Do you ever get that ‘let’s eat junk’ mood? I am sure you know what I am referring too. Thankfully (miraculously) our pantry is now junk free but we still need treats! In my mission to only put the good stuff into our bodies sugar definitely doesn’t feature, but it’s everywhere, especially in anything remotely junkish, processed or even unprocessed is sugar in its varying forms.
Ahhhh, sugar. We love it but it actually doesn’t love us on the inside. I am pretty sure we are all aware of that fact, and while I am not a nutritionist, I feel compelled to share how removing refined sugar has helped my body. Firstly, I don’t have the awful make-me-double-over cramps that I was having. Secondly, I have lost weight and trust me I have not counted my calories and thirdly, I have an overall feeling of better health.
One thing the paleo diet has been criticised for, is for being a fad diet. A rather important factor in counteracting that criticism is to say that a paleo lifestyle is a way to encourage optimal health by healing the gut and eating in a manner that suits our digestive system.
Clean, whole (just not wholegrain hehe), (hopefully) sustainable food … No one likes being told that what they are eating is bad for them. I am going to be a bit brave and say I would love everyone to just have a think about it, maybe do a little reading to understand why sugar isn’t ideal in our diets. Perhaps you want to understand more about fructose, glucose, insulin, carbohydrates, starches etc etc, words that are thrown around when talking about sugar. I recommend reading why is sugar bad by The Paleo Mum. This lady has come a long way in terms of healing herself with a paleo diet.
So, let’s get down to real food business. Sweet, dark, delicious, addictive chocolate. I have learnt to make my own and it is decadent and moreish … do remember it’s a treat … honey is high in fructose! What a spoil sport, I know! You must try this over the weekend. I found the basic recipe on allrecipes after doing a quick paleo chocolate search. I tweaked it and added chopped dried fruit and nuts. So darn easy and high in antioxidants from the glorious cacao powder, not to mention all the benefits from the coconut oil as well. The texture is quite different to your average Cadbury bar and you must keep it in the fridge but it is chocolatey and yummy for everyone in the family! I recommend doubling the recipe as it’s so delicious it won’t last long!
Preparation time: How fast can you chop fruit and nuts and assemble 4 more ingredients?! 2-3 minutes maximum
Cooking time: 4-5 minutes then 1 hour to chill.
Makes: 1 bar/block of chocolate
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1-2 teaspoons (2 if you’re like me and obsessed with vanilla!) of pure vanilla extract or scrape a vanilla pod into the pot
2-3 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup
Optional ingredients: make up 3/4 of a cup of whatever you like – chopped nuts, chopped dried fruit, spices like cinnamon or ginger. The recipe shown in the photo is dried apricot and brazil nut with honey.
Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan on medium heat.
Turn the heat down to low and add the sweetener. Be careful to stir well and if you use honey, ensure it melts to a more runny liquid so the sweetness is distributed evenly.
Add the cacao powder slowly so you don’t get a big puff of it in your face! Stir gently until there are no little lumps and you have what looks like very runny chocolate. Don’t be tempted to lick it off the spoon, it’s HOT! (Yes, I did that …)
Add the vanilla and stir gently.
Turn the heat off and add any extras.
Line a loaf tin or dish with a small base with baking paper. I use a silicon loaf pan because I don’t need to use baking paper and it gives a nice wavy pattern on one side and it is a similar shape to a store bought chocolate bar both in height and length. Choose a dish that will give your chocolate enough height.
Pour into your selected dish and give a gentle stir to even out the extra bits and the sweetness and place in the freezer for around an hour.
Remove your chocolate from the freezer and cut into whatever sizes you like! I cut ours small to last longer. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Enjoy! What is your favourite refined sugar free treat? There are lots of yummy ideas on Freddie’s Food that you should definitely check out!
Written by Anneke Newing. Paleo mum to two gorgeous children.
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