To kick off I thought I'd share with you a recipe that is quite new to my little black book of recipes. I was inspired by a raw bar in my local supermarket and thought that I could give it a crack at making it a little better! Chocolate and peppermint together to me is one of the greatest flavour combinations EVER. Team this with dates and nuts and you have got yourself a pretty wow factor dessert, snack or sweet treat. Oh and did I mention that it is raw!? The benefits of eating raw food is quite a hot topic at the moment. Basically raw means eating plant foods that have not been heated over 47 degrees celsius so food is still 'live', bursting with enzymes that help break down the nutrients within the food. These enzymes are normally destroyed when cooked. Pretty simple hey?!
So to make a tray of these beauties (about 14 rectangular pieces) you will need-
350g dried pitted dates
2tbs raw cocoa powder
4-5 drops peppermint oil
I use organic dried dates from my local fruit shop, there is no need to use fresh Medjool dates for this as everything gets blitzed up in the food processor. You can find peppermint oil in the beauty section of health food stores, and yes it is edible as it is 100% oil. It is a bit expensive but a little goes a long way. After making the slice you can use the oil to dab onto your skin instead of a perfume or add a couple of drops to a hot bath- its uses are endless and extend further than just from in the kitchen! If you struggle to find peppermint oil you can get peppermint essence from pretty much every supermarket, however it is stronger so be careful not to over do it. Essence has glycerine and alcohol in it which is why I like to use a 100% oil.
HOW IT'S DONE
For this recipe you will need a food processor. Place the dates in the processor and blitz until they bind together into a ball, they will eventually do so after 1-2 minutes. Once this has happened add the nuts, cocoa and blitz again. The mixture will turn into a sticky sand like consistency after approximately one minute. Add the peppermint oil and pulse for another 30 seconds. The chocolatey-mint smell will be incredible!
Pour the mixture into a loaf tin or small ceramic baking dish and press down firmly until the mixture is compact and lovely and glossy. The mixture should cover the tray, you can make it as thick or as thin as you want depending on the size of the tray you use. I like to make mine about 1cm thick. There is no need to grease the container as the oils released from the nuts as well as the peppermint help it to not stick.
Refrigerate for 2 hours and slice into rectangles. The slice is best kept in the fridge and will last for weeks! These tasty raw morsels are fab for a snack on the go, to take to work or are great served after dinner as a choc-minty treat. I honestly find these more satisfying than munching on a macaron or Mars Bar. Don't just take my word for it, give it a try!Photography by Phu Tang