Double Chocolate Crunch Bars, and the goodness of cacao.

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Well it is coming up to that time again, Easter time, holidays, time with family and friends, and temptations a plenty! This month I am creating a number of chocolate based recipes for Loving Earth, so I thought I would share this recipe with you here also. I wanted to put together recipes that were delicious, festive, and also nourishing and not full of rubbish. These bars fit the brief perfectly!

This recipe is quite heavy on the cacao. I love cacao. It is amazingly rich in minerals (particularly magnesium) and antioxidants. Cacao powder is the unheated, raw version of cocoa, and cacao butter is made by pressing the raw cacao nibs. The butter has a much higher melting temperature, and so is solid at room temperature. By the way – if you have any left-over cacao butter, it makes the BEST body moisturiser.

However like everything, it can be controversial. Cacao contains theobromine, which is a powerful stimulant to the nervous system. Some indulgence here and there is not going to be a problem, and everyone is different in terms of how much they can tolerate – similar to coffee. Just know that as much as I love cacao, I am not eating spoonfuls 10 times a day – moderation is key, as with anything! A little trick I often use is to use 1/2 raw cacao powder, and 1/2 carob powder in recipes that I want to tone down the caffeine, or if I am making it for people I know are sensitive to it. It is a wonderful combination as carob is rich in calcium, which nutritionally combines beautifully with the magnesium rich cacao. Most people however will tolerate it beautifully, and it is certainly 100 times better than your typical commercial chocolate bar.

Double Chocolate Crunch Bars

These bars are my new favourite! Packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals these little lovelies contain the goodness of raw cacao, coupled with some wonderful protein from the buckwheat and nuts, making a delicious, nourishing treat that is a winner for both kids and adults.

Makes around 8 bars

3/4 cup cacao butter, shaved with a knife
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
2 tbs mesquite (optional)
4 tbs maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
a good pinch of sea salt
3 tsp arrowroot powder (optional, but helps it set and stay together)
3/4 cup activated buckwheat *see note
1/2 cup coconut flakes, lightly toasted in the oven until just turning golden
1/2 cup nuts (I used almonds and pistachios), roughly chopped
6 or so squares of good quality chocolate for topping (I used Loving Earth Caramel Chocolate)

* You can eat buckwheat raw, but it is much easier on the digestion if you soak it first. I have used activated buckinis from Loving Earth, which are buckwheat groats that have been soaked and then dried out again to give them back their crunch. You should be able to find activated buckwheat in the health food shop or online.

Place the cacao butter in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Once the butter starts to melt, add the cacao powder, mesquite (if using), maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, sea salt and arrowroot. Stir until well combined and cook on low heat for a minute or two, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile add the buckwheat, coconut and nuts to a mixing bowl.
Once the chocolate mix is ready, remove from the heat and pour over the dry mix, mixing to combine.

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Press the mix onto a lined baking tray. I find it easiest to fold part of the baking paper over (or use a new piece) to place over the mix and use your hands to smooth out to a flat rectangle. Don’t spread the mix apart too much as you want it to be quite tightly packed so that it sets together.
Place in the fridge while you melt the caramel chocolate in a separate saucepan. Drizzle this over your bars, return to the fridge and allow to set for at least 2 hours, or longer.
Slice or break into pieces and enjoy!

This recipe has a HUGE tick from my four year old, and my lovely hubby – score!

Also, I have four down but am yet to finalise my last recipe – so if there is something chocolatey that you would love to see created, I’d love to hear your suggestions! Have a wonderful week everyone. x