
Blitz the nuts in a food processor until fine. Add the dates and sea salt and blitz for a further 10 seconds. You can add a tablespoon of water if it needs a bit of goo to stick together.
Cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper and oil the inside of your cake rings to prevent sticking. If you can find the loose bottomed cake rings even better, as these help push the cakes out when set. Place the cake rings onto the tray and pack the base into the mini cake rings. Chill in the freezer whilst you make the chocolate mixture (at least 30 minutes).
In a food processor blend the avocado, coconut oil, vanilla seeds, cacao, honey and coconut oil until smooth. Make sure the oil is melted first as this will make your cake creamy and silky.
Spoon on top of the base and pack down to get nice even layers. Place in the freezer until firm. (At least 30 minutes).
To remove the cakes from the rings, push from underneath the base. If they’re still not coming out. You can heat the outside of the cake rings with a blow torch or run under a little hot water. Be careful not to get any water on the cake mixture.
Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
To make the toasted hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Spread the shelled hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 12 minutes until golden. Make sure you turn them mid way through cooking and keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
To make the dark chocolate swirls
Chop the chocolate into small pieces. The smaller the pieces, the quicker it melts. Set aside about a quarter of the chocolate. You’ll need this for the ‘seeding’ process. The basic idea is that you add tempered chocolate to melted, untempered chocolate. The tempered chocolate will ‘seed’ the crystalline structure of the overall batch so you don’t end up with that white glaze on your lovely dark chocolate.
Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat.
Place the remaining chocolate in a glass bowl and place over the water. Be careful that the water doesn’t get into the bowl or the chocolate will seize up. Bit like me when I first wake up in the morning! Let the chocolate sit in the bowl over the hot water, uncovered, until it is about 2/3 melted. Don’t stir.
Once 2/3 melted then you can stir.
Test the temperature of the chocolate using a thermometer (it should be 114 – 118°F or 46 – 48 degrees) or dap a small amount just below your lower lip or on the inside of your wrist. It should be warm but not burn. Don’t forget to wipe it off your lip though as you could look a bit of a plonker if you walk around with a chocolate moustache all day!
Remove the bowl from the water and add the remaining chocolate (the ‘seed’). Stir until melted. It can take about 15 minutes so if you’re short of time, move to a cooler environment like outside.
Test the chocolate again. It’s ready when it feels refreshing on the skin. If it cools to much, simply place the bowl back in heated water until it loosens up.
Using an offset spatula spread the chocolate thinly onto a smooth surface. I use a large marble floor tile. Push and spread back and forth for 30 – 60 seconds until you end up with a layer about 1-2 mm thick. Clean the edges.
When the chocolate is no longer tacky, grab your bench scraper and starting furthest from the edge, dig in an inch or so from the edge. With your scraper at around 45 degrees, push quickly and firmly out. Experiment with angles and distance from the edge. If you’re successful you might get a cigar. If you’re anything like me you’ll end up with a few swirls and alot of flakes but hey practice makes perfect. All tastes the same anyway!
Sprinkle the cakes with coconut flour, toasted hazelnuts and your lovely dark chocolate swirls.
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