[EDIT, February 2012: You all know I love Ellen DeGeneres, right? And Ellen loves this recipe! I couldn’t be more thrilled that she decided to share on her Going Vegan with Ellen page. Thank you, Ellen! ]
Sometimes, you just want to eat something now. I’ve decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly, or else is so easy to make that no recipe is required. Here’s today’s “Flash in the Pan.”
(I know, “Cocoa Nibbles” sounds like a children’s breakfast cereal. . . but these are much better!)
Even though I’ve continued to bake a little during this Total Health course I’m taking, I’ve been trying to avoid consuming very much of what I do bake (my colleagues are very happy lately. . . oh, and they appear to have gained some weight). Apart from my tumbling head first off the wagon after I baked those evil PB-Chocolate Chip Cookies, I’ve remained (more or less) on track.
Still, even when you’re eating healthfully, sometimes (okay, all the time) you crave chocolate. These little bites are what I whip up when I’m dying for something that’s part candy, part fudge, and part healthy. Those of you familiar with LaraBars will recognize the ingredient list, but mine are a little smoother than the orignial, with a more intense chocolate flavor. And so easy!
I’m sharing this recipe at Iris’s Five-Ingredient Mondays.
[Get a load of that gorgeous mint garnish!]
1/2 cup (80 g.) raw almonds
1-1/4 cups (about 150 g.) unsweetened dried dates, chopped
2 Tbsp. (20 g.) cocoa powder
1 tsp. (5 ml.) vanilla (optional)
optional add-ins (choose one of the following): 6 leaves mint, chopped; 1/4-1/2 tsp. (1-2 ml.) chili flakes; 1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) chopped candied ginger; 1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) raw cocoa nibs; 2 tsp. (10 ml.) freshly grated orange rind; 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) cinnamon, or play with other spices of your choice
In a food processor, process the almonds, dates, and cocoa until you have what looks like a fine meal. Sprinkle with vanilla and optional add-ins, if using, and continue to process until the mixture comes together as a ball that rolls around the edge of the processor bowl (this may take a while–up to 5 minutes or so; occasionally stop and scrape sides of processor to push the mixture toward the blades).
The “dough” is ready when, if you pinch some and press it between your fingers, it sticks together readily and looks a bit shiny. (Sometimes if the dates are dry, this doesn’t happen easily; in that case, sprinkle in up to 2 tsp. water along with the vanilla, and proceed as above). The mixture should NOT be as soft as a cookie dough, but more like clay.
Place a clean piece of plastic wrap on the counter and turn the mixture onto it. Using your hands, form the mixture into a log about 8 inches (20 cm.) long. Try to compress the mixture as much as possible so you have a very dense log. Wrap with the plastic and roll the log one or two times, compressing it with your hands, to squeeze out any air spaces.
If you have a pressing need for chocolate, you can slice and eat the nibbles immediately. However, these are much better after the mixture has been refrigerated at least 2 hours or overnight, as it firms up considerably and will attain the texture of a dense fudge when cold. Makes 2 servings for me, 6 servings for normal eaters. Will keep up to one week in the fridge.
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[This recipe will also appear in my upcoming cookbook, Sweet Freedom, along with more than 100 others, most of which are not featured on this blog. For more information, check the “Cookbook” button at right, or visit the cookbook blog.]