Chocolate Nut Hearts

Makes about 40 x 2.5 cm shapes

Paleo, vegan; no dairy, gluten, cane sugar, soy

Charming chocolate shop-worthy morsels. Store in the fridge or freezer and they last well. Great for snacks or as a dinner party dessert on a platter with grapes, berries or sliced seasonal fruit. Children can help make these in minutes. As with eating the finest chocolate though, it will melt from warm fingers that then need to be licked. Sorry about that.

They have intense flavour and nutrition. Cocoa for flavonoids, iron and magnesium; nuts for zinc and protein; prunes for calcium, potassium, soluble and insoluble fibre. The recipe is strikingly delicious as is. More flavour options are also provided. Read more

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Cashew ‘Cream Cheese’ Icing

No gluten, dairy, egg or cane sugar

You can dispense with any recitation of this cake’s nutritional virtues and confidently serve it on the basis of great taste alone. Moist, dark with layers of flavours and it improves with age. It is topped with a cream cheese-like icing made from cashews instead of dairy. A similar Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe on my site has a chunkier texture and a baked on topping. Read more

Salted Caramel Chocolate Nut Tart

Serves 12-16
Vegan, Paleo; no gluten, grain, dairy, soy, legumes, egg, citrus or cane sugar

I have prepared this often and I don’t think anyone has eaten it and not released a pleasurable sigh like a happy balloon.  Originally a recipe from the excellent, I have made numerous adjustments, especially to simplify instructions, decrease sweeteners, and make the ganache-style topping creamier. The result is rich and satisfying, so serve in small portions. Read more

Chia Dessert or Breakfast Pudding: 4 Fast Fab Flavours

Chocolate; Apricot Coconut; Apple Cinnamon; Vanilla Fig

Serves 2; 5 minutes prep

Raw vegan and Paleo; no gluten, grain, dairy, egg, soy or cane sugar

Yes, it might seem incongruous, but this is thick, creamy and dreamy enough for dessert while having superfood nutrient levels to qualify as breakfast.

Chia looks like tiny dark sesame seeds. It is similar to linseed or flaxseed in its nutrition powerhouse properties such as soluble fibre, protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron. It has more antioxidants – including flavonoids, quercetin and phenolics – than many berries and other fruits. For digestibility, chia does not need to be ground or cooked like linseed does. Soaking though will maximise its high soluble fibre content, which is excellent for weight and blood sugar management, liver and bowel function. Read more

Chocolate Nut Fudge

About 50 tiny pieces

Vegan; no gluten, dairy, soy, cane sugar – or cooking required

Really, really good. The results are gourmet while the skill level required is primary school. Two colleagues – Linda Outhwaite and Jamie Smith – inspired me with their versions of this super simple and luscious confection. The high cocoa density adds a caffeinated thrill – as well as ample magnesium, calcium, iron and antioxidants. Among the latter are phenols linked with lowering high blood pressure. Some studies show this effect is negated if the chocolate includes milk, which seems to impede absorption. One type of phenol is flavonoids including (yes, another sub-category) epicatechins. These score impressively on the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) score. This is used to assess how much power an antioxidant has for preventing destruction from free radicals. In excess free radicals are involved with premature ageing and disease. Read more

Vegan/Almost Vegan Chocolate Cake

(No gluten, dairy, egg, soy or cane sugar)

You can dispense with any recitation of this cake’s nutritional virtues and confidently serve it on the basis of great taste alone. Moist, dark with layers of flavours and it improves with age. It is complete without any accompaniment but for a glam occasion you could serve slices with some piped, sunny-hued Apricot Whip along one edge (as below; see also its use with  Fluffy Hotcakes).

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Raw Vegan Chocolate Brownies

16-20 small squares
(Vegan; no gluten, dairy, cane sugar, egg, soy, citrus)

You can safely serve this to any fan of rich morsels (ie most females). If preferred, avoid all discussion of its nutritional virtues: it can win on taste and texture alone. A version of this recipe came from the popular Aussie blog Not Quite Nigella, but behind that was a long trail of variations and attributions probably dating back to Eve. My version is below.

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Chocolate Truffles

Makes 18
(Vegan; no cane sugar, dairy, gluten or soy)

Are you looking for a special treat or gift that tastes of and symbolizes all the rich, sweet, luxurious pleasures of life? Ask most women and of course this implies chocolate. To make it more challenging though, perhaps the recipient prefers to avoid cane sugar, dairy, gluten and soy. Is monastic austerity all that is left to them? This recipe can come to the rescue.

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Carrot Cake with Chocolate Icing

(No gluten, dairy or cane sugar; with options for soy)

It is challenge enough to produce moist and fluffy baking that is gluten– and dairy-free, but a chocolate icing without added sugar is a culinary Everest. The cake achieves sweet stimulation courtesy of dried and fresh fruit, a little honey, plus spices and vanilla. Thanks to maturing flavours, it tastes even better the next day. Alternatively, the batter can be poured into paper-lined tins and baked as muffins. The icing is rich and creamily convincing despite some non-traditional ingredients. The trick with any dietary substitution is to achieve equivalent flavour, as well as consistency or structure. One of the hurdles here is to offset the natural bitterness of the cocoa content. This is compensated for with a date puree (pre-soaked into sweet succulence) although few taste testers will recognise its presence. For the creamiest result the dates are best soaked overnight.

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